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Noticias de Abril, 2010

April 2010 News



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Added: Apr. 29, 2010

Mexico

Impunity!

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 - is thrown into the back of a pickup truck and taken away by corrupt police forces in Oaxaca state.

Amnesty International: "Father Alejandro Solalinde has been repeatedly arrested, threatened and intimidated by local authorities and criminal gangs [for his work assisting migrants]..."

How is the Blue Heart Campaign going to end the madness of corrupt police action against migrants, others at risk of human exploitation and those who help them, President Calderón? - LL

Los abusos generalizados contra migrantes en México son una crisis de derechos humanos

(comunicado de prensa - 48 páginas - en el Formate de PDF)

Amnesty: Widespread abuse of migrants in Mexico is 'human rights crisis'

[Amnesty: Authorities are complicit in crimes against migrants]

The Mexican authorities must act to halt the continuing abuse of migrants who are preyed on by criminal gangs while public officials turn a blind eye or even play an active part in kidnappings, rapes and murders, Amnesty International said in a new report released on Tuesday.

Invisible Victims: Migrants on the Move in Mexico, documents the alarming levels of abuse faced by the tens of thousands of Central American irregular migrants that every year attempt to reach the US by crossing Mexico.

"Migrants in Mexico are facing a major human rights crisis leaving them with virtually no access to justice, fearing reprisals and deportation if they complain of abuses," said Rupert Knox, Mexico Researcher at Amnesty International.

"Persistent failure by the authorities to tackle abuses carried out against irregular migrants has made their journey through Mexico one of the most dangerous in the world."

Kidnappings of migrants, mainly for ransom, reached new heights in 2009, with the National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) reporting that nearly 10,000 were abducted over six months and almost half of interviewed victims saying that public officials were involved in their kidnapping.

An estimated six out of 10 migrant women and girls experience sexual violence, allegedly prompting some people smugglers to demand that women receive contraceptive injections ahead of the journey, to avoid them falling pregnant as a result of rape.

On 23 January 2010, armed police stopped a freight train carrying over 100 migrants in Chiapas State, southern Mexico.

Veronica (not her real name) said that Federal Police forced her and the other migrants to leave the train and lie face down on the ground, before stealing their belongings and threatening to kill them unless they continued their journey by foot along the railway.

After walking for hours, the group was assaulted by armed men who raped Veronica and killed at least one other migrant.

Two suspects were later detained after a local activist helped the migrants file a complaint but no action was taken against the Federal Police, despite migrants identifying two officers allegedly involved.

"Mexico has a responsibility to prevent, punish and remedy abuses whether these are committed by criminal gangs or public officials," said Rupert Knox.

The report calls for immediate action to ensure migrants' access to complaint mechanisms regardless of their status and ensure effective investigations...

Despite some welcome measures in recent years, for example better protection of the rights of unaccompanied children and criminalization of people trafficking, this has often in reality failed to prevent and punish abuses against migrants.

[The above linked page at Amnesty International includes an excellent 7 minute video report]

The full report in English (48 pages - PDF format)

Amnesty International

April 28, 2010


Added: Apr. 29, 2010

Mexico

A final end to another stark case of official impunity targeting Indigenous women

Mexico's Supreme Court of Justice has freed two wrongly convicted Otomi indigenous women, Teresa González Cornelio (left) and Alberta Alcántara Juan - two months after they were sentenced to prison for supposedly kidnapping six AFI (equivalent to the U.S. FBI) agents - when a group of unarmed women vendors at a street bazaar protested the confiscation of their merchandise and surrounded the agents.

Resuelve SCJN libertad para indígenas otomíes Alberta y Teresa

México, D.F., 28 abr 10 (CIMAC).- Por unanimidad, cinco ministros de la Primera Sala de la Suprema Corte de Justicia de la Nación (SCJN) resolvieron hoy revocar la sentencia dictada el 19 de febrero del 2010 contra Alberta Alcántara Juan y Teresa González Cornelio, indígenas otomíes acusadas de “secuestrar” a seis elementos de la desaparecida Agencia Federal de Investigación (AFI).

La sesión pública, en la que ambas indígenas fueron absueltas, convocó a una gran cantidad de medios de comunicación, quienes estuvieron pendientes del dictamen de la ministra Olga Sánchez Cordero, quien concluyó que no hay elementos suficientes para acreditar el delito de privación de la libertad en su modalidad de secuestro ni acreditar la responsabilidad de Alberta por delitos contra la salud, es decir, posesión de cocaína.

Por tanto, José de Jesús Gudiño Pelayo, presidente de la Primera Sala de la SCJN resolvió que de inmediato se mandaría un telegrama al juez Cuarto de Distrito en el estado de Querétaro, Rodolfo Pedraza Longi, para que este a su vez gire la orden de liberación.

Caber recordar que Pedraza Longi, impuso a Alberta y Teresa una pena de 21 años de prisión y el pago de una multa de 91 mil pesos, más 70 mil pesos por concepto de “reparación del daño”, luego de responsabilizarlas de haber “secuestrado” a seis elementos de la desaparecida Agencia Federal de Investigaciones (AFI).

Anayeli García Martínez

CIMAC Women's News Agency

April 28, 2010

See also:

Added: Apr. 29, 2010

Mexico

Teresa González Cornelio in her prison cell

Mexico frees 2 Indians after 4 years in prison

Mexico's Supreme Court has overturned the kidnapping convictions and ordered the release of two Indian market vendors whose case received international attention.

Otomi Indians Alberta Alcantara Juan and Teresa Gonzalez Cornelio have spent almost four years in prison on 21-year sentences for the alleged kidnapping of six federal agents.

Prosecutors say the agents were confiscating pirated goods at a market in 2006 when angry vendors overpowered them and held them against their will.

The court ruled Wednesday there was insufficient evidence to convict the women. Critics, including Amnesty International, contend prosecutors fabricated evidence.

A third woman convicted in the case, Jacinta Francisco Marcial, was freed last year.

The Associated Press

April 28, 2010

See also:

Added: Apr. 29, 2010

Mexico

Amnesty International Demands Release of 2 Mexican Indigenous Women

Mexico City - Amnesty International of Mexico said two indigenous women jailed since 2006 on charges of kidnapping six police officers are “prisoners of conscience” and called for their immediate release.

Alberta Alcantara Juan and Teresa Gonzalez Cornelio were arrested three-and-a-half years ago during a raid on pirate DVD vendors at a square in the central Mexican state of Queretaro, the home region of both women.

In the same operation, police also arrested another indigenous market stall holder, Jacinta Francisco, who was released last September due to what Mexican prosecutors acknowledged was a lack of evidence during a retrial.

In a joint press conference with the Miguel Agustin Pro Juarez Human Rights Center, or Centro Prodh, – which is assisting in the defense of Alcantara and Gonzalez – the director of that latter organization, Luis Arriaga Valenzuela, said the jailing of the two women serves as a dissuasive measure against all marginalized Indian populations.

“In cases like this, they know that if they rise up, they run the risk of getting lost in the labyrinth of Mexico’s deficient justice system,” he said.

For his part, Gabriel Alcantara Juan, Alberta’s brother and Teresa’s husband, said this situation is common among “low-income families” like his and demanded the immediate release of his sister, his wife and their daughter, who was born in prison and is now one year old.

Centro Prodh said Alcantara and Gonzalez had previously been victims of ethnic, gender and class discrimination and were targeted during the police operation because they “demanded to see the identification of the officers taking part” in the raid.

The police arrived at the Santiago Mexquititlan square dressed as civilians and violently dismantled some market stalls and seized merchandise, an operation resisted by the vendors...

The Latin American Herald Tribune

Late 2009


Added: Apr. 29, 2010

Georgia, USA / Puerto Rico

Army Lt. Colonel Accused Of Making Child Porn

Atlanta - A lieutenant colonel with the U.S. Army has been indicted by a federal grand jury on child pornography production and possession offenses.

Edgar Pagan-Torres, 41, of Peachtree City, made his initial appearance before a U.S. Magistrate judge on April 15, 2009, and was indicted Tuesday afternoon.

"This defendant allegedly sexually abused his own daughter and niece and then produced videos of his crimes, mementos that he carefully organized into home-video-style DVDs," said U.S. Attorney Sally Quillian Yates. "This shocking and tragic conduct has no place in our nation's military, nor anywhere else. I appreciate all the hard work the U.S. Army investigators did to bring this case to the FBI and to ensure that the defendant now faces these very serious charges." ...

WSB-TV

April 27, 2010


Added: Apr. 29, 2010

Nevada, USA

19-year-old suspect Juan Rivera

14-Year-Old Identified as Murder Victim

Las Vegas - The Clark County Coroner's Office has identified the teen found murdered in a daycare parking lot as 14-year-old Diana Soto of Las Vegas.

No cause or manner of death has been determined.

Soto's body was found Sunday morning in the back parking lot of a daycare near Owens Ave. and Marion Dr. Officers were able to identify Soto through a missing persons report that was filed on April 24, 2010.

After interviewing family and friends, detectives arrested 19-year-old Juan Rivera in connection with Soto's murder. He has been booked into the Clark County Detention Center for murder, robbery and sexual assault. He will make his first court appearance on Wednesday.

KLAS

April 27, 2010


Added: Apr. 29, 2010

Ohio, USA

14-year-old indicted in rape of 64-year-old

Hamilton - A 14-year-old accused of robbing and sexually assaulting a 64-year-old woman has been indicted by a Butler County grand jury.

Alexis Ramirez of Liberty Township was indicted Wednesday, April 28, on charges of felonious assault, aggravated robbery, aggravated burglary, two counts of kidnapping, three counts of rape and tampering with evidence. According to prosecutors, he faces up to 83 years in prison if convicted.

Assistant Prosecutor Brad Burress said the rape charges stem from “three distinct places in the house he forced to have sex with him.”

Ramirez was indicted for tampering with evidence for allegedly ditching the gun used in the attack in the woods behind his residence in a Liberty Twp. trailer park.

According to Butler County sheriff’s detectives, the woman was attacked Jan. 11 after the 14-year-old Monroe student - armed with a “pellet rifle” - entered her residence at Countryside Mobile Home Community on Ohio 4. Authorities say the teen demanded money, hit the woman in the head and raped her before forcing her to drive to an ATM.

In March, following psychological evaluations and a hearing, Butler County Juvenile Court Judge Ronald Craft transferred the case to adult court...

Dayton Daily News

April 28, 2010


Added: Apr. 27, 2010

Mexico

Migrantes originarias de Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, y de otras nacionalidades, continúan siendo víctimas de las redes de la delincuencia organizada.

Migrant women, hailing from Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua and other nations, continue to become the victims of organized crime networks.

Foto: Organización Editorial Mexicana (OEM)

"Zetas" secuestran y venden mujeres en 40 dólares: ONG´s

Ciudad de México.- Organizaciones de derechos humanos que trabajan en temas migratorios sostienen que pese a las campañas de prevención que lleva a cabo el Gobierno federal para radicar la trata de personas, mujeres, hombres, niñas, niños y adolescentes que salen de sus países en busca de una mejor vida tienen que soportar el costo de sufrir todo tipo de agresiones y violaciones a sus derechos humanos a lo largo de su trayecto por territorio mexicano.

Organizaciones como Frontera con Justicia, Humanidad Sin Fronteras, Belén Posada del Migrante y el Centro de Derechos Humanos Miguel Agustín Pro Juárez afirman que de acuerdo a testimonios de mujeres centroamericanas, en nuestro país las mujeres migrantes que viajan en el tren son secuestradas por grupos delictivos como los Zetas y forzadas a ejercer la prostitución en bares, prostíbulos y casas clandestinas en donde las venden hasta por 40 dólares"...

"Zetas" kidnap and then sell [pimp] migrant women for $40 - NGOs

Human rights organizations who work on migration issues in Mexico say that, despite the existence of federal initiatives to combat human trafficking, girls, boys, adolescents, women and men who leave their homes in search of a better life must face every form of violence and violations of their human rights throughout their long journey across Mexican territory.

Non-profit agencies such as Frontera con Justicia [Border with Justice], Humanidad Sin Fronteras [Humanity Without Borders], Belén Posada del Migrante [the Bethlehem Migrants Shelter] and the Centro de Derechos Humanos Miguel Agustín Pro Juárez [The Miguel Agustín Pro Juárez Human Rights Center] say that, according to the testimonies of Central American women, many females who travel through Mexico by jumping onto trains [the most common form of migration] are then kidnapped by criminal networks such as the Zetas [a very powerful drug cartel founded by AWOL military men who apply extreme violence during their criminal activities]. The Zetas and other gangs force these kidnapped women to exercise prostitution in bars, brothels and safe houses, where they are sold for up to 40 dollars.

Victims say that these crimes are committed with complete impunity. “The authorities, instead of taking action against the bars, actually work against us,” says a Honduran  migrant victim who was interviewed by a Honduran newspaper, and who has been supported by NGOs in Mexico.

The advocacy groups denounced the fact that migrants originating from Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua and other nations continue to be victimized by these crime networks, and by state governments who will not defend and protect their human rights.

The human rights advocates went on to add that government officials actually participate in the commission of crimes against migrants. This is especially true in the many cases where women have been kidnapped and taken to safe houses and brothels where they are subjected to sexual exploitation and labor trafficking. 

Because of this, the above-named organizations energetically call upon the government of Mexico to make good on the commitment and will expressed during the recent [April 14, 2010] launch of the United Nations Blue Heart Campaign. The NGOs want Mexico’s federal government to focus especially on the undocumented Central American migrant population [as human trafficking victims].

At the same time, the advocates are demanding that the rule of law and the statutes governing human trafficking, the office of the federal Special Prosecutor for Crimes Against Women and Human Trafficking (FEVIMTRA), and programs to protect trafficking victims - stop being, as they are today, a set of inoperable political actions that allow neither the eradication of the root causes of trafficking nor the elimination of related crimes.

Within this context, the NGOs, who previously extended an open invitation for visits on these issues to the National Human Rights Commission (CNDH), are also calling on the Mexican state to set solid dates for the visits offered, in response, by Felipe González, the CNDH Special Rapporteur for Workers, Migrants and their Families.

Manrique Gandaria

El Sol de México (OEM)

April 24, 2010

See also:

(Another report about the same press conference)

Added: Apr. 27, 2010

Mexico

Piden ONG contener creciente trata de personas en México

Organizaciones No Gubernamentales (ONG) reclamaron hoy al gobierno mexicano hacer efectivo el compromiso de contener la creciente trata de personas, ejercida básicamente contra inmigrantes centroamericanos en condición irregular.

Pese a los esfuerzos del Ejecutivo, el delito resulta frecuente y las políticas aplicadas no conducen a la erradicación de ese grave flagelo, señalaron ONG especializadas en la materia, entre ellas Frontera Con Justicia y los centros de derechos humanos Miguel Agustín Pro Juárez y del Migrante "Beato Juan Bautista Scalabrini"...

Prensa Latina

April 22, 2010

LibertadLatina Commentary

Chuck Goolsby

Logo of the United Nations Blue Heart Campaign Against Human Trafficking

Is Mexico Finally Willing to Act to End Human Slavery and Gender Exploitation?

The April 14th launch in Mexico City by President Calderón of the world's first national-level (United Nations sponsored) Blue Heart Campaign against human trafficking offers the hope that the Mexican government has finally turned a corner, and is now willing to act positively to combat the crisis of modern human slavery after a very long history of inaction.

While that is the hope, it is not unfair for the world to maintain a skeptical eye on the activities of Mexican officials as they work to put into effect such a radical change in national policy.

During the past several years LibertadLatina has dedicated its efforts to bringing world attention to the mass rapes, kidnappings and enslavement of women, children and men that occurs with almost total impunity in Mexico. While the global anti-trafficking movement -and especially its powerful and pioneering English-speaking contingent- have focused almost exclusively on fighting human trafficking in other regions of the world (especially in Europe, Asia and the U.S.), we have worked to close the gap in English-language and bilingual coverage of the trafficking crisis in the Spanish-speaking, Caribbean, Indigenous and African-descendent communities of the Americas.

The United Nations is perhaps the only major entity with the power to affect positive change - to have taken the crisis in Latin America seriously during the past decade. It is not by accident that the UN had previously developed an anti-trafficking relationship directly with Mexico's border state of Chiapas, the only UN-to-state relationship of its kind, in response to the mass human atrocities that occur there. It is also not by accident that Mexico was chosen as the world's first nation to adopt the UN Office of Drugs and Crime's Blue Heart Campaign against human trafficking.

According to the Southern Cone (southern South American) office of the United Nations-affiliated International Organization for Migration (IOM), an estimated $16 billion of the $32 million in annual profits created by the human slavery industry globally are generated in Latin America. That 50% 'share' of the criminal marketplace for worldwide slavery victims has never been responded to by the  engagement of 50% of the global anti-trafficking movement's energy, resources or focus.

That lack of attention, together with the willingness of past U.S. administrations to effectively ignore Latin America's crisis in human slavery, allowed a drug-profit fueled criminal industry to grow exponentially in the region while the world effectively looked the other way in apathy.

Mexico is home base for the largest problems in Latin American human trafficking.

We have decided to focus on the crisis in Mexico because solving that one single national emergency will have the most positive impact on the entire regional crisis.

In the United States, 60% of U.S. trafficking victims are Latin American. Most of them have been trafficked across the Mexican border into the U.S. The population of Mexico (and especially its poor and vulnerable Indigenous peoples), also suffer immensely from modern slavery. In addition, Central American migrants are kidnapped, raped and trafficked by the many thousands as they cross Mexico. Some are also murdered.

Southern Mexico's narrow border with Guatemala and Belize is the one 'bottleneck' where literally millions of South and Central American migrants who seek to travel to the United States must cross into Mexico. Human traffickers and also rapist thugs and robbers await these innocent migrants like trolls under a bridge. They rape an estimated 450 to 600 women and girls among these migrants every single day of the year with complete impunity on the Mexican side of its southern border, with no discernable response from Mexican officials and authorities. In fact, police and military forces have harassed migrants and their NGO caregivers. Many of these victims are kidnapped (10,000 during a 6 month period, according to a study by Mexico's National Human Rights Commission). A number of those victims are sold into slavery, often to be trafficked to brothels in Mexico, the U.S. and Europe.

The NGO Save the Children has described the southern border of Mexico as being the largest region in the entire world for the commercial sexual exploitation of children. The city of Tapachula, for example, has 20,000 persons engaging in prostitution in its 1,500 bars and brothels. Half of that number are children and underage youth at any given time. Local police don't interfere with this 'business,' they focus on keeping child prostitutes away from schools and upscale residential neighborhoods.

Across Mexico, women, and especially those from Mexico's traditionally discriminated against Indigenous peoples, who are 30% of the population, are also raped with impunity. The perpetrators are not only criminal thugs, but also military soldiers engaged in the drug war. President Calderón has steadfastly denied that any problem exists with military rapes of civilians, and he has refused to allow accused soldiers to be tried in civilian courts.

On April 15, 2010, one day after the launch of the Blue Heart campaign, President Calderón sent his federal lawyers to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights to fight against Inés Fernández Ortega, an Indigenous woman who was gang-raped by soldiers in her home in 2002. The government lawyers denied that any rape took place, and blamed the victim for the lack of justice (an assertion that women's rights activists in Mexico are repulsed by).

Fernández Ortega, her family and her lawyers have faced intimidation and death threats. Her brother, a witness in her case, was murdered shortly after she began her now 8 year effort to find justice in her case.

For Inés Fernández Ortega and many other women victims of criminal impunity in Mexico, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights has become the venue of last resort after having faced institutional injustice, impunity, and a corrupt and uncaring government response to their plight.

The Mexican government's actions in the Inés Fernández Ortega case, just after kicking-off the Blue Heart Campaign, raise a red flag of concern about the true nature of President Calderón's level of commitment to truly changing Mexico's long tradition of openly exploiting people for profit while repressing the rights of those who dare to file a complaint.

During the 500 year period since the Spanish conquest of Mexico, Indigenous women have been easy target for rapists and human traffickers. We who are Indigenous know this history inside out, no matter what corner of the Americas we hail from. What is an abomination in today's world is the fact that in Mexico and across much of Latin America, Indigenous women and girls continue to be enslaved and brutalized with the implied consent of national governments. By extension, none of these women can count on the protection of their national governments and local police forces in the face of such gender atrocities.

In Mexico, an estimated 3,000 to 4,000 Indigenous children and underage youth have been kidnapped and then sold to the Japanese Yakuza mafias, who then transport the victims to Japan, where they are enslaved as 'Geisha' prostitutes. Despite the existence of this story during the past several years, there are no visible signs that either Mexico or Japan have ever lifted a finger to rescue the victims. In a similar case, a reporter in Spain posed as a pimp, and was offered 6 Mayan Indigenous  girls for sale. They were all 13-years-old. The sale price was $25,000 each, because Indigenous girl children were considered to be "exotic" merchandise.

During the past 9 years, LibertadLatina has related many similar true stories of impunity to our readers. We have backed-up our arguments with the 1,300 pages of factual news articles, research reports and essays that are available on this web site.

We have especially focused on translating into English the many articulate voices for change in Mexico and Latin America. They are women and men; journalists, academics and activists who have dared to speak the truth about the mass gender atrocities that plague this region of the world, a region where exercising your freedom of expression, especially as a journalist, can easily get you killed.

We salute them all, and remain dedicated to presenting the truth to the public about these institutionalized forms of gender and ethnic oppression.

The United Nations Blue Heart Campaign's first national-level effort will offer Mexico an opportunity to show its citizens, its indigenous nations, its undocumented migrants, its children and the world community that it is really willing to change.

Change will not come easily. We will not celebrate any victories over impunity until we see real, consistent change on the ground.

To make that change happen, human rights organizations, activists, academics and concerned citizens within Mexico and across the globe will all have to keep up the pressure on Mexico's government. Many political and cultural forces in Mexico will fight hard to block the effective work of the Blue Heart Campaign and the imposition of the rule of law in regions where it does not now exist.

Mexico has relied upon slave labor (farm labor peonage and unpaid Indigenous domestic servitude for the middle and upper classes) for 500 years. In addition, according to veteran Mexican women's rights lawyer Teresa Ulloa, director of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women's Latin American and Caribbean branch (CATW-LAC), 500,000 victims of human slavery exist in Mexico. The great majority of these victims are forced into prostitution. That economic sector generates great wealth for criminals, corrupt police officers and politicians. Raping, robbing and murdering migrants who attempt to cross Mexico also generates significant illicit 'profits.'

Those who benefit from exploiting people will not give up without a fight. It is not unlike asking people in Afghanistan to give up growing opium poppies to make heroin. That is simply how money is made in that part of the world.

The supporters of the lawless status-quo have included many officials within the Calderón administration.

The 2007 Law to Prevent, Combat and Punish Human Trafficking was effectively derailed by opposition within the administration, and it is now referred to accurately as a "dead letter" by congressional leaders.

Interior Secretary Fernando Gómez Mont was effectively in charge of seeing to it that the 2007 law's required federal regulations were written, and that the Commission and the Program to Prevent and Punish Human Trafficking were set up. He dragged his feet for two years before the law's regulations were written, and then delayed setting-up the commission called for in the law. The National Program, the last major element called for to actually implement the law, was never created.

The aspects of the 2007 law that were put into effect only came into being because of persistent agitation from members of Congress. Interior Secretary Fernando Gómez Mont, for example, only created the federal regulations required to implement the law after Congress issued four stern warnings to President Calderón, demanding that he act to put the law into effect.

Congressional members are still demanding that the 2007 law's required National Program to Prevent and Punish Human Trafficking be created, as called for in the 2007 law.

In addition to these realities, the National Action Party (PAN) has not had a stellar history in regard to defending women's rights within many other venues.

The former mayor of Ciudad Juarez and later Chihuahua state governor during the 1990s femicide crisis, Francisco Javier Barrio Terrazas, was rewarded by president Calderón, (over the vocal objections of anti-femicide activists who recalled his apathy in addressing the crisis) with an appointment as Mexico's ambassador to Canada in 2009.

Arturo Chávez, who botched the investigations into the Ciudad Juarez femicides and prosecutions of suspects, was roundly denounced by anti-femicide activists when President Calderón named him to be Attorney General, also in 2009.

Cecilia Romero, head of the national immigration service (INM) and a long-time PAN party official, boasted in a 2009 press interview with El Universal, a major Mexico City daily paper, that human trafficking is "inevitable", and that, "the existence of the smuggling of migrants, human trafficking, pedophile networks, and the kidnappings and violence that affect thousands of migrants are only "evils of mankind" that Mexico cannot eradicate.

The worst legacy of misogyny within the ruling National Action Party is represented by El Yunque (the Anvil) - an ultra-conservative Catholic secret society that has been reported to be a major, if not dominating influence within the PAN. As we have reported previously:

"El Yunque holds the belief that all social activists, including those who advocate for improving the lives of women, indigenous people and the poor, are literally the children of Satan. They take aggressive political action consistent with those beliefs.

During the 1960s, El Yunque perpetrated political assassina-tions and murders targeting their opponents.

We are today being asked by President Calderón to believe that his administration has made the radical shift from policies that effectively matched those of El Yunque, to a now enlightened, pro-women and pro-victim stance that aggressively supports the war against human trafficking.

If President Calderón's lofty words, spoken at the April 14, 2010 launch of the "Blue Heart Campaign - Mexico - 2009-2010" (see below articles), are sincere, we support those sentiments 100%

PAN congresswoman Rosi Orozco, who has just presented a new anti-trafficking bill to replace the 'failed' 2007 law (see below articles) is proposing a measure that appears to be a truly groundbreaking piece of legislation. Her bill, developed with input from the United Nations (and likely the United States), appears to repair the many deficiencies found in the 2007 law that made its implementation such a political nightmare for anti-trafficking advocates in Congress.

We do insist, however, that the Mexican government dismantle ALL forms of human exploitation, and that it do so effectively. We echo the recently announced demands of NGO agencies  Frontera con Justicia [Border with Justice], Humanidad Sin Fronteras [Humanity Without Borders], Belén Posada del Migrante [the Bethlehem Migrants Shelter] y el Centro de Derechos Humanos Miguel Agustín Pro Juárez [The Miguel Agustín Pro Juárez Human Rights Center] (see above article).

[We all demand that] the rule of law and the statutes governing human trafficking, the federal Special Prosecutor for Crimes Against Women and Human Trafficking (FEVIMTRA), and programs to protect trafficking victims - stop being, as they are today, a set of inoperable political actions that allow neither the eradication of the root causes of trafficking nor the elimination of related crimes.

The wonderful words spoken by President Calderón and Deputy Orozco during the Blue Heart campaign launch said nothing about the 3,000 to 4,000 Mexican Indigenous children and youth enslaved in Japan who are awaiting the president's action and their rescue.

Those words said almost nothing about the rape with impunity of 450 to 600 women and girl children by traffickers and thugs each and every day on the Guatemalan border, an atrocity that Mexico's Congress has demanded action to have resolved for years to no avail. [Although efforts to assist migrant victims of trafficking were mentioned by President Calderon on April 14th.]

Those words also said nothing about any federal action to change conditions in Tapachula, a southern Mexican border city where an estimated 10,000 underage children and youth are forced to prostitute themselves with virtually no government intervention.

Nothing was said about Save the Children's observation that Mexico's southern border is the largest zone for the commercial sexual exploitation of children in the entire world.

We expect, at the very least, that the U.S. State Department's 2010 Trafficking Persons (TIP) report, that applies a rating to all of the world's nations, will be honest and acknowledge these multiple crises. Were it not for the Blue Heart Campaign and the positive anti-trafficking leadership and actions of Deputy Rosi Orozco. the PAN party's new spokesperson on human trafficking issues, Mexico would have rightly deserved a downgrading of its 2009 rating from Level 2 to the Level 2 Watch List in 2010.

No nation wants to be on that 'trouble' list.

We have no doubt that the U.S. Government, through Ambassador at Large Luis CdeBaca, played a major role in bringing about such a major change in Mexican federal policy on human trafficking. If that assumption is correct, we salute Ambassador CdeBaca, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and President Barack Obama for those important efforts.

Mexico has a lot of work to do to show the world that it is serious about ending human exploitation and impunity. As it goes through these first apparent baby steps of changing direction, it is the responsibility of the world's peoples and governments to "trust, but verify."

We cannot divert our attention from this crisis while government actors in Mexico continue to be part of the problem, and while thousands of innocents continue to be kidnapped and raped each week with total impunity.

The whole world is watching!

End impunity now!

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

April 27, 2010

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

See also:

Undercover reporter in Spain poses as buyer, is offered 6 Indigenous 'virgin' girls [all of them age 13] by child sex trafficker.  'Sale' price in Europe for Mayan girls kidnapped from Chiapas state in Mexico: $25,000 Each.

(In Spanish)

- Cronica

Feb. 29, 2004

See also:

Chiapas - State government investigates the sale of young Mayan girls in Europe.

(In Spanish)

- CIMAC Noticias

News for Women

Mexico City

March 15, 2004

See also:

Read the CIMAC Women's News Agency's collection of over 340 articles published between 2007 and 2010 about the rape with impunity of [mostly indigenous] women by soldiers in Mexico.

(In Spanish)

CIMAC Women's News Agency - Mexico City

See also:

Modern Day Slavery in Mexico and the United States

...Ambassador [Luis] C. de Baca [Director of the U.S. State Department Trafficking in Persons (TIP) office]  believes that focusing on eradicating human trafficking could improve U.S.-Mexican efforts to combat other forms of transnational crime.

According to C. de Baca, human trafficking “appears to be an area where the [Mexican government] is prepared to cooperate with [the U.S.].” C. de Baca and others are hopeful that the exchange of information on human trafficking cases will build relationships between Mexican and U.S. officials that might help further combat the drug war.

Megan McAdams

Council on Foreign Relations

Dec. 21, 2009

See also:

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)...

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


Added: Apr. 25, 2010

Mexico

National Action Party (PAN) Congressional Deputy Rosi Orozco (center) listens as President Felipe Calderón (speaks) during Mexico's April 14, 2010 inauguration of the United Nation's Blue Heart Campaign against human trafficking

Mexico se Suma a la Campaña Corazón Azul de la ONU - Contra la Trata de Personas

Una fructífera semana en avances sobre la concientización del delito de trata de personas y el apoyo que debemos darle todos a los niños y niñas, y mujeres y hombres víctimas de esta práctica catalogada como “la esclavitud del siglo XXI”, tuvimos en estos últimos días.

El Gobierno Federal, a través del presidente Felipe Calderón, emprendió la Campaña Corazón Azul para sensibilizar a la ciudadanía sobre este grave delito que flagela a la sociedad, y dio todo su apoyo a la Organización de las Naciones Unidas para que a nivel nacional se emprendan actividades de sensibilización y prevención.

Con el apoyo de todo el equipo de trabajo que me acompaña, desde hace un par de meses nos sumamos a la organización de la campaña Corazón Azul en nuestro país, junto con la oficina de las Naciones Unidas Contra la Droga y el Delito, la Comisión nacional de los Derechos Humanos, la Agencia de Estados Unidos para el Desarrollo Internacional (USAID) y el gobierno federal...

Mexican Congressional Deputy Rosi Orozco reports on a productive week of activities during the launch of the UN Blue Heart Campaign in Mexico

This past week was fruitful, in that major advances were made in raising awareness about the crime of human trafficking, and about the assistance that all of us need to be giving to boys, girls, women and men who are victims of modern day slavery.

Mexico's federal government, through the actions of President Felipe Calderón, has launched a national version of the United Nations Blue Heart Campaign to raise public consciousness among citizens about this grave crime. President Calderón offered his assistance to the UN so that national efforts at education and prevention become successful.

Together with my staff, during the past two months I have joined the National Human Rights Commission, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Mexico's federal government, and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC-initiators of the Blue Heart Campaign) in coordinating efforts [to begin this campaign].

I had the honor to represent the Special Commission for the Fight Against Human Trafficking of the (congressional) Chamber of Deputies on the panel at the Campaign launch. Joining me was [fellow PAN party anti-trafficking activist] Senator Guillermo Tamborrel. We can both testify to the fact that the struggle to assist victims of human trafficking has now become a major focus on the national Agenda, which redoubles our commitment to end this scourge.

President Calderón invited all Mexican women and men, civil organization, NGOs, academic institutions, authorities across federal state and local governments, officials from the executive, legislative and judicial branches, and all political parties, without exception, to unite without conditions to defend the freedom of millions of Mexicans and people around the world.

President Calderón stated: "Together we will generate, my friends, a new social consciousness that leaves behind us forever the pain and violence the human trafficking leaves in its wake. We must continue to work with dedication, not only to honor the liberty that our ancestors conquered, but also to defend those freedoms against any and all interests that threaten them. That is the legacy that we must leave to future generations of Mexicans - a world that is more free, more just, and more human."

Deputy Rosi Orozco

RosiOrozco.com

(Approx.) April 22, 2010


Added: Apr. 25, 2010

Mexico

Presenta PAN ley para prevenir trata de personas

Al advertir que al año cerca de 20 mil de niños son victimas de explotación sexual en nuestro país y 1.2 millones a nivel mundial, la diputada del Partido Acción Nacional (PAN), Rosi Orozco, presentó una iniciativa para expedir la Ley General para Prevenir, Combatir y Sancionar la Trata de Personas.

La también presidenta de la Comisión Especial de Lucha contra la Trata de Personas, explicó que la iniciativa busca cimentar la construcción de un marco jurídico que coordine los tres órdenes de gobierno y distribuya las competencias y facultades entre éstos...

National Action Party proposes new anti-trafficking legislation

National Action Party congressional deputy Rosi Orozco has presented a legislative initiative to strengthen the [existing 2007] General Law to Prevent Combat and Punish Human Trafficking.

Deputy Orozco, who is also president of the Special Commission to Fight Human Trafficking in the Chamber of Deputies, explained that her proposal aims to cement the construction of a legal framework that will coordinate the efforts of the the executive, legislative and judicial branches of government, and will assign responsibilities to each of these branches [such an effort was legislated into the 2007 law, but was never enacted].

Deputy Orozco's bill contains 36 articles. If passed, the law will supplant the existing 2007 law [which legislators have referred to as a 'dead letter' because it was not effectively implemented]. The bill takes into account recommendations provided by the United Nations, and establishes coordination of action in regard to prevention, prosecution, criminal penalties, and to provide assistance to victims with the objective of quickly re-integrating them back into society.

Deputy Orozco stated that the bill defines human trafficking crimes in certain terms, and establishes standards for the creation of federal and state programs. It also includes requirements for evaluating results, providing compensation for victims and including society in anti-trafficking efforts.

The proposal argues that existing [state and federal] legislation contains legal loopholes and gaps, and therefore it is urgent that the efforts to fight human trafficking be coordinated among the three branches of government.

At the same time the bill recognizes that a number of the legal concepts that exist in current federal and state legislation differ with those found within the international protocols and treaties to which Mexico is a signatory.

Therefore, is is necessary that existing laws at both the federal and state level be revised and improved upon. Specifically, the concepts defining exactly what constitutes criminal conduct, as well as standards for criminal penalties and criteria for assisting victims must be established and standardized.

In regard to the fight against human trafficking, the law establishes clear responsibilities between the federal government, the states and the federal district, and also municipalities.

“The bill clearly lays out the competencies among entities, their scopes of action, as well as dispositions relative to coordination in regard to prevention, protection and attention to victims and inter-institutional collaboration,” Deputy Orozco emphasized. In that sense, it authorizes the nation’s federated entities [states and the federal district-Mexico City] so that they are empowered to address these crimes in their jurisdictions, which they deserve.

Roberto José Pacheco

Periódico Excélsior

April 20, 2010


Added: Apr. 25, 2010

New York, USA

Good Samaritan Hugo Alfredo Tale-Yax lay bleeding for over an hour on a sidewalk after coming to the aid of a female assault victim. Passersby did not call police or rescue services.

This man is a hero. May he rest in peace!

Photo: New York Post

Multiple Pedestrians Ignore Dying New York Hero

A homeless man who was stabbed while saving a woman from a knife-wielding attacker lay dying in a pool of his own blood for more than an hour while several New Yorkers walked past without calling for help.

Surveillance video obtained by the New York Post shows that some passers-by paused to gawk at Hugo Alfredo Tale-Yax early Sunday morning and yet kept on walking.

One man came out of a nearby building and took a cellphone photo of the victim before leaving. Another leaned over and vigorously shook the dead man before walking away. But most people never stopped.

Firefighters arrived more than an hour and 20 minutes after Tale-Yax collapsed. By that time, the 31-year-old was dead.

"They needed to help and call the police. I don't get it," resident Ramon Bellasco, 46, told the Post.

The incident happened at 7:21 a.m. almost a week ago at 88 Road and 144th Street in the borough of Queens, but police didn't have a clear idea of what happened until recently.

Tale-Yax is seen on the grainy video approaching a man who was threatening a woman with a knife. The man turned and stabbed Tale-Yax but most of the action is out of the security camera's field of vision. Both the stabber and the woman then fled in different directions and Tale-Yax stumbled a few paces before collapsing face-down on the sidewalk.

Within a minute or so, the first of a long series of people begins walking by Tale-Yax without going to his aid.

Police told the Post they received four 911 calls at around the time of the attack reporting a woman screaming, but found nothing. They said they received no other 911 calls.

The incident is reminiscent of the rape and murder of Kitty Genovese, also in Queens, in 1964. In that case, dozens of people witnessed some or all of the attack and yet no one did anything to stop it.

No arrests have been made in the latest slaying, and police have been unable to identify the woman Tale-Yax was trying to help.

AOL News

April 24, 2010


Added: Apr. 25, 2010

Mexico

Blanco fácil - Migración, geografía, desigualdad social y discriminación han convertido a México en un país con cierto grado de vulnerabilidad ante este delito

Easy prey - Migration, geography and discrimination have converted Mexico into a nation that is vulnerable to human trafficking.

Photo: EL Universal - archives

CNDH apura acciones legislativas contra trata

Para erradicar la trata de personas, es necesario que los Congresos locales impulsen acciones legislativas, subrayó la Comisión Nacional de los Derechos Humanos.

Para el organismo, la falta de armonización en las legislaciones estatales abre una brecha de impunidad y dificulta la acción coordinada de las autoridades en la lucha contra la esclavitud del siglo XXI.

La CNDH y el Senado de la República instalaron el Observatorio Nacional contra la Trata de Personas, instrumento que concentra el trabajo de diez comités regionales mediante los que se promueve la armonización del sistema jurídico mexicano para combatir ese delito, proteger y asistir a las víctimas...

The National Human Rights Commission accelerates legislative initiatives to fight human trafficking

According to Mexico's National Human Rights Commission (CNDH), the elimination of human trafficking will only come about if Mexico's states push legislative action.

For the CNDH, the lack of compatibility among the various state laws has created a breech that allows impunity to exist, and makes coordinated government action more difficult.

The CNDH and the Senate of the Republic have created a National 'Observatory' Against Human Trafficking. This entity integrates the work of 10 regional committees through which efforts to synchronize Mexico's anti-trafficking efforts to develop [an improved] legal framework and victim protection and assistance will be carried out.

The Observatory documents ongoing government actions in regard to prevention, prosecution, victim assistance and victim compensation. They are also considering ways to strengthen the 'culture' for reporting trafficking crimes...

Thirteen yeas ago, the CNDH put in place a program to combat human trafficking. They have pioneered methods for denouncing trafficking, and for understanding the modes of operation used by trafficking networks.

El Universal

April 19, 2010 


Added: Apr. 25, 2010

The United States / Mexico

Regino Vasquez-Martinez (left) and Raul Ortiz-Caseres

[Undocumented] aliens now committing ‘rapto’ in the United States

The crime of kidnapping a woman for the purpose of marriage against her will, often raping her in the process, or "rapto," as it is known in Mexico, is actually considered by Mexican authorities to be a minor crime and rarely prosecuted. A Mexican legislator has even called the practice "romantic."

Along with a tidal wave of illegal aliens, this medieval practice has now made its way to the U.S.

This week, Mexican nationals Regino Vasquez-Martinez and Raul Ortiz-Caseres were arrested and charged with kidnapping, after allegedly abducting a woman in Kansas City.

