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The Crisis Facing Indigenous Women and Children

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

Native Latin America

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   Femicide & Genocide

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   Acteal Massacre

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Haitian children are routinely enslaved in the Dominican Republic

Afro Latin America and the Caribbean

The Crisis Facing Latin American Women and Children

Introduction

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About Machismo

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Crisis - U.S. Latinas

Crisis: U.S. Latinas

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Workplace Rape

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Sexual Slavery

Trafficking Overview

The Global Crisis

Latin American

   Sexual Slavery

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Latina Child Sex

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Worst Cases

Urgent Human Rights Issues in Mexico

Oaxaca

Striking Mexican

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Atenco

Foto: Belinda Hernández

Mexican Police

   Rape and Assault

   47 Women at

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Lydia Cacho

Journalist / Activist

   Lydia Cacho is

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School Exploitation

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The Jutiapa, Guate-

   mala Child Porn

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


 

 
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News and Events - English
News Archives: 2001 - 2002 - 2003 - 2004 - 2005 - 2006 - 2007 - 2008 - 2009

Noticias de Marzo, 2010

March 2010 News



Últimas Noticias

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Added: April 1, 2010

California, USA

Jose Manuel Dominguez

[Man] Arrested in Sex Sting

Mission Viejo - A man in the country illegally has been stalking a middle school girl since January and was arrested by Sheriff's Department investigators after trying to set up a meeting with the young girl, authorities said.

Jose Manuel Dominguez, a 38-year-old construction worker, was arrested at the Emerald Pointe apartments just after 8 p.m. Monday when he showed up to rendezvous with the girl, said Orange County Sheriff's Department spokesman Jim Amormino. An immigration hold was put on Dominguez when he was booked into Orange County jail, Amormino said.

According to the girl, Dominguez came up to her Monday morning at Carl Hankey K-8 School and said he had seen her in a grocery store Jan. 1, Amormino said. The girl had been in that grocery store that same day, Amormino said.

He continued to engage the girl in "inappropriate conversation" and asked her about her schedule and when she liked to take walks, Amormino said.

Dominguez then, according to the girl, asked her for her phone number and said he wanted to meet her that night at 8 pm. at the Emerald Pointe apartments, Amormino said. After Dominguez left, the girl told school officials, who then called the Sheriff's Department.

Sex crimes investigators went to the meeting place and arrested Dominguez, Amormino said.

"The scary thing is he knew where she went to school and what neighborhood she was in," Amormino said.

He is scheduled to appear in court April 1, Orange County jail records show.

Kimberly Edds

The Orange county Register

March 30, 2010


Added: Mar. 31, 2010

California, USA

Local group kicking off month to spread awareness of sexual assault epidemic

Overwhelming. Shocking. Terrifying. Disruptive to all sensory experiences. Even a trained clinician can't avoid such raw terms when groping for words to explain how sexual assault feels to a victim.

Raye Bugnosen, clinical services manager at the Alliance Against Family Violence and Sexual Assault, and her team witness every day the long-term effects of rape, attempted sexual assault, child molestation and other forms of sexual battery that have violated the lives of Alliance clients.

"Connections with others become impaired," she said. Victims' psychology, "the usual way of understanding things" -- even their spirituality -- may be disrupted to the point where "everything becomes a state of discomfort."

The Alliance encourages you to become more informed and attend any of several community events planned throughout April, Sexual Assault Awareness Month, to raise awareness about sexual assault and the services the Alliance provides...

As for areas of focus in 2010

Barbara Vadnais, Alliance business manager and grants coordinator, said the agency is revving up its efforts in two areas this year: sexual assault prevention education, and outreach to Kern's rural communities. Funders and coalitions that support the fight against sexual assault are emphasizing prevention as "the key to reducing sexual assault," she said, adding that many grant opportunities exist for agencies that provide services to rural, underserved or minority communities.

The Alliance has recently received grants that allow it to offer peer counseling and self-defense classes in English and Spanish in communities such as Delano, McFarland, Wasco, Lamont and Arvin.

Vadnais highlighted to grantors some of the biggest challenges in heavily Hispanic rural communities:

* A prevalence of machismo that creates a sense of acceptance of spousal or date rape as normal;

* Undocumented immigrants' fear that reporting an assault could get them deported;

* An extreme lack of resources to deal with the aftermath of a sexual assault.

The Bakersfield Californian

March 30, 2010


Added: Mar. 31, 2010

Virginia, USA

Manassas Man Charged With Child Rape

A Manassas man is charged with raping an 8-year-old girl.

Police said the man, who is related to the victim, began raping the child in 2008 when the child was 7 years old.

On Monday, Christian Robert Perez Romero, 22, of Manassas went to a police station to be interviewed and was later charged with two counts of rape, two counts of taking indecent liberties with a child and with forcible sodomy, said Prince William police spokeswoman Erika Hernandez.

Romero is being held without bond and is scheduled to appear in Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court.

Uriah A. Kiser

Inside Northern Virginia

March 30, 2010


Added: Mar. 31, 2010

Guatemala

Guatemalan students

Educar para combatir la trata de personas

* El 70% de las prostitutas en Ciudad de Guatemala tiene entre 13 y 25 años

* El 28% de la población guatemalteca es analfabeta

* El 40% de los habitantes de áreas rurales nunca accedió a la educación

...Opiniones lamentables

Una encuesta llevada a cabo recientemente por la Organización Internacional del Trabajo (OIT) en Centroamérica saca a la luz opiniones lamentables.

En principio, muestra que a la región parece no importarle la situación de las personas que son explotadas de forma sexual y comercial, incluso las señalan como culpables.

El 95% de los 8 mil ciudadanos encuestados en Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panamá y República Dominicana expresó que la explotación sexual comercial es un delito que afecta principalmente a las adolescentes y a las jóvenes pobres. Una de cada cuatro personas dijo que no podría hacer nada para detener ese problema y que denunciar no solucionaría la situación de las jóvenes. El 60% de los encuestados culpabilizó a las propias víctimas...

Education to Combat Human Trafficking

* 70% of prostitutes in Guatemala City are between 13 and 25 years-of-age

* 28% of Guatemala's population is illiterate

* 40% of rural inhabitants never entered school

...Lamentable opinions

A recent survey conducted by the International labor Organization (ILO) in Central America has exposed a lamentable attitude among residents of Central America. The study shows that residents of the region believe that the conditions in which people in commercial sexual exploitation live are not an issue that should concern them. In fact, most people believe that the victims themselves are to blame for their situation.

Some 95% of the 8,000 citizens of Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama and the Dominican Republic interviewed for the survey believe that commercial sexual exploitation primarily affects poor adolescents. One in four respondents stated that they feel that they can't do anything about the situation, and that reporting these situations to the police would not help the youth involved. Sixty percent of respondents said that the victims were to blame for their situation.

Nidia Zúñiga, of the International Program to Eliminate Child Labor of the ILO, declared that "The general public opinion in the region includes a tolerance for commercial sexual exploitation. Citizens don't have a social conscience that says that these problems are intolerable and unacceptable. The respondents don't associate the causes of the problem with the johns in the bars and nightclubs, or with the traffickers."

The predictions for trends in trafficking could not be worse in the region, given the current economic crisis. Guatemala, more than other nations with problems of human trafficking, faces major obstacles that will only be resolved when victims, perpetrators and society alike demand and accept the most basic universal rights for our children: education - the one firebreak against abuse.

Marianela Toledo

El Mundo

March 12, 2010


Added: Mar. 31, 2010

Brazil

Lack of economic opportunity, not poverty itself, causes human trafficking in many countries

Child prostitution and trafficking in Brazil

Brazil is relatively well developed country, but it is responsible for 15 percent of women trafficked in South America. According to a research study, the majority of victims are between 12 and 18 years old, and have had little or no schooling. The country is notorious for the world's worst child prostitution problems as well as the wide gap between the income distribution among rich and poor.

Ironically, child prostitution comes [mostly] from rural areas, where the population has had little or no access to public services, including education. Hence, they are often excluded from benefits of Brazil's economic development.

[The] 2000 World Bank report states that people who are trapped in poverty face many obstacles to income mobility, and are unlikely to benefit from commercial agriculture, technological innovation, or migration, means by which they can increase their income... Consequently, prostituting their own daughters to foreigners becomes an accepted practice for these uneducated mothers...

In one case, a BBC reporter met a teen prostitute whose mother was selling her daughter right next to her at a local bar in a city. The young prostitute told the reporter she was looking for a husband to give her a better life in Europe, as her two sisters were already in Germany.

Youngbee Dale

The Examiner

March 30, 2010

See also:

Added: Mar. 31, 2010

Brazil

The Price of a Slave in Brazil

Brazil is responsible for 15 percent of women trafficked in South America, a great majority being from the North and the Northeast. Most of them are young—between 12 and 18 years old—have little schooling, and are of African descent. Currently, the "market value" of a Brazilian woman is up to US$ 15,000...

The majority of the women who are exported to other countries are lured in by false promises. These women want to better their lives, but find themselves in worse situations than they had at home—they often are held prisoners, are treated poorly, have their documents taken from them, and are in the country illegally, and hence no recourse.

Most of the women are young—between 12 and 18 years old—, have little schooling, and are of African descent. Many are trying to support a child, and have suffered some sort of sexual violence. Currently, the "market value" of a Brazilian woman is up to US$ 15,000. A study of the Center of Studies of Children and Adolescents showed that there are 241 trafficking routes in 20 states of Brazil. More than half of these routes lead to international destinations. The majority of these routes originate in the North and Northeastern states, which are the poorest regions of the country.

An Animal in a Zoo

Below is the testimony of L.A.S., a young woman ensnared in the traps of human trafficking:

I was born in Poranga, Ceará, near the border with Piauí. Like all of the young girls in my city, I began to go out with boys early, at 12 years of age. At age 14, my father kicked me out of the house because of a boy I was dating. My mom didn't say anything, so I just had to leave. I hitchhiked alone to Fortaleza.

I had never seen such a huge city. I started to "make a life" [as a prostitute] for myself, some days earning up to R$ 100 (about 30 dollars), while other days I didn't even make enough to eat. At one point, I tried to be a cashier, but one day a former client recognized me, so I got scared and left the job. I later had to return to prostitution.

One day, a taxi driver talked to me and invited me to go to Europe. He said that I was pretty, and I could work as a model. Who knows, maybe I could marry and get my life in order. I was 17 at the time. I was afraid in the beginning, but after talking to him everyday, I finally accepted...

Before leaving Brazil, I suspected prostitution but I never imagined that I would be a prisoner, threatened day and night. At the house, we were slaves. I never got anything, not money, not clothes. I didn't have my documents so I couldn't leave. We were given very little food, and we had to stay up until 5 am every day, trying to get customers.

We couldn't even leave the house without being accompanied by "security." One of the girls was threatened with death after she left for a weekend. They thought she went looking for the Brazilian consulate. We never had routine medical exams, much less tests for AIDS.

I fled when I met a Brazilian customer to whom I told my story. It seems that he had contact with other groups because nine days after I told him my story he returned, gave me a false passport and a ticket back to Brazil.

I escaped, but even today I think of my friends there who are being held prisoners, like animals in a zoo.

Bernardete Toneto

Brazzil Magazine

Feb., 2004

See also:

LibertadLatina

Special Section

About the crisis of sexual exploitation facing women and children in Brazil

"In the Amazon River basin, girls have been promised jobs as waitresses or cooks in gold mine camps and then beaten or killed if they try to escape from brothels. In such remote regions, gold mine operators operate like local kings and have been known to authorize "virginity auctions," where new arrivals - some as young as nine years old - are sold to the highest bidder, according to Gilberto Dimenstein, author of Girls of the Night, the first book to document the child sex trade in Brazil."

Jack Epstein

Christian Science Monitor

1996


Added: Mar. 31, 2010

California, USA

Samuel Francisco

Los Angeles Police Arrest Sexual Assault Suspect.

Los Angeles Police arrested a 35-year-old man accused of sexually assaulting a 13-year-old girl he met on MySpace Friday.

Samuel Francisco was taken into custody at his home in the 500 block of East 36th Street, said Officer Karen Rayner of the Los Angeles Police Department.

Police discovered the teenager with Francisco at the home.

The teenager was reported missing Thursday afternoon.

"During the investigation, it was discovered that the victim had been communicating with the suspect ... on MySpace," Rayner said. "It was learned that Francisco had picked the victim up from school on Friday afternoon and taken her to his residence."

Police believe the victim "was enticed away from school and taken to a location where she was sexually assaulted."

Francisco was booked on suspicion of kidnapping and was jailed on $500,000 bail.

Anyone with information on the incident, contact the LAPD Internet Crimes Against Children Unit at (562) 624-4028 or (877) LAPD-24-7.

KCAL

Mar 8, 2010


Added: Mar. 29, 2010

The European Union

EU wants tougher sexual exploitation penalties for human trafficking, child pornography

Brussels, Belgium -The European Union [EU] wants governments to impose harsher penalties on human traffickers and child pornography offenders.

The European Commission's proposals, presented Monday, call on the organization's 27 nations to adopt minimum jail sentences for people convicted of sexual exploitation.

The penalties would range from one year for possessing child pornography to 10 years for trafficking children. The commission said this will prevent offenders from operating in EU countries where the penalty is relatively mild.

The two proposals, one on human trafficking and one on sexual child abuse, would allow EU citizens who engage in sexual exploitation and trafficking outside the EU to be prosecuted upon their return.

The EU also says child pornography Web sites are increasing and governments should create firewalls to block users from viewing them.

Green Party members urged the EU to remove the firewalls from the directive. It said they open up doors to more EU censorship and are "a threat to liberal democracy."

EU Civil Liberties Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom says the firewalls would not violate freedom of speech and would only be used to fight child pornography.

"There are no circumstances where child pornography is an expression of opinion," she said.

The Associated Press

March 29, 2010

[Note: Western Europe is a major destination for sex trafficking victims from Latin America, with Dominican and Colombian women predominating. - LL]


Added: Mar. 29, 2010

Mexico

Lucina Álvarez

Los Cabos - "The Capes" region of Baja California Sur state consists of Cabo San Lucas and surrounding areas

Hay “prostitución infantil elegante” en

Los Cabos: CEDH

La representante de la Comisión Estatal de Derechos Humanos (CEDH) en Cabo San Lucas, Lucina Álvarez, denunció que algunos prestadores de servicios turísticos de este puerto desde hace tiempo promueven entre los visitantes, sobre todo extranjeros, lo que llaman “prostitución infantil elegante”.

“En Los Cabos ahora rentan yates de lujo a turistas estadunidenses, incluyendo el paquete de jovencitas a bordo para su diversión; es un secreto a voces, hay niñas que tienen 12 años. Las personas que las manejan, en coordinación con algunos prestadores de servicios turísticos, les consiguen un espacio en algún yate de lujo”, expresó la representante de la CEDH...

"Elegant" Child Prostitution Exists in the Los Cabos Resort Area

Cabo San Lucas, in Baja California Sur state - Lucina Álvarez, the Baja California state human rights commission's member in Cabo San Lucas, has denounced the fact that a number of tourist services operators in this port city have, for a long period of time, offered what they refer to as "elegant child prostitution" to visiting tourists.

Álvarez: "Local companies rent luxury yachts to U.S. tourists, that include a young girl in the package - for their entertainment; it is only spoken about in whispers. Some of the girls are 12-years-old. The persons who control these girls arrange with local tour operators to have a girl placed on the luxury yacht."

According to Álvarez, the growth in child pornography and prostitution in the region are a result of the area's rapid economic expansion.

Álvarez indicated that these minors are not only prostituted, but they are also forced to be thieves, "because their 'mission' is to get the customer drunk, rob them, and bring the goods to their pimp. How is an American going to tell the police that they have come to denounce a a child for robbing them? They are better-off remaining silent..."

Commissioner Álvarez lamented the fact that in some cases, these children are being prostituted with the consent of their parents. "There are many single mothers who work 8 hours per day for the minimum wage. Life here is expensive, and they can't make enough to support their children. They leave their children with who-knows-who on the beach. That is where they are contacted [by pimps]."

Álvarez called upon the responsible authorities to investigate, apprehend and punish those who promote "elegant child prostitution."

Pedro Juárez

La Crónica de Hoy 

March 26, 2010


Added: Mar. 29, 2010

Florida, USA

FBI: Woman charged after Honduran sisters say she forced them to work in West Palm strip club

Two sisters from Honduras were smuggled into Palm Beach County and forced to work in nightclubs as dancers and prostitutes, federal agents said today.

The sisters told FBI agents they agreed to pay a woman named Veronica Martinez $3,000 each for their passage to Florida.

But when they got here, Martinez raised the price to $12,000 and forced them "to dance, drink and be fondled by customers" at two Palm Beach County night clubs to pay off the debt, an FBI agent wrote in an affidavit for Martinez' arrest.

She also forced the sisters into a West Palm Beach trailer and made the women have sex with nightclub patrons, the agent said.

The sisters, identified as E.M. and L.M., told the FBI's Martinez threatened to have them deported or to harm their mother in Honduras if they didn't follow her orders, the agent said.

Beginning last June, the sisters worked Wednesday through Sunday in a nightclub, where they were forced to drink "large amounts of alcohol" as they danced for customers.

They then were led to the trailer in Casa Del Monte to perform sex acts. Each night, they turned over the money they made to Martinez, who would issue them receipts, the agent said.

In November, E.M. got pregnant by her boyfriend, and Martinez told her to keep the pregnancy secret from the owners of the nightclub. She then drove E.M. to an abortion clinic in Miami and ordered her to end the pregnancy.

E.M. refused and ran away to live with her boyfriend, the agent said.

Earlier this month, the owners of one nightclub told L.M. that she was responsible for paying off E.M.'s share of the debt.

On Tuesday, the day the sisters spoke to FBI agents, Martinez called E.M. and left a message demanding money. She told E.M. to rob a bank if she had to, the agent said.

Martinez was taken into custody on Friday, March 26, on charges of obtaining labor or services by means of force and transporting people to engage in commercial sex acts, according to the affidavit. She is next scheduled to appear in U.S. District Court on Friday...

Michael LaForgia

Palm Beach Post

March 26, 2010


Added: Mar. 29, 2010

Connecticut, USA

Opinion: Modern slaves working U.S. fields, brothels

A 15-year-old Guatemalan girl, identified by the initials LFD, was rescued from slavery in Immokalee, Fla., more than a year ago.

Now, Francisco F. Domingo, 46, has been arrested on charges of arranging for the girl to be smuggled from Guatemala, enslaving her for sex, filming her having intercourse with other men and forcing her to work in the fields throughout Florida, Georgia and South Carolina. He is a legal U.S. resident.

Most people may doubt such dehumanizing acts still occur. With its traveling Florida Modern-Day Slavery Museum, the Coalition of Immokalee Workers is trying to introduce consumers to a dark side of Florida, the degrading conditions in the agricultural industry that make cases such as LFD’s possible.

“Unfortunately, sexual slavery and indentured servitude are right in our neighborhoods and the fields adjacent to our neighborhoods,” Douglas Molloy told the Fort Myers News-Press. He is chief assistant U.S. attorney in Fort Myers and a member of the Lee County Human Trafficking Task Force.

Slavery still occurs mainly because most residents in the areas in question are farmhands who are afraid to talk, too many growers simply turn their backs as long as their fields and groves are picked and many lawmakers are aligned with agricultural interests.

The museum, which began touring in Collier County this month, includes a replica of the 24-foot cargo truck that five field bosses, members of the Navarrete family, used to enslave and brutalize 12 Mexican and Guatemalan farm workers. Led by Cesar and Geovanni, the Navarrete clan took the workers’ IDs and locked the men in boxes, shacks and trucks on their property. The men were chained, beaten and forced to work on farms in the Carolinas and Florida.

A 2008 indictment said the migrants were forced to pay rent of $20 a week to sleep in a locked furniture van, and they were forced to urinate and defecate in a corner of the vehicle. The Navarretes charged the men $5 each to bathe with a garden hose. To keep the workers obligated to them, the Navarretes devised schemes using food, alcohol and other drugs to trap the men in debt.

The Navarretes were convicted and received 12-year sentences...

Bill Maxwell

The New Haven Register

March 25, 2010


Added: Mar. 29, 2010

Massachusetts, USA

Human trafficking still exists, yet receives little attention, panelists say

More people are enslaved around the world than ever before, panelists said Thursday night in a lecture at the Boston Public Library in Copley Square.

More than 100 community members attended the panel and discussion titled Modern Day Slavery, which was sponsored by Primary Source, a nonprofit educational resource organization based in Watertown.

Panelists included scholar Zoe Trodd, former slave Francis Bok, co-founder of anti-slavery organization Polaris Project Katherine Chon and internationally known journalist Benjamin Skinner...

“Twenty-seven million slaves are in the world today,” Trodd said. “They are enslaved in a variety of types of slavery: chattel slavery, debt bondage slavery and contract slavery.”

The price of a slave in current economic terms is approximately $40, making slaves today the cheapest they have ever been in history, Trodd said.

Bok told the audience stories of his personal experiences with slavery. He was enslaved as a young boy in 1986...

“Slavery does not happen just to young women or children, it’s an equal opportunity exploitation,” said Chon, who addressed how gender relates to the slave trade.

The final speaker, Skinner, spoke about his challenges of telling stories and raising awareness through various personal anecdotes.

“Some 225,000 children are domestics in Haiti . . . typically coming from desperately poor families,” Skinner said, recalling his most recent visit to earthquake-stricken Haiti. “[They] wind up with richer families in the cities and they are forced to work. They are treated in almost every instance violently and they cannot walk away.”

Skinner also discussed the increase in sex-entertainment slavery around the stadiums being built for the South African World Cup and said he also saved one girl from a prison-like brothel.

Development and Outreach at Primary Source Director Jennifer Routhier said the variety of panelists helped keep the discussion balanced.

“We wanted a scholar who is a historian to frame it, a victim of slavery to talk about his experience, an activist and expert in sex-trafficking who could speak to the gender aspects of the issue and a journalist who is trying to raise awareness and follow the stories of slavery,” she said.

During the question-and-answer session at the end of the presentations, many audience members spoke of ways that people could get involved with fighting human slavery...

Jacqueline Lacy

The Daily Free Press - Boston University

March 29, 2010

LibertadLatina Commentary

Chuck Goolsby

The March 25th Boston Public Library anti-trafficking event was a very nice presentation, according to the above description by the Daily Free Press. It appears, however, that the human trafficking crisis in Latin America was not mentioned.

The lack of any mention of the Latin America human trafficking crisis continues to be of great concern to us. Sex trafficking across Latin America generates an estimated $16 billion in annual revenues, according to the United Nations affiliated International Organization for Migration. That is half of the global estimate for all human trafficking revenues.

Teresa Ulloa, Executive Director of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women - Latin America and Caribbean branch (CATW-LAC) has presented research showing that 17% of Latin America's gross domestic product derives from prostitution. Ulloa, a veteran Mexican women's rights lawyer, has also stated that Mexico alone has 500,000 victims of human trafficking.

In addition, U.S. Ambassador-at-Large and Office To Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons director Luis CdeBaca declared in a December, 2009 Kansas City Star article that 60% of human trafficking victims in the U.S. originate from Latin America.

While we admit that the process of estimating the number of victims and illicit trafficking related earnings is an inexact science, it remains a fact that the sex and labor trafficking of women, children and men in Latin America is a major problem.

To continue to exclude serious discussion of this issue in important academic and legislative settings represents an unacceptable approach. We must all work to honestly address the mass gender atrocity in Mexico, and all of the other forms of sex and labor trafficking that today plague Latin America.

End impunity now!

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

March 29, 2010


Added: Mar. 29, 2010

Illinois, USA

Police warn of attempted child abduction on NorthWest Side

Chicago police issued a community alert today about the attempted abduction of a 12-year-old girl on the Northwest Side.

According to the alert, the girl was walking eastbound on Armitage Avenue from Kostner Avenue at about 11:45 a.m. Saturday when she saw a small black car pull alongside her. A man inside motioned for her to walk to his car. The suspect then followed the girl and continued to gesture toward her.

The man was last seen driving eastbound on Armitage towards Pulaski Road, police said.

The man is described in the alert as white Hispanic, 35 to 40 years old, with black hair and a receding hairline, and a thin mustache. He wore a black T-shirt.

The suspect drove a small black two-door vehicle that had a thick yellow pinstripe alongside a door.

Anyone with information about the incident should call Grand Central Area detectives at 312-746-8365.

ChicagoBreakingNews

March 28, 2010


Added: Mar. 29, 2010

California, USA

Police Searching for a Man who Tried to Kidnap A Young Girl

A man who tried to lure a 13 year old girl into his pickup truck in Bermuda Dunes is on the loose.

The Riverside County Sheriff's Department released a police sketch of the man to generate leads.

It happened at 7:30 Friday night.

The girl was reportedly walking when a man driving a black Ford F-350 pickup truck stopped next to her and told her to get in. The girl ran away and called police.

The girl described the man as Hispanic, between 30 and 40 years old, with short black hair.

If you have any related information, call Valley Crimestoppers at 341-stop.

KPSP

March 28, 2010


Added: Mar. 27, 2010

Washington, DC - USA

Ambassador-at-Large and Office To Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons director Luis CdeBaca

Human Trafficking: International and National Implications

Ambassador-at-Large, Office To Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons Luis CdeBaca's Opening Statement to the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission of the U.S. House of Representatives

Good morning and thank you Co-Chairman McGovern and Co-Chairman Wolf for holding this hearing today on such a far-reaching and important issue: human trafficking. I am pleased today to provide an update to the Commission on the Obama Administration's global efforts against modern slavery and I look forward to fielding your questions.

Today is the International Day to Remember the Victims of Slavery and the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade. And yet, in this day and age, in the year 2010, we are still combating a phenomenon that has plagued cultures, communities, and countries since the beginning of time...

Today we are seeing more incidences of human trafficking than ever before for a myriad of reasons, including greater public awareness and more cooperation between government, non-governmental organizations, and law enforcement. The spike in these numbers reflects trends that we saw in the wake of the domestic violence movement and the hate crimes movement - as awareness increases, more cases are brought to light. Yet, we must be honest in this assessment as well; there are still thousands, if not millions, of cases not reported due to the dark and shadowy nature of this crime. As old as the practice of slavery may be, the criminals that bind these people's hopes by force, fraud, and coercion are looking for new ways to commit these crimes. We are looking for new ways to apprehend them.

The Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons is partnering with more non-governmental organizations than ever before by funding and supporting on-the-ground anti-trafficking efforts. Even with the $20 million in annual funds dedicated to these efforts, we are only able to fund a fraction of the requests we receive, as nearly $289 million was requested in Fiscal Year 2010. There are more requests, more worthy efforts, and more victims that we need to help. Today, I humbly ask for your help and support so that we may continue to make progress against modern slavery.

In the aftermath of the Haiti earthquake, the Office was able to act swiftly and expedite monies to fund efforts to improve child protection and lower the risk of exploitation during this natural disaster...

In addition to the Office's programmatic efforts, we are also working to combat modern slavery through the annual Trafficking in Persons Report, as required by the Trafficking Victims Protection Act.

In February, the Office released its 2010 interim assessment, which as directed by law, is a semi-annual update on those countries who received a Tier Two Watch List ranking in the 2009 Trafficking in Persons Report or who moved up a tier from the 2008 to the 2009 Report... The majority of the 55 countries covered in this assessment showed some progress since the release of the 2009 Trafficking in Persons Report - an overall positive trend…

And, it will take political will here in the United States to improve our efforts against human trafficking... As Secretary Clinton rightly said, "Human rights are universal, but their experience is local. This is why we are committed to holding everyone to the same standard, including ourselves."

Ambassador-at-Large Luis CdeBaca

March 25, 2010

LibertadLatina Commentary

Chuck Goolsby

U.S. Ambassador-at-Large and Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons director Luis CdeBaca is always eloquent when speaking about the crime of human trafficking. We appreciate the important work that he is doing to advance the cause of ending modern human slavery.

It appears, however, that the crisis of human trafficking crisis in the Latin American region was not mentioned during his most recent presentation to Congress, except for discussion of the problems in Haiti. That, at least, is an important start towards discussion of the larger regional issue.

The omission of any mention of the Latin America human trafficking crisis in public discourse continues to be of great concern to us. Sex trafficking in Latin America generates an estimated $16 billion in revenue, according to the United Nations affiliated International Organization for Migration. That is half of the global estimate for all human trafficking activity.

Teresa Ulloa, Executive Director of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women - Latin America and Caribbean branch (CATW-LAC) has presented research showing that 17% of Latin America's gross domestic product derives from prostitution. Ulloa, a veteran Mexican women's rights lawyer, has also stated that Mexico alone has 500,000 victims of human trafficking.

In addition,  Ambassador CdeBaca declared in a December, 2009 Kansas City Star article that 60% of human trafficking victims in the U.S. originate from Latin America.

While we admit that the process of estimating the number of victims and related illicit earnings is an inexact science, it remains a fact that the sex and labor trafficking of women, children and men in Latin America is a major problem.

To continue to exclude serious discussion of this issue in important academic and legislative settings represents an unacceptable approach to the problem. We must all work to honestly address the mass gender atrocity in Mexico, and all of the other forms of sex and labor trafficking that today plague Latin America.

End impunity now!

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

March 29, 2010


Added: Mar. 27, 2010

Colombia

New drug gangs force Colombians off their land - UN report

Bogota - The number of Colombians driven from their homes by the country's armed conflict increased last year, with new drug gangs playing a growing role in displacement, according to a United Nations' report released this week.

With more than three million uprooted people, Colombia has one of the world's largest displaced populations. During the country's four-decade conflict between the military, leftist rebels, armed gangs and drug traffickers, civilians have fled their homes in rural areas to escape the fighting, seeking refuge in major cities.

"Forced displacement continued to increase in 2009, although at a lower rate than in past years, with a continuous under-registration of cases," says the U.N. report issued in Bogota.

The government says between 140,000 and 150,000 people were forced from their homes last year. But a leading non-governmental organisation, the Consultancy on Human Rights and Displacement (CODHES), believes the government downplays the problem, and estimates more than 210,000 were uprooted, roughly a 10 percent increase from 2008.

The U.N. report highlights the rise of new criminal groups - composed of demobilised [right wing] paramilitaries and common criminals - who are using violence to control cocaine transporting routes, especially along Colombia's Pacific Coast. This puts Afro-Colombian and indigenous groups, who often live near or along drug routes, particularly at risk of being uprooted.

"We are worried about displacement caused increasingly by these new groups," Christian Salazar, U.N. Human Rights Commissioner for Colombia, told AlertNet.

The U.N. report singles out land-grabbing by these gangs, other armed groups and rebels as a major cause of displacement.

Up to 10 million hectares of land that once belonged to small-scale farmers and Afro-Colombian and indigenous communities are thought to have been stolen and remain in the hands of illegal armed groups, according to government estimates.

The murder of community leaders campaigning to reclaim lost land and the numerous threats against them are "a matter of great concern", the report notes.

Limited Early Warning

The U.N. says the government's early warning system, set up to prevent displacement by alerting the authorities and the military about possible threats from armed groups against vulnerable communities, is under-utilised...

The U.N. report also highlights one of Colombia's most serious human right violations involving the country's security forces, who have allegedly been killing civilians to up the body count of rebels killed in combat.

Since the grim scandal was exposed in 2008, the number of reported killings carried out by state security forces has dropped significantly, but few soldiers have been prosecuted - a "serious concern" according to the U.N. report.

The Colombian attorney general's office is investigating 1,353 cases involving over 2,300 civilians, of which 125 are under the age of 18.

Sexual Violence

The U.N. report says sexual violence against girls and women in Colombia has nearly doubled in the last decade to over 21,000 reported cases, citing government figures, with the majority of cases attributed to the rebels and new criminal groups.

Since more than 31,000 paramilitary fighters laid down their arms as part of a controversial peace deal with the government of Alvaro Uribe over four years ago, more women have come forward to report cases of rape and sexual abuse carried out by these groups.

Colombia's armed forces have also been accused of sexual violence against women in seven of Colombia's 32 provinces, according to the U.N. report. "It is especially worrying that in various cases those allegedly responsible are members of the Armed Forces," it says.

Recently, Colombia's human rights record has come under increased international scrutiny. Last year, it received four visits from U.N. special rapporteurs to monitor its human rights situation - more than any other country in the world.

Anastasia Moloney

AlertNet (Reuters)

March 26, 2010


Added: Mar. 26, 2010

Mexico

A woman is paraded before Johns on Mexico City's San Tomas Street, where kidnap victims are forced into prostitution and are 'trained.'

