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Dedicated to Ending the Sexual Oppression of

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

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Haitian children are routinely enslaved in the Dominican Republic

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Other Available News Archives: 2001 - 2002 - 2003 - 2004 - 2005

March 2006 News


¡Feliz Mes de Historia de las Mujeres!
Happy Women's History Month!
El 8 de Marzo es el Dia Internacional de la Mujer

March 8th is Inter-national Women's Day

Mayan woman weaver in Guatemalan Mayan town of Tactic, one of many sites holding 2006 Women's Day activities.  Photo: Town of Tactic.

Added March 31, 2006

New York, USA

Laborer Who Killed Housewife On Trial 

A year ago this April, Mary Nagle was alone in her New City, N.Y., home. Her husband had gone to work.

But just hours after Daniel Nagle got to the office, he received a phone call from his mother-in-law telling him that his wife had been killed, allegedly by the handyman they had hired to work on their deck.

The couple had contracted with a company called Color-On. The company had sent Douglas Herrera Castellanos, 30, to do the job.

Prosecutors say Castellanos, an undocumented worker, raped Mary Nagle before killing her and left the home in Daniel Nagle's clothes.

Testimony in Castellanos' case resumes later this week. If he is convicted, the accused handyman could face life in prison without parole.

- ABC News

March 29, 2006

Added March 31, 2006

Illinois, USA

Man Allegedly Grabbed, Fondled Schoolbound Girl

Chicago - For the third time in a week, a Chicago girl was attacked while walking to or from school.

[In one of the three cases] Police have caught 34-year-old Juan Ramirez, who is accused of trying to kidnap a 15-year-old girl. On Monday, a judge set bond at $750,000 for Ramirez.

Police said Ramirez drove a van near a girl who was walking to school at 4320 W. 61st Street. They say he showed her a weapon, she resisted and witnesses helped her. When police caught Ramirez, they found a machete in his van.

These attacks have residents guarding their children.

“We never know what’s going to happen later, so we don’t want to take a chance,” said Nora Dempster.

- CBS News


March 27, 2006

Added March 26, 2006

California, USA

Between 500,000 And 1 Million Rally Against Stricter Immigration Laws

March 25, 2006 immigration rally in Los Angeles, California

Photos: Indymedia

Los Angeles: migrantes realizan marcha histórica.

- El Universal

Mexico City

March 26, 2006

Megamarcha en Los Angeles.

- La Jornada

Mexico City

March 26, 2006

Los Angeles - Police said more than 500,000 people marched Saturday to protest a proposed federal crackdown on illegal immigration.

The demonstrators oppose legislation passed by the U.S. House that would make it a felony to be in the U.S. illegally. It also would impose new penalties on employers who hire illegal immigrants, require churches to check the legal status of parish-ioners before helping them and erect fences along one-third of the U.S.-Mexican border.

President Bush is pushing for a guest worker program that could provide temporary legal status for some of the estimated 12 million undoc-umented immigrants in the United States, but many of his fellow Republicans are taking a more restrictive stance.

U.S. President George W. Bush during his weekly radio address...

"As we debate the immigration issue, we must remember there are hard-working individuals, doing jobs that Americans will not do, who are contributing to the economic vitality of our country."

Some immigrant-rights advocates, however, are also against Bush's proposed guest worker program, saying it would create an under-class of foreign workers.

Illegal immigrants want legislation that would protect them, unify their families and address future flows of immigrants, Lisa Duran, of the group Rights for All People, said at the Denver protest.

- Associate Press



Indymedia photo coverage of March 25th Los Angeles immigration rally.

- IndyMedia

Los Angeles


Added March 25, 2006

El Salvador

Government Laments ‘Diss-apearance’ of Two Girls In 1980s-1990s Civil War

Salvadoran Chancellor Francisco Laínez

Gobierno lamenta desaparecimiento de niñas en la Guerra

The chancellor of the Republic of El Salvador has declared that, in the name of the Government of El Salvador, they 'lamented' the disappearance of two children during the 1980’s period of the Salvadoran Civil War.

Chancellor Francisco Laínez traveled from the capital of San Salvador to the city of Chalatenango, where he tried to make amends to the relatives of Erlinda, age 3, and Ernestina Serrano Cruz, age 7, who disappeared on June 2, 1982 during an armed confront-ation.

Salvadoran Chancellor Francisco Laínez …

"The State of El Salvador laments deeply events that occurred during the armed conflict that reigned in our country for more than 12 years, which directly affected each and every Salvadoran family.”

The Salvadoran State "laments especially the cases that affected children, among them Erlinda and Ernestina Serrano Cruz ."

The announcement complies with an order issued by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in the case.  The court’s decision on March 1, 2005 also required El Salvador to pay reparations to the family of the victims.

The ceremony was held in front of the cathedral of Chalatenango.  The president of the Supreme Court of Justice, Agustín Calderón, and the Solicitor for Human Rights, Beatrice de Carrillo, attended.

At the same time the ceremony was taking place, more than 100 children and parents marched to the legislature in the capitol city, San Salvador, asking that a “Day for the Disappeared Children” be declared by Congress, to honor child victims of the civil war that El Salvador experienced from 1980 to 1992.

- La Prensa

El Salvador


See Also:

LibertadLatina note:

The United Nations Truth Commission report for the civil war in El Salvador determined that an estimated 75,000 people were killed during the conflict, and that government soldiers were responsible for 95% of the cases of human rights abuses.


Anti-Indigenous genocide in El Salvador's Civil War

El Mozote Massacre

The U.S.-trained
Atlacatl Battalion
massacred hundreds of unarmed villagers.

The women were disposed of next. "First they [the soldiers] picked
out the young girls and took them away to the hills," where they were raped before being killed, Amaya reported. "Then they picked out the old women and took them to Israel Marquez's house on the square.  We heard the shots there."

The children died last.  "An order arrived from a Lt.
Caceres to Lt. Ortega to go ahead and kill the children
too," Amaya observed.  A soldier said "Lieutenant,
somebody here says he won't kill children." "Who's the son-of-a-bitch who said that?" the lieutenant answered.  "I am going to kill him.'"  I could hear them shouting from
where I was crouching in the tree.

A boy named Chepe, age 7, was the only child to survive the siege. He later described the terrors he witnessed:

"They slit some of the kids' throats, and many they hanged from the tree ... The soldiers kept telling us, 'You are guerrillas and this is justice. This is justice.'

Finally, there were only three of us left. I watched them hang my brother. He was two years old. I could
see that I was going to be killed soon, and I thought it
would be better to die running, so I ran. I slipped through the soldiers and dived into the bushes. They fired into the bushes, but none of their bullets hit me."

- Parascope.com

The United Nations Truth Commission report on the El Mozote Massacre

- Parascope.com

El Salvador:

Where are the "disappeared" children?

From Amnesty International

In June 1982, Ernestina and Erlinda Serrano Cruz, 7 and 3 years old at the time, were caught up in an operation undertaken by the Salvadoran Army and became separated from their parents, brothers and sisters. They were captured by soldiers and, according to witnesses, were taken by helicopter to an unknown destination. Despite efforts made by their mother and others they are still unaccounted for.

For 21 years the Salvadoran judicial system and the state have failed them and their family, to such an extent that on  June 18, 2003 the

Inter-American Commission of Human Rights submitted the case to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.

- Amnesty international

Press release

Washington, DC 7/30/2003

Added March 25, 2006

California, USA

COHA Report: AIDS In Latin America

Council on Hemispheric Relations Report

Faced with the looming threat of a merciless human-itarian crisis, Latin American govern-ments must hack through an entangled web of patent laws, corporate loopholes, and misguided U.S. initiatives, before they can even begin to deliver life-saving drugs to a mounting number of AIDS victims in their countries.

In the shadow of the more-publicized African crisis, the AIDS epidemic in Latin America has slowly infected the most vulnerable, poverty-stricken stratums of society, exacerbating the plight of an already economically handicapped region.

In 2005 alone, 1.8 million Latin Americans were newly infected by the disease, which claimed the lives of 200,000 victims that same year. In the Caribbean, where the AIDS epidemic ranks second only to that of Sub-Saharan Africa, AIDS claimed an estimated 24,000 victims in 2005, making the disease the leading cause of death among adults in the region, ages 15 to 44. As the relationship between AIDS and poverty is bidirectional, these alarming statistics attest to an ominous trend. Immediate action must be taken before the epidemic further devastates the fundamental fabric of Latin American societies.

As underdevelop-ment and debt tie the hands of Latin American govern-ments, global neglect has further prevented a strong response to the region’s growing crisis.

- Council on Hemispheric Relations

Washington, DC 3/23/2006

See Also:



Added March 25, 2006

New York, USA

Trial Underway In Shocking Rape, Murder

Rockland County - Ronald Douglass Herrera, a 30-year-old undocumented immigrant worker, has been charged with the rape and murder of Mary Nagle.

On April 29th of 2005, the victim's sister found the 42-year-old mother of two in the upstairs master bedroom of her New City home. Nagle's naked, lifeless body was on the bed. Blood stains covered the carpet and walls.

On the day of the murder, police say Herrera was at the Nagle house working for a contractor hired by the family to power-wash the back deck.

Investigators say he fled the scene, eluding police for hours, before cops found him wearing some of Mr. Nagle's clothes. Days later police found a bag full of bloodstained clothes allegedly worn by the killer.


New York City

March 24, 2006

Added March 25, 2006

Mexico, United States

Advocates Decry Treatment of Migrant Women During Deportation

Federal prisoners, including detained undocumented migrants, are transported via U.S. Marshal Service's

"Con-Air" flights.

Photo: Chris Barfield - U.S. Marshals Service

Denuncian maltrado a mujeres deportadas.

Tijuana, Baja California state - Migrant advocates here say that U.S. border patrol agents working south of Phoenix, Arizona chained recently chained and handcuffed 20 women migrants being transported for deportation into Mexico at San Diego, CA.  During their two days of captivity, the women's Mexican identification documents were withheld, and they were denied adequate food and heat at their detention center.

The group, mainly from the southern Mexican state of Chiapas, was received in Mexico at the women’s shelter Assunta Madre.  Social worker Mary Galván Romero said that this case shows that the U.S. continues to violate bilateral agreements governing the process of repatriation.

Abuses and humiliations continue being a common practice, according to deported women. 

The number of women detained and deported increases daily, as the rate of female migration continues to grow.

The women were transferred in handcuffs and with a chain around their waists during a [prisoner] flight from Phoenix to San Diego, California, where they were returned to Mexico.

Galván Romero noted that the number of women seen at their shelter has increased from three to four per day to an average of five or six.

Four out of ten women detained are accompanied by their children, who range in age from a few months old to 17 years of age.

- Julieta Martinez

El Universal

Mexico City

March 25, 2006

See Also:

Justice Prisoner & Alien Transportation System (JPATS).

Note: All prisoners traveling on JPATS flights are hand-cuffed and chained.

Added March 25, 2006

California, USA

An Estimated 100,000 Protest Proposed New Immigration Laws

Marchan en EU contra leyes antiinmigrantes.

- El Universal

- Miami Herald

March 25, 2006

Los Angeles - Tens of thousands of immigrant rights advocates from across Southern California marched Saturday in protest of federal legislation that would build more walls along the U.S.-Mexico border and make helping illegal immigrants a crime.

The march followed rallies on Friday that drew throngs of protesters to major cities around the nation.

The crowd was estimated at more than 100,000.



LibertadLatina note:

Two immigration rallies were held in Los Angeles on both March 25 and 26, 2006.

Added March 25, 2006

Mexico, United States

Bush´s Statement On Immigration Reform Seen As ´Positive´ In Mexico

The government described as "very positive" the statement made by U.S. President George W. Bush in calling on the U.S. Congress to debate immigration "in a civil way" and approve reforms that include a guest-worker program.

Bush´s statement "seemed very positive to us and is in line with the current trend in the United States toward opening an interesting discussion on possible immig-ration reform," Fox spokesman Rubén Aguilar said on Friday.

At a news confer-ence, he said immigration will be the "primary topic of discussion" during the meeting Fox and Bush will hold next Thursday in Cancún, just before their trilateral meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

"When we discuss this debate, it must be done in a civil way. It must be done in a way that brings dignity to the process. It must be done in a way that doesn't pit people against each other," Bush said after meeting Thursday with more than a dozen business, civic and religious leaders.

- El Universal

- Miami Herald

March 25, 2006

Added March 23, 2006

California, USA

Ex-Immigration Official Is Accused Of Groping; Santa Ana Police Say The Federal Employee Abused A Woman Applying For U.S. Citizenship

Santa Ana – A former district adjudications officer for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has been charged with refusing to process a 29-year-old woman's request for U.S. citizenship unless she submitted to his sexual demands, Santa Ana police reported.

Eddie Romualdo Miranda, 60, of Fontana surrendered Tuesday and was booked on charges of attempted oral copulation and sexual battery under color of law, said Sgt. Lorenzo Carrillo.

The arrest stems from Miranda's interview Jan. 20 with the woman, an immigrant from Vietnam seeking to become a U.S. citizen. She was required to be interviewed by Miranda in his office at the federal building at 34 Civic Center Drive in Santa Ana. He had the authority to recommend approval or denial of her request for citizenship, Carrillo said.

Carrillo said Miranda told the woman he wanted her to meet him in a nearby parking structure.

"She felt her citizenship was in jeopardy if she refused," he said. "She met him and there was groping. He demanded oral copulation but she refused and immediately reported what had happened to police."

Carrillo said that detectives believe there may be other victims.

- Orange County Register



Added March 23, 2006

The World

Two Million Underage Girls Become Prostitutes Each Year

According to the Atlas of Women in Development, 2 million underage girls are caught up in prostitution each year around the world.  The Atlas also indicates that 70% of all persons in poverty are female.

The Atlas is the first Spanish language work that explores the geography of the gender gap at a global level.

- El Diario Montañés



Added March 23, 2006

Texas, USA

Parents, School Discuss Sex Abuse Charges Against Teacher's Aide

San Antonio - Parents of several mentally disabled students at Brackenridge High School met privately with school administrators on Tuesday night to discuss the recent arrest of a teacher's aide on sexual abuse charges.

Ernest Huizar, 55, is accused of having sexual contact with three mentally disabled students.

Huizar remained at Bexar County Jail.

Cecilia Castillo, a parent...

"I hope he stays there as long as we can keep him there."

Several parents told administrators they believe there may be more victims who have yet to come forward.

Liliana Ramos, the sister of a special education student...

"He's been working there for years."

"How many kids has he molested before?"


San Antonio, Texas


Added March 23, 2006

Texas, USA

Man Who Beat Toddler To Death Executed: Child's Injuries Were Worse Than Car Crash Victims

Huntsville, Texas - In the moments before his execution, Robert Salazar Jr., age 27, continued to deny he was responsible for the death of his girlfriend's 2-year-old daughter.

"I am sorry that the child had to lose her life, but I should not have to be here," Salazar said Wednesday night before he was executed for the beating death of Adriana Gomez in April 1997.

...Authorities said Salazar delivered at least three life-threatening injuries to the girl: a blow to the head that left it feeling like gelatin, a blow to her chest that left her heart on the verge of rupturing and a blow to her abdomen that pushed internal organs against her backbone.

- Denise laVoie

Associated Press


See Also:

No less than six million children and adolescents in Latin America and the Caribbean are subjected to severe aggression. Some 80,000 of these die each year as a result of violence unleashed in their own families.

- Carol Bellamy

Former UNICEF Executive Director

March 8, 1999

Added March 23, 2006

Massachusetts, USA

In 3rd Trial, Boston Man Convicted of Rape

Boston - A rape suspect who twice won mistrials because key DNA evidence could have come from either him or his twin brother was convicted Wednesday in his third trial.

Darrin Fernandez, 31, was convicted in an April 2001 attack on a Boston woman who said she was repeatedly raped by a man who climbed up a fire escape and broke into her second-floor bedroom while she slept.

...Prosecutors introduced evidence they said showed Fernandez committed a series of home break-ins, sexual assaults and attempted sexual assaults with characteristics similar to the rape in 2001.