According to police, Ortiz-Caseres has admitted to kidnapping a 25-year-old Kansas City woman because he wanted to take her to New Jersey to marry her, even after she had rejected him.

Ortiz-Caseres called the woman constantly, wrote her love letters, and even sent her an engagement ring, and her answer was always “no.”

Undaunted, Ortiz-Caseres showed up at the woman’s apartment on Tuesday, broke down her front door and dragged her to a van driven by his accomplice.

When her kidnappers stopped at a McDonald’s in Illinois, she convinced them to let her use the bathroom. The woman locked the door behind her and used her cell phone to call her sister. The restaurant manager eventually unlocked the door and called police.

Both Vasquez-Martinez and Ortiz-Caseres were taken into custody at the McDonald’s and now sit in a Fairway Heights, Illinois jail cell. They are each being held on $150,000 bond.

Dave Gibson

The Examiner

April 24, 2010


Added: Apr. 25, 2010

The United States

Human trafficking mixing-up views on immigration to the United States

Victims of modern-day slavery are being brought here as human cargo, and destined for the most vile purposes as forced labor and prostitution. Phoenix, Arizona. April 16, 2009 - There was a time when the common assumption about United States-bound immigration was about impoverished people crossing the border searching for work to improve their economic situation.

This drive about immigration based on the possibility of finding a job still plays a fundamental role in explaining the influx of human beings coming from Latin America into the U.S. However, the social and moral forces behind many of the new arrivals have been increasingly distorting the traditional concept of voluntary human migration by giving it a violent and criminal twist, and by disguising human trafficking as migration.

Contrary to people who migrate by their own will, human trafficking recruits and transports individuals generally under forced and deceitful tactics, evading the same immigration laws undocumented immigrants do. An immigrant is typically interested in getting a job, while victims of human trafficking are lured for the purpose of performing forced work or sex acts. However, many recent cases in the United States show human traffickers are using traditional immigration as a way to conceal their real intentions by hooking people up with false promises of work and dollars...

...Trafficking gangs are not concerned with helping people improve their economic conditions but in obtaining the maximum profit possible in spite of the inherent risks and dangers they place their victims in. In other words, what is presented to them as an opportunity to come to this country to work, is in reality a well organized criminal scheme that many times involves rape, assaulting and even murder.

We often hear news about busted drop houses where dozens of “immigrants” are found by police piled up in single homes in the most deplorable sanitary conditions, locked up against their wills. They are actually held as hostages until their relatives, in Latin American countries or the U.S. after being blackmailed and threatened, wire high sums of money to the traffickers in order to free them. Some are kept captive and forced to prostitute or work until they pay off their own debts.

Once again, this is not the standard scenario where immigrants come [at] their own risk...

Race-Talk - on AlterNet.org/

April 19, 2010


Added: Apr. 25, 2010

The United States / Mexico

Trafficking series by The Star wins Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award

For its five-part series on human trafficking in the United States, The Kansas City Star has earned the prestigious Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award.

The award, known as the “Poor People’s Pulitzer,” recognizes outstanding coverage of injustice against the underprivileged.

In “A New Slavery,” reporters Laura Bauer, Mike McGraw and Mark Morris exposed America’s weak enforcement system that allows human trafficking to continue.

Last month, Investigative Reporters and Editors Inc. gave an award to the same series.

“The team’s impressive reporting results in a distressing collection of individual narratives and a concise legal and policy-based explanation of the nation’s Trafficking Victims Protection Act,” read an announcement from the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights.

Calling The Star to relay the news, Ethel Kennedy, the widow of the former attorney general, senator and presidential candidate, told one reporter: “You’ve given hope to a lot of people who didn’t have hope before. That’s right in line with Bobby’s legacy.”

Sixty judges, all media professionals, selected the winning entries in 11 categories, and a committee of seven advisers chose a grand prize winner. This year, winners wrote on subjects including infant mortality and Navy abuses against gay sailors.

The Star’s series won in the domestic print category.

“It’s a wonderful honor to win such a distinguished award for journalism that champions human rights and social justice. Those remain among the most important issues in the world today,” said Mike Fannin, editor/vice president of The Star. “This was inspired work, executed by a great team of journalists and well-deserving of recognition.”

The Wall Street Journal won in the international category for “Hearts, Mind and Blood: The Battle for Iran.” Photographers at The Washington Post won in both the domestic and international photography categories. Diane Sawyer from “20/20” on ABC News won in the domestic television category for her work on enduring poverty in Appalachia.

Ethel Kennedy will present the awards May 26 in Washington, D.C., where the grand prize winner will be announced.

Meredith Rodriguez

The Kansas City Star

April 21, 2010


Added: Apr. 25, 2010

Texas, USA

Texas one of nation's hubs for human trafficking

The human trafficking industry, the second largest criminal industry in the world, is like a kaleidoscope, a speaker told a victim's training class.

Every time you turn it, there's a new picture.

"It doesn't always look the same," Tomi Grover said.

Grover serves as a specialist in resources to combat human trafficking for the Baptist General Convention of Texas and has worked to help trafficked victims for the past 5 to 7 years.

She was the main speaker Tuesday afternoon for a free training class sponsored by the Midland Victims Coalition to help provide information for local law enforcement and those who work with and alongside victims on a daily basis.

"Maybe it was an act of crime that was witnessed by our own family. Maybe it was someone we worked with who confided in us that they had been a victim of a crime," she said to the many investigators and advocates in the audience of why so many of them were interested in the class. "Crime exists and sometimes it happens in our own backyards."

Statistics show that Texas is one of the leading states across the country for human trafficking and serves as a hub for about 25 percent of those brought into the U.S. illegally.

"It's not just a global issue that other countries are dealing with, but an issue we're dealing with right here in the U.S.," she said.

The average cost of a slave, according to Grover, is approximately $90 or less and more than 20,000 people are trafficked into the States each year, with an estimated 27 million now considered slaves around the world.

"Not only is it all about the business, but it's about big business," Grover said...

She told a story of a young lady who first recalled being sexually used when she was just 5 years old.

"We should hear no little girl say that. We should not put up with this kind of behavior in our community," she said.

Audrie Palmer

Midland Reporter-Telegram

April 20, 2010


Added: Apr. 25, 2010

Egypt

House Members Press White House to Confront Egypt on Forced Marriages

Seventeen members of Congress are pressing the State Department to act on the "grim reality" faced by Coptic Christian women in Egypt, who frequently are coerced into violent forced marriages that leave them victim to rape and captive slavery.

The bipartisan group of lawmakers wrote on April 16 to Ambassador-at-Large Luis CdeBaca, who heads up American efforts to thwart human trafficking around the globe.

In their letter, they exhort the State Department to confront the "criminal phenomenon" of forced marriage they say is on the rise in Egypt, where the 7 million Coptic Christians often face criminal prosecution and civic violence for their rejection of Islam.

"I think it is about as bad as it can be" for Copts and other religious minorities in Egypt, said Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va., who penned the letter. "It is very tough to be a Coptic Christian."

The official communication to the State Department outlined just what women face when forced into marriages with Muslim men: "physical and sexual violence, captivity ... exploitation in forced domestic servitude or commercial sexual exploitation, and financial benefit to the individuals who secure the forced conversion of the victim."

Wolf and the other lawmakers say this bears all the hallmarks of human trafficking and want the State Department to include reports of the abductions in their next Trafficking in Persons report, which is due in June.

"Keep in mind that we have given Egypt about $53 billion since Camp David" — the 1978 peace accords between Israel and Egypt that were arranged by the U.S. government — "so we're actually funding them," Wolf said...

The State Department said Wednesday that a response to the lawmakers' letter was being crafted, but offered no word on whether the abduction of Copts would be included in the forthcoming report for 2010.

Wolf, however, does not expect to see much action from the State Department, which he criticized for failing to fill key human rights positions including the ambassador at large for religious freedom — a position mandated by law.

"I expect the State Department to do nothing," he said, "because that's the way the State Department has been responding."

Wolf was joined by 16 other members of the House in signing the letter, including: Reps. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., Chris Smith, R-N.J., Anna Eshoo, D-Calif., Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., Donald Payne, D-N.J., Dan Burton, R-Ind., Rep. Albio Sires, D-N.J., Trent Franks, R-Ariz., Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., Joseph Cao, R-La., Aaron Schock, R-Ill., Bob Inglis, R-S.C., Michele Bachman, R-Minn., Joe Wilson, R-S.C., Doug Lamborn, R-Colo., and Ted Poe, R-Tex. The delegate from Washington, D.C., Eleanor Holmes-Norton, also signed the note.

Joseph Abrams

FOXNews.com

April 21, 2010


Added: Apr. 25, 2010

Massachusetts, USA

Trafficking: Mei-Mei Ellerman spoke Wednesday about human trafficking in the United States.

Photo: Nafiz “Fiz” R. Ahmed/The Hoot

Panel discusses human trafficking, sex work in U.S.

Three leading experts and advocates in the field of human slavery and trafficking spoke Wednesday at the panel event “Slavery Today: Sex Labor & Pornography,” which focused on trafficking issues within the United States and the rise of pornography that features many enslaved women...

Mei-Mei Ellerman, a resident scholar at the Brandeis Women’s Studies Research Center and frequent speaker on the issues of modern day trafficking, Katherin Chon, a co-founder of the Polaris Project, an NGO that works with victims of sex trafficking, and Gail Dines, the author of the book “PORNLAND,” spoke about their experiences with these human rights violations at the panel.

“So often we think of trafficking as something ‘out there,’” Ellerman said “There are 200,000 to 300,000 U.S.-born American [minors] who are in high risk of ending up in forced prostitution every year. That is a huge number,” she explained...

“Many people are confused when they hear trafficking because they think about it being someone crossing borders,” Ellerman said. “You can be trafficked without leaving your house.”

These victims are often abducted, however, they can also be lured into their situations with the promise of work, pay and a better life. In this kind of situation, especially, many victims are not aware of the extent to which they are being abused.

“Most of us know what freedom feels like, what freedom looks like, and there are so many people in our own neighborhoods and communities who don’t,” Chon said. “Most of those enslaved or trafficked won’t even raise their hands and say, ‘I need to escape from this, this is bad,’” she illustrated.

At the Polaris Project, Chon and her co-founder Derek Ellerman work to free victims of trafficking in the United States and Japan, help those victims overcome their experiences, push for anti-trafficking legislation and gather supporters as well as raise awareness for the cause.

“We find the most success when we’re just there with [the victims] as fellow human beings,” Chon said.

Pornography has become a cultural steppingstone to the extreme of human trafficking. It often features trafficked women and according to the event speakers, spreads a culturally-based dehumanization of and disrespect toward women.

“What pornography does, is it legitimizes the buying and selling of women’s bodies,” explained Dines...

Rebecca Carden

The Brandeis Hoot

April 23, 2010


Added: Apr. 25, 2010

Virginia, USA

Emilio Diaz

Illegal alien arrested for multiple sexual assaults on 8-year-old Virginia girl

On March 23, detectives with the Prince William County Police Department arrested Emilio Diaz, 25, for multiple counts of molestation on an 8-year-old girl.

According to police spokeswoman Erika Hernandez, the alleged attacks took place between January and February 2010, in the girl’s home. Apparently, Diaz had access to the victim, as he is an acquaintance of the girl’s family.

Diaz has been charged with four counts of Object Sexual Penetration and two counts of Aggravated Sexual Battery.

Diaz is in the country illegally, and is being held without bond.

Dave Gibson

The Examiner

April 17, 2010


Added: Apr. 25, 2010

Texas, USA

Cesar Bazara

Illegal alien suspected of child molestation arrested at U.S./Mexican border

The U.S. Border Patrol has arrested a Mexican national accused of molesting a 10-year-old Texas girl. Cesar Bazara, 34, was apprehended on April 9, as he tried to re-enter the United States.

Bazara has spent the last four years on the run.

The alleged molestation took place on Christmas Eve 2006. The mother quickly reported the incident to Weslaco Police, but Bazara fled back to Mexico before he could be arrested.

Bazara, who lives in Valle de San Lorenzo, Mexico, now sits in the Hidalgo County jail on a charge of indecency with a child. Bail has been set at $250,000.

Dave Gibson

The Examiner

April 13, 2010


Added: Apr. 25, 2010

Missouri, USA

Eduardo Ortiz

...Man accused of molesting daughter's friends at sleepovers

A 42-year-old man has been accused of molesting his daughter's friends during sleepovers at his house.

Police say Eduardo Ortiz, an illegal alien, faces charges for touching three middle school-aged girls. The girls reported three separate instances that happened in 2009. Two of the girls told police that Ortiz touched their breasts. The first of the victims came forward a year ago, but police say they didn't have enough evidence to make an arrest.

A third victim recently contacted police with more information. Police then re-interviewed Ortiz, and say he confessed.

One detective says that police are concerned because they fear there might be other victims. "If there is a parent that knows that their daughter stayed the night there, we don't want them to suggest anything to their daughter, but ask them, 'did anything happen to you when you were there,'" said Detective James Wethington of the Woodson Terrace Police Department. "Open the discussion and see what happens."

Woodson Terrace police say they've reported Ortiz to Immigration and Customs Enforcement. He is married and worked as a handyman. Police also say they've talked to Ortiz's daughter - detectives don't have reason to believe she was a victim of abuse.

Ortiz is currently behind bars in the St. Louis County Jail.

KMOV

April 19, 2010


Added: Apr. 25, 2010

Texas, USA

Jose Sanchez Balbuena

Authorities need the public's help in searching for a man wanted for aggravated sexual assault of a child.

A 13-year-old girl told investigators that Jose Sanchez Balbuena had touched her inappropriately and had sex with her numerous times over a two-year period. Balbuena is a friend of the victim's family. The victim stated that Balbuena started touching her inappropriately at her house when her mom was at work. The touching soon escalated to sex. Balbuena threatened the victim and told her not to tell anyone about what he did to her.

An investigation was conducted and Balbuena was charged with aggravated sexual assault of a child. A warrant was issued for his arrest.

Balbuena, 35, is an Hispanic male. He is 5 feet 5 inches tall and weighs 190 pounds. His last known address is in Southwest Houston.

Crime Stoppers will pay up to $5,000 for any information called in to the 713-222-8477 (TIPS) hotline or submitted online at Crime-Stoppers.org that leads to an arrest in this case. Tips can also be sent by text message - Text TIP610 plus your tip to CRIMES(274637). All tipsters remain anonymous.

KTRK

April 23, 2010


Added: Apr. 25, 2010

Maryland, USA

Seventh man arrested in connection with Waldorf gang rape

Charles County authorities have arrested an additional suspect and identified three others in the March 16 sexual assault of a woman in Waldorf.

Last week in Newark, N. J. police arrested Jose Maria Echebarria, 30, of Waldorf in connection with the assault. Police have also identified three other suspects, Jose Santos Portillo, 25, Balmoris Argueta, 26, and Lionicio Argueta, 29.

Police said 10 men were involved in the attack, seven of whom have already been arrested and charged. Police are also working with officers from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

“This was a brutal attack and we are absolutely committed to bringing justice to the victim,” said Sheriff Rex W. Coffey said in a statement.

Keith L. Alexander

The Washington Post

April 6, 2010


Added: Apr. 25, 2010

Arizona, USA

Illegal alien sentenced to prison for re-entry

A Mexican national who illegally re-entered the country nearly a year ago and was found in the desert outside of Yuma has been sentenced to more than eight years in prison.

Adolfo Estrella-Yuan, 52, of Sonora, Mexico, was sentenced Monday in Phoenix by U.S. District Judge Roslyn O. Silver to 101 months in prison.

Estrella-Yuan was found guilty of illegal re-entry after prior removal by a federal jury in Phoenix on Feb. 3 and was sentenced to a term of 80-months for his crime.

However, Estrella-Yuan had also been serving a term of supervised release related to a 1999 Southern District of Illinois illegal re-entry conviction, and was found in violation of that supervised release term. He received a sentence of 21 months to be served consecutive to his 80 month sentence.

Estrella-Yuan had been deported from the United States at least four times: August 1980, November 1990, December 1991 and January 2007.

He also has had a significant and serious criminal history that included, among other offenses, three immigration-related convictions — the last of which resulted in a 77-month sentence — and two convictions related to the molestation of young children.

Silva said she took Estrella-Yuan's criminal history in consideration while imposing his sentence.

James Gilbert

The Yuma Sun

April 19, 2010


Added: Apr. 25, 2010

Arizona, USA / Mexico

Border Patrol captures 7 sex offenders

Tucson Sector Border Patrol agents apprehended seven illegal aliens in separate incidents over the weekend; all later identified as sex offenders. Their criminal backgrounds were revealed after agents enrolled them into the Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS).

According to records found using IAFIS, charges included rape and sexual assault. One individual from Mexico had been charged in New Castle, Delaware for "solicitation of a child under 16 to engage in a prohibited sexual act." He had also been arrested for child sexual assault, endangering the welfare of a child, and attempting to induce sexual contact. All subjects were held for further processing.

Sex offenders and other criminal aliens are frequently among the thousands of illegal aliens apprehended while attempting to illegally cross the Arizona border. IAFIS technology helps agents identify those aliens who have a history of being involved in criminal acts. The Tucson Sector Border Patrol strives to improve the quality of life along the border by identifying and removing those aliens with a criminal background.

KGUN9-TV

April 12, 2010


Added: Apr. 25, 2010

California, USA / Mexico

Two deported sex offenders, one from L.A., arrested near Calexico

Two deported sex offenders, including one with an outstanding criminal warrant in Los Angeles, were arrested by border agents in separate incidents in Imperial County, authorities said Tuesday.

Federal agents Friday apprehended a man 29 miles west of the U.S.-Mexico port of entry in Calexico, the Department of Homeland Security said.

Record checks showed that the man, a Honduran citizen, had been convicted of a felony sex offense and sentenced to 365 days in jail and 60 months probation, the department said. He was wanted on an outstanding warrant in Hollywood by the Los Angeles Police Department for allegedly failing to register as a sex offender, according to a department spokesman.

Authorities were preparing to turn the man over to the LAPD for prosecution.

The second case involved a man arrested Saturday seven miles east of Calexico after agents said he crossed the All American Canal with seven other illegal immigrants. The man, a Mexican citizen, had been convicted of rape by force, oral copulation and assault to commit rape, according to the Homeland Security Department.

Federal authorities were holding the man for prosecution.

The Los Angeles Times

March 30, 2010


Added: Apr. 25, 2010

The United States / Mexico

Joaquin Aguilar Mendez, right, a former altar boy, has sued the Rev. Nicolas Aguilar, shown in photo at left

From: Accused Priest Flees From Law in U.S. and Mexico

James C. McKinley Jr.
The New York Times
Oct. 21, 2006

Photo by Tomas Bravo/Reuters

Attorneys sue LA, Mexico City cardinals over abuse

Los Angeles - A Mexican citizen filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles on Tuesday accusing Roman Catholic cardinals in Mexico City and Los Angeles of conspiring to shelter a Mexican pedophile priest in both countries.

The lawsuit alleges then-Bishop Norberto Rivera, head of the Diocese of Tehuacan, and Los Angeles Cardinal Roger Mahony shuttled the Rev. Nicolas Aguilar Rivera between the U.S. and Mexico in the late 1980s to shield him from prosecution. Parishioners in both countries complained he had molested young boys.

The Mexican bishop has since been elevated to cardinal for the Archdiocese of Mexico City. He has no relation to the accused priest.

Aguilar Rivera was defrocked last summer and remains at large in Mexico, where he was believed to be living out of his car in Puebla, in central Mexico. He has been wanted by U.S. authorities on 19 felony counts of lewd conduct since he fled his temporary post in Los Angeles in 1988 and returned to Mexico.

Once back in Mexico, Aguilar Rivera continued to work as a priest for at least another decade and molested more young boys in Mexico City and in the Diocese of Tehuacan, in central Mexico, attorneys said. One of those boys is the current plaintiff.

"This priest was not only a rapist, but remained a priest and at large and was allowed to rape this child and many others," attorney Jeff Anderson said at a bilingual news conference. "He was raped by this priest as a child in Mexico after both cardinals knew this priest posed a serious risk of harm."

The Rev. Hugo Valdemar, Rivera's spokesman, said the Mexican cardinal was not responsible for the priest's wrongdoing and said suing the cardinal made no sense. Tod Tamberg, a spokesman for Mahony, said any allegations that Mahony helped cover up Aguilar Rivera's crimes were "ludicrous."

"We're not losing sleep over this, we're very calm," Valdemar said.

Judges have thrown out two previous lawsuits filed against the Mexican cardinal in the U.S., saying a Mexican citizen cannot sue another Mexican citizen in U.S. court. Mahony settled his portion of an earlier lawsuit in 2007.

This time, attorneys have filed the lawsuit under the 221-year-old Alien Tort Claims Act, an 18th century law which allows non-U.S. citizens access to courts to challenge violations of international laws or treaties...

Gillian Flaccus

The Associated Press

April 20, 2010

See also:

Added: Apr. 25, 2010

Mexico / The United States

Suit alleges U.S., Mexican cardinals covered up sexual abuse

A Mexican resident who says he was sexually abused by a priest as a child is suing the Roman Catholic Cardinal of Los Angeles and Mexico's top-ranking Catholic cleric, alleging they aided and abetted the abuse by moving the priest between dioceses as allegations piled up against him.

The suit does not name the alleged victim, identifying him only as a Mexican citizen. It alleges that Los Angeles Cardinal Roger Mahony and Mexico City Cardinal Norberto Rivera knew the priest -- identified in the suit as Nicholas Aguilar Rivera -- was abusive but authorized him to move back and forth between Mexico and the U.S. and to continue serving in parishes...

In April 1988, the Los Angeles Police Department charged Aguilar with 19 felony counts of sexual abuse against children, but Mexico has declined to extradite or prosecute him, according to Mike Finnegan, one of the lawyers for the unnamed plaintiff...

The [plaintiff's] Minnesota law firm has represented previous Mexican victims of sex abuse against the Archdiocese of Los Angeles in which the church wound up settling out of court. But this is the first in which the firm is also trying to sue the Catholic Church in Mexico.

The plaintiff's lawyers are relying on an obscure federal law that they say grants U.S. courts jurisdiction in foreign civil cases that violate treaties to which the United States is party...

Dan Gilgoff

CNN

April 22, 2010


Added: Apr. 19, 2010

Mexico

Reporter Mariana Sanchez interviews 'Chabelita,' an Indigenous Guatemalan child sex trafficking victim

Mexico sex trafficking soars

Mexico has become the top provider of sex slaves to the Americas, according to the United Nations.

In an effort to tackle the problem, the Mexican government has now signed onto the United Nation's Blue Heart campaign, but so far it has had little success in prosecuting and convicting human traffickers.

One reason, according to some analysts, is confusion over which government agencies have jurisdiction over human trafficking cases.

In addition the Mexican government has yet to conduct any comprehensive surveys detailing the true extent of the problem.

...Mariana Sanchez reports.

Excerpt:

Chabelita is a playful child. She can't remember how old show was when she saw her father kill her mother in a remote indigenous village in Guatemala. That was only the beginning of her tragic ordeal.

Chabelita: "My uncle kidnapped me when I was six. He took me to Cancun. Some men would call him up. They would him to harm me. I tried to escape, but they locked me up in my uncle's room, and in there, they harmed me too. It was a lot of men."

Mexican authorities believe that Chabelita was sexually abused for two years before she managed to escape.

Chabelita: "They took me to a place where there were a lot or stones. I took one, and hit the man who was touching me. I kicked him and ran. I walked for many days without eating.

Only then did police rescue her and bring her to this [federal government] safe house…

According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Mexico has become the number one provider of sexual slaves to Latin America.

Anti-trafficking leader and protestant minister Deputy Rosi Orozco talks with Mariana Sanchez

(Chair of the Chamber of Deputies' Commission to Fight Human Trafficking) Rosi Orozco: "In Mexico, impunity is rampant. Organized groups and opportunists lie to their victims, telling them they'll live a life of riches, and then exploit them, making between $150 and $250 every day. They exploit human beings for economic benefits, turning human beings into slaves." …

Deputy Rosi Orozco talks with rescued underage former sex slaves at a federal safe house

These girls who were once used as sex slaves are on the front line of the fight against human trafficking. While they are hiding in a federal safe house under federal protection, most have cases pending against their attackers.

But for these victims of modern slavery, the worst fear for now is to come to terms with the sexual abuse they suffered.

[The above link presents the video version of this report.]

Mariana Sanchez

Al Jazeera

April 18, 2010


Added: Apr. 19, 2010

Haiti

Cassandre St. Vil

Haitian student had 'no chance to scream' when thugs raped her in earthquake aftermath

Cassandre St. Vil, 19, was raped by four men who broke into her tent after the Haiti earthquake. Months later, sexual violence remains a major concern in tent encampments. The four armed men came looking for Cassandre St. Vil in the dead of night.

The 19-year-old was asleep in the street under a canopy of sheets that had been her makeshift home in the two nights after the Jan. 12 earthquake.

"I couldn't fight back," said St. Vil, now living in a camp in Port-au-Prince. "They came in - we didn't have a door - and they asked my mother and grandmother to leave.

"My mother said, 'Don't do that to my daughter,' but they were armed and held a gun to my mother's neck. They threatened to kill her if she called for help.

"It took place in front of my mother and grandmother," she continued in a whisper.

"Four people raped me.

"I didn't have the chance to scream. They covered my mouth," she said, leaning in close. "While one had sex with me, the three others stood with my mother and grandmother."

St. Vil is a bright, articulate young woman who was attending a university in Port-au-Prince. The quake shattered dreams of completing her studies, finding a good job, getting married.

She has joined the growing ranks of women who have been sexually abused after the quake, which collapsed the Port-au-Prince jail and unleashed criminals into the streets.

"They took my virginity," she lamented. "I always dreamed of getting married a virgin - it was very important to me."

After the rape, she and her family moved to the sprawling Champs de Mars camp near the Presidential Palace. There, she sought help from a local women's group, KOFAVIV, which gives support to rape victims.

A founder, Eramithe Delva, says the group has helped 180 women raped since January. In the three months before the quake, there were just 25 cases...

A few shelters away from St. Vil is another victim, Helia Lajeunesse, 49, gang raped with her daughter during sexual depravity that accompanied the 2004 coup.

Her daughter became pregnant. The child was a girl, now 5 years old. She, too, was raped - in late January in the provinces where her mother fled after the quake.

"[The girl] was going to buy a cup of rice," LaJeunesse said. "A young man took the rice from her hands and she ran after him.

"He took her into the cemetery and a woman passing by saw him lying on top of her ... She shouted at him and he ran off.

"Now she doesn't eat, she has no appetite," Lajeunesse said, wiping tears as the girl stared ahead vacantly. "Each night you hear the cries of the rapes, almost every night." ...

Mario Joseph, a Haitian lawyer who is working to prosecute rapists, is hoping to set up a rape hotline and distribute whistles to women to call for help.

He says most of the attacks go unpunished, so perpetrators have little to fear.

"Judges are scared because prisoners are in the streets," he said. "We need to build files against people and when we have the chance, bring them to court. But the priority now is to get the camps more secure."

Christina Boyle

The New York Daily News

April 18,2010


Added: Apr. 19, 2010

Texas, USA

Man accused of sexual assault of child

Gatesville - A man was arrested on Thursday after he allegedly sexually assaulted a child last month.

Gatesville Police received a Child Protective Services report in March regarding the sexual abuse of a 5-year-old girl.

A medical examination and forensic interview with the child determined that she was sexually abused over a period of time.

Mario Gonzalez Presas, 60, was arrested on a warrant and taken to the Coryell County Jail.

He is charged with Aggravated Sexual Assault of a Child.

Louis Ojeda Jr.

KXXV-TV

April 16, 2010


Added: Apr. 18, 2010

Phil Marsteller, tour operator, has exposed the forced child sex trafficking of Amazonian Indigenous girls by his competitor's fishing tour business.

Photo: ABC News

This man deserves a gold medal! - LL

According to ABC News, U.S. Federal agencies are investigating child sex tourism associated with fishing and hunting tours in the nations of Costa Rica, Brazil, Senegal, Kenya and South Africa.

Brazil, The United States

Sex Tourism: ABC News Goes Undercover

An Undercover Investigation Into The Fishing And Hunting Tourism Industry

Federal law enforcement sources tell ABC News that ICE and the FBI are investigating the fishing and hunting tour operating business for arranging sex for American men overseas...

Federal investigators are looking into possible child sex abuse on tours from Central and South America to Africa.

Phil Marsteller, who operates fishing tours in Brazil, says abusing minors has become a cancer on his industry...

The offenders aren't who you might expect. "You're talking about business people, doctors, lawyers, politicians," says Marsteller. "You know, people with lots of money."

Marsteller has gathered pictures and video of what he says are underage Amazonian Indian girls cavorting with American men on board a competitor's boat.

Brazilian authorities are looking into those allegations and have obtained affidavits from Amazonian Indian girls as young as 13 who say that employees for an American fishing tour operator came to their villages and offered them cleaning jobs, which they accepted because they needed the money.

Once on the boat, however, they say they were forced to pose in nude pictures and have sex.

We met two girls who told us they were given string bikinis and cocaine – and then expected to have sex.

"I was forced to have relations with one of them," says one girl, who was 16 at the time.

In a sworn affidavit, another girl, who was just 13 at the time, says she was impregnated by an American whose name she didn't even know -- and that afterwards her family threw her out.

That tour operator and Marstellar competitor says it's all lies.

But listen to what the tour operator we spoke to on hidden camera in Dallas -- the one who said he could introduce us to someone who would arrange for us to meet underage girls had to say about Marsteller.

"There's a code of the West in this industry that nobody breaks -- and he broke it. That's why nobody likes him."

When ABC News later contacted that tour operator, he insisted he never had arranged for clients to meet young girls and would never have followed through on his offer to help provide them.

Dan Harris andJames Wang

ABC News

April 5, 2010

See also:

Added: Apr. 18, 2010

Brazil, The United States

Pleasure Trips or Underage Sex Tourism?

Some Central and South American "fishing tours" may really be child sex rings.

[This link presents ABC News' video report of the story described in the above article.]

ABC News

April 05, 2010

See also:

Added: Apr. 18, 2010

Brazil, The United States

Local outfitter's crusade against Amazon sex tourism: true or fish tale?

Phil Marsteller of Colleyville [Texas] had a story of death threats, drug use, cutthroat competition and middle-age Americans paying 13-year-old Brazilian villagers for sex.

It was a strange and lurid tale. And that was before he heard about the partying Shriners.

Marsteller, 53, runs Amazon Tours, a sport-fishing outfitter in the South American jungle. At the same time, he has pursued his own unofficial criminal probe – employing spies, working myriad connections and absconding with bags of trash.

He believes he has uncovered a web of conspiracies, depravities and suspicious associations that stretches from New York, through Texas, east to Georgia and down to the Rio Negro in the Amazon basin, with an odd side trip to the Oklahoma state capitol.

"I have been very aggressive," he said.

As a result of his work, federal authorities are investigating possible sex tourism – a felony – by American fishermen in Brazil, documents obtained by The Dallas Morning News show.

"The sport that I love," Marsteller said, "has got this dark, dark side to it." ...

"I can't believe," he said, "that God wants this in the hands of the pedophiles."

Peacock bass

A former Army helicopter pilot, Marsteller founded Amazon Tours on the Rio Negro in 1992. The river was a prime spot for peacock bass, a legendary sport fish known for its size – up to 27 pounds – and fight...

Marsteller figured if he could attract enough paying customers, he also could help the locals. He is the son of missionaries from Wycliffe Bible Translators and had spent much of his childhood in the Amazon basin.

Ultimately, he built a luxury resort deep in the jungle, where he charges almost $7,000 per angler for a six-day fishing trip.

He also started a school and a medical-dental clinic providing free care for children of the Amazon basin.

Marsteller describes himself as a "type-A-plus-plus" personality. Even those who like him acknowledge he can be tough company.

"He's hard-headed," Fincher said. "He won't listen to nobody."

Some 10 years ago, Marsteller said, he began hearing tales from villagers of other fishing outfitters luring underage females onto their boats to consort with their clients.

"They were going into the villages," he said, "and getting the kids."

Marsteller got angry, which he has been known to do. He tried to raise law enforcement interest, he said, but with little result. "Everybody thought I was a fruitcake."

Then he began confronting clients of a competitor in the Miami airport and making disparaging comments, some allegedly involving sex tourism.

His target: Richard Schair, who ran Wet-A-Line Tours. Marsteller and Schair had long been unfriendly rivals. "Schair tried to have me killed in 2002," Marsteller said recently...

Marsteller also got his hands on some affidavits filed with the Brazilian federal police. In them, girls who were 13, 14 and 16 said they were taken aboard the Amazon Santana, Wet-A-Line's boat, where they drank liquor and had sex with "North Americans." ...

They also took the deposition of Admilson Garcia da Silva, a Brazilian who had worked for Wet-A-Line. He said he saw five women who were minors having sex with Americans on the Wet-A-Line boat.

In late November... much of the evidence he gathered for [his defense in a slander trial brought by competitor Richard Schair], including affidavits and depositions, was turned over to Assistant U.S. Attorney Marlene Rodriguez in Miami at her request...

If indeed the investigation proceeds, it could come as Marsteller's business collapses. "I'm out of money," he said.

He said the biggest blow hit last month when Safari Club International, an organization for big-game hunters, refused to let him set up his promotional booth at its annual convention, where he had expected to sign Amazon Tours customers.

The club suspended him, he was told, for ethical violations. "They said I was overcharging customers," he said.

But Marsteller said he suspects that he's being punished for his campaign against prostitution in Brazil – and guide services that promote it...

Doug J. Swanson

The Dallas Morning News

Feb. 13, 2010

See also:

Mexico

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”...

"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."

Pedro Juárez

La Crónica de Hoy 

March 26, 2010


Added: Apr. 18, 2010

Arizona, USA

Joseph Dominguez

Man Sought In Child Molestation Turns

Self In

A man wanted in connection with a child molestation case turned himself in to Avondale police Tuesday morning, authorities said.

According Avondale Police Department spokesman Detective Reuben Gonzales, police had been seeking Joseph Dominguez since September 2009 in connection with an incident that occurred in late August of the same year.

Officers thought Dominguez had fled to California or Mexico; however, there were also sightings of him in the Phoenix metro area, Gonzales said.

After Dominguez turned himself in, officers booked him into jail on two counts of child molestation, Gonzales said.

KPHO

April 7, 2010


Added: Apr. 18, 2010

Delaware, USA

Suspects in Tuesday kidnap/rape still loose

Wilmington police are still looking for the men involved in the kidnapping and rape of a Dover woman who was abducted in Wilmington and abandoned in Newark.

The victim told police she was using her cell phone as she stood in the parking lot of the Santa Fe Restaurant on Pennsylvania Avenue around 9:30 last Tuesday night when 2 of the suspects grabbed her and forced her into their car.

The two raped the woman several times before shoving her out of the car on Old Cooch's Bridge Road in Newark, and she went to a nearby house, whose occupant called police.

The victim originally said 3 to 5 men were involved, but detectives now say there are 3 suspects, all Hispanic in their 20's or 30's, and their car is a silver or gray 2-door.

Police have released a composite sketch of one attacker, and they're asking anyone with information to call city detectives or Crimestoppers.

Frank Gerace

WDEL

April 17, 2010


Added: Apr. 18, 2010

Illinois, USA

Thomas Jimenez

Logan Square man charged with sexually abusing 3 women

An 18-year-old Logan Square neighborhood man who “terrorized three women” is behind bars Friday morning after being charged with sexually abusing three women -- and robbing one of them -- early Thursday on the Northwest Side, police said.

All attacks occurred about 4 a.m. Thursday in the area of West Fullerton and North Sacramento avenues, according to Shakespeare District police lieutenant Donna Dowd.

Overnight officers working the desk at the station, 2150 N. California Ave., fielded a phone call from one of the victims shortly after one of the attacks. The woman told police what happened and she gave officers a description of the suspect who she said reached up her skirt and tried to grab her buttocks and breasts.

Shortly afterward another woman came into the station to say a similar thing had happened to her, and she gave officers the same general description of the suspect, according to Dowd.

Officers used the descriptions given by the victims and arrested Thomas Jimenez, 18, at 2515 N. Willetts Ct. at 4:40 a.m. Thursday and he was charged with two felony counts of criminal sexual abuse later the same day -- at 1:15 p.m. Thursday.

Though neither of the women were physically hurt or required hospitalization, they were “extremely shaken up,’’ Dowd said...

Rosemary Sobol

The Chicago Sun-Times

April 16, 2010


Added: Apr. 18, 2010

Tennessee, USA

Church Secrets: Abusive Memphis priest reassigned rather than reined in

When Father Juan Carlos Duran arrived in Memphis in the summer of 1999, the Spanish-speaking Dominican priest provided a much-needed addition to the Catholic Diocese of Memphis.

His duties under the one-year contract were to minister to the growing number of Hispanic parishioners at the Church of the Ascension in Raleigh.

It appeared to be a match made in heaven.

"We desperately needed someone to work with our Hispanic community," Bishop J. Terry Steib said in a later deposition recounting talks with the Dominican Order. "And the candidate they had was Juan Carlos Duran."

The Memphis Diocese did little to examine the background of its prized candidate, however, and learned too late that Duran was a priest with a past.

"I just remember him asking me in the car or asking when we are alone, 'Please, please, let me give you (oral sex),' stuff like that," said a 14-year-old boy identified as "John Doe" in a sex abuse lawsuit filed against the diocese and the Dominicans. "I can't remember the exact number of occasions, but it was multiple." ...

Duran was stripped of his duties, banished from the Memphis Diocese and returned to the Dominicans after the boy said the priest befriended him and then sexually molested him over a period of several weeks.

"It just drives me crazy because I feel like trash," the boy said later, adding that Duran plied him with alcohol and exposed him to pornography. "I feel like trash, you know? That's what I feel like. It makes me upset."

Lawyers for the boy, who obtained a $2 million settlement last year from the Memphis Diocese and the Dominicans, said even a cursory background check would have shown that Duran had sexual issues involving minors in St. Louis, Panama and Bolivia, his native country.

"The Southern Dominican Province knew Duran had committed prior acts of sexual abuse before placing him in Memphis and therefore should never have placed him here," attorney Karen Campbell, representing "John Doe," said in court papers. "Additionally, a review of Duran's résumé with a 31-year gap should have alerted the diocese to inquire into his background. This is exactly the type of information that should have raised a red flag to church officials that this was a pedophile priest."

In many ways, the case of Father Juan Carlos Duran -- with frequent moves and silent superiors -- stands as an example of how child sex abuse was allowed to thrive for decades in the Catholic Church.

The Bolivian-born Duran was expelled from the Franciscan Order in 1985 for sexually abusing a boy in Bolivia.

Duran, however, was accepted by the Dominicans, who knew of his past yet moved him to assignments in Panama, Miami, St. Louis and Memphis with good references...

Lawrence Buser

The Commercial Appeal

April 08, 2010


Added: Apr. 18, 2010

The Vatican, The World

Pope: church will protect young from abuse

Valletta, Malta - Pope Benedict XVI met with a group of clerical abuse victims Sunday and promised them the Catholic Church would implement "effective measures" to protect young people in the future.

The Vatican said Benedict expressed his "shame and sorrow" at the pain the men and their families suffered and prayed with them during the meeting at the Vatican's embassy in Malta.

It was the first time Benedict had met with abuse victims since the worldwide clerical abuse scandal engulfed the Vatican earlier this year.

"He prayed with them and assured them that the Church is doing, and will continue to do, all in its power to investigate allegations, to bring to justice those responsible for abuse and to implement effective measures designed to safeguard young people in the future," a Vatican statement said...

Ten Maltese men came forward earlier this month saying they wanted to meet with the pope to tell him their stories and to request an apology. They say they were abused by four priests at a Catholic orphanage.

Benedict made no direct reference to the scandals during a Mass Sunday morning. He told Maltese to cling to their faith despite the temptations of modern society...

