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February 2010 News



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Added: March 1, 2010

A letter speaks the truth from the front lines of this battle

Mexico

Breaking Chains Update...lots of action....almost more than we can handle.

Lots of action but it is taking its toll……

In the last 2 weeks we have successfully rescued 2 new daughters both of whom have extraordinary testimonies…I will share Monica’s in a bit. We also through the US Dept. Of Homeland Security successfully shut down a child porn site that had more than 500 videos involving hardcore acts with children many of whom have yet to reach 5 years of age.

I don’t think you can understand until you have seen this stuff the depth of evil that exists in mankind and while the acts are one thing what is causing me what may be more pain than I can handle is the faces of these children during the acts. I keep seeing them over and over in my mind. I find myself now at times in the middle of the day and night just stopping and crying. I can handle a lot as most of my work keeps me in the midst of hell but the enemy may have found the way to take me out of this battle.

On top of that we have identified 3 different middle schools in Baja California where girls yet to reach 16 years of age and many of whom are only 12 are willingly selling themselves not out of force but for money to buy things like cell phones, chips and soda, and the latest fashions. Many of the clients are Americans who either live here or come down specificially seeking these children.

Through an ongoing operation in the red zones of Tijuana we have also identified 42 minors who are being prostituted blatantly with seemingly no repercussion from law enforcement…yeah they do go in and arrest them from time to time but the next day they are back on the streets. It is a helpless feeling to see all this and only be able to act on a miniscule fraction.

We have been waiting for help from Mexico City for a long time now and are pretty much resigning ourselves that it is not coming. It is not like they don’t have other things to do…this country is in the midst of a full blown war that makes Iraq look like a playground. There are armed groups attacking each other daily and many of the attacks are happening in the middle of civilians and even in the middle of town squares. The numbers are staggering and it seems like the daily reports of multiple homicides at the hands of AK 47’s and AR 15’s are just another story. The US has shut down the consulate in Monterrey where the Zetas and Gulf Cartel have engaged in a full blown war.

In the middle of all this I often find myself asking God…where are you?????? I know He is here as my faith has not been completely stolen but those little 3 and 5 year old faces from the videos sure bring legitimacy to the question...

Now would be a good time to pray brothers and sisters…it is a season of almost unbearable pain. We need you now more than ever…we need your prayers, we need your financial support and we need more people to get off their butts and start doing something. There is a war going on …a war which is reaching a level of evil most of you cannot fathom or at least that you choose not to. I don’t have that luxury I have been called to fight for these kids and the images of those tiny faces is a double edged sword…it makes me want to quit and at the same time won’t let me.

In Christ

Steven T. Cass

Breaking Chains Ministry

Feb. 28, 2010


Added: March 1, 2010

Mexico

Deputy Rosi Orozco watches Mexican Interior Secretary Fernando 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 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. 11, 2010

Video interview with National Action Party deputy Rosi Orozco, and film of the first meeting of the Special Commission to Fight Human Trafficking of the Chamber of Deputies in Congress.

[Three minutes - In Spanish]

Deputy Rosi Orozco

On YouTube.com

Feb. 11, 2010


Added: Feb. 28, 2010

Mexico

An Indigenous Mexican woman worker: Her poster says: "Nobody should be beaten and threatened with a firearm. Enough - Love theyself - Hope - Justice"

More photos

From a Bandana Project against the sexual harassment of farm worker and Maquilla worker women - Event in Oaxaca, Mexico

"Entrar bajo su propio riesgo", estudio en Ontario, Canadá

Temor al despido, desalienta denuncia de trabajadoras migrantes

México, DF. - Cientos de mujeres mexicanas empleadas en el Programa de Trabajadores Agrícolas Temporales México-Canadá (PTAT), además de enfrentar condiciones de inseguridad en el trabajo, y la falta de acceso a los servicios de salud, sufren violencia, sobre todo sexual, que no denuncian por temor a ser despedidas...

"Enter at Your Own Risk" - A Study From Ontario, Canada

Fear of Being Fired Discourages Women Migrant Workers from Reporting Rape and Other Abuses

Mexico City - Hundreds of Mexican women who are participating in the Mexico-Canada Temporary Agricultural Worker's Program (PTAT) harsh working conditions in Canada. In addition to job insecurity and a lack of access to health services, these women suffer violence, and above all sexual assault, which they don't report for fear of losing their jobs.

Thee were the conclusions reached by Canadian sociologist Dr. Jenna L. Hennebry in her 2008 to 2009 research study of labor conditions for migrant workers in Ontario province, titled, Enter at Your Own Risk: Mexican Migrant Agricultural Workers in Canada. Dr. Hennebry recently presented the results of her investigation at the Institute for Social Investigation at the Autonomous National University of Mexico (UNAM).

Dr. Hennebry based her work on interviews with 600 migrants. Some nine percent of Canadian agricultural migrant workers come from Mexico, 7% are from Jamaica, and the remaining three percent are from Guatemala and Honduras. Migrant workers average 7 years on the job in Canada.

Of the 5,000 Mexican workers in the PTAT program, 400 are women...

...Canadian [farm managers] subject these workers to violence, and above all, to sexual assault. However, male migrant coworkers are the most frequent perpetrators of rape against women workers.

Many Canadian farm operators believe that migrant women workers are easier to control than men. In the PTAT program, farm managers can select the sex of the workers that they desire to work on their farms.

Women interviewed for the study stated that "If they [sexual assault victims] call the police, those authorities will take action. The problem is that they fear loosing their jobs if they speak up."

According to Adela Rico Arreola, a 43-year-old Mexican migrant worker, women women who report rape face a risk of loosing their jobs not only from their Canadian employer, but from the Mexico. Rico Arreola: "If you complain to a Mexican Consul in Canada about having been raped, he will tell you: 'Put up with it if you want to work. Because there are many people in line in Mexico waiting to come here.'"

In migrants complain about sexual assault to the Mexican Secretariat of Labor and Social Forecasting, which is the government agency that arranges employment for workers in the PTAT program, their response is: "Well, you won't be going back [to Canada]."

Full English Translation

Guadalupe Cruz Jaimes

CIMAC Noticias

Feb. 23, 2010

See also:

Rural Women Making Change in Puebla: Sexual exploitation and harassment from the countryside to the maquilas

...Sexual harassment is all too familiar for migrant farm women in Ontario. In a RWMC workshop in Leamington last summer, Eulalia, a Mexican agricultural worker in the Temporary Low Skilled Workers Program explained “…we will continue to be living those kinds of things with the employer, who is not focused on the work, in the work we produce, but instead if you have a good ass, if you have a pretty face or whatever you can offer him of your body so that he can be happy and that is not right.” After Eulalia’s powerful testimony more women started to open up about their experiences of harassment and discrimination at work.

The conversations even continued after the workshop was over. It was then when Barbara, from the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program, privately confessed that she saw no other resort than to quit her job at the greenhouse to avoid the constant sexual harassment on the part of a supervisor. However quitting means loosing the right to work for another employer in Canada and having to return to Mexico. There is much shame, anger and fear among migrant women who experience various forms of sexual harassment that according to the Ontario Human Rights Code does not have to be sexual in nature but that also includes gender discrimination.

Rural Women Making Change along with El Centro de Apoyo al Trabajador [1] and Justicia for Migrant Workers partnered to be part of the Bananda Project’s mission this year. In mid-April an educational and arts based workshop was held in Puebla for men and women workers in the maquila auto-parts industry. The workshop provided a space to talk about the situation of farm worker women, to share RWMC’s research on the topic and to expand on local context of the maquila sector in Puebla...

Evelyn Encalada Grez - RWMC Migration Project Researcher

May, 2009


Added: Feb. 28, 2010

Giumarra Vineyards Sued by EEOC for Sexual Harassment and Retaliation Against Farm Workers

Farm Workers Fired for Assisting Teenage Female Employee Who Was Being Sexually Harassed in the Vineyards, Federal Agency Charges

Indigenous Mexican workers were retaliated against

Los Angeles - Giumarra Vineyards Corporation, one of the largest growers of table grapes in the nation, violated federal law by subjecting a teenage female farm worker to sexual harassment, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit announced today. Further, the EEOC said, the company retaliated against a class of other farm workers who came to her aid at its Edison, California facility. All of the victims identified in the lawsuit are indigenous Indians from Mexico, a minority among the Mexican farm worker community.

According to the EEOC’s suit (EEOC v. Giumarra Vineyards Corporation, et al, Case No. 1:09-cv-02255), filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California, the young female worker was subjected to sexual advances, sexually inappropriate touching and abusive and offensive sexual comments about the male sex organ by a male co-worker.

The EEOC further alleged that after witnessing the sexual harassment, a class of farm workers came to the aid of the teenage female victim and complained to Giumarra Vineyards. However, just one day after reporting and complaining about the sexual harassment, the teenage victim and the class of farm workers were summarily discharged in retaliation for their opposition to the sexual harassment.

“What happened to this vulnerable young girl was intolerable and illegal,” said EEOC Acting Chairman Stuart J. Ishimaru. “And what this employer did to others who simply came to her defense was outrageous. Whenever workers alert their superiors about unlawful discrimination in the workplace, employers should act immediately to end the illegal mistreatment. If they don’t – if employers won’t protect their own workers from illegal harassment and instead retaliate against the whistle-blowers – then the EEOC will make sure they face the legal consequences.” ...

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)

Jan. 13, 2010


Added: Feb. 28, 2010

Haiti

Haitian Minister of Women's Affairs Marjorie Michel is received by OAS Secretary General José Miguel Insulza

More Photos

Photo: OAS

OEA reafirma su compromiso con las mujeres de Haití

En el marco del Año Interamericano de la Mujer, la Organización de los Estados Americanos (OEA) y la Comisión Interamericana de Mujeres (CIM) realizaron hoy una sesión especial para recibir a la ministra de la Condición Femenina y los Derechos de la Mujer de Haití, Marjorie Michel, en la que la Organización reafirmó su compromiso con las mujeres y niñas haitianas...

Según datos del gobierno haitiano, en el último tiempo ha crecido la violencia contra las mujeres en los campamentos, ha habido un aumento en las violaciones y la prostitución es en muchas ocasiones el único medio para obtener comida.

En tanto, la Presidenta de la CIM, Wanda Jones, agradeció al Secretario General su pronta reacción después del terremoto, “comprometiendo a la OEA, llevando sus recursos y gestionando el de otras organizaciones para la reconstrucción de Haití”...

OAS Reaffirms its Commitment to Women in Haiti

The Organization of American States (OAS) and the Inter-American Commission of Women (CIM) today held a special session in the framework of the Inter-American Year of Women at OAS headquarters in Washington, DC, to welcome Marjorie Michel, Haiti’s Minister of Women's Affairs....

According to information from the Haitian government, violence against women has grown in the camps, there has been a rise in rapes, and prostitution is often the sole means of obtaining food...

CIM President Wanda Jones thanked the Secretary General for his quick response after the January 12 earthquake, “committing the OAS, taking its resources and working with other organizations for the reconstruction of Haiti...”

The Organization of American States (OAS)

Feb. 26, 2010


Added: Feb. 28, 2010

The Americas

Feb. 25th OAS ceremony inaugurating 2010 as the Inter-American Year of Women - More Photos

Photo: OAS

OEA inaugura el Año Interamericano de la Mujer

La Organización de los Estados Americanos (OEA) inauguró hoy el Año Interamericano de la Mujer con una mesa redonda presidida por el Secretario General de la Organización de los Estados Americanos (OEA), José Miguel Insulza, y la Presidenta de la Comisión Interamericana de Mujeres (CIM), Wanda Jones, en la sede principal del organismo en Washington, DC.

El Secretario General reconoció “el orgullo que tiene la OEA de iniciar oficialmente el Año Interamericano de la Mujer con la presencia de un grupo tan distinguido que representa las luchas, los logros y los obstáculos que enfrentan las mujeres de nuestro continente en su trayecto a la representación y la incidencia política”.

“Aún hay obstáculos que vencer, estereotipos que eliminar, injusticias que corregir, marcos jurídicos que modernizar y aplicar, lenguajes sexistas que eliminar. Las mujeres políticas del Hemisferio y la OEA emprenderán un nuevo camino de colaboración para eliminar las dificultades que persisten en la lucha por los derechos y la igualdad de las mujeres. Cuentan ustedes con la OEA para lograrlo”, finalizó.

Por su parte, la Presidenta de la CIM aseguró que, a pesar de los avances en materia de igualdad en todo el continente, aún existen problemas. “Sabemos que el acceso real al poder y a la toma de decisiones en este país y en muchos otros es limitado. Si bien la mayoría de los países aquí representados han firmado los convenios que permiten que la mujer acceda al poder, seguimos enfrentadas a obstáculos en todos los ámbitos”...

OAS Inaugurates Inter-American Year of Women

The Organization of American States (OAS) today inaugurated the Inter-American Year of Women with a round table presided by OAS Secretary General José Miguel Insulza and the President of the Inter-American Commission of Women (CIM), Wanda Jones, at OAS headquarters in Washington, DC.

The Secretary General noted “the pride the OAS has in officially beginning the Inter-American Year of Women with the presence of so distinguished a group that represents the battles, the achievements and obstacles that women in our continent face in their trajectory toward political representation and influence.”

“There are still obstacles to overcome, stereotypes to eliminate, injustices to correct, judicial frameworks to modernize and implement, sexist language to eliminate. Political women of the Hemisphere and the OAS will undertake a new road of collaboration to eliminate the difficulties that persist in the fight for the rights and equality of women. You can count on the OAS for support,” he concluded.

For her part, the President of the CIM asserted that despite the progress achieved throughout the continent on the subject of equality, certain problems persist. “We know that access to real power and decision making in this country and in many others is limited. While a majority of countries represented here have signed agreements that allow women access to power, we continue to face obstacles in all spheres.” ...

The Organization of American States (OAS)

Feb. 25, 2010


Added: Feb. 28, 2010

The Americas

Ministros de justicia de las Américas adoptan nuevas medidas para fortalecer la cooperación jurídica en la región

Las más altas autoridades de las Américas en materia de Justicia, convocadas por la Organización de los Estados Americanos (OEA), concluyeron hoy su reunión en Brasilia con la adopción de una serie de conclusiones y recomendaciones encaminadas a fortalecer la efectividad, eficiencia y agilidad en la acción conjunta de los Estados para prevenir, perseguir y combatir la criminalidad en la región...

Los temas de la agenda incluyeron medidas concretas para fortalecer la cooperación jurídica y judicial en las Américas; promoción de herramientas para fortalecer la asistencia mutua en materia penal y de extradición; medidas contra el delito cibernético; asistencia y protección a victimas y testigos; políticas penitenciarias y carcelarias y cooperación hemisférica en materia de investigación forense, la lucha contra de la trata de personas y en pro del derecho de la familia y la niñez...

Ministers of Justice of the Americas Adopt New Measures to Strengthen Legal Cooperation in the Region

The highest authorities of the Americas in matters of Justice, brought together by the Organization of American States (OAS), concluded today their meeting in Brasilia with the adoption of a series of conclusions and recommendations aimed at strengthening effectiveness, efficiency and flow in the joint action of States to prevent, prosecute and fight crime in the region...

Subjects on the agenda included concrete measures to strengthen legal and judicial cooperation in the Americas; the promotion of tools to strengthen mutual assistance in penal and extradition matters; measures against cybercrime; assistance and protection to victims and witnesses; prison and penitentiary policy and hemispheric cooperation on matters of forensic investigation, the fight against human trafficking and support for family and child’s rights...

Organization of American States (OAS)

Feb. 26, 2010


Added: Feb. 28, 2010

Texas, USA

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott

New Texas Task Force Will Tackle Human Trafficking

Dallas - A new state task force will take an aggressive stand against human traffickers, who have turned Texas into a hub for international and domestic forced labor and prostitution rings, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott said Tuesday in Dallas.

The Texas Human Trafficking Prevention Task Force will coordinate, fortify and expand law enforcement tools to prosecute traffickers and help better identify victims of "modern-day slavery," he said.

"We are not going to be defeated by human trafficking," Abbott said. "It is a horrific crime that affects far too many people."

Abbott spoke about the task force, which held its first meeting last month, at the Texas Summit on the Trafficking and Exploitation of Children, organized by Children at Risk...

While Texas already has several task forces related to human trafficking that are funded by the U.S. Justice Department, the new task force will connect investigations and intelligence throughout the state, officials said...

Major destination

Texas is considered a major destination for victims of domestic and international human trafficking. In 2008, 38 percent of all calls to the National Human Trafficking Resource Center hot line were dialed in Texas, according to statistics...

Victims' rights workers have called for more safe houses and increased public awareness. A common misperception is that victims are always forced into the sex trade. But, advocates say, more than half are forced into other types of labor, so clues about their situation are often ignored...

Rep. Paula Pierson, D-Arlington, who attended the conference, said abuse, particularly of women and children, has gone on for "years and years." 

"We can't just bury our heads in the sand and pretend it does not go on," she said. "We have to take a stand and stop it."

Alex Branch

Star-Telegram

Feb. 23, 2010


Added: Feb. 27, 2010

Chile

Chile's President Michelle Bachelet

Chile earthquake kills 78 and triggers tsunami

A massive earthquake has hit the coast of Chile, killing dozens of people, flattening buildings and triggering a tsunami.

The 8.8-magnitude quake, the country’s largest in 25 years, shook the capital Santiago for a minute and half at 3:34am (6:34am GMT) today.

A tsunami warning has been extended across 53 countries, including most of Central and South America and as far as Australia, Hawaii and Antarctica.

The wave has already caused serious damage to the sparsely populated Juan Fernandez islands, off the Santiago coast, and is now travelling across the ocean at several hundred km per hour.

The death toll in Chile has reached 78 and is still rising according to President Michelle Bachelet, who has declared a “state of catastrophe” in the country.

Calling for calm from an emergency response centre, the outgoing president said: “We have had a huge earthquake, with some aftershocks.

“Despite this, the system is functioning. People should remain calm. We’re doing everything we can with all the forces we have. Any information we will share immediately.”

The Associate Press / TVN

Feb. 27, 2010


Added: Feb. 27, 2010

Mexico

Climate Migration in Latin America: A Future ‘Flood of Refugees’ to the North?

‘Hotspot’ case study: Mexico

With a confluence of climate and non-climate drivers, the ubiquitous presence of land degradation, and an irregular geographical population and land distribution, Mexico stands out as an exemplary potential hotspot for environmentally-induced migration in Latin America. Its adjacency to the United States has in part facilitated international migration as a viable coping strategy.... There has been a growing out-migration of environmentally induced migrants from the arid northern region, already estimated by the mid 1990s at 900,000 per year. When Washington decides to include environmentally motivated migration as a factor in its migratory policy, it might first address it in regards to Mexico, due to the latter’s status as the largest immigration feeder country into the United States. This may set a precedent for how the issue is approached in the rest of the Western hemisphere.

...The Mexican government’s unequal response in terms of hurricane relief may also have played a part in accelerating out-migration. Indeed, while authorities responded quickly and effectively to Hurricane Wilma that hit the Maya Riviera and its tourist attractions in October 2005, they provided practically no assistance to the impoverished victims of Hurricane Stan, which devastated [Mayan majority] Chiapas less than a month later...

...Environmentally-induced migrants, and in particular those abruptly uprooted from their homes due to sudden natural disasters, are “at greater risk of sexual exploitation, human trafficking and sexual and gender-based violence” than settled populations...

...Climate change will also certainly induce greater female out-migration. [In Environmentally induced migration and displacement: a 21st Century Challenge, a report by the Council of Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly, Tina] Acketoft reports that “while lone women migrants will face similar challenges to their male counterparts in finding employment, affordable housing, and accessing social services, they are in addition more likely to face difficulties due to gender-based discrimination.” This holds especially true in Latin America, where patriarchalism is still strongly prevalent.

Research Fellow

Alexandra Deprez

Council on Hemispheric Affairs

Feb. 26, 2010

See Also:

LibertadLatina

Special Section

About the impact of natural disasters on women and children's human rights in the Americas


Added: Feb. 27, 2010

Mexico

Proponen sanción para el consumidor final y explotador sexual

Al concluir foro sobre Legislación Penal en Materia de Trata

Attendees at Congressional Anti-Trafficking Conference Proposed Penalizing Exploiters and Consumers

[English translation to follow]

México, DF.- La falta de homogeneidad legislativa penal, para castigar el delito de trata, tanto a nivel federal como estatal, profundiza el riesgo de mayor impunidad. A pesar de que en 25 estados del país tienen contemplado ese delito, esas diferencias hacen que desde la Ley se abra la puerta a la impunidad, coincidieron las y los participantes del Foro de Análisis sobre la Legislación Penal en Materia de Trata de Personas...

Para Rodolfo Casillas, especialista en el tema y maestro en historia por El Colegio de México, los estados que ya modificaron sus códigos penales apelaron a una gran diversidad de elementos lo que da como resultado una variedad en las conductas sancionables, en los medios comisivos, en los fines y en consecuencia en el régimen de sanciones...

México forma parte de la Convención de las Naciones Unidas contra la Delincuencia Organizada Transnacional (Convención de Palermo) y de sus tres protocolos: Protocolo para prevenir, reprimir y sancionar la trata de personas, especialmente mujeres y niñas; Protocolo contra el tráfico ilícito de migrantes por tierra, mar y aire; y el Protocolo contra la fabricación y el tráfico ilícitos de armas de fuego, sus piezas y componentes y municiones.

Casillas, señaló que pareciera que al ser México país de origen tránsito y destino de flujos internacionales de personas, mercancías y productos prohibidos, fuera justificante para que sociedad e instituciones podamos presentar excusas por el actuar contradictorio, ineficiente e insatisfactorio al aplicar políticas públicas de corto alcance.

Varias y varios de los ponentes coincidieron en que esta heterogeneidad en los marcos jurídicos ha permitido que los tratantes queden libres y que la impunidad se imponga ante el sufrimiento y el dolor de las víctimas, además de que crea desconfianza en las instituciones y en consecuencia, la falta de denuncia.

Sara Irene Herrerías Guerra, titular de la Fiscalía para los Delitos de Violencia contra la Mujer y Trata de Personas de la Procuraduria General de la República (PGR), externó que es necesario un marco jurídico que permita trabajar en los aspectos de atención a víctimas, políticas públicas y persecución de delitos.

“Hay algunos problemas como el de acreditar el tipo penal no sólo en la cuestión de la ley para prevenir, sino los tipos penales específicos. Se tiene que hacer un análisis jurídico que, “nos permita que no se recalifiquen las conductas delictivas, que se dé menos espacio a la corrupción y que en general todos los actores estemos en un mismo sentido combatiendo este delito”...

Gladis Torres Ruiz

CIMAC Noticias

Feb. 25, 2010


Added: Feb. 26, 2010

Mexico

Congressional Deputy Rosi Orozco, Chair of the anti trafficking commission in the Chamber of Deputies, and Mexico's Interior Secretary, Fernando Gómez Mont

Photo: Octavio Hoyos - Milenio Online / From: Víctimas de trata, entre 16 mil y 20 mil menores  - "Some 16 to 20 thousand minors are victims of human trafficking"

Gómez Mont deja ver su rechazo a federalizar el delito de trata de personas

Una panista pidió acciones inmediatas que el funcionario ignoró

A pesar de que especialistas y legisladores demostraron con cifras el efecto de la trata de personas en el país, el secretario de Gobernación, Fernando Gómez Mont, aseguró que antes de pensar en federalizar el delito “hay que visibilizar la tragedia”...

Invitado a participar en el foro de análisis sobre la legislación penal contra la trata de personas, Gómez Mont afirmó que ese delito tiene su origen en el machismo, la pobreza y la violencia familiar, y se construye sobre lo más débil de los seres humanos...

Interior Secretary Mont Lays Bare His Opposition to Federalizing Mexico's Anti-Trafficking Legislation

Secretary Mont ignores PAN Congressional Deputy Rosi Orozco's Call For Immediate Actions To Help Victims

During the Feb. 23rd and 24th, 2010 congressionally sponsored Forum for Analysis and Discussion in Regard to Criminal Law to Control Human Trafficking, Mexico’s Interior Secretary, Fernando Gómez Mont, cautioned that, before consideration is given to the idea of passing federalized human trafficking crime legislation, “we must visualize this tragedy.”

The Fifth Inspector General of the National Human Rights Commission (CNDH), Fernando Batista, lamented that only 25 of 31 states in Mexico have passed legislation enacting criminal statues to address human trafficking. Batista noted that because of legal deficiencies in the existing state laws, only 1.7 percent of those who are responsible for trafficking crimes are exposed to the risk of prosecution. An even smaller percentage face a risk of being sentenced to prison if they are convicted.

Batista said that this stands in stark contrast with the fact that the sexual exploitation of adults and children is the third most profitable criminal enterprise in the world, after drug and arms trafficking.

National Action Party (PAN) deputy Rosi Orozco, Chair of the Special Commission to Fight Human Trafficking, recently formed in the Chamber of Deputies [lower House], declared that although a national anti-trafficking law has been in effect in Mexico since [late] 2007, “only one person has been sent to prison for trafficking offenses.”

Interior Secretary Mont, who was invited to appear at the anti trafficking forum, acknowledged that human trafficking in Mexico has its origins in machismo, poverty and family violence. He added that trafficking builds itself upon the backs of the most vulnerable.

Among the solutions that were presented at the forum was the idea of federalizing anti-trafficking law, to resolve the problem of inconsistency that plagues existing state criminal laws to control trafficking. In response to this proposal, Interior Secretary Mont expressed his opposition to the idea. He suggested that alternatives should be considered, such as involving educational, law enforcement and social service institutions in an effort to “detect the spaces in which this monstrous activity exists.”

Deputy Orozco proposed that, at present, at the very least, the federal government should open an emergency telephone hotline where kidnapped children and their families can call to seek help or file a complaint. Secretary Mont had no response to this proposal.

During the forum Deputy Orozco also stated that the sexual exploitation of women and children is the third most profitable illicit business for organized crime globally. She noted that in Mexico, government officials are involved in human trafficking activities. Deputy Orozco: “This crime involves the worst forms of slavery that have existed in the history of humanity.”

Deputy Orozco said that, according to national and international research reports, an estimated 16,000 to 20,000 minors are subjected to [commercial] sexual exploitation of children [CSEC]. Within that group, 80% of the victims are children between the ages of 10 and 14.

Enrique Méndez and Roberto Garduño

La Jornada

Feb. 24, 2010

See also:

Added: Feb. 26, 2010

Mexico

Agónico avance contra trata de personas: Segob

Ciudad de México.- El secretario de Gobernación, Fernando Gómez Mont, reconoció que es agónica la lentitud con la que se avanza en la consolidación de una política que combata y evite la trata de personas, por lo que se requiere de mecanismos de prevención y no de acción ante este problema.

Al participar en el foro "Análisis y Discusión sobre la Legislación Penal en Materia de Trata de Personas", advirtió que los cimientos de esta "nueva esclavitud" son problemas con la violencia intrafamiliar, machismo y pobreza extrema.

"Son factores de los cuales surge este proceso, y que nos debe llevar a plantearnos una verdadera prevención de estos fenómenos; no podemos dejar de pelear por estas causas", apuntó...

Interior Secretary Mont: Progress Against Human Trafficking is Agonizingly Slow

Fernando Gómez Mont, Mexico's Interior Secretary, spoke during the recent Forum for Analysis and Discussion in Regard to Criminal Law to Control Human Trafficking, hosted by the newly formed Special Commission for the Fight Against Human Trafficking of the House of Deputies in Congress. Secretary Mont said that he recognizes that [the government of] Mexico is organizing itself to fight human trafficking at an agonizingly slow pace. He offered his viewpoint, that efforts to combat trafficking should focus on creating prevention mechanisms, and not increased 'action' [law enforcement efforts]. The Secretary added that the roots of this problem in Mexican society involve the dynamics of family violence, machismo and extreme poverty.

Secretary Mont: "These are the factors that are the root of the surge in trafficking. For that reason, he said, we must develop a truly effective approach to prevention. We cannot stop fighting to resolve these aspects of the problem."

Secretary Mont continued by proposing that the educational and social service systems should be involved in the attack on these evils, and they should be used to detect the spaces in society where these monstrous activities exist.

All of us, declared the Secretary, should work to find the path out of this crisis in the most rational manner possible. We need to recognize that structural problems [in our society] must be addressed.

Mont: "The slow pace of the of consolidating the political will [to address this problem] is agonizing, but it is possible for us to visualize that at some point our society will reach an awakening, a point when we become aware of our conscience. At that point, empathy [for the victims] will take effect.

National Action Party (PAN) Deputy Rosi Orozco, Chair of the Special Commission, declared that the impact of improved laws, better equipment, specially trained law enforcement and sensitized and aware prosecutors will amount to nothing if the judges who are responsible for sentencing those who are convicted of these crimes do not use the correct criteria, to avoid impunity in these cases.

Deputy Orozco added that an estimated 16,000 to 20,000 children, [mostly]  between the ages of 10 and 14, have fallen prey to human trafficking networks in Mexico.

Gabriel Xantomila

El Sol de México

Feb. 24, 2010

See also:

LibertadLatina Commentary

Chuck Goolsby

A First Step Towards Real Government Reform on Trafficking

This week's Forum for Analysis and Discussion in Regard to Criminal Law to Control Human Trafficking, hosted by the newly formed Special Commission for the Fight Against Human Trafficking of the House of Deputies in Congress, and held on February 23rd and 24th, 2010, was a landmark event. It was a first, important step to turning around the hidden policy of blocking anti-trafficking law enforcement, prevention and victim aid efforts that had been the explicit, yet unstated policy of the National Action Party (PAN) administration of President Felipe Calderón.

LibertadLatina has documented the complex history of how President Calderón intentionally dragged his feet for close to a year after Congress passed the 2007 anti-trafficking law, the nation's first. Specifically, the Interior Department, headed by Secretary Fernando Gomez Mont, simply refused to publish the regulations that create federal agency policies and operating procedures. This failure to publish the needed regulations effectively blocked implementation of the trafficking law.

When regulations to enable the law were finally published in February of 2009 after being drafted by the Interior Department, they were criticized by anti-trafficking specialists as being weak and ineffective.

Beyond that one year delay, the first meeting of the federal inter-agency coordinating commission called for in the 2007 law did not take place until two years after the law was first passed. That first meeting only took place after members of Congress agitated to force President Calderón (and Interior Secretary Mont) to finally create the commission.

Currently, a Sense of the Senate Resolution has been presented for consideration by that body. The non-binding resolution demands that President Calderón create the National Program to Fight Human Trafficking, which the recently stood-up inter-agency commission will manage.

So it is not surprising to hear that Interior Secretary Mont, during his presentation at the Congressional Forum on Trafficking, actively rejected the idea of legislating to  federalize  the nation's lagging anti-trafficking efforts.

In effect, he is saying that he rejects the one legislative path that would allow a federally enforceable law to apply homogeneous criminal penalties across all of Mexico. Given the fact that the current law (which is trumped by state laws) is acknowledged as being completely ineffective, the proposal to federalize anti-trafficking efforts appears to be a reasonable solution.

Secretary Mont also stated during the anti-trafficking forum that he believes that legislative efforts should focus on prevention, and that nothing else should be done by government to strengthen the law to address punishment and attention to the needs of the victims.

In response to a proposal presented at this week's forum by Deputy Orozco, suggesting that the federal government take immediate, short term action at the federal level by at the very least opening a national emergency hotline for trafficking victims and their families, Secretary Mont (who was also sitting on the panel), reacted by saying... nothing.

This week's shameful call to inaction by Interior Secretary Mont, who is obviously a powerful member of President Calderón's Cabinet, is consistent with the Secretary's past efforts to drag-out the creation of federal regulations to enable the 2007 law, a situation that only changed after Congress sent four stern warnings to President Calderon over 11 months, demanding that he act.

Another voice against taking action to stop human trafficking in Mexico has been long time PAN party official and National Immigration Institute director Cecilia Romero, who stated during a June, 2009 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 violence that affect thousands of migrants are only evils of mankind" that Mexico cannot eradicate.

Behind some of these more conservative voices who are pushing for the status quo of inaction to be maintained in regard to eliminating human trafficking is the most conservative faction of the PAN, El Yunque (the Anvil), an openly misogynist, anti-Semitic and anti-Protestant radical secret society (who have used murder to accomplish their goals in decades past), whose influence on the PAN is well-known in Mexico.

We welcome the apparent change in direction of mainstream PAN policies that have recently put several of the party's members, including Deputy Rosi Orozco, Deputy Agustín Castilla Marroquín and Senator Guillermo Tamborrel Suárez into the spotlight as articulate voices for change in Mexico's approach to tackling human trafficking.

