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The Crisis Facing Indigenous Women and Children

A young Indigenous girl child from Paraguay, South America, freed from sexual slavery by police in Argentina.

The war against indigenous women and girls in the Americas

Native Latin America

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Native Guatemala -

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Haitian children are routinely enslaved in the Dominican Republic

Afro Latin America and the Caribbean

The Crisis Facing Latin American Women and Children

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Crisis - U.S. Latinas

Crisis: U.S. Latinas

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Workplace Rape

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Sexual Slavery

Trafficking Overview

The Global Crisis

Latin American

   Sexual Slavery

U.S. Latina Slavery

Latina Child Sex

   Slavery in San Diego

Worst Cases

Urgent Human Rights Issues in Mexico

Oaxaca

Striking Mexican

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   are Violently

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   in Oaxaca

Atenco

Foto: Belinda Hernández

Mexican Police

   Rape and Assault

   47 Women at

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Lydia Cacho

Journalist / Activist

   Lydia Cacho is

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   Legal Process for

   Exposing Child Sex

   Networks In Mexico

Other Issues

School Exploitation

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The Jutiapa, Guate-

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Indigenous and Latina Women & Children's Human Rights News from the Americas


¡Feliz Día International de la Mujer 2012!

Happy International Women's Day 2012!


 

Indigenous Women, Children at Risk

Within Latin America

 This Section Last Updated May 24, 2010

1 - Overview
2 - Special Coverage of Guatemala
3 - Indigenous Women in Brazil
4 - Indigenous Women in Peru
5 - Indigenous Women in El Salvador
6 - Indigenous Women in Mexico
7- Indigenous Women's Issues in Colombia
8- More Indigenous Women's Issues
 


Added: May. 24, 2010

Guatemala, The United States

Esperanza Arreaga, age 62, lost two small daughters and 14 other family members when they were murdered by Guatemalan soldiers in the massacre of Las Dos Erres.

In this picture, Arreaga looks at the remains of massacre victims uncovered by forensic archeologists.

Photo: Larry Kaplow - GlobalPost

Ramiro Cristales, then age 5, witnessed Guatemalan special forces soldiers murder his family and rape and murder the 10 and 12-year-old girls from his village of Las Dos Erres, in 1982.

From a video statement by Ramiro Cristales, and a collage of photos, by GlobalPost.

Ramiro Cristales, after he was abducted by soldiers who murdered his family

U.S. rounds up Guatemalans accused of war crimes

Washington - U.S. federal agents are today closing in on four former Guatemalan soldiers accused of taking part in a 1982 massacre, which one law enforcement official called "the most shocking modern-day war crime American authorities have ever investigated."

One former soldier alleged to have taken part in the massacre of 251 villagers in the rural Guatemalan hamlet of Las Dos Erres is already in custody in Texas. Another former soldier in Florida and two more in California are under active investigation.

Law enforcement officials close to the case acknowledged the four men are part of a probe by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency into immigration violations aimed at rounding up suspects named in a recently revived, landmark human rights case in Guatemala. If found in violation of U.S. immigration laws, the men would likely face deportation to Guatemala and a possible prosecution there for war crimes.

For years these men, who are all accused of serving in a notoriously brutal Guatemalan military unit, have lived in America, blending in to communities in Florida, California and Texas. One is a popular karate teacher. One is a cook. The man in custody is a day laborer who had allegedly abducted and then adopted a boy who was orphaned in the slaughter 28 years ago.

That boy, Ramiro Cristales, who was 5 years old at the time, is now a key witness in the case in Guatemala against the former soldiers and against the man who raised him.

In an exclusive interview with GlobalPost, Cristales, one of only two known survivors of the massacre, saw his entire family murdered. He said he was frustrated it has taken so long for the men to be brought to justice. But he said he hoped U.S. and Guatemalan officials might work together to make that happen.

"They have to do something... The only thing I ask is justice," said Cristales, who is now hiding in an undisclosed location. One former soldier alleged to have taken part in the massacre of 251 villagers in the rural Guatemalan hamlet of Las Dos Erres is already in custody in Texas. Another former soldier in Florida and two more in California are under active investigation.

Law enforcement officials close to the case acknowledged the four men are part of a probe by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency into immigration violations aimed at rounding up suspects named in a recently revived, landmark human rights case in Guatemala. If found in violation of U.S. immigration laws, the men would likely face deportation to Guatemala and a possible prosecution there for war crimes.

For years these men, who are all accused of serving in a notoriously brutal Guatemalan military unit, have lived in America, blending in to communities in Florida, California and Texas. One is a popular karate teacher. One is a cook. The man in custody is a day laborer who had allegedly abducted and then adopted a boy who was orphaned in the slaughter 28 years ago.

That boy, Ramiro Cristales, who was 5 years old at the time, is now a key witness in the case in Guatemala against the former soldiers and against the man who raised him.

In an exclusive interview with GlobalPost, Cristales, one of only two known survivors of the massacre, saw his entire family murdered. He said he was frustrated it has taken so long for the men to be brought to justice. But he said he hoped U.S. and Guatemalan officials might work together to make that happen.

"They have to do something... The only thing I ask is justice," said Cristales, who is now hiding in an undisclosed location.

The massacre in Las Dos Erres, where a total of 251 men, women and children were killed, is widely considered one of the darkest chapters of Guatemala's 36-year civil war that claimed some 200,000 lives, and in which the U.S. military played a shadowy role.

One month after allegedly raping young girls and women during the massacre, one of the men under investigation, Pedro Pimentel Rios, began work as an instructor at the School of the Americas, the Pentagon-run training school for Latin American militaries, then located in Panama...

Because the alleged crimes occurred before the passage of war crimes laws in the United States, prosecutors are not legally permitted to charge the men under any of those laws. This limitation in U.S. law has long frustrated federal prosecutors, who have only... been able to denaturalize and deport even suspected Nazi war criminals living in the United States.

U.S. officials began their investigation after the Inter-American Court on Human Rights decided last year that Guatemala's 1996 amnesty agreement does not apply to serious human rights violations, including the massacre at Las Dos Erres. Officials at Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Department of Justice who monitor cases involving foreign-born human rights abusers decided to see if any of the accused killers were living in the United States...

U.S. involvement

Human rights groups have long criticized the involvement of the American government and military in Guatemala. The Las Dos Erres case reveals several connections between the two countries.

The U.S. government knew the Guatemalan army was probably responsible for the massacre at Las Dos Erres, yet the School of the Americas began to welcome new instructors and students from the army only days after the killings...

In the 1970s, President Jimmy Carter had introduced a ban on cooperating with the Guatemalan military. But President Ronald Reagan lifted the ban and the School of the Americas began admitting Guatemalan soldiers, including Rios, one of the alleged perpetrators of the massacre...

Just as the massacres were intensifying, Reagan re-established military and political cooperation with the Guatemalan government. Reagan saw [Guatemalan president Efrain] Rios Montt as a useful ally against leftist guerrillas and maintained friendly relations in the face of evidence that Rios Montt's government was responsible for increasing numbers of civilian massacres. (In July 1982, Amnesty International published a report listing more than 50 massacres of non-combatant civilians by the military.)

On Dec. 4, 1982, when the massacres in the Guatemalan countryside were fully under way, Reagan met with Rios Montt. Reagan publicly described Rios Montt as "a man of great personal integrity…[who] wants to improve the quality of life for all Guatemalans and to promote social justice." Reagan said that Rios Montt had received a "bum rap" from human rights groups.

It was an inauspicious day to make such a show of support. On the same day Reagan spoke, the 17 members of the Kaibiles [counter-insurgency rangers] squad arrived at a military base near Las Dos Erres. On Dec. 7, the massacre started. Over the following two days, the men are alleged to have killed 251 residents of Las Dos Erres. "Everything that moved had to be killed," one of the soldiers later wrote in a sworn statement.

Last month archaeologists began exhuming the mass grave and DNA testing is now underway to confirm the identities of those killed.

"I lost everything"

The Kaibiles tortured the men first. They then began throwing children alive into the village well. Women were shot or beaten to death with a sledgehammer and then thrown in. Men were then shot and dumped on top. One of the Kaibiles abducted a 5-year-old boy [Ramiro Cristales]. Another boy escaped. They may be the only surviving witnesses...

Matt McAllester

Minnpost.com

May 06, 2010

LibertadLatina Commentary

Chuck Goolsby

Genocide, Femicide and Human Trafficking in Guatemala All Grew From the Same Roots of Wartime Impunity

The mass murders (genocide) suffered by  the Mayan majority population of Guatemala during the 1980s took place with the complicity of the U.S. Government, especially during the administration of President Ronald Reagan. Some 200,000 innocent civilians, including 50,000 women, were murdered by government military forces during the civil conflict.

While the International Court in the Hague and other international human rights courts have aggressively prosecuted, or at least charged suspects in cases of genocidal mass murders in Bosnia, Sudan and other equally notorious cases, the largest act of ethnic cleansing and genocide in the modern history of the Americas, carried out during the Guatemalan Civil War, has until recently been off limits to effective prosecution.

We thank the Inter-American Court of Human Rights for laying the groundwork for permitting renewed judicial action in important cases such as that of the Las Dos Erres Massacre. Many other cases have yet to be investigated.

In all, some 440 Mayan villages, located mostly in Guatemala's northwestern highlands region, were completely destroyed by Guatemalan soldiers who were supported with military training and equipment by the United States, Argentina and Israel.

The mass murderers in Guatemala thought that they would have a lifetime of protection in regard to their crimes, because past conservative U.S. presidential administrations lead them to believe that was the case. Thanks to the changing political and legal landscape in the Americas, serious prosecutions of these criminals may finally occur.

In the mid 1980s myself and many other activists in Washington, DC and across the Americas worked hard to publish and broadcast news about the ongoing massacres of innocents in Guatemala. We also protested in front of Congress and organized to do everything we could to save the lives of Guatemalans from the murderous hands of these cruel perpetrators.

Today in 2010, Guatemala's postwar culture has the highest rate of femicide murders in all of the Americas. Several thousand women have been murdered during the past several years with almost total impunity. The rate of femicide murders, which typically include act of rape, torture, mutilation and dismemberment (echoing the behavior of military forces during the civil war), is ten time higher than the rate of gender-based murders in Mexico's infamous Ciudad Juarez..

These femicides, and Guatemala's inability to investigate the rape/ torture killings of so many women and girls, as well as that nation's serious problems with the mass sex trafficking of women and girls today are all direct outgrowths of the impunity that the world community ALLOWED to exist in Guatemala during the 1970s, 80s and 90s. Effectively, these crimes were never prosecuted because past conservative U.S. administrations were  passively and actively  complicit, and the world community simply stood silently by.

A nexus with the anti-trafficking movement

During the early 2000's, I joined the anti human trafficking listserv (email-based private forum) of Dr. Donna Hughes, who was then and is today Professor and Eleanor M. and Oscar M. Carlson Endowed Chair of the Women's Studies Program at the University of Rhode Island. Dr. Hughes is one of the original pioneers of the modern U.S. movement against human trafficking, and she deserves all of the honors that she has received over the years for those efforts.

Dr. Hughes' listserv, which was made up of many notable names in the anti-slavery movement across the globe, including names that many followers of the movement today would recognize, totaled about 400 members. Simultaneous to her work with this listserv, Dr. Hughes was also writing for the conservative National Review Online.

The majority of U.S. listserv participants were conservative women. I educated that community of professionals and activists about the dynamics of the Latin American crisis in human trafficking at a time when few were aware of the issues.

As part of that work, I discussed the mass rapes and murders of innocent Mayan indigenous women and girls (among others) during the Guatemalan Civil War. I also discussed Mayan Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Dr. Rigoberta Menchu, who fled into the jungle to avoid becoming another victim of government massacres. Several of Dr. Menchu's relatives died at the hands of soldiers.

Conservative members of the listserv became so infuriated with my simple and truthful educational postings, that several of them quit the listserv. Dr. Hughes told me by phone, almost apologetically, that she had to ban me from the listserv to prevent her conservative followers from leaving.

In an earlier email conversation, Dr. Hughes had rationalized the human rights abuses in Guatemala by stating that some victims supported communist insurgency.

What Mayans actually supported was building a future for themselves that was free from the 500 years of peonage (slavery) that Spanish descendants had subjected them to.

During this online debate, an anti-trafficking activist from the Salvation Army wrote to emphasize that the group was not denying the events that took place in Guatemala (but only she expressed that view, not the other listserv members).

U.S. Conservatives had long supported the efforts of former President Ronald Reagan and others to back often brutal right wing dictators in Latin America. Any mention of the mass murders of Guatemalan innocents, including women and children, was considered to be an unacceptable abomination.

In the late 1995, for example, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich denounced then-Democratic Representative Robert G. Torricelli, who, like Speaker Gingrich, was also a member of the House Intelligence Committee, for having publicly exposed information about the atrocities in Guatemala followed by a demand for congressional hearings.

Speaker Gingrich also demanded that the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) not air a documentary on the massacres of Mayan peoples in the Guatemalan Civil War. He only relented and allowed the program to be broadcast after his demand for adding 'alternative views' to the program's content were agreed to by PBS.

How do you provide an alternative view about multiple acts of racially motivated mass murder of innocent children, women and men?

This truthful account of one part of the history of the Guatemalan Genocide also sheds light on aspects of the modern U.S. response to the human trafficking crisis in Latin America.

The U.S. based anti-trafficking movement is a unique social space where conservatives, liberals and others (and I am 'other') may join in common purpose to save human lives. Unfortunately, politics has often been played with the issue of Latin American human trafficking.

In the early 2000s, conservatives such as Dr. Donna Hughes and her followers shunned any discussion of the important gender related human rights issues (specifically, the Guatemalan Genocide) that were closely associated with the modern human slavery issue in Latin America.

During the administration of former U.S. President George W. Bush, I was present at one major public speech each, given by the two first directors of the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons at the U.S. Department of State - Ambassador John R. Miller, and Ambassador Mark P. Lagon. Latin America’s human trafficking crisis was never mentioned during those presentations, despite what we know today, that Latin American human trafficking generates an estimated $16 billion per year, perhaps half of all world income from human slavery.

When, on May 27, 1994, I gave a presentation on Latina women and exploitation to the Montgomery County, Maryland Commission for Women, I mentioned the mass rapes and murders of women in the Guatemalan conflict, several conservative women commission members shook their heads and declared that the genocide never happened. Notably, a Cherokee indigenous woman commission member, and a Panamanian woman physician who was also a member, acknowledged the fact of the Guatemalan genocide as well as the other issues that had I raised for their consideration.

A failure to  acknowledge the problem of Latin American human trafficking during the administration of President George W. Bush (as a byproduct of conservative politics) effectively allowed the region's billion dollar cartels and other criminal elements free reign to grow their now $16 billion per year human slavery 'industry' (IOM figure) without any visible U.S. opposition.

On the other end of the political spectrum, some liberals, including, perhaps, influential members of the administration of President Barack Obama, also politicize human trafficking, from a leftist perspective.

It does not add to Obama administration strategy to have any highly visible discussion of human trafficking and the mass rape and enslavement of women and girls in Mexico and Central America, when such visibility would raise doubt in Congress, and among the public, as to the value of continued funding of the war on drug traffickers, given that Mexican soldiers deployed in the conflict have been the culprits in many rapes and murders of indigenous women with total impunity.

Open discussion of the severe levels of human trafficking and the brutal sexual exploitation of women perpetrated by some Latino immigrant men in U.S. community settings is also an uncomfortable topic for progressives as they market Comprehensive Immigration Reform to the people and Congress of the United States.

That concern does not justify remaining silent about the growing humanitarian emergency of mass gender atrocities that is taking place in Mexico, throughout the rest of Latin America and, increasingly, in U.S. Latino immigrant population centers.

Progressives who favor the legalization of prostitution also apparently have strong influence in the Obama Administration, leading to a diminished focus on sex trafficking while labor trafficking takes center stage in U.S. anti-trafficking efforts.

By justifying the genocide of Mayan indigenous peoples during the Guatemalan Civil War (a mentality that is consistent with excusing the mass murder of U.S. indigenous peoples in the past), U.S. conservatives, together with their allies in Guatemala, succeeded in setting-up the circumstances that lead not only to the anti-Mayan genocide, but also to the largest crisis of ongoing murders of women in the Americas, the current Guatemalan femicide.

A similar conservative-lead environment of social and governmental tolerance for mass gender atrocities also exists in neighboring Mexico.

We assert that the lack of willingness of the U.S. government and of some U.S. NGOs to fully engage the issue of human trafficking in Latin America (where half of the world's estimated $32 billion of human trafficking apparently takes place) during the George W. Bush administration and beyond had its roots in conservative unwillingness to acknowledge the serious human consequences of their past support for murderous dictators such as Guatemalan president Efrain Rios Montt.

To be clear, U.S. conservatives cannot declare their opposition to modern day human trafficking and slavery on the one hand, and on the other, declare that the genocide in Guatemala, or Mexico's current repression of women's rights (and until recently, intentional inaction on human trafficking) all orchestrated by the ruling National Action party (PAN), are justifiable expressions of conservatism.

You just can't have it both ways.

The left, which has often been indifferent to the issue of human trafficking bears a similar responsibility for condoning inaction... because human trafficking is, for some of them, a round peg that will not fit into the square holes of their personal ideologies.

Shame on those who politicize human trafficking, be they from the right or the left!

The victims, and those who are at-risk, await our effective and hurried efforts to protect and rescue them.

Public servants, put the politics aside, and get to work! There is no time to waste.

End impunity now!

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

May 23/25, 2010

See also:

Added: May. 24, 2010

Guatemala

An indigenous woman walks by a street poster of Guatamala's most brutal president, Efrain Rios Montt.

In the words of a poem by Pablo Neruda: 'For the one who gave the order of agony, I ask for punishment.'

Guatemala: Massacre investigation breakthrough

Recently declassified documents from US archives have shed further light on the extent of US complicity in Guatemalan human rights crimes, one of Latin America’s most brutal examples of population control.

The hard-working farmers of Dos Erres, in Peten department, had never asked for much — just a few acres of recently-cleared land from which to scratch a meager living in a country racked by violence.

When armed guerrillas cut across their land six months prior to December 7, 1982, community leaders had done everything possible to placate the national army, even inviting the soldiers in for inspections.

They had nothing to hide, they said. But a psychopathic military killing machine had already condemned them to death on the grounds that they were the soil in which the seed of resistance grows.

Acting on orders issued by the US-backed regional command, a death squad of army Kaibiles (counterinsurgency rangers) entered the peaceful hamlet early that morning, smashing in doors, killing livestock, starting fires and rounding up groups of men, women and children.

Hours of rape and torture ensued, followed by execution in small groups. After being shot, stabbed or bludgeoned to death with a sledgehammer, the victims were hurled into a village well or left in nearby fields.

By nightfall, more than 250 were dead - almost the entire population. There were two child survivors - one who escaped and one, Ramiro Cristales, who was spared by his parents’ murderer only to be subsequently raised as a domestic slave (reputedly an army custom). Cristales, now aged in his 30s, has recently come forward at considerable risk to his own life as an eyewitness to the horror at Dos Erres.

His testimony to the Guatemalan truth commission has been corroborated by previously classified material obtained by the National Security Archive’s Guatemala Documentation Project under the US Freedom of Information Act...

David T. Rowlands

Green Left (Australia)

May 22, 2010

See also:

Former Guatemalan Soldier Arrested for Alleged Role in Dos Erres Massacre

Washington, D.C. - Following this week's arrest of a former Guatemalan special forces soldier, the National Security Archive is posting a set of declassified documents on one of Guatemala's most shocking and unresolved human rights crimes, the Dos Erres massacre.

On May 5, 2010, agents from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) arrested Gilberto Jordan, 54, in Palm Beach County, Florida, based on a criminal complaint charging Jordan had lied to U.S. authorities about his service in the Guatemalan Army and his role in the 1982 Dos Erres massacre. The complaint alleges that Jordan, a naturalized American citizen, was part of the special counterinsurgency Kaibiles unit that carried out the massacre of hundreds of residents of the Dos Erres village located in the northwest Petén region. Jordan allegedly helped kill unarmed villagers with his own hands, including a baby he allegedly threw into the village well.

The massacre was part of the Guatemalan military's "scorched earth campaign" and was carried out by the Kaibiles ranger unit. The Kaibiles were specially trained soldiers who became notorious for their use of torture and brutal killing tactics. According to witness testimony, and corroborated through U.S. declassified archives, the Kaibiles entered the town of Dos Erres on the morning of December 6, 1982, and separated the men from women and children. They started torturing the men and raping the women and by the afternoon they had killed almost the entire community, including the children.

Nearly the entire town was murdered, their bodies thrown into a well and left in nearby fields. The U.S. documents reveal that American officials deliberated over theories of how an entire town could just "disappear," and concluded that the Army was the only force capable of such an organized atrocity. More than 250 people are believed to have died in the massacre...

The National Security Archive

George Washington University

May 7, 2010

See also:

LibertadLatina Note

An indigenous woman in Guatemala holds a sign saying, WANTED: Jose Efrain Rios Montt (the unseen part says, "for genocide") - during the 2008, 28th anniversary of the Spanish Embassy Massacre in Guatemala City, Guatemala.

General José Efraín Ríos Montt is best known for heading a military dictatorship from 1982–1983 that was responsible for some of the worst atrocities against civilians in the 36-year Guatemalan civil conflict.

Photo: MiMundo

My observations about the only human trafficker I have ever met.

...To further tie together these linked issues, I know victims of that genocide, and I have met a perpetrator, through one of his family members. This family member talked to me at length about this perpetrator’s activities in Guatemala. I will refer to him here as ‘Juan.’

Juan’s grandfather owned a large ranch in Guatemala, and when he was feeling especially angry, he would go to the Mayan village at the far-end of his ranch and "shoot a few Indians" (a direct quote). During the time of the 1970s-1980s Guatemalan Civil War, Juan was a member of the Guatemalan president's security detail, the Presidential Guard. This security unit had a secondary task, aside from protection, of receiving a daily hit list from the president’s palace, finding these persons and murdering them for being suspected ‘subversives.’

The bodies of the victims were typically left laying in the street as a message to the population. Juan stated to his family: "Me daba mucha lastima tener que malograr a las mujeres" - that is: "it really saddened me to have to tear-up the women [on the hit list]." In other words, he supposedly felt sad for having willfully kidnapped, tortured, gang-raped and finally murdered his mostly Mayan women and girl victims over a number of years...

During the mid 1990s, before I even knew what sex trafficking was, Juan’s family member explained to me that Juan was engaged in smuggling people into the United States under peculiar circum-stances, and that he had ties to Colombian mafias. Today, I understand that what was being explained to me was the fact that Juan, a former mass rapist and murderer of women, had 'graduated' to sex trafficking women into the U.S. while living a comfortable and otherwise 'normal' life in Washington, DC.

It was also explained to me that Juan would travel to Guatemala City, place an add in a local paper seeking young girls to work as escorts, and that 13 and 14-year-old girls would gleefully respond. Juan then 'trained' these girls as prostitutes, and sent them out as escorts for wealthy businessmen.

In Washington, DC, Juan, when working in the role of office building cleaning crew manager, imposed quid-pro-quo sexual demands upon the Latina women who applied to work at his office building.

The world's past denial of the Guatemalan Genocide plays into the world's current lack of attention to the ongoing femicide, mass kidnappings of babies for illegal adoptions and prostitution, and to the mass trafficking of Guatemalan women into the brothels of southern Mexico...

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

Ashoka anti-trafficking competition entry

June 18, 2008

See also:

LibertadLatina Note

Mayan women and supporters gather to protest a then-recent massacre in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala - 1978

Photo: El Gráfico

In the early 1980's I lived in a house in Washington, DC where a couple who had fled Guatemala were invited to stay. The husband was an agronomist from Spain. His wife was a white U.S. citizen from the Midwest. They told me how they were saved from a death squad execution in Guatemala.

A Guatemalan woman friend had told the couple that her boyfriend, a high-ranking Guatemalan military officer, had told her one night while he was drunk that the couple had been put on the to-be-murdered list that was printed nightly in the presidential palace (using a computer system set up by the Israeli military). Having been warned by their friend, the couple and their young child immediately fled Guatemala.

What was their crime?

The husband taught people in rural Mayan communities how to grow food better and improve their nutrition. For the Guatemalan military, anything that benefited the Mayan population was subversive, and deserved a murderous response. Any arguments that the Mayan majority was subversive fly out the window when one understands that the goal of the genocide was ethnic cleansing, pure and simple.

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

May 23, 2010

See also:

Israel and Guatemala

The history of Israel's relations with Guatemala roughly parallels that of its ties with El Salvador except the Guatemalan military was so unswervingly bloody that Congress never permitted the ... Reagan Administration to undo the military aid cutoff implemented during the Carter years.

Weaponry for the Guatemalan military is the very least of what Israel has delivered. Israel not only provided the technology necessary for a reign of terror, it helped in the organization and commission of the horrors perpetrated by the Guatemalan military and police. And even beyond that: to ensure that the profitable relationship would continue, Israel and its agents worked actively to maintain Israeli influence in Guatemala.

Throughout the years of untrammeled slaughter that left at least 45,000 dead, and, by early 1983, one million in internal exile - mostly indigenous Mayan Indians, who comprise a majority of Guatemala's eight million people - and thousands more in exile abroad, Israel stood by the Guatemalan military. Three successive military governments and three brutal and sweeping campaigns against the Mayan population, described by a U.S. diplomat as Guatemala's "genocide against the Indians," had the benefit of Israeli techniques and experience, as well as hardware...

...It does not take convoluted reasoning to conclude that "both the U.S. and Israel bear rather serious moral responsibility" for Guatemala.

Third World Traveler

See also:

May 26, 2009

More about Former Guatemalan president Efrain Ríos Montt

In 1978, [Efrain Ríos Montt] left the Roman Catholic Church and became a minister in the California-based Evangelical / Pentecostal Church of the Word; since then Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson have been personal friends [both reverends Falwell and Robertson had publicly defended Ríos Montt's human rights abuses].

Ríos Montt's brother Mario is a Catholic bishop, and in 1998 succeeded the assassinated Bishop Juan Gerardi as head of the human rights commission uncovering the truth of the disappearances associated with the military and his brother.

About Efrain Ris Montt

Wikipedia

See also:

Bill Clinton during his presidency

Clinton says U.S. did wrong in Central American Wars - March 10, 1999

...President Clinton admitted Wednesday to Guatemalans that U.S. support for "widespread repression" in their bloody 36-year civil war was a mistake.

"For the United States, it is important that I state clearly that the support for military forces or intelligence units which engaged in violent and widespread repression ... was wrong," Clinton said as he began a round-table discussion on Guatemala's search for peace.

"The United States must not repeat that mistake. We must and we will instead continue to support the peace and reconciliation process in Guatemala," he said on the third day of a Central American tour.

CNN

March 10, 1999

See also:

LibertadLatina

Read our special section of the crisis of sexual exploitation and femicide facing women and girls in modern Guatemala.

See also:

LibertadLatina

Raids and Rescue Versus...?

Read our special section on the human rights advocacy conflict that exists between the goals of the defense of undocumented immigrants from the threat of deportation on the one hand, and the urgent need to protect Latina sex trafficking victims through law enforcement action, on the other hand...

- Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

Dec. 18, 2008


Added: Nov. 30, 2009

International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women - 2009

Guatemala

UNIFEM and  CICIG officials sign letter of understanding with the participation of Mayan congressional deputies Beatriz Concepción Canastuj Canastuj and Elza Leonora Cu Isem.

Guatemalan federal congressional deputy Beatriz Concepción Canastuj Canastuj.

Deputy Canastuj Canastuj represents Quetzaltenango, home of the K'iche Maya, who faced numerous massacres during the Guatemalan armed conflict.

Guatemalan federal congressional deputy Elza Leonora Cu Isem.

Deputy Cu Isem represents Alta Verapaz, where numerous massacres occurred during the Guatemalan armed conflict.

Firman Carta de Entendimiento Entre CICIG y UNIFEM

Guatemala - Con el fin de establecer los parámetros de cooperación interinstitucional entre CICIG y UNIFEM para apoyar y fortalecer a las instituciones del Estado de Guatemala encargadas de velar por la defensa de los derechos de las mujeres, adolescentes y niñas; Carlos Castresana, Comisionado de la CICIG y Gladys Acosta, Jefa para América Latina y el Caribe del Fondo de Desarrollo de las Naciones Unidas para la Mujer (UNIFEM), firmaron una carta de entendimiento entre ambas instituciones (se firmó el día miércoles 25 de noviembre)…

Mayan women and supporters gather to protest a then-recent massacre in Quetzaltenango - 1978

Photo: El Gráfico

CICIG and UNIFEM Sign Letter of Understanding

Guatemala City - In order to establish the parameters of interagency cooperation between the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) and the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) to support and strengthen the institutions of the State of Guatemala for upholding the rights of women, adolescents and children, Carlos Castresana, CICIG Commissioner and Gladys Acosta, UNIFEM’s director for Latin America and Caribbean – have signed a letter of understanding between the two institutions.

Honorary witnesses who attended the signing, which took place in the Guatemalan Congress, included: Roberto Alejos, the President of Congress; Rebeca Grynspan, the United Nations Development Fund (UNDP) Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean, and Delia Back, president of the Commission for Women . Federal congressional deputies Beatriz Canastuj and Elsa Leonora Cu, as well as UNIFEM Coordinator for Guatemala Rita Cassisi, also attended the signing ceremony.

According to the text of the letter of understanding, "the parties will collaborate to implement actions to strengthen women's access to justice, especially the recording and collation of data to analyze the impact of organized crime in the violence and the impunity of crimes against women. The parties agree to generate quarterly reports reflecting the results of these actions and promote its dissemination in the appropriate spaces..."

UNIFEM's Gladys Acosta said: "We discussed with [CICIG]Commissioner Castresana the fact that one of the key issues that needs to be understood is the nature of the link between the organized crime organizations that span our region, especially in Central America and more specifically in Guatemala, and violence against women. Clearly the primary responsibility for protecting women lies with the state, but what happens when non-state actors have even more power than the state itself and can not be controlled?

Society needs to react very strongly, and that's what we're doing today. It is a justified, and very strong reaction, [insisting] that the high levels of violence against women not be tolerated any longer, and that once and for all, we have an answer."

Rebeca Grynspan, UNDP Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean stated: "This is a very important moment, because not only must we fight against violence, but we must also fight against impunity. We must say no to violence, and we must say no to impunity. Paraphrasing Commissioner Castresana: ‘Violence plus justice equals less violence. But violence plus impunity equals more violence.' "

The union of the efforts of UNIFEM, a United Nations organization that fights tirelessly for the rights of women, and the Committee Against Impunity in Guatemala [CICIG], is exactly what we need to carry this agenda forward...

The International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala

Nov. 26, 2009


Added: Nov. 29, 2009

International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women - 2009

Guatemala, Honduras, Latin America

Women of El Carmen Varituc, Guatemala, working together to create change in their community.

Mujeres Guatemaltecas: Entre la Vulnerabilidad y la Violencia de Estado

“Rescatemos el derecho a tener derechos”: Feministas en Resistencia

En Guatemala, de 2005 a 2008, 2 mil 680 mujeres fueron asesinadas, de acuerdo con datos de la Policía Nacional Civil, el Organismo Judicial y el Instituto Nacional de Ciencias Forenses (Inacif); de estos crímenes, únicamente dos por ciento –43 casos– ha sido resuelto.

Lo anterior fue comentado por Carlos Castresana, presidente de la Comisión Internacional contra la Impunidad en Guatemala (CICIG) y uno de los expertos de la Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos que realizó el peritaje de tres casos de feminicidio ocurridos en un campo algodonero en Ciudad Juárez, México; actualmente se espera la sentencia de la Corte Interamericana de Derechos Humanos (CoIDH)...

Guatemalan Women: Stuck Between Vulnerability and State Violence

“We are rescuing our right to have rights” - Feminists in Resistance of Hunduras

In Guatemala, from 2005 to 2008, 2,680 women were killed, according to data from the National Civil Police, the Judiciary and the National Institute of Forensic Sciences (INACIF); of these crimes, only two percent - 43 cases - have been solved.

The above figures were announced by Carlos Castresana, president of the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) and one of the experts of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, which conducted a survey of three cases of femicide that occurred in a cotton field in Ciudad Juarez , Mexico. [Having found in favor of families of the victims against the Mexican state] Everyone is currently waiting for the sentence in the case to be announced by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR).

To date in 2009 there have been 602 murders of women, with a rate of impunity of 98 percent, according to data from the Panel Study of Guatemala.

With these facts as a backdrop, today on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, a campaign initiative by United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, "Unite to end violence against women" was launched in a ceremony at the National Palace of Culture. The event was attended by the President of Guatemala, Alvaro Colom, and representatives of UN agencies...