Victor L. Simpson

The Associated Press

April 18, 2010


Added: Apr. 18, 2010

Texas, USA

Police seek man who inappropriately touched girl

Irving police just sent out an alert about an indecency with a child incident that took place this morning. Police say that a 13-year-old girl was walking through the parking lot of an apartment complex in the 2000 block of Estrada Parkway around 7:20 a.m. this morning when she was approached by a man. He drove up in a white SUV and threatened her, telling her to get inside his car. Once she did, he touched her inappropriately.

She ran away, but police are seeking him. They believe he is about 5'6 with short black hair and clean-shaven. He had a slight Spanish accent but spoke English. They said he was wearing a white t-shirt and black Dickies pants. They believe the car may have been a Chevrolet Tahoe or similar vehicle.

If you have any information about this suspect, you can call 972-273-1010.

Katherine Leal Unmuth

The Dallas Morning News

April 14, 2010


Added: Apr. 18, 2010

New Jersey, USA

Cops describe man who tried to solicit Teaneck boy for sex

Teaneck - Police have released a sketch of a man who they say solicited sex from a 14-year-old boy at Cedar Lane and Lincoln Place on Thursday night.

The incident occurred around 8:30 p.m. The boy, who was alone at the time, was approached by a man who asked him for the time, said Sgt. Thomas Tully of the Teaneck police. The man then asked the boy where he lived, before announcing that he planned to "go home, drink two beers and have sex."

The man then asked the boy if he enjoyed oral sex, and reached for the victim's genitals, Tully said. The boy ran away and found an adult relative with whom he returned to the scene moments later. The pair saw the man walking on the south side of Beverly Road between Lincoln Place and Catalpa Avenue, Tully said.

The suspect is described as a Hispanic male, about 58 years old, 5 feet 8 inches tall and 165 to 175 pounds. Anyone with information about the suspect or the incident may to call Teaneck police at 201-837-2600.

William Lamb

The Record

April 17, 2010


Added: Apr. 18, 2010

California, USA

...Sexual Assault Reported in Newark

A 16-year-old girl was sexually assaulted in Newark on Tuesday night, the same day another teen was attacked on her way to school -- but investigators said there is no indication the cases are related, police said today.

The sexual assault victim was walking on Birch Street near Birch Grove Park when the attacker approached her from behind, covered her mouth with his hand and groped her over her clothes, police said. The victim broke free uninjured and ran to a nearby home.

Her attacker was last seen heading toward Birch Grove Park. Police were called shortly after 10 p.m. and used a helicopter and K-9 units to search the area, but were unable to locate the man.

The suspect is described as a Hispanic man in his late 20s to early 30s, about 5 feet 6 inches tall, weighing 160 pounds, with a thick mustache and slicked-back hair. He was last seen wearing a blue sweatshirt or jacket with a soccer ball design on the left sleeve.

NBC Bay Area

April 14, 2010


Added: Apr. 16, 2010

Mexico

U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama greets children

in Mexico

Michelle Obama apoya campaña contra trata de personas

México, D.F.- La primera dama estadounidense, Michelle Obama, apoyará desde aquí la campaña Corazón Azul, la más reciente lucha de la Organización de las Naciones Unidas (ONU) en busca de frenar la trata de 2,4 millones de personas en el mundo que genera ganancias por 32 millones de dólares...

Michelle Obama Aids Anti-Trafficking Campaign

Mexico City - U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama will support Mexico’s Blue Heart Campaign against human trafficking, the most recent United Nations initiative to fight a scourge that affects 2.4 million persons worldwide, and generates illicit earnings of $32 billion per year.

The First Lady accompanied Mexican President Felipe Calderón to a meeting at the regional office of the United Nations, where Calderón signed and guaranteed his commitment to the UN campaign.

The Blue Heart Campaign, who’s logo seeks to symbolize the fight against human trafficking, intends to sensitize the population and mobilize international organizations, governments, civil organizations, the private sector and each indvidual to act to fight trafficking.

The campaign also seeks to allow citizens to unite to better understand the problem and to promote coordinated efforts to end this crime. Human trafficking affects a victim population that is estimated to be 80% women and children, who are subjected principally to sexual exploitation.

This unprecedented campaign has as its theme the statement: “No human being is for sale.”

Human trafficking exists in the majority of nations in the region. Within Mexico, it is especially concentrated along the border with the U.S.

Gardenia Mendoza Aguilar

La Opinión

April 14, 2010


Added: Apr. 16, 2010

Mexico

Mexico's president, Felipe Calderón, presents the kick-off of the Blue Heart Campaign in Mexico

Inicia Calderón la “Campaña Corazón Azul, México contra la trata de personas”

El mandatario mexicano expresó que “es un orgullo ser el primer país del continente americano y el mundo que se lanza en la acción contra este delito”.

Ciudad de México.- El presidente Felipe Calderón dio inicio a la “Campaña Corazón Azul, México contra la trata de personas”, que junto a Naciones Unidas, busca crear conciencia entre la sociedad para frenar las practicas inhumanas que pretenden convertir a la gente en mercancía.

El mandatario mexicano expresó que “es un orgullo ser el primer país del continente americano y el mundo que se lanza en la acción contra el delito de la trata de personas”.

Destacó que es importante velar por la libertad de las personas y urgió a poner un alto a las historias de sufrimiento de miles de personas, principalmente mujeres y niños, son engañados para ser sometidos a trabajos de explotación sexual.

Calificó de positivo que México, “siguiendo el protocolo de Palermo, y en cumplimiento de nuestra propia legislación, sea el primer país en iniciar una alianza de colaboración con la organización de las Naciones Unidas.

Enfatizó que “el programa busca sensibilizar a la sociedad y dar una señal de alerta a millones de personas en el mundo que no tienen plena conciencia de la gravedad de este delito”.

Milenio

April 14, 2010

See also:

Added: Apr. 16, 2010

Mexico

Federal officials and legislators active in the effort against human trafficking sit on the event's panel and listen to President Calderón's announcement of the start of the Blue Heart Campaign in Mexico.

Attendees included Senator Guillermo Tamborel Suárez (far right), head of the Senate's Commission to Assist Vulnerable Populations, and Mexican Interior Secretary Fernando Gómez Mont (second from right), who stated during a Feb. 23, 2010 congressional trafficking law conference that Mexico should not federalize its human trafficking laws: See our commentary: Lead, Follow or Get Out of the Way.

Mexico's President Kick's Off National Blue Heart Campaign n Collaboration with the United Nations

(The above link presents a YouTube video of President Calderón's 24 minutes of remarks at this event)

On April 14, 2010, President Felipe Calderón of Mexico, in coordination with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), kicked-off a year-long anti-trafficking campaign: Blue Heart - Mexico - 2010-2011.

President Calderón expressed his pride in the fact that Mexico will be the first nation in the world to launch a Blue Heart Campaign in collaboration with the UN Office on Drugs and Crime.

Calderón emphasized that his government is committed to putting an end to the inhuman conditions brought about by human trafficking in Mexico.

The President provided a highly articulate and detailed description of the crime of human trafficking in all of its facets, involving forced prostitution and forced labor, that subject vulnerable populations of especially women and children to exploitation.

The focus of the campaign will involve efforts to sensitize society to the crime of human trafficking, and to educate girls, boys, adolescents and adults in high risk populations about the risk of being trafficked.

Calderón mentioned that during his administration, Congress had passed the 2007 Law to Prevent and Punish Human Trafficking, and that in 2008, his Justice Department created [FEVIMTRA] - providing specialized prosecutorial focus on vilent crimes against women and sex trafficking.

He emphasized that his priorities include not only prosecution of crime, but that his government is also building infrastructure to assist victims.

From 2009 through the present, 4,000 victims of human trafficking have been assisted by the government's human trafficking victim shelter.

President Calderón declared that his government will also focus on the "thousands upon thousands" of Mexican and Central American migrant children and underage youth who attempt to traverse Mexico each year, unaccompanied by adults, some in search of their parents who now live in the U.S. The President noted that coyote migrant smugglers routinely transport these minors to the U.S. border, and abandon them there. Human traffickers then exploit this population.

Calderón stated that the three branches of government, together with NGOs and religious organizations, are working to assist these children and youth with food, resources and assistance in finding their parents. During the past 3 years, 60,000 unaccompanied migrant children have been assisted by his government.

The President said that his administration has initiated a program of 'humane repatriation' - which provides food and medicine to undocumented migrants who have been detained for repatriation to their home countries. Some 200,000 persons have been assisted by this program.

President Calderón emphasized that his administration's war against organized crime is not only, or even principally a fight against drug cartels. It is a fight against all of the forms of illegal behavior that organized crime forces upon society. Calderón observed that these "tremendously violent" organized crime organizations seek to control prostitution and other criminal activities, in addition to drug trafficking. The territories that each group controls are used for human, drug, arms and money trafficking.

Addressing criticisms of his administration's war on drug cartels, Calderón pointed out that to pull back from the war on organized crime will not diminish the level of violence in the nation, but to the contrary, will leave Mexico's population more vulnerable to the criminal impunity of these crime groups.

The President closed by stating once again that he is proud of Mexico's role in kicking-off the Blue Heart Campaign in the Americas in conjunction with the United Nations. He called upon all Mexicans, academics, public servants of federal, state and local government, and the general public to join in the fight to end human slavery that affects millions of persons in Mexico and in the world. Calderón asked that society leave in the past the pain that human trafficking has brought to Mexico.

[Note: Our article links to President Calderón's government-posted video of his April 14th Blue Heart Campaign inaugural presentation.]

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

April 16, 2010

See also:

Added: Apr. 16, 2010

Mexico

Mexico leads countries in UN ‘Blue Heart’ human trafficking campaign

UNODC's Blue Heart Campaign against human trafficking. 15 April 2010 – Mexico became the first country today to launch a national version of the United Nations-led “Blue Heart” campaign against human trafficking, which is regarded as one of the most lucrative forms of illegal activity for criminal groups.

“I admire Mexico’s leadership in fighting this modern slavery demonstrated through its strong commitment to the ‘Blue Heart’ campaign,” said Antonio Maria Costa, Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), which spearheaded the global campaign.

“Since almost everything we consume has been stained by the blood, sweat and tears of trafficking victims, we have a shared responsibility to act,” Mr. Costa added, saying that taking action against human trafficking is not just the responsibility of governments.

As part of Mexico’s launch, more than a dozen emblematic buildings were lit up in blue across the capital, Mexico City, in a symbolic act to raise awareness about the Blue Heart campaign.

More than 2.4 million people – up to 80 per cent women and girls – are currently being exploited as victims of human trafficking, either for sexual or labor exploitation, the UN has said. Other forms of human trafficking include domestic servitude, the removal of organs and the exploitation of children.

“I was blindfolded and forced into a car,” a Guatemalan child told the UN Information Service in Vienna (UNIS).

The girl – just six years old at the time – was forcibly removed from her home by a child trafficking ring and taken to a brothel in Cancun. She is now taking refuge in a shelter for human trafficking survivors in Mexico City.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called last week for strengthened global cooperation and more innovation in the battle against organized crime.

He also urged governments to ratify and implement the 10-year-old UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its three additional Protocols, which aim to suppress trafficking in persons, the smuggling of migrants, and the illicit manufacturing of and trafficking in firearms and ammunition.

In June, Spain is expected be the next country to join the Blue Heart global awareness campaign.

United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)

April 15, 2010


Added: Apr. 16, 2010

Note: The below case of Inés Fernández makes it very hard to take seriously the eloquent and moving words of Mexican President Felipe Calderón in his kick-off of the United Nations' Blue Heart Campaign. The Mexican Government Continues to Express Itself Through Acts of Misogyny and Anti-Indigenous Racism and Sexism on a Regular Basis. - LL

Mexico

Inés Fernández

Acusa Estado mexicano a indígena tlapaneca por falta de justicia

Niega violación cometida contra ella por militares en 2002

México, D.F. - Los representantes del Estado mexicano que participan en la audiencia pública de la Corte Interamericana de Derechos Humanos (CoIDH) responsabilizaron hoy a Inés Fernández, tlapaneca violada por militares en 2002, de ser la única responsable de la irregular investigación y también de que no fueran consignados los militares culpables.

En la segunda parte de la audiencia pública que llevó a cabo hoy la CoIDH en Lima, Perú, las réplicas de los representantes del Estado mexicano se centraron en hacer ver que Inés no acudió a las audiencias y que no reconoció a sus agresores, a pesar de que pudo hacerlo cuando le presentaron un álbum de fotografías y que realizó declaraciones falsas, dijo a Cimacnoticias, Teresa de la Cruz, vocera del Centro de Derechos Humanos de la Montaña Tlachinollan.

Mexican State, Defending Itself at the Inter-American Court, Accuses Rape Victim of Causing Any lack of Justice in Her Case

Mexican officials deny that the victim was raped by Mexican Army soldiers in 2002

Mexican government officials representing the State of Mexico at the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR) today accused Inés Fernández, who was raped by Mexican Army members in 2002, of having been the only person responsible for the irregular investigation into her case, resulting in the accused rapists being left unpunished.

During the second phase of the IACHR public hearing, held in Lima, Peru, the responses to the allegations centered on the fact that the victim had not presented herself for scheduled hearings [by a military tribunal], and because she supposedly did not point out the aggressors, despite the fact that she had indeed identified her attackers when shown an album of photos. The Mexican officials also stated that the victim had made false declarations.

The officials declared to the Court that the Mexican State absolves itself of all responsibility for the actions of its military forces in this case, stating that the 41st Infantry Battalion was not in that zone, as the victim had declared. The victim affirmed that she had been raped by soldiers from that battalion on March 22, 2002 in the town of Barranca Tecuani, in the municipality of Ayutla de los Libres in the state of Guerrero.

Inés Fernández’ legal defenders, from the International Center for Justice and the Rule of Law (CEJIL) and other human rights centers from the Tlachinollan region of Guerrero state told the Court that Inés Fernández did not fulfill all of steps that the investigation required because the Mexican State did not guarantee her safety and respect for her human rights.

Fernández, her husband, her daughter and her legal defenders have all been the target or harassment and threats.

Fernández and her legal team also told the Court that Fernández’ brother was kidnapped on February 9, 2008, and was found murdered the following day in the town of Ayutla de los Libres. Fernández’s legal representatives also stated to the Court that Fernández had petitioned a court to allow the case to be investigated by civilian authorities. Here request was denied.

The legal representatives for the State of Mexico ended their presentation by saying  that they are working in favor of women’s rights, and have invested nearly $1 billion dollars to implement public policies supporting gender equality. Among their actions, stated the legal team, were the creation of commissions, women’s institutes, and special prosecutors offices that focus on sex crimes.

Mexico’s legal team also insisted that Mexico has implemented sensitivity training for public servants, including for the staffs of prosecutor’s offices. The objective, they said, was to better handle cases such as that of Inés Fernández.

The parties will present their legal positions in writing at the end of May of this year.

That will be followed by a period of analysis. The IACHR expects to announce its ruling in the case in December of 2010.

 Anayeli García Martínez

CIMAC Women's News Agency

April 15, 2010


Added: Apr. 16, 2010

New York, USA

Carlos Cardenas

Photo: Pace for News

Rape suspect who dumped tot is nabbed after two-year manhunt

A two-year manhunt in a case that captivated the city ended Thursday when cops busted a young man who heartlessly abandoned the baby he had fathered with a 14-year-old girl.

Carlos Cardenas, 29, fled the city in February 2008 after scheming with crooked cabbie Klever Sailema to ditch his doe-eyed baby girl at a Queens firehouse.

The sad fate of little Daniella, then just 6 months old, tugged at the heartstrings of millions when her picture ran on the front page of the Daily News.

Cardenas, an undocumented Ecuadorian construction worker, narrowly escaped being nabbed in Indiana, Maryland and Puerto Rico before his time on the run ended yesterday afternoon, police sources said.

"We've been after him for two years," a police source said. "He kept running, and we just kept missing him."

Cardenas, who has been charged with rape for fathering Daniella with a teenage runaway, recently slipped back into Manhattan, where he was hiding out in Washington Heights and living under the alias Fabiano Castillo.

After detectives learned the foolish fugitive had returned to the city, they collared him on the street, outside his pad, yesterday afternoon, the sources said.

Cardenas hatched his cowardly plan with Sailema - who was dating Cardenas' sister - after whining to his super about how Daniella's mother had left him alone with the baby.

Yesterday, Cardenas chalked his arrest up to "bad luck" as detectives led him out of the NYPD's Bronx special victims unit.

Sailema was briefly hailed as a hero before he was arrested after admitting to police that his entire story was a lie. He was charged, but the case was dismissed.

Days after Sailema owned up to his shame, Daniella and her mom were sent back to the mother's home in Maryland, where both were in the care of the state's Department of Social Services.

In September 2009, Sailema was sentenced to 5-1/2 years for attempted rape.

Bob Kappstatter, Joe Jackson and John Lauinger

New York Daily News

April 09, 2010


Added: Apr. 15, 2010

Maryland, USA

Lelsey Eamares Hernandez, left, and Grecia Maybeli Espinoza-Molina have both been missing since Tuesday, April 13, 2010.

Police searching for two missing Montgomery County girls

Montgomery County - Police are looking for two missing Montgomery County girls - one from Silver Spring, one from Wheaton. It's not clear that the cases are connected, but police say they are checking to see if they are.

12-year-old Lelsey Eamares Hernandez, of Silver Spring, was last seen about 4 p.m. Tuesday afternoon near Newport Mill Road in Wheaton.

Grecia Maybeli Espinoza-Molina, 13, was last seen at her Valleywood Drive home in Wheaton at about 6 p.m. on the same day.

Hernandez is described as Hispanic, about 5 feet tall, and weighs 120 lbs. She has shoulder length black hair with blond highlights and she wears glasses.

Espinoza-Molina is described as Hispanic. She's 5'3" and weighs about 130 lbs. She has chin-length auburn hair.

Police and family are concerned for both girls given their young ages.

Anyone with information regarding their whereabouts is asked to call the Montgomery County Police Family Crimes Division at 240-773-5400 or the police non-emergency number at 301-279-8000.

WTOP

April 14, 2010

Update: On April 15, 2010, the Montgomery County, Maryland Police Department reported that both missing have been found unharmed, and have been returned to their families.


Added: Apr. 15, 2010

California, USA

Elvia Flores

Elvia Flores, 14, Abducted, Missing; Friend Blacked Out in Attack, Say Police

Live Oak - California police say 14-year-old Elvia Flores and her friend were walking towards school Monday when the they were attacked by several men.

Flores yelled "run" and the girls tried to flee. Hours later, the friend woke up in a field, remembering nothing, according to Sutter County Sheriff's Sergeant Glenn Mercer. Flores was gone.

The California Highway Patrol issued an amber alert for Flores late Monday night, CBS affiliate KOVR reports. Flores' mother told police she dropped her daughter and the friend, also 14, off at school before 8:30 a.m. Monday.

The friend, whose name has not been released, told investigators she was grabbed from behind and pulled into a brown 4-door sedan. The suspects are allegedly four to five Hispanic men, say police.

One of the suspects was described as tall, wearing a black t-shirt and black ball cap with the word "NorCal" in either red or orange, say police.

Flores' friend told investigators she woke up in an open field in Orland, over 60 miles from Live Oak High School where she was attacked.

A California Highway Patrol officer picked her up and brought her to the Orland Police Department, said KOVR.

The girl told investigators she didn't remember what happened between the time she was allegedly abducted and when she woke up in the field.

A CARE alert was issued just after 10:30 p.m. Monday. Sheriff's officials said they waited more than six hours to issue an alert because they were taking the necessary time to corroborate the girl's story.

The missing girl, Elvia Flores, is described as Hispanic, about 5'2" tall, 110 pounds, with brown hair and brown eyes. She was last seen in a white shirt, blue jeans and white shoes.

Authorities told KOVR that they have no reason to be suspicious of the girl's story.

Anyone with information on Elvia's whereabouts is asked to call the Sutter County Sheriff's Department at (530) 822-7307.

Kealan Oliver

CBS

April 13, 2010

See also:

Added: Apr. 15, 2010

California, USA

Amber alert issued for girl abducted in Sutter County

An amber alert is issued for a girl abducted Monday morning from Sutter County. Authorities need your help in finding her. Two girls were abducted from Live Oak Monday morning around 8:30. One of the girls was found safe in Orland, after she was dropped off at an AM/PM store.

But 14 year old Elvia Florez is still missing. She's a Hispanic girl, 5'2", 110 pounds with brown hair and eyes. She was last seen wearing a white shirt, blue jeans and white shoes. The suspects are four or five Hispanic men in a brown sedan. One of the suspects was wearing a black shirt and black hat with the word NorCal on the front in orange or red letters.

If you see the suspects or the missing girl, call 911.

Kelli Saam

KHSL

April 13, 2010


Added: Apr. 15, 2010

Mexico

Detienen a jefe policiaco por abuso sexual a menor en Tijuana

Un alto mando de la Secretaria de Seguridad Pública de Tijuana fue detenido por presuntamente cometer abuso sexual contra una menor de edad en las instalaciones policiacas de esta frontera...

Tijuana Police Official is Arrested for Assaulting a 16-year-old Girl

A high official of the Secretariat of Public Security in Tijuana has been arrested on charges of having sexually abused an underage girl who was in detention at the time.

'Maria,' age 16, had been arrested for causing a scandal in public. She was taken to the Central District I patrol zone, where she was to be taken before a judge. After refusing to provide her personal information to police in preparation for transferring her to the DIF social Services agency, the victim was taken to offices occupied by police units operating at that station. District I sub-chief Juan Martín Borja Murillo [assaulted Maria, and] offered to let the girl go provided that she remained silent about the sexual assault. Maria called out for help, and was assisted by a female officer, who accompanied Maria's appearance before the judge.

Maria declared that Borja Murillo has assaulted her, and that officer Juan Pablo Rodríguez Campos was a witness. Officer Rodríguez Campos confirmed the victim's version of events.

Maria was transferred to the DIF to receive medical and psychological attention. Borja Murillo was arrested, and Officer Rodríguez Campos was ordered to appear as a witness in the case.

La jornada

April 14, 2010


Added: Apr. 15, 2010

Florida, USA

[Man] charged with sex trafficking

Tamps - An illegal immigrant living in Hillsborough County faces a federal charge after reportedly forcing one mentally disabled teenager into prostitution and raping another.

A judge denied bail Tuesday for 25-year-old Mario Alberto Laguna-Guerrero. The U.S. Attorney's Office has charged Laguna-Guerrero with sex trafficking, with a maximum sentence of life in prison.

Authorities say Laguna-Guerrero charged migrants $25 in exchange for sex with a 17-year-old mentally disabled girl, who he claimed was his girlfriend. Authorities say Laguna-Guerrero also raped the girl's 19-year-old classmate, while the first girl watched.

Laguna-Guerrero was initially arrested by Hillsborough County deputies March 31 on sexual battery charges.

The Associated Press

April 14, 2010


Added: Apr. 15, 2010

California, USA

California woman sentenced in forced labor case

Oakland - A Northern California woman has been sentenced to six years in prison for luring a Peruvian woman to the U.S. with the promise of a job then confiscating her travel documents and forcing her to work for no pay.

Maribel de la Rosa Dann was sentenced Wednesday after being convicted of forced labor and related charges in connection to her treatment of Zoraida Pena-Canal.

The defendant also was ordered to serve three years probation and pay $123,740 in restitution.

Attorneys and advocates said during the trial that the public may be more familiar with human trafficking victims who are forced into prostitution, but cases of forced labor are at least as widespread.

The Associated Press

April 14, 2010


Added: Apr. 15, 2010

Texas, USA

Jorge Herrera Guerrero

Police are looking for a local man wanted for aggravated sexual assault of a 7-year-old girl.

Houston - Police are looking for a local man wanted for aggravated sexual assault of a 7-year-old girl.

The girl disclosed to Harris County Child Abuse Investigators that Jorge Herrera Guerrero, 33, sexually assaulted her and inappropriately touched her on numerous occasions. After an investigation, Guerrero was charged with two counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child a warrant was issued for his arrest.

Guerrero is an Hispanic male, six feet tall and weighs 185 pounds. He has black hair and brown eyes with a medium complexion. Guerrero is still believed to be in the Houston area.

Crime Stoppers will pay up to $5,000 for any information called in to the 713-222-8477 (TIPS) hotline or submitted online at Crime-Stoppers.org that leads to an arrest in this case.

KTRK

April 14, 2010 


Added: Apr. 15, 2010

Texas, USA

Police: Girl forced into van, fondled at Irving parking lot

A 13-year-old girl was forced into a sports utility vehicle Wednesday morning and fondled in an Irving parking lot by an unidentified man before she managed to escape, Irving police said.

The man drove away when the girl ran away, police said.

The attack happened about 7:20 a.m. Wednesday in the 2000 block of Estrada Parkway as the girl walked through an apartment complex parking lot.

The girl told police that a man in the SUV drove up alongside her, threatened her and then ordered her into his vehicle.

The girl told police she was fondled while in the SUV.

At some point, she managed to get out of the vehicle, police said.

Police described the man as Hispanic, medium in build with short black hair. He had a slight Spanish accent, but he spoke fluent English, police said. He was wearing a white T-shirt and black pants.

He was driving a white newer model SUV, possibly a Chevrolet Tahoe.

Anyone with information should call Irving police at 972-273-1010.

The attack was the second such attack on young girls in as many days in North Texas...

Police searched the area, but could not locate the suspect, authorities said. Police ask that anyone who knows anything about this suspect, or the vehicle, contact them at 817-473-0211.

Domingo Ramirez

The Star-Telegram

Apr. 14, 2010


Added: Apr. 15, 2010

Florida, USA

Teen headlocked in abduction attempt

Clearwater - Authorities are investigating an abduction attempt Tuesday morning in the 1500 block of Gulf To Bay Boulevard.

Police say the 16-year-old Clearwater High School student was walking near Just Brakes when the suspect came up from behind her and grabbed her and placed in her in a headlock.

Detectives say he kept telling her to "just be quiet" while she was being held. They say she managed to break free and ran several blocks to the CVS where she called her mother for help. Clearwater Police say the teen's mom called them.

Police conducted a search of the area with patrols but did not turn up the suspect. They say the teen does not know the victim.

He is described as a Hispanic man about 30 years old with short cropped black hair and weighs about 160 pounds. Additional patrol will be placed at Clearwater High School during dismissal.

Keith Baker

The E.W. Scripps Co.

April 14, 2010


Added: Apr. 15, 2010

New York, USA

Thug bragged while raping and robbing me, [prostitute] testifies

A tearful prostitute told Monday how a man raped and robbed her - and bragged he'd never get caught.

" 'Do you know why we're doing this to you? Because we can,' " the woman said Kevin Rios told her as he and another man brutalized her in May 2006. " 'You're a hooker and we can kill you and no one will even care.' "

The 30-year-old victim told a Manhattan jury Rios ransacked her van for $13 and then violated her. " 'There is no point in letting this go to waste,' " the woman quoted Rios as saying.

The attack happened in a parking lot behind a W. 58th St. storage facility after the woman agreed to perform oral sex on the men for $100 each.

Rios, who could face up to 25 years in prison, was arrested in 2008 after he allegedly raped a baby-sitter at knifepoint.

Melissa Grace

The New York Daily News

April 13th 2010


Added: Apr. 15, 2010

Washington State, USA

Rape, incest suspect arrested after standoff

A standoff with a Moses Lake man accused of raping a woman at knife point ended with his arrest late Wednesday after authorities pumped noxious gas into his hiding spot.

Mario Noyola Jr., 31, faces charges of first-degree rape and first-degree incest, according to the Grant County Sheriff’s Office.

The case began Tuesday afternoon when deputies found a 33-year-old woman dressed in a t-shirt and bath towel standing the intersection of Travis and Halsey in Moses lake.

The woman said she’s been raped at knife point in her home, but deputies didn’t find a suspect when they searched the residence. They identified Noyola through interviews.

The victim “initially allowed him into her house when he told her he had been locked out of his house and needed somewhere to stay,” the Sheriff’s Office reported.

The U.S. Marshals Office in Spokane helped Grant County detectives locate Noyola in the 1400 block of West Craig Street in Moses Lake, where he was arrested about 11 p.m. after an hours-long standoff, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

The Spokesman Review

March 25, 2010


Added: Apr. 15, 2010

Florida, USA

Aldofo Merino-Lopez

Woman Attacked In Saratoga Springs

Woman Attacked A woman is recovering after she was attacked in Saratoga Springs early Saturday morning.

Police say around 4:00AM they got a call for a woman screaming for help in the area of Lake Avenue and Circular Street.

The woman says she was walking on Circular when a man walked up behind her and grabbed her by the hair.

She was able to fight off her attacker and run.

Police tracked down the suspect from a description given by the victim not far from the scene.

37-year-old Aldofo Merino-Lopez is charged with Assault, Unlawful Imprisonment, and Forcible Touching.

The victim was injured during the assault but was treated and released from the hospital.

Merino-Lopez is in the city lock up pending his arraignment.

WXXA

April 11, 2010


Added: Apr. 15, 2010

Virginia, USA

Woman says she was raped by foster son

In Henrico, a teenager is behind bars tonight, accused of raping his foster mother.

18-year-old Arturo Lopez allegedly raped his foster mother at knifepoint, last Friday morning at her home.

She told police he then let her go and she went to work to call police. Lopez was arraigned this morning, his preliminary hearing is set May 6.

WWBT NBC12

Apr 13, 2010


Added: Apr. 14, 2010

Yemen

Women protest at Yemen's Parliament in favor of a law raising the nation's age of marriage from undefined - to age 17.

From: Yemen: where men marry children

Mira Baz

Global Post

March 25, 2010

Another Dead Child-Bride

Perhaps it’s a good sign that we’re hearing more tragedies from Yemen about child brides: That does mean that the issue is now a public topic there, and some people are complaining about the abuse these girls suffer. In part, that’s a credit to Nujood, the extraordinary girl I wrote about recently because of her memoir and her campaign against child marriage.

But just when you feel progress is being made, you come across a story like this one that came across the wire today from the Associated Press:

A 13-year-old Yemeni child bride who bled to death shortly after marriage was tied down and forced to have sex by her husband, according to interviews with the child’s mother, police and medical reports.

The girl’s mother, Nijma Ahmed, 50, told the Associated Press that before her daughter lost consciousness, she said that her husband had tied her up and forced himself on her. ”She looked like she was butchered,” she said about her daughter’s injuries.

Elham Assi, 13, bled to death hours after she spoke to her mother and just days after she was married to a 23-year-old man.

As far as I can tell, these tragedies happen with distressing frequency in countries like Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, India and other countries. And of course for ever girl who dies after a child marriage, far more are injured — and all have their childhoods abruptly terminated.

Furthermore, when they are married off at age 11 or 12, girls invariably are pulled out of school. That means they will have less chance to earn money and won’t be able to care so well for their own children. And they’re more likely to marry their own daughters off young as well...

Nicholas Kristof

The New York Times

April 10, 2010

See also:

Added: Apr. 14, 2010

Yemen

Child bride dies from internal bleeding; another stolen life ends

Child brides are a part of the tradition in many countries in the world today. However, the widespread practice is damaging to their emotional health and is often dangerous to their physical well-being.

One of the many problems these young girls encounter is having sexual relations with older men.

Sometimes they die when their organs rupture. Sometimes during the course of childbirth there is extensive internal damage...

The Child Bride in Yemen

In the case of death of the child bride in Yemen, some sources are reporting that severe vaginal tearing and bleeding over a four day period were responsible for her death.

CNN noted, "It was reported that 12-year-old (or 13-year-old depending upon the source) Yemeni bride died of internal bleeding following intercourse three days after she was married off to an older man, the United Nations Children's Fund said."

According to Fox News, "The marriage of young girls is widespread in Yemen, which has a strong tribal structure.

"The death of a 12-year-old girl in childbirth in September [2009] illustrated the case of the country's 'brides of death,' many of whom were married off even before puberty.

"Controversy heightened in Yemen recently over a law banning child marriage in the impoverished country through setting a minimum age of 17 for women and 18 for men."

The PBS Special Depicting the Problem

For child brides who survive the ordeal, they are often health impaired after childbirth with conditions such as ruptured bladders. It is a health issue, it is a human rights issue.

A story from PBS depicts the problem. Child Brides: Stolen Lives (NOW - PBS).

[See below link]

Stephanie Sinclair

The Examiner

April 9, 2010

See also:

Added: Apr. 14, 2010

Daniel Fausto 24, and his wife Brenda, age 13 and pregnant, in Guatemala. Their story is told in the NOW / PBS program: Child Brides: Stolen Lives.

When asked by program host Maria Hinajosa about his opinion of Daniel's marriage to a 13-year-old girl, his father stated: "I believe that it is easier to control a young girl."

The program notes that Brenda faces a 5 times higher risk of death at childbirth at age 13, as compared to the risks faced by a 20-year-old woman.

These types of adult male relationships with girl children are a dynamic that exists with frequency in Latin barrios across the United States, as local police mentioned to me during a recent human trafficking education session for Parent Teacher Association members in Montgomery County, Maryland.

The World

Child Brides: Stolen Lives

In an hour-long special report, NOW takes an unprecedented inside look at a global custom that devastates girls' lives and holds back communities. Explore this website to learn about how you can support efforts to end child marriage.

[This link includes a video report]

Maria Hinajosa

PBS / NOW

Oct. 12, 2007

See also:

Added: Apr. 14, 2010

The Latin American context of this problem: The age of sexual consent in 19 of Mexico's 31 states is only 12. Child marriage is common throughout Latin America.

Only Yemen has a younger age of marriage (9) than Mexico.

In addition, sex traffickers focus on kidnapping and entrapping 12-year-old girls into the sex trade.

How many hundreds or thousands of unmarked graves exist in Mexico and across the world, holding the remains of pre-teen girls who died as a result of being serially ganged raped on a daily basis while being forced to make money for traffickers as sex slaves?

A blog posting to New York Times reporter Nicholas Kristof - in response to Kristof's blog posting about the death of the 13-year-old child bride in Yemen

I am a women’s rights activist, and I specialize in the issue of human trafficking as it affects women and children in the Americas. I was previously executive director of a small anti-trafficking organization, and for the past 9 years I have developed a web site – LibertadLatina – that presents over 1,200 factual news articles abstracts, research reports and essays describing the nature of the crisis of gender exploitation in the Americas.

The issue of sex trafficking and child sexual exploitation is just as critical in Latin America as it is in India, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and South and East Asia. Yet the issue remains largely in the shadows. I created Libertad Latina to respond to that silence.

NY Times reporter Peter Landesman, writing in the New York Times Magazine on January 25, 2004, presented a ground breaking story on this subject: The Girls Next Door. The story contained extensive reporting on the nature of child kidnapping and forced prostitution in Mexico.

Here is a brief excerpt from that story:

(About Montserrat, a former child trafficking victim:)

--- Her cell of sex traffickers offered three age ranges of sex partners -- toddler to age 4, 5 to 12 and teens -- as well as what she called a ''damage group.'' ''In the damage group they can hit you or do anything they wanted...'' ---

As part of his story, Landesman accurately reported on the mass kidnappings of very young girls from across Mexico. After being ‘broken in’ in the low-rent brothel district of Mexico City, these victims were taken across the border to serve as sex slaves for migrant farm laborers working the fields of San Diego County, California.

On January 12, 2003, I translated an extensive article from the leading Mexico City newspaper, El Universal, that covered the criminal network of more than 20 open air and home based brothels run by Mexican sex traffickers in the San Diego County city of Vista and surrounding areas.

That translation is available here.

See our page on the San Diego Child Brothels issue.

Here are a few more harsh facts about CSEC in Mexico:

1. According the UN-affiliated International Organization for Migration (IOM) office in the city of Tapachula, Chiapas state, Mexico (near the Guatemalan border), some 450 to 600 Central and South American migrant women are raped every day in the Mexican side of its border with Guatemala, with an ongoing lack of law enforcement response on the part of federal, state and local governments.

2. According to End Child Prostitution and Trafficking (ECPAT), in the city of Tapachula, over half of the estimated 21,000 females prostituted in the city's 1,552 bars and brothels are children and underage adolescents. Mexico has done very little to change these realities.

3. Some 3,000 to 4,000 indigenous girl children have been kidnapped and taken by the Yakuza mafias to Japan, were they were forced to be geisha sex slaves. We see no evidence that either Mexico or Japan are doing anything at all to rescue these thousands of innocent, kidnapped and serially raped children.

The most powerful, emblematic story demonstrating the stark realities that today face tens of thousands of young girl children in Central America and Mexico is the case of Jacqueline Maria Jirón Silva. A 2007 article in Contralinea (Counter line) magazine accurately describes the situation:

Excerpt:

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

About the Jacqueline Maria Jiron Silva case

The time to respect the code of silence has passed. The victims, and those children and adults who are today at risk, are awaiting our effective response to their immediate crisis.

Let us not turn our backs on their need.

The time to act is… now!

Chuck Goolsby

Founder and Coordinator

LibertadLatina

Washington, DC

April 13, 2010

See also:

The Girls Next Door

The New York Times' ground-breaking story on child and youth sex trafficking from Mexico into the United States

[About Montserrat, a former child trafficking victim:]

Her cell of sex traffickers offered three age ranges of sex partners -- toddler to age 4, 5 to 12 and teens -- as well as what she called a ''damage group.'' ''In the damage group they can hit you or do anything they wanted...''

- Peter Landesman

New York Times Magazine

January 25, 2004

 


Added: Apr. 13, 2010

Mexico

Aumento en casos de abuso sexual

La temperatura de 30 grados centígrados en el Distrito Federal puede ser literalmente un infierno para las mujeres durante la primavera capitalina, la más cálida del año: las autoridades han reportado un aumento "preocupante" en el número de abusos sexuales.

"La principal hipótesis es que el uso de minifalda y escotes aumenta el libido de los agresores", dijo la fiscal para la investigación de delitos sexuales de la Procuraduría capitalina.Este reporte local, dado a conocer en los primeros días de abril, complementa a su vez el panorama machista que registra el Instituto Nacional de las Mujeres en las oficinas de gobierno.En su último análisis dado a conocer esta semana detectó 27,728 casos de hostigamiento y acoso sexual en 258 oficinas gubernamentales."De éstos sólo 7,796 fueron denunciados ante autoridades o mecanismos competentes", dijo Rocío García, directora de Inmujeres sobre una encuesta en 2008.García lamentó que esta falta de denuncia esté relacionada con el temor de las féminas a perder el empleo o a generar un ambiente hostil. por sus compañeros hombres de trabajo.

En cambio, la impunidad en los casos de las chicas capitalinas que son abusadas por usar ropa ligera está relacionada con la falta de confianza: consideran que las autoridades no actuarán contra los agresores. Sin embargo, las estadísticas contradicen estos prejuicios: en lo que va del año se han iniciado 56 averiguaciones por violación en la calle, lugares públicos, espacios de convivencia, (y transporte público; de las cuales, el 70% han sido consignadas con detenido a algún reclusorio del Distrito Federal.

Las autoridades calculan que las agresiones son mucho más en número: de cada 100 mujeres, 65 de ellas (1,660,207 mujeres) sufren violencia en el ámbito público, mientras que en el ámbito privado es de 48 por cada 100 mujeres.

Cases of sexual assault have risen dramatically [above already alarming levels] in Mexico City. The city's prosecutor for sex crimes recently declared that short dresses and low-cut blouses excite the libido of men, resulting in rape [a tired and ridiculous assertion that was originally used by the National Action Party (PAN) and ultra-conservative prelates to rationalize the mass murder of women in the Ciudad Juarez femicides case]. - LL].

Impresiones Latinas

April 12, 2010


Added: Apr. 13, 2010

Mexico

Kidnapped Mexican [Indigenous] jounalist found with throat slit

Mexico City - The body of a kidnapped Mexican journalist has been found with his throat slit, federal prosecutors said Sunday. The family of Enrique Villicana Palomares, a columnist for the daily newspaper The Voice of Michoacan in central Mexico, reported him missing last week after he didn't make it to a university where he taught writing.

Federal prosecutors said in a written statement that his body was found Saturday in the state capital, Morelia, after someone demanded a ransom. The statement did not say whether a ransom was paid, and prosecutors were not available.

