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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.

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Haitian children are routinely enslaved in the Dominican Republic

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Oaxaca

Striking Mexican

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Atenco

Foto: Belinda Hernández

Mexican Police

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Lydia Cacho

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   Lydia Cacho is

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


 

 
Jan.  Feb.  Mar. Apr.  May  June  July  Aug. Sep.  Oct.  Nov.  Dec.

News and Events - English
Other News Archives: 2001 - 2002 - 2003 - 2004 - 2005 - 2006  -  2007 - 2008

Noticias de Febrero, 2009

February 2009 News



Added: Feb. 28, 2009

Mexico

Mexican congressional deputy César Camacho

César Camacho, presidente de la Comisión de Justicia de México, indicó que "urge combatir el delito de trata de personas"

Tabasco - México - A pesar de reiterados exhortos del Poder Legislativo, el presidente Felipe Calderón se ha negado a la fecha a expedir el reglamento de la Ley General para Prevenir y Sancionar la Trata de Personas, a fin de que se cuente con instrumento normativo más eficaz en el combate de ese delito, sostuvo el presidente de la Comisión de Justicia, César Camacho. Así lo denunció en el segundo seminario internacional "Mejores prácticas para combatir la trata de personas", donde explicó que con la norma reglamentaria ya debería estar formada la Comisión Intersecretarial y que también amplía el instrumental jurídico para que las dependencias del Ejecutivo, puedan participar como la ley lo ordena.

Camacho puntualizó que el plazo para emitir el reglamento que crea la Comisión Intersecretarial venció hace 11 meses. "Por lo que una vez más, con enorme respeto republicano, pero con la firmeza que el caso demanda, hago desde aquí un llamado a la congruencia y al cumplimiento de una obligación jurídica para que pronto se expida ese reglamento".

César Camacho, president of the Commission on Justice Affairs in Mexico's Chamber of Deputies, declares an "urgent need to combat the crime of trafficking in persons"

Tabasco state - According to congressman Cesar Camacho, [of the PRI- (Institutional Revolutionary Party), and] the chairman of the Commission on Justice Affairs in the Chamber of Deputies [lower house of Congress],  President Felipe Calderón has, despite repeated calls from the nation's Congress, to date refused to issue the regulations that are needed to put in force the Law to Prevent and Punish Trafficking.

Camacho presented his views at the second international seminar on "Best Practices in Combating Trafficking in Persons." Camacho added that the publication of the federal regulations associated with the law will allow for the formation of the required Inter-Ministerial Commission [that will coordinate inter-agency efforts]. Publication will also extend the legal tools available to the executive branch, as the law mandates.

Camacho noted that the [President's] deadline for issuing the regulation establishing the Inter-Ministerial expired 11 months ago. "So once again, with great respect to the Republic, but with the  firmness that this case demands, I call, from this place, for [federal] compliance with the legal obligation to issue such regulations soon."

Camacho added that this is an old problem with new name. He said that we should be motivated not only out of general concern, but because this problem [human trafficking] is the third most profitable illegal business [globally] after drug trafficking and arms sales.

He noted that this law must have teeth, stating that the nation needs an additional [legal] instrument to allow [anti-trafficking] efforts to become doubly effective. The President initially showed a great interest in the issue. Unfortunately, [now] "he seems not to sympathize with the facts on the ground."

Although [the law] created a special prosecutor for trafficking, "unfortunately the results have been much less that we had all hoped for."

Roberto Barboza Sosa

El Universal

Feb. 27, 2009


Added: Feb. 27, 2009

Mexico

Mexican Senator María Elena Orantes

Más de 20 mil niños vendidos a pedófilos, acusa senadora

Al señalar que en América Latina más de 20 mil niños de los países pobres son vendidos a pedófilos en Estados Unidos, Canadá y Europa, y que unos 10 mil entre los nueve y 16 años de edad son destinados a prostíbulos, la senadora priísta María Elena Orantes exigió que se impulsen campañas contra el maltrato y abuso sexual de los chavos en escuelas públicas y privadas del nivel preescolar, primaria y secundaria, así como en guarderías y casas de asistencia. 

La legisladora chiapaneca presentó ante el pleno del Senado un punto de acuerdo en el que se exhorta al presidente Felipe Calderón para que a través de la Secretaría de Educación Pública (SEP), en coordinación con el Sistema DIF nacional y de las entidades federativas, así como con el Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social (IMSS), entre otras dependencias, realicen acciones para detectar, frenar y prevenir abusos a los menores.

Senator: More than 20,000 children are sold to pedophiles from the United States, Canada and Europe

Noting that in Latin America more than 20,000 children from poor countries are sold to pedophiles in the United States, Canada and Europe, and about 10,000 children between 9 and 16 years of age are destined to be sold to brothels, Senator Maria Elena Orantes of PRI [the Institutional Revolutionary party] has demanded that the government engage in educational campaigns against child sexual abuse in public and private preschools, elementary and secondary schools and in kindergartens, and in foster homes.

Mexico City - Senator Maria Elena Orantes (PRI) of Chiapas state has presented to the full Senate a resolution that demands that president Felipe Calderón begin a campaign to detect, deter and prevent abuse of minors through the efforts of the Public Education Secretariat (SEP) in coordination with the national and state DIF social services agencies and the Mexican Institute of Social Security, among other agencies.

Senator Orantes Lopez asked President Calderón to expedite the delivery of the [now long-delayed] regulations [that will put into force] the Law to Prevent and Punish Trafficking in Persons and the National Program to Prevent and Punish Trafficking in Persons.

The senator emphasized that special attention must be paid to addressing the problem of [Central and South American] migrant women and children.

Senator Orantes Lopez explained that the sexual outrages facing children are becoming worse with every passing day. According to a number of studies, the [average] victim is between 11 and 15 years of age…

Juan Garciaheredia

El Sol de Mexico

Feb. 29, 2009


Added: Feb. 27, 2009

Mexico

El combate a la trata de personas está rezagado

Aunque a finales de 2007 entró en vigor la Ley para Prevenir y Sancionar la Trata de Personas, expertos advierten que faltan muchos puntos por cumplirse para combatir el problema. La ONU ha señalado incluso negligencia oficial

Los “enganchadores” ubican a las jovencitas más atractivas en centrales camioneras, estaciones del Metro o a través de internet. Saben aprovecharse de las condiciones de pobreza y exclusión en las que viven muchas de ellas, por lo que comienzan el engaño ofreciéndoles trabajo, una relación sentimental o nuevas oportunidades de vida. Sólo es cuestión de tiempo para que varias terminen siendo explotadas sexualmente.

Aunque a finales de 2007 entró en vigor la Ley para Prevenir y Sancionar la Trata de Personas, expertos advierten que faltan muchos puntos por cumplirse para combatir el problema. La ONU ha señalado incluso negligencia oficial.

La incapacidad institucional para tipificar el delito ha impedido, a niveles federal y local, que miembros de redes criminales sean procesados y condenados.

The fight against trafficking in persons is lagging

Although by the end of 2007 the Law to Prevent and Punish Trafficking in Persons came into force, experts warn that many steps that have not been taken to combat the problem. The United Nations has even called attention to official negligence.

The "recruiters" locate the most attractive girls in buses, at metro stations and through the internet. They know how to take advantage of the conditions of poverty and exclusion that many of these girls live in. So the deception begins by offering the girl work, a love affair or new opportunities in life. It's just a matter of time before they end up being sexually exploited.

Although the Law to Prevent and Punish Trafficking in Persons had been passed in 2007 [it is still awaiting published regulations from an unwilling President Calderon to actually bring it into force], experts warn that many tools are lacking to effectively combat the problem. United Nations officials have even taken note of the involvement of 'official negligence.'

An institutional inability to define the offense of trafficking has prevented federal and local governments from prosecuting and convicting members of these criminal networks.

For example, the Special Prosecutor for Crimes of Violence against Women and Trafficking in Persons (of the Attorney General’s office) investigates only those cases where organized crime is involved, where the victims were trafficked to another country, or where public servants are involved in a case.

Mexico lacks a comprehensive assessment of the extent, number of victims and social costs of human trafficking…

Evangelina Hernandez

El Universal

Feb. 27 2009


Added: Feb. 27, 2009

Gautemala

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 - 1998

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

LibertadLatina

About the crisis facing indigenous women and girls in  Guatemala


Added: Feb. 27, 2009

Mexico

Map shows border region between Guatemala and Mexico - Map-of-mexico.co.uk

Preocupa a ombudsman tabasqueño incidentes relacionados con la trata de blancas en las fronteras del país.

80% de migrantes sufren explotación sexual: CEDH

Villahermosa, Tabasco - La impunidad en México hace cada vez más grave el problema de la trata de blancas, aseguró el presidente de la CEDH, Jesús Manuel Argáez de los Santos, luego de advertir que el 80 por ciento de los migrantes que llegan al país son capturados para su explotación sexual.

Al respecto, el titular de la Comisión Estatal de Derechos Humanos (CEDH), se dijo alarmado por la creciente cifra de incidentes relacionados con la trata de blancas en las fronteras del país, relacionadas también con violaciones a los derechos humanos sexuales y económicos.

“Tenemos datos generales sobre el número aproximado de migrantes que sufren violaciones a sus derechos, tal parece que el 80 por ciento de los migrantes que vienen de tránsito por el territorio nacional sufren violaciones de sus derechos sexuales, agresiones y otras cuestiones, sigue habiendo una frontera sin control”, expuso el ombudsman tabasqueño.

Tabasco state’s human rights ombudsman raises alarm about rapid increase in human trafficking along Mexico’s southern border

According to the state’s human rights commission, 80% of [Central and South American] migrants suffer sexual exploitation

Villahermosa city, Tabasco state - Impunity in Mexico is adding each day that goes by to the crisis in human trafficking, according to Jesús Manuel Argáez, president of the Tabasco Human Rights Commission. Argáez de los Santos notes that 80% of [female] migrants crossing into Mexico are captured for purposes of sexual exploitation…

Argáez de los Santos: "We have data on the approximate number of migrants who suffer violations of their rights, it seems that 80 percent of migrants who transit through our territory suffer violations of their sexual rights, assault and [robbery].

Argáez de los Santos: "This is not so much about increasing penalties. It is that there is impunity, which does not penalize those who violate the rule of law. In this context, we are talking about the victimization of undocumented migrants - women and children. There are also thefts, assaults and [exploitation] through offering very low-paying salaries.”

 "We must remember that we always demand that Mexicans who emigrate to the United States be treated with dignity. We also have an obligation to offer the same dignity to people who come here from other countries in the world," Argáez de los Santos said.

Argáez de los Santos added that the National Migration Institute has carried out arrests and has reported to the state in regard to some criminal organizations involved, but unfortunately, the problem is still occurring along the southern border and is quite serious.

Por: Víctor Esquivel

www.tabascohoy.com.mx

Feb. 27, 2009


Added: Feb. 27, 2009

Massachusetts

MHS student charged with raping three... girls

Marblehead - An 18-year-old Marblehead High School junior is being held on $75,000 bail at the Essex House of Correction in Middleton after being charged Thursday with three counts of rape of a child with force and two counts of attempting to intimidate a witness.

Joshua Rodriguez, 29 Bennett Road, was arrested in Marblehead Wednesday afternoon. He pleaded not guilty to all charges during his bail hearing at Lynn District Court.

According to police reports, Rodriguez is being charged with raping three Marblehead middle-school-aged girls who separately reported the assaults to police within the last few weeks.

The latest incident was reported by one of the girls during school hours. After telling several friends about what had happened, she was encouraged to tell her school nurse that Rodriguez had raped her a week earlier, on Feb. 4...

By Nikki Gamer

Marblehead Register

Feb 22, 2009


Added: Feb. 26, 2009

Florida, USA

Rape suspects Richard Morales-Marin,24, and Juan Hernandez-Monzavlo,25, have confessed to raping an 11-year-old girl.

[Sex worker] raped in house where child was attacked will not seek charges

A prostitute who reported she was raped in the same vacant house where an 11-year-old Orlando girl was raped last week is declining to press charges.

The woman, who works along South Orange Blossom Trail, told investigators "that no one would ever believe a prostitute was raped," according to an incident report released late Thursday...

Two men, Richard Morales-Marin, 23, of Guerrero, Mexico, and Juan Hernandez-Monzalvo, 24, of Hidalgo, Mexico, are being held without bail on charges of raping the 11-year-old early Feb. 5 in a vacant pink house at 2506 Rose Blvd. Hernandez-Monzalvo previously lived in the house, records show…

The 11-year-old told investigators she was kidnapped on her way to school by two men in a car as she walked along Lancaster Road near South Orange Blossom Trail. She said they returned her to the area after raping her at the Rose Boulevard house…

Morales-Martin has been linked by DNA to the January 2008 rape of a pregnant teenager near the Florida Mall. Orange County detectives are looking at other rapes to see whether Morales-Martin and Hernandez-Monzalvo could be involved, according to sex-crimes Sgt. Richard Mankewich...

Henry Pierson Curtis, Bianca Prieto and Amy L. Edwards

Orlando Sentinel

Feb. 13, 2009


Added: Feb. 25, 2009

United States

Rescata FBI a 48 menores sometidos a explotación sexual

La Oficina Federal de Investigaciones (FBI) informó hoy que rescató a 48 menores de edad que eran explotados sexualmente en diversas ciudades de Estados Unidos, donde detuvo a 571 acusados de tráfico y prostitución de menores.

sdpnoticias.com

Feb. 23, 2009

Forty-Eight Children Recovered in Operation Cross Country III

During the past week, the FBI joined its law enforcement partners in a three-day national enforcement action as part of the Innocence Lost National Initiative.

This operation, known as Operation Cross Country III, included enforcement operations in 29 cities across the country and led to the recovery of 48 children being prostituted domestically. Additionally, 571 criminals were arrested on a combination of state and federal charges for the domestic trafficking of children for prostitution and solicitation.

"We continue to pursue those who exploit our nation's children,” said FBI Director Robert S. Mueller, III. “We may not be able to return their innocence but we can remove them from this cycle of abuse and violence.”

...To date, the 32 Innocence Lost Task Forces and Working Groups have recovered 670 children. The investigations and subsequent convictions have resulted in lengthy sentences, including multiple 25-years-to-life sentences and the seizure of more than $3 million in assets.

U.S. FBI

Feb. 23, 2009


Added: Feb. 22, 2009

Mexico

Nuevo Laredo, Mexico and

Laredo, Texas

Map-of-Mexico.uk

Aflora la explotación sexual infantil en la frontera

Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas.- La delincuencia organizada que opera en esta frontera, utiliza a menores de edad para el comercio sexual, principalmente a niñas de entre 12 y 16 años de edad, a las que engañan para introducirlas en este ilícito negocio del que difícilmente pueden escapar, reveló Norma Ortiz, coordinadora del programa Menores en Condiciones Extremadamente Difíciles (Meced), del sistema DIF.

Las víctimas son por lo general, niños y niñas que llegan solos desde el interior del país para intentar cruzar la frontera y reunirse con sus familiares que ya viven en Estados Unidos.

Son reclutados cerca de los puentes internacionales al aceptar regalos y dinero.

Child prostitution flourishes along the Mexico / U.S. border

Nuevo Laredo city, in Tamaulipas state – According to Norma Ortiz, coordinator of the program Minors in Extremely Difficult Conditions of the government’s DIF social services agency, organized crime groups operating in this Mexico/U.S. border city exploit minors, especially girls between 12 and 16 years of age, for the sex trade. The girls are tricked, and once trapped, they find it difficult to escape from their captors.

The typical victim is a youth who arrived alone from the interior of the country, and who is trying to cross the border to join her relatives already living in the United States.

Traffickers intercept these youth near the international border crossings, and entice them with gifts and offers of money...

Last year, the U.S. organization Shared Hope International (SHI) revealed that child prostitution is a market that is driven by men who will pay large sums of money to have sex with children.

SHI estimates that up to 50,000 children and youth are victims of sexual exploitation along Mexico’s border with the U.S.

[Note: much of this prostitution caters to men from the U.S.]

Last year, Ortiz found 4 cases of children who were sexually exploited, and managed to rescue and deliver them to their parents. Due to threats from these crime groups, the families decided to leave the city without filing criminal complaints.

"We worked hard with families and schools to raise awareness of this problem and to provide greater protection for these children, but much remains to be done," said Ortiz.

Gastón Monge

EnLíneaDIRECTA

Feb. 23, 2009

See also:

En Tamaulipas, sigue en aumento niños que viven en la calle

Tamaulipas sees an increasing number of children living on the street

www.HoyTamaulipas.net

Feb. 02, 2009


Added: Feb. 22, 2009

Peru

Protesters, including Congresswoman Hilaria Supa, gather outside of a govern-ment building in Cusco in October 2008 to raise awareness about the victims of former president Alberto Fujimori’s 1990's forced indigenous sterilization program.

[Case of  300,000 forcibly  sterilized indigenous women is re-opened in Peru]  

The investigation into the forced sterilization of 300,000 indigenous Peruvian women is being re-opened, according to the Public Ministry of Peru. This follow-up effort was announced Jan. 7, 2009 and will seek out the program’s adminis-trators. It had been part of the larger case against former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori, who is facing other criminal counts.

Fujimori is awaiting the final disposition of his case in which he is being charged with kidnapping as well as ordering two massacres that resulted in the deaths of 25 people. If convicted he faces up to 30 years in prison. The original charges against him involved other human rights violations including his knowing supervision of the forced sterilization of indigenous women. The so-called “Voluntary Surgical Contraception” Program was enacted between 1997 and 2000...

“…The forced sterilizations focused on poor, indigenous, Quechua-speaking and Aymara women,” said women’s rights advocate Maria Esther Mogollon. She is a member of MAM Fundacional, the women’s rights organization that helped a group of victims present their case to federal authorities.

“The total number came to be 300,000 women and 22,000 men (who received vasectomies). … the majority of whom did not sign informed consent statements and were also subjected to threats, coercion and other violations.

[A victim:] “They came for me many times, trying to convince me to have the operation. They tried to make my husband sign a paper and they told him it would make me well. But as he was illiterate, he didn’t know what the document said. Then they threatened my husband that if he didn’t take me to the clinic the police would take him to prison.

Out of fear my husband asked me to go.”

Rick Kearns

Indian Country Today

Feb. 20, 2009

See also:

[Peruvian indigenous congresswoman] Hilaria Supa Huamán Visits Allentown, Pennsylvania

English translation of Hilaria Supa Huamán's book: Threads of My Life

...The [Peruvian]government, with the financial assistance of the United States, Japan, the European Union and the World Bank, started a sterilization campaign, on the theory that if there were fewer poor, there would be less poverty. 300,000 [indigenous] women and 20,000 men were sterilized, often without consent, during eye or dental surgery. Many are still in pain and disabled from these forced surgeries.[Congress-woman Hilaria Supa] was wheelchair bound for seven years after the birth of her daughter.

Congresswoman Supa went to the city as a young woman, learned Spanish, worked hard, went to school, and converted her understanding of life as a poor woman to a life of organizing and struggle for women and all people. She has been a force for land reform, for women’s rights and indigenous rights in Peru. She wrote a book, "Threads of My Life - The Story of Hilaria Supa Huaman, A Rural Quechua Woman"

Joe DeRaymond

Lehigh Valley Independent Press

April 29, 2008

LibertadLatina

The crisis facing indigenous women in Peru

LibertadLatina

The crisis of forced sterilization facing indigenous, Afro-descendent and Latina women in the Americas


Added: Feb. 18, 2009

Mexico

En México, “especie de esquizofrenia” frente a los derechos de las mujeres

Persistencia del femicidio en todo el país; impunidad en Atenco, donde mujeres fueron torturadas y violadas por policías; asesinato y hostigamiento judicial contra comunicadoras; impedimento para que las menores de edad o con deficiencia mental, violadas y por ello embarazadas, interrumpan la gestación; muerte de mujeres al dar a luz por falta de servicios médicos; imparable incremento de la trata de personas, así como la constante amenaza de que el Ejército cometa más abusos contra mujeres y que no haya castigo, son sólo ejemplos denunciados por la sociedad civil del incumplimiento del gobierno federal para proteger los derechos humanos de las mujeres.

The following are observations from the journalists at CIMAC Noticias, a women’s human rights press agency in Mexico City

[Today we find in Mexico:] the continuation of femicide across the country; impunity in the [recent negative Supreme Court ruling in the] case of Atenco, where women were tortured and raped by policemen; killings and judicial harassment targeting women journalists; the denial of abortion to underage girls and mentally handicapped women who have been raped [as in a recent case involving 8 indigenous women victims]; the deaths of women during childbirth due to a lack of medical services; an unstoppable increase in human trafficking; as well as the constant threat that Army personnel will continue to abuse  [physically and sexually] more women without punishment…

These are but a few examples of cases where Mexico’s federal government has failed to protect the human rights of women.

CIMAC Noticias

Introduction to a special news section

Feb. 17, 2009

Added: Feb. 15, 2009 Updated Feb. 19, 2009

The Americas

Ambassador Albert R. Ramdin of Suriname, Assistant Secretary General of the Organization of the American States

OAS heralds a "new moment of change" in the West

From a recent lecture at the University of the West Indies

...Clearly the world is, as ever, in a state of flux. With regard to the Western Hemisphere, there are three fundamental changes taking place that I wish to address.

Firstly, some 30 years ago in Latin America, there were still dictatorships. Since then Latin America has gone through a democratization process that has brought to the fore different ideological, political, economic and social interests within and among countries and sub-regions. Democracy has also created political space for previously marginalized groups in society, such as women, youth and indigenous people.

Secondly, more recently, since 2006, we have witnessed a significant turnover, through democratic means, in the political leadership of the hemisphere, with more than 20 countries undergoing general elections... During this period, roughly two-thirds of the peoples of the Americas have been involved in some sort of electoral process.

Thirdly, although some progress has been made, the Latin American and Caribbean region, despite reasonable economic growth, continues to have unacceptable high levels of poverty. Latin America itself has the highest levels of income inequality in the world and some 220 million people live on less than US$2 a day. The resulting sense of hopelessness, marginalization and exclusion is a key contributing factor to insecurity in the region.

...What is worrying is that the relative political and economic gains over the last two decades might now be in danger of being dramatically eroded by the global financial crisis and political differences, as well as by more specific challenges arising from threats to food and energy security, the environmental crisis, and the violence associated with organized crime, youth gangs, and the illegal trade in drugs and firearms...

Indeed, many believe that today Latin America and the Caribbean are marked by the highest level of tension and insecurity within and between nations since the end of the Cold War.

More than ever, the origins of these problems are intra-state or domestic. That is, they are related to social, environmental and economic difficulties, such as in Haiti; ethnic divisions, such as those arising from the new-found political power of the indigenous people of Bolivia and conflict with traditional elites; and the search for a new model of “participatory democracy” as opposed to more conventional “representative democracy...”

The expectations of the region with regard to US relations with... Latin America and the Caribbean in general may not be wholly met at the forthcoming [April, 2009] 5th Summit of the Americas. But it is anticipated that the United States will seize the opportunity to make a major statement on improving relations with the rest of the hemisphere..., especially on issues such as development and the fight against poverty, the pending approval of the free trade agreements with Colombia and Panama, global warming and the effects of climate change, organized crime, narco-trafficking, the illegal trafficking in arms, deportees and security in general...

Albert R. Ramdin

OAS Assistant Secretary General

Jan. 29, 2009

Note: The 5th Summit of the Americas will take place in Trinidad and Tobago on April 17-19, 2009.


LibertadLatina Commentary:

We at Libertad Latina enthusias-tically agree with Organization of American States' Assistant Secretary General, Albert R. Ramdin's comments in regard to the fact that the election of U.S. President Barak Obama has opened up new opportunities for progress in the relationship between the United States and the other nations of the Americas.

We encourage the Obama Administ-ration to move beyond the political viewpoints that previously dominated federal agency thinking about responses to human slavery. These viewpoints had caused the near-disappearance of Latin America from the radar screen as a recognized and targeted focal point of crisis in regard to criminal sex and labor trafficking.

During the past eight years, the acute severity of the crisis facing at-risk and trafficked women and children in the region had not been matched by a commensurate level of urgent response from the U.S. federal government. Non-governmental anti-trafficking groups and academics had also been slow to respond to this most glaring and well-documented example of impunity and mass gender violence on the world stage...  the tortured case of Latin America.

The modern anti-trafficking move-ment grew out of efforts in the 1990's in advanced western nations to address the plight of sex trafficking victims in Eastern Europe and Russia in the aftermath of the fall of the Soviet Union. Asia became an additional area of focus. Both populations, as well as U.S. born trafficking victims (a more recent priority for the movement) have received well-deserved attention from U.S. agencies and the many non-governmental organizations that are working to combat slavery.

But where has the response been to the crisis in Latin America and the Caribbean?

We have not seen that response, a point that is not lost on the traffickers.

Five years ago an anti-trafficking activist working in Washington, DC insisted during a conversation with me that no human slavery problem existed in Latin America, because that is what his women's studies professors had taught him.

That lack of factual information from academia (and elsewhere), together with the effects of traditional racial divides in U.S. culture appear to have guided official and NGO strategic thinking in regard to their failure to create the needed official and NGO response to the mass victimi-zation of Afro-descendent, indigenous and other poor women and children across Latin America by the region's well-organized sex trafficking cartels.

A number of factors have caused the Japanese Yakuzas (who have sex trafficked in women and girls from Colombia since the 1980s), the Russian mob, and the multi-billion dollar Colombian and Mexican drug cartels (who double as extremely well-funded sex trafficking networks) to expand their criminal operations exponentially across Latin America.

The key factors that have facilitated this explosive growth in slavery involve: the continued unequal status of women and ethnic minorities; the continued acceptance of impunity; official corruption; low pay, poor training and a resulting indiffer-ence on the part of law enforcement personnel; extreme poverty that causes young men to join gangs and mafias that prey on women; the ease with which traffickers can kidnap, rape and enslave tens of thousands of poor women and girls of all ages with impunity with absolutely no government response; and the fact that the United States government has not made combating mass human slavery in the region a priority.

The global anti-trafficking movement and government agencies under the last U.S. administ-ration did not demonstrate the required political open-mindedness and agility that was needed to shift gears and place an urgent emphasis on saving lives in Latin America in response to this emergency.

For example, during August of 2008 I attended a major trafficking conference in Washington, DC, where most of the conservative anti-trafficking thought leaders were present, as well as the U.S. State Department's head of the Trafficking in Persons (TIP) office, Dr. Mark P. Lagon. During the entire 5 hour session, the only mention made of Latin America was by me during the question and answer periods.

In response to a panel discussion at the conference on anti-trafficking initiatives in the U.S., I mentioned that: 1) an FBI agent had mentioned to me that a $60,000 a week Latino brothel operation existed in Langley Park, Maryland, 10 miles directly north of the U.S. Capitol building, and yet I had never seen any evidence that prosecutions came out of that surveillance; and 2) that anti-trafficking activists have handed cases to the FBI on "a silver platter" only to be ignored by agents and prosecutors (This was told to me by a Ph.D. anti-trafficking special-ist in California, and it has also been the exper-ience of other activists whom I know in California, who advocate for Latina victims of trafficking).

I concluded my comments by noting that in a number of cases, federal prosecutors actually have not taken trafficking cases to court. A number of people in the audience of 200 applauded what I had said.

During the question and answer period following Dr. Lagon's remarks at this conference which spoke eloquently about the problem of trafficking in Eastern Europe, Asia and the U.S. (but without  mention of Latin American issues),  I stated in my question to Dr. Lagon that a U.S. immigration lawyer had been interviewed by a Spanish language  newspaper (in Mexico), and that he had stated that thousands of Mexican children and underage youth were fleeing from the hundreds of brothels on the U.S. border, many of them run by the Russian mob. I stated that when they escape into the U.S. and are caught, they were not being afforded the 72 hour waiting period required by law and access to a lawyer, as other arrested migrants, those not from Mexico, are given. I stated that in violation of the law, these minors were being deported back into Mexico after only 24 hours.

As the moderator of the event asked me to get to the question, I simply stated emphatically What are you going to do about it?

Dr. Lagon responded by stating that "all immigrants are God's children," but he did not clearly answer the question, nor did he openly commit the TIP office to doing anything about the issue. After the event, he did not appear to be too happy that I had raised these questions during his filmed conference appearance (which is my subjective interpretation).

I also attended an anti-trafficking conference of around 400 participants at the U.S. Congress earlier in the George W, Bush Administration, where then Trafficking in Persons office director Ambass-ador John R. Miller was the keynote speaker. Latin America was not discussed by the panelists, nor did those who asked questions bring up the subject. However, I did pass out a flyer regarding the work of LibertadLatina to the attendees.

Whatever the internal politics were surrounding anti-trafficking policy in the last administration, Latin America was not a priority for federal authorities.

The most recent U.S. anti-trafficking legislation passed by Congress, the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008, does, finally, have 'some' minimal provisions that better protect minor victims of human trafficking.

Today, Latin America and Asia both rank in the number one position globally in regard to the severity of their human trafficking crises. Yet the U.S. response, to a threat that impacts the U.S. internally, has been minimal.

The lack of action taken during the past 8 years to address Latin America's emer-gency of sex and labor trafficking could be compared to the George W. Bush administra-tion's lack of a timely response to Hurricane Katrina.