A significant role in the campaign launch was offered to activist Daysi Flores of the Feminist Resistance of Honduras, a nation which, sine June 28th 2009, has lived through a coup d’etat, and which is a few days away from holding elections.

Flores, who won the applause of the audience, narrated the story of the violence that women and men are living through since the coup. She said that 325 [Honduran] women have been murdered, and that other women have been repressed, raped and harassed.

Flores declared that the right of women to live a life free of violence has so-far existed only in words, and that it takes more than that to fully exercise those rights. Flores said that practical responses from governments are needed, such as policies, budgets, access to resources of all kinds and state secularism.

We need, emphasized the Honduran feminist, to "rescue our right to have rights"...

Full English Translation

Lourdes Godinez Leal

CIMAC Noticias

Nov. 25, 2009

See also:

Comisión Internacional Contra la Impunidad en Guatemala

The International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala


Added: Nov. 29, 2009

International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women - 2009

Guatemala

Indigenous Women in Guatemala

Photo: Rudy Girón

Campaign Is Launched To Combat Violence Against Women.

On this International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, Guatemala holds a week of activities to inaugurate the United Nations program against violence against women, with headquarters in Guatemala. Yesterday, participants from the UN and Latin American Countries discussed five themes: legislative and judicial advancements; prevention strategies, plans and programs, information and training systems; access to justice; and armed conflict and displacement. On Nov. 23, there was an event held in Guatemala City to emphasize the extremes of violence against women and femicide. Names were placed under shoes to symbolize the missing people who no longer fill those shoes.

Prensa Libre - Guatemala

Translated abstract by the Guatemala Human Rights Commission USA

Nov. 25, 2009


Added: Nov. 29, 2009

International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women - 2009

Guatemala

United Nations and Guatemalan officials participate in the launch of the Unite Campaign in Guatemala City on Nov. 25, 2009

More photos at Prensa Libre - Guatemala City

"Unite To End Violence Against Women"

Un Secretary General's Campaign To Be Launched From Guatemala - NOV. 23-30, 2009

On November 25th in Guatemala, the United Nations [launched] Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's campaign “Unite to End to Violence Against Women” for the region of Latin America and the Caribbean.

The campaign focuses on strategies to counter violence against women at the regional, national, and local levels. At the Board of Directors 41st Regional Reunion Conference about Women in Latin American and the Caribbean, the Secretary General proposed an agreement to formally initiate the campaign, and many UN organizations have committed to lead campaign activities in the region.

The regional efforts are focused on ending impunity for the crime of violence against women and girls through the implementation of international and national legal mechanisms; the increased commitment of governments to fulfill their promises to put and end to violence against women and girls; and the mobilization of  key actors working for the empowerment of women and their communities.

Women’s organizations have been invited to be part of the campaign with the understanding that they are the key actors in this international and national effort...

Why Guatemala?

Guatemala has been chosen as the focal point of this effort because of the escalation of violence against women in the country, a level of violence which has yet to be fully recognized by the international community.

In 2007, Guatemala was ranked third highest in death rates in Latin America resulting from violence against women.  In 2009, Guatemala has moved quickly to first (depending on the method of classifying causes of death). Between January and May of 2009, 265 femicide (murder of women for being women) cases were recorded.

Between 2005 and 2007, there were 19,600 women murdered; however, only 43 of those responsible for the deaths were sentenced.  A factor that explains the increase of assassinations in 2009 is that, in the previous three years, 1,912 murders were never prosecuted.

Since the law against femicide took effect in May of 2008, only two offenders have been sentenced, although 722 women have been killed by violence.  (Fundación Sobre-vivientes  (the Survivors' Foundation)...

Violence in Guatemala generates a cost of more than $300 billion annually, equivalent to 7% of the GDP.

...Women's organizations and the specialized programs that they have created for the promotion of their rights in Guatemala reflect a strong measure of resilience and resistance, as well showing the infinite creativity possessed by these women as they organize, prepare, and mobilize for the struggle against adverse conditions of social devaluation, misogyny, and ethnocentrism. The UN campaign supports these efforts by promoting solidarity among regional and international organizations and initiatives in order to share knowledge, strength, and resistance...

María Suárez Toro

Feminist International Radio Endeavour (RIF/FIRE)

Translated by Hannah Powell Losada

Edited by Ross Ryan & Margaret Thompson

Oct. 20, 2009


Added: Nov. 28, 2009

International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women - 2009

Guatemala

Mayan Women from TRAMA Textiles, which was born out of the most desperate and devastating times of the Civil War in Guatemala when most of the men -- grandfathers, fathers, brothers, and sons, were murdered by soldiers and paramilitary forces, and the women were forced to find a way to survive and support their households and communities.

Photo: Rai

Víctimas de Violación por Parte de Militares Rompieron el Silencio

Guatemala: donde la justicia para las mujeres no llega

Guatemala - A trece años de la firma de los Acuerdos de Paz en Guatemala, las mujeres sobrevivientes y víctimas de la violencia sexual ejercida por militares y paramilitares entre 1981 y 1983 continúan exigiendo al Estado guatemalteco la reparación del daño, la restitución de sus propiedades y de sus derechos, y esperando una justicia que no llega…

Indigenous Women Victims of Rape During the Civil War Break Their Silence

Guatemala: where justice for women

never arrives

Guatemala - Thirteen years after the signing of the peace accords in Guatemala, the surviving women victims of the sexual violence perpetrated by military and paramilitary forces between 1981 and 1983 [during the most intensive period of anti-Mayan ethnic cleansing massacres carried out by government forces] continue demanding restitution of their property rights and other reparations from the Guatemalan State. They have been waiting for a justice that never arrives.

These women came together in the plaza Justo Rufino Barrios, in the historic center of Guatemala as an activity to commemorate the 25th of November [International Day Against Violence Against Women]. These surviving victims of rape during the armed conflict decided to break their silence for the first time.

The majority of these women are widows, as their husbands were murdered during the civil war. The women denounced the lack of support and aid on the part of the Guatemalan government who, they said, had made false promises to repair the damage caused to the victims.

According to the report “Guatemala, the Legacy of the Violence”, by Amnesty International (AI), during the four decades [1960 to 1996] that the conflict armed in this Central American country lasted, around 200,000 people became victims of homicide or forced disappearance. Some 400 communities  [actually 440 Mayan villages and towns -LL] were destroyed.

Sexual violence against women and children was in-fact generalized during the entire conflict. At the event, 4 women narrated how they were abused, separated from their husbands and had their land and homes stolen from them during the civil war.

Petrona Cucul is a surviving woman of the conflict. She remembered how the soldiers burned their house and killed their husband. She was left alone in charge of her four children. After burning the house and the harvest and killing all of their farm animals, the soldiers raped her. Till this day Cucul continues to demand justice and aid from the government so that their children can continue their studies.

Germana Lucas was also raped by soldiers. Like Petrona, she had her land, her house, and all of her belongings stolen from here. She has never been repaid for these actions by the State.

Isabela Méndez related how, before the conflict, “there were good crops” of beans and corn. Later everything changed. : Méndez fled to the border and left her home. Who will repay the damage that we suffered, the pain, the sentiments?, she asked.

Illiterate and monolingual, Isabela was forceful and, in her Mayan language, she said: “I do not know how to read nor to write, I do not speak Spanish. But I have learned and recognize that I have rights and that I am citizen of Guatemala. We want to live peacefully and with justice.”

In a ritual ceremony, the indigenous women gave to one ear of corn to the women victims of sexual violence, as a symbol of solidarity and cleansing.

The women stated that, even [now] when there is no war, women continue to be discriminated against, raped, excluded and murdered for the single reason that they are women.

We recall that, during the visit to Guatemala in 2004 of the special representative for women’s rights of the Inter-American Human Rights Commission (CIDH), was informed about the increase in the number of murders against women; a situation that is at its most serious when indigenous women are the victims. For them, justice simply does not exist.

The AI report on this subject makes reference to a report by the Guatemalan Truth Commission, which recognized that during the armed conflict,  the bodies of women were used [by government forces] to destroy and to intimidate the enemy [that is, the entire Mayan population]. Rape became one of the cruelest and degrading ways to violate a woman’s rights during this period.

The Truth Commission report notes that the majority of victims of rape were young Mayan indigenous women.

According to the document [and other reports], in March of 1982 at least 140 women and children of Negro River were forced to march up a mountain, where they were [raped and then] murdered, some to machete blows and others by strangulation. Shortly after, 79 people, in their majority women and children, were massacred in the neighboring town of the Encounter.

As a result of the massacres and other killings during the armed conflict, widowed women, many with five or more children, were forced off of their lands. They did not know how to read, and they lived with the traumas caused by the sexual assaults.

Without support from their government, these women had to begin to help each other. They began to weave alliances to talk, and to fortify themselves by means of self-help groups.

For that reason, on this commemoration of this International Day for the Elimination of Violence against the women, they decided to speak up, and to continue demanding justice. They conclude by stating, “although they cut even the stem off of us, we bloom again.”

Lourdes Loyal Godínez

CIMAC Noticias

News for Women

Nov. 27, 2009

See also:

Guatemala:  No Protection, No Justice: Killings of Women in Guatemala

Amnesty International

June 9, 2005


Added: Nov. 28, 2009

Guatemala

The Truth Under the Earth: The Relationship Between Genocide and Femicide in Guatemala

The war in Guatemala has never ceased. While the Peace Accords signed in 1996 demobilized some combatants and weapons - the killing, raping and torturing continues unabated. In 2009 the homicide rate for Guatemala, with a population of 13 million, is about 8,000 per year. Of these 8,000 murders approximately 10 percent are women and girls.

According to figures from Guatemala City based women’s group Grupo Guatemalteco de Mujeres (GGM) between January 2002 and January 2009 there were 197,538 acts of domestic violence, 13,895 rapes and 4,428 women were murdered. What is perhaps even more disturbing is that for this tsunami of violence there is a 97 percent impunity rate. One of the main reasons for near total impunity in the Guatemalan context is that the people responsible for the genocidal civil war against indigenous people in which 200,000 people were murdered and 50,000 disappeared have never, nor are they ever likely to be held accountable.

In August and September of 2009 I visited Guatemala, at least in part, to examine how the civil war has been superseded by an as yet undeclared social war, part of which is an ongoing femicide...

I visited Finca Covabunga, which is just up the road from Chul, a bumpy, dusty, windy three hour trip through the mountains on the back of a pick up, north of Nebaj. On December 9, 1982, 75 men, women and children were massacred by the Guatemalan army...

I talked and recorded survivors of the massacre. Margarheta lost her husband, animals, land and all her possessions on that day. She spent the next ten years living in the mountains running from the army. Digging up the bodies was painful for her as it brought back a flood of painful memories...

The next day Nicolas and I and a couple of other activists visited a community on the outskirts of Nebaj. It is named June 30th which commemorates the date in 2006 in which the community reclaimed land from the army - who had stolen it after eradicating the owners - and started growing food, teaching their kids and various other projects of self-determination...

While at the community I met a young woman of sixteen who had a six month old baby, the father is a soldier and the conception method was rape. Nothing has ever happened in regards to this rape. In June of 2009 a woman who had five young children, was raped, murdered and cut up by soldiers. Nothing will likely ever happen to the person/s who committed this heinous act - impunity for such crimes is total in Guatemala...

Colm McNaughton

UpsideDownWorld.org

Oct. 22, 2009

See Also:

LibertadLatina Special Section

About the crisis of anti-Mayan genocide and femicide in Guatemala


Added: Nov. 28, 2009

International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women - 2009

Guatemala

ONU: Lanza en Guatemala una Campaña Latinoamericana Contra la Violencia de Género

La Organización de las Naciones Unidas (ONU) lanzó hoy en la capital guatemalteca una campaña latinoamericana que durará hasta 2015 con el objetivo de unificar esfuerzos entre diferentes sectores y fortalecer legislaciones para poner fin a la violencia en contra de las mujeres… 

The United Nations Kicks-off Regional  Campaign Against Latin American Gender Violence in Guatemala

Guatemala City - The United Nations (UN) chose the capitol of Guatemala [Guatemala City] to launch is continent-wide campaign against gender violence. The effort will continue until 2015 with the objective to unify efforts between different sectors of society, and to fortify legislative efforts to end violence against the women in the region.

The campaign “Latin America, Unite to End Violence Against Women," will involve efforts by all of the agencies in the UN system. It is an initiative of its UN Secretary General Ban Kin-moon.

The launch was celebrated in the presence of the president of Guatemala, Alvaro Colom, and the core UN officials working across Latin America. The November 25th event coincided with the celebration of the the International Day of Non Violence Towards Woman.

The director of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (CEPAL), Alicia Bárcena, stated during the presentation that the various activities to be carried out through this UN campaign will attempt to reduce the levels of violence against the women.

A study by CEPAL of conditions of violence facing women in the region was presented during the event. CEPAL indicates that 40% of women in the region are victims of physical violence, and that the 60 percent suffer from psychological violence.

The report “ Not Even One More! From Words to Facts: How Much Farther Until We Get to This Goal? declares that the many forms of violence facing women in the region include domestic violence, murder, sexual harassment and sexual violence.

Latin American women also suffer from sex trafficking, institutional violence, discrimination against immigrants, and race-based gender violence that targets Indigenous and Afro-descendent women [and girls].

The regional director for Latin America and the Caribbean of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Rebeca Grynspan, explained that by means of this campaign, the UN will collaborate, together with the countries of the region, in efforts to fortify legislation in nations of the region regarding the protection of the rights of women.

In addition, the campaign will advance  a “multisectorial plan”, that promotes the prevention and eradication of machista violence, campaigns of sensitization, and development of national capacities for data collection.

With this campaign, it needed Grynspan, “we will revitalize the fight and the commitment of the UN tp put an end to violence against women, an urgent task that must be accomplished to prevent the continuation of the sentence of violence that generations of women have faced, which many women have paid for with their lives."

President Colom of Guatemala emphasized the importance of the United Nations’ choice of Guatemala as the launch-point of this campaign. Colom assured that “this constitutes a commitment” by his government to eradicate the evils that afflict Guatemalans women.

President Colom added that in Guatemala, most women are targeted for violence because they are poor, indigenous, young and women.

In this Central American country, one of most violent of Latin America, and where the greatest amount of violence against women occurs, two women are murdered every day, often by men known to them.

According to the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala, a UN agency, 94% of murders committed against women between 2001 and 2009 have remained [unsolved and] in impunity.

EFE

Nov. 25, 2009

See Also:

"Unite To End Violence Against Women"

United Nations Secretary General's campaign to be launched from Guatemala

Feminist International Radio Endeavor (FIRE)

Nov. 25, 2009


Added: Nov. 19, 2009

Central America

Central America: Gender-based Violence, the Hidden Face of Insecurity

Managua - Gender-based violence and sexual abuse are serious public security problems in Central America, and Nicaragua is no exception, according to reports by United Nations agencies and women’s organizations.

The Central American Human Development Report 2009-2010, released on Oct. 20 by the United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) Regional Bureau for Latin America and the Caribbean, says violence against women, adolescents and children is the "hidden" and "most invisible face" of public insecurity in the region.

According to the study, entitled "Opening Spaces for Citizen Security and Human Development", two out of three women murdered in Central America are killed for gender-related reasons, a phenomenon that is known as femicide.

Gender violence, however, remains largely concealed by prevailing social attitudes that condone it and by the victims’ reluctance to report abuse...

The women who pressed charges had suffered the worst abuse, including sexual assault, bodily injuries, mutilations and torture, Granera said. More specifically, 4,129 were cases of domestic violence, 2,253 were cases of sexual assault, and 8,645 were cases of physical and psychological harm, such as threats, blackmail and verbal abuse.

"The rest of the victims kept quiet. This shows that even though it is the leading public security problem (in Nicaragua), it is the least reported crime, and, therefore, the one with the greatest impunity," Granera said.

The UNDP report, which assessed levels of public insecurity in Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama, reported that Central America has become the region with the highest levels of non-political violence worldwide.

However, the report clarifies that while the countries of Central America's so-called "northern triangle" have homicide rates five to seven times higher than the global average of nine per 100,000 people - 48 per 100,000 in Guatemala, 52 per 100,000 in El Salvador and 58 per 100,000 in Honduras - Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Panama to the south are significantly safer, with murder rates of 11 per 100,000 population, 13 per 100,000 and 19 per 100,000, respectively.

Women, adolescents and children, ethnic minorities and groups with alternative sexual orientations are the main victims of what the study refers to as the region’s "phenomenon of 'invisible' (or rather 'invisibilized') insecurities," whereby certain groups are "exposed to an exceptional disparity between the risk of violent or predatory crimes they face and the protection they receive." ...

Bautista noted that the report presents at least six atrocious forms of "invisible crimes" that plague children in Central America: murder, forced participation in criminal activities, police brutality, domestic abuse, sexual abuse and assault, and forced labor and prostitution...

In Nicaragua, one out of three women married or living with a man has been subjected to physical violence, including sexual abuse, at some point in her life. Half the victims report that they first suffered abuse before the age of 15.

"According to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), in 2008 alone there were 1,400 pregnant girls under the age of 15. Most of these pregnancies were the result of rape," Millón said, citing a study published in Managua in June by the multilateral agency.

...Violence against women - like violence against children or ethnic minorities - "is almost totally excluded from the official debate on public insecurity in the region," said Millón...

José Adán Silva

Inter Press Service

Nov. 16, 2009


Added: Nov. 15, 2009

Guatemala

Guatemala: Where Sexual Exploitation of Minors Is Not a Crime

Guatemala City - Sexual exploitation of minors is not classified as a crime in Guatemala, where activists say child sex tourism is on the rise, and the toughest penalty for "corruption of minors" and "aggravated procuring" is a 400 dollar fine.

"I had problems at home, and a girlfriend took me to work with her in a bar." That is how Alba, at the age of 14, began to be sexually exploited in a brothel on the outskirts of the Guatemalan capital. Her mother was demanding that she bring money home, and she saw it as a way to earn an income.

For Alba's family, which is poor, the 160 dollars a month that she brought home was an important source of income.

Alba was the only underage girl in the bar where she worked, which attracted a relatively upscale clientele. She was also the most popular, to the point that she was the target of envy on the part of her fellow sex workers.

But hers is not an isolated case. Although no precise figures are available, in 2002 it was estimated that 2,000 minors were sexually exploited in Guatemala City alone, according to a report by Casa Alianza (the Latin American branch of the New York-based Covenant House, a child advocacy organisation) and ECPAT (an international NGO working to end child prostitution, child pornography and the trafficking of children).

Of those 2,000 minors, 1,200 were from El Salvador, 500 from Honduras and 300 from Guatemala itself. María Eugenia Villarreal, ECPAT director for Latin America, says Central America is a hub for trafficking in minors, child pornography and sex tourism...

Villarreal told IPS that "the problem continues to grow." She put the number of victims as high as 15,000 nationwide, the majority of them girls between the ages of 15 and 17, who are mainly exploited in brothels in the capital and in border and port areas.

The Guatemalan Congress is studying a draft law that would classify sexual exploitation as a crime, which would be punishable by six to 12-year prison sentences. Guatemala is the only country in Central America that has not yet updated its laws in this area, and according to experts, the political parties are in no hurry to do so.

"I do not see any hope that Guatemala's penal code will be reformed in the short term, because that would touch the interests of people with political and economic clout," said Héctor Dionisio, coordinator of Casa Alianza's legal programme in Guatemala.

Doria Giusti, a United Nations children's fund (UNICEF) representative in Guatemala, told IPS that "children are not given high priority in Congress, and the sexual exploitation of minors is a taboo issue. Besides, most of the lawmakers are men, so a sexist viewpoint prevails." ...

Alberto Mendoza

Inter Press Service (IPS)

Oct. 13, 2009


Added: Nov. 02, 2009

Guatemala

Guatemaltecas Son Madres Desde los Diez Años

Incesto, violación y falta de educación sexual, las causas

Las niñas guatemaltecas suelen tener hijos más temprano de lo que mudan dientes. Desde los diez años de edad ellas ya conocen una sala de parto y saben lo que significa recuperarse del dolor de una cesárea...

Guatemalan Girls Become Mothers From the Age of Ten

Incest, Rape and a Lack of Sex Education are the Causes

Guatemalan girls have children sooner than they loose all of their baby teeth. From the age of ten they know what a delivery room is, and they know what it means to recover from the pain of a cesarean section.

Human rights advocates see this social phenomenon as a problem that occurs behind closed doors, and involves abuse by the father, an uncle or a grandfather within the home. Prosecutors and the Public Ministry are convinced that the statistics are an indication of a high incidence of rape in this nation.

Experts on sex education perceive the problem as resulting from poor knowledge about sex and its consequences, which leads to a state of social disorder.

In this Central American country of 14 million inhabitants, with a population of five million children, girls menstruate between the ages of 10 and 13. According to the Maternal and Child Health Survey of 2006, 26 of 100 girls have their first sexual experience between the ages of 13 and 15.

These teens typically have their first relationship with a friend, a boyfriend or a partner. But in many cases their first experience is a result of rape. Two out of every ten girls have been raped before finishing elementary school. Frightened, rejected and discriminated against by their families, these girls accelerate their sexual maturation by [an average of] 5 years. By the time they reach age 20, according to the National Statistics Institute, they often have two or three children.

A study conducted in 2006 by the Guttmacher Institute, entitled "Early Childbearing: A Continuing Challenge," in Guatemala there are 114 births per thousand women, while in the rest of the region, the figure is 80 births per thousand women...

However, pregnancies in girls are not only related to a lack of sex education. According to Ana Gladys Ollas of the Prosecutors Office for Human Rights for Women, pregnancies are also the result of incest and emotional blackmail exerted by gang members and gangs of teenagers who sometimes rape girls collectively.

The official noted that the neighborhoods where poor pregnant girls live are also places where gangs abound. And the situation is repeated in prisons. Girls are brought to prisons to be raped as a result of acts of extortion committed against their families.

In this country, the poorest are also the most vulnerable citizens. With just a [pennies] to survive, a [typical] household with five children must also submit to the extortion of gangs that require them to pay fees of $50 to $ 1,000...

Spanking, scolding, beating, burning, being locked in a room and [extreme] prohibitions are the forms of violent punishment that girls suffer on a daily basis. Some 22 of every 100 Guatemalan girls have been beaten by their parents before age 15. These forms of violence drive young girls to seek affection from teens and men who end-up deceiving them.

Leonel Dubon, who heads the Foundation for the Girl, explains that families get rid of the babies of young girls through the use of clandestine abortions. According to Zenaida Escobedo, in charge of gender affairs in the judiciary, in Guatemala around 65,000 illegal abortions are performed each year.

Often, after giving birth, these girls sell their babies for up to $600 to clandestine human trafficking operations...

Mayan women are the poorest, and often have up to 10 sons and daughters, as within indigenous culture, condom use among men and contraceptive use by women is often frowned upon.

Full English Translation

CIMAC / SEMIlac

Oct. 30, 2009

LibertadLatina Note:

The above story states that the rate of childbirth in Guatemala is 114 births per thousand women. In the surrounding region the birth rate is 80 births per 1,000 women.

Here are comparable rates for young women between the ages of 15 and 19 in the United States:

  • All races and origins, 42

  • Asian/Pacific Islander, 17

  • White (including Hispanic), 38

  • American Indian/Alaska Native, 55

  • Black (including Hispanic), 65

  • Hispanic, 83

Source: U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) - 2006

LibertadLatina Note:

The targeting of ten-year-old girls by teen and adult Latino gang members for rape with impunity described in the above story occurs not only in Guatemala, by across the Americas.

See also:

A Washington, DC- Latina Social Worker and Community Center Director's Letter - 1999

EXCERPT

"Over the past two years, I have been observing a systemic pattern of violence committed against girls and young women in our community. This violence involves the sexual abuse/assault against girls as young as 10 years old...  

...There have been incidents of date rape, gang rape, abductions, drugging, threats with firearms, etc.  The incidents are just as you described in your [Mr. Goolsby's letter on the subject to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children] letter and have been met with the same level of indifference and dismissal of legal (never mind moral) responsibility on the part of civil institutions -- the police department, public schools, etc." 

...While some do say this is culturally accepted behavior, the reality is that many families -- mothers and fathers alike -- are enraged and wanting to pursue prosecution of the perpetrators, but they find themselves without recourse when the police won't respond to them, when they fear risking their personal safety, and/or when their legal status (undocumented) prevents them from believing they have rights or legal protection in this country. Many girls and young women's families are threatened and harassed by the perpetrators when it becomes apparent that the family is willing to press charges for statutory rape/child sexual abuse. 

...The use of intimidation and violence to control girls and their families results in the following: 1) parents/guardians back off from pressing charges, 2) relatives do not inform the police or others of sightings of girls and young women who have been officially reported as "missing juveniles," and 3) the victims of sexual violence refuse to participate as "willing witnesses" in the prosecution/trial process.

When this sexual violence occurs within the context of a seemingly permissive public environment -- indifferent civil institutions, forced silence and complicity of families, gang culture, a society that explicitly promotes the sexualization and exploitation of children through media -- its criminal and immoral nature goes unquestioned. My question is how and where do we create the public environment that allows us to voice our disapproval and to hold the implicated adults accountable for their negligent care of our children?

...We're also looking at the rate of incidence among black and Asian girls and young women to document that this is not merely a culturally accepted behavior, but rather a complex and systemic form of violence carried out against poor girls and young women of color.

- From a letter by a Latina Social Worker and girl's community center director working with young Latina girls in Washington, DC's largest Latino neighborhood.

LibertadLatina Note:

Although this serious, truthful, accurate and  poignant letter was written in 1999, from my observations, the same conditions exist today in 2009. Nothing has changed for the better, while the code of silence in the barrio and the extending tentacles of criminal networks have made the violence worse, resulting in a permissive environment in the Washington, DC, Maryland and Virginia region.

End impunity now!

- Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

Nov. 03, 2009


Added: Oct. 24, 2009

Guatemala, Mexico

Jacqueline Maria Jirón Silva, who was kidnapped at age 11 at a beach in Nicaragua, is one thousands of children who have been prostituted in the city of Tapachula, Mexico.

The NGO Save the Children has identified southern Mexico as being the largest zone for the commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC) in the entire world. The lawless city of Tapachula is the epicenter of that  crtisis of impunity.

Buscan rescatar a niños guatemaltecos explotados en Tapachula

El Gobierno mexicano pondrá en marcha un programa de sensibilización denominado “Los Hijos del Águila y el Quetzal”, que tiene como objetivo rescatar a niños en riesgo de calle, en su mayoría indígenas guatemaltecos, que son víctimas de explotación laboral y de prostitución en Tapachula, Chiapas…

Authorities Seek to Rescue Guatemalan Children Exploited in Tapachula, Mexico

The Mexican government will launch an awareness program called "The Children of the Eagle and the Quetzal, which aims to rescue street children at risk. Most of these children are indigenous Guatemalans who become the victims of labor exploitation and prostitution in Tapachula, Chiapas.

Moises Sanchez Lopez, head of Human Rights for the city government of Tapachula, explained that the first phase of the project is to raise awareness with messages through the media, including that adults not give money to street children, because that money is destined for the pockets of the criminal networks that exploit them.

Sanchez added that the second phase is to rescue the street children. They have sought support from the consulates of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, the National Human Rights Commission, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the National Migration Institute, the Special Prosecutor for Attention to Crimes Against Migrants, and the Catholic Church affiliated NGO Defenders of the Human Rights of Migrants and Entrepreneurs.

Sanchez said the program seeks to prevent children from becoming victims of sexual and labor exploitation.

In Tapachula, dozens of children, mostly indigenous Guatemalans, are forced to work in begging, selling candy and cigarettes, shining shoes, cleaning windshields and as clowns.

These children, who average 13 years-of-age, work as many as 12 hours a day for negligible wages, and in some cases, without pay. They are forced to live in overcrowded conditions and are only given one meal a day.

According to the complaint by Guatemala’s diplomats, the majority of children living in villages on Mexico’s border are sold by their parents to be exploited in Mexico. Children with disabilities are sold for higher prices, and are taken to the cities of Tuxtla Gutierrez, Tapachula and Huixtla.

The the program "The Sons of the Eagle and the Quetzal," has been developed by the state government of Chiapas, through its Secretary for Southern Border Development, Secretaria de Desarrollo de la Frontera Sur, working together with the DIF [Integral Family Development] social services agency.

Prensa Libre

Oct. 22, 2009


Added: Sep. 23, 2009

Guatemala

Jesús Tecú Osorio at the site of the Rio Negro (town of Black River) massacre.

Photo: Renata Avila

The Activism of Massacre Survivor Jesús Tecú

Maya Achí activist Jesús Tecú Osorio is a survivor. When he was a child, he witnessed the Río Negro Massacre, one of the most horrific massacres of Guatemala's armed conflict. Many of his friends, his 2-year-old brother, and his young parents were murdered. He spent some time forced to work, along with 17 other child survivors, doing domestic work for the man who killed his brother.

Years later, after he was released into the custody of his older sister, Tecú began to work to exhume the mass grave of those killed in the Massacre. Eventually, this work led to the conviction of 3 of the men who took part in the killings. This work has been crucial in the pursuit of justice and the preservation of the historical memory on local and international levels.

Tecú wrote a book called “Memory of the Río Negro Massacres” that tells his experience as a homeless child who survived the war. Tadeo explains more about the story that Tecú tells:

The military and paramilitary forces rounded up all of the women and children and accused them of collaborating with the guerrillas. Together they proceeded to rape, torture, and murder everyone. Some 177 human beings, including 107 children, were massacred on the 13th of March, 1982, in Rio Negro. The few survivors, mostly young boys, were forced into slavery.

In The Massacres of Río Negro, survivor Jesús Tecú described being enslaved by a leader of the Xococ PAC, a man who ripped his youngest brother out of his arms and swung him by his feet, smashing his brains against rocks in front of his eyes because his wife was “not used to caring for [such] a small child.

Tecú's case is different from many others, because he stayed in his community helping... to fight for their human rights. He is leading a Legal Clinic to help poor and under-educated people to fight for their rights. This struggle by Tecú and other survivors of Guatemala's civil war led to the creation of the New Hope Foundation (FNE). Their mission can be found on their blog...

For his work, Tecú was awarded the Reebok Human Rights Award...

Despite the progress made by Tecú and the Achí community, the work continues. Survivors are still pressing the Guatemalan government to convict those responsible for the massacres, as shown by the Colectivo Guatemala Blog. Some of these individuals are being intimidated for their work.

Recently, Tecú has received threatening phone calls...

Global Voices

Sep. 22, 2009


Added: Sep. 11, 2009

Guatemala

Closeup of a community mural scene, showing a 1980's military massacre of women and children in the Mayan town of Comalapa, Guatemala.

From a short film by

Ian Ramsey North

Guatemalan Soldiers Sold Children in War - Government

Guatemala City - At least 333 children and probably thousands more were taken by Guatemalan security forces and sold abroad during the country's 36-year civil war, a government report said on Thursday.

Soldiers and police killed children's parents, lied about how they had been found and handed them to state-run homes for sale to adoptive parents in the United States and Europe, said the report, which was based on government archives.

The archives in the Guatemalan presidency's social welfare department show hundreds of children whose parents were killed by the army or who were forcefully taken from their families and were put up for adoption with false papers.

"Some of the people involved in organizing these adoptions made the process into a very lucrative business for themselves, and with that in mind they gave priority to international adoptions," Marco Tulio Alvarez, the report's author and the director of the archives, told a news conference.

By the end of the war in 1996, Guatemala was the second largest source of children adopted internationally after China, but numbers have dropped after the government tightened regulations in 2007...

Around 250,000 people, mostly indigenous Mayan Indians, died in the war between successive right-wing governments and leftist insurgents, which ended with the signing of UN-backed peace accords in 1996.

Human rights groups hope that dozens of people could be prosecuted based on the new report. There may be thousands more cases but little paperwork survives as proof...

Sarah Grainger

Reuters

Sep. 11, 2009


Added: Sep. 11, 2009

Guatemala

Photo: Prensa Libre

Condenan a 150 Años de Prisión a Ex Comisionado Militar

El primer juicio por desaparición forzada en el país concluyó ayer con la condena de 150 años de prisión contra el ex comisionado militar Felipe Cusanero Coj, hallado culpable de la desaparición forzada de seis personas...

Aura Elena Farfán, de Familiares de Detenidos-Desaparecidos, expresó: “En el país hay 45 mil personas desaparecidas, y esta condena es un precedente para continuar la lucha en busca de nuestros seres queridos”.

En el juicio estuvieron presentes los embajadores de Holanda y de Chile, quienes expresaron su beneplácito por la sentencia.