- Denise laVoie

Associated Press


Added March 23, 2006


Ecuador Mobilizing to Curb Indigenous Protests

Quito - Thousands of police and soldiers were deployed to clear blocked highways Wednesday after the government declared a state of emergency in four provinces to curb Indian protests against a proposed free-trade deal with Washington.

The measure announced late Tuesday suspends constitutional rights to public assembly and gives police and the military broad powers to impose curfews and make arrests in the Chimborazo, Cotopaxi, Imbabura and Canar provinces, as well as the towns of Tabacundo and Cayambe.

Luis Macas, leader of the left-leaning Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador, told reporters Wednesday that his movement would end its protests if President Alfredo Palacio gave in to at least one of several demands.

About 1,500 Indians and students marched peacefully Wednesday through the capital, chanting "We don't want to be a North American colony!" and "Get out Occidental."

- Jeanneth Valdivieso

Associated Press


Added March 22, 2006


Costa Rica

Ten-Year-Old Girl Kidnapped During Town Celebration  

Fabiola María Sandí Gómez

Niña de 10 años desaparecida.

Esparza - Authorities are investigating the disappearance of 10-year-old sixth-grader Fabiola Maria Sandí Gomez, who went missing while her mother cele-brated the town's patron saint's day on March 5th.

According to one version of events given by the girl’s mother, Aurora Gomez Estrada, an ex-neighbor by the name of Jose kidnapped the child. 

Gomez Estrada had also told police that her daughter had gotten into a taxi with a man, and was later seen on a bus.

Jose has a white complexion and a beard, according to Gomez Estrada.

Anyone with information about the case may contact the Office of Judicial Investigations (OIJ) in Liberia, costa Rica, at 690-0128.

- Al Dia

Costa Rica


See This Case On:



Missing Latin Americans Web Site

Added March 22, 2006

Indigenous World

Violence Against Indigenous Women Examined At United Nations Conference

The plight of indigenous women was a critical topic of discussion at the fiftieth session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW50), which took place at United Nations headquart-ers in New York from February 27 to March 10, 2006.

Indigenous women’s rights historically have not been discussed to a large extent within the international human rights community. The CSW is working to change this.

Mirian Masaquiza, the associate social affairs officer for the secretariat of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues...

"[Indigenous women] face the worst of discrim-ination for both their gender and ethnic back-ground."

Discrimination is even more common when violence is involved. Indigenous women face discrimination when they attempt to report crimes, as frequently the crimes are committed by police or other authorities who are not sympathetic to indigenous rights.

Christine Brautigam, Chief of the Women’s Rights Section of the UN Division for the Advancement of Women (DAW)...

"Violence against indigenous women continues to be higher than violence against other groups of women."

"We want to identify ways states can prevent violence against women."

Elsa Stamatopoulou, Secretariat of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues...

"The issue of gender and indigenous violence has been coming up for a long time."

"It is a close issue to the Secretariat."

Violence against indigenous women is a product of systematic exploitation and expropriation of their ancestral home-lands, which are a source of their cultural identity and wealth. Gender-based violence traditionally has been used as a weapon in colonial conquests through-out the world.

Charlotte Bunch of the Center for Women’s Global Leadership...

"Violence against women is a form of terrorism, and we should be discussing how this affects women’s lives."

"Respecting human rights is an obligation of the state. We want justice for all women."

- Talia Whyte

Cultural Survival

March 15, 2006

Added March 22, 2006

Indiana, USA

Man Assaults Girlfriend's 13-Year-Old Daughter In Public Park   

It's getting to be that time of year again when folks will be taking advantage of Terre Haute's popular Heritage Trail.  But, according to police, it was there that [Mexican immigrant] Enrique Escribano-Corbix, 20, took advantage of his ex-girlfriend's daughter, 13. "The suspect picked her up at her home to get a pop [soda]," said Terre Haute Police Detective Rick Decker.

Police say Corbix's assault began in plain view on the Heritage Trail, but it ended up out of sight when he dragged her into a nearby trailer and forced her to have sex with him.

In relation to the alleged attack, he faces a laundry list of felonies including child molestation, criminal confine-ment, & intimidation. 

Corbix threatened the girl to not tell her mother. So she didn't for over a month.

- Melissa Andrews


Terre Haute, IN


Added March 20, 2006


Author Probes Death Of Activist Digna Ochoa

The late Digna Ochoa

Photo: Amnesty International

On October 19, 2001 Digna Ochoa, a 37-year-old human rights advocate who defended those who dared challenge the military, the political bosses and the drug lords, lost her life.

Her body was found slumped across a sofa, her hands stuffed below, as if arranged.

There were signs of a struggle.

One bullet had been shot at random, she received another in her left thigh, a third in her left temple. She was wearing red rubber gloves, several sizes too big, filled with powder. Investigators found a death threat on the desk.

For those who knew her, this was a tragedy waiting to happen.

A former nun and a human rights attorney, Digna was admired in both Mexico and the United States for her courage and dedication. She had received awards, international recognition, and a coveted MacArthur grant.

She had also received warnings.

Over the years she had, like many of her clients, been tailed, kidnapped, raped, and nearly killed. Following a 1999 kidnapping attempt, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights considered her position so precarious they ordered Mexico to furnish bodyguards for her protection.

Shortly afterward, the organization she worked for, (the Miguel Agustín Pro Juárez Human Rights Center), suggested she leave Mexico until the situation improved. She moved to Washington, D.C.

By the time she returned to Mexico, seven months later, the newly elected president, Vicente Fox, had initiated a procedure to rescind the court-ordered protection. (She lost her bodyguards in August 2001, two months prior to her murder, a fact that was to embarrass the government and infuriate her defenders.)

As a result no doubt of widespread publicity in both Mexico and abroad, the city government conducted four investigations into Digna´s death over a period of 22 months. The findings were flawed by sloppy police work: the omission of medical readings, an unsealed crime scene, and compromised evidence.

Despite all indications to the contrary - the death threats, the floppy red gloves, an absence of gun powder residue, a bullet to the thigh, a bullet in the left temple - Margarita Guerra, the last government-assigned prosecutor, concluded that the victim had committed suicide.

(Unless the gun had been held upside down and fired with the left hand - Digna was right-handed - this was a physical impossibility.) The case was closed.

How, and more importantly, why did authorities ask the public to accept this far-fetched verdict?

Attempting to answer this question, writer-journalist Linda Diebel, the "Toronto Star" correspondent to Mexico from 1995 to 2002, provides the background necessary for understanding human rights abuses in Mexico and the miscarriage of justice.

This ambitious, fastidiously documented account centers on Digna, She is the glue that holds it together.

But the book goes far beyond that.

With a journalist´s eye for detail, Diebel offers a broad view of Mexican history, politics, economy, and social conditions.

Even for those familiar with Mexico´s past, its human rights violations, the poverty and the racism, "Betrayed" is an eye-opener and reads like a thriller.

- El Universal

- Miami Herald

March 20, 2006

Betrayed - by Linda Diebel

When, in 2001, the body of Mexican human rights lawyer Digna Ochoa was found shot in the leg and head, covered in starch and arranged beside a written death threat, her friends and colleagues had no doubt she had been murdered. Why, then, did the Mexican government pronounce Ochoa a suicide?

- Review

Publisher's Weekly

See Also:

Amnistía Internacional: Declaración sobre la conclusión de la investigación sobre la muerte de Digna Ochoa.

Amnesty International: Statement on the conclusion of the investigation into the death of Digna Ochoa.

- Amnesty international

July 18, 2003

Added March 20, 2006

California, USA, Mexico

Abducted Pregnant Teen, 14, Found In Mexico: Alleged Kidnapper, 38, Remains At Large

San Marcos, California - A pregnant girl, 14, reported missing nearly a week ago is back with her family in San Marcos.

Sheriff's deputies say Yvonne Cuenca was allegedly abducted by Francisco Villegas, 38, a former neighbor. Investigators say Cuenca told them Villegas is the father of her baby.

A private investigator assisting the family says the teen managed to make it to her grandfather's house in Tijuana, Mexico, after being abandoned by Villegas.

Villegas remains at large and a warrant was issued Friday for his arrest. He faces charges of kidnapping and child molestation.

- Associated Press

March 14, 2006

Added March 20, 2006

Costa Rica

Nine-Year-Old Girl Reveals Stepfather Abused Her; Girl May Be Pregnant

Tiene 9 años y reveló que padrastro había abusado de ella.

Limon – Authorities are investigating the possible abuse and impregnation of a 9-year-old girl by her stepfather, in the city of Limon.

Yesterday, the young girl and her sister told their school’s director that their stepfather was sexually abusing them.  One of the girls was vomiting at school, and broke down crying.  She told the director about the abuse.

The girls’ aunt arrived at the school, and confirmed the girl’s version of the abuse.  The two girls were taken to a state-run orphanage.

Apparently, a police complaint had already been made about the abuse, but no action was taken due to a lack of evidence.

This time it is hoped that with the testimony of the two girls, the stepfather can once and for all be brought to justice.

Yesterday, police waited for the man near his home, as he was out fishing.  They did not arrest him, because a warrant for his arrest had not been issued.

- Róger Amoretty

-          Al Dia

Costa Rica

March 18, 2006

Added March 19, 2006


Two Thirds Of Paraguayan Sex Workers Are Minors

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

En el Paraguay dos de cada tres trabajadoras sexuales son menores.

Data regarding conditions in Paraguay is alarming, according to a United Nations report by special representative Juan Miguel Pitt.  The report documents the rates of the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography in Paraguay.  According to the analysis, two thirds of sex workers are minors.  The majority of them began working in prostitution at the age of 12 or 13.  Most adolescent victims are 16 to 18 years of age. 

The report also mentions that 8-year-old girls are involved in prostitution.

In 98% of these cases, minors in prostitution receive 30,000 to 50,000 Guaranies per sex act, or 5 to 8 dollars.  The investigators who authored the report also listened to the testimonies of girls who prostituted themselves for 5,000 Guaranies (80 cents) or a plate of food.

- www.ABC.com.py Paraguay

March 17, 2006

LibertadLatina note:

Paraguayan youth are trafficked in large numbers outside of Paraguay.

Approximately half of these child victims are trafficked to Argentina, and the other half are taken to Europe.

- Chuck Goolsby

March 17, 2006

[Former president] Alfredo Stroessner came to power in 1954, but European correspondents who visited Paraguay during his rule used the term the "poor man's Nazi regime" to describe the Paraguayan government. The parallels may have been more than a coincidence, for many Nazi war criminals, such as Joseph Mengele, had settled there with Stroessner's blessing.

From the Nazis the Paraguayan military learned the art of genocide. The native Ache Indians were in the way of progress.

The Indians were hunted down, parents killed, and children sold into [sexual] slavery. Survivors were herded into reservations.

- GhostChild - Indigenous Peoples Form Many Lands Coming Together To Discuss Our Problems

LibertadLatina note:

According to a book on the genocide of the indigenous Ache people that I first read in the mid-1970's, President Stroessner himself participated in 'hunts' of Ache people. 

Adults were  murdered, boys were sold into labor slavery, and 10 to 12-year-old girls were kidnapped and used as sex slaves.  When they were 15 or 16 and 'burnt out' - they were returned to what was left of their tribal villages.

That was during Stroessner's rule, from the 1950's to the 1970's.  Today in 2006, the enslave-ment of Indigenous people in Paraguay continues.

- Chuck Goolsby

March 17, 2006

Latinoamérica tiene más de un millón de esclavos.  La población indígena es la más sometida a condiciones de esclavitud

"Latin America has over one million slaves.  The Indige-nous population is group most commonly forced into conditions of slavery."

"In Paraguay, members of the Guarani Tribe are enslaved on large, rural farms."

- Prensa Libre

Guatemala City

March 11, 2006

Mark Munzel, a German anthro-pologist, was the first to call attention to the massacre of the Paraguayan Indians, with whom he lived for a year.

In manhunts with the cooperation of the military, the Indians are "pursued like animals," the parents killed, and the children sold (citing professor Sardi). Machetes are commonly used to murder Indians to save the expense of bullets. Men not slaughtered are sold for field-workers, women as prostitutes, children as domestic servants. According to Sardi, "there is not one family in which a child has not been murdered."

Munzel was offered teenage Indian girls by the Director of Indian Affairs of the Ministry of Defense, who "sought my goodwill," and he comments that "slavery is widespread and officially tolerated." Slaves can be found in Asuncion, the capital city.

- Totse.com

LibertadLatina note:

Official state tolerance for the murder, kidnapping, rape and sex trafficking of indigenous women and children was (and is) a fact of life throughout Latin America. 

Wherever colonial-era 'traditions' of anti-indigenous genocide continued into the 20th and 21st centuries in a major way (especially in Guatemala, El Salvador, Brazil and Paraguay), femicide and large scale sex trafficking have become critical issues today. 

While the western powers advocate strongly against human trafficking, they also supported these major genocidal campaigns while they were taking place.  Will the West apologize for the aftermath of racial genocide - massive sex trafficking, if not for their support for the actual genocide?

- Chuck Goolsby

March 19-21, 2006

Crisis in Argentina

  (and in Paraguay)

Added March 18, 2006


An Estimated 100,000 Gather For A Rally In Chicago To Support Immi-gration Rights And To Protest House Resolution 4437, the Border Security Bill

Federal Courthouse

Photo: IndyMedia

Mar humano contra ley antiinmigrante.

- Leticia Espinosa


March 11, 2006

Chicago - [On March 11, 2006] police estimated that more than 100,000 marchers came from all over the Chicago area, many carrying - or wearing - Mexican and American flags. The protest was spirited, but peaceful, and there were no reported arrests or incidents.

Marchers gathered on the plaza across from the Dirksen Federal Courthouse to listen to speeches voicing support for pro-immigrant legislation and opposition to a measure that would toughen penalties for illegal immigrants.

"Raise those American flags!" shouted U.S. Rep Luis Gutierrez, D-Chicago. "This is our country, and this is where we will stay."

The march and rally came as the U.S. Senate struggles with a bill to stiffen border enforcement and a new report estimates the illegal immigrant population has grown from about 8.4 million in 2000 to nearly 12 million.

- Joshua Lott

Associated Press

March 11, 2006

Added March 18, 2006


For International Women's Day -

Violence Against Women Continues Unchecked

On February 8, the bodies of two young women were found on the outskirts of Guatemala City. They had been stoned to death. Their skulls were destroyed. In Guatemala, where genocide against the Mayan people occurred in the 1980s, femicide is now the order of the day.

More than 2,000 women have been murdered in Guatemala in the last five years, and the annual death toll continues to grow: in 2001, 303 women were murdered; in 2005, the number reached 650. The brutality of the murders also increases each year. According to the statistics of the Guatemalan Human Rights Ombuds-man’s Office, 66 percent of the murders between 2002 and mid-2005 were carried out with “sadism and extreme force.”

The murders of women are brutal, often involving rape, torture, and mutilation.  Last year the murderers began using chain saws to hack women’s bodies apart.

The United States, for the last half century a close ally of Guatemala’s, has a critical responsibil-ity to help protect Guatemalan women and bring the violence to an end.

- Guatemalan Human Rights Commission-USA

March 8, 2006

Added March 18, 2006


Man Kidnapped And Raped Teen Over Several Days

A Laurel, Maryland man was arrested Thursday and charged with raping a teenage girl after allegedly holding her against her will for several days.

The teen said Santos Amaya, 21, offered her and a friend a ride on March 6 in the Gaithersburg, Maryland area. She told police that once her friend was dropped off, Amaya held her in the car against her will and took her to various locations in Montgomery and Prince George's counties. Police said Amaya raped the teen during her confinement.

"He confined her to residences and hotels within Montgomery and Prince George's counties" [in Maryland], said Jim Collins, spokesman for the Laurel police department.

- NBC4.com

Washington, DC

March 8, 2006

Added March 18, 2006


Rapist Is Deported

Chicago - U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforce-ment (ICE) deported a Colombian man yesterday who was convicted of kidnapping and raping his female victim at knifepoint.

Jorge Granada-Velasquez, 36, of Armenia, Colombia, first entered the United States in 1990 as a perma-nent resident. On May 15, 1991, Granada-Velasquez held a female victim against her will and raped her at knifepoint, stabbing her numerous times in the nose, leg and shoulder and causing permanent disfigurement.

