Ms. Global: Baby Trafficking Network in Peru Uncovered; Rubiales Suspended by FIFA for Non-Consensual Kiss; Iran’s Continued Crackdown

The U.S. ranks as the 19th most dangerous country for women, 11th in maternal mortality, 30th in closing the gender pay gap, 75th in women’s political representation, and painfully lacks paid family leave and equal access to health care. But Ms. has always understood: Feminist movements around the world hold answers to some of the U.S.’s most intractable problems. Ms. Global is taking note of feminists worldwide.


+ Peruvian man is sentenced to 35 years in prison for femicide 

The Judiciary sentenced Juan Villafuerte on September 12 for the murder of Blanca Arellano, which took place in Huacho, Peru on November 6, 2022. Arellano initially met Villafuerte playing online video games. After talking for a year over Facebook messenger, they decided it was time to meet, and Arellano sold several of her belongings to finance a trip to Peru from Mexico, where she lived, on July 28 2022. 

Their relationship turned sour after Villafuerte met another woman. He beat her before dismembering and decapitating her, and allegedly sold her organs, although the Judiciary indicated the prosecution could not find enough evidence of the crime to add to his conviction. Arellano’s body parts were found by fishermen a few days later, just after her family in Mexico declared her missing. The horrific femicide was traced back to Villafuerte and authorities were quick to find trace evidence of Arellano’s blood, hair, and belongings in his possession. 

“We know perfectly well that we do not need him to talk, we are so sure of all the evidence that exists and we are so solid that we do not need a confession from him. It only remains in his conscience and life will take its toll on him at some point,” Alexandra Arellana, the victim’s sister, told RPP Noticias

+ Newborn and fetus trafficking network dismantled in Cusco

A clandestine operation selling newborn babies was discovered by Peruvian authorities on September 4 in the Andean city after a woman, Fanny Hurtado, brought her alleged two-week-old baby to Manco Capac Health Center for vaccinations and routine care. When questioned about her postpartum care, Hurtado refused treatment, which raised suspicions and led them to report it to the police. Hurtado told authorities the baby was given to her by Doris Rosa Huaihua for 3,000 soles ($811 USD). She was detained along with her partner, Rubén Mora, on human trafficking charges—but they were released two days later, while authorities looked for more evidence. 

They discovered the location of their operation—abortion pills, obstetric supplies, bank transfer proof of payment, a strange altar and more were found at the makeshift clinic. Authorities also discovered chat messages between Huaihua and Mora describing the babies as machitos y hembritas—jokingly referring to them as male and female animals. The messages also uncovered that the babies and fetuses—which were being sold mainly for centuries-old rituals performed by Andean curanderos (medicine men)—were being offered for around 500 to 700 soles ($135 to $190 USD). The pair sold at least 20 newborn babies—“due to the number of children, we are looking at an aggravated organized crime offense. The babies have been converted into objects and merchandise,” said the spokesperson at the Ministry of Women, Alberto Arenas, according to El Pais.  

The Human Trafficking Prosecutor’s Offices is encouraging women who visited the obstetric clinic to come forward to help sentence the accused. “It hasn’t been ruled out that teenage mothers or women who did not want to be mothers may have gone to this clandestine, unlicensed center. Or also vulnerable people who did not have the means to support their children and decided to sell them,” says Rocío Gala, national coordinator of the Human Trafficking Prosecutors’ Offices, according to El Pais.  


+ Mayoral candidate for Plato, Magdalena, releases sexist campaign video featuring semi-naked dancers

Roger Suárez posted a questionable video on TikTok for his mayoral campaign. The video starts off showing the backsides of two women twerking in underwear before zooming out to Suárez. He then proceeds to leave a confusing message to his viewers: “Everyone who becomes mayor becomes degenerate, I am not for that. Old, yes, stubborn, no.” 

In the wake of the video, Suárez has drawn criticism around the country for his content’s objectifying and misogynistic nature, particularly in the context of his human rights background. Sexism is ingrained deeply in Colombia’s socio-political landscape, where initiatives such as the Ministry of Equality and Equity are working on the issue. However, Suárez is running against 13 candidates, of which only two are women.  

Despite the ongoing polemic, he stands by his statement: “Most people have sympathized with my way around politics. Others have taken it negatively,” he affirmed to El Colombiano while, ironically, mentioning governmental proposals against child prostitution and for women’s rights.


+ President of Spain’s soccer federation Luis Rubiales is asked to resign after nonconsensually kissing Jennifer Hermoso, one of the team’s players

The president of Spain’s soccer federation, Luis Rubiales, was asked to step down by the Royal Spanish Football Federation after nonconsensually kissing one of the team’s star players, Jennifer Hermoso. 

