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Jody Sarich: Women Will Be Forced to Marry

The anti-slavery researcher and advocate says that slavery and human trafficking are already becoming huge problems in China.

As many as 24 million Chinese men will be unable to find wives in 2020, say experts. In some areas there are already as many as 130 men for every 100 women. This gender gap, just one of the many consequences of China's one-child policy, is driving many of the country's men to look for wives through forced marriage and human trafficking. 


Jody Sarich, an anti-slavery researcher and advocate, is currently writing a book on forced marriage with former Big Think expert Kevin Bales. Sarich told Big Think that while exact numbers aren't available, studies and anecdotal evidence suggest that slavery and human trafficking are already huge problems in China.

"There is a great demand for women, especially in poor, rural areas," says Sarich. "Certainly the gender gap is a major factor, but it is one factor among several that work together to make it such a problem in China. Working alongside that is the fact that there's been a great increase in women's economic empowerment and desire for education in China. So you have fewer women overall as well as more women who are choosing to be educated and to have jobs. In many cases they don't see it as compatible to be married and work, so the women who do exist aren't necessarily marrying at the same rate.

"An additional pillar of what is leading this problem in China, especially for foreign brides, is China's policy of repatriating foreign women who are discovered—even though they're victims of trafficking," she says. And for women from North Korea, repatriation means a sentence to North Korean labor camps, which Sarich likens to concentration camps. This fear of repatriation makes trafficked women all the more vulnerable and keeps them from coming forward, she says. And there is now a generation of children born from these forced marriages who are also illegal and must remain invisible to the government. "These children are equally vulnerable to all sorts of exploitation, especially the girls but also the boys and young men," says Sarich.

With the gender gap growing alongside the Chinese economy, it's very safe to say that this will increase unless decisive steps are taken, says Sarich. It will require "not only steps to change the one-child policy or to put systems in place or education in place in order to solve the gender imbalance, but in the short and the long term it's a matter of China taking responsibility to fully recognize these women as trafficked people."

The “new normal” paradox: What COVID-19 has revealed about higher education

Higher education faces challenges that are unlike any other industry. What path will ASU, and universities like ASU, take in a post-COVID world?

Photo: Luis Robayo/AFP via Getty Images
Sponsored by Charles Koch Foundation
  • Everywhere you turn, the idea that coronavirus has brought on a "new normal" is present and true. But for higher education, COVID-19 exposes a long list of pernicious old problems more than it presents new problems.
  • It was widely known, yet ignored, that digital instruction must be embraced. When combined with traditional, in-person teaching, it can enhance student learning outcomes at scale.
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Masturbation boosts your immune system, helping you fight off infection and illness

Can an orgasm a day really keep the doctor away?

Sexual arousal and orgasm increase the number of white blood cells in the body, making it easier to fight infection and illness.

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Sex & Relationships
  • Achieving orgasm through masturbation provides a rush of feel-good hormones (such as dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin) and can re-balance our levels of cortisol (a stress-inducing hormone). This helps our immune system function at a higher level.
  • The surge in "feel-good" hormones also promotes a more relaxed and calm state of being, making it easier to achieve restful sleep, which is a critical part in maintaining a high-functioning immune system.
  • Just as bad habits can slow your immune system, positive habits (such as a healthy sleep schedule and active sex life) can help boost your immune system which can prevent you from becoming sick.
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Sallie Krawcheck and Bob Kulhan will be talking money, jobs, and how the pandemic will disproportionally affect women's finances.

How DNA revealed the woolly mammoth's fate – and what it teaches us today

Scientists uncovered the secrets of what drove some of the world's last remaining woolly mammoths to extinction.

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Surprising Science

Every summer, children on the Alaskan island of St Paul cool down in Lake Hill, a crater lake in an extinct volcano – unaware of the mysteries that lie beneath.

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