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The 15 most risky countries for women in the world

When it comes to tourism, many people prefer to visit places that are very remote and not much frequented by travelers. Experiencing extremely different cultures and environments can certainly be a great way to spend your holiday, especially if you are a free spirit who wants to see everything. However, there are often risks involved.

And no, we don’t mean bad sunburn, hot food or too much to drink. There are some potentially harmful, sometimes even life-threatening hazards that you need to be aware of. For example, robberies, kidnappings and assaults are not as unusual as you might think. They can happen to anyone, even in broad daylight.

Some of the countries are popular destinations that gather millions of foreigners every year. But beneath all the beautiful tropical beaches, exotic cocktails and glamorous nightlife, they hide a dark world full of danger.

15. Democratic Republic of the Congo

Bild: Skinstorm /

Congo is not exactly the most popular tourist destination. However, it is the home of some very rare animals, like Bonobo and Okapi. The Democratic Republic of Congo also has a unique culture, especially considering that there are still some pygmy tribes who practice their traditional way of life.

But among these unique characteristics you can also find a quite high crime rate. According to the American Journal of Public Health, 1150 women are victims every day in Congo. This makes more than 400,000 acts of violence per year. This is the worst rate in the world, according to many experts in the field.

But not only women are endangered. According to a study published in Oxford University Press in 2012, it was concluded that at least 4 to 10 percent of violence victims in Congo were men.

14. Saudi Arabia

Bild: Fedor Selivanov /

There are few reasons for foreigners to visit Saudi Arabia. But when they do, they put themselves in a very delicate position. A mistake could put a tourist behind bars for a very, very long time. Once again, men have less to worry about. Women, on the other hand, will find it very difficult to do anything without a male guardian or sponsor in the country.

First and foremost, all women, regardless of their country of origin and religion, are obliged to wear the Abaya. This is a traditional black robe worn by Saudi women. A headscarf is not mandatory for foreigners, but its absence often leads to conflicts with the religious police and local men. Women are also not allowed to drive cars or bicycles. This means that it will be very difficult for them to travel alone through the country.

13. Jamaica

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The beautiful island of Jamaica is home to beautiful beaches and peculiar rainforests, but is also a place where crime is a very serious problem. The small island is not threatened by attacks or strict laws, but violence and gunfire are common in larger urban areas such as Kingston and Montego Bay.

The US Embassy in Jamaica has received more than a dozen reports of assaults against American citizens over a period of twelve months. It is believed that the resort staff is responsible for most of these cases. Also dangerous medicaments are not rare on the island, so that tourists should be on guard against them.

12. Brazil

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Brazil is not only known for the bright colors of carnival and the hot Copacabana beach. Behind this façade with its inviting sights and squares lies a growing problem of violence and gang war.

Armed robberies and car thefts are widespread in Brazil, including near popular tourist destinations. All urban centers are caught in a constant war between gangs and the police, and street shootings are not as unusual as they should be.

All this happens in the big city centers, and it only gets worse the further you get from the tourist destinations. The US State Department warns travelers never to go to the favelas, the local slums. The level of violence in these areas is so high that even a police escort cannot guarantee your safety. Every foreigner who sets foot in the favelas runs the risk of not leaving them.

11. Colombia

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Colombia is a country known for its criminal syndicates. However, they are not the only problem at stake here. Since the 1960s there has been an unofficial civil war throughout Colombia. For over 50 years, the government has been fighting against paramilitary groups, criminal organizations and left-wing guerrillas.

At the beginning of the century, the conflict was bloodiest, making Colombia extremely dangerous. Kidnappings for ransom were one of the main sources of income for guerrilla groups and other outlaws. Today, the number of kidnappings has decreased significantly and they are mostly carried out by low-level criminals, but remain a threat to tourists.

Overall, Colombia is becoming safer every year, but it is still a country full of crime. Tourism in the country is slowly increasing, but Colombia still has a long way to go before it is safe for foreigners.

10. Egypt

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Egypt is a great country with a rich history. There are so many things to do and see. But since the Arab Spring 2010, crime has also been on the rise.

Most of the criminal activity in Egypt consists of petty crime, such as pickpocketing. But harassment on women have also been a serious problem for several years. According to the US State Department, these can range from lewd comments and gestures to indecent exposure and inappropriate physical contact. That only tells part of the story.

Unfortunately, the situation remains difficult to manage and the local government is urging women to pay attention to what they wear in public so that they do not attract unwanted attention.

9. Mexico

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Mexico is famous for being the closest country to a modern Wild West. Despite constant headlines for the wrong reasons, tourism in the country is at an all-time high and continues to grow. Last year, over 11 million international tourists visited Mexico, more than 7 million of them from the USA.

But Mexico doesn’t just stand for beaches and margaritas. The violence rate, especially among women, is among the highest in the world. In June of this year, The Guardian reported that the country had reached a 20-year high in its monthly violence rate.