Please keep up your important work!

We recognize that the United States, through the State Department's Trafficking in Persons Office headed by Ambassador at Large Luis CdeBaca, is likely playing an influential role in accomplishing this change in PAN party thinking.

At the same time, the PAN's conservative factions, who have, obviously, fought to reject any effective action to enable anti-trafficking efforts for years, remain active voices in this debate.

There is, apparently, a political tug-of-war going on within the PAN regarding how to address the issue of human trafficking.

The world must therefore keep up the pressure on Mexico's government to act to fight trafficking. We must also support the efforts of the many members of Congress who want to turn the ship of state around and deal with the crisis of mass gender atrocity which is today plaguing Mexico.

One underage victim who testified at the forum put the issue well. She said, "I want to ask all of you, as authorities and members of society, to do everything, even the impossible, to rescue the victims. Open your ears to hear the screams of the victims for help. I understand the pain that these girls feel, and believe me, no girl dreams of being a prostitute." ...

There is no time to waste!

End impunity now!

- Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

Feb. 26/27, 2010

See also:

Mexico, The United States

Modern Day Slavery in Mexico and the United States

...[U.S. State Department Trafficking in Persons office director] Ambassador C. de Baca believes that focusing on eradicating human trafficking could improve U.S.-Mexican efforts to combat other forms of transnational crime. According to C. de Baca, human trafficking “appears to be an area where the [Mexican government] is prepared to cooperate with [the U.S.].” C. de Baca and others are hopeful that the exchange of information on human trafficking cases will build relationships between Mexican and U.S. officials that might help further combat the drug war...

Megan McAdams

Council on Hemispheric Affairs (COHA)

Dec. 21, 2009

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 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 his allowing unending mass gender atrocities to occur on Mexico's southern border with Guatemala and Belize.

In this hell-on-earth, an estimated 450 to 600 migrant women are sexually assaulted each day, according to the International Organization for Migration. Police response is almost non-existent. At times, police 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 of this ongoing 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 last 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 Romero made that promise.

With the current economic slowdown and the expansion of global criminal sex trafficking operations, the rapes, kidnappings and sexual enslave-ment 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 kidnapped 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 appears to actually 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 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

See also:

Added: June 28, 2009

Mexico

Mexican Congressional Deputy Maricela Contreras, [now former] chairwoman of the national commission to combat trafficking, speaks out about defects in the federal regulations published by President Calderón that weaken the nation's first federal anti-trafficking law

Atorada, ley contra tráfico de personas

Señala diputada que Segob no incluyó fiscalía en el reglamento

La Comisión de Equidad y Género de la Cámara de Diputados lamentó que a pesar de que se han detectado redes de delincuencia organizada dedicadas a la trata de personas en el país, el programa nacional de combate contra este delito no podrá operar sino hasta 2011 debido a que no se ha instalado la comisión encargada de su elaboración y no cuenta con una partida presupuestal específica...

Mexico’s Law to Prevent and Punish Trafficking in Persons is Stuck in the Mud

The Interior Department failed to include a role for the special prosecutor for trafficking's office in the law’s published regulations

The regulations as written will tie the hands of the anti-trafficking law’s enforcement provisions until 2011

The Commission on Equality and Gender of the Chamber of Deputies (the lower house of Congress) regrets the fact that despite having identified organized crime networks involved in human trafficking in the country, the national program to combat this crime cannot begin operating until 2011. The [unexpected] delay is due to the fact that the commission responsible for standing-up these efforts does not yet have a line item in the federal budget, and therefore it has not been created.

Deputy Maricela Contreras of the Revolutionary Democratic Party (PRD) and chairwoman of the anti-trafficking commission, noted that another failure of the Department of the Interior (SEGOB) in drafting the required federal regulations that will activate the 2008 anti-trafficking law is the fact that SEGOB did not create a role for the office of the Special Prosecutor for Crimes of Violence Against Women and Trafficking (FEVIMTRA) [an office of the Attorney General of the Republic] as one of the institutions responsible for combating trafficking...

Contreras, as part of her analysis of the official anti-trafficking regulations published on February 27, 2009 in the Official Gazette, added that the targeting of organized crime is also absent from the regulations.

"This situation is serious, because the regulations do not recognize that the problem [of trafficking] originates with various forms of criminal organizations, from disorganized bands that are just starting up to the more highly structured trafficking networks and mafias," says Contreras...

The Joint Committee of Congress has made an appeal to President Calderón’s legal counsel requesting that the Executive open the official regulations for revision [to repair the many defects within]. Presidential deputy legal counsel Javier Sanchez Arriaga responded to Congress by stating that changing the regulations was a responsibility of the Interior Department (Segob). [And thus, nothing was ever done to improve the regulations - LL]

Full English Translation

Liliana Alcántara

El Universal

June 20 2009

See also:

¡Héroes!

Lea nuestra sección sobre la lucha de varios congresistas y defensoras de los derechos humanos para lograr obligar que el Presidente Felipe Calderón publica un reglamiento fuerte respladar a la nueva ley: Prevenir y Sancionar la Trata de Personas, de 2008, que hasta ahora es sigue siendo una ley sin fuerzas.

Read our special section about the brave work of advocates and congressional leaders in Mexico to break-through the barriers of impunity and achieve truly effective federal regulations that will enforce the original congress-ional intent of Mexico's 2008 Law to Prevent and Punish Trafficking in Persons.

LibertadLatina


Added: Feb. 26, 2010

Maryland, USA

Melquicide H. Sorto and Marcos R. Torres-Enriquez

Men Arrested in Rape of 11-year-old Girl

Silver Spring - Montgomery County (web | news) police have arrested two men in connection with the rape of an 11-year-old girl Tuesday evening in Silver Spring.

The victim told police she was walking near the intersection of Piney Branch Road and Carroll Avenue Tuesday afternoon when two men began yelling at her in Spanish. The victim, who doesn't understand Spanish, walked away. About four hours later, around 8 p.m., the girl was playing in a park near Quebec Terrace when the same two men approached the girl, police said. They grabbed her by the arm and forced her to go to an apartment in the 8700 block of Carroll Avenue, where they both raped her, police said. She was released afterwards and immediately told her mother, who called police.

"And based on the information she provided and the location and description of the ...men and some of the contents in the apartment, the officers went right to the apartment, found the two guys in the apartment, locked them up," said police spokesman Corporal Dan Friz.

The officers arrested 31-year-old Melquicide H. Sorto and 20-year-old Marcos R. Torres-Enriquez. Both were charged with second-degree rape and are being held on $1 million bond.

Cpl. Friz added that the girl confirmed the men in custody were the ones who attacked her.

"It renders one speechless," Corporal Friz said of the crime. "It's completely unnecessary. It's horrid. You just shake your head."

Neighbors were also stunned.

"Well, I mean, it's scary," said Peter Chan. "I got a 9-year-old, too. That's crazy."

ABC 7's Brad Bell visited the home where the crime took place. He saw several people inside. A man answered the door of the house said he was ignorant of the crime and the accused.

"You don't know 'em?" ABC 7's Brad Bell asked. "I don't know, man," the man replied. "You live here, they live here but you don't know 'em?" Brad asked.

The case has been referred to federal immigration authorities to find out the immigration status of the defendants and, sources say, police will explore a possible link to gang activity...

Both defendants were charged with second-degree rape and are being held on $1 million bond.

WJLA

Feb. 24, 2010

See also:

This horrendous crime took place in the greater Langley Park community, Maryland's largest Latino barrio.

We who live in Maryland are outraged and disgusted with the actions of these guys!

Here is a commentary about conditions in this neighborhood, written several years ago.

A Police Officer's View of Violence in Langley Park.

A Latina teen: "I can't go out... because there are young people who like to bother a young girl. Protection; we need that."

Policing and the Latino Community

William Hanna


Added: Feb. 26, 2010

Ohio, USA

Honors Program raises awareness to end human trafficking issues

Bowling Green - A survivor's tale and an FBI agent's mission were the focus at the "Slavery Isn't Dead--The Fight against Sex Trafficking in Northwest Ohio" program held in Olscamp last night.

Over 200 students attended the sex trafficking seminar sponsored by the Honor Students Association, Honors Program, Women's Center, Women's Studies and the American Association of University Women-Bowling Green Branch.

Survivor, author and victim's advocate Theresa Flores spoke about being victimized as a teenager by human trafficking.

Several years ago, Flores attended a conference for human trafficking and as she sat there, listening to the information on this form of slavery, she quickly knew why she was supposed to be there. She said tears streamed down her face as she finally realized there was a term for what happened to her over 20 years ago.

As a teenager in Birmingham, Michigan, Flores was caught in sex slavery. She was taken to inner city Detroit and was guided into a motel room where her pimp said, "Here's your reward" to the 24 men lined up, waiting for her. She was sold to the highest bidder.

"When we think of human trafficking, we think of India, Cambodia, Russia and Mexico," she said. "We never think of this happening here in America. If there was one word to describe America, almost everyone would say, 'freedom.' People don't think to think that people are not free in this country."

Flores continued her story. At times where the words seemed too difficult for her to speak, she would pause and lift her head before continuing.

"This is America's dirty little secret," she said. "I never walked the streets. I was driven in expensive cars, to very big houses. America has a distorted view of what sex trafficking really is. It is the second leading crime in the world, and it continues to thrive. Using threats and manipulation to gain financially, pimps give these girls no other alternative lifestyle."

From that moment on, Flores became an advocate for teenage sex trafficking, publishing two books, "The Sacred Bath" and "The Slave Across the Street."

"When I learned of the numbers, I knew this was an epidemic," Flores said. "It is a very difficult thing to heal from--in fact I will never be able to fully recover from it--but I escaped. Most slavery is still alive, but I have hope that we can finally end this."

Special Agent Jack Hardie has been employed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation for nine years. He is currently assigned to the Cleveland Division, Toledo Resident Agency where he serves as the coordinator of the FBI's Northwest Ohio Violent Crimes Against Children Taskforce (NWOVCACTF). Hardie has extensive experience investigating violent crimes and has recovered or identified 60 victims of child prostitution.

"I work with the ILNI, or Innocence Lost National Initiative," Hardie said, "there are 34 task forces that have worked on 801 cases and recovered 904 children, the youngest child recovered being only nine years old."

Hardie works to seek out intelligence concerning prostitution in different territories, identify and recover juvenile victims and conduct regular prostitution stings.

"During our last investigation, we have had 153 arrests, and Toledo is now the number four city in the nation of prostitution," he said. "Toledo ... where sex trafficking originates. The children the 'pimps' or 'madams' take are 'groomed' to be sold to destination cities such as Chicago, New York, Washington, as well as cities where the Super Bowl, World Series, and fraternity conventions take place." ...

Christine Talbert

The BG News - Student Press

Feb. 25, 2010


Added: Feb. 25, 2010

Mexico

Rosi Orozco y Fernando Gómez Mont, Government [Interior] Secretary, at the Forum for Analysis and Discussion in Regard to Criminal Law to Control Human Trafficking

Foto: Agónico avance contra trata de personas: Segob - El Sol de Mexico

La impunidad propicia más explotación sexual, acusan

México es uno de los paraísos mundiales de pederastas y explotadores sexuales, que son crímenes de la delincuencia organizada, crecientes por la impunidad que propician las leyes, acusaron especialistas, autoridades y legisladores en la Cámara baja.

Impunity Allows Sexual Exploitation to Flourish - Experts

Yesterday and today, the newly-formed Special Commission for the Fight Against Human Trafficking of the House of Deputies [the lower house of Congress] has hosted the Forum for Analysis and Discussion in Regard to Criminal Law to Control Human Trafficking. The event was organized by National Action Party (PAN) congressional deputy Rosi Orozco, chair of the Special Commission, with the goal of defining an approach to improving Mexico's legal framework in the context of anti-trafficking criminal law.

Those attending the event were in agreement that Mexico is one of the world's paradises for pedophiles and sexual exploiters, and especially for organized crime, who's illicit businesses are growing because the law allows impunity to exist.

Attendees also lamented the fact that during the past several years Mexico's justice system has only jailed one person for human trafficking related crimes.

Two underage girls, both victims of sexual exploitation, testified at the forum from behind a screen to protect their identities. They testified about their enslavement at the hands of trafficking networks, and they described their lives in a Mexican society that is indifferent to children's needs, and which is permissive of the abuse and human rights violations faced by victims.

Fernanado Batista Jiménez, Fifth Inspector General of the National Human Rights Commission (CNDH), stated that in Mexico victims of human trafficking are consumed without conscience. He recommended that efforts focus on prevention as well as prosecution.

Hilary Axam, the Special Litigation Counsel in the Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit of the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, stated that Mexico's human trafficking law should be evolved to give more power to the institutions responsible for fighting these crimes.

Other forms of exploitation

The response of the judicial system is contradictory when the victims of trafficking crimes are illegal immigrants. Some members of the criminal justice system also believe falsely that victims of human trafficking are able to escape their captors.

Senator Guillermo Tamborrel (PAN) raised the issue of the high incidence of human trafficking in the United States, and the fact that illegal workers in the U.S. are not protected by the law, which leads to their exploitation.

Felipe Torre, of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, asked the legislators at the forum to focus  attention on coordinating their legislative efforts to fight human trafficking and sexual exploitation with the nations of Central America.

Rodolfo Casillas, an academic from the College of Mexico (El Colegio de Mexico - ColMex), pointed out that Mexico's southern frontier is a place of intense social interactions, and is effectively a region where immigrants [crossing into Mexico from Central America] predominate. He recommended that educational programs be created with the goal of reducing the risk factors that threaten children, adolescents and women in the region.

Juan Arvizu and Andrea Merlos

El Universal

Feb. 24, 2010

See also:

Added: Feb. 25, 2010

Mexico

Urge la CNDH a combatir de forma eficaz la trata de personas

Ciudad de México.- Para el Quinto Visitador General de la Comisión Nacional de los Derechos Humanos, Fernando Batista Jiménez, la trata de personas en México tiene su origen en la tolerancia social, los vacíos legislativos, la falta de capacitación de las autoridades, la corrupción e impunidad. Señaló que, de acuerdo con cifras de la ONU, en este fenómeno, considerado como el tercer negocio ilícito más lucrativo en el mundo, superado por los tráficos de drogas y de armas, hay 27 millones de personas a nivel mundial que realizan trabajos forzados y en México más de 16 mil niños se encuentran esclavizados con fines de explotación sexual.

Subrayó que para la atención de este flagelo social, la Comisión Nacional de los Derechos Humanos alza la voz, junto con la sociedad, para que los actores sociales asuman la responsabilidad de enfrentarlo a fondo. "En la CNDH estamos convencidos de que tenemos que realizar un mayor esfuerzo colectivo para ver y escuchar las diversas dimensiones de la trata de personas, a fin de desarrollar la legislación y las políticas públicas que verdaderamente combatan este delito en los tres niveles de Gobierno y se proteja a sus víctimas".

Además, indicó que el combate a ese delito demanda hacer visible la situación de las víctimas y urgió a que el Estado mexicano realice las reformas jurídicas para prevenir y combatirlo eficazmente, a la par de prestar atención especial a mujeres y niños, principales afectados. En esa lucha es determinante la acción de las instituciones de Seguridad Pública, sobre todo en la procuración de justicia y atención a las víctimas, que deben aprovechar las herramientas de inteligencia y avance tecnológico para atacar las fuentes de financiamiento de las bandas criminales, precisó.

Judith García

El Sol de México

Feb. 24, 2010


Added: Feb. 25, 2010

Police Bust Mexico City Sex-Trafficking Ring, Rescue 28 Women

Mexico City – Mexico City police busted a prostitution ring that was allegedly holding 28 women against their will, arresting 26 suspects in the operation, prosecutors said. The Mexico City district attorney’s office said in a statement that the suspected members of the criminal outfit, which operated in hotels and parking lots and on city streets, were detained Wednesday night after a six-month investigation, launched after seven victims filed complaints.

Mexico City District Attorney Miguel Mancera told reporters that four suspected ring leaders were arrested in the operation, carried out at a downtown hotel and its immediate vicinity. The women rescued by police told authorities that those four individuals had enforcers and guards under their control who kept track of them and demanded daily payments. The victims, one allegedly a minor, said they had to hand over between 3,000 and 5,000 pesos (between $230 and $384) per day and when they failed to come up with the money they were taken to other parts of the capital and left without food.

EFE

Feb. 24, 2010

Added: Feb. 24, 2010

Mexico

Congressional Deputy Rosi Orozco (center left) and other members of the newly formed Special Commission for the Fight Against Human Trafficking of the House of Deputies, meet during the Feb. 23rd, 2010 session of the Forum for Analysis and Discussion in Regard to Criminal Law  to Control Human Trafficking

Photo: Puebla state Legislature Participates in National Human Trafficking Law Forum (En Español)

"Créanme, una niña no sueña con ser prostituida"

Análisis y discusión de la Ley en materia de Trata de Personas

México, DF - "A los 13 años me anunciaban en periódicos y me trasladaban a hoteles con hombres de todo tipo, no descansaba, ni dormía, a veces tampoco comía, hubo días en que tenía que ver a más de 25 hombres que no sólo usaban mi cuerpo, me insultaban, me golpeaban, en una ocasión uno de ellos me quiso matar", relató una adolescente mexicana de 17 años víctima de trata.

"Believe Me, Girls Don't Dream of Being Prostituted."

Analysis and discussion of Law in Regard to Human Trafficking

Mexico City - During today's opening session of a forum on human trafficking law sponsored by the newly formed Special Commission for the Fight Against Human Trafficking of the House of Deputies [the lower house of Congress], a victim testified her life in child sexual slavery. She stated, "At the age of 13 they were advertising me in newspapers and they shuttled me to hotels to service every type of man. I got no rest, no sleep, and sometimes no food. There were days when I had to be with more than 25 men. These were men who didn't just use my body, but who also insulted me, beat me, and on one occasion, tried to kill me."

The victim told her story to an assembled group of representatives of federal, state and local government, Mexican and foreign anti-trafficking experts. She continued by saying that in the victim's home where she is now staying, she has met many other girls who have been violently abused in various ways. The victim, "I have many housemates who lived through different but equally horrific experiences. Some of them were kidnapped by criminal gangs as they migrated through Mexico seeking to cross into the U.S. They were exploited sexually and through forced labor.

"Others had lit cigarettes burnt into their skin. Others were urinated on. Some of them were burned with hot irons. They treated us like garbage. We have gone through shameful experiences, such as being filmed so that they could sell our images. We have been infected with many diseases. Public officials have been accomplices in this, because we were taken to their parties when it was clear for all to see that we were under age."

Before the silenced audience the victim, who's identity was protected behind a partition, continued her story. "We were forced to be the sexual entertainment for these public officials, were don't deserve to have any authority whatsoever. Such public servants should be punished much more severely than common delinquents."

"In my case, I couldn't understand how [mainstream] newspapers such as La Prensa, El Universal and Reforma lend themselves to publish ads that sell people as if they were dogs or objects." ...

In closing her remarks, the victim said, "I want to ask all of you, as authorities and members of society, to do everything, even the impossible, to rescue the victims. Open your ears to hear the screams of the victims for help. I understand the pain that these girls feel, and believe me, no girl dreams of being a prostitute." ...

Congressional members demand that trafficking be controlled with the full weight of the law

Deputy Leticia Quezada Contreras of the Democratic Revolution Party indicated that the Special Commission to Fight Human Trafficking is pressuring judicial authorities to modify the recent court ruling that has allowed Father Rafael Muñiz López to be freed from criminal charges of participating in a child pornography network. Deputy Quezada Contreras added that Father Muñiz López escaped punishment because the [judge] "e-defined the law," thus allowing the accused to leave prison on bail [Note: Other press stories specify that charges against Father Muñiz López were dropped]...

In regard to another recent event related to a case of child sex trafficking, Democratic Revolution Party Senator Claudia Corichi García decried the fact that a judge in the state of Quintana Roo has ordered [accused child pornographer] Jean Succar Kuri to be transferred [from a maximum security prison] to the [minimum security] Benito Juárez municipal jail in Cancún, based upon a determination that Succar Kuri did not represent a danger.

Senator Corichi García: "It is embarrassing and ridiculous that at this late stage the entities that determine justice throughout society [the judges] do not apply the law as it should be applied against people who participate in human trafficking and child abuse." ...

Full English Translation

Gladis Torres Ruiz

CIMAC Women's News Service

Feb. 23, 2010


Added: Feb. 24, 2010

Colombia

Indigenous women from the Embera community in Chocó department (state)

Photo: Amnesty International

Colombia's Indians Face Worsening Human Rights Situation

Many of Colombia's indigenous people are at risk of disappearing unless the government does more to protect them from increasing abuses that have forced thousands to flee their homes, Amnesty International said.

The human rights group blamed the changing nature of the four-decade conflict between the military, leftist rebels, armed gangs and drug traffickers for leaving Colombia's 1.4 million Indians even more vulnerable to abuses.

"The human rights situation among indigenous groups has deteriorated over the last year," Marcelo Pollack, Colombia researcher at Amnesty International told AlertNet. "Unless the authorities take speedy action to protect indigenous peoples in Colombia there is a real risk that many will disappear."

Amnesty said all warring factions, including right-wing paramilitary groups, drug gangs and Colombia's security forces, were guilty of committing human rights violations against indigenous tribes such as kidnappings and the sexual abuse of women.

Fighting killed 114 indigenous people last year, a 40 percent rise in comparison to 2008, according to the National Indigenous Organization of Colombia (ONIC). It estimates armed groups have killed more than 1,400 indigenous Colombians over the last decade.

Since the Colombian military stepped up its offensive against the rebels in recent years, the conflict has moved away from urban centers towards remote rural and jungle areas where many indigenous groups live in designated reserves. This shift has made isolated tribes more exposed to attack by armed groups who operate near or on their lands.

"Part of the reason for the increase in human rights violations is to do with the way the conflict in Colombia has changed," Pollack said. "The conflict has been pushed to the margins, to rural areas where many indigenous peoples live."

Anastasia Moloney

AlertNet [Reuters]

Feb. 23, 2010


Added: Feb. 24, 2010

Italy

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi

Silvio Berlusconi Says Immigrants Not Welcome But 'Beautiful Girls' Can Stay

The Italian prime minister, who is renowned for making jokes of questionable taste, was speaking to journalists after holding talks with the prime minister of Albania, Sali Berisha.

Mr Berlusconi, 73, said an accord between Italy and Albania had successfully clamped down on the trafficking of illegal immigrants across the Adriatic Sea by people smugglers.

He then joked: "I said to Sali – we'd make exceptions for anyone bringing over beautiful girls." Mr Berlusconi, whose wife is divorcing him for his alleged philandering, also joked with female Albanian journalists: "You know I'm single now."

His remarks were criticised by his opponents as boorish and inappropriate. "Berlusconi never tires of this barrack room humour," said Paola Pellegrini, an opposition MP.

"Even in reference to a tragedy such as impoverished people trying to come to our country, the prime minister reiterates his view of women as fresh meat to be consumed. He's an unseemly old man." ...

Nick Squires

The Telegraph

Feb. 13, 2010


Added: Feb. 24, 2010

Texas, USA

Stephen Ramirez (left) and Jesse Ruiz

San Antonio Men Face 'Super' Charges

Men Accused Of 'Super' Aggravated Sexual Assault Of A Child

San Antonio - Two local men are accused of rare charges involving crimes against children. The charges in two separate cases are for "super" aggravated sexual assault of a child.

Stephen Ramirez, 41, arrested over the weekend in Bexar County, faces a charge of super aggravated sexual assault of a child. Jesse Ruiz, 32, indicted on the same charge, was arrested in September in a totally unrelated case.

Since the cases involve children, details are confidential. However, Catherine Babbitt, with the District Attorney's Office, said there are two scenarios that meet the criteria for super aggravated sexual assault of a child: when the child is under 6 years of age and when the child is under 14 and there was use of a deadly weapon, threat to cause serious bodily injury or death, use of a date rape drug or acting in concert with another.

The charge of super aggravated sexual assault of a child was enacted in Texas in 2007. It was inspired by Jessica's Law, which was introduced in Florida in 2005. The case involving Jessica Lunsford, a Florida girl that was raped and murdered in February 2005 by a previously convicted sex offender sparked public outrage that spurred officials to introduce legislation

With the upgraded charge, both Ruiz and Ramirez could face more jail time, as it raises the minimum sentence from the usual five years to 25 years.

"When we talk about super aggravated sexual assault, they're not eligible for probation or any kind of suspended sentence because the minimum amount of time they're looking at is 25 years in prison," Babbitt said.

[The linked web page includes a video report about these two cases]

Eileen Gonzales

KSAT

Feb. 22, 2010


Added: Feb. 23, 2010

Mexico, New York, USA

Lydia Cacho at Syracuse University

Photo: Dr. Alejandro Garcia

Tully Award to Mexican Journalist: Lydia Cacho Exposes Child Trafficking

Syracuse, New York - ...Last Monday [the] El Tropical [restaurant] was the scene of a two-and-a-half hour lunch hosted by La Casita, the Syracuse University [SU] project to strengthen ties with the city’s Latino community, for Mexican journalist and writer Lydia Cacho. Cacho was in town to receive the Tully Award for Free Speech on Tuesday evening at SU’s Newhouse School of Public Communi-cation. Cacho, 45, is an investigative print reporter, with a background in radio and TV, who wrote a series of articles for the newspaper “Por Esto” in Cancún about child trafficking, sexual tourism and the political protection afforded to organized crime in that upscale resort.

After Random House Mexico asked her to write a book, she published these findings in 2005 as “Los Demonios del Edén” (Demons of Eden: The Power that Protects Child Pornography). In particular Cacho focused on the fates of some 200 children at the hands of Jean Succar Kuri, the wealthy Lebanese owner of the Sol y Mar [Sun and Sea] Villas resort, and his cohort, international textile magnate Kamel Nacif. Nacif had a well-established relationship with Mario Marín, governor of the state of Puebla, where some of his plants were located. Eight months [after publication of Cacho's book], at Marín’s orders – Nacif was suing her for defamation, then a criminal charge that could put her in prison – Cacho was arrested, driven across Mexico and on the way tortured in an unsuccessful attempt to force her to recant her work. Last Monday, Cacho was clear that her captors would simply have killed her in the end – she recounted in chilling detail a cell phone call and the terse phrase “change of plans” that interrupted their stop at a dark beach – had not a network of callers from Amnesty International, PEN International and other groups bombarded both Marín and the media... ...One friendly state senator showed up at the Puebla jail holding Cacho.

“I always talk about the threats,” said Cacho on Monday. “And journalists often really don’t do that. They often don’t prepare. I sat down with my team and we planned what they would do if I were killed or arrested, who they would call. And because there are cameras outside on the street too, they knew who had taken me. We had it on tape.”

...Cacho’s experience in founding shelters for battered women and for persons with HIV as well as reporting on human rights issues may have provided extra lessons in the value of security and preparation. By 2005, Cacho’s team comprised the staff and volunteers at CIAM (Centro Integral de Atención a la Mujer / Comprehensive Center for Women’s Care), of which Cacho is president.

Reflecting on Kamel Nacif’s furious indignation at Cacho’s interference with what he called “my rights,” she has said elsewhere, “He’s like any other man at CIAM. We have seventy cases a month.” ...

“I was offered money too,” Cacho said Monday, who said she’d originally moved to Cancún from her native Mexico City, having studied at the Sorbonne in Paris and speaking four languages, to write poetry and cultural commentary. “They didn’t know what to do with me. I didn’t want money. I didn’t want to move out of my little apartment. I was offered a political office. I didn’t want to run for office. I was offered a spot on national TV. I didn’t want that. They couldn’t figure out what I wanted.” ...

Tere Paniagua’s students are also seeing the excellent 2007 film about Cacho’s work and the “narco-pederasty” trade made by veteran Mexican documentary filmmaker Alejandra Islas, which bears the same title as Cacho’s book, “Los Demonios del Edén.” While the 73-minute film hasn’t had official release in the US, it has screened at many festivals in the Americas, and the US-compatible DVD has English subtitles...

The Islas film makes use of that security camera footage of Cacho’s arrest by Puebla state police in the street outside CIAM, and follows her year-long defamation trial and her own counter-suit to Mexico’s Supreme Court. (On Monday Cacho added the postscript that she is currently taking her suit to the Inter-American Court, so the traffickers might stand trial.) The Islas film also provides considerable context to Cacho’s situation and that of her antagonists, detailing for example the labor practices, working conditions, graft and environmental damage generated by Kamel Nacif’s far-flung textile empire...

Additionally, the Islas film examines the matter of the dozen tape-recorded phone conversations anonymously delivered to the Mexico City daily “La Jornada” and major radio stations, beginning on Valentine’s Day 2006. Sometimes punctuated by crude laughter and in one case by preening about how he looked on TV, these exchanges document Nacif speaking with Puebla governor Marín and others about arresting Cacho and “setting a national precedent” that will help control journalists. “My precious governor!” says Nacif to Marín at one point, and promises to send him some fine cognac for arranging this favor. The tape revelations sparked protest marches of as many as 40,000 people, a rash of satirical performances and cartoons, and... demands for impeachment. (Cacho talked about the tapes on Monday and said Marín “couldn’t go anywhere for a while without people mobbing him and sending him cognac bottles – empty, of course.”) Marin wasn’t impeached, but Mexico did de-criminalize defamation as a result of this case. What Cacho calls more important is the tape in which Nacif and Kuri discussed the price of young virgins brought to Cancún from Florida, because that established a business venture above and beyond a personal taste for four-year-olds...

[Cacho,] “I do believe we can change the world.” “Mainstream media is show business and spectacle. Journalism is about contact with human beings, about respect for all people and showing compassion. We live in a very tiny world and we are destroying it because we don’t know how to live together.”

[The linked page contains an excerpt of the film by Alejandra Islas - in Spanish]

Nancy Keefe Rhodes

Cnylink

Feb. 21, 2010


Added: Feb. 23, 2010

Mexico

Human Trata de personas debe ser delito federal: CNDH

El organismo pide homogeneizar la ley en los estados sobre tráfico de personas para garantizar su persecución

La Comisión Nacional de Derechos Humanos (CNDH) urgió en la necesidad de considerar a la trata de personas como un delito federal. Pidió además, buscar la armonización entre los ordenamientos nacionales y los instrumentos internacionales en la materia.

Human Trafficking Should be a Federal Crime: National Human Rights Commission (CNDH)

Mexico's National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) has issued a press release declaring that it believes that human trafficking should be treated as a federal crime. It is also asking that national anti-trafficking laws be based upon existing international legal instruments.

When the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress And Punish Trafficking In Persons, of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime was created, Mexico began a legislative process to synchronize the nation's penal code with the UN Protocol.

The CNDH press release notes that 24 of Mexico's federated entities [31 states and the Federal District] have modified their legislation to introduce criminal penalties for human trafficking crimes. Nonetheless, this process has generated such a wide variety of state laws that the result has been to create grave difficulties for anti-trafficking enforcement efforts.

The CNDH explained that an extensive and responsible process of analysis needs to take place to develop a [coordinated] response to the wide disparities in state legislation. The CNDH added, "The wide variances in state laws creates the risk of allowing impunity to exist."

On Feb. 23, 2010, The national Chamber of Deputies [lower house of Congress] will host a forum on human trafficking crime legislation. The event is being organized by the CNDH, Congress and the federal Office of the Attorney General.

Specialists in human trafficking, federal and state legislators, national, state and local human rights commissions, academics, public servants and non governmental organizations will join to discuss the issues surrounding legislative responses to trafficking.

Also attending the event with be the Center for Studies for the Advancement of Women (CEAMEG), the U.S. Agency for International (USAID) and Microsoft Corporation.

Miguel Sosa

El Universal

Feb. 22, 2010


Added: Feb. 22, 2010

Mexico

Lydia Cacho's top says, "No Pedophiles; No Corruption; No Impunity!

Lydia Cacho Asegura que el Gobierno de Veracruz Protege a Pederastas

En su artículo semanal, la periodista Lydia Cacho, acusa que el gobierno de Veracruz encabezado por Fidel Herrera, así como la jerarquía católica, se confabularon para lograr la libertad del padre Rafael Muñiz López, acusado de pertenecer a una red de pederastas.

Dice: "Los altos jerarcas de la Iglesia católica y el gobierno de Veracruz, acompañados de una sospechosa ayuda del Tribunal Superior de Justicia del Distrito Federal, dejarán en libertad al líder de una red de pornografía infantil que fue arrestado luego de una impresionante y exitosa investigación de la policía cibernética"...