We know that in the case of the femicide in Mayan indigenous dominated Guatemala, for example, the federal response was one of silence, perhaps because the 1980's civil war, in which 200,000 people including 50,000 women were murdered by government forces, and in which almost all Mayan women and girls were raped with impunity by soldiers, was a war that conservatives in the U.S. supported then, and, in a historical context, they continue to support.

The femicide today in Guatemala, with its rate of ten times the numbers of female murders being committed than in the better-known femicide capitol of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, is an outgrowth of the 1980's anti-Mayan genocide. Almost nobody is arrested and prosecuted for kidnapping, raping, torturing and then murdering women in a pattern that exists across that nation.

The silence on the part of the last administration in this area gives the appearance that officials simply preferred not to talk about the topic.

During the early 2000's, when I participated actively in the listserv of the deservedly well-respected conservative anti-trafficking pioneer Dr. Donna Hughes, I was literally banned by her from the listserv when some of the 400 other members, who were mostly conservative U.S. women activists, started to protest the fact that I was raising the issue of the femicide and 1980's genocide of Mayan peoples in Guatemala. It was a taboo subject for them, femicide or not.

Feminists who also participated in the listserv wrote to me to explain that such censorship of ideas began when the moderator began writing for the conservative publication National Review Online.

Is a continued denial of the current femicide and the parallel crisis of the mass sex trafficking of Mayan women and young girls from Guatemala today really a price that humanity (and Guatemalan women and children) should pay because ideological differences make the issue 'politically incorrect' for U.S. conservatives to even mention?

We think not!

Another act of the administration of George W. Bush that appears to reinforce our concerns about a deliberate effort to deny indigenous victims their equal rights centers on the now infamous firings of 8 honest, hard-working U.S. attorneys by then U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez. Five of the eight were members of a committee that worked to increase the dismal federal prosecution rates in regard to cases involving indigenous victims of violent crime, especially sexual assault.

Western U.S. states have a long history of patterns of sexual assaults with impunity targeting indige-nous women and girls. The firings gave the appear-ance that the U.S. Department of Justice actually acted to protect the 80% of sexual assailants in these cases who are white men. (This dynamic of impu-nity in western states also aids and abets the sexual exploitation of Latina victims).

We also recognize that progressives have a truly apathetic and  disheartening record on anti-trafficking issues. We commend the conservatives who made trafficking a priority in the U.S., despite having to hold our nose at the fact that they left 'little brown Maria in the brothel' out of the picture, and still in the hands of her brutal enslaver.

Some aspects of the deliberate omission from discussion of exploited Latin American and expatriate immigrant communities of women and children may thus be attributed to the dynamics of certain political ideologies.

That is to say, alliances with like-minded political forces in Latin America likely lead some conservative U.S. leaders to sweep glaring examples of corruption and impunity under the carpet. Certainly there are no visible signs that offending governments were ever confronted seriously, or threatened with the withholding of U.S. financial support during this period.

A lack of serious response to the institutionalized sexism of the conservative administration of President Felipe Calderon of the Christian Democrat National Action Party (PAN) in Mexico is one such clear example of the coddling of   those who allow impunity to reign. President Calderon is so bold that he dares (even after 4 warnings from Congress during the last 9 months) to refuse to publish the regulations needed to put Mexico's first national anti-trafficking law into effect. For shame!!

It is also certainly possible that outright racism and classism was being displayed by U.S. officials and NGOs, targeted at the most vulnerable black, indigenous and other poor populations of Latina victim communities... during the time when this unofficial 'code of silence' about the horrors taking place in Latin America was being enforced as behind-the-scenes U.S. policy.

Indeed, the lack of action by the U.S. could be attributed to all of these above-listed factors.

These acts of omission resulted in creating the near-invisibility of 'people of color from the Americas' within U.S. anti-trafficking policy discourse.

At the same time, it is also under-stood that federal and NGO human trafficking policy and action were then, as they are today, in an experimental stage of development, and therefore they had to be expected to go through 'growing pains.'

Nonetheless, it has been our repeated experience that the formal institutions that fight trafficking have limited their consideration of the plight of black and brown women in Latin America and the Caribbean, while emphasizing European, Asian and U.S. issues.

The current gap in policy content focused on the Latin American and Caribbean crisis also extends globally. We recognize that virtually the entire anti-trafficking movement has compiled wish-lists of well-considered recommendations for the Obama administration, ideas that are designed to address past dificiencies in U.S. anti-trafficking strategy, tactics and infrastructure development both domestically and in the global context.

Latina, Caribbean and black and brown ethnic minority women and children's interests must be represented as the anti-trafficking movement and its U.S. federal agency allies work to re-align national policies in collaboration with the newly-inaugurated  administration of Barak Obama.

Simply appointing members of the traditional Latino political leadership to address these issues is no guarantee of providing resolution to the problem.

U.S. Latino organizations have remained silent for the most part about the issue of human trafficking, except in a few notable cases such as the private efforts of millionaire pop star Ricky Martin.

In almost all cases, there are no indige-nous, nor are there Afro-descendent activists represent-ed, a fact that  leaves the process open to the ugly dynamics of 'intra-Latino racism, sexism and classism' (also known as negative machismo).

The continued exclusion from anti-trafficking leader-ship roles of ethnic minorities from Latin America will only delay the true resolution of this crisis, one which affects their communities severely.

OAS Assistant Secretary General Ramdin's acknow-ledgement that Latin America today has the highest levels of income inequality in the world, with some 220 million people living on less than US$2 a day, should make it fairly self-explanatory to all parties that such acute poverty has combined with criminal impunity, official corruption and an $11 billion dollar global market for sex and labor slaves to put virtually all Latin American and Caribbean women and children at risk of becoming victims of forced prostitution and peonage.

We encourage the Obama Administ-ration and U.S. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton to develop a strong and creative strategy to address human trafficking, as a key human rights component of their overall approach to  improving relations with the nations and peoples of the Americas.

Within that strategy, the communities who are the most intensively targeted for enslavement, including all poor Latinas in general, as well as Afro-descendent and indigenous peoples in particular, must have an equal seat at the table in the areas of organized policy discussion, strategic planning and program development. These important activities must take place to make future prevention  and victim rescue and rehabilitation efforts truly effective.

Today, consistent with the powerful history of 'negative-machismo' based gender, race and class prejudice in the region, socially marginalized (and thus easily victim-ized) populations remain not only without a seat at the table of deliberation, but they are almost never even invited into the room - except, literally, to serve the food.

That is not a flippant comment, and it is not an exaggeration. It is just a fact of life that we have lived through personally, and that we, in this generation, will indeed change. That change will only come about with popular support from everyone... from

We the people!

Will you join us in that effort?

End impunity now!

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

Feb. 16/17, 2009

Updated Feb. 19, 2009

See also:

LibertadLatina speaks out and advocates for Latina women & girl's human rights at a Washington, DC International Organization for Migration (IOM) conference on sex trafficking in Latin America and the Caribbean region attended by non-profits and U.S. State, Justice and Homeland Security officials.

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

Dec. 18, 2003

Transition Report for the Next Presidential Administration

[This document provides an excellent analysis of policy and organizational change require-ments for federal anti-trafficking effort improvement, but at the same time it ignores the issues of racial, ethnic and class exclusion that haunt current thinking by thought leaders in the movement.] 

The Action Group to End Human Trafficking and Modern-Day Slavery

November, 2008

United States: Migration and Trafficking in Women

Until recently, trafficking of women in the United States was rarely acknowled-ged. It was not until Russian and Ukrainian women began to be trafficked to the United States in the early 1990s that governmental agencies and many NGOs began to recognize the problem.

As many critics, including us, have pointed out, Latin American and Asian women were trafficked into the United States for many years prior to the influx of Russian traffickers and trafficked women. The fact that it took blond and blue-eyed victims to draw governmental and public attention to trafficking in the United States gives, at least, the appearance of racism...

Patricia Hyne

Coalition Against Trafficking in Women and Children (CATW)

2002

ONU teme que la crisis financiera agrave la servidumbre por deudas

UN fears that the global financial crisis is worsening debt bondage

...The International Labor Organization (ILO) estimates that at least 1.3 million people are subjected to forced labor in Latin America and the Caribbean, of which 250,000 are also victims of trafficking.

Latin America suffers the second highest rate of forced labor in the world after Asia...

www.bolpress.com

Dec. 10, 2008

Americas: Indigenous People at High Risk 

As the world marks the International Day of the World's
Indigenous People, native peoples continue to be the victims of human rights violations -- including killings and "disappear-ances" -- in many parts of the Americas, Amnesty International said today.

"Intimidation, harassment and violent attacks against indigenous communities are frequent occurrences in countries including Honduras, Brazil, Colombia, Guatemala, Mexico and Venezuela," the organization added, calling on governments throughout the region to ensure the rights of indigenous people are fully respected.

International Secretariat of Amnesty International

August 9, 2001

Twelve-year-old virgin Mexican girls, for example, are sold to brothels in Spain for $25,000, but if a beautiful young Indigenous girl is being sold, that raises the price even more because she is 'exotic.'

- Teresa Ulloa Latin American and Caribbean director of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women (CATW)

- La Crónica de Hoy

México

 Oct. 20, 2005

Abuse In Latin America Growing

Child sex abuse and prostitution are rising in Latin America and children are most threatened in Brazil, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Venezuela and Cuba, United nations officials said Wednesday... "Poverty and race ... are decisive. It is mainly poor, black women who suffer the worst abuse."

Reuters, 1997

[U.S. Attorney firings targeted effective prose-cutors of rape on the reservation]

Crime-victim advocates from Indian country have focused attention on the pandemic of rape on Indian lands by whites and other perpetrators. One in three Indian women will be raped, and more than 70 percent of the rapists are not Indian.

At the National Congress of American Indians' mid-year conference in June [2007], Native women who have worked for decades to end sexual violence on Indian lands [discussed] the need for tribal follow-up on the Adam Walsh Act and other subjects.

The meeting was attended by Margaret Chiara, who was one of the eight U.S. Attorneys fired by the Bush administration. Of those eight, she was one of the five who served on the U.S. Attorneys' subcommittee for Native issues.

Chiara said her office had increased prosecutions of... violent crimes and others on the reservations in her western Michigan district by 85 percent by dedicating an attorney and one staff to prosecutions of these cases.

Paul Charlton, the fired U.S. Attorney from Arizona, said one of two reasons Justice told him he was being fired was because he'd called on the FBI to tape confessions.  Charlton later said an FBI policy against taping confessions harms the prosecution rates of Indian child molestations because molesters' confessions are often critical to these cases.

Majel-Dixon and other Native women leaders say that sexual predators target Indian lands because they know that their chances of getting investigated and prosecuted are slim. If these cases are prosecuted, it is most likely by a tribal court which, under federal law, can only impose a one-year sentence even for the most violent rape by a repeat offender. Native leaders say white rapists travel from reservation to reservation offending...

- Indian Country Today

July 06, 2007

...Arlan Melendez, vice president of the Inter-Tribal Council of Nevada: ''When you see the Justice Department isn't really interested in Indian country, and then you see them fire U.S. attorneys who are taking an interest in Indian country, you formulate your opinions from that.''

- Indian Country Today

July 20, 2007

The Sex Trafficking of Children in San Diego, California

Tráfico y explotación sexual de menores en San Diego

"...The girls that I saw that time [in the fields] were very young, they were not over 14 years old. they had been sold a lot to 'los gringos' (American men)." "This area is full of red necks, they are far right-wing white American men to whom they sell the virginity of little girls" notes  Patricia [a Latina medical doctor paid with U.S. Department of Health and Human Services funds to provide condoms to underage sex slaves in these child rape camps, but who was threatened by U.S. HHS if she dared to report the camps to the press or the public].

I was present many times when these gringos called Julio [Salazar] asking to be sent a "cherry girl" (a virgin)...

- El Universal

Mexico City

Jan. 09, 2003

Clinton says U.S. did wrong in Central American wars

President Clinton admitted... 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...

As Clinton spoke, several hundred demonstrators outside Guatemala City's National Palace could be heard accusing the United States of complicity in the war, in which 200,000 people died, mainly Mayan civilian peasants.

A Guatemalan truth commission last month told of state-sponsored genocide and massacres in one of the harshest rebukes of the horrors of the conflict between the army and leftist insurgents, which ended in 1996.

The commission also said U.S. military aid and Central Intelligence Agency advisers played a pivotal role in the bloodshed...

CNN

March 10, 1999

Al Menos Dos Millones de Latinoamericanos son Víctimas del Tráfico de Personas, Dijo la Organización Internacional para las Migraciones (OIM).

International Organization for Migration (IOM): At least 2 million Latin Americans are victims of trafficking each year. 

1.3 Million mostly indigenous persons are enslaved as agricultural and mining laborers, primarily in Brazil, Peru y Bolivia.

Posted on Alianza Por Tus Derechos

July, 2005

En desventaja, niños mexicanos indocumentados

Mexico's undocumented migrant children are at a disadvant-age for refugee benefits

Thousands of children cross alone into the U.S. each year to escape child sex trafficking networks.

Many of the 80,000 Mexican children who cross from Mexico into the U.S. alone, as undocumented immigrants, are fleeing abuse at home, or are escaping from child prostitution rings. As such, they would possibly qualify for permission to stay in the United States.

These children would be able to avail themselves of this opportunity if U.S. Border Patrol officers would provide them with the appropriate interview form, as federal law requires. Instead, these minors are typically deported in less than 24 hours after their arrests.

[Full English Translation]

Georgina Olson

Excélsior

July 3, 2008

Beyond Machismo - A Cuban Case Study

...All too often, we who are Hispanic ethicists tend to identify oppressive structures of the dominant Eurocentric culture while overlooking repression conducted within our own community. I suggest that within the marginalized space of the Latino/a community there exists intra-structures of oppression along gender, race and class lines, creating the need for an ethical initiative to move beyond, what Edward Said terms, "the rhetoric of blame."

- Cuban-American

theologian and ethicist

Dr. Miguel de la Torre

Seis millones de niños muestran el rostro de la violencia latinoamericana

Sumergida en la violencia la juventud latinoamericana·

Aproximadamente 80.000 pierden la vida por causa de ésta cada año

San José, Puerto Rico - El director regional para América Latina y el Caribe de la Unicef, Nils Kastberg, manifestó en la conferencia sobre Cultura de Paz y Prevención de la Violencia Juvenil realizada en Costa Rica que, según estudios realizados en 17 países latinoamericanos, "el 65 por ciento de los adolescentes se encuentran en situación de violencia".

Six million children and youth live with violence in Latin America

The region’s youth are submerged in violence

Approximately 80,000 young people loose their lives to violence each year

UNICEF’s regional director for Latin America and the Caribbean, Nils Kastberg, said at a Costa Rican conference on developing a culture of peace and preventing youth violence… that studies conducted in 17 Latin American countries show that "65 percent of adolescents live in situations of violence."

…Statistics show that about two million children are sexually exploited in the region, and in half the cases, the abusers are living with them, while 75 per cent of all abusers are relatives of the victims…

More than 5.7 million children between five and 14 years are economically active and approximately two million are engaged in domestic service [a job where child sexual abuse is a 'traditional' and expected outcome.]

Latin America and the Caribbean… rank first [in the world] in their rates of homicide impacting young people between the ages of 15 and 17. The rate is 37.7 per 100,000 for young men, and 6.5 young women per 100,000 inhabitants.

Irene González

PrimeraHora.com / ADNmundo.com

Nov. 19, 2007

More than 500,000 cases of human trafficking exist in Mexico - Teresa Ulloa

Mexico City - According to a report by the [Latin American and Caribbean branch of the] Coalition Against Trafficking in Women and Girls (CATW-LAC), more than five million women and girls are victims of human trafficking in Latin America and the Caribbean, said Teresa Ulloa Ziaurriz, director of the CATW-LAC. She added that… more than 500,000 of these cases take place in Mexico…

[Note: These numbers take into account the seldom discussed reality that annual figures of victims trafficked add to a cumulative total... a population that never goes away, until they die an early death from the diseases and torture that go with sexual enslave-ment.]

Colombia, according to official sources, is considered to be the Latin American country most commonly used as a transit point for women who were abducted for purposes of sexual exploitation in the neighboring countries Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia…

According to specialists at End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes (ECPAT) over 21,000 victims from Central America, for the most part children, are forced into prostitution in 1,552 brothels and bars in the border city of Tapachula, in Mexico's [southern] Chiapas state...

These girls are sold for a few dollars by traffickers, as outlined in [an article in] Mexico's Contralínea  magazine, which also documented the fact that these mafia networks operate under the protection of corrupt local and federal authorities...

Something similar happens in Argentina, where... the northwest of the country is full of brothels that exploit young women held against their will. The victims are subjected not only to sexual humiliation to extreme violence, but also to being forced to take toxic substances to make them more “agreeable” with the clients...

CIMAC Noticias

Jan. 11, 2008

An estimated 500,000 girls younger than 16 are in prostitution in the northeast states of Argentina.

 Trafficking Report - The Protection Project, Johns Hopkins University, School of Advanced International Studies, Washington, DC

2001 Edition

Trafficking in Colombian women to the Asian continent has become “a true
threat for thousands of Colombian women who end up as slaves in Japan and other countries

Trafficking in Colombian women to Japan began in the 1980s, when the Japanese
Mafia began to make incursions in Colombian territory and decided to set up their center of operations in certain regions of the country...

Fanny Polania

Jan. 11, 2008

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.

During an international seminar in the city of Tlaxcala, Ulloa noted that, due to the conditions of marginalization in which they live, at least 50 million women and children in Latin America are at risk of being recruited for sexual exploitation.

La Jornada de Oriente

Sep. 26, 2007

Impunity Fuels Violence Against Women

"Unfortunately, in Guatemala, killing a woman is like killing a fly; no importance is assigned to it," complained local activist Hilda Morales, who argued that "the perpetrators are encouraged to continue beating, abusing and killing because they know that nothing will happen, that they won't be punished."

Inés Benítez

Inter-Press Service (IPS)

Nov. 24, 2007

LibertadLatina Commentary:

Surely, in the midst's of this chaos, in an environment that is fomenting a continuous and growing wave of mass sexual atrocities against women and children, the modern anti-trafficking movement, with its hundreds of millions of dollars in U.S. federal funding, can stand up and address Latin America as a Level One Emergency among its vast list of priorities.

¿Que no?

End impunity now!

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

Feb. 16, 2009


Added: Feb. 13, 2009

Mexico

Magdalena García Durán is a defender of indigenous rights. Like many members of the Other Campaign, she went to Atenco May 4th, 2006 to show her support for the People’s Front for the Defense of the Land (FPDT), the organization under attack for courageously (and successfully) defending their lands against a major airport expropriation and for defending the right of flower vendors to work in [the city of] Texcoco.

Magdalena is one of the 214 people who were cruelly tortured, raped, and arrested without a warrant by... police... that day.

Resolución de SCJN legitima Estado policíaco: FPDT

Otorga impunidad a agresores

Las y los ministros de la Suprema Corte de Justicia de la Nación (SCJN) tuvieron en sus manos la oportunidad histórica de hacer justicia a un pueblo donde se violaron de manera grave los derechos humanos y las garantías individuales, durante el operativo policíaco del 3 y 4 de mayo de 2006, pero su resolución sobre el Caso Atenco no responsabiliza al gobernador del Estado de México, Enrique Peña Nieto; a Eduardo Medina Mora, Miguel Ángel Yunes, responsables de dichas acciones.

Así resume el Frente de Pueblos en Defensa de la Tierra la resolución tomada hoy por la Corte, después de 4 días de sesión, donde se discutió un dictamen elaborado por el ministro.

Quien pierde, dice el Frente en un comunicado, es el pueblo de México, porque su resolución sólo otorga impunidad a los represores y viene a legitimar la instauración de un Estado policíaco, “tal como lo vemos en el uso recurrente del Ejército Mexicano y de las fuerza pública en la llamada lucha contra el crimen, así como en la confrontación con el movimiento social, utilizando estrategias de contrainsurgencia para controlar a la población y querer exterminar a las organizaciones como el Frente de Pueblos en Defensa de la Tierra en Atenco”.

FPDT: Most Recent Supreme Court resolution legitimizes 'police state' tactics

The Court's decision grants impunity to the perpetrators

During its recent judicial review of the of the case of Atenco, where on May 3rd and 4th of 2006, serious violations of human rights and individual guarantees occurred [perpetrated by police forces who beat and raped dozens of peaceful female protesters during a demonstration and march], the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation (SCJN) had a historic opportunity to bring justice [to the victims]. Instead, the Court decided to exonerate the governor of the state of Mexico, Enrique Peña Nieto, as well as federal Attorney General Eduardo Medina Mora and Miguel Angel Yunes, head of Mexico's internal security apparatus. These officials [in control of the local, state and federal police forces involved] were responsible for the actions of their police agents during the Atenco march.

This is the view that was recently communicated in a press release from the People's Front for the Defense of the Land [FPDT], in response to the Court's decision in the Atenco case after four days of deliberation.  [An FPDT protest march was attacked during the events at Atenco].

The FPDT believes that in this Court decision, the people of Mexico have lost, because the result legitimizes the use of impunity in the establishment of a police state... "as we have seen in the recurrent use of the Mexican Army in the so-called fight against crime, as well as in its efforts to confront social movements by using counter-insurgency strategies to control the population. They want to wipe out organiza-tions like the FPDT in Atenco."

The FPDT believes that the gross violations of human rights that occurred at Atenco were not just individual actions [by rogue policemen], but were part of official policies.

...The FPDT: "This Supreme Court has mocked the victims and Mexican history..."

CIMAC Noticias

Feb. 12, 2009

See also:

LibertadLatina

Atenco: Mexican police rape and assault women at street protest

CIMAC Noticias

Cobertura especial - Las Mujeres de Atenco - una collecion de 48 articulos

CIMAC's collection of 48 articles from 2006 on the violations of women's integrity and human rights at Atenco (in Spanish).


Added: Feb. 13, 2009

Washington, DC, USA

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton Vows to Strengthen State Dept. Anti-Slavery Efforts

Secretary of State nominee Hillary Clinton pledged in her confirmation hearing that U.S. anti-slavery efforts would be strengthened in the incoming Obama Administration.

This is welcome news for modern-day abolitionists who believe America’s leadership in the anti-slavery arena could lead other governments - eager to court favor with the new Administration - to more aggressively step up their efforts to go after human traffickers.

Clinton pledged in her testimony to bring onboard a senior State Department official to head up anti-slavery efforts. This official, she said, would be situated nearby her own office - a seemingly minor point but to anti-trafficking leaders, a decision of great significance. Under President Bush, the State Dept. Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (created in 2000) operated out of a nondescript office building blocks away from the State Department’s Foggy Bottom headquarters. Although Bush appointees to the post of anti-trafficking “czar” received generally high marks for raising the profile of anti-trafficking programs, most observers felt that U.S. efforts to combat modern forms of slavery were under-funded and well down the list of Administration priorities...

Paul Bernish

FreedomCenter.org

Jan. 14th, 2009


Added: Feb. 13, 2009

The World /

El Mundo

Antonio Maria Costa

United Nations

ONU: Muchas naciones carecen de medios para combatir el tráfico de personas

A pesar de que más países adoptaron leyes contra el este delito, 61 de las 155 naciones monitoreadas no registraron ni una condena sobre el tema

Un gran número de países en todo el mundo carace aún de las herramientas necesarias para identificar, reportar y perseguir el tráfico de personas, denuncia un informe de las Naciones Unidas que será publicado oficialmente este jueves.

A pesar de que más países adoptaron leyes contra el tráfico de personas entre 2003 y 2008, 61 de las 155 naciones monitoreadas no han registrado ni una sola condena en relación, señaló la Oficina contra la Droga y el Delito (ONUDD) de las Naciones Unidas en su "Informe global de la trata de personas".

"O bien están ciegos ante el problema, o están mal equipados para enfrentarlo", dice el director ejecutivo de ONUDD Antonio Maria Costa en el informe...

www.infobae.com

Feb. 02, 2009

UN Says Human Trafficking Appears To Be Worsening

Three-quarters of those exploited as modern-day slaves work in the sex industry.

In a new report, the United Nations says human trafficking for the sex trade or forced labor market appears to be getting worse, not better, because many countries aren't paying attention to it.

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) surveyed 155 countries for its report on modern-day slavery, but didn't say how many people it believes are victims of human trafficking. Estimates range from 800,000 new victims each year, according to the U.S. State Department, to 2.5 million, according to the International Labor Organization.

UNODC chief Antonio Maria Costa told a news conference at UN headquarters in New York that 40 percent of the countries where the problem exists have not convicted one person of trafficking charges.

A large percentage of the perpetrators of human trafficking are women, UNODC chief Antonio Maria Costa says...

"According to the statistics, about 80 percent of these crimes are concentrated on sexual exploitation," Costa said...

Seventy-nine percent of slavery is for sex, according to the UNODC, while about 18 percent is for forced labor, forced marriages, or forced organ donation. And although the victims of sex trafficking are usually women and girls, those in charge of the trafficking are women, too.

RFE/RL

February 13, 2009


Added: Feb. 13, 2009

California, USA

Cuatro guatemaltecos y un mexicano culpables de trata de personas

Cuatro [personas] fueron encontrados culpables en Estados Unidos de tráfico de mujeres centroamericanas para forzarlas a ser prostitutas en Los Angeles, y podrían recibir sentencias de hasta cadena perpetua, informó el jueves el Departamento de Justicia.

Las cinco personas, miembros de la misma familia o vinculadas a ella, fueron encontradas culpables el miércoles de conspiración, tráfico sexual por la fuerza, fraude o coerción e importación de extranjeros con fines de prostitución, indicó el comunicado del departamento.

Los acusados ofrecían a mujeres y niñas pobres e indocumentadas en Centroamérica empleos en Estados Unidos, y una vez en este país usaban amenazas, violencia física y hasta violaciones para obligarlas a ejercer la prostitución. Controlaban a las mujeres bajo amenaza de golpizas y de matar a familiares en sus países de origen, y a algunas las encerraban bajo llave por las noches...

Diario Las Americas

February 02, 2009

5 defendants convicted of sex trafficking for forcing Guatemalan girls and women into prostitution

Los Angeles - Five defendants, all members or associates of an extended family, face potential life prison sentences after being found guilty this afternoon of international sex trafficking for participating in a scheme that lured young Central American women and girls into the Los Angeles area and forced them into prostitution.

The case, which was prosecuted by the Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division and the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Central District of California, resulted from a joint investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of the Inspector General.

The defendants, four Guatemalan nationals and one Mexican national, were convicted of conspiracy; sex trafficking by force, fraud, or coercion; and importation of aliens for purposes of prostitution. The jury in the case was unable to reach unanimous verdicts on additional charges...

U.S. ICE

February 11, 2009


Added: Feb. 12, 2009

Mexico

Undated forestry initiative photo of Tlaxcala governor Héctor Israel Ortiz Ortiz with Edward Kadunc, director of the U.S. Agency for International Development under former President George W. Bush, and United States Ambassador to Mexico (under presidents George W. Bush and Barak Obama) Antonio O. Garza, Jr.

U.S. Embassy in Mexico

Tlaxcala: OSC exigen publicación de estudio que revela trata

Las organizaciones impulsoras de la Iniciativa Popular en Tlaxcala contra la trata de personas manifestaron su indignación por las recientes declaraciones del rector de la Universidad Autónoma de Tlaxcala, autoridades de Tenancingo y la Presidenta de la Comisión Estatal de Derechos Humanos en torno al delito de Trata de Mujeres para la Prostitución en Tlaxcala, pues niegan que ocurra en la entidad.

Exigen por ello que sea publicado el Estudio sobre Trata de Mujeres en Tlaxcala, entregado en diciembre pasado al Instituto Nacional de las Mujeres (Inmujeres) y llevado a cabo bajo la coordinación de la doctora Patricia Olamendi, en el cual se documenta la existencia del problema de trata en la entidad.

Tlaxcala: Anti-trafficking groups demand the public release of study and state and local governments deny the existence of major sex trafficking networks

The group of non profit organizations who created the Popular Initiative against trafficking in Tlaxcala state has expressed their outrage at recent statements by the rector of the Autonomous University of Tlaxcala, government authorities in the city of Tenancingo, and by the president of the Tlaxcala State Human Rights Commission. These officials have all publicly denied that human trafficking exists in the state Tlaxcala [state is a major center for child and adult sex trafficking in Mexico].

The community activists demanded that officials release a study coordinated by Dr. Patricia Olamendi, completed in December of 2008, in which the existence of trafficking in the state was documented.

At the end of 2008 the president of the Federal District [Mexico City] Human Rights Commission (CDHDF), Emilio Álvarez, attended a conference at the Center for Continuing and Distance Education of Tlaxcala, part of the National Polytechnic Institute. During a speech at the event, Álvarez stated that a study by the CDHDF in regard to the commercial sexual exploitation of children in Mexico City found that sex trafficking networks from the city of Tenancingo in Tlaxcala were actively trafficking children into the capitol city.

In response, the Governor of Tlaxcala [Héctor Israel Ortiz Ortiz, a law professor at the Autonomous University of Tlaxcala] dismissed the statements by chairman Álvarez of the CDHDF as being partisan in nature. Recently the rector of the Autonomous University of Tlaxcala has requested that the state human rights commission prove that high levels of sex trafficking exist in the entity.

Local organizations working against sex trafficking point to the fact that the president of the state human rights commission has publicly acknowledged the problem, but she has blamed the victims for the justice system’s failure to act in the matter.

