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The Crisis Facing Indigenous Women and Children

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

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Foto: Belinda Hernández

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


 

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

Noticias de Julio, 2008

July 2008 News

(News Added During July, 2008)



Added July 30, 2008

Unites States

Native Women Receive Protection

The Tribal Law and Order Act of 2008, designed to lower sexual violence against American Indian and Alaskan Native women, was introduced July 23rd by the Senate Indian Affairs Committee. The bill would enable tribal police to enforce violations of federal laws on Indian lands and offers them greater access to criminal history information.

Amnesty International, which in a 2007 report found the rate of rape and other sexual violence for this population of women 2.5 times higher than that for other U.S. women, hailed the bill.

On July 17, the committee also held a hearing on the implementation of the Adam Walsh Act for tracking sex offenders, which the U.S. Congress passed in 2006 without tribal consultation. The law requires tribal governments to include all convictions for qualifying sex offenses in their registries and register offenders in the places where they live and work. Those [tribes] that don’t comply will automatically cede jurisdiction to the state, reported  Indianz.com on July 11, 2008.

The majority of tribes that are now working to create their own tracking systems face a 2009 deadline. The National Congress of American Indians has said that tribes that opt to implement the Adam Walsh Act should have the same rights and access to criminal databases as U.S. states.

- Besa Luci

WomensNews

July 26, 2008

LibertadLatina Commentary:

Native women and children in the United States have long been subjected to criminal impunity.  Today it is unprosecuted sexual assault that is the most glaring example of the second class status that indigenous people continue to hold in this country.

The statistics from the U.S. Department of Justice show that Native women in the U.S. have a 3.5 times higher rate of exposure to sexual assault than other groups of women (Amnesty International states that the rate is 2.5 times higher).

During recent years, the crime of rape on Native reservations has been virtually ignored and unprosecuted by federal prosecutors who, in addition to local tribal courts, have jurisdiction over such cases.

As Congress had written the current law, and as the President has enforced it, the typically white, non-resident rapists who stalk women on U.S. reservations can only receive a ONE YEAR jail sentence for rape - from a tribal court, no matter if the assailant is a repeat offender.

It has also been especially troubling to the Native community that 5 of the 8 federal prosecutors who were fired by former U.S. Attorney General Gonzalez had focused their efforts on increasing the prosecution and conviction rates for rapists who victimized women on Native reservations.

We at sincerely hope that the Tribal Law and Order Act of 2008 repairs these errors in the provision of equal protection under the law as it applies to Native women, and their undue exposure to gender violence.

- Chuck Goolsby

Afro Creek Catawba

LibertadLatina

July 30, 2008

See also:

Added July 26, 2007

Native America

Fired Nevada U.S. attorney had doubled prosecution rate in cases affecting Native Americans

After 11 years as an assistant U.S. attorney in Reno, where most of the cases from federal crimes on Nevada's 27 Indian reservations were handled and where he had prosecuted many of them, Daniel Bogden became the U.S. attorney for Nevada and made American Indian issues a priority...

Then in late 2006, the Justice Department abruptly fired eight U.S. attorneys. Bogden was one of five among the eight who had taken a leadership role on DOJ's sub-committee on Native issues...

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

- Indian Country Today

July 20, 2007

Added July 14, 2007

Native America

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

...Native women leaders say that sexual predators target Indian lands because they know that their chances of getting investigated and prosecuted are slim.

If these cases are prosecuted, it is most likely by a tribal court which, under federal law, can only impose a one-year sentence even for the most violent rape by a repeat offender.

Native leaders say white rapists travel from reservation to reservation offending...

- Indian Country Today

July 06, 2007

LibertadLatina

The Crisis of Sexual Exploitation Facing Native Communities in the United States


Added July 31, 2008

Mexico

Desaparecidas, muestras de exhumación de Susana Xocua

Tissue Samples from Exhumed Body of Indigenous Woman Victim Disappear

LibertadLatina note:

As reported in a July 18th story by CIMAC Noticias in Mexico, federal and Veracruz state judicial authorities recently conducted the exhumation of the body of Susana Xocua, a 64-year-old indigenous woman from the Zongolica Mountain region of Veracruz. The Xocua case is troubling in that state authorities at-first labeled the death to be from natural causes, despite the fact that 250 neighbors saw Ms. Xocua's body lying in a corn field bloodied, semi-nude, with her legs opened, and with visible signs of torture present.

**

Juan Carlos Mezhua Campos, the Secretary for Indigenous Affairs for the Revolutionary Democratic Party (PRD), has announced that the tissue samples taken during the recent autopsy of the body of Ms. Susana Xocua have disappeared.

In addition, the federal forensic specialists requested who were believed to be participating in the examination have issued a statement saying that they were not involved in the autopsy of Ms. Xocua.

The family of Ms. Xocua had requested that independent forensic specialists from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) participate. However, Veracruz authorities assured the family that it was not necessary, as federal experts from Mexico City were participating.

With the federal denial of involvement in the forensic investigation and with the disappearance of the tissue samples, state officials are now announcing that they don't know who is in charge of analyzing the tissue samples.

In other developments...

* Veracruz state congressional deputy Alba Leonila Méndez, president of the legislature's Commission on Equality and Gender, is demanding rapid government action to clarify the unusual deaths of four indigenous senior citizen women. The victims, after apparently having been raped and murdered, were judged by Veracruz judicial authorities to have died from natural causes.

* Veracruz governor Fidel Herrera Beltrán travelled to the Zongolica Mountain region to participate in the inauguration of the first office of the state public prosecutor's office that will specialize in crimes against sexual freedom and against the family. The governor remarked that the opening was a first step in "trying to root out ominous and discriminatory treatment against indigenous women in regard to injustices, inequalities, atrocities and family violence."

- Mónica Tejeda and Guadalupe Gómez Q.

CIMAC Noticias

Women's Rights News

Mexico City

July 30, 2008


Added July 30, 2008

Mexico

Violencia Contra Mujeres Migrantes en Aumento

About Violence Against Migrant Women in Mexico

The National Institute for Women (Inmujeres) has announced that Central and South American migrant women face the risk of being trafficked as they cross Mexico on on their way to the United States. Wherever they end their journey [in the U.S. or Mexico], they face discrimination, labor exploitation, low wages, precarious living conditions, and have no access to social services.

For these reasons, Inmujeres considers that the two most critical problems facing women migrants today are reproductive and sexual health, and gender violence.

Due to current migration patterns, the problem of HIV/AIDS is having an especially severe impact on these women. They are put into high-risk situations during their long journey, due to the high frequency of sexual assaults that occur.

- CIMAC Noticias

Women's Rights News

Mexico City

July 24, 2008


Added July 30, 2008

Mexico

Centroamericanas víctimas de trata sexual y laboral al pasar por Veracruz

 Central American migrants who seek to reach the United States are tricked into sex and labor slavery in Veracruz

City of Xalapa, Veracruz state - During a recent workshop conducted by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), Martha Mendoza Parissi, director of the Veracruz Women's Institute (IVM) declared that human traffickers in their southern Mexican state are luring women migrants into slavery through deception. Women are offered supposedly high-paying jobs, an offer that they find attractive because it eliminates the need to go through the long [and expensive and risky] journey to the United States to improve their living conditions.

In Veracruz there are few reports of trafficking in women, said Mendoza Parissi. In fact, there are no recorded complaints involving the many undocumented Central American women who are known to be trafficked into sexual slavery in the southern counties of the state.

Mendoza Parissi: "it is common to see street ads in municipalities such as Acayucan, that are designed as a hook to pull these women into jobs in which nobody knows where the job is, nor who they will be working for. They only show a cell phone number. That is where the businesses that engage in human trafficking may possibly be found."

Mendoza Parissi went on to say that for these reasons, it is important for government agencies to understand what trafficking is and how it operates, so that they can build strategies to combat it. "Often it is the women victims who are punished by the law for defending themselves against being forced against their will to engage in a particular activity." It is precisely for that reason, she noted, that women refuse to report abuses by men to the authorities.

"Local governments create 'bottlenecks' in providing access to the law as it relates to violence against women. We have to resolve these issues as a first step."

The IOM and IVM are currently planning to conduct a study of human trafficking in Veracruz as a next step in their collaboration.

- CIMAC Noticias Womens Rights News

Mexico City

July 24, 2008


Added July 30, 2008

Florida, USA

Colombian warlords plead guilty to drug charges

Miami - Two warlords from a far-right Colombian paramilitary group blamed for some of modern Colombia's worst atrocities pleaded guilty Tuesday in federal court to a drug conspiracy charge.

Ramiro Vanoy Murillo, 60, and Francisco Javier Zuluaga Lindo, 38, are among 14 paramilitary members extradited to the U.S. in May for their alleged roles in a massive cocaine smuggling operation in the late 1990s. The two entered their pleas before U.S. District Judge K. Michael Moore in downtown Miami.

Under a plea agreement, Vanoy Murillo faces up to 19 years and Zuluaga Lindo more than 17 years behind bars. Prosecutors said they would drop additional charges against the two at sentencing. Each could also face up to $14 million in fines...

So far, Diego Murillo, 47, is the only other member of the extradited group [of 14 men] to have pleaded guilty. He entered his plea in June to drug trafficking charges in Manhattan federal court and faces a sentence of up to 33 years in prison. He is scheduled to be sentenced Dec. 18. Human rights organizations claimed Diego Murillo was behind hundreds of murders in Colombia as part of the right-wing United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia [AUC]...

Thousands of Colombians have lodged formal complaints of ``atrocious crimes'' against the paramilitaries - including murder, rape and kidnapping. Hundreds of mass graves are thought to remain hidden in Colombia.

- Laura Wides-Munoz

The Associated Press

July 29, 2008


Added July 30, 2008

Mexico

Drug-abuse backlash in Mexico

Agua Prieta, Sonora state - Perla got hooked on crack and crystal meth at age 12. Soon she was prostituting herself to support her habit.

At her lowest point, the girl said, she was selling sex for 50 pesos, about $4.75.

"As soon as one rock was done, I'd be out trying to get money for another," said Perla, whose last name is being withheld because of her age.

Now 15, Perla is in a rehab center in this Mexico border town, trying to put her life back together.

Stories like Perla's are multiplying as Mexico confronts a growing problem with drug addiction, a phenomenon that some experts blame on the Mexican government's crackdown on drug cartels and stepped-up U.S. border enforcement.

With drugs harder to smuggle into the United States, more remain in Mexico, where they are sold to local consumers, said Marcela López Cabrera, director of the Monte Fenix Center for Advanced Studies in Mexico City, which trains drug counselors...

- Chris Hawley

AZ Central

July 28, 2008


Added July 30, 2008

New York State, USA

Veteran Buffalo Police officer faces criminal sex charge, expected in court

A veteran Buffalo Police officer facing a criminal sex charge is expected to appear in court Wednesday.

38-year-old Monte Montalvo is accused of forcibly performing oral sex on 19-year-old girl last December.

It allegedly happened at Montalvo's home after he worked as an off duty security officer for a Fraternity party.

Montalvo has been suspended from the force during the investigation.

- WIVB

July 23, 2008


Added July 30, 2008

Hawaii, USA

Minister Charged With Abusing Girl

Honolulu - A Kaneohe minister was held on $2 million bail after being accused of sexually assaulting a member of his congregation for several years.

Manual Guillermo Taboada was the spiritual leader of a group of families who shared a large home in Kaneohe. Prosecutors said he abused his position to abuse a girl over eight years, starting when she was 12.

Taboada’s Web site describes him as a rags to riches immigrant from Peru who has devoted his life to God. On the site, he lectures visitors against the way of the flesh.

But prosecutors said the 57-year-old minister was a hypocrite, leading several families in a communal lifestyle while molesting a member of the flock for years.

“He told her if she told anyone that the ministry would fall apart and the children of other families would be taken away,” said deputy prosecutor Vickie Kapp.

The woman reported the abuse last week after turning 21. Taboada was arrested...

- KITV

July 23, 2008


Added July 30, 2008

California, USA

Inland Empire Teen rape victim, mother speak out

Montclair police are searching for the suspect they say raped a teenage girl as she cried for help.

The 14-year-old victim told police a man grabbed her by the arm as she walked home through an alley on Sunday night.
She says the suspect pinned her down on an old mattress behind a dumpster and raped her, and when she screamed, no one came to help.

The victim and her mother spoke to Eyewitness News about the alleged attack.

"I screamed three times three loud times. The first time I screamed he'd put his hand over my mouth, he slapped me and told me to shut up," the victim said.

"I want make him pay for what he did to my daughter. I want the ultimate punishment, and he'd be lucky if the cops catch him before I do," said mother Tina Torres.

The victim says the suspect also threatened her with a gun, although she never saw it.

The suspect is described as a Hispanic man, between 18 and 20 years old...

- KABC

Los Angeles, California

July 29, 2008


Added July 30, 2008

Tennessee, USA

MS 13 Leader Pleaded Guilty In Court On Monday

Nashville - The motto of the MS 13 gang is "kill, rape, control.” MS 13 is one of the largest and most violent gangs in the U.S., but when they made their way to Nashville, their violence couldn't be ignored with shootings and slayings often taking place in south Nashville.

