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End gendered corruption in Latin America and Caribbean with coordinated action

Guatemala City, 24 September 2019 – Today, Transparency International called on national, regional and multilateral actors in Latin America and the Caribbean to prioritise and develop an integrated regional strategy for tackling gendered forms of corruption, including sexual extortion.

The Global Corruption Barometer – Latin America and the Caribbean published yesterday by Transparency International found that in the 18 countries surveyed, one in five people experiences sexual extortion when accessing public services, or knows someone who has.

Seventy-one per cent of respondents think that sexual extortion happens at least occasionally. Only eight percent of citizens think it never happens. The survey also found that women are significantly more likely to pay bribes for health services and public school education.

“The reality is that women are disproportionately affected by corruption, and this research shows that when accessing health care and public education women are particularly vulnerable to bribery,” said Delia Ferreira Rubio, Chair of Transparency International. “But we also know that when women come together to demand change, they can inspire an entire movement.”

“UN Women is investing in generating evidence on the impact that corruption has on women as a means of supporting states in formulating, implementing and monitoring anti-corruption public policies in order to strengthen institutions and democracy,” said Maria-Noel Vaeza, UN Women Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean. “Since 2018 our partnership with Transparency International and the EUROsociAL+ programme has enabled the analysis of the gender dimension in the fight against corruption in Latin America.”

Edie Josué Cux García, President of Acción Ciudadana (TI Guatemala), said, “Set against epidemic levels of gender-based violence, it is unsurprising that Guatemala has one of the highest rates of sexual extortion in the region. We must do more to ensure that women and girls don’t continue to suffer from this appalling form of corruption. We must have a zero tolerance approach for public officials who abuse their authority this way.”

Gender issues should be mainstreamed throughout anti-corruption practices, for example by creating safe and secure gender-sensitive reporting channels for whistleblowers. Gender-disaggregated data on corruption should be collected and published in an accessible manner.

Specifically, Transparency International urges governments across Latin America and the Caribbean to:

  • Develop legislation to confront and end sextortion and ensure justice systems have the right tools to address sextortion cases.
  • Collect, analyse and disseminate gender data on corruption
  • Support women’s participation in public and political life
  • Include women in anti-corruption decision-making
  • Empower women to report abuse and ensure that the mechanisms to do so are gender-sensitive

In addition, countries should implement and report on progress on gender-specific aspects of the Lima Commitment on corruption, adopted at the VIII Summit of the Americas.

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About Transparency International

Through chapters in more than 100 countries and an international secretariat in Berlin, Transparency International has been leading the fight against corruption for the last 25 years.

About UN Women

UN Women is the United Nations entity dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women. A global champion for women and girls, UN Women was established to accelerate progress on meeting their needs worldwide.

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Ferenc Gaál
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