Father Rafael Muñiz Lopez, front, far right, is presented by authorities to the press with the other suspected child pornography ring members, at the time of their arrest. The other accused suspects, including Father Muñiz Lopez's brother, remain in custody

Lydia Cacho Accuses the State Government of Veracruz of Protecting Pedophiles

In her weekly newspaper column, journalist Lydia Cacho has accused the government of Veracruz state, headed by governor Fidel Herrera, as well as the state’s Catholic hierarchy of collusion to achieve the recent release of Father Rafael Muñiz Lopez, who had been accused of belonging to a child sex trafficking network.

Cacho declared that, “The high officials of the Catholic Church and the Government of Veracruz, together with the suspicious involvement of the Superior Tribunal of Justice of the Federal District, freed the leader of a child pornography network who had been arrested after an impressive and exhaustive investigation by cyber [Internet and computer] crimes police.”

Cacho, the author of books on child sex trafficking, noted that Father Muñiz Lopez used the online alias of "Lobo Siberiano" [Siberian wolf] to sell and transmit child pornography from his office computer San Pedro Apóstol [Saint Peter the Apostle] parish, in the capitol of Veracruz [Veracruz city]. Cacho went on to say that the child pornography ring involved five suspects who were arrested. The ring operated in Mexico City, and in the states of Hidalgo, Puebla, Aguascalientes, Veracruz and Yucatan.

Cacho says that [authorities have] documented that Father Muñiz Lopez emailed child pornography to ciber-pedophiles in the United States, Russia, Spain, Chile and Colombia.

Nonetheless, Cacho says, the lawyers for the Archdiocese were able to convince the judge in charge of the case to allow Father Muñiz Lopez to [escape justice], because his acts of distributing child pornography was not ruled to be an act “against public morals,” because Father Muñiz Lopez only distributed the illegal photographs within a “closed circle of people.”

Cacho indicated that the Archbishop of the city of Xalapa, Hipólito Reyes Larios, intervened with the Veracruz state government to prevent further prosecutorial investigation in the case.

Cacho, “It is not by accident that the laws against child pornography [here] don’t protect children. But these laws do protect cyber-pedophiles, as is the case on other states. Priests and judges constitute an infamous alliance that works to shelter impunity, and, therefore, the repetition of crimes against children. The nation stands in horror and demands, legislators approve laws, police agents become trained to address the threat, and with one signature from a judge’s pen, they destroy our collective efforts to establish the rule of law. Cacho: “Until when?”

Ignacio Carvajal

e-consulta.com

Feb. 16, 2010

See also:

Jueces, Pedófilos y Sacerdotes

...La impunidad en México no es abstracta, tiene nombres y apellidos. En este caso hallamos que los cómplices concretos son los jueces, quienes ignoran las leyes de la mano de los líderes del clero, capaces de ejercer todo el poder político y dinero para liberar a sus pedófilos. No es culpa de la Iglesia que algunos de sus miembros cometan delitos, particularmente pederastia, pero ciertamente los que están libres de culpa podrían hacer algo más para prevenirla y evitarla. Lo inexplicable es la protección cómplice que otorga a este tipo de criminales, pese a que sus delitos atentan contra todo aquello que defiende la doctrina cristiana. Curas y jueces constituyen una alianza infame que prohíja la impunidad y, por ende, la repetición de crímenes contra la infancia. El país se horroriza y exige, las y los legisladores aprueban leyes, las policías se capacitan e investigan, llegan los jueces y de un plumazo destruyen los esfuerzos colectivos por restablecer un estado de derecho. ¿Hasta cuándo? ...

Judges, Pedophiles and Priests

Exceprt from Lydia Cacho's column on the release of Father Rafael Muñiz Lopez

...Impunity in Mexico is not abstract, it has first and last names. In this case we have found that the definitive accomplices are the judges, who ignore the law at the behest of Church powers, who are willing to exercise all of their political power, and their money, to free their pedophiles. It is no the Church’s fault that some of its members commit crimes, and especially pedophilia. But certainly those who are not guilty could do something more to prevent and avoid these acts.

What is inexplicable is the Church’s complicity in protecting these types of criminals, given that their crimes attempt to violate everything that Christian Doctrine defends. Priests and judges constitute an infamous alliance that shelters impunity, and therefore, allows the repetition of crimes against children. The nation stands in horror and demands, and legislators approve laws, police agents become trained to address the threat, and with signature from a judge’s pen they destroy our collective efforts to establish the rule of law. Cacho: “Until when?”

Weekly Column of Lydia Cacho

El Universal

Mexico city

Feb. 15, 2010


Added: Feb. 22, 2010

Mexico

Demanda Acción Nacional cero tolerancia para pederastas Notimex 

Los legisladores panistas consideraron que es muy laxo el criterio del poder Judicial federal y local en este sentidoDiputados del PAN demandaron aplicar "todo el peso de la ley a los pederastas", independientemente de su poder político y económico, y que ante todo se garanticen los derechos humanos de la infancia.

Al hablar sobre la decisión judicial de trasladar a Jean Succar Kuri de un penal de máxima seguridad a una cárcel municipal de Cancún, al considerar que el procesado por pederastia no representa ningún peligro, consideraron que es muy laxo el criterio del poder Judicial federal y local...

National Action Party legislators demand zero-tolerance for pedophiles

Legislators from [the ruling] National Action Party (PAN) congressional deputies Agustín Castilla and Rosi Orozco have announced that they consider the current federal and state judicial criteria used to control the sexual abusers of children to be too lenient. Therefore, they say, they are calling for the full weight of the law to fall on pedophiles regardless of their economic and political power, and state that above all, children’s human rights must be guaranteed.

The legislators highlighted as an example of this laxity the case of Jean Succar Kuri [a millionaire who was identified in journalist / activist Lydia Cacho’s 2005 book Demons of Eden as being a major child sex trafficker], and the recent decision by authorities to move him from a maximum security prison to a municipal jail in [his home city of] Cancun because, supposedly, Succar Kuri does not represent a threat.

PAN congressional deputies Agustín Castilla and Rosi Orozco also talked about the recent freeing of Father Rafael Muñiz Lopez, who was found in the possession of child pornography. The case of a pimp in Oaxaca state who exploited an underage girl was also mentioned.

Castilla and Orozco, who are members of the [recently formed] Special Commission for the Fight Against Human Trafficking [in the House of Deputies – the lower house of Congress], demanded a congressional review of these to assure that the rule of law is being followed, and that those who are guilty pay for their crimes.

Deputy Castilla, “We needed to send a very clear message of zero tolerance of child sexual abuse, child prostitution, child pornography and [other forms of] child sexual abuse.

Deputy Castilla added, “We will not allow these messages from the Judicial branch, which are of course terrifying, because it appears that [judges] are saying that they have a large space of impunity [to work in].”

Deputy Rosi Orozco [head of the newly formed anti-trafficking commission] called upon judges to be sensible and to educate themselves so that they know what has been done in the area of [law regarding] pedophiles, and to achieve a uniform application of the law.

Excélsior

Feb. 16, 2010


Added: Feb. 22, 2010

Mexico

Father Rafael Muñiz Lopez

Mexican Priest in Internet Child-Porn Case Released

Veracruz - A Catholic priest arrested last year for his alleged participation in a child-pornography ring operating via the Internet has been released due to lack of evidence in the case, church spokesmen said.

The Rev. Rafael Muñiz Lopez, who was assigned to St. Peter Apostle Church in Xalapa, the capital of the Gulf coast state of Veracruz, was released without charges Friday and left the Mexico City jail where he was being held.

A criminal court judge in the Federal District ordered Muñiz’s immediate release “due to insufficient evidence” that the priest was involved in organized crime, Archdiocese of Xalapa public affairs office director Jose Juan Sanchez Jacome said.

The investigation that led to the priest’s arrest began in March 2009, when Mexico City prosecutors discovered an e-mail containing images of sex acts involving minors.

The Federal District prosecutor’s office arrested seven suspects on April 17, 2009.

Muñiz and his brother, Francisco Javier, were identified as suspected members of the Internet child-pornography ring.

On a Web page link included in the e-mail investigators noted “scenes of explicit sex between adults and girls and boys from 0 to 10 years old,” the prosecutor’s office said at the time.

Police tracked the Web site to Luis Alejandro Vergara, at whose Mexico City home they found a large amount of child pornography.

Vergara, who confessed to rape and sexual abuse, was an employee of Mexico’s Foreign Relations Secretariat.

Information on Vergara’s computer led police to six other individuals in five different Mexican states, including the Rev. Muñiz and his brother.

Francisco Javier Muñiz Lopez was released a few days after his arrest.

Five of the other suspects in the case are still being held by authorities.

Father Muñiz is happy to be free and to have proven his innocence, but the case took a tremendous physical, emotional and psychological toll, Sanchez Jacome said.

The church spokesman thanked the Catholic community and all those who believed in Father Muñiz’s innocence, as well as local officials who provided legal assistance.

The Latin American Herald Tribune

Feb. 15, 2010

See also:

Mexico

Father Rafael Muñiz

Foto: David Solís - xonline.com

Exigen el PAN liberar a sacerdote vinculado a red de pornografía infantil

National Action Party (PAN) in Mexico City’s local legislature demands freedom for priest accused of [leading] a child pornography network

 www.proceso.com.mx

May 25, 2009

See also:

Mexico

Major Blow to Child Porn Ring

Seven Mexicans who allegedly created and ran a child porn ring that sent on-line images to Argentina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Colombia, Chile, Spain, the United States and Venezuela were arrested in Mexico.

The ringleaders of the dismantled network included a Catholic priest and a foreign ministry IT [information technology] employee, the police announced after the arrests Wednesday. The group distributed some 100,000 on-line pictures and videos of children ranging from infants to age 10.

'It was an excellent blow, perhaps one of the most important so far in Latin America. But this is just the tip of the iceberg,' Teresa Ulloa, director of the Mexico City-based Regional Coalition Against Trafficking in Women and Girls in Latin America and the Caribbean

(CATWLAC), told IPS...

Ulloa said she hopes the police cooperate with authorities abroad to track down the users and members of the ring in other countries, in order to arrest more criminals, which 'without a doubt there are,' she added.

'This case should have international repercussions; this is an extremely serious crime,' said the activist, whose regional coalition brings together 250 NGOs from 25 countries...

In Latin America there are at least 100 online forums that swap child porn, one-third of which are in Mexico, Dimitri Senmache Artola, president of the Peruvian Network Against Child Pornography, said in an October international conference on the issue in Mexico...

...The president of the city’s Human Rights Commission, Emilio Álvarez, put the number [of child prostitutes in Mexico City] at 7,000.

Diego Cevallos

Inter Press Service

April 23, 2009

See also:

Mexico

Parishioners Support Mexican Priest Accused in Child Porn Case

Veracruz [state], Mexico - Scores of people demonstrated Friday in Xalapa, capital of the Gulf coast state of Veracruz, to demand the release of a Catholic priest jailed for his alleged participation in a child-pornography ring operating via the Internet...

EFE

04/25/2009

See also:

Mexico

Señala autoridad que cura sólo veía fotos de menores

La Procuraduría General de Justicia de Veracruz descarta red de pornografía infantil en la entidad

Prosecutors indicate that Father López Muñiz spent all of his time viewing child porn

The Attorney General of the state of Veracruz (on the Caribbean coast) denies that a child pornography network exists in the state capitol of Xalapa.

The Archdiocese of Xalapa reported yesterday that it will provide legal support to Rafael López Muñiz, a priest from the Church of St. Peter the Apostle, who is accused of participating in a network of pedophiles through the Internet. Some parishioners have also described Father López Muñiz’ detention as “unjust” and have started prayer vigils for the priest.

At the same time, the Attorney General of Veracruz denied the existence of a network of pedophiles operating in the state and said that the López Muñiz brothers were "fans of these types of pictures (child pornography)." ...

Veronica Danell

Excelsior

April 24, 2009


Added: Feb. 22, 2010

Mexico

Víctimas apelan reubicación de Kuri

Cancún, Quintana Roo - La dirección de la cárcel de Cancún informó que Jean Succar Kuri, procesado por encabezar una red de pornografía y explotación sexual infantil, podría regresar en breve a esa prisión de baja seguridad por orden del Juzgado Segundo de Distrito en esta ciudad...

Victims Appeal Succar Kuri’s Relocation to a Minimum Security Jail in Cancun

The city of Cancun in Quintana Roo state – The administrators of the Cancun municipal jail have announced that Jean Succar Kuri, who have been prosecuted for heading-up a child pornography ring and engaging in child sexual exploitation, may be relocated from a high security prison to this minimum security prison, as a result of orders from the Second District Court in this city.

Nevertheless, lawyer Xavier Olea, who has worked for several of Succar Kuri’s child victims, denied the possibility that the transfer would take place, and said that the judge’s decision has been appealed to the Unitary Tribunal of the state of Quintana Roo.

Olea: “We will offer the necessary proof to confirm that Succar Kuri in a dangerous person, that the transfer is not appropriate, and because Succar Kuri has the economic means [he is a millionaire hotelier] to buy-off the authorities.

Second District Judge Gabriel García Lanz decided that Succar Kuri is not a danger, and ordered him transferred from the El Altiplano maximum security prison in Mexico State, to the municipal jail in Cancun. The transfer could occur as early as tomorrow.

A Lebanese born immigrant, Succar Kuri fled Cancun at the end of 2003 to evade an arrest warrant issued against him. At the start of 2004, he was arrested in Chandler, Arizona. On July 16, 2006 he was extradited to Mexico, when Judge García Lanz ordered him jailed for the crime of child pornography.

Later Succar Kuri was taken to the Center for Social Re-adaptation (CERESO) in Chetumal. Upon discovering that he was receiving special privileges, he was returned to prison in Cancun. In November 2006, he was ordered transferred to the maximum security prison of El Altiplano, based on psychological assessments performed by personnel of the federal Office of the Attorney General.

The announcement of the return to prison of Cancun came four years after the detention of writer and journalist Lydia Cacho, author of book The Demons of Eden, which exposed the activities of a pedophile ring.

Cacho, who was arrested in Cancun in December 2005 and taken to Puebla state under a criminal charge of defamation, considers that there is a very high probability that, once in Cancun, Succar Kuri will use his influence to live a comfortable life, and will escape and exact revenge against his victims. Cacho, “Succar Kuri promised that he would return to Cancun to get revenge on girls who denounced him and, of course, to take revenge on me."

Adriana Varillas Corresponsal

El Universal

Feb. 16, 2010

See also:

Horror Story: Lydia Cacho's Exposé of Pedophilia Has Her Critics Up in Arms

Cancun, Mexico - The bodyguards linger in the steakhouse foyer, conspicuous with their handguns in lumpy fanny packs. The bulletproof SUV sits in quick-getaway position outside.

And now Lydia Cacho Ribeiro's cellphone rings.

"Yes, I got in okay," Cacho says from an out-of-the-way table. "I'm fine."

Cacho sets the phone down, a weary smile forming beneath high cheekbones and dark, deep-set eyes.

"He was worried," she says of her longtime partner, the prominent Mexican editor and columnist Jorge Zepeda Patterson. "This is my life."

A crusade against pedophiles has made Cacho, who will be in Washington tomorrow and Tuesday to be honored by Amnesty International, one of Mexico's most celebrated and imperiled journalists. She is a target in a country where at least 17 journalists have been killed in the past five years and that trailed only Iraq in media deaths during 2006. Do-gooders and victims want to meet her, want to share their stories. Bad guys -- well, they want her in a coffin.

In the spring of 2005, Cacho published a searing exposé of the child abuse and pornography rings flourishing amid the $500-a-night resorts and sugar-white beaches of Cancun. Her book "The Demons of Eden: The Power That Protects Child Pornography" chronicles in cringe-inducing detail the alleged habits of wealthy men whose sexual tastes run to 4-year-old girls...

...Seven months after her book was published, Cacho says, police officers from the far-off state of Puebla shoved her into a van outside the women's center she runs on a crumbling side street well removed from Cancun's gaudy hotel strip. They drove her 950 miles across Mexico, she says, jamming gun barrels into her face and taunting her for 20 hours with threats that she would be drowned, raped or murdered. The police have disputed her version of events, saying she was treated well.

Cacho found herself in police custody because Mexico's "Denim King," the textile magnate Kamel Nacif, had accused her of defamation, which at the time was a criminal offense under Mexican law. (Inspired by Cacho's case, the Mexican Congress recently passed a law decriminalizing defamation.) Cacho had written that Nacif used his influence to protect a suspected child molester, Cancun hotel owner Jean Succar Kuri, and that one of Succar's alleged victims was certain Nacif also abused underage girls...

Manuel Roig-Franzia

Washington Post Foreign Service

April 1, 2007


Added: Feb. 22, 2010

Mexico

Proponen endurecer medidas contra impulsores del turismo sexual infantil

Ante el aumento de los casos de turismo sexual infantil en este país, el diputado del PAN, Agustín Castilla, manifestó que se debe sancionar con prisión de 15 a 20 años, y multa de 3 mil a 5 mil días de salario, a quienes consuman prostitución infantil o realicen actos sexuales con menores de edad…

Legislators Propose Stricter Laws Against Child Sex Tourism

With the increasing cases of child sex tourism in this country, National Action Party (PAN) congressional deputy Agustín Castilla has proposed penalties for 15 to 20 years in prison and 3,000 to 5,000 days of minimum wage, for those who are consumers of child prostitution, or who otherwise engage in sexual relations with children and underage youth.

During a press conference, Deputy Castilla, who is a member of the Governance Commission, anticipated that he would present an initiative to add to Article 203 TER and Article 304 of the Federal Penal Code, which are sections that address penalties for sex crimes involving child victims.

Deputy Castilla said the goal of his penal code reform effort is to defeat the child pornography industry. To achieve that end, we must attack the demand from abusers, who, he says, are “generally people without any morals and without scruples, who utilize children to satisfy their desires.”

Caribbean News Digital

Feb. 10, 2010


Added: Feb. 22, 2010

Guatemala, The United States

Norma Cruz stands with First Lady Michelle Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as she receives the “International Woman of Courage” award from the U.S. Department of State in 2009

Guatemalan Activist to Speak On Violence Against Women

Norma Cruz, a human rights activist who last year staged a hunger strike in front of the U.S. Supreme Court to protest the illegal adoption of stolen children from Guatemala, will will talk about “Violence Against Women in Guatemala: Global Connections and Action,” Monday, March 1 at the University of Central Florida. The speech, which is free and open to the public, will be at 1 p.m. in the Cape Florida Ballroom of the Student Union.

Her presentation is part of the School of Social Work’s ongoing effort to raise awareness about international social welfare issues. Violence against women, including femicide — the murder of women by men simply because they are women — has reached epidemic proportions in Guatemala, says Cruz. She provides emotional, social and legal support to victims of domestic violence and the families of murdered women through the Survivors Foundation, a Guatemala City-based organization that she co-founded and directs.

Her effort to bring justice to perpetrators has occurred at enormous personal risk, including death threats. Last year, she received the “International Woman of Courage” award from the U.S. Department of State.

The Orlando Sentinel

Feb. 18, 2010

See also:

La Fundación Sobrevivientes es una institución de servicio social, no lucrativa, sin intereses políticos o religiosos. Integrada por mujeres sobrevivientes de violencia para brindar apoyo a mujeres que también son victimas de violencia hacia la mujer: intrafamiliar, sexual y asesinato.

The Survivor's Foundation

“I Will Not Yield”: Norma Cruz wins a Woman of Courage Award - Fundacion Sobrevivientes

Anyone with any interest in Guatemala cannot fail to be aware of the appalling wave of murders directed against women. While many more men are murdered each year the sadistic brutality with which women are often killed suggests a particular malice, and a strength of both stomach and will not to turn away. It is gratifying to see those with that strength being recognized.


Added: Feb. 22, 2010

El Salvador, Mexico

El Salvador Protests Migrant Deaths

The government of El Salvador has filed a complaint with Mexican officials over the killing of three migrants and the rape of four others by armed men in southern Mexico. El Salvador’s deputy minister for Salvadorans abroad said about 150 migrants were pulled off a train by unidentified assailants in Oaxaca state. The official, Juan Jose Garcia, said three men were slain and four women raped in the Jan. 23 attack. Salvadoran migrants frequently hop freight trains in Mexico trying to reach the United States.

Compiled from news reports by Foreign Editor David Gaddis Smith

The San Diego Union-Tribune

Jan. 31, 2010


Added: Feb. 22, 2010

The United States, The World

Ambassador-at-Large Luis CdeBaca, director of the U.S. State Department Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, speaks Feb. 18th, 2010 at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government

Photo:Kristyn Ulanday / Harvard Staff Photographer

From Bondage to Freedom: The Fight To Abolish Modern Slavery

[Abstract of prepared remarks]

...Human trafficking is sexist, racist, environmentally degrading, and economically destabilizing. Its presence undermines the rule of law and its perpetrators are guilty of the most heinous human rights abuses any of us could imagine. But human trafficking around the world is not something we can address only by ridding the world of sexism and racism, of poverty, conflict, corruption or human rights abuses. Nor is it a cultural phenomenon that can only be tackled with education and awareness building.

To put it bluntly, trafficking in persons is a crime. It is a crime akin to murder and rape and kidnapping. We have to confront it not just by addressing root causes that are so far away from the realities of the trafficker and those they enslave, but by using all of our tools. And so the UN Protocol mandates criminalization of trafficking in persons, and the U.S. laws are very focused on law enforcement, because a policy solution to a heinous crime problem must involve freeing the victims and punishing their tormentors.

As long as there are only 3,000 prosecutions worldwide every year, society is sending a message that despite movies and advertisements and conferences, somehow the injustice the victims suffer is not really a national or an international priority. That may be because the victims of this crime are perceived to be throwaways – runaways, poor, prostitutes, or “illegals.” We should not be measured by how well we protect the “deserving victim” – the innocent who is deceived and kidnapped. Rather, we have to stand for everyone’s entitlement to justice. Traffickers should not be assessed by who their victims are, but by the heinous crimes they commit. Otherwise, we’re sending a message that the traffickers are not hurting people who matter.

We need only to look at our own history to know the moral depravity of failing to protect some in society. African-Americans who were once held in legal slavery were the most obvious inhabitants of a zone of impunity – an alternative America where those who burned them alive, beat them in their jail cells, or held them in debt bondage could do so because society ignored the Constitutional promises of freedom and equal protection. Later, crimes against women were often dismissed as family matters, or events that she “should have seen coming.” Native Americans and undocumented immigrants, street children and prostitutes have also been left at times to fend for themselves.

The people who are on the farthest margins of any society have as much right as anyone to the protection of the criminal law. Indeed, they need the protection more than those who legal establishments would like to favor. They have a right to see their abusers brought to justice. They have a right to have their voices heard in the legal process. It is because of this that I strongly believe that compassionate and smart prosecution is the foundation to the victim-centered approach... And yet, as sure as we cannot wait for every societal ill to end before we free people, we will never effectively combat modern slavery through prosecution alone. Prosecution alone cannot provide victims with the compassion and patience that meets their immediate needs and long-term potential alike...

The sad truth is that we have a long way to go here. In my travels (as I have today) I speak frequently about the “3P’s” of prosecution, protection, and prevention. But all too often, when it comes to protection, policies and practices are at best unhelpful and at worst harmful. In the failure of many countries to adequately protect their victims, a new alliterative paradigm emerges: the “3Ds” of victim mis-protection – Deterrence, Detention, and Deportation – as countries jail and repatriate victims without screening or protection, deterring NGOs from bringing their clients to government's attention. If we are to deliver on the promise of freedom, we must confront what happens to the victim when liberated from their trafficker...

Luis CdeBaca

U.S. Department of State

Feb. 18, 2010


Added: Feb. 22, 2010

The United States, The World

Critic says halting human trafficking ‘takes all of us’

Nations all over the world have to get to the root causes of human trafficking, including understanding what creates the markets that make the practice viable, said Luis CdeBaca, who directs the U.S. State Department’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons...

Modern slavery’s ubiquity — and our collective responsibility for it — were two of the messages driven home in an Institute of Politics lecture on Thursday (Feb. 18) at the Harvard Kennedy School’s John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum.

Co-sponsors were Harvard College for Free the Slaves, the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy, the Committee on Human Rights Studies, and Harvard College Human Rights Advocates.

The man behind the messages was Luis CdeBaca, who directs the U.S. State Department’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons. When he was a federal prosecutor, he sent more than 100 traffickers to prison and freed 600 sex and garment workers kept in involuntary servitude.

Trafficking in humans “is a crime akin to murder,” said CdeBaca, who seasoned his 40-minute talk with case studies and statistics. “It’s a crime akin to rape, and to kidnapping.”

Worldwide, there are more than 12 million people who exist in some form of slavery, he said, part of a shadow economy that turns a $32 billion annual profit for traffickers. About a tenth of those are in what experts call “commercial sex servitude.”

Yet in a typical year, nations around the globe initiate only 3,000 prosecutions against traffickers, “an unforgivably low percentage,” said CdeBaca.

Nations all over the world have to get to the root causes of human trafficking, he said, including understanding what creates the markets that make the practice viable. (So far, 136 countries have signed on to a decade-old U.N. protocol against slavery.) Stepping up criminal prosecutions is still a prominent key, said CdeBaca, along with a range of other strategies to “rescue and punish.”

He outlined a “3-P paradigm” for addressing human trafficking: prosecute, prevent, and protect.

CdeBaca was introduced by journalist E. Benjamin Skinner, a Carr Center Fellow this year and author of the 2008 book “A Crime So Monstrous: Face-to-Face with Modern-Day Slavery.”

Skinner’s research, conducted both in public and underground, took him to child markets, trafficking networks, illegal brothels, and other slave venues in a dozen countries in the Middle East, Asia, Europe, and North America. Even suburban America, he discovered, contains its own parallel universes of hidden slavery...

Corydon Ireland

The Harvard Gazette

Feb. 19, 2010


Added: Feb. 22, 2010

Europe, The World

Human Trafficking: Call for Unconditional Aid to Victims

Victims of human trafficking, especially women and children, should receive protection and "unconditional" assistance, demanded the European Parliament (EU) in a resolution adopted on Wednesday. The victims should be entitled to free legal aid, the penalties for traffickers should be rethought and ways must be found to discourage demand for services supplied by the victims, say MEPs. The fight against trafficking in human beings must stay high on the EU agenda during times of economic and financial crisis, stresses the resolution. According to Europol’s assessment for 2009, trafficking of women for sexual exploitation has not decreased and trafficking for forced labor is increasing.

Trafficking takes many forms. It is linked to sexual exploitation, forced labor, the illegal trade in human organs, begging, illegal adoptions and domestic work. Of the identified victims of trafficking, 79% are women and girls.

Further EU action in this field should focus on the protection of victims, say MEPs, by ensuring that assistance to victims is “unconditional”, that a victim’s consent to exploitation is always deemed irrelevant and that victims are entitled to assistance irrespective of their willingness to cooperate in criminal proceedings.

According to the EP, victims should receive all possible help from the moment they are identified as such, including access to at least a temporary residence permit, irrespective of their willingness to cooperate in criminal proceedings, and simplified access to the labor market, including the provision of training and other forms of up-skilling. The EP also asks for a simplified family reunification policy for victims, particularly where this is required for their protection, access to appropriate secure accommodation, including the provision of a food/subsistence allowance, to emergency medical treatment, to counseling services, translation and interpretation where appropriate, help contacting family and friends, and access to education for children.

Free legal aid should also be given to the victims, which “is essential to enable them to escape the situation of coercion in which they find themselves, bearing in mind that they lack financial means and would thus be unable to pay for such assistance”.

Further prevention and action could also focus on the users of services supplied by trafficked people. MEPs call for massive awareness-raising campaigns targeting both potential victims of trafficking and potential buyers of services from trafficked persons...

The European Parliament

Feb. 02, 2010


Added: Feb. 22, 2010

El Salvador, Mexico

El Salvador Protests Migrant Deaths

The government of El Salvador has filed a complaint with Mexican officials over the killing of three migrants and the rape of four others by armed men in southern Mexico. El Salvador’s deputy minister for Salvadorans abroad said about 150 migrants were pulled off a train by unidentified assailants in Oaxaca state. The official, Juan Jose Garcia, said three men were slain and four women raped in the Jan. 23 attack. Salvadoran migrants frequently hop freight trains in Mexico trying to reach the United States.

Compiled from news reports by Foreign Editor David Gaddis Smith

The San Diego Union-Tribune

Jan. 31, 2010


Added: Feb. 22, 2010

Puerto Rico

Ricky Martin Calls for Focus on Human Ttrafficking

San Juan - Puerto Rico needs more effective legislation to halt human trafficking in the U.S. Caribbean territory, Latin superstar Ricky Martin said Monday.

Martin was visiting his native island to present a study conducted by the nonprofit Ricky Martin Foundation, a group advocating children's rights globally.

The 91-page report concludes that sex tourism and human trafficking are serious problems in Puerto Rico, and that the island is used as a transit point for smuggled women and children.

"This is happening on our island," said Martin, a winner of multiple Grammy awards, as he presented the study at the University of Puerto Rico. "We cannot turn our back on the victims."

Luis Cdebaca, director of the U.S. State Department's division of human-trafficking monitoring, praised the singer — perhaps best-known for his "Livin' the Vida Loca" single — for bringing attention to human trafficking and other forms of modern-day slavery. He said traffickers are thriving in Puerto Rico and across the U.S. mainland.

"What we are dealing with is a situation where people are suffering because no one is hearing their voice," he said.

The Associated Press

Feb. 16, 2010


Added: Feb. 22, 2010

Delaware, USA

3 Men Arrested In Alleged Rape Of 16-Year-Old

Georgetown - A horrifying attack that allegedly took place in the Classic Motel in Georgetown earlier this month has landed three men behind bars. Lt. Lawrence Grose of Georgetown Police described, "They just raped her repeatedly between the 5th and the 6th [of February]. They held her down, wouldn't let her leave the room."

Police say Felix Flores, Alex Alvarado and Erik Maldonado have all been charged with kidnapping and raping a 16-year-old.

The victim had dated Alvarado in the past, but did not know the other alleged attackers. Lt. Grose said, "It took us a while to figure out who they exactly were... The other two guys involved actually turned out to be his cousins."

The day after, a family member reported the alleged assault. Police say the victim was tested at Nanticoke Memorial and interviewed at the Children's Advocacy Center, where officials confirmed there were signs of a sexual assault.

"You can't really lay blame on the motel, but we've had some other instances of crime out there," said Lt. Grose. He told WMDT that they're working on trying to reduce the reports of assaults by increasing patrols in the area.

"At least we got them, and they can't hurt anybody else," said the lieutenant. "Nobody should be treated like that, nobody. Especially a little girl. Because to us, she's still a little girl."

However, that's not all for two of the suspects. Police say Flores and Alvarado were wanted for not showing up to a deportation hearing about four years ago. They say the two men were in the country illegally.

Each suspect is being held at Sussex Correctional Institute in lieu of $133,000 bond.

WMDT

Feb. 16, 2010


Added: Feb. 22, 2010

USA

Oviedo man sentenced to 8 years in child-sex case

An Oviedo man was sentenced Tuesday to eight years in prison for sexually molesting a 9-year-old girl.

Miguel Angel Ceballos-Gomez agreed to a plea deal Monday and pleaded no contest to lewd and lascivious molestation of a child under the age of 12.

He was originally charged with three counts of child rape and two counts of sexually molesting the child.

Rene Stutzman

The Orlando Sentinel

Feb. 16, 2010


Added: Feb. 18, 2010

Mexico

Senator Irma Martínez Manríquez (left), and Deputy Rosi Orozco call for effective anti trafficking legislation in Congress

Alertan Sobre Normalización de la Violencia Hacia las Mujeres

Estado mexicano, ineficaz para sancionar delito de trata

México, DF, - A pesar de que México cuenta con la Ley Federal para prevenir y Sancionar la Trata de Personas, reglamentada desde 2008, no hay una respuesta eficaz del Estado para llevarla a la práctica y hace falta trabajar “en atención a la víctima, sanción y prevención social”, afirmó Rodolfo Casillas Ramírez, investigador de la Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales (FLACSO).

En conferencia de prensa, la diputada Rosi Orozco presidenta de la recién instalada Comisión Especial de Lucha contra la Trata de Personas de la Cámara de Diputados y el senador Guillermo Tamborrel Suárez, ambos del Partido Acción Nacional (PAN), coincidieron en que el delito de trata “es un desafío no sólo en lo jurídico sino en lo social” puesto que el alcance de la ley “está sujeto a lo que la sociedad hace o deja de hacer”...