Sgt. Gary Kemper brought three years of investigations to help prosecute the members, including a double homicide on Nolensville Road in June 2006 in which MS 13 gang members killed two men who they thought were in a rival gang.

"MS 13 worked on intimidation and fear and intimidation of the Hispanic community. That’s the way they worked. Their whole MO (method of operation) is fear," said Kemper...

The three who pleaded guilty in court on Monday were the group’s leaders. The most current head of the gang, Escolastico Serrano agreed to 45 years in prison.

His brother Oscar Serrano and high-ranking member Ronald Fuentes faced between 30 years to life. They'll be sentenced in September.

- WSMV

Sara Dorsey

July 28, 2008


Added July 28, 2008

Mexico

Otra Carta de una Sobrevivente de Ciudad Juarez

Another Letter from a Survivor of Ciudad Juarez

[Teresa Ortiz, an occasional contributor to LibertadLatina, found it necessary to flee the 'gender hostile living environment' in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, for a better life in the United States.  Her letters, which tell the truth about the realities in Mexico for women today, are available at the above link in Spanish and English.]

Excerpt from Letter 3:

...It is incredible to see that the mere fact of being born women puts us at a 90% risk [of our lives].

Sanity no longer exists.  Poverty and ambition have finished-off with all human values. 

The narcos see us [women] as a secure transport for their drugs.  They don’t look at our bodies as a divine work but as a tool to do their dirty work.  Our breasts, our stomachs, our vaginas and our uterus, are the perfect vessels to transport their garbage [illegal drugs].

Sex traffickers see the same thing, hoping to find in our bodies the perfect business. 

Organ traffickers look at us and start adding-up the millions in profits that unscrupulous doctors and organizations will pay for our healthy organs.

Sexual predators carefully stalk us, looking for the right time to rape us.  In every case, if we resist, they simply murder us.

Where is the law, and the government?

They are there, and they are perfectly aware of the problem. 

But they are filling their own pockets with cash, cash from the inert body of a woman.  Perhaps she is a little girl, or the mother of a family, or a university student, or a prostitute. 

These bureaucrats know perfectly well what is done with each disappeared and murdered woman.  But these bodies are their little gold mine.  After every transaction they celebrate and prepare for the next victim...

[Extended text in Spanish and English]

- Teresa Ortiz

July 28, 2008


Added July 28, 2008

Mexico
En el DF, 50 mil niñas y 50 mil mujeres víctimas de explotación sexual

Researcher: 50,000 children and 50,000 women are sexually exploited in Mexico City

One of the centers of sexual exploitation in Mexico City is located in the vicinity of the Secretariat of National Defense (SEDENA) near Military Camp Number 1, to the west of Mexico City, where military commanders come to pay up to 55,000 pesos [US $5,487] for [sex with] "niñas vírgenes" [virgin underage girls].

Currently in Mexico City there are 50 thousand women and 50 thousand girls who are sexually exploited.

Some 80 percent of them have a history of being raped and abused. Eighty five percent of these women and girls were born in the city. Another 15 percent came here through fraud, deception, sale, coercion or theft.

These statistics were documented by Rodolfo Casillas, a specialist in the field and a history teacher at El Colegio de Mexico, in his book "I remember well… Testimonies and perceptions of trafficking in girls and women in Mexico City," presented Tuesday in a presentation at the Digna Ochoa auditorium, at the Human Rights Commission of the Federal District (CDHDF)...

For Juan Artola, representative in Mexico for the International Organization for Migration (IOM), both across Mexico and in the capital city, the issue of trafficking is not new one, even if it is only now being widely recognized. Artola draws attention to the [absolute] lack of goods and services to support the victim community...

Federal deputy (congresswoman) Maricela Contreras Julián, president of the Commission on Equality and Gender of the Chamber of Deputies, found the data and testimony provided in the book to be shocking, and announced that through the Commission that she chairs, Congress will provided 70 million pesos [US $7 million dollars )for a shelter for trafficked women...

[Expanded Translation]

- Sandra Torres Pastrana and Carolina Velázquez

CIMAC Noticias

Women's Rights News

Mexico City

July 23, 2008


Added July 28, 2008

North Carolina, South Carolina, USA

Mexican National Sentenced For Role In Sex-Trafficking Ring In The Carolinas

Washington, DC - Jesus Perez-Laguna, a citizen of Mexico, was sentenced July 17, 2008 in federal court in Columbia, S.C., on charges stemming from a sex trafficking ring involving at least one teenage girl. Perez-Laguna was sentenced to over 14 years imprisonment and ordered to pay $52,500 in restitution to his victims. After his release from prison, Perez-Laguna will be on federal supervised release for the rest of his life...

In April, Perez-Laguna’s co-defendant, Ciro Bustos-Rosales, was sentenced to 70 months in prison, ordered to pay restitution, and ordered to comply with similar terms and conditions of release as those included in Perez-Laguna’s sentence.

During their guilty plea hearings in September 2007, both men admitted that they were involved with transporting a 14-year-old girl across the border between the United States and Mexico and the border between North Carolina and South Carolina in order for the minor to engage in prostitution. Additionally, both men admitted that they harbored illegal aliens for the purpose of prostitution.

“Sex traffickers prey on young girls and vulnerable women who are brought into the United States, kept far from home, and forced into prostitution,” said Grace Chung Becker, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. “The Court’s sentence demonstrates the Justice Department’s commitment to prosecuting those who exploited this young victim, who hopefully can now move on to a better life.”

“This is a fitting end to a disturbing case. Mr. Perez-Laguna had no regard whatsoever for the young girls he enslaved and victimized,” stated W. Walter Wilkins, U.S. Attorney for the District of South Carolina. “I applaud the dedication and hard work of the investigative agents who exposed this ring and the prosecutors who ensured the convictions...”

- U.S. Dept. of Justice

July , 2008


Added July 28, 2008

Maryland, USA

Former Montgomery County, Maryland Man Pleads Guilty to Holding Teenage Nigerian Girl in Involuntary Servitude

Washington - George Udeozor, 52, formerly of Darnestown, Md., pleaded guilty today to holding a Nigerian girl in involuntary servitude, the Justice Department announced. U.S. District Judge Peter J. Messitte scheduled sentencing for Oct. 7, 2008 at 9:30 a.m.

George Udeozor faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison followed by three years of supervised release...

According to his plea agreement, in September 1996, George Udeozor traveled to Nigeria and using the passport of his oldest daughter, smuggled a 14-year-old Nigerian girl to his home in Maryland. He and his then-wife, Dr. Adaobi Stella Udeozor, used the girl as an unpaid domestic servant and child care provider for their six children for approximately five years, from October 1996 to Oct. 28, 2001. The victim cooked, cleaned the home, did laundry, and took care of the Udeozor children. During that time, the victim was physically abused.

"The defendant stole part of the victim's youth by sexually abusing and forcing a teenage African girl to serve as a domestic servant for over one year," stated Grace Chung Becker, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division...

- U.S. Dept. of Justice

July 16, 2008


NOTORIOUS SEX TRAFFICKERS!

Added July 27, 2008

New York, USA

Grandmother Guilty in Violent Mexican Prostitution Ring

[Head of brutal family-run kidnapping and sex trafficking ring was extradited from Mexico]

Cadman Plaza East - A diminutive grandmother pleaded guilty to her role in a family-run prostitution ring that smuggled women from Mexico to New York who were sometimes violently coerced to perform sex acts.

Consuelo Carreto Valencia, who is from Mexico, pleaded guilty Tuesday in federal court in Brooklyn, quickly bringing to a close a trial that had begun only a day earlier.

The 4-foot-10, 61-year-old woman had faced 12 counts of conspiracy, sex trafficking and smuggling. She pleaded guilty to one sex-trafficking count and faces a sentence of no more than 14 years in prison.

Her attorney, John S. Wallenstein, said she was deathly afraid that she would die in prison if convicted on all counts.

He said he warned Carreto about the strength of the government’s case. “I said the jurors are going to want to jump out of the jury box and tear you to pieces,” Wallenstein said...

Prosecutors said Carreto was the matriarch of a family operating a human smuggling operating out of the town of San Miguel de Tenancingo. The Carretos, according to prosecutors, “engaged in a scheme to lure, entice, compel and coerce Mexican women and girls into prostitution” in Mexico and the United States.

The women and girls were smuggled across the border and brought to two apartments in Corona, Queens, where two of Carreto’s sons and another person forced the women — through violence, sexual assault, threats and other methods of coercion — to become prostitutes, prosecutors said...

- Associated Press

July 24, 2008

New York, USA

See also:

Mexican woman pleads guilty to sex trafficking

- U.S. ICE

July 22, 2008

Sex Slavery Investigation in New York City Nets Human Traffickers

...In one of the largest sex trafficking cases since the passage of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000, a federal investigation led to guilty pleas from three Mexican men to 27 counts of forcing young Mexican women into prostitution in brothels throughout the New York City area...

- Jim Kouri, CPP
April 24, 2005

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

Prosecution is one largest sex trafficking cases to date under the Trafficking Victims Protection Act.

- U.S. Department of Homeland Security

April 5, 2005

Dirty Little Secret in Corona

Cops Allege Homes in Queens [New York] Were Prisons for Latin Sex Slaves

- John Marzulli

New York Daily News

April 4, 2005

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

- The Associated Press

April 3, 2005

Rescued From The Shadows
(48 Hours Special)
(Covers Carreto Case)

- Peter Van Sant

CBS News

Feb. 23, 2005

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

- John Rice

EFE

Feb. 23, 2004

The Girls Next Door

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

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

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

- New York Times

Jan. 25, 2004


Added July 26, 2008

Mexico
Exhuman a Susana Xocua, violada y asesinada en Zongolica

Elderly Indigenous Woman Who Was Raped and Murdered is Exhumed

Susana Xocua exhumation, a case of rape and murder in Zongolica

Two months after a the family insisted that the Veracruz state government exhume the body of Susana Xocua Tezoco, and elderly indigenous woman, the state Attorney General of Justice heeded the request, and performed the exhumation together with experts from the federal government.

Relatives and neighbors of the woman from the community of San Jose in the Zongolica region had rejected the opinion of the PGJE death by a "strangled herniated bladder." Authorities never performed an autopsy on Xocua Tezoco, despite the fact that when her body found on May 25th, she was semi-nude, her legs were open, she was bloodied and she showed visible signs of torture. The victim was seen in this condition by 250 witnesses from her community.

The case of Susana Xocua is the fourth to have occurred in the Sierra Zongolica with similar characteristics: the victims have all been older adult women with signs of sexual violence and torture, whom the authorities have claimed died from other [non-violent, non-criminal] causes...

...According to Julio Atenco Vidal, the Coordinator of Indigenous Organizations of the Zongolica Mountain region (CROISZ), the advanced state of decomposition of Susana Xocua may hide the physical and sexual abuse suffered by her before death. Atenco Vidal expressed the idea that perhaps the Veracruz Attorney General's office delayed the exhumation intentionally, to obscure the facts in the case.

For his part, Attorney Veracruz announced that from this date forward, he will prosecute public servants of the attorney general's office who apply for autopsy waivers in cases where it is presumed that a death was caused by violence...

[Expanded Translation]

- Laura Castro Medina

- CIMAC Noticias

Womens Rights News

Mexico City

July 18, 2008


Added July 26, 2008

Mexico
Presentan nuevo programa dirigido a mujeres indígenas en Guerrero

New Initiative Aims to Strengthen Indigenous Women's Rights in Guerrero State

Mexico City - With the aim of strengthening the rights of indigenous women, the United Nations Office for the Development for Women (UNIFEM) and Rosa Maria Gomez, Secretary for Women's Affairs for the state of Guerrero, introduced in the House of Deputies their "Agenda for Strengthening the Rights of Indigenous Women."

UNIFEM consultant Patricia Olamendi Torres stressed that the project seeks social justice for indigenous women, and the full exercise of their human rights and citizenship, especially in cases where there are few or no [economic] opportunities for themselves and their families.

[Expanded Translation]

- Sandra Torres Pastrana

CIMAC NOticias

Womens Rights News

Mexico City

July 11, 2008


Added July 26, 2008

New York, USA

Grandmother Guilty in Violent Mexican Prostitution Ring

Cadman Plaza East - A diminutive grandmother pleaded guilty to her role in a family-run prostitution ring that smuggled women from Mexico to New York who were sometimes violently coerced to perform sex acts.

Consuelo Carreto Valencia, who is from Mexico, pleaded guilty Tuesday in federal court in Brooklyn, quickly bringing to a close a trial that had begun only a day earlier.

The 4-foot-10, 61-year-old woman had faced 12 counts of conspiracy, sex trafficking and smuggling. She pleaded guilty to one sex-trafficking count and faces a sentence of no more than 14 years in prison.

Her attorney, John S. Wallenstein, said she was deathly afraid that she would die in prison if convicted on all counts.

He said he warned Carreto about the strength of the government’s case. “I said the jurors are going to want to jump out of the jury box and tear you to pieces,” Wallenstein said...