Photo: The New York Times

[News From the Front Line of This Struggle]

Mexico City and Guadalajara….On the trip to DF [Mexico City] I had the chance to go out with a pastor friend and one of his guys to check on some information regarding child porn and also a site that was unlike anything I have ever seen. There is a side street off one of the main prostitution areas in Mexico City where they literally have a circle of men... anywhere from 50-300 and in the middle is a line of girls. The girls go into the middle of the men and do what one would assume is a runway used in modeling shows. The only problem here is the runway is to sell the girls. If you have ever seen the movie Trade….you know the scene although seeing it in broad daylight live is far more disturbing.

From the looks of the girls and more so the looks on their faces I believe there is no doubt the majority are against their will.

Not a lot of underage girls but slavery is slavery….it is right in the center of DF [Mexico City] where there is no shortage of politicians and chartered law enforcement agencies who have publicly declared war against both child prostitution as well as human trafficking…they don’t have to look far to turn their words into action.

Rev. Steven T. Cass

Breaking Chains Ministry

March 24, 2010

See also:

The Girls Next Door

Breaking the Girls In

...For the Mexican girls abducted by Los Lenones [Mexico's sex traffickers], the process of breaking them in often begins on Calle Santo Tomas, a filthy narrow street in La Merced, a dangerous and raucous ghetto in Mexico City. Santo Tomas has been a place for low-end prostitution since before Spain's conquest of Mexico in the 16th century. But beginning in the early 1990's, it became an important training ground for under-age girls and young women on their way into sexual bondage in the United States.

When I first visited Santo Tomas... I found 150 young women walking a slow-motion parabola among 300 or 400 men... Some of the girls looked as young as 12. Their faces betrayed no emotion. Many wore pendants of the grim reaper around their necks and made hissing sounds; this, I was told, was part of a ritual to ward off bad energy. The men, who were there to rent or just gaze, didn't speak.

From the tables of a shabby cafe midblock, other men -- also Mexicans, but more neatly dressed -- sat scrutinizing the girls as at an auction. These were buyers and renters with an interest in the youngest and best looking...

Most of the girls on Santo Tomas would have sex with 20 to 30 men a day; they would do this seven days a week usually for weeks but sometimes for months before they were ''ready'' for the United States. If they refused, they would be beaten and sometimes killed...

- Peter Landesman

New York Times Magazine

January 25, 2004


Added: Mar. 26, 2010

Mexico

Juan Carlos Guel López, director of the Cybernetic Crimes Unit of the federal Secretariat of Public Security (SSP)

The age of sexual consent in 19 of Mexico's 31 states is only 12.

Pederastas, al Amparo de la Corrupción

Lagunas en leyes locales y federales, falta de capacitación de jueces y ministerios públicos crean impunidad

México es considerado el Bangkok de Latinoamerica por pederastas. Los depredadores sexuales que antes viajaban al Pacífico asiático para practicar el turismo sexual con menores de edad, ahora eligen a nuestro país porque los vacíos legales existentes en la legislación actual dificulta que los procesos jurídicos concluyan en sanciones y castigos para estos transgresores de la ley.

Juan Carlos Guel López, director de la Unidad de Delitos Cibernéticos de la SSP Federal, advierte que esas lagunas legislativas y la falta de capacitación de ministerios públicos y jueces, han hecho de México un lugar muy atractivo para pedófilos y pederastas porque les “sale más barato conseguir un amparo aquí o de plano salir de la cárcel, que en cualquier otro lugar del mundo”...

Pedophiles, Protected by Corruption

Gaps in state and federal laws and a lack of qualifications among judges and prosecutors foment impunity

Mexico is considered the ‘Bankok’ of Latin America by pedophiles. Sexual predators who previously traveled to the Asian Pacific to engage in child sex tourism now elect to come to Mexico because the loopholes in our existing laws make the judicial system almost powerless when it comes to punishing violators of the law.

Juan Carlos Guel López, director of the Cybernetic Crimes Unit of the federal Secretariat of Public Security (SSP), warns that these gaps in the law, together with the lack of relevant training for judges and prosecutors have made Mexico a very attractive place for pedophiles, because “it is cheaper to obtain an Amparo [a judicial order protecting the individual from state action against them], or to simply be let go, than in any other place in the world.

The international organization ECPAT (End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes) indicates in its study: “The Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Girls, Boys and Adolescents – A National Approxi-mation” – that despite the fact that Mexico has ratified international protocols that protect the rights of children, and despite the fact that state laws have incorporated these concepts, it is urgent that we synchronize the federal penal code with those of each of the states, so that delinquents receive similar criminal penalties across the nation.

In ECAPT’s 2009 analysis, which will be released in May of 2010, they studied the public policies that address the commercial sexual exploitation of girls, boys and adolescents (ESCNNA) on the Yucatan Peninsula, and in the states of Oaxaca, Baja California, Mexico state, and also Mexico City.

ECPAT concludes that Mexico has an inadequate legal framework to address prevention and to combat crimes committed against minors.

“The legislative frameworks in our nation contain laws from distinct generations, which are operating in parallel. The gaps between these laws allow the problem to grow."

Various inconsistencies

The ECPAT study warns about the inconsistencies between state laws to determine the age of sexual consent, the application of criminal penalties in cases of abuse and rape in marriage, the lack of criminal penalties for johns - and exploiters in the case of child prostitution, and the legal concept of the 'corruption of minors,' which brings together a broad range of crimes against children within a confusing construct.

Erick Gómez Tagle, a Ph.D. in penal science and criminal policy at the National Institute for Criminal Sciences (INACIPE), warns that legal scholars are insisting that state laws must be harmonized with federal law.

Norma Negrete of ECPAT Mexico notes that the commercial sexual exploitation of girls, boys and adolescents has increased at an alarming rate during the past ten years. Despite a few advancements on the legislative front, there exists a severe lack of the development-of and the application-of public policies focused on preventing these crimes.

Negrete indicated that Mexico is considered by the world community to be a place where it is possible to contact children in the context of sex tourism, because of the “corruption and impunity that exists among prosecutors and judicial institutions.”

In that regard, National Action Party (PAN) federal congressional deputy Rosi Orozco, president of the recently formed Special Commission to Fight Human Trafficking in the Chamber of Deputies [lower house of Congress], has declared that creating better laws means nothing if the judges who pass sentence in these cases don’t use the correct criteria to avoid impunity.

Deputy Orozco cited as an example the case of Father Rafael Muñiz López, from the city of Xalapa in Veracruz state. Father Muñiz López was linked to an Internet-based child pornography network. He received a federal Amparo which allowed him to leave jail [on bond], due to a [lenient] judicial interpretation of the law in regard to whether the priest had distributed child porn.

[Note: The Court stated that Father Muñiz López had only emailed child porn to a closed circle of associates, which, the Court decided, did not meet the statutory requirement for charging the priest with the crime of distributing child porn. - LL]

Deputy Orozco declared that she was against giving judges the liberty to give these types of delinquents their freedom. “These actions demonstrate an inability on the part of the judicial power to impart justice. They also show the judge’s lack of sensitivity to the [rights of] children in our nation.”

Evangelina Hernández

El Universal

March 23, 2010


Added: Mar. 26, 2010

Texas, USA

Victor Manuel Rocha Jr.

Child Sex Assault Suspect Surrenders

Houston - A man accused of sexually assaulting a 9-year-old girl has been arrested, KPRC Local 2 reported.

Richmond police said that on Sunday at 5 a.m., they were sent to a home where the girl had been assaulted.

The suspect was identified as Victor Manuel Rocha Jr., 19. He was charged with aggravated sexual assault of a child, a first-degree felony, and his bond was set at $150,000.

He left the scene before police arrived, but he turned himself in to the Cameron County Sheriff's Office on Wednesday. He is expected to be extradited to Fort Bend County soon.

KPRC

March 25, 2010


Added: Mar. 26, 2010

Tennessee, USA

Pedro Garcia

Police Say Girl Woke To Man Kissing Her

Pedro Garcia Charged With Aggravated Sexual Battery

A Clarksville man is accused of preying on a child who was a visitor in his home.

Pedro Garcia has been charged with aggravated sexual battery.

According to police, a 10-year-old girl was sleeping over at a friend's house Monday and woke to find Garcia kissing her and attempting to touch her.

WSMV

March 24,2010


Added: Mar. 26, 2010

Oklahoma, USA

Gabriel Ramos

Tulsa Police Arrest Alleged Parking Lot Groper

Tulsa Police have arrested a man for sexual battery. Gabriel Ramos was picked up Wednesday after a warrant was issued for his arrest.

Officers say Ramos harassed women and tried to get into their cars at some area businesses in Tulsa.

They say he grabbed and groped one woman.

Officers credit an alert convenience store clerk for helping them identify Ramos.

Gabriel Ramos

NewsOn6.com

March 24, 2010


Added: Mar. 25, 2010

El Salvador

United Nations Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women, Rashida Manjoo

Una relatora de ONU pide reformas legales para detener feminicidios

La relatora especial de las Naciones Unidas sobre la violencia contra la mujer, Rashida Manjoo, pidió al Gobierno de El Salvador reformas legales para detener el "alarmante" aumento de los asesinatos de mujeres y niñas en el país.

De acuerdo con un informe divulgado hoy por la oficina de la ONU en El Salvador, la relatora recomendó al Ejecutivo de Mauricio Funes que cree "una base de datos y de conocimientos con perspectiva de género" y que ofrezca "garantía de protección" a mujeres y niñas "mediante reformas en la legislación".

UN Rapporteur Asks for Legal Reforms to Control Femicide Murders

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women, Rashida Manjoo, has asked the government of El Salvador to pass legal reform legislation to control the “alarming” increase in the murders of women and girls in this nation.

According to a report released today by the UN, Manjoo recommended that President Mauricio Funes create a “database of that provides information [from a gender perspective],” and that he offer a “guarantee of safety” to the nation’s women and girls, “through reforms in legislation.”

Manjo visited El Salvador last week to analyze conditions of violence against women and the government’s response. She has concluded that “significant difficulties” persist.

The UN's Special Rapporteur stated in her report: “I am especially concerned with the increase in cases of violence – particularly murders of women involving kidnapping, sexual aggression and cruel disfigurement of the bodies.”

Manjoo also said that a specialized to investigate and prosecute femicide cases is needed, and warned about the “persistence of violence perpetrated by the police and violence related to commercial sexual exploitation.

According to Manjo, other forms of gender violence exist in El Salvador, including domestic violence, the sexual abuse of women, girls and boys in communities, and sexual harassment and violence in the workplace, especially in the maquila [low wage foreign-owned factory] sector.

The UN report cited an investigation by the NGO Organización de Mujeres Salvadoreñas [Salvadoran Women’s Organization, who documented 378 femicide murders in 2008 and 570 such cases in 2009, the highest figure reported in that past 11 years in El Salvador.

Although the authorities have not tracked the number of femicide cases during 2010, the cases of two 16-year-old girls who were murdered, dismembered and left in plastic trash bags on an abandoned estate caused considerable public distress.

EFE

March 24, 2010


Added: Mar. 25, 2010

Ecuador

Dos sujetos son detenidos en Guayaquil, con pornografía infantil

Félix José Saltos Crespín (45 años) y Fausto Gerardo Herrera Jaramillo (29 años) fueron detenidos en las habitaciones 23 y 24 del Hostal Montesa, de las calles Luis Urdaneta y Rumichaca (centro de Guayaquil). Información del Comando Guayas de Policía determinó que los sospechosos estaban tomando fotos de las partes íntimas de dos menores de 6 y 11 años de edad...

Two Suspects are Detained on Child Pornography Charges in the City of Guayaquil

Félix José Saltos Crespín (age 45) and Fausto Gerardo Herrera Jaramillo (age 29) have been detained at the Montesa hostel [hotel] in [Ecuador’s largest city] Guayaquil, with photographs of nude children.

Guayas provincial police determined that the suspects were taking illicit photographs of two girls, ages 6 and 11.

The arrests were made last Friday after the hostel’s manager called the authorities.

An 11-year-old girl appeared at the hostel’s reception desk, and reported that the residents of room 23 had touched and photographed both her and her 6-year-old friend.

Police raided rooms 23 and 24, where they found cameras and child pornography. The suspects were detained and the children were taken to a shelter where they are under the care of specialists.

El Telégrafo

March 24, 2010


Added: Mar. 25, 2010

Colombia

ONU: Tráfico de personas factura 32 mil millones de dólares al año

El tráfico de personas factura anualmente 32 mil millones de dólares al año en todo el mundo. Un estudio de la oficina de las Naciones Unidas contra la Droga y el Delito en Colombia, asegura que la justicia no opera como debería en estos casos.

“Hay una falta de comprensión integral del tipo penal, estamos trabajando para que se prefiera judicializar por trata y no otros delitos”, declaró Carlos Pérez, asesor jurídico proyecto Lucha contra la Trata de Personas ONU...

Human Trafficking Generates 32 Billion Dollars per Year

Modern human trafficking generates $32 billion per year. According to a study by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in Colombia, the justice system does not work as it should in addressing trafficking cases.

“There is a lack of an integral  understanding  of criminal penalties. We are working to achieve a judicial preference for charging cases as human trafficking as opposed to as other possible crimes,” said Carlos Pérez, legal advisor for a United Nations anti-trafficking project.

Colombia’s government is planning to increase training in collaboration with the UN program.

“Together with [Colombia’s] Minister of the Interior, We are preparing training courses for judges, prosecutors and investigators across the country, said the UN’s Pérez.

Most cases of human trafficking [in Colombia] involve the sexual exploitation of women through the age of 26.

CMI

March 24, 2010


Added: Mar. 25, 2010

Nebraska, USA

Hector Medina

Sexual Assault Suspect Held Without Bond

A man accused of sexual assault of a 4-year-old girl has waived his preliminary hearing.

Hector Medina, 25, has been held without bond. He is charged with third-degree sexual assault and kidnapping.

Investigators said Medina took the child from her home at 3 a.m. earlier this month while the girl's mother was dancing. The caregiver told police that Medina is a family acquaintance.

Police said they found Medina and the child near 31st and Parker streets. The girl had no pants on, police said.

According to court documents, subsequent medical evaluations found injuries on the girl consistent with sexual abuse.

The girl identified Medina from a photo, according to court documents.

KETV

March 22, 2010


Added: Mar. 25, 2010

North Carolina, USA

Jose Alfredo Valdivias

Police: Man Wanted for Raping 6-Year-Old Girl

Burlington Police are searching for a man they say raped a 6-year-old girl in January.

Police are looking for Jose Alfredo Valdivias of 372 White Pine Trail in Hillsborough. They have charged him with two counts of 1st degree statutory rape for sexually assaulting a 6-year-old girl at a home in Burlington on Jan. 30. Valdivias was initially charged with indecent liberties with a child in this case.

Valdivias's location is unknown to police at this time. They are asking anyone with information about Valdivias to contact Burlington Police at 919-229-3500 or Crime Stoppers at 919-229-7100.

WGHP-TV

March 19, 2010


Added: Mar. 25, 2010

Florida, USA

Jose Tirado

Volusia County Rapist Gets Mandatory Life Sentence

Deland - A former Volusia County teacher found guilty of raping an 11-year-old child was sentenced to life in prison on Wednesday.

A jury deliberated for just a few hours before returning the verdict against 26-year-old Jose Tirado.

Tirado raped the child during a sleepover in May 2009. The boy's mother allowed him to go with his teacher, investigators said, because they were going to a theme park the next day.

WESH Orlando

March 17, 2010


Added: Mar. 25, 2010

Texas, USA

Orlando Nino-Carrera (left, and Enrique Mendoza Torres

Two Named in Sex Aassaults, Third Man Sought

Richardson police have released the names of two suspects believed involved in the sexual assaults of some young girls, including one Wichita Falls teen. They hope the public might lead them to a third suspect.

Sgt. Kevin Perlich, a spokesman for Richardson PD, said Enrique Mendoza Torres, 33, and Orlando Nino-Carrera, 17, each face one count of sexual assault and are held in the Dallas County Jail.

Though both men list Dallas-area addresses, Perlich said Nino-Carrera had spent time at a Wichita Falls address.

The third suspect police are looking for goes by Jose Torres, but Perlich said investigators don’t think that is his real name. He also goes by the street name, Trompas. Police say he is a Hispanic male, about 22 years old, 5’10”, 180 pounds with black hair and brown eyes. He also is thought to currently be in Wichita Falls or has stayed here in the recent past.

Investigators think the men used an online social network to make contact with their victims, both of whom were 14 at the time of the assaults.

Perlich said police think Torres and the suspect known as Trompas picked up two girls in Wichita Falls in September and took them to a motel in Richardson where one of the girls was sexually assaulted.

The other victim was a Dallas-area girl who was assaulted in February. She was either pushed or jumped from a vehicle on a Dallas freeway and told police about the men’s activities.

Anyone with information on the third suspect or any other aspect of the case may call Crime Stoppers at 800-322-9888.

Lynn Walker

The Times Record News

March 10, 2010

March 22, 2010


Added: Mar. 25, 2010

Massachusetts, USA

Woman Fights Off Attacker With Rock

Fall River - A 66-year-old woman was able to fend off an attacker in Kennedy Park with a rock.

The woman was walking in Kennedy Park on Sunday afternoon when she encountered another female who warned her of a suspicious car in the area. The woman armed herself with a rock and continued her walk.

A short time later, the woman says a Hispanic man approached her and tried to force her into his car. The victim was able to fight off the man by kicking and hitting him several times in the face with the rock. With his face bleeding profusely, the attacker returned to his car and headed north on Bay Street.

The Hispanic male suspect was described by the victim and the witness as having a thin build, approximately 5'9" to 5'10" tall, having dark hair and eyes, and possibly being in his thirties. The suspect was also described as wearing a black shirt with the sleeves cut-off and a pair of blue jeans. The suspect was also described as suffering several bleeding facial wounds as a result of the struggle.

Sharman Sacchetti

FOX 25 Boston

March 22, 2010


Added: Mar. 24, 2010

Latin America

Conference Poster

The 2010 Lozano Long Conference – Republics of Fear: Understanding Endemic Violence in Latin America Today

Violence has become the signal threat to stability in Latin America in the new millennium. Kidnappings and murders generate lurid headlines from Mexico to Honduras to Argentina. Communities tired of statelessness and voicelessness set suspected criminals on fire in Guatemalan public squares. Hundreds of women die violent deaths in Ciudad Juárez and Guatemala City while the state remains either impotent or indifferent. Police raids into Rio’s favelas kill dozens of people while drug trafficking gangs stockpile more numerous and more powerful weapons. Prison gangs paralyze the megalopolis of São Paulo for days in retaliation for official measures taken against their imprisoned leaders.

Meanwhile, structural violence continues to condemn huge portions of the region’s population to poverty, disease, marginalization, and penury. If cold war ideologies set Latin America aflame in the 1960s and 1970s, a far more complex set of factors stokes the ordinary and extraordinary violence that burns in the region today.

In its Third Annual Lozano Long Conference, LLILAS hosted the academics who are exploring the causes and consequences of this conflagration. Researchers have only begun to respond to these new challenges to democracy, development, and human well-being. The time is ripe for a conference that brings together cutting edge research from different disciplines, perspectives, methods, and viewpoints, all united around a concern for the peoples of the region and the circumstances they face.

The conference hosted panels on topics such as gender violence; intimate violence; organized violence; the trafficking of humans, weapons, and drugs; political, state, and para-state violence; structural violence, including poverty, forced migration, racism, and discrimination; and the responses to violence, including representations of violence in the media, literature, films, and public discourse. The institute hopes in this way to foster and stimulate a new wave of theoretically informed, interdisciplinary, and culturally aware research into this crucial new challenge for Latin America.

Sponsored by the Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies, the Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice, and the Center for Women's and Gender Studies.

Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies

The University of Texas at Austin

March 4–5, 2010


Added: Mar. 24, 2010

Mexico

Mexican Police Implicated in Killings, Kidnappings

Mexico City - Scores of police officers - including the entire department of one town - have been detained in Mexican probes of killings and kidnappings.

Mayor Alfredo Osorio of the Gulf coast town Tierra Blanca said Monday that about

90 city policemen were being held for questioning about the kidnapping of undocumented Central American migrants.

The officers - the town's entire local force - were detained by state police and soldiers and taken to the capital of the Gulf coast state of Veracruz for questioning. No formal charges had been filed.

The police allegedly kidnapped the migrants to shake them down for money. Central Americans frequently are robbed or abused by police or by drug gangs as they cross Mexico to seek work in the United States.

In the central State of Mexico, prosecutors announced the arrest of two policemen and two former officers on charges they participated in 11 killings related to robberies.

The officers, ex-officers and a fifth man posing as a police office, had been assigned to two towns on the outskirts of Mexico City. They were detained over the weekend.

Mexico State Attorney General Alberto Baz Baz said the men allegedly preyed on businessmen and professionals, snatching them off the streets to steal debit cards and other possessions, and then often killing them. Another ex-officer is being sought in the case. Some of the crimes were allegedly committed while the officers were on duty.

The suspects face possible prison sentences of up to 70 years. They had no attorney of record.

The Associated Press

Mar 16, 2010


Added: Mar. 24, 2010

Mexico

Mexican Troops Rescue 20 Migrants from Traffickers

Veracruz, Mexico – Mexican troops rescued 20 Central Americans who had been kidnapped by a gang of migrant smugglers that was holding them captive at a house in the Gulf coast state of Veracruz.

The commander of Mexico’s 26th Military Zone, Miguel Gustavo Gonzalez, told a press conference that five suspected smugglers were arrested who were holding the undocumented migrants as hostages and were demanding $1,200 from their families to free them and allow them to continue on their way to the U.S. border.

The officer said that the operation took place in the municipality of Tierra Blanca, where members of the gang were arrested and forced to hand over 40,000 pesos ($3,200) in cash, two guns and four vehicles.

Gonzalez said the raid followed an anonymous tip.

He said that the 11 women and nine men from Honduras and Nicaragua were found being held captive in the community of Palma Sola.

Meanwhile, the undocumented migrants who were rescued received food and medical attention from the immigration authorities, who will settle their legal status.

EFE

March 19, 2010

We note with interest that this raid occurred immediately after the Inter-American Human Rights Commission hearing of March 22, 2010 on the mass kidnappings of migrants in Mexico, and especially in Veracruz.

 - LibertadLatina


Added: Mar. 23, 2010

Mexico

Felipe González, IACHR Vice-Chair  and Rapporteur, and
Professor Dinah Shelton
, IACHR Rapporteur and
Manatt/Ahn Professor of International Law at the George Washing-ton University Law School - Listen to the March 22, 2010 presentation on the kidnapping of Migrants in Mexico

Photo:  European Press Photo Agency

Denuncian el "infierno" de unos 18.000 migrantes secuestrados al pasar por México

Washington, DC.- México se ha convertido en la trampa de miles de migrantes de Centroamérica y Sudamérica que son secuestrados cada año cuando atraviesan ese país, según denunciaron hoy activistas en la Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos (CIDH).

En una audiencia del 138 período de sesiones de la CIDH, organizaciones religiosas y humanitarias acusaron al Estado de México de abandonar a los 18.000 emigrantes secuestrados, que convirtieron 2009 en el "año maldito" del fenómeno...

Activists Denounce the “Hell” Faced by 18,000 Migrants per Year Who Are Kidnapped in Mexico

Washington, DC  - According to activists who testified on March 22, 2010 at the Inter-American Human Rights Commission (IAHRC) - Mexico has become a dangerous trap for thousands of migrants from South and Central America who are kidnapped each year when they attempt to cross Mexico.

The religious and human rights activists testified during an IAHRC hearing, held during its 138th period of sessions. In their testimony, they accused the Mexican state of abandoning the 18,000 migrants who were kidnapped during 2009, which they declared to be a terrible year for the phenomenon.

The director of the migrant shelter Brothers on the Road to Hope, Father Alejandro Solandide, denounced the lack of political will in Mexico to put a stop to the problem, as well as the complicity and cover-up that state agents engage in – in relation to these crimes.

Father Solandide: “It is very hard to see a line that separates the authors of these kidnappings - be they organized criminals or public officials.”

Migrants begin their trek in their home countries, where these criminal networks [first] coordinate their activities, said Oliver Bush Espinoza, of the National Institute for Migration [Mexico’s immigration agency].

When migrants reach Mexico, they are trapped, and are taken to safe houses, where the coyotes demand their family’s phone number [to allow them to extort the family], and they are beaten with sticks and suffer other tortures.

“These safe houses are hell. The victims suffer tortures. If they resist [the extortion], they are made examples of and are mutilated or murdered, declared Reverend Pedro Pantajo Arreola, of the Bethlehem Migrant’s Shelter.

The wave of kidnappings began in 2006, says Father Solandide, but the problem became even larger in 2009, when it became like a “silent, low-motion massacre” – “due to moral decay,” the increase in organized criminal violence, and judicial impunity.

During the last three years, the ‘industry’ of mass kidnapping has been perfected, especially in the state of Veracruz. In a six month period of time, these kidnappings generate $50 million dollars in revenue.

Aside from the Mexican government’s failure to investigate these crimes, and the “immense defenseless-ness” of the victims, Father Solandide denounced the “insufficient actions taken and mechanisms put into place” by the government in the face of this reality. Scant resources exist to house, assist and restore the victims.

The representatives of the organizations who testified directly assist victims, a situation that has also placed them in harm’s way.

“Our migrant shelters are being threatened and attacked by both the Mexican authorities and by members of organized crime, to such an extent that we have found in necessary to seek the legal protection of this Commission,” said Monsignor Raúl Vera, Archbishop of Saltillo, who is also the president of the Council of the Friar Juan de Larios Center.

[Oliver Bush Espinoza, of the federal National Institute for Migration, and Alejandro Negrín, human rights representative at the Mexican Chancellery, testified in opposition to the petition.]

Felipe González, the President of Mexico's National Human Rights Commission of Mexico (CNDH) stated that he was in agreement with the petitioners, and invited the IAHRC to visit Mexico to determine the magnitude of the problem in person.

EFE

March 22, 2010

See also:

Inter-American Human Rights Commission Hearing

Petitioner: Centro de Derechos Humanos Agustín Pro Juárez (PRODH); Servicio Jesuita a Migrantes en México; Centro Diocesano de Derechos Humanos Fray Juan de Larios; Dimensión de la Pastoral de la Movilidad Humana; Casa de Migrantes Hermanos en el Camino [Migrant Refuge]; Albergue de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe A.C. [Migrant Refuge]; Albergue Guadalupano de Tierra Blanca [Migrant Refuge]; Servicio Jesuita de Jóvenes Voluntarios; Centro de Derechos Humanos Fray Matías de Córdova; Frontera Con Justicia A.C.y Humanidad Sin Fronteras

Inter-American Human Rights Commission

Organization of American States

March 22, 2010

See also:

20,000 Migrants a Year Kidnapped in Mexico En Route to U.S.

Some 20,000 of the 140,000 illegal migrants en route to the United States via the Mexico border to find work and a better life are kidnapped each year and subjected to rape, torture and murder, crimes that usually go unpunished due to the corruption of the authorities, fear of reprisals and distrust of authorities, according to Mexico’s independent National Human Rights Commission.

Mexico City – More than 1,600 migrants, above all Central Americans en route to the United States to find work, are kidnapped monthly and subjected to humiliations that usually go unpunished due to the corruption of the authorities, Mexico’s independent National Human Rights Commission reported.

“The kidnapping of migrants has become a continuous practice of worrying dimensions, generally unpunished and with characteristics of extreme cruelty,” commission chairman Jose Luis Soberanes said Monday at the presentation of the report.

Between September 2008 and February 2009, the commission registered a total of 198 cases of mass kidnappings of migrants involving 9,758 people...

EFE

June 16, 2009


Added: Mar. 22, 2010

Washington, DC USA

Monsignor Raúl Vera, Bishop of Saltillo - Photo

Presentation: Kidnappings of Migrants in Mexico

Event: Monday March 22nd - 5:30-6:30pm - Washington, DC

Every year tens of thousands of migrants travel through Mexico en route to the United States. Often on their arduous journey these migrants are exposed to brutal violence, extortion, and kidnappings.

Join us for a forum with this exceptional group of speakers all of whom are highly recognized as leading moral authorities on migrant rights. These speakers will discuss the kidnappings of migrants in Mexico, the ways in which Mexican laws and policies make them more vulnerable and may prevent their access to justice, how authorities directly collaborate in this practice and the hearing on this issue that has been presented before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.

Featuring

Monsignor Raúl Vera, Bishop of Saltillo, is also President of the Counsel of the Fray Juan Juan de Larios Diocese Center and a member of various organizations that work to protect migrants' human rights.

Father Alejandro Solalinde, director of the shelter "Hermanos en el Camino de la Esperanza " [Shelter for Migrant Brothers on the Road of Hope] and the coordinator of the Southern Zone of the Pastoral Dimension of Human Mobility of the Mexican Episcopal Conference. The shelter offers food, shelter and legal advice to the thousands of migrants that pass through the city of Ixtepec, Oaxaca en route to the United States.

Father Pedro Pantoja Arreola founded Emaús House, Passage of Migrants in Ciudad Acuña and created the project Borders and Dignity. After more than five years he returned to Saltillo, where he oversees the shelter "Belén [Bethlehem] Migrant Inn" and the Borders with Justice project, both founded in 2001 to respond to the grave human rights violations of migrants.

Our panelists will also be joined by representatives from the Miguel Agustin Pro Juarez Human Rights Center, the Fray Matias de Cordova Human Rights Center and Frontera con Justicia [Justice for the Border] and Humanidad Sin Fronteras [Humanity Without Borders].

Event:

Kidnapping of Migrants in Mexico

March 22, 2010

5:30-6:30pm - plus reception

Washington Office on Latin America - WOLA

1666 Connecticut Ave NW - Suite 400

Washington, DC

Please RSVP to Ashley Morse at amorse@wola.org

(Space is limited, RSVPs will be accepted on a first-come basis)

WOLA

March 22, 2010

See also:

Mexico

Harassment and intimidation of human rights defender, Father Alejandro Solalinde Guerra

About the harassment of Father Alejandro Solalinde Guerra's efforts to assist migrants in crisis

Sign-on to a letter of support to President Calderón of Mexico

...Human rights defender Father Solalinde has recently been subjected to harassment and intimidation as a direct result of his activities in defense of human rights. Father Solalinde is the director of the Albergue del Migrante Hermanos en el Camino de la Esperanza (Shelter for Migrant Brothers on the Road of Hope) and coordinator of the Catholic Pastoral Care Centre for Migrants. The Shelter provides food, shelter and legal assistance to thousands of migrants who travel through the city of Ixtepec, Oaxaca, on their way to the United States of America. Over the last two years, the Shelter has reported several cases of corruption by state and federal government officials as well as the practice of abduction of migrants...

FrontLine - Protection of Human Rights Defenders

Feb. 02, 2010

See also:

Added: Mar. 21, 2010

Mexico, Central America

Salvadoran mothers gather to pray and leave offerings and crosses for their family members who were abused, kidnapped and murdered in the 'mugging and rape gauntlet' at Mexico's southern border region known as 'La Arrocera' - the Rice Cooker.

Kidnapping - A Growing Risk for Central American Migrants

The increase in kidnappings of Central American migrants crossing Mexico on their way to the United States will be brought up at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) current session next Monday.

”We are experiencing a humanitarian disaster that the authorities want to cover up at all costs,” Alejandro Solalinde, a priest who heads the Catholic Pastoral Care Centre for Migrants in Ciudad Ixtepec, in the southern state of Oaxaca, told IPS.

Solalinde, who has been defending the rights of undocumented Central American migrants since 2005, is flying to Washington to describe the situation on the ground to the IACHR, which is holding its 138th period of sessions Mar. 15-26, along with representatives of other civil society groups.

Although the priest has been the target of death threats from people traffickers and kidnappers, he was denied police protection.

In January 2007, Solalinde, who also set up a shelter to provide food and medical attention to migrants next to the railway lines that they ride on their long trek north, helped a group of Central Americans escape their captors in Oaxaca.

He has also spoken up against police brutality, and even filed legal action against local police officers and authorities. But the lawsuit is merely gathering dust.

Thousands of Central Americans, mainly from the impoverished countries of Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador, are detained and deported every year by the police in Mexico as they attempt to reach the United States.

However, they don't only face a risk of being seized and deported by the police, but are also vulnerable to harassment, sexual abuse, extortion, robbery and kidnapping by immigration agents and police, while they are assaulted, raped, held up, kidnapped and sometimes killed by gang-members and thieves.

From September 2008 to February 2009, 9,758 migrants were kidnapped in Mexico, according to a special report by the governmental National Human Rights Commission (CNDH).

”The kidnapping of migrants in Mexico is on the rise,” Maureen Meyer, the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) Associate for Mexico and Central America, told IPS.