Investigators have not determined if Palomares was targeted because of his work as a journalist.

His family told the press advocacy organization Reporters Without Borders that he was a member of the indigenous Purepecha group, and that he had written columns about attacks by armed groups on members on his community.

Palomares was at least the fifth reporter killed in Mexico this year, and 12 were murdered last year. Many of those were victims of Mexico's powerful drug traffickers.

Drug-related violence in Mexico has claimed more than 17,900 lives since December 2006, when President Felipe Calderon launched a war against drug gangs.

Reporters Without Borders said in a statement Sunday that federal law enforcement officials must do more to protect journalists in Mexico, noting that Palomares' employers had notified state authorities about threats against him more than two weeks ago.

"Regardless of the motive, the state attorney general office's inaction was reprehensible if it was indeed aware of the threats against him," said the statement.

The Associated Press

April 11, 2010


Added: Apr. 13, 2010

Kentuky, USA

Danville police search for man who sexually assaulted girl

Herald-Leader Staff Report Danville police are looking for a man who is accused of binding a girl's hands and sexually assaulting her.

Shortly after 3 p.m. Wednesday, police were called to the 400 block of Longview Drive. They found a juvenile girl with tape around her mouth and neck, and her hands were tied with various types of cord, according to a news release.

The girl was treated at Ephraim McDowell Regional Medical Center, and she told police she had been sexually assaulted by a Hispanic man who had lived with her family for a short time.

The man is about 25 to 35 years old and has black hair. He's between 5-foot-5 inches and 5-foot-8 and 125 to 135 pounds. The man had been employed at Chinatown Buffet in Danville before the alleged assault, police said.

Anyone with information is asked to call Danville police detectives Todd Davis or Robert Ladd at (859) 238-1224, extensions 340 or 349. The public also may call the Boyle Country 911 Center at (859) 238-1220.

The Herald-Leader

April 08, 2010


Added: Apr. 13, 2010

Texas, USA

Police looking for man who tried to kidnap girl

Police are searching for a man they say attempted to abduct an 8-year-old girl from a League City park on Sunday afternoon, authorities said.

Investigators said the child was sitting on a swing at Challenger Park, 2301 West Nasa Parkway, around 5:45 p.m. when she was approached by an unidentified man who grabbed her elbow.

The girl, who was not injured, was able to run away from the man to family members, who then called 911. The man fled the park on foot, authorities said.

The suspect is described as Hispanic, in his mid-40s to 50s, 6 feet to 6 feet 2 inches tall, about 200 pounds with balding dark hair, a medium complexion and tattoos on his forearm. He is also said to have a tattoo of diamonds and squares across his forehead and was wearing a diamond earring in his left ear.

Anyone with information is urged to call the League City Police Department at 281-332-2566.

Anita Hassan

The Houston Chronicle

April 05, 2010


Added: Apr. 13, 2010

New Mexico, USA

Man arrested in alleged kidnap attempt

Las Cruces - A man was arrested Thursday after he allegedly tried to abduct a 13-year-old girl near a park. Detectives are investigating the possibility that he might be connected with other such incidents.

Joshua Chavez, 32, of the 1500 block of Corbett Avenue, was charged with attempted kidnapping and child enticement, according to Las Cruces Police.

The girl told officers she had been with her 4-year-old brother at the La Vida Nueva Park between Stull Drive and La Fonda when a bald Hispanic man in a primer-gray Chevrolet Cavalier pulled up.

"Come here," he said, waving her over through a down window, according to documents filed Friday in court. When she shook her head no, he demanded again, "come here now!"

Scared, she and her brother ran home and she told her father - who went to the front yard and spotted the car just as it passed in front of their home. He recognized Chavez, who he realized had been gawking at his daughter the previous weekend as she played in the sprinklers in their front yard with her dogs.

The father and his children got in his vehicle, found Chavez nearby, sitting in his car and talking to another girl, wrote down his license plate number and called police, who detained Chavez at a nearby Pic Quik store.

Pornography and condoms were found in the front seat of Chavez's car. When questioned, Chavez told police he did try to stop and talk to the girl, but she ignored him.

Chavez is being held at the Do-a Ana County Detention Center with a cash-only bond set at $20,000.

Anyone with additional information, or who may know of a similar incident, is asked to call detectives at (575) 528-4222.

Ashley Meeks

The Las Cruces Sun News

April 10, 2010


Added: Apr. 13, 2010

Texas, USA

Suspected Child Molester Back In Jail

Weslaco - A suspected child molester is back in jail after four years on the run.

Cesar Bazara will face charges of child indecency. Weslaco police say Border Patrol agents caught him trying to cross back into the U.S.

Officer David Molina of the Weslaco Police Department says a 10-year-old girl told her mother about the abuse in 2006, and the mother took the girl to the police department to report it.

But Bazara fled to Mexico, before investigators could arrest him.

He's now in the Hidalgo County jail.

Farrah Fazal

KRGV

April 12, 2010


Added: Apr. 13, 2010

California, USA

Sketch Released of Suspect in 6 UCLA Sex Assaults

Westwood - Police have released a sketch of a suspect they believe is linked to six sexual assaults of female students on the UCLA campus.

The latest of six crotch-grabbing assaults of female students in the last month was reported to authorities Wednesday.

Police say the male suspect reached out and tried to grab the victims crotch In the latest attack, which occurred east of Westwood Village near a Ralphs grocery store.

According to police, the suspect's pattern is to wait in the path of female victims who are distracted while using their cell phones, and then as the victim approaches to reach out with his hand and grab the victim's crotch area.

All six women told police the suspect was Hispanic, 40 to 60 years old, 5 ft 3 in to 5 ft 6 in tall, 150 to 180 pounds, with a dark complexion, brown eyes, and a pot belly.

KTLA News

April 12, 2010


Added: Apr. 9, 2010

The Americas

OAS Study Highlights Growing Extracontinental Immigration in Latin America

There is a growing number of extracontinental immigrants in Latin America, mainly from Africa and Asia, according to the preliminary results of a survey published during a workshop of the Special Committee on Migration Issues (known by its Spanish acronym, CEAM) of the Organization of American States (OAS). The report qualifies as “new and growing” the recent phenomenon of irregular extracontinental immigration in various countries of the region and summarizes some of the national immigration policies that Argentina, Colombia, Costa Rica, Panama, Ecuador, Guatemala and Mexico have developed to address it...

The results, obtained from answers submitted by the above-mentioned countries to a survey sent by the CEAM in collaboration with the Migration and Development Program (MiDE) of the OAS Department of Social Development and Employment, show that extracontinental immigrants without legal status are mainly from the African nations Eritrea, Ethiopia, Nigeria and Somalia, and the Asian nations China, Bangladesh and Nepal...

The numbers provided by countries that responded to the OAS survey are based on asylum requests, detentions by immigration authorities, and requests for temporary and transitional residence granted to immigrants. The OAS hopes to receive information from countries that have not yet responded to the survey to complete its analysis...

Among the main problems present in one or more of the surveyed countries are the following: a lack of resources to repatriate extracontinental immigrants without legal status; that African nationals who are granted refugee status do not remain in the country but leave and sell or give away their documents to trafficking networks; the growing activity of international networks involved in human trafficking, kidnapping and the trafficking of illegal migrants; and the efficiency of the state in responding promptly to cases involving underage victims and victims of human trafficking...

The Organization of Americas States

April 7, 2010


Added: Apr. 9, 2010

Arizona, USA

Police: Man accused of tattooing young girl in exchange for sex

Avondale - A Valley man was arrested Wednesday for allegedly tattooing two underage girls, in one case in exchange for sex, according to authorities.

Sgt. Todd Love of the Avondale Police Department said Juan Lara Jr. was taken into custody for felony charges of sexual conduct with a minor and tattooing of a minor without parent's permission.

Lara reportedly tattooed two known juvenile females without their parents' consent at an Avondale home. It is unclear is the residence belongs to Lara.

Love said police have reason to believe Lara specifically targeted minors and there is a possibility that not all of the victims have come forward to report the incident.

Love also stated that Lara has been known to use the nickname "Memo."

Anyone with information is urged to contact Detective Arteaga of the Avondale Police Department at (623) 333-7381, or contact Silent Witness at 480-WITNESS.

Jamie McWilliams

ABC 15

April 08, 2010


Added: Apr. 9, 2010

Arizona, USA

Man accused of molesting 9-year-old turns himself in

Avondale - A man wanted in connection with a child molestation case last year was arrested Tuesday after turning himself in to police, according to authorities.

The Avondale Police Department had requested the assistance of the public in locating 33-year-old Joseph Anthony Dominguez after the incident was reported in August 2009.

Avondale Police Sgt. Todd Love said the victim was 9-years old at the time of the incident and Dominguez was believed to have been staying with the family.

Detective Reuben Gonzales, with Avondale police, said since police first reached out to the media, Dominguez was on the run and avoiding contact with police.

It was reportedly thought that he had fled to either California or Mexico, but had also been possibly seen in the Metro Phoenix Area.

According to Gonzales, Tuesday morning Dominguez turned himself in to Avondale police who had been working with the victim's family and law enforcement agencies to track his whereabouts.

Dominguez was booked on two counts of child molestation and was transported to Maricopa County's 4th Avenue Jail.

Katie Fisher

ABC 15

April 07, 2010


Added: Apr. 9, 2010

Texas, USA

Police seek suspected gang member accused in sex assault of 6-year-old girl

Houston - Police are hoping the public can help track down a suspected gang member accused of sexually assaulting a 6-year-old girl.

Juan Melgar, 23, was charged with aggravated sexual assault of a child in February and has been on the run ever since.

Police said he assaulted a child at his home in the 12300 block of Antoine. The girl is a distant relative of Melgar’s, police said.

Investigators believe Melgar is a member of the MS-13 gang. They said he is armed and dangerous and already threatened to kill someone in the victim’s family.

Melgar has black hair, brown eyes and a medium complexion. He is 5 feet, 5 inches tall and weighs 155 pounds.

Police believe Melgar is somewhere in the Houston area.

Anyone with information on his whereabouts is urged to call Crime Stoppers at 713-222-8477.

Tips may also be submitted online at crime-stoppers.org.

Information leading to Melgar’s arrest could earn a reward of up to $5,000.

KHOU

April 8, 2010


Added: Apr. 8, 2010

Mexico again shows impunity in gender violence to the world

Mexico

Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR)

Tlapaneca Indigenous victim Inés Fernández Ortega

Tlapaneca Indigenous human rights activist Obtilia Eugenio Manuel denounces death threats against herself, her family and Indigenous rape victims Inés Fernández Ortega and Valentina Rosendo Cantú - who were raped by soldiers in 2002.

Photo: March 24, 2010 - Cronica

Exigen Cese de Agresiones Contra Tlapaneca Violada por Militares

Lanzan activistas campaña contra la impunidad militar

Defensoras y defensores de derechos humanos exigieron hoy al Estado mexicano que cesen las agresiones y amenazas contra Inés Fernández Ortega, indígena tlapaneca violada sexualmente por militares en 2002, y quien ante la falta de justicia, se presentará en una audiencia pública en la sede de la Corte Interamericana de Derechos Humanos (CoIDH) en Lima, Perú, el próximo 15 de abril.

En conferencia de prensa Amnistía Internacional México y el Centro de Derechos Humanos de la Montaña Tlachinollan dieron a conocer la campaña “¡Rompe el muro de la impunidad!”, la cual arranca en la antesala de esta audiencia con el objetivo de tejer una red solidaria y sumar voces al clamor de justicia de Inés y Valentina Rosendo Cantú, indígena tlapaneca que también fue violada por militares en 2002...

Activists Demand an End to the Harassment of Indigenous Woman Who Was Raped by Soldiers

Human Rights Defenders Launch Campaign Against Military Impunity

Human rights activists have today demanded that the Mexican Government cease and desist from its campaign of aggression and threats directed against Inés Fernández Ortega, a Tlapaneca Indigenous women who was the victim of rape perpetrated by Mexican servicemen in 2002. Due to the inability to receive due process within Mexico, Fernández Ortega's case will be presented to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR) on April 15th, 2010.

During a press conference held by Amnesty International and the Tlachinollan Mountain Human Rights Center, activists announced their new campaign "Break Down the Walls of Impunity!" The project aims to develop a network of solidarity and add voices to the outcries for justice in the cases of both Fernández Ortega and also Valentina Rosendo Cantú, another Tlapaneca woman who was also raped by soldiers in 2002.

Vidulfo Rosales Sierra, a lawyer working in the Tlachinollan region stated that both Fernández Ortega and Rosendo Cantú began their efforts to find justice 8 years ago. Not only did they suffer rejection, discrimination and stigmatization in their own communities after they were raped, but the government conducted an ineffective investigation.

Because of the government's reaction to their plight, the victims hope that the IACHR finds the Mexican state guilty in the case of Fernández Ortega. Rosendo Cantú's case will be presented before the IACHR on May 27th and 28th of 2010.

Rosales Sierra declared that the military leaves women [victims] completely defenseless. They put women's security and lives at risk when they attempt to seek justice.

On March 22, 2002, Fernández Ortega was beaten and raped by several soldiers who entered her house in the community of Barranca Tecuani, in the municipality of Ayutla de Los Libres.

Two days after the rapes, on March 24th, Fernández Ortega filed a complaint with the local public prosecutor's office, and went to a hospital, where she was not seen due to a lack of specialists on the staff. On May 17, 2002, the legal complaint was turned over to the jurisdiction of the 35th Military Zone.

The case was archived by the military legal authorities on September 15, 2006, after agents of the Prosecutor of Military Justice concluded that "the accusation of rape was not credible."

After all legal remedies were exhausted within Mexico, the case was brought before the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights where it was forwarded to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.

The Inter-American Commission of Human Rights held a hearing in regard to the case on October 12, 2007, where the lack of interest in pursuing the case by the Mexican state was exposed. The Commission cited the fact that the preliminary investigation was never completed, and lacked expert analysis of the evidence, interrogations of the suspects, and a psychological evaluation of the victim.

On October 30, 2008, the Commission issued their findings. The Mexican state was informed on November 7, 2008 that the Commission regarded the State as being responsible for the violations of the integrity of the victim. Due to a refusal by Mexico to implement the Commission's [legally binding] recommendations, the case was forwarded to the IACHR.

During the press conference, Indigenous human rights activist Obtilia Eugenio Manuel stated that, after May 7th, 2009, when the IACHR accepted the case de Fernández Ortega, she (Eugenio Manuel) and her family became the victims of threats. The threats doubled in December of 2009, when the IACHR notified the Mexican state of the specific date of its hearing of the case.

Because of this history of threats, a well-founded fear exists that victims Inés Fernández Ortega and Valentina Rosendo Cantú, or their legal representatives could face some type of violence. Obtilia Eugenio Manuel emphasized that they will continue their struggle for human rights. She hopes that the IACHR hearing will demonstrate that lack of responsible action by the Mexican state to protect human rights.

Anayeli García Martínez

CIMAC Women's News Agency

April 06, 2010

See also:

Amenazan de muerte a indígenas guerrerenses violadas por militares en 2002

Mexico, D.F. - Representantes de la indígena Inés Fernández Ortega, violada por miembros del Ejército mexicano en 2002 en Ayutla, Guerrero, responsabilizaron a los gobiernos de Felipe Calderón y Zeferino Torreblanca, por las amenazas de muerte que han recibido para, afirmaron, obligarlos a desistirse de asistir a la Corte Interamericana de Derechos Humanos (CoIDH), donde será analizado ese caso el próximo 15 de abril...

Indigenous Women Victims of 2002 Military Rapes in Guerrero State Face Death Threats

Mexico City - Representative of Inés Fernández Ortega, an Indigenous woman raped by Mexican Army soldiers in 2002 in Ayutla, Guerrero state, have pointed their fingers at the governments of President Felipe Calderón and Guerrero state governor Zeferino Torreblanca as being responsible for the death threats that they have received. Fernández Ortega has been obliged by the [failure of the Mexican justice system] to bring her case before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, which will hold a hearing on the case on April 15, 2010.

Proceso

April 06, 2010

See also:

Condena la ONU hostigamiento a defensores de indígenas, aun estando protegidos

United Nations Condemns Harassment of Indigenous Human Rights Defenders Even While Protected by the IACHR

La Crónica de Hoy

March 24, 2010

See also:

Added: Apr. 8, 2010

Guerrero: Andrea Eugenio Manuel, indigenous activist and sister to Obtilia, is threatened with death

In her complaint filed before the Public Ministry on 19 March, Andrea Eugenio Manuel explained that, on 17 March at approximately 4:30pm, while she awaited friends in front of a vegetable grocer “a stranger approached and began taking pictures. [Manuel] demanded an explanation of him, but he responded by saying, ‘Soon, you’re going to get f----d over’” (La Jornada).

Andrea Eugenio Manuel has worked for years to defend the human rights of the Me’phaa people. She has “served as translator [...] in the cases of soldiers who raped Inés Fernández Ortega and Valentina Rosenda Cantú. She has also accompanied indigenous women [...] from Ayutla de los Libres in their public legal denunciations of units of the Mexican military that have harassed communities and violated their human rights. Andrea also participated as translator in the denunciation and complaint process presented by 14 indigenous individuals from El Camalote, municipality of Ayutla de los Libres, who were forcibly sterilized by personnel of the Health Ministry” (La Jornada).

This latest death-threat directed at Andrea took place 11 days after she denounced similar aggression against her sister Obtilia, president of the Organization of the Me’phaa Indigenous People (OPIM). Recently, the Tlachinollan Mountain Center for Human Rights, which has been accompanying OPIM in its condemnations of human-rights violations, has also been subjected to harassment. Both organizations have since April 2009 been granted precautionary measures by the Inter-American Court on Human Rights.

Together with the Guerrero Network, the Tlachinollan Mountain Center for Human Rights and OPIM declare that “These increased death-threats and acts of harassment directed at human-rights defenders from Guerrero occur as a precursor to the hearing made by the Inter-American Court for Human Rights in the case of Inés Fernández Ortega during her hearings in April [...]. We are concerned that obscure interest-groups are attempting to silence victims and witnesses just before the hearing that will be realized in the next few days, and that the State is trying to evade having to engage in an exhaustive investigation that would allow for the identification and sanctioning of those responsible.”

SIPAZ Blog

March 26, 2010

See also:

Preocupa a CIDH amenazas contra testigos de Inés y Valentina

IACHR Expresses Concern About Threats Against Witnesses in the Cases of Inés Fernández Ortega and Valentina Rosendo Cantú

CIMAC Women's News Agency

March 18, 2010

See also:

Exigen cese de agresiones contra tlapaneca violada por militares

We Demand an End to the Aggressions Against the Tlapaneca Woman Raped by Soldiers

CIMAC Women's News Agency

April 06, 2010

See also:

El jueves 15 entra el caso de la me'phaa Inés a la Coidh; el de Valentina, en mayo

On April 15, 2010, the case of In Inés Fernández Ortega goes before the IACHR

La Jornada Guerrero

April 07, 2010

See also:

Resolverá CIDH caso de violación de soldados a mujer indígena

IACHR Will Resolve the Case of Indigenous Women's Rape by Soldiers

W Radio - Mexico

April 06, 2010

Llamado urgente por seguridad de Obtilia Eugenio Manuel

An Urgent Call to Protect the Life of Obtilia Eugenio Manuel

CIMAC Women's News Agency

March 16, 2010

Emite AI acción urgente para proteger a Obtilia Eugenio

Urgent Action is broadcast Demanding Protection for Obtilia Eugenia Manuel

La Jornada Guerrero

March 17, 2010

On 22 March 2002, Inés Fernandez Ortega was raped by three soldiers. They came into her home to interrogate her...  Later, Inés Fernandez and Fortunato Prisciliano reported the rape to the local authorities...

...Military authorities claimed jurisdiction of the case and in 2003 the military prosecutor recommended closing the investigation.

The same year, soldiers from the Mexican Army reportedly intimidated the couple and harassed other residents of Ayutla.

In October 2006, the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights... said it would investigate the case.

- Amnesty International

Fear for Safety Alert Notice

Aug. 14, 2007

Indígenas violadas por militares: doce años de impunidad

Native Women Raped by the Military: Twelve Years of Impunity

Lourdes Godínez Leal

CIMAC Women's News Agency

Dec. 12, 2006

...As well as a military judicial system that is incapable of delivering justice, Valentina Rosendo and Inés Fernández have also been subjected to poor medical care and substandard forensic examinations.

The impunity and discrimination that surround these cases have a direct impact on women and indigenous communities in Guerrero, where the heavy presence of the military acts as a reminder of their trauma and generates fear. Other women are reluctant to report complaints.

- Amnesty International

Jan. 22, 2005

Indigenous women and military injustice

- Amnesty International

Nov. 23, 2004

Amenazan De Muerte A La Defensora De Derechos Humanos Obtilia Eugenio Manuel

Tlapaneca activist Obtilia Eugenio Manuel receives death threat for her advocacy of rape victims of soldiers.

- Miguel Agustín Pro Juarez Human Rights Center

Jan. 31, 2005

Indian [youth] challenges Mexico army with rape charge

- Reuters

July 4, 2002


Added: Apr. 6, 2010

Mexico

Explotación sexual infantil, asunto cotidiano afirma el IIS

La explotación sexual infantil se ha vuelto un asunto cotidiano en México. Muchas víctimas de este delito aceptan que es "un trabajo, la única manera de obtener dinero". Se trata de niños, niñas y adolescentes olvidados, con baja autoestima, sin formación académica ni expectativas para el futuro. La mayoría proviene de familias violentas y de bajos recursos, y muchos son consumidores habituales de drogas. La edad de su inicio sexual ha disminuido: se reportan casos de menores de hasta ocho y nueve años.

Desde 2006, un grupo multidisciplinario del Instituto de Investigaciones Sociales (IIS) de la Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM) realiza un estudio sobre el tema. Han entrevistado a niños víctimas de explotación sexual en una decena de ciudades del país. Muchos fueron violados en su hogar, raptados por desconocidos u orillados a prostituirse por necesidad...

Child Sexual Exploitation Has Become a Daily Topic of Discussion in Mexico - Social Science Researchers

Child sexual exploitation is a subject that is talked about daily in Mexico. Many young victims have come to accept prostitution as something that is "a job - the only way to make money." We are talking about forgotten girls, boys and adolescents. They have low self esteem, don't have an understanding of life that comes through education, nor do they have plans and prospects for the future. The majority of them come from violent families with few resources. Many of their parents are drug addicts. The age at which they have been exposed to sex has diminished over time. Eight and nine year old children are now involved in this exploitation.

Since 2006, a multidisciplinary group of investigators from the Institute of Social Investigations (IIS) of the Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) have conducted a study that looks into child sexual exploitation. They have interviewed child victims in a dozen cities across Mexico. Many of these children were raped within their own homes, were kidnapped by strangers, or were forced into prostitution by economic necessity.

According to data collected during the study, these children, who are often runaways, are typically recruited into prostitution when adults offer them "good paying work." Others are kidnapped - regardless of their social class - and are then taken far from their homes. They are often trafficked out of the country.

Both men and women, known as enganchadores (entrappers) take charge of the task of locating vulnerable youth, such as street children. But these vulnerabilities also exist within the nuclear family. In cities such as Tijuana, Esenada and Mexico City, the research team found children who had been raped and exploited by family members, says René Jiménez Ornelas, the report's research coordinator.

Victims are subjected to beatings, punishments, being locked-up and being constantly drugged - as methods to control them and to prevent their escape. Some youth, no older than age 17, reported that after giving birth to children who are the result of their exploitation, their traffickers threaten their babies with harm if they don't bring in the expected daily quota of earnings from prostitution.

The investigators state that in Mexico, no public policies exist that address the problem of sex trafficking. The traffic networks that are taken down by the authorities are targeted not because of police investigations, but only as the result of individual denunciations of their crimes.

Emir Olivares Alonso

La Jornada

April 4, 2010


Added: Apr. 4, 2010

Mexico

Children at an elementary school in San Miguel Tlacotepec, a village in the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca where many families receive remittances from the United States.

Photo: David Keyes

In Mexico, Mother's Education and Remittances Matter in School Outcomes

Since 1980, Mexican immigrants have been the largest immigrant group in the United States. According to the US Census Bureau's American Community Survey, 11.4 million Mexican-born people lived in the United States in 2008, about 10 percent of Mexico's population and about a third of the foreign-born population in the United States...

Observers have noted that international migrants often keep a foothold in their country of origin and the one in which they settle, a process that affects both places. Remittances, money migrants send to loved ones in the origin country, are one of the most concrete manifestations of these "transnational" ties.

In Mexico, remittances totaled US$23.9 billion in 2007 according to the National Bank of Mexico, making them the second largest source of foreign trade after tourism. Also, remittances represented 3 percent of the nation's gross domestic product...

In terms of education, preliminary studies have found that remittances are used to pay for schooling in some Mexican migrant households - but usually after the more immediate needs of food, shelter, and clothing have been met.

...In San Miguel Tlacotepec, Oaxaca - the field site for this study - expenses at the high school level are roughly $21 per month per family, or 8 percent of monthly per capita income.

The results [of the study] provide three takeaways.

First, it seems remittances can improve the education aspirations of children whose mothers have relatively little education although this boost does not seem to translate to educational attainment. For these children, completing high school may depend on other characteristics in their background, such as their parents' ability to help them with schoolwork.

Second, remittances can exacerbate existing inequalities in migrant-sending areas, a finding in line with previous research...

Third, females - who are less likely to migrate and do so at older ages - are best positioned to take advantage of increased education opportunities. While the attainment gap between females and males may be a cause for concern, it is also worth noting that these better-educated females, if and when they become mothers, will help their children attain higher levels of schooling.

...As debate on remittances moves forward, it would behoove researchers and policymakers alike to take note that remittances are likely no substitute for formal international and state actions to promote higher levels of education in the world's migrant-sending regions.

Adam Sawyer - Harvard Graduate School of Education

Migration Information

March 2010


Added: Apr. 4, 2010

Kansas, USA

Convicted rapist removed from court for winking

Convicted rapist removed from court for winking.By The Associated Press Topeka - A convicted rapist had to be removed from a Shawnee County courtroom before his sentencing hearing was finished after he allegedly winked at the victim and her family.

Forty-two-year-old Ralf Moises Mondonedo was to have been sentenced Friday, but the judge ruled he would have to undergo a psychiatric evaluation first.

Mondonedo was convicted Nov. 18 of several charges related to the sexual assault of a female relative. The girl was 15 and 16 during the assaults. Authorities said she was impregnated by Mondonedo and underwent an abortion.

The victim was crying on the shoulder of her mother during the hearing.

Mondonedo has denied he sexually assaulted the teenager.

He graduated from a law school but didn't become a lawyer in Kansas. He is a former employee of the Kansas Attorney General's Office.

The Associated Press

April 03, 2010


Added: Apr. 4, 2010

Arizona, USA

Santana Batiz-Aceves

“Chandler Rapist” receives 168 year sentence

On Friday, Mexican national Santana Batiz-Aceves, 39, was sentenced in Maricopa County Superior Court to 168 years in prison. A month ago, he pleaded guilty to five counts of sexual conduct with a minor, five counts of molestation of a child, one count of aggravated assault and one count of attempted sexual assault.

On January 11, 2008, police in Chandler, AZ arrested Batiz-Aceves, and based on DNA evidence, charged him with 47 various counts. The string of child rapes took place between June 2006-November 2007.

At the time of his arrest, he had already been deported twice for drug charges in California. Batiz-Aceves faced charges of kidnapping, aggravated assault, burglary, sexual abuse of a minor, child molestation, giving police false information, providing false documents, and trespassing.

Though an illegal alien, Batiz-Aceves was working as a heavy equipment operator and lived very close to two junior high schools.

Batiz-Aceves admitted to stalking his victims, preying upon young girls between the ages of 12- and 15-years-old, in single-parent homes. He would wait to attack the girls, after the adult in the home left for work. In one case, he raped a girl while her grandparents were outside.

While Batiz-Aceves was charged with six attacks, police believe that he is responsible for several more. All of the attacks occurred within a two-mile radius of his home.

The rape spree left residents in the East Valley terrorized, and prompted a $50,000 reward offered for information leading to the arrest of the Chandler Rapist.

Many of his victims and their families attended the proceeding, though Batiz-Aceves never lifted his head to look at them.

Dave Gibson

The Examiner

April 03, 2010


Added: Apr. 3, 2010

Texas, USA

Investigation: Violence growing among human smugglers

Houston - For more than a month, KHOU 11 News has been investigating the growing violence among smugglers. They're robbing each other -- not for money or drugs, but for illegal immigrants they can hold for ransom...

In recent years, the Houston area has seen an increase of kidnappings and hostage-taking by groups of thieves who are literally trying to steal illegal immigrants. When they find out groups of immigrants are being smuggled into the U.S., they go after them, looking to kidnap them for cash or force them into prostitution. It's all about the money.

“It's much like the narcotic trafficking deals. If they know what’s going on and they see a chance to make some money really easy they have no issues with using threats of violence,” said McElroy.

Last year, just outside of El Campo, Homeland Security said five men targeted a load of 13 immigrants being smuggled into the United States. They shot the smugglers and took the immigrants at gunpoint to a stash house on Heron drive in Houston.

The women were taken to another home on Hollister, where they told police they were sexually assaulted by their kidnappers several times a day. The women said the suspects were armed with many weapons.

“That's very, very, very common. It is that brutal force at the beginning. It is kind of like breaking someone's humanity and turning them into a drone that just follows orders,” said Maria Trujillo of Houston Rescue and Restore, an organization that wants everyone to be on the lookout for human trafficking.

“These people have no regard for human life. They don’t treat any of these people like human beings. They are basically looking at them as cargo as merchandise,” said McElroy.

The five men that kidnapped the immigrants outside of El Campo pleaded guilty Friday inside the downtown Federal Courthouse. They will be sentenced in July.

As for the victims in this case, Immigrations and Customs Enforcement said they are getting much-needed help.

“Medically, a lot of these people who have been sexually assaulted have never had medical attention and it is important to get those examinations done, along with trying to get them safe, a shelter where they feel safe,” said Celinda Guerra of the Houston Area Women’s Center.

Guerra handles their hotline number, where victims of human trafficking often call for help. Sadly, children are involved in many of these cases, too.

“We have had calls from minors being so afraid because they are in a place where they can literally see out a very small window where they are accompanied by other minors of the same age who are being forced to do prostitution and not being able to find a way out,” said Guerra.

Jeff McShan

KHOU

March 31, 2010


Added: Apr. 3, 2010

Paraguay

Members of Paraguay's new special domestic violence police unit

New Police Units for Domestic Violence Victims

Asunción - Police officers Juan Cantero and Karin Colmán are sometimes exhausted and depressed by the time they reach the end of their shift. But they quickly recover because they feel their work at a special new police unit for abused women and children in the Paraguayan capital is important.

Cantero and Colmán, who are both 24 years old, have been working since Feb. 25 in the specialized division for victims of violence against women, children and adolescents at the seventh police precinct, one of the two stations in Asunción where the initiative has first been implemented.

The plan is to gradually set up such units around the entire country...

In this country of 6.2 million people, which has an overall homicide rate of 16 per 100,000 population, one woman is murdered every 10 days on average, with 32 killed in 2009, according to government figures.

Based on 2008 data, the Paraguayan Centre for Population Studies found that 17 percent of girls and teenagers suffered physical violence before the age of 15 and 20 percent saw or heard their father or stepfather physically abuse their mother.

The new police units are the creation of an "inter-institutional committee for integral care for victims of violence", set up in 2008 by the ministries of the interior and public health and the secretariats of women and children and adolescents.

In their aim to put in place mechanisms to protect and promote human rights, with a cross-cutting theme of gender equality, these government bodies identified police handling of domestic violence cases as the Achilles' heel in efforts to fight such abuse.

The interior ministry then decided to create the new police units, with donor financing from Spain...

Natalia Ruíz Díaz

Inter Press Service (IPS)

March 25, 2010


Added: Apr. 3, 2010

Minnesota, USA

Norma Ramos

Combatant [Against] Human Trafficking to Deliver Convocation at Carleton College

[Northfield] Norma Ramos, venerable public interest attorney and social justice activist, will deliver the weekly Carleton College convocation on Friday, April 9 at 10:50 a.m. in the Skinner Memorial Chapel on the College campus. Co-Executive Director of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women (CATW), Ramos combats human trafficking and sexual exploitation internationally. A fervent advocate for the protection of female victims across the globe, she writes and speaks extensively to inspire change through education and legislative action. In addition to passionate opposition of sexual exploitation, Ramos’ adheres to an eco-feminist perspective that links worldwide inequality and destruction of women to the destruction of the environment. Her presentation is titled, “Ending Human Trafficking in Our Lifetime.” This event is free and open to the public.

Now in its twenty-first year, the non-governmental organization CATW works internationally to eradicate sexual exploitation in all its forms, especially the trafficking and prostitution of women and young girls. Through its collaboration with national and international policy makers, the United Nations, and human rights advocates, the organization strives to protect women’s human rights through education and the implementation of new legal policies. This includes calling international attention to various forms of exploitation like sex tourism and pornography, using the school system to educate boys and girls on how to resist sexual injustices worldwide, and testifying before national congresses to draft new legislation against the commercial sex industry.

Ramos formerly worked as leader and member of Women Against Pornography, a feminist group based out of New York City that played an influential role in the anti-pornography movement of the 1970s and 1980s. She is a recipient of the Women’s Committee Award and the Flor de Magna Award, both from the Puerto Rican Bar Association. Recently, she received the Humanist Heroine Award 2009 from the American Humanist Association.

Carleton College

April 2, 2010


Added: Apr. 3, 2010

Mexico / Texas, USA

Mexico's anti-abortion laws prompt many women to seek procedure in Texas

Mexico is toughening up its restrictions on abortions, prompting thousands of women to travel to Texas for the procedure.

Eighteen Mexican states have made the procedure illegal, and dozens of women are serving prison time for aborting a pregnancy.

Now, a new proposal circulating in Mexico's Congress aims to criminalize abortion nationwide.

This backlash comes just three years after Mexico City legalized the practice.

KENS 5

March 30, 2010


Added: Apr. 3, 2010

California, USA

Suspect Sketch

Sketch Released In San Rafael Teen Sex Assault

San Rafael police released a sketch Wednesday of a man suspected of sexually assaulting a 16-year-old girl earlier this month.

The assault happened March 5 but the girl saw the suspect again Tuesday morning and contacted police, police spokeswoman Margo Rohrbacher said.

The girl then worked with Lt. Ralph Pata to compose a sketch of the suspect.

The suspect is a Hispanic man 27 to 35 years old, 5 feet 6 inches, 200 pounds and has a chubby face. He is clean-shaven, has short black hair in a buzz cut, brown eyes and spoke English with an accent.

The suspect's vehicle is a red, newer model, 2-door compact with a manual transmission, police said.

The girl was waiting at a bus stop in the 1400 block of Lincoln Avenue on March 5 when the suspect, who she did not know, stopped his vehicle, police said. The girl said she felt compelled to get in the car even though she was not physically pulled into the vehicle and the man did not display a weapon, Rohrbacher said.

The man drove to a residential area behind the Kaiser Permanente San Rafael Medical Center and had the girl perform sex acts in the vehicle, Rohrbacher said. The girl again felt compelled to comply and no weapons or physical force were involved, Rohrbacher said.

The girl then walked home and told her father who called police, Rohrbacher said.

The girl saw the suspect at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday in the area of Nova Albion Way and Esmeyer Drive as she walked to school, Rohrbacher said.

The man drove alongside the girl and spoke to her but she went to school and notified police, Rohrbacher said.

Anyone with information is asked to call San Rafael police at (415) 485-3000 or Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-8477. Tips may also be reported at Bay Area Crime Stoppers.

CBS 5

Mar 25, 2010


Added: Apr. 3, 2010

Florida, USA

Suspect Sketch

Man Abducts Teen In Plantation

Police are looking for the man they say abducted a 17-year-old in Plantation Thursday afternoon, before dropping him off at a nearby store.

The teenager says he was walking along the 7800 Block of Nova Drive when the man approached him in a car, and talked to him. That's when he threatened him that he would kill the adolescent if he didn't get inside and told him he had a gun.

While inside the alleged victim told police the man told him 'let me see it' and proceeded to grope him over his clothes. The teen says he pushed him away in self-defense.

The attacker then drove to a nearby Barnes and Noble store where they agreed to meet in the bathroom at a predetermined time.

The 17-year-old then fled from the vehicle and called police for help.

The attacker is identified as a Hispanic male, 50-60 years of age, unshaven with dark spots on his face and neck. He has grayish hair that is balding on top. He was seen driving a silver four-door Honda without tinted windows.

Anyone with information is urged to call Plantation Police:954-693-8299.

CBS4

Apr 1, 2010


Added: Apr. 3, 2010

Texas, USA

Boy kidnapped, was returned to spot of abduction

Texas City - A kidnapper grabbed a 12-year-old boy walking home from school and tried to fondle him before returning him to the place of the abduction, authorities said Wednesday.

Police are asking for the public’s help in identifying the abductor, described as a Hispanic man of medium build and hair length, who had a mustache and spoke “very good English,” Texas City police Capt. Brian Goetschius said.

The boy told police he was forced into the passenger side of a red, older-model, two-door, Ford pickup truck about 4 p.m. Tuesday in the 1700 block of 14th Street North, Goetschius said.

The truck had been “jacked up” in the rear, the boy said in describing possibly an aftermarket lift kit. Police further described the truck as a single cabin with brown or beige cloth seats.

“The boy was taken to an unknown location, where the man attempted to fondle him,” Goetschius said. “He resisted, and he did receive an injury to the right side of his face where he was hit with a fist.”

Investigators don’t yet know how much time elapsed before the man returned the child to 14th Street, Goetschius said...

When the boy walked home, he told his aunt what happened, and she called police about 7 p.m., Goetschius said...

Police asked anyone with information to call police dispatchers at 409-643-5720.

Chris Paschenko

The Daily News

April 1, 2010


Added: Apr. 2, 2010

Georgia, USA / Mexico

Key Member of International Human Trafficking Ring Sentenced to Twenty Years

Atlanta - Francisco Cortes-Meza, 26, of Mexico, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Richard W. Story in the Northern District of Georgia for sex trafficking in an organization that targeted young Mexican women.

Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division, said, "This defendant preyed on vulnerable women who dreamed of a better life in the United States. Individuals who force women into prostitution commit a heinous crime that will not be tolerated. The Department of Justice is committed to holding accountable traffickers who seek to profit at the expense of the freedom, rights and dignity of others."

U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia Sally Quillian Yates said, "Prosecuting human trafficking cases is a priority for the U.S. Attorney's Office with the dual goals of punishing the traffickers and protecting the victims. Traffickers often prey upon those who may be vulnerable due to their immigration status, unfamiliarity with our legal system, or fear of law enforcement. Every victim of this heinous crime is protected by the laws of the United States, regardless of their citizenship status, and should not fear coming forward to report this criminal abuse. "

"While we cannot undo the irreparable harm caused to these victims, we hope that today's sentence brings some closure allowing them to heal and move forward," said Kenneth A. Smith, Special Agent in Charge of the ICE Office of Investigations in Atlanta. "Traffickers worldwide are selling terrible lies to young women luring them with promises of a better future. Through prosecutions like this, we are sending the message to traffickers that their crimes will not go unpunished."

Cortes-Meza was sentenced to 20 years in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release, and ordered to pay restitution to the victim in the amount of $21,000. Cortes-Meza was convicted of these charges on Dec. 16, 2008 when he entered a guilty plea to one count of sex trafficking by means of force, fraud, or coercion...

This case was investigated by Special Agents of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Assistant U.S. Attorney Susan Coppedge and Trial Attorney Karima Maloney of the Civil Rights Division's Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit prosecuted the case.

SOURCE U.S. Department of Justice

PRNewswire-USNewswire

April 1, 2010


Added: Apr. 2, 2010

Texas, USA

Reynaldo Martinez

Substitute Teacher Accused Of Child Sex Assault

Pasadena - A substitute teacher has been fired as he faces charges of sexually assaulting a 14-year-old female student.