Prosecutors said Carreto was the matriarch of a family operating a human smuggling operating out of the town of San Miguel de Tenancingo. The Carretos, according to prosecutors, “engaged in a scheme to lure, entice, compel and coerce Mexican women and girls into prostitution” in Mexico and the United States.

The women and girls were smuggled across the border and brought to two apartments in Corona, Queens, where two of Carreto’s sons and another person forced the women — through violence, sexual assault, threats and other methods of coercion — to become prostitutes, prosecutors said. The women were compelled to turn over their earnings — $25 to $35 for each sex act — to various brothel owners and to the Carretos, prosecutors said. The money was then wired to Mexico, prosecutors said.

Two of Carreto’s sons and a friend pleaded guilty to more than two dozen criminal counts for their roles in the prostitution ring. The brothers were sentenced to 50 years and the friend to 25.

Carreto was accused of helping to coordinate the operation from Tenancingo. In her plea, she admitted knowing that a woman living in her house in Tenancingo worked as a prostitute and had been brought to New York to work as a prostitute, her attorney said. She also acknowledged receiving money that had been wired from her sons.

- Associated Press

July 24, 2008

New York, USA


Added July 26, 2008

Woman Assaulted; Newborn Baby Dies

The Wayne County District Attorney's Office will decide Thursday whether an illegal immigrant from Mexico will face more serious charges in connection with the death of a newborn baby.

The Wayne County Sheriff's Department is investigating the death of the infant after an assault on the baby's mother.

Authorities say Juan Martinez, 28, assaulted his girlfriend, Angelica Ponce-Ramirez last week, causing her to go into premature labor.

Ponce-Ramirez delivered a baby girl at Strong Hospital Tuesday. The baby died about an hour later.

D.A. Rick Healy says Martinez kneed Ponce-Ramirez in the stomach at least five times and beat her leg with an extension cord.

Healy says the assault stemmed from an argument in which Martinez claimed he wasn't the baby's father.

"This is really a troubling case," Healy said. "The allegation is at least on the charge, it appears he intentionally assaulted her for the purpose of her losing the baby or the baby dying. It appears that way from the allegation that he struck her with his knee multiple times in her stomach. Being 28 weeks, that was his intent. It appears that way..."

- R News

Rochester, NY

July 23, 2008


Added July 26, 2008

Texas, USA

One Arrested, Two Sought In Retired Officer's Shooting

Houston - A man was arrested and charged in connection with the shooting of a retired Houston police officer, while two other persons of interest remained on the loose, KPRC Local 2 reported Thursday.

Raziel Jesus Munoz, 20, was charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

Police said Munoz shot Belle Ortega, 78, at an apartment in the 6900 block of South Loop East in southeast Houston on Monday at about 1:20 p.m.

Investigators said Ortega was visiting family members at the Plum Creek apartment complex when she was critically wounded in a drive-by shooting...

Two other suspects, Bruno Aviles, 17, and Andrew Garcia, 20, are still wanted for questioning in the shooting.

Ortega was the first Hispanic female officer in the Houston Police Department.

 

- KPRC

July 24, 2008


Added July 26, 2008

Texas, USA

Jorge Mejia is charged with aggravated sexual assault of a child

Houston police are searching for a man accused of sexually assaulting a young girl.

Jorge Mejia, 31, is charged with two counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child in connection with attacks on a 9-year-old relative, police said.

The attacks occurred during the past year, said Officer M.S. Bailey, who is investigating the case.

She said the child told another family member about the attacks.

"This child has been sexually assaulted by this guy several times," Bailey said.

She said Mejia was last seen about three weeks ago, when he sexually assaulted a woman who also is one of his relatives.

Dale Lezon

Houston Chronicle

July 24, 2008


Added July 26, 2008

Florida, USA

Man wanted for sexually battering patient

Volusia County - Police said 50-year-old Carmelo Eduardo Reyes-Rosado, a medical attendant at the center, is accused of pressuring a 26-year-old patient to have sex with him several times at the facility.

As early as June 2, the woman alleges Rosado told her she needed to have sex with him if she wanted to get into a residential treatment program. The patient at the time was sedated and in what she said was an emotional state, and feared she would not get the help she needed if she refused him.

She agreed, and told police that Rosado led her into a laundry room where he asked her to perform a sex act on him. This was the first of several alleged encounters at the treatment center that either took place in the laundry room or a conference room.

The victim told police that she was told not tell anyone what had happened or it would jeopardize her getting into the treatment program.

Police said the last encounter happened at the end of May when Rosado brought another female in the room to witness the sex act.

Rosado quit his job the same day the patient filed the complaint against him. Two days later, his attorney arranged a meeting with investigators where he admitted to two of the sex acts. An arrest warrant was issued on Thursday after the investigation was complete.

Police need your help finding Rosado...

- FOX 35

Orlando , Florida

July 21 2008


Added July 26, 2008

Texas, USA

Francisco Pedraza Cruz fugitive on charges of Aggravated Sexual Assault of a Child

Houston - Crime Stoppers and Harris County Sheriff's Office Child Abuse Investigators are seeking the public's help for information leading to the capture of 33 year old Francisco Pedraza Cruz, a fugitive on charges of Aggravated Sexual Assault of a Child.

Around March 2000, Francisco Pedraza Cruz would enter the 7-year-old victim's home when her mother was working and he would sexually assault her. This happened on numerous occasions and the suspect told the victim if she told anyone he would kill her and her mother. She finally told someone when she was 14 years old.

On June 26, 2008 charges of aggravated sexual assault of a child were filed on Cruz. A warrant was issued out of the 183rd District Court and bond was set at $30,000. He is described as a 5'6" Hispanic male weighing 210 pounds. He has black hair, brown eyes, possibly a mustache and a medium complexion. He still believed to be in the Houston area.

- KTRK

Houston, Texas

July 24, 2008


Added July 26, 2008

Indiana, USA

Man Accused of Raping Young Girl

A man is facing rape charges thanks to his fellow church goers. Members of an Hispanic church in Evansville told police officers one of their members, Armando Heras, had molested one of their other members, a 14-year-old girl. The girl told officers he had forced himself on her twice and sent her an inappropriate picture of himself via cell phone. Officers tracked down and arrested Heras, who claims that when he and the girl were together sexually, it was consensual. He faces several charges, including false informing for the fake name he gave officers during the arrest.

- TristateHomePage.com

July 14, 2008


Added July 26, 2008

Georgia, USA

Wanted for Rape of a Minor

Pierce County - Jorge Ibarra, 20, is wanted on charges he raped a 14-year-old female, which was reported to authorities June 30...

Ibarra has warrants for child molestation, rape and aggravated sodomy. He is 5 feet 3 inches tall and weighs 160 pounds. He is said to be fluent in both Spanish and English.

- The Blackshear Times

July 16, 2008


Added July 26, 2008

Georgia, USA

3 hunted in home invasion and rape

Three suspects are being sought in what authorities are describing as a home invasion armed robbery in which a 15-year-old female was raped.

The incident took place Thursday afternoon at a residence in the Beverly Park neighborhood, south of Newnan off Millard Farmer Road.

Just before 1 p.m., Israel Salis Rodriguez, 26, was at the residence along with a 15-year-old and two children when three Hispanic males entered through the basement door wearing gloves and sunglasses, according to the Coweta Sheriff's Office incident report.

Rodriguez told investigators he was surprised by two of the men when they came up from the basement stairs. The intruders demanded money, and Rodriguez attempted to fight them off. The intruders jumped him, tied him up with extension cords and began punching him and burning his right leg with a lighter, according to sheriff's office Major James Yarbrough.

The 15-year-old told officers that when the intruders entered the home, she was in her room with the two children. When two of the intruders made their way upstairs, the third intruder -- who was armed with a knife and a handgun -- remained in the basement with the three juveniles.

The attacker reportedly put the gun to the female's head and raped her, according to investigators. The two children were unharmed...

Elizabeth Richardson

The Times-Herald

Coweta, Georgia

July 18, 2008


Added July 26, 2008

Ohio, USA

Abuse among immigrants more difficult to confront; victims especially afraid to get help

Immigrants are no more likely to suffer abuse than other American women, experts say, but they are less likely to see a way out.

Isolated, unsure and maybe reliant on their husband for their visa, "It's harder for immigrant women to get safe." said Cathleen Alexander, executive director of the Domestic Violence Center, which runs Cuyahoga County's domestic-violence program.

Her center's recent experience in the Hispanic community illuminated a pent-up demand for help. Three years ago, it launched its Latina Project, reaching out to Latinas with lures like bilingual counselors and a Spanish-speaking support group.

A dam seemed to burst. The number of incidents of abuse reported by Hispanic women surged by 400 percent, to 240 cases last year.

One of the callers was Marta, an immigrant from South America who asked that her full identity not be divulged, as she still fears her abuser and his family.

For weeks, she said, her boyfriend kept her locked in an apartment without a phone, beating and raping her. At rare times when she was free of him, "I was too afraid to call police. He had told me I would be ignored," she said through an interpreter.

One Sunday, her minister slipped her a card with the Latina Project's linea de ayuda, helpline. Now her ex-boyfriend is in jail and counselors are helping her piece her life back together.

What immigrant women should know

* If you are the victim of abuse or rape, you have the right to the same protections as any other woman in America.

* You will not be turned away from a women's shelter because you do not speak English.

* If you ask for help, it is very unlikely anyone will ask about your immigration status.

* If you are afraid to call the police or a crisis hot line, ask someone to call for you.

* You will not be deported for leaving an abusive husband. U.S. law allows battered women with temporary visas to petition for their own green cards.

- Joshua Gunter

The Plain Dealer

July 17, 2008


Added July 26, 2008

Massachusetts, USA

Violent Assault In Front Of Local Church

Morning prayers at a Springfield church turn somber after the congregation learns of a violent act that took place in front of their church early Sunday morning.

Early this morning St. John's Congregational Church on Union Street was the scene of a violent struggle. Police say just before 1 AM a woman was held at knife point...dragged to a grassy area beside the church and sexually assaulted. It's a crime that left church goers horrified as they stepped through the doors for Sunday service.

Lilly Davis says, "They didn't have respect for God's house and to use another person, that is disgusting."

Daphne Reid says, "It's a place where you go for prayer and to sanctify and I think that it's wrong, I think we need a little more police in the neighborhood to see what's going on."

Police say somehow the victim did manage to escape from her attackers by kicking and screaming. Once she was out of their hands she called for help and was transported by an ambulance to the hospital...

Right now police are on the lookout for two men described as Hispanic males. The first is said to be in his 20's and was wearing a red shirt, a gold cross and blue jeans. The second man was visibly older and has a cast on one of his hands. Even though the congregation is upset the incident happened on church property, many say it's not a complete shock and right now their prayers are with the victim...

- Meredith Broadcasting

July 13, 2008


Added July 26, 2008

Texas, USA

Lubbok police probe second abduction

Lubbock police are investigating the second kidnapping in a week involving a white SUV, a stun gun, an attempted rape and a dark, secluded area.

Two women have reported being attacked by a Hispanic man in a white SUV. In both cases, the attacker, described as in his late 20s or early 30s, around 6-feet tall and 200 pounds, used a stun gun on the women.

"Because there are similarities, we're thinking they're related," said Lubbock police Sgt. John Gomez...

- Andre L. Taylor

Avalanche-Journal

July 12, 2008


Added July 26, 2008

Arkansas, USA

DNA links man to rape

Bond has been set at $100,000 for the suspect in a May 24 residential burglary and rape of a Batesville woman, according to an Independence County Circuit Court affidavit filed by Detective Mike Mundy with the Independence County Sheriff’s Office.

The suspect, identified as Saul E. Reyes, 23, ...is behind bars after his DNA was reportedly matched to his victim, her clothes and a knife he was said to be carrying at the time of the incident.

In his affidavit, Mundy said that just before 6 a.m. on May 24, officers were dispatched to another residence at 100 Hidden Valley Drive, where the victim told them that a man had entered her home and raped her at knife point.

The woman said she didn’t know the man was in her home until she woke up with him on top of her and holding a knife to her throat, telling her he would kill her and her children, according to Mundy.

“(The victim) advised the suspect was a Hispanic male, short, skinny, with short hair and a beard,” Mundy said. “She said the attacker kept telling her he loved her.”

She also told police she would recognize the man’s voice if she ever heard it again...

On June 11, officers were again dispatched to same residence regarding a burglary in progress.

Upon their arrival they found a Hispanic man armed with a knife, lying on the ground a few feet from a window that had been forced open, according to Mundy.

Mundy said Reyes was detained by officers while Detective Jeff Sims and Deputy Rob Leonard spoke with the victim inside her home.

“While speaking with (her) and advising her they had a suspect, she heard the suspect’s voice,” Mundy said. “She grabbed Deputy Leonard by the arm, becoming quite emotional and stating, ‘That is the man that raped me...’

- Guardian Online

July 15, 2008


Added July 26, 2008

Tennessee, USA

Man charged in prostitute's rape

An Oak Ridge woman reported that she was raped on July 12 and then saw her alleged assailant in the same area on Monday night and called police.

The 35-year-old victim on Sunday told police she had been raped on Saturday night by a Hispanic man while three other Hispanic men held her. Officer Daniel McFee saw the victim walking on West Outer Drive and talked to her there, reports said.