However, ”this number (9,758) is by no means the full extent of the phenomenon, as given the vulnerability of migrants in Mexico, many cases go unreported.”

WOLA is backing the Mexican activists who will appear before the IACHR in the U.S. capital, where they will ask the Commission to recommend that the government provide protection to migrants, fight kidnappings and bring the perpetrators to justice.

Mexican immigration authorities have arrested 4,164 Central Americans so far this year, according to official figures.

The IACHR session will also be attended by Raúl Vera, Catholic bishop of Saltillo, a city north of the capital; Pedro Pantoja, a priest who runs the Belen migrants shelter and the Borders with Justice project in Saltillo; and representatives of Mexican non-governmental organisations that provide protection to undocumented Central American migrants.

In the southern state of Veracruz, 13 municipal police have been prohibited from leaving the country, because they are under suspicion of kidnapping and extorting Central American migrants.

The kidnappings are planned in Oaxaca and carried out in Veracruz, with the collusion of public employees and municipal and state agents, according to Solalinde...

Because of the numerous reports of abuses, the government of El Salvador opened a consulate in Oaxaca in January to provide attention to Salvadoran citizens.

But not even the diplomatic mission has escaped harassment: less than a month after it opened, armed men who claimed to be federal police but did not identify themselves forced their way into the consulate without authorization, supposedly as part of an investigation.

Salvadoran ambassador to Mexico Hugo Carrillo has asked President Felipe Calderón to take effective action against the police involved in the incident.

”It would appear that kidnapping has become another source of income for organized criminal groups operating in Mexico and along the U.S.-Mexico border (which are) already involved in drug trafficking, pirated goods, extortion, etc.,” said Meyer.

She added that some reports indicate that along the border ”and even in the U.S. itself, groups involved in human smuggling are now earning more money from holding some of their 'clients' for ransom, than from the fees they already charge to make the crossing.”

She also said the kidnappings in Mexico are often carried out ”with the support and collusion of officials from all levels of the government.”

Most of the migrants do not file an official complaint, out of fear of being deported, or because the legal formalities are too complex...

Emilio Godoy

Inter Press Service (IPS)

March 19, 2010

LibertadLatina Commentary

Chuck Goolsby

Human rights activists, international NGOs, the United Nations and Central American governments have repeatedly implored Mexico to bring the rule of law to its southern border region, where an estimated 450 to 600 women and girl children are systematically raped each day (according to the United Nations affiliated International Organization for Migration), often with the cooperation or involvement of local police and immigration agents. President Calderon's government has repeatedly ignored these pleas, even when they have been made by Mexico's Congress.

The fact that Save the Children has identified the southern border of Mexico as being the largest region for the commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC) in the entire world is closely linked to the fact that migrant children and youth are kidnapped, raped and sold into sexual slavery en mass by traffickers who know that the Mexican government will do absolutely nothing to stop their organized crime wave.

Like other human trafficking related issues, these mass gender atrocities are of no consequence for 'socially conservative' politicians who uphold the validity of feudal-era sexist machismo in modern Mexico.

We thank God for the existence of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. While the U.S. Administration and the United Nations sit on their hands in the face of these mass human rights violations, the Court acts as the forum of last resort as a response by civilization to national governments who's lack of action in these circumstances amounts to rogue and abominable behavior.

Where is this issue on the agenda of the federal National Commission to Punish and Prevent Human Trafficking, or on the agenda of the newly formed Special Commission to Fight Human Trafficking headed by Deputy Rosi Orozco in the Chamber of Deputies? We don't see any action on this issue from them.

Indeed, were is this issue on the agenda of U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and her director of the State Department Trafficking in Persons office, Ambassador-at-Large Luis CdeBaca?

They, and also U.S. President Obama, must stand-up and speak out against this brazen from of impunity, and not remain silent in the face of such organized, mass violent crimes against women.

End impunity now!

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

March 21/22, 2010

See also:

Mexico, Central America

Madres salvadoreñas depositan ofrendas en "La Arrocera"

El 80 porciento de los abusos cometidos contra los inmigrantes se cometen en esta zona de Huixtla, Chiapas

Huixtla, Chiapas - Los parientes de indocumentados fallecidos y desaparecidos visitaron "La Arrocera" , un pequeño tramo de escasos cuatro kilómetros que los indocumentados utilizan para evadir la caseta migratoria El hueyate, en Huixtla...

Salvadoran mothers leave offerings for their murdered children at the "Rice Cooker"

80 percent of abuses against migrants occur in this area near the city of Huixtla, Chiapas

Huixtla, Chiapas - relatives of deceased and missing undocumented migrants visited "La Arrocera," a four kilometer long rural trail that north-bound Central and South American migrants use to bypass the Hueyate immigration station in the city of Huixtla, Chiapas.

Under strict security arrangements and with the support of Mexico's National Commission on Human Rights (CNDH), members of the Committee of Families of Deceased and Missing Migrants toured the area of "the Rice Cooker" near Huixtla, a municipality in the state of Chiapas, where dozens of men and women have been assaulted, raped and murdered.

"The Rice Cooker" is a [rural] migrant trail where 80 percent of the assaults and homicides in the region are committed, according to testimony gathered by the Catholic Church and human rights organizations.

Even police will not enter this zone unless they have several officers armed with high-powered weapons.

Father Luis Angel Nieto prayed for eternal rest for all of those migrants who lost their lives here in their attempt to reach "the American Dream."

For the second time during the trip, Father Luis Nieto demanded that the Mexican authorities combat these crimes, that for several years have sewn pain and fear.

"We cannot keep quiet, we cannot be complicit in this," he said.

After prayer, the Salvadorans planted dozens of crosses in memory of those who lost their lives here and who were never identified.

During the emotional ceremony, the mothers and fathers could not contain their tears. The sadness and pain invaded their faces. Most knew the true meaning of "the Rice Cooker".

Juan de Dios Garcia Davish

Feb. 11, 2009

See also:

Mexico, Central America

Crosses for those murdered at the 'Rice Cooker'

El 80% de migrantes son violadas en el tramo la Arrocera

Arriaga. Chiapas.-A primera vista, el campo verde de arbustos medianos y matas de mango de esta zona despoblada en el estado de Chiapas luce apacible y amigable. Nada más distante: las ráfagas de viento rompen con violencia el silencio, tal como el grito de mujeres inmigrantes que son violadas cada año al cruzar por esta región ubicada a unos 120 kilómetros de la frontera con Guatemala.

"Alrededor del 80% de las centromaricanas que cruzan La Arrocera son violadas", señala el padre Herman Vázquez, fundador del alberque Hogar de la Misericordia y párroco de Arriaga, cercana a la zona "roja", por donde cada año caminan unos 230 mil centroamericanos en el inicio del viaje por territorio mexicano hacia EE.UU...

80% of Migrant Women are Raped in the Zone Called the Rice Cooker

The city of Arraiga, in Chiapas state – At first glance, the green landscape in this sparsely populated region of Chiapas state looks peaceful and inviting. The gusts of wind violently break the silence, much as do the screams of the women migrants who are raped each year as they cross this gauntlet, located 120 from the Guatemalan border.

“About 80% of the central American women who cross “the Rice Cooker – la Arrocera” – are raped, says Father Herman Vázquez, founder of the House of Mercy shelter and parish priest in Arraiga. Arraiga is located close to the “red zone” where 230,000 Central American migrants walk during their journeys to the Mexican border with the U.S.

Between the scrub and rocks of this rural area, bands of delinquents stalk their victims. These assailants have been identified as being residents of nearby towns who have dedicated themselves to raping and robbing migrants.

For migrants, passing through this 4 square kilometer bottleneck on the migrant’s trail is almost inevitable, as migrants seek to bypass the immigration station on the main highway nearby…

Gardenia Mendoza

Chiapas Fronterizo

Feb. 26, 2009

See also:

Central America and Mexico

mariajesusdl02297.jpg

María de Jesús Silva, Jackeline's mother

Trata de blancas en Centroamérica

For non-governmental organizations, the child kidnapping and sex trafficking case of 11-year-old Jackeline Jirón Silva fom Nicaragua is emblematic, as the case shows clearly how the third most profitable criminal enterprise in the world operates.

...Jackeline has been forced to work in brothels all over Central America.  Her pimps now have her in Tapachula, in Chiapas state [near Mexico's southern border with Guatemala].

María de Jesús Silva [Jackeline's mother, who searched all over Central America and southern Mexico for her daughter]: "I saw things that I never imagined existed... The brothels are full of children, sold by traffickers and abandoned by their parents. I saw them prostitute themselves and wished that any one of them would have been my daughter. I settled for caressing the hair of these girls, and I imagined that in the 'next' brothel, I was going to find my daughter. Everything that I have suffered through is nothing compared to what my girl is going through."

Mexico - The Hot Spot
Save the Children has identified the border region between Guatemala and Mexico as being the largest hot spot for the commercial sexual exploitation of children globally.

Ana Salvadó: "It the neck in the bottle, because many children attempt to migrate from Central America [and South America] to the United States, and they never get past [southern] Mexico, where they are sold by pimps and sometimes are returned to Central America."

A study by the international organization ECPAT (End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes)... reveals that over 21,000 Central Americans, with the majority being children, are prostituted in 1,552 bars and brothels in Tapachula, Mexico (near the Guatemala border).

Traffickers sell these children to Tapachula's pimps for $200 each.

Prostitution in cities like Tapachula operates openly. Contralínea Magazine has documented the fact that traffickers work with corrupt federal and local officials in exchange for bribes or as direct participants in the criminal networks...

According to ECPAT's report "Ending Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes," from Tapachula, where these children are sold, the victims are transported to the Mexican cities of Oaxaca, Michoacán, Guerrero, Jalisco, Nayarit, Sinaloa and Mexico City.

More that 50% of these child victims are from [indigenous] Guatemala. The rest are Salvadorans, Hondurans and Nicaraguans. They range in age from eight to fourteen-years-old.

- Ana Lilia Pérez

Revista Contralínea

Oct. 22, 2007


Added: Mar. 21, 2010

Illinois, USA

Suspect sketch

Cops: Man tried to abduct girl twice

Chicago police are warning residents on the Southwest Side to be alert after a man allegedly tried to abduct an 11-year-old girl two days in a row.

A sketch of the suspect is being circulated. The incidents happened near the 3000-block of West 39th Place in the Brighton Park community.

Investigators say on February 25, the man got out of a dark brown pickup truck and tried to grab the girl, but she was able to run away. A day earlier, police say, the same man approached and told the girl he knew her mother.

Both incidents occurred at 2:15 p.m. after the victim was dismissed from school.

The man is described as a 32-year-old Hispanic, 5'8", 170 lbs., with short black hair and a beard. The brown pickup also featured a yellow pine tree air freshener and baby shoe on the rear-view mirror and a multi-colored "S-O-X" sticker on the driver's side rear pillar.

Anyone with information on the suspect should call Chicago police.

WLS-TV

March 12, 2010


Added: Mar. 20, 2010

Mexico

(Related story)

The Other Side of the Street

Laura ran away from home when she was 12, after her stepfather raped her. She became infected with HIV at age 14 after being raped on the street by an HIV Positive man. He is known to have sexually assaulted and 3 other homeless girls, and is now serving a prison sentence for rape. Laura is regularly sexually exploited for money. She has 2 children who live with her parents.

Reforma – Mexico City

"The Storm"

I don't know where to even start...we are in the middle of stuff here that is so sick not sure how to even describe it. All I know is the Lord has been preparing me over the last weeks for what we have now....

We lost the 6 year old [see "Acapulco Update" - March 15, 2010] because certain un-named people told the mother that if she was with us I would go after the guys once I had the whole story...I can't deny that I would but the way it blew up from inside is something that will be addressed.

So that was one thing....the next is equally disturbing and involves 2 sister 1 15 the other 10...the 15 year old was brutally raped and beaten to death and God only knows where they left her body...many times real news gets ignored for the "good" of the people. Her sister 10 was and is also being victimized by rape and has had her teeth all punched out....in the midst of this she is now pregnant and seemingly has vanished from the face of the earth..the same guys who did these acts raped and murdered 2 boys 7 and 10 years old and left the 7 year old body in front of the marina area...no investigation and certainly no prosecution at least that anyone will admit to. So what to do....

well I don't have the answer other than pray....today we are going to an abandoned house where the homeless drug addicts of Acapulco regularly violate both boys and girls who find themselves on the streets. We are going there only to pray in the hopes that maybe..just maybe our prayers can be enough for Angels to free even one child who would be victimized here.

My flesh really wanted/wants to shut down our work in Acapulco not because the work is hard or not needed but because we keep getting hit with stuff that is not our call...we still have a house full of elderly sick people and NO ONE is able or at least willing to help with them...so instead of doing what we are called to and what is clearly needed...going out and getting these children off the streets and out of danger...we are spending the limited resources we have running a nursing home. I am doing all I know how to ....in order to fix it but it is seemingly impossible...so brothers and sisters...I ask for focused prayers at this time.....we need the the govt. or at least a ministry with the call to elderly to help so we can go get these kids before they end up washed up on the beach like so many others...we are not going to shut down here ...we are going to increase our efforts against all odds.

Prayer...lots of prayer!

Reverend Steven T. Cass

Breaking chains Ministry

March 18, 2010


Added: Mar. 20, 2010

Haiti,

The Dominican Republic,

El Salvador,

The United States

Jorge Aníbal Torres Puello

Adviser in Haiti to Americans Is Captured

The Dominican authorities said Friday that they had arrested Jorge Aníbal Torres Puello, who acted as a legal adviser for a group of American church members who were detained in Haiti on child abduction charges, even though he himself was wanted on trafficking charges in the United States and El Salvador.

Working with United States law enforcement agencies, the Dominican authorities detained Mr. Torres on Thursday night without incident in the parking lot of a McDonald’s in Santo Domingo, the officials said.

Mr. Torres, 32, who used a variety of aliases and falsely described himself as a lawyer, dropped out of sight in February after The New York Times questioned him about trafficking charges in El Salvador against someone with a similar name and a physical likeness.

When The Times showed Salvadoran police officials a photograph of Mr. Torres taken in Haiti after the earthquake, the authorities there began an investigation and contacted Interpol, which put out a notice for Mr. Torres’s capture.

Mr. Torres had fooled many people up until that point. Despite the arrest warrants against him, he flew into Port-au-Prince, Haiti, whose airport was under the control of the American military. He also passed along tips to journalists, some of which proved false. Though he had no law degree, he solicited tens of thousands of dollars from relatives of the 10 detained Americans and met with the Haitian judge handling the case.

In El Salvador, Mr. Torres is wanted on accusations of human trafficking and exploitation of minors for pornography and prostitution. In the United States, he faces accusations of smuggling immigrants in Vermont and of probation violations involving a fraud case in Pennsylvania.

“Hiding behind fake names or using phony identifications and passports will not protect those who prey on the most vulnerable in our societies,” John T. Morton, assistant secretary of homeland security for United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said in a statement...

The New York Times

March 19, 2010


Added: Mar. 20, 2010

Honduras

Detectan 122 casos de trata de personas

De los casos detectados se estableció que 88 mujeres fueron víctimas de formas de explotación, mientras que 34 varones sufrieron algún tipo de trata.

El delito de trata de personas se mantiene en ascenso, según un estudio realizado por el Programa de Servicios Integrados de Protección para Víctimas de Trata, el cual es implementado por la organización no gubernamental CHF Internacional.

El estudio revela que al menos 122 personas de diferentes regiones del país fueron víctimas de trata, especialmente de explotación sexual, laboral y de servicios forzados. "Honduras es un país de origen y tránsito para la trata de personas...

Authorities Discover 122 Cases of Human Trafficking

Eighty eight women and 34 men were victimized by various forms of trafficking

The crime of human trafficking continues on the increase in Honduras, according to a study released by the Program for Integral Protection Services for Victims of Trafficking of the NGO CHF International.

Their study revealed that at least 122 people from various regions of Honduras had become victims of trafficking, and especially sexual and labor exploitation. Honduras is a point of origin and transit for victims of trafficking.

The victims of human trafficking are women, girls and boys exploited in commercial sex, enslaved domestic servants, and victims of forced rural and urban labor practices.

The report states that the majority of victims are women and children, who represent the most vulnerable populations. The cases were concentrated in the Atlantic Coast, Sula Valley, central and the western and southern border regions of Honduras.

Some 88 women and 34 men were identified as victims of trafficking by the study.

Among the persons affected, 61% were sexually exploited.

CHI International director Milton Flores stated that: “The study was performed to establish a baseline of information about trafficking cases in this nation, to facilitate the development of mechanisms for intervention.”

El Heraldo

March 19, 2010


Added: Mar. 20, 2010

Mexico

Millionaire child pornographer Jean Succar Kuri

Vence el plazo para que el pederasta Succar Kuri sea trasladado a un penal de Cancún

El juez no ha reconsiderado su postura de enviar al criminal a una cárcel insegura

Mientras que la Cámara de Diputados envió un exhortó durante este fin de semana al juez federal Gabriel García Lanz para que cambie de parecer en el caso del traslado a una cárcel de Cancún de Jean Succar Kuri, El Johnny, este lunes por la noche vence el plazo que el mismo juzgador dio a las autoridades del penal de máxima seguridad del Altiplano y a funcionarios de la Secretaría de Seguridad Pública (SSP) federal para que realicen los trámites necesarios para el regresar al pederasta estadunidense a un penal de mínima seguridad en Quintana Roo...

Judge’s Time Limit for Transferring Succar Kuri to Cancún Ends on March 22, 2010

The Judge in the case has not reconsidered his order to transfer Succar Kuri to a minimum security jail

Mexico’s Chamber of Deputies [lower house of Congress] has, this weekend, sent another request to federal judge Gabriel García Lanz, imploring him to cancel his order to transfer convicted child pornographer Jean Succar Kuri “El Johnny” to Cancún. In parallel, on Monday, March 22nd, the time limit on Judge García Lanz’s order requiring Succar Kuri’s transfer by agents of the Secretariat for Public Security (SSP) from the maximum security prison of El Altiplano, in Mexico state, to a minimum security city jail in [Succar Kuri’ home city of] Cancún – comes due.

As of this date, the judege has not reconsidered his position, according to La Jornada’s sources within the judicial system. Jail officials in Cancún have prepared for Succar Kuri’s arrival, and will monitor him 24 hours per day.

Last week our government sources told us that the SSP’s strategy was to delay complying with Judge García Lanz’s transfer order as long as possible, through the use of bureaucratic pretexts. Only if it became absolutely necessary would they actually transfer Succar Kuri.

Succar Kuri’s defense lawyer, Óscar Delgadillo, stated during an interview that during the weekend of March 13th and 14th, he had met with state SSP officals in Quintano Roo [the state where Cancún is located]. These officials proposed that Succar Kuri be transferred to a state prison. They left it in the hands of the federal SSP to decide where Succar Kuri would be transferred.

According to Delgadillo, the bottom line question involves the fact that this is not a debate about where the prisoner should go. These proposals not to transfer Succar Kuri to Cancún involve a violation of a judge’s order by an administrative authority. The judge’s order, said the lawyer, had already been approved by two courts.

Delgadillo added that, from his point of view, the most serious aspect of any modification of the judge’s order would imply an impermissible application of congressional power (referring to the Chamber of Deputy’s resolution calling on Succar Kuri not to be transferred) in the case. Delgadillo went on to say that the Chamber’s intervention is a stark invasion of the exclusive judicial powers of the Federation.

Delgadillo was referring to the Chamber of Deputy’s March 11, 2010 non-binding [and unanimous] resolution calling upon Judge García Lanz to rescind his order transferring Succar Kuri to Cancún.

La Jornada

March 18, 2010

La Jornada

March 18, 2010


Added: Mar. 20, 2010

Mexico

Buscan diputados homologar sanciones a nivel nacional por trata de personas

El amor en la edad adolescente suele ser un bello recuerdo, para muchas mujeres, para otras, ha sido el inicio de una pesadilla.

"Le desobedecí a mi papá, me escapé con mi novio, y pues me fui a vivir con él, después de una semana me mandó, pues ya a prostituirme, o sea, con la novia de su amigo, y él me decía que si no lo hacía me iba a golpear, y pues que necesitaba el dinero", dijo Estrella, víctima de trata de personas.

El de Estrella, es uno de los más de 20 mil casos de menores, víctimas de trata de personas, con fines de explotación sexual que se calcula, ocurren en México anualmente.

"Es triste pensar lo que son 20 mil niños y niñas sufriendo esclavitud, siendo violadas diariamente hasta treinta veces, teniendo que recibir golpizas si no llevan dos mil y dos mil quinientos pesos al padrote, es lo que llegan a sufrir estas criaturas, es yo creo que el dolor más grande que ha existido en la humanidad", comentó Rosi Orozco, presidenta de la Comisión Especial contra la Trata de Personas.

"Una vez que le di cinco mil al día, después ya vi cómo empezaba a decir que la entregara yo esa cantidad, que no lo podía yo engañar, porque sabía él que yo ganaba más, que le tenía yo que entregar todo si no que me golpeaba", agregó Estrella.

Muchos de estos casos, tienen su origen en la violencia intrafamiliar, que hace huir de casa a las menores. En otros casos es, simplemente, por creer que habían encontrado al hombre de sus vidas.

"Me enamoré de una persona y del enamoramiento me vine con él, y pues después me puso a trabajar. Él me obligó a hacer cosas indebidas que, pues no eran de agradar ¿no?, me puso a acostarme con otras personas", afirmó Mariana, víctima de trata de personas.

La violencia física, no es la única amenaza para las víctimas. En la mayoría de las ocasiones, los tratantes abusan de la dependencia emocional.

"Me daba miedo que me dejara sola y pues que se alejara de mí, pues me sentía plenamente una basura, que no servía para nada y que al igual, eso era lo que me merecía", añadió Mariana.

Las penas para castigar la trata de personas con fines de explotación sexual, varían según el estado de la República, y van de cuatro hasta 12 años de prisión, aunque en algunas entidades se propone elevarlas 40 años. La Cámara de Diputados ya trabaja para homologar estas sanciones a nivel nacional.

"Nuestro trabajo legislativo será homologar, ya he estado yo consensuando con cada uno de los diputados, me he sentado personalmente, todos ellos me han firmado de un compromiso de homologar las leyes, de ayudar a sus estados a platicar con los diputados locales y lograr realmente que se armonice en todas las legislaturas", concluyó Orozco.

Por lo pronto, los legisladores recomiendan a los padres de familia, estrechar la comunicación con sus hijas e hijos, y estar al pendiente de con quiénes se rodean, incluyendo los contactos por internet.

Carlos Ibarra

Once Noticias

March 16, 2010


Added: Mar. 20, 2010

Florida, USA

Gustavo Riano

Gustavo Riano, Bus Driver, Tries to Make Out With Disabled Passenger, Gets [Beaten by Husband]

Gustavo Riano, the driver of an Orlando bus for disabled people, had a crush on one of his regular passengers. He'd told the woman before that he found her attractive. But when he picked her up for a physical therapy appointment this time, his intentions became more aggressive...

He kissed her on the cheek when he picked her up at the door. The woman told Riano (pictured above) it made her feel uncomfortable and to not touch her. But when he got her on the bus and belted her in, he kissed her on the lips.

The 48-year-old kissed her again after making various stops, and at one point tried to force his tongue in her mouth. He also tried to delay dropping her off for physical therapy.

Meanwhile, the woman was texting her husband to inform him of the whole ordeal.

He was eventually arrested for kidnapping and abuse of a disabled adult. But not before he spent a little time in the hospital.

It seems the woman's husband got to Riano before police did. And that led to what cops describe as the driver being punched and kicked repeatedly.

Riano's apparently confessed to his untoward actions. He even told a detective that he doesn't blame the husband for beating his ass. So while he may be a perv, at least he's taking it like a man.

Pete Kotz

True Crime Report

March 18, 2010


Added: Mar. 20, 2010

Jamaica

Jamaica’s Negril Beach Resorts Attracting Sex Trade

Negril - It's just before midnight, and the music pulsates through the massive speakers perched under the ceiling, scantily clad girls in their five-inch heels moving closer to the iron poles.

To the rhythms of reggae and dancehall music, they sashay onto the platform, grab the poles and dance like molasses sliding down a wooden banister.

This is the scene in "Scrub a Dub", the exotic adult nightclub in the picturesque tourist resort town of Negril on Jamaica's west coast.

Misty, 24, has been dancing for just over four years. She came to Negril from the capital Kingston, 222 kilometers to the east. Her story is one of hopelessness that drove her to the resort town in search of a better life. "My life was hard, I needed to make more money. A friend told me to come to Negril where I could work in the tourist industry," she said. But she was disappointed to find the jobs in the luxurious all-inclusive hotels were hard to come by.

"My friend took me to this club and they wanted dancers. I was afraid at first, but now I make good money and I can take care of my two-year-old daughter, the men tip well. I hope to become the best dancer in here," Misty said.

Misty is not alone. Hundreds of girls, many under the age of 18, flock to this tourist Mecca and knowingly or unknowingly are drawn into the commercial sex trade. This is the other side of paradise, a hotbed of human trafficking, prostitution and drugs — a stark contrast to the Negril promoted around the world with its seven miles of white sand beaches...

Most of the students, including a few young men, can read only at the fifth-grade level. The teachers work to get them to the point where they can take entrance exams to enroll at a national training institute.

"Our task is to give them information, so they can say 'I don't have to do this'," Fowler said. "The temptation is there, when you are poor and have no money ...if we can get them to the stage where they don't have to go down that road, we have done a good job."

There is one group of young women that Fowler still hopes to reach — young girls under the age of 16. This is one of the dark secrets of Negril, spoken about by very few.

The prevalence of girls, some as young as 13, was confirmed by "Shoeshine", whose real name is George Coombs.

Shoeshine, 51, is a transvestite who moved to Negril from the eastern parish of St. Mary years ago.

Living in a crudely built one-room hut just on the outskirts of the hotel strip, he knows the ins and outs of all the underground establishments geared towards the commercial sex trade. He even opens up his house to those who wish to get involved with the young girls.

"You have young girls, it's not legal, I can show you plenty of them... they come from all over, the older dancers bring their daughters into the business, the white people want the young girls," he said.

Negril is especially impacted by sex tourism, which thrives in this popular tropical vacation destination. It is primarily poor women and girls, and increasingly boys, who are trafficked from rural to urban and tourist areas for commercial sexual exploitation...

Kathy Barrett

IPS News Agency

March 18, 2010


Added: Mar. 20, 2010

Maryland, USA

Suspects in gang rape

Six Illegal Aliens Arrested for Maryland Gang Rape

On Tuesday, deputies in Charles County, MD arrested six illegal aliens in their residence on Nicholas Road. Detectives say the men are responsible for a gang rape which lasted several hours, which ended when the victim was able to escape her attackers.

Detectives from the Special Victims Unit said that the woman met one of the men the night before, at an Alexandria, Va. nightclub. The man offered to drive her home, and she accepted.

Once in the car, she found several other men already in the vehicle. Instead of taking her to her home in Va., he drove her to his own residence which he shared with more than 12 other illegal aliens.

According to investigators, the men forced her inside and proceeded to rape and sodomize her for several hours.

Sometime before 5:30 a.m., the woman managed to escape the residence, and ran to a nearby home for assistance. Deputies from the Charles County Sheriff’s Office responded and the woman was taken to Civista Medial Center for treatment.

Deputies immediately went to the location of the reported rape, and found many of the alleged attackers. However, detectives are still looking for additional suspects who fled the residence that morning.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement is assisting in the ongoing investigation.

The following individuals have been charged with first-degree rape and false imprisonment, and are now in custody:

  • Henry Misael Hernandez-Ramos, 20

  • Adelio Orellana Cruz, 28

  • Ivan Urillas-Hernandez, 21

  • Ismael Echeverria Montoya, 27

  • Jose Omar Hernandez-Orellana, 20

  • Juan Carlos Santa-Maria, 18

Dave Gibson

The Examiner

March 19, 2010


Added: Mar. 19, 2010

New York, USA

Inside the Hidden World of Sex Trafficking on Long Island

Rosa* was about to cross the United States-Mexico border when her coyote, or human smuggler, ordered the 22-year-old to have sex with him and told her that the promise of a job in computers or modeling in New York was a trick to force her into prostitution. Tracy*, 18, a product of the Boston foster care system, had been sold from one pimp to another until she was arrested for prostitution on Long Island; she told her story to investigators and was admitted to a shelter for human trafficking victims.

Rosa is staying in a group home where authorities hope that she will one day get to testify against her traffickers.

Tracy checked herself out of the shelter three days later and hasn’t been seen since.

The two are but a glimpse of the untold number of victims swept up in the global and domestic sex trafficking trade—mostly women under 25, one-third of them minors—who have been forced, coerced or duped into a life of selling sex. Up to 200,000 are reportedly U.S. citizens, in addition to more than 17,000 Hispanic, Asian and Eastern European immigrants [? - LL], but experts say such statistical estimates are virtually impossible to verify. The approximately $9.5 billion human trafficking trade is among the top three criminal markets worldwide alongside illegal drug and arms dealing, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

Sex trafficking cases are among more than 80 percent of reported human trafficking incidents, DOJ estimates show. The rest are exploited in the equally shadowy and traumatizing world of labor trafficking, such as two Indonesian housekeepers found physically abused and severely underpaid for five years in a 2007 slave case in Muttontown. While the conviction of two multi-millionaire slave masters highlighted the hidden-in-plain-sight nature of those crimes, federal prosecutors similarly lifted the veil on a local sex slave ring, charging three Suffolk County suspects with recruiting women from Latin America to work at LI bars where they were allegedly forced to have sex with patrons for money.

Those two federal trafficking cases are among the first to be tried on LI since investigations into this form of modern-day slavery became possible under the U.S. Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000...

Timothy Bolger

Long Island Press

March 18th, 2010


Added: Mar. 19, 2010

Minnesota, USA

University of Minnesota Law School to host international congress on human trafficking

Minneapolis / Saint Paul - Experts in human trafficking, international criminal law, international children’s issues, victimized populations and other human rights fields will assemble at the University of Minnesota Law School April 2 for the 2010 International Congress on Human Trafficking.

Sessions are open to the public and will run from 9:15 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in the Law School’s Courtroom 180, 229 19th Ave. S. Minneapolis. A closing lecture and reception will follow in Auerbach Commons on the lower level.

The Congress will bring a comprehensive look to trafficking in its many manifestations, including trafficking for labor, drugs, sex and military purposes. It also will address the vulnerability of children to traffickers in international disaster hot spots and methods to combat this problem.

Michele Bratcher Goodwin, Everett Fraser Professor of Law, is the congress organizer. She holds joint appointments at the University of Minnesota Medical School and School of Public Health and is a prolific author and researcher on such issues as reproductive law, medical tourism, organ transplantation, law and status and socioeconomics in medicine. Her co-participants at the Congress:..

Contacts: Nicole Elsasser, Law School, elsa0011@umn.edu Ryan Mathre, University News Service, mathre@umn.edu, (612) 625-0552

University of Minnesota News

March 18, 2010


Added: Mar. 18, 2010

A teen in prostitution in Tijuana

Tijuana, eslabón del tráfico infantile

Menores revelan red internacional: Trabajadores Sociales

Las capturan aquí y las trasladan ilegalmente a Los Ángeles

Tijuana.- La ciudad es un punto de paso para una de las mayores redes de trata de niños en el mundo pues organismos internacionales con presencia en Los Ángeles que han encontrado a niñas prostituyéndose en aquella ciudad manifestaron que en Tijuana se acostumbra tener cautivas a las jovencitas previo a ser introducidas ilegalmente a Estados Unidos, reveló Edith Pérez, presidenta del Colegio de Trabajadores Sociales de Baja California...

Tijuana is a Major Hub for Child Sex Trafficking

Social workers: Children expose international trafficking network

Children kidnapped in Mexico are taken to Los Angeles, California

According to Edith Pérez Velázquez, president of the College for Social Workers of the state of Baja California, the city of Tijuana is a hub for one of the world's largest child trafficking networks. International organizations working in Los Angeles have found underage girls who say that young girls are trained to be slaves in Tijuana before being trafficked into the United States.

Pérez Velázquez: "Human trafficking and the exploitation of women and girls is one of the world's most profitable business for organized crime, because they traffic in a recyclable product which they earn a profit from time and time again. The problem, she says, is that the authorities want to deny that this is going on."

Pérez Velázquez: "Mafias are involved in trafficking, but so are the authorities. Why shouldn't I say it? Why do we have girls and boys living in conditions of human slavery, where the authorities consent to this situation?"

Pérez Velázquez added that Tijuana's geographical location makes it a strategic location for trafficking mafias, criminal organizations that nobody talks about. Despite the fact that shelters for victims have been created by international NOGs, little is spoken about them.