Reynaldo Martinez was in the Harris County Jail on Thursday with bail set at $150,000.

The 30-year-old from La Porte was booked Wednesday on two counts of having an improper relationship with a student, two counts of sexual assault of a child between the ages of 14 and 17 and one count of possession of child pornography.

Martinez was fired March 26 by the Pasadena Independent School District, after a criminal complaint alleges that hours earlier he had sexually assaulted the girl in a classroom.

The 14-year-old student at Bondy Intermediate School initially reported she had exchanged sexual text messages with him earlier last week. She said that he asked for a nude picture of herself and sent her one of him. The relationship allegedly led to sexual contact inside the school.

Electronic jail records did not list an attorney for Martinez.

If convicted, Martinez could face five to 20 years in prison for each count of sexual assault and two to 10 years for the other charges.

Click2Houston.com

April 1,2010

 

 
     

LibertadLatina

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Updated: June 13, 2010


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LibertadLatina

Analysis of the political actions and policies of Mexico's National Action Party (PAN) in regard to their detrimental impact on women's basic human rights



Últimas Noticias

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Added: Jun. 13, 2010

Honduras

Venden niñas por edades

En San Pedro Sula hay unas 10 mil menores que son víctimas de abuso sexual y comercial

Apenas tiene 16 años y “Elena” ya ha tenido relaciones sexuales con diferentes hombres. La menor era prostituida por su padrastro, ahora lo hace por su cuenta.

Desde pequeña empezó a sufrir los maltratos del hombre que apenas esperó a que el cuerpo de ella comenzara a notarse el desarrollo para poder lucrarse.

La niña recuerda que tenía cerca de 12 años cuando su padrastro le dijo que llegarían unos amigos de visita y que tenía que ayudarle a su madre a atenderlos...

Un día, cuando estaba cerca de cumplir los 13 y mientras sus seis hermanos jugaban en la calle, su padrastro la dejó en casa con un amigo. “Sólo me dijo que no tuviera miedo y que fuera cariñosa, ahora sé que pagaron por estar conmigo y en vez de que gane dinero él, mejor me lo agarro yo”, expresó la menor, que ahora se prostituye en las calles de la ciudad.

Ella logró huir de su casa, pero no del camino al que la orilló su padrastro...

El caso de “Elena” es más común de lo que parece. Sólo en San Pedro Sula hay cerca de 10 mil menores que son víctimas de abuso sexual y comercial, según información en poder de la Fiscalía de la Niñez. Las cifras recogen datos hasta 2008, por lo que las autoridades temen que el número hasta la fecha sea mucho más alarmante. El 98% de las estadísticas corresponde a niñas...

In the northern coastal city of San Pedro Sula, 10,000 minors are subjected to sexual abuse and commercial exploitation

Elena has just turned 16, but she has ‘been’ with many men. She was first prostituted by her stepfather. Now she does it to make money for herself.

From an early age Elena suffered abuse from her stepfather, who just waited long enough for her to show signs of maturing before he started profiting from selling her body.

Elena recalls that she was almost 12 when her stepfather told her that some of his friends would be coming over to visit, and that she had to help her mother to attend to his visitors.

At that time, Elena didn’t know that type of ‘attending’ she would have to do for her stepfather’s friends. She imagined that she would have to cook for them. Girls her age were expected to help out with the housework.

One day, when she was close to her 13th birthday, while her six brothers played in the street, her stepfather left her in the house with one of his friends. Elena: “He told me not to be afraid, and asked me to be affectionate with him. Now I know that this man paid my stepfather to be with me. Instead of making money for him, now I make it myself.”

Elena was able to escape from her home, but could not escape the path in life that her stepfather has set her upon.

Cases like Elena’s occur more frequently than one would think. Just in the city of San Pedro Sula, there are 10,000 minors who are victims of sexual abuse, including the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (CSEC), according to data collected by the special prosecutor for crimes against children. Their statistics only cover a period through 2008, leaving the authorities believing that today’s figures are likely much higher. Some 98% of cases involve girls.

Special prosecutor for crimes against children coordinator Thelma Martínez indicates that the figures are worrying, given that an increasing number of these cases involve pimping and human trafficking.

Martínez declared that these girls and adolescents are manipulated and recruited by adults who profit from them through prostitution. The victims are selected for the marketplace based on the color of their skin, their age and their height.

The obstacle that prosecutors face in going after pimps is that minors are not willing to testify against them.

Martínez: “Many girls are fearful. Others, unfortunately, have gotten used to earning money this way, and prefer to say nothing.”

Due to the increase in these types of cases, a special office was created to attend to the complaints involving sexual abuse, kidnapping, pimping, human trafficking and rape, which is the most commonly reported crime.

According to the special prosecutor’s office, in the month of May, 2010 alone, 30 child sexual abuse cases were processed.

Although child sexual abuse cases involve a criminal penalty of from 5 to 10 years of prison time, the damage caused to the victim is irreversible.

“The worst part of these cases is that the [perpetrator] is in the same family nucleus. They are fathers, stepfathers, cousins or others” added Martínez.

In addition to attending to the cases of children who are victims of crime, the special prosecutor’s office also deals with at-risk minors and juvenile criminal perpetrators. When they receive a complaint, they sent the child to one of several centers run by the Honduran Institute for Children and Families – IHNFA, while the case is being resolved...

La Prensa - Honduras

June 09, 2010


Added: Jun. 13, 2010

New York, USA

Smugglers kidnap girl bound for Long Island

A Long Island mom is racing against time to find her teenage daughter -- who is being held captive by immigrant-smugglers threatening to kill her unless a ransom is paid.

"Mom, save me! Please help! They are going to kill me," 14-year-old Eloisa Lopez, who left Honduras more than a month ago, told her mom by phone on Tuesday.

The terrified girl somehow managed to take a cellphone from her captors and call her mom. But she had no clear idea where she was being held, sending her family scrambling for help.

The devastated mom had saved up her earnings as a housekeeper and paid "coyotes" $5,000 to bring the girl to the country nearly a month ago, Eloisa's sister told the Post.

But 10 days later, a smuggler brazenly demanded $7,000 more from the family in exchange for Eloisa's life.

It was cash they didn't have.

Then on Tuesday, Dania received the terrifying call.

"I think I'm in Houston, but I don't know where I am!" Eloisa cried over the phone, fearful that her captors would discover she was calling for help.

"Don't worry, we will save you no matter where you are," Dania told her daughter, before phoning cops.

A law enforcement source told The Post yesterday that "authorities are investigating a claim that may have implications of human trafficking."

Federal authorities have since taken over the case, and Department of Homeland Security agents yesterday went to the Lopez family's home in Woodbury.

"She was due back this week," Ingrid Lopez, 18, said of her sister. "This is horrible. My sister is in danger of losing her life. These coyotes don't care. They will kill you and leave you in the desert."

Ingrid would know. She was smuggled from Honduras to Long Island three years ago on a similarly dangerous journey.

The 18-year-old, now a student, often went without food and water and walked for three days straight.

She now fears her younger sister has met a far worse fate.

"She is so small and slight. She would not be able to defend herself against them," Ingrid said.

Eloisa's mom has been working long and hard to bring all five of her children into the country.

Two, including Ingrid, have been safely brought to Long Island. The youngest two live in Honduras with their grandmother.

"We never imagined this would happen. We just wanted to be reunited as a family," Ingrid Lopez said. "We feel helpless but we have faith in God everything will work out."

Kieran Crowley and Emily Ngo

The New York Post

June 10, 2010


Added: Jun. 13, 2010

New Jersey, USA

Man admits sexually abusing boy, 5, in Parsippany

An illegal immigrant from Guatemala faces up to 15 years in state prison on his guilty plea Monday to sexually abusing a 5-year-old boy in Parsippany over a six-month period.

Through a Spanish interpreter, Jorge Mario Hernandez, 26, admitted to state Superior Court Judge Thomas V. Manahan in Morristown to one count of aggravated sexual assault on the child between May 1 and Oct. 23, 2009.

Morris County Assistant Prosecutor LaJuan Tucker has recommended that Hernandez be sentenced to 15 years in state prison, with 85 percent or 12 years and nine months to be served before parole consideration. Defense lawyer Neill Hamilton said he would argue for 10 years.

Hernandez, who told the judge he was educated until the 6th grade in his native Guatemala, said he understood he was likely to be deported upon release from prison. Sentencing tentatively was set for July 9.

Hernandez was arrested in October after an unidentified witness contacted police to say that he or she saw Hernandez assaulting the boy. Upon being confronted, the witness told police, Hernandez dropped to his knees and begged for forgiveness. He said in court Monday only that he assaulted the child on more than one occasion; police had accused him of molesting the boy more than 30 times.

Before he is sentenced, Hernandez must be evaluated at the state's Adult Diagnostic and Treatment Center in Avenel to determine if he is a compulsive and repetitive sex offender who should be incarcerated there. According to the law, if he receives a sentence of more than seven years and is considered compulsive and repetitive, he still must serve a portion of his punishment in state prison before being transferred to Avenel.

Peggy Wright

The Daily Record

June 07, 2010


Added: Jun. 13, 2010

Pennsylvania, USA

Jesus Marrero

Man Charged with Child Sex Assault

A man from Scranton is accused of sexually assaulting a young boy over the course of a few months.

Jesus Marrero, 44, was arrested Wednesday. Police said he made a seven-year-old boy watch while he had sex with his girlfriend, then forced the boy to have sexual relations with him.

The boy was in Marrero's care at the time.

Police learned what happened when the boy told a school official.

WNEP-TV

June 10, 2010


Added: Jun. 13, 2010

Texas, USA

Jose Arturo Lopez

Former Teacher Charged With Indecency With a Child

El Paso County Sheriff's Officers arrest a former Fabens ISD teacher. Jose Arturo Lopez was arrested for an alleged incident that took place in December of 2008 involving a 15-year-old girl. At the time, Lopez was working at O'Donnell Elementary school as fifth-grade teacher. Lopez is charged with indecency with a child.

Oralia Ortega

KTSM

June 09, 2010


Added: Jun. 13, 2010

California, USA

Pedro Hernandez

Relative Caught In Girl's Sex Assault At San Francisco Elementary School

San Francisco - A 68-year-old man suspected of sexually assaulting his 8-year-old step-granddaughter at her San Francisco elementary school last week was arrested Thursday at a homeless shelter after reportedly being harbored by his children and altering his appearance, police said Friday.

San Francisco police arrested Pedro Hernandez, who allegedly assaulted the girl at Sanchez Elementary School in the Mission District around noon June 3, at a shelter at St. Bruno's Catholic Church in San Bruno Thursday night, police said.

Hernandez is expected to be arraigned Monday morning in San Francisco Superior Court on seven felony counts, according to district attorney's office spokeswoman Erica Derryck.

The charges include continuous sexual abuse of a child, sexual intercourse or sodomy with a child 10 years of age or younger, and oral copulation or sexual penetration with a child 10 years of age or younger. The last two charges are punishable by life in prison.

Three of Hernandez's adult children were also arrested Tuesday in connection with the alleged attack on the girl. Prosecutors filed charges against two of the children, but decided not to charge the third.

Marisol Lopez and Jesus Hernandez were arraigned in court Friday morning in on charges of being an accessory to the crime after the fact, according to Derryck. Both pleaded not guilty and were ordered held on $100,000 bail.

Police spokesman Officer Samson Chan said the children are believed to have helped their father get a motel room in Daly City after the alleged assault.

In addition, Hernandez shaved his moustache and cut his hair short in recent days, Chan said.

"He was actively trying to conceal himself," Chan said.

An investigation by the Police Department's Fugitive Recovery Team led police to the homeless shelter.

Following the alleged assault, police issued a $2 million warrant for his arrest and initiated a statewide and international search.

Police do not believe Hernandez was a member of the San Bruno church or that anyone at the shelter knew he was a fugitive, Chan said.

Hernandez has known the girl's family for several years and has lived with them on and off, according to police.

He had married the girl's grandmother but they are now separated, Chan said.

According to police, Hernandez arrived at the school to bring lunch to the girl and a female school district employee saw him "being overly affectionate toward the victim" and became suspicious.

The same employee then caught Hernandez allegedly sexually assaulting the girl in a secluded stairwell area inside the school and Hernandez ran away, police said. The woman called police.

Hernandez allegedly assaulted the girl in the stairwell multiple times and the acts were recorded on a video surveillance camera, police said.

CBS 5

June 11, 2010


Added: Jun. 13, 2010

Indiana, USA

Roberto Vasquez

A Chicago man convicted of child molesting in Elkhart County will be featured on the "America's Most Wanted" web page.

Roberto Vasquez, 54, was convicted last year. He was sentenced to 247 years behind bars for molesting a young girl from the time she was six until she was 12.

According to the America's Most Wanted website, Vasquez posed as a religious adviser in Elkhart to get into people's homes. He molested one girl from 1999 until 2006, when he was arrested.

On the day of his sentencing in 2009, Vasquez went into hiding and authorities have been looking for him ever since.

The Elkhart Police Department actually contacted “America’s Most Wanted”, hoping to get more publicity in the case on a national level.

“Just because of the severity of this crime; 9 different child molests charges of one child and it had been going on for six years, and the fact that he uses the “I'm a religious adviser” to get into him people’s homes. I mean, this family allowed him to live in their homes,” said Elkhart Police Lt. Ed Windbigler.

WNDU

June 02, 2010


Added: Jun. 13, 2010

Texas, USA

Genny Granados

Salvadoran immigrant gets 50 years for dumping baby in the thrash

On Thursday, in a Harris County courtroom, Genny Granados, 31, was sentenced to 50 years in prison for murder, after leaving her infant son in a Houston emergency room bathroom trash can.

According to prosecutors, sometime around midnight Feb. 9, 2008, Granados, who denied being pregnant, gave birth to a baby boy in an emergency room bathroom at Memorial Hermann Southwest Hospital.

She cut the umbilical cord herself, dumped the infant into the trash, and left.

A custodian later found the baby.

Doctors revived the infant, and placed him on life support. The baby was found to be brain-dead and died 11 days later.

At her arraignment, prosecutor Kelli Johnson said of Granados: “She has such little respect for human life that she tells no one, to my knowledge, that she was pregnant. She goes to the hospital, has a pair of scissors in her hand, and cuts her own umbilical cord and looks at her baby and throws it in the trash.”

Granados’ defense attorneys blamed hospital staff for the child’s death, saying they should have known that Granados gave birth in the restroom.

Granados is a legal U.S. resident who came to this country from El Salvador, and has two other children.

This sad case is reminiscent of another in which an illegal alien abandoned her baby in a dumpster in California.

In December 2009, the staff at Anaheim Medical Center became suspicious of the story given them by Juana Perez Valencia, 19, who though showing all of the signs, claimed she had not just given birth. Orange County deputies arrived and questioned her, eventually finding the corpse of her newborn daughter in the dumpster behind Sombrero’s restaurant, where Valencia worked as a waitress.

Apparently, Valencia gave birth to the girl in the restaurant’s bathroom, and allegedly placed the baby into a plastic bag, before tossing her into the dumpster.

An autopsy concluded that the baby had in fact, been born alive and healthy.

Deputy District Attorney Ebrahim Baytieh told the Orange County Register that the Mexican national had concealed her pregnancy, and was fully aware that she could have simply handed the baby over to authorities with no questions asked, but instead chose to let her die in a trash bin.

The Orange County District Attorney‘s Office issued the following statement: “The baby girl was born alive. Baby Doe weighed 6.3 pounds and was 17 inches long. The defendant is accused of murdering the baby, putting Baby Doe in a plastic bag, and throwing her body in a dumpster behind the restaurant.”

Valencia was charged with murder and currently sits in the Orange County Jail awaiting trial. If convicted, she faces a sentence of 25 years to life.

Dave Gibson

The Examiner

June 12, 2010


Added: Jun. 13, 2010

Ohio, USA

Police investigate the use of date rape drug at bar

A 31-year-old Grove City woman reported to Grove City Police that at 1:17 a.m. May 26 that she was the victim of rape while she was at a bar in the 3000 block of Southwest Boulevard. She told police that she believed someone slipped a date rape drug in her drink.

She woke up next to the trash receptacles behind the bar, bleeding copiously and complaining of internal pain. She told police that two to three men, one of whom had a scar above his right eye, raped her.

She told police she believed the men were Hispanic and mentioned a gang initiation. She also complained of confusion. The bartender reported seeing the woman in the company of a number of individuals during the course of the night.

One witness said she saw the victim vomiting and bleeding in the bathroom, but none of the bar patrons reported any awareness of a rape.

Columbus Local News

June 02, 2010


Added: Jun. 13, 2010

Southwest USA

U.S. Border Patrol Crime Blotter - May 27 - June 9, 2010

June 9, 2010 - Tucson Sector - Agents arrested an illegal alien from Honduras near Casa Grande, Arizona. Records checks revealed the subject had a prior conviction for sexual abuse of a child under the age of 12 in the state of Kentucky and had previously been removed from the United States.

June 7, 2010 - El Centro Sector - Agents arrested an illegal alien from Mexico near Calexico, California. Records checks revealed the subject is a convicted sex offender and had previously been removed from the United States.

June 7, 2010 - El Centro Sector - Agents arrested an illegal alien from Mexico near Ocotillo, California. Records checks revealed the subject had a prior conviction for lewd or lascivious acts with a child under 14 in the state of California and had previously been removed from the United States.

June 7, 2010 - Tucson Sector - Agents arrested an illegal alien from Mexico near Cowlic, Arizona. During processing, the subject admitted to being a Latin Kings gang member. Records checks revealed he had a prior conviction for statutory rape in the state of Georgia.

June 5, 2010 - Del Rio Sector - Agents arrested an illegal alien from Mexico near Eagle Pass, Texas. Records checks revealed the subject had a prior conviction for indecency with a child with sexual contact in the state of Texas, and had previously been removed from the United States.

June 4, 2010 - Tucson Sector - Agents arrested an illegal alien from El Salvador near Naco, Arizona. Records checks revealed the subject was a Mara Salvatrucha 13 (MS-13) gang member and had a prior conviction for possession/purchase of cocaine and spousal abuse. He had also previously been removed from the United States.

June 3, 2010 - Tucson Sector - Agents arrested an illegal alien from Mexico near Ajo, Arizona. Records checks revealed the subject had a prior conviction for molestation of a child in the state of California and he had previously been removed from the United States.

June 2, 2010 - Del Rio Sector - Agents arrested an illegal alien from Mexico in Weatherford, Texas. Records checks revealed the subject had a prior conviction for delivery of a controlled substance and an active arrest warrant for aggravated sexual assault on a child issued in the state of Texas. The subject had also been previously removed from the United States.

May 29, 2010 - Yuma Sector - Agents arrested an illegal alien from Mexico near Yuma, Arizona. Records checks revealed the subject had an extensive criminal history, to include convictions for aggravated driving under the influence, assault and disorderly conduct. The subject was also a registered sex offender and had been previously removed from the United States.

May 29, 2010 - Tucson Sector - Agents arrested an illegal alien from Mexico near Casa Grande, Arizona. Records checks revealed the subject had a prior conviction for rape in the state of Washington and had been previously removed from the United States.

May 29, 2010 - Tucson Sector - Agents arrested an illegal alien from Mexico near Douglas, Arizona. Records checks revealed the subject had a prior conviction for lascivious acts and sexual penetration with foreign object of a minor in the state of California. The subject had also been previously removed from the United States.

May 27, 2010 - Laredo Sector - Agents assisted other Federal and local law enforcement officers in the arrest of an illegal alien from Mexico for kidnapping at a bus station near Laredo, Texas. The subject was en route to Mexico after kidnapping an 11-year-old female in the state of Illinois. The child was returned unharmed to proper authorities.

May 27, 2010 - Tucson Sector - Agents arrested an illegal alien from Mexico near Gila Bend, Arizona. Records checks revealed the subject had a prior conviction for rape in the state of California and had been previously removed from the United States.

U.S. Border Patrol

June 9, 2010


Added: Jun. 11, 2010

Delaware, USA

New Castle Police Investigate Child's Abduction and Rape

Hockessin - New Castle County police are investigating a late night abduction and rape of a 9-year-old girl who accepted a ride from a stranger after she was inadvertently locked out of her home.

The investigation revealed that around 8:45 p.m. Wednesday, a family friend drove the victim to her home on the 500 block of Homestead Road in Alban Park home. After the friend drove away, the victim initially entered her building but was unable to get into her home as the door was locked. Police learned she then walked back outside to search for her sister and her parents.

While walking along Alban Drive, near the rear of the Canby Park Shopping Center, the victim was approached by an unknown man who was driving a four-door vehicle. The man offered the victim a ride and after some conversation, she accepted. The two drove out of the community and then to an undisclosed location in the city of Wilmington where the car was parked.

Police say the male suspect then sexually assaulted the victim before she was able get out of the car and run. A good Samaritan found the young girl walking in the area and took her to a nearby convenience store. The victim was able to reach a family member by phone who responded to the store, picked her up and then drove her home. She then disclosed the assault to her mother, who in turned called 911.

The suspect is described as an Asian or Hispanic male with short black hair. Anyone with information regarding this investigation is asked to contact the New Castle County Police Department at (302) 395-8110 (attention Detective Brian Faulkner) or visit www.nccpd.com. Citizens may also provide a text tip at: 847411 (TIP411); begin your message with NCCPD and then type your message. Tipsters may also call Crime Stoppers at (800) TIP-3333.

Police say investigators do not have any evidence at this point to believe this case is related to the two recent abduction and rape crimes that are being investigated by the Delaware State Police.

Kye Parsons

WBOC

June 10, 2010


Added: Jun. 11, 2010

California, USA

Man Tries to Grab Child Walking to School

San Diego - A 14-year-old girls escaped from a kidnapping attempt Thursday morning in City Heights.

The girl told San Diego Police she was walking to school when a man walked out of an apartment complex at 4029 44th Street near University Avenue at about 7:15 a.m. He reportedly tried to grab her and started chasing her.

A passing school bus driver saw the girl appeared to be in trouble and called police.

Police describe the suspect as a Latino male, about 25 years old, 6 feet tall with a medium build, shaved head, wearing dark blue shorts and long white socks.

While the driver called police, the man fled. He was described as Hispanic, about 25 years old, 6 feet tall with a medium build and shaved head.

He had on dark blue Dickies shorts and long white socks.

San Diego 6

June 10, 2010


Added: Jun. 11, 2010

New Jersey, USA

Police Arrest Summit Man in Luring Case

Summit Police arrested Jose Gerardo Mazariedo, a 23 year old city resident, and charged him with two counts of third degree providing obscene materials to a minor and one count of second degree Child Luring on Monday, according to Detective Steve Zagorski.

This arrest, Zagorski emphasized, is not related to the May attempted luring on Linden Place.

On Saturday, the mother of a 14-year-old female reported to police that her daughter and three of her classmates had been followed home from school, every day for the past week, by an unidentified Hispanic male in his late 20s or early 30s who was operating a newer model Honda, color blue, Zagorski said.

At school dismissal time on June 7, the police set up surveillance around the victim's school and in the area of her walking route home. At around 3 p.m. police observed a 2010 Honda, which was being operated by Mazariedo, driving in the area under surveillance, Zagorski said.

The police stopped the vehicle and identified Mazariedo as the suspect from the June 7 complaint. Mazariedo was arrested after police uncovered additional evidence linking him to an additional victim, a 13-year-old female.

Mazariedo was committed to the Union County Jail in Elizabeth where he is being held in lieu of $200,000 bail.

Chief Robert C. Lucid commended the actions and skills of the two detectives assigned to the case, Sgt. Thomas Rich and Det. John Padilla, for "quickly securing the necessary information for these criminal charges before this individual could perpetrate a sexual assault. Without their diligence we may have had a very different story to tell."

Heather Collura

Summit Patch

June 08, 2010


Added: Jun. 11, 2010

Illinois, USA

Cops seek suspect in assault on Waukegan bike path

Waukegan police are asking for the public's help in locating a man suspected in the sexual assault last week of a woman near a bike path in the far northern suburb, officials said today. Police said a 38-year-old woman was attacked at about 5 p.m. on June 4, on the Robert McClorey Bike Path just north of Montesano Avenue.

The woman was riding her bicycle on the path when she a man on another bicycle knocked her off of her bicycle and forced her in to a wooded area, officials said. The man assaulted her at knife point, police said.

After the attack the man left the area on his bicycle, traveling southbound on the path from Montesano Avenue.

The man is described as Hispanic, about 26-years-old, about 5 feet 9 inches tall, with a thin build and short black hair. The bicycle he was riding is described as a dark colored BMX style bicycle with foot pegs on the front wheel.

Police officials said they have a possible suspect identified and are "actively looking for him." Officials are asking anyone with any information about the incident to call detectives at (847)599-2608.

Carlos Sadovi

The Chicago Tribune / WGN

June 09, 2010


Added: Jun. 11, 2010

Virginia, USA

Short Pump jogger fights off attacker whose genitals were exposed

Henrico - Scary moments for a [city of] Short Pump woman who says she was attacked while on a morning jog near Lauderdale Drive and Park Terrace Drive. Tonight, police say they're treating this as an assault, and, exposure case, because when the woman tried to fight back, it turns out the man wasn't entirely covered up.

It's a crime that is as stunning, as it is unusual...in the upscale, private, and peaceful Wellesley neighborhood.

Police say a woman was on a mid-morning jog, when she saw a man walking toward her. She said, "Good morning". But police say the man, all of a sudden, shoved her backward. Police say the woman responded with a push of her own...only to notice the man's genitals were exposed.

"Kind of, just, you know...shocked. You don't really hear that kind of thing going on in our neighborhood," said Wellesley resident Sharon Sachdeva.

After the initial tussle, police say the man tried to run away, so the woman and a passerby chased him. Police say the man then got into a pickup truck, and drove out of sight.

Those who grew up in the area say it makes them think twice about their personal safety, which they usually don't have to do...

Henrico Police are looking for a person who fits this description: Hispanic male. Approximately 6' tall and 230 pounds, wearing white painter-style pants and a dingy white t-shirt. Police say he was driving a pickup truck. If you have information that can help, call Henrico Police at 501-5000 or Crime Stoppers at 780-1000.

WWBT

June 10, 2010


Added: Jun. 11, 2010

California, USA

Woman fights off suspect in attack at San Jose storage facility

Police are searching for a man who attempted to sexually assault and rob a woman in a rented unit of a San Jose storage facility this afternoon.

The woman managed to fight off her assailant in the attack at about 4:30 p.m. at Public Storage in the 900 block of Felipe Avenue, police spokesman Dirk Parsons said.

He said the victim had entered her storage unit when an unknown man came up behind her, hit her with his elbow and attempted to lift her skirt.

The woman fought him off, but the suspect then threatened to steal her car. Parsons said the victim was holding keys to her Mercedes and that the suspect tried to grab them.

The victim, however, resisted and the suspect ran out the door of the storage unit, shutting it behind him, according to Parsons. The woman managed to quickly escape the unit, but the suspect then grabbed her.

Parsons said the victim again resisted and the suspect ran to his vehicle and drove off.

The victim was taken to a local hospital to be treated for minor injuries.

Police described the suspect as a Hispanic man in his 30s, about 5 feet 6 inches tall and 170 pounds. He was wearing a blue hooded sweatshirt, and a blue shirt and pants. A security camera at the business showed him driving away in a small Honda or similar vehicle, Parsons said.

Parson said the suspect could face charges of assault with attempt to commit rape, assault with a deadly weapon and attempted robbery. Advertisement

Anyone with information regarding the case is asked to call police at (408) 277-4102. To remain anonymous, call Crime Stoppers at (408) 947-STOP.

Bay City News Service

June 02, 2010


Added: Jun. 9, 2010

The United States

Female Migrants Charge Sexual Abuse in Detention

New York - In the wake of allegations that a male guard at a central Texas detention facility sexually assaulted female detainees on their way to being deported, immigrant advocacy groups say stronger oversight and accountability is urgently needed to prevent further abuse of female detainees.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), part of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), said last week that the guard has been fired. It added that Corrections Corporation of America, the private prison company that manages the Hutto facility, has been placed on probation pending the investigation's outcome. The consequences of probation were not immediately clear.

ICE said that several women who were held at Hutto facility in Taylor, Texas, were groped while being patted down and at least one was propositioned for sex.

"We understand that this employee was able to commit these alleged crimes because ICE-mandated transport policies and procedures were not followed," David Sanders, DHS's contracting officer, said in a letter to Corrections Corporation of America obtained by The Associated Press.

ICE has ordered Corrections Corporation of America to take corrective actions. Among them is forbidding male guards from being alone with female detainees.

"Hutto is not an isolated incident," Jacki Esposito of Detention Watch Network, a coalition of organizations that monitors ICE treatment of detainees, told IPS. "Allegations of sexual assault have plagued other facilities where immigrants are being held by the federal government." ...

William Fisher

Inter Press Service (IPS)

June 07, 2010


Added: Jun. 9, 2010

Maryland, USA

Man Sentenced for Interstate Travel to have sex with a minor

Baltimore, Maryland - U.S. District Judge Richard D. Bennett sentenced Jose Jhonson Hernandez-Ramos, age 34, a Honduran national living in Baltimore, today to 87 months in prison followed by lifetime supervised release for interstate travel to have sex with a minor. Judge Bennett also ordered that Hernandez-Ramos be removed from the United States by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement after he has completed his sentence.

The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Special Agent in Charge William Winter of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement; Baltimore Police Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III; and Baltimore City State’s Attorney Patricia C. Jessamy.

According to Hernandez-Ramos’ plea agreement, Hernandez-Ramos met the victim in California, when she was 14 years old, and they began to have a sexual relationship in May 2008. After the victim turned 15 years old, Jose Jhonson Hernandez- Ramos brought her from California to Baltimore in December 2008, where they continued a sexual relationship until August 4, 2009.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit projectsafechildhood.gov

United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein commended Baltimore Child Abuse Center Executive Director Adam Rosenberg and his staff, for their assistance in this investigation and thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Bonnie S. Greenberg, who prosecuted the case.

The Maryland Human Trafficking Task Force

June 07, 2010


Added: Jun. 9, 2010

Maryland, USA

Illegal immigrant pleads to sex abuse of 6-year-old boy

Man faces between 15 and 30 years in prison, deportation for crimes

An illegal immigrant caught on video sexually assaulting a 6-year-old boy has pleaded guilty to exploiting a child to make child pornography.

The arrest of 25-five-year-old Maynor Quintanilla-Leon occurred after someone found a videotape in a Hyattsville trash bin that showed Quintanilla-Leon sexually abusing a male child, according to charging documents.

Quintanilla-Leon faces between 15 and 30 years in prison, and will be deported after he serves his time, prosecutors said.

"Mr. Quintanilla-Leon's despicable acts committed on a 6-year-old boy cry out for a long period of incarceration," Prince George's Police Chief Roberto Hylton said.

On July 8, 2009, authorities were tipped off about the attack after someone turned over a video tape that had been found with a VCR in a trash bin.

The tape lasts 47 minutes and depicts acts of sadistic violence, charging documents said. During the video, the child refers to his assailant as "Maynor."

Three days later, a witness spotted the man on the videotape in Hyattsville and contacted police. Police identified the man as Quintanilla-Leon, but because they did not have a victim they did not immediately arrest him, police said.

Detectives were able to find the boy in the video by going back to the previous addresses where Quintanilla-Leon had lived. Quintanilla-Leon had rented a home near where the boy lived. The child told police that Quintanilla-Leon abused him 20 times.

Quintanilla-Leon had fled to Texas, but U.S. Marshals captured him in Houston on July 29.

In Greenbelt's district court on Friday, Quintanilla-Leon admitted to sexually assaulting the boy twice. He did not admit to videotaping the assault, but admitted to throwing away the videotape in the trash near his brother's house.

Scott McCabe

The Washington Examiner

June 06, 2010


Added: Jun. 9, 2010

California, USA

Manhunt for man who attacked 14-year-old in Kensington

San Diego - Police are looking for a man who tried to rape a 14-year-old girl in Kensington.

The girl says she was walking along on 41st Street near Monroe Avenue at about 9:30 p.m. Sunday when the man threw her to the ground and tore off her undergarments.

A nearby neighbor apparently heard the girl's screams and attempted to apprehend the suspect, but he got away.

The suspect is described as a Latino male in his 30s with a goatee and tattoo on his right forearm. He was last seen wearing a dark colored hooded sweatshirt and shorts.

CBS 8

June 07, 2010


Added: Jun. 9, 2010

New York, USA

Police Seek Suspects In Central Park Sexual Assault

Police released surveillance video that shows three men believed to be suspects in the sexual assault of a woman in Central Park early Sunday morning. The victim, 23, was near the crosstown bus stop at East 86th Street and Fifth Avenue around 3 a.m. when, according to the Daily News, "The men offered to walk her through the park." Police Commissioner Kelly said, "She was taken into Central Park, where she was attacked."

The News also reports, "Two of the men pushed her to the ground, while the third exposed himself. She was sexually assaulted, hit on the head and robbed, the source said." The men allegedly told her they were smoking marijuana with PCP. The woman was able to run out of the park, half naked, onto Fifth Avenue where a cab driver saw her, gave her a shirt and called 911.

Upon learning about the attack, one 24-year-old told the News, "I always walk this way at night, but no way I'm doing that now." And WABC 7 has descriptions of the suspects: "Suspect #1: Hispanic man, 5'5" tall, with a dark colored Yankee baseball cap, dark colored patterned shirt and khaki shorts; Suspect #2: Hispanic man, 5'5" tall, with a red Yankee cap, red shirt and black shorts; Suspect #3: Hispanic man, 5'5" tall, with a light blue baseball cap, light blue shirt and khaki pants." People with information are urged to call Crime Stoppers (800-577-TIPS), log onto the Crimes Stoppers website or texting 274637 (CRIMES) with TIP577.

Gothamist

June 07, 2010


Added: Jun. 9, 2010

Colorado, USA

Fort Collins police arrest suspect in attempted kidnapping

Luis Garcia-Gonzales, 24, of Greeley, was taken into custody at 10:47 p.m. Saturday after a Greeley police officer noticed the vehicle he was driving matched the description of a vehicle Fort Collins police believed was tied to Thursday's attempted kidnapping incident.

Garcia-Gonzales was originally arrested for driving under restraint, but after an interview with a Fort Collins police detective, he was arrested on suspicion of felony attempted second-degree kidnapping and felony menacing.

Police began searching for a suspect after a 21-year-old woman reported that she was riding her bike northbound about 6:30 a.m. Thursday on Shields Street near Hill Pond Road when she noticed a man near an older white station wagon trying to get her attention.

According to police, the man was described as being Hispanic, in his mid-20s with a shaved head or very short hair, about 5-foot-7 and about 200 or 250 pounds.

The woman said the unknown man obstructed her path as she rode along the sidewalk and she stopped thinking he needed assistance.

"It was then that she saw the man had a knife in his hand. She attempted to flee, fell to the ground and two passing motorists stopped to assist," police said in a press release last week. "The suspect fled northbound on Shields Street in his vehicle. The victim was not injured."

Coloradan.com

June 07, 2010


Added: Jun. 7, 2010

Mexico

A young child labors in a melon field

Photo: El Universal

En México, 3.6 millones de niños son explotados

La mayoría de niños, mujeres, adolescentes que laboran en malas condiciones y sin la posibilidad de asistir a la escuela provienen de contextos de pobreza, derivada de la falta de oportunidades educativas

La presidenta de la Comisión Especial de Lucha Contra la Trata de Personas, la panista Rosi Orozco (PAN), informó que con base en datos del Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Geografía, en México hay 3.6 millones de niños trabajadores entre cinco y 17 años en condiciones de explotación.

"El Instituto estima que en México hay 3.6 millones de niños trabajadores entre cinco y 17 años trabajando en malas condiciones, sin la posibilidad de asistir a la escuela y buscar un mejor futuro", dijo.

Aseguró que la trata de personas es un delito con un impacto social complejo, cuya principal característica es convertir a las personas en mercancías que se intercambian en mercados clandestinos nacionales e internacionales, que laboran al amparo de la impunidad que les brindan las autoridades.

Orozco dijo que se deben combatir las raíces que propician el fenómeno de la trata de personas, pues la mayoría de niños, mujeres, adolescentes víctimas de ese delito provienen de contextos de pobreza, derivada de la falta de oportunidades educativas y laborales.

In Mexico, 3.6 million children are exploited

The majority of girls, boys and adolescents who labor in abusive situations, with no hope of being able to attend school, live in poverty that is also caused by a lack of educational opportunities.

National Actional Party (PAN) Congressional deputy Rosi Orozco, who is the president of the Special Commission to Fight Human Trafficking in the Chamber of Deputies, has announced the results of a statistical analysis on conditions facing working children, conducted by the National Institute for Statistics and Geography (INEG).

Deputy Orozco: The INEG estimates that in Mexico, 3.6 million minors between the ages of 5 and 17 work in [deplorable] labor conditions, and are unable to attend school or seek a better future for themselves.

Orozco added that human trafficking is a crime that has a complicated impact on society. Its principal characteristic is that it converts people into merchandise, who are then bought and sold in national and international clandestine marketplaces with the assistance of the impunity that is offered by corrupt authorities.

The deputy added that human trafficking should be fought from the roots up. They majority of children, adolescents and women who are victims of these crimes come from backgrounds of poverty, which itself derives from a lack of educational and labor opportunities.

Andrea Merlos y Juan Arvizu

El Universal

June 02, 2010


Added: Jun. 7, 2010

Texas, USA

Human trafficking decried as "a horrible problem" in Texas

Austin - In the 2008 film thriller Taken, two American girls on a pleasure trip to France are kidnapped from their apartment and thrown into a brutal world of modern-day slavery and forced prostitution.

On Thursday, Texas lawmakers heard grim real-life episodes of human trafficking as law enforcement officials described a burgeoning criminal enterprise that has spread across Texas and other states.

Bexar County District Attorney Susan Reed told of one case in which a homeless teenage girl was abducted from a parking lot and spirited away to a strip club in Corpus Christi.

Capt. Rick Cruz of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission, a participant of a task force operation in Houston, said officers rescued nearly 100 girls from "basically forced slavery" in the break-up of a trafficking ring in Houston in 2005.

Victims are often told that their families will be killed or injured if they try to contact someone on the outside, Cruz said.

Dallas police Lt. Thon Overstreet opened testimony at a legislative hearing by revealing a coordinated law enforcement strike at three locations in the Metroplex on Thursday to arrest suspects in a human trafficking network in North Texas. Overstreet declined to divulge certain details or locations because the operation had not been completed...

"It's a horrible problem," said Rep. Paula Pierson, D-Arlington, a member of the state House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee, citing estimates that more than a half-million young people -- boys as well as girls -- have been kidnapped and forced into prostitution. Pierson said human trafficking often surges around "big events," such as the Super Bowl at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington on Feb. 6.

Overstreet, interviewed after the hearing, said members of a North Texas task force on human smuggling are mapping strategy to combat it as the Super Bowl approaches. The game is expected to draw legions of visitors to North Texas...

Growing problem

During the joint hearing of the Criminal Jurisprudence and the Judiciary and Civil Jurisprudence committees, lawmakers heard testimony that human trafficking rings have grown in sophistication and technological skill, often using the Internet to lure victims or conduct business. There are also strong indications that Mexican drug cartels are increasingly moving into human trafficking to expand their illicit profits.

"It's grown dramatically, and I don't think we've even scratched the surface on a lot of these organizations," Overstreet said.

Asked by Rep. Dan Branch, R-Dallas, to rank where law enforcement stands against human trafficking organizations on a scale of one to 10, Overstreet responded, "two or three, right now."

Overstreet clutched a rolled-up chart that he said detailed the operations of [a] human smuggling ring targeted by [a recent] raid.

The criminal network has ties in Nigeria, Colombia and Mexico, operates in more than 20 U.S. cities, and boasts $12 million in physical assets and more than $6 million cash, he said...

