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UNITED NATIONS (AP) — More than 140 million females are considered “missing” today because of a preference for sons over daughters and extreme neglect of young girls leading to their death, the U.N. Population Fund said in its annual report released Tuesday.

The agency, known as UNFPA, also said 1 in 5 marriages that take place today is to an underage girl, and an estimated 4.

1 million girls are at risk this year of being subjected to female circumcision, also known as female genital mutilation, or FGM, which has been condemned by the United Nations.

Dr. Natalia Kanem, UNFPA’s executive director, said: “Harmful practices against girls cause profound and lasting trauma, robbing them of their right to reach their full potential.”

According to the State of World Population 2020 report, at least 19 harmful practices ranging from breast ironing to virginity testing affect millions of girls and are considered human rights violations. The report focuses on the three most prevalent — gender bias, child marriage and female genital mutilation.

According to the report, “the preference for sons over daughters may be so pronounced that couples will go to great lengths to avoid giving birth to a girl or will fail to care for the health and well-being of a daughter they already have in favor of their son.”

UNFPA called the preference for sons “a symptom of entrenched gender inequality” that has distorted population ratios in countries, making it unable for large numbers of men to find partners and have children. The agency said it can also exacerbate gender-based violence including rape, coerced sex, sexual exploitation, trafficking and child marriage.

As for child marriage, the report said the practice “is commonly imposed on girls by family members, community members or society at large, regardless of whether the victim provides, or is able provide, full, free and informed consent.””

Child marriages are almost universally banned, UNFPA said, “yet they happen 33,000 times a day, every day, all around the world — cutting across countries, cultures, religions and ethnicities.”

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The report said 650 million girls and women alive today were married as children, and it said 200 million women and girls alive today are affected by FGM.

UNFPA chief Kanem said laws alone are not enough to end these practices.

“We must tackle the problem by tackling the root causes, especially gender-biased norms,” she said in a statement. “We must do a better job of supporting communities’ own efforts to understand the toll these practices are taking on girls and the benefits that accrue to the whole of society by stopping them.”

The report calls for restructuring economies and legal systems to guarantee women equal opportunities. As an example, it says changing rules for property inheritance can eliminate a powerful incentive for families to favor sons over daughters and help eliminate child marriage.

The report said investments totaling $3.4 billion a year through 2030 would end child marriage and female genital mutilation and end the suffering of an estimated 84 million girls.

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Ellen Pao Says Tech Firm Invited Ghislaine Maxwell To A Party After Reports She Had Supplied Girls For Sex

Ellen Pao, former partner at venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins, said Monday that her former employer knew of reports that Ghislaine Maxwell allegedly supplied underage girls for sex to Jeffrey Epstein, but invited her to a 2011 holiday party anyway.

The former Reddit CEO and activist who filed an unsuccessful discrimination lawsuit against Kleiner Perkins in 2012, tweeted Monday that Maxwell attended the 2011 party, but a company spokeswoman denied that the Epstein confidant was there, or even invited.

Kleiner Perkins spokeswoman Allie Cefalo told the Daily Caller News Foundation that the firm does “not have any record of Ghislaine Maxwell being invited to a Kleiner Perkins holiday party,” and said company does not have any record that Maxwell attended the party. (RELATED: Epstein’s Ponzi Scheme Partner Says Ghislaine Maxwell Will ‘Crack In Two Seconds’ And Cooperate With Feds)

“She was at the Kleiner holiday party in 2011, but I had no desire to meet her much less have my photo taken with her,” Pao said in her Monday tweet. “We knew about her supplying underage girls for sex, but I guess that was fine with the ‘cool’ people who managed the tightly controlled guest list.”

???? Ellen Pao, former Reddit CEO and partner at VC giant Kleiner Perkins, says Ghislaine Maxwell attended Kleiner’s holiday party in 2011, and “we knew” about her alleged role in Epstein sex trafficking. Pao has since made her twitter account private

— Lachlan Markay (@lachlan) July 6, 2020

Pao, who did not immediately respond to a request for comment, has since made her account private.

“To be clear, the press had described her as supplying underage girls for sex, but she had not been charged so I guess it would be more accurate to say we ‘suspected’ v ‘knew,'” Pao added in a later tweet.

When Twitter user said that it seemed Pao was fine with Maxwell attending the party, Pao tweeted in response: “Of course I wasn’t. But I was a junior partner on the outside of the inner circle, and what I said made no difference here and in many other decisions.”

Maxwell was arrested at 8:30 am Thursday morning in Bradford, New Hampshire, and a grand jury has indicted her on charges of conspiracy to entice minors to engage in illegal sex acts, conspiracy to transport minors for illegal sex acts, transportation of a minor to engage in illegal sex acts, and perjury.

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