He pleaded guilty in 1993 in Cook County Circuit Court to 12 counts of aggravated criminal sexual assault, four counts of aggravated kidnapping, and three counts of aggravated unlawful restraint and aggravated battery. He was sentenced to 30 years in prison.

- U.S. ICE

March 14, 2006

Added March 18, 2006


Agents Arrest 60

Boston - U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforce-ment (ICE) agents arrested 60 aliens during a two-day long enforcement operation.

Those arrested have extensive criminal histories that include either convictions for or charges of violent crimes that include Rape, Armed Robbery, Assault and Battery on a Child With Injuries, Armed Assault to Murder, Attempted Murder, and Kidnapping, and Assault and Battery on a Child.

Those arrested will be deported to  Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Cape Verde, Colombia, Cuba, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Ghana, Greece, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, India, Jamaica, Nicaragua, Nigeria, St. Vincent, Trinidad, United Kingdom and Vietnam.

- U.S. ICE

March 16, 2006

Added March 17, 2006


Guatemala: Authorities Search For Child Sex Traffickers

Agents raid hotels

Photo: Prensa Libre

Prosecutors and agents of the National Civil Police (PNC) have conducted a search of 14 hotels, hostels and pensioners homes in the city of Coatepeque, in Quetzaltenango department (state).  The searches were carried out with the objective of finding people responsible for forcing children into prostitution.

Neighbors had complained to police that is several hotels in the city, children were forced to have sex with hotel and hostel guests.

- Prensa Libre


March 15, 2006

Added March 17, 2006

New York

Elmhurst Rapist Is Sentenced to 20 Years In Prison

Un padre ecuatoriano era el violador de Elmhurst, lo condenarán a 20 años.

Queens  - Ecuadorian immigrant Jofre Bautista, a 34-year-old father of two girls, has pleaded guilty to the rape of two girls, ages 13 and 15, in Queens County Court.

Bautista was arrested in October, 2005, after the 13-year-old victim recognized him as the man who raped her.  The victim told her mother, and police, that the man had forced her into his van, taken her to an isolated area, had beaten her, and then proceeded to rape her.

After his arrest, Bautista was linked to the rape of a 15-year-old girl in Queens during December, 2003.

Queens County prosecutor Richard Brown said that the long walks that the girl victims had to take to and from school became experiences of horror.  The experienced a trauma that they will never recover from.

Bautista asked to be sent to a safe jail, as he has received threats.  On March 27, 2006, he will be sentenced to 20 years in prison, followed by 5 years of monitoring.  Any violation of his parole will activate two additional 25 year sentences.  Bautista will most likely be deported from the U.S. to Ecuador after his release from prison.

- El Nuevo Diario

Dominican Republic

March 17, 2006

Added March 16, 2006

United States, Canada, Australia, England

27 Charged In Child Porn Sting - Web Site Containing Live 'Molestation On Demand' Shut Down

 27 acusados de pornografía infantil en EEUU y otros países.

- Orlando Sentinel

March 15, 2006

 An Internet chat room that streamed video of live child molestations has been shut down and 27 people have been charged with online child pornography offenses, federal authorities said Wednesday.

Justice Department and Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials still are looking for one suspect after an undercover sting operation shut down a Web site called "Kiddypics & Kiddyvids."

One of the seven molestation victims was younger than 18 months, according to the Justice Department.

Four minors under the age of 12 also were shown on the Internet site being molested.

Immigration and customs Assistant Secretary Julie Myers on Wednesday described the chat room as "molest-ation on demand."


March 15, 2006

See Also:

Dozens Charged In International, Internet-based Child Pornography Investigation.

- U.S. ICE

March 15, 2006

Washington, DC - A massive online child pornography sting that started in Edmonton, Canada has nabbed 27 suspects from four countries after police infiltrated a private Internet chat room used to trade images and videos of molestations.

- CANOE Network


March 15, 2006

In 2003 Toronto's top cop, Paul Gillespie  wrote to Microsoft chairman Bill Gates in frustration, asking for help in creating a tool to catch online pornographers.

Microsoft Canada pumped $4.5 million Cdn into creating the Child Exploitation Tracking System, which was instrumental in a four-country pornography sting announced Wednesday by U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.

- CANOE Network


March 15, 2006

Added March 16, 2006

Florida , USA

Murderer of 11-Year-Old Carla Brucia Sentenced To Death

Sarasota - A Florida judge formally sentenced mechanic Joseph P. Smith to death Wednesday for the 2004 murder of Carlie Brucia, whose abduction was captured by a security camera and shown around the world.

Judge Andrew Owens...

"Based upon your actions, you have forfeited your right to live freely among us in society, and pursuant to the laws of Florida, have forfeited your right to live."

Smith, who will turn 40 Friday, showed no reaction as the sentence was pronounced.

His victim would have celebrated her 13th birthday Thursday.

"I thought I'd feel a lot different, but it still hurts. It doesn't change anything," Steve Kansler, Carlie's stepfather, said after the hearing...

Absent from the courtroom Wednesday was Carlie's mother, Susan Schorpen, who is incarcerated on drug charges.

At the February hearing, a statement from Schorpen was read in which she said that Carlie's death had "forever destroyed my family."

Schorpen added in her statement that she had been institutionalized three times and turned to drugs "because the pain within my reality is too much to bear."


March 15, 2006

Added March 15, 2006

Arizona, USA

Immigrant Journey Ends With Girl's Death

Yuma - Juan Cruz-Torralva brought his 12-year-old daughter through the desert along the U.S.-Mexico border because he wanted a better life for her in the United States.

Three days into the journey, a U.S. Border Patrol agent spotted the group of illegal immigrants, and as the agent chased them, the Border Patrol truck hit Cruz-Torralva and his daughter, Lourdes, killing her.

 Yuma County sheriff's detectives determined the death was an accident, but Cruz-Torralva was arrested on charges of endangerment. Deputies argued that he had placed the child in "risk of imminent death" by bringing her into the desert.

A prosecutor on Monday refused to pursue the case, saying there wasn't enough evidence to prove the charge.

Cruz-Torralva, meanwhile, sat in jail and said he didn't understand why he was there.

"They said it's my fault for bringing her here, that it's my fault my daughter died. But I wasn't driving the truck," said the 28-year-old farm worker from Oaxaca, Mexico, who speaks limited Spanish.

He said he can barely walk since the accident, and his parents in Mexico are ill and don't have jobs.

"I just wanted her to get a good education," he said tearfully.

He had planned to take her to Oxnard, Calif., where his wife was living with the couple's 2-month-old son. He wanted to enroll Lourdes in school and work in the area's strawberry fields, he said.

"I was looking for a better life," he said. "I needed money to send to my family."

According to a report by the Yuma County Attorney's office, Cruz-Torralva and his daughter were among a dozen illegal immigrants followed by a Border Patrol agent.

After they stopped, the agent got out of his truck, heard moaning and discovered he had run over Cruz-Torralva and his daughter.

- Amanda Lee Myers

Associated Press

March 14, 2006

Added March 14, 2006


Police Discover Child Sex Traffick-ing Network In Santiago De Estero  

Descubren una red de prostitución infantil en Santiago del Estero

Police in Santiago de Estero state have rescued 20 youth between the ages of 11 and 14 who were enslaved by a child prostitution network.

In a coordinated raid that followed a patient investigation by a crimes against children and women unit, authorities broke up the ring, based in the city of Frías. 

The majority of male clients were men between 50 and 60 years of age.  They would pay a pimp on the street, and were then lead to residential houses where the minors were kept. 

Immediately after the gang was uncover-ed, judge Gabriela de Chelbe issued arrest warrants for those involved.

The members of the gang were jailed, with the exception of an 82 year old man, who is now under house arrest.

- El Carin

March 13, 2006

Added March 14, 2006


Prosecutors Seek Life In Prison For Man Who Raped And Murdered His 3-Year-Old Niece

Exigen cadena perpetua para acusado de violar y matar a una niña de tres años

On May 22, 2005, in a humble house in the city of Huaycán, Miguel Angel Cahuana Cusirimay, age 25, is alleged to have raped his 3-year-old niece.  He denied the accusations, but forensic evidence proved signs of molestation.  Based on that evidence, Lima prosecutor Pablo Libia Robles is seeking life in prison for the accused.

This would be the first case of child sexual abuse in which life in prison has been sought.

- El Carin

March 13, 2006

Added March 14, 2006

California, USA

Young Woman Allegedly Raped As "Pay Back" To Boyfriend

Police Chief "One of The Worst Rapes I've Seen in My 35 Years Experience."

Anaheim — Ten suspected gang members are accused of beating and raping a 23-year-old woman, to reportedly "teach her man a lesson."

Police say the attack took place at Zaby's Motor Lodge on Katella Avenue in Anaheim. According to investigators, the young woman was lured to a room where a female gang member initially beat her, then encouraged a group of young men to rape, orally copulate and digitally penetrate her over a seven- hour period.

In custody are Jolean Disbrow, 23; Jesse Bess, 23; Randy Calderon, 18; Keizzy Fierro, 22; Adrian Flores, 18; Raymond Jaramillo, 19; Luis Nava, 19; and Gilbert Ortiz, 15, who was charged as an adult.

Also in custody, so-called "gang mother," 38 year old Connie Herrera Retana. She's accused of encouraging the attackers, who included her 18-year-old son, Martin Carlos Delgado.

Bail is set for 100-thousand-dollars apiece.

Police are still searching for 19-year-old Oscar Jose Barajas, who also goes by the name "Sporty."

- KTLA.com

March 13, 2006

Added March 14, 2006

Kansas, USA

KC Man Charged With Raping 11-Year-Old

Kansas City - Jackson County Prosecutor Mike Sanders announced that Juan L. Alcantar, 20, was charged with first degree statutory rape Monday following a March 8 incident involving an 11-year-old girl.

According to investigators, Alcantar drove the 11-year-old, who he knew, to his home. On the way, the victim said he had tried to touch her. The victim said he raped her at his home, then drover her back to her residence and ordered to not to say a word and to take a shower.

- KSHB.com

March 13, 2006

Added March 14, 2006

California, USA

Man Arrested For Alleged Rape In Benicia

Police arrested a 19-year-old man for allegedly raping his neighbor late Saturday night.

When the 47-year-old female victim arrived at her East I Street home shortly before midnight 19-year-old Willi Valdo Lopez engaged her in conversation and followed her into her residence, according to police.

Lopez allegedly made sexual advances and when the victim resisted he disrobed her, attempted intercourse and forced her to orally copulate him, police reported.

The woman called police after Lopez left.

- CBS5.com

March 13, 2006

Added March 12, 2006

Indigenous Latin America

Conditions Not Improving For  Indigenous Peoples

President Evo Morales dances with Indigenous women at Carnival celebration in Bolivia

Photo: Associated Press

Despite promising advances, such as the first-ever inauguration of an Aymaran Indian as president of Bolivia, World Bank econo-mists painted a bleak picture for Latin America's indigenous inhabitants in a recent report. 

Washington - Twelve years after the U.N. Assembly declared the Decade of Indigenous Peoples, the Native population of Latin America still barely gets by, said a recent report by World Bank economists.

The report focused on countries where Native numbers are the largest: Bolivia, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico and Peru. Native peoples are a majority in Bolivia and comprise large pluralities in Peru and Guatemala. Latin America's indigenous number about 30 million, the authors wrote, or 10 percent of the regional population.

Health care is at the root of the poverty divide, the authors said. In Mexico, 44 percent of indige-nous children suffer from stunted growth, a fact which inhibits education and later limits employability. The cycle of poverty, they noted, begins before children ever go to school.

Native people are four times more likely than other Mexicans to be illiterate. Two-thirds of indigenous women in Guate-mala have no knowledge of modern contra-ception. In Bolivia, Native people are twice as likely to live in extreme poverty as their neighbors.

Whatever the general picture, the fate of women is worse. ''Across the board, particularly with health and employment, the worst thing to be that we know of in these countries is an indigenous woman,'' said Hall, noting that descendants of the African population have yet to be properly studied.

- Indian Country Today

March 3, 2006

LibertadLatina Commentary

A recently released World Bank report stated that...

"The worst thing to be that we know of in these countries is an indigenous woman."

The strongest issue and theme that LibertadLatina advocates in regard to is the fact that indigenous women are targeted for rape, slavery and other forms of injustice with complete impunity.  Today, they cannot depend upon governments, police forces or global leaders to ever look their way and help them as they and their girl children face unspeakable gender crimes that are committed en-mass.

That is the way it was 500 years ago, and that is the way it is today across many nations of the Americas.

These nations, who are today being asked to unite in the global fight against human trafficking, now face a dilemma.

The exploitation of Native peoples for labor, and as rape victims, has been a 'tradition' in Canada, the United States, and in Latin America for generations.  To end modern human slavery, all of these societies will have to give up their long-held beliefs that say "God gave us these lands, and the right to do whatever we want to the original inhabitants."

While some nations in the Americas have made progress in moving past these tired, racist beliefs, other cultures see Native peoples and lands as a valuable resource to exploit, rather like cattle

I have seen these ideas discussed in person in Latin America, and this web site documents how this ugly reality plays out in daily life. 

The attitude is...

"If the U.S. did this to Native people 100 years ago, what's the problem with us 'wrapping up' the same 'process' of conquest today?"

The Guatemalan Army murdered 200,000 innocent Mayans in the 1980's including 50,000 women.  They raped the surviving young girls, a 'tradition' that has lead to 'femicide' as an ongoing crime against women.

U.S. support for committing and hiding these atrocities grew as much out of a kind of 'solidarity with the cause' of conquering Native peoples ... as it did with cold war aims to defeat leftist political enemies. 

The Mayan villagers were not leftists.  But being Indigenous justified their mass murder.  Today being indigenous justifies the enslave-ment, rape and mass murder of children, women and men once again.

Are the peoples and the governments of the Americas willing to give up having a free (enslaved) farm hand, a free domes-tic worker, a free rape victim and a free commercial child or adult sex slave, who are today  available to them at the snap of a finger?

That wish is, in reality, very optim-istic.  There is no remorse for slavery among the elite in Latin American societies.  Ending these Roman-era feudal customs will take a very long time to achieve.

The needed social reforms are starting to take place.  The annual Trafficking In Persons Report (TIP) produced by the U.S. State Department threat-ens economic sanctions for those nations who sit by and do nothing about trafficking.  To avoid getting their funding cut-off, they will do the minimum of work needed to comply with the demands of the U.S. anti-slavery effort.

Many nations were given a reprieve in regard to sanctions by President Bush in 2005, for failing to act against human trafficking.  

In the real world, deep, ongoing  economic crises will always send the wealthy running to see what else they can steal from Native peoples (land, water, women & children) to make up for some of their losses.

The kidnapping, rape, and enslave-ment of Indigenous children, women and men continues to be the norm in Latin America, not the exception.

While issues of exploitation do not affect Indigenous victims alone, if we focus on this, the very worst part of the crisis of impunity, all of the rest of Latin America will benefit as well.

Only our strong and aggressive activism will save current and future victims of exploitation from the torture and death associated with these terrible crimes against humanity.  we cannot sit back and think that governments will do an effective job.  So far, they have not.

- Chuck Goolsby

March 12, 2006

See Also:

ILO: One million slaves exist In Latin America - most are Indigenous peoples.

- Prensa Libre

Guatemala City

March 11, 2006


Native Guatemala -

   Femicide & Genocide

Added March 12, 2006


U.S. Demand For Adoptions Drives Baby-Trafficking

In tragic irony, a thriving foreign adoption program has made once-unwanted Chinese girls prime targets of baby-trafficking.

Last year, the United States issued nearly 8,000 visas to Chinese-born children adopted by American parents. More than 50,000 children have left China for the United States since 1992. And more than 10,000 children have landed in other countries, according to Chinese reports.

The foreign adoption program has matched Chinese babies with foreign families eager for them, while delivering crucial funding to orphanages in this country. But it has also spawned a tragic irony, transforming once-unwanted Chinese girls into valuable commodities worth stealing.