Dave Montgomery

The Star-Telegram

June 03, 2010


Added: Jun. 7, 2010

The Americas

Isabel Allende

Author Isabel Allende to visit New Orleans, hoping to draw attention to modern-day problem of human trafficking

Chilean writer Isabel Allende is no stranger to the rough currents of history. A cousin of Chilean President Salvador Allende, she was forced to flee her native country in the mid-1970s after a military coup overthrew his government. She lived for many years in Venezuela but now is a U.S. citizen, making her home in California with her second husband and extended family.

The author of 18 books -- fiction, memoirs and novels for young adults -- Allende's literary focus is primarily on families and interpersonal relationships, with an emphasis on the lives of women. While fluent in English, she writes in Spanish; her works are then translated into English. Her wildly successful first novel, "The House of the Spirits, " a complex, multigenerational saga set in Latin America, remains for many readers her most important work.

Her new novel, "Island Beneath the Sea, " coming 28 years and 16 books later, echoes in many ways her earliest. The story follows the complicated, often troubled intertwining of several families as they move from Saint Domingue (now Haiti) to New Orleans during the late 18th and early 19th centuries.

The rich history of her settings exerted a natural attraction for Allende...

Allende writes, "The legacy of slavery is like an open wound. In the United States we are only beginning to deal with it. Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863 but it took 100 years for the Civil Rights movement to empower the blacks. To this day, they suffer from discrimination, racism and inequality.

"Unfortunately, in Haiti there are around 300,000 slave children, given away by their families because they can't feed them. It's a system that supposedly ensures that the children will be fed and sheltered, but in reality they are exploited as house servants and brutally abused; they don't receive education of any kind, no one cares for them."

The Isabel Allende Foundation, created in 1996 to honor the memory of her daughter Paula, who died in her late 20s, is focused on "social and economic justice" as well as "empowerment and protection" for women and girls.

The author connects the story of Zarite's journey from enslavement to freedom to contemporary concerns. She writes, "I hope that Zarité's story draws attention to the plight of modern slaves. Today there are 27 million slaves counted. Who knows how many more have not been counted? Some are victims of slave trafficking, but most are enslaved by debt bondage, kidnapping in war zones (child soldiers, for example), exploited under inhuman conditions in mines, fishing industry, sweatshops, agriculture, etc. Slavery is illegal and no country admits that it happens within its borders, yet there is slavery everywhere, even in the U.S. (Google 'Free the Slaves'). Before, slaves were an investment, and therefore valuable. Today slaves are so cheap that they are disposable, they have no voice; they are invisible.

"My foundation supports several grass-roots programs that empower women and girls in the U.S. and other countries. We do some work with clinics in Haiti. We also support programs that rescue women and girls from slavery in sex traffic and in bonded servitude." ...

Marigny Dupuy

The New Orleans Times-Picayune

May 13, 2010


Added: Jun. 7, 2010

The Americas

Tackle immigration problems at economic roots, bishops say

Washington, DC - Bishops of the United States, Canada, Central America and the Caribbean called on their governments to address the economic root causes of migration and seek policies that will help create jobs for people in their homelands.

During a regional consultation on migration held at the headquarters of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops June 2-4, Bishop John C. Wester of Salt Lake City and bishops from Canada, Haiti and Latin America spoke with reporters about some of the issues being discussed at the meeting.

Addressing economic root causes of migration "in our mind, is the lasting and humane solution to the challenge of illegal immigration," said Bishop Wester, chairman of the USCCB Committee on Migration, in a statement he read at the June 3 news conference.

"Second, we believe that all governments, not only the U.S., should look at their immigration laws and reform them in a manner which respects basic human rights," Bishop Wester continued. The nations of the hemisphere also must "redouble their efforts against the scourge of human trafficking," he said.

He noted that in a globalized world, where capital, communications and goods are readily exchanged, the movement of labor has not been regularized, and the impact of globalization on human beings has not been acknowledged or addressed...

Guatemalan Bishop Alvaro Ramazzini Imeri said, for example, that the poor of his country have not benefited from the Central American Free Trade Agreement, known as CAFTA, which it ratified three years ago.

"The level of poverty in Guatemala is increasing," he said...

In an interview with Catholic News Service, Bishop Ramazzini said Guatemala is reeling from the twin effects in less than a week of a volcanic eruption near the capital, Guatemala City, that coated streets and farms with inches of ash and the inundation of much of the country with up to 3 feet of rain by Tropical Storm Agatha. The two have destroyed many farmers' entire production for the season, he said. That jeopardizes their income as well as the source of affordable food for Guatemalans, he said.

At the news conference, Bishop Rafael Romo Munoz of Tijuana, Mexico, chairman of the Mexican bishops' migration commission, said his country is becoming a collection of semi-abandoned small towns as working-age teens and men have gone to the United States to be able to provide for women, children and elderly people left behind...

Participants included more than two dozen bishops from the United States, Canada, Haiti, Mexico and Central America and other representatives of national bishops' conferences, including the migration program director for the Cuban bishops.

Patricia Zapor

Catholic News Service / U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops

June 04, 2010


Added: Jun. 7, 2010

Costa Rica

Menor llegó violada y forense la manoseó

Cuando estaba en valoración médica, Cartago

A pesar de que estaba acostumbrado a ver y tocar mujeres desnudas, el irresistible cuerpo de una joven menor de edad lo llevó a la tentación. Un médico forense del Poder Judicial de Cartago, de apellidos Durán Ramírez, fue detenido por sus propios compañeros de trabajo porque al parecer abusó sexualmente de una menor de edad, quien fue víctima de una violación.

La muchacha llegó a los Tribunales de Cartago para una valoración médica, por lo cual fue atendida por el funcionario, quien además del examen de rutina llevó sus manos más lejos y aparentemente le tocó las partes íntimas.

El incidente se produjo en setiembre de 2009, pero la afectada no interpuso la denuncia hasta la semana pasada...

A child sexual abuse victim is victimized again by a forensic examiner

Despite the fact that a forensic medical examiner (last names Durán Ramírez) was accustomed to examining unclothed women, he proceeded to sexually abuse an underage sexual assault victim who he was assigned to examine.

The victim came to the judicial center of the city of Cartago for a medical examination, which was conducted by Durán Ramírez. After the exam, the doctor touched the victim's intimate areas.

The incident happened in September of 2009, but the victim did not file a complaint until last week.

Surprised by the case, the forensic medical examiner's office immediately opened an investigation.

In the hallways of the local judicial center, the accusations were not taken seriously, given that the 38-year-old was well liked, and was considered to be very professional by his colleagues.

After his arrest, the local prosecutor interrogated Durán Ramírez, and recommend pre-trial detention. He was charged with the crime of sexually abusing a minor.

Despite the prosecutor's recommendation in the case, the Cartago Criminal Court ordered bail and a restraining order that does not allow Durán Ramírez to approach the victim, or the Cartago Legal Medical Office, for a period of three months...

Danny León González

Diario Extra

June 02, 2010


Added: Jun. 7, 2010

Virginia, USA

Hugo Antonio Callejas

Salvadoran immigrant sentenced to prison for pursuing 13-year-old Virginia girl

On May 26, Loudoun County Judge James Chamblin sentenced Hugo Antonio Callejas, 43, to seven years in prison for soliciting a 13-year-old Leesburg girl for sex. Callejas originally approached the girl at a lemonade stand she set up on Memorial Day 2009, trying to raise money for the Relay for Life charity.

Callejas, who was found guilty in January, was working in the girl’s neighborhood and visited the lemonade stand three times in one day. During his last visit, he gave the girl his phone number and told her she was beautiful.

The girl’s friend, told her parents, who called the police.

Loudoun County Sheriff’s investigator, Shannon Cumberledge, then called Callejas, pretending to be the 13-year-old girl.

She and Callejas had 11 conversations over a two-day period. Some of the recorded calls were played during his trial.

Callejas could be heard saying: “You’re beautiful, and I love you.”

During other phone calls, he talked about kissing and touching the teenager, and how he would like to see her without any underwear.

Callejas said: “If you want to touch a lot, I’ll touch a lot. If you want to touch a little bit, I’ll touch you a little bit.”

The investigator agreed to meet Callejas at a community swimming pool. When he showed up, Loudoun County Sheriff’s deputies too him into custody.

Initially, Callejas denied the allegations, telling detectives that he only gave the teenager his number so that he could buy more cookies and lemonade from her. However, once confronted with the taped phone conversations, Callejas admitted to his actions.

Callejas came to this country from El Salvador, eventually becoming a U.S. citizen. He is married with three children.

Dave Gibson

The Examiner

June 05, 2010


Added: Jun. 7, 2010

Deleware, USA

Gino Alfonso Laflora

North Carolina Man Charged With Raping Deleware Teen

Frederica, Deleware - Delaware State Police have charged a North Carolina man with sexually assaulting a teenage girl.

Gino Alfonso Laflora, of Fayetteville, North Carolina, is facing several charges in connection to the alleged incident on May 16.

According to investigators, Laflora was visiting family in Kent County, Delaware when the assault occurred. The victim told police that the assault occurred near an open lot between Willow Drive and Maple Drive in Frederica.

The victim said she knew the suspect from a friend in the neighborhood. She said she was alone with Laflora in his car when the assault happened.

Laflora surrendered to authorities on June 3. He has been charged with Rape and Unlawful Imprisonment.

Laflora is being held on $52,000 bail pending a preliminary hearing.

CBS 3

June 05, 2010


Added: Jun. 7, 2010

Oregon, USA

Hernan Hernandez Vera

High school student charged with sexual assault on graduation day

An Eastern Oregon high school senior who planned to attend his own graduation today, instead is in jail, facing felony sexual assault charges.

The Bellingham Herald reports that 19-year-old Hernan Hernandez Vera was charged with first-degree sodomy, rape and sexual abuse.

The sexual assault was reported around 11:30 p.m. Tuesday by staff at Good Shepherd Hospital.

Deputies learned the victim had been assaulted earlier in the day in Irrigon and around 1 a.m. Wednesday tracked Vera down at his home.

Vera, an Irrigon High senior, was jailed on suspicion of three counts of first-degree sodomy.

Kimberly A.C. Wilson

The Oregonian

June 04, 2010


Added: Jun. 2, 2010

Mexico

Mexican congressional deputy Rosi Orozco, president of the Special Commission to Fight Human Trafficking in the Chamber of Deputies

México, número uno en pornografía infantil

Este fenómeno tiende a incrementarse más.

Ciudad de México.- El país ocupa el primer lugar en apertura de páginas web de pornografía infantil, y tiende a incrementarse más de 5% la distribución de videos de imágenes de abuso a recién nacidos, afirmó la diputada Rosi Orozco, presidenta de la Comisión Especial de Lucha contra la Trata de Personas.

La legisladora dijo que las denuncias telefónicas por delitos de pornografía infantil aumentaron 200% entre el 2008 y el 2009, y que otro problema radica en el uso de internet para la comercialización y funcionamiento de redes de trata de niños y niñas y de explotación sexual comercial...

Mexico is Number 1 in Child Pornography

The problem is continuing to grow

Mexico City - Mexico occupies first place [globally] in access of child pornography by way of the Internet. The problem includes a [recent] 5% increase in the distribution of obscene photos of recently born babies, according to Mexican congressional deputy Rosi Orozco, president of the Special Commission to Fight Human Trafficking in the Chamber of Deputies.

Deputy Orozco stated that phoned-in complaints about child pornography increased 200% between 2008 and 2009. She noted that another Internet-based aspect of the problem involves the fact that child sex trafficking networks in Mexico are using the Web to commercialize and operate their illicit businesses.

She warned that currently, no [anti-pornography] filters exist for cell phone users who browse the Web, which is concerning, given that 75.6 million cell phone users exist in Mexico, 29% of those have Internet access, and 55% of youth between the ages of 12 and 18 use those services.

In response to this problem, Deputy Orozco has presented a non-binding resolution calling upon the nation's state legislatures to reform their penal codes to include crimes that involve public and private telecommunications [networks].

Deputy Orozco also stated that the top criminal activities that take place on the Internet involve, in order of importance: 1) fraud; 2) threats; and 3) child pornography.

The Deputy concluded by noting that 11 million computers have Internet access in Mexico. Some 55% of them are installed in homes, which represents 3.5 computers for every 10 households. Thirty nine percent of the nation's 23 million computer-based Internet users are between the ages of 12 and 18.

El Manana

May 14, 2010


Added: Jun. 2, 2010

New York, USA

Mayor Bloomberg and Deputy Mayor Robles-Roman launch new public education campaign to end human trafficking

“Let’s Call an End to Human Trafficking” Campaign Encourages New Yorkers To “See It. Know It. Report It.”

Press Release (excerpt)

New York City - Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Deputy Mayor Carol A. Robles-Roman and Chief Advisor for Policy and Strategic Planning John Feinblatt today launched a new public-education campaign to raise awareness about human trafficking and encourage New Yorkers to report potential trafficking situations. The multi-media campaign called “Let’s Call an End to Human Trafficking,” features silhouettes of everyday people who may be affected by trafficking. Human trafficking is a horrible crime that involves the recruiting, transporting, selling, or buying of people for the purpose of various forms of exploitation. These victims are often controlled through force, fraud, or coercion. The print advertisements in English and Spanish, created by Grey New York, in partnership with the Somaly Mam Foundation and the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City, will appear on bus shelters in the five boroughs from May 20 – June 13. As part of the new campaign, the City’s new anti-trafficking website, which can be found on www.nyc.gov, was also launched to provide more information about the plight of human trafficking...

“Human Trafficking is happening here, but we don’t know it because we don’t see it,” said Alice Ericsson, Executive Creative Director of Grey New York. “If we want New Yorkers to see the problem, we have to put it in plain view. And, in plain language. The silhouettes will tell the stories of human trafficking that can happen right here in our own town.” ...

The Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs will also help to disseminate information and materials to vulnerable communities in the city, and bring broader awareness about human trafficking and where to go for help. Outreach to community and faith- based organizations serving immigrants as well as ethnic media will reinforce these efforts...

If you are a victim of human trafficking or would like to report a tip regarding suspected human trafficking, call 911. If you would like more information about human trafficking or would like to learn about how you can help, call 311 or visit nyc.gov/ humantrafficking...

Mayor Michael Bloomberg

May 20, 2010


Added: Jun. 2, 2010

Washington State, USA

Crime Spree in Washington State

One woman is dead and two others were raped recently and police say each crime was committed by a different illegal immigrant. One of the sexual assaults happened just hours before the Seattle city council passed an ordinance boycotting Arizona over its new immigration law.

Gregorio Luna Luna had a history of beating up his live-in girlfriend Griselda Ocampo Meza. He was also in the U.S. illegally. On May 1, [2010] Luna Luna was deported to Mexico. Three weeks later Meza was murdered in her apartment in a violent knife attack.

Franklin County prosecutors say Luna Luna slipped past the border again and killed Meza in front of their five year old son. He's in the county jail awaiting trial.

A suspected rapist in Edmonds, Washington has been deported at least 4 times according to Snohomish County prosecutors. Jose Lopez Madrigal has been charged with raping a woman next to a dumpster behind a Safeway store. A witness to the attack alerted police and Madrigal was taken into custody.

An illegal immigrant just convicted of his possible 3rd strike in Whatcom county- a rape of a homeless woman- has been deported to Mexico five times.

Dan Springer

Fox News

June 01, 2010


Added: Jun. 2, 2010

Texas, USA

Joe Chavez

Former TABC officer indicted on sexual assault charges

Bastrop - A former Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission officer was indicted by a Bastrop County grand jury on Tuesday on charges of sexual assault of a child.

During a TABC undercover investigation of alcohol sales in May 2009, 41-year-old Joe Chavez allegedly sexually assaulted a 16-year-old girl hired to assist in the sting.

Investigators say that the incident took place in Chavez's state-issued vehicle immediately after the sting. He also reportedly texted explicit photos of himself to the teen a day before the operation.

He was arrested on Friday by investigators with the Office of the Attorney General.

Prior to being stationed in Bastrop, Chavez was a TABC officer in Waco from June 2004 to August 2005.

Chavez is charged with two counts of Sexual Assault of a Child and one count each of online solicitation of a minor, abuse of official capacity and official oppression.

Louis Ojeda Jr.

KXXV

June 01, 2010


Added: June 1, 2010

Mexico / The United States

Mexican congressional deputy Cora Pinedo Alonso, of the New Alliance Party, speaks with reporters as she calls for the nation's current federal anti-trafficking law to be enforced at the federal level (it currently is limited to being enforced by states in most circumstances.

Segundo proveedor de EU de víctimas de trata

Entre 16 mil y 20 mil niños y niñas son víctimas de explotación sexual cada año en México, lo que convierte al país en la segunda nación que más víctimas de trata provee a Estados Unidos, superado únicamente por Tailandia, afirmó la diputada, Cora Pinedo Alonso, del Partido Nueva Alianza.

La también secretaria de la Mesa Directiva de la Cámara baja precisó que el municipio de Tapachula, Chiapas, es el lugar donde se realiza la mayor venta de mujeres, niñas y niños con fines de trata.

Muchos de esos menores son "redistribuidos" a los estados de Oaxaca, Michoacán, Guerrero, Jalisco, Nayarit, Sinaloa y el Distrito Federal, señaló con base a estudios de la organización internacional End Child Prostitution Child Pornography and Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes (ECPAT).

Mexico is the second largest provider of human trafficking victims to the United States

Between 16 and 20 thousand boys and girls are victims of sexual exploitation in Mexico each year. As a result, Mexico has become the second largest provider of human trafficking victims to the United States, according to congressional deputy Cora Pinedo Alonso of the New Alliance Party.

Pinedo Alonso, who is the secretary of the governing council in the Chamber of Deputies, also stated that Mexico's southern border city of Tapachula, located in Chiapas state, is the largest center for the sale of women, girls and boys for purposes of human trafficking in the nation.

Many of child victims are "redistributed" to the states of Oaxaca, Michoacán, Guerrero, Jalisco, Nayarit and Sinaloa, as well as to Mexico City. Pinedo Alonso based her statements on a research study conducted [in 2007] by the organization End Child Prostitution Child Pornography and Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes (ECPAT).

In response to this situation, Pinedo Alonso has presented a non-binding resolution that has been submitted to the Second Permanent Commission of Congress (37 members of the Senate and Chamber of Deputies who conduct congressional business when Congress is not in session) for consideration. The resolution calls for the creation of stricter measures than now exist to investigate trafficking crimes and to punish those responsible.

The resolution calls upon the director of the National Institute of Migration (INM) to assign staff to supervise and evaluate anti-trafficking activities on Mexico's southern border, and specifically in the city of Tapachula, with reports on conditions there to be sent to Congress.

According the the ECPAT study, Central American adolescents, the majority of whom are minors, "are prostituted in 1, 552 bars and brothels in Chiapas, and also in other cities and towns along the nation's southern border [with Guatemala and Belize.]"

Pinedo Alonso added that in 50% of these cases, the victims are Guatemalans. [Salvadorans, Hondurans and Nicaraguans are also victims]. The victims are usually between the ages of 8 and 14. "They are sold by traffickers [to brothels] for $200 dollars each," Pinedo Alonso denounced.

Joining in the call for action, Chiapas state governor Juan Sabines has asked for working groups to be created that coordinate the work of non-governmental organizations, state agencies, the Chiapas state Human Rights Commission and the state's office of the Special Prosecutor for Crimes of Violence Against Women and Human Trafficking. The goal of the working groups would be to evaluate the effectiveness of policies implemented to fight human trafficking.

Governor Sabines also called for an analysis to be conducted to track actions taken in regard to cases of human trafficking that involve both Mexican and Central American girls, boys and adolescents, and to document the number of prosecutions pursued.

Governor Sabines: "We wish to express our indignation and complete repudiation of these criminal practices. We energetically condemn those public servants who, through acts of omission or commission, have been complicit in collaborating with human trafficking networks. We call upon the executive, legislative and judicial branches of government to join forces [to combat these crimes]."

Cronica

May 31, 2010

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 is 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

See also:

LibertadLatina Note

About the numbers used to discuss minors involved in sex trafficking in Mexico

We reiterate our belief that the official Mexican Government estimates in regard to the numbers of underage sexual exploitation victims is unbelievably low. The above article about child sex trafficking in the southern border city of Tapachula states that an estimated 10,000 underage victims are prostituted in that city alone.

As we noted in our March 1, 2010 essay - Lead, Follow or Get Out of the Way:

A note about the figures quoted to describe the number of child sexual exploitation victims in Mexico...

Widely quoted 'official' figures state that between 16,000 and 20,000 underage victims of sex trafficking exist in Mexico.

We believe that, if the United States acknowledges that 200,000 to 300,000 underage children and youth are caught-up in the commercial sexual exploitation of children - CSEC, at any one time, based on a population of 310 million, (a figure of between .00064 and .00096 percent of the population), then the equivalent numbers for Mexico would be between 68,000 and 102,000 child and youth victims of CSEC for its estimated 107 million in population.

Given Mexico's vastly greater level of poverty, legalization of adult prostitution, and given that southern Mexico alone is known to be the largest zone in the world for CSEC, with 10,000 children being prostituted just in the city of Tapachula (according to ECPAT figures), then the total number of underage children and youth caught-up in prostitution in Mexico is most likely not anywhere near the 16,000 to 20,000 figure that was first released in a particular research study from more than five years ago and continues to be so widely used.

- Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

March 01, 2010

June 01, 2010

See Also:

Mexico

Víctimas del tráfico de personas, 5 millones de mujeres y niñas en América Latina

De esa cifra, más de 500 mil casos ocurren en México, señalan especialistas.

Five million victims of Human Trafficking Exist in Latin America

Saltillo, Coahuila state - Teresa Ulloa Ziaurriz, the director of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women's Latin American / Caribbean regional office, announced this past Monday that more than five million women and girls are currently victims of human trafficking in Latin America and the Caribbean.

During a forum on successful treatment approaches for trafficking victims held by the Women's Institute of Coahuila, Ulloa Ziaurriz stated that 500,000 of these cases exist in Mexico, where women and girls are trafficked for sexual exploitation, pornography and the illegal harvesting of human organs.

Ulloa Ziaurriz said that human trafficking is the second largest criminal industry in the world today, a fact that has given rise to the existence of a very large number of trafficking networks who operate with the complicity of both [corrupt] government officials and business owners.

Mexico is a country of origin, transit and also destination for trafficked persons. Of 500,000 victims in Mexico, 87% are subjected to commercial sexual exploitation.

Ulloa Ziaurriz pointed out that locally in Coahuila state, the nation's human trafficking problem shows up in the form of child prostitution in cities such as Ciudad Acuña as well as other population centers along Mexico's border with the United States.

- Notimex / La Jornada Online

Mexico City

Dec. 12, 2007

See Also:

Added: Jun. 1, 2010

Mexico

Presenta diputada Cora Pinedo Alonso iniciativa de ley para tipificar trata de personas como delito federal

MEXICO, D.F., - Palacio Legislativo 23 de Febrero de 2010./Notilegis.- La vicecoordinadora de Nueva Alianza, Cora Pinedo Alonso, propuso tipificar la trata de personas como un delito federal y modificar la denominación de la Ley para Prevenir y Sancionar la Trata de Personas, para elevarla a rango federal, ya que actualmente sólo puede ser aplicada por las autoridades federales bajo cuatro supuestos...

Congressional deputy Cora Pinedo Alonso presents an initiate to require the national anti-trafficking law to be enforced at the fedeal level.

Congressional deputy Cora Pinedo Alonso, who is the vice-coordinator of the New Alliance Party in the Chamber of Deputies, has called for the nation's current anti-trafficking law, the Law to Prevent and Punish Human Trafficking, to be changed, to allow its enforcement at the federal level. Currently [states enforce the law]. Federal authorities may only enforce its provisions under four circumstances. First, if the human trafficking crime was committed outside of Mexico, federal action may be taken. Second, when the trafficking crime is perpetrated within Mexico, but is intended to have an impact outside of Mexico, federal agents may also act. Third, federal action may be taken when the criminal act falls within Article 50, Section I, Subsection 'b) a j)' of the Organic Law of the Power of Judicial Power of the Federation. Fourth, when the criminal act is a violation of the Federal Law Against Organized Criminal Delinquency.

Deputy Pinedo Alonso stated that currently, [the federal law differs significantly from the anti-trafficking laws enacted in the majority of states. Therefore, the federal law should be changed to allow for the uniform application of anti-trafficking law across the nation, and especially in regard to the application of criminal penalties.

Deputy Pinedo Alonso referred to the United Nations human trafficking study Human Trafficking: A Global Panorama. The study identifies 127 countries of origin, 98 transit nations and 137 destination nations in regard to victims of human trafficking. Mexico is ranked very high among the countries of origin listed in the report. Mexico is rate in 28th place among nations where traffickers entrap victims, and is in 5th among nations in Latin America.

Deputy Pinedo Alonso's initiative proposes to reform Article 73 of the Constitution, and will update Article 3 of the Law to Prevent and Punish Human Trafficking. It has been referred to the Chamber's Commission on Constitutional Law for review.

Notilegis

Feb. 23, 2010

Note: Mexico's federal system does not impose federal legal jurisdiction on the federated entities (Mexico's 31 states and Mexico City) for federal criminal laws that are passed as 'general laws.' The Law to Prevent and Punish Human Trafficking is a general law. - LL

Note: Deputy Pinedo Alonso's initiative has been superseded by a more recent proposal, submitted by the ruling National Action Party, to update the now ineffective Law to Prevent and Punish Human Trafficking. Earlier in 2010, Mexico's Interior Secretary, Fernando Gómez Mont, expressed his adamant opposition to federalizing anti-trafficking law. - LL


Added: June 1, 2010

Brazil

Descubren red trafico personas en Amazonia Brasileña

Autoridades brasileñas informaron que organizaciones dedicadas al tráfico de personas se instalaron en la región amazónica por donde decenas de haitianos ingresan al país tras el terremoto ocurrido en el país caribeño en enero.

"Coyotes braileños" (traficantes de inmigrantes) cobran 600 dólares por introducir a cada haitiano en el estado de Acre, indicaron fuentes de la Policía Federal.

"El destino preferido en Brasil es Assis Brasil (localidad fronteriza con Perú) desde donde continúan camino hacia otras regiones del país" dijo el comisario Flaveio Avelar, jefe de la delegación de Migraciones de la Policía Federal en Acre.

El número de inmigrantes haitianos llegados a Brasil se incrementó tras el terremoto que devastó a ese país en enero pasado y dejó más de 200 mil víctimas fatales.

La legislación brasileña establece que los inmigrantes sin papeles sean deportados a su país de origen, pero las autoridades decidieron hacer una excepción con los haitianos.

"Se trata de una cuestión humanitaria, ellos dejaron su país debido al terremoto y podrán permanecer en Brasil como refugiados" explicó el comisario Avelar, consultado por el diario Correio Braziliense.

A human smuggling network is discovered in the Brazilian Amazon

Brazilian authorities have announced that human smuggling networks have established themselves in the Brazilian Amazon. These groups have smuggled dozens of Haitians into Brazil through the Assis Brazil area on the Peruvian border. Brazilian coyotes have charged Haitians $600 to bring Haitians to the Brazilian state of Acre, from which they travel to other regions of Brazil. The smuggling of Haitians has increased significantly since the January, 2010 earthquake.

Although Brazilian law calls for the deportation of undocumented immigrants, the government has announced that Haitian migrants will be allowed to stay as refugees,

"It is a humanitarian issue. They left Haiti due to the earthquake, and they may remain in Brazil as refugees," explained the federal immigration police's commissioner in the state of Acre, Flaveio Avelar.

Ansa (Italy)

May 31, 2010


Added: June 1, 2010

Mexico / Brazil

Mexican officials arrest German citizen wanted in Brazil on human trafficking charges

Mexico City - Mexican authorities have arrested a German citizen wanted in Brazil on human trafficking charges.

Mexico's Public Safety Department says Dieter Erhard Fritzchen Stieleke was arrested while waiting to board a flight to Germany out of the resort city of Cancun.

The department says Stieleke was handed over to Interpol for extradition to Brazil. A statement released Wednesday gives no details on the human trafficking charges against Stieleke. He was arrested Sunday.

The German Embassy did not return phone calls seeking comment. The Brazilian Embassy declined to comment.

The Associated Press (Canadian Press)

May 26, 2010


Added: May. 30, 2010

Mexico

A photo of Valentina Rosendo Cantú from earlier in her life

Carta abierta de apoyo para Valentina Rosendo Cantú

Valentina:

El día de hoy, cuando se lleva a cabo la audiencia en la Corte Interamericana de Derechos Humanos, el equipo de la CMDPDH queremos enviarte un mensaje con nuestro profundo respeto y apoyo.

Sabemos que has asumido, junto con las organizaciones que te acompañan en esta lucha, la tarea de denunciar las violaciones a los derechos humanos cometidas por el Ejército Mexicano, en particular la violencia sexual como una forma de tortura. Por tu voz hablan decenas de mujeres que han sufrido la violencia del Estado, pero no han tenido acceso a denunciar. Al mismo tiempo, también nos sentimos representadas las organizaciones de la sociedad civil que trabajamos por el respeto de los Derechos Humanos y por una sociedad libre y democrática.

Asimismo, estamos conscientes de que esta denuncia y todo el proceso de defensa en su conjunto, ha significado una enorme carga para ti y que en este camino has enfrentado amenazas, contra ti y tus seres queridos, que buscan hacerte desistir. Sin embargo, te has mantenido firme en la búsqueda de justicia, reivindicando tu dignidad de mujer indígena, y la de cientos de comunidades que han sido afectadas en su tejido social por la militarización.

Por todo esto, recibe hoy nuestro abrazo solidario y nuestro compromiso de seguir, inspirados en tu ejemplo, en esta lucha.

Atentamente,

El equipo de la Comisión Mexicana de Defensa y Promoción de los Derechos Humanos A.C.

An open letter to Valentina Rosendo Cantú

Valentina,

On this day, the day when your case will be presented before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, we of the Mexican Commission for the Defense and Promotion of Human Rights wish to send you this message expressing our profound respect and solidarity.

We know that you have taken on, together with the organizations who are assisting you in this struggle, the task of denouncing the violations of human rights that have been committed by the Mexican Army, and in particular the use of sexual violence as a form of torture. Your voice speaks for dozens of women who have suffered violence perpetrated by the State, but do not have access to a forum to denounce these crimes. At the same time, we who work for human rights organizations, who seek to achieve a fee and democratic society, feel well represented by you.

We are aware that your case, and all of the efforts in your defense, have amounted to being a huge burden for you. We know that you have faced threats against yourself and your family, that are designed to force you drop your case. Nonetheless, you have remained steadfast in your search for justice, vindicating your dignity as an indigenous woman, as well as that of hundreds of communities whose social fabric has been affected by [domestic] militarization.

For all of these reasons, today we ask you to accept our hug of solidarity and our commitment to continue, inspired by your example, in this struggle.

Sincerely,

The staff of the Mexican Commission for the Defense and Promotion of Human Rights (CMDPDH)

CIMAC Women's News Agency

May 28, 2010

Tlapaneca Indigenous human rights activist Obtilia Eugenio Manuel denounces death threats against herself, her family and Indigenous rape victims Inés Fernández Ortega and Valentina Rosendo Cantú - who were raped by soldiers in 2002.

Photo: March 24, 2010 - Cronica

Tlapaneca Indigenous victim Inés Fernández Ortega

Exigen Cese de Agresiones Contra Tlapaneca Violada por Militares

Lanzan activistas campaña contra la impunidad militar

Defensoras y defensores de derechos humanos exigieron hoy al Estado mexicano que cesen las agresiones y amenazas contra Inés Fernández Ortega, indígena tlapaneca violada sexualmente por militares en 2002, y quien ante la falta de justicia, se presentará en una audiencia pública en la sede de la Corte Interamericana de Derechos Humanos (CoIDH) en Lima, Perú, el próximo 15 de abril...

Activists Demand an End to the Harassment of Indigenous Woman Who Was Raped by Soldiers

Human Rights Defenders Launch Campaign Against Military Impunity

Human rights activists have today demanded that the Mexican Government cease and desist from its campaign of aggression and threats directed against Inés Fernández Ortega, a Tlapaneca Indigenous women who was the victim of rape perpetrated by Mexican servicemen in 2002. Due to the inability to receive due process within Mexico, Fernández Ortega's case will be presented to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR) on April 15th, 2010.

During a press conference held by Amnesty International and the Tlachinollan Mountain Human Rights Center, activists announced their new campaign "Break Down the Walls of Impunity!" The project aims to develop a network of solidarity and add voices to the outcries for justice in the cases of both Fernández Ortega and also Valentina Rosendo Cantú, another Tlapaneca woman who was also raped by soldiers in 2002.

Vidulfo Rosales Sierra, a lawyer working in the Tlachinollan region stated that both Fernández Ortega and Rosendo Cantú began their efforts to find justice 8 years ago. Not only did they suffer rejection, discrimination and stigmatization in their own communities after they were raped, but the government conducted an ineffective investigation.

Because of the government's reaction to their plight, the victims hope that the IACHR finds the Mexican state guilty in the case of Fernández Ortega. Rosendo Cantú's case will be presented before the IACHR on May 27th and 28th of 2010.

Rosales Sierra declared that the military leaves women [victims] completely defenseless. They put women's security and lives at risk when they attempt to seek justice...

On October 30, 2008, the Commission issued their findings [in the case of Fernández Ortega]. The Mexican state was informed on November 7, 2008 that the Commission regarded the State as being responsible for the violations of the integrity of the victim. Due to a refusal by Mexico to implement the Commission's [legally binding] recommendations, the case was forwarded to the IACHR.

During the press conference, Indigenous human rights activist Obtilia Eugenio Manuel stated that, after May 7th, 2009, when the IACHR accepted the case de Fernández Ortega, she (Eugenio Manuel) and her family became the victims of threats. The threats doubled in December of 2009, when the IACHR notified the Mexican state of the specific date of its hearing of the case.

Because of this history of threats, a well-founded fear exists that victims Inés Fernández Ortega and Valentina Rosendo Cantú, or their legal representatives could face some type of violence. Obtilia Eugenio Manuel emphasized that they will continue their struggle for human rights. She hopes that the IACHR hearing will demonstrate that lack of responsible action by the Mexican state to protect human rights.

Anayeli García Martínez

CIMAC Women's News Agency

April 06, 2010

See also:

Added: May. 30, 2010

Mexico

This is your war on drugs

...On 16th February 2002, Valentina Rosendo Cantú was washing her clothes in a stream near her home in Caxitepec, Mexico, when six soldiers approached. Seemingly too busy for pleasantries, the men started barking questions at her: Who was she? Where was she from? Had she seen the people they were looking for? Did she recognize the names on the list they thrust in front of her?

Her answers weren’t good enough, so one soldier pulled a gun and threatened to shoot. Another punched her so hard that she passed out. When she came to, two men tore off her underwear and raped her, one after the other. She was sixteen years old.

It took several months for Valentina to find a doctor willing to treat her; her nearest hospital turned her away because they didn’t want any trouble from the military. The next nearest, which she walked for eight hours to reach, examined her but offered no medicine. Only after legal action was threatened did she finally receive the gynecological care she needed.

At the time of writing, no criminal prosecution has ever been brought against these men and no one has been formally disciplined by a military which has perpetually dragged its feet over investigations. Some 7 years later, she still hasn’t found justice.

This case is just one of many allegations of human rights abuses leveled at the Mexican military in pursuit of an expensive, bloody and failed war on drugs. As well as rape, the allegations include enforced disappearance, torture, arbitrary detention and unlawful killing. And it’s all being bankrolled by the United States of America...

This is your war on drugs

August 13, 2009


Added: May. 30, 2010

Georgia, USA

Samuel Sanchez

Man Charged in Cherokee County Sex Assault

Cherokee County deputies say a Woodstock man is behind bars after allegedly breaking into a mobile home and crawling into bed with a woman he didn’t know as she slept with her 1-year-old son.

Deputies say 22-year-old Samuel Sanchez broke into a mobile home off of Dupree Road in Woodstock on Friday morning. They say 19-year-old Bridget Gonzalez was asleep in her bed with her son when the suspect came into the room and got in bed with them. Then, he attempted to sexually assault her, investigators say.

Gonzalez told FOX 5 she thought the man was her boyfriend, but soon realized it was a stranger instead. She says she and her son don’t know Sanchez.

After Gonzalez realized the man wasn’t her boyfriend, she screamed and he ran out of the house. But, much to her surprise, she says he came back.

Sanchez was later picked up while walking along Dupree Road. They say when they spotted him, he began running, but deputies were able to catch up to him.

According to deputies, Sanchez told them he wanted to see someone he knows who lives at the home, so he just went inside.

Sanchez is charged with sexual battery, criminal attempt to rape, and burglary. He is being held without bond at the Cherokee County Adult Detention Center.

Fox 5 Atlanta

May 28, 2010


Added: May. 28, 2010

Mexico

Valentina Rosendo Cantú

Niega Estado mexicano violación de Valentina Rosendo Cantú

Argumenta ante la CoIDH falta de “pruebas fehacientes”

San José, Costa Rica - Durante la audiencia de la Corte Interamericana de Derechos Humanos (CoIDH) sobre el caso de Valentina Rosendo Cantú, el Estado mexicano insistió categóricamente que “no existen pruebas fehacientes de la presunta violación sexual”, por lo cual pidió a este tribunal internacional tome en cuenta este elemento a la hora de emitir su sentencia.

Si bien es cierto que la integración de la investigación de los hechos ocurridos el 16 de febrero de 2002 no se hizo de manera eficaz y eficiente, no se puede responsabilizar al Estado mexicano por tortura y tampoco por violar el derecho a la salud y al debido proceso de Valentina, así lo dijo Armando Vivanco Castellanos, director de Democracia y Derechos Humanos de la Secretaría de Relaciones Exteriores (SRE)...

Después de esta audiencia, tanto la defensa de Valentina como el Estado mexicano deberán entregar sus alegatos finales por escrito, de acuerdo con la CoIDH el próximo 28 de junio y advirtió que no habrá prórroga.

Mexico’s government denies the fact of the rape of Valentina Rosendo Cantú

Mexican state argues that no compelling proof of the rape exists

San Jose, Costa Rica – During a hearing held by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR) in regard to the case of indigenous rape victim Valentina Rosendo Cantú, the Mexican State declared categorically that no compelling proof exists to show that the rape occurred. Mexico asked that the Court take this into consideration when deliberating their decision.

Armando Vivanco Castellanos, director of Democracy and Human Rights in the Secretary of External Relations (SRE), argued part of Mexico’s case before the Court. He declared that Mexico cannot be held responsible if the investigation into the events of February 16, 2002 was not efficient and effective, and that the State also cannot be held responsible for the torture and violation of the right to health and a lack of access to the proper [judicial] process.

Full English Translation to follow.

Anayeli García Martínez

CIMAC

May 27, 2010

See also:

Added: May. 29, 2010

Mexico

Raped with impunity - Inés Fernández Ortega and Valentina Rosendo Cantú

...Inés Fernández Ortega and Valentina Rosendo Cantú are still waiting for justice. The two women, who belong to the Tlapaneca Indigenous community, were raped by members of the Mexican army in February and March 2002 respectively in the state of Guerrero, Mexico.

Inés Fernández Ortega, who speaks little Spanish, was reportedly raped on 22 March 2002. Soldiers entered her home to interrogate her about some meat they claimed had been stolen. When she did not answer their questions, they raped her. Valentina Rosendo Cantú, then aged 17, was approached on 16 February 2002 by soldiers near her home, who questioned her about the activities of some "hooded men" (a reference to armed opposition groups). When she replied that she did not know any, she was threatened and two of the soldiers raped her.

The Mexican authorities claim that both women have failed to co-operate with the military investigation. However, the fact that both cases remain under military jurisdiction places the women at serious risk of reprisals. The women are required to go into the barracks to ratify their complaints before the military prosecutor. There, they may face a real risk of intimidation.

The women have shown great courage in speaking out, demanding that their cases be transferred to the civilian authorities. Amnesty International supports their demands as the military justice system lacks the impartiality and independence to properly investigate such cases. The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights is now investigating the Mexican government’s failure to ensure effective access to justice for both women.