The first trial involving a case of forced disappearance in Guatemala [during the 1980's-1090s civil war] has concluded with a 150 year prison sentence for former military commissioner Felipe Cusanero Coj, who was found guilty of causing the forced disappearances of 6 people...

Aura Elena Farfán, from the group Families of the Detained and Disappeared, stated, "In our nation there are 45,000 disappeared persons. This sentence sets a precedence for continuing our struggle to find our loved ones.

The Ambassadors of Chile and Holland to Guatemala were present at the trial, and expressed their approval of the conviction and sentence...

Prensa Libre

Aug. 31, 2009

See also:

Added: Sep. 11, 2009

Guatemala

Guatemala Sees Landmark Sentence

A Guatemalan court has sentenced an ex-paramilitary officer to 150 years in prison for the forced disappearance of civilians in the civil war.

Felipe Cusanero, found guilty over the disappearance in the 1980s of six indigenous Maya farmers, is the first person to be jailed for such crimes.

Human rights groups have hailed the verdict as a breakthrough in the fight against impunity in Guatemala.

Some 250,000 people were killed in the 36-year conflict, which ended in 1996.

The court in Chimaltenango, about 40km (25 miles) west of Guatemala City, was packed as the judges read their verdict and sentence - 25 years for each victim.

Cusanero was found guilty in connection with the disappearances of six people in the Chimaltenango region between 1982 and 1984.

At the time, which was the height of the long-running civil war between government forces and left-wing guerrillas, he was a military commissioner, a civilian working with the army.

"We weren't looking for vengeance but for the truth and justice," Hilarion Lopez, whose 24-year-old son was taken by soldiers in 1984 and never seen again, told Reuters news agency.

Rights groups believe Cusanero was involved in the disappearances of more people but only six families came forward to testify against him.

A UN-backed truth commission found that between 1960 and 1996 some 200,000 people were killed and more than 45,000 [were] disappeared.

Most of those who died were civilians.

BBC

Sep. 1, 2009


Added: June 12, 2009

Guatemala

Guatemala’s Neglected Story: Continued Disregard for Indigenous Autonomy

Indigenous peoples are still violently suppressed when they voice any opposition to foreign multi-national investment operations

Gaining strength, the country’s Indigenous movement is a much needed tool for securing equal rights

…Continued Repression and Impunity

In 1996, the Guatemalan government and the combined guerrilla forces functioning under the moniker, Unidad Revolucionaria Nacional Guatemalteca (UNRG), signed the Peace Accords that brought an end to more than 30 years of a bloody civil war. Guatemala’s internal conflict resulted in the death of close to 200,000 people, many of whom were indigenous campesinos caught in the crossfire of the warring factions’ violent ideologies. Many more were kidnapped, tortured and never heard from again. Claims that indigenous communities were easily manipulated and recruited by leftist guerrillas were used as excuses for the systematic ethnic cleansing by rightist death squads in what the Guatemalan Commission of Historical Clarification (set up by the UN as part of the Accord of Oslo ) deemed to be genocide. Those who participated in creating the infrastructure which indirectly led to the indiscriminate killings in indigenous communities did not only include Guatemalan authorities, but also foreign entities with roles to play in the country, such as the World Bank and the Inter–American Development Bank.

In the 1980s, civilian paramilitaries, sanctioned by the government, cleared the way for the construction of the World Bank-financed Chixoy Dam by eradicating the indigenous opposition it had attracted. This has become known as the Rio Negro massacre, a tragedy that left hundreds [of women and children raped and] dead…

Today, indigenous leaders and local activists are routinely faced with threats of assassination and cases of intimidation that are met with inadequate investigations or total indifference by the authorities. Death squads have re-emerged, which are hired to survey indigenous lands scheduled for exploiting by foreign enterprises. The 1996 Peace Accords set the international community at ease by declaring an end to the civil war that had decimated the Central American country for over three decades, but it became obvious that such optimism was unwarranted and that the treaty did not bring an end to the violence…

…In Guatemala, hostility and racism towards indigenous groups is manifested by political exclusion. The unvoiced consensus among the powerful Europeanized minority remains that although the indigenous population is substantial, its political representation should remain marginalized…

Research Associate Billy Lemus

Council on Hemispheric Affairs (COHA)

June 9th, 2009


Added: June 12, 2009

Guatemala

Maquilas en Guatemala, discriminación y esclavitud para mujeres

Dos décadas de violación a las normas laborales y Derechos Humanos

Guatemala - En las maquilas está prohibido embarazarse, orinar más de dos veces al día e incluso tomar agua durante la jornada de trabajo. También esta vedado quejarse o faltar un solo día por enfermedad.

Estas razones son justificantes de despido para las guatemaltecas que laboran en la industria textilera de este país centroamericano, en establecimientos dirigidos, en su mayoría, por coreanos...


Maquilas in Guatemala, slavery and discrimination against women

Foreign-owned textile industry has two decades of violating labor and human rights standards

Guatemala - In the maquilas [low wage foreign-owned factories], women [who are the great majority of workers] are prohibited by their employers from getting pregnant, urinating more than twice a day, and to drink water during the workday. It is also forbidden to complain or miss even a single day because of illness.

Within Central America’s textile industry, which is run mostly by [South] Koreans, breaking these rules will get you fired.

These factories also practice age discrimination. If you are older than age 35, you are immediately rejected for employment. Successful applicants for work are typically between the ages of 16 and 30. Those who want to work must be willing to put up with inhumane conditions.

Women workers are packed into over-crowded, poorly ventilated production lines where as many as 350 people work in one area. The work areas often lack proper ventilation and access to potable water and sanitation.

At the end of each month, these workers receive a paycheck that is less than a living wage. Men earn more for doing the same work, and are not forced to work under such cruel conditions. According to Guatemala’s Ministry of Labor, women receive an average salary equivalent to $ 110 per month, while that of men is $ 125...

Moreover, women maquila workers are subjected to sexual harassment, according to the 2007 report, "We Only Ask that You Treat Us as Humans," developed by the Foundation for Peace and Democracy FUNPADEM.
 
A survey implemented between 2005 and 2006 by the FUNPADEM of 516 maquila workers in the capital and rural areas determined that persistent sexual harassment and abuse exists, but that the employees do not complain about it.

They reported that the manager of the factory routinely hires teenage girls, with whom he maintains a sexual relationship [as a condition of employment].

Many give in to the unwanted touching, indecent proposals and quid-pro-quo relationships because they need the work. Otherwise they would be fired, adds the report. The vast majority of these women have from one to five children, and are single mothers and heads of household. So they need to feed their families...

According to the National Survey of Commerce and Housing 2006, these women are part of a segment of six million people living in poverty, who live on one a dollar a day. One million of those live in extreme poverty.

This is not surprising in Guatemala, which has the second highest rate of female illiteracy in Latin America - 34.6 percent. The Presidential Secretariat for Women (SEPREM) reports that approximately half a million girls between seven and 14 years of age are not enrolled in primary school.

They, says Solis, are the ideal niche for the Koreans to seek to produce in their factories.

Velasquez, of the organization Atrahdom notes that these employees are treated so badly that they are not allowed to go the the bathroom to change their menstrual pads...

Alba Trejo

CIMAC / SEMlac

June 11, 2009


Added: June 6, 2009

Guatemala

"Guatemala: We have neither protection nor justice for women and girls."

Photo: Amnesty International

Guatemala’s Femicide Law: Progress Against Impunity?

Excerpt form the  Executive Summary

Guatemala ranks among the most dangerous places in Latin America, especially for women. While crime and violence affects everyone, particularly community leaders, indigenous rights representatives, judges, and human rights defenders, violence against women and girls has escalated markedly in the past ten years…

With a population under 14 million, Guatemala registered over 4,300 violent murders of women from 2000 to 2008, and shockingly 98% of the cases remained unsolved. The majority of murders are committed by firearm in and around Guatemala City, and are preceded by rape or torture…

The internal armed conflict, classified as genocide by the United Nations, contributed heavily to the legacy of violence in Guatemala, including violence against women. With torture regularly used as a military technique, the torment that women faced was of a particularly sadistic nature. Two comprehensive reports document the extent of the sexual abuses carried out against women during the war. The vast majority who suffered sexual violence were of Mayan descent (88.7%). It has been estimated that 50,000 women and girls were victims of violence.

The suffering endured by women during the internal armed conflict did not end with the signing of the Peace Accords in 1996. Organized crime, gangs, drug trafficking, and human trafficking have become part of daily life both in the capital city and also throughout the countryside. A lack of rule of law, including corruption, gender bias and impunity in law enforcement, investigations and the legal system have also had an adverse effect on women…

Impunity in cases of violence against women and femicide is staggeringly high. Dr. Carlos Castresana, Commissioner of the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG), has identified impunity as the overwhelming factor in the femicide crisis…

The Guatemalan National Police force is understaffed, lacks training on how to approach female victims of violence, and is notoriously corrupt. Domestic violence continues to be dismissed as a “private” matter, despite legislation to the contrary, and gender bias permeates the investigative process and judicial system. In many femicide cases victims are initially dismissed as prostitutes, gang members, or criminals…

Guatemala Human rights Commission / USA

2009


Added: April 19, 2009

Guatemala

Gladys Monterroso

Feministas exigen cese de la violencia sexual contra las mujeres

Integrantes de organizaciones de mujeres, de derechos humanos y feministas, exigieron al Estado guatemalteco que implemente medidas efectivas para erradicar la violencia sexual contra la población.

De acuerdo con un comunicado de prensa, el reciente caso de secuestro, tortura y violación que sufrió Gladys Monterroso, esposa del Procurador de los Derechos Humanos, Sergio Morales, un día después que se dio a conocer el primer informe de los archivos de la Policía Nacional implicada en crímenes de guerra, es un hecho indignante...

Feminists demand an end to sexual violence against women

Members of women's organizations, feminists and human rights groups have issued a press release demanding that the Guatemalan government implement effective measures to eradicate sexual violence against women.

The groups site the recent case of the abduction, torture and rape of Gladys Monterroso, wife of the the nation’s Human Rights Ombudsman, Sergio Morales. The attack came one day after the Human Rights Commission released the first report analyzing the recently discovered archives of the National Police. The report stated that the archived files implicate the National Police in war crimes [from the Guatemalan Civil War / Mayan genocide]...

The activists blame the police and military, in collusion with the Guatemalan oligarchy, which through criminal intimidation is trying to protect those who are guilty of war crimes and especially sexual crimes against women in Guatemala.

What happened to Monterroso is exactly what thousands of Mayan and Xinca (Indigenous), mestizo (mixed Indigenous and European), and Garifuna (Afro-Guatemalan) women have suffered in the various areas of daily life. It is part of a continuum of a systematic exercise of patriarchal, misogynist and racist violence that has been used by men to dominate and exploit Guatemala’s female citizens, stated the press release...

CERIGUA

April 18, 2009

See also:

Take Action: Demand Investigation into Kidnapping of Gladys Monterroso

action.humanrightsfirst.org

JASS Blog: Guatemalan Lawyer Gladys Monterroso Kidnapped and Tortured

www.justassociates.org

Gladys Monterroso, Wife of Guatemalan Rights Official

www.washingtonpost.com

Guatemala: ARTICLE 19 condemns attack on Gladys Monterroso

www.article19.org

Humanitarian Relief - Change.org: Demand Investigation into kidnapping of Gladys Monterroso

humanitarian-relief.change.org

Guatemala – Kidnapping and torture of Ms Gladys Monterroso

www.frontline defenders.org

The effects of the intersection between militarism and sexism

www.radiofeminista.org


Added: Feb. 27, 2009

Guatemala

A photo taken of underage Mayan girls participating in a community ceremony during Guatemala's civil war. At the time this photo was taken, the girls were surrounded by Army troops, who were also their serial rapists.

From Guatemala - Land of Eternal Spring - Land of Eternal Tyranny, by Jean Marie Simon - 1988

Note: I first read this book around 1988. In it, I learned that Guatemalan Army officer cadets from the Army Academy were required by their commanders to bring back the panties of victims after weekend furloughs as proof of their acts of rape.

Raping women was a requirement of their military training.

- Chuck Goolsby

Llaman a romper el silencio de crímenes sexuales cometidos durante la guerra

Integrantes de diversas organiza-ciones, que velan por la vigencia de los derechos de las guatemaltecas, hicieron un llamado a la población para que rompa el silencio que impide que los crímenes sexuales cometidos durante el conflicto armado interno sean llevados a la justicia.

De acuerdo con un comunicado, 10 años han pasado desde que la Comisión para el Esclarecimiento Histórico (CEH) presentó el Informe “Memoria del Silencio”, que documenta las violaciones a los derechos humanos, entre ellas crímenes sexuales ejecutados por el Ejército y las patrullas de autodefensa civil, masivamente contra mujeres mayas.

La información señala que la violación sexual fue sistemáticamente utilizada como arma de guerra en el marco de la política contrainsurgente del Ejército y como constitutiva del genocidio y el feminicidio, sin embargo, una cultura de silencio ha rodeado ese tipo de casos...

Civil organizations call on the population to break the wall of silence about sex crimes committed during the civil war

Guatemala City - Members of human rights organizations have called upon the people of Guatemala to break the wall of silence that has prevented discussion of bringing those responsible for sex crimes committed during the internal armed conflict to justice.

According to a press release, 10 years have passed since the Commission for Historical Clarification (CEH) presented its report entitled "Memory of Silence," which documented the human rights violations perpetrated during the war, including mass sexual crimes carried out by Army units and civilian self-defense patrols directed against Mayan women.

The information indicates that rape was systematically used as a weapon of war under the Army's counterinsurgency policy and as an element of genocide and femicide. However today, a culture of silence surrounds these cases.

Despite the gravity of such crimes, the justice system has failed to address the demands of thousands of victims, and to date not one trial has been held related to acts of sexual violence carried out against women during armed conflict…

The Center for Legal Action on Human Rights (CALDH), the Women's Earth Viva (AMTV), the National Union of Guatemalan Women (UNAMG), the Human Rights Office of the Archbishop (ODHAG), the Maya Waqib ' Kej National Convergence and the  Association of Families of the Detained and Disappeared of Guatemala (FAMDEGUA), among others, signed the declaration.

Cerigua

Feb 25, 2009


Added June 28, 2008

Guatemala, Mexico

Rigoberta Menchú denuncia venta de niñas indígenas Centroamérica y México

Mayan Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Rigoberta Menchu denounces the sale of indigenous children into sexual slavery

[Mayan human rights leader] Rigoberta Menchú, the 1992 Nobel Peace Prize laureate, during a visit to Veracruz, Mexico, has denounced the sale of indigenous girls in Mexico and Central America, in which traditional indigenous marriage customs are perverted by criminal gangs to force underage girls into sexual slavery.

According to information from Prensa Libre, Menchu said that the trade in minors involved organized mafias, doctors, lawyers, legislators and local authorities.

Menchu regretted that the sale of children, mainly girls, occurs with the knowledge of officials within indigenous communities.

Menchu protested the fact that in Guatemala, there is an extensive, underground trade in boys and girls, which authorities find hard to detect.

Menchu stated that many nongovern-mental organizations have denounced this situation, and that they are mainly concerned by the fact that families 'sell' [underage] girls to older men to become wives. In reality, the girls [typically in the age range of 11 to 13] are resold [to child sex traffickers and pimps] for sexual exploitation. she noted.

The Nobel laureate said that in southeastern Mexico and across Guatemala this practice is common, and asked that the public report these sales of children.

Finally, Menchu announced that the Rigoberta Menchu Foundation has signed an agreement with the Government of Veracruz [Mexico] to perform various prevention measures in rural [indigenous] communities.

- CERIGUA

Guatemalan Human

Rights News

June. 27, 2008

See also:

Launch event for the book ‘Mirame,’ shining a light on challenges facing indigenous girls in Guatemala

Manuel Manrique, UNICEF Represent-ative in Guatemala: “Indigenous people in general are discrimin-ated against, the indigenous child doubly discriminated against, [and] the indigenous girl triply discriminated against.”  “If you review the life cycle from birth until 18 years of age, the situation of the indigenous girl is worse than that of others...”

'Mirame is a project of UNICEF and the Office of the Public Defender of Indigenous Women in Guatemala.

- UNICEF

Guatemala City

Aug. 22, 2007

LibertadLatina

About the crisis of sexual exploitation facing indigenous women and children

in Guatemala - including the history of Mayan Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Rigoberta Menchu.


Added June 28, 2008

Guatemala

Las agresiones contra las mujeres demuestran la vulnerabilidad que viven

Assaults Against Women Shows their Vulnerability [Machismo Fuels Impunity Against Women]

A wave of assaults against women in Baja Verapaz Department [state] demonstrate the vulnerability of women and the persistence of machismo, with its implicit expressions of domination and subordination, decalred Vilma Oxlaj, a representative of the office of the Public Defender of Indigenous Women (DEMI).

According Oxlaj, in the municipalities of Rabinal, San Miguel Chicaj and Cubulco reported several cases of sexual assaults against young women and despite the fact that the scourge is on the rise there is little willingness to report these crimes because of a culture of fear of the aggressors and a knowledge that victims will receive superficial treatment from the authorities.

Oxlaj is saddened by the vulnerability in which these women live, a condition that is based upon the patriarchal construction [within machismo] that women's bodies belong to men.

Fresia Palomo, a psychologist of Office of Public Prosecutions (MP), stated that controlling the sexuality of women by men and the right of their access to our bodies are the main reasons for acts of domination by men towards women.

Palomo said that rape was shielded by impunity because of [the code of] silence, negligence and poor the poor attitude shown by the authorities responsible for preventing and responding to these aggressions.

Palomo emphasized that the most reprehensible cases involve acts of rape and aggression towards women by persons who have the consent or complicity of state agents.

Finally, Palomo said that male violence targeting the female population demonstrated the macho and savage attitudes of men who have no respect for life and the dignity of women.

- CERIGUA

Guatemalan Human

Rights News

June. 27, 2008

See also:

DEMI, velando por los derechos de las mujeres indígenas.


Added June 28, 2008

Guatemala

Justice is Bittersweet as Killers are Sentenced for 1982 Massacre

Salamá, Guatemala - The five former paramilitaries shuffled into the courtroom in this small country town, convicted of participating in one the most notorious massacres in Guatemala's 36-year-long civil war. Now they awaited a sentence.

The hearing, which took place on May 28, has been graphically portrayed in the blogs of Heidi McKinnon, a Peace Fellow from The Advocacy Project (AP). Ms McKinnon is volunteering this summer with the Association for the Integral Development of the Victims of Violence in the Verapaces, Maya Achí (ADIVIMA), a group which represents massacre survivors and brought the charges.

The Río Negro massacre occurred after an indigenous community at Río Negro refused to relocate and make way for the Chixoy Hydroelectric Dam, a massive government energy project supported by The World Bank. After 74 villagers were killed in February 1982, most of the men fled to the hills. Early on March 13, 1982, army soldiers and a civil patrol from the nearby village of Xococ arrived at Río Negro, and murdered 177 women and children. Many of the victims were raped and tortured...

Ms McKinnon: "What I witnessed was a historic event in Guatemala. It was a victory for every survivor." But she also concedes that the victory was bittersweet: "When you are seated a few feet away from a murderer who is over 70, speaks no Spanish and has trouble even walking, it can make one pause and wonder whose definition of justice is being served by such a sentence. Who is more culpable, the man who pulled the trigger or the man who bought him the gun and told him who he should kill if he wanted to stay alive and keep his family safe?"

- AdvocacyNet News

Bulletin 143

June 16, 2008


Added June 26, 2008

LibertadLatina

The invisibility-of, and the lack of aggressive advocacy-for indigenous victims of mass gender violence and its resulting slavery is similar, as a pattern of collective behavior, to the world's silence and inaction during the 1970s and 1980s when 200,000 Mayans were murdered in Guatemala, an act of ethnic cleansing that was rationalized by the Cold War concept of 'draining the pond' of [innocent] humanity in which a few thousand leftist rebels lived.

To understand the context surrounding the reasons why a public service such as LibertadLatina.org is needed, I will relate the following factual account, as one slice through this 'complex universe' of embedded gender oppression...

The invisibility-of, and the lack of aggressive advocacy-for indigenous victims of mass gender violence and its resulting slavery is similar, as a pattern of collective behavior, to the world's silence and inaction during the 1970s and 1980s when 200,000 Mayans were murdered in Guatemala, an act of ethnic cleansing that was rationalized by the Cold War concept of 'draining the pond' of humanity in which a few thousand leftist rebels lived. The United Nations Truth Commission for Guatemala and other international bodies don't deny that this genocide occurred, and that 50,000 innocent women and girls were murdered. The nation's Supreme Court has officially determined that 200,000 orphans resulted from the events of this civil war. Some 440 Mayan towns were destroyed in the mountainous northwestern highlands of the country.

Under the terms of the 1996 Peace Accords, perpetrators of these atrocities were given amnesty. They still roam the streets of the Americas.

Is the late 20th Century Guatemalan Genocide relevant to the topic of human trafficking today? Yes.

The men of the government security forces who carried-out these mass rapes and murders did not just go away. They remain among us. Their past criminal behavior expresses itself today, and has actually been passed-on to younger generations of men.

Over 500 women are murdered in Guatemala each year. Only 2% of those cases have ever been investigated by police. This rate of female murders is 10 times higher than the rate in Mexico's infamous Ciudad Juarez. In a typical Guatemalan case, the murdered woman has suffered 35 violent attacks in her home or community prior to death, with no law enforcement intervention whatsoever. The victim, at the time of her death, usually has been raped and tortured first, and then dismembered after the fact. These patterns of behavior were learned by the ‘perpetrators’ during the Guatemalan Civil War. Activists in the region understand that today's femicide is a legacy of the nation's Civil War.

To further tie together these linked issues, I know victims of that genocide, and I have met a perpetrator, through one of his family members. This family member talked to me at length about this perpetrator’s activities in Guatemala. I will refer to him here as ‘Juan.’

Juan’s grandfather owned a large ranch in Guatemala, and when he was feeling especially angry, he would go to the Mayan village at the far-end of his ranch and "shoot a few Indians" (a direct quote). During the time of the 1970s-1980s Guatemalan Civil War, Juan was a member of the Guatemalan president's security detail, the Presidential Guard. This security unit had a secondary task, aside from protection, of receiving a daily hit list from the president’s palace, finding these persons and murdering them for being suspected ‘subversives.’

The bodies of the victims were typically left laying in the street as a message to the population. Juan stated to his family: "Me daba mucha lastima tener que malograr a las mujeres" - that is: "it really saddened me to have to tear-up the women [on the hit list]." In other words, he supposedly felt sad for having willfully kidnapped, tortured, gang-raped and finally murdered his mostly Mayan women and girl victims over a number of years.

Almost all Mayan women, and girls of all ages, were raped by soldiers, policemen and 'civil guards' during this war. Mayans are 40%, and mixed-race indigenous people are 56% of Guatemala's population.

During the mid 1990s, before I even knew what sex trafficking was, Juan’s family member explained to me that Juan was engaged in smuggling people into the United States under peculiar circumstances, and had ties to Colombian mafias. Today, I understand that what was being explained to me was the fact that Juan, a former mass rapist and murderer of women, had 'graduated' to sex trafficking women into the U.S. while living a comfortable and otherwise 'normal' life in Washington, DC.

It was also explained to me that Juan would travel to Guatemala City, place an add in a local paper seeking young girls to work as escorts, and that 13 and 14-year-old girls gleefully responded. Juan then 'trained' these girls as prostitutes, and sent them out as escorts for wealthy businessmen.

In Washington, DC, Juan, when working as in the role of office building cleaning crew manager, imposed quid-pro-quo sexual demands upon the Latina women who applied to work at his office building.

The world's past denial of the Guatemalan Genocide plays into the world's current lack of attention to ongoing femicide, mass kidnappings of babies for illegal adoptions and prostitution, and the mass trafficking of Guatemalan women into the brothels of southern Mexico.

Compounding the complexity of addressing the realities of the Guatemalan crisis for women is the fact that followers of some political philosophies cannot bring themselves to support this politically neutral analysis, because these conclusions clash with a their particular view of the role of the U.S. and its close allies in supporting Guatemala's dictatorships during the time of the genocide. Discussion of Guatemala was censored from one important anti-trafficking forum in the early 2000s because of this conflict.

So the anti-trafficking movement, to be effective, must move beyond partisan politics. Are movement activists of a particular political view, who are otherwise some of the strongest supporters of the goal of ending sex trafficking, really willing to suppress discussion of Guatemala, limit U.S. support for ending femicide, and simply not deal today with the sex trafficking of an entire generation of our young Mayan girls and boys, just to make a political point? We hope not...

The above true story is but one example of the invisibility of indigenous victims, who effectively have no civil or human rights under the laws of Guatemala, nor in most Latin American nations where we are a major segment of the population. The problem is also especially grave today in Mexico and Colombia.

- Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

Changemakers Competition Application

Global Solutions to Human Trafficking

June 18, 2008


Added June 7, 2008

California, USA

Man Pleads Guilty to Conspiracy to Engage in Sex Trafficking and Transporting Illegal Aliens in Los Angeles

Washington, DC - Pablo Bonifacio pleaded guilty today in federal court in Los Angeles, to conspiracy to commit sex trafficking and transporting [undocumented] aliens in the pending case of United States v. Vasquez-Valenzuela, announced Grace Chung Becker, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division and Thomas P. OBrien, U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California. The remaining eight defendants are scheduled for trial on Sept. 2, 2008, in Los Angeles.

During the plea today, Bonifacio admitted to conspiring with multiple co-defendants and others in a scheme to bring young Guatemalan women and girls into the United States illegally for purposes of prostitution, and to hold and harbor them in the Los Angeles area for the same purposes. As he admitted during the plea hearing today, Bonifacio was paid for his role in transporting young females to different locations within the Los Angeles area to engage in prostitution. In addition, the defendant acknowledged that co-defendants arranged for young females to be recruited from Guatemala -- often on the promise of legitimate jobs -- and were then smuggled into the United States illegally for prostitution. The young women and girls were then forced to engage in prostitution to repay their smuggling fees...

Mr. Bonifacio has admitted his role in a scheme that lured young girls into the United States with promises of a better life, said U.S. Attorney OBrien. But the American dream turned into a nightmare when those children were forced to work as prostitutes...

- PRNewswire-USNewswire, U.S. Department of Justice

May 8, 2008


Added May 8, 2008

Guatemala

(Who is not part of this story)

Guatemalan

Mayan Leader

and Nobel

Peace Prize

Laureate

Rigoberta

Menchu

 

Madres que reclaman devolución de sus hijas siguen en huelga de hambre

Mothers Hold Hunger Strike to Demand the Return of their Kidnapped Children

Four Guatemalan mothers whose babies were kidnapped to be sold in foreign adoption are continuing a hunger strike in front of the National Palace of Culture. The women started the protest on April 28th.

Norma Cruz, director of the Survivors Foundation, which assist women victims of violence, stated that representatives of the National Council on Adoptions, and the federal Attorney General's office have expressed interest in assisting the families.

Nonetheless, Cruz lamented, we don't see real, concrete action, and the investigation has not brought-about any positive results.

The mothers have vowed to continue their protest until there are clear signs that authorities are taking these cases seriously.

Raquel Par, an indigenous woman of the Kakchiquel Mayan ethnic group, told of how on April 4, 2006, her daughter, Heidi Saraí Batz, was drugged and then kidnapped by a woman in the Villa Hermosa neighbor-hood on the south side of Gauatemala City.

Ana Escobar, another victim, related how on March 26, 2006 an armed man entered the shoe repair shop where she worked, attempted to rape her, locked her in a bathroom, and then kidnapped her 6-month-old daughter Esther Zulamitha.

Olga López, whose daughter Arlene Escarleth disappeared on November 27, 2006, and Loyda Rodríguez, mother of Angielyn Lisset Hernández, kidnapped on November 3, 2006, also discussed their tragedies.

According to Cruz, these are just four of the hundreds of cases in which young, poor and unprotected [and mostly indigenous] women become victims of organized criminal gangs whose business it is to rob children to sell to foreigners [mostly from the United States] in adoption.

Cruz: "We have denounced dozens of adoption lawyers. The authorities take this information, but they don't do much to stop these crimes."

In December of 2007, the Guatemalan Parliament adopted the Law of Adoptions, authored by the National Council on Adoptions, an organization representing diverse sectors of society.

Guatemala's government was pressured into enacting the law after the Hague Conference on Private International Law declared in July, 2007 that Guatemala was the number one source country in the world for children given in adoption, where the legality of these adoptions are not guaranteed.

- Actualidad - Terra

Spain

May 5, 2008

See also:

LibertadLatina note:

Indigenous women and girls in Latin American countries face extreme violations of their human rights and dignity due to the continuation of 500 years of feudalism based on their sexual and labor exploitation.

Few human rights efforts address the dynamics of racism and sexism facing indigenous and African Descendent women in Latin America.  At LibertadLatina, active advocacy against such modern impunity is a large part of the focus of our work.

We remember them and all women and children facing oppression!

Happy Mothers Day!

- Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

May 11, 2008


Added Nov. 24, 2006

Guatemala, United States

 The killings of women and girls in Guatemala are rising at an alarming rate yet actions by the Guatemalan government to bring those responsible to justice are insufficient. A U.S. House Resolution condemning these brutal killings has been introduced... urging both the United States and Guatemalan Governments to do more to bring an end to this human rights scandal (H.RES.1081). Urge your Representative to sign on to this important resolution. Take action »

- Amnesty International
11-23-2006

See also:

Added Nov. 24, 2006

 Background information on the murders of women in Guatemala

Excerpt:

Background Information on Murders of Women in Guatemala

The prevalence of violence against women in Guatemala today has its roots in historical and cultural values which have maintained women’s subordination and which were most evident during the 36-year internal armed conflict that ended with the signing of the United Nations-brokered Peace Accords in 1996.  Of the estimated 200,000 people who "disappeared" or were extra-judicially executed during Guatemala’s internal armed conflict, a quarter of the victims were women.

The consequences of the internal armed conflict in terms of the destruction of communities, displacement, increased poverty and social exclusion has a bearing on levels of violence against women today as does the failure to bring to account those responsible for past human rights violations.

The majority of women killed in the past few years in Guatemala were: living in urban areas of the country, aged 18-30 and many were abducted in broad daylight.  Despite the lack of detailed forensic information, there is significant evidence to suggest that sexual violence, particularly rape, is a strong component characterizing many of the killings.  The brutality of the killings and signs of sexual violence, and often mutilation, bear many of the hallmarks of the terrible atrocities committed during the conflict that went unpunished and reveal that extreme forms of sexual violence and discrimination remain prevalent in Guatemalan society.

Facts

Guatemala has the highest murder rate in Latin America with approximately 44 murders per 100 000 inhabitants.

According to the Guatemalan Human Rights Ombudsman’s Office no arrests have been made in 97% of the killings of women and more that 70% of the cases have not been investigated.

- Amnesty International

 


Added Jan. 29, 2006

Guatemala

Getting Away With Murder: Guatemala’s Failure to Protect Women

A Mayan woman and girl walk on a public road carrying a machete in Guatemala.

 - Hastings Law School

The below excerpts are from a report by the Hastings College of Law of the University of California. 

This information describes some of the root causes of the worst environment for gender violence (rape and murder) among all of the nations of the  Americas in 2006.

Excerpts:

A 36-Year Legacy of Violence Against Women

During the [36 year Civil War, ending in 1996], agents of the state, including members of the Guatemalan military and the Civil Defense Patrols, used sexual violence as a weapon of war systematically and with complete Immunity.

Sexual assaults were so widespread in the [Mayan] highland combat zones that one local official commented that it would be difficult to find a Mayan girl of eleven to fifteen who had not been raped.

A generation of young men forcibly recruited to the army were indoctrinated in the use of sexual violence as a weapon. While the Peace Accords are long-since signed, the war against women seemingly continues, with the attitudes and practices of violence against women developed during the conflict persisting nearly ten years later.

Guatemalan Law and Crimes of Sexual Violence

Rape occurring within marriage is currently unrecog-nized as a crime.  Therefore, spouses and live-in partners cannot be prosecuted for such an act.  This serves to reinforce the idea that women have the obligation to sexually satisfy their husbands/ partners. 

An offender is released from criminal responsibility or from penalties for a crime of sexual violence [rape] if he marries his victim, as long as she is twelve or older. The stated legislative end of this practice is the restoration of a woman’s honor. Instead, it sentences a girl or woman to a lifetime with her rapist.

* Report - Web Page

* Report - PDF File

- University of California Hastings College of the Law - Center for Gender & Refugee Studies
November 2005

 


Added Jan. 28, 2006

Guatemala

Guatemalan Human Rights Commission -USA Analyses Femicide

Closeup of a community mural scene, showing a 1980's military massacre of women and children in the Mayan town of Comalapa, Guatemala.