In addition, the mayor of Tenancingo and coordinator of DIF [local branch of the national social services agency] have both told the press that there is no trafficking in their municipality, and that criminal prosecutions of the Carreto Family are the result of slander and injustice.

[LibertadLatina note: The Tlaxcala-based Carreto Family was previously one of the largest sex trafficking networks in Mexico]…

In response to these conflicting accounts of conditions in the state, non governmental organization have demanded that the local authorities publicly release the study by Dr. Olamendi.

They also demand that officials from state and local government cease their attempts to minimize or even deny the existence and severity of the problem of the trafficking in women for sexual exploitation in Tlaxcala, and that these officials stop blaming trafficking victims for the lack of action by the criminal justice system.

CIMAC Noticias

10/02/2009

See Also:

El Blog de Frida

La situación de trata de personas es cada vez mas evidente, uno foco rojo como ya lo habíamos comentado con anterioridad es Tlaxcala, donde la trata de personas y la prostitución infantil esta a la orden del día, la situación es que si realmente alguno de los gobernantes o quienes pretenden llegar a tomar ese poder estuvieran en la disposición de ayudar realmente a su pueblo pondrían ojos en esos temas, pero es demasiado, es ir contra muchos intereses que sabemos les perjudicarían a muchos, ¿incluidos a ellos?....

El Blog de Frida Guerrero

10/15/2007

About the Carreto family

The Flores-Carreto family sex-trafficking ring operated between Tenancingo, Tlaxcala, Mexico, and Queens, New York, from 1991 to 2004 and involved brothels in the New York metropolitan area. ICE began its investigation in December 2003 after the mother of a trafficking victim reported to the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City that her daughter had been kidnapped and was being held against her will in New York.

ICE discovered that male members of the Flores-Carreto family romantically lured young Mexican women to the United States, where they were forced into prostitution through beatings and threats against their children, who were residing with the traffickers' mother in México. Victims who became pregnant were forced to have abortions. In April 2005, Josue Flores-Carreto, Gerardo Flores-Carreto and Daniel Perez Alfonso, a brothel manager, were sentenced to 50, 50, and 25 years imprisonment respectively, for multiple offenses related to forced prostitution.

In January 2007, Mexico extradited Consuelo Carreto Valencia, the mother of the Carreto brothers, to the United States, where she was charged with conspiring on sex trafficking and related offenses. On July 22, 2008, she pled guilty to sex trafficking and is pending sentencing for that crime...

U.S. ICE

11/09/2008

Mexican woman [Consuelo Carreto Valencia] pleads guilty to sex trafficking

- U.S. ICE

July 22, 2008

Sex Slavery Investigation in New York City Nets Human Traffickers

- Jim Kouri, CPP
April 24, 2005

Three Carreto Family Suspects Plead Guilty to All 27 Counts in New York City Trafficking Trial.

- U.S. Department of Homeland Security

April 5, 2005

Dirty Little Secret in Corona

- John Marzulli

New York Daily News

April 4, 2005

Mexican Women Set to Testify Against Alleged [Carreto] Sex Traffickers

- The Associated Press

April 3, 2005

Rescued From The Shadows

- Peter Van Sant

CBS News

Feb. 23, 2005

Mexican officials arrest suspects in New York-linked sex slavery ring

- John Rice

EFE

Feb. 23, 2004

The Girls Next Door

[An extensive article covering the brutal methods used by family-run Mexican Sex Trafficking mafias, including the Carreto Family].

...Once the Mexican traffickers abduct or seduce the women and young girls, it's not other men who first indoctrinate them into sexual slavery but other women….

"Women are the ones who exert violent force and psychological torture..."

- New York Times

Jan. 25, 2004

LibertadLatina Note:

The actions of state and city officials in Tlaxcala state, of denying the existence of human trafficking (and most importantly the trafficking of children into forced prostitution) is reprehensible.

We look forward to the creative diplomatic efforts of U.S. President Barak Obama, and Secretary of State Hilary Clinton in bringing about real, practical protections for women and children facing rape, kidnapping and sexual slavery with impunity.

The world's one surviving super-power cannot sit-by and let this continue to happen in silence.

Those who deny this crisis in such an epicenter of child trafficking as is Tlaxcala are behaving with the same rationale that Holocaust deniers use. Only in the case of Mexico it is called femicide, and it deserves to be called genocide against indigenous peoples with impunity.

Those at risk await our effective efforts to protect them from impunity today!

End impunity now!

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

Feb. 12, 2009


Added: Feb. 05, 2009

Dominican Republic

Global destinations for Dominican women

Listin Diario

Nuevos destinos, según la Organización para las Migraciones

Según la Organización Internacional de las Migraciones (OIM), se estima que aproximadamente 192 millones de personas viven fuera de su país de origen, lo que indica que una de cada 35 personas en el mundo es migrante.

De acuerdo con la OIM, República Dominicana se ha convertido en un lugar de origen, tránsito y destino para migrantes. Aproximadamente un millón y medio de dominicanos viven en el exterior. Estados Unidos, Puerto Rico, España, Francia, Italia, Alemania y Holanda siguen siendo los destinos favoritos y los mayores receptores de legales criollos que emigran, en su mayoría, en procura de mejores condiciones económicas.

En los últimos años, sin embargo, se ha registrado un aumento considerable de dominicanos que viajan legalmente a otros destinos considerados “no tradicionales” en cuanto al número de residentes, entre ellos las islas del Caribe (Curazao, San Martin, Antigua, Saint Thomas, Martinica, Guadalupe), Costa Rica, Haití, Suiza, Argentina, Austria, Grecia, Israel y Brasil. Lamentablemente, estos destinos “no tradicionales” llegan cargados de una característica que no siempre le garantiza al migrante su sueño laboral. Y las mujeres son las más afectadas.

Los datos de la OIM indican que República Dominicana ocupa el cuarto lugar entre los diez países con mayor número de mujeres en el exterior, sólo superado por Tailandia, Filipinas y Brasil, y según las últimas investigaciones del Centro de Orientación e investigación Integral (COIN, 2008), “por lo menos una tercera parte de las migrantes dominicanas en Europa, el Caribe y algunos países de Latinoamérica ha sido víctimas de trata para fines de trabajo doméstico, matrimonios serviles o explotación sexual”.

Dominican women seek to migrate and succeed

According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), an estimated 192 million people live outside their country of origin, indicating that one in every 35 people in the world is a migrant.

Santo Domingo - According to IOM, the Dominican Republic has become a point of origin, transit and destination for migrants. Approximately 1.5 million Dominicans live abroad. United States, Puerto Rico, Spain, France, Italy, Germany and the Netherlands remain the favorite destinations and the largest recipients of legal Dominican migrants, who are for the most part migrating in search of better economic conditions...

IOM data indicates that the Dominican Republic ranks fourth among the ten countries with the highest numbers of women living abroad, surpassed only by Thailand, the Philippines and Brazil. According to recent research from the Center for Integral Orientation and Investigation (COIN, 2008), "at least a third of Dominican migrants in Europe, the Caribbean and some Latin American countries have been trafficked for purposes of domestic labor, servile marriage or sexual exploitation."

This is not prostitution[but sexual exploitation]

Gina Gallardo, an educator and researcher at the IOM, finds it appropriate to qualify the issue of prostitution when talking about women who leave to work abroad.

Gallardo: "These women do not leave expecting to work as prostitutes. Often they leave with a job offer from a supermarket or a salon, for example. Ninety nine percent of these women do not leave the country as a victim of trafficking. Trafficking is the end result of this deception, and we should speak of sexual exploitation instead of [intentional] prostitution...

...Although it may seen hard to believe, many young people from remote [rural] provinces are easily deceived.

Gallardo: "The country is full of people wanting to improve their economic situation. They cannot verify [whether a potential employer is really planning to exploit them, or not]. Some women know that they will be migrating for purposes of prostitution, but they don’t know that they will be exploited [forced to work for free].”

Full English Translation

www.ListinDiario.com.do

Feb. 06, 2009

See also:

30,000 Dominican women were tricked and forced into prostitution abroad

30 mil Dominicanas viajaron engañadas

Marcos Gambibia, a Swiss Investigator for the International Organization for Migration (IOM) has released a study that describes details of sex trafficking from the Latin American country with the highest number of women working in prostitution overseas...

The IOM study indicates that 29% of the 100,000 Dominican women who engage in prostitution in Europe were actually offered legitimate jobs, were then sent to Europe, and when they arrived they were forced into prostitution...

Diario Libre

Dominican Republic

Sep. 14, 2005

NGO- At least 50,000 Dominican women work as prostitutes abroad

EFE News Service
November 1, 2002


Added: Feb. 06, 2009

Mexico

Congressional Deputy / Diputada Guillermina López Balbuena is a member of the Indigenous Affairs, Gender and Equality and Migratory Affairs committees, and the Special Committee on Discrimination [against new populations of victims - addressing gay rights, etcetera.]

E-mail

Cecilia Landerreche Gómez Morin, head of Mexico's National System for Integral Family Develop-ment (DIF) - Titular del DIF

Bio in English

En México 20 mil niños y adolescentes son víctimas de explotación sexual

La diputada     Guillermina López Balbuena presentó una iniciativa de ley en la cámara baja para hacer frente a la trata de personas y los delitos de explotación sexual en México

20 mil adolescentes y niños son víctimas de explotación sexual comercial en México, según datos del Sistema Nacional de Desarrollo Integral de la Familia presentados hoy por la Cámara de los Diputados.

En un comunicado, el organismo informó hoy de que la diputada Guillermina López Balbuena presentó una iniciativa de ley en la cámara baja para hacer frente a la trata de personas y los delitos de explotación sexual con menores y jóvenes.

La iniciativa pretende reformar dos leyes relacionadas con la trata de personas y los derechos de los niños, e introducir cambios al Código Penal Federal para hacer frente a esos delitos…
Datos de la Red por los Derechos de la Infancia en México citados en el boletín indican que en este país existen 3.5 millones de niños trabajadores, de los cuales 170 mil viven y trabajan en las calles.

La misma organización sostiene que, entre ellos, hay unos 16 mil que viven en zonas indígenas que son explotados sexual y comercialmente.

Otro estudio de la Coalición Regional contra el Tráfico de Mujeres y Niñas en América Latina y el Caribe indica que un total de 250 mil mujeres y niñas ejercen la prostitución en la capital mexicana, el 82 por ciento de las cuales son analfabetas…

In Mexico, 20 thousand children and adolescents are victims of sexual exploitation

Congressional Deputy Guillermina López Balbuena has introduced a bill in the lower house to deal with human trafficking and crimes of sexual exploitation in Mexico

An estimated 20,000 children and adolescents are victims of commercial sexual exploitation in Mexico, according to data from the National System for Integral Family Development [the DIF federal social services agency] presented today by the Chamber of Deputies [equivalent of the U.S. House of Representatives].

In a press release, the DIF reported today that Deputy Guillermina López Balbuena [representing part of Puebla state in the PRI Party] has introduced a bill in the lower house to deal with human trafficking and sexual exploitation offenses involving minors and youth.

The initiative seeks to amend two existing laws related to trafficking and child rights, and changes the Federal Penal Code to deal with such crimes…

The Network for the Rights of Children in Mexico stated that  there are 3.5 million child workers in the nation, of whom 170,000 are living and working in the streets.

The DIF analysis also shows that there are approximately 16,000 children living in indigenous areas who are subject to  sexual and labor exploitation.

Another study, by the Regional Coalition Against Trafficking in Women and Girls in Latin America and the Caribbean (CATW), indicates that a total of 250,000 women and girls survive through prostitution in Mexico City. Some 82% of them are illiterate.

Congressional members stated that many of these people arrive in the capital city through "deception, fraud, sale, coercion, force and abduction (kidnapping)." The majority of them are from the states of Puebla, Tlaxcala, Veracruz, Chiapas and Oaxaca [all heavily indigenous areas]

EFE / El Universal

Feb. 07, 2009

See also / Vea tambien:

Sufren explotación sexual 20 mil niños y adolescentes en el DF

From a related article on the same press conference:

Eighty nine percent of prostituted women and girls in Mexico City started at the ages of 12 or 13. Some 88% of them are from outside of Mexico City.

El Porvenir

Feb. 07, 2009

This 7-year-old indigenous girl from Mexico is today being sold in prostitution by her own mother

Notes from an anti-trafficking activist and minister working in Mexico.

"I was finally able to confront a mom who is allowing/ encouraging her 7 year old daughter to give oral sex for 100 pesos or $10...I would love to bring justice to the mom and I promised her if I ever saw it again I would. I don't know that was enough to end it but it was enough to send them both home on a bus today."

Sep. 8, 2008

LibertadLatina Commentary:

Mexican society has condoned the criminal sexual exploitation of indigenous women and children for five centuries. The rape and even the murder of an indigenous woman or child carries with it little or no legal penalty in Mexico, or, for that matter, across much of Latin America. For that reason, rapists, kidnappers and organized sex traffickers find easy targets among the women and girls of this population.

Today, billion dollar drug cartels, Japanese yakuzas and youth gangs kidnap, rape and sell into sexual slavery thousands of indigenous women, girls and boys.

The victim community extends beyond the indigenous population, but rest assured that in the few cases where the laws against exploitation are enforced, those acts do not benefit indigenous victims.

We applaud federal Deputy Guillermina López Balbuena for introducing legislation to fix deficiencies in the current anti-trafficking law, a groundbreaking federal act that President Felipe Calderón has refused, (despite four warnings from Congress since the summer of 2008) to implement, by his withholding of the publishing of the required regulations.

We also salute Cecilia Landerreche Gómez Morin, director of the federal DIF social services agency, for highlighting the plight of indigenous children, in a Mexican society that today ignores and exploits them in unspeakable ways.

¡Basta ya con la corupcion y la impunidad!

Enough with corruption... end impunity now!

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

Feb. 07-08, 2009


Added: Feb. 06, 2009

California, USA

Teen's arranged marriage is allowed in native Mexico

A Monterey County father who allegedly tried to collect a dowry of beer, cash and meat for his 14-year-old daughter's wedding was following the custom of the Triqui people, police say.

The police in Greenfield, a Monterey County farm town, had heard the rumors before: Migrant workers from rural Mexico were marrying off daughters as young as 12 and receiving sizable dowries...

Marcelino de Jesus MartinezMarcelino de Jesus Martinez, 36, is in Monterey County Jail, charged with crimes related to an alleged attempt to set up a marriage for his 14-year-old daughter. According to police, he complained to them when the 18-year-old would-be groom failed to come up with the $16,000, 100 cases of beer, meat and other items he promised as a dowry.

The case has generated headlines worldwide -- "Man Sells Daughter for Beer!" -- and raised the blood pressure of activists on all sides of the immigration debate.

In Greenfield, Police Chief Joe Grebmeier has been swamped, explaining to reporters from Australia to Croatia that his initial description of the incident as "human trafficking" was ill-advised.

"There was no force, fear or coercion," he said. "What we're dealing with now is a difference in cultures. All of this would have been perfectly legal where they came from."

The people involved are Mexican immigrants from rural Oaxaca. They are members of a tight-knit indigenous group called the Triqui, several thousand of whom live in Greenfield, depending on the season.

But culture clash or not, Grebmeier said, he was compelled to enforce the law. He said he had appeared at community meetings to warn recent immigrants against pursuing underage marriages. And when his department looked into reports about the 14-year-old girl, finding a matchmaker and "documents used in the negotiation," he acted.

"I'm tasked with protecting my community, and 14-year-old girls need a lot of protection," he said.

Whether 14-year-olds can legally marry in Oaxaca -- or whether young girls would have a real choice -- is an open question.

UCLA sociologist Gaspar Rivera, a native of Oaxaca, said he believed the legal age of consent is 16, but he has heard of girls as young as 12 being wed. He doubted that underage unions in isolated communities would be prosecuted.

"There would be no legal ramifications as long as all parties are in consent," said Rivera, project director for UCLA's Center for Labor Research and Education. "The villages have a high degree of autonomy, with little or no intervention from state and federal authorities.

...However, Andres Garcia, a fieldworker who lives in Greenfield, said he knew of several arranged Triqui marriages involving 16- and 17-year-olds in the last five years. The food and drink included in dowries is generally for the wedding celebration, and cash is intended to support any children if the bridegroom leaves...

Johnson said her office was weighing statutory rape charges against the daughter's boyfriend, Margarito de Jesus Galindo of Gonzales, Calif.

The girl had moved in with him before her father allegedly complained to authorities about the dowry, police said. The age of consent in California is 18.

In the end, no marriage was performed, lawyers on both sides say.

Steve Chawkins

Ruben Vives Contributing

Los Angeles Times

Jan. 15, 2009

See also / Vea tambien:

LibertadLatina Note

Arranged marriages of underage girls, beginning at age 11, are commonplace in southern Mexico's indigenous regions, including the adjoining states of Puebla, Oaxaca, Guerrero and Chiapas. These areas of the nation are also centers for mass-migration from South and Central America, and are focal points for Mexico's vast international child sex trafficking 'industry' that relies upon kidnapping and deceit to obtain the 'raw materials' for its lucrative product line of young women and underage girls.

Sex trafficking gangs routinely 'marry' very young girls and then sell them to brothels and international human slavery operations for 'export' to the United States, Japan and Europe.

Migrant men from these regions, working as farm laborers across California, are also major exploiters of underage sex trafficking victims [some as young as age 7] who are kidnapped and brought into San Diego County and other rural areas to 'serve' this population (while having their own human lives degraded and shortened). 

LibertadLatina

Feb. 09, 2009

From: The Sex Trafficking of Children in San Diego County, California

Reyna began revealing her story. She was from Puebla, Mexico. She had barely finished second grade. Her mother died when she was seven years old. Reyna was then supported by her grandmother, who also died. After that, her father was left in charge of her. One day, when she was 11, her own father gave her as a gift to a local police chief who raped her without end.

After having been so neglected, and with a baby now in her arms, Reyna met Arturo Lopez, from the town of Atlixco in the state of Puebla. Arturo, after pretending to fall in love with her, convinced Reyna to work as a servant in the United States, for which Arturo recommended that she leave her baby with some of his relatives. Reyna had no other options, so she accepted the offer.

Reyna was taken to Tijuana, and while she waited to be crossed over the border, she was forced, with threats that her baby would be killed, to prostitute herself in the red zone known as "la Coahuila." She was finally transported across the U.S. border by a coyote, Alonso Sapien, also known as "El Chivero."

In San Diego, Reyna came to live in a neighborhood in Vista where she found other girls like her. A week later she found herself in the sexual exploitation camps for farm workers.

"The real horror is in the sheer number of men that, at the age of 15, Reyna was forced to serve as a prostitute. In one hour she had to serve 20 men, and they made her work from 8 AM until 2 in the afternoon."

In English  

En Español

El Universal

Jan. 12, 2003


Added: Feb. 06, 2009

Ecuador

Ejecutarán Plan cantonal contra trata 2009-02-03

Se firmó un convenio de cooperación internacional entre la Organización Internacional para las Migraciones (OIM) y el Consejo Cantonal de la Niñez y Adolescencia.

Este acuerdo tiene la finalidad de que se haga efectivo y ejecute el Plan cantonal contra la explotación sexual, comercial y trata de niños, niñas y adolescentes que se aprobó en Cuenca, informó Catalina Mendoza, secretaria ejecutiva del Consejo de la Niñez.

El convenio tiene cuatro ejes de acción, el primero es realizar una investigación sobre los factores que impulsan la demanda de trata de personas.

Este delito está configurado por una serie de situaciones como la explotación sexual comercial, explotación laboral, utilización para mendicidad, extracción de órganos para venta ilegal, y utilización de seres humanos para la explotación y servidumbre, indica.

Todas estas situaciones configuran lo que el Código Penal determina como delito de trata de personas.

Ecuador and IOM develop county-based anti-trafficking effort

An agreement to fight human trafficking has been signed between the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and Ecuador's Counties Council for Childhood and Adolescence.

According to Catalina Mendoza, Ecuador's Executive Secretary of the Child, the agreement aims to work at the county level against the commercial sexual exploitation and trafficking of children and adolescents. The pact was signed in the city of Cuenca.

The agreement has four main areas of action. The initial step will involve a research investigation into the factors that are driving the demand for trafficking.

Catalina Mendoza stated that the criminal code defines human trafficking as including situations that involve commercial sexual exploitation, labor exploitation, using a person for begging, organ extraction and the illegal sale and use of human beings for exploitation and servitude.

www.elmercurio.com.ec

Feb. 04, 2009


Added: Feb. 06, 2009

Costa Rica

Attorney Rodrigo Johanning Quesada

En Fuga Abogado Costarricense Condenado A 10 Años De Prision

Delitos: Tráfico de personas menores de edad, Delitos de Carácter Internacional y Tenencia Ilegítima de menores para adopción.

Rodrigo Johanning Quesada, abogado costarricense, que fue condenado en el año 2006 y cuya sentencia quedó en firme el 1 de abril del 2008 ha sido declarado en fuga por las autoridades costarricenses.

Johanning fue sentenciado junto a Carlos Hernán Robles por los delitos de Tráfico de personas menores de edad, Delitos de Carácter Internacional y Tenencia Ilegítima de menores para adopción, delitos por los que debería de descontar 10 años de prisión, sin embargo esto no ha sucedido porque el sujeto está libre.

En el mes de Setiembre del año 2003 se realizo un allanamiento en una casa-cuna en San José donde las autoridades encontraron 9 niños, de origen guatemalteco, quienes iban a ser dados en adopción de manera irregular.

Man sentenced to 10 years in prison has become a fugitive

Rodrigo Johanning Quesada, a Costa Rican lawyer who was convicted in 2006 and whose sentence was pronounced on April 1, 2008 has been declared a fugitive by Costa Rican authorities.

Johanning was sentenced along with Carlos Hernan Robles for the crimes of trafficking of minors, international crimes and illegal possession of children for adoption, for which crimes he was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

In September 2003 police conducted a raid on a 'crib house' [a house where kidnapped... especially Mayan children are literally "fatted-up" before being sold to foreigners in adoption] in San Jose where authorities found 9 children of Guatemalan origin, who were to be given up for adoption erratically.

Alianza Por Tus Derechos (Alliance for Your Rights)

Costa Rica

Feb. 04, 2009


Added: Feb. 06, 2009

Mexico

Mexico's state of Tamaulipas

Map-of-Mexico.uk

En Tamaulipas, sigue en aumento niños que viven en la calle

Aunque aún no se ha dado a conocer el resultado del estudio de las 100 ciudades, el número de menores en circunstancias especialmente difíciles en tres años aquí en Tamaulipas ha tenido un aumento de seis mil 800 niños.

Ciudad Victoria, Tamaulipas - Tita Eugenia Pérez Montemayor, coordinadora del programa Meced del sistema DIF Tamaulipas, dio a conocer que dicho aumento ha pasado de diez mil 700 menores, en 2005, a más de 17 mil 500 del año pasado.

Señaló que la atención va en aumento y paralelamente el DIF Tamaulipas, ha tratado cada año de abarcar a más menores, “porque a lo mejor los menores estaban desde 2005, pero se está tratando en ampliar la cobertura y cada vez proponer estrategias más a doc. (Sic) a lo que ellos necesitan”.

Pérez-Montemayor apuntó que quizá en la frontera y en el sur hay mayor incidencia de menores en calle que en el centro del estado.

Tamaulipas sees an increasing number of children living on the street

Although the results of a recent survey have not been formally released, the number of children living in especially difficult circumstances in three years here in Tamaulipas has grown by 6,800.

Ciudad Victoria, Tamaulipas - Tita Eugenia Perez Montemayor, coordinator for the MECED program of the Tamaulipas DIF [government social services] system, has announced an increase in the numbers of children who are facing severe poverty, from 10,700 children in 2005 to over 17,500 last year.

Perez Montemayor noted that levels of services are increasing and parallel with the increase. DIF Tamaulipas has attempted to cover more children each year...

Perez-Montemayor said that it is likely that there is a greater incidence of street children at the [U.S.] border and in the south, than in the center of the state.

www.HoyTamaulipas.net

Feb. 02, 2009

LibertadLatina Note:

The Mexican Gulf Coast state of Tamaulipas includes the city of Matamoras, at the U.S. border crossing of Brownsville, Texas. Matamoros is a known center for child sex trafficking, were U.S. male sex tourists cross the border to exploit poor children.

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

Feb. 06, 2009

See Also:

Solapada por policías, florece en Matamoros la prostitución infantil

Los menores se hacen pasar por vendedores o limpiaparabrisas; la tarifa, de $50 a 30 dólares

"A cambio de unos pesos" permiten a niños trabajar la calle; extranjeros, principales clientes

Matamoros, Tams., 1º de septiembre. Niños de la calle que se hacen pasar por limpiavidrios, vendedores de flores o mendigos se prostituyen en los cruceros de esta ciudad, donde ofrecen sus servicios sexuales, sobre todo a ciudadanos estadunidenses.

Shielded by the police, child prostitution flourishes in Matamoros

Minors at U.S. border crossings pretend to work as car window washers, and charge $30 to $50 for sex. [U.S.] foreigners are their main customers.

Boys and girls between the ages of 9 and 14 sell sex near Mexico's international border with Texas to large numbers of older men from the U.S. Local police collect bribes from the children, while courts allow arrested 'johns' to pay a fine when they are caught.

Some of these children engage in prostitution to support their families, others do it to support drug habits.

Julia Antonieta Le Duc

La Jornada

Sep. 02, 2005

Crece Sin Control la Prostitución Infantil en Matamoros.

Child Prostitution Grows Out of Control in Matamoros

In parts of the city where one would not imagine it being, in dark alleys and along downtown streets, be it morning or afternoon, child prostitution is increasing. This is occurring while government agencies do nothing to recognize the seriousness of the problem, and nobody punishes those responsible for the increased sexual exploitation of girls and boys in this border region.

Julia Antonieta Le Duc

La Jornada

April 03, 2005


Added: Feb. 06, 2009

Colombia

Capturada por trata de personas

Estaba condenada a 13 años de prisión

En la carrera 21 con calle 26 de Armenia agentes del grupo de capturas del Cuerpo Técnico de Investigación, CTI, de la fiscalía, capturaron a Rosa Elvira Ardila Álvarez, de 32 años de edad, quien se encontraba solicitada por la justicia mediante orden de captura vigente...

“Ardila Álvarez se encontraba solicitada por el Juzgado Segundo de Ejecución de Penas y Medidas de Aseguramiento de Armenia para que cumpliera una condenada a 13 años de prisión que le habían impuesto por el delito de trata de personas”, aseguraron fuentes de la fuerza pública.

Convicted human trafficker is arrested

Agents of the Technical Investigation Corps have arrested Rosa Elvira Ardila Alvarez, age 32, on an outstanding warrant.

Ardila Alvarez had been sought by the Second Court of Execution of Sentences in Armenia, so that she could begin serving a 13 year prison sentence for human trafficking.

Cronicadelquindio.com

Feb. 04, 2009


Added: Feb. 06, 2009

Puerto Rico

Sentenciado a 30 años de prisión por pornografía infantil

El puertorriqueño Mariano Claudio, de 50 años, fue sentenciado a 30 años de prisión por posesión y producción de pornografía infantil, informó hoy el Servicio de Inmigración y Aduanas (ICE) de EE.UU. en San Juan.

Claudio había sido arrestado por agentes del ICE en noviembre de 2006 después de que se encontraran en su residencia de Bayamón, ciudad aledaña a San Juan, numerosos discos duros de computadora que contenían "imágenes explícitas de pornografía infantil".

Puerto Rican man sentenced to 30 years in prison for possession and production of child porn

San Juan - A 50-year-old predator was sentenced in federal court to 30 years in prison for possession and production of child pornography following a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) investigation.

Mariano Claudio, of Bayamon, Puerto Rico, was arrested by ICE special agents in November 2006 after a search of his residence resulted in the seizure of several computer hard disks and other electronic storage media devices containing explicit images of child pornography.

According to the indictment, Claudio persuaded, induced and enticed a 14-year-old female minor to engage in sexually explicit conduct, specifically, lascivious exhibition of the genital and pubic areas for the purpose of producing a visual depiction of such conduct.  He pleaded guilty to the possession and production of child pornography charges in February 2007.

U.S. ICE

Feb. 02, 2009


Added: Feb. 06, 2009

Argentina

Seguirá la investigación de la trata de personas

El megaoperativo contra la prostitución realizado el fin de semana en Rincón de los Sauces sería el puntapié inicial de una investigación judicial más profunda sobre la trata de personas en la provincia, un fenómeno que hasta el gobierno admite que existe.

El equipo de fiscales encabezados por Sandra González Taboada sigue en Rincón, donde desembarcó el sábado pasado con el apoyo de al menos 300 policías de toda la provincia para allanar los centros de diversión nocturna de la localidad.

Una decena de cabarets, pubs y confiterías fueron allanados entre las 22 del sábado y la tarde del domingo. Los procedimientos incluyeron varias viviendas de personas involucradas con la prostitución.

Investigations will continue in human trafficking case

A large-scale police operation against prostitution conducted this past weekend in Rincon de los Sauces was the kick-off of a deeper investigation on human trafficking in the province, a phenomenon that even the government admits exists.

A team of prosecutors headed by Sandra Gonzalez Taboada remains in Rincon, where they arrived last Saturday with the support of at least 300 police officers from across the province to raid the nightlife district.