Amnesty International

March 8, 2007


Added: May. 28, 2010

North Carolina, USA

Abel Moreno

Photo from: Abel Moreno Might Get Deported After Reporting Police Groped His Girlfriend

Cindy Casares

Guanabee.com

May 26, 2010

He Did the Right Thing; Now He Faces Deportation

Charlotte - Just like the police tell you to do, Abel Moreno called 911 when a man began assaulting his girlfriend. Before the end of the year, he could be deported to Mexico for his trouble.

Moreno, 29, of Charlotte made the call Dec. 29 because, he alleged, a Charlotte police officer was trying to fondle his girlfriend after a traffic stop. The officer ordered Moreno to drop the call and arrested him and his girlfriend for resisting arrest.

Several things then happened. Five other women came forward to allege that the officer, identified as Marcus Jackson, now 26, had tried to molest them, too. Moreno was released after investigators debunked the resisting arrest charge. So was his girlfriend.

Jackson was fired and faces 11 counts of sexual battery, extortion and interfering with emergency communication. Police Chief Rodney Monroe admitted that Jackson should never have been hired in the first place because of previous charges related to a restraining order filed by an ex-girlfriend. The local 911 system is under review because Moreno’s call wasn’t acted upon.

And Abel Moreno now has a six-month deadline to show why he shouldn’t be deported, even though police acknowledge that his 911 call was crucial to their uncovering a dirty cop, and even though they agree that he shouldn’t have been arrested...

A judge granted Moreno a six-month deferment on his deportation because he is a witness in the criminal investigation. But that reprieve runs out in November.

Moreno’s attorney, Rob Heroy, said he was confident Moreno would eventually be granted a so-called U visa, which allows illegal immigrants who are victims or witnesses in criminal investigations to stay in the country for up to four years. But only 10,000 such visas are available in any year, and while that process works its way through the system, Moreno remains in limbo.

“Now I’m unemployed,” Moreno said, speaking in Spanish through an interpreter. “I don’t have any money, not even for rent, not even for my phone — anything. ... The truth is I’m scared.” ...

MSNBC

May 26, 2010

See also:

Abel Moreno Might Get Deported After Reporting Police Groped His Girlfriend

Cindy Casares

Guanabee.com

May 26, 2010


Added: May. 29, 2010

New York, USA

Rape Victim's Mother Arrives In U.S. To Claim Body

The mother of the Chinese immigrant who died after being brutally beaten and raped in a Queens alley arrived yesterday. The Daily News reports, "Sobbing inconsolably as she stepped off a plane at Newark Airport, the mother was too distraught to speak of her daughter, Yu Yao, 23, who was raped and fatally beaten in Queens by a pipe-wielding madman. Escorted through the airport terminal by relatives, the heartbroken mother collapsed into a chair and laid her head in a cousin's lap."

Yao, who had arrived in NYC two months ago on a student visa, was taken off life support on Friday, after being struck with a metal pipe and then sexually assaulted in Flushing on Sunday May 16. According to the Queens DA's office, she suffered a "fractured skull, bleeding on the brain and trauma to the vagina." While one witness's call to the police enabled the arrest of suspect Carlos Salazar Cruz, Assemblywoman Grace Meng said other people witnessed the attack but did not do anything.

NY1 reports that community activists held an anti-violence vigil at the attack site on 41st Road, urging residents to report violent acts. Community Prevention Alternatives' Martha Florez-Vazquez said, "I feel that it's important to send out a message to the community that it takes a village and that it's up to our neighbors to prevent crime.” One resident added, "I'm very concerned... no one should be beaten to death the way this young lady was."

Jen Chung

Gothamist

May 25, 2010


Added: May. 28, 2010

Arizona, USA

Kyleigh Ann Sousa

Woman dragged by car during robbery dies

Tempe - A young woman who was run over and dragged by a car during a robbery in Tempe early Wednesday morning has died.

The incident happened shortly before 2 a.m. in the area of Apache Boulevard and Mill Avenue near the Arizona State University campus.

The victim has been identified as Kyleigh Ann Sousa, a 21-year-old Arizona State University student. She died of her injuries Wednesday night.

According to police, a man approached Sousa outside of a hotel and grabbed her purse. He then tried to drive away.

Sousa held on to her purse. She was dragged by the suspect's car.

The suspect is described as a heavyset Hispanic man. The car he was driving is a newer model Chrysler 300.

Police and Sousa's parents are asking for the public's help in finding the suspect.

Anybody who has information about the incident should call the Tempe Police Department at 480-350-8311 or Silent Witness 480-WITNESS (480-948-6377).

Catherine Holland

Fox 11

May 27, 2010


Added: May. 29, 2010

Pennsylvania, USA

Omar Shariff Cash

Cash guilty of murder and rape

Jurors must now sentence Omar Shariff Cash to life in prison or death by lethal injection.

After hearing two weeks of testimony that one prosecutor likened to the musings of a horror writer, a Bucks County jury in Doylestown Thursday found Omar Shariff Cash guilty on all counts, including first- and second-degree murder, rape, kidnapping, robbery, theft and other crimes...

The 43-year-old woman [victim] told the jury that Cash laughed as he forced her to perform oral sex at gunpoint, then turned up the volume on the car radio and swayed to hip-hop music after leaving her boyfriend, Edgar Rosas-Gutierrez, dead alongside a Bensalem exit ramp.

In the front row of the courtroom, the rape victim wept softly as the verdict was read. A native of Brazil who doesn't speak English, she listened to the verdict with the help of a Portuguese interpreter.

Rosas-Gutierrez's family also had interpreters to help them understand the verdict. They passed around a box of tissues and cried as each "guilty" was announced...

Prosecutors Marc Furber and Maureen Flannery-Spang laid out a convincing case against Cash...

The prosecution said Cash was on the run from Philadelphia police when he carjacked the victims as they left Jalapeno Joes, a northeast Philadelphia nightclub round 3:30 a.m. on May 11, 2008.

Cash forced Rosas-Gutierrez to drive into Bucks, and trained a gun on his head while he raped the woman in the back seat.

Cash told Rosas-Gutierrez to pull over on the Street Road exit ramp from northbound Route 1, the woman told the jury. While she screamed his name from one of the passenger seats, Rosas-Gutierrez was marched up a steep embankment by the killer and shot in the back of the head.

The woman testified that Cash raped her again at an abandoned office complex immediately after the slaying, and then brought her to the Comfort Inn in Lawrenceville, N.J., where the sexual assaults continued.

Unable to communicate with hotel staff, the woman finally made a break for it when Cash brought her back down to the hotel lobby for breakfast. Footage of her dashing through the lobby and vaulting a four-foot check-in counter was shown to the jury...

Furber called Rosas-Gutierrez and the woman "the perfect victims." He said that once Cash looked through their belongings and learned they were both illegal immigrants, he believed that they wouldn't be missed...

Laurie Mason Schroeder

Bucks County Courier Times

May 28, 2010


Added: May. 28, 2010

Georgia, USA

Police: Lilburn Middle student hit with bleach-filled balloon

A 14-year-old Lilburn Middle School student was struck by a bleach-filled water balloon Wednesday afternoon, police said, sending him to the hospital with burns to both eyes and putting a traumatic damper on what have should been a joyous start to summer vacation.

Just after leaving his last day of school, the student was walking down the sidewalk on the 4000 block of Lawrenceville Highway, Lilburn Police spokesman Capt. Bruce Hedley said.

A water balloon filled with bleach was thrown from a moving vehicle, Hedley said, striking him in the face at around 4:40 p.m.

“From time to time, especially on the last day of school, you see pranks, and maybe a water balloon is just having fun,” Hedley said. “But to see one that is filled with bleach is beyond comprehension ... A kid leaving school for the last day for what could have been a perfect summer, this is just crazy to me.”

The child was transported to Gwinnett Medical Center and was treated for severe trauma to his face and burns to both eyes. He has since been released and is “resting comfortably” at his mother’s Norcross home, Hedley said.

“He was in bad shape, but aware of his surroundings (during a visit Wednesday night),” Hedley said.

Witnesses have reported that the suspects were three Hispanic males driving a gray minivan with a black stripe down the lower portion of the vehicle...

Anyone with information regarding the whereabouts of the van or the identity of the suspects is asked to call 770-921-2211.

Tyler Estep

The Gwinnett Daily Post

May 27, 2010


Added: May. 28, 2010

Texas, USA

Danny Mariel Suarez

Man accused of sexual assault of a 12-year-old

WACO - A man was arrested Tuesday on accusations he sexually assaulted a child.

Officers reportedly began an investigation after they were notified in April that a 12-year-old girl had told a school counselor she had been sexually assaulted.

After the investigation, officers arrested Danny Mariel Suarez, 35, of Waco, in connection with the alleged assault which reportedly occurred on multiple occasions.

Suarez is charged with Aggravated Sexual Assault and bond has been set at $250,000.

Louis Ojeda Jr.

KXXV

May 26, 2010


Added: May. 28, 2010

California, USA

Police suspect 2 men tried to pull girl into car

The Hollister Police Department is searching for two men suspected of trying to force a 17-year-old Hollister girl into a car Wednesday night near the 1500 block of San Juan Road.

Just after 7 p.m., the teenager was walking to a relative's house near the Plaza 156 gas station before police allege that two men inside a black Volkswagen Bug pulled alongside the girl and grabbed her arm, trying to force her inside the car.

The men whistled and spoke Spanish to her as they grabbed her, according to police.

The girl wrestled of their grasp and took off running to her relative's house, police spokesman Sgt. David Westrick said. The car did not follow her.

"Once she was able to break free of the suspects, she ran and never looked back," Westrick said.

The girl didn't know in what direction the car took off after she had left, Westrick said.

The suspects are described as two Hispanic men in their 40s. The passenger wore a black hooded jacket and sunglasses. The girl had no other identifying information about the driver.

The Volkswagen Bug is described as an older model with a loud engine and rusted black paint.

The police department is still searching for more information, Westrick said.

"We are trying to get this handled as soon as possible," Westrick said. "We have as many detectives working on it as we can."

Anyone with more information is urged to call the Hollister Police Department at 630-4330. People who wish to remain anonymous can call WeTIP at (800) 58-CRIME.

Connor Ramey

Freelance News

May 28, 2010


Added: May. 28, 2010

California, USA / Jamaica

Herbert Morrison

Illegal Immigrant a Suspect in Continuous Molestation of Santa Maria Girl Police say the child was victimized over nine years

In April, the Santa Maria Police Department began investigating the sexual-assault case involving a minor female. [Herbert] Morrison was arrested in May, but charges were not filed at that time because of insufficient evidence.

However, evidence gathered in recent weeks led to the issuance of a warrant for the arrest of Morrison, who was being held in a federal detention facility in Los Angeles pending deportation for being in the country illegally after a previous deportation.

He was picked up at the detention facility, transferred back to Santa Maria and booked into jail.

He faces charges of continuous sexual molestation of a child under 14 years old, sexual battery, aggravated sexual assault, rape by force or duress, lewd acts with a child under 14 years old, convicted felon in possession of a firearm, convicted felon in possession of ammunition.

Bail was set at $500,000.

Police have not released how the suspect knew the victim.

Michelle Nelson

Noozhawk

May 26, 2010

See also:

Added: May. 28, 2010

California, USA

Undocumented immigrant can't bail out of jail, officials say

An undocumented immigrant and previously deported felon from Jamaica whose anticipated deportation has been put on hold because he is facing new criminal charges in Santa Barbara County, is not able to bail out of jail.

Herbert Morrison, 49, who had been living in Santa Maria, was picked up Tuesday from a federal detention facility in Los Angeles where he was being held pending deportation for being in the country illegally. He was arrested on suspicion of various charges including continual sexual molestation of a child under 14 years old, sexual battery and rape by force or duress, according to Santa Maria police.

Morrison was booked into county jail with bail set at $500,000.

However, Lt. Dan Ast said that Morrison is not able to bail out of jail because of an immigration hold, and he will eventually once again face deportation.

"If we allowed him to be deported without filing the charges, he could potentially re-enter the country at some later time after arriving back in Jamaica and continue to victimize people in this country," Ast said. "Or, he could stay in Jamaica and potentially victimize others there without ever facing justice."

The Lompoc Record

May 27, 2010


Added: May. 28, 2010

Texas, USA

Man Accused of Kidnapping, Attempted Sexual Assault of a Child

Houston - An accused child predator was behind bars Tuesday, charged with the kidnapping and attempted sexual assault of a 7-year-old girl.

According to investigators, Al D. Checo lured the child into his green Dodge pickup while she was walking home from school in the 9300 block of Pagewood Ln. on Friday. He then drove her to his apartment nearby, forced her to watch pornographic images and tried to sexually assault her, but stopped short of the act.

"It could have been the first time for him to do something like this and he was testing the waters, could have been were something might have spooked him. We don't really don't know exactly yet," said Officer John Colburn with HPD's Juvenile Sex Crime Division.

Checo, 32, held the child at his apartment for several hours before dropping her off near where she was abducted, police said.

According to officials, Checo warned the child not to tell anyone what happened, but she went home and told her mother and was able to identify her abductor.

Checo is charged with aggravated kidnapping and attempted aggravated sexual assault of a child. He was being held Tuesday without bond.

KIAH

May 25, 2010


Added: May. 28, 2010

California, USA

SFPD searching for girl, 12, reported missing

San Francisco police are asking for the public's assistance in locating a 12-year-old girl reported missing.

Police said Mireya Zapata was last seen Thursday morning when she went to school. At about 2:50 p.m., she sent a text message to her mother, saying she was at a bus stop and on her way home.

However, Zapata, who goes to school in the Sunset District and lives downtown, never showed up at her home, police said. The girl exchanged text messages with her mother over the next several hours, but did not text a secret code letting the mother know she was OK upon request, according to police.

At about 7 p.m., Zapata's mother received a text message reading, "Don't look for me no more," and when her mother asked why, the response read, "Just don't," police said.

Police spokesman Officer Boaz Mariles said Zapata does not have a history of running away and she is considered to be at risk. Police are actively searching for the girl and ask anyone with information regarding her whereabouts to call police at (415) 553-1071.

"It's a continuous search, meaning there are officers assigned strictly to this,'' Mariles said.

Zapata is described as a light-skinned Hispanic girl, 5 feet 3 inches, 140 pounds with brown eyes and brown hair. She was last seen wearing a white hooded sweatshirt, blue jeans, black and white Nike shoes and had a white backpack.

BCN

May 27, 2010


Added: May. 29, 2010

Indiana, USA

Suspect faces string of sex assault charges

4 alleged victims range in age from 11 to 49

Luis Alberto Gonzales was armed with a BB gun when he targeted numerous Hispanic women and girls for sexual assaults on Indianapolis' Westside, prosecutors say.

But he didn't even bother to cover his face -- and that lack of a disguise enabled police to arrest Gonzales last weekend. One victim from months ago spotted him sleeping in his red truck in an apartment court off West 30th Street near Moller Road, according to court documents filed Thursday in Marion Superior Court.

Still more alleged victims have come forward after seeing Gonzales' mug shot in media reports...

So far, he faces charges in connection with four victims ranging in age from 11 to 49. He is in the Marion County Jail with a combined bond set at $700,000.

Marion County Prosecutor Carl Brizzi said his office was still readying charges representing two more victims, including one younger than 18; police were investigating allegations by three others.

That could make for nine victims, with convictions bringing up to hundreds of years in prison.

"Mr. Gonzales has essentially been preying on Hispanic adults and children since at least January 2010," Brizzi said. "He was going back to the same area. It seems he was unafraid about being arrested or caught."

The lead charges on the four cases that have been filed are Class A felony child molesting of an 11-year-old girl; Class A felony rape of a 40-year-old woman; Class A felony criminal deviate conduct against a 49-year-old woman; and Class D felony sexual battery against a 23-year-old woman...

Jon Murray

IndyStar.com

May 28, 2010


Added: May. 28, 2010

Nevada, USA

Joel Eliazar Ortega

Illegal immigrant sentenced in Reno rape of paralyzed woman

A life in prison term was imposed Wednesday upon a married father of one who dragged a paralyzed woman out of her wheelchair, raped her, and then left her lying nude in an alley.

The woman, who suffers from cerebral palsy, had been in a shopping center Oct. 30 in the 3300 block of North McCarran Boulevard when Joel Eliazar Ortega, 30, led her behind a business and attacked her. Soon after, Reno police officers responding to a call that Ortega was battering his wife in their nearby apartment, recognized Ortega as fitting the description of the suspect. He was arrested after the victim identified him.

Chief Deputy District Attorney Bruce Hahn described the crime as among the most ghastly sexual assaults he’s ever seen.

“She was dragged from her wheelchair, her clothes taken off, sexually assaulted and then left lying in an alley,” said Washoe District Judge Patrick Flanagan. “I have listened to you carefully, and you said ‘things happen’ and you get in trouble based on your behavior and doctors say you can’t take care of your daughter.

“You are a danger,” Flanagan said. “...you are lucky there is only one life sentence I can impose in this case.”

In rendering a sentence of life against Ortega, Flannagan said he would be eligible for parole after serving at least 10 years in prison. Ortega is also an illegal immigrant who also must face immigration charges.

“You will be deported at the earliest opportunity and will never return to this country again, except lawfully,” Flanagan said.

Ortega had apologized for the crime and said “I need help.”

His public defender, John Malone, said Ortega has been receiving treatment at the state’s mental hospital for several years. He blamed the rape on Ortega not taking his psychiatric medicines and drinking alcohol.

Ortega pleaded guilty to the rape, and was also convicted of domestic violence, related to when police responded to his apartment after the assault.

The victim was not present in court, although her father was and said he was too emotional to speak about the incident.

Jaclyn O'Malley

RGJ.com

May 26, 2010


Added: May. 29, 2010

Virginia, USA

Arturo F. Lopez

Henrico judge sends rape charge to grand jury

A woman testified at a preliminary hearing in a Henrico County court today that her foster son sexually assaulted her at knifepoint and threatened to kill her and her husband.

Arturo F. Lopez, 18, had been living with a foster family in the Interstate 64-Staples Mill Road area since sometime late last year, according to Henrico police. He was charged with rape in the April 9 incident and appeared at a preliminary hearing in General District Court this morning.

At the hearing, the judge certified the rape charge to a grand jury, which will hear the case on July 12. He faces life in prison if convicted.

Lopez came to the Richmond area sometime last year. His attorney said he was a homeless immigrant from Mexico and has no family in the U.S. Lopez was placed in the home by the Richmond Department of Social Services, because Spanish is spoken in the home.

Bill Mckelway

The Richmond Times Dispatch

May 27, 2010


Added: May. 28, 2010

Pennsylvania

Officer Jose Manuel Santiago

Photo

Pennsylvania Cop Charged With Sex Offenses

A southeastern Pennsylvania police officer is charged with hundreds of sex-offense counts including rape, incest, statutory sexual assault and endangering the welfare of children.

Chester County prosecutors say 54-year-old Kennett Square police Officer Jose Manuel Santiago was arrested Thursday at his home in Newark, Del.

Assistant District Attorney Kimberly Callahan says Santiago had sexual encounters with three juveniles under the age of 14 between 1991 and 2000.

Borough officials say Santiago joined the department in 1998. He had been on disability leave since December 2008 and is now suspended without pay.

Santiago is in New Castle County prison awaiting extradition to Pennsylvania. His phone number is unlisted and it was not clear if he had an attorney.

MyFoxPhilly

May 28, 2010


Added: May. 28, 2010

Indiana, USA

Luis Gonzales

Alleged rapists' victims afraid to tell

Indianapolis - Prosecutors expect to file more charges against a man suspected of molesting and raping as many as nine women and girls on the northwest side. Police say 27-year old Luis Gonzales was a serial rapist - preying solely on Hispanic victims for at least five months.

Police say investigating this case was challenging. They didn't begin to put the pieces together until an 11-year-old girl reported being assaulted in May. But the first known attack occurred five months before that.

It was a January evening at about 10:00 at the La Joya apartments on the northwest side of Indianapolis. A 23-year-old woman walked into her building carrying bags and her baby. She says an attacker waited - pretending to be talking on his cell phone. After she went in the building, she says he grabbed and groped her in the stairwell.

An affidavit states she was holding her baby tightly during the attack, and the infant began to cry. At that point her attacker ran away.

But no police report was filed. Detectives believe for the next five months, Luis Gonzales terrorized, molested, and raped as many as nine Hispanic women and girls in west side apartment complexes. The youngest known victim is 11-years old.

Asked why the public wasn't made aware of a serial rapist, IMPD officer Lt. Jeff Duhamell responded, "The lack of reporting from some of our victims, and probably the language barrier and maybe some of them were afraid to come forward because they may be in our country illegally."

Marion County prosecutor Carl Brizzi believes there are likely more victims out there, and at a press conference on Thursday, he had a clear message to victims.

"There is absolutely no threat of immigration and customs enforcement, ICE, of us reporting that documentation status as a result of reporting a crime," Brizzi said.

Luis Gonzales has ties to Indianapolis. The probable cause affidavit states he graduated from Lawrence North High School and has lived in the city for six years. He's being held on a $100,000 bond, and has declined our request for an interview.

WISH TV

May 28, 2010


Added: May. 28, 2010

California, USA

Teen Assaulted In Arroyo Grande

Arroyo Grande, CA -- Police arrested a parolee who allegedly assaulted a teen yesterday afternoon. This happened at about 4:30 in the area near Arroyo Grande Community Hospital and Arroyo Grande High School. Authorities received several reports by phone that a girl was thrown to the ground near the hospital. Many later calls told officers that within minutes several witnesses chased the suspect, 23-year-old Fernando Frias, and cornered him in the back of a home on Cerro Vista Circle.

Meanwhile, according to the Tribune, officers found the 17-year-old victim, near the Fair Oaks bridge with injuries to her head and face. They arrested Frias who is currently on parole. Frias was booked into the San Luis Obispo County Jail on suspicion of kidnapping, assault with a deadly weapon and violating the terms of his parole.

King Harris

KVEC

May 27. 2010


Added: May. 28, 2010

Oregon, USA

Ismael Recinos-Velasquez

Reward Offered for Sex Assault Suspect

Crime Stoppers and the Washington County Sheriff's office are offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of a man wante for sexual assault. Investigators say Ismael Recinos-Velasquez, who may also go by Jose Perez-Perez, or the name 'Carlos', sexually abused his girlfriend's 14-year old daughter and another 12-year old girl.

A warrant was issued for Recinos-Velasquez's arrest on May 13th. He's wanted on charges of first-degree rape and sodomy, along with numerous other charges.

Recinos-Velasquez is 5' 3" tall and 140 pounds. If you see him, call Crime Stoppers at 503-823-4357, go online to crimestoppers oforegon.com, or text message to 823HELP.

Chris Brown

KXL

May 27, 2010


Added: May. 28, 2010

California, USA

Police seek man accused of the assault and attempted kidnap of his ex-girlfriend

Pasadena - Police are searching for a 53-year-old man who allegedly beat and tried to kidnap his ex-girlfriend Thursday afternoon.

At about 1:07 p.m. a 45-year-old female Hispanic, of Temple City, was waiting at a bus stop in the 200 block of South Lake Avenue when the man allegedly grabbed her by the hair and began striking her, Pasadena Police Lt. Chris Russ said.

The victim suffered minor bruising to her face and arms and also complained of back pain, he said.

After a struggle, the man dragged her through a nearby parking lot and attempted to force her into his 2000 Honda Odyssey, but he fled on foot after several passersby came to her assistance, Russ said.

The man is described as a 5-foot-6-inch male Hispanic weighing 186 pounds.

The Pasadena Star News

May 28, 2010


Added: May. 28, 2010

Texas, USA

Midland Police Searching for Suspect Wanted for Inappropriate Conduct

Midland Police are trying to track down a man who has a problem keeping his hands to himself.

A suspect is wanted for inappropriate conduct.

The man in question is Hispanic, who apparently goes around touching women in stores.

He reportedly rubs or bumps into them, making it seem like an accident.

If this has happened to you in an offensive manner or if you have any information, call Midland Police or CrimeStoppers at 649-TIPS.

NewsWest 9

May 28, 2010


Added: May. 28, 2010

Southwest USA

U.S. Border Patrol Weekly Blotter: May 20 - May 26

Excerpt

May 26, 2010 - Tucson Sector - Border Patrol agents arrested an illegal alien from Mexico near Amado, Arizona. Records checks revealed the subject had prior convictions for rape, the sale of marijuana, domestic violence, and possession of a controlled substance. The subject had also been previously removed from the United States.

May 25, 2010 - El Centro Sector - Border Patrol agents arrested an illegal alien from Mexico near Calexico, California. Records checks revealed the subject was a convicted sex offender in the state of California, and had been previously removed from the United States.

May 25, 2010 - El Paso Sector - Border Patrol agents arrested an illegal alien from Mexico near El Paso, Texas. Records checks revealed the subject had prior convictions for rape with threat in the state of California, assault with intent to cause serious injury/sexual abuse in the state of New York, and had been previously removed from the United States.

May 22, 2010 - El Paso Sector - Border Patrol agents arrested an illegal alien from Mexico near El Paso, Texas. Records checks revealed the subject had a prior conviction for fondling, and lewd and lascivious acts against a child in the state of Florida. The subject had also been previously removed from the United States.

May 21, 2010 - Tucson Sector - Border Patrol agents arrested an illegal alien from Mexico near Sells, Arizona. Records checks revealed the subject had a prior conviction for lascivious acts with a child / false imprisonment with violence in the state of California. The subject had also been previously removed from the United States.

May 20, 2010 - Tucson Sector - Border Patrol agents arrested an illegal alien from Mexico near Arivaca, Arizona. Record checks revealed the subject had prior convictions for aggravated child molestation and felony sodomy in the state of Georgia. The subject had also been previously removed from the United States.

U.S. Border Patrol

May 26, 2010


Added: May. 27, 2010

Illinoid, USA

Jennifer Hurtado

11-Year-Old Girl Missing With 22-Year-Old Paramour

An 11-year-old girl is missing from her Brighton Park neighborhood home, and police say she may have disappeared with a much-older man she calls her boyfriend.

Jennifer Hurtado is missing... She was last seen wearing a yellow shirt with the word "Shields" in purple lettering.

She was also wearing blue jeans, black slip-on shoes and was with her 22-year-old "paramour" Jose "Carlos" Contrerras, the release said.

She is described as 4 feet 8 inches tall, 100 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes, according to the release, which said the two may be heading for Mexico or North Carolina.

Anyone with information should contact the Chicago Police Wentworth Area Special Victims Unit, at (312) 747-8385.

CBS

May 26, 2010

See also:

Added: May. 26, 2010

Illinois, USA / Mexico

Police seek girl, 11, who vanished from Southwest Side with man

A missing persons alert has been issued for an 11-year-old girl who has gone missing from the Southwest Side and may be heading to Mexico or North Carolina with her 22-year-old boyfriend, police said.

Jennifer Hurtado, 11, is missing... according to release from police News Affairs. She was last seen wearing a yellow shirt with purple lettering that said, “Shields” that was worn over a black t-shirt.

She was wearing blue jeans, black slip-on shoes and was with her 22-year-old boyfriend Jose “Carlos” Contrerras, the release said.

She is described as 4-foot-8, 100 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes, according to the release, which said the two may be heading for Mexico or North Carolina.

Anyone with information should contact Wentworth Area detectives are (312) 747-8385.

The Chicago Sun TImes

May 26, 2010 0


Added: May. 26, 2010

The Americas

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

40th Washington Conference on the Americas

Remarks of U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

Council of the Americas was pleased to hold its 40th Washington Conference on the Americas. For 40 years, the Washington Conference on the Americas has been honored to host presidents of the United States, foreign heads of state, U.S. cabinet officials, ministers from the region, and congressional leaders...

As the opening speaker at the 40th Annual Washington Conference, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton talked about the primacy of hemispheric issues on the Obama administration’s agenda. She... stressed three priority areas for cooperation between the United States and Latin America: trade and energy partnerships, public security, and inequality and immigration...

[An] area of concern stressed by the secretary was public security... She referred to the “barbarism” of organized crime syndicates, comment[ed] on Washington’s support for Plan Colombia and the Merida Initiative, but also urged for “smarter, more effective strategies.”

...Clinton referred to the twin issues of inequity and immigration. “We don’t have the poorest people in the world in Latin America, with the exception of Haiti, but we have the most inequity,” said the secretary. “Therefore we need to have a partnership between the public and private sector to address this.” In particular, she spoke of the need to increase tax revenues in the region. “We can take a lot of joy in the positive GDP growth, but income disparity continues to grow,” she said, noting it is “a source of social and political instability” that feeds criminal activity. “We have to do a better job.” ...

U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis

Remarks of Hilda Solis, U.S. Secretary of Labor

One of [U.S. Labor Secretary] Secretary Solis’ main concerns is the 12.5 percent unemployment rate among the Latino population. Latinos-who Solis termed the “new entrepreneurs”-are the fastest growing demographic in the U.S. and will account for over 25 percent of the population by 2050. This population, however, accounted for only 5 percent of the 3.6 million STEM (science, technology, education, and math) jobs in 2008. Solis and the Department of Labor are focusing on creating more of these jobs for Latinos as STEM fields are the future of innovation and competitiveness.

Latino workforce development also extends to training workers in the renewable energy sector and to breaking down the barriers between employers and employees.

The Department of Labor has launched a multilingual help line as a resource for workers that have been unfairly treated on the job and is focusing on bringing to light “good business practices” that help to prevent on-the-job injuries. Just recently Secretary Solis and Mexican Ambassador to the United States Arturo Sarukhán signed a declaration reaffirming their joint commitment to work collaboratively on informing Mexican workers about their labor rights. She hopes to extend this type of agreement to El Salvador, the Dominican Republic, and other Latin American countries...

Prepared by Jason Marczak and Carin Zissis

Americas Society

May 12, 2010


Added: May. 26, 2010

The Americas

OAS Secretary General José Miguel Insulza

OAS Secretary General Takes Office for Second Term

The Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), José Miguel Insulza, today... [took] office for his second term at a special session of the Permanent Council...

Reelected by acclamation for the period 2010-2015 in an election held March 24, Insulza described in a speech this morning delivered in the Hall of the Americas the main goals for his new term, reiterating the convictions that will guide his leadership...

Among the successes of his first term, the top OAS official mentioned the effective role of the Organization in nearly a dozen political crises in the continent, as well as the observation of more than fifty electoral processes, asserting that “nobody can in good faith affirm that the OAS in these years has failed in having, in all of these events, a conciliatory and unifying attitude.” In this context, Insulza renewed his commitment to what he called “the three basic pillars of OAS activity: democracy and human rights, integral development and multidimensional security, and the aspects most relevant to the people of the continent.”

With respect to the new five-year period that now begins, Secretary General Insulza reiterated his wish to have “a genuinely multilateral OAS, built by all of us jointly on the basis of common principles,” and he traced five lines of work for his new mandate: to develop a broad, modern and inclusive multilateralism; to increase support for democratic governance by promoting areas such as respect for the rule of law and institutions; to improve the balance between the tasks of democracy building and those of promoting integral development; to continue prioritizing subjects relative to public security, drug trafficking, money laundering, organized crime, arms trafficking and human trafficking; to give greater momentum to the subject of gender at the OAS...

Organization of American States

May 24, 201


Added: May. 26, 2010

Paraguay

The triple frontier region, where Paraguay, Argentina and Brazil meet, is a major child and adult sex trafficking marketplace with many  thousands of victims.

Todos los casos deben ser remitidos a Asuncion para su investigacion

Impunidad hace florecer el trafico de personas en las Tres Fronteras

El tráfico de personas en la zona de las Tres Fronteras sigue siendo un negocio floreciente debido a la impunidad reinante. En el sistema judicial del Alto Paraná no existen datos de que algún caso haya sido elevado a juicio, buscando castigar a los culpables de este delito. El Ministerio Público se convirtió en una especie de “frezeer’’ para los hechos denunciados sobre la trata de personas. Ever Ovelar, fiscal adjunto.

Varios son los esquemas que operan en la zona para el tráfico de personas. Casi siempre integran el sistema las agencias de viaje que camuflan el envío de jóvenes a otros países como excursionistas. En el décimo departamento no existe una unidad fiscal especializada en el tema, pese a que los casos aumentan considerablemente. Los antecedentes algunas veces son remitidos a la unidad especializada en el tema a cargo de la fiscal Teresa Martínez, de Asunción. La fiscal estuvo en esta zona y dijo que al menos tres agencias de turismo locales están en la mira por vincularse supuestamente al tráfico de personas.

No quiso dar el nombre de las firmas para no entorpecer las investigaciones que casi no han avanzado en los últimos 30 días. En Ciudad del Este y Presidente Franco son donde más abundan personas que reclutan a jóvenes especialmente para llevarlos a otros países, de preferencia europeos siendo las mujeres las preferidas. Varias de ellas son obligadas a prostituirse y son mantenidas en régimen de esclavitud, mientras otros deben trabajar en viviendas en régimen inhumano.

El silencio de las víctimas y sus familiares contribuyen a que los traficantes sigan operando normalmente en esta región fronteriza. Pero la inacción de los organismos públicos contribuyen más para que se de esta situación. El Minis-terio Público de Ciudad del Este se convirtió en una especie de “frezeer’’ para los casos de trata de personas, pues al menos son 20 carpetas fiscales las que nunca fueron investigadas. No existen antecedentes en el Poder Judicial de la zona de que algún caso haya sido llevado a juicio oral y público...

All human trafficking cases should be referred to federal agencies in the capital city of Asuncion

Impunity allows human trafficking to flourish in the triple frontier (Paraguay, Argentina and Brazil) region.

(English Translation to follow)

Diario Vanguardia

May 26, 2010


Added: May. 26, 2010

US Fights Human Slavery in Major Cities

People from Latin America, Asia trafficked to the US for sex, labor

In almost every major city in the United States, advocates say victims of human slavery are exploited everyday.

"Human trafficking is a very serious problem in the United States," says Bradley Myles of the Polaris Project, an organization that fights human trafficking.

According to Myles, some of the victims are forced to work in the homes of the wealthy and at restaurants. Many others, especially women, are forced into prostitution.

"We know from our very own eyes that it's happening. We're not kind of hearing it third hand. We've been inside those places. We work with those women."

The Polaris Project operates a human trafficking hotline. Calls come in from around the country.

"So we're getting calls from Texas. We're getting calls from California. We're getting calls from New York, Florida and DC is one of those top five cities where we're getting calls," says Myles.

Deborah Sigmund, founder of the advocacy group, Innocents at Risk, says most of the victims of human trafficking come from economically depressed countries and are lured to the U.S. with promises of a better life.

"They want to think that they can come to America and have a great job so it's very easy to fool them," she says.

According to the experts, some of the victims are forced to sell sex from brothels disguised as massage parlors.

Tim Whittman of the Federal Bureau of Investigation is an expert on human trafficking in the U.S.

"The number one foreign country is Mexico," says Tim Whittman, an expert on human trafficking with the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). "Approximately 20 percent of our cases involve victims from Mexico."

The nation's capital is not immune to the problem. In Washington, the Polaris Project sees sex trafficking victims who are U.S. citizens, and women from South Korea, China and Latin America.

A study by The Human Smuggling and Trafficking Center finds nearly 83 percent of suspected human trafficking incidents involve sex trafficking. Advocates say other types of human slavery include people being forced to work as domestic servants and in agriculture. The FBI says the smugglers often threaten their victims and make it difficult for them to pay off their debts...

Elizabeth Lee

Voice of America News

May 24, 2010


Added: May. 26, 2010

Indiana, USA

Luis Gonzales

Sexual assault suspect may be linked to 7 attacks

Indianapolis - Police have arrested a suspect in the sexual assault of a young girl.

Luis Gonzales, 27, was taken into custody Saturday evening after an IMPD officer found him sleeping in a pick-up truck on Hillsboro Drive. A woman told police she recognized Gonzales from an incident a month or two ago when he attempted to fondle her. The woman told her father, who called police.

Police say Gonzales sexually assaulted an 11-year-old girl at her west side apartment complex on May 13. Investigators identified the suspect in that assault as a Hispanic male, who left the scene in a red Nissan pick-up truck, like the one Gonzales was in when police apprehended him Saturday.

Metro police detectives say Gonzales is a prime suspect in at least two confirmed assault cases. He was found in possession of a BB gun described in the other attacks, as well as other possible evidence belonging to his victims. He is being held on felony charges of child molesting and criminal confinement.

Monday, police described Gonzales as a dangerous predator, saying he may be linked to as many as seven attacks on girls.

"He is almost like an addict. He has to have sex all the time," said IMPD Lt. Jeff Duhamell.

One of the other attacks happened to a 13-year-old girl in the Covered Bridge Apartments on Georgetown Road. The victim remained reluctant to even report the attack until IMPD Officer Candi Perry, a Spanish translator for the department, intervened. That's when the 11-year-old girl in the May 13 attack came forward, too.

"Right now, we definitely have him on admitting two child molestation cases," said Lt. Duhamell.

Sex crime detectives suspect Gonzales in a May 7 sexual assault on a 23-year-old woman. The attack happened at the West Lake Apartments near Rockville Road.

WTHR

May 24, 2010


Added: May. 26, 2010

Georgia, USA

Man gets 35 years for sexually assaulting child

A DeKalb man will spend the next 35 years in prison after being convicted of raping and infecting a child with a sexually transmitted disease.

Omar Luna-Fraide, 22, of Doraville, was convicted Wednesday on one count of rape; two counts of child molestation; two counts of aggravated child molestation; and one count of false imprisonment, said Orzy Theus, spokesman for the DeKalb County District Attorney’s Office.

Fraide was accused of assaulting the child on multiple days in 2009, Theus said. He also infected the child with a sexually transmitted disease, Theus said.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

May 21, 2010


Added: May. 24, 2010

Guatemala, The United States

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

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

Photo: Larry Kaplow - GlobalPost

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

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

Ramiro Cristales, after he was abducted at age 5 by the Guatemalan soldiers who murdered his family

U.S. rounds up Guatemalans accused of war crimes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

U.S. involvement

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"I lost everything"

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

Matt McAllester

Minnpost.com

May 06, 2010

LibertadLatina Commentary

Chuck Goolsby

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

The genocide suffered by the indigenous Mayan majority population of Guatemala during the 1980s took place with the complicity of the U.S. Government, especially during the administration of President Ronald Reagan. Some 200,000 innocent civilians, including 50,000 women, were murdered by government military forces during the civil conflict. The nation's Supreme Court has officially declared that 200,000 orphans resulted from the war.

While the International Court in the Hague and other international judicial bodies have aggressively prosecuted, or at least charged suspects in the genocidal mass murders in Bosnia, Sudan and other equally notorious circumstances, the largest act of ethnic cleansing and genocide in the modern history of the Americas, which was carried out by pro-U.S. government forces during the Guatemalan Civil War, has until recently been off limits to effective prosecution.

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

In all, some 440 Mayan villages, located mostly in Guatemala's northwestern highlands region, were completely destroyed by Guatemalan soldiers during a brutal scorched earth campaign of ethnic cleansing that hid behind a cloak of supposedly justifiable cold war counter insurgency.

Guatemala's military was supported in this endeavor with military strategy, training and equipment supplied by the United States, Argentina and Israel.

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

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

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

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

A nexus with the anti-trafficking movement

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

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

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

As part of that work, I discussed the mass rapes and murders of innocent Mayan indigenous women and girls (among others) during the Guatemalan Civil War (almost all Mayan women and girls of any age, among other victims, were targeted for rape by soldiers and civilian paramilitary guards during the war). I also discussed Mayan Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Dr. Rigoberta Menchu, who fled into the jungle to avoid becoming another victim of a government massacre. Several of Dr. Menchu's relatives died at the hands of soldiers.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You cannot have it both ways.

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

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

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

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

End impunity now!

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

May 23/24/27, 2010

See also:

Added: May. 24, 2010

Guatemala

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

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

Guatemala: Massacre investigation breakthrough

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

David T. Rowlands

Green Left (Australia)

May 22, 2010

See also:

Former Guatemalan Soldier Arrested for Alleged Role in Dos Erres Massacre

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

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

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

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

The National Security Archive

George Washington University

May 7, 2010

See also:

LibertadLatina Note

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

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

Photo: MiMundo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

Ashoka anti-trafficking competition entry

June 18, 2008

See also:

LibertadLatina Note

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

Photo: El Gráfico

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

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

What was their crime?