From a short film by

Ian Ramsey North

The Guatemalan Human Rights Commission-USA has developed a campaign to end the brutal violence against women in Guatemala. The Guatemalan government is doing little to stem the violence, so the international community must make its voice heard...

The rule of law in Guatemala is steadily weakening. The judicial system barely functions; the police force is underpaid and under trained.

Perhaps the very horror and the astounding scope of [femicide] murders explain the silence and inaction of the Guatemalan government and the international community.

Hilda Morales, of Guatemala’s No Violence Against Women Network...

“Everyone knows about the murdered women of Juarez [City, Mexico], but it’s as if the case of the murdered women of Guatemala were being hushed up.’’

The US embassy [in Guatemala], for one, has not expressed particular concern.

Most women are raped and tortured before being killed, and their mutilated bodies are left in public places, to be found by members of their communities.

While about a third of the murders are related to domestic violence, investigations suggest a less personal pattern in the other cases.

Twenty-three police officers have been linked to ten of the murders, fueling the suspicion of many Guatemalan analysts that clandestine security forces linked to the police and to the army are murdering women with such brutality to foment political instability and a climate of terror. This intimidation may lead women to retreat from participation in public life, gained with so much effort, and limit themselves again to the private world, abandoning their indispensable role in national development.

The Guatemalan government, by omission, is complicit in the terror. The low priority the government gives the issue of femicidio is reflected in the scant resources it allocates to investigators and the almost complete absence of prosecution.

- "For Women's Right to Live Campaign"

Guatemalan Human Rights Commission/USA

Washington, DC

2005

Another mural massacre scene from Comalapa

LibertadLatina Commentary:

Over 500 women and young girls were brazenly murdered in Guatemala in 2005.  Almost nobody has been prosecuted.  The rate of female murders is 10 times higher than the rate facing femicide-burdened Juarez City, Mexico.

The Guatemalan Femicide represents a tragic convergence of many social ills.

These 'ills' include:

The ongoing legacy of the mass rape and murder of women during the 1980's-1990's Civil War, when 50,000 women were  murdered and most Mayan girls over age 7 were raped by government forces.

The influence of out of control gangs, or maras, & other criminals who run sexual slavery networks, who rape, kidnap and traffic not just in local women and girls but who also attack many of the thousands of Central and South American women and girls who must cross Guatemala while trying to reach 'economic and gender safety' in the U.S.

The existence of a historically 'traditional' racial hatred and apathy toward the plight of the mostly Mayan women and girls victims, who have been sexually violated in Latin American culture for 5 centuries as a 'matter of tradition.'

The silence in the face of these injustices by U.S. political leaders, in regard to discussing Guatemala's genocidal and femicidal past and present, largely because the Guatemalan perpetrators of mass-rape and mass-murder were strongly supported and funded during the 1980's and 1990's by most conservative U.S. leaders. 

This policy of silence exists in stark contra-diction to the moral values professed by Christian Conservatives, who are the strongest leaders of the modern anti-slavery movement.

This slow-motion, largely  anti-Indigenous and  misogynist femicidal massacre must be responded to  aggressively by people of moral conscience every-where, regardless of political persuasion.

Silence is also violence!

- LibertadLatina

Chuck Goolsby

January 28, 2006

See Also:

The untouchable narco-state: how
Guatemala's military defies the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

- Texas observer

Nov. 18, 2005

"Archives Of Terror" expose details of Operation Condor - In which 6 South American nations coordinated the torture and murder of their opponents.

- BBC News

June 08, 2005

The women of Rio Negro [the town of Black River], some of them pregnant, were dragged from their homes, forced to march to the top of a mountain, and there, along with their children, were raped, tortured and killed.

Ana, a survivor...

"The soldiers and (paramilitary civil defense) patrollers started grabbing the girls and raping us."

"Only two soldiers raped me because my grandmother was there to defend me. All the girls were raped."

In total, 177 women and children died that day [in 1982].

CERIGUA Weekly

Jennifer Harbury

DEC. 11, 1997

LibertadLatina Note:

The Guatemalan Truth Commission found that this nation's military had committed over 600 similar massacres, wiping out 440 Mayan towns during the early 1980's.  These acts, for which virtually nobody has gone to jail, were the root cause of today's femicide. 

Men who learned to kidnap, rape and murder women with complete impunity during the Civil War (when 50,000 women were murdered)... continue the same pattern of activity today, in 2006.

It is time for the U.S. Government to come clean, and denounce this femicide in the strongest terms, and act with conviction to aid Guatemala in stopping these crimes against humanity now!

- Chuck Goolsby

Jan. 29, 2006


Added Jan. 28, 2006

Guatemala

Peasants Wounded In Confrontation With Landowners Over The Unsolved Murder Of A Farm Labor Leader.

Protesters at Nueva Linda Farm Shot and Wounded.

Injusticia y Represion en Nueva Linda.

- Guatemalan Human Rights Commission/USA

Washington, DC

Jan. 22, 2006


Added Jan. 28, 2006

Guatemala

Forensic Anthropologists Receive Threats For Their Work To Exhume Murder Victims

Fredy Peccerelli, head of the  Guatemalan Forensic Anthro-pology Foundation (FAFG), his brother Gianni Peccerelli, his sister Bianka Peccerelli Monterroso and brother in law Omar Giron de Leon have all received death threats in recent days.  They may be in grave danger.

Fredy Peccerelli and other members of the FAFG have been subjected to numerous death threats as a result of their work to exhume mass graves of those killed by the Guatemalan military and their civilian adjuncts in the early 1980s. In 2002 the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) ordered that FAFG stafff receive
police protection. However, such protection has been inadequate, and at times non-existent.

Please send appeals to arrive as quickly as possible:
- expressing grave concern for the safety of the director and staff of the FAFG.

- Guatemalan Human Rights Commission/USA

(And - Amnesty Int'l)

Jan. 13, 2006


Added Jan. 28, 2006

Chule, United States

U.S. Returns Daughter Of Chilean Ex-Dictator Agosto Pinochet to Argentina.

Washington, DC - The eldest daughter of former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet has been sent back to Argentina, two days after she arrived in the United States after fleeing tax charges in Chile, a U.S. Homeland Security official said.  Shortly after withdrawing her request for political asylum in the United States, Lucia Pinochet, 60, was sent to Argentina -- the last country she was in before coming to the United States.

She and other family members were indicted Monday on charges of tax fraud, including failing to declare bank accounts overseas, and using false passports.

- CNN

Jan. 28, 2006


Added Jan. 27, 2006

Guatemala, El Salvador

Central American Nations Fight Youth Gang Violence.

Guatemalan President Oscar Berger

Suman 350 muertos por violencia en Guatemala.

Guatemala

Guatemala's wave of violence will be hard to control, stated the nation's president, Oscar Berger in a recent speech.  According to President Berger, 350 people have been killed during January, 2006 alone.

During a recent press conference President Berger said that youth gangs (maras) are responsible for the violence.

President Berger...

"There is a declared war.  The maras are better organized [than state security].  The rivalry between gangs is causing this cruel massacre of our Guatemalan brothers.  It is very difficult to control."

According to reports by rescue squads and the National Civil Police, during the weekend of January 21-22, 2006, 21 people were murdered, most of them members of the "Mara 18" gang.

In response to the violence, President Berger is planning to create 15,000 new jobs for youth.  Government officials will also meet with leaders of the rival gangs to try to negotiate an end to the violence.

President Berger...

"Our society should respond by offering help to these youth, who's maladjustment causes such inhuman acts."

El Salvador

Conservative Salvadoran president Elías Antonio Saca recently held a press conference to announce the arrests of 9 of the 15 suspects in the January 22, 2006 murders of 7 people at a soccer match.

Gang members had ordered 6 soccer players and fans to lie on the ground, and had shot them at point blank range.  The seventh victim was a gang member, who was apparently stabbed to death by angry onlookers in reaction to the massacre.

President Saca...

"I want to say to the Salvadoran People that my fight is against this type of crime.  I have never thought to let our guard down nor declare a 'vacation' in regard to the maras.  We must continue to apply the 'Super Hard Fist' to them."

In August, 2004 the National Civil Police developed a tough policy of crack-downs and long jail sentences to fight gang violence, known as the "Super Hard Fist."

- La Opinion Digital

Los Angeles, CA

Jan. 24, 2006

 

 

Added Jan. 20, 2006

Guatemala, United States

A Haverford College Student produces an Short Online Film on the Aftermath of the Guatemalan Genocide

Closeup of a mural scene of a military massacre of women and children from the Mayan town of Comalapa.

By Ian Ramsey North

Produced by dfelsen

Film description:

 "Haverford College student Ian Ramsey North visited Guatemala to look at how the country and people are coming to grips with Guatemala's brutal past when hundreds of thousands of people were massacred during the civil war."

- Ian Ramsey North

Jan. 12, 2005

Mayan War Widows Activist Carmen Cumez

LibertadLatina

Film Summary

A short film by Haverford College student Ian Ramsey North has provided insight into how Indigenous Mayan Guatemalans are coping with the legacy of genocide in their nation.

Ramsey North interviewed Carmen Cumez, founder of the National Coordination of Guatemalan Widows (Conavigua) - who's efforts have lead to a promise by the national government to make payments of $4 million per year to victims of state violence during the civil war.  Ms. Cumez described how her husband Felipe's last words to her in 1981 were, "Good-bye forever.  Take care of the children."  Felipe was then lead away by soldiers to by murdered. 

Ms. Cumez hopes to one day locate her husband's body, "to give him a Christian burial."

Approximately 200,000 mostly Mayan victims were murdered, mostly during between 1978 and 1983.  Approximately 50,000 of those victims were women.

The work of the Forensic Anthropology Foundation of Guatemala (FAFG), whch works closely with Conavigua was also filmed.  An FAFG team was followed as they excavated the body of a victim who's hands were still tied behind their back.  The body was found on an abandoned military base.
Excavations around the country are continuing.

A FAFI volunteer explained forensic evidence regarding a woman victim, who was forced to her knees and was then shot in the head. Evidence of her torture was also apparent.  FAFI has found 4,000 bodies, and has identified 60% of them through teeth and clothing being recognized by family members.

Many military and political officials continue to deny the facts of the genocide in Guatemala.

Ian Ramsey North's short film accurately portrays the trauma that continues to haunt the survivors of genocide in post-war Guatemala.

- LibertadLatina

Film Summary by

Chuck Goolsby

Jan. 21, 2006

See also:

Added Jan. 22, 2006

"Over the past four decades state sponsored terror left 200,000 people dead, ...200,000 orphans, and 40,000 widows. According to the Truth Commission, the army was responsible for 626 massacres."

- Global Visionaries

Added Jan. 22, 2006

The [Guatemalan] Maya are insisting on a proper accounting of what many consider an attempted genocide by the army and its paramilitary allies. They are also claiming a place at the political table and reasserting the validity of Mayan culture and languages.

- Business Week

Jan. 15, 2001


Added Jan. 14, 2006

Guatemala

Mayan woman grieves during the exhumation of victims of the 1970's through 1980's genocide and femicide in Quiche province, Guatemala

Viudas de Guatemala piden dignificar a víctimas de guerra.

The National Coordination of Guatemalan Widows (Conavigua), who's members survived the Guatemalan Civil War, will initiate its 2006 activities with the exhumation of a clandestine cemetery in the Mayan town of Joyabaj, where they expect to find the remains of 15 people.  Conavigua is asking the residents of Joyabaj to attend the exhumations in solidarity with the families of those who murdered at this site.

Conavigua asks that the national and international communities join with them to pressure the Guatemalan govern-ment to address the need for justice of the victims of the mass murders that took place during the 36 year civil war.

Conavigua and demands that law enforcement act to protect the lives of its members and the families of all victims of war related mass-murder, especially women, many of who have received death threats and mistreatment from forces that oppose their work.

- CIMAC Noticias

News for Women

Mexico City

Jan. 12, 2005

LibertadLatina Note:

These burial sites were created by Guatemalan Army soldiers and death squads to hide the victims of mass torture, rape and murder in the 1960's to 1980's 'civil' war.  Government soldiers, police and 'death squads' murdered 200,000 mostly Mayan victims, including 50,000 women, during the civil war.

See also:

Native Guatemala -

   Femicide & Genocide

"During the last forty years, the [Guatemalan] military has been levying a campaign of terrorism and genocide against... Mayas, in order to distribute native peoples' land among plantation owners."

 

 
Book section January 1st, 2006
Books on the Guatemalan Genocide

Guatemala - Eternal Spring - Eternal Tyranny - by Jean-Marie Simon

W. W. Norton & Company (December, 1987)

From a reviewer on Amazon.com:

"I ran across a used copy of this book before my first trip to Guatemala, and it radicalized me, preparing me for the devastating effects of the country's 35-year-long civil war. While the war is officially over, this book still has relevance to the plight Guatemala's indigenous population -- 90% of its people. It is remarkable that the author -- a woman, a photographer, a human rights activist, and a foreigner -- was able to get as close to her subjects as she did. This extremely moving photo-and-text essay is not for the faint of heart, but if you want a taste of what present-day Guatemalans have lived through, this book delivers it."

LibertadLatina commentary:

I first read "Guatemala - Eternal Spring - Eternal Tyranny" in the late 1980's. 

I had worked with advocacy groups in the U.S. to protest the mass-murder, mass rape and ethnic cleaning of the Mayan majority population in Guatemala for several years.  I highly recommend this book's powerful photography and story.

The Mayan girls pictured on the cover were participating in a Mayan cultural event.  What this close-up (of a larger picture shown within the book) does not show is the rows of heavily armed Guatemalan soldiers who lined the road that these girls walked on, grinning with their perverse smiles.

The Guatemalan military forces targeted almost all Mayan girls over the age of 7 for rape during the 1980's (see the below accounts).

In this book, author Jean-Marie Simon writes in this book that Guatemalan military cadets were REQUIRED, when going on leave in the capitol (Guatemala City) to bring back a woman's used underpants.  That is, these army officer corps cadets were encouraged by their superiors to commit rape while on leave.

- Chuck Goolsby

January 1st, 2006


Orbis Books releases English version of report on Guatemalan atrocities
By Barb Fraze - Catholic News Service(CNS)

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Orbis Books has released its English translation of last year's church-produced report documenting atrocities during Guatemala's civil war.

``This book is like a Holocaust Museum for the people of Guatemala,'' said Michael Leach, executive director of Orbis Books. At a Washington press conference Oct. 26, Leach said the book, "Guatemala: Never Again!'' documented ``a war of genocide against the Mayan people.'' The one-volume English translation is taken from four volumes issued by the Archdiocese of Guatemala human rights office's Recovery of the Historical Memory Project.

``We don't expect `Guatemala: Never Again!' to be a best seller,'' Leach told reporters gathered at the Longworth House Office Building. ``It wasn't written by Stephen King, but it's more horrible than anything he could write.'' The book, published in cooperation with the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Center for Human Rights, was abridged from the original Spanish and addresses the suffering of the population, how repression functioned, the consequences of repression, and demands for the future. It documents more than 400 massacres, thousands of murders, rapes and cases of torture.

The book is based on information gathered during the historical memory project. It is based on interviews with survivors, witnesses and even perpetrators of the abuses, most of which were carried out by the Guatemalan military. Roberto Cabrera, who coordinated the historical memory project, said that although ``presenting a work of literature is something that often is a work of joy,'' for his colleagues presenting ``Guatemala: Never again!'' was ``a moment of reclaiming the rights of the victims of Guatemala.'' One victim, Adriana Portillo-Bartow, who now lives in Chicago, told reporters at the press conference that her father, stepmother, sister-in-law, baby sister and two daughters were kidnapped and disappeared in 1981. Portillo-Barlow said that in 1997 she told her story to the archdiocesan project and to Guatemala's Historical Clarification Committee. ``I was in pain, and I was in fear, because I grew up in fear,'' Portillo-Barlow said, describing her testimony. ``Impunity runs rampant in my country,'' she said.

The former coordinator of the archdiocesan human rights office, the late Auxiliary Bishop Juan Gerardi Conedera of Guatemala City, issued the four Spanish volumes of ``Guatemala: Never Again!'' April 24, 1998, two days before he was bludgeoned to death outside his parish home.

Two prosecutors and a judge have resigned from the murder case, which remains unresolved. Bishop Gerardi's successor as head of the human rights office, Auxiliary Bishop Mario Enrique Rios Mont of Guatemala City, said the bishop's murder and other crimes will not be solved until there is ``absolute independence for this work'' and ``security for those involved.''

After the press conference, Bishop Rios told Catholic News Service that to resolve the case, Guatemala needed ``independence of the different powers in government.'' He said that with publication of ``Guatemala: Never Again!'' he hoped ``the entire world will become familiar with our reality.'' However, he added that he was ``a little fearful of what will happen'' now that the book has been released in English. ``Every action that we take always has its consequences,'' he said.

Adriana Portillo-Bartow is Director of the "Where Are the Children" project, which seeks to discover the whereabouts of Guatemalan children who disappeared during the war. In 1981, Portillo-Bartow's father, sister and two young daughters vanished without a trace.

 

Books on the Guatemalan genocide available from Amazon.com:

Resources from LANIC -Latin American Network Information Center - University of Texas, USA (Added here January 1, 2005)

Added Dec. 25, 2005

Bolivia, Guatemala and the 'Native Americas'

Bolivia's president-elect: Evo Morales

LibertadLatina commentary:

We, the 80 million Native peoples of the Americas have, since the European conquest 500 years ago, never had the right to govern ourselves.  Democracy has not existed, and in most countries Native people are seen as a justifiably exploitable group of inferior second class citizens.  The impunity that Native women face across the region is at the heart of much of today's crisis of mass sexual exploitation & slavery.

In Mayan Guatemala, for example, there had never been even one decade, between 1522 and 1992, without a massacre. 

Over 50,000 mostly Mayan women were murdered (out of a total of 200,000 such victims), and most Mayan girls were raped, by government forces in Guatemala during the 1970's and 1980s 'civil' war, with U.S. military support.

I personally know victims of this genocide, and I worked actively to stop it during the 1970's and 1980's.

The wife of one of the perpetrators (who now traffics in women and underage girls from Guatemala to the U.S.), told me that her husband, a former member of the presidential guard [which doubled as the government death squad], said to her:

"Me daba lastima tener que malograr a las mujers"

(I felt bad to have to damage the women [that is, kidnap, rape, torture and murder innocent women by the hundreds]).  

(This murder's grand-father, a white land-owner, would go out and 'shoot a few Mayans' in the village at the edge of his ranch lands when-ever he got mad and wanted to let off some steam.  Such is the power of impunity in racist Guatemala.)

Unlike the cases of mass-rape and murder in Bosnia, Kosovo and Rwanda, no World Court ever took action in the case of the 1980's genocide in Guatemala, and nobody ever went to jail, as if these Native lives were explicitly less human and thus not deserving of justice.

The current crisis of femicide in Guatemala, which claimed more than 500 female lives in 2005 (which murders are rarely investigated), is a direct outgrowth of the government's past use of femicide and mass-rape as tools of state terrorism aimed at preventing the Mayan majority from exercising their political rights.

Guatemala's population is 60% Mayan.

Bolivian Teens rescued from prostitution.

Bolivia is even more heavily indigenous than Guatemala.  Although Bolivia has avoided genocidal massacres, labor and social protesters, such as those in the Christmas Massacre in 1996, and the Cochabamba Water Revolt in 1998-2003, have routinely been killed in confrontations with authorities. 

Like Guatemala, Bolivia has not allowed the Indigenous majority to rule for over 400 years.

About 85% of Bolivia is of Native ancestry, with 55% being purely Aymara or Quechua, descendents of the empire of the Inca.  Bolivians deserve self determination, and their democratic process has provided that, finally, to them.

President Morales is joined in his unique status by his neighbor, Peru's president, Quechua tribal member Alejandro Toledo, who describes himself as the first Native president in the Americas in last 500 years.

We encourage President Morales to accelerate Bolivia's efforts to expand opportunities for women and girls, and to remove machismo, sexual exploitation and trafficking as dangers to women's lives.  Campesino liberation must mean women & girl's liberation too.

We fully expect that, despite disagreements with President Morales' views, the Western Powers will respect democracy and Native political self determination. 

We will not tolerate violations of our basic human rights of self determination and human dignity!  Five hundred years of disenfranchise-ment, racial genocide and femicide is enough!

- Chuck Goolsby

Dec. 25 - Jan. 1, 2005


Added Dec. 18, 2005

Guatemala, Peru, Argentina

Guatemala - For the first time DNA testing will be used on a broad scale to help solve the [mass] murders that took place during the "dirty wars" in Central and South America.

The researchers at the Forensic Anthropology Foundation of Guatemala hope the testing will provide key pieces of evidence needed to punish those responsible for massacres during the armed conflict there, that claimed some 200,000 lives.

The U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee has ear-marked $3 million for DNA analysis of skeletons exhumed from clandestine grave sites in Guatemala, Argentina and Peru.

Sen. Patrick Leahy, a Democrat from Vermont who spearheaded the effort to fund the DNA testing...

"This is important for the families of those who were killed or disappeared, as well as for the cause of international justice."

"By exposing the truth about what happened we can help prevent future atrocities."

Many of the dead were massacred in [Mayan] villages. The majority were victims of government forces according to the country's Truth Commission report, which was released after the war ended with U.N.-brokered peace accord in 1996.

Fredy Peccerelli, the director of the Forensic Anthro-pology Foundation of Guatemala has received death threats because of his work.  He hopes the new genetic testing initiative will lead to more rigorous investigation of crimes past and present [that is, femicide] in a nation with one of the highest murder rates in Central America.

Peccerelli

"Only about 5 percent of homicide investigations in Guatemala use scientific evidence.  I hope this begins to show prosecutors and judges that to catch those responsible, we now have better tools."

- Reuters

Dec. 14, 2005


Added Dec. 04, 2005

Femicide in Guatemala

Photo: BBC, UK

Guatemala

“¡Cuidado: zona de peligro para las mujeres!”

 En Guatemala, cuando cientos de activistas iniciaban una marcha de protesta contra la violencia sexista, en el marco del Día Internacional “No Más Violencia Contra las Mujeres”, apareció el cuerpo de una mujer asesinada. Las organizaciones de mujeres han reprobado a las instituciones de justicia, acusándolas de ser cómplices de estos asesinatos.

“Warning! Danger Zone for Women!”

 In Guatemala, when hundreds of activists initiated a protest march against sexist violence, to mark the International Day Against Gender Violence, the body of yet another woman victim appeared. 

Women's groups have reproached the criminal justice system, accusing them of being accomplices in these murders.

According to women's networks, 580 women have been murdered in [the first 11 months of] 2005.  The government puts the figure at 474 victims.

Police Impunity

An investigation conducted by the  Guatemalan Institute for Comparative Penal Sciences, in collaboration with international organizations, studied the cases of 154 women in Santa Teresa Prison, which houses 90% of all female inmates in Guatemala.

The study found that 99% of the women interviewed had been raped, sexually harassed and/or tortured by officers of the National Civil Police (PNC).  

Some 84% of these women were detained without an arrest warrant, according to Lucía Morán, coordinator of the study.

More information on this penal study is available from Lucía  Moran via e-mail at: moranvas@hotmail.com.

- MujeresHoy.com

Dec. 01, 2005

The 'femicide' murder rate in Guatemala is 10 times higher than the rate of femicide murders in the Mexican border city of Juarez. 

Government apathy, and police / military participation in rape, torture and Femicide began during the Guatemalan Civil War in the 1980's, when approximately 50,000 of the 200,000 civilian victims of state condoned murders were women.  Most Mayan girls over age  7 were raped by government forces.

Today's violence is an aftermath to the 1980's anti-Mayan genocide / femicide.

Amnesty International on the 1980's civil war:

"Guatemalan women, some of them pregnant & many of them indigenous, were subjected to a horrifying range of human rights violations by the Guatemalan police and army."

"One woman who was detained for almost a month in an army base in Rabinal, told ...how she was raped over 300 times in front of her father who had been tied up and held in the same room."


LibertadLatina

Photo: Reuters

Sección Especial de Nóticias Sobre el Disastre del Huracán Stan.

Special Section on Hurricane Stan Disaster News

October, 2005


Guatemala, El Salvador, Southern Mexico

Early October, 2005

Recent floods from Hurricane Stan, a level 5.8 earthquake and a volcanic eruption have disrupted the lives of over 2 million people in Central America and Mexico.

Indigenous communities in Chiapas, Mexico and in Guatemala have been especially hard-hit by the effects of Hurricane Stan.

They need our help today!

Guatemala


Stan Aftermath:

A man carries his daughter, who died from a lack of medical attention.

Photo: AP


  Guatemalan Mayan woman leader and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Rigoberta Menchu, who has been appointed as Guatemala's Goodwill Ambassador by President Oscar Berger, has just finished a tour of the United States.

She spoke seriously about the genocide that occurred there in the 1980s leaving 200,000 dead and many more tortured, raped, homeless, orphaned or illegally imprisoned.

Now, Guatemalans are coming together in a new time of tragedy, as torrential rains and flooding connected to Hurricane Stan have caused devastating mudslides throughout the country.

- University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee Post

Oct. 19, 2005

See also:

Menchú: Society is ailing - Rigoberta Menchu speaks at Cosumnes River College.

Sacramento Bee California

Oct. 22, 2005


Guatemala's government failed to plan for Stan floods.  Also, Guatemala's Army was barred from providing rescue aid by Mayan residents of the mudslide affected town of Panabaj, which suffered massacres during the 1980's anti-Mayan genocide.

 - AlertNet.org

Oct. 17, 2005

See also:

A Guatemalan Indian community, haunted by a government-sponsored massacre during the country's brutal civil war, refused soldiers' help in recovering those killed in a week of flooding and mudslides and conducted its own searches instead.

 - Associated press

Oct. 10, 2005


Nils Kastberg, director regional para América Latina y el Caribe del Fondo de Naciones Unidas para la Infancia (UNICEF), visitó varias zonas devastadas por el Huaracán Stan en Guatemala.

Nils Kastberg, Latin American and Caribbean representative for UNICEF, visited areas of Guatemala affected by Hurricane Stan.  Kastberg emphasized the importance of providing psycho-social services to children, who after Stan are extremely vulnerable.

 - PrensaLatina.com

Oct. 17, 2005

Disease threatens survivors of Guatemala mudslide.

 - Reuters

Oct. 16, 2005


La mitad de los damnificados que dejó el huracán Stan en su paso por Guatemala son niños.

Half of those left homeless and in need by Hurricane Stan in Guatemala are children.

 - BBCMundo.com

Oct. 15, 2005


Las lluvias dejaron 1,200 huérfanos.

1,200 children have had one or both parents killed as a result of Hurricane Stan.

 - ElSalvador.com

Oct. 15, 2005


Food crisis feared in rain-battered Guatemala.

  - Reuters
October 13, 2005


Casa Alianza rescues a young Guatemalan girl twice: first from sexual exploitation and then from the dangers of Hurricane Stan.

Casa Alianza:

"This situation is expected to worsen the problems of crime and violence in Guatemala.

...As is always the case, the most vulnerable population is children."

  - Casa Alianza
October 13, 2005


See Also:

Crisis-Guatemala


Guatemala

More Impunity!

© AFP

Two Indigenous Children Grieve Upon Learning of Their Mother's Murder. 

Guatemala's population is 60% Mayan.

Added Sep. 21 2005

Se incrementa feminicidio en Guatemala.

Femicide Continues to Rise in Guatemala.

The latest statistics regarding the femicide in Guatemala indicate that as of September, 2005, the female murder rate jumped 26.3% from 2004 levels.

From January to September of 2004, 336 women were murdered.  During the same period in 2005, the figure was 458 victims killed.

Andrea Barrios, of the Center for Legal Action in Human Rights (CALDH) said:

"The state has not provided an environment of safety for women, which is reflected in these high rates of murder."

Soraya Long, the director of The Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL) indicated that 'it is important that women's rights groups keep up the pressure on the Guatemalan government, which has been dismissive of the issue of femicide.'

Long:

"Impunity in government entities has caused the Citizenry to loose faith in the system of justice."

Hilda Morales, ambassador of conscience of Amnesty International stated:

"The indifference of the state in the face of this outrage defiles the memory of the victims and affects the dignity of their families, who have to face the corruption of government agencies when they seek justice."

According to monitoring of press reports on murders by the Cerigua agency, femicide victims are most often shot, and they are typically between 18 & 40 years old.

- CimacNoticias

Sep.14, 2005


Added Sep. 17 2005

Foto - Paco Rodríguez-VDG

Diputada Guatemalteca denuncia situación de la mujer.

Galicia ['Spain'] - During a Sep. 13, 2005 visit to the headquarters of the Galician National Block (BNC), Guatemalan Congressional Deputy Alba Maldonado denounced conditions for women across Latin America.

Since 1960 Deputy Maldonado has been an leader in activism against murder and for human rights.

Accompanied by Ana Miranda, European spokes-person for the BNC, Deputy Maldonado stated that between 2001 and August 15, 2005, 1,897 women have been murdered in Guatemala. Only 5 cases had been resolved by the government.  According to the National Police, 436 women have been murdered to date [in the first 9 months] of 2005.

Maldonado explained the historical context of the problem:

"We freed our-selves of a [civil]war that lasted 36 years; the peace accords were never honored by the government; nobody [human rights violators] ever went to trial; and we continue with the 'culture of death' - which is reflected by these statistics."

Maldonado went on to state that there are differences in how women and men are murdered in Guatemala:

"Women are murdered after being tortured, dismembered, and, of course, raped."

Maldonado's political party, the Guatemalan National Revolutionary Unity attributes weak government investigations to the continuing wave of impunity.

On September 15 Deputy Maldonado presented a complaint against the Guatemalan government's inaction to a meeting of Spain's parliament in Madrid.  Its essence:

"It isn't logical that, in a nation of 12 million inhabitants, 2 million are armed."

LibertadLatina Note:

Deputy Alba Maldonado's analysis is a 100% accurate description of the root causes of a femicide that today causes 10 times more deaths of women than the Juarez, Mexico femicide crisis.

See Also:

Juarez Femicide


Added Oct. 15, 2005

Published June 17, 2005

Niñas continuan siendo víctimas de Explotación Sexual.  Casa Alianza: Esta vez fueron rescatadas dos niñas Guatemaltecas y una Hondureña, en un bar en la zona 12 de la ciudad de Guatemala.

(Thre young girls are rescued by Casa Alianza from a bar/brothel in Guatemala City.)

 

June 20 2005

Florida

 A 16 Year Old Mayan Girl from Guatemala, Previously Freed  by Police From 'Coyotes' (People Smugglers) Who Had Kidnapped Her... Hung Herself at Her Family Home in Boynton Beach. She Could Not Stand Her  'Torment,' Which She Had Not Shared with Family Members.


June 20 2005

Guatemala

 A Coast Guard Patrol Detained 17 Female and 65 Male Migrants from Ecuador.  182 Ecuadorian Migrants Have been Intercepted in Guatemalan Waters in 2005.


Stories From the NBC/ Telemundo TV Network Program 'Al Rojo Vivo.'


Added June 10, 2005

 "In Guatemala, a small country not long emerged from three decades of civil war, women and girls are being murdered faster than anyone in authority can cope."

"Deborah Tomas Vineda, aged 16, was kidnapped, raped, and cut to pieces with a chainsaw, allegedly because she refused to become the girlfriend of a local gang member.

Her sister Olga, just 11 years old, died alongside her.

The raped and mutilated body of Andrea Contreras Bacaro, 17, was found wrapped in a plastic bag and thrown into a ditch, her throat cut, her face and hands slashed, with a gunshot wound to the head.

The word "vengeance" had been gouged into her thigh.

Sandra Palma Godoy, 17, said to have witnessed a killing in her home town, was missing for a week before her decomposing body was found next to a local football pitch.

Her breasts, eyes and heart had been mutilated, reports said."

- BBC News

 

Added June 10, 2005

Also from BBC News:

 Timeline: Guatemala
12 Mar 2005

Added June 10, 2005

 "We have the right to a life without Violence!" - Femicide in Guatemala.


Added March 19, 2005

Human Rights Defender Sara Poroj and staff of the human rights organization Grupo de Apoyo Mutuo (GAM), Group of Mutual Support have been intimidated and threatened to stop work to exhume secret mass graves of victims of 699 anti-Mayan massacres during the 1980s to 1990s Civil War.


Added February 9, 2005

Guatemalan Human Rights Commission

Begins "Defend Women's Right to Live!" Campaign

A March 6-14, 2005 U.S. based delegation is being formed to Demand that Guatemala's Government end the murder of women with Impunity! 

Over 1,200 women have been murdered Since 2001.

In 2004, 527 women were killed, (a 28% Increase).