Ten cabarets, pubs and tearooms were among the 22 locations raided on Saturday and Sunday afternoon. Raids were also conducted at the homes of suspects.

www.RioNegro.com.ar

Feb. 04, 2009


Added: Feb. 06, 2009

Costa Rica

Menor condenado por difusión de pornografía

Mostró video porno a dos niños

Un adolescente fue condenado por difusión de pornografía, según el fallo del Juzgado Penal Juvenil de San José.

El menor no irá a prisión, pero deberá someterse a un programa de rehabilitación que ofrece Adaptación Social, del Ministerio de Justicia, para menores infractores.

La información fue confirmada ayer por la periodista María Isabel Hernández, de la oficina de prensa del Poder Judicial. No se reveló la identidad del condenado por tratarse de un menor.

El delito atribuido al adolescente fue cometido en perjuicio de dos niños de siete y nueve años.

Underage teen is convicted of distributing child pornography

Teen showed a pornographic video to two young children

Maria Isabel Hernandez, the press officer of the Judiciary in the capitol city, has announced that the Juvenile Court in San Jose has convicted a teenager for disseminating child pornography.

The minor will not go to jail but must undergo a rehabilitation program that offered by the social rehabilitation program for juvenile offenders, offered by the Ministry of Justice 

The crime involved two children, ages seven and nine.

www.Nacion.com

Costa Rica

Feb. 04, 2009


Added: Feb. 06, 2009

New York, USA

Cops on hunt for suspect in brutal rape in East Harlem laundromat

Cops are hunting for a brutal rapist who stalked an East Harlem laundermat employee into her workplace and attacked her, police sources said.

The 38-year-old victim was working alone in the laundermat and did not notice when a man followed her inside the empty store at 7:15 a.m. Tuesday, police said...

The video shows that the victim was screaming and struggling until a customer walked into the Second Ave. laundermat with a bag of clothes, scaring off the rapist. The attacker then ran from the store...

East Harlem residents were shaken up to learn of the attack.

"It makes me nervous to hear something like that," said Denise Rivera, 44. "I hope they catch the person ... it scares me to think they have a rapist running around over here."

"Nothing like that ever happens around here," said Mercedes Torres, 80. "I'm scared, very scared to hear that."

Images of the suspect - a Latino man in his 30s wearing a black jacket, blue jeans, gray hat and white, hooded sweatshirt - were captured on the video and released to the public.

Alison Gendar and Jonathan Lemire

New York Daily News

Feb. 4, 2009


Added: Feb. 06, 2009

Mexico

Barrendero acusado de pornografía infantil

La colonia Ampliación San Francisco destaca por su pobreza. El hombre tenía material en video y fotografías al lado de las menores, a las cuales también captaba drogándose. Imprimía las fotos en un laboratorio del bulevar López Mateos

Un barrendero de 62 años de edad, vecino de la colonia Ampliación San Francisco, fue detenido por agentes de la Procuraduría de Justicia del Estado acusado de pornografía infantil.

De acuerdo con indagatorias, a cada una de sus víctimas, todas ellas menores de 13 a 15 años de edad vecinas de la misma colonia, presuntamente les pagaba desde 100 pesos por tener relaciones sexuales con él, las fotografiaba en el acto y las drogaba.

“Estamos hablando de al menos diez víctimas menores de edad, él declaró que lo hacía desde hace varios años, y que como él les pagaba no creía que fuera un delito”, dijo el Subprocurador Carlos Zamarripa.

Street sweeper charged with child pornography

The neighborhood of San Francisco colony is notable for its poverty. The man had photographs and video of him with underage girls.

A 62-year-old street sweeper has been arrested by State's Attorney's agents and is being charged with crimes involving child pornography.

According to investigations, each of the victims, all of them girls between 13 to 15, was allegedly paid at least 100 pesos to have sex with the defendant. He photographed them in the act, as well as in the act of taking drugs.

"We are talking about at least ten victims who are minors. The accused stated that he had engaged in this type activity for several years, and thought that because he paid the girls, his acts were not criminal," said Deputy prosecutor Carlos Zamarripa.

Alejandro Sandoval

http://www.milenio.com

Feb. 04, 2009

 

 
     

 

    

LibertadLatina

News / Noticias

 

    


Updated: Oct. 08, 2010


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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



Últimas Noticias

Latest News



Added: Oct. 8, 2010

Mexico

Insiste México en negar justicia a víctimas de violación en Atenco

Pide a la CIDH que no admita 11 casos de 26 mujeres violadas

México, DF - El gobierno mexicano pidió a la Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos (CIDH), que no admita el caso de 11 de las 26 mujeres, que fueron víctimas de violación sexual, durante los operativos del 3 y 4 de mayo de 2006 en Texcoco y San Salvador Atenco, porque las instancias nacionales "aún lo están investigando".

Además insistió en que las peticionarias han tenido diversas vías y recursos legales para acceder a la justicia. Con esta respuesta, el Estado mexicano no reconoce los hechos ocurridos hace cuatro años y tampoco acepta su responsabilidad en ellos, dijo en conferencia de prensa, Jaqueline Sáenz, abogada del Centro de Derechos Humanos Miguel Agustín Pro Juárez (Centro Prodh), asociación que lleva estros casos ante el sistema interamericano.

Aunque en febrero de 2009, la Suprema Corte de Justicia de la Nación (SCJN), reconoció que en los operativos de 2006, se cometieron graves violaciones a derechos humanos; y pese a que el 30 de junio de este año, este mismo tribunal ordenó la liberación de 12 presos políticos que participaron en esos hechos, el Estado mexicano sigue negando la justicia para 11 mujeres violadas sexualmente...

Mexico insists upon denying justice to the victims of rape at Atenco

Mexico City - The government of Mexico has asked the Inter-American Human Rights Commission (IAHRC) to reject consideration of the case of 11 women [from among a total of 26 women victims] who were raped or otherwise sexually assaulted by police officers during a law enforcement operation carried out on May 3rd and 4th of 2006 in the adjoining cities of Texcoco and San Salvador de Atenco, in the state of Mexico. The federal government of Mexico cites the fact that it is still investigating the case [4 years after the events occurred] as the justification for requesting that the IAHRC deny the petition by the victims and their attorneys.

In addition, Mexican officials insisted that the petitioners have had access to a range of legal avenues within Mexico.

According to Jaqueline Sáenz, a lawyer with the Miguel Agustín Pro Juárez Human Rights Center (ProDH), which represents the victims, the government of Mexico has, through its response to the IAHRC, refused to acknowledge or accept any responsibility for the events that occurred four years ago in Atenco.

Mexico takes this position despite the fact that the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation (SCJN) has recognized that grave human rights violations that occurred during the 2006 police operation, and has acted to free 12 political prisoners who participated in protest activities at the event. Nonetheless, Mexico's federal government continues to deny justice for the 11 women sexual assault victims who were willing to seek justice in this case.

Following public protests resulting from a local government ban on allowing flower vendors to work on city streets, a confrontation erupted between protesters and a combined force of federal and state police. The conflict resulted in 211 protesters being detained. Some 47 of those arrested were women. Twenty six women were raped or sexually abused by police officers. Of that group, 13 filed formal complaints, and 11 victims were willing to proceed with the case that is now being considered by the IAHRC.

Sáenz stated that, after seeing that the federal investigation into victim's legal complaints was not progressing, the 11 victims of sexual torture, accompanied by lawyers from ProDH and the International Center for Justice and the Rule of Law (CEJIL), decided to petition the IAHRC on April 29, 2008.

The IAHRC forwarded the petition to the government of Mexico, and allowed for a two month response period. Mexico did not respond within the time limit, and requested an extension. They finally submitted their response on July 23, 2010.

Mexico's response to the petition, which was received by the ProDH Center on September 1, 2010, stated that the investigation into the Atenco case was still open. In addition, the response completely absolved the five policemen who were accused of abuse of authority, despite the fact that the victim's petition before the IAHRC accuses the five men of torture.

Sáenz noted that, consistent with their response to the IAHRC, Mexico denies that any human rights violations occurred at Atenco in their discussions with international organizations.

Since July of 2009, when the federal Special Prosecutor's Office for Violent Crimes Against Women and Human Trafficking (FEVIMTRA), declined to investigate the case, referring it instead to the Attorney General of Mexico State [were Texcoco and Atenco are located], no follow-up action has been taken by authorities, because the preliminary investigation file was quite large, and it is still being revised.

Mexico's response to the IAHRC petition by the victims included a list upcoming investigatory activities that the Mexico State prosecutors will carry out. The list includes a plan to solicit interviews with the victims, despite the fact that the victims have been adequately interviewed in the past. State prosecutors also plan to evaluate the case in the context of the Istanbul Protocol on Torture [to evaluate whether the case meets the Istanbul standard for torture], despite the fact that this process ahs already been completed, and the results indicate that the case does meet the Istanbul criteria for defining acts of torture.

On October 1, 2010, Sáenz declared, the ProDH Center and CEJIL submitted a document to the IAHRC in which they provide their observations in regard to Mexico's response to the Atenco case petition. They state, among other things, that although they have not exhausted all legal avenues available within Mexico, it is also true that Mexico is not conducting a serious and impartial investigation, and that therefore, the Atenco petition should be admitted before the IAHRC.

In response to this series of events, Bárbara Italia Méndez, one of the victims and a petitioner in the case, observed that the Mexican government response to the petition was a slap in the face to the victims. In addition, she said, the response shows the lack of justice involved, given that the five accused assailants were absolved of any wrongdoing.

Italia Méndez added that she will continue participating in the case, although she knows that the road will be a long one, thanks to the fact that "the responsible authorities continue to lie," and especially the governor of Mexico State, who had ordered the police crackdown on protesters, and who, after the assaults took place, declared that he would repeat his actions if he had to do it again.

For the victims of sexual torture, the most recent ray of hope has been the Inter-American Court of Human Rights decision in favor of indigenous women Valentina Rosendo Cantú and Inés Fernández Ortega, who were raped by Mexican Army soldiers [in 2002]. That decision, she said, puts the issue of sexual violence against women back on the table.

Anayeli García Martínez

CIMAC Women's news agency

Oct. 07, 2010

See also:

Added: May 16, 2009

Mexico

Mujeres de Atenco, tortura sexual e impunidad

México DF - El Estado mexicano violó sus garantías individuales. Fueron agredidas con golpes en todo el cuerpo, despojadas de su ropa, violentadas sexualmente, mordidas, pellizcadas… les cubrieron el rostro, les introdujeron dedos y objetos anal y vaginalmente, las violaron, las humillaron, las insultaron, las amenazaron de muerte y finalmente se les negó la asistencia ginecológica para que no pudieran demostrar la tortura sexual…

Women of Atenco - sexual torture and impunity

...Of the 20 accused policemen, none has been sent to prison. Only officer Doroteo Blas Marcelo, a rapist, was convicted for "libidinous acts."

His victim, Ana Maria Rodriguez Velasco, was forced to perform oral sex. She was able to recognize her torturer because when he finished, he yanked her by the hair, looked in her face, and said: “Now swallow it, bitch!”

Judge Tomás Santana Malvaez sentenced officer Blas Marcelo to pay a fine of only 1,877 Mexican pesos (US $142 dollars). The judge pardoned Blas Marcelo from paying reparations to the victim...

Full English Translation

Sanjuana Martínez

CIMAC Noticias

News for Women

Mexico City

May 12, 2009

See also:

LibertadLatina

Mexican Police Rape and Assault 47 Women at Street Protest in the city of San Salvador Atenco


Added: Oct. 7, 2010

Mexico

Teresa Ulloa, director of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women and Girls for Latin America and the Caribbean

DF, a la cabeza en lucha contra trata de personas: Teresa Ulloa

El Distrito Federal va a la cabeza en la lucha contra la trata de personas en el país, pues ha dado pasos importantes como los últimos rescates de mujeres y niñas de hoteles donde eran explotadas sexualmente, reconoció Teresa Ulloa.

La directora regional de la Coalición Contra el Tráfico de Mujeres y Niñas para América Latina y el Caribe (CATWLAC, por sus siglas en inglés) afirmó en entrevista que la ciudad de México también cuenta con un plan que integra políticas públicas en la materia.

La activista, nominada al Premio de Derechos Humanos de las Naciones Unidas 2005 y al Premio de Derechos Humanos del gobierno de Suiza, indicó que en los últimos tres años la capital del país ha mostrado un esfuerzo y se ha preocupado más por atacar la trata de personas...

Mexico City's government leads the way in Mexico's fight against human trafficking

According to Teresa Ulloa, director of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women and Girls for Latin America and the Caribbean, the local government of Mexico City has taken the initiative to become the nation's leader in taking action to combat modern human slavery. In recent months, city police and prosecutors have raided a number of hotels that were fronts for sex trafficking rings that exploited women and girls.

During an interview Ulloa said that Mexico City has also developed an integrated plan of action to address the problem of trafficking. She added that during the past three years, the city's leaders have shown that they are willing to aggressively confront traffickers. City prosecutors have committed to bringing trafficking cases to court. However, [the attitudes of] judges continue to be a major obstacle to their success.

Ulloa added that Mexico City is a major transit and distribution center for trafficked women and girls. Sex tourism exists, but is completely clandestine. Sexual services are sold in 'packages' on the Internet.
The trafficking law that was passed by the Legislative Assembly of the Federal District [Mexico City] has flaws, and is not consistent with international protocols against human trafficking, especially in the area of criminal prosecution, said Ulloa. It is seen as being of limited effectiveness because of these flaws.
Ulloa declared that both Mexico City and Mexico as a whole have yet to come to understand that human trafficking involves a multi-faceted set of crimes that express themselves in diverse ways.

Ulloa noted that human trafficking networks in Mexico are moving fast to adapt to change, and are always one step ahead of society's attempts to implement policies and actions to combat them.

The Mexico City government has made tremendous efforts to fight trafficking, said Ulloa, but they have been hampered in their efforts at prosecution by inadequate laws. Nonetheless, city prosecutors has won four convictions against trafficking defendants, while the federal government has achieved only one conviction at the national level.

Mexico City's trafficking law "is not very good, it requires modification, but in general it has allowed authorities to rescue women and girls, and it is being enforced by officials who are motivated to combat trafficking" said Ulloa.

Ulloa stated that, at the federal level, a need exists to establish effective, integrated strategies in regard to prevention, victim assistance and the prosecution of traffickers. She warned that Mexico is just one step away from becoming a child sex trafficking center at the level of Thailand.

Ulloa concluded by observing that sex trafficking in Mexico has now displaced narcotrafficking in profitability for criminal organizations, and is fighting for first place with illicit arms trafficking. At the same time, she emphasized, poverty and impunity have become the best allies of traffickers in women and girls.

Cronica

Oct. 03, 2010


Added: Oct. 7, 2010

Mexico

Mexico City Attorney General Miguel Ángel Mancera

Detalla PGJDF acciones para combatir la trata de personas

El procurador general de justicia capitalino, Miguel Ángel Mancera, detalló frente a sus homólogos de la zona Centro del país las acciones emprendidas en la Ciudad de México contra el delito de trata de personas.

Durante la Segunda Sesión 2010 de la Conferencia de Procuradores Generales de Justicia de la Zona Centro, Mancera Espinosa señaló que el Gobierno del Distrito Federal ha impulsado una serie de acciones de prevención y persecución para erradicar este delito.

En una sesión de trabajo de esta reunión celebrada el pasado viernes en la ciudad de Puebla, el abogado de la ciudad reconoció que pese a los esfuerzos para erradicar ese acto ilícito, el crimen organizado usa otros medios delincuenciales para eludir la acción de la justicia.

Para contrarrestar las artimañas de los delincuentes, el gobierno capitalino tiene como prioridad establecer políticas públicas en la materia que permitan desactivar y desalentar las conductas delictivas de los individuos...

Mexico City prosecutors details actions to fight human trafficking

During a recent presentation before fellow local prosecutors at the Second Conference of Attorney Generals of the Central Zone of Mexico, Mexico City Attorney General Miguel Ángel Mancera presented his city's actions to fight human trafficking.

Mancera detailed to his colleagues how Mexico City has initiated a series of efforts to address prevention and prosecution of trafficking crimes. He admitted that going after trafficking networks was difficult work, given that organized crime changes its modus operandi to evade detention and prosecution.

To counteract the evasive actions of traffickers, Mexico City considers its number one priority to be the implementation of public policies that will allow prosecutors to disable and discourage the criminal behavior of individuals.

Mancera noted that, among the actions taken by Mexico City was the implementation in October of 2008 of the Law to Prevent and Eradicate Human Trafficking, Sexual Abuse and the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children.

Mancera added that the city created a specialized agency to address human trafficking crimes, and developed both a telephone hotline and a web page to assist in crime prevention and the reporting of cases by the public.

Currently, the Mexico City Attorney General's Office is in the process of formalizing a relationship with the Special Prosecutors Office for Crimes of Violence Against Women and Children, which is a division of the federal Attorney General of the Republic...

The conference was attended by the attorney generals of Hidalgo, Morelos, Tlaxcala, Puebla states, as well as by officials from Baja California, Sur, Baja California, Guerrero and Oaxaca.

Cronica

Oct. 03, 2010


Added: Oct. 7, 2010

North Carolina, USA

Human trafficking alleged in Durham

Durham - A grand jury has indicted Ivan Cervantes Damian on charges he held a 15-year-old girl captive for more than 18 months and forced her to have sex.

Damian, 30, faces charges of first-degree statutory sex offense, human trafficking and forcing a child into sexual servitude.

Authorities accuse Damian of having sex with the teenage girl between December 2008 and August 2009. They also accuse him of holding the victim in servitude from December 2008 to July 2010.

"He alienated her from society," said Durham Police Cpl. Marty Walkowe.

Walkowe said the relationship began as a voluntary one while the couple was still living in Mexico. When they immigrated a couple of years ago, Walkowe said, Damian violated North Carolina's human trafficking law by bringing a minor from another nation into the state.

"Even though his girlfriend left voluntarily, because she was a minor, it's human trafficking," Walkowe said. "It sounds like a big organized thing, but it was actually just her voluntarily coming from Mexico with him to here."

Walkowe said the victim reported Damian to police after their relationship soured and she wanted to leave.

Damian is being held at the Durham County Detention Center on $250,000 bail. The federal Immigration and Customs

Jesse James Deconto

News Observer

Oct. 06, 2010


Added: Oct. 6, 2010

California, USA

Gregorio Gonzalez

Alert Driver Saves Kidnapped Girl

Fresno - An 8-year-old girl who was abducted by a stranger while playing outside a Fresno home escaped from her captor Tuesday morning after a driver recognized the suspect's vehicle and cut it off, police said.

The child was found in Fresno about 11 hours after she disappeared around 8:30 p.m. Monday, triggering a statewide Amber Alert. Police arrested Gregorio Gonzalez, 24, who they said was a member of the Bulldogs street gang.

Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer said the driver recognized the red pickup truck from media reports that showed surveillance video of the kidnapper's vehicle.

When the driver saw a girl's head in the window, he cut the truck off and forced it to stop, Dyer said. The suspect pushed the girl out of the car, and she ran to safety, he said.

The girl was taken to a hospital in good condition, but Dyer later confirmed she had been sexually assaulted. The police chief described her as "frightened, traumatized." ...

"I was at the same time happy and grateful that my daughter had been brought home," the girl's mother told a news conference. "During the night, the hours seemed very long."

Police said quick action by Fresno resident Victor Perez helped the girl escape...

The Associated Press

Olivia Mu

Oct. 05, 2010


Added: Oct. 6, 2010

Guatemala, Mexico

Another Wall Blocks Route to U.S.

Guatemala City - Travelling without documents to the United States from Latin America can turn into an odyssey, in which migrants have to elude common criminals and drug traffickers along the way, not to mention the laws on migration. But now another obstacle is emerging: a wall between Guatemala and Mexico.

According to the head of customs for Mexico's tax administration, Raúl Díaz, in order to stop boats carrying contraband, the southern Mexican state of Chiapas is building a wall along the border river Suchiate, similar to the one the United States is building along its southern border with Mexico.

"It could also prevent the free passage of illegal immigrants," admitted the Mexican official.

Smugglers use the Suchiate River to move products across an international border without paying duty taxes, but at the same time, thousands of Central and South Americans cross the river in their attempts to reach the United States in search of opportunity -- and without the required documents.

Some 500,000 migrants cross Mexican territory without permission each year, according to Mexico's National Commission on Human Rights (CNDH).

The intention to build a border wall has triggered a wave of opposition from civil society and government organizations, with charges that it is a "senseless" measure that will not succeed in preventing undocumented migrants from crossing the border on their way north...

The cruelty to which undocumented migrants are often subjected was laid bare Aug. 23, when 72 people coming from Guatemala, as well as El Salvador, Honduras, Ecuador and Brazil, were brutally murdered in San Fernando, a town in the eastern Mexican state of Tamaulipas. They were presumably killed by the Los Zetas drug cartel, which is also involved in kidnapping and exploiting migrants.

In addition, a total of 9,758 kidnappings of migrants were reported in Mexico from September 2008 to February 2009, according to the CNDH.

Putting up a wall on the Guatemala-Mexico border "is going to make the migrants' situation worse, because to meet their needs they are always going to find blind points where there are no migration or security controls, which implies greater risks," said Maldonado...

Danilo Valladares

Inter Press Service (IPS)

Sep. 15 , 2010


Added: Oct. 5, 2010

California, USA

Police search for man in California girl's abduction

Authorities early Tuesday were searching for a man they said snatched an 8-year-old girl from a central California neighborhood and took off with her in his pickup.

Police said the mother was close by and got into a car and frantically tried to chase down the truck but was not able to catch up with the man...

[The girl] was last seen wearing bluejeans and a purple sweater with "Winnie the Pooh" on the front, Fresno police said.

Police said the suspect, described as a 6-foot-tall, thin man with slicked-back hair, drove to the Fresno neighborhood in an older reddish-brown Ford truck. The man drove up to six children about 8:30 p.m. Monday.

The man spoke in Spanish and told the children that he would take them to the Dollar Store and buy them toys if they got into his car, CNN affiliate KFSN-TV in Fresno reported.

The man then pulled the victim into his car and sped away, authorities said.

Police told the TV station they had received reports earlier of a man with a similar description and vehicle exposing himself to young girls blocks away from where the abduction happened.

Fresno police said 100 officers were searching for the girl and the suspect, KFSN reported.

Scott Thompson

CNN

Oct. 05, 2010


Added: Oct. 5, 2010

Mexico

Inés Fernández and Valentina Rosendo

Comunicado: Las sentencias de la CoIDH permitirán a Inés y Valentina acceder a la justicia negada en México.

Press Release: Inter-American Court of Human RIghts Decision Allows Inés and Valentina Access to Justice in Mexico

• Valentina Rosendo Cantú narró lo que el fallo del Tribunal significa para ella, su familia y su comunidad.

• Cejil y Tlachinollan explicaron los alcances y el impacto de estas sentencias; Emilio Álvarez Icaza abundó en la relevancia que tienen para el momento actual.

• Valentina y sus representantes reiteran su exigencia de seguridad para Inés y Valentina

México, D.F., a 4 de octubre de 2010.- Valentina Rosendo Cantú y sus representantes -las organizaciones civiles CEJIL y Tlachinollan- detallaron en conferencia de prensa los contenidos y alcances de las sentencias de los casos de las indígenas me´phaa Inés Fernández Ortega y Valentina Rosendo Cantú que fueron notificadas por la Corte Interamericana de Derechos Humanos (CoIDH) el pasado viernes 1 de octubre. Esta mañana, en la conferencia, estuvo presente también el ex ombudsman capitalino, Emilio Álvarez Icaza y el abogado Mario Patrón.

Valentina Rosendo Cantú explicó su sentir en este momento en que después de más de ocho años de búsqueda de justicia, vividos en condiciones de adversidad y de riesgo, finalmente la CoIDH le ha dado la razón, estableciendo como un hecho incontrovertible que fue violada sexualmente y torturada por soldados mexicanos. “Por fin se reconoció que siempre dijimos la verdad”, dijo la mujer Me’phaa. Rosendo Cantú también externó algunas de sus más sentidas preocupaciones, compartidas tanto por ella como por Inés Fernández Ortega, y señaló: “Ya que por fin se demostró que siempre dijimos la verdad porque no sabemos mentir, para nosotras y nuestras familias lo más importante ahorita es que nos dejen vivir en paz, con tranquilidad”...

Valentina Rosendo Cantú and her representatives - the organizations CEJIL and the Tlachinollan Human Rights Center, explained during a press conference the details of the October 1, 2010 decision by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR) in the cases of Rosendo Cantu and Inés Fernández Ortega. Emilio Álvarez Icaza, former director of the Human Rights Commission for Mexico City, and lawyer Mario Patrón were present at the event.

Valentina Rosendo Cantú said that, after 8 years of seeking justice in her case [in which Mexican soldiers raped her], years that involved adversity and risks [due to repeated death threats and acts of retaliation against the victims and their families], the IACHR has finally vindicated us.

Justice for Inés and Valentina

Oct. 04, 2010

See also:

Added: Oct. 5, 2010

Mexico

Abel Barrera, director of the Tlachinollan Center (left) joins  Alejandra Nuño, Central American director for CEJIL; Valentina Rosendo Cantú, and Emilio Álvarez Icaza, former president of theMexico City Human Rights Commission - at press conference. The banner says: "Break Through the Walls of Impunity."

Human Rights Court: Mexico responsible for rapes

Mexico City - The Inter-American Court of Human Rights condemned Mexico on Monday for failing to protect the rights of two indigenous women who were raped by soldiers in 2002.

In two separate rulings, the Costa Rica-based court said Mexico failed to guarantee the rights to personal integrity, dignity and legal protection of Valentina Rosendo and Ines Fernandez, both of southern Guerrero state.

Mexico must publicly acknowledge its responsibility and called for a civilian investigation into the crimes, rather than the military one, which resulted in no charges, according to the ruling. The government also must compensate both women and publish the court rulings in Spanish and the women's indigenous language, Me'phaa.

The government said will follow the rulings, the Interior Department said in a statement.

"The government of Mexico reiterates its full commitment to the promotion and protection of human rights, in particular to combat violence against women and girls," the statement said.

It was the fourth condemnation of Mexico from the court, which previously issued rulings against the government for the unsolved killings of women in the border city of Cuidad Juarez in the 1990s and for the country's "dirty war" in the 1970s.

Rosendo called on the government to publicly recognize that it wrongly accused her of lying about being assaulted.

"If the government has a little bit of dignity, it should accept they were mistaken so I can go on with my life," she said tearfully at a news conference. "They didn't want to hear me in my own country."

Rosendo, then 17, was washing clothes in a river in February of 2002 when eight soldiers came up and asked her about the whereabouts of a masked suspect. When she said she didn't know anything, she was beaten and raped.

A month later, in another indigenous community in Guerrero, at least 11 soldiers approached Fernandez in her house and asked for her husband. She didn't respond because she didn't speak Spanish, and the soldiers raped her.

No one was punished in either case.

E. Eduardo Castillo

The Associated Press

Oct. 04, 2010

See also:

Added: Oct. 5, 2010

Mexico

Valentina Rosendo Cantú at the Inter-American Court session where she presented of her case on May 28, 2010

Mexico Ordered to Pay Damages to Women Raped by Soldiers

San Jose - The Inter-American Court of Human Rights ordered the Mexican government to pay damages to two indigenous women raped by soldiers in 2002.

The Costa Rica-based court, a body of the Organization of American States, on Monday published on its Web page rulings against Mexico for the rapes of the Indian women Me’phaa Valentina Rosendo Cantu and Ines Fernandez Ortega, as well as for the lack of investigation by the authorities in both cases.

The court’s rulings are binding on OAS members.

Mexico was found to have violated the rights and personal integrity, dignity and autonomy of the two indigenous women, who lived in the municipality of Ayutla de Los Libres, in the southern state of Guerrero.

In both cases, the Court ordered Mexico to guarantee that the investigations would be conducted “with the knowledge of the civil jurisdiction” and “under no circumstances under military jurisdiction,” and that those found to be responsible would be punished.

In the case of Rosendo Cantu, the Court set at a total of $100,500 the indemnity to which she would be entitled for material damages, immaterial damages and trial costs, while the figure established was $128,000 in the case of Fernandez Ortega.

The Court also ordered Mexico “to modernize its legislation” so that human rights violations will not fall under military jurisdiction and so that “people affected by the intervention of military jurisdiction may have effective recourse to challenge it.”

The state also must take public action to acknowledge its international responsibility, authorize study scholarships for the victims and their children, and ensure that services to care for female victims of sexual violence “are provided by the designated institutions,” among other things...

EFE

Oct. 04, 2010

See also:

Added: Oct. 5, 2010

Mexico

Mexico Ordered To Pay Damages To Two Indigenous Women Raped By Soldiers

In two separate rulings, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights condemned the Mexican government and ordered it to pay damages to two indigenous women who were raped in 2002 by soldiers.

The court said that Mexico failed to guarantee the rights to personal integrity, dignity and legal protection of Ines Fernandez and Valentina Rosendo, both from the southern Mexican state of Guerrero.

Mexico, which has to publicly acknowledge its responsibility, must also compensate both women and publish the court rulings in Spanish and the women’s indigenous language, Me’phaa. The Mexican government promised to fulfill the demands of the court ruling.

“The government of Mexico reiterates its full commitment to the promotion and protection of human rights, in particular to combat violence against women and girls,” according to a statement released by Mexico’s Interior Department, the Associated Press reports...