- The Washington Post

March 12, 2006

Added March 12, 2006


Advocates Praise Recent Agreement By The Oaxaca State Government To Address Women’s Human Rights

Photo: CIMAC

Saluda ONG compromiso de Gobierno Oaxaqueño

Oaxaca (pronounced Wahaca) state - Lawyer Aline Castellanos Jurado is celebrating the results of a recent hearing before the Inter-American Commission of Human rights (CIDH).  The session resulted in the government of Oaxaca promising to address human rights violations and advance the cause of justice for women.

Castellanos Jurado, lawyer for Patronage For-Defense of Oaxaca indicated that the case was made before the CIDH that the human rights of women in the state are frequently abused.  Those abuses include domestic violence, homicides, and institutional violence.

Castellanos Jurado, who is also a member of the Consortium for Parliamentary Dialog in Oaxaca, indicated that the CIDH session was also made aware of impact that political and agrarian conflicts have on women in Oaxaca.

A third issue raised involves health issues, because of the high rates of maternal deaths and the lack of available legal processes that allow a woman who has been raped to exercise her right to abortion.

These human rights abuses involve a wide variety of forms of violence that target women.  The authorities justify abuses of authority as a part of tradition.  They do not see the problem as being one of a lack of attention to the problem.  That constitutes discrimination against women, and it should not be allowed to continue.

Given these circumstances, the CIDH was asked to visit Oaxaca to verify that the recently made promises by the state are actually put into practice.  The CIDH gave Oaxaca a period of 6 months to present a plan to address all forms of violence against women, not just domestic violence, as is currently the case.

The nongovern-mental organizations who addressed the CIDH court session asked that Oaxaca enact a transparency law, allowing public access to state records regarding the conditions for women.

Jurado Castellanos noted that during the CIDH session, the representative of the government of Oaxaca, state Undersecretary for Human Rights Rosario Villalobos Rueda promised to work to bring state laws into line with international human rights standards.

En closing, the Jurado Castellanos indicated that if the federal and state governments accept allowing the CIDH to visit Oaxaca, it would be a very significant event, because it would “open the door” to follow-up visits.  Such inspectors can bring focus to this ‘hot zone’ of crisis in Oaxaca, which deserves attention.

The CIDH session’s report will be made available in the coming week.

- CIMAC Noticias

News for Women

Mexico City

March 10, 2006

See Also:

Oaxaca state compromises with Inter-American Commission on Human Rights - Mexican state to change its law permitting "honor killing" of women.

- CIMAC Noticias

News for Women

Mexico City

March 6, 2006

Added March 12, 2006

New York, USA

Human Rights School Has Unusual Mission

New York - The School for Human Rights is one of nearly 150 "small" public schools that opened in New York City in the last three years under a national movement to raise student achievement by shrinking school sizes. Such schools often have specific themes. Although it's normal for schools to discuss human rights, one built around the concept is rare.

"We're not teaching the kids what to think, but to think," Principal Kevin Dotson said, adding that some topics require "scaffolding" first. "We don't just hit sixth graders with 'Let's talk about torture today!"'

The school strives to produce "socially engaged young adults committed to equity, dignity and social conscious-ness," according to its mission statement.

The school, in its second year, consists of grades six, seven, nine and 10 and will add more levels as students advance until in contains grades six through 12. It has about 300 students, most of whom are of Caribbean descent. Admission is open to students across the city, but most come from nearby neighborhoods.

Karen Robinson, director of the human rights education program for Amnesty International USA, said as word of the school has spread, other educators have contacted her to see how they can promote similar programs elsewhere. She's working with teachers in Florida who want to establish human rights academies within their existing schools.

- Associated Press


March 10, 2006

Added March 12, 2006


Michele Bachelet Is Inaugurated As  First Woman President

Santiago - Michelle Bachelet, a lifelong socialist, former political exile and ex-prisoner of the military dictatorship, was sworn in Saturday as Chile's first female president with the luminaries of South America's new leftist leadership and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in the audience.

"Our strength will be the women," Bachelet, 54, told an animated, largely female crowd of thousands downtown as she made her initial address as chief of state from the ornate presidential palace, La Moneda. "In Chile, there will be no forgotten citizens. This is my promise."

- Los Angeles Times

March 12, 2006

Added March 12, 2006


The Inevitable Discussion Of Abortion

On Tuesday, the government finally agreed to award financial compen-sation to Paulina Ramírez, a Baja California woman who at age 13 was denied a legal abortion seven years ago after being raped and impregnated.

Almost simul-taneously, and perhaps not coincidentally, the international organization Human Rights Watch (HRW) issued a report bursting with evidence that Ms. Ramírez´s experience was no aberration.

According to the 92-page document (entitled "The Second Assault: Obstructing Access to Legal Abortion after Rape in Mexico"), "Mexican officials actively prevent rape victims from gaining access to legal and safe abortion."

The officials´ tactics will never be mistaken for subtle.

"A social worker in Jalisco, for example, showed scientifically inaccurate anti-abortion videos to a 13-year-old girl who had been raped and impregnated by a family member," the report reads.

"Some public prosecutors threatened rape victims with jail for procuring a legal abortion, and many doctors told women and girls, without cause, that an abortion would kill them."

The low estimate of the number of abortions performed in Mexico each year is 500,000. The high estimate is more than a million.  That means more than 1,000, and perhaps as many as 3,000, take place on average every day.  Abortion, then, is as common in Mexico as it is illegal.

...Until the abortion issue is faced squarely - and settled publicly one way or the other - honesty will require the nation´s political leaders to tell Mexico´s women up front that when it comes to the most personal, profound issues of concern to their sovereign bodies, they [men] will make the decisions for them.

In fact, they already have.

- Kelly Arthur Garrett

El Universal

March 12, 2006

Added March 11, 2006

Latina America

ILO: One Million Slaves Exist In Latin America - Most Are Indige-nous People

Brazil - Agricultural slave at work.

Photo: Prensa Libre

Latinoamérica tiene más de un millón de esclavos.  La población indígena es la más sometida a condiciones de esclavitud

In a press conference held during the Second International Conference of Agrarian Reform and Development, held by the United Nations in the southern Brazilian city of Porto Alegre, the International labor Organization (ILO) has declared that over 1 million people in Latin America are currently enslaved.

According to ILO research,  of the 12.3 million enslaved persons on Earth, 1.3 million live in Latin America and the Caribbean.

In Bolivia, Peru and Paraguay, indigen-ous peoples are the majority of slaves.

In Peru, Native people are forced to work in timber logging as slaves for periods of 12 months.

In Bolivia [which is 60% full-blooded Indigenous], Native people are forced to work in cane harvesting for 12 hours a day, under threat of corporal punishment.

In Paraguay, members of the Guarani Tribe are enslaved on large, rural farms.

By contrast, the ILO praised the decision of Brazil's govern-ment to publicly acknowledge the existence of slavery.  In 2005, Brazilian authorities freed 4,113 enslaved persons.

- Prensa Libre

Guatemala City

March 11, 2006

Added March 11, 2006


Michele Bachelet Is Inaugurated As  First Woman President

Chilean president Michele Bachelet

Photo: CIMAC

A la reconciliación y memoria histórica, llama presidenta Bachelet

- Prensa Escrita

(The Written Press)

Santiago, Chile

March 11, 2006

Michele Bachelet

Photo: Prensa Esctrita

Bachelet apela a integración e igualdad en sus primeras palabras en La Moneda

- CIMAC Noticias

News for Women

Mexico City

March 11, 2006

Valparaiso - Socialist pediatrician Michelle Bachelet, who suffered prison, torture and exile under Chile's military dictatorship, was sworn in as the nation's first female president on Saturday and promised to heed the voices of all Chileans.

In her first official act as president, Bachelet fulfilled a key campaign promise: she swore in her 20-member Cabinet of 10 men and 10 women. She has promised to have equal numbers of men and women in some 300 decision-making posts.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who met with Bachelet for 30 minutes ahead of the ceremony, described her election as a triumph of democracy.

President Michele Bachelet...

"I want a government in which citizens have an active participation."

"A government at the service of people."

- Associated Press


March 11, 2006

Added March 11, 2006

United States

U.S. ICE: 482 Immigrants Were Deported from Georgia And The Carolinas During February, 2006

Atlanta - Four hundred eighty-two criminal and non-criminal immigrants were deported from Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina last month by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention and removal officers.

Those deported were sent to: Mexico, Honduras, China, Peru, El Salvador, Jamaica, Haiti, Guatemala, India and Pakistan.

The offenses involved included drug possession, aggravated assault, sex offenses, weapons violations, theft, fraud, robbery, murder, arson, rape, prostitution, selling marijuana, smuggl-ing migrants, counterfeiting, indecent exposure, child molestation, second-degree battery and many others.

Approximately 83% of those removed were convicted as criminals.

- U.S. ICE

March 7, 2006

Added March 11, 2006

California, USA

U.S. Border Agents To Face Charges

Two U.S. Border Patrol agents assigned to prosecute immigrant smugglers were arrested for allegedly releasing border-crossers in exchange for US$300,000 in cash bribes. The two agents had been working in conjunction with the federal Attorney General´s Office (PGR).

Mario Alvarez, 44, and Samuel McClaren, 43, released the illegal immigrants to a smuggling ring that operates in El Centro, about 120 miles (200 kilometers) east of San Diego, according to a federal complaint filed in January and unsealed Thursday.

The smugglers then allegedly took the migrants to Los Angeles.

- El Universal

- Miami Herald

March 11, 2006

Added March 11, 2006


United Nations Insists That Guatemala Pass Antidiscrimination Law Protecting Indigenous And Afro-Guatemalans

ONU demanda al país ley contra discriminación

The United Nations committee against racial discrimination has demanded that Guatemala pass legislation to protect indigenous [mostly Mayan] Guate-malans, who make up 43% of the nation's 12 million inhabitants.

The committee of 18 experts reported that Guatemala must make all forms of discrim-ination, and violence, illegal.  The report also notes that Native traditions should be respected by the nation's legal system.

- Prensa Libre

Guatemala City

March 11, 2006

Added March 11, 2006


In Mexico City: U.S. and Vietnamese Tourist Women Are Kidnapped And Raped; One Dies

Sufren violación y una muere; se habían parado a pedir ayuda

Mexico City - The body of a 21-year-old Vietnamese woman who was raped and murdered presumably by gang members remains in the morgue of the Forensic Medical Service (Semefo), waiting to hear from any relative who will claim her.

Her companion, a 34-year-old U.S. woman, was also sexually assaulted, but survived the attack.

Mexico City police have not found the four presumed attackers.

The two tourists arrived in Mexico City one week ago, and were staying at the Paseo de la Reforma hotel.

The survivor told authorities that she and her companion were driving a rented pickup truck to the airport to pick up two brothers of the Vietnamese victim.  They were attacked by a group of men traveling in another pickup truck, after the women had asked for directions.

- El Universal

Mexico City

March 11, 2006

Added March 11, 2006


Endurance Of Corruption Shakes Guatemala Anew

Guatemala's top anti-drug cop laughed out loud last fall when U.S. drug agents came to arrest him at a hotel near Dulles Airport on cocaine smuggling charges.

Adan Castillo, once head of Guatemala's anti-drug agency, was arrested in Virginia in November and is now awaiting trial on drug smuggling charges.

And when reality hit in Guatemala, the sense of shock was just as profound.

Many had been counting on the new leader of Guatemala's equivalent of the DEA to put an end to years of official collusion with drug traffickers. Instead, the emerging details of the five-month U.S.-led sting operation that netted Castillo and two of his deputies -- all of whom have pleaded not guilty and now await trial in U.S. District Court -- offer a vivid illustration of the pervasive corruption that has undermined Guatemala's battle against narco-trafficking.

- N.C. Aizenman

Washington Post

March 11, 2006

See Also:

Posponen juicio en EE.UU.

Adan Castillo's trial is postponted in Washington, DC.

- N.C. Aizenman

Washington Post

Jan. 26, 2006

Added March 9, 2006


Veracruz Is Major Trafficking Center

Lucy Tacher

Photo: Diaro del Istmo

Mexico City, Puebla and Veracruz

According to Lucy Tacher, coordinator of the Assistance Program for the Rule of Law in México, women from the city of Veracruz, who have been tricked into forced prostit-ution with fake offers of modeling jobs, can be found trapped in prostit-ution across Mexico in its ports, big cities and border states.

This trafficking in persons includes the sale of human organs, the exploit-ation of the elderly, sexual and labor exploitation, and other forms of the abuse of persons.

Many trafficking networks have replaced drug traffickers, which has diminished due to strict law enforce-ment on the U.S. border.  These criminals have jumped into the business of human trafficking, a phen-omenon that is growing exponen-tially.

Tacher called on legislators to criminalize human trafficking Mexico, given that traffickers are not punished today.  She said that each state should also pass anti-trafficking legis-lation.  Currently, Tacher said, traffick-ing crimes are treated as a form of sexual abuse.

Mexico is a transit point for traffickers bringing enslaved women from South America to the U.S. and Japan, among other countries.  Internally, women from Veracruz, for example, are trafficked to border regions.

Women from every social class are at risk of trafficking, especially those who suffer from low self esteem, domestic violence.

Tacher warned women to avoid being tricked.

“They manipulate us.  They advertise jobs for office assistants, and actually the applicants are trafficked into prostitution.”

- Diario del Istmo

(Isthmus Daily)

March 9, 2006

LibertadLatina Note:

The city of Veracruz, on Mexico's east coast, has long been a center for criminal sex trafficking.  In 1999, we found a statement by a Veracruz women's rights activist on the Internet that said:

"There exists the trafficking of girls as young as 8-years old from Veracruz, to become prostit-utes in the base-ments of New York City."

Added March 9, 2006


Institute Dramatizes Sexual Harassment

Mexican television is showing jarring scenes of inflatable sex dolls dressed as office workers - part of a campaign by the National Women´s Institute to dramatize the problem of sexual harassment in the workplace.

The campaign - which also includes billboards and radio ads - shows the wide-mouthed sex dolls dressed as secretaries, sitting at desks or photo-copiers as men leer at them or try to grope them.

"No woman should be treated like an object," a somber-voiced narrator says in the background. "Sexual harassment is not just demean-ing, it´s a crime."

Launched on International Women´s Day, the campaign will run through mid-April, said Patricia Espinosa, the institute´s head.

Officials acknow-ledged on that the country still has a problem with machismo, discrimination, harassment and violence against women.

President Vicente Fox...

"Our society still has a long way to go in overcoming holdovers from the past, eradicating prejudice and changing habits."

Fox himself drew criticism from anti-discrimination groups and legislators when he joked last month that "75 percent of the homes in Mexico have a washing machine, and not the kind with two legs."

Gilberto Rincón Gallardo, president of the National Committee to Prevent Discrimination, wrote in a letter to Fox made public Tuesday...

"Apart from whether it was intentional ... there are certain forms of expression that stereotype and create prejudices toward women, and that translates into a sexist language."

On Wednesday, front-running presidential candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador promised to give at least half the posts in his Cabinet to women if he wins the July 2 election.

Attorney General Daniel Cabeza de Vaca noted that "violence against women is present in all classes of society, regardless of education levels, and is also present in the workplace and in the family."

- El Universal

- Miami Herald

March 9, 2006

See Also:

Quieren erradicar lenguaje sexista

Efforts are underway to remove commonly used sexist language from the business of federal public administration.

Added March 9, 2006


Mexico Gets Bad Report

'Corrupción e impunidad se asientan en México'

The U.S. Department of State said in a report released Wednesday that Mexico respects human rights "in general," but violations persist and efforts to improve are impeded by "a profoundly entrenched culture of impunity and corruption."

The annual human rights report prepared by the U.S. government was presented to the U.S. Congress on Wednesday. Included in the report were charges that among the principle human rights problems in Mexico are that police and authorities are often involved in murders and kidnappings and the use of torture to obtain "confessions."

Furthermore, the report indicated that there is "corruption at all levels of government," as well as criminal intimidation of journalists, human trafficking "presumably with official involvement," economic and social discrimination against indigenous people.