These networks do business by "renting and selling" humans. Victims are tricked and then brought to Tijuana - girls, boys and women - from southern Mexico and Central America, using every possible ruse.

The intention of these criminals, says Pérez Velázquez, is to drop off their "merchandize" as they call victims, in Tijuana so that they can be prostituted commercially. [After this period of training] the victims are taken across the border to California in the U.S.

Pérez Velázquez: "When trafficking victims are brought to Tijuana, it is for the purpose of taking them to Los Angeles. From LA, they are distributed across the world.

Pérez Velázquez lamented the fact that currently, Mexican law does not address human trafficking as a crime. The cases that have been prosecuted have been incorrectly charged as instances of pimping, sexual abuse or prostitution. Actually, says Pérez Velázquez, human trafficking is something more profound than that.

Human trafficking involves the sale and 'rental' of children for sexual exploitation, or the sale of people as indentured servants, labor slaves or for organ trafficking and other purposes. Nonetheless, in Mexico we still don't talk about it.

Pérez Velázquez: "The ones who have documented trafficking cases and provided care to victims, which is the most important aspect of this problem, have been the members of civil society.

We are now coordinating with the National Human Rights Commission and the Attorney General's office, for example, because they [now] have offices that specialize in human trafficking.

In conclusion Pérez Velázquez commented noted that there is not one exclusive zone where human trafficking takes place in Tijuana. It can occur in any bar, brothel or even in one of the many clandestine houses that proliferated here.

Pérez Velázquez: "The criminals see their victims as merchandize. They put them up for sale, and later they distribute them. The violence faced by these victims is severe. They are threatened with death. They can't escape. We can't file a complaint, even if we suspect a case [because the victim must file a complaint under Mexican laws]. What we rightly want to achieve is to raise public awareness that this situation is a real problem.

Néstor Cruz

El Sol de Tijuana

March 16, 2010

See also:

[About the above article]

Pretty accurate look into TJ sex biz and the trafficking that it produces

Reverend Steven Cass

Breaking Chains Ministry

March 16, 2010

See also:

Mexico 

En Desventaja, Niños Mexicanos Indocumentados

Mexico's Undocumented Migrant Children are at a Disadvantage for Refugee Benefits

Thousands of Children Cross Alone into the U.S. Each Year to Escape Child Sex Trafficking Networks

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

This is the reality facing children at risk, as described by attorney Christopher Nugent. For many years, Nugent, of the law firm Holland and Knight, has represented Mexican and Central American children and adults with immigration problems. His work has been pro bono...

...Thousands of Mexican and Central American children flee northward into the U.S. each year to escape child prostitution...

Nugent explained how in Mexico there exists terrible child trafficking in the area of Acapulco, Guerrero, and that many now call this region "the new Bangkok" of child sex tourism. Nugent also emphasized that Tijuana [on the U.S. border with San Diego County, California] has also become an zone controlled by powerful child prostitution networks. Many children [in prostitution] from Tijuana are trying to flee to San Diego...

Full English Translation

Georgina Olson

Excélsior

July 3, 2008


Added: Mar. 16, 2010

Mexico

Denuncian tráfico de niños

La Premio Nacional de Derechos Humanos 2004, Olga Sánchez Martínez, denunció que en Chiapas operan bandas organizadas dedicadas a la compra y tráfico de recién nacidos.

En entrevista dijo que hay casos en que los compradores de menores de edad hacen sus operaciones ilícitas en pleno parque central Miguel Hidalgo, en Tapachula, y en el municipio fronterizo de Unión Juárez.

Olga Sánchez Martínez, winner of Mexico’s 2004 Human Rights Award, denounces the trafficking of recently born babies by organized crime in Chiapas state.

According to Sánchez Martínez, ‘buyers’ of babies operate in the open in Miguel Hidalgo Central Park in [the major sex trafficking city of] Tapachula, and also in the border city of Unión Juárez.

Sánchez Martínez said that traffickers are offering up to 5,000 for recently born babies.

The founder of the local shelter for migrants, seniors and the poor, Jesus, the Good Pastor, referred to International Women’s Day and all of the many speeches that were being given – promoting the great advances in human rights and gender equality.

She stated: “The truth is that we are living a fiction. We do not see the respect for women’s human rights; we continue to exist the same a always. In fact, I am [probably] the most discriminated against woman in Mexico.

The shelter director also referred to a recent study that describes the adverse circumstances that women are facing today.

“There are still regions of Chiapas state [in southern Mexico on the Guatemalan border] where parents sell their [young] daughters for a sack of potatoes or a cow.

En the case of migrants, a culture of exploiting them continues to exist. Most importantly, criminal gangs force them into either transporting drugs or prostitution.”

Sánchez Martínez added that local and state police officers don’t help migrants. To the contrary, these officers continue to extort migrants seeking to reach the United States.

Sánchez Martínez: “Police officers beat migrants in the Libramiento Sur zone south of the city of Tapachula. They rob them of everything they have. Migrants reports that the delinquents who do this to them are blue uniformed police officers.”

exonline.com.mx

March 15, 2010

LibertadLatina

Special Section

Read our section on the prostitution of infants by trafficking gangs across Latin America


Added: Mar. 16, 2010

Notes from the frontline of the war against impunity

Mexico

Acapulco Update

Well it did not take long for the Lord to get my blood pumping...in the net 48 hours we have a 6 year old girl who was raped and sodomized coming in. Apparently she was thrown out of school for doing strip teases and rather than try to find out why such a young girl would act in this manner the director of the school felt it made more sense to throw her out. Talk about multiplying the problem.

In addition in the same family there is a 15 year old who has been victimized by a guy who runs a business out of the front of the family home. My understanding is this guy has tried to get to the 15 year old 3 times but so far she has been able to break away. The mother of the child told him if he continued she would tell her husband....the guy told her he would kill her and that was the end of that...so now both the mom and the daughter are pretty much just waiting for the inevitable and in the meantime trying to deal with the 6 year old who has severe trauma.

You pretty much have to be in it to believe it, but what I guess scares me most is they truly believe the guy would kill them and from what the locals are telling me...he would. Pretty large prayer request here saints...I am not sure how we are going to work this and even less how I am going to follow the family's wish of leaving the perpetrator of the [rape of the] 6-year-old alone.

There is more but for now this is enough.

God help us....

In Christ

steven cass

Breaking Chains Ministry

March 15, 2010


Added: Mar. 14, 2010

Indigenous Latin America

Nobel Peace Prize Laureate  and Indigenous Mayan Activist Rigoberta Menchú Tum

Rigoberta Menchú Censura Discriminación Contra Pueblos Indígenas

Morelia, Michoacan - La premio Nobel de la Paz, Rigoberta Menchú, censuró la discriminación contra los pueblos indígenas, así como la trata de personas, feminicidios y violaciones a los derechos humanos por parte de los militares dentro de la lucha contra el narcotráfico.

En rueda de prensa, previa a la conferencia que ofreció en el Centro Cultural del DIF de la ciudad de Uruapan, calificó como "casos escalofriantes" los de la trata de personas que ocurren cerca de las fronteras y los feminicidios, en este rubro "no ha funcionado la justicia como deber ser", además del "racismo y la discriminación" de los pueblos indígenas...

Mayan Nobel Laureate Rigoberta Menchu Denounces Ongoing Discrimination Against Indigenous Peoples

The city of Morelia, in Michoacan state, Mexico – Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Rigoberta Menchú Tum denounced during a press conference the ongoing environment of discrimination in which Indigenous people continue to live. Among the human rights violations that Menchú listed were human trafficking, femicide murder, and violations of human rights by military personnel that have taken place during Mexico’s war on drug traffickers.

Menchú’s press conference was held prior to her participation in a conference held at the Integral Family Development (DIF) social service agency’s cultural center in the city of Uraupan.

Menchú characterized as “chilling” the conditions of human trafficking that exist on the Guatemalan – Mexican border, as well as the crisis of femicide murders in [both nations]. She stated that [anti-Indigenous] racism and discrimination exist, and “the system of justice does not function as it should.”

Menchú Tum commented that humanity is turning this planet into a ‘mess.’ She also denounced Hollywood for its gross and preposterous defiling of the sacred Mayan calendar portrayed in the movie 2012.

Menchu Tum concluded by stating that, despite the fact that “Indigenous peoples, after 500 years [of occupation], are silenced, abandoned, living in the shadows and are living a history that is imposed upon us, in which we are not part of the official history” – we are strong, especially in Michoacan, Mexico, which has an extraordinary culture.

El Universal

March 12, 2010


Added: Mar. 14, 2010

Mexico

Former special prosecutor Alicia Elena Pérez Duarte (right) appears with winners of the city of Irapauto Institute for Women's 2010 awards for distinguished women - together with Irapauto mayor Jorge Estrada Palero.

Reconoce Inmira a Mujeres Ejemplares

Trece mujeres irapuatenses fueron distinguidas en el marco del “Día Internacional de la Mujer” a celebrarse el próximo 8 de marzo. En un evento que convocó a mujeres empresarias, directoras de asociaciones civiles, funcionarias municipales e invitadas especiales, el alcalde Jorge Estrada Palero presidió la entrega del reconocimiento “UARHI” a las Mujeres Destacadas del Municipio.

El premio “UARHI 2010”, fue para Alicia Elena Pérez Duarte y Noroña, defensora de los derechos humanos y delegada para América Latina de la Organización Mundial Contra la Tortura, con reconocimiento ante la Organización de las Naciones Unidas...

Irapauto Women’s Institute Gives Alicia Elena Pérez Duarte Their “UARHI 2010” Award

In celebration of International Women’s Day 2010, the municipality of Irapauto, in Guanaguato state, Mayor Jorge Estrada Palero recognized 13 local women with its annual UARHI Award for distinguished community serve.

The city’s “UARHI 2010” Award was presented to human rights defender and Latin America’s delegate to the World Organization Against Torture (OMCT) - Alicia Elena Pérez Duarte.

Marcela Beltrán Russell, president of the patrons of the Integral Family Development (DIF) in Irapauto, applauded the Irapauto Women’s Institute for their efforts in advancing women in social affairs, politics and sports.

Perez Duarte said that International Women’s Day is a day of... celebration, while at the same time denouncing the fact that some women continue to live in fear of men because of misogynist social myths.

Salvador Manjarrez

am.com.mx

March 07, 2010


Added: Mar. 14, 2010

Mexico

‘Hay en Coahuila Trata de Blancas’

Alicia Elena Pérez Duarte y Noroña, ex titular de la Fiscalía Especial para la Atención de Delitos Relacionados con Actos de Violencia en Contra de las Mujeres, Fevim, declaró que el estado de Coahuila no escapa de la trata de mujeres, pornografía, prostitución infantil y secuestros de adolescentes.

Ahora catedrática de tiempo completo en la Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Pérez Duarte y Noroña, declaró: “La utilización de la sexualidad de las mujeres en prostitución es una creencia que tenemos muy antigua y que permite que haya un grupo de mujeres que son esclavizadas para atender esta supuesta necesidad”...

Alicia Elena Pérez Duarte: Human Trafficking Exists in Coahuila State

Alicia Elena Pérez Duarte y Noroña, the former director of the federal office of the Special Prosecutor for Violent Crimes Against Women (FEVIM – Now FEVIMTRA) has announced that the state of Coahuila has not escaped from the [national] problems of trafficking in women, pornography, child prostitution and the kidnapping of adolescents.

Now a full-time professor at the Autonomous University of Mexico in Mexico City, Pérez Duarte stated: “The use of women’s sexuality in prostitution is a very old cultural tradition [in Mexico] that permits groups of women to be enslaved to provide this supposed necessity.”

Pérez Duarte explained that to enslave women, [criminals] kidnap them in different parts of Mexico. Trafficking occurs wherever there are men who require sexual services from prostitutes. “I don’t believe, honestly, that an absolutely free choice exists for women to become prostitutes. They always have a history that has drawn them into this.”

Dr. Pérez Duarte, who earlier had participated in a conference on jurisprudence at the Autonomous University of Coahiula [state], was asked if there are consumers of prostitution in Coahila. She responded: “Yes there are, and there is prostitution and human trafficking as well.”

Pérez Duarte related the case of Silvia Stephanie Sánchez-Viesca Ortiz, (Fanny), who disappeared from the streets of the city of Torreón on November 5, 2004 at age 16. The authorities are not clear about what happened to Fanny.

“This case is paradigmatic in Coahuila. As far as I know, Fanny’s is a case of human trafficking. But it is very similar to a situation in which the mafias kidnap a girl and turn her into a personal concubine” said Pérez Duarte.

She went on to say that Fanny was taken away in an illegal fashion, because she was underage: “What choice did she have in the matter?” We won’t know the answer to that question until we can talk to her. Why did they take her? So that she could become the concubine of these wretched men? I can’t be convinced that she left of her own free will.

Pérez Duarte further explained that both criminal gangs and human traffickers use similar mechanisms: they kidnap women to be sexually abused by a group of men, or they take a young girl to serve as the sex slave of one specific man.

The technique used to take Fanny away is a modis operandi that criminal gangs have always used.”

María Elena Solís Gutiérrez, president of the non-profit Mexican Association for Kidnapped and Disappeared Children, stated that in Coahuila there have been ten unresolved cases similar to Fanny’s since 2004.

Similar kidnapping cases are believed to have occurred in Puebla, Guadalajara, México state, Zihuatanejo and Acapulco.

Vanguardia

March 09, 2010


Added: Mar. 14, 2010

Mexico

‘Tres de Cada Cinco Mujeres Sufren Violencia en México’

Asegura Alicia Elena Pérez Duarte, ex fiscal especial para Delitos contra las Mujeres, quien ayer estuvo en Saltillo para impartir una conferencia

Tres de cada cinco mujeres sufren violencia en los hogares de México, mientras que 13 por ciento es víctima de agresión fuera de sus casas, pero en total y tomando en cuenta ambos aspectos, el 35 por ciento de las mujeres de este país es objeto de algún tipo de maltrato, afirmó ayer Alicia Elena Pérez Duarte, ex fiscal Especial para Delitos contra las Mujeres...

‘Three Out of Five Women in Suffer from Domestic Violence.’

Former Special Prosecutor for Crimes of Violence Against Women Alicia Elena Pérez Duarte, who participated at a conference in Saltillo

According to former special prosecutor Dr. Alicia Elena Pérez, three out of every five women suffers from violence within the home in Mexico, while 13% are victims of aggression outside of the home. Together, a total of 35% of women are subjected to some form of abuse.

Distinguished women’s rights defender Perez Duarte, the former special prosecutor for violent crimes against women and human trafficking in the federal Attorney General’s office, came to the city of Saltillo to participate in a gender equality conference at the Autonomous University of Coahuila [state].

In regard to the topic of violence against women, Perez Duarte said that men continue to view women as being their property, and that concept is deeply embedded in our culture. She added that the [human rights] work that has been accomplished has brought the problem into the media spotlight, and it is now on the public agenda. It is a part of the generalized violence that our society is suffering through today.

We are not the property of our husbands

Perez Duarte: “This question involves a society-wide belief system. What must be changed is the perception that women belong to their husbands, as well as the concept that God made women to serve men. Violence against women derives from these beliefs.

Perez Duarte: “If we break with the violence and see each other as equals, with the same rights and obligations, and with the same right to dignity, at that point we can end the present condition of inertia [in advancing our rights].

Vanguardia

March 09, 2010


Added: Mar. 14, 2010

Indigneous Latin America

Trabajo Infantil Indígena y Descolonización

17 millones de niños indígenas trabajan en América Latina en labores agrícolas y en el área urbana se desempeñan en actividades domésticas, en construcción y como vendedores ambulantes, según datos de la OIT y UNICEF.

Indigneous Child Labor and Decolonization

17 million Indigenous Children work in Latin America in agriculture, domestic work and as street vendors, according to data from the International Labor Organization and UNICEF

El tema es abordado en el Encuentro Latinoamericano: “Pueblos indígenas y gobierno: hacia una protección efectiva de los derechos de los niños, niñas y adolescentes indígenas en situación de trabajo infantil por abolir. De la declaración a la acción” que se desarrolla en Cartagena de Indias, con la participación de 200 representantes de entidades gubernamentales y comunidades indígenas. UNICEF ha presentado, junto con la Agencia Española de Cooperación Internacional para el Desarrollo (AECID) y la Fundación para la Educación en Contextos de Multilingüismo y Pluriculturalidad (FUNPROEIB Andes), el Atlas sociolingüístico de pueblos indígenas en América Latina, un análisis lingüístico y sociocultural para Latinoamérica. "No teníamos ningún informe sobre el estado de la situación de los pueblos indígenas, ni en el ámbito cultural, educativo, lingüístico, económico, demográfico ni social", señala el jefe de la Unidad de Políticas Intraculturales, Interculturales y Plurilingüismo del ministerio de Educación de Bolivia y aymara del altiplano boliviano, Walter Gutiérrez. Según él, sin una "mirada amplia" sobre América Latina, resulta "imposible planificar políticas integrales que protejan los intereses indígenas". Por esta razón, califica el Atlas como "un avance" y una "herramienta útil" para planificadores y gobernantes...

[English translation to follow]

Cristiano Morsolin

ArgenPress

March 11, 2010


Added: Mar. 14, 2010

Mexico

La Equidad de Género, Congelada

MÉXICO. - Para alcanzar mayor equidad de género en el trabajo, que permita una atención más adecuada a las mujeres, las mexicanas tienen dos opciones: cargarse de paciencia porque los obstáculos en México son muchos y muy complejos, o migrar hacia el frío Norte de Europa porque allá ofrecen el mejor trato a las mujeres, según da cuenta un informe del Foro Económico Mundial.

Algunas profesionales mexicanas se expresaron ayer, Día Internacional de la Mujer, con desdén. “No me regalen flores”, pidió la activista social Lydia Cacho en EL INFORMADOR. “A nadie se le ocurriría mandar flores a los mexicanos para celebrar el centenario de la independencia de México”. Pero regalar flores a las mujeres “en su día” no es extraño en las empresas e instituciones mexicanas. Muchas lo hacen. O les dan la tarde libre “para que se la pasen en su familia”. Atendiéndola, por supuesto.

Gender Equality is Frozen in Mexico

According to a report by the World Economic Forum (WEF), women who seek gender equality and fairness in the workplace have two options: 1) be prepared with patience for a long wait in Mexico, because the obstacles to equality are many, and complex; or 2) move to the cold nations of northern Europe, where women encounter better treatment.

During International Women’s Day (IWD), several Mexican professional women joined to declare their disdain. “Don’t send us flowers,” said activist Lydia Cacho. “Nobody thinks of sending flowers to Mexican people to celebrate the bicentennial of our nation’s independence.” But to send flowers to women on our day is not seen as unusual in Mexican businesses and institutions. Many organizations send flowers to women workers, or they give them the afternoon off to spend with family.” (Taking care of them, we would imagine.)

At its core, the disdain for the way in which IWD is celebrated here has its roots in the fact that Mexico rejects gender equality, especially in the workplace.

The WEF supports our point of view by placing Mexico in 98th place out of 134 nations in its analysis of the “gender gap.”

The WEF Corporate Gender Gap Report 2010 states that Mexico lags behind other nations in women’s equality, especially in the workplace, due to cultural issues: widespread social machismo and the patriarchal way in which business enterprises are run.

The study shows that other nations in which ancestral machismo is strong rate worse than Mexico. They include Japan (101st), India - 114th, and Turkey - 129th. Although Europe generally has more enlightened attitudes, Mexico’s 98th place position is not far from Italy - 72nd, and Greece - in 85th place.

At the other extreme, Mexico ranks far behind the United States, in 31st place, Canada – 25th, Spain – 17th.

The top ten nations for gender equality as rated by the report are:

1. Iceland

2. Finland

3. Norway

4. Sweden

5. New Zealand

6. South Africa

7. Denmark

8. Ireland

9. The Philippines

10. Lesotho

The WEF study was based upon the results of a 25 question survey effort carried out in the 134 nations of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). In Mexico, the survey was conducted with executives of the 100 largest enterprises in the nation.

The two most important barriers to women’s progress in the Mexican workplace were identified as being the cultural factors of the extensive belief in machismo, and the patriarchal manner in which business enterprises are run. These factors will make it difficult to achieve progress for women’s equality during the coming years.

Informador

March 09, 2010


Added: Mar. 14, 2010

Mexico

5 Abducted Journalists Remain Missing Amid Outcry in Mexico

Mexico City - Five journalists remained missing in northern Mexico on Friday as their abductions generated international condemnation from governments and human rights organizations.

Dolía Estévez, a journalist and senior adviser for the U.S.-Mexico Journalism Initiative at the Woodrow Wilson Center, a research organization in Washington, D.C., criticized the Mexican government for failing to protect journalists.

"The inability of the Mexican state to guarantee the right of freedom of expression ... and the apparent lack of political will by the Mexican government to protect reporters, journalists, photographers and editors has turned Mexico into one of the most dangerous places in the world for journalists to work," she said.

Other organizations condemning the situation in Mexico include the Committee to Protect Journalists, the Inter-American Press Association and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists.

The U.S. State Department, in its latest human rights report, and the European Parliament also called on the Mexican government to do more to protect journalists.

Mike O'Connor of the Committee to Protect Journalists in Mexico City said that questions remain about the death of journalist Jorge Rabago. State officials said his death was caused by a diabetic attack.

Colleagues said Rabago was beaten and his body showed signs of torture.

Also among the abducted journalists were a reporter and videographer from Mexico City-based Grupo Milenio. They had been sent to cover the border violence, which has been attributed to fighting between the Zetas criminal group and the Gulf cartel. The journalists were beaten, released and ordered out of the region.

Such threats, journalists and human rights organizations say, generate a climate of fear and increase self-censorship not just in Mexico but along parts of the U.S. border.

Several American reporters in Texas' Rio Grande Valley said this week that they had been told by their news organizations to stay away from Reynosa for the time being...

The Dallas Morning News

March 13, 2010


Added: Mar. 14, 2010

Mexico

Alejandro Lucas Orozco Rubio

Funcionario Recibe Casa de Narcojunior

Una residencia de las Lomas asegurada por la PGR el año pasado a Vicente Carrillo Leyva, hijo del extinto capo del narcotráfico Vicente Carrillo Fuentes, alias El Señor de los Cielos, fue entregada por el gobierno de Felipe Calderón a Alejandro Lucas Orozco Rubio, quien es un pastor evangélico que se dice “asesor espiritual” del inquilino de Los Pinos y de su esposa, dirige el Instituto Nacional de las Personas Adultas Mayores (Inapam), es proveedor del gobierno y está casado con la diputada federal del PAN Rosa María de la Garza, mejor conocida como Rosi Orozco en su desempeño legislativo...

Federal Agency Head Alejandro Lucas Orozco Rubio and His Wife, Congressional Deputy Rosi Orozco, are Given a Confiscated Drug Kingpin’s Mansion by President Calderon

A mansion that was confiscated in 2009 from Vicente Carrillo Leyva, son of the now deceased drug trafficking kingpin Vicente Carrillo Fuentes, has been given ‘on deposit’ by the National Action Party (PAN) government of President Felipe Calderón to Alejandro Lucas Orozco.

Lucas Orozco is the director of the federal Institute for Older Adults [INAPAM], and is President Calderón’s spiritual advisor. Both he and his wife, PAN Congressional deputy [and anti-trafficking activist] Rosi Orozco, are evangelical Christian pastors in the House on the Rock Church.

In addition to his other activities, Lucas Orozco owns several businesses that provide ethics training and media campaign services to the Calderón government and to the PAN political party. He is also President Calderón's conduit to the evangelical Christian community in Mexico.

The Institute for Older Adults [and other government agencies] will not release information about the turnover.

When Lucas Orozco was asked about the property, he did not deny the facts, but added that he has complied with the law in receiving the drug trafficker’s mansion.

And his statements make sense. The permissive legislation justifies yet another case of influence peddling and payment for favors.

Raúl Rodríguez Cortés

El Universal - OpEd

March 12, 2010


Added: Mar. 14, 2010

Mexico, Europe

Violence in Mexico

Alarmed at the escalating gang violence in Mexico, MEPs [members of the European Parliament] voice solidarity with the Mexican people and support for the government's efforts to combat the violence and drug trafficking. They also urge the government to provide more protection to human rights activists and step up its efforts to strengthen the rule of law. EU governments are asked to provide more assistance to Mexico.

In its resolution, adopted by 57 votes to 2 with 3 abstentions, Parliament says it "shares the Mexican authorities’ concern at the escalation of violence in the country, and stands shoulder-to-shoulder with the Mexican people in the fight against drug trafficking". It "extends its sympathy and support to the families and friends of the victims, and to the Mexican people, whom it encourages to continue to fight to defend democracy and the rule of law".

Parliament "supports the Mexican Government in its determination to combat organized drug trafficking" and "condemns all forms of violence, in particular the violence and persistent death threats to which activists engaged in promoting and defending human rights in Mexico are subjected, and calls for the Mexican authorities to step up efforts to provide legal and personal protection to such groups". The resolution also highlights the problem of violence against media workers and against women and believes "it is the government's responsibility to combat 'feminicide' ".

In addition, MEPs urge the Mexican government to "continue with its efforts to consolidate the rule of law", "specifically with reference to reform of the judicial system". The EP also believes attention should be devoted to helping young people take their place in society, as it "considers frustration felt by young people to be one of the main factors behind the violence"...

The European Parliament

March 11, 2010


Added: Mar. 14, 2010

Guatemala

'Our Lives Are Cut Short at a Stroke'

Guatemala City - "This is a time of great tension because we know that at any moment, when we least expect it, our lives can be cut short at a stroke," Tito Gálvez, a leader in the Resistance Front for the Defense of Natural Resources and Rights of the Guatemalan Peoples (FRENA), told IPS.

Two of Gálvez's fellow activists, Evelinda Ramírez and Octavio Roblero, were among four human rights workers murdered so far this year in this country, where even today, defending civil liberties is a life-and-death matter.

Besides Ramírez and Roblero, Germán Curup and Juan Antonio Chea were also killed between Jan. 1 and Feb. 17, and the perpetrators have still not been identified. In 2009 there were 353 attacks on activists, according to human rights organizations.

The non-governmental FRENA, based in the western department (province) of San Marcos on the border with Mexico, is engaged in an ongoing dispute over local electricity distribution with the Gas Natural-Unión Fenosa, a Spanish corporation.

The conflict escalated to such a level that the government decreed an emergency order called a "state of prevention" from December 2009 to February 2010, suspending several constitutional rights such as freedom of movement, speech and assembly and enhancing the powers of security forces to conduct searches.

"Our protests are against the electricity company's abuses. But their people can go about carrying arms and creating mayhem, while the government here does nothing to stop it," Gálvez complained.

The murders of human rights defenders and attacks on their work have triggered an outcry...

Danilo Valladares

Inter Press Service (IPS)

Mar 13, 2010


Added: Mar. 14, 2010

Mexico

Refrendan Segob y Sedena Respeto a Derechos Humanos

En un foro de cooperación trilateral, el jefe del Comando Norte revela que EU enseña a México a cazar capos del narcotráfico como si fueran terroristas de Afganistán o Irak, a fin de tener éxito en esa lucha.

Mexico's Sectretary's of Defense and the Interior Reject U.S. Criticism of Impunity for Soldiers Accused of Human Rights Abuses

Mexico's Northern Command Reveals That the U.S. is Training its soldiers to hunt down drug kingpins as if they were terrorists in Iraq or Afghanistan

Las secretarías de Gobernación y de la Defensa Nacional rechazaron que en México hayan aumentado o queden impunes las violaciones a los derechos humanos.

Un día después de que el Departamento de Estado estadunidense reportó en su informe anual sobre derechos humanos que en México se incrementaron abusos graves como las detenciones arbitrarias, las desapariciones y los tratos crueles, la Secretaría de Gobernación destacó que “en este gobierno quien viole los derechos humanos enfrentará todo el peso de la ley”.

Destacó que todas las dependencias del gabinete de seguridad cuentan con áreas especializadas para atender las quejas sobre presuntas violaciones a las garantías individuales...

Milenio.com

March 03, 2010

See also:

Added: Mar. 14, 2010

Mexico

Mexico Defends Army Courts After US Rights Report

Mexico City - Mexico defended its military courts system on Thursday after a U.S. human rights report cited reports of alleged abuses by the army and a lack of investigation in many of the cases.

The U.S. State Department's annual human rights report cites hundreds of complaints of illegal detention, some involving abuse or killings allegedly carried out by Mexico's military, which has been called in by President Felipe Calderon to help fight powerful drug cartels.

"The military's domestic law enforcement deployment led to an increased number of reported human rights abuses, and human rights NGOs complained that an opaque military justice system led to impunity," according to the U.S. report.

Under Mexican law, soldiers accused of rights abuses against civilians are still mainly tried in military courts.

The State Department cited Mexican rights groups as saying cases involving military personnel "were not handled transparently by the military justice system," and that only a tiny percentage of cases resulted in indictments.

Calderon has dispatched more than 45,000 soldiers to fight cartels since he took office in late 2006.

His office said in a statement that "the military justice system is not a privilege or a refuge for soldiers who violate human rights to avoid punishment."

The statement acknowledged that "important challenges still remain" on rights issues, but said that reforms are being carried out to make sure that security forces respect civilians' rights, and are punished if they don't.

Calderon's office said four members of the military had been convicted of rights violations in civilian courts and 55 others were being tried in military courts. But the statement did not say what charges or possible sentences they faced, one of the concerns cited in the U.S. State Department's 2009 Human Rights Report, released Thursday.

The Mexican government said that rights complaints against the armed forced constituted only 1.5 percent of all such complaints received by the country's National Human Rights Commission.

The State Department report cites hundreds of complaints of illegal detention, some involving torture or killings, allegedly carried out by security personnel. It said there were 1,289 complaints of arbitrary arrests and detentions by military and other security forces in 2009.

"Defense Department personnel detained individuals without the involvement of state or federal investigators with the authority to collect evidence for use in subsequent prosecutions," the report said, adding that civilian prosecutors were not always notified quickly enough by military personnel who detained suspects.

It also noted risks faced by human rights activists, citing reports of 128 attacks and 10 killings of activists between 2006 and 2009, and urged the government to protect them.

The report did say Mexico is taking steps to remedy the problems, including changes to the country's legal system. But it noted that implementation of those reforms remained uneven.

Mark Stevenson

The Associated Press

March 12, 2010


Added: Mar. 14, 2010

Mexico

Funcionario Recibe Casa de Narcojunior

Una residencia de las Lomas asegurada por la PGR el año pasado a Vicente Carrillo Leyva, hijo del extinto capo del narcotráfico Vicente Carrillo Fuentes, alias El Señor de los Cielos, fue entregada por el gobierno de Felipe Calderón a Alejandro Lucas Orozco Rubio, quien es un pastor evangélico que se dice “asesor espiritual” del inquilino de Los Pinos y de su esposa, dirige el Instituto Nacional de las Personas Adultas Mayores (Inapam), es proveedor del gobierno y está casado con la diputada federal del PAN Rosa María de la Garza, mejor conocida como Rosi Orozco en su desempeño legislativo...

Federal Agency Head Alejandro Lucas Orozco Rubio and His Wife, Congressional Deputy Rosi Orozco, are Given a Confiscated Drug Kingpin’s mansion by President Calderon

A mansion that was confiscated in 2009 from Vicente Carrillo Leyva, son of the now deceased drug trafficking kingpin Vicente Carrillo Fuentes, has been given ‘on deposit’ by the National Action Party (PAN) government of President Felipe Calderón to Alejandro Lucas Orozco.

Lucas Orozco is the director of the federal Institute for Older Adults, and is President Calderón’s spiritual advisor. Both he and his wife, PAN Congressional deputy [anti anti-trafficking activist] Rosi Orozco, are evangelical Christian pastors in the House on the Rock Church.

In addition to his other activities, Lucas Orozco owns several businesses that provide ethics training and media campaign services to the Calderón government and to the PAN political party.

The Institute for Older Adults [and other government agencies] will not release information about the turnover.

When Lucas Orozco was asked about the property, he did not deny the facts, but added that he has complied with the law in receiving the drug trafficker’s mansion.

And his statements make sense. The permissive legislation justifies yet another case of influence peddling and payment for favors.

Raúl Rodríguez Cortés

El Universal - OpEd

March 12, 2010


Added: Mar. 14, 2010

Mexico

Tratante de Personas es Arrestado

La Procuraduría General de Justicia del Distrito Federal (PGJDF) detuvo a un sujeto que presuntamente obligaba a una adolescente de 14 años a tomar bebidas embriagantes y tener relaciones sexuales con otros hombres en las inmediaciones de la plaza Pino Suárez.