Latin America News Dispatch

Oct. 05, 2010

See also:


Added: Dec. 4, 2010

Mexico / The United States

Indigenous human rights activist Abel Barrera Hernandez, the founder and director of the Tlachinollan Human Rights Centre

Mexican Activist Wins Prestigious Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award

Washington, DC / Mexico City - An anthropologist and human rights defender who has worked for years with the indigenous people in one of Mexico's poorest and most marginalized regions has been awarded one of the world's most important human rights prizes.

Abel Barrera Hernandez, the founder and director of the Tlachinollan Human Rights Centre of the Montana in the state of Guerrero, will receive this year's Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award in recognition of his efforts to end abuses committed by the military and police against the local population, the RFK Center for Justice and Human Rights announced here Thursday.

"Our friends at the Tlachinollah Centre represent true courage in their struggle to expose and confront ongoing human rights abuses," said Claudio Grossman, the dean of the Washington College of Law at American University and a member of the five-person jury that decided on this year's winner.

"By standing with the most vulnerable communities, Abel Barrera Hernandez and his colleagues are at great personal risk, and we are proud to recognize their work with this prestigious award," added Grossman, who also served as a member of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) from 1993 to 2001.

The prize, which will be presented here in November, was praised by a number of rights activists who noted that the RFK Center has a well-established reputation for maintaining material and political support for its awardees for many years after the honor is received.

"I think that this prize comes at an especially important moment because of the tremendous increase in human rights violations in the context of the drug war," said Laura Carlsen, the Mexico-based director of the Americas Program of the Center for International Policy.

"Last year, human rights groups reported a six-fold rise in complaints against the army, and the indigenous populations are suffering the most. They require the most vigilance from civil society," she added.

"The centre works in a very difficult and dangerous situation at the heart of one of the most marginalized communities in the country," said Maureen Meyer, a Mexico specialist at the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA), which gave the centre its annual human rights award last year...

In 2002, the centre brought the case of Inés Fernández and Valentina Rosendo, two indigenous women allegedly raped by soldiers in Guerrero in 2002, to the IACHR, which referred it to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, which is set to hand down a sentence.

In 2005, it defended the right to education for people of two towns that had been abandoned by their overworked teaching staff for an entire year. After filing complaints with the Department of Education, lobbying state representatives, and gaining the attention of national and international media, the Centre succeeded in obtaining 14 state-appointed teachers and four additional classrooms.

In the same year, it launched a successful campaign to formally criminalize forced disappearances in Guerrero while carrying out numerous investigations that exposed military abuses, including torture, disappearance, rape of indigenous women, arbitrary detentions and interrogations, intimidation, and dispossession of lands.

It has also taken up the cases of two human rights defenders from the Organization of the Future of the Mixtec People who had been arrested and later found dead with signs of torture in February 2009. Those cases resulted in a new round of threats to centre staff which, in turn, spurred the IACHR to issue new protective orders.

The IACHR has issued more than 100 orders to protect human rights defenders in Guerrero.

The award "represents a shield, from an organization with great prestige, for a region that is terribly vulnerable and unprotected, and where human rights are a dead letter," Barrera told IPS. "It brings visibility to what the authorities wish would remain invisible. They don't want to see the tragedy, the poverty, the hunger."

"May justice flourish in the mountain, where it has been suffocated by impunity, by corruption, by endemic violence, and by the age-old neglect of the local peoples," he said...

Barrera: "We see the war on drugs in our state as a war against the poor; there is cruelty against the indigenous peoples that have been driven to plant poppies in ravines as a last measure to ensure their survival," he said.

Jim Lobe and Emilio Godoy

Inter Press Service (IPS)

Sep. 23, 2010

See also:

Added: Dec. 4, 2010

Mexico / The United States

Abel Barrera Hernandez speaks about his role in founding the Tlachinollan Human Rights Centre of the Montana in the state of Guerrero.

(In Spanish with English subtitles)

On YouTube,com

Sep. 23, 2010

See also:

Added: Dec. 4, 2010

Mexico / The United States

Mexico has failed to prosecute violations, reduce torture

The US government significantly strengthened its partnership with Mexico in combating organized crime in 2007 when it announced the Merida Initiative, a multi-year US security assistance package for Mexico. To date, the US government has allocated roughly $1.5 billion in Merida funding to Mexico. From the outset, the US Congress recognized the importance of ensuring that the Mexican government respect human rights in its public security efforts, mandating by law that 15 percent of select Merida funds be withheld until the State Department issued a report to the US Congress which showed that Mexico had demonstrated it was meeting four human rights requirements.

On September 2, 2010, the State Department issued its second report to Congress concluding that Mexico is meeting the Merida Initiative's human rights requirements, and it stated its intention to obligate roughly $36 million in security assistance that had been withheld from the 2009 supplemental and the 2010 omnibus budgets.

However, research conducted by our respective organizations, Mexico's National Human Rights Commission, and even the State Department's own reports, demonstrates conclusively that Mexico has failed to meet the four human rights requirements set out by law. As a result, Congress should not release these select Merida funds. Releasing these funds would send the message that the United States condones the grave human rights violations committed in Mexico, including torture, rape, killings, and enforced disappearances.

We recognize that Mexico is facing a severe public security crisis, and that the United States can play a constructive role in strengthening Mexico's ability to confront organized crime in an effective manner. However, human rights violations committed by Mexican security forces are not only deplorable in their own right, but also significantly undermine the effectiveness of Mexico's public security efforts...

Human Rights Watch

Sep. 14, 2010

See also:

Added: Dec. 4, 2010

Mexico

Time to Speak up on Military Abuse in Mexico

José Miguel Vivanco, Director - Americas Division - HRW

Human Rights Watch

May 17, 2010


Added: Dec. 4, 2010

Alabama, USA

North Alabama man convicted in sex trafficking of an underage girl

A 31-year-old Florence man was convicted today of sex trafficking involving an underage girl.

Manuel Enrique Zelaya-Rodriguez was also convicted in the trial in Huntsville of coercing a minor to engage in prostitution, harboring an illegal alien, and failing to file a report with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement about an illegal alien in his employment.

Zelaya--Rodriguez will be sentenced by U.S. District Judge C. Lynwood Smith in a Jan. 19 hearing in Huntsville. He could face a sentence of up to life in prison.

The case against Zelaya-Rodriguez began Sept. 8, 2009 when he was driving a car that was stopped by Florence police at a trailer park, according to court documents. An officer was responding to complaints about prostitution when he stopped the car.

Inside the car was a 15-year-old girl who told police that Zelaya-Rodriguez was prostituting her, according to court documents. Condoms and business cards were found inside the car.

The unidentified girl was born in Veracruz, Mexico, in September 1993, according to a trial memorandum from prosecutors. The girl became pregnant when she was 13 years old and later crossed the border into the U.S. "so that she could work and send money back to her mother to care for the victim's baby," according to the document.

The girl started work in Atlanta as a prostitute, but fled there after pimps became violent with her, according to the court document. The girl got the name of Zelaya-Rodriguez from another prostitute, according to the court document filed before the trial.

"The victim had been with the defendant for approximately two weeks, and during that time the victim had engaged in commercial sex acts with approximately forty and fifty men," according to the trial memorandum.

"We have shut down this particular trafficker and, hopefully, given pause to others who would commit the same morally reprehensible crime," U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance said in a press statement after the jury returned its verdict Wednesday.

"Human trafficking for purposes of sexual exploitation and forced labor is a growing problem in North Alabama and across the country and is a grave concern of the Department of Justice," she said. "We want a zero-tolerance policy on this crime."

Florence police, the FBI, and ICE investigated the case.

"The FBI is committed to working with ICE and our other law enforcement partners to combat human trafficking, which is modern day slavery, and bring to justice those who would deny individuals of their fundamental right to freedom," Patrick Maley, special agent in charge of the FBI's Birmingham office, said in the prepared statement.

Al.com

Sep. 22, 2010


Added: Dec. 4, 2010

California, USA

Man arrested in sex case involving Encinitas teen

Girl had made up story she was gang-raped; authorities say she had sex with 20-year-old she met on Internet

Encinitas - Sheriff’s detectives have arrested a 20-year-old Vista man who they say had sex with a 15-year-old Encinitas girl, authorities said Wednesday.

The teen initially told authorities she was raped by three men rather than admit to her mother she had gone off with a man she met on the Internet.

Jose Adrian Cano was arrested Tuesday night and booked on suspicion of unlawful intercourse with a minor, lewd acts with a 15-year-old, and contacting a minor online with intent to commit a sex crime.

Investigators say they have evidence of three more under-age victims and want any others to come forward to report contact with Cano.

He is being held in the Vista jail without bail because federal immigration authorities have put a hold on him. Lauren Mack, Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokeswoman, said Cano is listed in the agency’s records as Cano-Cid and is suspected of being in the United States illegally.

Mack said Cano was arrested earlier this year by a police agency in San Diego County and federal officials returned him to Mexico without a deportation hearing.

Pauline Repard

The San Diego Union-Tribune

Sep. 29, 2010

 


Added: Dec. 4, 2010

California, USA

Man Tries to Kidnap Teen Girl Walking to School

San Jacinto - Police in Riverside County are searching for a man who tried to kidnap a 15-year-old girl as she was walking to school.

The attempted kidnapping happened just after 6 a.m. Thursday on Lyon Avenue, south of Merlot Place, in San Jacinto.

Police say the suspect approached the girl from behind and grabbed her arm, but she was able to fight him off.

A passing driver saw the struggle and called 911, and the suspect ran from the area.

The suspect is described as a Hispanic man, about 19- or 20-years-old, and 5'9" tall. He has a thin build, short "spiked" brown hair and brown eyes. The man was last seen wearing blue jeans and a white t-shirt.

Anyone with information about the suspect is asked to call San Jacinto Police at 951-487-7368.

KTLA News

Oct. 1, 2010


Added: Oct. 1, 2010

Mexico

Outgoing director of Mexico's National Institute for Migration Cecilia Romero

Cecilia Romero sale de Migración

La funcionaria fue notificada que sería removida, por lo que elaboró una carta de despedida para sus colaboradores; en el último mes su posición en el cargo se vio debilitada por la masacre de 72 migrantes en Tamaulipas

El gobierno federal confirmó que Cecilia Romero dejó a partir de hoy el cargo como comisionada del Instituto Nacional de Migración (INM) luego de la matanza de 72 migrantes de distintas nacionalidades en el estado de Tamaulipas.

De acuerdo con fuentes gubernamentales, Romero fue notificada este lunes que sería removida de esa posición, por lo que la funcionaria elaboró una carta de despedida que circuló de manera interna en el INM por el sistema de intranet.

En el texto, Romero agradeció el "trabajo, saludo, apoyo y sonrisa" de sus colaboradores, con quienes se reunió por la mañana para revisar temas pendientes de la agenda migratoria y los exhortó a seguir adelante porque dicha labor no es una moda y parte de una época, sino de una institución, las cuales perduran por encima de las personas.

En agosto pasado un inmigrante de origen ecuatoriano acudió a una caseta naval para denunciar la ejecución de personas en un rancho ubicado en el estado de Tamaulipas, hecho que permitió conocer la noticia de 72 víctimas que habrían caído abatidas presuntamente a manos de los Zetas.

Funcionarios federales definirán en las próximas horas la vía institucional para dar a conocer el cambio de Romero, el cual puede formalizarse en Los Pinos o la Secretaría de Gobernación (Segob).

José Gerardo Mejía

El Universal

Sep. 14, 2010

See also:

Added: Oct. 1, 2010

Mexico

Migration-Mexico: Crisis Sparked by Massacre Spurs Demands for In-depth Changes

Organizations working for the rights of undocumented immigrants are using the crisis triggered by the massacre of 72 migrants a few weeks ago near the U.S. border to press for in-depth changes in Mexico.

'The migration authorities do not have a human rights perspective, and their position is inconsistent with the reality of migration in this country,' Diana Martínez, assistant coordinator of advocacy at Sin Fronteras, a non-governmental organization (NGO) that promotes the rights of migrants and provides them with legal advice, told IPS.

The killing of the undocumented migrants from several Latin American countries, whose bound, blindfolded bodies were found Aug. 24 on a remote ranch in San Fernando, in the northeastern Mexican state of Tamaulipas, unleashed the worst ever migration-related crisis in this country.

The mass murder, which was survived by at least one man from Ecuador, one from Honduras and one from El Salvador, brought down National Migration Institute (INM) Commissioner Cecilia Romero, who resigned Tuesday Sept. 14.

Romero, a former senator for the governing National Action Party (PAN), had ridden out earlier rumors that she would leave the top job at the INM, which she held since December 2006. But the heat and pressure generated by the shocking event made her position untenable...

An estimated 500,000 Latin Americans a year cross Mexico heading for the United States, according to experts and NGOs. Along the way they face arbitrary arrest, extortion, robbery, rape and kidnapping, especially at the hands of Los Zetas, a criminal organization that dominates the kidnapping of undocumented migrants racket.

'The Mexican state must design a truly comprehensive state policy on migration that is not limited to managing migratory flows, but is centrally focused on the human rights of migrants,' said Martínez of Sin Fronteras...

Migrant protection organizations have urged the Mexican state to issue an official invitation to Felipe González, rapporteur on the rights of migrant workers and their families for the Washington-based Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), part of the Organisation of American States (OAS) human rights system.

In his March 2009 report, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, Jorge Bustamante, recommended legislative reforms to combat the impunity surrounding human rights abuses in this country...

Emilio Godoy

Inter Press Service

Sep. 16, 2010

See also:

Added: Oct. 1, 2010

Mexico

Mexican immigration official quits after massacre

Mexico - Mexico's top immigration official resigned Monday in the wake of a massacre of 72 migrants that exposed how brutally drug cartels have come to control human smuggling routes in the country.

Cecilia Romero stepped down as head of the National Institute of Migration, a post she had held since the beginning of President Felipe Calderon's term in December 2006, the Interior Department said in a statement.

The statement gave no reason for her resignation, only praising Romero's efforts to modernize the Mexico's immigration system and improve the treatment of migrants. It did not name her replacement.

A government official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly about the issue, said the government was looking for someone with more experience in security to head the institute.

The official said the massacre three weeks ago highlighted how intertwined drug trafficking and illegal immigration have become in Mexico.

"She's revamped the institute and made it a more human and respectful place," the official said. "Given that organized crime has gotten into the business, we need a different type of head with a different type of background."

The bodies of the 72 Central and South American migrants were found Aug. 24 at a ranch about 100 miles (80 kilometers) south of Brownsville, Texas...

Drug cartels have long controlled migration corridors in Mexico, demanding that migrants pay for passage through their territory. Now, Mexican authorities say drug cartels are increasingly trying to recruit vulnerable migrants to smuggle drugs.

Romero, a former congresswoman who steadily rose up in Calderon's National Action Party, revamped migrant holding centers across the country and ensured that immigration agents were trained in human rights, the Interior Department said in its statement.

...The government has come under intense criticism for continuing abuses against migrants, who are constantly kidnapped and assaulted as they pass through Mexico — often with the collusion of corrupt police or immigration agents.

Hours before Romero's resignation was announced, Mexico's Congress summoned her to a hearing to explain what the government was doing to protect migrants.

Opposition legislators warned Mexico was losing its moral right to demand better treatment for immigrants in the United States.

The massacre "is the tip of the iceberg that revealed the neglect of Mexican authorities, who are incapable of meeting its responsibilities in human rights," said Sen. Ricardo Monreal Avila of the Workers' Party.

Alexandra Olson

The Associated Press

Sep. 14, 2010

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Added: Oct. 1, 2010

Mexico

Romero leaves the INM

Mexico City – For reasons unknown, Cecilia Romero, commissioner of the National Migration Institute (INM), announced on Tuesday that she is leaving her job.

“Today is my last day as commissioner of the INM. I thank each and every one of you for your work, effort and participation during the transformation of the INM,” Romero said to INM members during her farewell message. She did not say whether she quit or was fired and did not give any reasons for leaving her position.

Her departure is taking place three weeks after the Navy found the bodies of 72 illegal immigrants in the state of Tamaulipas in northeastern Mexico. Romero recently said it was “natural” that there were several rumors of her leaving after the tragedy in Tamaulipas. “I think it is only natural that there are rumors like this when there is a crisis as big as this one, of national security and of organized crime,” she said...

The News

Sep. 15, 2010

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Added: Oct. 1, 2010

Mexico

Evalúa Segob trabajo de Romero en Migración

Mexico's Interior Department to investigate the work of National Institute for Migration director Cecilia Romero

La lupa está sobre migración despues de la masacre de 72 migrantes en Tamaulipas

El secretario de Gobernación, José Francisco Blake Mora, reveló que al interior de su dependencia están evaluando el trabajo de la titular de migración, Cecilia Romero.

Ante las versiones de que habría renunciado el encargado de la política interior del país, dijo que sólo están revisando como en todas las acciones del gobierno su actuación y en su momento vendrán definiciones

Entrevistado al participar en el IV Informe de Gobierno de Felipe Calderón, Blake Mora, dijo que se enfocará en la evaluación al trabajo de Cecilia Romero después de la masacre de 72 migrantes en Tamaulipas, hace unos días.

¿Se queda la titular de migración en su cargo?, se le preguntó

- Estamos revisando, estamos evaluando como en todas las acciones del gobierno que tienen que ser evaluadas, ya en su oportunidad tomaremos definiciones.

¿Para cuándo las conclusiones?

-Voy a trabajar y cuando las tenga seguramente se las informo.

El Universal

Sep. 02, 2010

See also:

Added: June 28, 2009

Mexico

Cecilia Romero, head of Mexico's national immigration service, says that sex tourism and pedophile networks are "inevitable."

"El turismo sexual es inevitable" - Cecilia Romero del Instituto Nacional de Migración de México

Photo: El Universal

LibertadLatina Commentary

President Calderón, the Human Rights Crisis at Mexico's Southern Border is Unacceptable

Our current series of articles covering the human rights emergency facing women and girl migrants at Mexico's southern border responds directly to the recent comments of Cecilia Romero, head of Mexico's national immigration service (the National Institute for Migration - INM).

Director Romero stated in a press interview with El Universal, a major Mexico City daily paper, that human trafficking is "inevitable", and that, "the existence of the smuggling of migrants, human trafficking, pedophile networks, and the kidnappings and the violence that affect thousands of migrants are only "evils of mankind" that Mexico cannot eradicate.

We strongly disagree with Director Romero and others in the leadership of Mexico's National Action Party, who habitually dismiss critical women's rights issues, including the femicide murders in Ciudad Juarez, as being the inevitable, and 'normal' results of male human behavior.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

The citizens of Mexico, Mexico's Congress and the international community need to hold the government of President Felipe Calderón accountable for the fact that he is allowing a steady stream of  unending mass gender atrocities to occur on Mexico's southern border with Guatemala and Belize.

In that hell-on-earth, an estimated 450 to 600 migrant women and girls are sexually assaulted each day, according to the International Organization for Migration. Police response is almost non-existent. At times police officers are complicit in this criminal violence.

Mexico's southern border is also the largest zone on earth for the commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC), according to Save the Children.

As Father Luis Nieto states in an article about Salvadoran mothers who must come to Mexico's border to grieve for their raped and murdered daughters, "We cannot keep quiet, we cannot be complicit in this."

We strongly agree with that sentiment. Silence is also violence.

The federal government of Mexico is not ignorant in regard to this ongoing human catastrophe. The United Nations, the International Organization for Migration, Save the Children, elements of the Catholic Church, the National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) and many members of Congress have, for the past several years, demanded action to end these atrocities.

Although INM director Cecilia Romero promised in February of 2007 that she would "entirely eliminate this terrible situation," no visible action has been taken to do so as of June of 2009, 16 months after she made that promise.

With the current economic slowdown and the expansion of global criminal sex trafficking operations, the rapes, kidnappings and brutal sexual enslavement of innocent migrants on that border is increasing with no end in sight.

As the United States Congress prepares to send over $400 million dollars in largely military aid to Mexico as part of the Merida Initiative to combat the drug cartels, we insist that human rights conditions be placed on those and other U.S. foreign aid funds that are headed to Mexico.

Mexico must close down the mass rape,  kidnapping, murder and child sex trafficking gauntlet that exists with total impunity on its southern border.

We also want to see the estimated 4,000 mostly Mayan indigenous children who were kidnapped by the Yakuza mafias from this region and sold to brothels in Tokyo, and also the uncounted thousands of other indigenous child victims who have been sold to brothels in New York and Madrid rescued, repatriated and then truly cared for.

Do you need money, President Calderón, to get these things done? Or is a misogynist, 'socially conservative' ideology that is resurgent in Mexico, and that has as its strongest voice the PAN political party, the real problem here?

¡Esta barbarie no será perdonado por Dios!

This barbarity will not be pardoned by God!

If Mexico does not have control over this part of its own territory, or if, as actually appears to  be the case, the PAN's socially conservative agenda won't allow it to defend innocent and vulnerable women and children in crisis, consistent with their apathetic reaction to the femicide murders in Ciudad Juarez, then perhaps an international force organized by the Organization of American States, or by the United Nations needs to step up to the plate, offer to help Mexico, and take control of the situation.

This crisis in Mexico is the best example in the Americas of why a new Global Plan of Action, as proposed by Ecuadorian Minister of Justice and Human Rights (Attorney General) Néstor Arbito Chica and diplomats gathered at the United Nations on May 13, 2009, is needed to get around this impasse.

Somehow, the fact that the government of Mexico is a signatory to the Palermo Protocol, and the fact that Mexico passed its 2009 U.S. Department of State Trafficking in Persons Report evaluation with a relatively positive Level 2 Rating (as we also acknowledge State's strong critique of corruption in Mexico), misses the point.

New and out-of-the box strategies are needed to oblige Mexico to fulfill its international obligations to end this ongoing mass gender atrocity once and for all.

It is not an impossible task.

The status quo today is... unacceptable!

End impunity now!

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

June 28, 2009

Updated Oct. 2, 2010

See also:

Mexico

The city of Tapachula, located in Chiapas state near Mexico's border with Guatemala, is one of the largest and most lawless child sex trafficking markets in all of Latin America.

Our news section on Tapachula tracks  events related to this hell-on-earth, where over half of the estimated 21,000 sex slaves and other sex workers are underage, and where especially migrant women and girls  from Central and South America, who seek to migrate to the United States, have their freedom taken from them, to become a money-making commodity for gangs of violent criminals.

A 2007 study by the international organization ECPAT [End Child Prostitution and Trafficking]... revealed that over 21,000 Central Americans, mostly children, are prostituted in 1,552 bars and brothels in Tapachula.

- Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina


Added: Oct. 1, 2010

Mexico

La trata de personas no se persigue en el país. Apenas seis entidades

Gobiernos soslayan la trata de personas

...La trata de personas no se persigue en el país. Apenas seis entidades —Chiapas, Distrito Federal, Nuevo León, Tabasco y Tlaxcala, además de Hidalgo que ayer la aprobó—, tienen legislación sobre la materia. El resto a excepción de Campeche y Tamaulipas tipificaron el delito en sus códigos penales. Sin embargo, sólo 12 estados cuentan con una legislación armonizada con el Protocolo de Palermo.

Organismos civiles ubican a Puebla y Tlaxcala dentro de los cinco principales “corredores” de traslado de personas que son explotadas sexual y laboralmente. Se estima que de 60 municipios que integran el estado de Tlaxcala en al menos 26 se han establecido redes de tratantes.

Government overlooks modern slavery

Human trafficking is not being fought in Mexico

Tenancingo [a major city in Tlaxcala state] - The streets here are different from those in any other region of rural Tlaxcala state. The city's population does not live by farming, nor do they live in humble dwellings. From the time you enter the city, the air is tense. The ostentatious two-to-four floor houses become immediately visible.

Luxury Mustangs, Corvettes and Dodge trucks with tinted windows line the cobblestone streets. Chatting with people is almost impossible for outsiders. Locals immediately know who is a stranger. They seem to alert everyone about the presence of outsiders. The Lenones [family based sex trafficking mafias] are there. At Noon they stop to eat pork quesadillas. It's their territory.

About 30 miles south of Tlaxcala, in the city of Puebla, two men descend from a fancy Mustang blaring reggaeton music. Their imposing presence makes it hard to look at them face-to-face. Each of them is wearing three gold chains and sportswear made by international companies.

The municipal police look at them with the familiarity that is just part of the daily rhythm of life. The same is true of the mothers of children returning to school. The locals are watched and subdued. Within minutes, a group of students questions the reason for my visit. They say that it would be better for me to leave their neighborhood in the company of the Mexican Army troops stationed nearby.

On Wednesday night, federal forces besieged a residential street in the City, presumably in search of a sexual exploitation network. The outcome of their effort is unknown. There were no arrests. Seven soldiers without identifying clothing remain on guard outside the house. They call upon the reporters present to leave. They claim that "no operation ever took place," and say that in Tenancingo, "everything is normal," although the place is known internationally as a center for sex trafficking.

Human trafficking is not being pursued in this country. Only the Federal District [Mexico City] and six states, Chiapas,  Nuevo León, Tabasco, Tlaxcala and Hidalgo have passed legislation to govern human trafficking. The remaining states, with the exception of Campeche and Tamaulipas, have specified the crime in their penal codes. However, only 12 states have harmonized their state legislation with the Palermo Protocol.

Non-governmental organizations located in Puebla and Tlaxcala call the region one of the top five "corridors" in Mexico for trafficking in persons who are exploited for sex and labor. It is estimated that human trafficking networks operate in at least 26 of the 60 municipalities in the state of Tlaxcala....

Tlaxcala ranks sixth nationally in human trafficking as a result of its environment of violence, a lax criminal justice system and poor security. Puebla state holds 5th place...

El Universal

Sep. 24, 2010


Added: Sep. 29, 2010

Mexico

Officials from Mexico's Chiapas state, together with the IOM, launch a major media campaign against human trafficking

Emprenden Gobierno de Chiapas y OIM campaña contra la trata de personas

Con el objetivo de proteger a los grupos más vulnerables, el gobierno de Chiapas, a través de la Secretaría para el Desarrollo de la Frontera Sur y Enlace para la Cooperación Internacional, une esfuerzos a la Organización Internacional para las Migraciones para combatir la trata de personas mediante una amplia campaña mediática.

Siendo Chiapas un estado de tránsito de migrantes, es prioritario que ellos sepan que hacerlo indocumentadamente no es sinónimo de indefensión, sino por el contrario, en Chiapas se comprende el sentido de su viaje en búsqueda de una mejora calidad de vida y la vulnerabilidad con la que lo efectúan. Es por eso que el gobierno de Chiapas, encabezado por Juan Sabines Guerrero, trabaja en transformar la frontera sur de México en una frontera amiga y de oportunidades y que no escatima esfuerzos en llevarlo a cabo.

Bajo el slogan “No permitas que destruyan tu vida”, se lanza el día de hoy una ambiciosa campaña en medios masivos como la televisión y radio, así como espectaculares, pantallas de proyección, material impreso e internet, con lo que se pretende concientizar a la ciudadanía de que la trata de personas es evitable y se combate con la denuncia; además de que tengan la seguridad de que recibirán todo el apoyo, asistencia y protección en caso de ser víctimas de este flagelo. Es importante destacar que la parte medular de la campaña se concentra en la posibilidad de hacer una denuncia anónima y sin costo al 018007152000...

The state government of Chiapas and the International Organization for Migration launch media campaign against human trafficking

Seeking to protect the most vulnerable groups in society, the government of the southern Mexican state of Chiapas, through its Secretary for the Development of the Southern Frontier and its Network for International Cooperation, has joined forces with the [United Nations affiliated] International Organization for Migration to present a new and large scale media campaign to educate the public about the dangers of human trafficking.

Given that Chiapas state is a [major] transit point for migrants [it is the bottleneck point for almost all Central and South American migration to the U.S.], the campaign's priority to let migrants know that their state of being undocumented does not mean that they are defenseless. To the contrary, the campaign stated, Chiapas understands the motives that cause people to migrate in search of a better life, as well as the vulnerabilities that go along with migration. For these reasons, the government of Chiapas state, headed by governor Juan Sabines Guerrero, is dedicating significant resources to achieve the goal of transforming the southern border of Mexico into a friendly frontier of opportunities.

Using the slogan "Don't Allow Them to Destroy Your Life," the ambitious media campaign is being launched today through public service advertising on television, radio, and through materials presented at major public events and on the Internet. The campaign will raise public awareness about human trafficking, and will drive home the point that becoming a victim of trafficking is avoidable. The campaign emphasizes that victims will receive every form of assistance and protection. An anonymous hotline, at telephone number 018007152000, has also been opened...

Diario Chiapas Hoy

Sep. 27, 2010


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: Sep. 29, 2010

Oregon, USA

Police warn of man exposing himself near Portland school

Portland - A man was spotted exposing himself near a Southeast Portland school Monday morning and now police are warning people to beware of the lurking sex offender.

“A subject was observed openly masturbating in his vehicle parked near Southeast 26th Avenue and Grant Street in view of the public. Four female students from Hosford Middle School walked past his vehicle on their way to school and he soon started his car, followed them for about a block and pulled over next to them as if to make contact with them while still masturbating,” said Lt. Kelli Sheffer with the Portland Police Bureau.

Then, just a few minutes later, Sheffer said the suspect contacted a different female student in the same area, telling her he liked her shirt.

At one point, the man got out of the car and walked after a student, police said.

The suspect was described as a Hispanic man in his 20's to late 30's, about 5'2 and 150 pounds, with very short dark hair, wearing a light-colored shirt and dark pants or jeans. Police said his head was almost shaved and he had a mustache and a goatee.