She told McFee she was raped about 3 a.m. in the basement of an Applewood apartment building on Hunter Circle. She said one of the men hit her on the head with something, and they took her to a back room of the basement and raped her.

On Monday, she called the Police Department from a pay phone and reported seeing the man going into another Hunter Circle apartment.

McFee arrested Alejandro Hernandez Cortez, 23, 103 Hunter Circle, for aggravated rape in the case.

Police Capt. Rick Stone said the victim and another woman went to Hunter Circle for solicitation of sex. He said the other woman was not a witness to the attack but had apparently negotiated a sex act with another person in the area.

Stone said that although the victim is known in the area as a prostitute, officers believe she may have been attacked. He said negotiations may have gone bad or she may have changed her mind...

- Beverly Majors

The Oak Ridger

July 15, 2008


Added July 26, 2008

Arizona, USA

Police: Sex Predator Behind 9 Attempted Attacks

Phoenix - A sex predator who tried to rape a 12-year-old girl June 11 is behind nine attempted sex assault attacks since January, police said on Thursday.

Investigators said the man poses an immediate threat to the safety of children in the community and Silent Witness posted a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and prosecution of the attacker.

The serial predator has targeted children and teens between the ages of 7 to 17, said Sgt. Paul Penzone. He said all of the attacks have occurred between 2 p.m. and 11 p.m.

The latest attack happened on Wednesday.

The June 11 attack occurred when the man approached a 12-year-old girl walking alone to her friend's apartment, shoved her to the ground and tried to rape her, police said.

The man ran up behind her in the 2200 block of West Campbell Avenue and attempted to pull down her shorts, officers said.

When the man pushed her to the ground and tried to sexually assault her, the girl screamed and the attacker released her, investigators said.

The girl ran to her friend's apartment and called police.

The man is described as a Native American or Hispanic male and is believed to be between 20 and 29 years old...

- KPHO

July 18, 2008


Added July 26, 2008

Utah, USA

...Rapist behind bars

Hurricane investigators, with the help of St. George police have caught the man suspected of rape, who has been on the run since last Sunday.

The victim called investigators on Saturday and said the suspect, 27 year old Jaime Avila tried to contact her again.

"During the attempt she was able to get a licence plate number," says Ken Perkins, Hurricane Police's public information officer.

Initial reports said the victim called 911 at around 2 am last Sunday to report the attack that happened at around 3700 West and 150 North in Hurricane.

The 17 year old girl described her attacker as a Hispanic male between 5'4 and 5 foot 8 inches tall, but did not know his name...

- Chance Walser

KCSG

July 15, 2008


Added July 26, 2008

Washington State, USA

Rape reported in Centralia park

Centralia - Lewis County residents are on edge after two rapes were reported in five days.

The first happened Wednesday at a Chehalis Subway shop where a female employee was raped, tied up and robbed.

The latest rape was reported five miles away, in Centralia.

The 17-year-old victim says a stranger, on a bike, approached her Saturday at Fort Borst Park.

Police say the suspect spoke in Spanish before leading her to a wooded area and sexually assaulting her.

He rode away on his bike and she was able to make her way to a friend's house to call 9-1-1.

- KING5.com

 July 20, 2008


Added July 26, 2008

Florida, USA

Rape suspect followed both victims to homes, officials say

Winter Haven - Law enforcement officials say they have learned how rape suspect Edwin G. Mejia-Zapata found the victims.

The suspect didn't know the victims and it's just a coincidence the two victims lived in the same neighborhood, according to Winter Haven spokeswoman Joy Townsend.

Mejia-Zapata, 25, told officers he followed one victim from Burger King to her home in the Verandahs at Lake Reeves subdivision, according to Townsend.

The second victim was followed from the 7-Eleven convenience store on Cypress Gardens Boulevard, near Lake Ruby, to her home in the same subdivision, Townsend said...

A native of Ecuador, Mejia-Zapata was arrested at his home around 6:20 p.m. Monday and charged with the rape of the two women.

Through DNA testing, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement determined one man was responsible for both rapes, though there wasn't a match in the existing database at the time...

A former aircraft mechanic in the Navy, Mejia-Zapata is charged with two counts of armed burglary and seven counts of sexual battery with a deadly weapon in connection with the two rapes...

- Shelly Godefrin

July 23, 2008


Added July 26, 2008

Texas, USA

Man wanted in woman's attack in downtown Austin

Austin police detectives released a composite sketch of a man they say attacked a woman in downtown Austin and tried to sexually assault her.

The attack happened early in the morning on July 19 in the 1400 block of West 6th Street.

The woman told police the man walked up behind her and demanded her money. Then he took her to a grassy area and tried to assault her, but she was able to get away.

The man ran. He's described as a Hispanic man in his 20's...

- KVUE.com

July 24, 2008


Added July 26, 2008

South Carolina, USA

Girl, 13, presumed to be with boyfriend, 21

Goose Creek - A 13-year-old girl has been missing more than a week, and police have accused an illegal immigrant of being involved in her disappearance...

Fernanda Amores left her home about midnight July 14 after receiving several e-mails from 21-year-old Noe Marin Jimenez, an illegal immigrant from Mexico, authorities said. They said that Jimenez wrote in the e-mails that he would come to Amores' house and pick her up that night.

Jimenez is wanted on a charge of contributing to the delinquency of a minor in connection with Amores' disappearance.

"He is not suspected of endangering her. The two are, against the family's wishes, a couple," said Casey Hoskins, Goose Creek public information officer. "It is, typically, a kid walking off. The problem here is that, because he's older, he is contributing to her delinquency."

- Nadine Parks

The Post and Courier

July 24, 2008


Added July 15, 2008

Mexico

Ocho de cada diez migrantes son violadas

Eight in every ten migrant women is raped as they cross Mexico

The 'American Dream' for many migrating women turns into a nightmare when, as they cross from Central America into Mexico, they become victims of psychological torture and other abuses of all kinds.

According to the latest report of the Forum on Migration, drafted this year, eight out of 10 Central American women migrants who cross the southern border of Mexico are raped, regardless of whether they are adolescents or elderly women. Among them are a high percentage of Guatemalan migrants [the majority of Guatemalans are indigenous].

Mary Galván, a social worker with the Instituto Madre Assunta, a migrant assistance agency, notes that sexual abuse is prevalent along both the southern and northern borders of Mexico. Galván lamented that: "Central American women are the most vulnerable, because they attach them-selves to a male fellow traveler for protection, and he takes advantage of her."

Galván recalled a case from 2007, in which three sisters wanted to cross the border. Assailants forced them to strip naked. The youngest sister, because she was mentally disabled, did not strip. She was grabbed by the hair and taken away. She has not been heard from since...

Pedro Pantoja, a priest who is in charge of the Posada Belén (Bethlehem Shelter), located in Saltillo, in Coahuila state, related the story of Marisa, a Central American woman. Pantoja: "After passing through the city of Tapachula [a border town near Guatemala], due to a lack of freight trains [to ride], Marisa had to walk through the forest. Twelve men robbed her of everything, and then they each raped her. A few days before this, a policeman had also raped Marisa..."

(Extended Translation)

- Prensa Libre

July. 14, 2008


Added July 15, 2008

Dominican Republic

Republica Dominicana: En primeros lugares del continente en trata de personas

Dominican Republic Holds Record for Latin American Sex Trafficking

An estimated 50,000 Dominican women are victims of sex trafficking networks

The Dominican Republic occupies one of the three ghastly first place positions in the number of victims of human trafficking in the Americas, with an estimated 50,000 women victims, aside from additional numbers of girls, boys and men also trapped in slavery.

During her remarks at the opening of the seminar 'Protection for Persons Affected by Trafficking,' Margarita Cedeño de Fernández, First Lady of the Republic, stated that trafficking in persons is a crime against the state and those who are affected by it. It is a crime, she said, that is linked to poverty, gender inequality, racial discrimination, social marginalization and unequal development...

A plan needed

The First Lady noted that a national strategic plan of consolidated action is needed. That plan must be well designed and coordinated to serve as an effective tool to eliminate this scourge, which, after trafficking in weapons and drugs, has become the world's most lucrative illegal activity.

In that vein, the First Lady said that the Dominican Republic has been combating human trafficking since 1999. Work began with the founding of the Inter-Agency Committee for the Protection of Migrant Women (CIPROM), created by Order 97-99. Since 2003 the country has had a specific law, 137-03, to combat human trafficking...

(Extended Translation)

- Diario Libre

July. 14, 2008


Added July 15, 2008

Central America, Mexico

What is the status of the Jacqueline Maria Jirón Silva case?

Question from Chuck Goolsby to Catalina Fernandez, development coordinator, Alianza Por Tus Derechos – June 12, 2008:

"What is the status of the Jacqueline Maria Jirón Silva case?

Although every victim is equal, this case is unique because we have a picture of this Nicaraguan girl who was kidnapped into sexual slavery at age 11, and because her mother, a domestic worker in Costa Rica, has travelled to every corner of Central America to find her. See: The Jaqueline Maria Jiron Silva case."

Answer from Catalina Fernandez – June 20, 2008:

"Jacqueline turned 15 this June 11, 2008, and we continue searching.

The investigation team of Alianza Por Tus Derechos (Alliance For Your Rights) in Central America looked tirelessly for Jacqueline in the border area between Guatemala and Mexico, which has given us information that she is there. However many factors make us believe that her rescue is not possible.

First, the case of Jacqueline reached Alliance for Your Rights nearly a year after she disappeared. This caused us to loose a lot of time in the search for her. Further, the corruption that rules among many Central American authorities has caused these officials to warn Jacqueline’s captors when we are in a given area, and they move her.

Here at Alliance for Your Rights, we are convinced that she was the victim of a network of traffickers that began in [the city of] Chinandega, Nicaragua . She was moved among the Central American countries, and she is being sexually exploited in a brothel in the Guatemala / Mexico border area.

We will not rest in our search for Jacqueline, but we call upon the authorities to help us. We know that there are honest people in their ranks, and we want them, and also the truck drivers who transit the border region, to alert us when they see Jacqueline."

- www.ChangeMakers.net

July 14, 2008


Added July 15, 2008

Guatemala

Rescatan a unos 150 menores

Some 150 children have been rescued from prostitution during 2008

During the 2008 authorities in Guatemala have rescued 150 underage victims from prostitution. The victims were being exploited in bars, nightclubs and clandestine parties.

In raids conducted by multi-state task forces, 65% of the women detained have been underage.

- Coralia Orantes

Prensa Libre

July 14, 2008


Added July 15, 2008

Argentina

Unos 5.000 niños se prostituyen en Buenos Aires, según informe periodístico

Thousands of children and youth engage in prostitution in Buenos Aires, according to a newspaper report

Some 5,000 underage prostitutes exist on the streets of Buenos Aires... says a report today that the Diario Popular (the People's Journal), quoting sources from the Argentine Federal Police.

According to an expert from the federal police, poor children between the ages of 8 and 17 are exploited by gangs that offer tourists a "low cost and relatively safe" form of impunity...

According to Fabiana Tuñes, who directs the NGO Casa Encuentro, 80% of the women who are victims of sexual exploitation are underage. Tuñes believes that the unofficial estimate of 5,000 child victims in Argentina's capitol "could be triple: that number. She said that in Buenos Aires: "We have to dismember trafficking networks and their accomplices in our political, judicial and law enforcement environments." Tuñes emphasized that "It is clear to us that these [criminal child sex trafficking] organiza-tions could not operate in the relaxed way that they do if 'liberated zones' that allowed pedophilia did not exist.

(Extended Translation)

- EFE News

July 14, 2008


Added July 15, 2008

Illinois, USA

Man accused of caging children in back of pickup

Posen - A suburban Chicago man locked his two young daughters in a wire cage hidden in the back of his pickup truck because he didn't have a baby sitter, officials said Thursday.

Ricardo Gonzalez, 35, of Midlothian, was arrested Monday after a woman at a gas station in Posen heard a crying child and spotted him pushing small hands back into a cage, police said.

He had a wire cage behind the front seats of his truck, police said. Black-tinted windows and a large plywood board in the back window concealed it.

Gonzalez told police he used the cage because he didn't have a baby sitter. He also said he wanted to control the girls, ages 2 and 5, so they wouldn't run away. Police said the girls did not live in the cage.

Gonzalez will appear in court July 31 on charges of misdemeanor child endangerment. Cook County prosecutors were exploring Thursday whether the charge could be upgraded to a felony...

- The Associated Press

July. 15, 2008


Added July 15, 2008

Washington, DC, USA

Serial rapist may lurk in the Northwest section of Washing-ton, D.C., police say

Washington, DC - District of Columbia police believe a man may be prowling the streets of Northwest neighborhoods early in the morning, burglar-izing homes and raping the women inside.

On Monday, noting a recent surge in the number of rapes and attempted rapes, police officials said many of the sex crimes are likely connected.

Police said they’re not sure that the latest incident, in which a Hispanic male in his late teens or early 20s broke into a woman’s home on the 3300 block of 18th Street NW around 4 a.m. Thursday, raped her and then stole some of her belongings, is connected to three previous similar cases from earlier this year, but it might be...