The violence is not only against locals and the US State Department issued a travel warning for all tourists considering visiting Mexico.

8. Kenya

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Kenya is very popular with tourists thanks to its safaris and wildlife tours. However, it can be dangerous to venture outside the regular tourist areas.

Assaults are widespread in Kenya. The victims are mostly women – locals and foreigners of all classes and educational levels, but men can also be affected. Violence in Kenya is widespread in both rural and urban areas, so we advise you never to travel alone.

Robberies, pickpockets and fraud are not uncommon either. These can happen anywhere and at any time, but public transport seems to be the most likely place for them, according to the US State Department.

7. India


India has a lot to offer tourists. The Taj Mahal, a huge number of temples, a colorful culture and sights that you can’t see anywhere else. However, it is also a developing country with many problems.

The Indian culture is very patriarchal. This means that many areas of the country can become risky, if not dangerous, for women of all ages. As early as 2013, business insiders reported that tourism in the country had declined by 35 percent after a series of assaults against foreigners. One of these cases involved a tourist stunned and raped by his hotel owner’s son. Travellers should therefore be careful wherever they are.

Minor crimes such as pickpocketing and fraud are also common. These are usually aimed at foreign tourists who are travelling alone.

However, India has a lot to offer if you want to experience a different culture. Feel free to visit the country, just don’t do it alone and be on your guard.

6. Bahamas

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Although the Bahamas are a popular destination for anyone seeking the Caribbean feeling, they are anything but safe for tourists. The US State Department warns that the criminal threat level for Nassau and Paradise Island is “classified as critical”.

The most common crimes against tourists are armed robbery and assault. According to a 2012 United Nations report, the Bahamas are among the countries with the highest incidence of violence. Most of them pass around popular tourist destinations and after excessive alcohol consumption. As far as robberies are concerned, the US embassy in the country has received numerous reports that foreigners have been robbed, even in broad daylight. Most reports indicate that the center of Nassau is one of the most dangerous parts of the country.

Apart from that, the Bahamas are still a nice place to visit. Be careful on your holiday, but don’t let us stop you from enjoying a Caribbean breeze.

5. Turkey

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Turkey is home to a very colourful culture that has developed over centuries of turbulent past. Today’s Istanbul was founded about 2,600 years ago by the Greeks. Later it was taken by the Roman Empire and conquered by the Ottomans in the 14th century. The city has not only a few names, but also a multitude of impressive architectural and technical masterpieces to which tourists nowadays flock.

But the country is also struggling with the current authoritarian regime and the long-standing patriarchal way of life. This makes violence against women there a serious problem which, according to Human Rights Watch, has existed for quite some time.

4. Philippines

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The Philippines is home to many peculiar sights and colorful local culture, but also many dark secrets.

As you can probably guess, there is a recipe for disaster and much of the crime committed in the Philippines involves a kind of firearm. These include armed robberies, kidnappings and a variety of other violent crimes.

When travelling to the Philippines, foreigners should also exercise caution when enjoying drinks. People are often stunned so that they can later be robbed or abused. To avoid such situations, never take a drink that you have not seen how it was made and always travel in a group.

3. Indonesia

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The Indonesian island of Bali is known for its beautiful beaches and great atmosphere, but tourists should be careful when going there. First of all, there are many diseases on the island, from rabies to dengue fever.

However, in contrast to crime, these are easy to avoid. Theft, armed car theft and credit card fraud are common in Indonesia and popular tourist destinations are no exception. Manipulated beverages are also widespread, and the US State Department warns that some cases have led to poisoning and even death.

There have also been several violent attacks in Bali in recent years. The destinations were mostly bars and nightclubs, so be extra careful when visiting them.

2. Morocco

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Morocco is a country that can at best be described as turbulent. Since the Arab Spring, tensions have been high and the danger of attacks continues unabated. Most goals are buildings associated with Western governments and culture.

Apart from violence threats, general crime is not uncommon in Morocco either. Foreigners are often attacked for their prosperity as a target group. These include robberies, theft, harassment of women and assaults. As a rule, the areas visited by foreigners are somewhat safer thanks to the clearer police presence, but travelers should still be vigilant.

Accordingly, all travelers should be careful on Moroccan soil, but women should be particularly attentive.

1. Somalia

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Somalia is very similar to the old Caribbean pirate paradise. When it comes to crime, there’s a little of everything. Kidnappings for ransom, armed robbery and unauthorized armed roadblocks are common events. However, they are only the tip of the iceberg.

Also in the waters around Somalia there are pirate gangs again and again. The worst part is that US citizens cannot rely on their country because there is no US embassy in Somalia. Travelers are warned that they must rely on their own resources or that they must travel to a US embassy in the next country for help.

When travelers are close to the Somalia-Kenya border, they are at even greater risk. Cross-border violence is widespread, with Somali terrorist groups often organizing large-scale attacks against Kenyan military and government targets, including foreign aid camps.