Treatment of women was also singled out, with assertions that women in Mexico suffer unequal pay, as well as inordinate levels of criminal and domestic violence. The report cited the violence against women that has been chronicled in Ciudad Juárez [Juarez City].

- El Universal

- Miami Herald

March 9, 2006

Added March 9, 2006

California, USA

Deputy Pleads Not Guilty In Videotaped Shooting

Airman Elio Carrion

San Bernadino - A sheriff's deputy pleaded not guilty Wednesday to attempted voluntary manslaughter in the videotaped shooting of an unarmed serviceman after a high-speed car chase.

Deputy Ivory J. Webb, who fired three shots into Senior Airman Elio Carrion on Jan. 29, surrendered voluntarily and was arraigned at the San Bernardino County Superior Court.

Webb, 45, is the first peace officer in San Bernardino County history to be charged as the result of an on-duty shooting. He could be sentenced to as much as 18½ years in prison if convicted.

- KABC-TV and Associated Press

March 9, 2006

See Also:

The Elio Carrion

   Shooting Case

Added March 9, 2006


US Gives Jamaica Passing Grade For Addressing Human Trafficking

One year after being threatened with sanctions by the United States Government, Jamaica has received improved ratings for its efforts to fight human trafficking.

High-level government officials, including the Prime Minister, have spoken out against trafficking. Additionally, the government has created an interagency task force to coordinate anti-trafficking matters and appointed police officers to handle trafficking related investigations.

From June to November, the JCF conducted raids at 15 nightclubs and businesses across Jamaica where credible evidence suggested that trafficking was taking place.  The raids resulted in the closure of four establishments and the arrests of 39 people.

- Radio Jamaica

March 6, 2006

Added March 9, 2006


State Urged To Get Tougher On Rapists

Member of Parliament Hay Webster wants tougher laws introduced to punish rapists, especially repeat offenders.

Speaking in Parliament on Tuesday, Webster suggested that the authorities consider harsher punishment, including life imprisonment for sex offenders.

According to the MP, the incidence of rape, carnal abuse and incest is rising leaving many women including children scarred for life.

The St. Catherine MP said there are a number of young girls including children, living in inner city commun-ities being gang raped by criminals.

She suggested that the authorities consider beefing up the current legis-lation to include the establishment of a sexual offenders' registry; and a process of notifying the victims and wider community once the offenders are released from prison.

- Radio Jamaica

March 8, 2006

Added March 9, 2006


Save the Children: 60 Million Girls Die Each Year From Discriminatory Practices Around The World

60 millones de niñas mueren al año por trato discriminatorio.

For International Women’s Day, 2006, Save the Children (STC) has announced that 60 million girls die each year due to gender based forms of discrimination.

STC’s statement said that poverty, traditions, customs and the lack of effective measures on the part of the governments of developing countries to end these practices, are the main reasons why millions of girls, adult adolescents and women are victims continue to be victims of female infanticide, marriages at too early an age, genital mutilations and the trafficking of women.

Statistics developed by STC show that between 85 and 115 million women and children, mostly in Africa, Asia and the Middle East, live with the consequences of female genital mutilation in childhood. Between one and two million young girls and women each year become victims of the criminal human trafficking resulting in forced domestic work or prostitution.

In some countries of Africa adolescents are compelled to maintain sexual relationships without protection with older men in exchange for money to pay for school and other needs.

One of solutions that Save The Children insists on involves better access to education for girls.  STC considers that to be the "the best weapon to combat these risks and forms of discrimination that women and children suffer everywhere around the world ", according to Europa Press.

- LaSegunda.com

Madrid, Spain

March 9, 2006

Added March 9, 2006

Colorado, USA

Saudi Couple Kept Indonesian Woman As Labor/Sex Slave

Denver - A federal judge on Tuesday delayed the trial of a Saudi Arabian couple accused of keeping an Indonesian woman as a virtual slave after prosecutors reported that a key witness was not available.

Homaidan Al-Turki and his wife, Sarah Khonaizan, face state and federal charges alleging they required the woman to cook, clean and provide child care in their home in suburban Aurora for little or no pay from 2000 to 2004.

Prosecutors also allege Al-Turki sexually abused the woman, and that she was sometimes loaned out to work for other families.

Al-Turki and Khonaizan also face Colorado charges of kidnapping, false imprisonment and extortion, and Al-Turki faces state charges of sexual assault. Their state trial is scheduled for June 12.

- Associated Press

March 7, 2006

Added March 7, 2006


Supreme Court Justice Olga Sanchez Cordero Speaks For International Women’s Day: The Historic Traditions Of Disdain Towards Women Must Be Eradicated.

Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation (SCJN) Minister Olga Sanchez Cordero

  Exigen fin al desprecio histórico hacia la mujer

During a March 6th speech, Supreme Court Justice Olga Sanchez Cordero spoke before the group “90 Women, 90 Voices.”  El Universal newspaper gathered the group, who had been selected for being the most influential women in Mexican society.  The group included leaders in social life, politics, academics, the sciences, the arts, culture and sports.

Justice Sanchez Cordero, as keynote speaker, said that Mexican women have lived in submission, which has been translated into a lack of freedom, a lack of comprehension and a lack of support for “what women want to accomplish.”

Justice Sanchez Cordero asked that society’s institutions consider the need for gender equality, an end to discrim-ination, transpar-encey in their affairs, federalism, republicanism, democracy, equal representation, and the principles and values of the Constitution.

“The guardians of  these institut-ions are those who will have to make change happen: public powers-that-be, the churches, the unions, the political parties, non-government-al organizations, business leaders and the press.”

“I want us to arrive at a day when we can say at every moment: I have freedom, and that freedom is acknowledged in every space that my imagin-ation can con-ceive of, and that this liberty be not only respected, but promoted."

- Natalia Gomez Quintero

El Universal

March 7, 2006

Added March 8, 2006

Brazil - Venezuela

Brazilian Police Break Up Child Prostitution Ring

Descubren red de prostitución infantil en frontera de Venezuela con Brasil

The Brazilian police have discovered a child prostitution network that operated on their nation’s border with Venezuela.  The network’s clients, they say, include Venezuelan military personnel.

According to the press agency Globo On Line, the suicide of one of the child victims lead police in the state of Roraima, Brazil to the discovery of this complex network.

The main defendant was identified as Marcia da Silva, age 22, who was detained last Wednesday during a police operation that intended to stop illegal fuel sales in the region.

Authorities discovered that the criminal network had set up a contract with Venezuelan military forces that allowed Venezuelan fuel to be smuggled into Brazil.  In exchange, the traffickers offered the military underage girls in prostitution.

- EFE News

March 8, 2006

Added March 8, 2006


Despite Progress, Women Are Still Subjected to Widespread Violence and Discrimination

UNICEF - A pesar de los avances logrados, las mujeres aún están sujetas a la discriminación y la violencia generalizada

Washington, DC - Despite great progress for women in the past several decades, women throughout the world are still subjected to discrimination, violence and exploitation, UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman said today.

Veneman gave the keynote address at the Annual Inter-national Women’s Day Luncheon in Washington, D.C.

UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman...

“Around the globe today, especially in developing countries, girls and women suffer in silence – out of range of the cameras and off society’s radar.”

“In too many nations and regions, women are still devalued and denied or treated as second-class citizens. They are the victims of gross inequity or all too often, much worse.”

Stressing the critical link between equality for women and development progress, Veneman drew attention to widespread abuse and exploitation of women and children, such as the sexual violence committed in armed conflict, trafficking, and practices such as honor killings, dowry crimes, early marriage, and female genital cutting/mutilation.

Ann M. Veneman...

“Violence against women is the extreme form of inequality, and it is hard to think of an act against women that can be more damaging or enduring than sexual violence.”


March 8, 2006

International Women's Day - 2006

We at LibertadLatina  wish every woman and girl on Earth a very happy Inter-national Women's Day!  The struggle for equality and freedom continues as conditions for women and girls at-risk get worse around the globe.

In the Americas, poor, marginalized Indigenous, Afro-Latina and other Latina women and girls of all back-grounds face very real dangers as impunity, corrup-tion and greed combine to make the sale of females into sexual slavery as common as buying bread.

We will continue to document and present the truth in regard to the impact of impunity on women's lives. 

Our efforts aim to build community. 

This web site is the common space where everyone in society can read truth that is un-spoken in much of the mainstream press and social and political arenas of life.  We will not stand-by in silence as this preventable catastrophe unfolds.

As women and girls face atrocities "off the radar screen," as UNICEF director Ann Veneman states the facts, we will continue to bring that hidden reality into the public spotlight.

It is up to you, the readers, to organ-ize in each of your local communities and demand that our governments, religious institut-ions and law enforcement agencies across the Americas do much more to end the wholesale exploitation and femicide of girls, and women with near total impunity.

Together, we will make a difference.

- Chuck Goolsby

Feb. 08, 2006

We also note the below words of wisdom from UNICEF in 1999. 

Conditions have gotten worse since these words were first written 7 years ago.

From UNICEF's 1999 International Women's Day Statement...

"Latin America -- 1999 -- "UNICEF, in support of the United Nations’ campaign for the eradication of violence against women, calls on society in Latin America and the Caribbean to eradicate violence against women and children. Violence is a problem that still remains largely hidden from the public eye..."

"Society’s silence is the main accomplice in allowing widespread impunity... The region will have to bring out into the open this increasingly disturbing reality; and it will have to struggle against the high degree to which society tolerates or practices inconceivable forms of aggression against the most vulnerable individuals in society."

"Sexual harass-ment, maltreat-ment, child labor, violence in the home and sexual exploitation occur with such frequency that they can be considered a daily phenom-enon.

All violence leaves physical and psycholog-ical scars on their victims which are to a great extent irreversible."

- Carol Bellamy

Former Executive Director - UNICEF

March 8, 1999

Added March 7, 2006


Rape Victims Denied Legal Abortion: Prosecutors, Health Workers Intimidate Rape Victims With Insults, Threats

Mexico City - Mexican officials actively prevent rape victims from gaining access to legal and safe abortion, and they fail to punish rape and sexual violence inside and outside the family, said Human Rights Watch in a report released today.

Pregnant rape victims are essentially assaulted twice. First by the perpetrators who raped them, and then by public officials who ignore them, insult them and deny them a legal abortion.

The 92-page report, “The Second Assault: Obstructing Access to Legal Abortion after Rape in Mexico,” details the disrespect, suspicion and apathy that pregnant rape victims encounter from public prosecutors and health workers. The report also exposes continuing and pervasive impunity for rape and other forms of sexual violence in states throughout Mexico. 

“Pregnant rape victims are essentially assaulted twice,” said Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch. “First by the perpetrators who raped them, and then by officials who ignore them, insult them and deny them a legal abortion.” 

In Mexico, abortion in general is illegal, but rape victims have the legal right to a safe abortion under all state criminal codes. However, women and girls who approach the authorities to exercise this right face multiple obstacles, Human Rights Watch found. 

A number of agencies in various Mexican states – particularly the state attorney general’s office, public hospitals and family services – employ aggressive tactics to discourage and delay rape victims’ access to legal abortion. A social worker in Jalisco, for example, showed scientifically inaccurate anti-abortion videos to a 13-year-old girl who had been raped and impregnated by a family member.

Some public prosecutors threatened rape victims with jail for procuring a legal abortion, and many doctors told women and girls, without cause, that an abortion would kill them. 

As a result, many rape victims seek to resolve their situation by resorting to back-alley abortions that endanger their lives and health. Underage girls raped by their fathers or other family members often find themselves with no other alternative than to carry the imposed pregnancy to term. 

- Human Rights Watch

March 7, 2006

Added March 7, 2006


Mexico Begins Major Campaign Against Sexual Harassment

Arranca en México campaña publicitaria vs acoso sexual

According to Patricia Espinosa Torres, president of the National Institue for Women (INMUJERES), across Mexico 50% of the 15 million women working in the formal labor sector have experienced sexual harassment.  They do not file complaints due to fear or shame.

INMUJERES received 20,000 complaints in 2005.  Of that number, only 1,732 were related to sexual harassment, which indicates a low percentage of complaints against this conduct.  Only 20 of Mexico’s 31 states define sexual harassment as illegal in their penal codes.

If the face of these facts, INMUJERES and the federal prosecutor for the defense of Laborers (PROFEDET) has begun a campaign that, from today until April 30th, will promote the theme, “A Woman is not a object.  Sexual Harassment is a Crime.”  The project seeks to sensitive the population about the gravity of sexual harassment.

Currently, in Yucatán state, the law calls for up to 3 years in prison.  In Guerrero state, the penalty may reach 7 years behind bars, or 10 years in the case of public servants.  In Morelos state, the penalty is a fine amounting to 10 to 140 days of minimum wage salary.

Juan Carrillo Hernández, assistant prosecutor for conciliation and defence for PROFEDET, declared that the legislative branch must push for changes to the federal labor law (LFT).  Currently, he said, sexual harassment is treated neither as a crime nor as a justifiable reason for early retirement.

Juan Carrillo Hernández…

“It is very important that women dare to file a complaint, so that sexual harass-ment laws stop being dead, empty words.” 

 The prosecutor said that Mexico should work to achieve zero tolerance for sexual harassment.

He explained that many women are unaware how the law defines sexual harassment.  It can include insults, leering, inapprop-riate jokes, sexual insinuations, inappropriate comments about dress and a woman’s body, or age, or the a woman’s family situation.  In addition, sexual harassment includes undesired physical contact, such as touches, caresses and acts of physical violence.

The campaign by INMUJERES will be transmitted by radio, television, in public events, in periodicals, magazines, and through public announcements in public buses.

- CIMAC Noticias

News for Women

Mexico City

March 7, 2006

Added March 6, 2006


Oaxaca State Compromises With Inter-American Commission on Human Rights - Mexican State To Change Its Law Permitting "Honor Killing" Of Women

Compromiso para desaparecer figura “homicidio por honor”

The government of Oaxaca state has committed itself, before the Inter-American Commis-sion of Human rights (CIDH), to bring about legislative change its penal code, to align that code with inter-national protocols regarding the human rights of the women. 

The agreement was, announced at the headquarters of that Commission in Washington, DC, USA, by Mexico’s Undersecretary for Human Rights, Rosario Villalobos Rueda.

On March 7, 2006 the Oaxaca state legislature will begin work to reform Article 293 of the state penal code.  The legislature will eliminate the term “honor killing" [as a legitimate defense to a man’s murder of his wife], from the Oaxaca penal code.

The accord was reached after Mexican non-governmental organizations presented an example of the injustice of Article 293.  In April of 2004, María Luisa Agustín López was raped and beaten to death by her husband, Heriberto Vásquez Espinosa, in the town of San Francisco Lachigoló.

Vásquez Espinosa was tried under the state “honor killing” law, that typically resulted in a prison sentence of less than 4 years and the payment of a 100,000 Peso fine. 

Vásquez Espinosa was released early from his sentence, on December 23, 2005 [he served less than 2 years for the murder].  He was freed as part of a general pre-release of Indigenous inmates [to compen-sate them for past injustices against Native inmates].

Undersecretary Villalobos Rueda also promised, in the name of Mexico, to strengthen state programs in public administration, and for civic organizat-ions, with the goal of bringing gender perspectives into the program planning process for actions and projects.

- CIMAC Noticias

News for Women

Mexico City

March 6, 2006

See Also:

Women's Rights Activists In Oaxaca Seek to Repeal State Law That Legitim-izes Male Honor Killings Of Women.

- CIMAC Noticias

News for Women

Mexico City

Feb. 24, 2006

Added March 6, 2006

United States

Young Models Discuss Sexual Exploitation In The Music Video Scene

Explotación sexual en los videos musicales

“Drugs, sex and parties, is part of the daily world of hip-hop, reggaetón and Mexican norteña music, among other genres, according to video star Karrine Steffans, who has recently written a book called “Confes-sions of a Video Vixen."

Based on this book, the U.S. Spanish language network Univision’s multi-million viewer talk show Cristina invited young Latinas to tell of their experiences as models. 

The young women told of exploitation ranging from sexual propositions from pop music stars and producers, to having to pose nude as a condition of being selected for a role in music video shoots.