The first report came May 16, the next was nine days later on May 25, which was followed by a month break until the culprit popped back up on June 26. Fourteen days later, just before 5 a.m. he may have been back at it.

With a man like that on the loose, it’s best to be proactive, the two Holmes men write. “Keep the windows and doors locked ... a dog doesn’t hurt either.”

- The Examiner

Washington, DC

July. 15, 2008


Added July 15, 2008

Florida, USA

Fake cop uses threats and demands sex

Tampa - Investigators say Edwin Nieves pretended to be a police officer and threatened to take away a pregnant woman's children and notify immigration authorities unless she had sex with him.

Nieves, a 38-year-old from Tampa, faces charges of felony kidnapping, impersonating an officer and aggravated battery on a pregnant woman, jail records show. He was held in lieu of $59,500 bail, records show...

Nieves... began to fondle the woman, police say. The woman, who is seven months pregnant, then persuaded Nieves to take her home "so she could clean up" before sex, police say.

He ordered her to meet him in 30 minutes, police say.

Instead, the woman's relatives went to the spot and got his license plate number before he drove away, police say. When police located him, he was dressed in a police uniform...

- Abbie VanSickle and Casey Cora

St. Petersburg Times

July. 15, 2008


Added July 9, 2008

Sudan

Sudanese president charged with genocide in Darfur

The Hague - Netherlands - The prosecutor of the International Criminal Court filed genocide charges Monday against Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, accusing him of masterminding attempts to wipe out African tribes in Darfur with a campaign of murder, rape and deportation.

The filing marked the first time prosecutors at the world's first permanent, global war crimes court have issued charges against a sitting head of state, but al-Bashir is unlikely to be sent to The Hague any time soon. Sudan rejects the court's jurisdiction, and senior Sudanese officials said the prosecutor was politically motivated to file the charges.

Luis Moreno-Ocampo asked a three-judge panel at the International Criminal Court to issue an arrest warrant for al-Bashir to prevent the slow deaths of some 2.5 million people forced from their homes in Darfur and still under attack from government-backed janjaweed militia.

"Genocide is a crime of intention — we don't need to wait until these 2.5 million die," he told The Associated Press.

"The genocide is ongoing," he added, saying systematic rape was a key element of the campaign. "Seventy-year-old women, 6-year-old girls are raped," he said...

- Mike Corder

The Associated Press

July 14, 2008

See also:

Rape is a way of life for Darfur's women

- CNN

June 19, 2008

LibertadLatina

Our special section on the crisis of genocide in Darfur, Sudan

LibertadLatina Commentary

As human and women's rights activists, we strongly applaud the action of prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo at the International Criminal Court in the Hague in charging Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir with master-minding genocide.

We wish Moreno-Ocampo well in his efforts to arrest and try al-Bashir.  At the very least, al-Bashir will not be travelling abroad very much for fear of facing arrest.

Those who suffered through genocides where no justice was ever given, such as the victims of the 1980s and 1990s mass murders of mass rapes of Mayan peoples in Guatemala, also deserve their day in the Hague for what was done to them. 

Genocide, and the rape of almost every female, from children  through elderly women in Mayan Guatemala went almost completely unpunished by international legal action. 

Those acts were no less heinous than the terrible genocide and mass rape facing Darfur, Sudan today.  In both cases, justice cannot come soon enough.

End impunity now!

- Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

July 9, 2008


Added July 9, 2008

Sudan

Sudan fury at possible genocide charge

International Criminal Court may seek arrest of Sudan's president

The U.N. estimates 2.5 million have been forced from their homes in Darfur.

Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo has scheduled a news conference Monday, just after he is expected to filed the warrant with the court.

The Sudanese ambassador to the United Nations told CNN said Friday that the ICC has indicated to Sudanese officials that al-Bashir may be charged over the five-year campaign of violence in the country's Darfur region...

- CNN

July 11, 2008


Added July 9, 2008

Guatemala

Presentan estudio sobre femicidio en San Marcos

CERIGUA Releases Study on Press Coverage of Femicide in San Marcos

The study "An Analysis of Press Coverage of Violence Against Women" during 2007 was released to journalists and civil society representatives from San Marcos department [state], which reported that during the first half of last year the phenomenon of femicide claimed the lives of 272 women.

The study, by the Center for Informative Reporting About Guatemala (CERIGUA), which is dedicated to raising awareness about [femicide and human rights], revealed that last year 394 women were murdered during 2007, without arousing any serious interest on the part of the mass media to provide the public with analysis of the causes, a variety of  news sources or dignified treatment of the victims in their news coverage.

According to the study, the main characteristics of press stories about female murders involved sensational-ism and yellow journalism, the lightness with which they treated the subject, and a lack of effort to raise awareness about the causes of femicide and current trends.

The study noted that it is important to mention the victim's profession and contributions in society, and to present statements from those who knew them, as a way to reclaim the dignity of these women's lives.

According to the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) held in Geneva in 2003, the press must be guided by the principles of equality and non discrimination towards women in its coverage...

- CERIGUA

Guatemalan Human Rights News

July. 12, 2008


Added July 9, 2008

California, USA

ICE mounts outdoor ad campaign to raise awareness about human trafficking

"Hidden in plain sight" is theme of displays in San Diego and six other U.S. cities

San Diego - As part of it's ongoing effort to raise public awareness about the plight of human trafficking victims in the United States, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has launched an outdoor advertising campaign featuring billboards and transit shelter signs in seven major cities across the country, including San Diego.

Posters, bearing the slogan "Hidden in Plain Sight," were erected last month at 15 transit shelters throughout the greater San Diego area. The goal of the campaign is to alert the public about the existence of human trafficking in communities nationwide. In addition to San Diego, the human trafficking billboards and transit shelter signs are being displayed in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Phoenix, Chicago, Baltimore and New York City. Additional outdoor displays are planned for Houston, Miami and Washington, D.C.

"ICE is asking for the public's assistance to help us recognize and identify the victims of modern-day slavery who are in our midst," said Miguel Unzueta, special agent in charge for ICE investigations in San Diego. "These victims are domestic servants, sweat shop employees, sex workers and others lured here by the promise of prosperity, then forced to work without the ability to leave their situation. ICE is committed to giving trafficking victims the help they need to come forward, so we can put an end to this reprehensible form of modern day slavery...

- U.S. ICE

July. 13, 2008


Added July 9, 2008

Colorado, USA

Police Looking For Sex Assault Suspect

Denver police say they are looking for the person who sexually assaulted a woman who was walking along the Lakewood Gulch Trail.

Police said the assault happened Tuesday night around 1 a.m. in the area of 13th Avenue and Decatur Street.

Officers said a Hispanic man assaulted a woman, and then ran away.

He is descried as between 22 and 29 years old, about 5 feet tall and between 110 and 125 pounds.

- The Denver Channel

July 9, 2008


Added July 9, 2008

Virginia, USA

Composite of Suspect in [City of] Sterling Sex Assault

Loudoun County, Virginia- Investigators have released a composite sketch of a suspect in an attempted sexual assault that occurred Monday night in Sterling, VA.

A Loudoun Sheriff’s Deputy was in the area of North Ithaca Road and North Ithaca Court around 9 PM when she heard a woman scream. The deputy went to investigate and observed a man assaulting a woman. The man fled from the area and the deputy gave chase. A perimeter was established and a canine unit was called to the scene. The suspect was not located.

The victim told authorities she was walking home when the suspect grabbed her and attempted to sexually assault her. The suspect is described as a dark skinned Hispanic male, 5’5” tall, 170 pounds

- Fox 5 - Washington, DC

July. 13, 2008


Added July 12, 2008

Florida, USA

Police have arrested a man they are calling a serial rapist.

At a press conference Thursday afternoon, Miami Beach Police announced the capture of 29-year-old Arturo Soto and asked the public if anyone out there may have been victimized by this same man. So far they think he is responsible for at least two rapes and one attempted rape.

Police apprehended Soto Wednesday night after an attempted sexual battery. The chef at the Maya Tapas and Grill restaurant, near where the latest attack occurred, said graphic surveillance video outside the restaurant, which police have confiscated as evidence, looked like something out of a horror movie.

Police said Soto reportedly lured a woman into an alley at 14th Street and Collins Avenue where he punched her bloody and fled on foot after he became nervous.

Police officers caught up with him soon after, and, authorities said, he confessed to the crime. During the course of the questioning of Soto, authorities determined he is also a suspect in the November 2006 rape of a woman behind the Presidential Hotel, located at 1423 Collins Avenue, also in an alley.

Police added that he is also a suspect in the more recent sexual battery of a woman who was visiting from out of town. This attack occurred on June 24, outside a Miami Beach parking garage, again in an alley, near 919 Collins Avenue...

- WSVN

July. 11, 2008

Nevada, USA


Added July 12, 2008

[Undocumented] immigrant convicted of assaulting girl gets 57 more months

A deported [Undocumented] immigrant who returned to the United States and sexually assaulted a young girl will be spending another 57 months in federal prison.

Sergio Hugo Hernandez, 31, of Las Vegas, received that sentence Friday on top of a sentence of 10 years to life that he received in state prison for assaulting the girl, said Gregory A. Brower, U.S. Attorney for the District of Nevada.

Officials said Hernandez -- already convicted of carjacking and use of a deadly weapon in California -- was deported from the country on July 29, 2003. He then was found in the U.S. on April 6, 2007, during an investigating into the sexual assault of a girl under age 14.

Hernandez was convicted Jan. 9 of two felonies tied to the sexual assault of the girl. In February, he pleaded guilty to being a deported alien found unlawfully in the U.S., and today was sentenced to the 57 additional months in prison.

The case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Henderson police.

- The Las Vegas Sun

July. 11, 2008


Added July 12, 2008

[Undocumented man] denies raping 14-year-old relative

A man accused of raping a 14-year-old girl denies that the alleged victim is his relative.

Speaking through an interpreter in Floyd Circuit Court, Jenrry Yovany Zavala, 19, claimed the girl in question is actually his girlfriend, but a family member says otherwise...

Zavala has been charged with rape, a class B felony, criminal confinement, a class D felony, and contributing to the delinquency of a minor, a class A misdemeanor. He faces six to 20 years in prison if convicted of rape and six months to three years if convicted of criminal confinement.

Jony Zavala, the suspect’s brother, said he has legal custody of the victim. He reportedly called police when she went missing and led them to where his brother was staying near East 18th Street in New Albany.

Jony claims that when he went looking for the girl, a man told him that Jenrry had been trying to “sell” her as a prostitute.

...According to the affidavit, the alleged victim said that Jenrry kidnapped her, forced her to have sex with him multiple times and threatened to kill her. Police found her hiding in a closet...

“It has been very painful for my family, especially my mom,” Jony said. “But if he has the guts to kidnap a 14-year-old girl, what else could he do?”

Jenrry is being held in the Floyd County Jail on $150,000 bail. He will have to pay $15,000 in cash to be released. Judge Cody issued a no-contact order with the alleged victim.

- Matt Thacker

News and Tribune

July. 11, 2008


Recent Event

Thursday, July 10th Washington, DC

The Profits of Pimping:

 Abolishing Sex Trafficking In The

United States


Added July 9, 2008

Tennessee, USA

Man Sentenced For Sex Trafficking Of Adults and Juveniles

Washington, DC - The Department of Justice, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and the Federal Bureau of Investigation announced that Juan Mendez of Nashville, Tenn., was sentenced on June 27, 2008 to 50 years in prison to be followed by 10 years of supervised release for sex trafficking by force, fraud and coercion and sex trafficking of a juvenile. He was also ordered to pay $100,000 in restitution to his victims.

Mendez pleaded guilty on Dec. 13, 2007, to two counts of child sex trafficking and sex trafficking by force, fraud and coercion. Mendez admitted to fraudulently luring two young girls, aged 13 and 17, to Tennessee with the intent of forcing them into prostitution. Mendez further admitted to threatening the victims, physically and verbally, in order to coerce them into prostitution...

“This defendant lured young girls to this country with the promise of jobs working in a restaurant, then used physical and psychological abuse to force them to work in brothels across the South,” said Grace Chung Becker, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. “We hope that this sentence will give a new sense of hope to the young victims in this case, whose lives were tragically affected by the defendant’s criminal acts.”

- U.S. Dept. of Justice

Press Release

June 30, 2008


Added July 9, 2008

Florida, USA

Errata

Our updating of a recent story on the alleged beheading of a trafficking victim

LibertadLatina apologizes to its readers for the fact that we inadvertently published a story that had previously been reported in the Bradenton Herald in Florida, yet was later discovered to be false.

During 7 years of reporting on human trafficking and exploitation issues affecting the Latino/a, Afro-descendent and indigenous commu-nities in the Americas, this is the first case of an apparently falsified story, from an otherwise credible news source.

On June 24th we spend many hours tracking down the official Florida House of Representatives video tape of the hearing where the Florida Attorney General's office publicly testified about the alleged beheading of a trafficked Mexican girl.  They too were mislead by the Bradenton Herald story from March 11, 2008, which, the paper says, has now been retracted.