Massacre at Acteal

Commemorating the 7th Anniversary of the Murder of 45 Mayan Women, Children and Men in Chiapas, Mexico.


Added Jan. 30, 2006

February 2004 - Guatemala's new conservative president apologizes for wartime deaths February

Guatemala City - Guatemala's new president asked forgiveness on Wednesday for the state's role in the country's long civil war, but stopped short of calling the widespread wartime killings of Mayan Indians genocide. Oscar Berger, who took office last month, said he was asking forgiveness from "every one of the victims' relatives for the suffering that came from that fratricidal conflict." About 200 000 people were killed in Guatemala's 36-year civil war, which pitted Marxist guerrillas against a series of right-wing governments and ended with peace accords in 1996. Most of the victims were Mayan Indian peasants, many killed in massacres during army or paramilitary sweeps through rural areas.Berger, a conservative businessman, pledged $9-million to compensate civilians who lost relatives and property in the conflict. He said the amount was "important but insufficient" and promised more funds when state finances were more stable. Berger made his comments at a ceremony in the national palace on the fifth anniversary of a UN-backed "truth commission" report that concluded the army targeted Maya Indians in "scorched-earth" tactics to isolate rebel groups.

Hundreds of civil war survivors demonstrated in the streets outside the palace on Wednesday to demand the government accept the truth commission's conclusion the civilian deaths amounted to genocide. "It is impossible to re-launch the peace agreements without taking into account the truth commission recommendations, including justice for genocide," said Christina Laur, deputy director of the rights group Caldh. The Caldh group is leading efforts to build criminal cases against senior military officers, including former dictator Efrain Rios Montt, for crimes against humanity.

The new government's head of security and defense, Otto Perez Molina, himself a retired general, denied genocide had taken place in Guatemala. "There was no genocide because there was no attempt to exterminate a race. This was a battleground for the United States and Russia, and communism against capitalism. We provided the dead and they provided the ideology," he said.

- Reuters

Feb. 23, 2004

December 6, 2003

Murder wave targets Guatemalan women, girls

A huge bundle of official papers sits on the desk of Sandra Zayas, a criminal investigator in Guatemala City.

...These documents tell the story of a wave of brutal and sadistic murders which is terrifying Guatemala's female population.

Since 2001, more than 700 women and young girls have been killed in apparently motiveless attacks. So far this year more than 250 bodies have been found.... Despite making a number of arrests, police have been unable to stop the killings.

 

Forensic Anthropologists Threatened in Guatemala.

- The American Academy for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)

Mar. 21, 2002

 
 
2 - Special Coverage of Guatemala
 

Indigenous Women and children in Guatemala  experienced one of the most horrendous acts of genocide in the modern Americas during the 1970s and 1980s.

Guatemala, and its leading Mayan human Rights advocate Rigoberta Menchu Tum today continue to face anti-indigenous repression.

Rigoberta Menchu   


Guatemala - September 5, 2003

Mayan Nobel Prize Winner Rigoberta Menchu intimidated and attacked in Guatemala.

Dear Activist,

Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Rigoberta Menchu Tum and her relative, Francisco Menchu, who works for the human rights group the Rigoberta Menchu Tum Foundation (FRMT) in Guatemala, have been intimidated and attacked. Amnesty International is concerned for all staff at the Foundation in the capital, Guatemala City.

The FRMT, which works for the protection of human rights and the rights of indigenous people, was established by Rigoberta Menchu Tum after she won the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1992. The FRMT has been working since December 1999 to prosecute a number of former Guatemalan officials for genocide and other crimes against humanity. As a result of its human rights work, the FRMT has constantly experienced serious persecution and harassment.

More information is available at: http://www.amnestyusa.org


Added on December 11, 2004

Information on this harassment campaign In Spanish:

Human Rights Organizations Express Support for Ms. Rigoberta Menchu Tum. 

La señora Menchú Tum recibió insultos, amenazas, empujones y escupitajos, sin que agentes de la Policía Nacional Civil, apostados en el interior de la CC, hicieran nada por controlar a los agresores. Al igual que en otras ocasiones, la pasividad de las fuerzas de seguridad fue cómplice de los atacantes en una situación que pudo haber tenido consecuencias trágicas.

 


These materials added on December 18, 2004

 

  Lat Guatemala Murders Prey on Women 12-06-2003.htm

 

These materials added on December 11, 2004


 

Campana Nacional Contra la Discriminacion y el Racismo en Guatemala (National Camapign Against Racism in Guatemala - in Spanish).


Human rights groups protest anti-indigenous discrimination in Guatemala.  A K'iche Mayan Woman, Ms. Irma Alicia Velásquez Nimatuj was denied entry-to and service-at a Guatemala City Restaurant on June 5, 2002.

En Español

Denuncia Publica Nacional e Internacional - NO AL RACISMO y la Discriminacion.



Read about the life of Rigoberta Menchu.

Native Indians in Guatemala had no rights of citizenship, which were restricted to people of Spanish descent and were, therefore, vulnerable to abuses by those in power. When the military-led government and the wealthy plantation owners started taking Indian-occupied lands by force, Rigoberta's father, Vincente, became a leader in the peasant movement opposing this action. He began a series of petitions and then, protests, to secure these lands for the indigenous people who had been living on them until now. He was arrested and imprisoned many times for his activities.

In 1979, Rigoberta's sixteen-year-old brother, Petrocinio, was kidnapped by soldiers, tortured and burned alive while his family watched. In 1980, Vincente, along with thirty-eight other Indian leaders, died in a fire at the Spanish embassy, while protesting violations of Indian human rights abuses. Rigoberta's mother, also a leader in her community and a healer, was kidnapped, raped, tortured and killed the following year.

Rigoberta was likewise active in her father's movement, the United Peasant Committee. She was wanted by the Guatemalan government, but after her mother's death, she fled to Mexico. While in Mexico, she dictated her autobiography, I...Rigoberta Menchu (1984), telling the world not only her own story, but also about the lives of her fellow Indians.

In 1992, Rigoberta Menchu was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. She used the $1.2 million cash prize to set up a foundation in her father's name to continue the fight for human rights of the indigenous people. Due to her effort, the United Nations declared 1993 the International Year for Indigenous Populations.


 
Background on Rigoberta Menchu and the anti-Mayan genocide that took place in Guatemala in the late 1970's and throughout the 1980's.

The following excerpt from Jorge Rogachevsky's review of Rigoberta Menchu and the Story of
All Poor Guatemalans
effectively rebuts, in our opinion, the widespread criticism-of and efforts to discredit the work of Rigoberta Menchu.

During the early 1980's I read dozens of accurate news reports for a local radio news program in Washington, DC regarding the repeated massacres of entire villages of Mayan peoples in Guatemala.  A total of 440 Mayan villages and towns were completely destroyed by Guatemala's armed forces in an ethnically motivated genocidal  war against the 60% majority Mayan population.  I also participated in numerous demonstrations before the U.S. Congress demanding an end to the genocide.  Congress did finally vote an aid cutoff.

Rigoberta Menchu's activism, her writings and her receipt of the Nobel Peace Prize were pivotal to bringing world attention to bear on the mass-rape and mass-murder with impunity of over 100,000 Mayan people based solely upon their ethnicity.

This act of ethnic cleansing has never been held to account in the world's legal systems.  Rigoberta Menchu and her foundation are working constantly to demand that the war criminals involved be brought to justice.  Rigoberta Menchu and her staff are subjected to constant threats and attacks as a result of their ongoing demands for justice.

We at LibertadLatina.org unequivocally support the important work of Rigoberta Menchu, 100%.

- Chuck Goolsby


"For the United States, it is important that I state clearly that the support for military forces or intelligence units which engaged in violent and widespread repression ... was wrong." 

President Bill Clinton

March 10, 1999


Rigoberta Menchu and the Story of
All Poor Guatemalans

By David Stoll Westview Press; 336 pp.
Review by Jorge Rogachevsky
http://www.zmag.org/ZMag/articles/menchu2.htm


Jorge Rogachevsky teaches Spanish and
Latin America Studies at St. Mary's College
of Maryland, and has published numerous
essays on Central American and Caribbean
writers. During 1993-94 he was a Fulbright
Fellow in Guatemala.


...What then should be made of Stoll's account?
First, let me say that I strongly urge people to
read Stoll's book since it raises challenges that
anyone concerned about the development of
truly representative societies in Latin America
needs to consider. A word of caution: The level
of detail that Stoll engages in creates a maze of
information that will no doubt overwhelm any
reader who is not well versed in the vicissitudes
of recent Guatemalan history. This could have
the unhappy result of generating a knee jerk
embrace or rejection of Stoll's account not on
the basis of understanding the issues involved,
but rather on the basis of personal prejudice.

With this in mind, the present review hopes to
make a contribution to the debate by
responding in order to the five elements of
Stoll's critique.

First, to Stoll's claims of biographical inaccuracy
in the Menchu text, one can respond simply, "So
what?" Perhaps the English language title is
misleading to some readers. The Menchu text is
not an autobiography; it is a testimony, which is
an established genre within Latin American letters.
The testimonial text uses the image of a prototypic
person in order to convey an experience
characteristic of a major social group that is
marginalized by a dominant group. At the beginning of the Menchu text we read the evocation of a characteristic testimonial subject, "My story is the story of all poor Guatemalans. My personal experience is the reality of a whole people" (Burgos-Debray, Verso, 1984, 1). It is from these lines that Stoll derives the title to his book. The testimonio does not depend primarily on
biographical accuracy, but rather on the
authenticity of its constructed subject. Does the
Menchu text construct an authentic subject?
According to Stoll, it does: "There is no doubt
about the most important points: that a dictatorship massacred thousands of indigenous peasants, that the victims included half of Rigoberta's immediate family, that she fled to Mexico to save her life, and that she joined a revolutionary movement to liberate her country. On these points, Rigoberta's account is beyond challenge and deserves the attention it
receives."

In this regard it is not that important if Rigoberta
was illiterate and did not speak Spanish, because in fact the great majority of Indian women living in
villages in Guatemala are illiterate and at best speak a few words of Spanish. Is it really critical if
Rigoberta's brother was burnt to death by the
Guatemalan army, as her text indicates, or whether his body was burnt after he had been shot dead by the same army, as some of Stoll's informants claim?

I am personally not troubled by the possible
"inaccuracy" here; having carried out many interviews in the Ixcan region of Guatemala, according to my informants the practice of burning people alive--often whole groups of people crowded into churches or community halls was far from uncommon on the pelt of the Guatemalan army. Regarding this there are also ample published materials. Stoll's second argument is more troubling. According to him the image of land hungry peasants struggling with lading
landowners to keep hold of a piece of land to eke
out a meager existence is not accurate. To challenge this notion Stoll analyzes the land struggles that Rigoberta Menchu's father, Vicente Menchu, had been involved in before his untimely death during an occupation of the Spanish Embassy in Guatemala City in 1980. According to Stoll, Vicente Menchu is not a destitute landless peasant who must send his family to work in sugar plantations on the coast and who dies because of his struggles against lading landowning oligarchs. Instead, we see an image of Menchu as an entrepreneurial farmer whose main conflicts are with other Indians, in particular members of his wife's extended family, and who dies because he was protesting the disappearance of his son, Petrocinio.

...If it is true that the Guatemalan civil war was, in
terms of human lives, a tremendously costly historical process; if it is true that the guerrilla movement must bear some of the responsibility for the horrors of this period; if it is furthermore true that the insurrectional victory that the left was hoping to achieve in the early 1980s did not come about; it is still no less true that the civil war has led to the opening up of a political space for the majority of Guatemalans to assert themselves in ways that were unthinkable throughout the entire previous history of that country. In this process Rigoberta Menchu Tum has played a very
significant role as a spokesperson for the indigenous community. If we wished to adduce first causes for the recent genocidal experience in Guatemala (always a dangerous exercise) it seems more than curious that according to Stoll this first cause should be laid at the feet of the revolutionary left in Latin America. It seems
much more appropriate, especially since Stoll's
account emanates from the U.S., to indict the U.S. for the overthrow of a left liberal reformist government in Guatemala in 1954. And this is not, as many would claim, ancient history. It happened within my own and Stoll's lifetime. Neither does it suffice, as some might attempt, to apologetically intone that mistakes were made, but that was in the past (think more recently of El Salvador, Nicaragua, Panama). The result of U.S.
policy towards Latin America has been and continues to be a lengthy catalogue of atrocities. 

Those of us who make our living studying and explaining Latin America from within U.S. academe should at least have the small courage to bring this particular message home in a way that hopefully at some point may make a difference for all of those who have suffered and died in significant measure because of U.S. support--
overt and clandestine--of murderous regimes
throughout Latin America.

The systematic rape of indigenous Mayan women and girls during Guatemala's 1980's Civil War

Indigenous Guatemala -- 1997 article -- Fifteen years ago, the women of Rio Negro [the town of Black River], some of them pregnant, were dragged from their homes, forced to march to the top of a mountain, and there, along with their children, were raped, tortured and killed.

"The soldiers and the (paramilitary civil defense) patrollers started grabbing the girls and raping us," recalls Ana, one of a handful of survivors of the massacre. "Only two soldiers raped me because my grandmother was there to defend me. All the girls were raped."

In total, 177 women and children died that day. The village, one of the most far flung of Rabinal municipality in Baja Verapaz province [Guatemala], disappeared.

From: CERIGUA Weekly Briefs,, No. 48, DEC. 11, 1997 By: Jennifer Harbury

  


Indigenous Guatemala -- 1998 article -- An award winning Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) radio news article on the Rio Negro massacre in Guatemala.

Jesus Curozori is 26 years old - dark, short and slim, with blue jeans and Reebok running shoes. The widows speak to him with a respect not merited by his years. That’s because Jesus Curozori is a survivor of a massacre. It also happened 16 years ago, in the nearby hamlet of Rio Negro.

  • CLIP: (Jesus) They went house to house and tied up all the women. Then they made us walk up the mountain. There were 70 women and 107 children. The army hit the women and they hit me as well while I was trying to carry my baby brother.... At the top of the hill, the civil patrollers started to rape the young girls. Then they began to kill the women. At first they didn’t let us see what was happening - they made us keep our face to the ground. But we heard when the women were choking (pause). Anyone who tried to run away, they shot with pistols.

  • CLIP: (La Rue) Often times people today still feel we exaggerate out stories - it happened with the Holocaust in the Second World War - people say they are exaggerations. It takes a witness. And I think Jesus’ testimony brings it very clearly to blood and flesh.

  • CLIP: (Jesus) My small brother needed to go to the bathroom. So we went into the bush. That’s when I ran into a soldier raping a young girl. So the soldier yelled at me "go back right now". When we came out of the bush I came out right where a civil patroller was killing a women. He took his machete and struck twice on her back. And then he cut the woman’s throat.


Casa-Alianza's work with Guatemalan massacre victims

Bruce Harris' Casa-Alianza is among the organizations working even now, 20 years after the fact, to reunite family members who were kidnapped or otherwise displaced when the mass rapes and mass murders took place against indigenous Guatemalans.

From Casa-Alianza: Guatemala: Interview with Adriana Portillo Barto.

http://www.casa-alianza.org/EN/about/offices/guatemala/barto.shtml

The daughters of Adriana Portillo Barto were kidnapped and "disappeared" by Guatemalan security forces in 1981, they were just 9 and 10 years old. Adriana recently returned to Guatemala in order to continue her search for her children whose lives she hopes were spared by the authorities.

 
From: The 2002 Global Report on Gender Violence of the Reproductive Health for Refugees Consortium: http://www.rhrc.org/resources/gbv/gbvlamerica.pdf

Women in Guatemala lived under a pervasive threat of sexual violence during the country's long civil war.  Sexual violence was commonly used by counterinsurgency forces during the 1980s: women were kidnapped, tortured, and raped by the military.  A 1982 study cited by researcher Virginia Rich found that the overwhelming fear of most female Guatemalan refugees was that of being raped.  Perpetrators acted with relative impunity, committing sexual assaults that were so widespread in the highland [mountain] combat zones one local official commented that it would be difficult to find a Maya girl of eleven to fifteen who had not been raped."

  


President Bill Clinton

CNN - Facing anti-U.S. protests over deportations, President Clinton admitted Wednesday to Guatemalans that U.S. support for "widespread repression" in their bloody 36-year civil war was a mistake.

"For the United States, it is important that I state clearly that the support for military forces or intelligence units which engaged in violent and widespread repression ... was wrong," Clinton said as he began a round-table discussion on Guatemala's search for peace.

"The United States must not repeat that mistake. We must and we will instead continue to support the peace and reconciliation process in Guatemala," he said on the third day of a Central American tour.

CNN report - Clinton says U.S. did wrong in Central American Wars - March 10, 1999

  


Indigenous Guatemala -- 2002 -- Tens of thousands of women and girls, many of them indigenous Mayans, face persistent discrimination and other abuses working in Guatemala's export sector and as maids and servants in private homes, according to a report released... by Human Rights Watch (HRW).

[They] often suffer sexual harassment and even assaults, said the report, which cites the cases of 29 domestic workers, of whom one third said they had been harassed sexually during their work. Mayan girls and women are particularly susceptible to verbal and emotional abuse, even from children, as a result of the racism that pervades much of Guatemala's non-Indian, or ladino, population, according to the report. 

Guatemalan Women Face Discrimination and Abuse in Job Market Feb 12, 2002 - Jim Lobe,OneWorld US

 
Guatemala

Sexual harassment of domestic workers, especially indigenous workers, has been identified as a "widespread phenomenon" throughout Latin America.

..."The men of the house appropriated the bodies of these women, and this continues in the present day," according to Amanda Pop Bol, a psychologist and researcher.

[Note: This exploitation also targets Latina and especially indigenous Latina domestics across the United States.

 

 

  Women and girls in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala
 View Amnesty International's Guatemala Issues Page
 
  Back to Index
 

.

 

   

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Updated: March 14, 2011


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Key new special sections
About the crisis of forced prostitution of minor girls and young women in the largest center for organized sex trafficking in Mexico: Tlaxcala state.

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Added: Mar. 14, 2012

Mexico / Argentina

Former Argentine spy Raúl Luis Martins Coggiola has been accused by his adult daughter, Lorena Martins, of running a sex trafficking ring based in Cancun, Mexico.

El “caso Martins”, al Congreso de la Unión

La Comisión Especial de Lucha contra la Trata de Personas de la Cámara de Diputados del Congreso de la Unión, solicitó la expulsión de Raúl Luis Martins Coggiola del país, debido a que significa un riesgo para la sociedad mexicana su presencia por lucrar con seres humanos.

La titular de la comisión, Rosi Orozco, afirmó que es urgente concretar la expulsión del país del ciudadano argentino Raúl Luis Martins al señalar que esta persona junto con un socio "está lucrando con seres humanos", por lo que es necesario que las autoridades mexicanas investiguen a fondo su presunta participación como líder de una red de trata de personas en Cancún y la Riviera Maya...

La legisladora federal explicó que "es urgente que las autoridades tomen cartas en el asunto, pues no entiendo cómo pueden no darse cuenta que el mismo abogado que defendió a Succar Kuri es quien ha estado defendiendo a este señor", puntualizó. Indicó que el asunto debe ser investigado de manera exhaustiva ya que se tiene una procuradora comprometida contra la trata de personas, a quien no le tiembla la mano para castigar a personas que explotan a niñas, niños y jóvenes. De acuerdo con medios de comunicación argentinos Martins Coggiola es líder de una red de trata de personas en centros nocturnos en su país y en Cancún, donde jóvenes sudamericanas son enganchadas con promesas de trabajo y posteriormente las obligan a prostituirse.

Lea el artículo completo

Congress considers the case of Raúl Martins

The Special Commission for Combating Trafficking in Persons of the lower house of Congress has called for the expulsion of Argentine citizen Raul Luis Martins Coggiola, because his presence represents a risk to Mexican society due to his [ilicit] efforts to profit from human exploitation.

The head of the commission, Deputy Rosi Orozco, said it is urgent to realize the deportation of an Argentine Raul Luis Martins, stating that both he and a partner "are profiting from human beings," so it is necessary that the Mexican authorities thoroughly investigate his alleged role as the leader of a trafficking network based in [the beach resort cities of] Cancun and Riviera Maya.

Deputy Orozco explained that "it is urgent that the authorities take action on the matter...I do not understand how they have failed to realize that the lawyer who defended [infamous convicted millionaire child pornographer Jean] Succar Kuri is the same one who has been defending this man." She added that the matter should be investigated comprehensively, given that we now have a prosecutor who is dedicated to human trafficking cases and whose hand does not tremble when it comes to the task of punishing those who exploit children and youth. According to Argentine media reports, Martins Coggiola leads a human trafficking network based in nightclubs both in Argentina and in Cancun, Mexico, where young South American women are entrapped with false promises of jemployment, and are then forced into prostitution.

Read the full article

Por Esto

Feb. 2012


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

Mexico / Argentina

Lorena Martins, daughter of Raul Martins

Argentine ex-spy accused of sex trafficking

The daughter of former Argentine intelligence officer Raul Martins will arrive in Mexico this week with evidence that her father is running a sex trafficking ring in the Mexican resort city of Cancun, an activist told EFE Monday.

Lorena Martins will deliver the evidence to Mexican lawmaker Rosi Orozco, who chairs a special committee investigating human trafficking, Gustavo Vera, head of the NGO La Alameda, said.

Lorena has already filed a criminal complaint in Argentina accusing her father of luring Argentine women and girls to Cancun and then forcing them into prostitution.

Read the full article

IANS/EFE

Jan. 31, 2012


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

Mexico / Argentina

Prostitution Network Buenos Aries – Cancun case will go to the Chamber of Deputies in Mexico City

Lorena Martins daughter of Raul Martins, an Argentine former spy accused of managing a prostitution network in Cancun that has reached even the mayor of Buenos Aires of receiving money for his campaign from this illegal activity in Mexico, will flight to Mexico City to denounce her father before the Chamber of Deputies, reported the Excelsior.

Lorena Martins will present emails, cell phones and other materials as proofs of a prostitution network between Buenos Aires and Cancun that ties her father Raul Martins with several businessmen, politicians and high ranking official in Mexico.

Read the full article

The Yucatan Times

Jan. 31, 2012


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

Mexico / Argentina

Tratan de expulsarlo por la trata

La Comisión Especial de Lucha contra la Trata de Diputados de México pidió que Raúl Martins fuera deportado. Sus abogados apelaron. Lorena, su hija, entregó a la jueza Servini de Cubría el diario de una ex de su padre en el que relata la trata de dos niñas.

La Comisión Especial de Lucha contra la Trata de Personas de la Cámara de Diputados de México pidió ayer la expulsión de Raúl Martins. El pedido es un reflejo de la denuncia de su hija, Lorena, quien relató la forma en que la organización de su padre llevó chicas argentinas, brasileñas y de otras nacionalidades a ejercer la prostitución en Cancún. Ya en 2010, la multipremiada periodista mexicana Lydia Cacho, en su libro Esclavas del Poder, tituló el capítulo sobre Martins con el nombre de “El Intocable”. En Buenos Aires, Lorena se presentó ante la jueza María Romilda Servini de Cubría, que finalmente es quien investigará el caso, y le entregó pruebas manuscritas de un diario de una ex pareja de su padre en la que se relata cómo le trajeron dos chicas de 15 años. Otras evidencias fueron remitidas a la jueza por el procurador Esteban Righi.

Lorena Martins estuvo cinco días en México. Presentó las denuncias ante la Comisión de Lucha contra la Trata y también ante la Procuración General de la República. La joven fue recibida por la primera dama de México, Margarita Zavala, en la sede del gobierno azteca, de manera que el interés por el caso –adelantado en exclusiva por Página/12 en diciembre– llegó hasta el más alto nivel del país del Norte.

Ayer, la diputada Rosy Orozco, titular de la Comisión de Trata, pidió la expulsión de Martins de México, porque “está lucrando con seres humanos. Es urgente que las autoridades se den cuenta de que quien defiende a este señor es el mismo que defendió a Succar Kury”, un famoso pederasta, poderoso dueño de una cadena hotelera, que hasta decía en un video que mantenía relaciones sexuales con niñas, incluso de cinco años. El caso también fue investigado por Lydia Cacho en el libro Los demonios del Edén.

Lea el artículo completo

Congressional members call for the expulsion of Raúl Martins from Mexico

The Special Commission to Combat Human Trafficking in the Lower House of Congress has requested that Raúl Martins be deported. Martins' lawyers have appealed. Martins' daughter Lorena has turned over evidence to a Judge Servini de Cubría

The Special Commission for Combating Trafficking in Persons of the of the lower house of Congresss yesterday asked the expulsion of Raul Martins. The demand is a reaction to a complaint made by Martins' daughter Lorena, who recounted how her father's [ilicit human trafficking] organization has brought women from Argentina, Brazil and other nations to engage in prostitution in the city of Cancun, Mexico. In 2010, the award-winning Mexican journalist Lydia Cacho, in her book Servants of Power, mentions Martins in a chapter called "The Untouchable." In Buenos Aires, Argentina, Lorena appeared before Judge Maria Romilda Servini de Cubria, who investigated the case, and provided evidence in the form of a handwritten diary written by a former girlfriend of her father, in which she relates how Raul Martins had [sex] trafficked two 15-year-old girls. Other evidence was submitted to the judge by the prosecutor Esteban Righi.

Lorraine Martins [recently] spent five days in Mexico. She presented her complaints before the Special Commission to Combat Human Trafficking [of the lower house of Congress], as well as before the federal Attorney General's Office. She was also received by the first lady of Mexico, Margarita Zavala in the seat of the Aztec [Mexican] government, showing that the case, which was releaved by Page12 reporters in December of 2011, had reached the highest level of attention. .

Yesterday, Deputy Rosi Orozco, president of the congressional anti-trafficking commission, called for the expulsion of Martins from Mexico, because, she said, "he is profiting from human exploitation. It is urgent that the authorities realize that the lawyer who is defending Martins also represented [convicted child sex trafficker] Jean Succar Kuri," an infamous pedophile and powerful hotel chain owner, who had once been recorded with hidden video admitting that he had engaged in sexual acts with girls as young as age five. The case was [first exposed by anti-trafficking activist and journalist] Lydia Cacho in her book The Demons of Eden.

Read the full article

Raúl Kollmann

Page 12

Feb. 09, 2012


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

Mexico / Argentina / Paraguay / Dominican Republic

Prostitution ring brought people from Argentina to Mexico

Buenos Aires.- A prostitution ring operated by former Argentine spy Raul Martins, reported yesterday in Mexico by his own daughter, started by advertising vacancies in local newspapers and culminated in the sexual exploitation of women in Cancun, Mexico.

Gustavo Vera, representative of La Alameda, a prestigious organization dedicated to denouncing people trafficking for labor and sexual slavery in the South American country, told Notimex details of the operation.

In fact, La Alameda published the photo of Martins with the mayor of Buenos Aires, Mauricio Macri, who is alleged to have received funding of the alleged pimp in his election campaign.

Read the full article

Cecilia Gonzalez

Notimex

Feb. 02, 2012


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

Mexico

Mayoría de víctimas de trata de personas en NY son hispanos

Nueva York - Más de la mitad de los afectados por la trata de personas y que viven en el estado de Nueva York son inmigrantes latinoamericanos obligados a realizar trabajos forzados o a prostituirse, según datos de la mayor agencia de servicios a víctimas de Estados Unidos.

Un 58% de los clientes de Safe Horizon, la agencia más importante de servicios de víctimas en el país, proviene de Latinoamérica, dijo la organización a The Associated Press. Aproximadamente un 24% de esas víctimas son mexicanos.

Las victimas de trata no tienen oportunidad de denunciar su situación por temor a ser deportados.

Lea el artículo completo

The majority of human trafficking victims in New York are Hispanic

New York - According to data gathered by the largest [non profit] victim service agency in the United States, more than half of New York ressidents who are victimized by human trafficking are Latino immigrants who are forced into prostitution or labor exploitation.

Some 58% of the clients of Safe Horizon were Latin Americans, the organization told The Associated Press. Approximately 24% of those victims were Mexican.

[Many immigrant] victims of trafficking have have not had an opportunity to speak out de to their fear of being deported.

Read the full article

The Associated Press

Feb. 04, 2012


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

New York City, USA / Mexico

Sex slave's story: Woman duped into leaving Mexico, forced to New York City's trafficking underworld

Sofia tells the Daily News how a "boyfriend" tricked her into leaving Mexico illegally -- and forced her into the life of a sex slave.

Her boyfriend told her they were leaving Mexico to live with his relatives in Queens, get restaurant jobs and build a happy life in America.

Instead, she was forced into a life of sex slavery — made to work as a “delivery girl” prostitute riding from john to john in a livery cab.

Read the full article

Erica Pearson

New York Daily News

Feb. 12, 2012


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

Mexico

Mexican Member of Congress and leading anti-trafficking advocate Deputy Rosi Orozco

Cada semana llegan a Tijuana decenas de niñas y mujeres de para ser forzadas a prostituirse: Rosi Orozco

Diputada Rosi Orozco: "cada semana llegan a Tijuana, Baja California, autobuses y aviones con decenas de niñas y mujeres de entre 3 a 65 años de edad para ser forzadas a prostituirse, refirió."

Distrito Federal.-La presidenta de la Comisión Especial para la Lucha contra la Trata de Personas, diputada Rosi Orozco (PAN), impulsa un punto de acuerdo para la colocación de un muro en las instalaciones del Palacio Legislativo de San Lázaro, en el que se exhiban fotografías de niñas, niños y mujeres desaparecidos por posible trata de personas. Además, que el Canal del Congreso difunda, de manera permanente, cápsulas con las imágenes de las posibles víctimas, así como los datos de las instancias competentes para formular denuncias, como señal de solidaridad y efectivo auxilio, precisó la legisladora.

Señaló que la trata de personas con fines sexuales es el tercer negocio ilícito más lucrativo a nivel mundial, después del tráfico de drogas y armas; genera al año diez mil millones de dólares.

La gran mayoría de las víctimas provienen de contextos en los que difícilmente pueden conocer plenamente sus derechos, subrayó.

Lea el artículo completo

Each week, dozens of girl children and women are trafficked into sexual slavery in [the Mexico/U.S.] border city of Tijuana

Deputy Rosi Orozco: "According to a study conducted by the College of the Northern Frontier (Colegio de la Frontera Norte), each week dozens of girls and women between the ages of 3 and 65 are brought by bus and by air to the city of Tijuana, in the state of Baja California so that they can be exploited sexually."

Mexico Ciy - National Actional Party deputy Rosi Orozco, who is President of the Special Commission for Combating Trafficking in Persons in the lower house of Congress, has introduced a resolution for the placement of a mural on the premises of the Legislative Palace of San Lazaro, where the photographs of children and women who have disappeared and may be vicims of human trafficking will be displayed. In addition, Deputy Orozco proposes that the Congress Channel permanently broadcast segments that show the images of possible victims, as well as instuctions for filing human trafficking complaints, as a practical act of solidarity and assistance.

Orozco noted that human trafficking for sexual purposes is the third most lucrative illicit business worldwide, after drugs and arms trafficking, generating a year ten billion dollars.

The vast majority of victims come from contexts [situations] where it is difficult for them to fully know their rights, she said.

Read the full article

El Observador Diario

Feb. 04, 2012


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

California, USA / Mexico

Human Trafficking Continues To Rise Along San Diego-Tijuana Border

San Diego - Nearly every official who attended the second annual bi-national forum to address human trafficking in Chula Vista agreed: Human trafficking along the U.S.-Mexico border is on the rise.

Government figures show about 18,000 people are trafficked into the U.S. every year. But officials also acknowledge there are many more victims hidden in communities who are sold for prostitution, labor or other services. Often times the illegal practice goes unreported.

The goal of Thursday's forum was to improve collaboration between agencies on both sides of the border to help crackdown on human trafficking and child prostitution.

Read the full article

Marissa Cabrera

Fronteras Desk

Jan. 16, 2012


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

New York City, USA / Mexico

ICE agent cites 'disturbing and subhuman' methods used to trick young women into sex slavery

"It’s very difficult for us to break through to the average American, the average New Yorker and let them know that people in 2011 and 2012 are actually held against their will," says Special Agent in Charge James Hayes, Jr., of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

G-men and cops are busting twice as many human traffickers, but advocates say a sickening number of immigrants are being forced into prostitution in the city.

Last year, Immigration and Customs Enforcement racked up 172 arrests for trafficking in the metropolitan area, up from 75 the previous year.

Read the full article

Erica Pearson

New York Daily News

Feb. 12, 2012


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

Mexico

Presentan marcas de abuso sexual, bebes recuperados en Jalisco

En entrevista con Hoy por Hoy con Salvador Camarena, Tomás Coronado Olmos, procurador de Justicia de Jalisco, ratificó que bebés adoptados ilegalmente en dicha entidad presentan huellas de abuso sexual. “De los 11 menorcitos recuperados, seis presentan marcas de violencia sexual”.