One of the young women invited to the program said that she was required by producers to masturbate in front of cameras as part of the video model selection process.

 - TropicanaFM.com


March 6, 2006

See Also:

Confessions of a Video Vixen

Added March 5, 2006


Baja California: Police Break Up Porn Ring That Exploited Children With Autism And Downs Syndrome

Border region between California, USA and Baja California, Mexico

Cabo San Lucas, part of the "Los Cabos" region - tip of Baja California

Usaban a niños Down para pornografía

Constitution City - Agents of the Baja California state attorney general (PGJE) have dismantled a child pornography network by arresting four persons who abused and sexually exploited children with Autism and Downs Syndrome.

Assistant state police director Jesús Jiménez Pérez announced that the investigation began with an anonymous tip five months ago. 

The tipster told police that a criminal network existed that raped and sexually exploited mentally challenged children. 

The criminal network produced child pornographic films, especially for sale to the foreign tourists who visit the resort region of Los Cabos ("the tip" of the Baja California peninsula, which includes Cabo San Lucas).

Police set up surveillance, and conducted a raid in which four farm laborers from Los Cabos were arrested.

Those arrested were: Alejandro Valles Ruiz, age 23; Martín Valles Ruiz, age 35; José Alfredo Valles Ruiz, age 34; and Martha Fabiola González Ontiveros, age 24.  All four suspects were charged with rape and the exploitation and corruption of minors.

Police say that 6 children were raped and exploited by the suspects.

In a related story, the technical secretary for the State Council to Fight Addictions, Roberto Rodríguez, declared that drug and alcohol depen-dencies are closely related to a child’s involvement in prostitution and sex tourism. Rodríguez stated that across southern Baja California state, and especially in the tourist region of Los Cabos, the levels of child prostitution are “alarming.”

- Pedro Juárez

 La Cronica de Hoy


March 5, 2006

Added March 5, 2006


Seven Billion Dollar Global Trafficking  Market Means Big Problems For Mexico

Senator Lucero Saldaña

La explotación de niños da a ganar 7 mil mdd

During a recent press interview with CIMAC women’s news, Lucero Saldaña (PRI party), a member of the Senate of the Republic from Puebla state, declared that current estimates of a world human trafficking market that earns $7 billion in the traffick-ing and exploitation of children is indicative of the fact that we [in Mexico] are facing a huge and growing phenomenon.

Senator Saldaña added that the State System for the Full Development of the Family (DIF) [the nation's social services agency] has calculated that at least 17,000 children are victims of commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC). 

In addition, the senator said that the child trafficking that now exists between Mexico and the U.S. affects at least 260,000 children, and is motivated by sexual exploitation.

Senator Lucero Saldaña…

“This is one of the causes of the disappearance of children (kidnapping) in Mexico.  She added that the National Institute for Migration recognizes that 100 human trafficking bands exist in Mexico, and that 10 of those are dedicated to child trafficking."

The Senator warned that the dangers are very real.  Child sex trafficking is a unspoken crime, which some have attempted to silence mention of, because of the huge econo-mic interests that are involved.

Senator Saldaña said that it is important to remember the cases of a number of foreigners who have committed these types of crimes in Mexico, such as Robert Decker, the head of a pedophile network in Acapulco, in Guerrero state. 

There is also the case of a U.S. citizen who offered shelter to youth from ages 8 to 16, and who was caught in an indecent situation  [with a child].  He was freed on bail for 500 Mexican pesos. 

Another case, in San Luis Potosi, involved 60 children who were hidden in a house run by traffick-ers.  They were taken to Saltillo in Coahuila state.  It took two days for the police to process the paperwork involved in their rescue. 

When law enforce-ment officers finally entered the house, the children had disappeared. They have never been heard from again.

- Pedro Juárez

 La Cronica de Hoy


March 5, 2006

See Also:

Mexico City - More than 20,000 Mexican families a year suffer the disappearance of a young son or daughter, many of whom are adopted illegally by families abroad or are victims of sexual exploitation or even trafficking of human organs, reports the National Disappeared Children Confed-eration.

The number of children who have gone missing in the last six years, says the Confederation, could reach 130,000, a number consider-ed credible by Oscar Moreno, the Attorney General Office's Special Prosecutor against Trafficking in Minors, a post created last year.

 - Diego Cevallos

Inter-Press Service


While the recent kidnappings of children in Califor-nia have horrified Americans, an extraordinarily high rate of child disappearances in Mexico has alarmed authorities and citizens there.

Child advocacy groups say as many as 135,000 children have been kidnap-ped in the past three years. It is feared that  many of the children are being sold into the sex and pornography indus-tries. NPR's Gerry Hadden reports from Mexico City. (4:00)" 

RealAudio:  Listen

 - Jerry Hadden

U.S. Nat. Public Radio

July 19, 2002

Added March 5, 2006

California, USA

Police Raid Finds 70 Migrants Locked In LA House Until Smugglers Debt Paid; Under New Arizona Law, 50 Migrants Are Charged With  Conspiring With Their Coyotes

Los Angeles - Authorities raided a squalid house Friday, capturing 70 illegal immigrants and four suspected smugglers believed to have been holding migrants hostage while awaiting payment.

Federal agents and a sheriff's SWAT team entered the home before dawn, setting off flash-bang grenades to stun any smugglers inside.

Packed into the grimy one-story bungalow were 70 people from El Salvador, Nicaragua, Ecuador and Mexico. Some slept 20 to a room, authorities said.

In Phoenix, more than 50 people accused of sneaking into the country in furniture trucks were charged Friday with conspiring with human smugglers in the first test of a new Arizona law that allows illegal immigrants to be prosecuted if they pay someone to transport them. They could face up to 2 years in prison.

 - Jacob Adelman

Associated press

March 3, 2006

Added March 5, 2006


Inter-American Commission on Human Rights To Hear Arguments In Landmark Abortion Case On March 8th

In July of 1999, at the age of 13, Paulina Ramírez of Mexicali was raped and impregnated by a burglar. Abortion being legal in cases of rape in all Mexican states, she was able to get permission in her home state of Baja California to get a legal abortion.

But when the 13-year-old arrived at the public hospital, the director, who was opposed to the abortion, stalled the procedure. Ramírez and her mother were given misleading information by anti-abortion activists as well as the director that the procedure might be fatal or leave the teen sterile. Finally, Ramírez and her mother were convinced not to interrupt the pregnancy.

This Wednesday, March 8, - Internat-ional Day of the Woman - the case´s settlement will be debated in front of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in Washington D.C.

- El Universal

- Miami Herald

March 5, 2006

See Also:

El gobierno de Baja California responde al fin por Paulina

(The government of Baja California state finally responds to Paulina Ramirez.)

- CIMAC Noticias

News for Women

Mexico City

Jan. 4, 2006

Added March 5, 2006

North Carolina, USA

Father Charged In Deaths Of Two Children

Charlotte - The bodies of a 5-year-old boy and his 8-year-old sister were found shot to death in their burning home, and police charged their father Saturday with the slayings.

The father, Gilberto Miranda, was found a couple of miles from the house with critical injuries, police Sgt. Lisa Mangum said. She would not describe his injuries.

Miranda's wife, Olga, picked through the debris of their home in northeast Charlotte. Shaken and tearful, she declined to talk.

The case is the third in less than two months in which a Charlotte-area parent has been charged with killing two children.

 - CNN

March 5, 2006

Added March 5, 2006

Mexico - United States

Newly Released  Book Follows the Migrant Path From Central America To The U.S.


The story of a boy's dangerous odyssey to reunite with his mother

Enrique, a Honduran boy, decides to take the perilous journey to el Norte, in search of his mother, who illegally entered the U.S. in the 1980s. But for undocum-ented immigrants from Central America the road north is riddled with broken promises, severed limbs, roving gangs, anonymous corpses, rape victims, and corrupt officials.

Los Angeles Times journalist Sonia Nazario covered that territory in her 2003 Pulitzer Prize-winning series Enrique’s Journey, now available in this book format.

To research her story, Nazario ventured to Hon-duras, Guatemala, Mexico and North Carolina. As many immigrants have done, she rode atop a railway car on Mexico’s notorious tren de la muerte [train of death]. For her efforts she was jailed three times, but rewarded with critical acclaim and this engaging nonfiction narrative.

 - Book review by

Horacio Sierra

Hispanic Magazine

February, 2006

On Amazon.com

Published By Random House - Feb. 21, 2006

Added March 4, 2006


Special Prosecutor Elena Pérez Duarte Raises Concerns About International Pedophile "Network of Networks"

Alicia Elena Pérez Duarte, fiscal especial de delitos contra la mujer.

Alicia Elena Pérez Duarte, the Attorney General’s special prosecutor for Attention to Crimes of Violence Against Women.

Opera en el país una red de redes de pederastia, señala la fiscal especial Pérez Duarte

Nexos internacion-ales en el caso Succar Kuri

Elena Pérez Duarte, the federal Attorney General’s special prosecutor for “Attention to Crimes of Violence Against Women” described the nature of child sex trafficking networks in Mexico during an interview conducted with La Jornada newspaper. 

According to prosecutor Pérez Duarte, Jean Succar Kuri is just the tip of the iceberg of a vast network of pedophile networks, sex tourism networks and women trafficking activity that operates in Mexico City and in the states of Baja California, Puebla, Chiapas and Veracruz.

Prosecutor Elena Pérez Duarte…

“These are not Mexican net-works supplying Mexican [male] consumers.”  We have detected “many inter-national connections.”

Pérez Duarte revealed during her interview that journalist Lydia Cacho “never imagined the vast size of this network.” 

She added that with the detention of [alleged ringleader] Jean Succar Kuri [in Arizona], “we can’t sing a victory song just yet, and say that we have dismantled everything.”  We have to understand the possibility that some of these trafficked women were taken to Taiwan or Singapore as prostitutes, after being tricked by offering them legitimate work as fashion models.

Elena Pérez Duarte takes oath of office as Special Prosecutor for Crimes Against Women from federal Attorney General Daniel Cabeza de Vaca

Photo: La Cronica

The special prosecutor confirm-ed that in the case of Succar Kuri, there has been some mention that the Executive Secretary for National Security, Migual Angel Yunes Linares, is involved.

La Jornada - Can you tell us what one of your primary objectives is?

Pérez Duarte – To retake Juarez City.  In spite of the final report of the special prosecutor for Juarez there are pending issues to be investigated. We don’t want similar situations to come about in other parts of the country.  There are municip-alities in the Republic today that have a greater level of violence against women than Juarez City.

We have to take care of the other hot spots, since in many of them the problem of pedophilia is not easily observed as a whole.  I am sure that many of these pedophile networks would have been discov-ered earlier if we had analyzed the cases of statutory rape committed by 40-year-old men with girls of 13 or 14.  These cases don’t result in convictions because the judges gave credence to the concept that rape had not been committed because the girls involved were not virgins.

We must connect these type of cases with the larger scheme of the organized networks that are involved.

La Jornada - These sex trafficking networks are linked to cases of statutory rape?

Pérez Duarte – They are related.  From the time when I was  technical  secretary for the Senate for issues related to the Juarez femicide, I worked to raise awareness in regard to these types of cases. 

We have a number of examples where we understand the details in depth, such as in the case of fugitive Hector Armando Lastra Muñoz, a former assistant prosecutor in the office of the Attorney General of Chihuahua state.  Lastra Muñoz was supposedly involved in a network that prostituted underage girls.

They let him go because he was charged with statutory rape.  Because his lawyers argued that the girl victim was not a virgin, no charges were brought by the prosecutors.  However, we never learned how many statutory rapes were involved.  Now we are paying more attention to these types of cases.  The rest of the country needs to follow that lead.

La Jornada Is it one giant network of pedophiles that exists in the country?

Pérez Duarte – It is more accur-ately described as a series of networks.  One huge network has already been discovered.  It begins in Tapachula [capitol of heavily Mayan Chiapas state].  The network traffics children to Cancun, and prostitutes them there.  But people from all over the world come to Cancun, and there are appar-ently global links.

La Jornada   Do these links also include the cities of Tijuana and Veracruz?

Pérez Duarte – Exactly.  There is another link in downtown Mexico City, in the heart of the nation.

La Jornada   And in Puebla?

Pérez Duarte – We won’t elaborate on Puebla, as we are conducting ongoing invest-igations there. 

We want to have three regional offices, because we are not investigating a single network.

La Jornada Are these networks interacting?

Pérez Duarte – Probably.  Not just on a national scale but intern-ationally as well.

La Jornada Is Jean Succar Kuri, who journalist Lydia Cacho has investigated, tied into all of this?

Pérez Duarte – Of course. His is one of the major networks that has been well docu-mented by the Attorney General (PGR).  In the case of Jean Succar Kuri, specifically, we have discovered many internation-al connections, more that we anticipated.

Lydia Cacho never imagined that she was protecting the girls who came seeking help at her women’s shelter from such a vast criminal network.

La Jornada Are the cities of Tijuana, Vera-cruz, Juarez City and Cancun all parts of Succar Kuri’s network?

Pérez Duarte – Correct.  That is, it is a network of networks.  We can’t be certain that it is a single network with one head.

La Jornada Are there links with politicians and businessmen?  Are we talking about the inter-action between economic and political power?

Pérez Duarte – This is exactly what I am refer-ring to.  Very ‘honorable’ businessmen consider it to be ‘normal’ that they are offered sexual services, in hotels, and they do indeed use them.

La Jornada Do you have infor-mation linking the Cancun network with Juarez City?

Pérez Duarte – More than linking directly to Succar Kuri, we can link the patterns involved.  That is, the manner in which young girls are drawn in, how they are tricked with promises of becoming models or executive assistants.  We believe that in these networks we can find those who assassin-ated these girls.  So we have circumstantial evidence.  The patterns are very similar in Mexico state (including Mexico City), in Juarez City, in Cancun and in Tapachula.

-Gustavo Castillo Garcia La Jornada

Puebla Edition

March 3, 2006

See Also:

Mexico City - Teenage girls are fleeing the poverty of Central America for the promise of opportunity in the United States only to find themselves stranded in Mexico and forced into prostitution.

"While it is (only) an estimate, there is a rise in this phenomenon - perhaps 10 to 20 percent last year," Patricia Espinosa, president of the National Women's Institute, told EFE.

Mexico's immigrant-smuggling rings are usually run by Mexicans, Euro-peans and U.S. citizens.

The "sex servants," as they are known in Mexico, come "from the south and spread out" across the region, Espinosa said, adding that increasingly younger girls are being exploited, some only 12 years old.

Approximately 2,500 Central American and Caribbean girls work as prostitutes in Tapachula, in impoverished Chiapas state on the Guatemalan border, authorities say.

Ninety percent of them come from Central America, 95 percent of these are undocumented, and half are between 13 and 17 years of age, Espinosa said, citing studies conducted by human rights organizations.

- Almudena Calatrava

EFE News

Jan 2, 2004

Many girls from Honduras and other countries have been smuggled into Tapachula, Mexico, where they are turned into lifelong sex slaves.

- EFE News

June 18, 2002

March 3, 2006


Authorities Rescue 29 Girls From Prostitution

29 adolescentes retiradas de la explotación sexual

Machala – the organization Prevention and Eradication of Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children in Machala has announced that twenty-nine adoles-cent girls were rescued from prostit-ution during an operation carried out between January of 2005 and February of 2006.   An additional group of 99 young sex workers is being helped to retire from prostitution. 

The girls received emotional support, and medical / sexual health services, legal assistance, courses in self-esteem, and job training as hair stylists, bakers, artisans, and in computer skills.

Sixteen families of the victims are also being supported with psychological, moral and guidance services.

Another group of 600 girls in Machala are at risk of sexual exploitation because of the violent surroundings they face in their primary schools, secondary schools and homes.

The organization is conducting an education campaign targeting 6,000 girls and youth, and has educated criminal justice professionals, journalists, teachers and community health promoters.

The group has also works politically to demand changes to government approaches to protection for children and youth, and in developing integrated service models to assist victims of sexual violence.

