The abortion and infanticide responsible for "grotesque" gender ratios in some third-world countries is finally beginning to get some serious attention (of course I mentioned this sort of sex selection three years ago). The United Nations is taking notice, for whatever good that will do.

There is a little-known battle for survival going in some parts of the world. Those at risk are baby girls, and the casualties are in the millions each year. The weapons being used against them are prenatal sex selection, abortion and female infanticide — the systematic killing of girls soon after they are born.

According to a recent United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) State of the World Population Report, these practices, combined with neglect, have resulted in at least 60 million "missing" girls in Asia, creating gender imbalances and other serious problems that experts say will have far reaching consequences for years to come.

"Twenty-five million men in China currently can’t find brides because there is a shortage of women," said Steven Mosher, president of the Population Research Institute in Washington, D.C. "The young men emigrate overseas to find brides."

The imbalances are also giving rise to a commercial sex trade; the 2005 report states that up to 800,000 people being trafficked across borders each year, and as many as 80 percent are women and girls, most of whom are exploited.

Even aside from the millions of murders being committed, the social effects of vast gender imbalance are enormous and essentially impossible to rectify for the cohorts affected. Once the sex selection is stopped the subsequent generations will immediately revert to the proper, natural ratio, but the murdered girls are gone forever.

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