Read the details at this link.

- Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

July 9, 2008


Added July 9, 2008

Georgia, USA

Feds Say Women, Girls Forced Into Prostitution

Atlanta - Five men are accused of forcing young women and girls from Mexico to work as prostitutes in metro Atlanta...

"We believe that the men would go to Mexico and befriend or seduce the young women tell them they were going to be their boyfriends, once they started dating in Mexico they'd get them to come to the U.S.," said Assistant U.S. Attorney Susan Coppedge.

...The men lured at least 10 victims from Mexico into Metro Atlanta...

Federal authorities say the victims, including four under 18, were lured to the U.S. with promises of jobs or romance, then held in suburban homes and made to perform sex acts with up to 30 men a night at $25 apiece...

"Immigration and Customs Enforcement was the lead agency and they had help from Gwinnett and Bartow County local enforcement who saw these things going on in their community and helped conduct surveillance of the men taking women into various homes for prostitution," said Coppedge.

Named in a 31-count indictment were 34-year-old Amador Cortes-Meza; 31-year-old Juan Cortes-Meza; 25-year-old Francisco Cortes-Meza, and 21-year-old Raul Cortes-Meza, all of Mexico and living in Norcross, and 69-year-old Edison Wagner Rosa Tort of Uruguay and living in Cartersville.

- WAGA - Fox

July. 8, 2008


Added July 9, 2008

Argentina

Dos chicas desaparecieron y temen que las tengan tratantes de blancas

Two Girls Disappear and are Feared to be Sex Trafficking Victims

Santa Fe - Daiana Graciela Valdez, age, 16, and Gisela Romero, age 22, are feared to have been kidnapped by sex traffickers during the month of June [2008].

Daiana disappeared on June 20th. On that date she sent two text messages to a male friend, pleading for help. This together with other information lead authorities to believe that Daiana was the victim of a 'typical' sex trafficking kidnap operation.

Gisela has a mild mental disability, with the capacities of a 15-year-old. She had not been seen since June 13th. She left without clothing and without her child, leading police to suspect that she too was the victim of sex traffickers.

Both cases were reported to police, and Argentina's Specialized Unit for the Prevention and Fight Against the Crime of Trafficking is investigating.

Daiana was able to send three text messages after her kidnapping. In the first, she told a friend that she had been forced into a black car, had been taken to the north, and that she had been beaten and was being held in a room. Later, Daiana send another message asking for help, saying that she was going to die. Later yet, she communicated with her sister, saying that she was locked in a room and blindfolded. The cell phone used was not her own. It later showed up in a package that was found by authorities in the capitol, Buenos Aires.

Gisela left her home on June 13th to go to a tourist area. She left her identification and her 2-year-old daughter at home. Two years earlier, Gisela had disappeared from home, and returned pregnant. Her parents never found out where she had been, Her mother fears that she may be with the same people again. Her mother is sure that her current disappearance was not voluntary.

- La Capital

Argentina

July 4, 2008


Added July 9, 2008

Uruguay

Prostitución infantil en Salto

Child prostitution in the resort city of Salto

Dr. Silvia Alvez , of the Committee for the Eradication of Child Labor (CETI) in Salto has announced that that organized child sex trafficking networks are active in their city.

Dr. Alvez, who is also a councilwoman in the National Party, reported that child sexual exploitation had first been reported during a MERCOSUR (Southern Latin American Common Market) organized workshop on trafficking held in 2006.

The range of ages of the victims was between 10 and 12. Dr. Alvez stated that child sex trafficking is not a partisan political issue, and the nation needs to 'put its shirt on' and work to strengthen legal controls and education about the problem.

A TurísticaRadio reporter travelled to a thermal spa in Termas del Arapey to interview neighbors [of an alleged child prostitution center].

The residents interviewed, angry and indignant, denied that child prostitution was occurring, and demanded that Dr. Alvez produce proof of its existence.

- Uruguay al Dia

July 4, 2008


Added July 9, 2008

Peru

Los dueños de un sauna tenían cautivas a dos menores para ejercer el meretricio

The owners of a sauna held two children captive in prostitution

Iquitos - Two Chinese immigrants to Peru, Zhang Jun Hong, age 43, and Hao Zchenbin, 28, have been arrested and charged with human trafficking.

The two are owners of a sauna business, and held two girls, ages 14 and 15, against their will and forced them to engage in massage parlor prostitution.

Jéssica Dávila Rojas, 36, and Gisela Torres Vargas, 22, were also arrested, and were charged with convincing the parents to hand over custody of the girls to them, by using falsified stories that the girls would work in good paying jobs in the capitol city of Lima.

According to police, the two girls called their families when they discovered that they would be forced into prostitution. The families alerted police, who came to their rescue at the sauna.

Those arrested face 15 years in prison for the crime of human trafficking.

- 24 Horas Libre

July 3, 2008


Added July 9, 2008

Washington State, USA

$1 million bail for rape suspect

Bellingham - A Whatcom Superior Court judge set bail at $1 million Tuesday for rape suspect Hector Serano Salinas.

Salinas, 36, is charged with three counts of first degree rape while armed with a deadly weapon. He is accused of raping a woman in Maritime Heritage Park early Monday morning.

According to charging documents read by Whatcom County Deputy Prosecutor Jeff Sawyer, police officers were flagged down by a woman at 2 a.m. Monday near the post office at 315 Prospect St. The woman reported she had been raped at knifepoint at her campsite - a sleeping bag on a nearby cement bench - three times by a man she described as Hispanic and wearing a black stocking cap.

The victim told police she was dragged down the stairs into Maritime Heritage Park and raped again...

- The Bellingham Herald

July 2, 2008


Added July 9, 2008

Hawaii, USA

Big Island Man Wanted for Sex Assault on a Minor

Big Island police are renewing their request for the public's help in locating a 28-year-old man wanted for the sexual assault of a minor in Puna. Mauro Martin Ortiz of Hawaiian Paradise Park is described as Hispanic, 5-foot-6, about 180 pounds with brown eyes and brown hair.

Ortiz may be in the company of 19-year Nohealani Cabarloc, whom detectives would also like to contact.

KGMB

Waikiki

July 1, 2008


Added July9, 2008

Mexico

Femicidio en Ciudad Juarez:

Para mi, es indignante ver como mi gobierno justificando su ineptitud, le resta importancia a este tema, y le resta valor a las personas involucradas en el, haciendo aparecer siempre a las victimas como mujeres de poca moral, problematicas, prostitutas etc.

[Letters from the War Front:] A Woman Who Fled Ciudad Juarez, the Epicenter of Mexican Femicide, Comments of the Realities that Women Face in Mexico...

I am indignant seeing how my government justifies its ineptitude, always detracting from the importance of this crisis, and detracting from the value of its victims.  They always make the victims appear to be women of low morals, ‘problematic’ women, and prostitutes.

- Teresa Ortiz

Letter sent-to and Published-by:

LibertadLatina

July. 8, 2008


Added July 6, 2008

Mexico

Es realmente triste para mi el ver la manera tan ligera en que se trata este tema

Yo, soy una mujer de 35 anos, nacida en la ciudad de chihuahua, pero radicada en cd. Juarez por 18 anos, me vi en la necesidad de emigrar a estados unidos, no buscando el sueno americanos sino buscando un lugar justo donde mis derechos y los de mis hijos fueran escuchados y respetados.

Me canse de ver tanta injusticia y de comprobar dia a dia que aunque mi pais mexico es hermoso y presume de tener hombres recios y protectores, no es asi.

Bastantes de nuestros hombres mexicanos, se estan encargando de hacer de nuestro hermoso pais un campo de guerra para nuestras mujeres y nuestros ninos, porque en vez de protegernos nos abusan y las autoridades parecen estar ciegas en estas situaciones.

Es realmente preocupante que mujeres como yo, tengamos que dejar atras nuestra familia, nustras amistades, trabajo y todo lo que a lo largo de nuestras vidas hemos construido, por uir de quienes nos debieran proteger, hombres, gobierno y leyes.

Gracias a dios he sido de las afortunadas que pude rescatar mi dignidad, mi libertad y mi vida, por eso amo tambien este pais que me ha cobijado y me a acogido como el mio no lo hizo.

A letter from the War Zone: "It's really sad for me to see how [the crisis for women is Mexico] is taken so lightly."

"I am a 35-year-old woman who was born in the city of Chihuahua, who has lived in Juarez City 18 years. I see the need to emigrate to the United States, not to seek the American dream, but to find a place where my rights and those of my children will be heard and respected.

I am tired of seeing so much injustice, and of seeing proof from day to day that although my country is beautiful, and Mexico boasts that is men are upright and act as protectors [of women], it is not true. Quite a few of our Mexican men are taking it upon themselves to turn Mexico into a war zone targeting our women and children.   Instead of protecting us they abuse us, and the authorities act like they are blind to these situations.

It is really troubling that women like me have to leave behind our family, our friends, our work and everything else that we have constructed in our lives, to flee from those who should protect us: men, the government and the law.

Thanks to God, I have been one of the fortunate ones, who could rescue my dignity, my liberty and my life. For this reason I love this country [The United States], that has covered me and held me as my country has failed to do."

- Teresa Ortiz

Letter sent-to and Published-by:

LibertadLatina

July. 4, 2008

See also:

LibertadLatina

Our special section of the crisis of the mass murder of women and girls with impunity in Ciudad Juarez (Juarez City), Mexico


Added July 5, 2008

Mexico 

En Desventaja, Nños Mexicanos Indocu-mentados

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

Thousands of Children Cross Alone into the United States Each Year to Escape from Mexican Child Sex Trafficking Networks

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

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

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

Nugent explained how in Mexico there exists terrible child trafficking in the area of Acapulco, Guerrero, and that many now call this region "the new Bangkok" of child sex tourism.

Nugent also emphasized that Tijuana [on the U.S. border with San Diego County] has also become an zone controlled by powerful child prostitution networks.

Many children [enslaved in prostitution] from Tijuana are trying to flee to San Diego[, California].

According to Nugent 70 percent of children who migrate and come to the Office of Refugees in the United States have suffered some sort of trauma from violence or sexual exploitation...

[Expanded Translation]

Georgina Olson

Excélsior

July 3, 2008

Also regarding the work of Christopher Nugent:

Missing in America: 8,000 immigrant children

The Examiner

Washington, DC

Feb. 1, 2007


Added July 5, 2008

Bolivia

UNICEF: Indígenas bolivianos entregan a sus hijos a hacendados en calidad de servidumbre

UNICEF: Indigenous Bolivians deliver their children to landowners as bonded servants

Native peoples from the Chaco region and eastern Bolivia deliver their children to the owners of agricultural plantations on condition that they can study. However, they are made to work beyond their capacity, the work harms their attendance in school, and they are not paid for their work, according to a study by the United Nations Fund for Children (UNICEF).

Children belonging to ethnic Guarani ethnicity are the ones who are subjected to this condition of servitude.

In Beni, indigenous families working on cattle ranches and children are handed over to the landowners bonded for life.

The conditions of poverty have also caused indigenous people to migrate to cities. There, children engage in informal work, devoted to washing cars, shining shoes, and selling sweets and bread on the streets.

The most serious forms of exploitation, are at work in the harvest of sugar cane. Adolescents and women are called "quarters" and are seen as helpers in lighter tasks, receiving a quarter of the wage of an adult. These groups are also included children under 12 years accompanying their parents...

UNICEF says in its report that it is necessary to: design public policies and implement programs aimed at quantifying the rate of labor law violation relapses involving indigenous child population; develop a coordinated and joint work process between the main institutions responsible for child protection; and give Indigenous infants better conditions for their development and integration into the educational system.

UNICEF argues that in Bolivia 118,000 children aged between 7 and 13 years of age are working.  This represents 8 percent of the child population.  Some 28.2 percent of adolescents between 14 and 17 years (206,000 youth) usually work. Overall, 10.2 percent of the economically active population (EAP) of Bolivia is made up of children and adolescents.

- ElDiario.net

July 3, 2008


Added July 5, 2008

Argentina

Rescatan a adolescente vendida en USD 800 a red de prostitución

Sixteen-Year-Old is Rescued After Being Sold to Sex Traffickers for US$800.

A 16-year-old teenager who had been sold to a prostitution network for 2,500 pesos (about 800 dollars) was rescued on Thursday in Misiones Province, in northeastern Argentina, according to the Gendarmerie (border police).

When her trafficker attempted to take her to Buenos Aires, police arrested the 47-year-old Brazilian citizen who was charged with "fraud in the trafficking of a child for exploitation or commercial sex."

The nightmare for the victim had started in the Misiones town of San Pedro, where she was sold for 2,500 pesos to a sex trafficking network.

Human trafficking is a crime not released in Argentina and sentences ranging from four to ten years in prison.

Last week authorities revealed another case from Misiones, it was revealed the case of a teenager aged 15, also a native of Misiones, rescued in Brazil after being forced into prostitution for 3 years.

The Misiones Coalition to Stop the Trafficking and the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children reported in 2007 that at least 550 minors disappeared in Argentina, and were victims of prostitution rings.