Academics and Congressional Leaders Warn About the ‘Normalization’ of Violence Against Women

The Mexican state is ineffective in its Efforts to Punish Human Trafficking

Mexico City – Although Mexico has in-place a federal law, passed in 2007, to combat human trafficking, there has not been any effective effort on the part of the Mexican state to put that law into practice. There has been a lack of effort put into “giving attention to victims, punishment and social prevention” says Rodolfo Casillas Ramirez, investigator of the Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences (FLACSO).

During a press conference on the subject, federal congressional deputy Rosi Orozco, a National Action Party (PAN) legislator and president of recently created Special Commission to Fight Against Human Trafficking, and Senator Guillermo Tamborrel Suárez, also of the PAN, agreed that the crime of human trafficking is not only a legal challenge, but a social one as well, given that the law can only be as effective as society allows it to be.

Casillas Ramirez stated that in a patriarchal society such as Mexico, in which women are used as if they were “merchandise and objects,” there exist [social] processes that create victimizers and victims within families, and that problem has to be addressed...

Problems with the anti trafficking law

Senator Guillermo Tamborrel declared that the nation’s anti trafficking law has two essential problems: “1) its definition; and, 2) its application.” The lack of sensitivity and commitment that exists in the federal Attorney General’s Office as well as the voids and inconsistencies in the 2008 law have created a situation in which the law is not having any effect, despite the fact that there are aspects of the law that can put the brakes on trafficking.

Senator Tamborrel, who is also president of the Commission on Vulnerable Populations in the Senate, indicated that another of the limitations of the trafficking law is that, because it is a federal law, it is not synchronized with state laws, but in competition with them [in Mexico’s federal system state laws are preeminent]...

Legislative initiatives in the Senate

Members of the Senate of the Republic have presented four initiatives to reform the existing trafficking law and add to articles 6, 12, 13, and 14 of the legislation. In addition, three proposed non-binding resolutions have been presented that call upon the competent authorities to develop a synchronized legal framework that will be applied equally across all of Mexico.

Among these initiatives is one presented by New Alliance Party senator Irma Martínez Manríquez. This proposal seeks to “perfect and make precise” the definition of the crime of human trafficking, and eliminates the impact of the consent of the victim on sentencing...

Full English Translation

Paulina Rivas Ayala

CIMAC Women’s News Agency 

Mexico City

Feb. 17, 2010

See also:

Una proposición con Punto de Acuerdo por el que se exhorta al Ejecutivo Federal y a la Comisión Intersecretarial, para que a la brevedad concluyan y hagan público el Programa Nacional para Prevenir y Sancionar la Trata de Personas, así como la estrategia que seguirán para instrumentarlo de manera inmediata y coordinada con las autoridadesfederales, estatales, municipales y del Distrito Federal...

In the Senate of the Republic, a proposal for a Sense of the Senate calling for the federal executive and the Inter-Agency Commission to Fight Human Trafficking to quickly conclude and release to the public the National Program to Prevent and Punish Human Trafficking, and, the strategy that the Executive will follow to implement the Program immediately, and in coordination with the federal, state, municipal and Federal District...

Senators Gerardo Montenegro Ibarra and Irma Martínez Manríquez

Senate of the Republic

Mexico

Feb. 03, 2010


Added: Feb. 17, 2010

Puerto Rico

Ambassador-at-Large to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, Luis C. de Baca (left, and Ricky Martin at the University of Puerto Rico Law School presentation on human trafficking

Photo: The Associated Press / Andres Leighton

Ricky Martín: Hay Que Combatir Trata de Personas

El cantante Ricky Martin saluda participó en la presentación del estudio "La trata en Puerto Rico: un reto a la invisibilidad" en la sede de la Universidad de Puerto Rico en San Juan (AP/Andres Leighton)
04:35 PM San Juan.- El astro Ricky Martín advirtió hoy que Puerto Rico no está exento de la trata de humanos y la explotación infantil, por lo que "necesitamos crear guerreros de luz" que se encarguen de hacer más visible y de combatir este problema.

El cantante, que además de su faceta artística, se dedica a alertar y trabajar para prevenir la explotación infantil a nivel mundial, presentó un informe sobre el tema en su país natal, auspiciado por la fundación que lleva su nombre y varias organizaciones educativas, informó AP.

"Esto está pasando en nuestra isla", declaró el ganador del Grammy y tres Latín Grammy al presentar el estudio y sus conclusiones en la Universidad de Puerto Rico. "No podemos darle la espalda a las víctimas".

El informe, que se realizó durante tres años, señaló que "esto que parecía tan lejano como un fenómeno del Pacífico o de la Europa Central, lo cierto es que hoy la tenemos en la casa".

Para Martín, "queda mucho por hacer, particularmente conocer a fondo la realidad de la trata de personas en nuestra isla y comenzar a establecer política pública que nos ayude a despertar consciencia colectiva sobre este crimen"...

Crear campañas públicas de educación, establecer y cursos y adiestramientos para que maestros puedan detectar posibles víctimas y que los menores sepan acerca de sus derechos y formas de escapar al abuso son otras de las recomendaciones que hace el estudio.

"Confío en que esta semilla sembramos hoy germine en un Puerto Rico que mire con detenimiento esta problemática y actúe por el bien de nuestros niños y niñas y por el bien de nuestra sociedad", expresó el cantante boricua.

El Universal

Feb. 15, 2010

See also:

Added: Feb. 17, 2010

Puerto Rico

Ricky Martin

Photo: Ricky Martin Foundation

Sex Tourism and Sex Trafficking Serious Problem in Puerto Rico - Study

A 91-page report has concluded that sex tourism and human trafficking are serious problems in Puerto Rico.

That’s the word from the study undertaken by the Ricky Martin Foundation, a group advocating children’s rights globally. The research, led by Dr. César Rey is titled, Trafficking in Persons in Puerto Rico: An Invisible Challenge.

“This is happening on our island,” Martin said. “I am very pleased that through my foundation we can bring awareness to the crime of human trafficking in my island. I am confident that the seeds we sow today will germinate in a Puerto Rico that ponders on this issue and acts for the sake of our children and for the good of society.”

The findings were the result of a three year comprehensive work which involved 10 researchers who compiled actual cases of survivors for this crime, which is inserted as part of the country’s informal and underground economy.

Dr. Rey emphasized that this investigation has “the purpose of educating members of academic institution about this global phenomenon. And propose amendments to existing legislation to protect, prevent and rehabilitate potential victims.”

“We are confident that we will achieve awareness in the society and strengthen the capacity of government officials and non-government sector organizations to combat a ruthless industry. It is the tip of the iceberg, the beginning of a profile to a crime we cannot deny,” he added.

The United States Government was represented by Ambassador-at-Large to Monitore and Combat Trafficking in Persons, Luis C. de Baca, renowned expert on this global phenomenon. Johns Hopkins University was also represented through Dr. Mohamed Mattar, Executive Director of the Protection Project. They both traveled to the island at the invitation of Martin.

The study, which had the participation researchers fro the Graduate School of Public Administration of the University of Puerto Rico, Ricky Martin Foundation personnel and the Protection Project Team, highlighted among its findings various forms of human trafficking: commercial sexual exploitation; labor exploitation and purchased marriages…

Caribbean World News

Feb. 17, 2010

See also:

Women Suffer Brutal Captivity: Global Sex Slavery

[One woman's story of child sexual slavery in Puerto Rico]

Catalina Suarez was 9 years old when a grandfatherly neighbor lured her with a gift, kidnapped her and kept her chained to a bed in a rural Puerto Rican shack, forcing the child to have brutal sex with a succession of men.

It was the beginning of 18 years of sexual slavery throughout Latin America and the United States. By her own account, Suarez should have died several times from drugs, disease, beatings and neglect, but in December the San Francisco resident testified before the United Nations about her ordeal.

"I was always under the influence of some kind of drugs, or I was traumatized by the beatings or the pain or the fear," said Suarez, 36. "I was put into trunks of cars with rats and roaches. I screamed and screamed and screamed. No one would help me." Suarez's testimony comes as officials and watchdog groups confront a booming international trade in women and children as slaves for prostitution...

Catalina Suarez's ordeal, which she related in a sometimes tearful interview, underscored the dehumanizing impact of the sex trade.

Her parents were divorced, her mother was an alcoholic, and she'd been raped by a stepbrother. So the runaway was only too eager when a kindly older neighbor said he had a gift for her in his car.

He drove her to a rural area and took her to the backroom of a rickety bar, where a man started to undress. She ran, but after shots were fired at her, she submitted.

She was then tied to a metal bed in a shack for most of the next year and forced to have sex with men who paid her captor. She was usually gagged, often drugged and subjected to brutal sexual assaults, some of which were videotaped. Life became a blur of pain and terror, she said. "I didn't know what day it was."

Then, she was forced to work in a succession of brothels in Peru, Ecuador, Panama, Guatemala and, by the time she was 14, Sacramento, Suarez said.

She was constantly beaten, Suarez said, and once was hung from a ceiling and hit with a baseball bat. She caught many venereal diseases and became too sick to eat.

From Sacramento she moved on to cheap motels, massage parlors and escort services in Reno, New York, Ohio and Alaska, Suarez said, adding that she had become addicted to heroin and cocaine and resigned to her role as a prostitute.

Suarez had few skills and knew no other life. A series of some 20 pimps made sure of that...

Suarez now works at Promise, a nonprofit San Francisco group that helps women break out of prostitution.

On Dec. 6, [1996] she told her story to the General Assembly of the United Nations at a hearing on international trafficking of women and children. She called the occasion "a very blessed and holy day for me."

She'd come a long way from the shed in Puerto Rico, but was still dealing with the damage.

"I want a normal life," she said. "I want to be a human being again."

Seth Rosenfeld

San Francisco Examiner

April 06, 1997


Added: Feb. 17, 2010

Haiti, Dominican Republic, United States, El Salvador, Canada

Jorge Puello

Photo: The Associated Press / Javier Galeano

A Ex-adviser to Detained Americans Charged in US

Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic - The fugitive former legal adviser to a group of Americans detained in Haiti on kidnapping charges said Tuesday he has yet another reason to stay in hiding: He's been indicted in the U.S. in an immigrant smuggling case.

Jorge Puello, who surged into the spotlight by providing food, medicine and legal assistance to the 10 Americans jailed in Haiti, was already being pursued by law enforcement authorities in the Dominican Republic on an Interpol warrant out of El Salvador, where police say he led a ring that lured young women and girls into prostitution. He also had an outstanding warrant for a U.S. parole violation...

The growing legal troubles for Puello have become a distraction for the detained Americans and those trying to secure their release. The Baptist missionaries were accused to trying to remove 33 children from Haiti without authorization following the Jan. 12 earthquake...

Puello's involvement with the Americans began to unravel when authorities in El Salvador noted his resemblance to suspect in the sex trafficking case. He acknowledged on Monday that he is in fact the suspect but said he was wrongly accused and will fight the charges...

Authorities in the Central American country disclosed more details about the case Tuesday. The deputy investigations director of El Salvador's police, Howard Augusto Cotto, said Puello would be detained once he steps foot in El Salvador on charges of leading a trafficking ring dedicated to prostituting Central American and Caribbean girls and women.

Cotto said Salvadoran police discovered the operation after three Nicaraguan girls escaped from a home and sought help at the Nicaraguan embassy. Police found two Dominican women and two more Nicaraguan girls at the home along with a credit card and documents in Puello's name. They have since found advertisements on the Internet allegedly from the ring offering the women's services.

On Monday, Puello told the AP that he and his Salvadoran wife had taken in young women from the Caribbean and Central America who had been abandoned by smugglers...

Ben Fox

The Associated Press

Feb. 15, 2010


Added: Feb. 17, 2010

Haiti

Antonio Maria Costa, Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)

Human Trafficking:

A Crime That Shames Us All

UNODC Executive Director Antonio Maria Costa

Vienna Forum to Fight Human Trafficking

Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Violence, exploitation and slavery have been part of humanity since creation, or if you prefer, since our ancestors climbed down from trees. It has persisted over time and space, despite the compassionate message of religions, the aspiration to equality by revolutions and, since 60 years, the recognized supremacy of human rights advocated by the United Nations.

In the past quarter century, the opening up of world markets has facilitated the movement of people, goods, capital and services - commerce has benefited, and so has illicit activity, including the trade of human beings. The ease of travel, the speed of the internet, and global competition have rendered the exploitation of humans by humans easier, broader and more efficient.

In the past decade the moral imperative to stop human trafficking has found its way onto policy agendas -- following a perceived increase in the severity of the problem and a growing concern among humanitarian activists. The first global agreement was brokered by my Office and agreed right here, on this United Nations campus, in 2000. It came into force on Christmas Day three years later -it is the UN Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons.

At the outset, efforts to put in place the UN Protocol have been disjointed; victims often prosecuted for their illegal status; interdiction operations limited; few arrests, with inadequate retribution. In other words, laws have been passed, but unevenly applied, the authorities inclined to speak loudly, but in fact showing benign neglect. I salute the few notable exceptions.

Two hundred years after the end of the trans-Atlantic slave trade, we have the obligation to fight a crime that has no place in the 21st century. This Forum shows our determination. Your participation proves your commitment. Let us combine forces...

The evidence submitted at this Forum provides the foundation of our future work: the knowledge to plan, the means to act, and the recognition needed to guide common efforts.

Over the past twelve months, we have exposed different forms of human trafficking around the world:

- children in conflicts, in Africa and Asia: babes losing their innocence to drugs and arms, or abducted to become the combatants' sex slaves;

- girls sold by their family into Asian brothels because of bad harvest or bad debt;

- women enslaved into sex parlors the world over, robbed of their bodies, dignity and freedom;

- men in bondage, in southern plantations or northern sweat shops;

- underage kids enslaved to beg in Europe and North America, or carrying out dangerous tasks with their nimble fingers to produce luxury goods.

During the Forum, you will hear more about these uncomfortable truths. The resulting collage is sinister but revealing, enabling a targeted response...

United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)

Feb. 13, 2010

See also:

LibertadLatina Commentary

Chuck Goolsby

The February 13th, 2010 speech by Antonio Maria Costa, Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), at the Vienna Forum, is laudable for its emphasis on the world's need to organize to fight human trafficking effectively.

Director Costa listed areas where UNODC has been active, including: Africa, Asia, Europe and North America.

The lack of mention of Latin America is concerning, given that some estimates identify 50% of global sex trafficking activity as taking place within the Latin American region.

As we have stated in other commentaries, many academics, U.S. government anti-trafficking officials and non governmental organization heads have routinely spoken in the public forum in regard to the crisis of global sex and labor slavery without ever mentioning 'Little Brown Maria in the Brothel' - our metaphor for the millions of sex and labor trafficking victims who exist across South and Central America, the Caribbean and Mexico.

We recognize that the United Nations has done important work to fight human trafficking in Latin America. There is, however, no reason whatsoever to leave Latin America off of the list of crisis hot spots for modern human slavery when UN officials present important speeches of the topic of trafficking.

The LibertadLatina web site demonstrates, through our collection of over 1,200 factual articles and related materials, that the human trafficking and exploitation crisis in Latin America is no backwater issue. It is one of the global epicenter's of the crisis.

Whatever causes U.S. officials, U.S. academics and NGOs to remain silent about this emergency needs to stop. The victims, and the tens of millions of women and children who are at risk in the region (according to activist Teresa Ulloa's figures) deserve action and an equal place at the table of leadership and decision making.

In response to other stories in today's news, we thank pop star Ricky Martin and his foundation for having invested in the just-released 3-year research study that exposes the human trafficking crisis on the island of Puerto Rico.

Puerto Rico lies less than 100 miles from the Dominican Republic, which is the very largest source of women and girls trafficked from Latin America into prostitution across the world (and especially to Europe and Argentina). The Caribbean region as a whole has a growing problem with human trafficking.

Martin's actions are what we want to see repeated across the Latin American region.

Keep up the good work!

The presence of U.S. Ambassador-at-Large to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, Luis C. de Baca at Ricky Martin's event also sends positive signals that the U.S. Government is willing to address the Latin American crisis in sex and labor trafficking.

Now, Mr. Ambassador, we need you to please focus-on and to speak publicly about the mass gender atrocities that are taking place on a daily basis in Mexico and across the rest of the Latin American and Caribbean region.

There really is no time to waist!

End impunity now!

- Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

Feb. 16, 2010


Added: Feb. 17, 2010

Texas, USA

Jose Luis Torres

Lufkin Man Arrested for Sex Assault of 10-year-old Girl

A Lufkin man was arrested for the aggravated sexual assault of a 10 year-old-girl, according to an arrest report.

Jose Luis Torres, 32, has been charged with two counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child and one count of indecency with a child. The girl told her mother about the abuse after her 12-year-old brother caught Torres taking her into his bedroom and asked what he was doing, the report stated.

The girl told her mother Torres had been abusing her for a while, including an incident that happened a month ago when she awoke to him touching her inappropriately, according to the report.

During an exam by a sexual assault nurse and an interview with a forensic interviewer, the girl revealed that Torres made her perform oral sex on him and that he had done the same to her.

Torres faces up to 99 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000 for each of the aggravated sexual assault of a child charges and up to an additional 20 years for the indecency charge.

As of Friday afternoon, he was being held in the Angelina County Jail on a collective $250,000 bond. Torres does not appear to have a criminal history, according to a public records search.

Jessica Cooley

The Lufkin Daily News

Feb.12, 2010


Added: Feb. 17, 2010

Texas, USA

Adrian Navarro

99 Years for Man Who Recorded Child Sex Assault

Jury takes less than 30 minutes to convict Adrian Navarro of assaults on young girls.

An Austin tattoo artist who recorded himself on video engaging in sex acts with two young girls while his wife assisted was sentenced to 99 years in prison Wednesday.

Adrian Navarro showed no emotion when the punishment from a Travis County jury, which earlier in the day took less than 30 minutes to convict him, was read aloud in court.

"I am just happy he's not going to be on the street," prosecutor Joe Frederick said after court adjourned.

Navarro, 30, testified during the trial that making the 1-year-old girl and the 5-year-old girl perform sex acts on him was "a bad decision" and "a very ignorant mistake." He did not testify during the sentencing phase of the trial.

Austin police went to the South Austin apartment that Navarro shared with his wife, Mariana Garcia, in January 2009 in a burglary investigation. After Garcia gave them consent to search the apartment, they found pictures depicting child pornography, according to lawyers in the case. Navarro then told police in a recorded conversation that they could search his computer, lawyers said.

That's when they found the approximately six-minute video, taken a year earlier, showing the sex acts with the children, lawyers said.

After their apartment was searched, the couple fled to Tejupilco, Mexico , where Garcia, a Mexican citizen, has family. After Mexican authorities arrested them last year with the help of U.S. marshals, Navarro, a U.S. citizen, was deported and arrested when he arrived in San Antonio in January. Mexican authorities formally extradited Garcia.

Frederick told the jury during closing arguments that he is still troubled that the older girl that Navarro abused could be heard laughing on the recording. He also noted that while it was playing in court, the only dry eyes in the room were Navarro's.

"You need to punish him for... the years of therapy these kids are going to need," Frederick said, "for waking up in the middle of the night and thinking, 'Is this video out there?'" ...

Navarro received 99-year sentences for aggravated sexual assault of a child and attempted aggravated sexual assault of a child, and a 20-year sentence for promotion of child pornography, all maximum sentences. The jury also assessed a $10,000 fine, the maximum, for each crime.

By law, the sentences will run together, visiting state District Judge Fred Moore said.

Navarro, 30, will be eligible for parole after serving 30 years.

Garcia, 24, is serving a 40-year prison sentence after pleading guilty in November to two counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child...

The Statesman

Feb. 10, 2010


Added: Feb. 17, 2010

Texas, USA

Fake Doctor Gets 68 Years In Prison

A jury in Dallas has ordered 68 years in prison for a man convicted of sexual assault in an attack on a 12-year-old girl as he pretended to be a doctor.

Jesus Garza testified Monday, during the penalty phase, that the girl and her mother had lied about the allegations.

Prosecutors say the woman in June took her daughter, who has a skin condition, to Garza's Grand Prairie apartment for an examination. Garza allegedly had claimed he had a clinic that was being painted.

The mother says she could not see what the 64-year-old Garza was doing because he covered the girl, whose name was not made public as a sexual assault victim, was doing to her.

Three adult women testified that they also were molested by Garza when they sought treatment from him.

Click2Houston.com

Feb. 16, 2010


Added: Feb. 16, 2010

Puerto Rico

Ricky Martin speaks at the University of Puerto Rico School of Law

Photo: EFE

Ricky Martin Turns Spotlight on Human Trafficking

San Juan – Singer Ricky Martin on Monday presented a study on human trafficking in Puerto Rico in which he said that people were trying to sell minors on the Internet and trade them for cases of beer.

“It’s a reality that is very difficult for me to accept and which I don’t want to believe, but it is happening,” the star told invited guests at the University of Puerto Rico School of Law.

Dr. Cesar Rey, a sociologist who teaches at UPR’s Graduate School for Public Administration, headed the study entitled “Trafficking in Persons in Puerto Rico: An Invisible Challenge.”

Financed by the Ricky Martin Foundation, the study was put together over three years by 10 researchers from UPR and the Protection Project at the School of Advanced International Studies of Johns Hopkins University, which compiled the true cases of survivors of the trade.

In San Juan, the performer asked the public to become “warriors of light” to combat these evils and the cases of children who are denied permission to go to school and are subjected to slavery, and others who are sold by their parents and forced into prostitution.

Martin said that different forms of humiliation to which the children are subjected include commercial sexual exploitation, labor exploitation and being purchased to become marriage partners.

Rey, the former secretary of education for Puerto Rico during the 2001-2005 administration of Gov. Sila Maria Calderon, said that there are no reliable statistics on human trafficking on the Caribbean island because of the bureaucracy.

He emphasized that the investigation could result in the proposing of amendments to current law to protect and rehabilitate victims and to prevent others from becoming victims of the trade.

“We are confident we will achieve awareness in the society and strengthen the capacity of government officials and non-government sector organizations to combat a ruthless industry,” Rey said.

The sociologist reviewed some of the statistics on human trafficking elsewhere in the world and provided several “heartbreaking testimonies” from persons who were forced into prostitution as children.

Among them, he included the case of a 68-year-old homeless man who from the age of 8 was sodomized by his own parents, and the one of the 11-year-old girl who was forced to have sexual relations with adult men in exchange for food.

The study also reviews the problem of prostitution, which is growing in Puerto Rico due to the activities of the massage parlors in Greater San Juan.

The U.S. Ambassador-at-Large to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, Luis C. de Baca, thanked Martin for his “leadership” on the issue.

UNICEF statistics indicate 1.2 million children are trafficked each year worldwide with an eye toward exploiting them for labor, sex, servitude, pornography and other forms of modern-day slavery.

Jorge J. Muñiz Ortiz

EFE

Feb. 15, 2010


Added: Feb. 16, 2010

Florida, USA

Man Sentenced to 5 Years for Sex Trafficking

A 28-year-old Mexican national was sentenced to five years in federal prison Wednesday after he pleaded guilty to helping smuggle young women from Mexico to Atlanta and forcing them to work as prostitutes.
Miguel Rugerio is one of three people charged by federal prosecutors in a plot that smuggled at least five women across the border to work as prostitutes. Another defendant, Christina Hernandez, is in custody in Mexico on related charges while Saul Rugerio remains a fugitive.

Prosecutors say Miguel Rugerio and the two others targeted "young, vulnerable women and teenagers with limited resources" and threatened them with violence and deportation if they didn't cooperate. The women were often told they must work as prostitutes to repay smuggling fees to sneak them across the border.

The Rugerios often met the women in Mexico, promising them steady work and a better life if they sneaked across the border and travel to Atlanta. Once they arrived, they were sent to live in tiny apartments and supplied with condoms and the phone numbers of drivers who shuttled them to clients.

One alarming case involves a young woman referred to as N.M. in the federal indictment. Prosecutors say Miguel Rugerio met and romanced her in 2006 in Mexico, persuaded her to move to Atlanta and then forced her to work as a prostitute. He let her return to Mexico to care for a sick child months later, but followed her there and continued to make her work.

He soon arranged for her to be smuggled back to the United States, sometimes dispatching her to work in other towns, including Orlando and South Carolina, and keeping whatever cash she earned, authorities said.

"It impacted every aspect of my life," she told the judge, speaking through a translator in between sobs. "I haven't really even recovered from everything that happened even now. I don't think that actually I'll ever be able to recover from this."

Greg Bluestein

The Associated Press

Feb. 04, 2010


Added: Feb. 16, 2010

Maryland, USA

Trucker Charged in Maryland Abduction

Seat Pleasant - A Texas truck driver has been arrested and charged with abducting an 11-year-old Maryland girl and driving her to Tennessee, officials said.

Elmer Joaquin Zelaya, 41, was stopped and arrested by a Tennessee Highway Patrol officer about 10 p.m. Saturday after Maryland authorities issued an Amber alert earlier that day, The Washington Post reported Monday.

Zelaya was an acquaintance of the girl's family, authorities said, and neighbors often saw his tractor-trailer parked at the family home.

Relatives reported Karina Manzano-Garcia missing from her Seat Pleasant, Md., home about 2:30 p.m., Saturday and authorities began radio and television broadcasts with descriptions of the girl and the truck Zelaya was thought to be driving, the Post reported.

The highway patrolman spotted the truck in Tennessee's Madison County and took Zelaya into custody, a spokesman for the Tennessee Department of Safety said.

Police would not say how or why Zelaya allegedly drove off with Karina, who was returned to her home Sunday, the Post said.

"It's bad, man. We know the kids," neighbor Larry Summers, 50, said. "When something like that goes on, that kind of bothers the whole neighborhood."

 UPI

Feb. 15, 2010


Added: Feb. 16, 2010

Florida, USA

Ramiro Alvarado Carranza

5-year-old Delray Beach Girl Molested; Man, 22, Arrested

Delray Beach - A 22-year-old man was arrested late Monday on charges of molesting a Delray Beach girl, 5, whose parents found her naked beneath him, police said.

Ramiro Alvarado Carranza was charged with lewd or lascivious molestation of a person younger than 12 and kidnapping of a person younger than 13 after he pinned the victim Jan. 23, according to a police report.

The girl's parents heard her crying about 5 a.m. that day and went to see what was wrong. The father saw Carranza atop the girl on her bed, police said. She was trying to get away from him. The father noted Carranza smelled of alcohol, police said.

Carranza had been living with the family in the past six months. He is now in the Palm Beach County Jail.

Erika Pesantes

Sun-Sentinel

Feb. 10, 2010


Added: Feb. 16, 2010

Illinois, USA

Prison, Deportation for Sex with 13-year-old

A Waukegan man will spend three years in prison and will likely be deported for having sex with a 13-year-old girl, a Lake County judge said at sentencing Tuesday.

Andy Granda, 20, met the girl on My Space and had a relationship with her for seven months before they had sex.

He pleaded guilty to aggravated criminal sexual abuse on Dec. 1.

“Children do not have the capacity to make the right decisions, particularly when deciding to have sexual intercourse,” Judge George Bridges told Granda.

“Even though someone of a young age may appear to agree, the law made it clear they cannot agree. You were dealing with a child, not an adult.”

Prosecutor Mary Kay Foy said, “It is appalling he would take advantage of her in this way.”

Defense attorney Rudolfo Rios acknowledged that the crime was “appalling,” but he told the court that the pre-sentence investigation revealed Granda to be immature and below average in intelligence.

“He is not motivated in a criminal mindset, but he did make a bad decision,” Rios said.

Although probation was recommended after the pre-sentence investigation, Bridges said he did not believe Granda would be able to meet community program requirements.

Granda was 7 when he immigrated to this country from Mexico, Rios said.

It’s a just a matter of time until Granda is deported, Bridges said, and sentenced him three years in the Illinois Department of Corrections.

No victim came forward to make a statement, but the Granda made a brief statement to the court.

“All I can say is I’m sorry and I’m ashamed. What’s done is done, and I’m embarrassed,” Granda said.

Chicago Sun Times

Jan. 21, 2010


Added: Feb. 15, 2010

Texas, USA

Bar Owner Indicted on Sex Trafficking Charges

McAllen - A Mission bar owner has been indicted on multiple counts of conspiracy, harboring illegal immigrants and sex trafficking, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced Thursday.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents arrested Beleal Garcia Gonzalez, 34, last month on allegations he arranged for three Honduran minors to be smuggled into the United States to work as prostitutes in his nightclub - Bar El Paraiso, on Bentsen Palm Drive just south of 5 Mile Line, north of Palmview.

Two women - Garcia’s girlfriend and a bartender at his club - also face charges in the indictment handed down Tuesday. If convicted of conspiracy or harboring illegal immigrants, the women could each face up to 10 years in prison and $250,000 in fines. Garcia faces up to a 15-year sentence on his three additional sex trafficking counts.

“Because human traffickers prey on the most vulnerable, ICE will continue to aggressively identify and assist all victims … and apprehend and present for prosecution those allegedly responsible,” said Jerry Robinette, head of the ICE field office in San Antonio.

ICE agents initially received a tip in January that a home north of Palmview was housing several undocumented minors who were being forced to have sex for money.

Investigators followed two of the girls - who were clad in miniskirts and high heels on a rainy and cold January morning - back to a stash house near the intersection of Mile 3 Road North and Moorefield Road, ICE Special Agent Anson Luna testified during a Jan. 20 hearing in the case.

“All three pretty much had a consistent story,” he said. “They were approached in their home country by a couple and promised a better life working in a restaurant in the United States.”

But once the girls arrived here, Garcia forced them to work in his bar for $20 a day until they paid off their smuggling fees ranging from $4,000 to $4,500, Luna said. Their duties allegedly included having sex with customers for money.

Garcia’s girlfriend, Maria Luisa Vasquez Garcia, 19, and the charged bartender, Elizabeth Mendez Vasquez, 22, kept the girls under a tight watch during their off hours at the stash house, according to a probable cause affidavit filed against them.

All three remained in federal custody.

Garcia’s attorney did not return calls for comment Thursday.

Jeremy Roebuck

The Monitor

Feb. 11, 2010


Added: Feb. 14, 2010

Mexico

Deputy Rosi Orozco (left). chair, and Deputy Maria Araceli Vázquez Camacho, secretary, preside at the first session of the Special Commission to Fight Human Trafficking of the Chamber of Deputies

Instalan Comisión Especial de Lucha Contra Trata

En México unas 20 mil niñas y niños son víctimas de ese flagelo

éxico, DF. - Con el objetivo de promover iniciativas, revisar el marco jurídico y dar seguimiento a la acción de los funcionarios en el combate del delito de Trata, que en México afecta a unas 20 mil niñas y niños, según cifras de la ONU, ayer se instaló en la Cámara de Diputados la Comisión Especial de Lucha contra la Trata de Personas en el país…

Congress Creates Special Commission to Fight Human Trafficking

In Mexico 20 thousand boys and girls are victims of sex trafficking

Mexico City – On February 11th, 2010, Mexico's Chamber of Deputies (lower house of Congress) created the Special Commission for the Fight Against Human Trafficking.

During the Commission’s first session, members stated that the legal framework for controlling human slavery needs to be revised, given that there are a number of gaps in existing laws that prevent the effective control of trafficking related crimes.

Deputy Leticia Quezada Contreras of the Democratic Revolution Party (PRD) declared that human trafficking is an issue that should unite all political parties, with the goal of passing better legislation and ensuring that the legal system has what it needs to fight trafficking.

Deputy Quezada Contreras: “We must provide  tools to non governmental organizations (NGOs) to allow them to rescue more women and children…”

Deputy Claudia Ruiz Massieu Salinas of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) said that “our nation is both a source and destination for victims of human trafficking,” and that in response, we must work on the legislative front to raise awareness, protect victims and eradicate these forms of slavery.

Ecological Green Party of Mexico (PVEM) deputy Caritina Sáenz Vargas proposed creating a caucus of legislators to study the gaps in legislation covering issues of migration, given the close links that exist between migration and human trafficking.

Deputy Sáenz Vargas added that the solution is not to pass more laws, but to revise the existing legal framework and assure that existing laws are enforced. “We have found that the most serious abuses in human trafficking cases involve migrants.”

Mexico’s [first federal] anti-trafficking law, The Law to Prevent, Punish and Eradicate Human Trafficking in Mexico, went into effect in 2008. However, gaps exist in the methodology used in the law.

According to the Center for Investigation and Training in Development and Social Assistance (CEIDAS), the 2008 law is ambiguous, and it lacks resources. To date, the National Program Against Human Trafficking [which is called for in the 2008 law] has not been created. When the program is put in place, it will assign responsibilities to various federal agencies in regard to human trafficking related prevention efforts, prosecutions and victim assistance.