La Subprocuraduría de Averiguaciones Previas Centrales, a través de la Fiscal Central de Investigación para Delitos Sexuales, Juana Camila Bautista, informó que la captura del probable responsable se derivó de una denuncia por los abusos que infligía a su pareja sentimental: la menor de edad...

Human Trafficker is Arrested

The office of the Attorney General of the Federal District (Mexico City) has detained a subject who allegedly forced a 14-year-old girl to drink alcoholic beverages and have sex with other men in the are of Pino Suárez plaza.

The office for preliminary investigations, through the Prosecutor for Sex Crimes, Juana Camila Bautista, announced that the arrest resulted from a complaint made by the victim in regard to hger boyfriend.

Antonio Jacinto Isidro… age 32, has been detained on charges of human trafficking and aggrevated corruption of minors.

A few days after the Jacinto Isidro began a relationship with the victim, he forced he to drink alcohol and have sex with other men, under the threat of being beaten if she did not agree.

Jacinto Isidro offered the girl’s sexual services at a cantina [bar], and escorted the girl and the customers to a local hotel.

Due to the seriousness of the crimes, the subject will not be permitted to post bail.

Claudia Bolaños

El Universal

March 11, 2010


Added: Mar. 14, 2010

Texas, USA

Suspects Allegedly Drugged, Raped Teens

Richardson police have released more information about the two men arrested for sexually assaulting teens they met on social networking sites.

Police said two Good Samaritan helped a 14-year-old girl after she was drugged, raped and then thrown out of a moving car .

The woman and her husband were at the stoplight at Central Expressway and Belt Line Road when they saw the girl being thrown out of the slow-moving vehicle. The girl got up, but seemed to be having a hard time walking.

“She was very distraught, extremely distraught,” the woman said. “We were thinking if it was our little girl, we were hoping someone was going to help our little girl.”

After weeks of investigating the case, police arrested 37-year-old Enrique Torres, who is in the country illegally, and his 17-year-old cousin Orlando Nino Carrera, a Hillcrest High School student.

According to court documents, the girl met the pair on a social networking site. They picked her up on Feb. 13 and drove her to a gas station to buy beer. She said she only drank a few sips “before she began to feel dizzy and slip in and out of consciousness.”

The girl told police she remembers both men sexually assaulting her before being thrown out of their car...

Lynn Kawano

FOX 4 - Dallas Fort Worth

March 11, 2010


Added: Mar. 14, 2010

New York, USA

Nurse Severely Injured by Spurned Suitor in Bathroom Assault at Midtown Bar Social

He asked her to dance - and then savagely beat her when she told him no.

Cops on Thursday put out surveillance videos of a man they want to question in the brutalization of a young nurse inside a popular midtown hot spot called Social.

The attacker followed the victim into the ladies' rest room in the Eighth Ave. bar and unleashed a punishing assault, knocking her unconscious and attempting to sexually assault her, police sources said.

She suffered a fractured skull, a broken eye socket and a shattered nose, and was in critical condition last night at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell.

It was 2:15 a.m. Thursday when the bully, described as a Latino in his 30s, sidled up to the victim and tried to dance with her, police sources said.

She turned him down, thinking nothing of it - until the man kicked down the door of her bathroom stall and pounced on her, investigators believe...

Investigators said the man tried to sexually assault the victim, who was found with her pants partially removed, police sources said. A rape kit came back negative, the sources said.

Rocco Parascandola and Jonathan Lemire

New York Daily News

March 11th 2010


Added: Mar. 12, 2010

Mexico

Critica PE falta de compromiso para defender DH de las mujeres Reprochan nula respuesta ante abusos sexuales de militares

Diputados del Parlamento Europeo (PE) encabezados por Raül Romeva, criticaron el deterioro de los derechos humanos en México y la falta de compromiso del Estado para defenderlos y apoyarlos, principalmente los derechos sexuales y reproductivos, violencia contra las mujeres y justicia militar, por lo que pidieron que la Unión Europea condicione la ayuda a México, en tanto no haya avances perceptibles en la materia.

En la resolución original sobre México, propuesta e impulsada por el eurodiputado Raül Romeva i Rueda, conjuntamente con Barbara Lochbihler y Ulrike Lunacek, del partido de los Verdes, se hace un recuento de la violencia en todos los ámbitos que actualmente enfrenta México…

European Parliament Rebukes Mexico for Failing to Defend the Rights of Women

Body condemns Mexico's failure to respond to rape by military members

Deputies of the European Parliament (EP), lead by Raül Romeva i Rueds [a Green Party deputy from representing the Catalunya region of Spain], have criticized the deterioration of human rights in Mexico and the lack of commitment on the part of the State to defend and support the rights of women, including those concerning sexual and reproductive rights, violence against the women and military justice. Given a lack of response from Mexico to inquiries, the EP has recommended that aid to Mexico be conditioned on improvement in human rights.

EP deputy Raül Romeva i Rueda proposed and pushed through the resolution in collaboration with fellow Green Party deputies Barbara Lochbihler y Ulrike Lunacek…

Lourdes Godínez Leal

CIMAC Women's News Agency

March 11, 2010


Added: Mar. 12, 2010

Mexico, The United States

From the Annual State Department Report on Human Rights

2009 Human Rights Report: Mexico

[Released 3/11/2010]

Women

The law criminalizes rape, including spousal rape, and imposes penalties of up to 20 years' imprisonment. However, rape victims rarely filed complaints with police, in part because of the authorities' ineffective and unsupportive responses to victims, the victims' fear of publicity, and a perception that prosecution of cases was unlikely... Human rights organizations asserted that authorities did not take seriously reports of rape and victims continued to be socially stigmatized and ostracized…

NGOs criticized government authorities for failing to investigate adequately, prosecute, and prevent the killings of women and girls.

In November the Inter-American Court of Human Rights found that the government denied justice to and failed to prevent the deaths of Claudia Gonzalez, Esmeralda Herrera, and Berenice Ramos, whose bodies were found near Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, in 2001.

According to the National Institute of Statistics and Geography, Mexico City and the 12 states of Chihuahua, Nuevo Leon, Sinaloa, Sonora, Tamaulipas, Mexico, Guanajuato, Jalisco, Morelos, Tlaxcala, Tabasco, and Yucatan experienced high rates of alleged gender-driven homicide.

FEVIMTRA--staffed by 19 legal, administrative, and technical support professionals--is responsible for leading government programs to combat domestic violence and trafficking in persons. Its work includes prosecuting the crimes, raising awareness with potential victims and government officials, and providing the only government shelter for trafficking victims. With only five lawyers dedicated to federal cases of violence against women and trafficking countrywide, FEVEIMTRA faced challenges in moving from investigations to convictions…

Prostitution is legal for adults and continued to be practiced widely. While pimping and prostitution of minors under age 18 are illegal, these offenses also were practiced widely, often with the collaboration or knowledge of police, according to the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women in Latin America and the Caribbean. The country was a destination for sex tourists and pedophiles, particularly from the United States. There were no laws specifically prohibiting sex tourism, although federal law criminalizes corruption of minors, for which the penalty is five to 10 years' imprisonment. Trafficking in women and minors for prostitution remained a problem.

Federal law prohibits sexual harassment and provides for fines of up to 40 days' minimum salary, but victims must press charges. Sexual harassment is criminalized in 26 of the states and the Federal District, but in only 22 of these is a punishment contemplated when the perpetrator has a position of power. According to INMUJERES, sexual harassment in the workplace was widespread, but victims were reluctant to come forward, and cases were difficult to prove…

Children

…The anti-trafficking law prohibits the commercial sexual exploitation of children. The CNDH estimated that every year, more than 30,000 children were recruited by criminal organizations dedicated to trafficking in persons. UNICEF and the anti-trafficking NGO CEIDAS reported that 1.8 million children were involved in commercial sex exploitation and that 1.2 million were victims of child trafficking. CEIDAS, the NGO Casa Alianza, and the National Network of Shelters reported that sex tourism and sexual exploitation of minors were significant problems in the resort and northern border areas. The UN special rapporteur on the sale of children, child prostitution, and child pornography, who visited the country in 2007, stated that the country did not have an effective system to protect and provide assistance to children and young people who were victims of sexual exploitation or trafficking…

Trafficking in Persons

The country was a point of origin, transit, and destination for persons trafficked for sexual exploitation and labor.

The INM, CNDH, and CEIDAS reported that the vast majority of noncitizen trafficking victims came from Central America; a lesser number originated in the Caribbean, Eastern Europe, and Asia. Victims were trafficked to the United States as well as to Europe, Asia, Canada, and in-country destinations. Women and children (both boys and girls), undocumented migrants from Central America, the poor, and indigenous persons were most at risk for trafficking.

… Many illegal immigrants also became victims of traffickers along the border with Guatemala, where the growing presence of gangs such as Mara Salvatrucha and MS 18 made the area especially dangerous for undocumented and unaccompanied women and children migrating north.

Apart from cartels and gangs, many criminal organizations from Mexico, Central America, Brazil, Europe, Japan, China, and several other countries, as well as small family networks, were reportedly involved in trafficking.

…The federal government does not automatically assume jurisdiction in interstate trafficking cases. Twenty-one states criminalize certain aspects of trafficking…

On December 2, a federal judge convicted five individuals from Tlaxcala, Mexico, for sexual exploitation--the first convictions under the Trafficking in Persons Law adopted in 2007. Four of the individuals were in custody in Mexico awaiting sentencing, while the fifth was in the United States awaiting sentencing on a conviction there. Separately, the government pursued 48 trafficking cases. FEVIMTRA investigated 43 of the cases involving three or fewer suspects during the year. The Special Prosecutor's Office for Organized Crime, which handles trafficking cases with more than three suspects, was investigating the other five cases. In several states that have adopted penal codes to reflect the federal trafficking legislation, local prosecutors also made efforts to prosecute traffickers, particularly in Mexico City, Chihuahua, and Oaxaca. These offices had limited resources and experience.

Indigenous People

The CNDH and the Secretariat of Indigenous Peoples in Chiapas acknowledged that indigenous communities have long been socially and economically marginalized and subjected to discrimination, particularly in the central and southern regions, where indigenous persons sometimes represented more than one-third of the total state population. In the state of Chiapas, the NGOs Fray [Friar] Bartolome de las Casas and SiPaz argued that indigenous peoples' ability to participate in decisions affecting their lands, cultural traditions, and allocation of natural resources was negligible.

…[Indigenous] communities applied traditional practices to resolve disputes and choose local officials without government interference. While such practices allowed communities to elect officials according to their traditions, usages and customs laws generally excluded women from the political process and often infringed on other women's rights...

U.S. Department of State

March 11, 2010


Added: Mar. 10, 2010

Mexico

Jean Succar Kuri (left)

Exhortan Diputados a Reforzar Lucha Contra Explotación Infantil

Ciudad de México.- Un exhorto a las procuradurías de justicia de los estados y del Distrito Federal hizo la Cámara de Diputados para que redoblen sus esfuerzos en el combate a la explotación sexual infantil, a la trata de personas, así como para que capaciten constantemente a su personal…

Congressional Deputies Call for a Redoubling of Efforts to Fight Human Trafficking

Mexico City – A recent debate in the Chamber of Deputies [lower house of Congress]  lead to a unanimous vote on a non-binding resolution calling upon the nation’s federal and state prosecutors to redouble their efforts to fight against the sexual exploitation of children and human trafficking. The legislators also asked that the Courts establish permanent professional training on human trafficking law for their employees.

The non-binding resolution also asks criminal justice entities to coordinate with other government agencies with expertise in human trafficking, such as the Special Prosecutor for Violent Crimes Against Women and Human Trafficking

(FEVIMTRA).

The resolution specifically asks that prosecutors charge defendants with trafficking crimes where such action is merited, and that the punishment be commensurate with the crimes committed. 

National Action Party (PAN) deputy Rosi Orozco called upon the authorities in charge of the Cancun Penitentiary to take preventive measures to insure that [convicted millionaire child pornographer] Jean Succar Kuri does not escape during his upcoming transfer [from a maximum security prison in Mexico state to the Cancun minimum security facility]. Deputy Orozco also called for psychological studies to be performed and re-education be carried before prisoners like Succar Kuri are released back into society.

Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) deputy Pedro Avila Nevares asked that members of the Chamber put their political divisions aside and work as one to defend the wellbeing of the children of Mexico. PAN deputies Agustín Castilla Marroquín y Guillermo Zavaleta Rojas declared that Mexico must have a “zero tolerance policy for pedophiles, regardless of whether they are wealthy, politically connected or are members of a religious cult.”

Members of the Chamber agreed that recent child sexual exploitation scandals such as those of Father Rafael Muñiz Maciel, [child pornographer] Jean Surcar Kuri and the Casitas del Sur case [in which a dozen or more children were trafficked from a network of children’s shelters with possible links to Succar Kuri’s sex trafficking network] should never be repeated in our nation. “These are examples of behaviors that are indeed embarrassing to all Mexicans.”

El Sol de México

March 05, 2010


Added: March 10, 2010

Haiti, Bolivia

Haitian Children Rescued From Traffickers

Authorities in Bolivia have rescued 19 children and teenagers thought to have been kidnapped in Haiti by human trafficking gangs.

A state prosecutor says the children are now being looked after by the Bolivian government and a search is continuing for at least eight others.

The 19 children who are now being looked after in a safe house in Santa Cruz were in a party of 88 Haitians who entered Bolivia from Peru on tourist visas in January.

It is not clear when they left Haiti, but one report indicates they set off on their journey - which took them through the Dominican Republic, Panama and Peru - two days before the earthquake which devastated large parts of Haiti on January 12.

Prosecuting authorities in Bolivia suspect the children were being trafficked for sexual exploitation and three people have been arrested - two Haitians and a Bolivian.

ABC News

March 10, 2010


Added: March 10, 2010

Mexico

Desarticulan banda de trata de personas en México

Una banda de trata de personas, incluyendo menores de edad, fue desarticulada en Puebla, centro de México, dijo la Procuraduría General de Justicia del Estado (PGJE).

La banda operaba en San Pedro Cholula, una población del estado de Puebla.

Agentes del Ministerio Público y Policía Ministerial de la entidad aseguraron a 11 integrantes de una célula delictiva, que operaba en el bar "Las Vías del Amor" .

Los detenidos fueron identificados como Salvador Anatolio Ramírez Cortés, de 60 años de edad, dueño del lugar; Salvador Ramírez Sosa, de 23 años, hijo del dueño, y Edna Ruth González, de 41 años, encargada del bar.

La PGJE dijo que además fueron arrestadas Carmen Cajica Rodríguez de 33 años, Javier Sánchez Morales, de 33 años; Leonel Mena Sánchez, de 30, y Héctor Manuel Becerra Fernández, de 56 años.

Human Trafficking Ring is Broken Up in Puebla

A human trafficking gang that included underage members has been disbanded in the state of Puebla, according to the state Attorney General's office.

The gang operated in the town San Pedro Cholula, in Puebla.

Police agents from the Public Ministry and the Ministerial Police detained 11 subjects who ran the ring from the the bar "Las Vías del Amor" (the paths of love).

Those arrested include Salvador Anatolio Ramírez Cortés, age 60, the bar's owner, Salvador Ramírez Sosa, 23, the bar owner's son, and Edna Ruth González, 41, who was in charge of the bar.

The Attorney General's office also mentioned the arrests of: Carmen Cajica Rodríguez, age 33; Javier Sánchez Morales, age 33; Leonel Mena Sánchez, age 30; and Héctor Manuel Becerra Fernández, age 56.

United Press International (UPI)

March 08, 2010


Added: March 10, 2010

Mexico

Buscan crear banco de datos sobre la trata de personas

La Junta de Coordinación Política de la Cámara de Diputados exhortó a la Comisión Intersecretarial para Prevenir y Sancionar la Trata de Personas (conformada por instituciones del gobierno federal) a integrar un acervo especializado que contenga un banco de información particular sobre la trata de personas...

Congress Seeks to Create a National Human Trafficking Database

The Political Coordinating Committee of the Chamber of Deputies (lower house of Congress) has asked President Calderón's [recently formed] Inter-Agency Commission to Prevent and Punish Human Trafficking (composed of federal agencies) to create a computerized human trafficking database system.

The Coordinating Committee also requested that the anti-trafficking commission coordinate the development of the project with experts in the field. The Chamber of Deputies would like to see the project developed in a timely manner. The purpose of the project is to utilize the collected data to assist in the analysis of human trafficking with the objective of supporting efforts to prevent and punish human trafficking, as well as improve services for victims.

The National Institute of Statistics and Geography (INEGI) says that each year between 16,000 and 20,000 children are sexually exploited in Mexico. The Special Prosecutor's Office for Specialized Investigation of Organized Crime (SEIDO) has detected 14 child sex trafficking networks just in the state of Guerrero.

Roberto Garduño

La Jornada

March 06, 2010


Added: March 10, 2010

Mexico

Preocupan a EU trata de personas, drogadicción y violencia aquí: Pascual

Zacatecas, Zac., 8 de marzo. El embajador de Estados Unidos en México, Carlos Pascual, aseguró que el gobierno de Washington está preocupado por tres problemas sociales relacionados con el narcotráfico y el crimen organizado que ocurren en este país:

La trata de personas, sobre todo de mujeres jóvenes y adolescentes; el alto porcentaje de “muchachos” que en muchas ciudades han desertado de sus escuelas hasta en 70 por ciento y luego caen en el uso de drogas, y en tercer lugar, la “batalla” que estos jóvenes libran todos los días “por el control de una esquina...

U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Expresses Concern About Human Trafficking, Drug Addiction and Violence

During an event held in Zacatecas city in Zacatecas state to celebrate International Women’s Day, U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Carlos Pascual has expressed his concern about three social problems with ties to narcotics trafficking and violence that occur in Mexico.

The problems mentioned were: 1) Human trafficking, and especially that which affects women and youth; 2) the high levels of school dropouts - which reach up to 70% of students in some regions – that drives youth drug addiction; and 3) the street battles that these youth unleash every day in their efforts “to control a street corner.”

Ambassador Pascual: “We can’t allow these youth to become the model for the future. We have to find a way to rescue those who have already fallen.”

The Ambassador added that is important that we support drug rehabilitation programs for addicts, as well as job creation and the taking back of public spaces.

Ambassador Pascual went on to note that “we are also responsible, and therefore we are doing everything possible to reduce the demand for drugs” in the U.S., by means of a federal prevention and rehabilitation program funded at 5.6 billion dollars.

Pascual said that the U.S. is doing what is possible to reduce the flow of arms and dollars, which crime networks send to Mexico from the U.S.

Ambassador Pascual also discussed immigration reform, noting that the Obama Administration will continue to seek to pass a comprehensive immigration reform package that will benefit the more than 12 million Mexicans who reside in the U.S. He added that understanding migration is a priority, because what it signifies for the future of both sides of the border.

Alfredo Valadez Rodríguez

La Jornada

March 09, 2010


Added: March 10, 2010

Costa Rica

United States Announces Initiatives in Costa Rica to Curtail Human Trafficking

The United Nations estimates that more than 250,000 people from Latin America are forced into labor as a result of human trafficking at any given time.

Though the extent of trafficking in Costa Rica is not known, the country has been recognized as both a feeder country and a destination for forced labor. A March, 2009 report issued by the United States said that Costa Rica fell short of the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking.

Girls from Nicaragua, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Colombia, Russia and Eastern Europe have been identified here as victims of forced prostitution. Officials are also aware of trafficking going the other way. According to the United States, Costa Rica needs to intensify efforts to investigate and prosecute trafficking offenses and improve data collection regarding trafficking crimes, among other changes.

To help Costa Rica meet minimum benchmarks, the United States government announced Monday that it would be backing two initiatives with a collective $350,000 grant.

“Make no mistake, human trafficking is a real example of modern-day slavery,” said U.S. Ambassador Anne Andrew. “That is why the United States Government is intent on supporting the fight against human trafficking.”

Part of the grant will go to Fundación Rahab to promote prevention as well as protection of adults and adolescents who are victims of trafficking. The other piece will go to the country's Judicial Investigation Police (OIJ) to improve investigation and response to forced labor.

“Trafficking of persons is a phenomenon that has no place in the 21st century; not in Costa Rica, not in the U.S. and not in our world,” Andrew continued. “It is our duty as human beings to fight against this evil.”

According to Andrew, Costa Rica has taken steps towards addressing the problem by changing some of its laws and improving the tools used to fight illicit trafficking. She said that traffickers frequently recruit people through fraudulent advertisements, promising legitimate jobs as models, hostesses, or work in the agricultural industry. When they accept, they find themselves trapped in jobs in a foreign country.

One way Public Security Minister Janina DelVecchio plans to confront the issue of trafficking is by “putting police where we have people” so that cases of forced labor are better detected.

Chrissie Long

Tico Times

March 09, 2010


Added: March 10, 2010

California, USA

Illegal Immigrant Wanted on Sexual Molestation Charge Arrested Near Calexico

An illegal immigrant charged with sexually molesting a child in the Bay Area was arrested near Calexico after trying to sneak back in the United States from Mexico, authorities said Tuesday.

The man was arrested Sunday nine miles west of Calexico with four other immigrants who had entered the U.S. illegally, the Department of Homeland Security said. His name and age were not released.

A records check by federal officers showed that the man was wanted on an outstanding warrant in Marin County on a charge of a lewd and lascivious act with a child under 14, the department said.

The man was being held by the Imperial County Sheriff's Department pending extradition to Marin County, according to the department. The four others were processed and returned to Mexico.

Robert J. Lopez

Los Angeles Times

March 9, 2010


Added: Mar. 9, 2010

Mexico

Ciudad Juarez

Sin cubrir “una mínima” parte la sentencia de CoIDH por Campo Algodonero

Critica organización civil “política simulatoria”de autoridades

México.- En materia de justicia, el gobierno mexicano mantiene una "política simulatoria", que solo se vale de grandes "distractores" para impactar. Esa es la razón por la que hoy se publican en el Diario Oficial de la Federación, los párrafos ordenados por la Corte Interamericana de Derechos Humanos (CoIDH) sobre la sentencia del caso "Campo Algodonero"...

Mexico Has Not Complied With "Even the Minimum" of the Inter-American Court's Sentence in the Juarez Cotton Fields Case

In matters of justice [for women], the government of Mexico uses a false front that relies upon large distractions to create public impact. This is the reason why today a statement ordered by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR) in the 'Cotton Fields' case in Ciudad Juarez was published in the Official Gazette of the Federation.

Marisela Ortiz, the co-founder of the organization May Our Daughters Return Home [Nuestras Hijas de Regreso a Casa], told CIMAC News that the fact that the Mexican State has complied with paragraph 15 of the Court's order, requiring the publication as a "recognition of the true history" of the case, does not mean that Mexico is actually bringing about justice in the case.

Ortiz went on to say that the Government wants to show that it is doing something, but to date, 'we haven't seen any actions by them that come from a true concern to see justice done in the case, because the Government lacks the political will to repair the damage that has been done.'

The reality from our point of view, Ortiz says, is that Mexico has not complied with even the minimum requirements of the sentence published by the International Court. The only thing that they have done is to meet with the three families who brought the case to the IACHR. The Cotton fields case involved 8 women who's tortured bodies were found in a cotton field in Ciudad Juarez in 2001. The families of three victims participated in the IACHR case.

A clear example of the lack of appropriate government response to the case involves the fact that the authorities have stopped the small payments that they were making to the three families who brought the case…

Now, more than  ever, the government is using a false front in addressing the issue of femicide in Ciudad Juarez. The authorities have not taken into consideration the mothers of the other mothers of femicide victims, and today, government officials never mention anything about the femicide murders. They have blame cases of femicide in Ciudad Juarez on the narco-traffickers. Ortiz: “That is not a policy.”

Ortiz: “We will now have to be more vigilant in our demands that the Mexican Government compy with the requirements of the IACHR’s sentence.

In addition, we will continue in the struggle to bring justice to all of the other femicide cases, until we oblige the Mexican State to take responsibility for not guaranteeing safety for women, providing reparations for victims and for the prevention future crimes [as called for in the Court’s sentence]…

Ortiz declared that reparations for the damages done to the victims is not about money, it is about justice, about a public apology from the government, and later, it will be about seeing results to efforts to provide a better quality of life those who have been affected.

In commemoration of International Women’s Day, May Our Daughters Come Home expressed the need to do away with the idea that giving us a flower, of telling us that it is “beautiful to be a woman” and giving hypocritical accolades to distinguished women – is somehow the equivalent of their having an awareness of gender equality and justice.

Women in Cuidad Juarez continue to be murdered, and the machismo-driven attitudes of the government continue to foment impunity.

Marisela Ortiz:

“We dedicate this day to the women who have been the victims, and we rededicate ourselves to the fight against femicide.”

Laura Romero Gómez

CIMAC Women's News Agency

March 08, 2010


Added: Mar. 7, 2010

The Americas

Indigenous girls in Mexico - always at risk from sex traffickers and a government that does not care.

LibertadLatina Statement for International

Women's Day,

 2010

Government and NGO anti-trafficking efforts must be held accountable for

Taking effective

action

March 8, 2010, International Women's Day, represents LibertadLatina's 9th anniversary. We wish all women and girls around the world happiness and success on this day.

During the past year, we at LibertadLatina have redoubled our efforts to end gender oppression in the Americas. We thank our readers for their many expressions of support.

We have presented the true facts about the severe oppression facing Indigenous, African descendent and other Latina and Caribbean women and girls today. These are populations that remain severely under-represented in deliberations by those with the power to act at the governmental and NGO level to stop modern human slavery, and the many other forms of exploitation and injustice faced by these women of color.

We do not exclude any group in the war against gender oppression. With limited available resources, we have focused on populations and on issues that have been neglected by the mainstream ‘movement’ – and therefore need urgent attention.

We believe that our energies are best spent by bringing focus to the various forms of mass gender atrocity that are increasingly plaguing Mexico.

Mexico is the ‘bottleneck’ for mass migration from South and Central America to the United States. Mexico’s long standing traditions of severe machismo, political corruption, a tolerance for impunity and the influence of billions of dollars in drug cartel money has lead to women and children, and especially those who are indigenous, being targeted for kidnapping, rape, sex and labor trafficking and even murder. Taken together, these cases add up to tens of thousands of victims per year.

We have constantly insisted that the press, authors, academics and government officials end the virtual embargo on discussion of Latin America as one of the very top crisis areas globally for human trafficking. In 2010 the exclusion of Latina, Indigenous and Afro-Latina and Caribbean victim issues from public policy discussion, planning and action is an unacceptable fact in this movement.

Racial prejudices and preferences within Latin America’s educated elites, and similar traditions within the United States and Canada appear to be the motivating factors that cause this movement to avoid mention of Latin America and the Caribbean, where, by some estimates, approximately 50% of global sex trafficking activity takes place. We work continuously to provide the facts that will empower people of conscience to break the glass ceiling and provide ‘Little Brown Maria in the Brothel’ – our metaphor for these voiceless victims, an equal place at the table of decision making and provision of services.

Their voices must be heard!

We believe that our work is setting an example, and is a model to all of the many factions within the movement against human trafficking and exploitation. Because the movement, in it various forms (non governmental organizations, national and local government – and international agency organizations) has evolved largely from an academic base, the approach to fighting human trafficking has centered on many intellectually sound approaches – including efforts to raise awareness, petition government, pass laws, empower law enforcement and NGOs, give victims access, provide them shelter and space for recovery, and reduce demand for prostitution. These are all legitimate activities, and yet human trafficking continues to expand exponentially, far beyond the current capacity of our institutions to respond...

The disappointing example of Mexico’s effort to pass human trafficking legislation, and President Calderón’s two year effort to block and disable that important law, shows that the anti-trafficking movement cannot simply rely upon academic approaches to fighting trafficking that appear, on their surface, to be effective.

We must hold the governments of the region responsible for enacting and enforcing truly effective laws against human trafficking. For that reason, we support the efforts of those countries who are working through the United Nations to insist upon a new, Global Plan of Action to finally organize an effective global fight against human trafficking. Néstor Arbito Chica, Ecuador’s Minister of Justice and Human Rights, has been an articulate leader in this effort. Minister Arbito Chica: "National and regional efforts are not enough to cope with this global problem." "That’s why we call on the U.N. to take action."

We will continue to report on the developing story of the growth in impunity, and the movement to push back against that impunity. Those who are at risk, and those who are enslaved and exploited today, deserve our urgent attention, empathy, support and effective direct action to defend them from a life of torture leading to an early death.

We will continue to give that attention, and we will continue to press for government accountability in response to well advertised but as-yet ineffective actions to defend and rescue women and girls who

face impunity without  defense.

End impunity now!

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

March 8, 2010

Read the complete essay


Added: Mar. 7, 2010

Illinois, USA

DePaul University College of Law research fellow Jody Raphael presents her study in 2008.

Photo: WLS

‘Sex trafficking’ Not Just a Problem Abroad

Juvenile Delinquency ‘We’ve got to punish men who are buying sex from children’

One of the first things Jody Raphael will tell you about child prostitution is this:

These children are not prostitutes. They're victims of abuse.

They're girls mostly, as young as 12, thousands of them, pimped out in hotels and apartments, often via the Internet, from the suburbs to the outskirts of Midway Airport and on down to Springfield, especially when all sorts gather for a legislative session.

The practice is officially known as sex trafficking, though the word "trafficking" often gets paired with "international" and conjures images of girls from foreign places.

The abuse of those girls – from Eastern Europe, Cambodia, Thailand – is what most often makes news and the plots of prime-time crime shows.

"International trafficking has excited a whole lot of interest," says Raphael, a research fellow at the DePaul University College of Law. "We've been trying to say for years: We have the same thing happening to girls born and bred in Chicago."

The plight of local girls got some publicity last week when Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez testified at a U.S. Senate hearing on domestic trafficking. That hearing relied partly on Raphael's research, so on Friday I asked her to paint a picture of what goes on in Chicago.

Our girls, she said, are mostly poor, which means disproportionately African-American and Hispanic. Almost all were sexually abused before they entered the trade.

Some girls are "put out" by a mother or a brother as a way to make money for the family. Some run away from an abusive home, only to be preyed upon by "recruiters..."

Raphael works with various groups, including the Cook County Sheriff's Office and End Demand Illinois, a new campaign funded by Peter Buffett's NoVo Foundation.

Targeting the traffickers, she believes, won't solve the problem.

"You have to make it very expensive and unhappy for the customer," she said. "We've got to punish men who are buying sex from children. We have to stop normalizing it.

"That means going after the customer and making it clear that here in Chicago we're not going to put up with this."

Mary Schmich

The Chicago Tribune

Feb. 28, 2010

See also:

Domestic Sex Trafficking of Chicago Women and Girls

[PDF file] [Overview]

Jody Raphael and Jessica Ashley

May, 2008

See also:

Studies Look at Prostitution in Chicago

[The linked article includes a video report.]

WLS

May 07, 2008


Added: Mar. 7, 2010

Mexico

Jean Succar Kuri (left) is escorted in a straight jacket by federal agents

Photo: Crónica

PRD, PRI, PAN y PT unen fuerzas para que no se beneficie al pederasta Succar Kuri

“Esta Cámara no tolera a los malditos pedófilos; para ellos mano dura”, afirma Leticia Quezada

The Party of the Democratic Revolution, the Institutional Revolutionary party, the National Action Party (PAN) and the Labor Party (PT) Unite to Prevent Pedophile [Kingpin] Jean Succar Kuri From Benefiting From the 'System.'

Deputy Leticia Quezada: "The Chamber of Deputies will not tolerate these evil pedophile; throw the book at them."

La Cámara de Diputados aprobó un exhorto al Poder Judicial para revertir la decisión del juez Alfonso Gabriel García Lanz de trasladar a una cárcel de Cancún al pederasta Jean Succar Kuri, y que en caso de cumplirse su cambio de prisión se ejerza una vigilancia especial para evitar que escape.

En la sesión de ayer, diputados de todos los partidos lamentaron que Succar Kuri, sentenciado por abuso a menores de edad en Cancún, Quintana Roo, sea enviado a una prisión de mínima seguridad, aun cuando fue catalogado en el proceso judicial como reo de alta peligrosidad.

En todos los tonos, legisladores de los partidos Revolucionario Institucional (PRI), Acción Nacional (PAN), de la Revolución Democrática (PRD) y del Trabajo (PT) reprocharon las facilidades que el juez García Lanz concede a Succar Kuri...

[we will provide additional English translation of this article in the near future.]

Enrique Méndez and Roberto Garduño

Periódico La Jornada

March 05, 2010


Added: Mar. 7, 2010

Mexico

National Action Party (PAN) legislator Guillermo Zavaleta speaks from th podium in the Chamber of Deputies to denounce judicial  favoritism shown to child porn kingpin Jean Succar Kuri

La Cámara Baja Exige al Poder Judicial Combatir Eficazmente la Pederastia

Chamber of Deputies Passes Non-binding Resolution Requesting That the Attorney General's Office and State Prosecutors Across Mexico Effectively Combat Child Pornography and the Sexual Abuse of Children.