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

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

May 23, 2010

See also:

Israel and Guatemala

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

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

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

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

Third World Traveler

See also:

May 26, 2009

More about Former Guatemalan president Efrain Ríos Montt

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

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

About Efrain Ris Montt

Wikipedia

See also:

Bill Clinton during his presidency

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

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

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

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

CNN

March 10, 1999

See also:

LibertadLatina

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

See also:

LibertadLatina

Raids and Rescue Versus...?

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

- Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

Dec. 18, 2008


Added: May. 24, 2010

Mexico

These workers from the Adulam shelter were arrested for forcing children and elderly clients into labor slavery, while also subjecting some of the victims to rape.

Photo: Mexico City Prosecutor's Office

Desmantelan redes de trata de personas en México

Una red de explotación laboral camuflada en un hogar social, que abusaba de menores de edad, y otra de prostitución que simulaba ser un salón "spa" fueron desarticuladas por la policía, informó hoy la Procuraduría General de Justicia de la capital mexicana.

El 13 de mayo la Fiscalía capitalina comenzó un operativo que se saldó este lunes con cinco detenciones y con la liberación de 37 personas, entre ellas 27 menores, a las que supuestamente se explotaba laboral y sexualmente en la casa de asistencia a indigentes "Adulam", ubicada en el oeste de la ciudad.

Asimismo, el pasado martes fueron capturados Claudia Escalante González y Hugo Escalante Penkoff, presuntos responsables de la red de prostitución que se ocultaba en una casa de masajes antiestrés en el sur de la capital, donde se engañó y obligó a vender su cuerpo a varias jóvenes mediante amenazas y extorsiones.

En marzo, cuatro de los huéspedes de "Adulam" denunciaron que eran obligados a comerciar con distintos productos en la calle, sin obtener remuneración, y a entregar entre 700 y 800 pesos diarios (entre cincuenta y sesenta dólares) ya que, si no lo hacían, se les negaba el alimento.

Una menor de dieciséis años denunció también que Emilio Moctezuma, director de "Adulam" y uno de los detenidos, la violó mientras una de las asistentes de éste la sujetaba.

Todas las víctimas eran amenazadas constantemente con ser trasladadas a otras casas fuera del Distrito Federal y a un lugar llamado Isla Veracruz, donde la hermana de esta última chica fue enviada para ejercer la prostitución.

Además, una mujer declaró que desconoce el paradero de su hija desde que le fue arrebatada recién nacida y enviada a un hogar de asistencia en el vecino estado de México, y otra -también menor de edad-, aseguró que le practicaron un aborto sin su consentimiento.

Human trafficking networks are dismantled in Mexico City

The Mexico City Prosecutor's Office has announced that establishments dedicated to human exploitation have been taken down. One location, which operated as a shelter for children and the elderly. The other passed itself off as a massage parlor, but was actually a house of prostitution.

On May 13, 2010 the city prosecutor's office commenced an operation that concluded with 5 arrests and the liberation from slavery of 27 children and 10 adults, who were subjected to labor and sexual exploitation in the Casa Adulam shelter, located on the west side of Mexico City.

At the same time, the authorities arrested Claudia Escalante González y Hugo Escalante Penkoff, who are alleged to have run a prostitution network out of a massage parlor. A number of youth were entrapped and forced to sell their bodies in prostitution while facing threats and extortion.

In March of 2010, four residents of Casa Adulam denounced to police that they were forced to sell between 700 and 800 pesos of various products on the streets of Mexico City. On days when the victims failed to meet their quota, they were not fed.

A 16-year-old girl also reported to police that she was raped by both the Adulam shelter's director, Emilio Moctezuma, and a male resident of the shelter, while one of the women shelter workers held her down.

All of the victims were constantly threatened with being taken to other shelters outside of Mexico City.

One of these locations was called Veracruz Island. The sister of the above-mentioned rape victim had earlier been taken to that location and forced to engage in prostitution. Another victim, a woman, told police that her newborn child was kidnapped from her by shelter employees and taken to another shelter in the neighboring state of Mexico. An underage girl victim reported that she was forced to have an abortion without her consent.

EFE

May 21, 2010

See also:

Perspective on this case from the Breaking Chains Ministry

The article [above] highlights a very important action that is just the beginning of what is going to be massive fruit from the last trip I took... There were 5 arrests and at least 10 more coming from this operation including the scum who rob these children from their homes and families. They used physical... as well as mental abuse and threats to force these children to serve as prostitutes. The big one is still coming but this is VERY GOOD....the government of Mexico is working to stop this evil and that is God!!! This is just the beginning...there are 6 operations live right now so please continue to pray for Jesus justice...

Reverend Stephen Cass

Breaking Chains Ministry

May 21, 2010

See also:

Added: May. 24, 2010

Mexico

Rescatan a 37... esclavizados de casa de asistencia

Sin embargo, los inculpados refirieron que por su labor habían sido recibidos por el presidente Felipe Calderón y en la Embajada de Estados Unidos.

De acuerdo con la dependencia policiaca, los detenidos explotaban a niños y adultos, a quienes obligaban a vender diversos productos en la calle sin recibir ningún pago.

Incluso, se informó que la cuota diaria que les exigían era de 800 pesos. En el operativo, se liberaron a 37 niños y... personas de la tercera edad.

Las víctimas dijeron a la policía que fueron violadas, otras que las obligaban a entregar a sus hijos recién nacidos, e incluso una dijo que fue presionaba para que abortara.

RECHAZO. Durante su presentación ante los medios de comunicación, los inculpados denunciaron una presunta fabricación de culpables por parte del Ministerio Público.

Y se dijeron dispuestos a someterse a cualquier tipo de investigación y análisis, “pero de autoridades que sean imparciales”.

Agregaron que el Albergue Casa Adulam goza de una trayectoria reconocida por varias organizaciones sociales, incluso por las propias autoridades federales.

Es de mencionar que los cinco detenidos cumplirán un arraigo de 30 días.

Thirty seven are rescued from shelter

This story repeats the story of the arrests in the Casa Adulam case. It adds that Casa Adulam was previously praised for its work by the Calderon administration, and they had been received at the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City.

Cronica

May 21, 2010

Note: Allegations of abuses taking place at Casa Adulam had been received and investigated since 2007. - LL


Added: May. 24, 2010

Mexico

Deputy Rosi Orozco (left)and Actress Mira Sorvino, (right) appointed in 2009 as  Goodwill Ambassador on Human Trafficking for the United Nations, at the Blue Heart Campaign launch in Mexico City on April 14, 2010

A... Moment With Mira Sorvino

Mira Sorvino... talks at length about her activism.

Mirror: Could you talk about your work as a human rights activist?

Sorvino: I was Amnesty International's campaign spokesperson to “Stop Violence Against Women” for over two years and on the subject of trafficking, I am Goodwill Ambassador for the UN Office on Drugs and Crime ((UNODC).

Mirrror: What’s been your experience?

Sorvino: I just came back from Mexico for the kick-off the U.N.’s worldwide campaign to combat trafficking. The goal is to raise awareness and to get countries to commit to fighting this trafficking within their borders.**

Mirror: Can you talk about that trip?

Sorvino: It was a fascinating trip and I did a lot of public speaking. It’s a country where not much is known about trafficking [?-LL], so I felt like I was able to be informative. The most important thing for me, by far, was going to go to a shelter for recently liberated girls, and I mean girls. I’ve met trafficking victims before, but they were all past 30. These were teenagers and children. I met a little girl who was eight years old who had been sold into a brothel when she was four. She was walking around with a big smile on her face showing everyone her arithmetic homework. When I saw her I thought ‘Oh God, please tell me she’s the daughter of someone here.’ She was a victim, just like all the other girls, but we should call them survivors. I felt like I wanted to adopt her, but I can’t adopt everyone who is needy. I just wanted to save her and protect her for the rest of her life so she would never undergo anything like what had happened to her. There is only one shelter in Mexico for girls like this and I got to meet thirty lucky survivors, but there are hundreds of thousands of girls exactly like them all over Mexico...

Mirror: How many cases are prosecuted in the U.S.?

Sorvino: We have only a 1 percent solve rate and have about same number of trafficking cases as murder cases. Can you imagine if we only solved 1 percent of the murder cases? So it means that we have intensify our efforts and raise public awareness, train the police, get the judiciary to be very well informed, and encourage everyone to become a watcher. It’s very subterranean and hard to find, but it’s always concerned citizens who call in with tips that break cases...

Mirror: Why are men attracted to these little girls?

Sorvino: The sexual drive in men is so strong that unless they are educated correctly throughout their formative years, once they are focused on a certain kind of sex object that they find stimulating, that’s going to continue to be stimulating for them. Every culture has always put a prize on virginity and youthful beauty so a child who hasn’t been “spoiled” by other people will always be more ideal to the “John” who wants to have something special. But, men need to be educated to the terrible sorrow that behavior is creating because many times the buyer of commercial sex is not really thinking about the individual, but just view it as a service. I think if you did sensitivity training for males worldwide, you might be able to discourage them from buying sex.

Mirror: We applaud you for doing this important work.

Sorvino: Thank you so much...

Beverly Cohn

The Santa Monica Mirror

Edition 50 - May 20-26, 2010


Added: May. 24, 2010

Haiti

Cassandre St. Vil

See also:

Haitian student had 'no chance to scream' when thugs raped her in earthquake aftermath

Christina Boyle

The New York Daily News

April 18,2010

Escala violencia hacia las mujeres en campamentos de Haití

Preparan abogadas estrategia legal para abordar problemática

Una delegación de abogadas y activistas de Estados Unidos constató en Haití, la alarmante violencia que persiste contra las mujeres en esa nación, y la escalada de otras formas de agresión en los asentamientos provisionales.

Ante la afirmación de algunas fuentes oficiales que responsabilizan a las víctimas de la escalda, “es importante contrarrestar este mito de que es por la promiscuidad, son crímenes violentos por extraños en la noche y ameritan la atención de la policía y otros grupos que ayudan a organizar los campamentos” dijo la coordinación de la delegación y abogado del Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti (IJDH), Blaine Bookey.

Los testimonios de mujeres niñas dan cuenta de que son crímenes perpetrados por grupos armados y asaltantes que las golpean y las amenaza si denuncian las violaciones. Las mujeres entrevistadas también sostienen que cuando reportan, la policía no las toma en serio.

“Es inaceptable que estas violaciones no sean castigadas, ahora estamos trabajando casos legales contra los violadores y para que las mujeres tengan la justicia que se merecen” dijo Mario Joseph, abogado del Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI) que recibió la delegación en su oficina de Puerto Príncipe...

María Suárez Toro

RIF / CIMAC Women's News Agency

May 21, 2010

See also:

Added: May. 24, 2010

Haiti

U.S. Delegation Finds Inadequate Response, and “Victim-Blaming” Approach to Rapes in Haitian Displacement Camps

Lawyers collect rape survivor accounts and plan legal strategy

Port-au-Prince - In over a week of on-site interviews and exploration, a delegation of U.S. lawyers, health professionals, and community activists found continued alarming rates of rape and other gender-based violence (GBV) in the displaced persons camps throughout Port-au-Prince since the Haitian earthquake in January. Expressed sentiments on the part of some Haitian government officials that victims are somehow to blame for the rapes is outrageous to human rights attorneys and community members, who find that women face a grave lack of security necessary to prevent and respond to the sexual violence crisis. Medical services are overwhelmed and unable to meet women's healthcare needs stemming from the assaults.

"It is critical that we dispel the myth that these rapes are a result of promiscuity," said Blaine Bookey, an attorney with the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti (IJDH), and coordinator of the delegation. "These are violent crimes being perpetrated by strangers in the dark of night and they merit the attention of the police and other groups helping organize the camps."

The vast majority of the women and girls reported being raped by groups of armed, unknown assailants who often beat them in the course of the attack, and threatened them with further violence if they reported the rape. Perpetrators often attack at night, when women are asleep beside their children; or when they go to the latrines, men wait for them in the dark stalls. "It is totally unacceptable for these rapes to continue to go unpunished," said Mario Joseph, Managing Attorney at the Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI), which hosted the delegation at its office in Port-au-Prince. "We are now building strong legal cases to hold rapists accountable and bring these women the justice they deserve."

Women who report rapes to the police describe being turned away, not taken seriously, or told to notify the police if they see the rapists again. "Pa tap vini" or "They never would have come," described one woman as to why she did not report her rape. These experiences foster the perception that reporting to the police is futile, especially if the survivor cannot identify her assailants. "If we are going to overcome a culture of complete impunity for rapists, we must create environments in which survivors are able to report these crimes and be taken seriously" said Lisa Davis, an attorney with MADRE. "Haiti's political and economic crises both before and as a result of the earthquake still do not relieve the authorities of the responsibility to protect women from sexual assault," said Deena Hurwitz, associate professor and director of the International Human Rights Law Clinic at the University of Virginia School of Law...

The Insti­tute for Jus­tice & Democ­racy in Haiti (IJDH)

May 17, 2010

Note: The above-described conditions of impunity facing women and girls in Haiti are also the daily 'normal' experiences of many women and girls across all nations in Latin America. - LL


Added: May. 24, 2010

Oregon, USA / Mexico

The Salvation Army's Christine MacMillan speaks at the recent Oregon anti-trafficking rally

Battling human trafficking

Christine MacMillan, director of the International Social Justice Committee for the Salvation Army, speaks last Friday at a rally put on by the student group, Slavery Still Exists. MacMillan spoke about the causes and effects of human trafficking.

Slavery Still Exists, an ASUO (Associated Students of the University of Oregon) student group, kicked off its human trafficking and advocacy awareness campaign with a rally Friday.

Kristin Rudolph, co-president of the club, said the rally’s purpose was to make students aware of a growing, worldwide injustice.

Community members gathered in the EMU amphitheater at noon to listen to the featured speaker, Christine MacMillan, talk about her personal experiences with human trafficking as the director of the Salvation Army’s International Social Justice Commission. The International Social Justice Commission has worked to fight global human rights violations, such as human trafficking, since its inception in 2007...

Rally attendees expressed surprise at learning the prevalence and proximity of human trafficking locally.

“I really didn’t know that this was such a big issue where I live,” University sophomore Apolinar Montero-Sanchez said. “I’m glad that people are getting aware of this stuff, because it’s a big problem.”

MacMillan shared several stories of human trafficking during the rally. For example, she explained that while sex trafficking is well-known, there are other forms of human trafficking, such as trafficking human organs. While visiting Mexico City, MacMillan discovered how unmarked ambulances pick up homeless children, strap the children onto gurneys, bring them to the hospital and drug them with anesthetics in order to traffic their organs. After removing organs, such as kidneys, the traffickers leave most of the children for dead.

Because the majority of the world is not informed about the topic, it continues to go on unbeknownst to many, according to MacMillan. She described human trafficking as “a very hidden problem in our world.”

She urged rally attendees to gain more knowledge about human trafficking and join the fight to end this problem...

Malaea Relampagos

Oregon Daily Emerald

May 17, 2010


Added: May. 24, 2010

Maryland, USA

Police Add Patrols After Man Grabs Girl

Annapolis police are adding patrols near school bus stops and around Bates Middle School after a pair of suspicious incidents involving a man approaching children.

ABC7's Brad Bell spotted some anxious parents waiting while their children got off school buses Friday afternoon.

"It has been the talk in this neighborhood the last couple days," said Joe Hall, a parent. "There's a lot of concerned parents."

So far there have been two reported incidents. On Wednesday, May 5, a man in a car approached a 13-year-old girl and, in Spanish, made suggestive remarks. The man then tried to lure her into his car, police said.

On Tuesday, May 18, a man matching the description from the first encounter made lewd comments and then actually grabbed a 13-year-old girl by her arm in a neighborhood a couple miles from where the first incident took place. The girl was able to break away, but police fear he may strike again

"The reason we're on patrol in the school bus areas and the walkways is to make sure something like that doesn't happen," said Ray Weaver, an Annapolis police spokesman.

Parents and neighbors appreciate the increased police presence and say they, too, are now on the look-out.

"Well, of course it concerns me to know there is a predator out there that's trying to victimize children," said Nancy Fields, an Annapolis resident.

"Me personally, since I have kids, I don't think he should be on the street," Hall said.

Police described the man as Hispanic. One victim said the man was 30-35 years old, average height, with black thinning hair. The other victim described him as six feet, one-inch tall, with a slim build. He wore a black baseball cap with the letters "NY" on the front, a blue zip-up hooded sweatshirt with white stripes and blue jeans.

The suspect's vehicle was described as a small, dark blue Honda and as a blue sedan with dark-tinted windows.

WJLA

May 21, 2010


Added: May. 24, 2010

Mississippi, USA

William Velasquez Castillo

Illegal immigrant arrested on child molestation charge

Pascagoula - An illegal immigrant sought for nearly a month and a half was wearing a shirt emblazoned with the phrase "I'm hiding from the cops" when he was arrested Wednesday on child molestation charges, and tried to wear the shirt inside out Thursday when he went before a Jackson County judge.

A guard removed William Velasquez Castillo from the courtroom, and the 27-year-old returned with his shirt on the proper way.

The guard said that Castillo must have switched his shirt around at the Jackson County Adult Detention Center before he was brought to the courthouse.

Castillo was arrested by U.S. Marshals in Lucedale late Wednesday evening, Jackson County Sheriff Mike Byrd said.

Investigators had been searching for Castillo since April 3, when a 10-year-old girl told investigators he molested her in a vehicle in Ocean Springs, Byrd said.

A warrant was issued for Castillo on April 23, and detectives believe he fled the area shortly after learning he was wanted, Byrd said.

Castillo was discovered by authorities at the Dorsett Hotel on Main Street in Lucedale.

Castillo told County Judge Larry Wilson that he was unemployed and had a previous felony shoplifting conviction.

"I served 1 year and 1 day," Castillo said. "It was from Harrison County."

Wilson said bail for Castillo at $50,000 and placed a hold on him for the U.S. Immigration and Custom Enforcement.

"ICE has their own investigation," Byrd said.

Cherie Ward

GulfFive.com

May 21, 2010


Added: May. 24, 2010

Arizona, USA

Jose Juan Martinez

Gilbert man accused of molesting girl for 4 years

Gilbert police officers arrested a 39-year-old man suspected of molesting a 12-year-old girl for four years.

Police were called to a home near Neely Street and Elliot Road Monday evening. The victim's mother told officers that her daughter said Jose Juan Martinez had molested her.

The girl told investigators that Martinez had molested her over the past four years and the most recent time was Friday.

Martinez was booked into jail on suspicion of 39 counts of sexual misconduct with a minor, one count of continuous sexual abuse of a minor and one count of molestation of a child.

Jennifer Thomas

azfamily.com

May 19, 2010


Added: May. 24, 2010

Texas, USA

Midland Police Searching for Suspect Who Tried to Kidnap Teenage Girl

Midland Police need your help tracking a down a man they say tried to kidnap a teenaged girl in broad daylight on Thursday afternoon.

It happened between 5:00 and 5:30 near the Family Dollar in the Kingsway Shopping Center on West Illinois.

Police tell NewsWest 9, the girl was walking home when a Hispanic man pulled up next to her, blocked her, then tried to talk her in to getting in his car.

The teen was able to get away.

Police are looking for a Hispanic man in his late 20's to late 30's, about 5'9," and heavy set weighing between 250 - 300 pounds.

He has moles or acne on his face and was wearing a white T-shirt.

He was driving a dented two door silver car.

If you have any information, call Midland police or midland crime stoppers at 694-TIPS.

NewsWest9.com

May 21, 2010


Added: May. 24, 2010

New York, USA

Thug bashes Chinese woman with pipe, assaults her in Queens: cops

A 23-year-old woman is on life-support in a Queens hospital after a weekend attack by a pipe-wielding rapist two months after she arrived in New York from China, cops said.

Officials are working desperately to get a visa for the woman's mother, who lives outside Beijing, so she can come to Queens to face the awful task of deciding her daughter's fate.

The young woman was returning from grocery shopping in downtown Flushing around 9:30 p.m. Saturday when a drunken Queens man smashed her in the head with a pipe and dragged her into an alley, authorities said.

Once inside the alley along 41st Road, Carlos Salazar Cruz, 28, removed the woman's clothing from the waist down and raped her with the pipe, according to court papers.

Two months ago, the young woman, who dreamed of becoming a lawyer, traveled from her native China on a student visa. She moved in with a distant uncle in Flushing.

"She was working in a nail salon, saving up money. She was going to start attending school," said Assemblywoman Grace Meng (D-Flushing). "She had good grades in China. That's why her parents wanted her to come and expand her horizons."

Now, the woman who once dreamed of a better future is in the intensive care unit at New York Hospital Queens. She suffered a fractured skull, bleeding on the brain and trauma to her vaginal area.

Meng said she and Rep. Gary Ackerman (R-Bayside) are working to expedite a visa for the woman's mother. Cops collared Cruz a few blocks from the crime scene after a witness, who saw him drag the woman into the alley and then emerge alone - called 911. Police later recovered the pipe about a block from the alley.

Cruz, who did not have a criminal record, emigrated from Mexico two years ago and found work at a Manhattan fish market.

He was arraigned late Tuesday on a slew of charges, including a top count of attempted murder. Prosecutors vowed to upgrade charges if the woman is removed from life-support.

Cruz's family said he claims he blacked out drunk and doesn't remember the incident.

"He woke up and found himself cuffed to the hospital bed," said his stunned sister, Patricia Salazar, 26. "He never acted violently....We just don't know why he would do this. We can't explain it."

John Lauinger

The New York Daily News

May 20, 2010


Added: May. 24, 2010

California, USA

Illegal alien charged with murder

Barstow - A 31-year-old illegal alien who was arrested Saturday on suspicion of kidnapping and raping a 33-year-old woman has now been charged with murder.

Melissa Curley of Arizona died of strangulation with asphyxiation, according to the San Bernardino County Coroner’s office Wednesday.

Police arrested Cesar Rascon in Yermo Saturday afternoon and charged him with rape and kidnapping for the purposes of rape. Now Barstow police are charging him with murder.

Curley’s body was found at the Sunset Inn motel at 860 West Main Street after police received a 911 call at about 9 a.m. Saturday. Detectives learned that Curley was staying at the motel, but wasn’t registered for the room her body was found in. The room was registered to Rascon.

Police found Rascon working at a Yermo gas station at 4:57 p.m. Saturday and arrested him.

V V Daily Press

May 20, 2010


Added: May. 24, 2010

Idaho, USA

Rape suspect deported 4 times

Edmonds - The man accused of raping a woman behind an Edmonds grocery store has been deported at least four times in the past 15 years, reports KIRO Radio.

An officer responding to a woman's cry for help Sunday night found 46-year-old Jose Madrigal on top of the woman and arrested him.

According to court documents, the woman told police that Madrigal had followed her and offered her $35 for sex, but she said no. She said Madrigal then forced her into the bushes on the north side of the store and raped her.

Documents say Madrigal told police "Sometimes we have control in our brains, but we make mistakes."

The 28-year-old Edmonds woman was treated at a hospital.

Snohomish County prosecutors have charged Madrigal in district court with second degree rape. He is also is being held for the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.

The Associated Press

May 19, 2010


Added: May. 24, 2010

Southwest USA

U.S. Border Patrol Weekly Blotter: May 13 - May 19, 2010

Excerpt

May 19, 2010 - El Centro Sector - Border Patrol agents arrested an illegal alien from Guatemala near Cathedral City, California. Records checks revealed the subject had a prior conviction for sexual battery in the state of California and had been previously removed from the United States.

May 19, 2010 - Tucson Sector - Border Patrol agents arrested an illegal alien from Mexico near Douglas, Arizona. Records checks revealed the subject had a prior conviction for sex with a minor in the state of California and had been previously removed from the United States.

May 19, 2010 - Tucson Sector - Border Patrol agents arrested an illegal alien from Mexico near Willcox, Arizona. Records checks revealed the subject had prior convictions for multiple counts of lewd or lascivious acts with a child under 14, as well as other sex offenses in the state of California. The subject had also been previously removed from the United States.

May 16, 2010 - El Centro Sector - Border Patrol agents arrested an illegal alien from Mexico near Calexico, California. Records checks revealed the subject was a convicted sex offender who had been previously removed from the United States.

May 16, 2010 - Tucson Sector - Border Patrol agents arrested an illegal alien from Mexico near Amado, Texas. Records checks revealed the subject had prior convictions for driving under the influence and willful cruelty to a child by means of sexual penetration with a foreign object in the state of California. The subject had also been previously removed from the United States.

May 16, 2010 - Tucson Sector - Border Patrol agents arrested an illegal alien from Mexico near Three Points, Arizona. Records checks revealed the subject was a convicted sex offender in the state of California and had been previously removed from the United States.

May 14, 2010 - El Paso Sector - Border Patrol agents arrested an illegal alien from Mexico near Columbus, New Mexico. Records checks revealed the subject… was a registered sex offender in the state of Arizona. The subject had also been previously removed from the United States.

May 14, 2010 - Tucson Sector - Border Patrol agents arrested an illegal alien from Mexico near Ajo, Arizona. Records checks revealed the subject had a prior conviction for aggravated sexual assault in the state of Illinois and had been previously removed from the United States.

May 14, 2010 - Tucson Sector - Border Patrol agents arrested an illegal alien from Mexico near Douglas, Arizona. Records checks revealed the subject had a prior conviction for indecency with a child/sexual contact in the state of Texas and had been previously removed from the United States.

May 13, 2010 - Tucson Sector - Border Patrol agents arrested an illegal alien from Mexico near Douglas, Arizona. Records checks revealed the subject was a convicted sex offender in the state of Wyoming and had been previously removed from the United States.

May 13, 2010 - Tucson Sector - Border Patrol agents arrested an illegal alien from Mexico near Sasabe, Arizona. Records checks revealed the subject had a prior conviction for child molestation in the state of Washington and had been previously removed from the United States.

U.S. Border Patrol

May 19, 2010


Added: May. 24, 2010

Washington State, USA

Investigators: Edmonds rape suspect deported nine times

Edmonds - KING 5 Investigators have learned that an illegal immigrant accused of raping a woman in Edmonds Sunday has been deported nine times. That's much more than previously reported.

Immigrations and Customs Enforcement won't comment on the case of Jose Lopez Madrigal. But KING 5 got the information through confidential sources and documents.

Larry Klein was the man who heard the alleged victim's cries for help. Police say the suspect pulled the woman off the street to a dumpster and raped her.

"I could see the back of his head. I could see his pants were down. I could see her lying on the ground. I could hear her crying, but I couldn't really see her face," said Klein.

Klein called police, who quickly arrested the suspect. But learning his identity took much longer because of some 30 aliases. It was only through fingerprints that they identified him as Madrigal, a Mexican citizen.

Madrigal's arrest and immigration record includes a staggering number of contacts with law enforcement since 1989. That's the year he was convicted of theft using a firearm in California...

People who live near the scene of Sunday's alleged rape wonder how it could keep happening.

"Makes you wonder, what are we doing wrong? How is he getting back in here?" said Kirby Aumick.

"It’s troubling. I mean, if this man should not have been in this country, he should have been behind bars then, really, this is a senseless tragedy," said Klein.

According to our sources, Madrigal's last contact before Sunday was around 2003. So, it's not clear how much of that time Madrigal was in this country.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement has refused to comment on the case which started making national headlines when it was learned that Madrigal had been deported several times prior to the Edmonds case...

Chris Ingalls

KING 5 News

May 21, 2010


Added: May. 24, 2010

Oregon, USA

Perez gets jail time

Judge cites official abuses

Former North Wasco County schools liaison Carlos Perez was sentenced Thursday to 45 days in jail and five years probation for making sexual advances to a 41-year-old Hispanic woman who had sought his help in receiving basic community services and Spanish-English translation aid.

Although he cut the jail time in half from the 90 days requested by Wasco County Deputy District Attorney Leslie Wolf, Wasco County Circuit Court Judge John Kelly said he was compelled to order some incarceration because Perez, a public official with many community and family connections, took advantage of and preyed on a low-income woman who speaks no English and who is an illegal alien.

“The offensive part of this has less to do with your laying hands on this woman than on your abuse of power,” Kelly told Perez before about 35 people at the Wasco County Courthouse in The Dalles. “You have status and respect in the community – you have power, and she has none.”

Kelly also ordered Perez to register as a sex offender and to have no contact with the victim or to come within 500 feet of her home. Perez, who was a family liaison and coordinator for the Columbia Gorge Educational Service District, is also barred from visiting any North Wasco County schools and from participating in any migrant services programs.

In addition, Perez will have to pay up to $3,000 into a state victims’ restitution fund to cover counseling sessions for the woman. He is also being let go from his job as a translator for Mid-Columbia Medical Center in The Dalles, Kelly said.

Perez maintained at Thursday’s proceeding that he was innocent, that the sentence was unfair and alleged it was the result of racial bias...

Wasco County District Attorney Eric Nisley said he thought the sentence was “appropriate,” and that there was “no evidence at all that this was based on his race,” Nisley said.

“The point is that a jury believed a Hispanic woman over a Hispanic man,” Nisley said. “It isn’t about Mr. Perez’s race.” ...

Keri Brenner

The Dalles Chroncicle

May 21, 2010


Added: May. 24, 2010

North Carolina, USA

Store surveillance photo of suspect

Suspect sought in string of sex assaults at stores

Charlotte - Police are still looking for a man they believe is behind several sexual assaults inside stores.

They have stepped up patrols at shopping centers in Southeast and Union County after they say at least five fondling incidents in three stores might be connected.

They say that they believe one man is responsible for the sexual assaults: two that happened at Wal-Mart on Tuesday, one at a Harris Teeter grocery store on Saturday of last week and two more at another Harris Teeter, this time in Union County, sometime in between.

WBTV talked to Dan Biber, a forensic psychologist who gave us insight as to what drives a person to sexual violence.

"Let's call it adrenaline," he said. "He gets a rush. Part of the rush is not just the sexual rush of groping women, but also the rush of doing it in public when there's a high risk of detection that he successfully avoids."

That is frightening to shoppers like Tracy Brown who said, "that's even more frightening to know that someone is getting a rush from assaulting people because ultimately, that's what you're doing."

Another reason? Biber told us the man could be rationalizing his actions by downplaying the severity of the assaults.

"He might in his own mind, think this is no big deal," he said. "He might just think, well, rape would be bad but this doesn't count."

According to CMPD officers, the girl was in the grocery store at 11516 Providence Road at approximately 12:15 p.m. when a man came up and forcefully fondled her from behind.

Police say two more women reported being groped at a Harris Teeter in Union County. They say, before Union Co. deputies arrived, two employees escorted the suspect off the property because the victims didn't want to press charges.

The latest incident happened Tuesday afternoon when two women told police they were forcibly fondled at a Wal-Mart store on Highway 51.

The incident happened around 2:24 p.m. at the Wal-Mart located at 3209 Pineville-Matthews Road. Investigators say the two victims, who are 55 and 47 years old, actually tried to restrain the man--but he was able to get away.

On Thursday morning, police released in-store photos of the suspect from two incidents at the Harris Teeters. The photos were taken on May 15 between 12:15 and 12:20 pm at the Harris Teeter at 11516 Providence Road.

Police are looking for a Hispanic man who is about 25 years old, and is between 5 feet 8 inches and 5 feet 10 inches tall and weighs about 150 pounds.

Although the incidents happened inside the stores, police say the man drives a white van with ladders on it...

WBTV

May 19, 2010


Added: May. 24, 2010

New Jersey, USA

Reverend Moises Cotto

Authorities say evidence backs charges against Newark pastor in Linden sex assault case

Newark - At the Newark church where his congregants dress all in white, he was known as a husband, father and respected pastor for more than 20 years.

But, authorities said, Moises Cotto, the 55-year-old pastor, had been meeting for the past two years with a female congregant at a motel in Linden where the pair had sex — and forced two teenage girls to videotape them in the act.

Cotto was arrested at his apartment in East Orange on Monday night, and charged with kidnapping, aggravated assault, attempted aggravated sexual assault and endangering the welfare of a minor.

His parishioner, Brenda Pabon, 37, of Middlesex County, has been charged with kidnapping and endangering the welfare of a minor.

But Wednesday, the assistant pastor of the Newark church, Yahweh Templo El Candelero, said he is convinced Cotto is innocent. He called Pabon a "problematic parishioner," saying she had recently threatened the pastor and vowed to leave his congregation along with her husband.

"I do think that an injustice is being done, based on my friendship with the minister," said Assistant Pastor A. Diaz. "There’s no truth to the allegations. He’s been an upstanding pastor for more than 20 years."

The church carefully screens pastors, Diaz said, and holds them to "high standards."

Prosecutors say they have significant physical evidence that corroborates the victims’ allegations...

Julie O'Connor

The Star-Ledger

May 20, 2010


Added: May. 20, 2010

Peru

90% de niñas madres fueron ultrajadas

Alarmante estadística. El 90 % de niñas peruanas que dieron a luz, entre los 12 y 16 años, fueron embarazadas producto de violación, frecuentemente por incesto.

Estos datos brindados por la Organización Panamericana de la Salud (OPS) fueron analizados en el Congreso de la República por la Comisión Especial Revisora de la Ley de Protección Frente a la Violencia Familiar a fin de abordar las causas y los efectos de esta realidad.

La congresista Olga Cribilleros (PAP), coordinadora de la citada comisión, señaló que si no se toma en cuenta el aspecto presupuestal, no será posible realizar un real cambio de los problemas de violencia familiar que se vive en el país. Mencionó que la falta de personal idóneo, jueces especializados así como recursos para capacitación a docentes que desarrollen el tema con contenidos adecuados dificultan la lucha contra la violencia familiar. Sobre las sanciones a los violadores, en Costa Rica, Perú y Uruguay, bajo el Código Penal, se prevé que un violador puede quedar libre si propone casarse con su víctima y ella consiente. Al respecto, la comisión estudia la legislación comparada de otros países para elaborar el anteproyecto de la nueva ley de protección frente a la violencia familiar...

Ninety percent of young adolescent mothers became pregnant due to rape

[We note that the definition of 'rape' used in this Peruvian news article refers to forcible rape, and not statutory rape as that crime is defined in the United States. - LL]

Some 90% of Peruvian girls who became pregnant between the ages of 12 and 16 became pregnant due to rape, often in situations of incest.
These statistics, provided by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), have been analyzed in the Congress of the Republic by the Special Commission to Revise the Law of Protection Against Family Violence. Their goal is to understand the causes and effects of this reality.

Congresswoman Olga Cribilleros, of the Partido Aprista Peruano (PAP - Peruvian APRA Party), who is the coordinator of the commission, said that without [congressional] funding, it would be impossible to bring about real changes in the problem of family violence that exists in the country. She added that the lack of qualified personnel, specialized judges and resources for training teachers to develop relevant content for students all hinder the fight against domestic violence.

In regard to punishing rapists, the commission is examining the laws of others nations. Commission members note that under the penal codes of Peru, Costa Rica, and Uruguay [not to mention Mexico and other Latin American nations], a rapist [even if the victim is age 12] can go free if he proposes to marry his victim and she consents.

For Gina Yañez, director of the Manuela Ramos Movement, these statistics demonstrate that work should begin immediately on this issue, especially in school and family settings, so that victims know what to do if they are raped.
According to PAHO's study, 33% of women between 16 and 49 have been victims of sexual harassment, and at least 45% have been threatened, insulted or have had their personal property destroyed.

Diario la Primera Peru

May 19, 2010

See also:

Young adolescent mothers learn to love and care for their children at the Chuka Chuka center.

In Peru it is not uncommon for women to raise 5 or more children., each with a different biological father. What is also common is for the mother’s latest companion to rape the eldest daughters, often resulting in pregnancy.

One expects a reaction from the mother, but not the sort of reaction that is so evident here in Peru. As a result of the rape the mother feels shamed and jealous and abandons her own daughter who is often without the comfort of additional family members for support and understanding.

These abandoned, pregnant, adolescent rape victims (‘adolescents’), often only thirteen or fourteen years old face a dull future. They are without money; support; homes and job prospects. Most worrying of all, they are carrying an unborn baby, who will enter a world where education will not be available to them and their options for a self-sustainable life non-existent.

It is not uncommon for such desperate girls to drift into the sex trade and drugs; further blighting their lives and potential to contribute to society

Our mission: To save as many of these girls and their unborn children as we can, to prepare them for and steer them into a richer more productive life than they could have known without this project.

Chuka Chuka

See also:

Adolescent prostitution in Lima, Peru

Video news report from Peru showing underage prostitution in the capital city of Lima. Young sex workers are shown sniffing glue, caring for their toddlers in the prostitution zone late at night, and negotiating with johns for the going price of 20 Soles (US$7.00).

(In Spanish)

ATV

Posted on YouTube


Added: May. 20, 2010

Texas, USA

Slain Houston Police Officer Rodney Johnson

Businessman sentenced for harboring illegal alien cop-killer

A Houston, Texas landscaping business owner was sentenced to three months in prison and three months home confinement for harboring the illegal alien who molested a child and ultimately killed a Houston police officer in 2006, according to a report obtained yesterday by the National Association of Chiefs of Police.

The investigation was conducted by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Houston Police Department.

Robert Lane Camp, 47, the owner of Camp Landscaping in Deer Park, Texas, and now a convicted felon, was also sentenced to a five-year probationary term with special conditions by U.S. District Judge Vanessa Gilmore. Camp pleaded guilty on Oct. 5, 2009, admitting that he knowingly harbored Juan Leonardo Quintero-Perez (Quintero), an illegal alien, by employing him and leasing a residence to him.

According to court documents, Camp employed Quintero in his landscape business. When Quintero was arrested and charged by the State of Texas with indecency with a child in 1998, Camp bonded Quintero out of jail and continued to employ him. Quintero was sentenced to a term of deferred adjudication for the state offense.

Quintero was deported in 1999, but illegally reentered the United States in Arizona, then flew to Houston. When Quintero returned to Houston, he resumed his employment with Camp. Camp also rented Quintero a home and listed Quintero's wife, a U.S. citizen, in government records as an employee instead of Quintero.

On Sept. 22, 2006, Quintero was arrested while driving a Camp company vehicle by Houston Police Officer Rodney Johnson. While sitting in the back seat of Officer Johnson's patrol car, Quintero retrieved a pistol hidden on his person, and shot and killed Officer Johnson. Quintero was convicted of capital murder in the 248th District Court of Harris County, Texas, and has been sentenced to life in prison.

Jim Kouri, CPP is currently fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police

The Examiner

May 12, 2010

LibertadLatina Commentary

Chuck Goolsby

Issues that may not (but should) be discussed  during Mexican President Felipe Calderón's May 19-20, 2010 visit to Washington, DC

The May 19-20, 2010 visit of Mexico's President Felipe Calderón to the White House is being closely watched in regard to how the U.S. will react to Calderón's speech before Congress. We know that the war against drug cartels and immigration are top on the agenda.

The issue of mass gender atrocities facilitated by state corruption, complacency and criminal impunity are also critical issues in U.S. / Mexican relations. While these topics are rarely discussed in the mainstream English-language press, holding Mexico's federal government accountable for defending the lives, integrity and dignity of women and girls is just as important as addressing the drug war and immigration. In fact, we believe that the U.S. press needs to step up to the plate and ask both President Calderón and President Obama about their commitment to saving women and girls from mass kidnapping, mass rape and wholesale enslavement, which are crimes that impact tens of thousands of women and children each year in the Aztec Nation.

President Calderón took a major positive step on April 14, 2010 by launching the world's first nationally sponsored instance of the United Nations Blue Heart Campaign Against Human Trafficking. Yet a day later, Calderón's diplomats derided, in front of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, the rape complaint of indigenous victim Inés Fernández Ortega, who had been gang raped by soldiers in 2002, with no effective response from the Mexican civilian and military criminal justice systems.

We repeat here below our list of some of the most critical gender rights issues that are not being addressed by the Calderón administration.<