- Diario Opinion

Machala, Ecuador

March 3, 2006

Added March 2, 2006


International Women's Day To Be Celebrated In Mayan Town of Tactic

Celebración del Día Internacional de la Mujer se llevará a cabo en Tactic

According to Pamela Spiegeler, coordinator of the nonprofit group the Justice Center, International Women’s Day celebrations in Alta Verapaz state, home of 200,000 members of the K'ekchi Mayan Indigenous Nation, will be held in the city of Tactic.  Normally held in the state capitol, Women’s Day activities are now held throughout the state in different towns each year, to decentralize the event and encourage community involve-ment in promoting women’s issues. 

Tactic was chosen in part because the city is governed by Mayor Elsa Leonora Cu Isem, who has also been a member of Congress.  She is one of only seven women mayors in Guatemala.

Community groups including the weavers association will participate in the March 8th event.  The weavers, after much hard work, have become successful in their crafts work.



Human Rights News

March 2, 2006

See Also:

Guatemala's Women Mayors Complain That President Berger Refuses To Meet With Them

Guatemala's women mayors at the Second Meeting of Guatemalan Mayors. - May, 2005

Presidente no las recibe: Alcaldesas creen que actitud es porque son mujeres

Guatemala's seven women mayors have criticized President Oscar Berger for not meeting with them personally.  They believe that they were treated this way either because they are women, or because their group is not an 'official' political organization.

President Berger sent his chief of staff.  In response, the mayors stated that, "Berger didn't sent an intermediary when he wanted our votes."

- Prensa Libre


May 3, 2005

Added March 3, 2006


Guatemalan Women’s Groups Organize For International Women’s Day

Festejarán Guatemaltecas la vida a pesar de la muerte

Guatemala’s coordinator for  International Women’s Day  activities has announced that this year's celebration will not have a specific theme.  The objective is to publicize the diversity of the women in the movement and to celebrate life, in spite of the fear of death that stalks Guatemalan women.

Lorena Robles, of the Women’s Sector, told Cerigua news that women’s organizations will celebrate life, while also raising awareness that gender violence, injustice, a lack of opportunities, sexual harassment and a lack of laws in favor of women’s rights also impact their lives.

Lorena Robles…

"We want to vindicate life, to make visible our uniqueness."

"We as women are in the fight, happy to be alive, and we want to continue fighting for our specific demands.”

Robles remembered that from January 1st, 2006 to date, 97 cases of violent deaths of women have been reported. 

Forty of the victims died in capital, Guatemala City, and 57 victims were from the departments (states), according to data from the Nation-al Civil Police (PNC).

A march will be held on March 8th, from the Plaza Italia to the National palace of Culture, where thematic tapestries will be on display.



Human Rights News

March 2, 2006

Added March 3, 2006


Anti-Trafficking Legislation Moves Forward In Congress

Deputies Maricela González, Rafael Micalco y Norma Sánchez

Photo: Rafael García Otero

Los diputados recibieron ayer el punto de acuerdo del Senado para legislar en materia de explotación sexual infantil.

Members of the Chamber of Deputies of the Republic (lower house) yesterday received an agreement which allows Congress to move forward towards passage of legislation to control child sexual exploitation.

- La Jornada

Puebla Edition

March 3, 2006

Added March 2, 2006


Anti-Trafficking Conference Is Held In Puebla State

Teresa Rodríguez, Enrique Agüera and Lucero Saldaña attend conference "Human Trafficking - A Trans-national Challenge" in Puebla on March 1st.

Photo: Rafael García Otero

Durante la conferencia internacional “Trata de personas, un desafío trans-nacional”, celebrada ayer en la Univer-sidad Autónoma de Puebla, la Red de Mujeres Parlamen-tarias pidió a la Cámara de Diputados que se apruebe la iniciativa de ley federal para prevenir este delito.

A conference called: "Human Trafficking, a transnational Chal-lenge," was held on March 1, 2006 at the Autonomous University of Puebla.

Members of the Network of Parlia-mentary Women spoke at the session.  They called on the Chamber of Deputies (lower house) to pass federal legislation against trafficking that is now under consideration.

- La Jornada
Puebla Edition

March 2, 2006

Added March 2, 2006

Dominican Republic

AG Denies That 25,000 Minors Work In Nation's Sex Trade

Dominican Attorney General Francisco Domín-guez Brito

Niega haya 25 mil niñas en ejercicio prostitución

Attorney General Francisco Domín-guez Brito today stated that, contrary to widely published statistics, the Dominican Republic does not have 25,000 underage children and youth exercising prostitution, as a [widely quoted] 20-year-old figure researched and published by UNICEF states.

Domínguez indicated that the subject of the child prostitution is extremely delicate, and that somebody could manipulate the statistics to damage the tourist develop-ment of the country.

Attorney General Francisco Domínguez Brito…

"it is certain that we are not the Thailand of the Caribbean, in terms of commercial sexual exploit-ation of children (CSEC).”

Domínguez said that in the specific case of the Santiago province, where he is currently a candidate for the Senate from the Dominican Liberation Party, “the number of children who prostitute themselves doesn’t even reach 1,000.”

The Attorney General indicated that his office has conducted several operations to determine the number of underage sex workers, but “the results show that the numbers involved are less than those stated [in public discourse]."

Domínguez rejected the idea that the majority of underage girl prostitutes work in brothels, espec-ially in Santiago, “but I also think that we have to work hard to avoid people taking advantage of poverty of people by abusing children for two or three dollars."

- El Naciónal

Dominican Republic

March 1, 2006

See Also:

At least 50,000 Dominican women work as prostitutes abroad, mainly in Europe, according to a report presented Thursday at a meeting of the Inter-American Women's Commission.

The document, introduced by the non-governmental organization (NGO) Casa Abierta, also indicated that there are approximately 25,000 underage female prostitutes in the Dominican Republic.

- EFE News Service
November 1, 2002

Added March 2, 2006

Dominican Republic

Police Rescue 58 Girls And 23 Boys From Night Clubs

Rescatan 81 adolescentes en discotecas de Santo Domingo Este

Santo Domingo - Marisol Tobal, the Solicitor for Children and Adolescents of the Attorney General’s office has announced the rescue of 81 minors, 58 girls and 23 boys in an operation against three discotheques in eastern Santo Domingo.  Tobal has asked a judge to close down the Macumba and Mambo King clubs.

The prosecutor has requested find of $300,000 Dominican dollars against Edgar Ramirez and Carlos Vantroy Santana, operators of the mentioned nightclubs.  Both men are accused to violate articles 22, 23 and 24 of the Code for Minors, as well as section 414 of the Code for the Protection of the Rights of Girls, Boys and Adolescents.

Prosecutor Tobal…

“There are nightclubs in eastern Santo Domingo where Ecstasy tablets are sold to minors, and where minors dance naked until dawn."

Tobal complained about judges who do not support the requested closing of these establish-ments.  They have now re-opened.

Tobal also called for the Secretary of Education to take steps to stop the sale of fundraiser dance tickets that are used to promote events in these types of clubs.

- DiarioDigitalRD.com

Dominican Republic

March 1, 2006

Added March 1, 2006

Latin America

First Ladies To Help In Fight Against Child Trafficking

La OIM anuncia programa para combatir el tráfico de niños en A. Latina

Geneva - The International Organization for Migration announced here Tuesday the launch of a new program to combat child trafficking in Colombia, El Salvador, Paraguay and Bolivia, with backing from the Inter-American Development Bank.

The first ladies of those nations - the wives of the respective residents except in the case of Bolivia - will play a significant role in the project. Bolivian President Evo Morales is unmarried, and his sister Esther occupies the post of first lady of the Andean nation.

"The project will not only help combat child trafficking but will also raise awareness on sexual and reproductive health issues and related subjects such as domestic violence," IOM spokeswoman Jemini Pandya said in Geneva.

- EFE News

March 1, 2006

Added March 1, 2006


President's Nephew Is Given Probation In Rape Case

Liberan en Perú a sobrino de presi-dente culpable de violación

The recent failings of a Peruvian judge who freed convicted rapist Miguel Toledo Manrique, nephew of the President of the Republic, have caused widespread public indignation.

The dean of the College of Lawyers of Lima, Greta Minaya, declared that, in Peru justice "is class-driven."

The criminal charges against Toledo Manrique, age 36, were clearly proven. According to Peruvian law, a rapist must spend between 5 and 10 years in prison.

Nevertheless, Toledo was sentenced to four years in prison.  This was then reduced to three years.

Effectively, under Peruvian sentencing rules, this short sentence means that Toledo will be on probation, and will be required to appear in court once a month.  He was also fined $2,500.

The young rape victim, Milady Rojas, who had been raped after being given a ‘date rape’ drug [the use of which is extremely common in Peru], received the news that her rapist had been freed with a 'loss of heart' and fear, because during the past two years she and her family have received threats.  Now they fear for their lives.

President Toledo’s term ends on July 28, 2006.  Several of his family members have been involved in allegations of legal improprieties.

- CIMAC Noticias

News for Women

Mexico City

Feb. 28, 2006

Added March 1, 2006


Social Services Official Asks That Mexico Thoroughly Examine The Crisis Of Pedophilia

Piden tipificar delito grave la pederastia en todo el país.

Ana Rosa Payán, national directory of the State System for the Full Develop-ment of the Family (DIF) stated in a press conference that pedophilia in Mexico is a grave problem that must be addressed, stating that, if one of us is raped, all of us are raped.  She stated that 16,000 minors have been victims of sexual exploitation.

[Note: non-DIF researchers have given figures of between 20,000 and 80,000 child victims.]

Payán congratulated the people of Puebla state for marching in the streets recently to demonstrate, not so much against the hidden tapes of Mario Marin’s conversations, but in a statement against pedophilia itself.

Payán noted that although pedophilia is codified as a serious crime at the national level, several Mexican states have not brought their laws into alignment with this concept.

Payán stated that it will be the National Supreme Court of Justice (SCJN) who will decide if Governor Mario Marin of Puebla state must leave office.  She said that the continuance of his wife, Margarita García de Marín, as head of the DIF in Puebla state would also be determined by the political fate of her husband.

Speaking at the same press confer-ence, the head of DIF’s national Juvenile Assistance Unit, Carlos Pérez López, noted that statistically, the principal aggressors in cases of child abuse are the child’s mother.  Other adult physical and emotional abusers of children are fathers, teachers, grandparents and stepmothers, in that order.

DIF director Payán denied that the DIF was not interested in commercial child sexual exploitation (CSEC).  She stated that DIF has been gathering data on the problem for 5 years, but the fact that clandestine child prostitution networks are involved make it difficult to accurately measure the phenomenon.

Payán added that the DIF has collaborated with the Attorney General’s office (PGR) to track CSEC and take down trafficking rings.

Payán was asked why the DIF had not conducted an in-depth investigation into pedophilia in Puebla state.  She responded that DIF is not a prosecutorial agency, and that such work is the responsibility of the PGR.  She added that the DIF is concerned with identifying the causes of this problem at the national level.

Nonetheless, Payán said that our roles and titles are not important, the crime itself is what we must focus on.

- Ruth Rodríguez

El Universal

March 1, 2006

Added March 1, 2006


Special Prosecutor: "Dirty-War" Crimes Were Part Of "State Policy"

The special prosecutor probing the violent camp-aign against Mexican leftists more than a generation ago - a "dirty war" that involved kidnapping and summary executions - acknow-ledged Wednesday that it was part of a state policy, and promised more trials for rights abusers.

Ignacio Carrillo Prieto told a press conference that his office plans addit-ional indictments against officials, soldiers and police for crimes against humanity committed in the course of a wave of repression that went on from the late 1960s to the early '80s.

He said members of his staff are still working on a report setting forth the "historical truth" about the dirty war, and that the document, to be known as the White Book, will be presen-ted to the nation on April 15 by President Vicente Fox.

- EFE News

March 1, 2006

Added March 1, 2006


President Vincente Fox Says He Won't Endorse Attorney General's Report On Mexico's 'Dirty War' Because It Is A Draft Version

The president´s office is not endorsing a leaked draft of an official report on Mexico´s "Dirty War" alleging the government ordered soldiers to torture, rape and execute people as part of a counterin-surgency campaign from 1960 to 1980, a spokesman announ-ced Tuesday.

Rubén Aguilar, spokesman for President Vicente Fox, told a news conference that the administration could not yet support the report because it is an unedited draft and not an official text.

Based partly on declassified Mexican military documents, the report was prepared by experts working for a special prosecutor assigned to investigate alleged atrocities by soldiers, but the prosecutor himself had not signed off on it, his office said Monday.

The report was leaked to several prominent Mexican writers and was published Sunday in the Mexican magazine Emeequis and posted on the Web site of the National Security Archive, a private, Washington-based research group.

- El Universal /

Miami Herald

March 1, 2006

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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


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


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:


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

Added: Oct. 7, 2010


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.


Oct. 03, 2010

Added: Oct. 7, 2010


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.


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


Oct. 05, 2010

Added: Oct. 5, 2010


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


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


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...


Oct. 04, 2010

See also:

Added: Oct. 5, 2010


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


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.


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.


Oct. 1, 2010

Added: Oct. 1, 2010


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


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


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


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

See also:

Added: Oct. 1, 2010


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


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


June 28, 2009

Updated Oct. 2, 2010

See also:


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


Added: Oct. 1, 2010


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


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


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


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


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.


Sep. 28, 2010

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

Added: Sep. 28, 2010


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


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

Condena unánime contra migración forzada y aumento de trata en AL

Pronunciamiento del II Congreso Latinoamericano sobre trata

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Elizabeth Muñoz Vasquez

CIMAC Women's News Agency

Sep. 24, 201-

Added: Sep. 26, 2010


Haitian Women at Increased Risk of Trafficking

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Emilio Godoy

Inter-Press Service (IPS)

Sep. 24, 2010

Added: Sep. 26, 2010


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Arturo Alfaro Galán

La Jornada de Oriente

Sep. 24, 2010

Added: Sep. 26, 2010


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

Photo:Daniela Pastrana / IPS

Gender Violence Hits Behind the News

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Daniela Pastrana

Inter Press Service (IPS) / TerraViva

Sep. 21, 2010

Added: Sep. 26, 2010


Bicentennial Nothing to Celebrate, Say Indigenous Peoples

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Daniela Pastrana

Inter-Press Service (IPS)

Sep. 24, 2010

Added: Sep. 26, 2010


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hélène Le Goff

International Organization for Migration (IOM)  México

Sep. 24, 2010

Added: Sep. 26, 2010

Texas, USA

Chase leads deputies to possible human trafficking ring

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

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

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


Sep. 24, 2010

Added: Sep. 26, 2010


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

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

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

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

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

The woman was arrested Wednesday.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gabrielle Giroday

The Winnipeg Free Press

Sep. 24, 2010

Added: Sep. 24, 2010

Mexico, Latin America

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

Mujeres con derechos y ciudadanía, debe exigir la sociedad

Plantea Marcela Lagarde en Congreso sobre Trata y Tráfico

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

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

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

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

In her presentation before the Second Latin American Congress on Human Trafficking, feminist activist Marcela Lagarde y de los Ríos stated that human trafficking should not be seen only as an act perpetrated by organized crime, but also as a overwhelmingly powerful social complex that envelops our society and the state. In response, she said, government has not reformed itself to accept its legal obligations in this area.

During her presentation: Human Rights Synergies for Women in Response to Human Trafficking, Lagarde, who is the president of the Network for Women’s Life and Liberty (in Mexico), went on to discuss the fact that investigating human trafficking from a gender perspective requires that we understand the risks that women and girls face upon becoming victims of trafficking, because of their gender, social class, ethnicity and their legal or illegal condition of migration.

Lagarde explained that when, for example, the topic of immigrants is discussed, the term “inmigrantes”

 (immigrants), not “las migrantes” (women immigrants) is used.

Linguistically, Lagarde declared, this imposes a brutal form of discrimination  when the topic of human trafficking is discussed. When the term “personas” (persons) is used in the context of our patriarchal discourse, the term means, specifically, men.

Thus, the term ‘trafficking in persons’ is never translated to mean that the human slavery of women and girls exists. Female victims are almost never mentioned in the context of human trafficking [in Mexico]. This omission contributes to their invisibility.