El pleno de la Cámara de Diputados aprobó por unanimidad, un punto de acuerdo para exhortar al Poder Judicial, a la PGR y a las procuradurías de Justicia de todo el país a combatir con eficacia la pornografía infantil y el abuso sexual a menores.

Diputados de todas las fracciones parlamentarias coincidieron en que se trata de delitos cada vez con mayor incidencia en México.

La propuesta fue presentada por la legisladora panista Rosi Orozco...

[we will provide additional English translation of this article in the near future.]

Daniel Blancas Madrigal

Crónica

March 05, 2010


Added: Mar. 7, 2010

Mexico

Avala Pleno de Diputados Punto de Acuerdo para que la SSP Evite Traslado de Succar Kuri

Chamber of Deputies Passes Non-binding Resolution Requesting that the Secretariat of Public Security Not Transfer [Millionaire Child Pornographer] Jean Succar Kuri to a Minimum Security Jail in Cancún.

México, D. F. Palacio Legislativo.- El Pleno de la Cámara de Diputados aprobó un punto de acuerdo de urgente y obvia resolución para exhortar a la Secretaría de Seguridad Pública (SSP) para que a través de la Dirección General de Traslado de Reos y Seguridad Penitenciaria se tomen todas las medidas de seguridad necesarias para evitar el traslado de Jean Succar Kuri a una prisión de Cancún, Quintana Roo. Lo anterior porque es procesado por un delito sumamente ofensivo para la sociedad –pederastia y pornografía infantil- y se pretende trasladarlo del penal de máxima seguridad del Altiplano, de Almoloya de Juárez, al centro penitenciario municipal de Cancún, el cual ha sido catalogado como uno de los más inseguros del país...

[we will provide additional English translation of this article in the near future.]

Notilegis

March 05, 2010


Added: Mar. 7, 2010

Colorado, USA

Western Union to Pay $94 Million in Mexico Transfer Settlement

Denver – Western Union will pay $94 million to settle a legal battle with the state of Arizona over whether the company allowed its money transfers to be used to send proceeds from human trafficking and drug smuggling to Mexico, officials said Thursday.

The settlement includes $50 million that will help law enforcement operations in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California battle money laundering and the smuggling of immigrants, drugs and guns along the 2,000-mile border.

"Attacking the flow of illicit funds from the United States to smuggling cartels in Mexico is fundamental to our goal of crushing the cartels," Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard said.

Joseph Cachey, Western Union's chief compliance officer, said the company has improved its monitoring of transfers and screening of agents.

As part of the settlement, Western Union will provide law enforcement officials with unprecedented access to records of wire transfers.

Los Angeles Times, The Associated Press

Feb. 12, 2010


Added: Mar. 7, 2010

Texas, USA

Heriberto Zaragoza III

Fugitive Arrested in Connection With Sexual Assault of a Child

Belton - Police arrested a man Thursday who had been a fugitive since 2007.

Heriberto Zaragoza III was charged with Sexual Assault of a Child in connection with incidents in the summer of 2007, involving a girl in her mid-teens.

The investigation led to a warrant being obtained in November of that year, but by then Zaragoza had disappeared. Police believed he had gone to Mexico.

The warrant remained active, however, and when detectives got word he might be returning to town, they watched for him and took him into custody.

Zaragoza is also charged with Failure to Identify Himself As a Fugitive With Intent to Give False Information...

Louis Ojeda

KXXV

March 05, 2010


Added: Mar. 7, 2010

New Mexico, USA

Adult Charged After Teen Found Pregnant

Las Cruces - A 23-year-old Las Cruces man has been indicted on child-sex charges after he allegedly impregnated a 14-year-old girl.

Austin Villado was indicted on eight felony child sex charges for having sex with the high school student at her home while the girl's mother was at work.

Court documents say the 14-year-old girl met Villado in September and they began having sex within weeks. Less than a month later, she was pregnant... The teenager broke up with the alleged gang member in December because he began dating someone else.

Villado was on probation for a burglary conviction at the time he was arrested so is not eligible for bond.

The Associated Press

March 01, 2010


Added: Mar. 6, 2010

Pennsylvania, USA

Jose David Castillo

Five in Montgomery County Charged in Drug, Prostitution Ring

Try as he might, alleged drug and prostitution ringleader Jose David Castillo couldn't keep Montgomery County authorities and his own children in the dark.

Castillo, 36, gave it his best shot, though, cops say. He and his cohorts set up a shrine with spiritual symbols - including the Santa Muerte, or angel of death - to ward off law enforcement in the hope that investigators wouldn't notice the two brothels and the cocaine-trafficking operation he ran in Norristown, authorities said.

But when Montgomery County investigators finally entered his home on Green Street with a search warrant last May, after a year of surveillance and investigation, one detective had a question for his daughter: "What does your father do for a living?"

"All I know is that he had a whorehouse," the girl answered, according to an affidavit of probable cause. When detectives asked her what her father said about the place, she answered: "Just rumors around town . . . My friends would tell me that he was selling women," the affidavit said.

Castillo, known by his underlings as "Gordo," or "fat guy," and four other defendants were charged yesterday with corrupt organizations, prostitution and drug and related offenses.

The others charged were Victor Castillo (J.D. Castillo's brother) Alfredo Hernandez Garcia, Louis Manuel Gonzalez-Sosa and Eduardo Lalo Guzman-Hernandez. All are Mexican nationals in the country illegally. Castillo has been arrested twice, once in California and once in Norristown, and has been deported twice to Mexico...

One brothel and the house that served as base for the cocaine operation were across the street from Gotwall's Elementary School, the affidavit said...

Three women who allegedly were working as prostitutes when the warrants were served are in protective custody of the Department of Homeland Security and have been cooperating with investigators.

"The women were brought to the United States illegally, and they were brought in with promises of a better life, promises of employment," District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman said at a news conference. Instead, she said, they were forced into prostitution "and physically beaten if they did not comply."

They were threatened with abandonment in the United States or, worse, "they would be taken back to Mexico to be killed so they could not be able to share this information with authorities," Ferman said.

Such women would work for Castillo for one week in Norristown while always being watched by one of his men, according to the affidavit.

"The operation here was part of a circuit of prostitutes who were routinely routed from Mexico to New York into New Jersey, Philadelphia and the Norristown area," Ferman said...

Regina Medina

Philadelphia Daily News

March 5, 2010


Added: Mar. 6, 2010

Mexico

Piden Partidos Políticos Evitar Traslado de Succar Kuri a Cancún

México, DF.- Llaman partidos políticos en San Lázaro a la Secretaría de Seguridad Pública (SSP) a que tome las medidas necesarias para evitar el traslado del pedrastra Jean Succar Kuri a una prisión de Cancún, Quintana Roo, al tiempo que exhortaron a procuradurías a redoblar esfuerzos contra la explotación sexual.

Durante la sesión de la Cámara de Diputados de este jueves fue aprobada una iniciativa para integrar un banco de datos sobre la trata de personas.

Al respecto, fue ampliamente criticada la decisión del juez Alfonso Gabriel García Lanz, de trasladar de un penal de máxima seguridad del Estado de México, a una cárcel de mínima seguridad, al pederasta Succar Kuri, quien fue catalogado en el proceso judicial como un reo de alta peligrosidad.

Legislators Ask That Jean Succar Kuri Not Be Transferred to Cancún

Mexico City - Legislators from across Mexico's political parties have asked the Secretariat of Public Security (SSP) to take all necessary measures to avoid the transfer of [millionaire child pornographer] Jean Succar Kuri to a jail in Cancún, in Quintana Roo state. They also called for prosecutors to redouble their efforts against sexual exploitation.

During the March 4th session of the Chamber of Deputies [lower house of Congress], a bill was passed that will create a national human trafficking database.

During the session, judge Alfonso Gabriel García Lanz was wiedely criticized for his decision to allow child pornographer Succar Kuri to be transfered from a maximum security prison in Mexico state to a minimum security jail in Cancún. A pervious assessment of Succar Kuri during the judicual process had identifed him as a dangerous, high risk prisoner.

CIMAC Women's News Agency

March 05, 2010


Added: Mar. 6, 2010

Latin America, The United States

Hillary Clinton Urges Latin America to Fight Drug Corruption

Mexico City - Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton called for Latin America to fight drug corruption in a regional swing that ended Friday in Guatemala, days after that country's drug czar and national police chief were jailed on suspicion of leading a police ring that stole cocaine from drug traffickers.

The arrests underscored Guatemala's vulnerability to traffickers, whose billions of dollars in profits and bribes are undermining a fragile country still recovering from years of military rule and civil war.

"Organized crime has infiltrated all aspects of the Guatemalan state, and now rivals it in terms of power and influence," said Andrew Hudson, senior associate at Human Rights First in New York.

Drug czar Nelly Bonilla was arrested Tuesday, along with Police Chief Baltazar Gómez. They were accused of leading a criminal police gang that stole 1,500 pounds of cocaine.

They were the latest in a string of police officers alleged to have crumbled before the lure of drug profits.

The previous national police chief was jailed in 2009on suspicion of stealing $300,000 from drug traffickers. A previous drug czar, Adan Castillo, was caught on tape accepting $25,000 from a Drug Enforcement Administration informant as payment for overseeing narcotics shipments through Guatemala. He was invited to a DEA meeting in 2005 and arrested when he arrived in Virginia.

Clinton has said that despite increased cooperation in the region against drug traffickers, the Obama administration wants governments there to work harder to confront corruption.

Upon arriving in Guatemala, she praised the arrests and called on officials to "weed out corruption." Congress has authorized $1.6 billion for fighting drug trafficking in Mexico, Central America, the Dominican Republic and Haiti under the three-year Merida Initiative.

"We're going to be asking more of a lot of our friends," Clinton said earlier during a stop in Costa Rica. "A number of them are not respecting democratic institutions. A number of them are not taking strong enough stands against the erosion of the rule of law because of the pressure from drug traffickers."

Guatemala has one of the highest rates of violent crime in the world. Drug traffickers and gangs have revived insecurities in the impoverished people, who are recovering from a 36-year civil war that killed 200,000 people, most of them civilians.

A United Nations crime-fighting team, the International Commission Against Impunity, spearheaded the investigation that led to the arrest of the police officers. The team was created in 2007 to compensate for the inability of the Guatemalan judicial system to solve crimes often found to be committed by moonlighting members of the security forces.

[The above-described realities have important implications for the ability of Latin American nations to organize any serious effort to combat human trafficking. - LL]

Anne-Marie O'Connor

The Washington Post

March 6, 2010

See also:

Added: Mar. 6, 2010

Central America

Centroamérica: Territorio Común Para los Feminicidios

La escalada de homicidios de mujeres o femicidios cometidos en la región, ha experimentado un preocupante aumento, según el estudio denominado "Femicidio en Centroamérica", que se presentó a finales del año pasado en San José, Costa Rica, en el marco de una reunión del Consejo de Ministras de la Mujer de Centroamérica (COMMCA). Este documento comprende una investigación cuantitativa y cualitativa sobre las manifestaciones extremas de la violencia contra las mujeres.

Dicho estudio fue desarrollado en Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panamá y República Dominicana por el Centro Feminista de Información y Acción (CEFEMINA) con el apoyo del Consejo de Ministras de la Mujer de Centroamérica (COMMCA), el Fondo de Desarrollo de las Naciones Unidas para la Mujer (UNIFEM) y la Organización Canadiense de Cooperación Horizontes.

A pesar de que la preocupación por los femicidios es reciente el estudio pudo cerciorarse de que, en realidad, el problema ya tiene décadas de estar enraizado en la sociedad centroamericana.

Los hallazgos encontrados indican que este fenómeno se manifiesta en toda la región y de manera particularmente alarmante en Guatemala, Honduras y El Salvador. Así mismo, identifica los escenarios en que se producen los femicidios, analizando algunos de ellos con estudios de caso...

Central America: Common Territory for Femicide

The number in homicides of women, or femicides, committed in the region has experienced an alarming increase, according to the study “Femicido en Controamerica” (Femicide in Central America) which presented its findings from last year in San Jose, Costa Rica, at the meeting of the Consejo de Mujer de Centroameria (Council of Women’s Ministries of Central America). The document is comprised of a quantitative and qualitative investigation of the extreme manifestations of violence against women.

The study was conducted in Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama and the Dominican Republic by the Centro Feminista de Información y Acción de Centroamérica (Feminist Center of Information and Action in Central America), el Fondo de Desarrollo de las Naciones Unidas para la Mujer (The UN Development Fund for Women) and la Organización Canadiense de Cooperación Horizontes (Horizon Organization for Cooperation of

Canada).

Although the concern for femicide is has grown in recent years, the study found that in reality, the problem has been taking root for decades in Central American society.

The findings indicate that this phenomenon has manifested itself in the entire region and most alarmingly in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. The study identified the situation in which femicide is produced, analyzing some with case studies...

The study also makes clear that in countries like El Salvador and Honduras, the phenomenon of gangs is generating a greater number of murders of women when compared with that produced by the couple and former partners.

The above includes deaths provoked by sexual exploitation, revenge between men and mafias connected with prostitution. Femicides have taken place in the street, public places, streams, beaches, vacant lots, among other places. The majority of femicides are committed with guns and knives...

...El Salvador has seen a greater increase in female deaths than male deaths. Murders of men have increased by 40% while femicides have increased by 111%.

In Guatemala, these figures are higher. Femicide is growing by 183% while murders of men is growing by 100%... The principal people responsible for femicides are significant others, ex-partners or other people within the family like fathers, brothers, stepfathers or cohabitants. Gangs are also responsible for many femicides.

...Illegal practices connection with organized crime such as arms proliferation, mafias, international trafficking networks are also responsible for femicides.

The study only intended to analyze figures from past years. Although there have been advances in causes to help end femicide like the passing of the Law Against Femicide or the Law Against Human Trafficking in Guatemala- the figures keep climbing. The increase in violence against women is due to structural deficiencies that the State must reform to stop these crimes from continuing.

Mario Cordero

La Hora

Jan. 19, 2010


Added: Mar. 6, 2010

New Jerey, USA

Police, Feds Investigate Human Trafficking in [Trenton]

Trenton - City police and federal agents have been investigating human trafficking in Trenton's Latino community since late last year, top police officials said yesterday.

Young women from Guatemala and Mexico have been brought into the city to be used in an illegal network of bars and social clubs as part of a trade that is spiking in urban areas across the county, said Police Director Irving Bradley Jr.

Bradley said the department and its federal partners are building a strong case against the traffickers and sex-club operators, both of whom may have connections to Latino street gangs.

"We don't want to do a Band-Aid approach," Bradley said. "We want to shut them down permanently."

The investigation began when an informant spoke up about high drink prices last fall, Special Operations commander Capt. Michael Flaherty said.

"We got a complaint that one of the bars was charging $20 for a beer," he said. "We found that when you paid $20 for a drink, you also got the company of a person."

From there, police followed the nexus of alcohol, money, and sex through the South and East Wards, Bradley said. They found violence was sometimes added to the mix...

The clubs' customers are Latino men, many of them separated from their families and some in the U.S. illegally. The combination of their immigration status and cash income makes them tempting targets for both johns and robbers, police say, as well as potentially being unwilling to report a crime.

The women, who may provide dancing, sexual favors, or simple companionship, are often deceived by the traffickers.

NJ.com

March 06, 2010


Added: Mar. 6, 2010

Maryland, USA

Arash Koraganie Ghulam Abbas

Montgomery County Police Accuse Six of Human Trafficking, Prostitution

More than a dozen women are ready to testify against a Germantown man accused of luring them into prostitution, police say.

Arash Koraganie Ghulam Abbas, 31, was arrested Feb. 26 at his home in the 17800 block of Cormorant Lane and charged with four counts each of human trafficking and running a prostitution business, said Montgomery County Police Department Cpl. Dan Fitzgerald.

Abbas was one of six arrested in a recent Montgomery County Police investigation into people being forced into labor or sexual exploitation, also known as human trafficking.

The investigation led to the disruption of three such trafficking operations in Montgomery County, authorities said.

"These pimps, what they do, is put these girls in a world they don't know," Fitzgerald said.

Fitzgerald said the women who worked as prostitutes for Abbas answered advertisements on Web sites like craigslist.org and backpage.com for quick money.

"With the economy the way it is, he was posting things like, ‘Who needs a sugar daddy?'" Fitzgerald said.

The other five arrested, according to Montgomery County Police, were:

- Deangelo A. Bynum, 24, of Washington, D.C. He was charged with solicitation of a minor for prostitution after being arrested in Gaithersburg by an undercover officer posing as young girl, police said. Bynum had attempted to recruit the girl on facebook.com, requesting photos and money before she could work for him, police said.

- Rodney Hubert, 34, of New York. He was charged with human trafficking of a 15-year-old female for prostitution. The teen was advertised on craigslist.com after she arrived in Maryland from New York.

- Christy Elmes, 23, of the Bronx, N.Y. She was charged with human trafficking, sexual abuse of a minor and second-degree child abuse.

- Katherine Mateo, 19, of the Bronx, N.Y. She was charged with human trafficking, sexual abuse of a minor and second-degree child abuse.

- Tomika Powell, 21, of Montgomery, Ala. She was charged with human trafficking, sexual abuse of a minor and second-degree child abuse. Powell was also wanted for desertion from the U.S. Army, police said...

Andre L. Taylor

The Gazette

March 2, 2010


Added: Mar. 6, 2010

Mexico

Demandarán Mujeres Indígenas de Guerrero Recursos y Servicios

Más de 800 mujeres indígenas del estado de Guerrero se reunirán este sábado 6 de marzo en la comunidad de Xalatzala, municipio de Tlapa y el domingo 7 de marzo en la comunidad de Tejocote, municipio de Malinaltepec, para marchar después a Tlapa con el objetivo de demandar el cese al hostigamiento a mujeres líderes y de organizaciones defensoras de los derechos humanos y laborales.

Las manifestantes demandarán el diseño de políticas públicas de acuerdo con las necesidades de las mujeres indígenas de la entidad.

La marcha forma parte de los actos por el Día Internacional de la Mujer, organizados por la Unión Regional de Mujeres de la Montaña “Francisca Reyes Castellanos”, presidida por Jacqueline Balbuena Ramírez, la Unión Nacional deMujeres Mexicanas y la Unión Regional de la Montaña.

Indigenous Women From Guerrero Demand Resources and Services

More than 800 Indigenous women from Guerrero state will gather on Saturday, March 6th in the community of Xalatzala, in Tlapa municipality, and on March 7th in Tejocote, Malinaltepec municipality, to be followed by a march to Tlapa. The event is a protest that will demand an end to the harassment of women leaders of human and labor rights organizations in the region. The women will also demand that public policies be developed that address the needs of Indigenous women in the region. The march is being held as part of International Women's Day activities, and is being organized by the Francisca Reyes Castellanos Regional Union of Women of la Montaña - headed by Jacqueline Balbuena Ramírez, The National Union of Mexican Women and the Regional Union of la Montaña.

CIMAC Women's News Agency

March 5, 2010 


Added: Mar. 6, 2010

California, USA

Barstow Mayor Joseph Dennis Gomez Jr. explains his legal problems to the Barstow City Council. He is charged with willfully touching the intimate parts of a woman against her will for purposes of "sexual arousal, sexual gratification and sexual abuse."

Barstow Mayor Charged With Sexual Battery

Barstow - Barstow Mayor Joseph Dennis Gomez Jr. has been charged with sexual battery for allegedly assaulting a police officer's wife at a December party.

Gomez was charged Monday with a misdemeanor that involved touching the woman against her will. The San Bernardino County district attorney's office says he faces up to six months in jail and a $2,000 fine if convicted.

Gomez allegedly assaulted the woman on Dec. 18 but investigators have not released details of the incident.

Gomez hasn't been arrested. His arraignment is scheduled for April.

At a City Council meeting earlier this month, Gomez said the allegation was false and he intended to

fight it.

The Associated Press

Feb. 23, 2010


Added: Mar. 5, 2010

Mexico

Imprisoned child pornographer Jean Succar Kuri photo-graphed with one of his 200 child victims (Now older, the victim was interviewed for a documentary on the repression of journalist Lydia Cacho by associates of Succar Kuri.)

Piden operativo para evitar fuga de Jean Succar Kuri

México.- Por unanimidad el pleno de la Cámara de Diputados exhortó a las procuradurías General de la República y General de Justicia del Estado de Quintana Roo a implementar un operativo de seguridad para evitar la fuga del pederasta Jean Succar Kuri, cuando éste sea trasladado al centro penitenciario de Cancún.

La Cámara de Diputados también solicitó la intervención de la Secretaría de Seguridad Pública, para que a través de la dirección general de traslados de reos y seguridad penitenciaria adopte las medidas necesarias para impedir que el pederasta pudiera ser liberado durante el viaje a la prisión local…

Lower Chamber of Congress Unanimously Calls for Special Security Measures to Prevent Child Pornographer Jean Succar Kuri's Escape from Prison

Mexico City - The Chamber of Deputies (lower house) of Congress has unanimously passed a non-binding resolution that requests that the Attorney General of the state of Quintana Roo mount a security operation to insure that convicted millionaire child pornographer Jean Succar Kuri does not escape during his upcoming transfer from a maximum security prison to a minimum security jail in Cancún.

The Chamber of Deputies also requested the intervention of the federal Secretary of Public Security, through its directorate for prisoner transfers and security, asking that they take all possible precautions to prevent any escape attempt by Succar Kuri.

The vote on the non-binding resolution was held with a sense of urgency and obvious determination. It was supported by all political parties. The resolution was presented by National Action Party (PAN) congressional deputy Rosi Orozco, who is Chair of the newly formed Special Commission to Fight Human Trafficking in the Chamber of Deputies.

The resolution also calls upon federal agencies and state governments to redouble their efforts to eradicate and prevent child sexual exploitation, and asks that they find and prosecute more cases like that of pedophile Jean Succar Kuri.

From the Chamber of Deputies all of Mexico's political parties attacked pedophilia and stood in favor of defending the rights of Mexican children.

Nonetheless, Emilio Serrano, a deputy from the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) asked the Chamber why they were 'tearing their clothes up' about this issue, given that the same institution, Congress, had previously protected pedophiles and human rights violators. He recalled the case of Puebla state governor Mario Marín, and his collusion with millionaire businessman Kamel Nacif, who himself is linked to Succar Kuri.

[See the below link to the Lydia Cacho case for additional context to this statement. - LL]

Mónica Romero

W Radio

March 04, 2010

See Also:

LibertadLatina

Special Section

Journalist / Activist Lydia Cacho is

Railroaded by the

Legal Process for

Exposing Child Sex

Networks In Mexico


Added: Mar. 5, 2010

Mexico

New Alliance Party deputy Elsa María Martínez Peña

Impulsarán cambios culturales para resolver cultura machista

Comité del Centro de Estudios para el Adelanto de las Mujeres

México, DF.- Diputadas integrantes del Comité del Centro de Estudios para el Adelanto de las Mujeres y la Equidad de Género (CCEAMEG), coincidieron en la necesidad de crear nuevas estrategias de desarrollo en favor de las mujeres del país, y en particular de las indígenas y rurales.

Durante la instalación del Comité, las legisladoras convinieron en impulsar la igualdad tanto en las diferentes instituciones de gobierno, como en las políticas públicas y en los distintos ámbitos de la sociedad...

Congressional Leaders Push for Social Changes to Resolve the Problem of Mexico's Culture of Machismo

Congress creates a committee, and the Center for Studies for the Advancement of Women

Women congressional deputies from several political parties, who are members of the newly created Committee for the Center for Studies for the Advancement of Women and Gender Equality (CCEAMEG), are in agreement that new, pro-women development strategies must be created in Mexico, and these efforts must focus in particular on the problems of Indigenous and rural women.

During the Committee's inaugural ceremony, women legislators convened to promote gender equality both within government institutions and among the many sectors of society.

In response to the constant expansion of poverty that affects women, the inequality and the lack of access to basic needs such as education, healthcare and development, among other forms of discrimination which women endure in Mexico, the LIX (59th) Legislature of the Chamber of Deputies has created the CCEAMEG Center.

The Center will be the first of its kind in Latin America. It is founded on the principles declared at the Fourth World Conference on Women, held in Beijing, China in 1995. The Beijing Declaration requires all of the world's governments to implement mechanisms to guarantee solutions to gender inequality.

New Alliance Party deputy Elsa María Martínez Peña stated that the work of the Committee and the Center should contribute to consolidating a gender based perspective in regard to the legislative process. It should involve a scientific, analystical and political vision about the interrelationships of women and men that proposes to eliminate the causes of gender oppression.

Labor Party deputy Jaime Cárdenas García added that the problem of a culture of machismo in Mexico cannot be resolved through laws alone. "Changes in our culture and our economic model must also take place."

CEAMEG director Maria de los Ángeles Corte Ríos said that on March 10, 2010, the Chamber of Deputies with present a forum, "Advances and Setbacks in Human Rights for Women."

Gladis Torres Ruiz

CIMAC Women's News Agency

March 03, 2010


Added: Mar. 5, 2010

The United States

Convicted child rapist Jeremias Chagala-Mil

Why Are So Many Children Falling Prey to Criminal Aliens?

In April 2009, in a Charlottesville, VA courtroom, Circuit Judge Edward L. Hogshire sentenced Jeremias Chagala-Mil for the repeated rape of a local middle-school girl. Last November, he pleaded guilty to the crime, and admitted that he had sex with her many times.

In April 2008, the girl’s mother discovered what he was doing with her daughter and reported him to police. Since his arrest, he has expressed his desire to marry the 7th grader.

The 32-year-old Mexican national has continued to defend his actions to police, by maintaining that his behavior would not be a crime, and actually quite common throughout his own country.

Charlottesville Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Claude Worrell said of Chagala-Mil: “He said this young girl, who was 12 at the time, looked like she was sexually mature to him. He said in Mexico, any girl who looks sexually mature is fair game to have sex with.”

While Hogshire sentenced Chagala-Mil to 30 years in prison, he suspended all but six of those years. After completing his prison sentence, he will be deported back to Mexico. Unfortunately, the claims that Chagala-Mil makes about Mexico are true.

Another example of this attitude can be found in Mexican national Diego Lopez-Mendez, who pled guilty in 2006 to sexually assaulting a 10 year old West Virginia girl. Through an interpreter, he told the court: "In the pueblo where I grew up girls are usually married by 13 years old….I was unaware of the nature of the offense or that it was a bad crime."

The crime of kidnapping a woman for the purpose of rape and marriage against her will, or "rapto" as it is known in Mexico is actually seen as a minor crime and rarely prosecuted. ...A Mexican legislator actually even called the practice "romantic."

While rape is a serious crime in the United States, many Mexican nationals cannot understand why they are prosecuted on this side of the border. Often, a small payment of $10 to $20 to the victim's family will settle the matter back in Mexico.

Of course, it is also common for all charges to be dropped against the accused rapist, if he offers to marry his victim in front of the judge, even if the girl refuses, the court acknowledges that he has made the offer.

But perhaps, the most troubling and telling reason behind the growing epidemic of child molestation at the hands of Mexican illegal aliens, is the fact the age of sexual consent throughout much of Mexico is 12...

In addition to Mexico City, the age of consent is 12 years old in 19 Mexican states...

Dave Gibson

The Examiner

March 03, 2010

See also:

In Mexico, an Unpunished Crime

Rape Victims Face Widespread Cultural Bias in Pursuit of Justice

...Mexico is struggling to modernize its justice system, but when it comes to punishing sexual violence against women, surprisingly little has changed in a century. In many parts of Mexico, the penalty for stealing a cow is harsher than the punishment for rape.

Although the law calls for tough penalties for rape -up to 20 years in prison- only rarely is there an investigation into even the most barbaric of sexual violence. Women's groups estimate that perhaps 1 percent of rapes are ever punished...

...In the country that made the term "machismo" famous, where women were given the right to vote only in 1953, women's rights advocates said rape and other violence against women are still not treated as serious crimes. And they said police, prosecutors and judges often show indifference or hostility toward women who claim rape... "In 90 percent of the cases of rape, the Mexican police blame the women," ... "In the few cases where they know the man is guilty, they let him 'fix' it with money." ...

...A "machismo culture," instilled through what is learned in the home, school and church, has allowed many men to "believe they are superior and dominant, and that women are an object." ...That mind-set has contributed to making many men-including policemen, prosecutors, judges and others in positions of authority-believe that sexual violence against women is no big deal.

...A review of criminal laws in all 31 Mexican states showed that many states require that if a 12-year-old girl wants to accuse an adult man of statutory rape, she must first prove she is "chaste and pure." Nineteen of the states require that statutory rape charges be dropped if the rapist agrees to marry his victim...

In the southern state of Oaxaca last summer, the one-year-old, government-funded Oaxacan Women's Institute persuaded the legislature to pass heavy criminal penalties against a practice known as "rapto." Laws in most Mexican states define rapto as a case where a man kidnaps a woman not for ransom, but with the intent of marrying her or to satisfy his "erotic sexual desire." The new law championed by the women's group established penalties of at least 10 years in prison.

But in March, the state legislature reversed itself and again made the practice a minor infraction. A key legislator -a man- argued for the reduction, calling the practice harmless and "romantic."

Human rights groups disagree. They say it is not charming for a man to spot a woman he fancies sitting in a park, pick her up and carry her away to have sex with her. Yet to this day, that is still how some women meet their husbands. The attorney general's office said there have been 137 criminal complaints of rapto in the state of Puebla since January 2000.

Mary Jordan,

The Washington Post

June 30, 2002

See also:

Central America and Mexico

mariajesusdl02297.jpg

María de Jesús Silva, Jackeline's mother

Trata de blancas en Centroamérica

For non-governmental organizations, the child kidnapping and sex trafficking case of 11-year-old Jackeline Jirón Silva fom Nicaragua is emblematic, as the case shows clearly how the third most profitable criminal enterprise in the world operates.

...Jackeline has been forced to work in brothels all over Central America.  Her pimps now have her in Tapachula, in Chiapas state [near Mexico's southern border with Guatemala].

María de Jesús Silva [Jackeline's mother, who searched all over Central America and southern Mexico for her daughter]: "I saw things that I never imagined existed... The brothels are full of children, sold by traffickers and abandoned by their parents. I saw them prostitute themselves and wished that any one of them would have been my daughter. I settled for caressing the hair of these girls, and I imagined that in the 'next' brothel, I was going to find my daughter. Everything that I have suffered through is nothing compared to what my girl is going through."

...According to Ana Salvadó, executive director for Mexico, Latin America and the Caribbean for Save the Children:  "the panorama for childhood in Latin America is growing more bleak over time, and child trafficking is growing rapidly in each of these countries..."

…Save the Children has identified the border region between Guatemala and Mexico as being the largest hot spot for the commercial sexual exploitation of children in the entire world.  Ana Salvadó: "It is a bottleneck, because many children attempt to migrate from Central [and South] America to the United States, and they never get past [southern] Mexico…

…A study by the international organization ECPAT… made public ithree weeks ago in Guatemala City, reveals that over 21,000 Central Americans, mostly children, are prostituted in 1,552 bars and brothels in Tapachula, Mexico… 

Traffickers sell these child victims to Tapachula's pimps for $200 each.

More that 50% of these children are from [indigenous] Guatemala.  The rest are Salvadorans, Hondurans and Nicaraguans.  They range in age from eight to fourteen-years-old.

...In 2006, the International Labor Organization conducted a survey of adult attitudes in Mexico, Central America and South America, where it is quite easy [for men] to engage in sexual relations with children.

Some 65% of respondents stated that they don't see any problem, and they don't feel any sort of conflict or fear in regard to having sex with boy and girl children, and "they don't feel that there is anything wrong with doing it."

...Mexico has been converted into a paradise for pimps and a living hell for thousands of Central American girl children like Jackeline Jirón Silva, whose captors have prostituted her during the past 32 months.  It is known that during half of that time, Jackeline has been held in the southern Mexican state of Chiapas.

Ana Lilia Pérez

Revista Contralínea

Oct. 22, 2007


Added: Mar. 5, 2010

California, USA

Sacramento Man Facing 15 Child Molest Felonies Involving Girlfriend's Daughters

Sacramento - Bail has been set at $5 million for a Sacramento man accused of multiple acts of sexual assault against the daughters of his girlfriend, say police. Omar Alejandro Valdivia Mendoza, 29, was booked into Sacramento Main Jail Monday evening on 15 felonies accusing him of oral copulation; and violence, force or duress during the commission of sexual conduct, rape and lewd acts.