His vehicle was described as an older model, white 4-door smaller car, possibly a Pontiac, with a dent on one of the front fenders, possibly black wheels and black bumpers, with black scratches on the rear passenger side fender.

Anyone with information about the suspect was urged to call 9-1-1.

Teresa Blackman

KGW

Sep. 28, 2010


Added: Sep. 29, 2010

California, USA

Man Arrested for Peeping in School Bathroom

Covina - Police have arrested a suspect accused of peeping at a student in a bathroom stall at Las Palmas Middle School in Covina.

The suspect, who told police his name was Cristian Estrada Diaz, was arrested Tuesday morning. His fingerprints, however, identified him as Juan Hernandez, 31, according to Covina Sgt. Dave Foster. Detectives are trying to determine his true identity.

Foster says the man is a Covina resident. He does not speak English and had no identification on him, according to Foster.

The man was arrested on suspicion of making contact with a minor with intent to commit a sexual act.

The suspect is accused of entering the girls' bathroom on Friday and crawling on his knees under a bathroom stall to spy on a girl. He ran when another student walked in and noticed him. He fled on a blue bike...

Detectives are trying to figure out if the man is responsible for other similar cases in the area.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Covina Police Department at (626) 384-5808.

KTLA

Sep. 28, 2010



We present full bilingual coverage of the Second Latin American Congress on Human Trafficking



Added: Sep. 28, 2010

Mexico

Buscaremos romper el cerco de los “guardianes del patriarcado”

El delito de trata de personas es tan complejo, que el discutir próximamente sobre el acceso a la justicia y restitución de derechos para las víctimas, permitirá a quienes estamos luchando contra éste, homogeneizar criterios y exigir con mejores herramientas a las autoridades judiciales de Latinoamericana, que cumplan con la ley.

La directora Regional de la Coalición contra la Trata y Tráfico de Mujeres y Niñas en América Latina y el Caribe, Asociación Civil (CATW-LAC), Teresa Ulloa Ziaurriz, dijo a Cimacnoticias que la complejidad del delito de trata, ha impedido su tipificación, y por ende demostrarlo, para lograr sentenciar a los proxenetas.

Al cierre del II Congreso Latinoamericano contra la Trata y Tráfico de Personas: Migración, Género y Derechos Humanos que se realizó en esta ciudad, dijo que una vez que ya se conoce la agenda del próximo Congreso a efectuarse en Perú en 2012; el intercambio de ideas entre la academia, organizaciones de la sociedad civil e incluso con autoridades, generará ideas más claras sobre cómo resolver la problemática.

Reconoció que en América Latina se ha avanzado en la elaboración de leyes, pero no se ha logrado que sean efectivas, que haya sentencias, “ y yo coincido con lo que dicen las españolas que los jueces son los guardianes más celosos del patriarcado y eso es lo que tenemos que romper”, aseguró...

We Seek to Break the Ring of the Guardians of Patriarchy

The crime of human trafficking is hugely complex. Therefore, during the next Congress on Human Trafficking in Latin America, to be held in Lima, Peru in 2012, the event will focus its attentions on developing strategies to resolve one of the largest problems that we face, gaining access to equal justice and restitution for victims. The 2012 Congress will allow those who are fighting against modern human slavery to collaborate to create a common legal framework to address human trafficking and  to demand improved legal tools from Latin America's judicial institutions. The Congress will also insist that the region's governments must comply with the laws governing these crimes.

Teresa Ulloa Ziaurriz, director of the Coalition Against Trafficking of Women and Girls for Latin America and the Caribbean (CATW-LAC) [and a veteran women's rights lawyer in Mexico], told the CIMAC News that the complexity of this crime has impeded its classification [in the criminal code] and use in sentencing traffickers and pimps.

At the close of the Second Congress on Human Trafficking, Migration, Gender and Human Rights, held from Sep. 21 to 24, 2010 in Puebla, Mexico, Ulloa declared that once the agenda for the 2012 Congress is determined, the mechanisms will be in place that will allow for an exchange of ideas between academics, civil society and government officials, to generate clear strategies in regard to what needs to be done to effectively address this problem.

Ulloa recognized that laws have advanced across Latin America. However those laws are not enforced, resulting in a lack of the actual sentencing of convicted traffickers. Ulloa, "I agree with the what people say in Spain, that judges are the most jealous guardians of patriarchy. That [ring of power - old boy's club] is what we have to break through..."

Elizabeth Muñoz Vásquez

CIMAC Women's News Service

Sep. 27, 2010


Added: Sep. 26, 2010

Mexico

Dr. Raquel Pastor, the Academic Secretary of the Second Latin American Congress on Human Trafficking, in a photo from an earlier anti-trafficking press conference

Condena unánime contra migración forzada y aumento de trata en AL

Pronunciamiento del II Congreso Latinoamericano sobre trata

Puebla, Puebla - Con una condena a las autoridades de Puebla, México y Latinoamérica, que han reprimido a aquellas personas que se atreven a denunciar y combatir el delito de trata, y a la masacre de los migrantes centroamericanos ejecutados hace unas semanas en San Fernando, Tamaulipas, concluyó aquí el II Congreso Latinoamericano sobre Trata y Tráfico de Personas: Migración, Género y Derechos Humanos.

Raquel Pastor, Secretaria Académica del Segundo Congreso y representante del Centro de Estudios Sociales y Culturales Antonio Montesinos AC de México, al dar lectura al pronunciamiento precisó que las y los integrantes al evento condenan “los hechos que violentan los derechos humanos, la migración forzada, el aumento de casos de trata en la región”.

Demandamos, dijo, las investigaciones correspondientes exhaustivas para que los crímenes de Tamaulipas, no queden en la impunidad y sean restituidos los derechos de las familias de las víctimas.

De igual manera dijo, “condenamos también los actos represivos y de persecución en contra de aquellas personas que se atreven a denunciar, como los que llevan a cabo algunos gobernantes en Puebla, México y Latinoamérica para acallar y encubrir la vulneración de los derechos de las niñas víctimas de explotación sexual...

Second Latin American Congress on Human Trafficking concludes with a unanimous condemnation of forced migration and slavery in Latin America

Puebla city in Puebla state – The Second Latin American Congress on Human Trafficking ended four days of events today by condemning government authorities in Puebla State [Mexico], in Mexico itself as well as among governments across Latin America for repressing those persons who have dared to speak up about, combat and report cases of human trafficking. In addition, the Congress also deplored the recent massacre of 72 Central and South American migrants in the Mexican state of Tamaulipas.

Dr. Raquel Pastor, the Academic Secretary of the Second Congress and a representative of the Antonio Montesinos Center for Social and Cultural Studies of Mexico, declared that the participants in the Congress “denounce ongoing events that violently deny human rights, including forced migration and the increase in human trafficking cases in the region.”

We demand, she said, exhaustive investigations into the massacre in Tamaulipas, so that this crime does not remain unchallenged, and so that the rights of the victim’s families are restored.

Equally, Dr. Pastor stated, “we also condemn the acts of repression and persecution that have been taken against those persons who have dared to report trafficking cases, such as those that have been perpetrated by government officials across Latin America, including in Puebla state, Mexico [see the Lydia Cacho case], in their efforts to cover-up and silence the sexual exploitation of girl [and women] victims.

Dr. Pastor underlined the fact that the participants in the Congress are speaking-up to pressure the nations of Latin America to reform and modernize their criminal justice systems, so that the definition-of and persecution-of trafficking crimes become focused on protecting the dignity of girls, boys, adolescents and women.

Dr. Pastor asked that academic investigations be undertaken with the participation of civil society and government entities to allow for the development of a body of knowledge about trafficking, as well as to support the development of public policies and protocols that will result in actions and criminal investigations that focus on those who suffer as victims of these crimes.

Dr. Pastor stated - 'We demand these nations address the proposals and the body of experience that non-governmental organizations bring to the table, and that they adopt the best practices that NGOs have developed in the fields of preventing trafficking, and attending to the needs of victims. We especially call-upon Chile and Paraguay to pass laws against human trafficking, given that they are the only nations in Latin America not to have done so.'

The Congress also expressed its support for organizations in Puebla and Tlaxcala states, who have developed the Agenda for the Protection of Women and Girls Against Human Trafficking, and who are demanding punishment for elected and other officials at all levels of government who have benefited from human trafficking activities.

The creation of a Latin American 'Observatory' [think tank] for Human Trafficking was announced, with the goal of creating a center that will allow for the analysis of anti-trafficking efforts being carried out across the nations of the region.

The Congress will also create a web site, a system of statistical indicators, and will create spaces to allow for dialog and reflection among participants before and after each Congress.

The Third Latin American Congress on Human Trafficking will take place in Lima, Peru in 2012. The themes will be: “Access to Justice and the Restitution of Rights.”

Oscar Castro Soto, director of the Ignacio Ellacuria Human Rights Institute at the Ibero-American University in Puebla, stated that some 600 persons attended the Second Congress. Two hundred fifty presentations were make by subject matter experts, and 7 sessions by keynote speakers were presented.

Elizabeth Muñoz Vasquez

CIMAC Women's News Agency

Sep. 24, 201-


Added: Sep. 26, 2010

Haiti

Haitian Women at Increased Risk of Trafficking

Puebla, Mexico - The January earthquake that devastated Haiti put women and girls in the poorest country in the hemisphere at an increased risk of falling prey to people trafficking, activists and experts warn.

"The phenomenon has become much more visible since the earthquake, with the increase in the forced displacement of persons," said Bridget Wooding, a researcher who specializes in immigration at the Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences (FLACSO) in the Dominican Republic, which shares the island of Hispaniola with Haiti.

"There is huge vulnerability to a rise in human trafficking and smuggling," she told IPS.

The Dominican Republic and the United States are the main destinations for Haitian migrants. The figures vary, but there are between 500,000 and 800,000 Haitians and people of Haitian descent in the U.S. and between one and two million in the Dominican Republic.

Women in Haiti "are exposed to forced prostitution, rape, abandonment and pornography," Mesadieu Guylande, a Haitian expert with the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women-Latin America and the Caribbean (CATW-LAC), told IPS.

The situation in Haiti was one of the issues discussed by representatives of NGOs, experts and academics from throughout the region at the Second Latin American Conference on Human Smuggling and Trafficking, which ran Tuesday through Friday in Puebla, 130 km south of Mexico City.

The 7.0-magnitude quake that hit the Haitian capital on Jan. 12 and left a death toll of at least 220,000 forced tens of thousands of people to live in camps...

"We have evidence of a growth in trafficking and smuggling of persons, which is reflected in the increase in the number of children panhandling in the streets of Santo Domingo, for example," said Wooding, co-author of the 2004 book "Needed but Not Wanted", on Haitian immigration in the Dominican Republic.

The author was in Port-au-Prince when the quake hit.

Even before the disaster, some 500,000 children were not attending school in Haiti, a country of around 9.5 million people, Guylande said.

Since 2007, there have been no convictions in the Dominican Republic under Law 137-03 against trafficking and smuggling, passed in 2003, according to the U.S. State Department Trafficking in Persons Report 2009.

As a result, the State Department reported that the government of the Dominican Republic "does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking" and put the country on its Tier 2 Watch List.

In Haiti, things are no different. Although the government ratified the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children, supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, in force since Sept. 29, 2003, it has failed to implement its provisions in national laws.

"The penal system is fragile and the judiciary is neither independent nor trustworthy, a situation that works in favor of traffickers," Guylande said...

Emilio Godoy

Inter-Press Service (IPS)

Sep. 24, 2010


Added: Sep. 26, 2010

Mexico

Puebla, entre los estados que más producen pornografía infantil, informa una ONG

México ocupa el primer lugar de América Latina en la producción y distribución de pornografía infantil, principalmente hacia Estados Unidos, España y países de Oriente Medio, señaló ayer Mayra Rojas Rosas, representante de la Organización Infancia Común, durante el Segundo Congreso Latinoamericano sobre Trata y Tráfico de Personas que se realiza en la Universidad Iberoamericana.

Los estados con más casos de trata infantil, puntualizó, son: Baja California, Sonora, Chihuahua, Nuevo León, Guerrero, Quintana Roo, Veracruz, Distrito Federal, Tlaxcala y Puebla. “La gente cree que sólo son fotos o que sólo es un video, pero eso daña y los daña para siempre porque a veces son relaciones reales y otras simuladas, pero esos niños están siendo trastocados en su integridad y están siendo sometidos a una serie de experiencias que no tiene que sufrir un niño o un adolescente”, declaró.

Puebla – among the states with the highest rate of producing child pornography – NGO

Mayra Rojas Rosas, director of the non-governmental organization Common Infancy, declared at the Second Latin American Congress on Human Trafficking that Mexico occupies first place among Latin American nations in the production and distribution of child pornography. She noted that most of these illicit materials are destined to be sold in the United States, Spain and in Middle Eastern nations.

Rojas Rosas added that the states with the highest levels of the production of child pornography are Baja California, Sonora, Chihuahua, Nuevo Leon, Guerrero, Quintana Roo, Veracruz, the Federal District [Mexico City], Tlaxala and Puebla. “People think that it is only a video, but participating in child pornography damages the lives of the victims forever. Some of the scenes are simulated, and some are real, but the integrity of these children is being disrupted. They are being subjected to a series of experiences that no child or adolescent should have to suffer through.

During a press conference on the subject, Rojas Rosas lamented the fact that human trafficking is being transformed into a business that is larger and more easily sold than narcotics. In response, she said, the only way to fight this crime is through cooperation and a demand that the problem be made ‘visible.’

“We are not talking about a problem of persecution here. We are talking about the need to engage in construction. We must change legislation and generate spaces to provide for an integral attention to the victims of trafficking, so that they are given a chance to develop a different type of life. The state must assume part of the responsibility, because at times, due to presumed acts of complicity and omission, we have had problems,” said Rojas Rosas.

In a separate press conference, Helen Le Goff, a representative of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Mexico, called upon authorities to investigate and castigate trafficking cases based upon their own sources of information, without waiting for a formal complaint to be filed by a victim (victim complaint initiation is generally required by Mexican law before a police investigation may be carried out).

During her presentation at the Congress, Le Goff mentioned that studies conducted by Mexico’s National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) estimate that each year, 20,000 persons are victims of human trafficking, principally in tourist cities and in frontier regions. Most victims are illegal immigrants, who have migrated from some 13 nations, including Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.

Le Goff, “In addition to the 60% of victims who experience labor trafficking, an additional 40% were victims of sex trafficking.”

Le Goff concluded by stating that the the IOM is launching a campaign called “No más trata de personas” [No more Human Trafficking] in the cities of Ciudad Juarez and Tapachula. The project is being developed in collaboration with the the CNDH. The project’s goal is to educate the public about the risks of irregular migration and human trafficking.

Arturo Alfaro Galán

La Jornada de Oriente

Sep. 24, 2010


Added: Sep. 26, 2010

Mexico

Giovanni, a nine-year-old girl who lives in the violent Mexico City neighborhood of Penitenciaria

Photo:Daniela Pastrana / IPS

Gender Violence Hits Behind the News

Mexico City - Amalia is an indigenous Maya girl from a rural community in southern Quintana Roo, on Mexico's Caribbean coast. She is 11 years old, and in August became the youngest mother in the country when she gave birth to a baby girl, 51 cm long and just under three kg.

Amalia was raped when she was 10, allegedly by her stepfather. She did not have the option of terminating the pregnancy because by the time it emerged that she was pregnant it was too late for a legal abortion.

Her case highlights the government's failures in dealing with violence against girls, a phenomenon that is overlooked due to the many other types of violence plaguing Mexico, such as the epidemic of drug-related murders, and the human rights violations attributed to the military and police.

Amalia "represents an accumulation of social exclusions: she is female, a child, indigenous and poor," Juan Martín Pérez, executive director of the Network for Children's Rights in Mexico, which brings together more than 50 pro-child organizations, told TerraViva.

"It took more than 20 years for me to admit what had happened. It's something that you never forgive; you just learn to live with it," a 35-year-old professional from Mexico City told TerraViva. She was sexually abused by an uncle when she was Amalia's age.

In this Latin American country of 108 million people, there are 18.4 million boys and 17.9 million girls under 18. Violence against children occurs in one-third of households, despite the many institutions across the country entrusted with protecting their well-being.

A UNICEF (United Nations Children's Fund) study ranked Mexico second for mistreatment of children, after Portugal, among the 33 member countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). The mortality rate attributed to this phenomenon is 30 deaths for every million minors.

According to UNICEF, a large portion of this physical, sexual and psychological violence and neglect remains hidden, and is sometimes socially accepted.

And while this crime is underreported, there is even less information about the differences in mistreatment based on gender. "There is a statistical invisibility that prevents us from getting a clear picture of the problem," said Pérez.

Several recent studies provide isolated data for an incomplete puzzle. For example, the latest National Survey on Health and Nutrition reports six pregnancies for every 1,000 girls ages 12 to 15, and 101 per 1,000 for ages 16 to 17.

In Quintana Roo, the state's secretary of health, Juan Carlos Azueta, said that in 2009 5,500 adolescent pregnancies were reported, 16 percent of which were the result of rape -- a proportion in line with the national average.

"I love my daughter, but I've never known how to deal with her. She exasperates me, and I'm often unfair to her," admitted Gloria, a mother of three girls, whose eldest was born after she was raped at the age of 15 by a married man.

"There is something in her that reminds me of how I got pregnant, and nobody taught me how to be a mother or how to deal with this memory inside," said the abusive mother, who lives in Atizapán, on the outskirts of Mexico City.

"La infancia cuenta" (Childhood Counts / 2009), a web-based monitoring tool and publication by the Network for Children's Rights in Mexico dedicated to girls, states "there are specific groups of females who are marginalized from the educational system," such as adolescent mothers or disabled or indigenous girls and adolescents.

According to Mexico's National Institute on Statistics and Geography, 180,500 adolescent mothers, ages 12 to 18, have not completed their basic education. Girls have higher school attendance rates than boys until age 16, when the balance starts to tip, in part due to early pregnancy.

"At 15, I ran away from home with the man who is now the father of my children, but things went even worse for me," Citatli, now 45 and a grandmother, told TerraViva. She lives in a low-income neighborhood in the eastern part of the Mexico City metropolitan area.

She had two children by the time she was 17, "and the younger one was born prematurely after I was beaten," she said. "I have always been surrounded by violence. From my mother, my brothers, my first husband, and now from my children." Her only hope is that her five grandchildren "don't turn out like that."

In Mexico, violent acts against girls, adolescents and women are based on a social construction that assumes males are superior, several sources consulted by TerraViva agreed.

"We've made some limited progress, with a federal law (against gender violence) and local laws in all states, but we haven't seen fundamental changes," said Axela Romero, director of Integral Health for Women. "A culture in which masculine is put above feminine prevails."

Giovanni, a nine-year-old girl who lives in the violent Mexico City neighborhood of Penitenciaria, knows all about that. She has what is traditionally a boy's name because when her mother was about to give birth to her firstborn son, she lost the pregnancy due to "a fright" when the father got involved in a fight. So the name went to the little girl, when she was born.

"I hate violence, and I hate it even more when the men drink," Giovanni told TerraViva.

Years of gruesome unsolved murders of women -- known as "femicides" -- put Ciudad Juárez, on Mexico's northern border, on the global map. At least 800 women have been tortured and murdered in the last 16 years, according to incomplete official data.

Meanwhile, in some Mexican states, the laws are tougher on women who undergo abortions than on the rapists who impregnated them.

According to government surveys, more than 60 percent of male adolescents believe it is solely the responsibility of the woman to take precautions against pregnancy, and at least one-fifth of students have witnessed incidents at their schools, off in a corner, where one or more boys inappropriately touched a girl without her consent.

But those incidents, like other forms of aggression against girls, are likewise abandoned in a corner.

*This story was originally published by IPS TerraViva with the support of UNIFEM and the Dutch MDG3 Fund.

Daniela Pastrana

Inter Press Service (IPS) / TerraViva

Sep. 21, 2010


Added: Sep. 26, 2010

Mexico

Bicentennial Nothing to Celebrate, Say Indigenous Peoples

Mexico City - "I don't understand why we should celebrate [Independence]. There will be no freedom in Mexico until repression against indigenous peoples is eliminated," says Sadhana, whose name means "moon" in the indigenous Mazahua language.

Over the course of the year, the Mexican government has organized a series of lavish celebrations to mark the 200th anniversary of the start of the war of independence against the Spanish Empire, Sep. 16, 1810. The main events, held Sep. 15, included a military parade with soldiers from several other countries and a fireworks display.

But to many of Mexico's indigenous peoples, the festivities are an alien concept.

According to indigenous organizations, at least a third of Mexico's 108 million people are of native descent. But the government's National Council on Population says the majority of Mexicans are mestizo (of mixed European and indigenous ancestry), while 14 million belong to one of the country's 62 native groups.

"There is no birth certificate or other official document that says we are indigenous. The official calculations are based on the census that asks just one question about this: if you speak an indigenous language. That is the only element they use to define who is indigenous," said Julio Atenco Vidal, of the Regional Coordinator of Sierra de Zongolica Indigenous Organisations, in the southeastern state of Veracruz.

"Furthermore, there are many who say they are not indigenous, because it is associated with backwardness," he told IPS.

Registered by her Mazahua parents with the name "Daleth Ignacio Esquivel," Sadhana, 14, participates in a dance group of Mexica origin. They promote the recovery of their ancestral language among youths in San Miguel, a town in the central state of Mexico.

In the latest census of population and housing, conducted in May and June, the question about personal ethnic identification was added...

Of all the segments of the population, indigenous women have the worst living conditions, according to the National Commission for the Development of Indigenous Peoples. These women suffer serious health problems resulting from nutritional deficiencies and high birth rates.

From childhood, indigenous girls are obligated to help their mothers. They tend to marry between ages 13 and 16. And their "normal" workday can last 18 hours daily.

Meanwhile, illiteracy among indigenous children is five times greater than among mestizo children.

An extreme case of indigenous exclusion is found in San Juan Copala, in the southern state of Oaxaca, home of the Triqui community, which declared itself "autonomous" in 2007. The Triqui people have been under siege since January by illegal armed groups that block the entry of food and medicine, and teachers. Governmental authorities have yet to intervene.

The ongoing harassment has led to at least a dozen deaths since 2007 and earned a denunciation from the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights. In April, the armed groups ambushed an international humanitarian convoy that was attempting to bring supplies to the Triqui village.

"We are celebrating the construction of a type of stratified and racist state, which is what has been created in Mexico, often based on liberal ideas," said Rodolfo Stavenhagen, a researcher at the Colegio de México and former UN special rapporteur on the situation of the human rights and fundamental freedoms of indigenous peoples.

"Now is a good time to reform the concept of 'nation'. We must take steps in building an indigenous citizenry and indigenous spaces that have never before appeared in Mexico's institutional fabric," Stavenhagen told IPS.

Along similar lines, 177 organizations from 15 states are working to breathe new life into the indigenous movement. It has been largely stagnant since 2001, when the government quashed the efforts towards autonomy by the indigenous Zapatista National Liberation Army, which took up arms in January 1994 in the southern state of Chiapas.

Now, in a new national and international context, the organizations are pursuing a model of a "plurinational" and "pluricultural" state, one that includes Mexico's array of indigenous ethnicities "without adulteration or compromise."

"We don't have anything to celebrate," reads a declaration from the National Indigenous Movement, which met in the capital on Sep. 15 while the rest of the country commemorated 200 years of the Mexican republic.

The movement questioned "the irrational festive nature of the great national celebration," on which the government spent 200 million dollars, "while our peoples are fighting hunger and desperation."

Daniela Pastrana

Inter-Press Service (IPS)

Sep. 24, 2010


Added: Sep. 26, 2010

Mexico

IOM - Co-organizer and Participant in the Second Latin-American Congress on Migrant Smuggling and Human Trafficking

The [United Nations affiliated] International Organization for Migration (IOM) is participating in the second Latin American Congress on Migrant Smuggling and Human Trafficking, taking place this week in Puebla, Mexico.

The four-day event co-organized by IOM which ends today, brings together hundreds of government officials, experts from international organizations, researchers, civil society and students, as well as the general public, to discuss issues of common concern related to migrant smuggling and human trafficking in Latin-America.

More than 250 international experts are presenting their counter-trafficking work and shared experiences, with the more than 350 participants from every country in the hemisphere.

The main objective of the Congress is to promote active discussion amongst key actors combating human trafficking in Latin America, in order to encourage the development of public policies and legislation against trafficking in the region.

IOM Mexico, as a member of the Latin-American Committee of the Congress, has been coordinating as well as organizing the event. IOM experts from Mexico, Costa Rica and Nicaragua have participated in different panels, presenting IOM activities in the region as well as discussing the link between migration and human trafficking and the need for protection of the human rights of all migrants.

In Latin America, human trafficking for sexual and labor exploitation has reached alarming proportions in recent years. Since 2000, when the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons was approved, many Latin American countries have updated or drafted anti human trafficking laws and have put in place public policies aimed at combating the crime and providing vital protection to the victims.

Organized criminal networks earn billions of dollars each year from the traffic and exploitation of persons who suffer severe violations of their human rights. Common abuses experienced by trafficking victims include rape, torture, debt bondage, unlawful confinement, and threats against their family or other persons close to them, as well as other forms of physical, sexual and psychological violence.

According to Mexico’s National Human Rights Commission (CNDH by its Spanish acronym), with whom IOM Mexico has recently signed a cooperation agreement, each year more than 20,000 persons fall victim to human trafficking in Mexico, mainly in border areas and in tourist destinations.

"Data on human trafficking in Mexico is rare and there are only estimations on this serious problem," said Thomas Lothar Weiss, IOM Chief of Mission in Mexico.

"What we know is that Chiapas and Chihuahua, where IOM has sub-offices, are two of the main states of origin and destination of trafficking in Mexico. One of the worst forms of trafficking detected recently in Mexico is linked with the kidnapping of people for recruitment in the organized criminal groups," Weiss added...

Hélène Le Goff

International Organization for Migration (IOM)  México

Sep. 24, 2010


Added: Sep. 26, 2010

Texas, USA

Chase leads deputies to possible human trafficking ring

San Antonio - A chase led Bexar County deputies to a home they say may be part of human trafficking ring.

Deputies chased a stolen truck to a home in the 11,000 block of Jarrett Road in Far Southwest Bexar County around 11:00 a.m. Friday. The deputies found 17 illegal immigrants living inside the home in horrible conditions. Investigators believe the illegal immigrants were smuggled here and stayed cramped up inside the small home, sleeping wherever they could find space.

"The living conditions are pretty bad," said Sgt. R. Fletcher of the Bexar County Sheriff's Department. "And we're talking about 15 to 17 people in a 3 bedroom home..."

WOAI

Sep. 24, 2010


Added: Sep. 26, 2010

Canada

Woman faces first such Manitoba charge; Victim forced into prostitution, police say

Manitoba's first-ever human trafficking charge has been laid after an older woman befriended a 21-year-old woman from northern Manitoba, then allegedly forced her into the sex trade.

The 38-year-old is accused of taking the victim's identification and clothing, punching her in a fight and stopping her twice as she attempted to run away, Winnipeg police said Thursday.

The pair lived in a home in the 300 block of Aikens Street. The older woman forced the girl to turn over the cash she made to pay for food and a roof over her head, investigators believe.

The Winnipeg Police Service vice unit began probing the case after officers were initially called to the home on a complaint of a fight Monday.

The woman was arrested Wednesday.

"The best way to describe it is we have an individual whose human rights have been violated to an extreme," said WPS spokesman Const. Jason Michalyshen, noting investigators believe the abuse started earlier this month.

"It's certainly not something we come across on a regular basis."

The Criminal Code added a specific section against human trafficking in 2005.

The Criminal Code describes a trafficker in human beings as "a person (who) exploits another person if they cause the victim to provide labour or service for fear of their safety or the safety of someone known to them."

...A source said the victim is from a remote First Nations [indigenous] community and lived in two city shelters before moving in with the older woman...

Theresa Peebles is charged with forcible confinement, assault and three counts of trafficking. All charges date from Sept. 5 to Sept. 20 this year...

"These types of charges are difficult to lay. There's a lot of criteria that need to be established, and because it is fairly new legislation, fairly new law, members of the policing community are still learning and being educated about it," Michalyshen said.

Gabrielle Giroday

The Winnipeg Free Press

Sep. 24, 2010


Added: Sep. 24, 2010

Mexico, Latin America

Marcela Lagarde y de los Ríos - president of Mexico's Network for Women’s Life and Liberty, speaks at the Second Latin American Congress on Human Trafficking

Mujeres con derechos y ciudadanía, debe exigir la sociedad

Plantea Marcela Lagarde en Congreso sobre Trata y Tráfico

El delito de trata de personas no sólo debe ser visto como un hecho del crimen organizado, sino como resultado de una complejidad social apabullante, que abarca a la sociedad y al Estado, y que éste último no se ha reformado para hacer frente a sus obligaciones legales, afirmó aquí la feminista Marcela Lagarde y de los Ríos.

Ante los comités de organización y académico del II Congreso Latinoamericano sobre Trata y Tráfico de Personas: Migración, Género y Derechos Humanos, se pronunció por recurrir a los aportes teóricos de la investigación de la perspectiva de género, para definir y diferenciar los límites precisos sobre los riesgos de ser objeto de trata, que corren las mujeres y las niñas, por edad, clase social, etnicidad, condiciones de migración, de legalidad e ilegalidad...