Lagarde went on to say that, if we approach the problem of human trafficking without using a gender-based perspective, we cannot arrive at a point where we understand that this problem “is closely associated with the [intentional] domination and dehumanization of women.”

These factors cause society to focus its solutions to trafficking on targeting organized crime, while at the same time failing to work toward equality between men and women and a respect for the sexual and reproductive rights of girls and adolescents, said Lagarde...

Elizabeth Muñoz Vásquez

The CIMAC Women's News Agency

Sep. 22, 2010

Added: Sep. 24, 2010

Mexico, Latin America

Ibero-American University rector David Fernández Dávalos, shown at another university event - spoke at the opening ceremonies of the Second Latin American Congress on Human Trafficking

Erradicar la trata no “le importa a nadie”: Fernández Dávalos

Encuentro Latinoamericano sobre Trata y Tráfico de Personas

Cada año, cerca de 100 mil mujeres provenientes de países de América Latina y el Caribe, son llevadas con engaños y falsas promesas de empleo, a diversas naciones del mundo, sin que se conozcan las cifras nacionales oficiales, estudios, las estadísticas, ni los informes cuantitativos que permitan evidenciar el fenómeno de la trata de personas.

Al inaugurar aquí el Segundo Encuentro Latinoamericano sobre Trata y Tráfico de Personas: Migración, Género y Derechos Humanos, el rector de la Universidad Iberoamericana, Puebla, David Fernández Dávalos, lamentó que este problema no le importe a nadie, “ni a la academia, ni a los gobernantes, ni a gran parte de la sociedad civil”.

En el mundo, dijo, más de 4 millones de personas son víctimas del delito de trata y de esa cifra, el 80 por ciento es sufrida por mujeres, niños y niñas en sus diversas formas de explotación sexual.

Desafortunadamente, continuó, a la trata con fines de explotación sexual y laboral, la adopción ilegal, el comercio de órganos y el tráfico de droga, se suma la venta de niñas y adolescentes en comunidades indígenas de México, los abusos en el servicio doméstico, los matrimonios serviles y la violencia familiar, son validadas por sistemas patriarcales, machistas y conservadores, que limitan la problemática y la reducen...

Ibero-American University rector David Fernández Dávalos: "Nobody cares about  eradicating human trafficking"

Each year, close to 100,000 Latin American and Caribbean women are taken, through the use of offers of work and other false promises, to nations around the world. We do not know the real numbers of victims. Neither official national estimates nor quantitative studies can really tell us the true scope of human trafficking.

During the opening ceremonies of the Second Latin American Congress on Human Trafficking, which is being held on the campus of the Ibero-American University in the city of Puebla, in Puebla state, university rector David Fernández Dávalos lamented that nobody cares about human trafficking, "neither academia, nor those in government, nor the great majority of civil society."

Fernández Dávalos noted that globally, some 4 million persons are victims of human trafficking. Of these, 80% are women and children who suffer through diverse forms of sexual exploitation.

Unfortunately, added Fernández Dávalos, in addition to the traditional categories of sex and labor trafficking, illegal adoptions, organ trafficking and drug trafficking, we must also add the sale of children and youth in the indigenous communities of Mexico [they are 30% of the national population], abuses found in domestic service, servile marriages and family violence. These problems are all validated by [our] conservative and machista [machismo-based] patriarchal  systems, which work to diminish action to respond to the problem.

Fernández Dávalos presented figures compiled by the Civil Guard of Spain which indicate that 70% of the female victims of human trafficking in that nation come originally from Latin America, while in Japan, an estimated 1,700 Latin America women are held as sex slaves.

Fernández Dávalos declared that public strategies must be created to address human trafficking in each region of Latin America. Today efforts at prevention, protection and prosecution are inadequate.

Oscar Arturo Castro, who is the director of the Ignacio Ellacuria Human Rights Center at the university as well as member of the organizing committee of the Congress, argued that the dynamics of migration must be studied as part of the problem of human slavery. Castro, "because organized crime is taking advantage of human mobility."

Castro, "[Organized crime] exploits migration driven by greed, and disregards human dignity, a reality that we can observe in the example of the recent massacre of 72 Central American migrants in Tamaulipas, as well as in the cases of the thousands of Central [and South] American migrants who are kidnapped by drug trafficking gangs across the entire territory of Mexico."

The opening ceremonies of the Congress were also attended by José Manuel Grima, president of the Congress and Teresa Ulloa Ziaurríz, director of the Coalition Against the Trafficking Women and Girls - Latin American and Caribbean branch. Some 300 presenters are expected during the 4 days of planned conference sessions.

Elizabeth Muñoz Vásquez

The CIMAC Women's News Agency

Sep. 21, 2010

Added: Sep. 26, 2010

Latin America

América Latina ineficaz en combate a trata de personas

Puebla city in Puebla state, Mexico - El combate a la trata de personas ha sido ineficaz y ha derivado en la creación de mercados intrarregionales, según especialistas y activistas de América Latina reunidos desde este martes en esta ciudad mexicana.

"El combate ha terminado en respuestas más formales que reales, como los cambios legales. No hay interés de los estados, no es una prioridad", criticó a IPS Ana Hidalgo, de la oficina en Costa Rica de la Organización Internacional para las Migraciones (OIM), la institución intergubernamental que promueve una migración ordenada y justa.

Hidalgo forma parte de los 450 académicos y activistas que participan en Puebla, a 129 kilómetros al sur de Ciudad de México, en el Segundo Congreso Latinoamericano sobre Trata y Tráfico de Personas, inaugurado este martes y que concluirá este viernes 24.

"Se atiende a una víctima y se inicia un proceso penal, pero no hay sentencia porque hay impunidad. El consumidor, léase el prostituyente o el violador, no está captado en la fórmula", señaló la abogada Ana Chávez, del Servicio Paz y Justicia de Argentina.

En México cada año unas 20.000 personas serían víctimas de la trata, según el no gubernamental Centro de Estudios e Investigación en Desarrollo y Asistencia Social (CEIDAS), uno de cuyos ejes es el estudio de ese fenómeno.

En América Latina esa cifra es de 250.000 personas, con una ganancia de 1.350 millones de dólares para las bandas, según estadísticas de la mexicana Secretaría (ministerio) de Seguridad Pública. Pero los datos sobre el fenómeno son variables, si bien las Naciones Unidas subraya que el delito se ha exacerbado en el comienzo del siglo...

Inter Press Service (IPS) / TerraViva

Sep. 21, 2010

English Language Version:

Added: Sep. 24, 2010

Latin America: Five Million Women Have Fallen Prey to Trafficking Networks

The fight against human trafficking in Latin America is ineffective and has led to the emergence of intra-regional markets for the trade, according to experts and activists meeting this week in this Mexican city.

'Responses to the trade in human beings have been more formal than real, as have the changes in legislation. Governments are not interested: it is not their priority,' Ana Hidalgo, from the Costa Rican office of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), told IPS.

Hidalgo is one of the 450 academics and activists taking part in the Second Latin American Conference on Smuggling and Trafficking of Human Beings, under the theme 'Migrations, Gender and Human Rights', Sept. 21-24 in Puebla, 129 kilometers south of Mexico City.

Ana Chávez, a lawyer with Argentina's Peace and Justice Service (SERPAJ) said, 'Victims are listened to, and criminal prosecutions are initiated, but no one is sentenced because of impunity. The consumers, that is, the pimps, clients or rapists, do not come into the equation.'

In Mexico some 20,000 people a year fall victim to the modern-day slave trade, according to the Centre for Studies and Research on Social Development and Assistance (CEIDAS), which monitors the issue.

The total number of victims in Latin America amounts to 250,000 a year, yielding a profit of 1.35 billion dollars for the traffickers, according to statistics from the Mexican Ministry of Public Security. But the data vary widely. Whatever the case, the United Nations warns that human trafficking has steadily grown over the past decade.

Organizations like the Coalition Against Trafficking of Women and Girls in Latin America and the Caribbean (CATW-LAC) estimate that over five million girls and women have been trapped by these criminal networks in the region, and another 10 million are in danger of falling into their hands...

Latin America is a source and destination region for human trafficking, a crime that especially affects the Dominican Republic, Brazil and Colombia.

The conference host, David Fernández Dávalos, president of the Ibero-American University of Puebla (UIA-Puebla), said in his inaugural speech that human trafficking is a modern and particularly malignant version of slavery, only under better cover and disguises.

On Aug. 31, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged member states to implement a Global Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Persons, because it is 'among the worst human rights violations,' constituting 'slavery in the modern age,' and preying mostly on 'women and children.'

The congress coincides with the International Day Against the Sexual Exploitation and Trafficking of Women and Children on Thursday, instituted in 1999 by the World Conference of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women (CATW).

Government authorities and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Mexico concur that criminal mafias in this country have been proved to combine trafficking in persons with drug trafficking, along both the northern and southern land borders (with the United States and with Guatemala, respectively)...

In Mexico, a federal Law to Prevent and Punish Trafficking in Persons has been on the books since 2007, but the government has yet to create a national program to implement it, although this is stipulated in the law itself.

The Puebla Congress, which follows the first such conference held in Buenos Aires in 2008, is meeting one month after the massacre of 72 undocumented migrants in the northeastern state of Tamaulipas, which exemplified the connection between drug trafficking and trafficking in persons, and drew International attention to the dangers faced by migrants in Mexico.

Miguel Ortega, a member of the Democratic Alliance of Civil Society Organizations, a Mexican umbrella group representing 50 NGOs, told IPS: 'In first place, the problem is invisible, and until the state makes appropriate changes to the laws, there will be no progress. We want to see prompt and decisive action.'

IOM's Hidalgo said, 'our investigations and research have found that Nicaraguan women are trafficked into Guatemala and Costa Rica, and Honduran women are trafficked into Guatemala and Mexico.'

Women from Colombia and Peru have been forced into prostitution in the southern Ecuadorean province of El Oro, according to a two-year investigation by Martha Ruiz, a consultant responsible for updating and redrafting Ecuador's National Plan against Human Trafficking.

SERPAJ's Chávez said, 'We have not been able to get governments to take responsibility for investigating these crimes. The states themselves are a factor in generating these crimes.'

Out of the 32 Mexican states, eight make no reference to human trafficking in their state laws. Mario Fuentes, head of CEIDAS, wrote this week in the newspaper Excélsior that the country is laboring under 'severe backwardness and challenges in this field, because it lacks a national program to deal with the problem, as well as a system of statistics.'

Emilio Godoy

Inter Press Service (IPS)

Sep. 22, 2010

Added: Sep. 21, 2010


Democratic U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont has insisted upon linking U.S. aid to human rights improvements in Mexico

Rights groups against giving US anti-drug aid to Mexico

Human rights groups Tuesday urged US lawmakers not to authorize 36 million dollars in anti-drug trafficking aid to Mexico because of human rights violations by its security forces.

Mexico City - Human rights groups Tuesday urged US lawmakers not to authorize 36 million dollars in anti-drug trafficking aid to Mexico because of human rights violations by its security forces.

"Releasing these funds would send the message that the United States condones the grave human rights violations committed in Mexico, including torture, rape, killings, and enforced disappearances," they said in a letter to the Senate.

Seven human rights groups signed the petition including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the Washington Office on Latin America and Mexico's Association for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights.

An annual US State Department report on September 2 gave the Senate its assessment of the state of human rights in Mexico, required before the disbursement of additional aid in the Plan Merida drug interdiction program, under which Mexico got 36 million dollars last year.

Mexico is facing spiraling drug-related violence that has cost the lives of more than 28,000 murders since 2006, despite a major police-military crackdown on crime by President Felipe Calderon.

The rights groups recognized that Mexico was facing "a severe public security crisis.

"However, human rights violations committed by Mexican security forces are not only deplorable in their own right, but also significantly undermine the effectiveness of Mexico's public security efforts."

Agence France-Presse (AFP)

Sep. 15, 2010

See also:

The CIMAC women’s news agency’s collection of more than 370 factual articles on cases of the rape of civilian women in Mexico by military service members.

(In Spanish)

Added: Sep. 19, 2010


Mexican journalist, author and anti-trafficking activist Lydia Cacho Ribeiro

Photo: CIMAC Women's News Agency - Mexico

Premio Internacional al Escritor Valiente para Lydia Cacho

Por investigación y denuncia de red de pederastia en México

La periodista Lydia Cacho Ribeiro recibirá el próximo 20 de octubre el Premio Internacional al Escritor Valiente, que otorga la Asociación de Escritores PEN Internacional, distinción que se confiere a quienes escriben y sufren persecución por sus creencias.

En un comunicado, la Asociación sin fines de lucro informó que otorgará a Cacho el reconocimiento por su investigación y denuncia de una red de pederastia, y sus presuntos vínculos con autoridades y empresarios en México...

Lydia Cacho receives award for valiant journalism

This coming 20th of October, 2010, journalist and author Lydia Cacho Ribeiro will receive International Writer of Courage Prize from the PEN international writer’s association. The prize is awarded to writers who face persecution for their beliefs.

In a press release, the non-profit association declared that Cacho had been chosen in recognition of her investigation and denunciation of a child sex trafficking network that is presumed to have had ties with Mexican business leaders and authorities.

The PEN press release mentioned that, after the release of her 2005 book about the case, the “Demons of Eden, The Powers Behind Pornography,” Cacho was arrested, accused of defamation and became the subject of death threats.

Cacho is a member of the editorial board of the CIMAC women’s news agency, for which she serves as its correspondent in the city of Cancun. She is also a co-founder of the Journalists Network of Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean. Since the year 2000, Cacho has been a special consultant on human rights and women’s health issues for the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM).

In her most recent book, “Slaves of Power, A Journey to the Heart of the Sex Trafficking of Women and Girls Across the World,” Cacho reveals that between 20,00 and half a million victims of trafficking exist [in Mexico]. The great majority exist to make profits for the prostitution mafias.

Cacho spent 5 years researching the operations of large and small international sex trafficking organizations. She conducted interviews with a large number of victims as well as actual members of the trafficking mafias. See the CIMAC article on Cacho’s work at this link.

Cacho’s efforts have been recognized in awards from: Human Rights Watch; Mexico’s National Journalism Prize; the Amnesty Award of 2007, the Oxfam Award of 2007; the 2009 Hermila Galindo prize for her distinguished work in defense and promotion of human rights for women.

IN April of 2010, Cacho was selected as the World Hero for Press Freedom by the International Press Institute. Cacho was also one of 60 journalists honored during the World Congress, celebrated in Vienna, Austria.

During September, 2010, Cacho received the Manuel Leguineche International Journalism Prize, which was awarded to her by the Spanish Federation of Journalism Associations (FAPE). That prize was dedicated by FAPE to the many journalists who have been murdered in Mexico.

By the Editors

CIMAC Women's News Agency

Sep. 17, 2010

See also:

Mexican journalist Lydia Cacho receives PEN prize

London - A Mexican journalist who was arrested and threatened after exposing a pedophile ring is to receive a major writing prize.

Writers' charity PEN says Lydia Cacho is the recipient of its International Writer of Courage Prize, which goes to writers persecuted for their beliefs.

Cacho was arrested, charged with libel and received death threats after publishing a book about a child sex abuse ring involving business figures in Cancun in 2005...

The awards will be presented in London on Oct. 20.

The Associated Press

Sep. 16, 2010

See also:

Journalist / Activist   Lydia Cacho is    Railroaded by the Legal Process in Mexico for Having Exposing Child Sex Networks In Mexico

Added: Sep. 19, 2010

The World, Chile

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (right) with former Chilean president Michelle Bachelet, on 14 September 2010

Bachelet: ONU Mujeres Será un Enorme Desafío

La ex presidenta de Chile, Michelle Bachelet describió su nombramiento al frente de ONU Mujeres como un enorme desafío que acoge con beneplácito.

En una entrevista exclusiva con la Radio de la ONU, Bachelet indicó que su designación representa un reconocimiento a los logros de su gobierno y a los avances de su país en políticas destinadas al adelanto de la mujer.

Consideró que su experiencia como mandataria y su relación con otros jefes de Estado contribuirán a avanzar en el objetivo de la igualdad de los géneros.

“Mi experiencia también en todo