The National Human Rights Commission’s report, “First Diagnosis of the Conditions of Vulnerability that Cause Human Trafficking in Mexico" states that, since the 2008 law went into force, the federal government has only initiated 24 preliminary investigations in cases linked to trafficking [with no resulting convictions].

The new congressional commission will be presided over by Deputy Rosi Orozco (PAN). The secretary will be Deputy Maria Araceli Vázquez Camacho (PRD). Other members of the Commission are deputies: Leticia Quezada Contreras (PRD); Claudia Ruiz Massieu Salinas and Mercedes del Carmen Guillén Vicente (PRI); Oscar González Yánez - Labor Party (PT); Pedro Jiménez Leon (Convergence); Norma Leticia Orozco Torres and Caritina Saénz Vargas (PVEM), and Agustín Carlos Castilla Marroquin.

Gladis Torres Ruiz

CIMAC Women's News Agency

Mexico City

Feb. 12, 2010

See also:

Instalación de la Comisión Especial para la Lucha en Contra de la Trata de Personas

More about the first meeting of the Special Commisison to Combat Human Trafficking

Palacio Legislativo de San Lázaro, 11 de febrero de 2010.- Con la finalidad de revisar todo lo relativo a la Ley para Prevenir y Sancionar la Trata de Personas, publicada en 27 de noviembre de 2007, y para dar voz y atención a las víctimas de este delito, se instaló la Comisión Especial de Lucha contra la Trata de Personas, presidida ´por la diputada federal Rosi Orozco.

Esta Comisión, propuesta por la propia diputada Orozco, recibió el voto a favor de más de 350 diputados, caso único en los anales legislativos, ya que todos los partidos políticos han manifestado su amplio compromiso por erradicar a la Trata de Personas en nuestro país.

En la sesión de instalación, la diputada Rosi Orozco manifestó la necesidad de que nuestro país de cauce al proceso de armonización legislativa para adecuar la actual codificación penal con los instrumentos internacionales sobre la materia. Explicó también que durante el mes de enero se estableció contacto con los expertos más reconocidos en tema de combate a este delito, y ya se tiene integrada una ruta de trabajo para esta Comisión Especial.

[Linked page includes photos and video links about the Commission]

Blog of Deputy Rosi Orozco

Feb. 11, 2010


Added: Feb. 13, 2010

Mexico

PAN party federal congressional deputy Agustín Castilla Marroquín

Tlaxcala, Exportador de Postitución Infantil

México, D.F. “Tlaxcala que se ha convertido en una exportadora de niñas y niños con objeto de prostituirlos”, denunció el diputado federal Agustín Castilla Marroquín, quien añadió que anualmente en nuestro país 60 mil menores de edad son víctimas de la prostitución infantil.

Por ello, el legislador panista adelantó que presentará al pleno de la Cámara de Diputados federal una propuesta de reforma al Código Penal Federal a fin de establecer como delito el consumo de prostitución infantil. La propuesta plantea también castigar ese ilícito con penas de ocho a 20 años de prisión y multa de mil a cinco mil días de salario mínimo, lo que equivaldría a 57 mil 287 pesos…

Tlaxcala State is an Exporter of Child Prostitution

Mexico City - Federal congressional deputy Agustín Castilla Marroquín has denounced the fact that, “Tlaxcala [state] has become an exporter of underage girls and boys for the sex trade.” He added that each year in Mexico, 60,000 children are victimized by prostitution.

For that reason, Castilla Marroquín, a member of the National Action Party (PAN) announced that during the plenary session of the federal Chamber of Deputies (lower house of Congress), he will introduce a proposal to reform the Federal Penal Code by criminalizing the consumption of child prostitution. The proposal calls for penalties of 8 to 20 years in prison and fines of 5,000 days of minimum wage, or about 57,287 pesos.

Deputy Castilla Marroquín warned that Mexico is witnessing an alarming increase in the trafficking of children, to such a degree that the nation already ranks among the top locations in the world for these types of crimes, displacing nations such as Thailand.

The Deputy added that child prostitution is most prevalent in the cities of Tijuana, Acapulco, Cancún and Mexico City, but noted that the problem is even more alarming in the state of Tlaxcala, because it has been turned into an exporter of children for the sex industry.

Castilla Marroquín went on to say that the child sex industry is so perverse that the NGO End Child Prostitution and Trafficking for Sexual Purposes (ECPAT) has had to create a new category for victims, infants from the ages of zero to one.

Castilla Marroquín said that ECAPT has stated that babies and virgins are the children most sought-after by pedophiles. The legislator commented that Mexico faces a paradoxical situation in which our laws punish pimps, pornography consumers and brothel owners, but no criminal penalties exist whatsoever for consumers of child prostitution.

Deputy Castilla Marroquín concluded by stating that the child prostitution industry earns 10 billion dollars annually without [government] punishing those who pay to have sexual relations with children. He is presenting his legislation to address that problem.

Alfredo Plascencia Sanchez

Feb. 04, 2010

See also:

More about the central Mexican state of Tlaxcala, a major center for child sex trafficking

Red de Pederastas en México (Primera Parte)

La red de trata de personas desarticulada el pasado 24 de octubre en la colonia Guerrero no está aislada. Se trata de crimen organizado que opera en Tlaxcala, Guerrero, Chiapas, Morelos y Oaxaca. Durante años hizo del Distrito Federal un mercado para la explotación sexual comercial infantil y lo convirtió en punto de partida hacia los estados fronterizos del norte…

Pedophile Ring is Broken-up in Mexico City (Part One)

The human trafficking network that was dismantled on October 24th, 2009 in the Guerrero neighborhood in Mexico City is not isolated. This is organized crime ring that operates in the states of Tlaxcala, Guerrero, Chiapas, Morelos and Oaxaca. For years they made Mexico City, as well as northern states on the U.S. border a marketplace for the commercial sexual exploitation of children.

"What we have here is a phenomenon where women trafficked for sexual exploitation were [first] assembled in Tlaxaca state. From there, they are taken to other states. They were taken to Puebla, them to Tijuana, and then to the United States," said Federico Pholsen Fuentevilla, of the Friar Julián Garcés Center of Tlaxcala...

"Disgracefully, sex trafficking is inherent in the social behavior in some cities and towns in Tlaxcala state. In Tlaxcala, if you ask boy children what they want to do when they are grown-up, they say that they would like to have lots of sisters in order to have money" [from pimping them], said Dilcya Samantha Garcia, assistant prosecutor for the Care of Victims of within the Mexico City prosecutor’s office.

Without any backing from the government of Tlaxcala, civil organizations and the Human Rights Commission of Mexico City discovered, on their own, the specific sex trafficking routes into the Mexico City neighborhoods of Colonia Guerrero, Centro Historico, Alameda Central, La Calzada de Tlalpan, La Merced and La Central de Abasto.

Last August, the Commission issued a recommendation.

"The [government of the Mexico City] borough of Cuauhtémoc was cynical in its rejection of the commission’s recommendations, even though they have a moral responsibility for what is happening, including their lack of action, as in their failure to inspect the hotels that shelter this [child prostitution] activity,” said Buena Vista association president David Alexander Mondragon.

But the Pandora's box that opened by the October 24th extends even further.

"We have grave problems of human trafficking in the state of Chiapas, particularly in the area Zoconúzco and Tapachula, where there is a brutal problem in human trafficking," said Samantha Garcia Dilcya...

News Eleven

Nov.4, 2009

See also:

Diputado Federal Habla Sobre Comisión Que Investigara el Caso Casitas del Sur

El diputado federal Agustín Castilla Marroquín habla para la Primera Emisión de Noticias MVS con Carmen Aristegui, sobre la comisión creada para impedir, investigar y resolver casos como el de "Casitas del Sur", albergue vinculado a una red internacional de trata de menores, que dirige la secta religiosa Los Perfectos, encabezada por el prófugo Jorge Erdely Graham.

Deputy Agustín Castilla Marroquín Speaks About the Commission That Will Investigate the Casitas Del Sur Child Trafficking Case

[Federal congressional deputy Agustín Castilla Marroquín is interviewed by Noticias MVS reporter Carmen Aristegui in regard to the child trafficking case known as "Casitas del Sur" [Little Houses of the South], which is the name of a children's shelter in Mexico City that was raided in January of 2009 by police.

Casitas del Sur is one of the most notorious child trafficking cases in Mexico.

During the interview, Deputy Castilla Marroquín notes that this case is tied to a powerful human trafficking ring that may have ties to the Cancun based child sex trafficking network that activist journalist Lydia Cacho exposed in her 2005 book, Demons of Eden. - LL]

Carmen Aristegui

Noticias MVS - OnYouTube Video

Sep. 25, 2009

LibertadLatina

About the Casitas del Sur Child Trafficking Network & Case

FBI Investiga Caso Casitas del Sur

Ciudad de México - El Buró Federal de Investigaciones de EU (FBI), colaborará con el gobierno en las averiguaciones de los 26 niños desaparecidos de los albergues de Casitas del Sur.

En conferencia de prensa, el diputado federal del Partido Acción Nacional, Agustín Castilla, junto con Ardelia Martínez, abuela de la niña desaparecida Ilse Michel, cuyo caso desató toda la investigación, confirmó que la SIEDO ya comenzó esta cooperación ya que varios de los integrantes de la Iglesia Cristiana Restaurada, involucrados en el caso, contaban con visa estaduni-dense y pudieron haberse llevado a ese país a varios menores...

U.S. FBI Will Investigate the Casitas del Sur Case

Mexico City - the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) will collaborate with the government of Mexico to investigate the case of children who disappeared from the Casitas del Sur children’s shelter.

During a press conference, National Action Party federal deputy Agustín Castilla, together with Ardelia Martinez, the grandmother of Ilse Michel, the missing girl whose case exposed [the trafficking network], confirmed that the organized crime division of the Attorney General’s office (SIEDO) had already began had already begun collabor-ating with the FBI.

Several members of the Restoration Christian Church who are involved in the case held U.S. visas, and could have taken [the missing] children out of Mexico.

Milenio.com

Jan. 28, 2010

See also:

Mexico

Nearing the End of His Term, Mexico City Human Rights Ombudsman Reports on His Tenure

In his last address to representatives of the congress of Mexico City (Federal District - DF) as president of the Mexico City Human Rights Commission (CDHDF), Emilio Álvarez Icaza applauded the progress his organization has achieved during his tenure in transcending its previous role as simply an office with which to register complaints. He lauded the Commission’s success in engaging the three branches of local government to effect lasting changes in the interest of protecting victims of human rights abuses...

Álvarez Icaza also highlighted two high-profile cases [including] Casitas del Sur, a youth home from which 11 children have been reported missing...

Regarding the Casitas case, he maintained that there are many more children unaccounted for than have been reported. To date, criminal proceedings have been initiated against Casitas’ director and an English teacher for the center.

Nicole Ramos

Justice in Mexico Blog

Sep. 24, 2009

See also:

Mexico

Disappearance of Children in Institutions

Mexico City - Children are reportedly going missing from alternative care institutions across Mexico. Red por los Derechos de la Infancia en México, a national child rights NGO, is calling on the State to investigate the disappearances and hold those responsible to account.

On June 13, 2005, nine-year-old Ilse Michel Curiel Martínez was placed in a temporary children’s home managed by the Attorney General, following an order by a family judge in Mexico City.

In January 2007, having spent more than a year and half in this institution, she was placed in an NGO children’s home called Reintegración Social del Individuo A.C. (Social Reinte-gration of the Individual, Inc.), known as “Casitas del Sur.”

On August 20, 2008, a year and seven months later, the same judge granted the custody of the girl to her grandmother. It took more than one month for the Office of Public Prosecutor to enforce the court order.

The NGO refused to return the girl to her family.

On January 29, 2009, police police broke into Casitas del Sur and rescued all the children living there. Ilse Michel was not found.

Six months later, Ilse Michel is still missing and Mexican authorities have taken no legal action against the represent-atives of “Casitas del Sur”.

Ilse Michel’s case is not unique. Prelim-inary inquiries show that eleven other children are still missing: six more children disappeared from “Casitas del Sur” in Mexico City, as well as two children from the institution ”La casita” in Cancun, Quintana Roo, and three from the Centro de Adaptación e Integración de la Familia [The Center for Family Adaptation and Integration] (CAIFAC) in Monterrey, in Nuevo León state.

The shelters concerned were founded by members of the Iglesia Cristiana Restaurada (The Restored Christian Church) founded by Jorge Ederly. This church owns shelters in at least seven Mexican states and allegedly in other countries too. The Iglesia Cristiana Restaurada has important financial resources and has a strong capacity to mobilize.

Families, witnesses and human rights defenders have been harassed and have received no protection from local the authorities...

Red por los Derechos de la Infancia en México

Network for the Rights of Children in Mexico

March 21, 2009

See also:

Casitas del Sur, Red Nacional de Abuso y Maltrato Infantil

Relacionan caso con el expuesto por Lydia Cacho

México, DF, - Existen vínculos que relacionan el albergue Casitas del Sur de la Ciudad de México con los albergues  de distintos estados de la República: en Quintana Roo, Nuevo León, Veracruz  y Estado de México, en donde hay casos de niñas y niños desaparecidos, maltratados y abusados sexualmente, denunció Alicia Leal, especialista en el tema de la violencia contra mujeres.

“Casitas del Sur” Case is Linked to National Child Trafficking Network

The case is related to the Cancun child sex trafficking network exposed in 2005 by Lydia Cacho

Mexico City – According to violence against women specialist Alicia Leal, links have been found between the Casitas del Sur children’s shelter in Mexico City and children’s shelters in the states of Quintana Roo, Nuevo León, Veracruz and the state of Mexico.

During a press conference held at the facilities of the Network for the Rights of Children in Mexico, to address the case of the  disappear-ances of children and other irregularities at Casitas del Sur, Leal stated that the modis operandi was the same in each shelter: religious congregations “hooked” poor families, took advantage of their poverty and emotional problems, and offered them a better life for their children.

Leal said that since denouncing these crimes, both she and the Network for the Rights of Children in Mexico have received telephone threats and harassment from unknown subjects in vehicles who follow them constantly. Leal is especially concerned about the safety of a girl and her family in Nuevo Leon, given that the girl had denounced her abuse at a shelter located in that state.

Trafficking Network Has a Sophisticated Capacity for Mobilizing Corrupt Officials

Gerald Sauri, another repre-sentative of the Network for the Rights of Children in Mexico, commented that all of the indications are that the group involved in these activities is a human trafficking network. He added, “we don’t know what their aims are, but they have a high capacity to mobilize corrupt officials in the judicial system.”

Sauri demanded that the National System for the Integral Family Development (DIF-the federal social service agency) use its regulatory powers to intervene and investigate the organizations that may be linked with Casitas del Sur...

Narce Santibañez Alejandre

CIMAC Noticias

News for Women

Mexico City

18 February 09

Note: The CIMAC news agency has published 40 articles in Spanish on the Casitas del Sur case. - LL


Added: Feb. 13, 2010

Arizona, USA

Mayor Phil Gordon of Phoenix

Photo: Matthew W. Hutchins

Phoenix Mayor Paints Disturbing Picture of Immigrant Experience

Phoenix, the fastest growing major city in the country, with a population of over 1.7 million, has just surpassed Philadelphia to become the fifth largest metropolis in the nation. But this rising star in the Southwest has an estimated 300,000 undocumented immigrant residents, leading to a rising xenophobic discontent among local residents and increasing burdens on law enforcement, especially due to the organized crime operations smuggling immigrants across the border.

Mayor Phil Gordon of Phoenix, speaking at Harvard Law School on February 5th, said that the steady flow of illegal immigrants into his city has created a crisis situation that is extremely dangerous for local law enforcement and a devastating drain on the city’s budget. Although by statistical measures Phoenix is one of the safest cities in the United States, it has experienced a wave of kidnapping and violent crimes that have challenged its law enforcement capacity. The problem, said Mayor Gordon, is the violent behavior of the “coyotes” involved in human trafficking operations across the nearby Mexican border and who regularly kidnap, torture, rape and kill those who do not comply with their extortion, sometimes forcing captives to dig their own graves while awaiting either freedom or death.

According to Gordon, over 20,000 people, including women and children, have been rescued by Phoenix police over the last three years from “drop houses” where dozens or even hundreds are held captive or even tortured, sometimes in the midst of ordinary suburban neighborhoods. These people, who have often paid the coyotes for transit into the United States, become victims of what Gordon called modern slavery when the coyotes seek to extort more money out of them. “While I don’t condone the initial breaking of our federal law to enter this country, I also understand the reasons . . . the same reasons my grandparents had, to benefit their children and their children’s children.”

Gordon said that the fight against the coyotes’ organized crime has forced the city to hire over 600 additional police officers, many to replace the 100 full-time officers assigned to federal task forces investigating violent criminals and 50 officers embedded undercover in federal operations. The cost to Phoenix of employing these 150 officers, over $15 million dollars a year, is not reimbursed by the federal government and threatens to force reductions in city services like libraries and after school programs...

 Matthew W. Hutchins

Harvard Law Record

Feb. 12, 2010


Added: Feb. 13, 2010

Mexico

Journalists' Options - Silence, Exile or the Grave

Mexico City - Journalists are the target of such violence in Mexico that many have been forced to seek refuge in the United States, or to give up their profession. And the outlook at the start of this year is even grimmer for media workers in this country.

One reporter was murdered and another went missing in early January, feeding expectations that violence against journalists in this Latin American country can only get worse in the immediate future.

Valentín Valdés, a journalist for the newspaper Zócalo in the city of Saltillo, 850 kilometres north of Mexico City, in the state of Coahuila, was found dead Jan. 8, the day after he and a colleague, who was later freed, had been kidnapped by persons unknown.

Before he was murdered, Valdés, who covered the local news in Saltillo, wrote an article about the arrest of several drug traffickers in the city. His killers left a message on his body: "This is what will happen to those who don't understand. This message is for everyone."

"Our organization is extremely concerned about the situation of journalists in Mexico. It is a dramatic situation. The outlook for 2010 is that it will be more violent than 2009; there are no indications that the risks will decrease," Balbina Flores, the representative in Mexico of Reporters Without Borders (RSF), told IPS.

The Paris-based international organization dedicated to promoting press freedom worldwide has monitored the situation of journalists in Mexico particularly closely since violence against them became more acute in the mid-2000s...

Last year, 13 media professionals were murdered in Mexico, making it the highest-risk country in Latin America for journalists, with a record even worse than civil war-torn Colombia's. Since 2000, 57 journalists have been killed and at least nine more have been forcibly disappeared.

"Violence is going to increase and 2010 is going to be the worst year in the history of Mexican journalism," Armando Prida, head of the non-governmental Foundation for Freedom of Expression (FUNDALEX), told IPS.

President Felipe Calderón of the rightwing National Action Party (PAN) launched an offensive against the drug cartels, deploying thousands of police and army troops soon after he took office in December 2006.

Since then there have been over 15,000 drug-related killings, including 155 casualties among the security forces, according to media counts...

"Being a journalist in Mexico, and covering news related to drug trafficking, organized crime in general and those who protect them, disguised as public servants, has become a high-risk profession. Reporting is dangerous," wrote Avenida 24, an on-line publication.

Emilio Godoy

Inter Press Service (IPS)

Jan 15, 2010


Added: Feb. 13, 2010

California, USA

Landwin Management to Pay $500,000 for National Origin Bias and Sexual Harassment

EEOC Said Hotel Refused to Hire Non-Chinese Banquet Servers and Subjected Women to Verbal Abuse

Los Angeles – The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) today announced the settlement of two lawsuits against Landwin Management, Inc., a San Gabriel, Calif.-based hotel operator, for $500,000 and significant remedial relief in cases alleging national origin discrimination and sexual harassment. Both suits were filed in September 2007 under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

In the first lawsuit (Case No. CV 07-06169 SJO), the EEOC charged that non-Chinese banquet servers were rejected for hire based on their national origin when the San Gabriel Hilton severed its contract and hired Landwin Management to operate the establishment in April 2005. The EEOC said that all the non-Chinese banquet servers who previously worked for the hotel at the time, many of whom were Latino, were not hired back during the turnover and instead replaced with less qualified Chinese workers.

In the second suit (Case No. CV 07-05916 PA), the EEOC alleged that the San Gabriel Hilton subjected female employees to a sexually hostile work environment, including verbal sexual harassment by the housekeeping department supervisor, who referred to the women as “whores” and “prostitutes” in addition to other offensive language. The supervisor also allegedly reprimanded the female employees if they even spoke to men, and Landwin failed to respond to the employees’ complaints of harassment...

“The days when employers make decisions based on stereotypes and assumptions shaped by the race or national origin of their employees should be far behind us,” said Anna Y. Park, the regional attorney for the EEOC’s Los Angeles District Office. “Further, sexual harassment should no longer be tolerated in any workplace, and employers should never condone or overlook the mistreatment of vulnerable victims, such as monolingual Spanish-speaking women.” ...

U.S. EEOC

Feb. 03, 2010

See also:

LibertadLatina Special Section

About the crisis of the sexual exploitation with impunity of Latina and indigenous women and girls in the low wage industry in the United States and Latin America.


Added: Feb. 13, 2010

Texas, USA

Joseph Salvador Andrade

Therapist's Assistant Allegedly Follows Patient Hhome, Sexually Assaults Her

Copperas Cove - The Coryell County Sheriff's Office has made an arrest in sexual assault that occurred just outside of the city limits of Copperas Cove in December.

On January 29, 2010 the investigation lead to the arrest of Joseph Salvador Andrade, a 42-year-old physical therapist's assistant at Darnall Hospital.

The Sheriff's Office says the victim was a female patient at Darnall. Andrade apparently followed her home and sexually assaulted her.

During the investigation it was learned that Andrade had been previously convicted of three counts of sexual battery to a minor in the State of Florida back in 1999 where he had been employed as a physical trainer. The charges were reduced to aggravated battery and he was convicted.

Right now this is the only reported allegation of sexual assault connected to Joseph Andrade (aka: Reece), but it is possible there may be more incidents that have not been reported. Law enforcement in Florida said that after his arrest there in 1999 more women came forward with similar allegations.

The Criminal Investigation Division of the Coryell County Sheriff's Office is asking anyone that may have had any incidents, of a [violent] nature, involving Joseph Salvador Andrade (aka: Reece) to contact their office at (254) 404-8911 or the main Sheriff's Office number of (254) 865-7201.

[Andrade bond was set a $5,000.00. He is currently out on bond awaiting trial.]

Nate Bishop

KXXV

Feb 11, 2010


Added: Feb. 13, 2010

California, USA

Ernesto Parraguirre

Fugitive Accused of Molesting 9-year-old Girl Surrenders

Santa Ana - A fugitive accused of sexually assaulting a 9-year-old girl and threatening to kill her 15-year-old sister after breaking into their home in Orange last September turned himself in to police today.

Ernesto Parraguirre, 20, of Anaheim, is charged with sexual assault on a child 10 years or younger, lewd acts on a child under 14, criminal threats, plus a sentencing enhancement for committing a sexual offense during a burglary.

He remains in custody in $1 million bail pending arraignment on Tuesday in the Central Men's jail. He could be sentenced to 25 years to life in prison if convicted.

Parraguirre is accused of breaking into a home in Orange about 5 a.m. on Sept. 16, 2009, by removing a screen and climbing through a bedroom window. He allegedly entered a bedroom where the two sisters slept and sexually assaulted the younger girl.

The girls' parents were sleeping in a nearby room, according to a news release from the Orange County District Attorney's Office.

When the 9-year-old victim began to cry, her older sister woke up, according to prosecutors. Parraguirre then allegedly threatened to kill the older girl before he fled if she said anything.

Orange police detectives believe Parraguirre then fled to Mexico to avoid prosecution. The District Attorney's Office and Orange police distributed a press release seeking the public's help in locating Parraguirre on Sept. 25, 2009.

Anyone with more information about the case is asked to contact Orange police Detective Jeremy Smith at 714-744-7444 or District Attorney's Investigator Randy Litwin at 714-347-8794.

Larry Welborn

The Orange County Register

Feb. 10, 2010


Added: Feb. 13, 2010

Florida, USA

Omar Salas

Deputies: Woman Raped, Run Over

Suspect a criminal justice student

Deland - A woman accepted a ride home from an acquaintance who instead took her behind a used car dealership, raped her and ran her over with his car, sheriff's investigators said.

Omar Salas, 20, of DeLand, a criminal justice student at Florida Technical Institute, told the woman he was a police officer, a sheriff's charging affidavit states.

Salas, arrested Wednesday, was being held Thursday at the Volusia County Branch Jail on $35,000 bail. He is charged with sexual battery and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

The 24-year-old woman's ordeal began immediately after she was fired from the H2O bar on U.S. 17 at 1 a.m. Friday, the report states...

...Salas asked the woman for sex in exchange for the ride home but the woman refused. As the woman bent over by the open passenger's door to retrieve a cell phone, Salas, from behind, pushed her clothing aside and raped her, the report states. The woman fell to her knees asking Salas to stop, the report said.

An angry Salas threw the woman's belongings out of the car and then came at the woman again, she said. The woman tried to use pepper spray on him, but Salas grabbed it away from her. He told her he was a police officer and showed the woman his criminal justice textbooks, the report states.

Salas got angry and ran over the woman with his car before driving off. The woman had to crawl to the roadside so a friend could find her, the report states.

Deputies responding to Florida Hospital in DeLand found the woman with tire marks on her left leg, the bottom of her right ear was ripped and doctors said she had a fractured pelvis, the report said.

Salas pleaded no contest to disorderly conduct last year after being charged with domestic battery. He served three months probation.

ClickOrlando.com

Feb. 12, 2010


Added: Feb. 13, 2010

Mississippi, USA

Mexican Predator Arrested by ICE

Purvis - A Mexican national convicted of fondling a minor was arrested Feb. 10, at the Lamar County Sheriff's Office Adult Detention Center by officers assigned to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Office of Detention and Removal Operations (DRO).

Marcos Hernandez-Duran, 22, was arrested Wednesday by DRO officers assigned to Criminal Alien Operations, which involves the screening and identification of criminal aliens. Based on his criminal history, Hernandez will be held without an immigration bond and processed for removal proceedings before an immigration judge.

Hernandez was unable to provide specific information regarding where and when he illegally entered the United States, ultimately ending up in Lamar County, Mississippi. On March 30, 2009, Lamar County Sheriff's Deputies arrested Hernandez for statutory rape. Hernandez pleaded guilty to the amended charge of fondling on February 2, 2010, and was sentenced to serve five years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections.

"Too many children are victimized by predators that target the most vulnerable among us - our children," said Philip Miller, Field Office Director for ICE's Office of Detention and Removal (DRO) in New Orleans. "ICE is committed to apprehending and presenting for prosecution cases involving those who abuse our children and endanger their lives and well-being. We will continue working with federal, state and local agencies to ensure that those who try to hurt children are brought to justice."

U.S. ICE

Feb. 11, 2010


Added: Feb. 12, 2010

Haiti

The Ti Source camp, which is home to 3,000 people, has set up patrols to prevent attacks against female residents, many of whom are wearing jeans under their skirts as a safeguard

Photo: ActionAid

Rape On the Rise in Haiti's Camps

Girls as young as 12 have been attacked as sexual violence plagues the quake's survivors

In one of the great unmentioned effects of the earthquake in Haiti, women and young girls are suffering a rising number of rapes and sexual assaults, according to leading aid agencies. So widespread are the reports – and they include the rape of a girl of 12 by her rescuer after she was pulled out from the rubble – that emergency measures are now being taken.

Displaced men and women patrol some camps with makeshift arms to ward off attackers; girls wear jeans under their skirts for protection if they go out after dark; temporary women-only health centers are being set up; and NGOs try to deliver aid to dangerous neighborhoods where women are too scared to go out in search for food.

Sarah Spencer, gender-based violence co-coordinator for the International Rescue Committee (IRC), who arrived in Port-au-Prince two weeks ago, said: "Violence against women was a problem in Haiti before this crisis. Now, women and girls are dramatically more vulnerable to attack. The humanitarian community focuses on food, water and shelter, understandably, but this is at the sake of protection for women. Criminal gangs have regrouped; security is poor; people are sleeping in the streets, too frightened to go inside or else in crowded, unlit camps, surrounded by strangers. Many women have been left without male protection because their husbands or brothers were killed. All of this means the risk to women in post-disaster Haiti have elevated dramatically."

Ms Spencer met two women looking for help for their female colleague who had been raped on the street the night before. The victim had been unable to find medical help – emergency contraception, antibiotics and retroviral drugs – because many of the health centers that care for victims of sexual attacks were destroyed or badly damaged in the earthquake.

About half an hour outside the capital, the Ti Source camp is home to 3,000 people who came to the hilly ground to escape their flattened homes in the town of Mariani. Scared by reports of rapes in the town below and neighboring camps, Martine Josil, 24, persuaded some of the men in the camp to form a security group.

Ms Josil said: "After the earthquake we felt very afraid because people were talking about rapes and robberies in other camps. We were all sleeping out in the open on the streets and things were very chaotic. There were many women who had lost their husbands and they felt very vulnerable. We didn't want to get raped so we asked the guards to protect us." ...

Rape was criminalized only in 2005 but, as with domestic abuse, it remains shrouded in shame. Victims are often forced out of school and ostracized by their communities. Many victims do not report violence because they have little faith in the criminal justice system, according to Taina Bien-Aimé, director of the US-based human rights organization Equality Now.

Three of the country's most prominent women's rights activists were killed in last month's earthquake. In a country where the law and infrastructure were already fragile, their deaths have been deeply felt, but those left know they must regroup as soon as possible, said Ms Bien-Aimé, who lost several members of her own extended family in the earthquake.

Ms Bien-Aimé said: "The international agencies, including the UN, are capable of dealing with these issues; they have the experience from previous disasters. We need to know what they are doing about it and whether the protection of women is a priority." ...

Nina Lakhani

The Independent

Feb. 07, 2010


Added: Feb. 12, 2010

Mexico

Ciudad Juárez

Photo: CIMAC Noticias

Mujeres de Juárez Dan la Espalda a Calderón Durante Discurso

Quien “nos ha mantenido en el olvido no merece otra cosa”

Organizaciones de mujeres de Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua que han dado seguimiento a los asesinatos de mujeres desde los años 90, exigieron aquí a Felipe Calderón Hinojosa, que cumpla con la sentencia que dictó la Corte Interamericana de Derechos Humanos por el feminicidio de Campo Algodonero, y garantice la seguridad para las ciudadanas de esta entidad...

Women of Juárez Turn Their Backs on President Calderón During Speech

He who “has forgotten us doesn’t deserve anything else”

Women’s organizations in Ciudad Juárez, in Chihuahua state, who have fought to bring justice to the victims of femicide in this city since the 1990s, demanded during a visit by President Felipe Calderón that he comply with the recent decision of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, in the case of the femicide murders in a crime scene known as the cotton fields. Referring to the Court’s decision, activists demanded that President Calderón act to guarantee the safety of Mexican citizens in Juárez.

Guadalupe Cruz Jaimes

CIMAC Noticias

Feb. 11, 2010

Note: CIMAC News currently has 247 articles in Spanish about the femicide in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico.


Added: Feb. 12, 2010

Mexico

Senator Irma Martínez Manríquez

Photo: Sonia García Ochoa

La ley se Convirtió en "Letra Muerta": Irma Martínez

"Olvida" autoridad trata de personas

Tijuana.- A más de dos años de expedida la Ley para Prevenir y Sancionar la Trata de Personas, y de que su reglamento se expidió 12 meses atrás, "es penoso reconocer que ambas disposiciones son letra muerta", puesto que lo escandaloso es la impunidad, afirmó ayer la senadora Irma Martínez Manríquez…

The Law Against Human Trafficking Has Become a “Dead Letter” - Senator Irma Martinez

The authorities have "forgotten" about human trafficking

Tijuana – More than two years after the passage of the nation’s Law to Prevent and Sanction Human Trafficking, and 12 months after [President Calderón published] the regulations required to put the law into effect, it is sad to have to recognize the fact that both the law and its regulations are a “dead letter,” because of the scandalous role played by impunity [in this process], stated Senator Irma Martinez Manríquez.

While attending a ceremony marking a change of leadership in her New Alliance Party, Senator Martinez Manríquez noted that human trafficking is the third most lucrative criminal business in the world after drug and arms trafficking…

Senator Martinez Manríquez: “There have not been any advances in respect to the compilation of statistics regarding the dynamics of crime and other aspects of trafficking. This has negative repercussions for the development of investigations about the nature of these crimes, from the irresponsible use of statistics, to our limited knowledge of the profiles of both criminals and victims, to our lack of knowledge about patterns of demand, and in the lack of any real impact that decisions about controlling trafficking actually have.”