The Coalition also alleged in court that officials from the National Directorate for Migration were in collusion [with criminals] in cases of the trafficking of children and adolescents, especially from Paraguay.

Several non-govern-mental organizations (NGOs) have pointed to the Triple Border region between Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay, as a [lawless] territory where trafficking and recruitment of children and adolescents, who are promised an escape from extreme poverty, is rampant.

- Univision

July 4, 2008

See also:

LibertadLatina

The crisis of sexual exploitation facing women and children in Argentina


Added July 5, 2008

Dominican Republic, The Caribbean

Miles de dominicanas se prostituyen en islas las caribeñas, según un estudio

Thousands of Dominican Women Engage in Prostitution in Caribbean Region

Thousands of Dominican women, some of them undocumented, work as prostitutes in the [English and French speaking] Caribbean region, where they are discriminated against and do not have access to services, according to a study conducted by a local organization.

The investigation was carried out by the Centre for Integral Orientation and Investigation (COIN), whose director, Santo Rosario, stated that some 20,000 Dominicans live on these islands, and 50% of them lived from prostitution.

Some do it by choice, but others are victims of trafficking networks, said Rosario.

The seven nations involved are French Guyana, Antigua, Dominica, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Trinidad and Haiti.

The study entitled "Sex Work, Trafficking and HIV / AIDS", reveals an increase in female migration to these Caribbean nations, and a close link between poverty, gender inequality and high-risk female migration.

According to research, "these factors act as a complex network that lead women to fall, often, into the trap of smuggling and human trafficking."

The study also reveals the existence of networks of smugglers and traffickers who act as intermediaries to meet "the demand for commercial sex in the region" stated Rosario.

Rosario: "The Impunity in which they are moved and the lack of protection for victims and their families prevent these abuses from being reported."

Rosario explained that many of these women are face violence, sexual abuse and exploitation by their traffickers, employers and clients. Some of these women are hopeful that they will receive support in resolving their undocumented legal status, and will be able to improve their economic situation.

However, "the strictness of the laws of migration in these countries, far from helping solve the problems their problems as migrants, has made them invisible, facilitating the smuggling and trafficking of persons and the violation of their human rights."

Rosario called on the governments involved to take measures to alleviate the situation, including by developing training and development programs for women, so that they will be able to support themselves.

- EFE

July 4, 2008


Added July 5, 2008

Mexico, Central America

Abusos en la frontera sur

Central and South American Migrants Face Terrible Abuses Along Mexico's Southern Border

Transit through Mexico for most immigrants from Central and South America is a living hell of robbery, extortion, threats and harassment on the part of individuals and authorities. "

"In Mexico, these migrants cease to be people and become a commodity, a 'mine' of profits," notes Catholic priest Alejandro Solalinde, age 63, who manages a shelter in town Ixtepec, in the southern state of Oaxaca, one of the most commonly used by passing migrants.

Solalinde: "The mafia and the authorities come in and abuse these migrants because they see them as less.  They call them 'cachuco,' a word that translates as 'dirty Central American."

The federal National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), humanitarian groups and the consuls of the Central American countries have been complaining for over a decade of abuses suffered by migrants in Mexico. The authorities recognize the problem and are working to fix it, but few changes can be seen. In Ixtepec, where there is a transshipment center for freight trains running from the border with Guatemala northward into Mexico.  Solalinde states until March of 2008, reports of kidnappings, robberies and harassment  against immigrants transiting with the aim of reaching United States were commonplace.

But since April, after the National Migration Institute (INM) suspended its monitoring operations in Ixtepec, reports of allegation of crimes fell. "Draw your own conclusions" said Solinde.  The Institute decided to curb its monitoring efforts in Ixtepec, and after March 31st, about 90 Central Americans were beaten and harassed by Mexican Navy personnel in that area, an event that is still under investigation.

Before arriving in Ixtepec, immigrants who travel by train have typically suffered assaults at the hands of criminals and gang members, and have been subjected to extortion and robbery at the hands of policemen, military personnel and  immigration (INM) officers, explained Solalinde. "But now, the mafia is having a field day." "I've just had a meeting with delegates of the INM and they explained that their operations would resume soon.  They asked me to not say anything.  I replied that surveillance is good, but I shall not remain silent about abuses.  That is unacceptable."

When the train stops in Ixtepec, Solalinde and his colleagues come to ask immigrants who are not separated from family to go with him to his hostel, where he gives them food, medicine and accommodation for one day. The aim is to prevent passengers  from being subjected to assaults, rapes and arrests...

[Expanded Translation]

- Iberarte

July 3, 2008


Added July 5, 2008

El Salvador

Vendedores retiran pornografía infantil

Street Vendors Pull Child Pornography from Sale

Street vendors from downtown San Salvador announced yesterday that they would withdraw pornographic films, and in particular child pornography, from sale and exhibition.

"We will do this as a contribution to society. It is a show of our complete rejection of the sale and reproduction of child pornography, and the display of all kinds of pornography, "said Pedro Julio Hernandez, who is a leader of the traders.

The decision was taken by more than 30 organizations of informal vendors due to "concerns that they have generated" in the news about the rape of children.  "The sale of child pornography is absolutely prohibited," Hernandez reiterated. However, he noted that traders are "free" to sell their product, when customers seek the videos or posters.

"People determine what kind of things you see.  We can not expose our children, who are going to buy a children's movie as 'Finding Nemo' and have them run into something that is not suitable for them," said Hernandez...

- La Prens Grafica

San Salvador

July 4, 2008


Added July 5, 2008

Puerto Rico

ICE nabs Puerto Rican man for sexually enticing a minor

Bayamon - A 43-year-old man from Hato Rey, Puerto Rico, was arrested here today after a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) investigation revealed that he was sexually enticing a girl who he thought was 13-years-old.

Angel Cosme-Martinez was arrested by ICE agents in the parking lot of Plaza Rio Hondo after he arranged the meeting during the sexually explicit conversations...

"This arrest is a stern reminder of the consequences awaiting those who use the Internet to sexually exploit innocent children," said Manuel Oyola Torres, special agent in charge of ICE's office of investigations in Puerto Rico. "Some predators mistakenly believe the anonymity of cyberspace shields them from scrutiny, when in fact, their use of computers and the Internet have given us new tools in our enforcement efforts to protect children from online predators."

This case will be prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jenifer Hernandez.

- U.S. ICE

July 3, 2008


Added July 4, 2008

Spain, Bolivia

Acusado de abusar niña boliviana alega relación con menores es habitual en país

Sexual enslaver of child seeks acquittal because behavior is normal in his country

A Bolivian migrant to Spain, referred to here as Walter F.F., faces charges in a Barcelona criminal court for ongoing sexual abuse of an 11-year-old girl. 

In 2005 'when the victim was 11, 'Walter' obtained permission from the girl's parents to take her from Bolivia to the Cataluña region of Spain. Walter had told that girl and her family that she was to work as the nanny for his then expectant girlfriend...

Walter began to force the victim to have sex with him...

Walter faces 11 years in prison for sexually abusing the victim.

Walter and his defense attorney argue that Walter should be pardoned for his acts, because he did not know about the statutory rape laws in Spain, and, he asserts, having a sexual relationship with a girl who has reached puberty is normal in his native country, Bolivia.

The prosecutor, on the other hand, believes that Walter is guilty of ongoing child sexual abuse and exhibitionism, and has asked the judge in the case to sentence Walter to 11 years in prison...

Two former partners of the accused, who are Bolivian women, have stated that they did not see any sexual abuse of the girl. They have both told authorities that indeed, it is not strange that a girl aged 11 has sexual intercourse because she is considered to be a woman at the time of her first menstruation...

[Extended translation]

- Actualidad / Terra

Spain

July 1, 2008


Added July 4, 2008

Texas, USA

Police: Man Exposes Self To Child In Store

Houston - Police are searching for a man who exposed himself to a child inside a southwest Houston store...

Houston police said the man approached an 11-year-old girl as she shopped with relatives at the Marshall's store in the 8100 block of South Gessner Drive on April 26.

The man left the store after he exposed himself to the child, investigators said.

Detectives said the man is Hispanic...

- KPRC

Houston

July 3, 2008


Added July 4, 2008

Spain

Spain says new European Union immigration law "necessary"

Madrid - Spain believes the newly-approved EU law on the repatriation of undocumented immigrants is "necessary" at a time when unemployment is on the rise in the country, a top official said Wednesday.

Spanish Deputy Prime Minister Maria Teresa Fernandez de la Vega told the press that "we are going to hire less immigrants" as the total job opportunities continue to decline....

The European Parliament approved the "Return Directive" on June18, ordering the expulsion of undocumented immigrants in Europe.

If they do not leave the bloc within a period of seven to 30 days, they may face up to 18 months in jail.

The law, which could come into force in 2010, has drawn widespread and strong criticism from Latin America.

According to Spain's official statistics, some 424,500 people lost their jobs during the one-year period starting June 2007, and the hardest hit sectors are the construction industry, agriculture and service industry, which provide jobs to the largest percentage of undocumented immigrants.

- Xinhua

July 3, 2008


Added July 2, 2008

Florida, USA

Fla. holds 1st execution since botched method

Starke - Florida on Tuesday carried out its first execution since a botched lethal injection procedure prompted the state to revamp the way it conducts capital punishment.

Mark Dean Schwab, who was convicted of kidnapping, raping and killing 11-year-old [Junny Rios-Martinez in 1991], died at 6:15 p.m...

Schwab raped and killed Junny a month after he was released early from a prison sentence he got for raping a 13-year-old boy. The case led to Florida's Junny Rios-Martinez Act of 1992, which prohibits sex offenders from early release from prison or getting credit for good behavior.

Schwab stalked the boy after seeing his photo in a newspaper for winning a kite contest...

- The Associated Press

July 1, 2008


Added July 1, 2008

California, USA

...A statutory rape case from the county's recent history has the potential to alter... immigration law

The U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal heard the case of Juan Elias Estrada-Espinoza in Pasadena on Wednesday.

Amador County - …[Five years ago Juan Elias] Estrada-Espinoza was a 20-year-old... grocery clerk. The Mexican national had relocated to the states with his family in 1992 at the age of 12, attaining permanent residence status six years later.

In July 2003, Estrada-Espinoza had an emergency protective order filed against him when S.A. [his under-age girlfriend and mother of his child] complained he inappropriately touched her…

Around this time, two other women had filed complaints with the sheriff's office against Estrada-Espinoza. They said he committed sexual acts when they were too drunk to protest. One was a 17-year-old girl…

[Estrada-Espinoza has been in federal custody for 3 years on immigration charges.] In that time, the American Civil Liberties Union filed multiple lawsuits in federal court protesting the government's ability to incarcerate immig-rants in detention centers for prolonged periods of time while their deportation cases are heard…

This January, the ACLU took its case to the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in Pasadena…

At issue is whether statutory rape, even when it's consensual, constitutes "sexual abuse of a minor" and should therefore be considered an aggravated felony worthy of deportation.

…A favorable ruling could set a precedent that requires the reevaluation of potentially thousands of other deportations, as well as those currently serving prison sentences for illegal reentry into this country when statutory rape was the underlying offense for which they were deported.

…There will be tremendous repercussions in immigration [law]…

- Amador Ledger Dispatch

June 27, 2008

LibertadLatina Commentary

The age of sexual consent in Mexico City and in a number of Mexican states is 12. Similar laws exist across Latin America.  Men who migrate bring that cultural dynamic with them to the United States. 

The U.S. population does have the right to say "well, we have laws against underage sexual relationships with adult men and women."  For newly arrived immigrants, it is certainly required that they obey the rules as they exist today in the U.S. 

These problems are complicated further when the men involved believe in sexist machismo, and feel that it is their macho right to engage in 'unequal' underage relationships, with impunity, regardless of what U.S. laws say.

The collective social sensibilities of all people in the U.S. need to be consulted first, in regard to whether or not we want adult men to engage in this behavior simply because it is their custom in another country.  Do mothers, be they Latina or not, really want adult men asking 'Maria' to the middle school prom??

I don't think so!

- Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

July 1, 2008

See also:

Letter to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children about conditions in the city of Gaithersburg, Maryland

"I see adult Latino men with 11 and 12 year old girls all the time in the greater Washington, DC area. While these relation-ships are 'acceptable' in much of Latin America, the mothers of these girls are NOT AGREEABLE to having the adult Central American (and other men) in their poor neighborhoods run around after their 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16 and 17 year old daughters after school while they, the hard-working parents (often single mothers), have to work two jobs and cannot defend their children during and after school hours.

And when the local police authorities do not act with the same energy that the case of a young middle class American female would invoke from them, these Latina mothers are disgusted. These parents come to the conclusion that the police and the government do not care, an experience that they are familiar with in their home countries..."

- Chuck Goolsby

Dec. 5, 1999


Added July 1, 2008

Rhode Island, USA

Suspect in kidnap-ping, rape to remain [incarcerated]

Providence - Marco Riz, a Guatemalan immigrant accused of kidnapping and raping a woman at knifepoint in Roger Williams Park, waived his right to a bail hearing yesterday in District Court...