“De los 11 menorcitos recuperados, seis presentan marcas de violencia sexual”.

Derivado de las investigaciones que realiza la PGR, dijo, hay nueve detenidos pero aun no se precisa si extranjeros de origen irlandés están relacionados con las agresiones sufridas por los menores.

“Los tenemos plenamente identificados y el embajador de Irlanda en México ha estado muy al pendiente. Una vez que concluya el proceso se determinará su situación jurídica”.

Lea el artículo completo

Children put up for adoption in the cityof Jalisco show signs of sexual abuse

Jalisco state Attorney General Tomás Coronado Olmos has confirmed that the babies show signs of abuse.

"Six of 11 recovered todlers show signs of sexual abuse"

According to the federal Attorney General's Office, their investigations into this case have resulted in nine arrests. The authorities have not yet determined whether prospective adoptive parents from Ireland have any connection to the abuses.

"The [couples seeking adoption] have been identified. Ireland's ambassador in Mexico has been very attentive. After completion of the process the legal status of the prospective parents will be determined."

Read the full article

wradio.com.mx

Feb. 08, 2012


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

Mexico

Deputy Rosi Orozco at recent anti-trafficking forum

México, segundo lugar en pornografía infantil a nivel mundial

El 45 por ciento de las víctimas de trata son indígenas, dijo la diputada Rosi Orozco. En tanto que Margarita Zavala consideró fundamental combatir de manera frontal este delito.

El 45 por ciento de las víctimas de trata son indígenas, dijo la diputada Rosi Orozco. En tanto que Margarita Zavala consideró fundamental combatir de manera frontal este delito.

México está ubicado en el segundo lugar en producción de pornografía infantil a nivel mundial, afirmó la presidenta de la Comisión Especial de Lucha contra la Trata de Personas, diputada panista Rosi Orozco al inaugurar el Foro Líderes de Opinión Contra la Trata de Personas.

En presencia de la presidenta del Sistema Nacional para el Desarrollo Integral de la Familia, Margarita Zavala Gómez del Campo, la legisladora subrayó que el delito de trata de personas ocupa el segundo lugar a nivel mundial, como el negocio ilícito más redituable para el crimen organizado, con 42 mil millones de dólares, y después está el de la venta de armas.

Lea el artículo completo

Mexico holds second place globally in [the production of] child pornography

Some 45% of human trafficking victims in Mexico are indigenous, according to Deputy Rosi Orozco. First Lady Margarita Zavala declares that confronting trafficking head-on is fundamental.

Some 45% of trafficking victims are indigenous, according to Deputy Rosi Orozco.

According to National Action Party Depurty Rosi Orozco, president of the Special Committee to Combat Trafficking in Persons in the Lower House of Congress, Mexico holds a second-place position in the global production of child pornography. Deputy Orozco made these remarks as she opened the forum Opinion Leaders Against Human Trafficking. The event was attended by Mexico's First Lady Margarita Zavala Gómez del Campo, who is also the president of the National System for Integral Family Development (the nation's social services agency).

Depurty Orozco explained that the global human trafficking business brings in ilicit earning of $42 billion per year, making it the most profitable criminal enterprise after illegal arms trafficking.

Read the full article

Grupo Fórmula

Jan. 24, 2012


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

Mexico

México, Segundo en Pornografia Infantil en el Mundo

Trata de personas y pornografía infantil, delitos graves… Al señalar que México es de los cinco países del orbe con el mayor problema en materia de trata de personas y segundo en pornografía infantil, la diputada panista Rosi Orozco previno que el delito de la trata, ya superó las ganancias que obtiene la delincuencia organizada por el tráfico de armas a nivel mundial, con más de 42 mil millones de dólares.

Al inaugurar el foro “Líderes de Opinión contra la Trata de Personas”, sostuvo que por todo ello, la Organización de las Naciones Unidas escogió a nuestro país para iniciar la campaña del Corazón Azul, donde se pretende sensibilizar a la población y a las autoridades para erradicar el delito.

En nuestro país, el negocio de la trata de personas sigue en ascenso; mientras que a la fecha, sólo 19 entidades del país tienen una Ley contra la Trata de Personas, y únicamente el Distrito Federal, Puebla y Chiapas han aplicado sentencias condenatorias.

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Mexico: The second largest producer of child pornography globally

Human trafficking and child pornography, felonies ... Noting that Mexico is among the five countries in the world with the biggest problem in terms of trafficking in child pornography and second, the National Action Party's Deputy Rosi Orozco, who is a member of the Lower House of Congress, has warned that the crime of trafficking has surpassed the profits earned through ilicit arms trafficking, and now amount to $42 billion dollars per year [in criminal profits].

During her presentation opening the forum Opinion Leaders Against Trafficking in Persons, Deputy Orozco added that the Organization of the United Nations chose Mexico to start its [global] Blue Heart campaign, which aims to sensitize the population and authorities with the goal of eradicating modern human slavery.

In our country, the business of trafficking in persons continues to rise, while to date only 19 states [out of 32 federated entities] in the country have a law against trafficking in persons, and only the Federal District [Mexico City], and the states of Puebla and Chiapas have have handed down sentences in criminal cases associated with these crimes.

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Jaime Arizmendi

Quadratín

Jan. 25, 2012


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

Mexico

Mexico No. 2 Producer Of Child Porn, Lawmakers Say

Mexico is the world's No. 2 producer of child pornography and is classified as a source, transit and destination country for people traffickers involved in sexual exploitation, lawmakers said.

Child pornography is the No. 2 illegal business, trailing only drug trafficking, and generates $42 billion annually, Special Committee to Fight People Trafficking chairwoman Rosi Orozco said.

Indians account for about 45 percent of the victims, Orozco, a member of the ruling National Action Party, or PAN, said at the start of a forum in Mexico City on people trafficking.

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EFE

Jan. 26, 2012


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

Mexico

Estados más pobres, vulnerables a trata de personas: PAN

La diputada Rosi Orozco, apuntó que en el tema de la trata de personas, ahora se ha hecho mucha conciencia, luego que tiempo atrás se veía una marcada ignorancia de lo que sucedía. Asimismo, dijo ya hay acciones encaminadas a terminar con la pornografía infantil, "con los ciberdelitos que agreden tan fuertemente a los niños, niñas y jóvenes".

Rosi Orozco, diputada del PAN quien ha buscado combatir desde tiempo atrás la trata de personas, destacó el encuentro que se llevó a cabo el día de ayer en donde una chica por primera vez dio su testimonio sin cubrirse el rostro.

Explicó que la joven, quien en el libro "Del cielo al infierno", narró su historia de cómo la habían enganchado a través de enamoramiento, con el que se sentía en el cielo al estar con un príncipe, para después bajar a lo peor de un infierno de vida, de golpes para obligarla a prostituirse.

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Mexico's poorest states are vulnerable to human trafficking: National Action Party

During a recent event focused on the topic of human trafficking in Mexico, Congresswoman Rosi Orozco of the National Action Party stated that significant public awareness of the issue has now been acheived, after a period in which ignorance about the facts had prevailed. She added legislation is being considered by Congress that will put an end to child pornography and "cybercrimes that seriously assault children and youth." First Lady Margarita Zavala and the media also attended.

Deputy Orozco, who has had long sought to combat human trafficking, said the meeting that was held yesterday included for the first time testimony by a victim who appeared without hiding her face.

Deputy Orozco explained that the youth, who's story is told in Orozco's book "From Heaven to Hell", related the story of how she was entrapped by a trafficker who pretended to fall in love with her. She felt that she was in heaven with her prince. Later, she fell into the worst depths of hell-on-earth when the same man beat her to force her into prostitution.

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Paola Rojas

Grupo Fòrmula

Jan. 25, 2012


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

Mexico

Avances, no descartan riesgos de frenar ley

No se descartan riesgos en San Lázaro que frenen la aprobación de la Ley para Prevenir, Sancionar y Erradicar la Trata de Personas y los Delitos Relacionados, toda vez que al momento sólo 104 legisladores de todos los partidos la han avalado, todavía falta trecho por andar, y aunque “está bastante acordada”, todos los esfuerzos se hacen para que avance, a fin de combatir el lacerante comercio y explotación sexual de seres humanos: niñas, niños y mujeres.

La diputada del PAN Rosi Orozco, presidenta de la Comisión Especial de Lucha Contra la Trata de Personas aclaró: “no he politizado ninguna situación, realmente va más allá de los partidos, estamos hablando de nuestros mexicanos, de nuestros niñas y niños y protegerlos a ellos no tiene colores”, ya que es una esclavitud en pleno siglo XXI, advirtió en entrevista durante la sesión en San Lázaro.

Confió que en este último periodo ordinario de la LXI Legislatura salga la Ley para Prevenir, Sancionar y Erradicar la Trata de Personas, “es una ley que no tiene por qué no salir, la gente que está en las comisiones está de acuerdo en que tengamos una Ley General, lo difícil fue sacar la reforma al artículo 73 y eso, pues ya se logró” apunta la legisladora albiceleste.

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Human trafficking legislation advances in Congress, members decline to reveal hidden threats to passage

Congressional lawmakers have declined to reveal the sources of hidden influences that are putting efforts to pass the proposed Law on the Prevention, Punishment and Eradication of Trafficking in Persons and Related Crimes at risk. Currently, only 104 federal lawmakers from across Mexico's political parties have endorsed the proposal. Although significant work needs to be accomplished to achieve passage of the bill, basic agreement has been reached [on the need for an enforceable federal anti-trafficking law]. All possible efforts are being made to advance the bill, which will allow [a more effective federal effort to fight the damaging effects of the labor and sexual exploitation of girls, boys and women].

During an interview held in San Lazaro (the seat of Congress), National Action Party (PAN) Deputy Rosi Orozco, who is the president of the Special Committee to Combat Human Trafficking in the lower house of Congress said: "I have not politicized this effort. It [is a campaign that] really goes beyond the [interests of individual political] parties. What we are talking about here are our Mexican people, our children. They don't have colors [political affiliations]." She added that this [crisis] is a 21st Century form of slavery.

Deputy Orozco added that she hopes that, during the latter period of the 61st [LXI] Legislature's regular session, the Law to Prevent, Punish and Erradicate Human Trafficking will be passed." She noted that there is no reason why the bill should not pass, given that the members of the relevant congressional commissions [committees] are in agreement that we should have a general law against trafficking [a general law is the only form of federal law that may actually be enforced by federal authorities in the states]. The hardest part was achieving the reform of Article 73, said Orozco [During 2011, President Felipe Calderón achieved the passage of amendments to Articles 19, 20 and 73 of the Mexican Constitution to remove certain obstacles to the prosecution of human trafficking cases].

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Luz María Alonso Sánchez

El Punto Critico

Feb. 03, 2012


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

Mexico

Ritmoson combate con música trata de personas

Crean campaña para generar conciencia del delito y cerrarán con un concierto

El tercer delito más lucrativo en México y otros países es la trata de personas, por ello, crear conciencia entre los jóvenes y niños para no ser víctimas de él es la pretensión del canal Ritmoson Latino.

Con la campaña Música libre, la señal internacional puso a andar su tercera iniciativa social, esta vez para combatir un “grave problema”.

Ricky Martin, Calle 13, Selena Gomez y Kinky, entre otros artistas, hacen el llamado que a partir de este mes y hasta julio próximo se transmitirá por televisión restringida y redes sociales oficiales.

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Ritmoson TV channel to run anti-trafficking campaign

The third most lucrative crime in Mexico and other countries is human trafficking. Therefore, the Latino Ritmoson channel, which is a part of the Televisa network, has created a trafficking prevention campaign to raise awareness among children and youth.

The international channel's Free Music campaign is its third social initiative, directed, this time, at addressing a "grave problem."

Performing artists] Ricky Martin, Calle 13, Selena Gomez. Kinky, among other artists will promote the campaign between now and July of 2012. It will be broadcast on television and by way of social media networks.

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Josue Fabián Arellano M.

El Universal

Feb. 10, 2012


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

California, USA / Mexico

Bill Aims to Make It Easier to Prosecute Child Sex Traffickers

As child sex trafficking expands as a source of money for San Diego gangs, there’s an effort to make it easier for prosecutors to go after pimps.

The way California law is written now, prosecutors have to prove force or coercion when a sex trafficking victim is younger than 18. Because so many victims are lured by pimps through emotional bribery or promises of work, it’s been difficult for prosecutors to prove trafficking.

Susan Munsey is with the nonprofit group Generate Hope which helps trafficking victims get back on their feet. She said Assembly Bill 90, which changes the standard of proof from forced to encouraged or persuaded, is badly needed.

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Amita Sharma

Fronteras Desk

Aug..12, 2011


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

Mexico

Lideraba "La Niurka" red de prostitución de menores

Tijuana.- Una orden de aprehensión por el presunto delito de trata de personas le fue cumplimentada a María Guadalupe Román Valenzuela, alias "La Niurka", señalada como quien lideraba una red de prostitución con mujeres menores de edad desde el año 2005.

Fueron agentes de la Policía Estatal Preventiva quienes finalmente le concretaron el mandato judicial que pesaba en su contra desde el año 2007 por el delito de lenocinio, cuya figura delictiva fue cambiada con motivo de la entrada en vigor de la Ley Contra la Trata de Personas en el estado.

La Secretaría de Seguridad Pública Estatal informó que la detención de la fémina, también conocida como "La Tía", se llevó a cabo la tarde del domingo al ubicarla tras semanas de investigación en el fraccionamiento La Bodega, en la ciudad de Mexicali.

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Police arrest child sex trafficker known as "La Niurka"

The city of Tijuana - An arrest warrant for the alleged crime of human trafficking ihas been carried out against Maria Guadalupe Roman Valenzuela, also known as "The Niurka." Authorities indicate that since 2005, Roman Valenzuela has lead a prostitution ring that exploits underage girls.

The [Baja California] State Preventive Police (SSPE) arrested Roman Valenzuela, who had been wanted since 2007 on charges of pimping. The charges were later modified after the enactment of the state's Law Against Human Trafficking.

The State Secretariat of Public Security reported that the arrest of the suspect, who also went by the name of "Auntie," took place Sunday afternoon following a weeks-long investigation in the La Bodega neighborhood in the city of Mexicali.

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Manuel Cordero

El Sol de Tijuana

Jan. 17, 2012


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

Mexico

Journalist, women's center director and anti-trafficking advocate Lydia Cacho

Lydia Cacho wins Olof Palme Prize 2011

Lydia Cacho, Mexican journalist and writer, and Roberto Saviano, Italian author, were awarded with Olof Palme Prize 2011. They both spoke about justice and human rights issues in their native countries with a great deal of courage, and currently they are living under threats and persecution.

In 2009, Lydia Cacho received a lot of attention at the Göteborg Book Fair, where she presented the translated version of her book "I will not let myself be intimidated". She wrote it based on her life experience in Mexico – her motherland, where she is known for her accusations of corruption among Mexican politicians and businessmen.

In 2005, by having written "Demons of Eden", she exposed paedophile Succar Kuri's network in Cancun and named several accomplices among high-ranking politicians and businessmen. Since that moment the author has lived under constant death threats. Besides being an author and having written seven books in total, since 2000, Lydia Cacho has been sheltering vulnerable women and children in Cancún, where they get an opportunity to retreat.

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Göteborg Book Fair

Jan. 30, 2012


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

Peru

Lanzan campaña contra la trata de menores en la minería informal

La ONG Save The Children y la Unión Europea lanzaron este fin de semana una intensa campaña para erradicar la explotación sexual y laboral de niños y adolescentes en la minería informal en Madre de Dios (selva sur), una de las regiones más pobres de Perú.

La ONG Save The Children y la Unión Europea lanzaron este fin de semana una intensa campaña para erradicar la explotación sexual y laboral de niños y adolescentes en la minería informal en Madre de Dios (selva sur), una de las regiones más pobres de Perú.

"Una de las metas de la campaña es recuperar con apoyo de la policía y fiscalía a unos mil niños, niñas y adolescentes explotadas sexual y laboralmente en campamentos de la minería informal en Madre de Dios", dijo a la AFP Teresa Carpio Villegas, representante de Save The Children en Perú.

En los campamentos las menores son explotadas en cantinas convertidas en prostíbulos conocidos como 'prostibares', así como en, entre otras actividades, en la extracción de oro y la servidumbre, señaló Carpio.

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NGO launches [million dollar] campaign against child trafficking in Peru's remote informal mining camps

THe NGO Save the Children and the Earopean Union are launching a compaign this week to intensity efforts to eradicate the sexual and labor exploitation of children and youth in the informal mining camps of Madre de Dios, one of Peru's poorest regions.

The NGO Save The Children and the European Union this weekend launched an intensive campaign to eradicate sexual and labor exploitation of children and adolescents in the informal mining region of Madre de Dios (Mother of God), one of the poorest regions of Peru.

"One of the goals of the campaign is to organize police and prosecutorial support to rescue approximately 1,000 children and teens who are exploited for sex and labor in informal mining camps of the Madre de Dios," he told AFP Teresa Carpio Villegas, who Save the Children's representative in Peru.

In the mining camps, children are exploited in bars that have been converted into brothels and are known as 'prostibars.' Minors are also exploited to work in gold mining and [other forms of] servitude, Carpio said.

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Agence France-Presse (AFP)

Jan. 30, 2012


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

Indigenous Mexico

Indigenous women are marginalized in Mexican society. Comprising 15-to30 percent of the population, they and their underage daughters make up an estimated 45% of all human trafficking victims in the Aztec nation (Mexico).

Voces del pueblo indígena

México-. La situación de asimetría y desigualdad ha hecho que históricamente los pueblos indígenas en México sean marginados y excluidos de los procesos de toma de decisiones en el país.

En la actualidad, con una población que se acerca a los 16 millones de habitantes, de ellos más de mitad mujeres, de acuerdo con estimados de la Movimiento Indígena Nacional (MIN), estos grupos se localizan, fundamentalmente en los estados de Yucatán (59 por ciento) y Oaxaca (48 por ciento).

También en Quintana Roo (39), Chiapas (28), Campeche (27), Hidalgo (24), Puebla (19), Guerrero (17), San Luis Potosí (15) y Veracruz (15).

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Voices of indigenous peoples

Conditions of inequality have historically resulted in the indigenous peoples being marginalized and excluded from the decision making process in Mexico.

Today, with their population is approaching 16 million people. Over half of them are women, according to estimates from the National Indigenous Movement (MIN). These groups are located mainly in the states of Yucatan (where they are 59% of the state's total population) and Oaxaca (where they are 48%).

The indigenous population is also significant in several other states: Quintana Roo (39%), Chiapas (28%), Campeche (27%), Hidalgo (24%), Puebla (19%), Guerrero (17%), San Luis Potosi (15%) and Veracruz (15%).

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Deisy Francis Mexidor

Prensa Latina


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

Mexico

Agents save 13 from sex slavery in Mexican bar

The city of San cristobal de las Casas, in Chiapas state - Investigators say they have rescued a group of 13 women and girls, mostly from Central America, who were forced to have sex with clients at a bar in southern Mexico.

Chiapas state prosecutor Miguel Hernandez says at least half of the 13 women were minors, and 10 were from Central America.

Hernandez and other agents raided the bar in the town of Teopisca Saturday and arrested the manager, 42-year-old Mauri Diaz, on human trafficking, prostitution and corruption of minors charges.

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The Associated Press

Feb. 4, 2012


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

Mexico

Mexico unravels child trafficking ring

Zapopan - The Irish couples ensnared in an apparent illegal adoption ring in western Mexico thought they were involved in a legal process and are devastated by allegations organisers were trafficking in children, the families said.

"All the families have valid declarations to adopt from Mexico as issued by the Adoption Authority of Ireland," they said in a statement, which was read over the phone to The Associated Press by their lawyer in Mexico, Carlos Montoya.

Prosecutors in Mexico contend the traffickers tricked destitute young Mexican women trying to earn more for their children and childless Irish couples desperate to become parents.

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News24

Jan. 24, 2012


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

Mexico / Central America

Rescatan a centroamericanos víctimas del tráfico de personas

Some 73 undocumented Central Americans have been located and rescued by army units after being held in 'safe houses' that were presumably owned by human traffickers.

El Ejército mexicano encontró a 73 inmigrantes indocumentados en presuntas casas de traficantes de personas en el nororiental estado de Tamaulipas, informó el jueves la Secretaría de la Defensa.

La acción se realizó el martes en la ciudad de Reynosa "de manera coordinada, simultánea y sorpresiva" y permitió la detención de cuatro personas. Entre los indocumentados, cuyas nacionalidades no se dieron a conocer, había 18 menores de edad, informó DPA.

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Central American human trafficking victims are rescued

Se trata de 73 indocumentados localizados por el ejército en casas que presuntamente pertenecen a traficantes de seres humanos.

The Mexican army has found 73 illegal immigrants in alleged human trafficking safe houses located in the northeastern state of Tamaulipas, the Secretary of Defense announced Thursday.

The action took place on Tuesday in the city of Reynosa "in a coordinated suprise raid" that led to the arrest of four people. Among the undocumented, whose nationalities were not released, there were 18 children.

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El Universal

Feb. 10, 2012


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

The World

UNODC: The Role of Corruption in Trafficking in Persons

The UNODC report focuses on the close interrelation between corruption and human trafficking, critiquing existing international legal instruments that deal only indirectly with this problem, and providing recommendations on how to strengthen these tools.

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime outlines the impetus for its report:

Trafficking in persons and corruption are closely linked criminal activities, whose interrelation is frequently referred to in international fora. Yet, the correlation between the two phenomena, and the actual impact of corruption on trafficking in persons, are generally neglected in the development and implementation of anti-human trafficking policies and measures. This lack of attention may substantially undermine initiatives to combat trafficking in persons and prevent the customization of responses as needed. Only after recognizing the existence and the effects of corruption in the context of human trafficking, can the challenges posed by it be met.

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Insight Crime

Feb. 13, 2012


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

Mexico

Oklahoma Human Trafficking Operation May Have Ties To Mexican Cartels

Oklahoma City - We're learning more about a human trafficking operation busted last week in both Oklahoma City and Tulsa. It appears to have ties to a Mexican human trafficking ring, which are said to be some of the most violent and brutal.

A search warrant obtained by News 9 reveals a victim of human trafficking, who was rescued in Tulsa, said she was also held against her will in Oklahoma City.

She told investigators she was held at the apartments off S.W. 59th Street and Harvey during the first part of January, and that she and others were forced to have sex with multiple strange men.

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Adrianna Iwasinski

Oklahoma News 6

Feb. 06, 2012


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

Mexico

Pretenden regular pornografía en Baja California

Baja california es uno de los estados que ofrece más turismo sexual en México, es por esto que el Partido Encuentro Social presentará este mes una iniciativa ante el Congreso del Estado para que las compañías proveedoras de internet regulen el consumo de la pornografía.

La iniciativa pretende regular el uso de internet en el aparto de Gobierno y el sector educativo, además el que vende internet debe cuidar el acceso de los menores el uso de la pornografía reveló el presidente Estatal del PES, Javier Peña García.

“Es una iniciativa ciudadana, pero estamos invitando a las diferentes fracciones de los partidos a que se adhieran en esto para que salga en común acuerdo con todos los partidos de Baja California”, adelantó.

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Legislators work to regulate online pornography in Baja California state

Baja California is one states that offers the most sex tourism in Mexico, which is why the Social Encounter Party will, later this month, present a proposal to the State Congress that will require Internet service provider companies to regulated the consumption of pornography.

The initiative seeks to regulate Internet use in government agencies and in the education sector. The measure will also insist that companies that provide Internet services take measures to limit that access of minors to pornography. which also sells Internet access to take care of children using pornography revealed the leader of the state branch of the Social Encounter Party (PES), Javier García Peña.

"It's a citizens' initiative, but we are inviting the different political parties in Baja California to agree to this so that we may present a common front on the issue," he stated.

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Uni Rdio Informa

Feb. 13, 2012


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

Bolivia

In Bolivia, Many Indigenous Communities Turn to Vigilantism to Fight Crime

If a man kills another man in the harsh high plains of Jesús de Machaca or the lush lowlands of Beni, the people who catch him might not call the police. Instead they might call a meeting.

Far from courthouses and police stations that may not know their languages, and despite having no jails to lock up criminals, remote villagers in Bolivia have quietly kept justice in their own hands for centuries, handling everything from malicious gossip to murder. They have demanded fines, doled out whippings, even banished people from the pueblo. These community courts have sometimes been criticized for trampling on human rights, especially when it comes to the rights of women, but indigenous leaders say they work better for them than the regular system.

To press a case in the ordinary courts, “you must hire a lawyer and spend money on paperwork,” says Justina Vélez, who represents Pando, the northernmost province of Bolivia, in an organization of female peasants named for the indigenous hero Bartolina Sisa. “All the courthouses are located in the main cities.… The indigenous authorities are right here where we live.”

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Emily Alpert

Indian Country Today

Feb. 08, 2012


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

Mexico

Mexico Official Admits Some Areas Out of Government Control

At a military ceremony yesterday, Mexican Defense Minister Guillermo Galvan Galva described the national security situation in stark terms. “Clearly, in some sectors of the country public security has been completely overrun,” said Galvan, adding that “it should be recognized that national security is seriously threatened.” He went on to say that organized crime in the country has managed to penetrate not only society, but also the country’s state institutions.

Galvan also endorsed the military’s role in combating insecurity, asserting that although they have a responsibility to acknowledge that “there have been mistakes,” the armed forces have an “unrestricted” respect for human rights.

InSight Crime Analysis

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Geoffrey Ramsey

InSight Crime

Feb. 10, 2012


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

Mexico

Operan 47 redes de trata de personas en México

Diputados piden a los tres órdenes de gobierno crear políticas adecuadas en la materia

La Cámara de Diputados pidió a los tres órdenes de gobiernos que combatan de manera integral el delito de trata de personas, debido a que en México operan al menos 47 redes que se dedican a este ilícito, de acuerdo con datos de la Red Nacional de Refugios.

Según cifras de la red, al año hay 800 mil adultos y 20 mil menores víctimas de este delito cuyas ganancias oscilan entre los 372 mil millones de pesos.

Las rutas incluyen los estados de Veracruz, Chiapas, Puebla, Oaxaca, Tlaxcala, Baja California, Chihuahua, Guerrero y Quintana Roo, así como países centroamericanos como Guatemala, Honduras y El Salvador.

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Some 47 human trafficking networks are operating in Mexico

Congressional deputies ask the three branches of government to develop adequate policies to address human trafficking

Mexico's Lower House of Congress has asked the three branches of government (legislative, judicial and executive) to integrate their efforts to fight human trafficking, given that at least 47 trafficking networks exist in the nation, according to data released by the National Network of Refuges.

According to the Network, some 800,000 adults and 20,000 children are entrapped by modern human slavery each year, resulting in criminal earnings of some 372 million Mexican pesos ($28 million US dollars).

Trafficking routes exist in the Mexican states of Veracruz, Chiapas, Puebla, Oaxaca, Tlaxcala, Baja California, Chihuahua, Guerrero and Quintana Roo, as well as in Central American countries including Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.

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Israel Navarro and José Luis Martínez

Milenio

Feb. 05, 2012


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

Costa Rica

Costa Rica lags in sex-trafficking fight

“Mariel” became a victim of sex trafficking at the age of 17. She managed to escape, but still suffers anxiety and fear. Rahab Foundation is helping her recover.

“Mariel” fears that she will be kidnapped again.

At 17, she was lured into human trafficking by an acquaintance with the promise of work. Her captor used false documents to take her from Costa Rica across the border to Nicaragua, Guatemala and Honduras for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation.

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Dominique Farrell

The Tico TImes

Jan. 27, 2012


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

Costa Rica

La pornografía infantil existe en Costa Rica

Adultos sedientos de sentir y tocar la piel de un cuerpo junto al suyo, deseosos de pagar sumas de dinero por alquilar un rato de confort, quizás hasta hacer una película o tomar unas fotos, pero no de cualquier cuerpo ni de cualquier persona, sino de un niño o una niña costarricense.

La explotación sexual comercial -también llamada prostitución infantil- es un flagelo social que existe en Costa Rica y se concentra mayoritariamente en las zonas fronterizas y las costas, según cuentan organizaciones no gubernamentales que han dado seguimiento a los casos esta ha desembocado en una riada de producción de pornografía infantil en la que se utilizan niños y niñas costarricenses.

Según Rocío Rodríguez directora de Alianza por tus Derechos, en la actualidad las zonas más plagadas de casos –tanto de explotación sexual comercial como de pornografía- son Puntarenas, Guanacaste y Limón.

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Child pornography exists in Costa Rica

Hungry adults feel and touch the skin of a body against thiers, eager to pay money to rent a bit of comfort, perhaps even make a movie or take some pictures, but not of any body or any person, but a boy or a girl in Costa Rica.

Commercial sexual exploitation, which is also known as child prostitution, is a social scourge that exists in Costa Rica. It is concentrated along the nation's borders and coasts, accourding to non governmental organizations who support victims. This reality has led to a flood in the production of child pornography that exploits Costa Rican children.

According to Rocio Rodriguez director of the NGO Alliance for your Rights (Alianza por tus Derechos), the cities of Puntarenas, Guanacaste and Limón are the regions that are the most plagued by both commercial sexual exploitation and pornography.

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Daniela Araya

Costa Rica Hoy

Feb. 16, 2012


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

Mexico

Arrestan a pastor por violar niñas

De la secta Sendero de Luz.. Abusó de ellas durante años con la complacencia de sus padres

Delicias, Chihuahua.- Años de un sufrimiento en silencio fueron vividos por dos niñas desde que tenían 11 años de edad, pues un pastor de la denominada Iglesia Sendero de Luz les decía que "para ser siervas de Dios tenían que hacerle todo lo que les indicara", y eso incluía tener relaciones sexuales con él, acciones de las cuales aparentemente su padres estaban enterados.

Las familias de ambas sabían lo que pasaba con el religioso, pero su fanatismo les impedía actuar en su contra, según las jóvenes de ahora 22 años de edad, quienes comentaron que los abusos comenzaron desde el año 2001 y continuaron durante 9 años, hasta que se mudaron a la capital de estado.

Tras la denuncia impuesta por parte de las afectadas, agentes investigadores detuvieron mediante una orden de aprehensión a José Manuel Herrera Lerma, de 59 años, líder del grupo religioso previamente señalado.

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Pastor is arrested on charges of child rape

Path of Light sect leader abused two girls over a number of years with the knowledge of the victim's parents

The city of Delicias in Chihuahua state - Two girls suffered years of sexual abuse in silence, from the time they were age 11, at the hands of their church pastor. The reverend of the Path of Light church told the girls that, "to be servants of God they had to do everything that he told them to do," and that included having sex with him. The parents were apparently aware of the pastor's behavior with their daughters.

The families of both girls knew what was happening with the pastor, but their religious fervor prevented them from acting against him. The victims, who are now both age 22, have stated that the abuse began in 2001 and continued for 9 years, until [the family] moved to the state capital.

In response to the complaint filed by the victims, investigative agents served an arrest warrant on José Manuel Herrera Lerma, age 59.

Read the full article

Marisol Marín

oem.com.mx

Feb. 08, 2012


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

Mexico

Children in Mexican adoption scam show signs of sexual abuse

Ten children were seized by authorities in the western Mexican city of Guadalajara after they uncovered the apparent child trafficking scam last weekend.

Eleven Irish couples hoping to adopt children in the country have been caught up in the investigation.

“There are four children who show signs of having been abused (sexually), perhaps not in a violent way but there are signs (of abuse),” the Jalisco state attorney general Tomas Coronado told reporters today.

Read the full article

TheJournal.ie

Jan. 12, 2012


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

Ecuador

148 millones invirtió el Gobierno en implementación de tres mil centros infantiles

Como parte de este proceso, 242 profesionales entre sicopedagogas, parvularias, tecnólogas en educación y especialistas en desarrollo infantil se incorporaron al trabajo en la provincia costera del Guayas, luego de un periodo de selección y capacitación.

Alrededor de 500 mil niños en Ecuador, entre 0 y 5 años, son atendidos por el Ministerio de Inclusión Económica y Social (MIES), en los Centros del Buen Vivir y el programa “Creciendo con nuestros hijos”.

La ministra de Inclusión Económica y Social, Ximena Ponce, indicó que el desarrollo infantil es uno de los seis proyectos de inversión prioritarios del gobierno del presidente Rafael Correa.

La meta es implementar un profesional por cada Centro para garantizar una conducción técnica en sus tres componentes: salud, educación y protección, especialmente en niños de 0 a 3 años.