The senator added that, “Mexico is among the countries with the largest numbers of human trafficking victims, as noted by the United States [annual Trafficking in Persons Report]."

Congress passed the nation's first anti-trafficking legislation on November 27, 2007.  [President Calderón's] regulations to enable the law were published in February of 2009.

Mexico's National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) has stood-up a National 'Observatory' against human trafficking. During the same period, the federal government has failed to fulfill a number of its obligations as required by the 2007 trafficking law. For that reason, the only constant that exists in regard to the perpetration of this scandalous crime is the existence of impunity, said Senator Martinez Manríquez.

In spite of the fact that the law was passed in late 2007, it was not until December 9th of 2009 that the first first ordinary session of the Inter-secretarial Commission to Prevent and Sanction Trafficking in Persons (CIPSTP) took place. That meeting only took place because of the exhortations and pressure applied by many Senators and members of the House of Deputies, concluded the Senator.

Sonia García Ochoa

El Sol de Tijuana

Feb. 08, 2010

See also:

LibertadLatina Special Section

¡Héroes!

Lea nuestra sección sobre la lucha de varios congresistas y defensoras de los derechos humanos para lograr obligar que el Presidente Felipe Calderón publica un reglamiento fuerte respladar a la nueva ley: Prevenir y Sancionar la Trata de Personas, de 2007, que hasta ahora es sigue siendo una ley sin fuerzas.

Read our special section about the brave work of advocates and congressional leaders in Mexico to break-through the barriers of impunity and achieve truly effective federal regulations that will enforce the original congressional intent of Mexico's 2007 Law to Prevent and Punish Trafficking in Persons


Added: Feb. 12, 2010

Mexico

An alternative view of Mexico

Youth served by Breaking Chains Ministry present a Christmas drama

Good Things Happening In Mexico.. Culmination of 4 Years of Prayer

Another operation happened in Mexico City yesterday resulting the rescue of 26 minors and the closure of the hotel where the prostitution of these minors occurred. I can't express my appreciation for what the government of Mexico is doing to eradicate this evil in this country. There are many more coming including several cases where Breaking Chains is helping with intel.

Please pray that God will continue to move and that every one of the 100,000 children who are being exploited here have the chains of sexual slavery broken! It has seemingly taken forever but the government is clearly taking a stand and we owe the thanks to President Calderón, his wife Marguerita and one of my new friends and heroes, Congress-woman Rosi Orozco, who was appointed President of the new Federal commission against human trafficking and sexual exploitation of minors.

God is good and His light is shining bright in these dark places...it is changing!

Breaking Chains Ministry

Jan. 15, 2010

See also:

About Breaking Chains Ministry

"Our goal is to eradicate child prostitution and child trafficking in Latin America. At the same time encourage and enable others to do the same in the United States and world-wide. The subject is children who have been sexually exploited which is a dark subject but it is the darkest places where the light of Jesus Christ shines brightest and this is the case here. For every horrific case of evil there is testimony of Gods love and His power to restore. We love these children but His love for them is AGAPE!"

Breaking Chains Ministry

See also:

Video from Breaking Chains Ministry:

Mexico - Human Trafficking...a view from the streets

Breaking Chains Ministry Acapulco project

Breaking Chains Ministry

Jan., 2010

See also:

National Action Party (PAN) Congresswoman and anti-trafficking activist Rosi Orozco (second from right), with Querétaro's (PAN) Senator Guillermo Tamborrel (left), Querétaro state Attorney General Arsenio Durán Becerra (center), and human trafficking experts at a January, 2010 meeting on human trafficking in Querétaro state, Mexico.

Junta de Trabajo en Querétaro con el Sen. Tamborrel, el Procurador de Justicia y especialistas

Anti-trafficking Working Group Meets in Querétaro State

PAN blog of Rosi Orozco

Jan.26, 2010

See also:

Segob Invita a Crear Comisión Contra la Trata de Personas

La Secretaría de Gobernación emitió la convocatoria para conformar la Comisión Intersecretarial para Prevenir y Sancionar la Trata de Personas (CIPSTP) en su carácter de “invitados consultores”, que tiene como objetivo proponer al Ejecutivo políticas públicas en materia de prevención y sanción de la trata de personas, así como para la protección, la atención y la asistencia a las víctimas.

La convocatoria está abierta a organizaciones de la sociedad civil y expertos de la academia que cumplan con los requisitos estipulados.

Interior Secretary Invites Anti-Trafficking Organizations and Experts to Submit Proposals

[Anti-trafficking law's requirement for an inter-agency coordinating commission is finally being stood-up]

Mexico’s Interior Secretary (Government Secretary) has put out a call for a preliminary convening session of the Inter-secretarial Commission to Prevent and Sanction Trafficking in Persons (CIPSTP). Invited guests will join to propose public policies in regard to the prevention and punishment of human trafficking, as well as to provide protection and attention for victims.

The call is open to subject matter expert organizations and academics who meet the stipulated requirements. The period for receiving proposals ends on February 09, 2010.

Alberto Morales

El Universal

Jan. 13, 2010

See also:

The other side of the PAN

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

Cecilia Romero: Sex Tourism is Inevitable

Cecilia Romero, head of Mexico's national immigration service (INM) and a long-time National Action Party (PAN) official, says that sex tourism and pedophile networks are "inevitable" and cannot be stopped [and that, by extension, nothing should be done to stop it].

Photo and story

 El Universal

June 20, 2009

See also:

LibertadLatina Commentary

Tee shirt from a political rally reads: Yunque No, PAN Yes

Steven Cass and the Breaking Chains Ministry are on the leading edge of new and effective approaches to ending the commercial sexual exploitation of children in Mexico. We have great respect for their mission, which is obviously challenging and dangerous.

I have to take my hat off to Steven Cass, who has, according to his accounts, walked into brothels unarmed and successfully negotiated with brothel owners to have them release underage children into his custody.

In his January 15, 2010 commentary, Cass notes that he sees a very notable change in the approach being taken by the Government of Mexico in regard to supporting anti-trafficking efforts and, finally, collaborating in the rescue of enslaved children and youth. We sincerely hope that these observations represent the sea change that Cass believes is happening. Certainly, the fact that the ruling National Action Party (PAN) senators Rosi Orozco and Guillermo Tamborrel are active in anti-trafficking efforts is a good sign. We have in the past focused on the misogynist policies of the more socially conservative faction of the PAN, an issue that still very much  concerns us.

Balancing this positive view of President Calderón's actions in regard to combating human trafficking and exploitation requires that we look at a long list of 'dirty laundry.'

The intentional delaying by President Calderón in his implementation of the nation's first anti-trafficking law, for two years after the law was passed by Congress, comes first on our long list of complaints. After Congress passed the nation's first anti-trafficking law in November of 2007, President Calderón intentionally delayed publishing the federal regulations required to enable the law, until February of 2009. He only published the regulations after Congress sent him four stern warning during that 14 month period, demanding that he act to take the brakes off of the law.

The February 8th, 2010 article in the Sol de Tijuana (Tijuana Sun) newspaper, "The Law [Against Human Trafficking] Has Become a “Dead Letter,” featuring an interview with federal Senator Irma Martinez (see above), highlights the concerns that we have raised in the past about the Calderón Administration's intentional foot-dragging. Senator Martinez' views are echoed by other sources in the women's rights community.

Senator Martinez' declaration that the 2007 anti-trafficking law is a "Dead Letter" comes as no surprise to us. The fact is that the very concept of fighting human slavery goes against the grain of many traditions and special interests in Mexico.

Entire segments of the economy, from the unpaid domestic work performed by tens of thousands of underage indigenous girls (much like the Restavec child slaves in Haiti, complete with its inherent sexual abuse), to farm labor would collapse if human bondage actually ended.

In addition, the estimated 17% of Gross Domestic Product derived from prostitution across Latin American nations (a statistic from activist Teresa Ulloa of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women - Latin American and Caribbean branch), is not a small market segment. Shutting down portions of the sex industry would not only have a major economic impact in Mexico, but it would affect influential elites, making anti-trafficking efforts politically difficult to pursue effectively.

Other areas of concern to us include: the collusion by federal immigration officers, and by federal, state and local police officers across the nation in acts of human trafficking; the fact that not one human trafficker has ever been convicted in Mexico; the fact that military soldiers consistently get away with the rape of indigenous women, and, in one notorious case, a group of 14 women working in prostitution (the Castaños case / el caso Castaños); inattention and a failure to seek prosecution in the case of the rapes-of and violent assaults-against 27 women protesters by over 30 policemen in the city of San Salvador de Atenco; and the fact that President Calderón has apparently done nothing whatsoever to rescue the estimated 3,000 to 4,000 indigenous children who have been kidnapped from southern Mexico and taken to Japan to work as sex slave 'geishas' by the Japanese Yakuza mafias.

Adding to those problems, the human rights movement in Mexico is under relentless attack, as demonstrated by a series of Amnesty International reports on the topic from January 21, 2010. Veteran women's rights activists and journalists continue to urgently report on the steady deterioration of women's rights across Mexican society. In addition, obvious cases of the sexual abuse of children in day care centers, in children's shelters and in other settings most often go uninvestigated and unpunished, as has always been the case in Mexico.

At the time of this writing, Mexican authorities are forcibly evicting Mayan Indigenous peoples from their towns in the Montes Azules (the Blue Mountains) biosphere nature reserve to make way for privately-owned eco-tourism hotels. That is an act of injustice that is having its most severe impact on indigenous women and children. That is not an act of progress or change for the better!

Another important issue where federal, state and local law enforcement have done virtually nothing to defend the rights of women and children involves the fact that, according estimates from the International Organization for Migration's office in Tapachula, a city on the Guatemalan border, between 450 and 600 women and girls are raped each day as they migrate into Mexico from Central and South America. Those acts of impunity, combined with Save the Children's recognition that southern Mexico is the largest region for the commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC) in the world, and also the region's notorious reputation for being a source of kidnapped women and children taken to be trafficked into sexual slavery (an estimated 10,000 victims per year are trafficked from southern Mexico to other regions of the nation or overseas), make the region a zone of crisis that the Calderón government must immediately target for intensive law enforcement efforts.

We do not see any such sense of urgency on the part of the Calderón government about this issue, despite the fact that major NGOs and the United Nations have demanded action in regard to southern Mexico's crisis for many years. In point of fact, policemen and soldiers are among the perpetrators of these crimes, offenses which they do not ever have to answer for.

We have no rejoicing about these continued acts of misogynist impunity (by commis-sion and by omission) being carried out by, and under the noses of, the Calderón administration.

We hope that Mexico is changing, as Steven Cass has observed. U.S. Ambassador-at-Large Luis CdeBaca, head of the U.S. State Department's Trafficking in Persons Office, was interviewed in a recently published article by the Council of Hemispheric Affairs (COHA). He noted that human trafficking appears to be an area where the [Mexican government] is prepared to cooperate with [the U.S.].

In the meantime, the world must remain vigilant. Mexico remains the largest hot-spot in the Americas for the commercial sexual exploitation of children and for the production-of and the consumption-of child pornography, as Breaking Chains Ministry's own educational videos explicitly point out.

It is possible that the Calderón Administra-tion is approaching organizations such as Breaking Chains Ministry to actually (and finally) try to understand human trafficking, to allow it to respond effectively to the crisis. If that is the case, we are under no illusions. Any change in Calderón policies are most likely the result of exhaustive internal and international protests and pressure demanding that Mexico come into the Twenty-first Century on this issue. We also believe that such change could only happen if the openly Falangist, anti-Semitic, anti-Protestant and fiercely misogynist El Yunque (The Anvil) secret society has lost a significant level of influence within the National Action Party that it had come to dominate in recent years.

Time will tell whether or not the collective efforts of humanity, in demanding that Mexico come around to respect the basic human rights of women and children, will actually result in substantive change.

Until we see clear evidence to that effect, the horrors that impact women and girls living-in and migrating-through Mexico must be watched and fought against with all of the will that humanity can muster.

We continue to insist that U.S. President Back Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Trafficking in Persons Office Director Luis CdeBaca must stand up and speak publicly to denounce the mass gender atrocities that are taking place each and every day across the neighboring nation of Mexico.

Those who are at-risk, and those who are today enslaved, await our effective efforts to protect and rescue them now!

Tomorrow will be too late for many!

End impunity now!

- Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

Feb. 11/12, 2010

See also:

Trata de Mujeres y Niñas, Disparada por la Pobreza: Teresa Ulloa

Medio millón de víctimas y una Ley defectuosa

Trafficking of Women and Girls is Triggered by Poverty: Teresa Ulloa

We have half a million victims and a flawed trafficking law

...Ulloa... said that organized crime has diversified its business. Across Latin America and the Caribbean, she said, the sex industry represents 17 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Ulloa: "This makes clear that women and children are viewed as items to be bought, sold, and rented, exploited and enslaved.”

Teresa Ulloa said that the networks have come to realize that trafficking is a more profitable business that the illicit drug trade because a girl or woman can be sold 40 or 60 times a day while a dose of drug is sold only once.

In Mexico there are about half a million women, children and youth who are victims of trafficking and exploitation, not only in the country, but abroad, Ulloa said.

Ulloa said that among the successes of the CATWLAC last year involved the training of 3,500 people including policemen, prosecutors, immigration agents, teachers, youth and children.

Flaws in the Anti-Trafficking Law and [its Associated Federal] Regulations

In regard to Mexico’s federal anti-trafficking law, Ulloa is not concerned about the recently published regulations [which President Calderon delayed creating for 11 months]. However, Ulloa stated that the law itself contains a number of errors, which may have been intentional or not, which will impede the prosecution of trafficking cases.

Ulloa: “This is very serious, because the law does not apply to all forms of trafficking, and it does not apply to all of the persons who may be involved. She emphasized that the new law does not consider a crime to have been committed if the victim expressed their consent...

Sandra Torres Pastrana

Cimac Noticias

March 19, 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 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 businessmen 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


Added: Feb. 12, 2010

Mexico

Laura Carlsen

Murder Capital of the World

On January 31, an armed commando unit pulled up to a house in a working-class neighborhood in Ciudad Juarez on the Mexican side of the border with the United States. Inside the house, 60 teenagers were celebrating a friend's birthday. Wielding high-caliber weapons, the commandos opened fire on the kids, robbed the house, then drove away from the scene — amid human cries, the scent of gunpowder, and the total absence of law enforcement officials...

Ciudad Juarez now holds the world record in homicides per capita. The city beats out war zones in the number of violent deaths because unofficially, it too is a war zone. This border city of two million is the frontline of one of the most violent and most ill-conceived war of our times - the war on drugs. On March 27, 2008, Mexican President Felipe Calderón launched "Operation Chihuahua," and since then thousands of soldiers have been sent in to beat back the cartels.

The bodies of the slain teenagers and thousands of others attest to the results of this strategy. Last year, Ciudad Juarez's over 2,600 murders accounted for more than a third of Mexico's reported 7,724 drug war-related deaths. With 227 assassinations related to organized crime in January alone, 2010 stands to be the bloodiest year yet...

Calderón initiated the drug war to secure the support of the armed forces following huge protests over electoral fraud. He needed to unite the country against an enemy and organized crime was growing. Since Calderón announced the offensive against organized crime soon after taking office, somewhere between 15,000 and 17,000 people have been killed. The government has deployed 50,000 troops to fight the war nationwide, racking up human rights violations and criticisms that their new domestic role violates the constitution, accelerates the downward spiral of violence, and militarizes a nation still undergoing a shaky transition from authoritarian rule.

Now public anger over the government's failure to control the violence has reached a boiling point in Mexico. Perched atop the open casket of one of the young people, a hand-written sign read "Mr. President, We demand responses and solutions. No False Promises or False Hopes." Some groups in Juarez have called for Calderón's resignation...

In an 2008 article for the Americas Program on the failure of Operation Chihuahua, congressman and human rights activist Victor Quintana wrote that "Crowding soldiers into different parts of the country, far from dissuading drug dealers and their hired gunmen, exponentially increases the risk for civilians, who now have to take care on all sides: hired gunmen breaking into their daily activities, stray bullets, and human rights violations by the police and the army." ...

Laura Carlsen

Foreign Policy In Focus

February 4, 2010


México destacó la necesidad de diferenciar entre inmigración y tráfico de personas en los encuentros internacionales sobre migración, para así obtener más resultados.
En un foro sobre el retorno voluntario de inmigrantes, realizado en la sede de la Organización de Estados Americanos, Lourdes Guerra, directora adjunta de Programas Sociales de la Sedesol, indicó que “no hablamos el mismo idioma”, ya que en la región se habla más bien de una migración de búsqueda de oportunidades”.

Guerra destacó la necesidad de hacer la distinción para lograr avances en el próximo Foro de Migración que se realizará en noviembre en Puerto Vallarta.

Mexican Official Asks for a Differentiation Between Human Trafficking and Voluntary Migration

During a forum about the topic of the voluntary return of immigrants, held at the Organization of American States, Lourdes Guerra, adjutant director of Social Programs of the SEDESOL (the federal Secretariat of Social Development) declared that, “we don’t speak the same language,” in that throughout Latin America we talk of migration in search of better opportunities [which is not the same as human trafficking]. Guerra emphasized the necessity to make the distinction, to obtain advances in the next Forum on Migration that will be held in November in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

Notimex

Feb. 05, 2010


Added: Feb. 12, 2010

Argentina, The United States

Man Extradited From Argentina Pleads Guilty to Child Sex Tourism

Washington, DC - An American man extradited from Argentina, pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., to engaging in illicit sexual conduct in foreign places, following an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Isidro Hinojosa Benavides, 77, a U.S. citizen extradited from Argentina, was indicted in 2005 for traveling to the Republic of Chile and engaging in sexual conduct with a female child. Benavides has been held in custody without bond since his extradition from Argentina in 2009.

During the plea hearing, Benavides admitted to maintaining several residences in Santiago, Chile. Benavides admitted that he met the 12-year-old victim in 2002 when he was 70-years-old. He admitted he invited her on numerous occasions to his various residences and supplied her and other young girls with food, drinks and glue to inhale.

Benavides admitted to fondling the 12-year-old victim, showing her pornographic images and movies, and having her engage in sexual activity with him. Afterwards, Benavides admitted he gave the victim between $5 and $10 dollars. Benavides admitted that he abused the victim until she was 13-years-old.

Sentencing is scheduled for April 14, 2010.

The prosecution was handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Angela Schmidt of the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia, former Criminal Division Trial Attorney Myesha Braden and Michael Yoon of the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section. The Criminal Division's Office of International Affairs provided significant assistance in this matter. The case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Chilean Policia de Investigation.

ICE encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-DHS-2ICE. This hotline is staffed around the clock by investigators. Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, at 1-800-843-5678 or U.S.

ICE

Feb. 02, 2010


Added: Feb. 12, 2010

Utah, USA

Jorge Gutierrez-Ortiz was filmed at the West Valley City Burger King at the time of the crime.

[Jorge D. Gutierrez-Ortiz] Sentenced for Molestation of 7-year-old Boy

On January 22, Third District Judge Deno Himonas sentenced Jorge D. Gutierrez-Ortiz to 15 years to life, after the Mexican national, through the help of an interpreter, pleaded guilty to first-degree felony attempted sodomy on a child. The assault occurred last year in Salt Lake County, UT.

On Aug. 15, 2009, Gutierrez-Ortiz, 44, was loitering in the men’s room inside a West Valley City Burger King restaurant. The 7-year-old boy entered the bathroom while his mother was ordering food. When the boy turned to leave the restroom, Gutierrez-Ortiz blocked his path, pulled him into a stall and sexually assaulted him.

Gutierrez-Ortiz then fled the scene, brushing past the boy’s mother as he exited the restaurant.

At sentencing, prosecutor Cristina Ortega told the courtroom that he victim’s mother sensed something was wrong and acted on "a mother's intuition," walked into the restroom to find her son crying.

Video surveillance footage of Gutierrez-Ortiz released to the media prompted several tips, and eventually led police to one of the assailant’s former employers. Detectives arrested him at his house.

The boy's mother told Judge Himona her son is terrified to use the bathroom on his own now, fearing that he will again be attacked.

In an emotional statement, she said: “I want this man to pay for what he's done, so he can never do this to another child.”

Dave Gibson

The Examiner

Feb. 4, 2010


Added: Feb. 12, 2010

Pennsylvania, USA

Felix Montoya is led away by police in July of 2009.

Photo: The Scranton Times Tribune

Man Sentenced to Life Plus 20 to 40 Years for Rape of 5-year-old

Contemplating the possibility of spending the rest of his life in prison, Felix Montoya wrote a letter to the judge, explaining he had made a "big mistake" the night he got high on drugs and alcohol and raped a 5-year-old girl.

On Tuesday, Lackawanna County Judge Michael Barrasse referred to Mr. Montoya's letter before handing down a life sentence, plus 20 to 40 years more.

"It was more than a big mistake," Judge Barrasse said. "It was a heinous and brutal crime."

Mr. Montoya, a native of Colombia who came to the United States via Costa Rica, listened to a translator while Judge Barrasse summed up how Mr. Montoya slipped into the girl's bedroom, locked the door and assaulted her so savagely she later required surgery.

"It's incomprehensible to think such a man exists," said Gene Talerico, the first assistant district attorney who prosecuted the case.

Some people in the courtroom packed with teary-eyed family members clapped when Mr. Montoya was led back to prison. Mr. Montoya pleaded no contest in October to raping a child and causing serious injuries, as well as aggravated assault and burglary.

After the sentencing hearing, the girl's parents held an impromptu press conference at the Lackawanna County Courthouse.

"It's never going to be a chapter that's closed," said Chris Bates, her father. He sighed with relief when he heard the sentence and realized "he's never going to be out another day in his life."

"At least we know no one else will have to go through this," Mr. Bates said...

Mr. Montoya was arrested by Taylor police after the girl's parents found him hiding under their daughter's bed.

He had shown up hours earlier at the family's Fourth of July party in Taylor by way of a friend who had been invited.

Mr. Montoya, who had been drinking heavily and smoking marijuana throughout the day, was asked to leave the party because he was "falling down drunk." He was last seen stumbling across the street to a friend's house.

No one noticed that he later returned, ostensibly to use the bathroom at the house.

At the end of the night, the girl's parents went to check on her, but her bedroom door was locked. About two minutes later, the door opened and their daughter ran from the room. Mr. Montoya was found semi-nude under her bed and held until the police arrived.

Joe McDonald

The Scranton Times Tribune

Feb. 3, 2010


Added: Feb. 12, 2010

Texas, USA

Leticia Ines

12 Year Old Girl Locked in Closet For a Year

Brownsville - Alfredo and Leticia Ines locked their 12-year-old daughter in a closet for nearly a year with no light and minimal contact with the world, according to Texas police.

The girl was released to go to school, eat or use the bathroom in the family's small home, officials said. She would do her homework by a thin sliver of light shining beneath the closet door.

One of her three brothers came to her rescue by alerting school officials. Her mother, Leticia Ines, told police she was trying to keep the 12-year-old from stealing food from the refrigerator.

According to Rio Grande Valley, Texas news station KRGV, the girl was told to use a bucket as her bathroom at night and was forced to clean it every morning. The station also reported that neighbors were unaware of the alleged abuse.

Jail records indicate that the father, 43-year-old Alfredo Ines, and the mother, 40-year-old Leticia Ines, are being held on charges of unlawful restraint and injury to a child. The 12-year-old is in foster care, according to the station.

WKRG

Feb. 03, 2010


Added: Feb. 08, 2010

Mexico

Family and friends bid farewell to a victim of the January 31st, 2010 massacre in Ciudad Juarez. Some 13 teens and 3 adults were killed at a party in Ciudad Juarez.

Photo: Julian Cardona For the Houston Chronicle

Feb. 3, 2010

See also:

Mexico Massacre Response Fails to Convince

Officials' suggestions that youths slain at Ciudad Juarez teen party had drug ties anger relatives.

...To understand why so many Mexicans lack trust in their country's law enforcement system, the brutal killings -- and the clumsy response by authorities -- offer a handy Exhibit A...

Ken Ellingwood

The Los Angeles Times

Feb. 04, 2010

Dallas Morning News Editorial: Mexico's Rock-bottom Moment

Excerpt

Against a two-decade timeline of drug-trafficking outrages in Mexico, last Sunday's slaughter of 16 at a teenager's quinceañera party in Ciudad Juárez seems likely to follow a familiar pattern. First comes stunned horror. Then comes the national outcry to do something. Government officials get hauled before the legislature for questioning. Someone resigns. Outrage subsides. Life goes on, same as before.

The Mexican government's behavior resembles that of an addict who's yet to hit that rock-bottom moment of realization that things absolutely must change. Yes, President Felipe Calderón has deployed thousands of soldiers and police officers to border cities and targeted corrupt public figures for prosecution. But that's clearly not sufficient.

Back in the 1990s, it seemed impossible that Mexico could slide any further into the depths. Remember when a Catholic cardinal was murdered by drug-cartel gunmen in Guadalajara? Or the well-reported links between a president's brother and the drug cartels? The army general named head of Mexico's drug enforcement agency who was subsequently arrested as an operative for a major cartel? The two northern governors implicated as operatives in a major cartel?

The next decade brought unspeakable levels of violence as rival cartels vied for territorial control. Thousands died. A free-for-all atmosphere now prevails, especially in Juárez.

"Mexico has abandoned us, betrayed us," José Luís Aguilar Rangel said as he looked down upon the coffins of his son and nephew, two of the young victims of the Sunday massacre.

In late 2008, Mexico's federal human rights commission reported that, on average, prosecution and conviction occurs in only one out of every 100 crimes. That's for reported crime. In 90 percent of cases, people don't even bother. Rangel clearly isn't alone in believing the government has abandoned him.

Yet, through it all, Mexican officials consistently play down what's happening. It's worse in Guatemala, they say. Just last month, Dallas Consul General Juan Carlos Cue-Vega sought to minimize the border-area violence as mainly drug thugs killing other drug thugs.

We don't buy it. Those Juárez teens had nothing to do with the drug cartels. In December, gunmen killed the mother, sister and aunt of a military hero who had been killed participating in a drug raid. The terrorists made clear: Come after us, and we'll go after your entire family.

"Where is the line drawn on indiffer-ence? If we cannot answer this question, the assassins can continue hiding themselves under the cloak of a complicit population – [complicit] either by conviction or by apathy," the Mexico City daily El Universal commented...

Dallas Morning News

Feb. 05, 2010

See also:

LibertadLatina Commentary

From top left: Rigoberta Menchu, Esther Chavez, Teresa Ulloa and Lydia Cacho

A Rock-bottom Moment in U.S. Action to Combat Latin American Human Trafficking and Slavery?

Let's draw the line  on indifference!

The February 5, 2010 editorial by the Dallas Morning News, Mexico's Rock-bottom Moment, accurately describes the atmosphere of government corruption and indifference (at the federal, state and local level) that permeates Mexico and allows criminals to engage in horrendous behavior with reckless abandon.

That reality does not only apply to the war on drug cartels. Conditions of impunity in Mexico also make it nearly impossible to effectively fight modern human slavery and other forms of sexual and labor exploitation.

We say 'modern' human slavery, but in Mexico, slavery, from the time of the Spanish coloniza-tion until now, has actually never stopped. Poor Indigenous and mixed-race (Mestizo) peoples, who are racially marginalized in Mexico, have always been easy marks for sexual and labor trafficking, with nobody to defend them. This socially accepted pattern of inhuman exploitation has damaged the lives of children and adults for centuries.

In 1994, a U.S. National Public Radio news report about the then-recent Indigenous-lead Zapatista uprising noted that in Mexico's southern Chiapas state, the majority indigenous population was expected to serve their whole lives as unpaid, hard-working peon farm workers on the plantations of wealthy Mexicans [of European descent], in exchange for nothing more than being given rice and beans to eat each day and a place to sleep each night.

That is slavery!

The ability to rape and to demand 'free' labor from the Indigenous and Mestizo poor in Mexico with impunity has been a 'right' of the Spanish descended elites for 500 years.

As we have stated in previous commentaries, our focus on the crisis of gender oppression in Mexico came about because:

1) The oppression of women is severe and institutionalized, and especially impacts poor indigenous women and girls;

2) By extension, the sex trafficking industry, fueled by the multi-billion dollar drug cartels, enslaves tens of thousands of women and girls each year, making Mexico a fortress for modern human slavery of all types;

3) Mexico is Latin America's 'border' with the United States, causing the great majority of migration and human trafficking from the region into the U.S. to be funneled through Mexico, a situation that amplifies the crisis of the mass enslavement of women and girls within that nation;

4) With "60 plus" percent of the human trafficking victims in the U.S. being victims who are Latin American, it is a fact that solving the Mexican crisis will likely hold the key to solving most foreign sex and labor trafficking in the U.S., and potentially across much of Latin America as well;

5) Mexico has a brave and very articulate women's rights, indigenous rights and anti-trafficking movement, lead by many unseen leaders, and others who are more visible. They dare to confront impunity in Mexico, despite the ongoing risk of government sponsored intimidation, false imprisonment and murder, which they face in retaliation for disrupting the 'status quo' and the corrupt power of the elites.

How can a Mexican Government that acts to support those who oppress women be an honest partner in suppressing the power of sex and labor traffickers?

How can a Mexican society that is based upon very strongly embedded traditions of male supremacy (machismo) change, and actually begin to defend the basic human rights of women and girls, when its own government fights reform to maintain the status quo of gender oppression?

How can a Mexico where influential business and political leaders have corrupt ties to the sex trafficking 'industry' be transformed into a nation that can effectively work to end human slavery?

How can activists make progress on this front when international organizations such as Amnesty International have identified the fact that human rights activists across Mexico face false imprisonment to halt their work, and they face, together with investigative journalists, a very real threat of being murdered as a response to their work for human rights and progress?

These are the pressing questions that the women's rights movement faces in Mexico, and indeed, across Latin America.

This movement deserves the full moral, financial and collaborative support of human rights, indigenous rights and women's rights activists, and all people of moral conscience from across the world.

Most importantly, the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama must, we believe, stand up and very publicly demand that the State of Mexico stop fighting against these human rights movements, and demand that they finally adhere to their international commitments to respect the rights of women and children.

That act alone would help both the grieving parents of the massacre victims in Juarez, and 'Little Brown Maria' chained to a bed in a brothel in Tijuana.

The recent track record of President Felipe Calderón's administration shows that it is indifferent to the issue of human slavery, and will only take minimal action to avoid getting a bad grade (and thus risk possible U.S. sanctions) from the annual U.S. State Department Trafficking in Persons report. Therefore, the movement to end slavery continues its long struggle to force the Calderón government to change its openly misogynist ways.

Among the leaders of Mexico's pioneering women and children's rights movement are Teresa Ulloa, a pioneering women's rights lawyer and Executive Director of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women for Latin America and the Caribbean (CATW-LAC). Ulloa has been a clear voice for identifying the need to enact and enforce strong anti-trafficking laws. She has identified the fact that 50 million women and children are at-risk of falling into the hands of human traffickers across all of Latin America. She has also declared that 500,000 victims of human trafficking exist within Mexico. Ulloa has stated that an estimated 1.5 million persons engage in prostitu-tion in Central Mexico alone, and notes that 75% of them (at any given time) are girls between the ages of 12 and 13. Ulloa's serious research into these problems contradicts the research of others who conclude that only 20,000 children are engaged in prostitution in Mexico (a figure that has stayed stagnant for over five years in government and NGO reports as the child sex trafficking 'industry' is known to have grown by leaps and bounds).

We also salute award winning journalist, author and women's center director Lydia Cacho, who responded to the impunity in child sex trafficking in the internationally popular tourist city of Cancun, Mexico by writing a well-researched book that exposed the complex links of collaboration between millionaire entrepreneur and child sex trafficker Jean Succar Kuri and a network of other wealthy businessmen and corrupt government officials.

In response to the publication of Cacho's book, in December of 2005 the leaders of the child sex trafficking network that was exposed by Cacho arranged with the corrupt governor of Puebla state, Mario Marin, to have Puebla state police officers arrest Cacho and drive her over 1,000 miles to Puebla to face criminal charges of defamation for the accusations made in her book. During the trip and while in prison, state officers threatened Cacho with rape and with death.

Eventually cleared of the charges, Cacho has recently faced continuing threats to her life by suspects carrying guns who shadow her daily movements. Today she lives 24 hours a day with armed guards.

While Cacho's supporters in Congress demanded an investigation by the Supreme Court into this case (a role that the Court may play in state corruption cases under Mexico's constitution), and despite the fact that the one Justice assigned to conduct the preliminary investigation found sufficient evidence to warrant a full investigation of Governor Marin by the entire Supreme Court, the Court's justices decided that Cacho's treatment did not constitute a violation of her basic rights.