Women, with our rights of citizenship, must make demands upon society

Feminist activist Marcela Lagarde addresses the Second Latin American Congress on Human Trafficking

In her presentation before the Second Latin American Congress on Human Trafficking, feminist activist Marcela Lagarde y de los Ríos stated that human trafficking should not be seen only as an act perpetrated by organized crime, but also as a overwhelmingly powerful social complex that envelops our society and the state. In response, she said, government has not reformed itself to accept its legal obligations in this area.

During her presentation: Human Rights Synergies for Women in Response to Human Trafficking, Lagarde, who is the president of the Network for Women’s Life and Liberty (in Mexico), went on to discuss the fact that investigating human trafficking from a gender perspective requires that we understand the risks that women and girls face upon becoming victims of trafficking, because of their gender, social class, ethnicity and their legal or illegal condition of migration.

Lagarde explained that when, for example, the topic of immigrants is discussed, the term “inmigrantes”

 (immigrants), not “las migrantes” (women immigrants) is used.

Linguistically, Lagarde declared, this imposes a brutal form of discrimination  when the topic of human trafficking is discussed. When the term “personas” (persons) is used in the context of our patriarchal discourse, the term means, specifically, men.

Thus, the term ‘trafficking in persons’ is never translated to mean that the human slavery of women and girls exists. Female victims are almost never mentioned in the context of human trafficking [in Mexico]. This omission contributes to their invisibility.

Lagarde went on to say that, if we approach the problem of human trafficking without using a gender-based perspective, we cannot arrive at a point where we understand that this problem “is closely associated with the [intentional] domination and dehumanization of women.”

These factors cause society to focus its solutions to trafficking on targeting organized crime, while at the same time failing to work toward equality between men and women and a respect for the sexual and reproductive rights of girls and adolescents, said Lagarde...

Elizabeth Muñoz Vásquez

The CIMAC Women's News Agency

Sep. 22, 2010


Added: Sep. 24, 2010

Mexico, Latin America

Ibero-American University rector David Fernández Dávalos, shown at another university event - spoke at the opening ceremonies of the Second Latin American Congress on Human Trafficking

Erradicar la trata no “le importa a nadie”: Fernández Dávalos

Encuentro Latinoamericano sobre Trata y Tráfico de Personas

Cada año, cerca de 100 mil mujeres provenientes de países de América Latina y el Caribe, son llevadas con engaños y falsas promesas de empleo, a diversas naciones del mundo, sin que se conozcan las cifras nacionales oficiales, estudios, las estadísticas, ni los informes cuantitativos que permitan evidenciar el fenómeno de la trata de personas.

Al inaugurar aquí el Segundo Encuentro Latinoamericano sobre Trata y Tráfico de Personas: Migración, Género y Derechos Humanos, el rector de la Universidad Iberoamericana, Puebla, David Fernández Dávalos, lamentó que este problema no le importe a nadie, “ni a la academia, ni a los gobernantes, ni a gran parte de la sociedad civil”.

En el mundo, dijo, más de 4 millones de personas son víctimas del delito de trata y de esa cifra, el 80 por ciento es sufrida por mujeres, niños y niñas en sus diversas formas de explotación sexual.

Desafortunadamente, continuó, a la trata con fines de explotación sexual y laboral, la adopción ilegal, el comercio de órganos y el tráfico de droga, se suma la venta de niñas y adolescentes en comunidades indígenas de México, los abusos en el servicio doméstico, los matrimonios serviles y la violencia familiar, son validadas por sistemas patriarcales, machistas y conservadores, que limitan la problemática y la reducen...

Ibero-American University rector David Fernández Dávalos: "Nobody cares about  eradicating human trafficking"

Each year, close to 100,000 Latin American and Caribbean women are taken, through the use of offers of work and other false promises, to nations around the world. We do not know the real numbers of victims. Neither official national estimates nor quantitative studies can really tell us the true scope of human trafficking.

During the opening ceremonies of the Second Latin American Congress on Human Trafficking, which is being held on the campus of the Ibero-American University in the city of Puebla, in Puebla state, university rector David Fernández Dávalos lamented that nobody cares about human trafficking, "neither academia, nor those in government, nor the great majority of civil society."

Fernández Dávalos noted that globally, some 4 million persons are victims of human trafficking. Of these, 80% are women and children who suffer through diverse forms of sexual exploitation.

Unfortunately, added Fernández Dávalos, in addition to the traditional categories of sex and labor trafficking, illegal adoptions, organ trafficking and drug trafficking, we must also add the sale of children and youth in the indigenous communities of Mexico [they are 30% of the national population], abuses found in domestic service, servile marriages and family violence. These problems are all validated by [our] conservative and machista [machismo-based] patriarchal  systems, which work to diminish action to respond to the problem.

Fernández Dávalos presented figures compiled by the Civil Guard of Spain which indicate that 70% of the female victims of human trafficking in that nation come originally from Latin America, while in Japan, an estimated 1,700 Latin America women are held as sex slaves.

Fernández Dávalos declared that public strategies must be created to address human trafficking in each region of Latin America. Today efforts at prevention, protection and prosecution are inadequate.

Oscar Arturo Castro, who is the director of the Ignacio Ellacuria Human Rights Center at the university as well as member of the organizing committee of the Congress, argued that the dynamics of migration must be studied as part of the problem of human slavery. Castro, "because organized crime is taking advantage of human mobility."

Castro, "[Organized crime] exploits migration driven by greed, and disregards human dignity, a reality that we can observe in the example of the recent massacre of 72 Central American migrants in Tamaulipas, as well as in the cases of the thousands of Central [and South] American migrants who are kidnapped by drug trafficking gangs across the entire territory of Mexico."

The opening ceremonies of the Congress were also attended by José Manuel Grima, president of the Congress and Teresa Ulloa Ziaurríz, director of the Coalition Against the Trafficking Women and Girls - Latin American and Caribbean branch. Some 300 presenters are expected during the 4 days of planned conference sessions.

Elizabeth Muñoz Vásquez

The CIMAC Women's News Agency

Sep. 21, 2010


Added: Sep. 26, 2010

Latin America

América Latina ineficaz en combate a trata de personas

Puebla city in Puebla state, Mexico - El combate a la trata de personas ha sido ineficaz y ha derivado en la creación de mercados intrarregionales, según especialistas y activistas de América Latina reunidos desde este martes en esta ciudad mexicana.

"El combate ha terminado en respuestas más formales que reales, como los cambios legales. No hay interés de los estados, no es una prioridad", criticó a IPS Ana Hidalgo, de la oficina en Costa Rica de la Organización Internacional para las Migraciones (OIM), la institución intergubernamental que promueve una migración ordenada y justa.

Hidalgo forma parte de los 450 académicos y activistas que participan en Puebla, a 129 kilómetros al sur de Ciudad de México, en el Segundo Congreso Latinoamericano sobre Trata y Tráfico de Personas, inaugurado este martes y que concluirá este viernes 24.

"Se atiende a una víctima y se inicia un proceso penal, pero no hay sentencia porque hay impunidad. El consumidor, léase el prostituyente o el violador, no está captado en la fórmula", señaló la abogada Ana Chávez, del Servicio Paz y Justicia de Argentina.

En México cada año unas 20.000 personas serían víctimas de la trata, según el no gubernamental Centro de Estudios e Investigación en Desarrollo y Asistencia Social (CEIDAS), uno de cuyos ejes es el estudio de ese fenómeno.

En América Latina esa cifra es de 250.000 personas, con una ganancia de 1.350 millones de dólares para las bandas, según estadísticas de la mexicana Secretaría (ministerio) de Seguridad Pública. Pero los datos sobre el fenómeno son variables, si bien las Naciones Unidas subraya que el delito se ha exacerbado en el comienzo del siglo...

Inter Press Service (IPS) / TerraViva

Sep. 21, 2010

English Language Version:

Added: Sep. 24, 2010

Latin America: Five Million Women Have Fallen Prey to Trafficking Networks

The fight against human trafficking in Latin America is ineffective and has led to the emergence of intra-regional markets for the trade, according to experts and activists meeting this week in this Mexican city.

'Responses to the trade in human beings have been more formal than real, as have the changes in legislation. Governments are not interested: it is not their priority,' Ana Hidalgo, from the Costa Rican office of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), told IPS.

Hidalgo is one of the 450 academics and activists taking part in the Second Latin American Conference on Smuggling and Trafficking of Human Beings, under the theme 'Migrations, Gender and Human Rights', Sept. 21-24 in Puebla, 129 kilometers south of Mexico City.

Ana Chávez, a lawyer with Argentina's Peace and Justice Service (SERPAJ) said, 'Victims are listened to, and criminal prosecutions are initiated, but no one is sentenced because of impunity. The consumers, that is, the pimps, clients or rapists, do not come into the equation.'

In Mexico some 20,000 people a year fall victim to the modern-day slave trade, according to the Centre for Studies and Research on Social Development and Assistance (CEIDAS), which monitors the issue.

The total number of victims in Latin America amounts to 250,000 a year, yielding a profit of 1.35 billion dollars for the traffickers, according to statistics from the Mexican Ministry of Public Security. But the data vary widely. Whatever the case, the United Nations warns that human trafficking has steadily grown over the past decade.

Organizations like the Coalition Against Trafficking of Women and Girls in Latin America and the Caribbean (CATW-LAC) estimate that over five million girls and women have been trapped by these criminal networks in the region, and another 10 million are in danger of falling into their hands...

Latin America is a source and destination region for human trafficking, a crime that especially affects the Dominican Republic, Brazil and Colombia.

The conference host, David Fernández Dávalos, president of the Ibero-American University of Puebla (UIA-Puebla), said in his inaugural speech that human trafficking is a modern and particularly malignant version of slavery, only under better cover and disguises.

On Aug. 31, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged member states to implement a Global Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Persons, because it is 'among the worst human rights violations,' constituting 'slavery in the modern age,' and preying mostly on 'women and children.'

The congress coincides with the International Day Against the Sexual Exploitation and Trafficking of Women and Children on Thursday, instituted in 1999 by the World Conference of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women (CATW).

Government authorities and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Mexico concur that criminal mafias in this country have been proved to combine trafficking in persons with drug trafficking, along both the northern and southern land borders (with the United States and with Guatemala, respectively)...

In Mexico, a federal Law to Prevent and Punish Trafficking in Persons has been on the books since 2007, but the government has yet to create a national program to implement it, although this is stipulated in the law itself.

The Puebla Congress, which follows the first such conference held in Buenos Aires in 2008, is meeting one month after the massacre of 72 undocumented migrants in the northeastern state of Tamaulipas, which exemplified the connection between drug trafficking and trafficking in persons, and drew International attention to the dangers faced by migrants in Mexico.

Miguel Ortega, a member of the Democratic Alliance of Civil Society Organizations, a Mexican umbrella group representing 50 NGOs, told IPS: 'In first place, the problem is invisible, and until the state makes appropriate changes to the laws, there will be no progress. We want to see prompt and decisive action.'

IOM's Hidalgo said, 'our investigations and research have found that Nicaraguan women are trafficked into Guatemala and Costa Rica, and Honduran women are trafficked into Guatemala and Mexico.'

Women from Colombia and Peru have been forced into prostitution in the southern Ecuadorean province of El Oro, according to a two-year investigation by Martha Ruiz, a consultant responsible for updating and redrafting Ecuador's National Plan against Human Trafficking.

SERPAJ's Chávez said, 'We have not been able to get governments to take responsibility for investigating these crimes. The states themselves are a factor in generating these crimes.'

Out of the 32 Mexican states, eight make no reference to human trafficking in their state laws. Mario Fuentes, head of CEIDAS, wrote this week in the newspaper Excélsior that the country is laboring under 'severe backwardness and challenges in this field, because it lacks a national program to deal with the problem, as well as a system of statistics.'

Emilio Godoy

Inter Press Service (IPS)

Sep. 22, 2010


Added: Sep. 21, 2010

Mexico

Democratic U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont has insisted upon linking U.S. aid to human rights improvements in Mexico

Rights groups against giving US anti-drug aid to Mexico

Human rights groups Tuesday urged US lawmakers not to authorize 36 million dollars in anti-drug trafficking aid to Mexico because of human rights violations by its security forces.

Mexico City - Human rights groups Tuesday urged US lawmakers not to authorize 36 million dollars in anti-drug trafficking aid to Mexico because of human rights violations by its security forces.

"Releasing these funds would send the message that the United States condones the grave human rights violations committed in Mexico, including torture, rape, killings, and enforced disappearances," they said in a letter to the Senate.

Seven human rights groups signed the petition including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the Washington Office on Latin America and Mexico's Association for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights.

An annual US State Department report on September 2 gave the Senate its assessment of the state of human rights in Mexico, required before the disbursement of additional aid in the Plan Merida drug interdiction program, under which Mexico got 36 million dollars last year.

Mexico is facing spiraling drug-related violence that has cost the lives of more than 28,000 murders since 2006, despite a major police-military crackdown on crime by President Felipe Calderon.

The rights groups recognized that Mexico was facing "a severe public security crisis.

"However, human rights violations committed by Mexican security forces are not only deplorable in their own right, but also significantly undermine the effectiveness of Mexico's public security efforts."

Agence France-Presse (AFP)

Sep. 15, 2010

See also:

The CIMAC women’s news agency’s collection of more than 370 factual articles on cases of the rape of civilian women in Mexico by military service members.

(In Spanish)


Added: Sep. 19, 2010

Mexico

Mexican journalist, author and anti-trafficking activist Lydia Cacho Ribeiro

Photo: CIMAC Women's News Agency - Mexico

Premio Internacional al Escritor Valiente para Lydia Cacho

Por investigación y denuncia de red de pederastia en México

La periodista Lydia Cacho Ribeiro recibirá el próximo 20 de octubre el Premio Internacional al Escritor Valiente, que otorga la Asociación de Escritores PEN Internacional, distinción que se confiere a quienes escriben y sufren persecución por sus creencias.

En un comunicado, la Asociación sin fines de lucro informó que otorgará a Cacho el reconocimiento por su investigación y denuncia de una red de pederastia, y sus presuntos vínculos con autoridades y empresarios en México...

Lydia Cacho receives award for valiant journalism

This coming 20th of October, 2010, journalist and author Lydia Cacho Ribeiro will receive International Writer of Courage Prize from the PEN international writer’s association. The prize is awarded to writers who face persecution for their beliefs.

In a press release, the non-profit association declared that Cacho had been chosen in recognition of her investigation and denunciation of a child sex trafficking network that is presumed to have had ties with Mexican business leaders and authorities.

The PEN press release mentioned that, after the release of her 2005 book about the case, the “Demons of Eden, The Powers Behind Pornography,” Cacho was arrested, accused of defamation and became the subject of death threats.

Cacho is a member of the editorial board of the CIMAC women’s news agency, for which she serves as its correspondent in the city of Cancun. She is also a co-founder of the Journalists Network of Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean. Since the year 2000, Cacho has been a special consultant on human rights and women’s health issues for the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM).

In her most recent book, “Slaves of Power, A Journey to the Heart of the Sex Trafficking of Women and Girls Across the World,” Cacho reveals that between 20,00 and half a million victims of trafficking exist [in Mexico]. The great majority exist to make profits for the prostitution mafias.

Cacho spent 5 years researching the operations of large and small international sex trafficking organizations. She conducted interviews with a large number of victims as well as actual members of the trafficking mafias. See the CIMAC article on Cacho’s work at this link.

Cacho’s efforts have been recognized in awards from: Human Rights Watch; Mexico’s National Journalism Prize; the Amnesty Award of 2007, the Oxfam Award of 2007; the 2009 Hermila Galindo prize for her distinguished work in defense and promotion of human rights for women.

IN April of 2010, Cacho was selected as the World Hero for Press Freedom by the International Press Institute. Cacho was also one of 60 journalists honored during the World Congress, celebrated in Vienna, Austria.

During September, 2010, Cacho received the Manuel Leguineche International Journalism Prize, which was awarded to her by the Spanish Federation of Journalism Associations (FAPE). That prize was dedicated by FAPE to the many journalists who have been murdered in Mexico.

By the Editors

CIMAC Women's News Agency

Sep. 17, 2010

See also:

Mexican journalist Lydia Cacho receives PEN prize

London - A Mexican journalist who was arrested and threatened after exposing a pedophile ring is to receive a major writing prize.

Writers' charity PEN says Lydia Cacho is the recipient of its International Writer of Courage Prize, which goes to writers persecuted for their beliefs.

Cacho was arrested, charged with libel and received death threats after publishing a book about a child sex abuse ring involving business figures in Cancun in 2005...

The awards will be presented in London on Oct. 20.

The Associated Press

Sep. 16, 2010

See also:

Journalist / Activist   Lydia Cacho is    Railroaded by the Legal Process in Mexico for Having Exposing Child Sex Networks In Mexico


Added: Sep. 19, 2010

The World, Chile

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (right) with former Chilean president Michelle Bachelet, on 14 September 2010

Bachelet: ONU Mujeres Será un Enorme Desafío

La ex presidenta de Chile, Michelle Bachelet describió su nombramiento al frente de ONU Mujeres como un enorme desafío que acoge con beneplácito.

En una entrevista exclusiva con la Radio de la ONU, Bachelet indicó que su designación representa un reconocimiento a los logros de su gobierno y a los avances de su país en políticas destinadas al adelanto de la mujer.

Consideró que su experiencia como mandataria y su relación con otros jefes de Estado contribuirán a avanzar en el objetivo de la igualdad de los géneros.

“Mi experiencia también en todo lo vinculado al trabajo de igualdad de las mujeres, igualdad de derechos, a luchar contra la violencia, a luchar contra la discriminación, esta ha sido la historia de mi vida. No sólo con respecto a las mujeres, sino de los hombres, mujeres, niños, ancianos. Toda esta experiencia la quiero entregar en esta tarea que es la dirección de esta nueva estructura de Naciones Unidas”.

La nueva Entidad para la Igualdad entre los Géneros, “ONU Mujeres”, fue creada por la Asamblea General el pasado 2 de julio, y fusiona cuatro organismos de la ONU que se ocupaban del tema. Comenzará a operar en enero de 2011.

Radio ONU - UN Radio

Sep. 15, 2010

See also:

Former Chilean president to head new high-profile UN women’s agency

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (right) with Michelle Bachelet

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today named former Chilean president Michelle Bachelet to head United Nations Women (UN Women), a newly created entity to oversee all of the world body’s programmes aimed at promoting women’s rights and full participation in global affairs.

The new body – which will receive a large boost in funding and become operational in January – merges four UN agencies and offices: the UN Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), the Division for the Advancement of Women (DAW), the Office of the Special Adviser on Gender Issues, and the UN International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women (UN-INSTRAW).

“UN Women will promote the interests of women and girls across the globe,” Mr. Ban told reporters in announcing the appointment. “Ms. Bachelet brings to this critical position a history of dynamic global leadership, highly honed political skills and uncommon ability to create consensus and focus among UN agencies and many partners in both the public and private sector.”

“I’m confident that under her strong leadership we can improve the lives of millions of women and girls throughout the world.”

Ms. Bachelet, Chile’s first female president who prioritized women’s issues throughout her tenure and since leaving office has been working with UNIFEM to advocate for the needs of Haitian women following January’s devastating earthquake, was chosen over two other candidates.

The new entity is set to have an annual budget of at least $500 million, double the current combined resources of the four agencies it comprises.

“As you know the creation of UN Women is the culmination of almost four years’ effort and today’s announcement has been made possible thanks to the hard work of the Member States and the many partners who share our commitment to this agenda, and this has been a top and very personal priority of mine,” Mr. Ban said.

He stressed that at next week’s UN Summit on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) women and children will be “at the very core of our final push” to realize the ambitious targets for slashing extreme poverty and hunger, maternal and infant mortality, rampant diseases, and lack of access to education and health services, all by the deadline of 2015...

The United Nations

Sep. 14, 2010

See also:

Bachelet Named Head of UN Agency for Women

Former Chilean President Michelle Bachelet became the head of UN Women, a new agency that merges four UN agencies devoted to women’s and gender issues. In his announcement of the position, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said “Ms. Bachelet brings to this critical position a history of dynamic global leadership.”

Americas Quarterly - Weekly Update

Sep. 16, 2010

 


Added: Sep. 19, 2010

Ecuador

Ecuador Closes Open-Door Policy

Authorities announced that Ecuador will begin requiring entry visas for visitors from nine Asian and African countries, ending the country’s policy of universal free entry. The government says it added the exceptions to its visa laws in an effort to stop the use of Ecuador as a base for human trafficking, reports IPS News.

Americas Quarterly - Weekly Update

Sep. 16, 2010


Added: Sep. 19, 2010

The World

Governments seek coordination to fight sex trafficking

Child trafficking is one of the fastest growing crimes in the world - an underground business, often conducted on the internet, and driven by enormous profits. According to UNICEF, an estimated 2.5 million children, the majority of them girls, are sexually exploited in the multibillion-dollar commercial sex industry.

While the problem is usually associated with countries with unstable economic and political systems, today it is the biggest in Europe, the United States, Russia and Africa.

[We disagree with the conclusion that . Mexico alone has many more victims of child sex trafficking than the United States. The Dominican Republic, Colombia, Peru,  Brazil and Argentina each have more child victims than the U.S. has at any given time. It is unacceptable that the Latin American sex trafficking problem remains 'invisible' to large segments of journalists, researchers and decision makers. Human smuggling and trafficking in Mexico amounts to a $15 to $20 billion per year criminal industry. The UN's International Organization for Migration has noted that sex trafficking across Latin America totals an estimated $16 billion in annual revenues. That amount in half of the commonly used global number for all human trafficking profits - $32 billion. - LL]

"Last year we identified 56 cases of young people who have experienced sexual exploitation just in the Washington D.C. area," Andrea Powell, executive director of FAIR Fund stated. Powell co-founded the organization eight years ago to stop the trafficking of youth worldwide. It has assisted thousands of teen-aged girls and boys so far in the United States, Bosnia, Serbia, Russia and Uganda.

"Asia" is one of her group's success stories: Lured into prostitution, she often worked 15-hour days in the sex trade…"It was just gross. I separated myself, my mind; I was in another place when it happened," she recalls, "It was like it was not me."

...FAIR Fund helped her turn her life around.

"To put it in a nutshell, they have helped me transform to who I am now," Asia says, "I am not the same person. "But for every "Asia" there are many more who are not so fortunate.

U.S. Congressman Chris Smith is one of the strongest advocates for rights of victims of human trafficking.

"At least a 100,000 American girls, mostly runaways, average age of 13, are on the streets. And within 48 hours, if they are not brought back home or to some shelter, through the use of drugs, crack cocaine, or some other harmful drugs, the pimps are able to turn those girls into forced prostitutes," Smith said. "They abuse them, they rape them. They get STDs, including HIV and AIDS."

Many children are brought to the U.S. from other countries, mostly Latin America, Southeast Asia, south and eastern Europe. Roma children are often brought from Bosnia or Serbia to steal or clean houses. Children from East Africa are brought to work as domestic servants or farm labor, while children from India are forced to work in the garment business. Their families often do not have any idea what has become of them. In many countries, including the US, even police officers who come to brothels or strip clubs buy sex from the victims instead of helping them...

Amra Alirejsovic writes for Voice of America.

Amra Alirejsovic

Energy Publisher

Sep. 13, 2010


Added: Sep. 19, 2010

Illinois, USA

West Chicago man gets 30 years for molesting girls

After the West Chicago woman returned home from her daughters' school event, the two girls told her a secret they shared about her live-in boyfriend.

"I had no idea what I was about to hear," the mother wrote in a victim-impact statement. "Both my daughters then said that he had sexually molested them. I am so angry because this man has taken something so sacred. They are going to have to live with the pain and memories of his actions for the rest of their lives."

Francisco Moyotl was sentenced Thursday to 30 years in prison after he pleaded guilty to committing predatory criminal sexual assault of a child and aggravated criminal sexual abuse.

The 42-year-old West Chicago man must serve 85 percent of the prison term before being eligible for parole. He also likely will face deportation because he is not a U.S. citizen...

Christy Gutowski

The Daily Herald

Sep. 16, 2010


Added: Sep. 19, 2010

New York, USA

32-year-old sex offender arrested for rape of 75-year-old woman in Bronx

A hulking sex offender raped a 75-year-old Bronx woman who employed his mother as a caretaker, police said Monday.

Marcos Cuevas sneaked into a private senior citizens residence on Sunday and had wormed his way into the apartment of another woman - a neighbor of the victim - when she happened to come by for a visit, police said.

"I'm looking for my mother," the brawny pervert told her.

"She's not here," the elderly victim replied. "She's off on weekends."

So Cuevas, 32, tied the wrists of the victim and her 76-year-old pal behind their backs - and then raped the younger woman, police said.

The tattooed terror, who stands 6-foot-2 and weighs 295 pounds, also robbed the 76-year-old of $10 before fleeing the Bronx building, cops said.

When detectives arrived, the rape victim had no problem identifying her attacker because his mom, Iris, works as a home care attendant for her 95-year-old mother, police said.

A Level 3, or high risk, sex offender, Cuevas was caught later on E. 141st St. in Manhattan.

Cuevas was charged with rape, robbery, sex abuse and unlawful imprisonment. His alleged victim was in stable condition at Lincoln Hospital.

Ivonne Suarez, who said she is Cuevas' wife, defended her "Gentle Giant" and insisted the rape accusation was dreamed up by a "crazy woman."

"He would never do this after spending that time in jail," said Suarez, 40. "The woman is senile. She made up this story. My husband wouldn't lay a hand on her."

...Cuevas spent nearly a decade behind bars for raping two Manhattan women - one of them at knifepoint in Harlem - in 1996.

Sentenced to seven to 14 years in prison, Cuevas was twice denied parole by boards that deemed him a danger to society. He won a conditional release in November 2005, but a year later he was back in jail after violating his parole in August 2006.

He wasn't released again until November 2009, according to records.

Rocco Parascandola, Kevin Deutsch and Corky Siemaszko

The New York Daily News

Sep.13, 2010


Added: Sep. 19, 2010

California, USA

San Bernardino County Priest Accused of Sexually Abusing 2 Boys

Reverend Alex Castillo maintains his innocence.

Ontario - A Catholic priest in San Bernardino County is accused of sexually abusing two boys within the last two years.

Rev. Alex Castillo was removed from duty as an active priest in June.

He served at four churches within the Diocese of San Bernardino, including Our Lady of Guadelupe in Ontario.

The parents of two adolescent boys, who are brothers, claim Castillo sexually abused their sons. Castillo maintains his innocence.

The accusations were revealed in a letter read in church over the weekend.

Parishioners say the man they call "Reverend Alex" is strict and spiritual.

"It's a good person. It's a good father. He's been here for quite a few years," parishioner Benjamin Rosas told KTLA.

Church members say they were told Castillo was sick when he left back in June.

The diocese will only say he's in a place where he no longer has any contact with parishioners. They won't say where.

Police will not comment on the allegations.

The San Bernardino Diocese is asking any potential victims to come forward.

Eric Spillman

KTLA News

Sep. 14, 2010


Added: Sep. 19, 2010

Ohio, USA

Teen girl says she was raped

Dayton - Police are looking for a man, possibly Hispanic in connection with the sexual assault of a 15-year-old girl.

Officers say the girl was walking home from school near Bolton Avenue when a man started following her. He then jumped out , grabbed the girl, threw her over his shoulders, and took her into a vacant house where she was assaulted.

Police say the man is between the ages of 18 and 20 and weighs about 140 pounds. He has a teardrop tattoo under one of his eyes, and he is dressed in black.

If you have any information about this crime, please call 333-COPS.

Charlie Van Sant

WHIO

Sep. 17, 2010


Added: Sep. 14, 2010

Mexico

The wrong solution in Mexico

The Obama administration is right to consider boosting funding, but increased militarization to combat drug cartels is misguided. The U.S. would be wiser to address rampant corruption.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton made a dangerous mistake Wednesday when she spoke of Mexico's drug cartels as "insurgents" and suggested reviving President Clinton's Plan Colombia to address the issue. That program set up U.S. military bases in Colombia and funneled billions of dollars in military aid to fight the country's drug-trafficking left-wing insurgency. The last thing the United States needs today is a new quagmire south of the Rio Grande.

Mexico is different from Colombia. Colombia was up against a rebel organization bent on taking over the government. In contrast, Mexican drug traffickers are businessmen who we can assume are principally concerned with increasing their profits. In the end, they prefer to use "silver," or bribes, over "lead," or bullets. Although they are quick to kill or decapitate members of rival gangs, they much prefer a pliant police officer, soldier or mayor to a dead one. This is why government officials make up such a small percentage of the dead — only about 3,000 out of 28,000, according to official statistics...

Plan Colombia was highly problematic. More than $4 billion of military aid and the construction of U.S. military bases did reduce the violence. Nevertheless, Colombian cocaine still flows freely into the U.S. market and is one of the most important sources of income for the Mexican cartels.

U.S. military support in Colombia also led to skyrocketing human rights abuses and numerous "disappeared" citizens, at a considerable cost to the country's social fabric. Nongovernmental organization and media reports have found that much of the aid was channeled to [ultra-conservative] paramilitary groups and that the U.S. presence emboldened the Colombian military to act with impunity...

[One] strategic move would be to aggressively fund and support independent investigative journalism and alternative media outlets, which have played a major role in holding government accountable. Journalism has become a high-risk profession in Mexico. Both cartels and the government have done their best to suppress the truth about corruption.