Sacramento police served an arrest warrant on Mendoza Monday. Sgt. Norm Leong said detectives began an investigation late last year when the alleged crimes were reported. The first report was made after Valdivia Mendoza was no longer living with his girlfriend, Leong said.

The molestations had begun when the victims were 9 and 10 years old and had been going on for several years, according to the investigation. Valdivia Mendoza's first court appearance was scheduled for Wednesday, March 3, in Sacramento County Superior Court. 

KXTV

March 02, 2010


Added: Mar. 5, 2010

Massachusetts, USA

Gian Carlos Mirabel

Police: Child Rape Caught On Videotape

Lowell Bus Driver Faces Charges

The abuse of a Lowell student at the hands of her bus driver was caught on videotape, police said.

Gian Carlos Mirabel, 22, of Lawrence, was arrested late Sunday night and arraigned on two counts of forcible child rape.

An employee of the North Reading Transportation Bus Co. was reviewing security footage of a bus that was involved in a minor accident on Feb. 25. While reviewing the footage, the employee observed suspicious activity between the defendant and a student on the bus, officials said.

"The time that (the driver) was stating that the accidents happened, there was a student on the bus and this child should have been at school," North Reading Transportation President John McCarthy said. "There was enough questions to what was going on that we couldn't answer..."

The victim, in 7th grade at the time, first met the defendant in the spring of 2009 when he was assigned to bus route, police said. In the fall of 2009, when the victim was in the 8th grade, the defendant allegedly began to ask the victim to remain on the bus after he dropped the other students off.

The victim told police that she did not want to be on the bus with the defendant and he physically prevented her from leaving the bus at least once. Officials said Mirabel told the victim not to tell anyone about the alleged encounters...

TheBostonChannel.com

March 02, 2010


Added: Mar. 5, 2010

California, USA

San Jose State Police Investigate Groping Attacks

San Jose - Authorities in the South Bay Wednesday night were investigating three separate incidents of sexual battery that happened within about two hours of each other near San Jose State University earlier in the day, a police spokesman said.

San Jose police Officer Jermaine Thomas said it appears all three victims are females who attend the university.

The first incident happened shortly after 9 a.m. at North Eighth and St. James streets.

"The subject approached the victim from behind, hugged her and touched her inappropriately," Thomas said.

He said similar incidents happened at about 11:05 a.m. at East San Carlos and South 12th streets and at 11:13 a.m. in the 400 block of East San Fernando Street.

The suspect in all the incidents was described as a Hispanic man, 20 to 30 years old and 5 feet 8 inches tall. He is clean-shaven with short hair and was wearing a black jacket.

Authorities issued a warning Wednesday for women on or near the campus to watch out for the groping suspect. Officers said sexual battery is a serious offense and they were determined to find the man responsible.

KTVU

March 03,2010


Added: Mar. 4, 2010

Florida, USA, Guatemala

Chief Assistant U.S. Attorney Doug Molloy

Immokalee Man Accused of Using Teens as Sex Slaves

Investigators call it one of the worst cases of sex slavery in Southwest Florida.

Francisco Domingo is charged with human trafficking. But court documents detail horrible accounts of what happened to a 16-year-old girl behind closed doors.

The victim was brought to Immokalee illegally in 2008 from Guatemala. Investigators say the girl was held against her will and Domingo was taking the money she made in the farm fields.

Court documents go on to state that on several occasions, Domingo took pictures and videos of the 16-year-old victim having sex with several men against her will.

The victim said that would happen several times a week.

"Human trafficking or slavery - it doesn't get more serious because the people who bring the slaves over know exactly what slaves are getting into. This is a high priority of our office, the Unites States, the Department of Justice and the FBI," said Chief Assistant U.S. Attorney Doug Molloy.

Domingo will be back in court next week for a bond hearing and officials we spoke to say more charges may be filed.

Stacey Deffenbaugh

WBBH

March 03, 2010


Added: Mar. 4, 2010

Mexico

Deputy Rosi Orozco

Es peligroso trasladar a Succar Kuri al penal de Cancún, advierten diputados

La Comisión Especial de Lucha Contra la Trata de Personas de la Cámara de Diputados presentará este jueves un punto de acuerdo ante el pleno legislativo, con la finalidad de exhortar al juez federal Gabriel García Lanz “para que entienda” que tener al pederasta Jean Succar Kuri, El Johnny, en el penal municipal de Cancún, Quintana Roo “es sumamente peligroso”, no sólo porque podría fugarse, sino “fundamentalmente porque las niñas, niños y jóvenes que fueron sus víctimas recibirían un golpe emocional y sicológico terrible, irreparable, al saber que su victimario estaría otra vez tan cerca de ellos”.

La diputada federal y presidenta de esa comisión, Rosi Orozco, buscó este miércoles a La Jornada para informar, directamente, que “esta comisión especial que presido ha decidido de último minuto presentar un punto de acuerdo, exhortando al juez (García Lanz) para que reconsidere su decisión”.

También “exhortaremos a la Secretaría de Seguridad Pública (SSP) federal para que si ya no queda otra cosa más que trasladar a esta persona a Cancún, las autoridades garanticen que no se fugue durante o después del traslado, y que cuiden que (Succar) no atente contra la seguridad de sus víctimas”.

Congressional Leaders: Transferring Imprisoned Millionaire Child Pornographer Jean Succar Kuri to Cancun is Dangerous

On Thursday, March 4, 2010, the Special Commission to Fight Human Trafficking of the Chamber of Deputies in Congress will present a non-binding resolution before the Chamber, with the objective of calling upon federal magistrate Gabriel García Lanz "so that he will understand" that the pending transfer of Jean Succar Kuri, "El Johnny," from a maximum security prison to a minimum security jail in Cancún is "an extremely dangerous move." It is a danger not only because of the risk that Succar Kuri may flee [he is a millionaire based in Cancún], but because his transfer will subject the [200] children and underage youth in Cancún who were his victims to an irreparable psychological blow from knowing that their victimizer has been moved back to Cancún.

Deputy Rosi Orozco, Chair of the Commission, noted that the resolution also asks that the head of the federal security secretariat assure that, in the case that Succar Kuri is transferred, he is not allowed to escape during the transfer process.

Alfredo Méndez

Periódico La Jornada

March 4, 2010


Added: Mar. 4, 2010

Nicaragua

Nicaraguan University Students Rescued from Potential Human Trafficking Scenario

Free for Life International, a U.S. anti-trafficking organization, met last week with Nicaragua's new Ministry of Families Director Marcia Ramirez Mercado to discussed the issue of human trafficking in Nicaragua. Director Mercado stated at that time that Nicaragua is stepping up their efforts in the fight against human trafficking. Evidence of this fact appeared two days later when a couple was arrested in Managua for attempting to sex traffic several University students from Nicaragua into Guatemala and Mexico. The girls, primarily minors, were lured with the promise of appearing in several of Latin America's most prominent magazines.

Director Marcia Ramirez Mercado has recently been appointed Ministry of Families Director in Nicaragua. In this position a key part of her duties will include the oversight of governmental efforts against human trafficking in Nicaragua. Colette and Dr. Daniel Bercu, founders of Free for Life International, along with directors of Nicoya & Friends Mission were honored to meet with her last week to talk about their work concerning human trafficking. The discussion included the future placement of minor victims into the shelter, efforts the Nicaraguan government is making in the fight against trafficking, and a potential collaboration concerning awareness and victim services with Free for Life International.

Free for Life International, a Tennessee based 501c3 nonprofit organization, has made it their mission to partner with those around the world in the rescue, restoration and reintegration of trafficking survivors. Nicoya and Friends Mission, a shelter for minor age trafficking victims in Nicaragua, is one of these shelters. They are one of the only designated shelters in Nicaragua set up for minor sex trafficking victims and are providing a place of love and restoration for these young women....

Press Release

Free for Life International

March 2, 2010


Added: Mar. 4, 2010

Texas, USA, Mexico

Gerardo Salazar - was wanted by the FBI for the sex trafficking of children

Accused Cantina Sex Ring Operator Arrested in Mexico

A nearly five-year run from justice is over for the alleged leader of a depraved sex-trafficking ring accused of using beatings, threats and rape to force young immigrant women into slavery in Houston, according to Mexican authorities who captured him.

Gerardo “El Gallo” Salazar, whose nickname is Spanish for The Rooster, was snared in his hometown in the tiny state of Tlaxcala, outside Mexico City.

He was apparently first arrested on counterfeiting charges, but later confessed to being wanted in Houston, according to a news release Monday from Mexico's federal attorney general's office. He also tried to offer Mexican agents a bribe of a house and car not to extradite him, the statement continued.

Salazar, 45, was known to not only hoodwink his victims with lies of love, but mark them as his property with a tattoo of a rooster.

He would later strike them with belts, wooden spoons and cables, according to a federal indictment on file in Houston. In one beating described in the document, he ordered a teenager to get on her knees and beg for forgiveness for defying him.

Pending his positive identification and other hurdles, Salazar will likely be subject to a request for extradition to Houston to face charges including sexual assault of a child and sex trafficking.

“I never thought they'd catch the guy,” said Sgt. Michael Barnett, of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission, which was part of the team that broke up the ring that forced victims to work as prostitutes from the back of Houston bars...

Salazar is accused of running a gang that specialized in using fancy trucks and full wallets to romance small-town women and teenagers in Mexico, then lure them to the United States as girlfriends...

During the day, Salazar and his fellow gangsters kept them locked in apartments and homes, authorities say, and at night, they were taken to Houston cantinas and sold over and over to customers, sometimes for as little as $5.

They were beaten into submission, according to an affidavit filed in court by FBI agent Maritza Conde-Vazquez, and captors knew to keep the bruises in places that would not show.

Among the many allegations against Salazar is an instance in which he told a teenager she had to earn at least $3,000 a week and that if she ever thought about leaving him he would kill her parents back in Mexico...

Dane Schiller

Houston Chronicle

March 2, 2010


Added: Mar. 3, 2010

Mexico

Lydia Cacho

Photo: La Jornada

Vigilen a Esos Jueces

Las y los legisladores expusieron dos casos ejemplares que nos permiten entender lo que en realidad sucede en los juzgados de este país

Las y los diputados del PRD, PAN y PT, se pronunciaron en el Congreso para solicitar una supervisión detallada de las actuaciones de jueces que estén a cargo de casos de pornografía y explotación sexual de menores de edad. Llamó la atención el silencio del PRI y del Verde. Está claro que éste es un tema que indigna y enoja a cualquiera que sea incapaz de disfrutar con los abusos de infantes. Justo por eso resulta vital recordar que México ha avanzado en este tema y debe seguir haciéndolo. Las y los legisladores expusieron dos casos ejemplares que nos permiten entender lo que en realidad sucede en los juzgados de este país.

Watch Those Judges

Members of Congress have proposed a closer look at two cases that allow us to understand exactly what goes on in our nation's courtrooms.

Congressional deputies from the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD), the National Action Party (PAN) and the Labor Party (PT) have called for a detailed review of the actions of judges in two cases involving child pornography and the sexual exploitation of children. The absence of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) and the Ecological Green Party (Verde) in this announcement was notable.

It is clear that these topics outrage all but those who are incapable of abusing children. For that very fact it is important to note that Mexico is making progress in regard to this issues and it should continue its efforts to change.

The criminal case against Father Rafael Muñiz demonstrated how the public prosecutor's office in Veracruz state engaged in a mediocre effort to formulate charges against the priest. Later, a federal judge asked the Veracruz court to improve its legal arguments in the indictment. But the local court ignored the law and allowed Father Muñiz to be freed on bail. Two days after his recent release from jail, he was making crosses from ashes to celebrate his freedom.

Although the truth is that Father Muñiz is only free on bond and his case is being reviewed, he is enjoying the fruits of a judicial decision that has resulted from ignorance, fumbling and pressure from the Archdiocese of Veracruz. Judge Martín has taken no specialized training in child sexual exploitation. He therefore continues to make judicial decisions as if this were the year 2000, when Mexico didn't have the precise legal instruments and judicial arguments that exist today, which now permit serious sentences to be handed down.

In the case of [millionaire accused child pornographer] Jean Succar Kuri, the self-confessed "pedophile of Cancun," he was never charged with child sex trafficking, because he was extradited from the United States on charges of child pornography and the corruption of minors. It has been six years since Succar Kuri was arrested in Arizona. His many attorneys, despite not having done a spectacular job in defending him, have won a victory recently in the fact that Succar Kuri will be transferred from a [maximum security] federal prison to a local [minimum security] jail in his home town city of Cancún. According to authorities, Succar Kuri was one of the planners of a prisoner escape by 103 inmates in 2006.

The magistrate in the case made it clear that federal prosecutors had a responsibility to submit a request for revocation of the judicial order that will send Kuri to a local jail in Cancún, and instead, the prosecutors had submitted an appeal of the judge's order. This is equivalent to saying that a given person went to the hospital for a kidney translation and was offered a liver transplant. As yet we don't know if the prosecutor in this case made an intentional error. It is incomprehensible that such an error could occur that is being scrutinized by the U.S. Justice Department, which had extradited Succar Kuri under an agreement that President Calderón's government would bring him to justice.

Succar Kuri will arrive in Cancún this week. His return to this city will be watched by many.

Judge Martin is also being closely watched. This week we will find out whether Father Muñiz received special treatment. It is clear that there is an urgent need in Mexico to train judges and prosecutors on the law as it applies to sex trafficking cases.

To feel outrage at these developments is essential, but it is not a sufficient response. Only through professional training and oversight of the judiciary will we be able to eliminate the ignorant excuses and the faulty interpretations of the law that allow corruption into the process.

The message that we sent out to the millions of boys and girls who are exploited each year must be clear: child pornography is a crime, and the judiciary will protect children.

Lydia Cacho

www.LydiaCacho.net

March 01, 2010

 


Added: Mar. 3, 2010

Jamaica

Chief Justice Says Jamaica Dealing With Human Trafficking

Kingston - Jamaica's Chief Justice, Hon. Zaila McCalla O.J., has commended efforts being made by stakeholders, at various levels of the society, to combat human trafficking in Jamaica.

Speaking at a two-day workshop hosted by the Ministry of Health at the Mona Visitors' Lodge and Conference Centre, University of the West Indies (UWI),

St. Andrew, Mrs. McCalla cited the efforts and input of the legislature, judiciary, security forces, human rights activists, women's groups and faith-based organizations.

She alluded to a "fairly recent disclosure" in a human trafficking report prepared by the United States State Department, which lists Jamaica at an "unacceptable"' Tier 2 level on its watch list.

She pointed out that this signaled that it is felt by the authorities there, that Jamaica has not fully complied fully with the minimum standards. She said that, on the contrary, Jamaica had made "significant efforts" to deal with the problem.

Citing that the existing laws in any country to punish perpetrators of the crime is necessary for the cultivation of a social conscience in that society, the Chief Justice highlighted the Trafficking in Persons (Prevention, Suppression and Punishment) Act, legislated in 2007, as a direct effort to stamp out human trafficking.

"So far, the courts have been working to ensure that the objectives of the Act are complied with, and we will continue to do so in an effort to prevent and stamp out this style of criminal activity. The existence of legislation in Jamaica to confront the problem is a significant step on which we should continue to build," she stated...

South Florida Caribbean News

March 2, 2010


Added: Mar. 3, 2010

South Carolina, USA

14-year-old Girl Was State's First Human Trafficking Case

Columbia - ...Tucked away in a trailer park just a few miles outside the Columbia city limits was the center of South Carolina's first human trafficking case.

Inside was a child, smuggled into the US, then trafficked to a pimp and forced to service dozens of men a day in the Midlands.

"I told my agents, I said, 'We're going to treat this little girl like she's our daughter and we're going to hunt this little girl down and get her out of this trailer,'" said Ken Burkhart, an agent from Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Burkhart got a call from Mexican authorities in February 2007 about a 14-year-old runaway who called her sister in Mexico for help and gave a vague description of the trailer on Sharpe Road.

ICE agents put the trailer under surveillance. On Feb. 27, 2007, the agents moved in.

"Wasn't really seeing anything and with a minor being involved, I didn't want to wait much longer, so we made the decision to simply knock on the door. When I knocked on the door the 14-year-old answered the door," said Burkhart. "I was shocked. I didn't expect that, I expected anybody else but my girl to answer that door."

Unaware of who was inside, Burkhart knew he had to act fast.

"I told her we had been in contact with her sister and shook her hand and just gently led her right out of the door and I had several agents, along with officers from the Richland County Sheriff's Office who assisted, and just kind of passed her right over to those agents," said Burkhart.

It took days, Burkhart says, before the girl agents called "AR" could trust them.

"They have been trained not to trust law enforcement, that we're the bad guys, that we're really not there to help them, so initially AR would tell me that everything was fine, she was okay; she was in no danger," said Burkhart.

When she opened up, AR told investigators she was smuggled in from Mexico in July 2006 by Jesus Perez-Laguna.

Perez-Laguna ran a sex trafficking ring in Charlotte where he pimped AR and several other girls out around the area for several weeks, pocketing the money the girls made.

AR told investigators she was then traded out to Guatalupe Reyes-Rivera, also known as Mama Martina, who lived in Columbia.

"She actually liked her because she didn't beat her like the man in Charlotte did," said Burkhart.

AR told investigators a third pimp, Ciro Bustos-Rosales, pimped her out at Columbia's Mauldin Village Apartments on Mauldin Avenue, a few miles away from Columbia College. The girl was forced to have sex with dozens of men a day...

Both Perez-Laguna and Bostos-Rosales pleaded guilty in 2007. Perez-Laguna is serving a 14-year sentence, Bostos-Rosales is serving five-and-a-half years.

The penalties for trafficking carry up to life in federal prison, and in some cases, qualifies for the death penalty.

WIS News 10

March 1, 2010


Added: Mar. 2, 2010

Gerardo Salazar

Mexico, The United States

Mexico Arrests Sex-traffic Suspect Wanted by FBI

Mexico City - Federal police in central Mexico have captured a man wanted by the FBI for allegedly trafficking women and minors for prostitution in the United States.

The Attorney General's Office says police acting on an anonymous tip captured Mexican suspect Gerardo Salazar on a highway in the central state of Tlaxcala.

The office says Salazar is being held for attempted bribery and possible extradition to face the U.S. charges. It said in a statement Monday that when police stopped Salazar, he offered them a house and a car to let him go.

The FBI alleges Gerardo Salazar used beatings, threats and deception to force Mexican women and girls to work as prostitutes in the Houston, Texas, area in 2004 and 2005.

The Associated Press

March 01, 2010


Added: Mar. 2, 2010

Arizona, USA

Santana Batiz-Aceves

'Chandler Rapist' Suspect Admits Attacking Young Girls

A 39-year-old Valley man who authorities say stalked and raped six young girls in Chandler agreed Monday to a prison sentence of 168½ years as part of a plea agreement.

Santana Batiz-Aceves, dubbed the "Chandler Rapist," was charged with 47 counts, including child molestation, sexual conduct with a minor, kidnapping, aggravated assault and burglary. Police say he attacked girls from June 2006 to November 2007.

Batiz-Aceves pleaded guilty to 12 counts, including attempted sexual conduct with a minor and molestation. Sentencing is scheduled for April 2 before Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Kristin Hoffman.

The case left the city on edge for two years and received significant media attention. On April 9, Judge Theresa A. Sanders denied Batiz-Aceves' request to have the trial moved out of Maricopa County...

Originally from Sinaloa, Mexico, Batiz-Aceves began living in the United States illegally in 1988 and lived in Sacramento for nearly 16 years, where he worked for a construction company.

Three of the victims were students at Andersen Junior High School, police said.

In all but one of the cases, police believe, the rapist followed the victims for weeks, targeting single-parent homes.

In the incidents, the rapist studied the parent's routine, developed a quick escape route and then struck, police said.

Megan Boehnke

The Arizona Republic

March 1, 2010


Added: Mar. 2, 2010

Texas, USA

Fake Doctor Gets 68 Years In Prison

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

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

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

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

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

The Associated Press

Feb. 16, 2010


Added: Mar. 2, 2010

California, USA

Daycare Provider Stops Attempted Kidnapping

Parents are on edge in Lompoc, after a man reportedly tried to kidnap a 2-year-old from Ryon Park, Friday morning.

According to police, the man allegedly grabbed the child and tried to leave the park.

A day-care provider was able to free the child from the suspected abductor, who is described as a 40 to 50 year-old Hispanic male.

Witnesses say the man spoke Spanish and broken English. At the time of the crime, he was wearing a dark blue windbreaker, with a pink and yellow logo on the front.

The subject was last seen leaving to park towards Ocean Ave.

Anyone with information about the crime is asked to call the Lompoc Police Department.

Christina Heller

KEYT

March 1, 2010 0


Added: Mar. 2, 2010

North Carolina, USA

Cruz Luis Antonio Cruz

Man Arrested For Having Sex With Minor Over 8-year Period

The Henderson County Sheriff’s Office arrested a man for having sex with a girl for 8 years since she was only 10 years old.

Luis Antonio Cruz, 42, of Howard Gap Road in Hendersonville was charged with four counts of second-degree rape, two counts of attempted second-degree sex offense, indecent liberties with a child and one count of felony child abuse, all of which are felonies.

“Mr. Cruz was identified by our 287(g) unit as being in the country legally, but not a citizen,” Sheriff Rick Davis said. “Persons in this category, after completion of a sentence, are deported as an aggravated felon and returned to their country of origin.”

Cruz was processed at the Henderson County Detention Center where he was placed under a $280,000 secured bond.

Blueridgenow.com

Feb. 27, 2010


Added: March 1, 2010

An activist's letter speaks the truth from the front lines of the battle to save children from impunity

Mexico

Street children in Mexico

Photo: Alex Moore

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

Lots of action but it is taking its toll……

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In Christ

Steven T. Cass

Breaking Chains Ministry

Feb. 28, 2010

 

 
     

 

    

LibertadLatina

News / Noticias

 

    


Updated: Oct. 08, 2010


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LibertadLatina

Analysis of the political actions and policies of Mexico's National Action Party (PAN) in regard to their detrimental impact on women's basic human rights



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Added: Oct. 8, 2010

Mexico

Insiste México en negar justicia a víctimas de violación en Atenco

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Anayeli García Martínez

CIMAC Women's news agency

Oct. 07, 2010

See also:

Added: May 16, 2009

Mexico

Mujeres de Atenco, tortura sexual e impunidad

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

Women of Atenco - sexual torture and impunity

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

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

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

Full English Translation

Sanjuana Martínez

CIMAC Noticias

News for Women

Mexico City

May 12, 2009

See also:

LibertadLatina

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


Added: Oct. 7, 2010

Mexico

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cronica

Oct. 03, 2010


Added: Oct. 7, 2010

Mexico

Mexico City Attorney General Miguel Ángel Mancera

Detalla PGJDF acciones para combatir la trata de personas

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

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

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

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

Mexico City prosecutors details actions to fight human trafficking

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cronica

Oct. 03, 2010


Added: Oct. 7, 2010

North Carolina, USA

Human trafficking alleged in Durham

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jesse James Deconto

News Observer

Oct. 06, 2010


Added: Oct. 6, 2010

California, USA

Gregorio Gonzalez

Alert Driver Saves Kidnapped Girl

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Associated Press

Olivia Mu

Oct. 05, 2010


Added: Oct. 6, 2010

Guatemala, Mexico

Another Wall Blocks Route to U.S.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Danilo Valladares

Inter Press Service (IPS)

Sep. 15 , 2010


Added: Oct. 5, 2010

California, USA

Police search for man in California girl's abduction

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Scott Thompson

CNN

Oct. 05, 2010


Added: Oct. 5, 2010

Mexico

Inés Fernández and Valentina Rosendo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Justice for Inés and Valentina

Oct. 04, 2010

See also:

Added: Oct. 5, 2010

Mexico

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

Human Rights Court: Mexico responsible for rapes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

No one was punished in either case.

E. Eduardo Castillo

The Associated Press

Oct. 04, 2010

See also:

Added: Oct. 5, 2010

Mexico

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

Mexico Ordered to Pay Damages to Women Raped by Soldiers

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

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

The court’s rulings are binding on OAS members.

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

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

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

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

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

EFE

Oct. 04, 2010

See also:

Added: Oct. 5, 2010

Mexico

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

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

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

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

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

Latin America News Dispatch

Oct. 05, 2010

See also:


Added: Dec. 4, 2010

Mexico / The United States

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

Mexican Activist Wins Prestigious Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jim Lobe and Emilio Godoy

Inter Press Service (IPS)

Sep. 23, 2010

See also:

Added: Dec. 4, 2010

Mexico / The United States

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

(In Spanish with English subtitles)

On YouTube,com

Sep. 23, 2010

See also:

Added: Dec. 4, 2010

Mexico / The United States

Mexico has failed to prosecute violations, reduce torture

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

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

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

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

Human Rights Watch

Sep. 14, 2010

See also:

Added: Dec. 4, 2010

Mexico

Time to Speak up on Military Abuse in Mexico

José Miguel Vivanco, Director - Americas Division - HRW

Human Rights Watch

May 17, 2010


Added: Dec. 4, 2010

Alabama, USA

North Alabama man convicted in sex trafficking of an underage girl

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Al.com

Sep. 22, 2010


Added: Dec. 4, 2010

California, USA

Man arrested in sex case involving Encinitas teen

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pauline Repard

The San Diego Union-Tribune

Sep. 29, 2010

 


Added: Dec. 4, 2010

California, USA

Man Tries to Kidnap Teen Girl Walking to School

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

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

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

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

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

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

KTLA News

Oct. 1, 2010


Added: Oct. 1, 2010

Mexico

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

Cecilia Romero sale de Migración

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

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

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

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

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

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

José Gerardo Mejía

El Universal

Sep. 14, 2010

See also:

Added: Oct. 1, 2010

Mexico

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Emilio Godoy

Inter Press Service

Sep. 16, 2010

See also:

Added: Oct. 1, 2010

Mexico

Mexican immigration official quits after massacre

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Alexandra Olson

The Associated Press

Sep. 14, 2010

See also:

Added: Oct. 1, 2010

Mexico

Romero leaves the INM

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

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

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

The News

Sep. 15, 2010

See also:

Added: Oct. 1, 2010

Mexico

Evalúa Segob trabajo de Romero en Migración

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

¿Para cuándo las conclusiones?

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

El Universal

Sep. 02, 2010

See also:

Added: June 28, 2009

Mexico

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

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

Photo: El Universal

LibertadLatina Commentary

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

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

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

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

Nothing could be further from the truth.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

¡Esta barbarie no será perdonado por Dios!

This barbarity will not be pardoned by God!

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

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

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

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

It is not an impossible task.

The status quo today is... unacceptable!

End impunity now!

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

June 28, 2009

Updated Oct. 2, 2010

See also:

Mexico

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

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

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

- Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina


Added: Oct. 1, 2010

Mexico

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

Gobiernos soslayan la trata de personas

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

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

Government overlooks modern slavery

Human trafficking is not being fought in Mexico

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

El Universal

Sep. 24, 2010


Added: Sep. 29, 2010

Mexico

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Diario Chiapas Hoy

Sep. 27, 2010


Added: Sep. 29, 2010

India

Human trafficking slur on Commonwealth Games

The jinxed Commonwealth Games could have done without this. After being troubled by brittle infrastructure, CWG 2010 has now been blamed for a jump in trafficking of women and children from the Northeast. The accusation has come from Meghalaya People’s Human Rights Council (MPHRC) general secretary Dino D.G. Dympep. The platform he chose on Tuesday was the general debate discussion on racism, discrimination, xenophobia and other intolerance at the 15th Human Rights Council Session at the UN headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.

“The human rights situation of indigenous peoples living in Northeast India is deteriorating,” Dympep said, adding New Delhi has chose to be indifferent to human trafficking of and racial discrimination toward these indigenous groups.

“What worries the indigenous peoples now apart from racial and gender-based violence is the fear of alleged human trafficking for flesh trade.” The number of indigenous women and children trafficked particularly for the upcoming CGW could be 15,000, he said.

The rights activist also underscored the racial profiling of people from the Northeast on the basis of their ethnicity, linguistic, religious, cultural and geographical backgrounds.

Dympep also pointed out 86 per cent of indigenous peoples studying or working away from their native places face racial discrimination in various forms such as sexual abuses, rapes, physical attacks and economic exploitation.

“The UN has condemned India's caste system and termed it worse than racism. The racism faced by indigenous peoples of the Northeast is definitely the outcome of the caste system. Such negative attitude as ignoring the region will only lead to deeper self-alienation by the indigenous peoples, which comes in the way of integration in India,” he said.

Rahul Karmakar

Hindustan Times

Sep. 28, 2010

LibertadLatina Note:

Indigenous peoples across the world face the problem of being marginalized by the dominant societies that surround them. They become the easiest targets for human traffickers because the larger society will not stand up to defend their basic human rights. Exploiting the lives and the sexuality of indigenous women is a key aspect of this dynamic of oppression.

We at LibertadLatina denounce all forms of exploitation. We call the world's attention to the fact that tens of thousands of indigenous peoples in the Americas, and most especially women and girls in Guatemala and Mexico, are routinely being kidnapped or cajoled into becoming victims of human trafficking.

For 5 centuries, the economies of Latin America have relied upon the forced labor and sexual exploitation of the region's indigenous peoples as a cornerstone of their economic and social lives. Mexico, with an indigenous population that comprises 30% of the nation, is a glaring example of this dynamic of racial, ethnic and gender (machismo) based oppression. In Mexico, indigenous victims are not 'visible' to the authorities, and are on nobody's list of social groups who need to be assisted to defend themselves against the criminal impunity of the sex and labor trafficking mafias.

For Mexico to arrive in the 21st Century community of nations, it must begin the process of ending these feudal-era traditions.

End impunity now!

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

Sep. 30/Oct. 02, 2010


Added: Sep. 29, 2010

Oregon, USA

Police warn of man exposing himself near Portland school

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Teresa Blackman

KGW

Sep. 28, 2010


Added: Sep. 29, 2010

California, USA

Man Arrested for Peeping in School Bathroom

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

KTLA

Sep. 28, 2010



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



Added: Sep. 28, 2010

Mexico

Buscaremos romper el cerco de los “guardianes del patriarcado”

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

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

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

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

We Seek to Break the Ring of the Guardians of Patriarchy

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

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

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

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

Elizabeth Muñoz Vásquez

CIMAC Women's News Service

Sep. 27, 2010


Added: Sep. 26, 2010

Mexico

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

Condena unánime contra migración forzada y aumento de trata en AL

Pronunciamiento del II Congreso Latinoamericano sobre trata

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Elizabeth Muñoz Vasquez

CIMAC Women's News Agency

Sep. 24, 201-


Added: Sep. 26, 2010

Haiti

Haitian Women at Increased Risk of Trafficking

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Emilio Godoy

Inter-Press Service (IPS)

Sep. 24, 2010


Added: Sep. 26, 2010

Mexico

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Arturo Alfaro Galán

La Jornada de Oriente

Sep. 24, 2010


Added: Sep. 26, 2010

Mexico

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

Photo:Daniela Pastrana / IPS

Gender Violence Hits Behind the News

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Daniela Pastrana

Inter Press Service (IPS) / TerraViva

Sep. 21, 2010


Added: Sep. 26, 2010

Mexico

Bicentennial Nothing to Celebrate, Say Indigenous Peoples

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Daniela Pastrana

Inter-Press Service (IPS)

Sep. 24, 2010


Added: Sep. 26, 2010

Mexico

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hélène Le Goff

International Organization for Migration (IOM)  México

Sep. 24, 2010


Added: Sep. 26, 2010

Texas, USA

Chase leads deputies to possible human trafficking ring

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

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

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

WOAI

Sep. 24, 2010


Added: Sep. 26, 2010

Canada

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

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

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

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

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

The woman was arrested Wednesday.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gabrielle Giroday

The Winnipeg Free Press

Sep. 24, 2010


Added: Sep. 24, 2010

Mexico, Latin America

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

Mujeres con derechos y ciudadanía, debe exigir la sociedad

Plantea Marcela Lagarde en Congreso sobre Trata y Tráfico

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Elizabeth Muñoz Vásquez

The CIMAC Women's News Agency

Sep. 22, 2010


Added: Sep. 24, 2010

Mexico, Latin America

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

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

Encuentro Latinoamericano sobre Trata y Tráfico de Personas

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Elizabeth Muñoz Vásquez

The CIMAC Women's News Agency

Sep. 21, 2010


Added: Sep. 26, 2010

Latin America

América Latina ineficaz en combate a trata de personas

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

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

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

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

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

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

Inter Press Service (IPS) / TerraViva

Sep. 21, 2010

English Language Version:

Added: Sep. 24, 2010

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Emilio Godoy

Inter Press Service (IPS)

Sep. 22, 2010


Added: Sep. 21, 2010

Mexico

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

Rights groups against giving US anti-drug aid to Mexico

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Agence France-Presse (AFP)

Sep. 15, 2010

See also:

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

(In Spanish)


Added: Sep. 19, 2010

Mexico

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

Photo: CIMAC Women's News Agency - Mexico

Premio Internacional al Escritor Valiente para Lydia Cacho

Por investigación y denuncia de red de pederastia en México

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

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

Lydia Cacho receives award for valiant journalism

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By the Editors

CIMAC Women's News Agency

Sep. 17, 2010

See also:

Mexican journalist Lydia Cacho receives PEN prize

London - A Mexican journalist who was arrested and threatened after exposing a pedophile ring is to receive a major writing prize.