The kiss occurred during the Women’s World Cup final in Sydney on August 20, directly after they won the game. 

A week later, Rubiales released a statement saying that he was a victim of a “witch hunt by false feminists.” He apologized for the kiss, but said the kiss was “mutual, consensual and occurred in a moment of euphoria.” Hermoso also released a statement saying, “At no time did I consent to the kiss that he gave me.” 

Rubiales (right) gives Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez (left) a jersey, June 2018. (Wikimedia Commons)

Rubiales has been suspended by FIFA, and there is an ongoing investigation into whether the kiss was a criminal act of sexual aggression. 


+ Women who come forward with sexual harassment allegations in Antarctica are ignored and silenced

Women working in Antarctica are demanding justice for many experiences of discrimination and assault they face at McMurdo Station, the center of U.S. operations in Antarctica.

As reported by the AP, “The National Science Foundation, the federal agency that oversees the U.S. Antarctic Program, published a report in 2022 in which 59 percent of women said they’d experienced harassment or assault while on the ice, and 72 percent of women said such behavior was a problem in Antarctica.”

Once the harassment report is made, many women’s experiences are largely ignored or diminished by their employers. The AP reported that “a woman who reported a colleague had groped her was made to work alongside him again. In another [case], a woman who told her employer she was sexually assaulted was later fired. Another woman said that bosses at the base downgraded her allegations from rape to harassment.”

Due to the remoteness and isolation of the research center, there is little accountability for sexual harassment.


+ 500 children in Sudan have died from starvation since violence began

About 500 children in Sudan have died from starvation since the beginning of intense political conflict in April. This number includes around two dozen infants who died in a state-operated orphanage located in the country’s capital, Khartoum.

The political conflict began on April 15 between the military and a rival parliamentarian force. According to the United Nations, the ongoing violence in the East African nation has resulted in the deaths of at least 4,000 individuals.

As a result of the conflict, Save the Children told the AP that “at least 31,000 children lack access to treatment for malnutrition and related illnesses since the charity was forced to close 57 of its nutrition centers in Sudan.”

“Never did we think we would see children dying from hunger in such numbers, but this is now the reality in Sudan,” Arif Noor, Save the Children’s director for Sudan, said in an interview to the AP. “We are seeing children dying from entirely preventable hunger.”


+ Amidst one-year anniversary of Mahsa Amini’s death, the Islamic regime continues to repress women’s rights and civil liberties

Last year, on September 16, Mahsa Amini’s death while in custody of the morality police rocked the streets of Iran with waves of protesters for months to come. Now, as many honor the anniversary of the event, Iranians remember the women-led uprising as authorities are focused on eradicating any emerging protests to prevent a repeat of last year’s events. 

Demonstrators burn headscarves during a solidarity protest against the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini (banner) outside the United Nations’ offices in the city of Qamishli in Syria’s northeastern Hasakeh province on October 10, 2022. (Photo by DELIL SOULEIMAN/AFP via Getty Images)

Since then, the government has continued the crackdown by censoring those speaking out in support of the feminist movement. They have arrested women’s rights activists, artists, academics, journalists and their respective relatives as well. Amnesty International released a public statement regarding the Iranian authority’s “ruthless campaign” against the families of killed protestors.

“They are trying to make sure at all costs that nothing happens around the anniversary. It shows how nervous they are about the growing frustration and discontent,” Tara Sepehri Far, an Iran researcher for Human Rights Watch, told The New York Times.


+ A group of senior women sue Switzerland for insufficient climate action

The lawsuit against The European Court for Human Rights by the Kilma Seniorinnen Schweiz, which translates to Senior Women for Climate Protection Switzerland, argues that the government’s current greenhouse gas emissions are noncompliant with their commitment with the European Human Rights Convention and puts their citizens at risk. Older women, which Klima Seniorinnen Schweiz represents, are especially vulnerable.

The litigants within the Swiss lawsuit involve four women who have “heart and respiratory diseases that put them at risk of death on hot days” and other older women who are vulnerable to the effects of climate change.

The government refuted that international law does not protect individuals against climate change, but said that protection is a matter of politics rather than the law. They did not provide additional comments on the ongoing case. The ruling will be decided next year.

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About and

Val Diez Canseco is a Ms. editorial intern and a sophomore at Tulane University studying international relations and English. She is passionate about reproductive rights and health access, political frameworks in the Global South, and legal processes and systems. You can follow more of her work here.
Clara Scholl is a Ms. editorial intern and is completing her undergraduate studies at New York University. She is the arts editor for NYU's independent student newspaper, Washington Square News. Clara has previously worked as a girl advocate with the Working Group on Girls at the UN Commission on the Status of Women from 2018 to 2021. You can find her on Twitter @scholl_clara.