Unfortunately, neither strong anti-corruption agencies nor support for journalists have formed a part of the new focus on social programs, which months ago the Obama administration suggested as a possible focus for future funding to Mexico. Under the influence of the Calderon government, most of the talk has been about much "softer" initiatives, such as drug education, urban renewal, scholarships and community development programs. All of this is fine, but none of it will attack the roots of the present failure to rein in the drug cartels in Mexico.

It is time to turn the corner in U.S. policy toward Mexico. Instead of sending more money [for] attack helicopters, military bases or social development programs, the U.S. could make a significant contribution to peace in North America by helping to aggressively combat corruption and supporting freedom of expression.

John M. Ackerman is a professor at the Institute for Legal Research at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, editor-in-chief of the Mexican Law Review and a columnist for La Jornada newspaper and Proceso magazine.

John M. Ackerman

Sep. 10, 2010


Added: Sep. 11, 2010

New Mexico, USA

New Mexico receives $1.6 million from Justice Department

The U.S. Department of Justice has awarded the state of New Mexico $1.64 million in grants for public safety initiatives.

[The grants included ...$215,000] to create a special agent position assigned to the [state attorney general's office's] Border Violence Division to investigate human trafficking cases.

The grants were announced by Democratic U.S. Sen. Jeff Bingaman.

The Associated Press

Sep. 11, 2010


Added: Sep. 10, 2010

Mexico, The United States

Los Angeles Times metro columnist Hector Tobar is a former Mexico City bureau chief for the newspaper.

Photo: L.A. Times

Where's the outrage over immigrant slayings in Mexico?

...For those of us who remember the tragedy of Latin America's recent past, seeing the images of last month's massacre of 72 immigrants in northern Mexico is like reentering an old and very familiar nightmare.

Not long ago, dictators ruled most of Latin America. They had large groups of people kidnapped, tortured and executed in secret. Their crimes against humanity hit nearly every corner of the region, from cosmopolitan Buenos Aires to provincial Guatemala City.

But this new act of mass murder was not the work of a military junta run by generals. It didn't take place in a tiny banana republic without a judicial system worthy of the name.

It happened in the proud, multiparty democracy called Mexico, a country with ample social freedoms, including a vibrant free press. And it wasn't an isolated occurrence. A report last year by Mexico's human rights ombudsman said at least 400 mass kidnappings are reported in Mexico every year, many involving the rape and murder of hostages.

Modern death squads are operating freely in northern Mexico, extorting those who wish to come here, where relatives and jobs await. The kidnappings and murders of immigrants carried out by these groups are a stain on Mexican democracy, and many commentators there recognize this.

"The abuse against migrants is an everyday embarrassment we don't want to talk about because it would rob us of all our moral authority before our neighbors to the north," columnist Alfonso Zarate wrote in response to the massacre in the newspaper El Universal.

"Mexico demands respect for the human rights of 'illegal' workers in the U.S.," Zarate continued, " … but is now itself under the microscope of the international community, which is rightly scandalized and indignant."

...As with the many killings of police officers and officials in Mexico, the San Fernando massacre was an act of psychological warfare. Such extreme violence is meant to spread fear and thus make it easier for the killers to impose their will on the living.

If we stay silent about their crime, if we treat it as just another episode in Mexico's unwinnable drug wars, then we'll allows the killers to win.

And yet, here in the United States, the expressions of outrage from the immigrant rights movement have been muted. You could say they are a mere whisper compared with the very loud campaign against Arizona's SB 1070, a law whose most controversial provisions will probably never go into effect.

We should see the killings as a blunt reminder of the reasons why people so desperately want to come here. And we should speak of San Fernando with the same horror as we do El Mozote and the Naval Mechanics School of Buenos Aires — sites of the most heinous crimes committed by the militaries of El Salvador and Argentina in the 1970s and '80s.

It's not just the killers who deserve our moral outrage, it's the failed judicial systems that allow them to thrive without fear of punishment.

In Latin America, the massacre has already provoked much reflection and protest. The government of Honduras, home to the largest number of its victims, announced it would take new steps to try to discourage illegal immigration to the U.S.

In Mexico, the northern city of Saltillo witnessed a rare event just days after the Aug. 23 massacre: a march by 200 undocumented immigrants, carrying the flags of El Salvador, Guatemala and other Central American countries.

"Our countries deny us the opportunity for economic development," the demonstrators said in a written statement, after marching through the city with covered faces. "But Mexico denies us the opportunity to live."

To stop SB 1070, we've seen Angelenos drive across the desert to Phoenix to march, to denounce both the governor of Arizona and the mad sheriff of Maricopa County, Joe Arpaio.

But I've yet to hear of any rallies at the Mexican consulate or anywhere else here in Los Angeles, demanding that the Mexican government prosecute those guilty of so many migrant killings and disappearances.

Most of the country's leading immigrant rights groups haven't even bothered to issue a news release.

That doesn't surprise me. Generally speaking, the U.S. immigrant rights movement doesn't have much to say about the social and political conditions that lead so many to leave their native countries and place themselves at the mercy of an increasingly violent smuggling industry.

This is wrong. We can't turn a blind eye to the deeper, seemingly intractable injustices that are the obvious root cause of the problem.

Simply put: It's wrong that people have to undertake the journey to the U.S. in the first place. People shouldn't have to leave the land of their ancestors, their extended families, their barrios and their farms.

They leave because the promise of democracy in Mexico and Central America remains unfulfilled.

The Tamaulipas murders are really just the most sickening expression of a vast system of inequality and corruption that still defines life for millions of people.

U.S. immigration reform, unfortunately, won't do anything to strengthen the rule of law in those countries that supply the greatest number of migrants. It won't stop the power of the criminal groups that infiltrate government and intimidate officials, not just in certain regions of Mexico but in much of Central America.

There's a movement for democracy and government accountability in those places. But it's often under threat...

...Many more of us need to stand with those who work to keep the promise of democracy and justice alive in northern Mexico, Guatemala and other places.

It matters not just to them but to us.

And now, as in the age of the dictators, it's a matter of life and death.

Hector Tobar

The Los Angeles Times

Sep. 9, 2010

See also:

LibertadLatina Commentary

Chuck Goolsby

Clarifying the Issues in an Age of Impunity

The September 9th, 2010 article by Los Angeles Times columnist Hector Tobar: Where's the outrage over immigrant slayings in Mexico?, speaks volumes of truth in regard to the world's lack of response to the human rights crises that terrorize the daily lives of the people of Mexico and the rest of Latin America. While much attention is paid to the injustices that immigrants, including the undocumented, face in the United States, few U.S. human rights organizations, including those that exist within the Latino community, dare to address the root causes of the oppression that drives millions to flee to the U.S. in response.

We go beyond Mr. Tobar's analysis to state that the same problem, that of an imbalanced attention to human rights tragedies, also exists in regard to the mass gender atrocities that are today a constant in Mexico and elsewhere in Latin America. Our project, LibertadLatina, exists to counter that lack of awareness and action by focusing the world's attention on the problems of criminal impunity and state corruption and complacency. These dynamics have created conditions in Mexico that have resulted in conditions where rule of law is weak, and where both criminal networks and corrupt law enforcement and military forces compete to see how many Central and South American migrants they can kidnap, rob, rape and, in many cases, sell into slavery.

It is clear to us that the criminal impunity that dominates in Mexico has spread its influence across the United States. The fact that Latin American victims of human slavery account for approximately 60% of the U.S. total of enslaved persons is one indicator of that reality. The related fact that Mexico's human smuggling networks now earn between $15 and 20 billion annually by smuggling immigrants to the U.S. under often inhuman conditions, according to a recent CNN report, is another red flag that should start the alarm bells ringing in Washington.

Mexico's governmental and social institutions are not capable of addressing criminal impunity, and especially its human trafficking component, without being pushed hard to do so. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's recent statement indicating that Mexico's drug cartels are mounting an 'insurgency-like' campaign against Mexican governmental rule, should give pause to anyone who thinks that bringing human slavery under control in that nation will happen anytime soon.

Both the global human rights community and the U.S. federal government must shift focus and begin to address this crisis as the emergency that it truly is. There is no hope for ending human trafficking in Latin America, nor in the United States, while criminal impunity and state inaction continue to reign in Mexico.

End impunity now!

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

Sep. 10/14, 2009

Also mentioned in Hector Tobar's September 9, 2010 Los Angeles Times article was the El Mozote massacre:

No Rescue From Atlacatl Battalion

The U.S.-trained Atlacatl Battallion massacred hundreds of unarmed villagers in the town of El Mozote

About the El Mozote Massacre in El Salvador, perpetrated on December 10, 1981

A case of anti-indigenous repression through state sanctioned rape and mass-murder

...The women were disposed of next. "First they picked out the young girls and took them away to the hills," where they were raped before being killed, Amaya reported. "Then they picked out the old women and took them to Israel Marquez's house on the square.
We heard the shots there."

The children died last. "An order arrived from a Lieutenant Caceres to Lieutenant Ortega to go ahead and kill the children too," Amaya observed. "A soldier said 'Lieutenant, somebody here says he won't kill children.' 'Who's the sonofabitch who said that?' the lieutenant answered. 'I am going to kill him.' I could hear them shouting from where I was crouching in the tree."

A boy named Chepe, age 7, was the only child to survive the siege. He later described the terrors he witnessed:

"They slit some of the kids' throats, and many they hanged from the tree ... The soldiers kept telling us, 'You are guerrillas and this is justice. This is justice.' Finally, there were only three of us left. I watched them hang my brother. He was two years old. I could see that I was going to be killed soon, and I thought it would be better to die running, so I ran. I slipped through the soldiers and dove into the bushes. They fired into the bushes, but none of their bullets hit me."

Parascope.com


Added: Sep. 10, 2010

Mexico

37 suspected illegal immigrants found captive in Riverside

The group, which included juveniles, was being held in a 10-by-12-foot room that was locked from the outside and had boarded-up windows.

Federal agents found 37 suspected illegal immigrants, smuggled into the United States from six countries, crammed into a small house in Riverside where some had been held captive for weeks, authorities said Wednesday.

Immigration agents raided the "drop house" after a relative of one of the captives called the Los Angeles Police Department. The caller told police the smugglers had threatened to kill his relative because the family failed to come up with enough money to pay for his release, according to Virginia Kice, spokeswoman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Los Angeles.

Agents found the immigrants — including two toddlers and a baby — in a small bedroom, measuring about 10 by 12 feet. The room was locked from the outside and the windows were boarded up. The home is in one of the city's older neighborhoods along Martin Luther King Boulevard, about a mile east of the 91 Freeway.

"As far as we know, they were all in pretty good physical condition, though some reported that they had not eaten for days," said Claude Arnold, special agent in charge for ICE in Los Angeles.

Six suspected smugglers have been detained and are being questioned, but no arrests have been made, Arnold said.

"We're still in the process of interviewing everyone," Arnold said. "In these circumstances, it does take some time to sort this out."

Agents took an additional seven immigrants linked to the same smuggling scheme into custody earlier in the day as they were being taken to other destinations in the Los Angeles area.

The 44 smuggled immigrants are from Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Mexico, Ecuador and the Dominican Republic. The group included 34 men, four women and six juveniles.

Those smuggled into the country illegally will eventually go though deportation proceedings. However, any immigrants who were assaulted by a smuggler or were victims of another crime will be treated as victims and could be eligible for a victims' visa, he said.

Two weeks ago, federal immigration agents found a drop house in Baldwin Park with 35 smuggled illegal immigrants from Central and South America.

Phil Willon

The Los Angeles Times

Sep. 9, 2010


Added: Sep. 10, 2010

Spain, Brazil

Spain Breaks Up a Trafficking Ring for Male Prostitution

Madrid - The Spanish police said Tuesday that it had dismantled for the first time a human trafficking network bringing men rather than women into the country to work as prostitutes.

The police said 14 people, almost all of them Brazilian, were arrested over recent weeks as part of an inquiry into the network’s activities begun in February.

The sex workers were recruited in Brazil, with their travel costs to Spain initially covered by the trafficking network’ organizers in return for a pledge to work subsequently for them, according to a police statement. Most of the recruits, however, expected to work as models or nightclub dancers, although some allegedly knew that they were coming to Spain to offer sex.

The police estimated that between 60 and 80 men were brought to Spain by the network, most of them in their 20s and originating from Brazil’s northern state of Maranhão. They reached Spain by passing through third countries.

The bulk of the arrests occurred on the island of Majorca, including that of the Brazilian accused of being the ringleader, whose identity was not disclosed by the police. The prostitutes ended up owing the network as much as €4,000 each and were sometimes threatened with death if they refused to pay the debt, according to the Spanish police.

Although it is the first time that police officers have broken up a professional male prostitution trafficking network, five people were arrested in 2006 in Spain’s western region of Extremadura for their involvement in an illegal Brazilian prostitution business. More recently, the police have dismantled several gangs exploiting female sex workers, generally from Eastern Europe or Africa. In July, 105 people were arrested for their involvement in a dozen prostitution centers around Madrid in one of the largest clampdowns to date.

A police spokeswoman who asked not to be identified said that Brazilian officials had been involved. Some of the prostitutes were also placed in custody for working illegally in Spain.

Raphael Minder

The New York Times

Aug. 31, 2010


Added: Sep. 9, 2010

Mexico

The Ibero-American University in Puebla opens the Ignacio Ellacuría Human Rights Institute in March of 2010

Acciones vs trata de personas en México son insuficientes: UIA

Cada minuto y medio se comete un delito de trata de personas en el mundo, y en México, aún sabiendo los lugares y rutas donde operan las redes, las acciones que se realizan para evitarlo son insuficientes, señalaron especialistas.

Oscar Castro Soto, director del Instituto de Derechos Humanos “Ignacio Ellacurría” de la Universidad Iberoamericana (UIA), indicó que cada año 400,000 personas son víctimas de dicho delito en el mundo.

En la presentación de la agenda del “II Congreso latinoamericano de trata y tráfico de personas”, el director explicó que 80% de las victimas son niños y mujeres utilizados para explotación sexual y trabajos domésticos, ya sea de forma conciente o en contra de su voluntad.

Las rutas identificadas son: Paraguay, Bolivia, Chile y Argentina; Brasil y España; Panamá, Nicaragua y Costa Rica; y El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, México y Estados Unidos, expresaron académicos de la UIA.

Las redes de trata y de pornografía infantil en México que están vinculadas al narcotráfico, se encuentran en regiones de Tapachula, Cancún, Acapulco, Veracruz, Tijuana, Tlaxcala, Puebla, Ciudad Juárez y La Merced, en el Distrito Federal, indicaron expertos.

Las instituciones federales y estatales de México, con excepción del Instituto de Mujeres del Distrito Federal, no se sumaron a la convocatoria del evento internacional a realizarse del 20 al 24 de septiembre en la UIA de Puebla en la que participaran funcionarios de varios países, lo que ocasionó la sorpresa de varios especialistas.

Raquel Pastor, integrante del Comité Académico del Congreso, señaló en un comunicado, el apoyo del foro para ayudar a quienes trabajan en la persecución del delito de trata, ya que en México no existen instituciones especializadas que atiendan a las víctimas de dicho delito.

Mexico's actions against human trafficking are insufficient: Ibero-American University

According to Oscar Castro Soto, director of the Ignacio Ellacurría Institute for Human Rights at Mexico's Ibero-American University (UIA) in Puebla state, every minute and a half a human trafficking crime is committed somewhere in the world. In Mexico, despite the fact that trafficking locations and routes are known, [state] actions to prevent such crimes are inadequate. According to Castro Soto, 400,000 persons become victims of trafficking each year globally.

Castro Soto presented his observations in the just-released agenda for the upcoming Second Latin American Congress on Human Trafficking, which will be held at the UIA campus in Puebla between September 20th and 24th, 2010. He explained that 80% of the victims of human trafficking are children and women, who either consciously or against their will are utilized for sexual exploitation or domestic servitude.

Known [Latin American] trafficking routes exist in Paraguay, Bolivia, Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Panama, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, Mexico, the United States and Spain, stated Castro Soto [Soto-Castro's statement omits important human trafficking routes that involve the Dominican Republic and Colombia, the two largest sources of sex trafficking victims in Latin America - LL].

Castro Soto's statement noted that within Mexico, human trafficking and child pornography networks are tied to narco-trafficking organizations. These criminal groups may be found in Tapachula, Cancún, Acapulco, Veracruz, Tijuana, Tlaxcala, Puebla, Ciudad Juárez and the La Merced sector of Mexico City.

With the exception of the National Women's Institute, Mexican federal agencies chose not to participate in the conference. This decision brought expressions of surprise from some of the specialists involved with the event. Government officials of several other nations plan to attend.

Raquel Pastor, who is a member of the academic committee of the Congress, stated in a press release that the goal of the Congress was to assist those in government who seek to prosecute human trafficking crimes, given the fact the Mexico currently does not have institutions set-up to assist victims.

El Semanario - Mexico

Sep. 07, 2010

See also:

From the CATW-LAC flyer for their third annual awards ceremony

La Coalición Regional Contra El Tráfico De Mujeres Y Niñas En América Latina Y El Caribe presentará su "Tercer Premio Latino-americano por La Vida y la Seguridad de las Mujeres y Niñas en America Latina y el Caribe

During the upcoming Secnd Latin American Congress on Human Trafficking, which will be held at the UIA campus in Puebla, Mexico, between September 20th through 24th, 2010, the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women - Latin American and Caribbean branch (CATW-LAC), will present its Third Award for the Defense of Life and Security for Women and Girls in Latin America.

(In Spanish)

CATW-LAC

Sep., 2010

See also:

En la UIA Puebla se inaugurará el Instituto de Derechos Humanos Ignacio Ellacuría |22 de Marzo de 2010|

The UIA in Puebla opens the Ignacio Ellacuría Human Rights Institute on March 22nd, 2010.

(In Spanish)

ContraParte

March 22, 2010



Other important news stories from 2009 and 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

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, 200

[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]

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 also experiencing an alarming increase in human rights abuses perpetrated by government agents - particularly the army - in Calderón’s war on drugs. As Mexican human rights organizations have noted, human rights violations committed by members of the armed forces have increased six-fold over the past two years. This statistic is based on complaints received by the Mexican government’s official National Human Rights Commission (CNDH).

No Mas Abusos (No More Abuses), a joint project of the Miguel Agustín Pro Juárez Human Rights Center, the Fundar Center for Analysis and Investigation, and Amnesty International’s Mexico Section, monitors human rights abuses committed by soldiers, police, and other government agents.

Kristin Bricker

Dec. 1, 2009

See also:

LibertadLatina News Archive - October 2009

El Paso - …Mexican human rights official Gustavo de la Rosa Hickerson [has] reported 170 instances of Mexican soldiers allegedly torturing, abusing and killing innocent people in Chihuahua [state].

The Associated Press

Oct. 17,2009

See also:

LibertadLatina Commentary

According to press reports from Mexico, the Yunque secret society is the dominant faction within the ruling National Action party (PAN).

El Yunque holds the belief that all social activists, including those who advocate for improving the lives of women, indigenous people and the poor, are literally the children of Satan. They take aggressive political action consistent with those beliefs.

During the 1960s, El Yunque perpetrated political assassi-nations and murders targeting their opponents. Although today they profess to adhere to the political process to affect change, it is not a stretch, given their violent history, to conclude that Lydia Cacho's concern, that the federal government of Mexico may be engaging in 'social cleansing through "extrajudicial killings" (which is just a fancy way to say state sanctioned murder of your opponents), may be valid. Cacho is a credible first hand witness to the acts of impunity which government officials use at-times to control free and independent thinking in Mexico. 

We have documented the steady deterioration  of human rights for women in Mexico for several years. Mexico is one of the very hottest spots for the gender rights crisis in the Americas.

The systematic use by military personnel of rape with total impunity, targeting especially indigenous women and girls, is one example of the harshness of  these conditions. The case of the sexual assaults carried out by dozens of policemen against women social protesters in the city of Atenco, Mexico in 2006 is another stark case.

The Mérida Initiative, through which the U.S. Government is funding Mexico's drug war to the tune of $450 million over several years, is financing not only that war, but it is also, apparently, strengthening the authoritarian rule of the El Yunque dominated PAN political party.

El Yunque, which has been identified as being an anti- women's rights, anti-indigenous rights,  anti-Semitic, anti-protestant and anti-gay 'shadow government' in Mexico, does not deserve even one dollar of U.S. funding.

Defeat the drug cartels?

Yes!

Provide funding for El Yunque's quest to build empire in Mexico while rolling-back women and indigenous people's basic human rights?

No!

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

Dec. 4, 2009

About El Yunque

The National Organization of the Anvil, or simply El Yunque (The Anvil), is the name of a secret society... whose purpose, according to the reporter Alvaro Delgado, "is to defend the [ultra-conservative elements of the] Catholic religion and fight the forces of Satan, whether through violence or murder "and establish" the kingdom of God in the land that is subject to the Mexican Government, to the mandates of the Catholic Church, through the infiltration of all its members at the highest levels of political power.

Wealthy business-men and politicians (mostly from the [ruling] National Action Party) have been named as alleged founders and members of The Anvil.

About El Yunque on Wikipedia.com



¡Feliz Día Internacional

de la Mujer!

Happy International Women's Day!

LibertadLatina Statement for International

Women's

Day, 2010



March 8 / Marzo 8

2009


¡Feliz Día Internacional de la Mujer!

Happy International Women's Day!

LibertadLatina

Nuestra declaración de 2005 Día Internacional de la Mujer es pertinente hoy en día, y define bien la emergencia hemesferica que enfrentan las mujeres y en particular as niñas de todas las Américas.

Pedimos a todas las personas de conciencia que siguimos trabajando duro para inform al público en general acerca de esta crisis, y que aumentamos nuestra presión popular sobre los funcionarios electos y otros encargados de tomar decisiones, que deben cambiar el statu quo y responder con seriadad, por fin, a las   atrocidades de violencia de género -en masa- que afectan cada vez mas a las mujeres y las niñas de las Américas.

¡Basta ya con la impunidad y la violencia de genero!


LibertadLatina

Our 2005 statement for International Women's Day is relevant today, and accurately defines the hemispheric emergency facing women and especially girl children in the Americas.

We ask that all people of conscience work hard to continue informing the general public about this crisis, and that we all ramp-up the pressure  on elected officials and other decision makers, who must change the status quo and respond, finally, to the increasingly severe mass gender atrocities that are victimizing women and girls across the Americas.

End Impunity and violence against women now!

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

March 8, 2008



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...

...As the global economic crisis throws more women and children into severe poverty, and as ruthless trafficking gangs and mafias seek to increase their profits by kidnapping, raping, prostituting and murdering more women and girls (especially non-citizen migrants passing through Mexico to the U.S.), the level of sex trafficking activity will increase dramatically. 

Society must respond and protect those who are at risk...

- Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

Dec. 18, 2008


Read our special section on the crisis in the city of Tapachula

Mexico

The city of Tapachula, located in Chiapas state near Mexico's border with Guatemala, is one of the largest and most lawless child sex trafficking markets in all of Latin America.

Our new news section tracks  events related to this hell-on-earth, where over half of the estimated 21,000 sex slaves and other sex workers are underage, and where especially migrant women and girls  from Central and South America, who seek to migrate to the United States, have their freedom taken from them, to become a money-making commodity for gangs of violent criminals.

A 2007 study by the international organization ECPAT [End Child Prostitution and Trafficking]... revealed that over 21,000 Central Americans, mostly children, are prostituted in 1,552 bars and brothels in Tapachula.

- Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina



See: The National Network to End Violence Against Immigrant Women

And: La Alianza Latina Nacional para Erradicar la Violencia Doméstica.

The National Latino Alliance for the Elimination of Domestic Violence


Added June 15, 2008

Ending Global Slavery: Everyday Heroes Leading the Way

Humanity United and Change-makers, a project of Ashoka International,  are conducting a global online competition to identify innovative approaches to exposing, confronting and ending modern-day human slavery.

View the over 200 entries from 45 nations

See especially:

Teresa Ulloa: Agarra la Onda Chavo", Masculini-dad, Iniciación Sexual y Consumo de la Prostitución ('Get It Together Young Man: Masculinity, Sexual Initiation and Consumption of Prostitution).

Equidad Laboral Y La Mujer Afro-Colombiana

(Labor Equality and the Afro-Colombian Woman)

Alianza Por Tus Derechos, Costa Rica: Our borders: say no to traffick-ing of persons, specially children

(APTD's news feed is a major source of Spanish language news articles translated and posted on LibertadLatina).

Prevención de la migración temprana y fortalecimiento de los lazos familiares en apoyo a las Trabajadoras del Hogar en Ayacucho

(Preventing early migration and re-enforcing families)... serving women in Quechua and Spanish in largely Indigenous Ayacucho, Peru.

LibertadLatina.org contributor Carla Conde - Freuden-dorff, on her work assisting Dominican women trafficked to Argentina

LibertadLatina

Our entry:

A Web-based Anti-Trafficking Information Portal in Defense of Indigenous, Afro-Descend-ent & Latina Women in the Americas

We present our history, plans for the future, and an essay discussing the current state of the anti-traffick-ing and anti-exploitation movements in the context of Indigenous, African Desc-endent and Latina women and children's rights in the Americas.

(Our extended copy of our Ashoka competition application)

Contribute your comments and questions about competition entries.

- Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

June 15/21/22, 2008

See also:

Added June 15, 2008

The World

Entrepreneur for Society

Bill Drayton discusses the founding of Ashoka... "Our job is not to give people fish, it's not to teach them how to fish, it's to build new and better fishing industries."

- Ashoka Foundation

See also:

Ashoka Peru


Mexico

A woman is paraded before Johns on Mexico City's San Tomas Street, where kidnap victims are forced into prostitu-tion and are 'trained'

(C) NY Times

The Girls Next Door

The New York Times' ground-breaking story on child and youth sex trafficking from Mexico into the United States

[About Montserrat, a former child trafficking victim:]

Her cell of sex traffickers offered three age ranges of sex partners -- toddler to age 4, 5 to 12 and teens -- as well as what she called a ''damage group.'' ''In the damage group they can hit you or do anything they wanted...''

- Peter Landesman

New York Times Magazine

January 25, 2004


Added March 23, 2008

Mexico

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Un millón de menores latinoamericanos atrapados por redes de prostitución

Former Special Prosecutor for Violent Crimes Against Women - Alicia Elena Perez Duarte:

At least one million children across Latin America have been entrapped by child prostitution and pornography networks.

[In many cases in Mexico] these child victims are offered to [wealthy] businessmen and politicians.

Full story (in English)

See also:

Renuncia fiscal por vergüenza en resolución sobre Cacho

On December 14, 2007 Alicia Pérez-Duarte resigned as Mexico's Special Prosecutor for Violent Crimes Against Women [Fevim].  Duarte:

"I cannot work... where the justices of the Supreme Court won't bring justice in cases of grave violations of human rights."


Added March 1, 2008

Texas, USA

Kristal Minjarez - age 13, Armida Garcia - 15, and Brenda Salazar - 20... all raped and murdered by Andy James Ortiz

To Catch a Killer is the true story of Andy James Ortiz, his young victims, and the Fort Worth police and Tarrant County prosecutors who brought him to justice. The 24 chapter series ran in February and March of 2008.


Tengo 5 meses de edad y soy prostituta

I am 5 months old and I am a prostitute

LibertadLatina

Read our new section on the prostitution of infants by trafficking gangs across Latin America

Last Updated:

Nov. 27, 2008


About Baby Trafficking and [undocumented] Adoptions, and the connection to impunity and anti-Mayan racism in Guatemala



Hurricane Wilma - 2005

Earthquakes and hurricanes...

The impact of natural disasters on women and children's human rights in the Americas


Video

Roundtable on Trafficking of Women and Children in the Americas

- Organization of American States


United States

More than 163,000 Hispanic children... are reported missing and exploited in the United States every year.

- National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC)

March 22, 2006


Latin America

Beyond Machismo - A Cuban Case Study

"I am a recovering macho, a product of an oppressive society, a society where gender, race and class domination do not exist in isolated compart-ments, nor are they neatly relegated to uniform categories of repression. They are created in the space where they interact and conflict with each other, a space I will call machismo."

- Cuban-American

theologian and ethicist

Dr. Miguel de la Torre

Remember, and FIND Jackeline Jirón Silva

Necesitamos su ayuda para ubicar a esta Niña.


Added Dec. 11, 2006

The World

Sex abuse, work and war deny childhood to tens

of millions

...An estimated 1.2 million children are trafficked every year for labor or sex, and about 1 million children are thought to be exploited in the multi-billion dollar sex industry, UNICEF says.

- Reuters

Dec. 9, 2006

Added Nov. 7, 2006

The World

People trafficking ...is... big business, bringing in US $32 billion annually, worldwide. This makes people trafficking the most lucrative crime after drug trafficking.

- Inter-American

Development Bank
 Nov. 2,2006


"Familia" by Salvadoran
artist Zelie Lardé. (1901-1974)

Who will protect them from impunity?

We Must!

 

Jan., 2009

2009

Dec., 2008

2008

Nov.  2008 

2007

Oct.   2008

2006

Sep.  2008

2005

Aug.  2008

2004

July   2008

2003

June 2008

2002

May   2008

2001


 

We work for all of the children and women who await our

society's effective and substantial help to escape criminal

sexual exploitation's utter brutality and impunity!

End Impunity... Now!

© 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 Charles M. Goolsby, Jr.

All other copyrighted materials © the copyright holder.

Copyrighted materials are presented for non-profit 

public educational 'fair use' purposes only.