Lea el artículo completo

Government invests $148 million to implement 3,000 children's centers across the country

As part of the initiative, 242 professionals have joined the effort in the key coastal province of Guayas

About 500,000 children, from newborns to age 5 are served by Ecuador's Ministry of Economic and Social Inclusion (MIES), through its Good Living Centers and by way of its program "Growing with our children."

Minister of Economic and Social Inclusion Ximena Ponce indicated that child development is one of six priority investment projects for the government of President Rafael Correa.

The goal is to provide one professional worker for each center to ensure technical leadership in its three focus areas: health, education and protection. The initiative is especially geared toward assisting children from 0 to 3 years of age.

Read the full article

eldiario.com.ec

Feb. 08, 2012


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

Guatemala

Former Guatemala dictator to give testimony in genocide trial

Former Guatemalan dictator Efrain Rios Montt will be made to testify at his genocide trial, according to a statement by judicial officials on Saturday. Rios Montt was in control of Guatemala from 1982 to 1983 as a result of a coup and is being charged with crimes against humanity and genocide during his rule. He was protected from prosecution until this month because he was serving in congress. Rios Montt said he would cooperate with the court [EFE report, in Spanish]. The case involves at least 1,771 deaths and 1,400 human rights violations during the 36-year Guatemalan Civil War [GlobalSecurity backgrounder] with much of the violations occurring during Rios Montt's rule.

The Guatemalan civil war resulted in more than 200,000 deaths, mostly among Guatemala's large indigenous Mayan population. According to a UN report [text, in Spanish] released in 1999, the military was responsible for 95 percent of those deaths. In response to these violations, the Guatemalan government founded the National Compensation Program (PNR) in 2003 to deal with claims by civilians affected by the civil war. The PNR, after setting up its administrative structure, has begun to use its $40 million budget to work through a backlog of more than 98,000 civilian complaints. Four former soldiers and two former police officers [JURIST reports] have already been convicted in relation to these crime. Spain attempted to extradite Rios Montt [JURIST report] in 2008, but failed due to a lack of jurisdiction.

Read the full article

Matthew Pomy

Jurist

Jan. 22, 2012


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

Mexico

Dictan prisión contra tres hombres por trata de personas en Chiapas

Un juez penal dictó auto de formal prisión por el delito de trata de personas en contra de tres hombres que operaban un bar clandestino en San Cristóbal de las Casas, donde fueron rescatadas cuatro menores víctimas.

La Procuraduría General de Justicia del Estado (PGJE) informó que los presuntos responsables Abraham “N”, propietario del negocio, el encargado Rosendo “N” y el vigilante Diego “N”, son procesados en el centro penitenciario ” El Amate”.

Agentes de la Fiscalía Especializada en Asuntos Relevantes ejecutaron un operativo en el bar ” La Sirena”, donde rescataron a cuatro menores, sometidas a trata de personas y corrupción de menores.

En el sitio fueron sorprendidos también dos menores de edad que ingerían alcohol, lo que constituye una violación a las leyes de salud.

Lea el artículo completo

Three men are sentenced to prison in [the southern border state of] Chiapas

I jusdge has sentenced three men to prison on human trafficking charges who operated a clandestine bar in the cisty of San Cristóbal de las Casas. Four minors had been rescued from the bar.

The Office of the Chiapas State Attorney General (PGJE) has announced that three suspects, Abraham "N," a bar owner, bar manager Rosendo "N" and a guard, Diego "N," have been detained and sent to the "El Amate" prison.

Agents of the Special Prosecutor's Office for Relevant Issues executed an operation at the bar "La Sirena" (the Siren), where they rescued four children who had been subjected to the crimes of human trafficking and the corruption of minors.

The authorities also encountered two other youth who were drinking alcohol in violation of health laws.

Read the full article

Provincia.com.mx

Feb. 08, 2012


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

Peru

Piden cadena perpetua para acusado de violar a 15 menores en 2009

La directora del Programa Nacional contra la Violencia Familiar y Sexual, Ana María Mendieta, exhortó hoy al Poder Judicial a aplicar la pena máxima de cadena perpetua a Óscar Visalot, acusado de abusar sexualmente de 15 menores de edad en 2009.

Este pedido contra Visalot, quien fue capturado en octubre de 2010, surge ante la posible excarcelación del acusado por exceso de carcelería, precisó la funcionaria de ese programa perteneciente al Ministerio de la Mujer y Poblaciones Vulnerables (Mimp).

“Exhortamos al Poder Judicial, a la Primera Sala de Reos en Cárcel de Lima y a las autoridades penitenciarias a que el procesado sea trasladado a Lima y se le dicte una sentencia ejemplar de cadena perpetua”, sostuvo Mendieta.

Lea el artículo completo

Officials ask for a life sentence for a man accused in 2009 of the rape of 15 minors

The director of the National Programme Against Family and Sexual Violence (PNCVFS), Ana Maria Mendieta, today urged the judiciary to apply the maximum penalty of life imprisonment in the case of Oscar Visalot, accused of sexually abusing 15 minors in 2009.

The request to have Visalot, who was captured in October 2010, sentenced promptly arose from the fact that the defendant is being considered for release from prison due to a determination that the has spent an excessive amount of time in detention, said Mendieta, an official of the PNCVFS, which is a program under the Ministry of Women and Vulnerable Populations (MIMP).

"We urge the Judiciary, the First Board of Inprisoned Inmates in Lima and the prison authorities to transport the prisoner to Lima and [that the Court] hand down a sentence of life imprisonment," said Mendieta.

Read the full article

Andina.com.pe

Feb. 08, 2012


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

Ohio, USA

Man guilty of raping girl in 2005

Hamilton - The adoptive parents of a young girl raped and kidnapped by Butler County’s former “most wanted” fugitive say their daughter can finally start “healing from the nightmare she suffered at the hands of this monster.”

The jury of seven women and five men deliberated for three hours Wednesday before deciding “Mario” Lopez-Cruz was guilty of one count of kidnapping and four counts of rape for his attack on a 9-year-old Hamilton girl on Fathers Day 2005.

Lopez-Cruz faces life in prison without parole until he spends 10 years in prison on the rape charges and up to 10 years on kidnapping. Butler County Common Pleas Judge Keith Spaeth will sentence him March 15.

Read the full article

Denise G. Callahan

The Oxford Press

Feb. 01, 2012



A sample of other important news stories and commentaries



Added: Aug. 05, 2011

About sex trafficker's war against indigenous children in Mexico

LibertadLatina Commentary

Indigenous women and children in Mexico

During the over ten years that the LibertadLatina project has existed, our ongoing analysis of the crisis of sexual abuse in the Americas has lead us to the conclusion that our top priority should be to work to achieve an end to the rampant sex trafficking and exploitation that perennially exists in Mexico. Although many crisis hot spots call out for attention across Latin America and the Caribbean, working to see reform come to Mexico appeared to be a critical first step to achieving major change everywhere else in the region.

We believe that this analysis continues to be correct. We also recognize the fact that the Dominican Republic, Argentina, Paraguay, Peru and Colombia are other emergency zones of crisis. We plan to expand our coverage of these and other issues as resources permit.

Mexico is uniquely situated among the nations of the Americas, and therefore requires special attention from the global effort to end modern human slavery.

Mexico:

  • Is the world's largest Spanish speaking nation

  • Includes a long contiguous border with the U.S., thus making it a transit point for both 500,000 voluntary (but vulnerable) migrants each year as well as for victims of human slavery

  • Has multi-billion dollar drug cartels that profit from Mexico's proximity to the U.S. and that are today investing heavily in human slavery as a secondary source of profits

  • Has a 30% indigenous population, as well as an Afro-Mexican minority, both of whom are marginalized, exploited and are 'soft targets' who are now actively being cajoled, and kidnapped by trafficking mafias into lives of slavery and death

  • Has conditions of impunity that make all impoverished Mexicans vulnerable to sex and labor trafficking

  • Has a child sex tourism 'industry' that attracts many thousands of U.S., European and Latin American men who exploit vulnerable, impoverished children and youth with virtual impunity

  • Is the source of the largest contingent of foreign victims of human slavery who have been trafficked into the U.S.

  • Has a large and highly educated middle class which includes thousands of women who are active in the movement to enhance human rights in general and women's rights in particular

  • Has a growing anti-trafficking movement and a substantial women's rights focused journalist network

  • Has a politically influential faction of socially conservative men who believe in the sexist tenants of machismo and who favor maintaining the status quo that allows the open exploitation of poor Mexicans and Latin American migrants to continue, thus requiring assistance from the global movement against human exploitation to help local activists balance the scales of justice and equality

For a number years LibertadLatina's commentaries have called upon Mexico's government and the U.S. State Department to apply the pressure that is required to begin to change conditions for the better. It appears that the global community's efforts in this regard are beginning to have impact, yet a lifetime of work remains to be done to end what we have characterized as a slow-moving mass gender atrocity.

Recent developments in Mexico are for the most part encouraging.

These positive developments include:

  • The March 31, 2011 resignation of Attorney General Arturo Chávez Chávez (who had earlier failed to address the crisis of femicide murders facing women in Ciudad Juarez as Chihuahua state attorney general)

  • The replacement of Chávez Chávez with Marisela Morales Ibáñez as the nation’s first female attorney general (Morales Ibáñez was recently honored by U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton)

  • Morales Ibáñez’ reform-motivated purge of 174 officials and employees of the attorney general’s office, including the recent resigna-tions of 21 federal prosecutors

  • Morales Ibáñez’ recent raid in Cuidad Juárez, that resulted in the arrests of 1,030 suspected human traffickers and the freeing of 20 underage girls

  • The recent appointment of Dilcya Garcia , a former Mexico City prosecutor who achieved Mexico's first trafficking convictions to the federal attorney general's office (Garcia was recently honored by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for her anti-trafficking work)

  • The July, 2010 replacement of Interior Secretary Fernando Gómez Mont with José Francisco Blake Mora. (Secretary Gómez Mont openly opposed the creation of strong federal anti-trafficking legislation.)

  • Success by President Calderón and the Congress of the Republic in achieving the first steps to bringing about a constitutional amendment to facilitate human trafficking prosecutions

  • Recent public statements by President Calderon imploring the public to help in the fight against human trafficking

  • Some progress in advancing legislation in Congress to reform the failed 2007 federal anti trafficking law, a reform effort that has been lead by Deputy Rosi Orozco

  • The active collaboration of both the U.S. Government and the United Nations Office eon Drugs and Crime in supporting government efforts against trafficking

Taken together, the above actions amount to a truly watershed moment in Mexico’s efforts to address modern human slavery. We applaud those who are working for reform, while also recognizing that reform has its enemies within Congress, government institutions, law enforcement and society.

Mexico’s key anti-trafficking leaders, including journalist and author Lydia Cacho, Teresa Ulloa (director of the Regional Coalition Against Trafficking in Women for Latin America and the Caribbean - CATW-LAC), and Congresswoman Rosi Orozco of the ruling National Action Party (PAN) have all raised the alarm in recent months to indicate that corrupt businessmen, politicians and law enforcement authorities continue to pressure Mexican society to maintain a status quo that permits the existence of rampant criminal impunity in relation to the exploitation of women, children and men. The fact that anti-trafficking activist Lydia Cacho continues to face credible deaths threats on a regular basis and must live with armed guards for 24 hours a day is one sobering indicator of this harsh reality.

The use of slavery for labor and sexual purposes has a solid 500 years of existence in Mexico and much of the rest of Latin America. Indigenous peoples have been the core group of victims of human exploitation from the time of the Spanish conquest to the present. This is true in Mexico as well as in other nations with large indigenous populations such as Guatemala, Bolivia, Peru and Colombia. African descendants are also victims of exploitation - especially in Colombia, and like indigenous peoples, they continue to lack recognition as equal citizens.

These populations are therefore highly vulnerable to human trafficking and exploitation due to the fact that the larger societies within which they live feel no moral obligation to defend their rights. Criminal human traffickers and other exploiters take advantage of these vulnerabilities to kidnap, rape, sex traffic and labor traffic the poorest of the poor with little or no response from national governments.

A society like Mexico - where even middle class housewives are accustomed to treating their unpaid, early-teen indigenous girl house servants to labor exploitation and verbal and physical violence – and where the men of the house may be sexually abusing that child – is going to take a long time to adapt to an externally imposed world view that says that the forms of exploitation that their conquistador ancestors brought to the region are no longer valid. That change is not going to happen overnight, and it is not going to be easy.

Mexico’s current efforts to reform are to be applauded. The global anti-trafficking activist community and its supporters in government must, however remain vigilant and demand that Mexico continue down the path toward ending its ancient traditions of tolerated human exploitation. For that transformation to happen effectively, indigenous and African descendant Mexicans must be provided a place at the table of deliberations.

Although extending equality to these marginalized groups is a radical concept within the context of Mexican society, we insist that both Mexico, the United States State Department (a major driver of these reforms in Mexico) and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC - another major driver in the current reforms) provide the social and political spaces that will be required to allow the groups who face the most exposure to exploitation to actually have representation in both official and NGO deliberations about their fate at the hands of the billion dollar cartels and mafias who today see them as raw material and 'easy pickings' to drive their highly lucrative global slavery profit centers.

Without taking this basic step, we cannot raise Mexico’s rating on our anti-trafficking report card.

Time is of the essence!

End impunity now!

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

Aug. 05, 2011

Updated Aug. 11,2011

Note: Our August 4/5, 2011 edition contains a number of stories that accurately describe the nature of the vulnerabilities that indigenous children and women face from modern day sex traffickers, pedophiles and rapists.

See also:

Added: Aug. 1, 2010

An editorial by anti trafficking activist Lydia puts the spotlight on abusive domestic work as a form of human slavery targeting, for the most part, indigenous women and girls

Mexico

Esclavas en México

México, DF, - Cristina y Dora tenían 11 años cuando Domingo fue por ellas a la Mixteca en Oaxaca. Don José Ernesto, un militar de la Capital, le encargó un par de muchachitas para el trabajo del hogar. La madre pensó que si sus niñas trabajaban con “gente decente” tendrían la posibilidad de una vida libre, de estudiar y alimentarse, tres opciones que ella jamás podría darles por su pobreza extrema.

Cristina y Dora vivieron en el sótano, oscuro y húmedo, con un baño improvisado en una mansión construida durante el Porfiriato, cuyos jardines y ventanales hablan de lujos y riqueza. Las niñas aprendieron a cocinar como al patrón le gustaba. A lo largo de 40 años no tuvieron acceso a la escuela ni al seguro social, una de las hermanas prohijó un bebé producto de la violación del hijo del patrón. Les permitían salir unas horas algunos sábados, porque el domingo había comidas familiares. Sólo tres veces en cuatro décadas les dieron vacaciones, siendo adultas, para visitar a su madre enferma...

Slaves in Mexico

[About domestic labor slavery in Mexico]

Mexico City – Cristina and Dora were 11-years-old when Domingo picked them up in the state of Oaxaca. José Ernesto, a military man living in Mexico City, had sent Domingo to find a pair of girls to do domestic work for him. The girls’ mother thought that if they had an opportunity to work with “decent people,” they would have a chance to live a free life, to study and to eat well. Those were three things that they she could never give them in her condition of extreme poverty.

Cristina and Dora lived in the dark and humid basement of a mansion built during the presidency of Porfirio Díaz (1876 to 1910). Their space had an improvised bathroom. Outside of the home, the mansion’s elaborate gardens and elegant windows presented an image of wealth and luxury. The girls learned to cook for the tastes of their employer.

It is now forty years later. Cristina and Dora never had access to an education, nor do they have the right to social security payments when they retire. One of the sisters had a child, who was the result of her being raped by one of their employer’s sons.

They are allowed out of the house for a few hours on Saturdays. On Sundays they had to prepare family meals for their patron (boss).

Today, some 800,000 domestic workers are registered in Mexico. Ninety three percent of them don’t have access to health services. Seventy Nine percent of them have not and will not receive benefits. Their average salary is 1,112 pesos($87.94) per month. More than 8% of these workers receive no pay at all, because their employers think that giving them a place to sleep and eat is payment enough.

Sixty percent of domestic workers in Mexico are indigenous women and girls. They began this line of work, on average, at the age of 13. These statistics do not include those women and children who lived locked-up in conditions of extreme domestic slavery.

Mexico’s domestic workers are vulnerable to sexual violence, unwanted pregnancies, exploitation, racism and being otherwise poorly treated…

Recently, the European Parliament concluded that undocumented migrant women face an increased risk of domestic labor slavery. In Mexico, the majority of domestic slaves are Mexicans. Another 15% of these victims are [undocumented] migrants from Guatemala and El Salvador. Their undocumented status allows employers to prohibit their leaving the home, prohibit their access to education or deny their right to have a life of their own. The same dynamics happen to Latina women in the United States and Canada.

For centuries [middle and upper class white Mexican women] became accustomed to looking at domestic labor slavery as something that ‘helps’ indigenous women and girls. We used the hypocritical excuse that we were lifting them out of poverty by exploiting them. [They reality is that] millions of these women and girls are subjected to work conditions that deny them access to education, healthcare, and the enjoyment of a normal social life.

We (Mexico’s privileged) men and women share the responsibility for perpetuating this form of slavery. We use contemptuous language to refer to domestic workers. Like other forms of human trafficking, domestic labor slavery is a product of our culture.

Domestic work is an indispensable form of labor that allows millions of women to work. We should improve work conditions, formally recognize it in our laws, and assure that in our homes, we are not engaging in exploitation cloaked in the idea that we are rescuing [our domestic workers] from poverty.

To wash, iron, cook and care for children is as dignified as any other form of work. The best way for us to change the world is to start in own homes.

“Plan B” is a column written by Lydia Cacho that appears Mondays and Thursdays in CIMAC, El Universal and other newspapers in Mexico.

Lydia Cacho

CIMAC Women's News Agency

July 27, 2010


Added: Aug. 4, 2011

LibertadLatina Commentary

We at LibertadLatina applaud U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, the U.S. Justice Department and all of the agencies and officers involved in Operation Delego, which shut down a grotesque  international child pornography network that glorified and rewarded the torture and rape of young children. We also wish you good hunting in taking down all child pornography rings, wherever they may exist.

We call attention to a recent story (posted on Aug. 4, 2011) on the rape with impunity of indigenous school children, from very young ages, in the nation's now-closed Indian boarding school system. The fact that the legislature of the state of South Dakota passed legislation that denies victims the right to sue the priests and nuns who raped them is just as disgusting as any of the horror stories that are associated with the pedophile rapist / torturers who have been identified in Operation Delego.

Yet neither the U.S. Justice Department nor the Canadian government, where yet more horrible sexual abuses, and even murders of indigenous children took place, have ever sought to prosecute the large number of rapists involved in these cases.

In addition, federal prosecutors drop a large number of rape cases on Indian reservations despite the fact that indigenous women face a rate of rape in the U.S. that is 3.5 times higher that the rate faced by other groups of women. White males are the perpetrators of the rape in 80% of these cases.

When former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales fired eight U.S. attorneys in December of 2006, it turned out that 5 of those targeted had worked together to increase the very low prosecution rates for criminal cases on Native reservations. Their firings did a disservice to victims of rape and other serious crimes in Indian Country.

The indigenous peoples of the Americas demand an end to the rampant sexual exploitation with impunity of our peoples, be they from the United States, Mexico, Brazil, Guatemala, Bolivia, Peru or Canada.

We expect the United Stated Government to set the tone and lead the way in that change in social values.

Time is of the essence!

End impunity now!

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

Aug. 05, 2011


Added: Apr. 17, 2011

Massachusetts, USA

Donna Gavin, commander of the Boston Police Human Trafficking Unit, at Wheelock College

Norma Ramos, executive director of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women, speaks

Wheelock professor and anti pornography activist Dr. Gail Dines, and survivor and activist Cherie Jimenez speak at Wheelock

LibertadLatina's Chuck Goolsby speaks up to represent the interests of Latin American and indigenous victims at Wheelock College

Wheelock College anti-trafficking event

Stopping the Pimps, Stopping the Johns: Ending the Demand for Sex Trafficking

This event is part of Wheelock's sixth annual "Winter Policy Talks."

Speakers:

•Donna Gavin, commander of the Boston Police Human Trafficking Unit and the Massachusetts Task Force to Combat Human Trafficking. She is a sergeant detective of the Boston Police Department.

•Cherie Jimenez, who used her own experiences in the sex trade to create a Boston-area program for women

•Norma Ramos, executive director of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women

•Gail Dines, Wheelock professor of Sociology and Women's Studies and chair of the American Studies Department

Wheelock College

March 30, 2011

See also:

Added: Apr. 17, 2011

Massachusetts, USA

Wheelock College to discuss Massachusetts sex trafficking

Wheelock College is set to hold a panel discussion on the growing sex trafficking in Massachusetts.

The discussion, titled "Stopping the Pimps, Stopping the Johns: Ending the Demand for Sex Trafficking," is scheduled for Wednesday and will feature area experts and law enforcement officials.

Those scheduled to speak include Donna Gavin, commander of the Boston Police human trafficking unit and the Massachusetts task force to combat human trafficking.

Experts believe around 14,000 to 17,000 people are trafficked into the U.S. every year, including those from Latin America, Asia and Africa.

The panel is part of the Brookline school's sixth annual "Winter Policy Talks."

The Associated Press

March 30, 2011

See also:

LibertadLatina Commentary

Chuck Goolsby

On March 30, 2011 Wheelock College in Boston presented a forum that explored human trafficking and ways to end demand. Like many human trafficking gatherings held around the world, the presenters at this event provided an empathetic and intelligent window into current thinking within the different interest groups that make up this movement. Approximately 40 college students and local anti-trafficking activists attended the event.

Norma Ramos, executive director of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women (CATW) spoke about current human trafficking conditions around the world. Pornography abolitionist Dr. Gail Dines of Wheelock presented a slide show on pornography and its link to the issue of prostitution demand. Survivor Cherie Jimenez told her story of over 20 years facing abuse at the hands of pimps, and her current efforts to support underage girls in prostitution. Detective Donna Gavin discussed the Boston Police Department’s efforts to assist women and girls in prostitution, including the fact that her department’s vice operations helping women in prostitution avoid criminal prosecution to the extent possible.

The presentation grew into an intelligent discussion about a number of issues that the presenters felt were impacting the effectiveness of the movement. Among these issues were perceptions on the part of Dr. Dines that a number of activists in the human trafficking movement have expressed pro-pornography points of view. She added that the great majority of college students in women’s programs with whom she talks express a pro-pornography perspective. Panelists also expressed the view that many men who lead anti-trafficking organizations also have a pro-pornography viewpoint.

Cherie Jimenez shared her opinion that U.S. born victims do not get as much visibility and attention relative to foreign born victims. She emphasized that victims from all backgrounds are the same, and should be treated as such.

Jimenez emphasized that much of her work as an activist focuses on helping young women who, at age 18, leave state supported foster care, and must then survive on their own. She emphasized that foster care is a broken system that exposes underage girls to routine sexual abuse. CATW’s Ramos, who was a victim of that system herself, agreed.

Ramos, head of the global Coalition Against Trafficking in Women and Girls for Sexual Exploitation (CATW), emphasized that men who operate in the arena of anti sex trafficking activism must be accountable to women activists, because the issue was a gender issue. She also stated that she approached the human trafficking issue from an indigenous world view.

In response to a question from a Latina woman about services for transgender youth, Detective Gavin of the Boston Police Department stated that they have not run into sex trafficking cases involving males. Norma Ramos did note that sex trafficked male youth did exist in significant numbers in the New York City area.

During the question and answer period of the forum, I spent about 15 minutes discussing the issue of human trafficking from the Latin American, Latin Diaspora and indigenous perspectives.

* I noted that as a male anti-trafficking activist, I have devoted the past dozen years of that activism to advocating for the voiceless women and girls in Latin America, the United States and in advanced nations of the world in Europe and Japan where Latina and indigenous victims are widely exploited.

* I pointed out that within the Boston area as elsewhere within the United States, the brutal tactics of traffickers, as well as the Spanish/English language barrier, the cultural code of silence and tolerance for exploitation that are commonplace within Latin immigrant communities all allow sex trafficking to flourish in the Latin barrios of Boston such as East Boston, Chelsea, Everett and Jamaica Plain.

* I also mentioned that during the current climate of recession and increased immigration law enforcement operations, Latina women and girls face a loss of jobs and income, and a loss of opportunities to survive with dignity, which are all factors that expose them to the risk of commercial sexual exploitation.

* I mentioned that the sex trafficking of women and girls in Latin America focuses on the crisis in Mexico, which, I stated was the epicenter of sex trafficking activity in the Americas.

* I stated that the U.S. anti-trafficking movement cannot make any progress while it continues to treat the sex trafficking crisis in Mexico as a secondary issue.

* I mentioned that Teresa Ulloa, director of the Regional Coalition Against Trafficking in Women for Latin America and the Caribbean (CATW-LAC), was a stellar activist who has provided the vanguard of leadership in anti sex trafficking activism in the region. I added that Ulloa recently promoted statistics developed by the Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences, that state that 25% of the Gross Domestic Product across all Latin American nations is derived from human trafficking.

* I mentioned that a number of years ago, I called-on my local police department to enforce the law and arrest an adult man who was severely sexually harassing an 11-year-old Latina girl. These two officers told me in a matter of fact way that they could not respond to what the county Police Academy had taught them (in cultural sensitivity classes there) was just a part of Latino culture.

As is the case in most public events that I attend that address the crisis in human trafficking, the issue of Latina and indigenous victims (who are the majority of U.S. victims) would not have been discussed in detail without the participation of LibertadLatina.

The event was an enlightening experience. My perception is that both the activists and the audience were made aware of the dynamics of the crisis of mass gender atrocities that women and children are facing in Latin America, the Caribbean and in their migrant communities across the globe.

End impunity now!

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

April 17, 2011


Added: Feb. 27, 2011

Mexico

This map shows the number of types of child slavery that occur in the nations of Latin America and the Caribbean

Indigenous children are the focal point for underage sex and labor slavery in Mexico

Around 1.5 million children do not attend school at all in Mexico, having or choosing to work instead. Indigenous children are often child laborers. Throughout Central and South America, indigenous people are frequently marginalized, both economically and socially. Many have lost their traditional land rights and they migrate in order to find paid work. This can in turn make indigenous peoples more vulnerable to exploitative and forced labor practices.

According to the web site Products of Slavery.org, child slavery, especially that which exploits indigenous children, is used to generate profits in the following industries in Mexico:

* The production of Child Pornography

* The production of coffee, tobacco, beans, chile peppers, cucumbers, eggplants, melons, onions, sugarcane and tomatoes - much of which is sold for export

Key facts about Mexican child sex and labor exploitation defined on the Product of Slavery:

* Many indigenous children in Mexico aged between seven and 14 work during the green bean harvest from 7am until 7pm, meaning they cannot attend school.

* Amongst Mexico's indigenous peoples, 86% of children, aged six years and over, are engaged in strenuous physical labor in the fields six days a week working to cultivate agricultural produce such as chile peppers.

* Indigenous child labor keeps costs of production down for Mexican companies as boys and girls from indigenous families are frequently denied recognition of their legal status as workers, charged with the least skilled tasks, such as harvesting cucumbers, and so receive the lowest pay.

* Child labor is widespread in Mexico's agricultural sector; in 2000, it was discovered that 11 and 12 year olds were working on the family ranch of the then-President elect, Vicente Fox, harvesting onions, potatoes, and corn for export to the United States.

[I know a couple of U.S. ICE agents who can add 'another paragraph' to the above statement - LL.]

* Mexican children who are exploited by the sex industry and involved in activities such as pornography and prostitution suffer physical injuries, long-term psychological damage with the strong possibility of developing suicidal tendencies and are at high risk of contracting AIDS, tuberculosis and other life-threatening illnesses.

* There are strong links between tourism and the sexual exploitation of children in Mexico; tourist centers such as Acapulco, Cancun and Tijuana are prime locations where thousands of children are used in the production of pornographic material and child prostitution is rife.

* Mexican street children are vulnerable to being lured into producing pornographic material with promises of toys, food, money, and accommodation; they then find themselves prisoners, locked for days or weeks on end in hotel rooms or apartments, hooked on drugs and suffering extreme physical and sexual violence.

* David Salgado was just eight years old when he was crushed by a tractor as he went to empty the bucket of tomatoes he had just collected on the Mexican vegetable farm where he worked with his family. The company paid his funeral expenses but refused to pay compensation to his family as David was not a formal employee.

The web site explores child enslavement in all of the nations shown in the above map.

Products of Slavery


Added: Feb. 27, 2011

North Carolina, USA

"For Sale" - A composite from a poster announcing Davidson College's recent event on Human Trafficking in Latin America

See the complete poster

Chuck Goolsby speaks at Davidson College

On February 3rd of 2011 I travelled to Davidson College, located in a beautiful community north of Charlotte, North Carolina, to provide a 90 minute presentation on the crisis of sexual slavery in Latin America, and in Latin American immigrant communities across the United States. I thank the members of Davidson's Organization of Latin American Students (OLAS) and the Vann Center for Ethics for cosponsoring the presentation, and for their hospitality and hard work in setting up this event.

During my talk I described many of the dynamics of how sexual slavery works in the Americas. I summarized the work of LibertadLatina as one of the few English language voices engaging the world in an effort to place Latin American gender exploitation issues on an equal footing with the rest of the world's struggle against sex trafficking. I covered the facts that:

1) Sexual slavery has long been condoned in Latin America;

2) Community tolerance of sexual exploitation, and a cultural code of silence work to hide crimes of violence against women across the region;

3) The multi-billion dollar pockets of Latin American drug cartels, together with the increasing effectiveness of anti-drug trafficking law enforcement efforts are driving cartel money into major investments in kidnapping, 'breaking-in' and selling underage girls and young women into slavery globally, en mass;

4) Men in poverty who have grown up in [especially rural] cultures where women's equality does not exist, are prime candidates to participate in the sex trafficking industry - this is especially true in locations such as Tlaxcala state, just east of Mexico City, where an estimated 50% of the adults in the La Meca neighborhood of the major city of Tenancingo are involved in sex traffickers;

5) Male traffickers, often from family organized mafias of adults and teens [especially in Tlaxcala], either kidnap women and girls directly, or engage in false romances with potential victims that result in the victim's beating, gang rape and enslavement, getting the victim pregnant - and then leaving the infant with the trafficker's family as a form of bribery [threatening the baby's death if the victim does not continue to submit to forced sexual enslavement;

6) Traffickers typically take their victims from Tlaxcala, to Mexico City, and to Tijuana on the U.S. border - from which they are shipped like merchandise to Tokyo, Madrid, Amsterdam, Los Angeles, Miami, Atlanta, Charlotte, Washington, DC and New York City;

7) Traffickers also bring victims to farm labor camps large and small across the rural U.S.;

8) North Carolina, including the major population centers of Raleigh-Durham and Charlotte are places where Latina immigrant sexual slavery is a major problem (given the rapid growth in the local immigrant population, who see the state as a place with lots of jobs and a low cost of living);

9) Mexico's government is reluctant (to be polite) to engage the issue of ending human trafficking (despite recent presidential rhetoric), as exemplified by the multi-year delay in setting up the regulations and inter-agency collaborations needed to actually enforce the nation's 2007 Law to Prevent and Punish Human Trafficking (note that only in early 2011 has the final element of the legislation been put into place to actually activate the law - which some legislators accurate refer to as a "dead letter.");

10) heroes such as activist Lydia Cacho have faced retaliation and death threats for years for having dared to stand-up against the child sex trafficking networks whose money and influence corrupts state and local governments;

11) it is up to each and every person to decide how to engage in activism to end all forms of human slavery, wherever they may exist.

Virtually everyone in the crowd that attended the event had heard about human trafficking prior to the February 3rd presentation. They left the event knowing important details about the facts involved in the Latin American crisis and the difficulties that activists face in their efforts to speak truth to power and the forces of impunity. A number of attendees thanked me for my presentation, and are now new readers of LibertadLatina.org.

The below text is from Davidson College's announcement for this event.

Slavery is (thankfully) illegal everywhere today. But sadly, it is still practiced secretly in many parts of the world. One persistent form of it occurs when women and girls are forced into prostitution or sexual slavery, sometimes by being kidnapped and trafficked or smuggled across national borders.

Chuck Goolsby has worked tirelessly for decades to expose and end this horrific, outrageous practice. As the founder and coordinator of LibertadLatina, much of his work has focused on sex-trafficking in the Latin American context.  Join us to hear from him regarding the nature and scope of the current problem, and what we can do to help stop it.

We have given similar presentations to groups such as Latinas United for Justice, a student organization located at the John Jay College for Criminal Justice in New York City.

We are available for conferences and other speaking engagements to address the topics of human trafficking in its Latin American, Latin Diaspora, Afro-Latina and Indigenous dimensions.