In utter disgust at the Supreme Court's behavior in this case (in which it effectively sided in favor of the major conspirators in a large child sex trafficking network), the Attorney General's special prosecutor for crimes against women, Alicia Elena Perez Duarte, resigned.

Child sex trafficker Jean Succar Kuri is in jail thanks to Cacho's efforts. However Puebla Governor Mario Marin and Succar Kuri's other accomplices continue living undisturbed, and in complete freedom.

We posthumously salute Esther Chavez, Lydia Cacho's mentor and the founder of the movement to publicize and demand action to end the mass murder (femicide) of women in northern Mexico's Ciudad Juarez. Chavez' tireless work to confront the apathy and impunity of government officials starting in the 1990s was the training ground that taught a generation of new leadership in the Mexican women's rights movement. By extension, Esther Chavez' legacy guides all of our efforts to dare to face into the wind and openly confront misogynist terrorism across Latin America.

Like Esther Chavez, Dr. Rigoberta Menchu is a veteran activist. She works in defense of the basic human rights of indigenous peoples. A K'iche' Maya woman from Guatemala, Menchu's work impacts conditions for indigenous women and children in both Guatemala and Mexico. Winner of the 1992 Nobel Peace Prize, Menchu was also a 1997 candidate in Guatemala's presidential elections.

Menchu and her family survived the 1970s-to-1990s anti-Mayan genocide in Guatemala in which 200,00 people died, including 50,000 women. Several members of Menchu's family were murdered, and she, like hundreds of thousands of Mayan Guatemalans, had to flee the attempts of the nation's government to mass murder its indigenous citizens in the most obscene and atrocious attempt at ethnic cleansing and genocide in the Americas in the modern era.

Menchu continues to promote indigenous and women's human rights through the Rigoberta Menchu Tum Foundation (La Fundación Rigoberta Menchú Tum).

Menchu has been especially active in efforts to end the sex trafficking of young indigenous girls in Guatemala and Mexico, where they constitute one of the largest groups victimized by commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC).

We also give high praises to the CIMAC women's news agency. Their large network of women reporters has persistently documented the outrageous injustices that confront women and girls in Mexican society. CIMAC is not afraid to point the finger at government agencies and officials where that is warranted, in addition to identifying major criminal organizations and individuals who victimize women and girls with impunity.

CIMAC's highly professional news team has described in accurate detail the facts surrounding the issues of sex trafficking, rape and other crimes against women, and the lack of legislative and law enforcement action in Mexico to protect women and girls from these atrocities.

On the single issue of the rape with impunity of (mostly indigenous women and girls) by Mexican military personnel, CIMAC has published more than 340 comprehensive articles since 2007.

In July of 2008, CIMAC's offices were ransacked by 'unknown' vandals. CIMAC's computers were destroyed or stolen. This act of intimidation occurred days after CIMAC published an article that identified the fact that high ranking military officers working at Mexico City's equivalent of the Pentagon frequented the child prostitution brothels that exist just down the street from the nation's military head-quarters.

Letters of solidarity poured in from across the globe in response to these criminal acts, which remain in impunity.

We especially applaud the fact that CIMAC has consistently covered the mass gender atrocities facing poor indigenous women in a Mexico where such crimes are never, ever punished.

A Google search of the CIMAC News web site shows that:

* 120 CIMAC articles mention Rigoberta Menchu

* 170 CIMAC articles mention the late Esther Chavez

* 120 CIMAC articles mention Teresa Ulloa

* 550 CIMAC articles mention Lydia Cacho

We also give kudos to CIMAC for publishing information from the International Organization for Migration's office in Tapachula, in Chiapas state, noting that the southern Mexican border with Guatemala is a lawless zone where between 450 and 600 women and girl migrants from Central and South America are raped each and every day.

Another CIMAC article notes that the global NGO Save the Children has identified southern Mexico as being the largest zone for the commercial sexual exploitation of children in the entire world.

Thanks to the trailblazing work of these brave journalists and activists, the criminal mafias, and the wealthy business owners and corrupt public servants who collude with them can no longer hide under a rock as they carry out their dirty work against the innocent.

The evidence is irrefutable that an ongoing mass gender atrocity is taking place in Mexico. Yet neither the Mexican federal government (lead by a National Action Party which has openly misogynist policies), nor the United States Government is taking any visible action of real significance to stop that violence.

Thanks to the heroic work of Rigoberta Menchu, Esther Chavez, Teresa Ulloa, Lydia Cacho, the team at CIMAC and many other activists, the fact of the human slavery crisis in Mexico and the rest of Latin America cannot be denied by anyone.

These realities present a challenge to the global, and especially to the U.S. based anti-trafficking movements. Do they remain silent on this issue? Or do they take appropriate action to give the crisis facing Latinas a proper seat at the table of deliberations in this movement?

The modern anti-trafficking movement was born in the 1990s in response to the enslavement of thousands of Eastern European and Russian women after the fall of the Soviet Union, and focuses today principally on the issues of the enslavement of European, South Asian, East Asian and domestic minor U.S. youth. The focus areas reflect, interestingly enough, the ethnicities of the majority of the activists in this movement.

All of those populations deserve attention. So do Latin American victims. Latin American and Asian victims were trafficked into the U.S. long before the anti-slavery movement sprung-up in Western nations (The risk of being sex trafficked was known in the U.S. even in the 1950s).

Yet more than ten years into the development of this movement, we have yet to hear public pronouncements about the Latin American / Latina immigrant human slavery crisis from the U.S. Federal Government, nor from the academics (barring a few exceptions), nor from the major U.S. NGO heads in the U.S. who have pioneered the effort to stop modern slavery.

During a number of major speeches on human trafficking that I have attended, virtually every region of the world will be  mentioned except Latin America. Latina immigrant victims in the U.S. are almost never mentioned. Academic papers, speeches and promotional materials from the major anti-trafficking organizations are equally lacking in coverage of the crisis facing Latin America.

In late 2009, for example, I called Public Radio's nationally broadcast Diane Rehm Show based at WAMU, from American University Radio, to talk with Pulitzer Prize winning New York Times reporters Nicholas D. Kristof and his wife Sheryl WuDunn (a former Times reporter), as they discussed their book Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide.

In a reflection of the limited priorities of the majority of NGOs and U.S. federal government voices in the anti-slavery movement, Kristoff and WuDunn emphasized both in their book and during their radio interview, that their coverage of the crisis in women's rights as it exists in developing nations involved East Asia, South Asia and Africa. They did not even mention Latin America.

When I stated that Mexico is a major crisis area for human trafficking and that Save the Children had identified southern Mexico as the largest region for commercial sexual exploitation of children in the world, both authors responded by saying that, in their view, India was the largest zone for sex trafficking in the world and had to be tackled first. They admitted that they had not looked at Latin America in researching their otherwise important book on gender oppression. 

In point of fact, the sex trafficking networks began to focus on Latin America in their search for large numbers of women and children to enslave as law enforcement began to crack-down on Asian sex trafficking several year ago. Latin America's crisis is, arguably, just as large or larger than that found in India, where around 1 million children are sex trafficked at any given time.

One of my main motivations for expanding the LibertadLatina project (we are now in our ninth year) several years ago was to respond to the lack of publicly available factual information on the crisis in Latin America. That information gap leaves Latin American relatively isolated and without support from the global community (with the active role of the United Nations being a welcome exception to that fact).

I recall that about 7 years ago, a young Asian American man who had just graduated from college with a major in Women's Studies, and who was then a volunteer at Polaris Project, one of the leading anti-trafficking NGOs in the U.S., told me that "Latin America doesn't have a human trafficking problem. My professors said that Latin America didn't have a problem." This guy changed his attitude after I referred him to the LibertadLatina web site.

We would hope that such ignorance was a thing of the past. But today in 2010, the U.S. based anti-slavery movement continues to discuss anti-trafficking as a crime that impacts Europeans, Asians and U.S. domestic minor victims only.

We really have to wonder what the motivations are that drive that misguided thinking.

U.S. Ambassador-at-Large Luis CdeBaca, the Director of the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons at the U.S. State Department, is the U.S. Government's leading voice on human slavery issues. He is Mexican-American, and has prosecuted over 100 human trafficking cases, many involving Latin American victims and perpetrators.

Ambassador CdeBaca is in a perfect position to break the code of silence about the Latin American human trafficking crisis, a silence that has lasted for more than a dozen years, through the administrations of presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and now, Barack Obama.

In 2002 CdeBaca invited me to apply for a position as a victim advocate working with his team at the Justice Department's inter-agency Worker's Exploitation Task Force. So it is with great respect that we implore Ambassador CdeBaca, as the first Latino director of the Trafficking in Persons office, to respond forcefully to the critical emergency facing women and girls in Latin America and its Diaspora in the U.S. It is a crisis that he is thoroughly familiar with.

We also insist that U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Ambassador CdeBaca's boss, and U.S. President Barack Obama, Secretary Clinton's boss, move with all deliberate speed to address the defense of women and girls being exploited, and at-risk of being entrapped, by the Latin American networks who prostitute enslaved Latina victims in urban brothels and rural farm worker camps in almost every county and city in America.

Ambassador CdeBaca, Secretary Clinton and President Obama, we insist that you get together and collaborate to develop a public policy and action plan to address the "60 plus percent" according to Ambassador CdeBaca, of human slavery victims in the U.S. who originate from Latin America. Funding a few NGOs across the region (some of whom are known to misuse their mandates), is not an adequate answer.

You can act to combat these problems without requiring an earthquake to kick-start you in the right direction, which is a process that we have seen of late in regard to Haiti.

If fear of inflaming passions related to the comprehensive immigration reform debate are the motive for remaining silent about the ongoing mass gender atrocities in Mexico, across Latin America and within U.S. barrios and farm worker camps, we do not find such an argument to be compelling.

Silence is also violence!

Declaring that 'Little Brown Maria in the brothel' should just accept her fate so that the majority society in the U.S. won't get mad at criminals who operate with impunity within Latino culture is not an acceptable reason to remain silent about this tragedy.

Institutional sexism within Latino public service organiza-tions and press entities is also a possible source of political pressure to suppress an open attack on Latina sexual slavery in Mexico and in el barrio by any U.S. administration.

Having faced the indifference of such entities in my local Washington, DC barrio during the 10 years in which I worked to build interest from Latino NGOs, I have seen this dynamic first hand. Activists with whom I have worked in California have also seen the same lack of interest from Latino NGOs there.

A social resistance against defending women and girl's basic human rights exists within Latin America, and that cultural trait shows itself in the politics of anti-trafficking work here in the U.S.

We believe that those trends are changing as more awareness, and a 'permission' to discuss these once taboo topics comes about in society.

Hostility from the majority population in the U.S. to immigrants also plays a role in political resistance from legislators to pass laws that protect foreign-born victims.

A Polaris Project activist, for example, explained at a late 2009 meeting of the Maryland Human Trafficking Task Force that some state legislators felt that undocumented immigrants who find themselves in a condition of human slavery do not deserve the government's help to gain their freedom.

The bottom line is that many forces in U.S. and Latin American societies conspire to suppress an open discussion of the crisis of sex and labor trafficking. For folks within Latino communities, maintaining the code of silence is easy, because it has been a part of the culture since the Roman Empire.

Perhaps the Obama Administration also feels comfortable in remaining silent about these crimes against humanity. By doing so, they don't have to 'ruffle the feathers' of President Calderón in Mexico, and perhaps those of some Latino leaders in the U.S. who may feel that addressing these atrocities in the open will further drive U.S. public opinion against supporting immigration reform.

Activists working with other, non-Latin populations of human trafficking victims may see parallels to these reasons why anti-trafficking efforts are so ineffective. It is a problem that the entire anti-trafficking movement must confront and resolve.

None of these excuses are justified. Today is a good day to open-up this Soul-Wound and air it out. Since when does any justification exist to remain silent and fail to take action to stop a crime against humanity?

The time to speak up is now. President Obama, Secretary Clinton and Ambassador CdeBaca have both a moral and a legal responsibility to uphold the law and defend the innocent.

We call upon them to break the silence now, and effectively combat the enslavement of Latina and indigenous victims who are being entrapped in ever-greater numbers during the current global economic downturn.

Yes, President Obama, we understand that you have a lot on your plate. We insist, however, that your administration set a place at the table for 'little brown Maria in the brothel.' She deserves her freedom, and the U.S. Federal Government is the one force for good that can influence Mexico and free those who are enslaved.

Enslaved people die at the hands of their enslavers. They do not live a long life. Inaction is an act of complicity to murder. That is not an acceptable state of affairs.

Speak-up on this issue, President Obama!

Speak-up on this issue, Secretary Clinton!

Speak-up on this issue, Ambassador CdeBaca!

We need you in this fight!

We also need everyone else, the general public, concerned NGOs, academics and other activists to contact the White House, the  U.S. State Department and their congressional members to demand immediate action in regard to the Latin American and indigenous aspects of the human slavery crisis in the Americas.

Without our efforts, the crisis will continue to grow out of control, putting at risk and entire generation of young women and children who deserve the right to live in freedom from the tyranny of the gender hostile environment that they live in today.

Write to your members of the U.S. Senate.

Write to your House of Representatives members.

Write to President Barack Obama

Write-to or call the U.S. Department of State: 2201 C Street, NW Washington, DC 20520. Main Switchboard:

202-647-4000

End Impunity Now!

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

Feb. 08/09/11, 2010

See also:

Trata de blancas en Centroamérica

Human Trafficking in Central America [and Mexico]

María de Jesús Silva [who's daughter Jackeline Jirón Silva was kidnapped into sexual slavery at age 11 - comments on her search across Central America and southern Mexico for her daughter]: "I saw things that I never imagined existed... The brothels are full of children, sold by traffickers and abandoned by their parents. I saw them prostitute them-selves and wished that any one of them would have been my daughter. I settled for caressing the hair of these girls, and I imagined that in the 'next' brothel, I was going to find my daughter. Everything that I have suffered through is nothing compared to what my girl is going through."

...According to Ana Salvadó, executive director for Mexico, Latin America and the Caribbean for Save the Children:  "the panorama for childhood in Latin America is growing more bleak over time, and child trafficking is growing rapidly in each of these countries..."

Save the Children has identified the border region between Guatemala and Mexico as being the largest hot spot for the commercial sexual exploitation of children in the entire world.  Ana Salvadó: "It is a bottleneck, because many children attempt to migrate from Central [and South] America to the United States, and they never get past [southern] Mexico…

…A study by the international organization ECPAT… ...reveals that over 21,000 Central Americans, mostly children, are prostituted in 1,552 bars and brothels in Tapachula, Mexico… 

Traffickers sell these child victims to Tapachula's pimps for $200 each.

More that 50% of these children are from [indigenous] Guatemala.  The rest are Salvadorans, Hondurans and Nicaraguans.  They range in age from eight to fourteen-years-old.

...In 2006, the International Labor Organization conducted a survey of adult attitudes in Mexico, Central America and South America, where it is quite easy [for men] to engage in sexual relations with children.

Some 65% of respondents stated that they don't see any problem, and they don't feel any sort of conflict or fear in regard to having sex with boy and girl children, and "they don't feel that there is anything wrong with doing it."

...Mexico has been converted into a paradise for pimps and a living hell for thousands of Central American girl children like Jackeline Jirón Silva, whose captors have prostituted her during the past 32 months.  It is known that during half of that time, Jackeline has been held in the southern Mexican state of Chiapas.

- Ana Lilia Pérez

Revista Contralínea

Oct. 22, 2007

See also:

En Japón, de 3 a 4 mil niñas mexicanas víctimas de ESCI

Afirma la experta Teresa Ulloa

Three to four thousand underage indigenous girls from the poor states of Oaxaca, Chiapas, Guerrero and Mexico [state] have become victims of commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC) in Japan.

Puebla city, in Puebla state - Teresa Ulloa, Latin America and Caribbean Director of the Coalition Against Trafficking of Women (CATW) announced her estimates of the numbers of indigenous children sex trafficked to Japan, and explained that traffickers trick the victims using offers of thousands of dollars for their parents in exchange for  [obtaining permission] to take their daughters. The parents are told that their girls are going to the United States to work in fast food restaurant jobs.

Taking advantage of the condition of submission that Mexico's indigenous communities are forced to live in, the traffickers take their victims to Japan where they are prostituted and work as geishas, a role that Asian women no-longer want to play because today they have more decision-making power than in the past.

Ulloa said that before these victims from Japan are repatriated, the home conditions of these girls must be investigated to assure that they can be reintegrated without facing the risk of being sold or sexually exploited again.

Ulloa noted that in the year 2002 the CATW helped to repatriate two sisters, ages 8 and 10, who had been prostituted in a brothel in New York. They were subjected to exploitation again, 15 days later, because their family "had sold their daughters in exchange for two goats and two cases of beer."

During her interview with CIMAC Noticias, Ulloa declared: "the subject [of child protection] is not on the national agenda. Much attention is paid to drug trafficking, but the government hasn't even realized that the same drug trafficking networks are used for the [sex] trafficking of children, and that organized crime regards this activity to be one of their most important businesses."

Nadia Altamirano Díaz

CIMAC Noticias

Dec. 12, 2008

See Also:

Human Rights Activists in Mexico Under Attack

Activists suffer imprisonment on fabricated charges to stop them from doing their work

Amnesty International

Jan. 21, 2010

Responding to the Code of Silence

...Those who commit unspeakable crimes against women and children do not deserve to have their crimes hidden by the traditional wall of silence that has served them for so long. Much less in the 21st century, when billions of dollars of criminal cartel money and a wild-West kidnap-rape-and-sell mentality among criminals is trapping our peoples into a future of rampant disrespect for the most fundamental of human moral values and dignity.

If we, the adults of our communities take responsibility and take action, that wall of silence will finally come down. It needs to, just as much as the Berlin Wall needed to. Slowly, that wall will come down. Slowly, nine, ten, eleven year old Señorita Maria in the barrio will see light at the end of the tunnel. Still, the momentum of our good actions will be too slow for some. Maybe Señorita Maria will make it, maybe she will not. Her fate lies, at least in part, in our collective hands. Do we act now? Or wait?

Wait for... what? ...

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

Commentary

2001

See Also:

LibertadLatina

Special Section

Journalist / Activist

Lydia Cacho is

Railroaded by the

Legal Process for

Exposing Child Sex

Networks In Mexico

See also:

The United States

Obama's Slavery Czar

Ambassador-at-Large Luis CdeBaca fights human slavery for a living...

...Whether it was farm workers, or women in brothels, the percentages continue to be overwhelmingly Latino. Sixty-plus per cent of the [trafficking] victims in the U.S. are Hispanic.” ...

Lynn Sherr

The Daily Beast

Nov. 24, 2009

See also:

Ransacking of Longtime Women’s News Agency in Mexico City Raises Concerns About Motives

The devastation and disorder of a burglary and violent vandalism at the women’s news agency CIMAC (Women’s Communication & Information) offices in Mexico City last weekend suggest that it was more than a common break-in, according to Lucía Lagunes Huerta, general director of the organization. Manual Fuentes, a lawyer for CIMAC noted that the evidence might be “leaving a message that CIMAC is vulnerable.” On behalf of the news agency, Fuentes filed a burglary charge with the Attorney General’s office of the federal district of Mexico.

CIMAC has covered women and women’s human rights issues throughout Mexico, Central & Latin America and the world for 20 years, including special in-depth articles about various unresolved cases of femicide and sexual violence against women in Mexico as a systemic violation of women’s human rights. This journalistic work has included the hundreds of murders and disappearances of women in Juarez, Mexico; the 14 cases of sexual assault charges of women against soldiers on July 11, 2006 in Castaños in the northern state of Coahuila; and charges of sexual assault and torture of 26 women by Mexican police on May 3, 2006 in San Salvador Atenco (northeast of Mexico City), all of which remain unresolved.

Fuentes said that in the legal documents filed about the burglary against CIMAC, Erica Cervantes, a staff member declared that when they arrived the morning of Monday, July 28th they found the locks to their offices smashed and totally destroyed. Likewise, the disarray in the office was extensive and unlike typical burglaries was focused more on documents and files, including those containing confidential information about special investigations and coverage by CIMAC. Fuentes said, “it was obvious they were searching for information and documents…this is something that is very serious since CIMAC is dedicated to the denouncement and dissemination of issues that affect women in the exercise of their human rights.” ...

FIRE – Feminist International Radio Endeavour

July 30, 2008

See also:

Modern-Day Slavery in Mexico and the United States

...As Mexico and the U.S. are connected physically and through criminal links, issues the Mexican government deals with will subsequently impact the U.S. Many of the Mexican criminal networks notable for narcotrafficking are also involved in human trafficking. According to the Inter Press Service, “at least 20 networks are involved in the trafficking of persons, with links to organized crime rings involved in other activities like drug smuggling.” Rampant corruption plagues the U.S.-Mexico border, where high-ranking Mexican officials have been accused of taking bribes from drug rings. According to Gary Hale, DEA intelligence chief for Houston, the U.S. effort to end the drug war has forced these criminal networks to seek “other crime activities to generate their income.” Hale reports that, due to the U.S. government’s crackdown on drug trafficking, crime rings income has decreased significantly. As a result, many of the criminal networks have searched for other activities, like human trafficking, to supplement their income.

Ambassador C. de Baca believes that focusing on eradicating human trafficking could improve U.S.-Mexican efforts to combat other forms of transnational crime. According to C. de Baca, human trafficking “appears to be an area where the [Mexican government] is prepared to cooperate with [the U.S.].” C. de Baca and others are hopeful that the exchange of information on human trafficking cases will build relationships between Mexican and U.S. officials that might help further combat the drug war...

Megan McAdams

Council on Hemispheric Affairs

Dec. 21, 2009

See also:

Rigoberta Menchú denuncia venta de niñas indígenas en Centroamérica y México

Mayan Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Rigoberta Menchu denounces the sale of indigenous children into sexual slavery in Mexico and Central America

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

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

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

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

- CERIGUA

Guatemalan Human

Rights News

June. 27, 2008

See also:

LibertadLatina

Raids and Rescue Versus...?

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

- Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

Dec. 18, 2008

See also:

United States: Migration and Trafficking in Women:
A Comparison Study on Migration and Trafficking in Women in the US.

...Until recently, trafficking of women in the United States was rarely acknowledged. 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

Coalitio Against Trafficking in Women (CATW)

2002


Added: Feb. 08, 2010

Guatemala

At the January 31st, 2010 commemoration of the 1980 Spanish Embassy Massacre, Nobel Laureate Dr. Rigoberta Menchu Tum kneels at a tapestry covered with the names of many of those who were murdered by government forces during the Guatemalan civil conflict.

Exposición fotográfica y artística en conmemoración del 30 aniversario de la masacre de la embajada de España

El día domingo 31 de enero de 2010 diferentes organizaciones de derechos humanos de Guatemala, montaron una exposición plástica en la Plaza Mayor de la ciudad  que incluyo una galería fotográfica de los acontecimientos sucedidos hace 30 años.  La actividad se abrió con una conferencia de prensa presidida por la Dra. Rigoberta Menchú Tum...

Photographic and artistic exhibition in the 30 commemoration of anniversary of the massacre of the embassy of Spain

On January 31st, 2010, human rights organizations from across Guatemala presented an art and photography exhibit to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Spanish Embassy Massacre in Guatemala City. The event began with a press conference by moderated by Dr. Rigoberta Menchú Tum.

Distinguished human rights defenders, including Aura Elena Farfan, Julio Solorzano Foppa, Miguel Ángel Alvizures participated.

Gustavo Meoño and Mario Minera related to the assembled crowd the history of the Spanish Embassy Massacre, in which 37 Mayans, students and Spanish diplomats were killed. The victims included Vicente Menchú, father of Dr. Rigoberta Menchu.

Speaker noted that, despite the time that passed, this crime remains in impunity. The participants called upon the authorities to take action, open an investigation, and punish those responsible for the murders.

The exhibition included photographs of the events of the day of the massacre, as well as the consequences of the government repression during the civil conflict. The photos of some of the [45,000] persons who were made to disappear [during the genocide] were shown.

A huge tapestry with the names of victims of the armed conflict was laid in the center of the event grounds.

Guatemalan artist Marlon García displayed some of his works, and collaborated in organizing the exposition. 

Rigoberta Menchu Tum Foundation

La Fundación Rigoberta Menchú Tum

Feb. 02, 2010

See also:

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

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

Photo: MiMundo

About the Spanish Embassy Massacre

Starting in 1977, a large number of Maya K’iche’ and Maya Ixil inhabitants from the municipalities of Nebaj, Chajul, San Juan Cotzal and San Miguel Uspantan, all located in the northern region of the Department of Quiche, began to organize under the newly created Committee for Peasant Union (CUC). During the year 1979, a number of oppressive acts were carried out by the army against the residents of these municipalities. [That is - military campaigns by government soldiers of mass-rapes and massacres carried out against entire villages of innocent civilians].

In response to such repression, Maya Ixil and Maya K’iche’ peasants, many of them members or local leaders within the CUC, travelled to Guatemala City so as to denounce both at national and international levels the human rights atrocities which were taking place in their communities.

Once in Guatemala City, the peasant delegation visited a number offices and personalities seeking help in divulging their accounts. But their effort was in vain. At the National Congress, access was denied to them. The press also refused to cover the story.

The delegation, however, did receive support from students at the University of San Carlos (USAC), militants from the Robin Garcia Student Revolutionary Front (FERG), some labor unions, as well as a few social organizations... In the end, they decided to occupy an Embassy.

A public declaration from the indigenous communities which peacefully occupied the Spanish Embassy, dated January 31, 1980, states: “...We have been left no other choice but to occupy the Spanish Embassy as the only resource to make our pleas known at both local and international levels.”

The military government of General Lucas Garcia decisively selected to remove the protesters “by any means”. Hence, after only a few minutes after the occupation took place, dozens of police and state security agents surrounded the Spanish Embassy grounds.

Immediately after knocking down the door, [the security forces] made use of a flamethrower, or similar gas-emitting device, against those found inside the ambassador’s office; most were struck by the flames from the waist up and propelled backwards, hence causing a pile-up effect.

Dark smoke was seen come out of the windows, and all 37 people present were burned alive.

The case of the Spanish Embassy Massacre serves as precedent and proof of the intensive and excessive political repression applied by the Government of Lucas Garcia in 1980. It clearly reflects the situation lived during such time where political opposition, demands for social justice, and the denouncement of human rights violations were completely disallowed. In addition, it also reflects the state of terror in which Guatemala society lived under at that time.

Twenty-eight years after the event, a number of activities were carried out to commemorate those massacred: a demonstration in front of the Constitutionality Court (CC), a forum focusing on the topic of Impunity, as well as a vigil in front of the current Spanish Embassy.

Spanish Embassy Massacre: 28th Anniversary

MiMundo

Feb. 27, 2008

See also:

Rigoberta Menchú in Nicaragua

On October 16, 1992, Rigoberta Menchú Tum, heir of the Maya-Quiché people of Guatemala, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. The Nobel Committee recognized in Rigoberta Menchú "a symbol of peace and reconciliation 500 years after Christopher Columbus' arrival to America," underscoring that she is a "vivid symbol of peace and reconciliation despite the ethnic, cultural and social divisions in her country, the American continent and the world."

Only a week before, Rigoberta Menchú had been in Nicaragua to attend the III Encounter of the Continental Campaign of 500 Years of Indigenous, Black and Grassroots Resistance, held in Managua from October 7-12. During her stay, she was given an honorary doctorate in Humanities from the Central American University (UCA). The UCA paid homage to her "contribution to the defense of human rights and the indigenous peoples of Latin America, particularly in her country, for more than 15 years," describing her as "a dignified and distinguished representative of the indigenous peoples of our continent."

Rigoberta Menchú's personal denunciations of the marginalization of the continent's indigenous peoples, of which she and her family have been victims, praised UCA rector Xabier Gorostiaga, have "contributed to educating international public opinion about these very serious problems." He noted that she has become "a genuine representative of the indigenous peoples and popular majorities of Central and Latin America, reclaiming the right to freedom and to the life of our cultures, principles shared by the Society of Jesus and the Central American University of Nicaragua."

Father Gorostiaga also recognized that Menchú has been a "Christian leader in her indigenous community, daughter and sister of martyrs, participating since age 10 in pastoral activities, deeply dedicated to an evangelizing mission in favor of the most oppressed and to the formation of an autochthonous church in Guatemala."

 Central American University

Dec., 1992

See also:

LibertadLatina Special Section

About the genocide and femicide confronting women and girls in Guatemala


Added: Feb. 09, 2010

Mexico

Prostitution is common-place, and legal in Tijuana's Zona Norte area.

Photo: Tania Navarro - San Diego news Network

Human Trafficking, Sexual Exploitation has Invisible Victims
It’s a modern form of slavery, the third largest criminal industry in the world after drug and weapons dealing, and the fastest growing.

Human trafficking is a real issue around the world that affects many victims who are engaged in prostitution, pornography or exotic dancing. It also occurs in forms of labor exploitation, such as domestic servitude or restaurant work, sweatshop, factory work or migrant agricultural work.

To prevent and discuss ideas that could help to intervene and eradicate human trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation at this border, the Bilateral Safety Corridor Coalition (BSCC) - an alliance of over 60 government and nonprofit agencies in the U.S. and Latin America - convened a panel with national and foreign experts.

BSCC director Marisa Ugarte said last year the group registered more than 2,000 calls and 349 cases of labor and sexual exploitation in San Diego.

“The number of victims for human trafficking and exploitation is incalculable. Some organizations suggest that at least 350,000 kids are being exploited in the U.S. but there are no real surveys to prove it, because most of the time the victims are invisible to us,” she said...

Child pornography, sexual and labor exploitation, sex tourism, and panhandling, are some of the issues happening in Baja California and California frontiers, said Ugarte.

In specific areas such as El Cajon Boulevard, National City, and Vista in San Diego County or the Zona Norte in Tijuana, the problems are more notorious.

Women, men and children from Mexico, the U.S., and many other nations are being trafficked and exploited at the San Diego-Tijuana border region, she said.

Reverse trafficking

Many American teenagers and young women are victims of human trafficking and exploitation, said Anna Rodriguez, founder and CEO of the Florida Coalition Against Human Trafficking.

Japan, Aruba, Thailand, South America and Europe are some of the destinations where these girls are taken to, she said.

Rodriguez said that at first they are recruited in their hometowns to participate as models or dancers in live shows; once they obtain the job, they travel overseas with legitimate documents and paid by the contractors.

American customers

All day and night in Tijuana’s downtown, very close to the border fence, many women and men practice legal prostitution, in the tolerance area called Zona Norte.

“Just one visit to those streets is necessary to find out that many of the people that buy these men and women are Americans,” said Rodriguez.

But in Zona Norte, not everything is legal. There are also children that are forced to have sex with adults, said Ugarte.

“Human trafficking has proliferated in our border and in our cities because dogs don’t smell it, the product is not a drug and the criminals don’t sell it,” she said. “They recycle it and exploit it many times until the girl or boy is no longer attractive for the customers,” she said...

Mexican efforts

...“The seriousness of the problem of trafficking in Mexico is that this is an origin, transit and destination country,” said Fernando Batista of the Mexican Human Rights Commission.

“Certainly this is a problem that has been gradually strengthening in our country, not just in the border states. However, the border is a very active place for the transit of persons who are subjected to this terrible crime,” he said.

Batista said that in Mexico, indigenous people, women, children, and immigrants are potential victims for human trafficking.

While organ trafficking, and sexual and labor exploitation are some of the most frequent crimes in Mexico, most of the time the perpetrators are not punished...

Tania Navarro

San Diego News Network

Feb. 08, 2010


Added: Feb. 09, 2010

Haiti

Baltimore Sun Editorial

Protecting Haiti's Children

Our view: Good intentions don't justify child trafficking disguised as adoption

The heart-rending images of injured and frightened children after Haiti's devastating earthquake last month no doubt stirred the compassion of many Americans, including the Baptist evangelicals from Idaho now being held on suspicion of human trafficking in Port-au-Prince.

We reserve judgment on the group's claim that they were motivated only by the best of intentions when they tried to spirit more than 30 youngsters across the border into the neighboring Dominican Republic without proper documents. But we can well understand why Haitian officials are insisting they knew what they were doing was illegal and are calling for the Americans to be prosecuted for kidnapping and trafficking in child victims of the tragedy.

