In a blog entry called “Developing a Sense of Worth,” we discussed the sex-selective abortions responsible for the disappearance of millions of girls around the world. In addition to these abortions, many of today’s baby girls are threatened by neglect, starvation, and sometimes even murder for the simple reason that they are girls.

While it might seem that dwindling female populations would raise the value of the remaining girls and women, this is not the case. In fact, the widespread loss of women and girls often leads to a higher risk of trafficking, abuse, and exploitation.

A recent article from the UN Office for the Coordination of Human Affairs highlights one of the results of dwindling populations of women- eager to turn a profit, traffickers simply enslave, export and import women.

IRIN, a news service of the UN, reports:

In 2010, the authorities recorded 122 cases of forced marriage, up from 104 in 2009, Myanmar’s Ministry of Home Affairs reported. For more than a decade, Burmese women have been trafficked across the 2,000km border to marry men who are unable to afford the dowry required by a Chinese bride…

You can read the full report here.

Unfortunately, when girls are in higher demand for domestic and sexual services, they are rarely treated with greater dignity and respect.

Instead of attempting to change male to female ratios, the best approach to the problems of abuse and exploitation is through freedom and empowerment. A fundamental change in perception is the most effective way to counter the widespread suffering of women and girls in developing countries.

In our work around the world, we free and empower women and girls in body, mind, and spirit. As they work to realize their tremendous potential, their families, villages, and nations take notice.

In this way, a watching world sees tremendous value where it already exists, and lasting change takes root.