Please write to us in regard to your event.

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina.org

Feb. 26, 2011


Added: Feb. 10, 2011

The United States

Tiffany Williams of the Break the Chain Campaign

Highlighting New Issues in Ending Violence Against Women; More Women Afraid To Come Forward And Access Services

Congressional leaders will participate in an ad-hoc hearing examining violence against immigrant women this Thursday on Capitol Hill Washington, DC—Reps. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) and Gwendolyn Moore (D-WI) will co-chair an ad-hoc hearing this Thursday afternoon, bearing witness to the testimony of immigrant women and advocates who are speaking out about increasing barriers to ending violence against immigrant women and families. Honorable guests Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) and Rep. Grace Napolitano (D-CA) will join the co-chairs.

Maria Bolaños of Maryland will share her personal story. Juana Flores from Mujeres Unidas y Activas (MUA), an immigrant women’s organization in California and the Rev. Linda Olson Peebles from the Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington will share the perspective of community groups, and legal advocates Leslye Orloff (Legal Momentum) and Miriam Yeung (NAPAWF) will offer testimony in light of the expected 2011 re-authorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).

WHAT: Ad-hoc hearing on violence against immigrant women

WHEN: Feb. 10, 2011 - 2 pm-3 pm

WHERE: Rayburn House Office Building, Room 2456

WHO: Rep. Raul Grijalva, Rep. Gwendolyn Moore, Rep. Jared Polis, Rep. Napolitano, members of the press, domestic violence advocates, immigrant rights advocates, and other invited guest

Co-Sponsoring Organizations: 9to5, AFL-CIO, Family Values @ Work Consortium, Franciscan Action Network, Institute for Policy Studies, Legal Momentum, MomsRising, Ms. Foundation for Women, Mujeres Unidas y Activas, National Domestic Workers Alliance, National Day Laborer Organizing Network, National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum, National Immigration Law Center, National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, South Asian Americans Leading Together, United Methodist Women/Civil Rights Initiative, Urgent Action Fund for Women's Human Rights, Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations

Contact: Tiffany Williams

Tel. (202) 787-5245; Cell (202) 503-8604; E-mail: tiffany@ips-dc.org 

The Institute for Policy Studies / Break the Chains Campaign

Feb. 9, 2011

See also:

Added: Feb. 10, 2011

The United States

Silencing human trafficking victims in America

Women should be able to access victim services, regardless of their immigration status.

Thanks to a wave of anti-immigrant proposals in state legislatures across the nation, fear of deportation and family separation has forced many immigrant women to stay silent rather than report workplace abuse and exploitation to authorities. The courts have weakened some of these laws and the most controversial pieces of Arizona's SB 1070 law have been suspended. Unfortunately, America's anti-immigrant fervor continues to boil.

As a social worker, I've counseled both U.S.-born and foreign-born women who have experienced domestic violence, or have been assaulted by either their employers or the people who brought them to the United States. I'm increasingly alarmed by this harsh immigration enforcement climate because of its psychological impact on families and the new challenge to identify survivors of crime who are now too afraid to come forward.

For the past decade, I've helped nannies, housekeepers, caregivers for the elderly, and other domestic workers in the Washington metropolitan area who have survived human trafficking. A majority of these women report their employers use their immigration status to control and exploit them, issuing warnings such as "if you try to leave, the police will find you and deport you." Even women who come to the United States on legal work visas, including those caring for the children of diplomats or World Bank employees, experience these threats.

Though law enforcement is a key partner in responding to human trafficking, service providers continue to struggle with training authorities to identify trafficking and exploitation in immigrant populations, especially when the trafficking is for labor and not sex. While local human trafficking task forces spend meetings developing outreach plans, our own state governments are undermining these efforts with extremely harsh and indiscriminate crackdowns on immigrants...

Regardless of their legal status, these women are human beings working hard to feed their families. Their home countries' economies have been by shattered by globalization. Our economic system depends on their cheap labor. Yet much of the debate about U.S. borders fails to acknowledge immigrants as people, or appreciate the numerous cultural contributions that ethnic diversity has provided this country. As a result, humane comprehensive immigration reform remains out of reach in Congress.

We're a nation of immigrants and a nation of hard-working families. An economic crisis caused by corporate greed has turned us against each other in desperation and fear. We should band together to uphold our traditional values of family unity, to give law enforcement the tools they need to provide effective victim protection and identification rather than reactionary laws, and ensure that women can access victim services, regardless of immigration status.

Tiffany Williams is the advocacy director for Break The Chain Campaign, a project of the Institute for Policy Studies.

Tiffany Williams

The Huffington Post

Feb. 07, 2011

See also:

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina Commentary

We at LibertadLatina salute the Break the Chain Campaign and their advocacy director, Tiffany Williams, for bringing voice to the voiceless immigrant working women and girls (underage teens) across the United States. Latin American and other immigrant women routinely face quid-pro-quo sexual demands of "give me sex or get out" from male managers and supervisors across the low-wage service sector of the U.S. economy.

My advocacy for victims of gender violence began with efforts to provide direct victim assistance to Latina women facing workplace gender exploitation in the Washington, DC region. My work included rescuing two Colombian women from the fearful labor slavery that they faced in two diplomatic households in Montgomery County, Maryland, just north of Washington, DC. I also assisted six women in bringing complaints to police and to our local Montgomery County human rights commission (a local processor of U.S. Equal Employment Opportunities Commission cases).

Immigrant women have never had free and equal access to the legal system to address these employer abuses. The Break the Chain Campaign rightly identifies the fact that the social and political climate in the U.S. in the year 2011 is creating conditions in which immigrant women and girl victims fear coming forward.

It is encouraging that the Break the Chains Campaign openly identifies the sexual and labor exploitation of immigrant women and girls in domestic and other low wage service jobs as being forms of human trafficking. Ten years ago, local anti-trafficking organizations in the Washington, DC region did not buy into that view of the world.

Conditions have not changed for the better for at-risk immigrant women and girls since we first wrote about this issue in the year 1994 (see below).

These community continues to need our persistent help on this issue.

End impunity now!

- Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

Feb. 10, 2011

See also:

LibertadLatina

Our section covering human trafficking, workplace rape and community exploitation facing Latina women and children in the Washington, DC regional area.

See also:

Latina Workplace Rape

Low wage workers face managerial threats of 'give me sex or get out!' across the U.S. and Latin America.

See also:

On the Front Lines of the War Against Impunity in Gender Exploitation

Government, corporations and the press ignored all of these victims cases in which Chuck Goolsby intervened directly  during the 1990s.

Rockville, Maryland - Case 1  

Workplace Rape with Impunity

A major corporation working on defense and civilian U.S. government contracts permitted quid-pro-quo sexual demands, sexual coercion and retaliatory firings targeted at Latina adult and underage teen cleaning workers.

Rockville, Maryland - Case 2

Workplace Assault and Battery with Impunity

A Nicaraguan indigenous woman cleaning worker was slapped across the chest and knocked to the floor by her manager in the Rockville offices of a federal agency, the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

The local Maryland State's Attorney's Office repeatedly pressured the victim (through calls to Chuck Goolsby) to drop her insistence on having her assailant prosecuted.

Rockville, Maryland - Case 3 

About the One Central Plaza office complex

Workplace Rape and Forced Prostitution with Impunity

Over a dozen women were illegally fired for not giving in to the sexual demands of three Latino cleaning crew managers who forced women and underage girls into quid-pro-quo sexual relationships as a condition of retaining their jobs. 

Some women were forced to commit acts of prostitution in this office building, that housed Maryland state government and other offices.

A medical doctor who leased office space at One Central Plaza filed a formal complaint with the building owners and stated that he was finding his patient examining tables dirtied by sexual activity after-hours (cleaning managers had keys to access these offices to have them cleaned).

A pregnant woman was severely sexually harassed, and was fired and told to come back after her child was born, when she could be sexually exploited. 

The Montgomery County, Maryland County Human Relations commission in 1995 literally buried the officially filed casework of this pregnant woman and another victim, who had an audio tape of a 20 minute attempt by her manager to rape her.

Both detectives at the Montgomery County Police Department (where I worked part-time during those times) and a team of Washington Post reporters refused to investigate this crisis of workplace impunity.

A Latina Washington Post reporter, when explaining to me why she would not cover the story said, "well, after all, you are trying to accuse these guys (the perpetrators) of felonies." The same reporter stated that her manager would not allow her to cover the story because it was a "dangerous situation."

To this day I continue to ask myself, If it was a dangerous situation, was it not, then, news!

See also:

The above three cases are among those documented in my below report from 1994.

Charles M. Goolsby, Jr.'s 1994 Report on the Sexual Exploitation of Latina immigrant Women and Girls in Montgomery County, Maryland (a suburb of Washington, DC)

The LibertadLatina project grew directly out of these initial efforts to speak truth to the official and criminal impunity in our society that openly targets innocent immigrant women and girls for sexual victimization.


Added: Sep. 29, 2010

India

Human trafficking slur on Commonwealth Games

The jinxed Commonwealth Games could have done without this. After being troubled by brittle infrastructure, CWG 2010 has now been blamed for a jump in trafficking of women and children from the Northeast. The accusation has come from Meghalaya People’s Human Rights Council (MPHRC) general secretary Dino D.G. Dympep. The platform he chose on Tuesday was the general debate discussion on racism, discrimination, xenophobia and other intolerance at the 15th Human Rights Council Session at the UN headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.

“The human rights situation of indigenous peoples living in Northeast India is deteriorating,” Dympep said, adding New Delhi has chose to be indifferent to human trafficking of and racial discrimination toward these indigenous groups.

“What worries the indigenous peoples now apart from racial and gender-based violence is the fear of alleged human trafficking for flesh trade.” The number of indigenous women and children trafficked particularly for the upcoming CGW could be 15,000, he said.

The rights activist also underscored the racial profiling of people from the Northeast on the basis of their ethnicity, linguistic, religious, cultural and geographical backgrounds.

Dympep also pointed out 86 per cent of indigenous peoples studying or working away from their native places face racial discrimination in various forms such as sexual abuses, rapes, physical attacks and economic exploitation.

“The UN has condemned India's caste system and termed it worse than racism. The racism faced by indigenous peoples of the Northeast is definitely the outcome of the caste system. Such negative attitude as ignoring the region will only lead to deeper self-alienation by the indigenous peoples, which comes in the way of integration in India,” he said.

Rahul Karmakar

Hindustan Times

Sep. 28, 2010

LibertadLatina Note:

Indigenous peoples across the world face the problem of being marginalized by the dominant societies that surround them. They become the easiest targets for human traffickers because the larger society will not stand up to defend their basic human rights. Exploiting the lives and the sexuality of indigenous women is a key aspect of this dynamic of oppression.

We at LibertadLatina denounce all forms of exploitation. We call the world's attention to the fact that tens of thousands of indigenous peoples in the Americas, and most especially women and girls in Guatemala and Mexico, are routinely being kidnapped or cajoled into becoming victims of human trafficking.

For 5 centuries, the economies of Latin America have relied upon the forced labor and sexual exploitation of the region's indigenous peoples as a cornerstone of their economic and social lives. Mexico, with an indigenous population that comprises 30% of the nation, is a glaring example of this dynamic of racial, ethnic and gender (machismo) based oppression. In Mexico, indigenous victims are not 'visible' to the authorities, and are on nobody's list of social groups who need to be assisted to defend themselves against the criminal impunity of the sex and labor trafficking mafias.

For Mexico to arrive in the 21st Century community of nations, it must begin the process of ending these feudal-era traditions.

End impunity now!

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

Sep. 30/Oct. 02, 2010


Added: Jul. 21, 2010

New York, USA

U.S. Ambassador Luis CdeBaca (second from left) and other presenters at UN / Brandeis conference

Hidden in Plain Sight: The News Media's Role in Exposing Human Trafficking

The Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University cosponsored a first-ever United Nations panel discussion about how the news media is exposing and explaining modern slavery and human trafficking -- and how to do it better. Below are the transcript and video from that conference, held at the United Nations headquarters in New York City on June 16 and co-sponsored by the United States Mission to the United Nations and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

Take a look as some leading media-makers and policymakers debate coverage of human trafficking. What hinders good reporting on human trafficking? What do journalists fear when they report on slaves and slavery? Why cover the subject in the first place? What are the common reporting mistakes and missteps that can do more harm than good to trafficking victims, and to government, NGO, and individual efforts to end the traffic of persons for others' profit and pleasure?

Among the main points: Panelists urged reporters and editors to avoid salacious details and splashy, "sexy" headlines that can prevent a more nuanced examination of trafficked persons' lives and experiences. Journalists lamented the lack of solid data, noting that the available statistics are contradictory, unreliable, insufficient, and often skewed by ideology. As an example, the two officials on the panel -- Ambassador Luis CdeBaca, head of the U.S. Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, and Under-Secretary-General Antonio Maria Costa, executive director of the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime -- disagreed on the number of rescued trafficking victims. Costa thought the number was likely less than half CdeBaca's estimate (from the International Labour Organization) of 50,000 victims rescued worldwide...

Read the transcript

The Huffington Post

July 15, 2010

See also:

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina Note:

In response to the above article by the Huffington Post, on the topic of press coverage of the issue of human trafficking, we would like to point out that the LibertadLatina project came into existence because of a lack of interest and/or willingness on the part of many (but not all) reporters and editors in the press, and also on the part of government agencies and academics, to acknowledge and target the rampant sexual violence faced by Latina and indigenous women and children across both Latin America and the Latin Diaspora in the Untied States, Canada, and in other advanced economies such as those of western Europe and Japan.

Ten years after starting LibertadLatina, more substantial press coverage is taking place. However, the crisis of ongoing mass gender atrocities that plague Latin America, including human trafficking, community based sexual violence, a gender hostile living environment and government and social complicity (and especially in regard to the region's completely marginalized indigenous and African descended victims - who are especially targeted for victimization), continue to be largely ignored or intentionally untouched by the press, official government action, academic investigation and NGO effort.

Therefore we persist in broadcasting the message that the crisis in Latin America and its Diaspora cannot and will not be ignored.

End impunity now!

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

July 21, 2010


Added: March 1, 2010

Mexico

Deputy Rosi Orozco watches Mexican Interior Secretary Fernando Gómez Mont's presentation at the Forum for Analysis and Discussion in Regard to Criminal Law to Control Human Trafficking.

Video posted on YouTube

Video: Llama Gómez Mont a Visibilizar Delito de Trata de Personas

Video of Mexican Interior Secretary Fernando Gómez Mont's presentation at the Feb. 23rd and 24th, 2010 congressional Forum for Analysis and Discussion in Regard to Criminal Law to Control Human Trafficking.

[Ten minutes - In Spanish]

Deputy Rosi Orozco

On YouTube.com

Feb. 26, 2010

See also:

LibertadLatina Commentary

Chuck Goolsby

Lead, Follow or Get Out of the Way!

Mexican Interior Secretary Fernando Gómez Mont's presentation at the congressional Forum for Analysis and Discussion in Regard to Criminal Law to Control Human Trafficking has been widely quoted in the Mexican press. We have posted some of those articles here (see below).

The video of Secretary Mont's discourse shows that he is passionate about the idea of raising awareness about human trafficking. He states: "Making [trafficking] visible is the first step towards liberation."

Secretary Mont believes that the solution to human trafficking in Mexico will come from raising awareness about trafficking and from understanding the fact that machismo, its resulting family violence and also the nation's widespread extreme poverty are the dynamics that push at-risk children and youth into the hands of exploiters.

During Secretary Mont's talk he expressed his strongly held belief that federalizing the nation's criminal anti-trafficking laws is, in effect, throwing good money after bad. In his view, the source of the problem is not those whom criminal statutes would target, but the fundamental social ills that drive the problem.

The Secretary's views have an element of wisdom in them. We believe, however, that his approach is far too conservative. An estimated 500,000 victims of human trafficking exist in Mexico (according to veteran activist Teresa Ulloa of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women - Latin American and Caribbean branch - CATW-LAC).

A note about the figures quoted to describe the number of child sexual exploitation victims in Mexico...

Widely quoted 'official' figures state that between 16,000 and 20,000 underage victims of sex trafficking exist in Mexico.

We believe that, if the United States acknowledges that 200,000 to 300,000 underage children and youth are caught-up in the commercial sexual exploitation of children - CSEC, at any one time, based on a population of 310 million, (a figure of between .00064 and .00096 percent of the population), then the equivalent numbers for Mexico would be between 68,000 and 102,000 child and youth victims of CSEC for its estimated 107 million in population.

Given Mexico's vastly greater level of poverty, its legalization of adult prostitution, and given that southern Mexico alone is known to be the largest zone in the world for the commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC), with 10,000 children being prostituted just in the city of Tapachula (according to ECPAT figures), then the total number of underage children and youth caught-up in prostitution in Mexico is most likely not anywhere near the 16,000 to 20,000 figure that was first released in a particular research study from more than five years ago and continues to be so widely quoted today.

Regardless of what the actual figures are, they include a very large number of victims.

While officials such as Secretary Mont philosophize about disabling anti-trafficking law enforcement and rescue and restoration efforts, while instead relying upon arriving at some far-off day when Mexican society raises its awareness and empathy for victims (and that is Mont's policy proposal as stated during the recent trafficking law forum), tens of thousands of victims who are being kidnapped, raped, enslaved and sold to the highest bidder need our help. They need our urgent intervention. As a result of their enslavement, they typically live for only a few years, if that, according to experts.

The reality is that the tragic plight of victims can and must be prevented. Those who have already been victimized must be rescued and restored to dignity.

That is not too much to ask from a Mexico that calls itself a member of civilized society.

Mexico exists at the very top of world-wide statistics on the enslavement of human beings. Save the Children recognizes the southern border region of Mexico as being the largest zone for the commercial sexual exploitation of children on Planet Earth.

Colombian and Mexican drug cartels, Japanese Yakuza mafias and the Russian Mob are all 'feeding upon' (kidnapping, raping, and exporting) many of  the thousands of Central and South American migrant women who cross into Mexico. They also prey upon thousands of young Mexican girls and women (and especially those who are Indigenous), who remain unprotected by the otherwise modern state of Mexico, where Roman Empire era feudal traditions of exploiting the poor and the Indigenous as slaves are honored and defended by the wealthy elites who profit (economically and sexually) from such barbarism.

Within this social environment, the more extreme forms of modern slavery are not seen as being outrageous by the average citizen. These forms of brutal exploitation have been used continuously in Mexico for 500 years.

We reiterate our view, as expressed in our Feb. 26th and 27th 2010 commentary about Secretary Mont.

Interior Secretary Mont has presided over the two year delay in implementing the provisions of the nation's first anti-trafficking law, the Law to Prevent, and Punish Human Trafficking, passed by Congress in 2007.

  • The regulations required to enable the law were left unpublished by the Interior Secretary for 11 months after the law was passed.

  • When the regulation were published, they were weak, and left out a role for the nation's leading anti-trafficking agency, the Special Prosecutor for Violent Crimes Against Women and Human Trafficking in the Attorney General's office (FEVIMTRA).

  • The regulations failed to target organized crime.

  • The Inter-Agency Commission to Fight Human Trafficking, called for in the law, was only stood-up in late 2009, two years after the law's passage, and only after repeated agitation by members of Congress demanding that President Calderón act to create the Commission.

  • Today, the National Program to Fight Human Trafficking, also called for in the 2007 law, has yet to be created by the Calderón administration.

  • In early February of 2010, Senator Irma Martínez Manríquez stated that the 2007 anti-trafficking law and its long-sought regulations were a 'dead letter' due to the power of impunity that has contaminated the political process.

All of the delaying tactics that were used to thwart the will and intent of Congress in passing the 2007 anti-trafficking law originated in the National Action Party (PAN) administration of President Felipe Calderón. All aspects of the 2007 law that called for regulations, commissions and programs were the responsibility of Interior Secretary Mont to implement. That job was never performed, and the 2007 law is now accurately referred to as a "dead letter" by members of Congress.

Those of us in the world community who actively support the use of criminal sanctions to suppress and ultimately defeat the multi-billion dollar power of human trafficking networks must come to the aid of the many political and non governmental organization leaders in Mexico who are working to create a breakthrough, to end the impasse which the traditionalist forces in the PAN political machine have thrown-up as a gauntlet to defeat effective anti-trafficking legislation.

Interior Secretary Mont's vision for the future, which involves continuing on a course of complete inaction on the law enforcement front, must be rejected as a capitulation to the status quo, and as a nod to the traffickers.

While "Little Brown Maria in the Brothel" - our metaphor for the voiceless victims, suffers yet another day chained to a bed in Tijuana, Acapulco, Matamoros, Ciudad Juárez, Mexico City, Tlaxcala, Tapachula and Cancun, the entire law enforcement infrastructure of Mexico sits by and does virtually nothing to stop this mass gender atrocity from happening.

That is a completely unacceptable state of affairs for a Mexico that is a member of the world community, and that is a signatory to international protocols that fight human trafficking and that defend women and children's human rights.

We once again call upon U.S. Ambassador at Large Luis CdeBaca, director of the Trafficking in Persons office at the State Department, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and President Barack Obama to stand-up and speak out with the moral authority of the United States in support of the forces of change in Mexico.

Political leaders and non governmental organizations around the world also have a responsibility to speak-up, and to let the government of President Felipe Calderón know that the fact that his ruling party (finally) supported presenting a forum on trafficking, and the holding of a few press conferences, is not enough of a policy turn-around to be convincing.

The PAN must take strong action to aggressively combat the explosive growth in human slavery in Mexico in accordance with international standards. Those at risk, and those who are today victims, await your effective response to their emergency, President Calderón.

Enacting a 'general' federal law that is enforceable in all of Mexico's states would be a good fist step to show the world that sincere and honest voices against modern day slavery do exist in Congress, and are willing to draw a line in the sand on this issue.

As for Secretary Mont, we suggest, kind sir, that you consider the age-old entrepreneurial adage, and either "lead, follow, or get out of the way" of progress.

No more delays!

There is no time to waste!

End impunity now!

- Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

March 1, 2010

See Also:

Mexico

Víctimas del tráfico de personas, 5 millones de mujeres y niñas en América Latina

De esa cifra, más de 500 mil casos ocurren en México, señalan especialistas.

Five million victims of Human Trafficking Exist in Latin America

Saltillo, Coahuila state - Teresa Ulloa Ziaurriz, the director of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women's Latin American / Caribbean regional office, announced this past Monday that more than five million women and girls are currently victims of human trafficking in Latin America and the Caribbean.

During a forum on successful treatment approaches for trafficking victims held by the Women's Institute of Coahuila, Ulloa Ziaurriz stated that 500,000 of these cases exist in Mexico, where women and girls are trafficked for sexual exploitation, pornography and the illegal harvesting of human organs.

Ulloa Ziaurriz said that human trafficking is the second largest criminal industry in the world today, a fact that has given rise to the existence of a very large number of trafficking networks who operate with the complicity of both [corrupt] government officials and business owners.

Mexico is a country of origin, transit and also destination for trafficked persons. Of 500,000 victims in Mexico, 87% are subjected to commercial sexual exploitation.

Ulloa Ziaurriz pointed out that locally in Coahuila state, the nation's human trafficking problem shows up in the form of child prostitution in cities such as Ciudad Acuña as well as other population centers along Mexico's border with the United States.

- Notimex / La Jornada Online

Mexico City

Dec. 12, 2007

See also:

Mexico: Más de un millón de menores se prostituyen en el centro del país: especialista

Expert: More than one million minors are sexually exploited in Central Mexico

Tlaxcala city, in Tlaxcala state - Around 1.5 million people in the central region of Mexico are engaged in prostitution, and some 75% of them are between 12 and 13 years of age, reported Teresa Ulloa, director of the Regional Coalition Against Trafficking in Women and Girls in Latin America and the Caribbean...

La Jornada de Oriente

Sep. 26, 2009

[Note: The figure of 75% of 1.5 million indicates that 1.1 million girls between the ages of 12 and 13 at any given time engage in prostitution in central Mexico alone. - LL]


LibertadLatina

Analysis of the political actions and policies of Mexico's National Action Party (PAN) in regard to their detrimental impact on women's basic human rights


A child in prostitution in Cancun, Mexico  stands next to a police car with an adult john.

About Child Sexual Slavery in Mexico

Thousands of foreign sex tourists arrive in Cancun daily from the U.S., Canada and Europe with the intention of having sex with children, according to a short documentary film by a local NGO (see below link). Police and prosecutors refuse to criminalize this activity.

This grotesque business model, that of engaging in child sex tourism, exists along Mexico's entire northern border with the U.S., along Mexico's southern border with Guatemala [and Belize], and in tourist resorts including Acapulco, Cancun and Veracruz. Thousands of U.S. men cross Mexico's border or fly to tourist resorts each day to have sex with minors.

Unfortunately, Mexico's well heeled criminal sex traffickers have exported the business model of selling children for sex to every major city as well as to many migrant farm labor camps across the U.S.

Human trafficking in the U.S. will never be controlled, despite the passage of more advanced laws and the existence of ongoing improvements to the law enforcement model, until the 500-year-old 'tradition' of sexual slavery in Mexico is brought to an end.

The most influential political factions within the federal and state governments of Mexico show little interest in ending the mass torture and rape of this innocent child population.

We must continue to pressured them to do so.

End Impunity now!

See also:

The Dark Side of Cancun - a short documentary

Produced by Mark Cameron and Monserrat Puig

2007

About the case of Jacqueline Maria Jirón Silva

Our one page flyer about Jacqueline Maria Jirón Silva (Microsoft Word 2003)


Added: Dec. 03, 2009

Mexico

Award-winning anti-child sex trafficking activist, journalist, author and women's center director Lydia Cacho

Muertes por violencia en México podrían ser plan de limpieza social: Cacho

Especialistas indagan si asesinatos vinculados con el crimen son una estrategia del Estado, dijo.

Madrid. Las muertes por violencia en México en los últimos años, 15 mil en los últimos tres años, podrían formar parte de un plan de "limpieza social por parte del Estado mexicano", declaró este lunes en Madrid la periodista mexicana Lydia Cacho….

Deaths from violence in Mexico could be the results of social cleansing: Lydia Cacho

Specialists are investigating whether murders are state strategy, Cacho says.

Madrid. Deaths from violence in Mexico in recent years, including 15,000 during the past three years, could form part of a plan of "social cleansing by the Mexican State," declared Mexican journalist Lydia Cacho in Madrid, Spain on Monday.

"Experts are beginning to investigate at this time in Mexico whether these 15,000 murders are linked to intentional social cleansing by the Mexican State," Cacho said in a press conference in which she denounced human rights violations and persecution of the press in her country.

Since President Felipe Calderón [became president] three years ago, we have been witnessing a growing authoritarianism in Mexico "justified by the war " (on drugs), in which " militari-zation, and harassment of journalists and human rights defenders is increasing danger-ously," stated Cacho.

Cacho was kidnapped [by rogue state police agents] and tortured in Mexico after divulging information about a pedophile ring in which businessmen and politicians were involved.

The Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR) will determine in an upcoming decision whether Mexican authorities violated the rights of the journalist in that case.

The foundation that bears Cacho's name, created in Madrid a year ago, is organizing a concert to raise funds to help pay for her defense before the IACHR...

Cacho is the author of [the child sex trafficking exposé] The Demons of Eden. In recent years she has received several awards for her work on behalf of human rights carried out through investigative journalism, including the UNESCO-Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Award.

Agence France Presse (AFP)

Nov. 23, 2009

See also:

Mexican Government Part of Problem, Not Solution, Writer Says

Madrid - A muckraking Mexican journalist known for exposes of pedophile rings and child prostitution said on Monday that President Felipe Calderón’s bloody campaign against Mexico’s drug cartels is “not a battle for justice and social peace.”

Lydia Cacho, who has faced death threats and judicial persecution for her writings, told a press conference in Madrid that Mexico’s justice system is “impregnated with corruption and impunity.”

Accompanied by the head of the Lydia Cacho Foundation, Spanish screenwriter Alicia Luna; and Madrid Press Association President Fernando Gonzalez Urbaneja, the author said the nearly three years since Calderón took office have seen increased “authoritarianism” and harassment of journalists and human rights advocates.

The period has also witnessed “15,000 documented killings,” Cacho said, exceeding the carnage in Colombia at the height of that country’s drug wars.

“Specialists are beginning to investigate if those 15,000 killings are linked with intentional social cleansing on the part of the Mexican state,” she said.

Calderón, she noted, “insists on saying that many of those deaths are collateral effects and that the rest are criminals who kill one another.”

“It is a war among the powerful and not a battle for justice and social peace,” she said of the military-led effort against drug cartels, which has drawn widespread criticism for human rights abuses.

Cacho also lamented “self-censorship” in the highly concentrated Mexican media, saying that many outlets color their reporting to avoid trouble with the government and other powerful interests.

A long-time newspaper columnist and crusader for women’s rights, Lydia Cacho became famous thanks to the furor over her 2005 book “Los demonios del Eden” (The Demons of Eden), which exposed wealthy pedophiles and their associates in the Mexican establishment.

In the book, she identified textile magnate Kamel Nacif as a friend and protector of accused pedophile Jean Succar Kuri, who has since been sent back to Mexico from the United States to face charges.

Nacif, whose business is based in the central state of Puebla, accused Cacho of defamation - a criminal offense - in Mexico and arranged to have her arrested for allegedly for ignoring a summons to appear in court for the case.

In February 2006, Mexican dailies published transcripts of intercepted phone conversations in which Nacif was heard conspiring with Puebla Governor Mario Marin and other state officials to have Cacho taken into custody and then assaulted behind bars.

The transcripts indicated that Nacif, known as the “denim king” for his dominance of the blue-jeans business, engineered the author’s arrest by bribing court personnel not to send her the requisite summonses.

Cacho was subsequently released on bail and the case against her was ultimately dismissed.

EFE

Nov. 24, 2009

See Also:

LibertadLatina

Special Section

Journalist / Activist

Lydia Cacho is

Railroaded by the

Legal Process for

Exposing Child Sex

Networks In Mexico

See Also:

Perils of Plan Mexico: Going Beyond Security to Strengthen U.S.-Mexico Relations

Americas Program Commentary

Mexico is the United States' closest Latin American neighbor and yet most U.S. citizens receive little reliable information about what is happening within the country. Instead, Mexico and Mexicans are often demonized in the U.S. press. The single biggest reason for this is the way that the entire binational relationship has been recast in terms of security over the past few years...

The militarization of Mexico has led to a steep increase in homicides related to the drug war. It has led to rape and abuse of women by soldiers in communities throughout the country. Human rights complaints against the armed forces have increased six-fold.

Even these stark figures do not reflect the seriousness of what is happening in Mexican society. Many abuses are not reported at all for the simple reason that there is no assurance that justice will be done. The Mexican Armed Forces are not subject to civilian justice systems, but to their own military tribunals. These very rarely terminate in convictions. Of scores of reported torture cases, for example, not a single case has been prosecuted by the army in recent years.

The situation with the police and civilian court system is not much better. Corruption is rampant due to the immense economic power of the drug cartels. Local and state police, the political system, and the justice system are so highly infiltrated and controlled by the cartels that in most cases it is impossible to tell the good guys from the bad guys.

The militarization of Mexico has also led to what rights groups call "the criminalization of protest." Peasant and indigenous leaders have been framed under drug charges and communities harassed by the military with the pretext of the drug war. In Operation Chihuahua, one of the first military operations to replace local police forces and occupy whole towns, among the first people picked up were grassroots leaders - not on drug charges but on three-year old warrants for leading anti-NAFTA protests. Recently, grassroots organizations opposing transnational mining operations in the Sierra Madre cited a sharp increase in militarization that they link to the Merida Initiative and the NAFTA-SPP [North American Free Trade Act - Security and Prosperity Partnership] aimed at opening up natural resources to transnational investment.

All this - the human rights abuses, impunity, corruption, criminalization of the opposition - would be grave cause for concern under any conditions. What is truly incomprehens-ible is that in addition to generating these costs to Mexican society, the war on drugs doesn't work to achieve its own stated objectives...

Laura Carlsen

Americas Program, Center for International Policy (CIP)

Nov. 23, 2009


Added: Dec. 03, 2009

Mexico

The Numbers Don't Add Up in Mexico's Drug War

Drug Seizures are Down; Drug Production, Executions, Disappearances, and Human Rights Abuses are Up

Just a week before Mexican president Felipe Calderón completes half of his six-year term, [leading Mexico City newspaper] La Jornada reports that 16,500 extrajudicial executions [summary murders outside of the law] have occurred during his administration. 6,500 of those executions have occurred in 2009, according to La Jornada’s sources in Calderón’s cabinet...

While executions are on the rise, drug seizures are down, and drug production is up, Mexico is