In the chaotic situation after the quake, thousands of children were separated from their parents or caregivers. Even before that catastrophe, Haiti had more than 300,000 orphaned or abandoned children vulnerable to exploitation by traffickers masquerading as relief organizations or aid workers, and the country's notoriously corrupt government too often turned a blind eye to the trade in human lives. Trafficking victims ended up as sex slaves or unpaid household domestics far from home, condemned to miserable lives of perpetual involuntary servitude.

The Idaho Baptists may not have known this tragic history of exploitation when they set out for Haiti, but once they got there they had a responsibility to make sure the children they wished to help really were orphans -- it turns out most were not -- and to follow the legal requirements for taking them out of the country. That they did neither suggests they had no intention of trying to abide by either U.S. or Haitian adoption laws.

What the group clearly did understand was that some Haitian parents were so anxious for their children's safety that they were willing to turn them over to total strangers on the promise of a better life in America. Under such circumstances, the parents can't have given anything resembling informed consent. And the missionaries knowingly took advantage of that desperation when they tried to spirit the children out of the country, bypassing the formal legal process set up to protect vulnerable youngsters.

Even if the group's members ultimately intended to place the children in loving adoptive homes, their actions were virtually indistinguishable from those of the worst traffickers in the global slave trade.

Some may wish to continue characterizing what these Americans did as an unselfish act of charity motivated by religious belief. But we think human trafficking under any guise is still a crime against humanity.

The Baltimore Sun

February 7, 2010


Added: Feb. 08, 2010

Florida, USA

Advocates Hope to Rescue Underage Super Bowl Sex Slaves

Super Bowl XLIV

Two dozen volunteers from around the country gathered inside a Miami conference room earlier this week to prepare for the Super Bowl.

They're not here for the game, though. They will spend several days fanning out through the city to rescue underage girls who have been trafficked to South Florida as sex workers.

``The Super Bowl is obviously a really big deal for prostitution,'' Sandy Skelaney, a program manager at Kristi House, a program for sexually abused children, told the group.

``We have a bunch of girls being brought down by pimps.''

Just as police, hoteliers, restaurateurs and retailers have prepared for the big game, so too have children's advocates. For weeks, volunteers have printed fliers, prepared scripts and organized outreach teams in an effort to identify -- and, with luck, rescue -- girls who are being forced into prostitution.

Last year, when the Super Bowl was held in Tampa, the state Department of Children & Families took in 24 children who were brought to the city to serve as sex workers, said Regina Bernadin, DCF's statewide human-trafficking coordinator.

``Miami is known as a destination city for human trafficking, and sporting events are generally recognized by the experts as magnets for prostitution,'' said Trudy Novicki, who heads Kristi House...

Throughout the year, Miami-Dade police hold between 15 and 20 operations targeting underage prostitution. For major events, such as the Super Bowl, the department works with the FBI's Innocence Lost Task Force.

``At large events such as this, we increase our presence . . . with the ultimate goal being that no children are sexually exploited,'' Maj. Raul Ubieta, who works with the department's Strategic and Specialized Investigations Bureau, said through a spokesman...

The outreach workers are organized into eight teams, divvying up the Spanish-speakers and trying to have one man each. In teams of two, three or four, the volunteers -- who came from as far as New York City and Alabama -- spread out across Miami-Dade -- from South Beach to Hialeah to Downtown Miami....

Marbin Miller And Jennifer Lebovich

The Miami Herald

Feb. 5, 2010


Added: Feb. 08, 2010

North Carolina, USA

Human-Trafficking Ring Busted in Wilson

Wilson County Sheriff Wayne Gay says that investigators arrested a man Thursday for allegedly running a prostitution ring with ties to human trafficking, according to media reports.

WITN News reports that Felipe Ramirez Chavez faces a misdemeanor charge of maintaining a place for prostitution. Chavez was being held in the Wayne County Jail Saturday under a $1,000 bond and has also been placed placed under a detainer by Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Gay told WITN that a few weeks ago, acting on tips about a prostitution ring, deputies raided a house on U.S. Highway 301 and found one woman. Information from that raid led them to arrest Chavez at his residence at 2101 Fair Place in Wilson.

Two women were found at Chavez's residence, but investigators believe that three or four women lived there, Gay said.

The sheriff said he believes this prostitution ring is unique in the county.

Chavez's first court appearance was set for March 5.

WRAL

Feb. 6, 2010


Added: Feb. 06, 2010

Missouri, USA

Flor, 37, talks about her experience as a labor trafficking victim: "I thought slaves were only in the past, just in history. It happens every day."

From: A New Slavery: Border Crossing - Photo Gallery - The Kansas City Star

Photo: Keith Myers / Kansas City Star

Kansas City Star’s Human Trafficking Series Wins Award in Kansas

The Kansas City Star’s series on human trafficking in America has won the 2009 Burton W. Marvin Kansas News Enterprise Award.

The award was presented Friday to reporters Laura Bauer, Mike McGraw and Mark Morris during the annual William Allen White Day festivities on the University of Kansas campus.

“We are again happy to honor quality journalism in Kansas,” said Ann Brill, dean of KU’s journalism school. “The winners this year represent the impact that great storytelling can have in a community.”

The five-part series, published in December, found that the U.S. government is failing to find and help thousands of human trafficking victims. According to the judges, the series reflected a “commitment to serving the public and demonstrated initiative on acting on that commitment.”

The Kansas City Star

Feb. 05, 2010

See also:

The Kansas City Star’s week-long human trafficking series from December of 2009

The Kansas City Star

Dec., 2009

See also:

LibertadLatina Note

We would like to applaud the Kansas City Star for their December, 2009 special series of articles on human trafficking. Their work was one of the few mainstream English language print articles in recent years that focused on the fact that Mexico, Guatemala and other regions of Latin America confront a major sex and labor trafficking crisis. They also highlighted the fact that Latin Americans comprise the majority of human trafficking victims in the United States.

End Impunity Now!

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

Feb. 06/07, 2010


Added: Feb. 06, 2010

Haiti

Former U.S. President Bill Clinton in Haiti

Photo: Reuters

Clinton Urges Solution to Haiti 'Kidnap' Case

Port-au-Prince - Former U.S. President Bill Clinton urged the U.S. and Haitian governments on Friday to resolve the case of 10 American missionaries accused of trying to take children illegally out of quake-hit Haiti.

Clinton, named by the United Nations to coordinate relief efforts for survivors of the devastating Jan. 12 quake, made the appeal during a visit to the shattered Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince, his second since last month's disaster.

The accused U.S. missionaries, most of whom belong to an Idaho-based Baptist church, were arrested a week ago and charged on Thursday with child kidnapping and criminal association.

Haitian authorities say the group tried to take a busload of 33 Haitian children across the border into the Dominican Republic without any papers proving the minors were orphans or any official permission to take them out of the country.

The missionaries deny any intentional wrongdoing and say they were only trying to help children left destitute by the Jan. 12 earthquake, which killed more than 200,000 people, injured some 300,000 and left over a million more homeless.

The Americans' case is diplomatically sensitive and aid groups complain it has distracted media and world attention away from the struggle to feed and shelter hundreds of thousands of Haitians camped out in wrecked streets.

"What's important now is for the government of Haiti and the government of the United States to get together and work through this," Clinton told CNN in Port-au-Prince.

He said he understood the Haitian government's efforts to try to protect its children from possible child traffickers and unlawful adoptions following the catastrophic quake.

But he also said the missionaries could be telling the truth when they argued they simply wanted to help the children and did not mean to violate any laws. Evidence has emerged that many of the intercepted children were not orphans but were given up by parents who wanted them to have a better life [Note that the missionaries at-first stated to the press that all of the children were orphans - LL].

"The government of Haiti ... (is) not looking for some big fight here. They just want to protect their children and they also want to make sure they have a good inventory so they don't send children away that maybe have an aunt or an uncle that have an income," Clinton said...

Reuters

Feb. 5, 2010


Added: Feb. 06, 2010

Texas, USA

Deputies Investigating Alleged Abduction, Sex Assault

Houston  -- A nine-year-old girl was approached and nearly abducted at an apartment complex in southwest Houston Saturday. Her family is thankful she's safe, but police haven't found the man who investigators say tried to lure her away.

The Precinct 5 Constables Office was called out to the University Apartments on Beechnut near Fondren at around 2pm. When they arrived, they found the shaken nine-year-old girl. She told authorities the man lured her to the back of the apartment complex by asking her to help him find his cat.

When he got back there, authorities say the man made a sexual advance on the girl and tried to get her into his truck.

Fortunately, she managed to escape and ran and reported the incident. Neighbors meantime, are mad.

"What I think about it is that if I see him, you won't have to worry about him," said neighbor Joe York. "You'll never have to worry about him again."

"It's kind of worries me because you know it can happen to anybody," said neighbor Erik Benitez. "Just like it happened to a little kid, it could happen to any grownup."

The suspect is described as an Hispanic man between 35 and 40 years old. He was last seen driving a blue Toyota truck. Deputy constables, as well as Houston police officers, searched the neighborhood Saturday afternoon, but he was not located.

We are told HPD's juvenile sex crimes unit has been notified. Anyone with information is encouraged to call Crime Stoppers at 713-222-TIPS.

KTRK

Jan. 24, 2010


Added: Feb. 06, 2010

Florida, USA

Composite image of suspect

Deputies Investigating Alleged Abduction, Sex Assault

The Charlotte County Sheriff's Office is asking for help with their investigation of reported abduction and sexual assault of a 15-year-old girl in the area of Palmetto Circle in Port Charlotte.

Deputies took the call about the alleged abduction shortly after 9:30 p.m. Thursday. The girl said she was walking by herself and that two men forced her into their car.

The girl says both of the men were in their mid twenties.

She said one of the men was Hispanic and described him as tall and skinny with black spiky hair and wearing a red shirt.

She told deputies the other man was white and wore glasses. The girl described that man as tall and thin, wearing a white T-shirt and jeans.

She said both suspects speak English with a Spanish accent.

The vehicle is an older white 4-door car, with dark tinted windows, and a reflective stripe down the side.

If anyone has information about this case, please call Detective Ian Alvarez at (941) 575-5361 or Crime Stoppers at 800-780-TIPS.

WBBH

Feb 05, 2010


Added: Feb. 05, 2010

Georgia, USA

Thomas E. Perez
Assistant Attorney - General - Civil Rights Division - U.S. Department of Justice: "...
Human trafficking will not be tolerated in the United States..."

Citizen of Mexico Sentenced for Role in Federal Sex Trafficking Conspiracy

Atlanta - Miguel Rugerio, 28, a Mexican national, was sentenced to federal prison today by United States District Judge Clarence Cooper on charges of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking and related immigration offenses, and of transporting one of the victims of the conspiracy, a young Mexican woman identified as “N.M.,” in interstate and foreign commerce for purposes of prostitution.

Acting United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates said of today’s sentencing, “This defendant lured young women from Mexico with the promise of money and legitimate jobs and then forced them into prostitution and repulsive living conditions. He is now going to federal prison for five years and then will be expelled from the United States.”

In Washington, D.C., Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division, said, “This defendant deprived vulnerable victims of their freedom, their dignity and their civil rights. Today’s sentencing should send a clear message to would-be perpetrators that human trafficking will not be tolerated in the United States.”

“Few crimes are more repugnant than sex trafficking helpless and innocent victims,” said Kenneth Smith, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Immigration and Customs (ICE) Enforcement Office of Investigations in Atlanta.

“This sentencing is gratifying given the horrible conditions the victims in this case were forced to endure. While we can’t erase the suffering these women experienced, by aggressively investigating and prosecuting these cases, ICE and its law enforcement partners are sending a powerful warning about the consequences facing those responsible for such schemes.”

FBI Atlanta Special Agent in Charge Greg Jones said, “Today’s sentencing of Mr. Rugerio provides further opportunities for law enforcement agencies such as the FBI, as well as the many and varied victim assistance based agencies, to highlight the growing crime problem known as human trafficking. Mr. Rugerio will now have five years in federal prison to consider the exploitation and victimization of those that he brought in to the U.S. under false pretenses for purposes of prostitution.”

Chicago Press Release

Feb. 04, 2010


Added: Feb. 04, 2010

The United States, The World, Haiti

U.S. Ambassador-at-Large Luis CdeBaca, the Director of the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons at the U.S. State Department, speaks at the Preview to the Annual Meeting of the President's Interagency Task Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons

Preview to the Annual Meeting of the President's Interagency Task Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons

Ambassador Luis CdeBaca: …I’m the Ambassador-at-Large for the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking. Today, Secretary Clinton will chair the President’s interagency task force. She’ll be joined by other members of the task force, including the Attorney General, the secretaries of Labor, Homeland Security, and Health and Human Services; the USAID Administrator, the Director of National Intelligence, as well as representatives from the White House, Department of Defense, Education, Agriculture, and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

This meeting, which… is mandated under the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, is the first held under the Obama Administration. In today’s meeting, we will look forward to a very candid and progressive discussion that highlights the work that each agency is conducting individually as well as collectively to combat modern slavery. In addition, it’s a chance to preview the anti-trafficking efforts in the days, weeks, and months ahead as we work together to make measured progress against every form of exploitation, including forced labor, peonage, and sexual servitude, in response to the President’s declaration of January as Human Trafficking and Slavery Awareness and Prevention Month.

[In regard to child trafficking in Haiti:]

Ambassador CdeBaca: We have begun to – we’ve actually got funding out the door already to a group called Heartland Alliance that’s part of the child cluster that’s one of the more experienced U.S. counter-trafficking organizations. They work with a lot of the trafficking victims in the Midwest. They’re out of Chicago. But they also do counter-trafficking projects for – with grant money from us around the world. And they’re stepping up their activities in Haiti…

Ambassador CdeBaca: …There’s been reports, that I think have been reported on in the news as well, of men coming into some of the camps, using offers of food or water to get girls to leave with them in trucks. Now, obviously, we don’t have any hard evidence as to what’s happening to those girls once they leave with those men, and so that’s why the term “the notion of” trafficking…

What we’ve done in the last three weeks is we’ve repositioned a number of those projects. In the Dominican Republic, for instance, we’re working with the Solidarity Center so that we can try to turn that project around a little bit and have it catch, if there are folks that are coming over the border in search of jobs, in search of work, that they know their rights, that they know that they shouldn’t put themselves into a situation where they can be exploited.

So we’re working on the Dominican side with that project, and then we’re also moving money into Haiti as far as trying to build up those child protection brigades, as far as working with the groups such as the Jean Robert Cadet Restavek Foundation and others to try to make sure that we can have some things in place to protect those children.

Question: You asking for more money for Haiti? You said that previously you had about $500,000 a year in projects. And I know you guys have – don’t have yet an exact sum for assistance for Haiti. But do you plan to ask for additional money to combat these kinds of – to combat trafficking in Haiti?

Ambassador CdeBaca: Well, we have 500,000 to begin with. We will reposition about another a million, taking that from other projects, frankly. And so we need to look at how we make sure that those projects, which – the money of which hasn’t gone out the door yet. And those countries don’t necessarily (inaudible) or not, now that we’re looking at the Haitian side.

Obviously, we’re looking at what the long-term funding needs are. We have about $20-, $22 million in grant funds that we administer in the Trafficking office. We work with our partners at USAID and at the International Labor Affairs Bureau over at DOL, and we are shaking the trees right now to figure out what money there is in this year’s budget, as opposed to looking into the next year...

[The linked web page contains a video recording of this presentation.]

Luis CdeBaca

Director, Office To Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons

U.S. Department of State

Feb. 3, 2010

See also:

Changing Views: Government Promises Action

The Obama administration is weeks away from announcing a new surge — this one aimed at escalating the war on human trafficking in America.

“In January we are going to be announcing a major set of initiatives,” Janet Napolitano, secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, told The Kansas City Star.

Napolitano disclosed the administration’s plans at the conclusion of The Star’s six-month investigation exposing numerous failures in America’s anti-trafficking battle.

Although details of the plan were not released, advocates and other experts said they’re cautiously optimistic that this is the best chance in years to address many of the problems revealed in the newspaper’s five-part series. They’re also hopeful that the administration, which has reached out to them and asked what changes are needed, will correct structural flaws in the broken system.

“It is time to go back to the drawing board and promote a more seamless, coordinated plan,” said Florrie Burke, a nationally known advocate for trafficking victims.

Other experts said it’s also time for congressional oversight hearings on the flagging decade-long struggle, and time to centralize an anti-trafficking effort that is thinly spread across a vast bureaucracy plagued by inter-agency wrangling and a lack of coordination.

Part of: Human Trafficking in America | A Star series

Mark Morris, Mike Mcgraw And Laura Bauer

The Kansas City

Dec. 15, 2009

See also:

LibertadLatina Commentary

Chuck Goolsby

We note for the record that the Obama Administration indicated in December of 2009 that they would be presenting a major new initiative to combat human trafficking during January of 2010. As of February 3rd, 2010, that announcement had not yet happened.

It is not hard to understand that an escalation in attempts at terrorism within the U.S., as well as the Haitian earthquake emergency are likely to be among the factors that have pushed back such an announcement. It is concerning, though, that we see no sign in the February 3, 2010 news conference comments of Luis CdeBaca, Director of the U.S. State Department's Office To Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, that the Obama Administration is on the verge of rolling-out any such effort.

We hope that, whenever this action is taken (and even if it never comes about), the Obama Administration recognizes that, as Ambassador CdeBaca stated in a December, 2009 press interview with the Kansas City Star, some 60% of trafficking victims within the U.S. are from Latin America, and a great many victims are trafficked across the Mexican / U.S. border.

Currently, the attention to Haiti's emergency is very much in order. We note that the world press has sounded the alarm bell about the risk of child sex trafficking in the wake of the Haitian earthquake like never before.

While the press, assisting governments and NGO organizations work through the ongoing crisis in Haiti, we ask the world to also remember that hundreds of thousands, if not millions of children and young women face an equally urgent risk of kidnapping, rape and sex trafficking across Latin America and the Caribbean. Yet neither the U.S. federal government nor the NGO community nor most major news entities in the English speaking world have strongly acknowledged, nor have they reacted effectively to that harsh reality.

We hope that the press and the NGOs who get invited to attend events such as the February 3rd Preview to the Annual Meeting of the President's Interagency Task Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons dare to ask the hard questions, as some reporters at the event asked in regard to Haiti (see the linked event transcript).

The same questions need to be asked about U.S. government policy and action in defense of human trafficking and exploitation victims across the Americas, and indeed the world.

We are most concerned at this time about the deafening silence in regard to Latin America's enormous problems with human exploitation and slavery. That silence has existed not only during President Obama's term, but it also occurred during the administration of President George W. Bush.

When prominent academics, government leaders and press writers and authors speak publicly about human trafficking, the focus is invariably on the crisis in Europe, Asia, and to a lesser extent Africa and domestic minor sex trafficking victims in the U.S. All of these communities deserve, and have gotten attention.

Those who have not gotten attention are the women and children of Latin America and the Caribbean where, as leading anti-trafficking activist Teresa Ulloa, director of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women (CATW) for Latin America and the Caribbean (CATW-LAC) notes, an estimated 50 million women and children are at-risk of falling into the hands of human traffickers. As Ulloa further states, some 5 million victims exist in Mexico alone.

Given that 60% of the trafficking victims in the U.S. are Latin Americans, where is the U.S. government's attention to their crisis?

'Little Brown Maria Trapped in the Brothel' deserves our help now!

Ignoring the issue allows the drug cartel financed mega-traffickers to laugh all the way to the bank, because they know that at least today, Uncle Sam is not even thinking about coming after them. Nor, apparently, is Uncle Sam planning to defend and rescue 'Maria' anytime soon.

We insist upon a change to that way of thinking. Does the fact that poor indigenous and African descendent victims in Mexico and the Dominican Republic are people of color really mean that CNN, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and anti-trafficking NGOs who receive federal funds can't ring the alarm bell and help put out the fire, and must continually ignore this raging emergency?

We insist, among dozens of other items on our to-do list, that the U.S. Government demand that Mexico and Japan ACT NOW to rescue and restore the estimated 3,000 to 4,000 indigenous children who have been kidnapped with impunity by the Japanese Yakuza mafias and taken to Japan to be sold as 'geishas' in sexual slavery.

Giving attention to Haiti is a good start. Of course, hundreds of thousands of trafficked children existed in Haiti before the earthquake.

Where was the press then?

Writing from the middle of an anti-trafficking movement that is maturing... but slowly!

End Impunity Now!

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

Feb. 04/05, 2010

See also:

The United States

Obama's Slavery Czar

Ambassador-at-Large Luis CdeBaca fights human slavery for a living...

...Whether it was farm workers, or women in brothels, the percentages continue to be overwhelmingly Latino. Sixty-plus per cent of the [trafficking] victims in the U.S. are Hispanic.” ...

Lynn Sherr

The Daily Beast

Nov. 24, 2009


Added: Feb. 04, 2010

Haiti

Haitian music star Wycelf Jean

Wycelf Jean Reacts To Human Trafficking Arrests In Haiti

In light of the tragedy in Haiti, a new problem is rising in the capital of Port Au Prince, human trafficking.

Ten Americans were arrested Sunday on charges of human trafficking after Haitian officials say they tried to take 33 Haitian children ranging in age from 2 months to 12 years to the Dominican Republic without proper documentation and permission.

Now outraged about the turmoil racking his country, Wyclef Jean released a series of angry tweets denouncing the traffickers saying, “My message to the child traffickers n Haiti I give you my word we will hunt you Down one by one, and you will be judge[d] with no Mercy!”

The civilians accused of trafficking are part of a Baptist church in the U.S. and maintain that they were trying to save abandoned and orphaned children and planned to relocate them to safety.

They are being held at a government building until officials determine if they should go before a judge.

Haiti's government has halted all adoptions for the time being unless the adoption plans were set in motion before the quake.

Danielle Canada

HipHipWired.com

Feb. 1, 2010

See also:

Wyclef Jean Volunteer Killed By Haitian Car-Jacker

Hip-hop star Wyclef Jean was forced to deal with another tragedy while helping desperate survivors of the Haiti earthquake, after a volunteer for his Yele Haiti foundation was shot dead in a car-jacking.

The former Fugees star and native Haitian rushed to his homeland when the massive tremor hit the nation earlier this month, ravaging the poor country's infrastructure and killing more than 150,000 people.

But Jean and his team of volunteers had to contend with more than just the devastation left by the earthquake, they witnessed the desperate lengths Haiti's people were going to in a bid to survive - which ended in terrible consequences for one young helper.

He explains, "Jo Jo was shot and killed on the second day we were there. He was the victim of a car-jacking. I left him alone for two hours and he was driving in the city.

"A guy stopped him and told him to get out of the car. No one knows quite what happened next but he was shot twice and killed instantly. The jacker didn't even want the car, he just wanted to take the fuel."

And Jean is adamant he will never be able to forget the horrific scenes he witnessed.

He says, "It looked like the apocalypse - there were bodies everywhere. It's a sight that will stay with me for ever. It's something you just can't put into words. I filmed everything with a video camera because I was convinced people would not believe what we told them."

www.StarPulse.com

Jan. 31st, 2010


Added: Feb. 04, 2010

Haiti, Puerto Rico

Ricky Martin arrives at the 52nd Annual GRAMMY Awards held at Staples Center on January 31, 2010 in Los Angeles, California.

Photo: Larry Busacca, Getty Images for NARAS

Ricky Martin Has Haiti on His Mind
Amid the glamour of the red carpet, Ricky Martin's mind was on Haiti.
The singer, who has been campaigning against human trafficking for several years, just returned from the island.
"Situations like this, unfortunately, people take advantage and they start traffic human beings," he said. "It's very intense down there, kids crying in the street, corpses everywhere. It's going to take a while for things to get back to normal."
Martin plans to start working with Habitat for Humanity to start rebuilding homes in Haiti.

Marco R. della Cava

USA Today

Jan. 31, 2010

See also:

The Ricky Martin Foundation


Added: Feb. 04, 2010

Missouri and Kansas, USA

Two Agencies Won't Seek Federal Funds in an Effort Against Human Trafficking

Two local agencies - the Independence Police Department and Hope House - received three-year Justice Department grants in 2006 but will not reapply, officials said. The grants expired at the end of last year.

It is unknown whether other local agencies will apply for grants, according to Justice Department officials. New grants will be given later this year.

Independence police didn’t reapply because detectives must focus on other crimes, said Maj. Ken Jarnigan. Two detectives assigned to human trafficking are now fighting cyber crimes, he said.

“It was a juggling act; which priority do we focus on?” Jarnigan said. “We felt like our department and citizens would be better served by them doing cyber crimes rather than human trafficking. In a perfect world we would have tried to do both.”

Hope House CEO Mary Anne Metheny said in a statement that the shelter would continue to provide services for victims eligible for existing programs.

“However, we will no longer offer human trafficking training or facilitate the coalition against human trafficking,” Metheny said.

The Kansas City Star reported in December that the U.S. attorney’s office had stopped referring human trafficking victims to Hope House after the shelter reportedly failed to fulfill some of its obligations under the grant.

Although trafficking is considered a coastal phenomenon, more alleged traffickers — 36 in the past three years — have been prosecuted by federal authorities in western Missouri than anywhere else in the nation. One Kansas City case, involving Giant Labor Solutions, is thought to be the largest labor trafficking ring uncovered in U.S. history.

But the absence of federal money for the human trafficking task force won’t change what local authorities are doing, said U.S. Attorney Beth Phillips.

“The task force is still fully functioning,” Phillips said. “It’s still meeting and investigating and prosecuting cases. Human trafficking investigations remain a priority of our office.”

Laura Bauer and Mike McGraw

The Kansas City Star

Feb. 02, 2010


Added: Feb. 04, 2010

Haiti

Bandas de Violadores Aterran a las Haitianas

Bands of Rapists Terrorize Haitian Women

Los criminales recorren como alimañas los campamentos de desplazados para elegir a sus víctimas. La policía se confiesa incapaz de proteger a las mujeres.

When night falls, criminal men with lanterns roam the refugee camps in search of their victims. The police confess that they cannot protect all women...

www.publico.es

Feb. 03, 2010


Added: Feb. 04, 2010

Haiti

Aumenta a un Millón la Cifra de Niños Huérfanos

Earthquake Pushes Number of Haitian Orphans to 1 Million

El número de niños huérfanos tras el terremoto que devastó Haití se ha duplicado y alcanza actualmente el millón de afectados, según un informe de la Comisión Europea.

El Universal

Mexico City

Feb. 03, 2010


Added: Feb. 04, 2010

Haiti, The Dominican Republic

Haitiana Recupera Hijo Robado en Cabo Haitiano y Vendido en Dominicana

Haitian Woman Recovers Her Child, Kidnapped in Cape Haitien. Child had been sold in the Dominican Republic

Tras ser secuestrados en Haití, muchos menores son vendidos para luego ser explotados en las calles de República Dominicana, como pedigueños o en actividades de prostitución, como fuera el caso del hijo de Cariné Oguí Pié, quien recuperó en esta ciudad, al norte de Dominicana, a su hijo de siete años, que fuera robado en Cabo Haitiano y trasladado, vendido y obligado a trabajar en las calles santiagueras como mendigo.

La Nacion Dominicana

Feb. 03, 2010


Added: Feb. 04, 2010

Haiti

Niños Haitianos Pululan por las Calles

Haitian Children Mass in the Streets

La procuradora del Tribunal de Niños, Niñas y Adolescentes de Santiago, Antia Beato, estimó ayer necesario que instituciones públicas y privadas realicen esfuerzos conjuntos para resolver el drama que representa la cantidad de menores de origen haitiano que pernocta en las calles de esta ciudad, al ser traficados desde su país.

www.listindiario.com.do

Feb. 03, 2010


Added: Feb. 04, 2010

Haiti

Miles de Haitianas, Sin Servicios Salud y Con Mayor Riesgo de Violencia Sexual

Thousands of Haitian Women Lack Health Services and Risk Sexual Violence

Miles de haitianas no pueden acceder ni a los servicios de salud reproductiva ni a sus métodos habituales de planificación familiar y afrontan un mayor riesgo de violencia y de explotación sexual.

EFE

Feb. 02, 2010


Added: Feb. 04, 2010

Indonesia

Red de Prostitución Infantil que Operaba por Facebook fue Desmantelada

A Prostitution Network Selling 15- and 16-year-old Girls, Operating on FaceBook, is Taken Down by the Police in Jakarta.

La Policía de Indonesia arrestó a dos supuestos proxenetas que administraban la organización.

EFE

Feb. 03, 2010


Added: Feb. 04, 2010

Spain

Las Niñas Agredidas en el Bus Escolar, Invitadas a Irse de su Instituto

Two 12-year-old Girls Sexually Assaulted on School Bus are Invited to Leave their School

Una ya ha sido trasladada a un centro concertado. La otra víctima de la agresión no puede pagarlo y convive a diario con cuatro de sus agresores.

www.20Minutos.es

Feb. 03, 2010


Added: Feb. 04, 2010

Spain

Una Madre se Enfrenta a 30 Años por Prostituir a Sus Hijas, Menores de Edad

A Mother Faces 30 Years in Prison for Exhibitionism and for Prostituting Her Underage Daughters

El padre también se sentará en el banquillo por mantener supuestamente relaciones sexuales delante de las pequeñas

www.diariodesevilla.es

Feb. 03, 2010


Added: Feb. 04, 2010

Brazil

Campaña Contra la Explotación Sexual Será Lanzada en Rio de Janeiro, el 8

Rio de Janeiro Will Start a New Campaign Against Sexual Exploitation February 8th

Con el slogan "Explotación Sexual de Niñas/os y Adolescentes es Crimen.

www.adital.com.br/s

Feb. 03, 2010


Added: Feb. 04, 2010

Bolivia

Víctimas de Abuso Sexual en Hogar Vida ya Son 42

Forty Two Victims of Sexual Abuse Have Been Discovered in an Orphanage Run by Evangelical Christians in the town of Sipe Sipe

El personal sabía desde hace tres años que los mayores violaban a los más pequeños

Staff remained silent for at least the past three years while knowing that children between the ages of 4 and 13 were were being raped at the Life Center.

www.lostiempos.com

Feb. 03, 2010


Added: Feb. 04, 2010

Texas, USA

Benito Vargas

Fugitive Finder: Sex Trafficking Suspect

Benito Vargas has a history of human trafficking and is currently wanted on Suspicion of Aggravated Sexual Assault of a Child.

Investigators said he found his latest victim in Jalisco, Mexico, and his mother and sister both participated in abusing the girl.

On October 27, 2009, while in Jalisco, Vargas persuaded a 16-year-old girl to leave her home and return with him to his home 210 W. 10th Street in San Juan.

Vargas took the girl to Matamoros and arranged for her to be smuggled into the United States.

Upon arriving at the San Juan [Texas] home, investigators said Vargas repeatedly assaulted, verbally abused and raped the girl.

The teen was forced to wake up at 5 a.m., bathe three children who lived in the house with Vargas' mother and sister, and walk the children to a nearby school.

The girl was also expected to complete daily chores including preparing breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Investigators said the teen tried to defend herself and received countless threats that she would be killed or arrested for being in the U.S. illegally.

On December 13, 2009, the girl was kicked out of the house.

With no relatives, friends or anywhere to go, she sat by the curb in front of the house for two days and did not eat.

At night, she would sneak onto the property and sleep on an old sofa in the front yard.

Police believe Vargas is in Mexico along the U.S./Mexico border.

Vargas is described as a 23-year-old Hispanic male with brown eyes and black hair.

He is 5 feet 8 inches tall and weighs 180 pounds.

Vargas also goes by the name Benito Cordero-Vargas.

Call the San Juan Crime Stoppers line at (956) 283-TIPS if you know how to find him.

Benito's mother, Ofelia Vargas, has been arrested for not reporting the abuse.

Benito's sister, Belen Vargas, was already in custody on unrelated charges and is now facing assault charges.
 

ValleyCentral.com

Feb. 01, 2010


Added: Feb. 04, 2010

Texas, USA

ICE: Houston a Hub for Human Trafficking

HOUSTON -- U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents have conducted what they call an "unprecedented" criminal investigation into Houston transport businesses suspected of illegally smuggling people into the county.

On Tuesday, 22 people were arrested and charged with using their businesses to transport recently smuggled aliens. Eighty-one illegal immigrants were also arrested and have been placed in removal proceedings.

The three-month investigation dubbed "Night Moves" targeted both transport businesses suspected of housing immigrants, as well as the individual drivers who move them. ICE agents say Houston has become a growing hub for human trafficking. In one location, immigrants were guarded with weapons, pit bulls and surveillance cameras.

In addition to the arrests, ICE agents also seized 32 vehicles, 18 weapons, and $45,000 cash.

Katherine Whaley

Feb. 3, 2010

 

 
     

 

    

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

See also:

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