Writers' charity PEN says Lydia Cacho is the recipient of its International Writer of Courage Prize, which goes to writers persecuted for their beliefs.

Cacho was arrested, charged with libel and received death threats after publishing a book about a child sex abuse ring involving business figures in Cancun in 2005...

The awards will be presented in London on Oct. 20.

The Associated Press

Sep. 16, 2010

See also:

Journalist / Activist   Lydia Cacho is    Railroaded by the Legal Process in Mexico for Having Exposing Child Sex Networks In Mexico


Added: Sep. 19, 2010

The World, Chile

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (right) with former Chilean president Michelle Bachelet, on 14 September 2010

Bachelet: ONU Mujeres Será un Enorme Desafío

La ex presidenta de Chile, Michelle Bachelet describió su nombramiento al frente de ONU Mujeres como un enorme desafío que acoge con beneplácito.

En una entrevista exclusiva con la Radio de la ONU, Bachelet indicó que su designación representa un reconocimiento a los logros de su gobierno y a los avances de su país en políticas destinadas al adelanto de la mujer.

Consideró que su experiencia como mandataria y su relación con otros jefes de Estado contribuirán a avanzar en el objetivo de la igualdad de los géneros.

“Mi experiencia también en todo lo vinculado al trabajo de igualdad de las mujeres, igualdad de derechos, a luchar contra la violencia, a luchar contra la discriminación, esta ha sido la historia de mi vida. No sólo con respecto a las mujeres, sino de los hombres, mujeres, niños, ancianos. Toda esta experiencia la quiero entregar en esta tarea que es la dirección de esta nueva estructura de Naciones Unidas”.

La nueva Entidad para la Igualdad entre los Géneros, “ONU Mujeres”, fue creada por la Asamblea General el pasado 2 de julio, y fusiona cuatro organismos de la ONU que se ocupaban del tema. Comenzará a operar en enero de 2011.

Radio ONU - UN Radio

Sep. 15, 2010

See also:

Former Chilean president to head new high-profile UN women’s agency

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (right) with Michelle Bachelet

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today named former Chilean president Michelle Bachelet to head United Nations Women (UN Women), a newly created entity to oversee all of the world body’s programmes aimed at promoting women’s rights and full participation in global affairs.

The new body – which will receive a large boost in funding and become operational in January – merges four UN agencies and offices: the UN Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), the Division for the Advancement of Women (DAW), the Office of the Special Adviser on Gender Issues, and the UN International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women (UN-INSTRAW).

“UN Women will promote the interests of women and girls across the globe,” Mr. Ban told reporters in announcing the appointment. “Ms. Bachelet brings to this critical position a history of dynamic global leadership, highly honed political skills and uncommon ability to create consensus and focus among UN agencies and many partners in both the public and private sector.”

“I’m confident that under her strong leadership we can improve the lives of millions of women and girls throughout the world.”

Ms. Bachelet, Chile’s first female president who prioritized women’s issues throughout her tenure and since leaving office has been working with UNIFEM to advocate for the needs of Haitian women following January’s devastating earthquake, was chosen over two other candidates.

The new entity is set to have an annual budget of at least $500 million, double the current combined resources of the four agencies it comprises.

“As you know the creation of UN Women is the culmination of almost four years’ effort and today’s announcement has been made possible thanks to the hard work of the Member States and the many partners who share our commitment to this agenda, and this has been a top and very personal priority of mine,” Mr. Ban said.

He stressed that at next week’s UN Summit on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) women and children will be “at the very core of our final push” to realize the ambitious targets for slashing extreme poverty and hunger, maternal and infant mortality, rampant diseases, and lack of access to education and health services, all by the deadline of 2015...

The United Nations

Sep. 14, 2010

See also:

Bachelet Named Head of UN Agency for Women

Former Chilean President Michelle Bachelet became the head of UN Women, a new agency that merges four UN agencies devoted to women’s and gender issues. In his announcement of the position, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said “Ms. Bachelet brings to this critical position a history of dynamic global leadership.”

Americas Quarterly - Weekly Update

Sep. 16, 2010

 


Added: Sep. 19, 2010

Ecuador

Ecuador Closes Open-Door Policy

Authorities announced that Ecuador will begin requiring entry visas for visitors from nine Asian and African countries, ending the country’s policy of universal free entry. The government says it added the exceptions to its visa laws in an effort to stop the use of Ecuador as a base for human trafficking, reports IPS News.

Americas Quarterly - Weekly Update

Sep. 16, 2010


Added: Sep. 19, 2010

The World

Governments seek coordination to fight sex trafficking

Child trafficking is one of the fastest growing crimes in the world - an underground business, often conducted on the internet, and driven by enormous profits. According to UNICEF, an estimated 2.5 million children, the majority of them girls, are sexually exploited in the multibillion-dollar commercial sex industry.

While the problem is usually associated with countries with unstable economic and political systems, today it is the biggest in Europe, the United States, Russia and Africa.

[We disagree with the conclusion that . Mexico alone has many more victims of child sex trafficking than the United States. The Dominican Republic, Colombia, Peru,  Brazil and Argentina each have more child victims than the U.S. has at any given time. It is unacceptable that the Latin American sex trafficking problem remains 'invisible' to large segments of journalists, researchers and decision makers. Human smuggling and trafficking in Mexico amounts to a $15 to $20 billion per year criminal industry. The UN's International Organization for Migration has noted that sex trafficking across Latin America totals an estimated $16 billion in annual revenues. That amount in half of the commonly used global number for all human trafficking profits - $32 billion. - LL]

"Last year we identified 56 cases of young people who have experienced sexual exploitation just in the Washington D.C. area," Andrea Powell, executive director of FAIR Fund stated. Powell co-founded the organization eight years ago to stop the trafficking of youth worldwide. It has assisted thousands of teen-aged girls and boys so far in the United States, Bosnia, Serbia, Russia and Uganda.

"Asia" is one of her group's success stories: Lured into prostitution, she often worked 15-hour days in the sex trade…"It was just gross. I separated myself, my mind; I was in another place when it happened," she recalls, "It was like it was not me."

...FAIR Fund helped her turn her life around.

"To put it in a nutshell, they have helped me transform to who I am now," Asia says, "I am not the same person. "But for every "Asia" there are many more who are not so fortunate.

U.S. Congressman Chris Smith is one of the strongest advocates for rights of victims of human trafficking.

"At least a 100,000 American girls, mostly runaways, average age of 13, are on the streets. And within 48 hours, if they are not brought back home or to some shelter, through the use of drugs, crack cocaine, or some other harmful drugs, the pimps are able to turn those girls into forced prostitutes," Smith said. "They abuse them, they rape them. They get STDs, including HIV and AIDS."

Many children are brought to the U.S. from other countries, mostly Latin America, Southeast Asia, south and eastern Europe. Roma children are often brought from Bosnia or Serbia to steal or clean houses. Children from East Africa are brought to work as domestic servants or farm labor, while children from India are forced to work in the garment business. Their families often do not have any idea what has become of them. In many countries, including the US, even police officers who come to brothels or strip clubs buy sex from the victims instead of helping them...

Amra Alirejsovic writes for Voice of America.

Amra Alirejsovic

Energy Publisher

Sep. 13, 2010


Added: Sep. 19, 2010

Illinois, USA

West Chicago man gets 30 years for molesting girls

After the West Chicago woman returned home from her daughters' school event, the two girls told her a secret they shared about her live-in boyfriend.

"I had no idea what I was about to hear," the mother wrote in a victim-impact statement. "Both my daughters then said that he had sexually molested them. I am so angry because this man has taken something so sacred. They are going to have to live with the pain and memories of his actions for the rest of their lives."

Francisco Moyotl was sentenced Thursday to 30 years in prison after he pleaded guilty to committing predatory criminal sexual assault of a child and aggravated criminal sexual abuse.

The 42-year-old West Chicago man must serve 85 percent of the prison term before being eligible for parole. He also likely will face deportation because he is not a U.S. citizen...

Christy Gutowski

The Daily Herald

Sep. 16, 2010


Added: Sep. 19, 2010

New York, USA

32-year-old sex offender arrested for rape of 75-year-old woman in Bronx

A hulking sex offender raped a 75-year-old Bronx woman who employed his mother as a caretaker, police said Monday.

Marcos Cuevas sneaked into a private senior citizens residence on Sunday and had wormed his way into the apartment of another woman - a neighbor of the victim - when she happened to come by for a visit, police said.

"I'm looking for my mother," the brawny pervert told her.

"She's not here," the elderly victim replied. "She's off on weekends."

So Cuevas, 32, tied the wrists of the victim and her 76-year-old pal behind their backs - and then raped the younger woman, police said.

The tattooed terror, who stands 6-foot-2 and weighs 295 pounds, also robbed the 76-year-old of $10 before fleeing the Bronx building, cops said.

When detectives arrived, the rape victim had no problem identifying her attacker because his mom, Iris, works as a home care attendant for her 95-year-old mother, police said.

A Level 3, or high risk, sex offender, Cuevas was caught later on E. 141st St. in Manhattan.

Cuevas was charged with rape, robbery, sex abuse and unlawful imprisonment. His alleged victim was in stable condition at Lincoln Hospital.

Ivonne Suarez, who said she is Cuevas' wife, defended her "Gentle Giant" and insisted the rape accusation was dreamed up by a "crazy woman."

"He would never do this after spending that time in jail," said Suarez, 40. "The woman is senile. She made up this story. My husband wouldn't lay a hand on her."

...Cuevas spent nearly a decade behind bars for raping two Manhattan women - one of them at knifepoint in Harlem - in 1996.

Sentenced to seven to 14 years in prison, Cuevas was twice denied parole by boards that deemed him a danger to society. He won a conditional release in November 2005, but a year later he was back in jail after violating his parole in August 2006.

He wasn't released again until November 2009, according to records.

Rocco Parascandola, Kevin Deutsch and Corky Siemaszko

The New York Daily News

Sep.13, 2010


Added: Sep. 19, 2010

California, USA

San Bernardino County Priest Accused of Sexually Abusing 2 Boys

Reverend Alex Castillo maintains his innocence.

Ontario - A Catholic priest in San Bernardino County is accused of sexually abusing two boys within the last two years.

Rev. Alex Castillo was removed from duty as an active priest in June.

He served at four churches within the Diocese of San Bernardino, including Our Lady of Guadelupe in Ontario.

The parents of two adolescent boys, who are brothers, claim Castillo sexually abused their sons. Castillo maintains his innocence.

The accusations were revealed in a letter read in church over the weekend.

Parishioners say the man they call "Reverend Alex" is strict and spiritual.

"It's a good person. It's a good father. He's been here for quite a few years," parishioner Benjamin Rosas told KTLA.

Church members say they were told Castillo was sick when he left back in June.

The diocese will only say he's in a place where he no longer has any contact with parishioners. They won't say where.

Police will not comment on the allegations.

The San Bernardino Diocese is asking any potential victims to come forward.

Eric Spillman

KTLA News

Sep. 14, 2010


Added: Sep. 19, 2010

Ohio, USA

Teen girl says she was raped

Dayton - Police are looking for a man, possibly Hispanic in connection with the sexual assault of a 15-year-old girl.

Officers say the girl was walking home from school near Bolton Avenue when a man started following her. He then jumped out , grabbed the girl, threw her over his shoulders, and took her into a vacant house where she was assaulted.

Police say the man is between the ages of 18 and 20 and weighs about 140 pounds. He has a teardrop tattoo under one of his eyes, and he is dressed in black.

If you have any information about this crime, please call 333-COPS.

Charlie Van Sant

WHIO

Sep. 17, 2010


Added: Sep. 14, 2010

Mexico

The wrong solution in Mexico

The Obama administration is right to consider boosting funding, but increased militarization to combat drug cartels is misguided. The U.S. would be wiser to address rampant corruption.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton made a dangerous mistake Wednesday when she spoke of Mexico's drug cartels as "insurgents" and suggested reviving President Clinton's Plan Colombia to address the issue. That program set up U.S. military bases in Colombia and funneled billions of dollars in military aid to fight the country's drug-trafficking left-wing insurgency. The last thing the United States needs today is a new quagmire south of the Rio Grande.

Mexico is different from Colombia. Colombia was up against a rebel organization bent on taking over the government. In contrast, Mexican drug traffickers are businessmen who we can assume are principally concerned with increasing their profits. In the end, they prefer to use "silver," or bribes, over "lead," or bullets. Although they are quick to kill or decapitate members of rival gangs, they much prefer a pliant police officer, soldier or mayor to a dead one. This is why government officials make up such a small percentage of the dead — only about 3,000 out of 28,000, according to official statistics...

Plan Colombia was highly problematic. More than $4 billion of military aid and the construction of U.S. military bases did reduce the violence. Nevertheless, Colombian cocaine still flows freely into the U.S. market and is one of the most important sources of income for the Mexican cartels.

U.S. military support in Colombia also led to skyrocketing human rights abuses and numerous "disappeared" citizens, at a considerable cost to the country's social fabric. Nongovernmental organization and media reports have found that much of the aid was channeled to [ultra-conservative] paramilitary groups and that the U.S. presence emboldened the Colombian military to act with impunity...

[One] strategic move would be to aggressively fund and support independent investigative journalism and alternative media outlets, which have played a major role in holding government accountable. Journalism has become a high-risk profession in Mexico. Both cartels and the government have done their best to suppress the truth about corruption.

Unfortunately, neither strong anti-corruption agencies nor support for journalists have formed a part of the new focus on social programs, which months ago the Obama administration suggested as a possible focus for future funding to Mexico. Under the influence of the Calderon government, most of the talk has been about much "softer" initiatives, such as drug education, urban renewal, scholarships and community development programs. All of this is fine, but none of it will attack the roots of the present failure to rein in the drug cartels in Mexico.

It is time to turn the corner in U.S. policy toward Mexico. Instead of sending more money [for] attack helicopters, military bases or social development programs, the U.S. could make a significant contribution to peace in North America by helping to aggressively combat corruption and supporting freedom of expression.

John M. Ackerman is a professor at the Institute for Legal Research at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, editor-in-chief of the Mexican Law Review and a columnist for La Jornada newspaper and Proceso magazine.

John M. Ackerman

Sep. 10, 2010


Added: Sep. 11, 2010

New Mexico, USA

New Mexico receives $1.6 million from Justice Department

The U.S. Department of Justice has awarded the state of New Mexico $1.64 million in grants for public safety initiatives.

[The grants included ...$215,000] to create a special agent position assigned to the [state attorney general's office's] Border Violence Division to investigate human trafficking cases.

The grants were announced by Democratic U.S. Sen. Jeff Bingaman.

The Associated Press

Sep. 11, 2010


Added: Sep. 10, 2010

Mexico, The United States

Los Angeles Times metro columnist Hector Tobar is a former Mexico City bureau chief for the newspaper.

Photo: L.A. Times

Where's the outrage over immigrant slayings in Mexico?

...For those of us who remember the tragedy of Latin America's recent past, seeing the images of last month's massacre of 72 immigrants in northern Mexico is like reentering an old and very familiar nightmare.

Not long ago, dictators ruled most of Latin America. They had large groups of people kidnapped, tortured and executed in secret. Their crimes against humanity hit nearly every corner of the region, from cosmopolitan Buenos Aires to provincial Guatemala City.

But this new act of mass murder was not the work of a military junta run by generals. It didn't take place in a tiny banana republic without a judicial system worthy of the name.

It happened in the proud, multiparty democracy called Mexico, a country with ample social freedoms, including a vibrant free press. And it wasn't an isolated occurrence. A report last year by Mexico's human rights ombudsman said at least 400 mass kidnappings are reported in Mexico every year, many involving the rape and murder of hostages.

Modern death squads are operating freely in northern Mexico, extorting those who wish to come here, where relatives and jobs await. The kidnappings and murders of immigrants carried out by these groups are a stain on Mexican democracy, and many commentators there recognize this.

"The abuse against migrants is an everyday embarrassment we don't want to talk about because it would rob us of all our moral authority before our neighbors to the north," columnist Alfonso Zarate wrote in response to the massacre in the newspaper El Universal.

"Mexico demands respect for the human rights of 'illegal' workers in the U.S.," Zarate continued, " … but is now itself under the microscope of the international community, which is rightly scandalized and indignant."

...As with the many killings of police officers and officials in Mexico, the San Fernando massacre was an act of psychological warfare. Such extreme violence is meant to spread fear and thus make it easier for the killers to impose their will on the living.

If we stay silent about their crime, if we treat it as just another episode in Mexico's unwinnable drug wars, then we'll allows the killers to win.

And yet, here in the United States, the expressions of outrage from the immigrant rights movement have been muted. You could say they are a mere whisper compared with the very loud campaign against Arizona's SB 1070, a law whose most controversial provisions will probably never go into effect.

We should see the killings as a blunt reminder of the reasons why people so desperately want to come here. And we should speak of San Fernando with the same horror as we do El Mozote and the Naval Mechanics School of Buenos Aires — sites of the most heinous crimes committed by the militaries of El Salvador and Argentina in the 1970s and '80s.

It's not just the killers who deserve our moral outrage, it's the failed judicial systems that allow them to thrive without fear of punishment.

In Latin America, the massacre has already provoked much reflection and protest. The government of Honduras, home to the largest number of its victims, announced it would take new steps to try to discourage illegal immigration to the U.S.

In Mexico, the northern city of Saltillo witnessed a rare event just days after the Aug. 23 massacre: a march by 200 undocumented immigrants, carrying the flags of El Salvador, Guatemala and other Central American countries.

"Our countries deny us the opportunity for economic development," the demonstrators said in a written statement, after marching through the city with covered faces. "But Mexico denies us the opportunity to live."

To stop SB 1070, we've seen Angelenos drive across the desert to Phoenix to march, to denounce both the governor of Arizona and the mad sheriff of Maricopa County, Joe Arpaio.

But I've yet to hear of any rallies at the Mexican consulate or anywhere else here in Los Angeles, demanding that the Mexican government prosecute those guilty of so many migrant killings and disappearances.

Most of the country's leading immigrant rights groups haven't even bothered to issue a news release.

That doesn't surprise me. Generally speaking, the U.S. immigrant rights movement doesn't have much to say about the social and political conditions that lead so many to leave their native countries and place themselves at the mercy of an increasingly violent smuggling industry.

This is wrong. We can't turn a blind eye to the deeper, seemingly intractable injustices that are the obvious root cause of the problem.

Simply put: It's wrong that people have to undertake the journey to the U.S. in the first place. People shouldn't have to leave the land of their ancestors, their extended families, their barrios and their farms.

They leave because the promise of democracy in Mexico and Central America remains unfulfilled.

The Tamaulipas murders are really just the most sickening expression of a vast system of inequality and corruption that still defines life for millions of people.

U.S. immigration reform, unfortunately, won't do anything to strengthen the rule of law in those countries that supply the greatest number of migrants. It won't stop the power of the criminal groups that infiltrate government and intimidate officials, not just in certain regions of Mexico but in much of Central America.

There's a movement for democracy and government accountability in those places. But it's often under threat...

...Many more of us need to stand with those who work to keep the promise of democracy and justice alive in northern Mexico, Guatemala and other places.

It matters not just to them but to us.

And now, as in the age of the dictators, it's a matter of life and death.

Hector Tobar

The Los Angeles Times

Sep. 9, 2010

See also:

LibertadLatina Commentary

Chuck Goolsby

Clarifying the Issues in an Age of Impunity

The September 9th, 2010 article by Los Angeles Times columnist Hector Tobar: Where's the outrage over immigrant slayings in Mexico?, speaks volumes of truth in regard to the world's lack of response to the human rights crises that terrorize the daily lives of the people of Mexico and the rest of Latin America. While much attention is paid to the injustices that immigrants, including the undocumented, face in the United States, few U.S. human rights organizations, including those that exist within the Latino community, dare to address the root causes of the oppression that drives millions to flee to the U.S. in response.

We go beyond Mr. Tobar's analysis to state that the same problem, that of an imbalanced attention to human rights tragedies, also exists in regard to the mass gender atrocities that are today a constant in Mexico and elsewhere in Latin America. Our project, LibertadLatina, exists to counter that lack of awareness and action by focusing the world's attention on the problems of criminal impunity and state corruption and complacency. These dynamics have created conditions in Mexico that have resulted in conditions where rule of law is weak, and where both criminal networks and corrupt law enforcement and military forces compete to see how many Central and South American migrants they can kidnap, rob, rape and, in many cases, sell into slavery.

It is clear to us that the criminal impunity that dominates in Mexico has spread its influence across the United States. The fact that Latin American victims of human slavery account for approximately 60% of the U.S. total of enslaved persons is one indicator of that reality. The related fact that Mexico's human smuggling networks now earn between $15 and 20 billion annually by smuggling immigrants to the U.S. under often inhuman conditions, according to a recent CNN report, is another red flag that should start the alarm bells ringing in Washington.

Mexico's governmental and social institutions are not capable of addressing criminal impunity, and especially its human trafficking component, without being pushed hard to do so. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's recent statement indicating that Mexico's drug cartels are mounting an 'insurgency-like' campaign against Mexican governmental rule, should give pause to anyone who thinks that bringing human slavery under control in that nation will happen anytime soon.

Both the global human rights community and the U.S. federal government must shift focus and begin to address this crisis as the emergency that it truly is. There is no hope for ending human trafficking in Latin America, nor in the United States, while criminal impunity and state inaction continue to reign in Mexico.

End impunity now!

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

Sep. 10/14, 2009

Also mentioned in Hector Tobar's September 9, 2010 Los Angeles Times article was the El Mozote massacre:

No Rescue From Atlacatl Battalion

The U.S.-trained Atlacatl Battallion massacred hundreds of unarmed villagers in the town of El Mozote

About the El Mozote Massacre in El Salvador, perpetrated on December 10, 1981

A case of anti-indigenous repression through state sanctioned rape and mass-murder

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

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

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

"They slit some of the kids' throats, and many they hanged from the tree ... The soldiers kept telling us, 'You are guerrillas and this is justice. This is justice.' Finally, there were only three of us left. I watched them hang my brother. He was two years old. I could see that I was going to be killed soon, and I thought it would be better to die running, so I ran. I slipped through the soldiers and dove into the bushes. They fired into the bushes, but none of their bullets hit me."

Parascope.com


Added: Sep. 10, 2010

Mexico

37 suspected illegal immigrants found captive in Riverside

The group, which included juveniles, was being held in a 10-by-12-foot room that was locked from the outside and had boarded-up windows.

Federal agents found 37 suspected illegal immigrants, smuggled into the United States from six countries, crammed into a small house in Riverside where some had been held captive for weeks, authorities said Wednesday.

Immigration agents raided the "drop house" after a relative of one of the captives called the Los Angeles Police Department. The caller told police the smugglers had threatened to kill his relative because the family failed to come up with enough money to pay for his release, according to Virginia Kice, spokeswoman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Los Angeles.

Agents found the immigrants — including two toddlers and a baby — in a small bedroom, measuring about 10 by 12 feet. The room was locked from the outside and the windows were boarded up. The home is in one of the city's older neighborhoods along Martin Luther King Boulevard, about a mile east of the 91 Freeway.

"As far as we know, they were all in pretty good physical condition, though some reported that they had not eaten for days," said Claude Arnold, special agent in charge for ICE in Los Angeles.

Six suspected smugglers have been detained and are being questioned, but no arrests have been made, Arnold said.

"We're still in the process of interviewing everyone," Arnold said. "In these circumstances, it does take some time to sort this out."

Agents took an additional seven immigrants linked to the same smuggling scheme into custody earlier in the day as they were being taken to other destinations in the Los Angeles area.

The 44 smuggled immigrants are from Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Mexico, Ecuador and the Dominican Republic. The group included 34 men, four women and six juveniles.

Those smuggled into the country illegally will eventually go though deportation proceedings. However, any immigrants who were assaulted by a smuggler or were victims of another crime will be treated as victims and could be eligible for a victims' visa, he said.

Two weeks ago, federal immigration agents found a drop house in Baldwin Park with 35 smuggled illegal immigrants from Central and South America.

Phil Willon

The Los Angeles Times

Sep. 9, 2010


Added: Sep. 10, 2010

Spain, Brazil

Spain Breaks Up a Trafficking Ring for Male Prostitution

Madrid - The Spanish police said Tuesday that it had dismantled for the first time a human trafficking network bringing men rather than women into the country to work as prostitutes.

The police said 14 people, almost all of them Brazilian, were arrested over recent weeks as part of an inquiry into the network’s activities begun in February.

The sex workers were recruited in Brazil, with their travel costs to Spain initially covered by the trafficking network’ organizers in return for a pledge to work subsequently for them, according to a police statement. Most of the recruits, however, expected to work as models or nightclub dancers, although some allegedly knew that they were coming to Spain to offer sex.

The police estimated that between 60 and 80 men were brought to Spain by the network, most of them in their 20s and originating from Brazil’s northern state of Maranhão. They reached Spain by passing through third countries.

The bulk of the arrests occurred on the island of Majorca, including that of the Brazilian accused of being the ringleader, whose identity was not disclosed by the police. The prostitutes ended up owing the network as much as €4,000 each and were sometimes threatened with death if they refused to pay the debt, according to the Spanish police.

Although it is the first time that police officers have broken up a professional male prostitution trafficking network, five people were arrested in 2006 in Spain’s western region of Extremadura for their involvement in an illegal Brazilian prostitution business. More recently, the police have dismantled several gangs exploiting female sex workers, generally from Eastern Europe or Africa. In July, 105 people were arrested for their involvement in a dozen prostitution centers around Madrid in one of the largest clampdowns to date.

A police spokeswoman who asked not to be identified said that Brazilian officials had been involved. Some of the prostitutes were also placed in custody for working illegally in Spain.

Raphael Minder

The New York Times

Aug. 31, 2010


Added: Sep. 9, 2010

Mexico

The Ibero-American University in Puebla opens the Ignacio Ellacuría Human Rights Institute in March of 2010

Acciones vs trata de personas en México son insuficientes: UIA

Cada minuto y medio se comete un delito de trata de personas en el mundo, y en México, aún sabiendo los lugares y rutas donde operan las redes, las acciones que se realizan para evitarlo son insuficientes, señalaron especialistas.

Oscar Castro Soto, director del Instituto de Derechos Humanos “Ignacio Ellacurría” de la Universidad Iberoamericana (UIA), indicó que cada año 400,000 personas son víctimas de dicho delito en el mundo.

En la presentación de la agenda del “II Congreso latinoamericano de trata y tráfico de personas”, el director explicó que 80% de las victimas son niños y mujeres utilizados para explotación sexual y trabajos domésticos, ya sea de forma conciente o en contra de su voluntad.

Las rutas identificadas son: Paraguay, Bolivia, Chile y Argentina; Brasil y España; Panamá, Nicaragua y Costa Rica; y El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, México y Estados Unidos, expresaron académicos de la UIA.

Las redes de trata y de pornografía infantil en México que están vinculadas al narcotráfico, se encuentran en regiones de Tapachula, Cancún, Acapulco, Veracruz, Tijuana, Tlaxcala, Puebla, Ciudad Juárez y La Merced, en el Distrito Federal, indicaron expertos.

Las instituciones federales y estatales de México, con excepción del Instituto de Mujeres del Distrito Federal, no se sumaron a la convocatoria del evento internacional a realizarse del 20 al 24 de septiembre en la UIA de Puebla en la que participaran funcionarios de varios países, lo que ocasionó la sorpresa de varios especialistas.

Raquel Pastor, integrante del Comité Académico del Congreso, señaló en un comunicado, el apoyo del foro para ayudar a quienes trabajan en la persecución del delito de trata, ya que en México no existen instituciones especializadas que atiendan a las víctimas de dicho delito.

Mexico's actions against human trafficking are insufficient: Ibero-American University

According to Oscar Castro Soto, director of the Ignacio Ellacurría Institute for Human Rights at Mexico's Ibero-American University (UIA) in Puebla state, every minute and a half a human trafficking crime is committed somewhere in the world. In Mexico, despite the fact that trafficking locations and routes are known, [state] actions to prevent such crimes are inadequate. According to Castro Soto, 400,000 persons become victims of trafficking each year globally.

Castro Soto presented his observations in the just-released agenda for the upcoming Second Latin American Congress on Human Trafficking, which will be held at the UIA campus in Puebla between September 20th and 24th, 2010. He explained that 80% of the victims of human trafficking are children and women, who either consciously or against their will are utilized for sexual exploitation or domestic servitude.

Known [Latin American] trafficking routes exist in Paraguay, Bolivia, Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Panama, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, Mexico, the United States and Spain, stated Castro Soto [Soto-Castro's statement omits important human trafficking routes that involve the Dominican Republic and Colombia, the two largest sources of sex trafficking victims in Latin America - LL].

Castro Soto's statement noted that within Mexico, human trafficking and child pornography networks are tied to narco-trafficking organizations. These criminal groups may be found in Tapachula, Cancún, Acapulco, Veracruz, Tijuana, Tlaxcala, Puebla, Ciudad Juárez and the La Merced sector of Mexico City.

With the exception of the National Women's Institute, Mexican federal agencies chose not to participate in the conference. This decision brought expressions of surprise from some of the specialists involved with the event. Government officials of several other nations plan to attend.

Raquel Pastor, who is a member of the academic committee of the Congress, stated in a press release that the goal of the Congress was to assist those in government who seek to prosecute human trafficking crimes, given the fact the Mexico currently does not have institutions set-up to assist victims.

El Semanario - Mexico

Sep. 07, 2010

See also:

From the CATW-LAC flyer for their third annual awards ceremony

La Coalición Regional Contra El Tráfico De Mujeres Y Niñas En América Latina Y El Caribe presentará su "Tercer Premio Latino-americano por La Vida y la Seguridad de las Mujeres y Niñas en America Latina y el Caribe

During the upcoming Secnd Latin American Congress on Human Trafficking, which will be held at the UIA campus in Puebla, Mexico, between September 20th through 24th, 2010, the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women - Latin American and Caribbean branch (CATW-LAC), will present its Third Award for the Defense of Life and Security for Women and Girls in Latin America.

(In Spanish)

CATW-LAC

Sep., 2010

See also:

En la UIA Puebla se inaugurará el Instituto de Derechos Humanos Ignacio Ellacuría |22 de Marzo de 2010|

The UIA in Puebla opens the Ignacio Ellacuría Human Rights Institute on March 22nd, 2010.

(In Spanish)

ContraParte

March 22, 2010



Other important news stories from 2009 and 2010



Added: Jul. 21, 2010

New York, USA

U.S. Ambassador Luis CdeBaca (second from left) and other presenters at UN / Brandeis conference

Hidden in Plain Sight: The News Media's Role in Exposing Human Trafficking

The Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University cosponsored a first-ever United Nations panel discussion about how the news media is exposing and explaining modern slavery and human trafficking -- and how to do it better. Below are the transcript and video from that conference, held at the United Nations headquarters in New York City on June 16 and co-sponsored by the United States Mission to the United Nations and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

Take a look as some leading media-makers and policymakers debate coverage of human trafficking. What hinders good reporting on human trafficking? What do journalists fear when they report on slaves and slavery? Why cover the subject in the first place? What are the common reporting mistakes and missteps that can do more harm than good to trafficking victims, and to government, NGO, and individual efforts to end the traffic of persons for others' profit and pleasure?

Among the main points: Panelists urged reporters and editors to avoid salacious details and splashy, "sexy" headlines that can prevent a more nuanced examination of trafficked persons' lives and experiences. Journalists lamented the lack of solid data, noting that the available statistics are contradictory, unreliable, insufficient, and often skewed by ideology. As an example, the two officials on the panel -- Ambassador Luis CdeBaca, head of the U.S. Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, and Under-Secretary-General Antonio Maria Costa, executive director of the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime -- disagreed on the number of rescued trafficking victims. Costa thought the number was likely less than half CdeBaca's estimate (from the International Labour Organization) of 50,000 victims rescued worldwide...

Read the transcript

The Huffington Post

July 15, 2010