Riz is charged with kidnapping a 30-year-old woman on June 8 outside a Warwick supermarket and raping her in Roger Williams Park on the Providence-Cranston border. A few days later, a task force of Providence and Warwick police, immigration officers, state police and federal marshals captured Riz on Linwood Avenue in the West End of Providence.

The case has become a lightning rod for state residents opposed to illegal immigrants living in Rhode Island. Governor Carcieri entered the fray last week and blamed the Providence police for releasing him twice last year after he was arrested on drunken-driving and domestic-assault charges.

At the time, there was a federal deportation order in effect that called for Riz to be sent back to Guatemala...

- Zachary Malinowski

Providence Journal

July. 1, 2008


Added July 1, 2008

Indiana, USA

Police seek Indianapolis sex assault suspect

Indianapolis - Police released a sketch Monday of a man who reportedly abducted and assaulted an Indianapolis teenager.

...The 18-year-old victim told police that a man approached her as she walked near East 42nd Street and North Post Road.

The victim said the man grabbed her and forced her into a red SUV, then drove her to an industrial park... Once there, the victim told police the man punched her in the face numerous times while he sexually assaulted her...

The suspect is described as a Hispanic male, 30 to 35 years old...

- WTHR

June 30, 2008

 

 

 
     

 

    

LibertadLatina

News / Noticias

 

    


Updated: Oct. 08, 2010


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LibertadLatina

Analysis of the political actions and policies of Mexico's National Action Party (PAN) in regard to their detrimental impact on women's basic human rights



Últimas Noticias

Latest News



Added: Oct. 8, 2010

Mexico

Insiste México en negar justicia a víctimas de violación en Atenco

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Anayeli García Martínez

CIMAC Women's news agency

Oct. 07, 2010

See also:

Added: May 16, 2009

Mexico

Mujeres de Atenco, tortura sexual e impunidad

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

Women of Atenco - sexual torture and impunity

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

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

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

Full English Translation

Sanjuana Martínez

CIMAC Noticias

News for Women

Mexico City

May 12, 2009

See also:

LibertadLatina

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


Added: Oct. 7, 2010

Mexico

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cronica

Oct. 03, 2010


Added: Oct. 7, 2010

Mexico

Mexico City Attorney General Miguel Ángel Mancera

Detalla PGJDF acciones para combatir la trata de personas

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

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

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

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

Mexico City prosecutors details actions to fight human trafficking

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cronica

Oct. 03, 2010


Added: Oct. 7, 2010

North Carolina, USA

Human trafficking alleged in Durham

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jesse James Deconto

News Observer

Oct. 06, 2010


Added: Oct. 6, 2010

California, USA

Gregorio Gonzalez

Alert Driver Saves Kidnapped Girl

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Associated Press

Olivia Mu

Oct. 05, 2010


Added: Oct. 6, 2010

Guatemala, Mexico

Another Wall Blocks Route to U.S.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Danilo Valladares

Inter Press Service (IPS)

Sep. 15 , 2010


Added: Oct. 5, 2010

California, USA

Police search for man in California girl's abduction

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Scott Thompson

CNN

Oct. 05, 2010


Added: Oct. 5, 2010

Mexico

Inés Fernández and Valentina Rosendo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Justice for Inés and Valentina

Oct. 04, 2010

See also:

Added: Oct. 5, 2010

Mexico

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

Human Rights Court: Mexico responsible for rapes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

No one was punished in either case.

E. Eduardo Castillo

The Associated Press

Oct. 04, 2010

See also:

Added: Oct. 5, 2010

Mexico

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

Mexico Ordered to Pay Damages to Women Raped by Soldiers

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

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

The court’s rulings are binding on OAS members.

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

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

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

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

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

EFE

Oct. 04, 2010

See also:

Added: Oct. 5, 2010

Mexico

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

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

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

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

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

Latin America News Dispatch

Oct. 05, 2010

See also:


Added: Dec. 4, 2010

Mexico / The United States

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

Mexican Activist Wins Prestigious Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jim Lobe and Emilio Godoy

Inter Press Service (IPS)

Sep. 23, 2010

See also:

Added: Dec. 4, 2010

Mexico / The United States

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

(In Spanish with English subtitles)

On YouTube,com

Sep. 23, 2010

See also:

Added: Dec. 4, 2010

Mexico / The United States

Mexico has failed to prosecute violations, reduce torture

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

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

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

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

Human Rights Watch

Sep. 14, 2010

See also:

Added: Dec. 4, 2010

Mexico

Time to Speak up on Military Abuse in Mexico

José Miguel Vivanco, Director - Americas Division - HRW

Human Rights Watch

May 17, 2010


Added: Dec. 4, 2010

Alabama, USA

North Alabama man convicted in sex trafficking of an underage girl

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Al.com

Sep. 22, 2010


Added: Dec. 4, 2010

California, USA

Man arrested in sex case involving Encinitas teen

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pauline Repard

The San Diego Union-Tribune

Sep. 29, 2010

 


Added: Dec. 4, 2010

California, USA

Man Tries to Kidnap Teen Girl Walking to School

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

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

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

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

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

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

KTLA News

Oct. 1, 2010


Added: Oct. 1, 2010

Mexico

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

Cecilia Romero sale de Migración

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

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

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

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

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

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

José Gerardo Mejía

El Universal

Sep. 14, 2010

See also:

Added: Oct. 1, 2010

Mexico

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Emilio Godoy

Inter Press Service

Sep. 16, 2010

See also:

Added: Oct. 1, 2010

Mexico

Mexican immigration official quits after massacre

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Alexandra Olson

The Associated Press

Sep. 14, 2010

See also:

Added: Oct. 1, 2010

Mexico

Romero leaves the INM

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

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

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

The News

Sep. 15, 2010

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Added: Oct. 1, 2010

Mexico

Evalúa Segob trabajo de Romero en Migración

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

¿Para cuándo las conclusiones?

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

El Universal

Sep. 02, 2010

See also:

Added: June 28, 2009

Mexico

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

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

Photo: El Universal

LibertadLatina Commentary

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

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

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

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

Nothing could be further from the truth.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

¡Esta barbarie no será perdonado por Dios!

This barbarity will not be pardoned by God!

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

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

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

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

It is not an impossible task.

The status quo today is... unacceptable!

End impunity now!

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

June 28, 2009

Updated Oct. 2, 2010

See also:

Mexico

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

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

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

- Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina


Added: Oct. 1, 2010

Mexico

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

Gobiernos soslayan la trata de personas

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

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

Government overlooks modern slavery

Human trafficking is not being fought in Mexico

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

El Universal

Sep. 24, 2010


Added: Sep. 29, 2010

Mexico

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Diario Chiapas Hoy

Sep. 27, 2010


Added: Sep. 29, 2010

India

Human trafficking slur on Commonwealth Games

The jinxed Commonwealth Games could have done without this. After being troubled by brittle infrastructure, CWG 2010 has now been blamed for a jump in trafficking of women and children from the Northeast. The accusation has come from Meghalaya People’s Human Rights Council (MPHRC) general secretary Dino D.G. Dympep. The platform he chose on Tuesday was the general debate discussion on racism, discrimination, xenophobia and other intolerance at the 15th Human Rights Council Session at the UN headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.

“The human rights situation of indigenous peoples living in Northeast India is deteriorating,” Dympep said, adding New Delhi has chose to be indifferent to human trafficking of and racial discrimination toward these indigenous groups.

“What worries the indigenous peoples now apart from racial and gender-based violence is the fear of alleged human trafficking for flesh trade.” The number of indigenous women and children trafficked particularly for the upcoming CGW could be 15,000, he said.

The rights activist also underscored the racial profiling of people from the Northeast on the basis of their ethnicity, linguistic, religious, cultural and geographical backgrounds.

Dympep also pointed out 86 per cent of indigenous peoples studying or working away from their native places face racial discrimination in various forms such as sexual abuses, rapes, physical attacks and economic exploitation.

“The UN has condemned India's caste system and termed it worse than racism. The racism faced by indigenous peoples of the Northeast is definitely the outcome of the caste system. Such negative attitude as ignoring the region will only lead to deeper self-alienation by the indigenous peoples, which comes in the way of integration in India,” he said.

Rahul Karmakar

Hindustan Times

Sep. 28, 2010

LibertadLatina Note:

Indigenous peoples across the world face the problem of being marginalized by the dominant societies that surround them. They become the easiest targets for human traffickers because the larger society will not stand up to defend their basic human rights. Exploiting the lives and the sexuality of indigenous women is a key aspect of this dynamic of oppression.

We at LibertadLatina denounce all forms of exploitation. We call the world's attention to the fact that tens of thousands of indigenous peoples in the Americas, and most especially women and girls in Guatemala and Mexico, are routinely being kidnapped or cajoled into becoming victims of human trafficking.

For 5 centuries, the economies of Latin America have relied upon the forced labor and sexual exploitation of the region's indigenous peoples as a cornerstone of their economic and social lives. Mexico, with an indigenous population that comprises 30% of the nation, is a glaring example of this dynamic of racial, ethnic and gender (machismo) based oppression. In Mexico, indigenous victims are not 'visible' to the authorities, and are on nobody's list of social groups who need to be assisted to defend themselves against the criminal impunity of the sex and labor trafficking mafias.

For Mexico to arrive in the 21st Century community of nations, it must begin the process of ending these feudal-era traditions.

End impunity now!

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

Sep. 30/Oct. 02, 2010


Added: Sep. 29, 2010

Oregon, USA

Police warn of man exposing himself near Portland school

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Teresa Blackman

KGW

Sep. 28, 2010


Added: Sep. 29, 2010

California, USA

Man Arrested for Peeping in School Bathroom

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

KTLA

Sep. 28, 2010



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



Added: Sep. 28, 2010

Mexico

Buscaremos romper el cerco de los “guardianes del patriarcado”

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

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

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

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

We Seek to Break the Ring of the Guardians of Patriarchy

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

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

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

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

Elizabeth Muñoz Vásquez

CIMAC Women's News Service

Sep. 27, 2010


Added: Sep. 26, 2010

Mexico

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

Condena unánime contra migración forzada y aumento de trata en AL

Pronunciamiento del II Congreso Latinoamericano sobre trata

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Elizabeth Muñoz Vasquez

CIMAC Women's News Agency

Sep. 24, 201-


Added: Sep. 26, 2010

Haiti

Haitian Women at Increased Risk of Trafficking

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Emilio Godoy

Inter-Press Service (IPS)

Sep. 24, 2010


Added: Sep. 26, 2010

Mexico

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Arturo Alfaro Galán

La Jornada de Oriente

Sep. 24, 2010


Added: Sep. 26, 2010

Mexico

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

Photo:Daniela Pastrana / IPS

Gender Violence Hits Behind the News

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Daniela Pastrana

Inter Press Service (IPS) / TerraViva

Sep. 21, 2010


Added: Sep. 26, 2010

Mexico

Bicentennial Nothing to Celebrate, Say Indigenous Peoples

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Daniela Pastrana

Inter-Press Service (IPS)

Sep. 24, 2010


Added: Sep. 26, 2010

Mexico

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hélène Le Goff

International Organization for Migration (IOM)  México

Sep. 24, 2010


Added: Sep. 26, 2010

Texas, USA

Chase leads deputies to possible human trafficking ring

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

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

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

WOAI

Sep. 24, 2010


Added: Sep. 26, 2010

Canada

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

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

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

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

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

The woman was arrested Wednesday.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gabrielle Giroday

The Winnipeg Free Press

Sep. 24, 2010


Added: Sep. 24, 2010

Mexico, Latin America

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

Mujeres con derechos y ciudadanía, debe exigir la sociedad

Plantea Marcela Lagarde en Congreso sobre Trata y Tráfico

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Elizabeth Muñoz Vásquez

The CIMAC Women's News Agency

Sep. 22, 2010


Added: Sep. 24, 2010

Mexico, Latin America

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

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

Encuentro Latinoamericano sobre Trata y Tráfico de Personas

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Elizabeth Muñoz Vásquez

The CIMAC Women's News Agency

Sep. 21, 2010


Added: Sep. 26, 2010

Latin America

América Latina ineficaz en combate a trata de personas

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

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

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

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

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

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

Inter Press Service (IPS) / TerraViva

Sep. 21, 2010

English Language Version:

Added: Sep. 24, 2010

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Emilio Godoy

Inter Press Service (IPS)

Sep. 22, 2010


Added: Sep. 21, 2010

Mexico

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

Rights groups against giving US anti-drug aid to Mexico

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Agence France-Presse (AFP)

Sep. 15, 2010

See also:

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

(In Spanish)


Added: Sep. 19, 2010

Mexico

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

Photo: CIMAC Women's News Agency - Mexico

Premio Internacional al Escritor Valiente para Lydia Cacho

Por investigación y denuncia de red de pederastia en México

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

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

Lydia Cacho receives award for valiant journalism

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By the Editors

CIMAC Women's News Agency

Sep. 17, 2010

See also:

Mexican journalist Lydia Cacho receives PEN prize

London - A Mexican journalist who was arrested and threatened after exposing a pedophile ring is to receive a major writing prize.

Writers' charity PEN says Lydia Cacho is the recipient of its International Writer of Courage Prize, which goes to writers persecuted for their beliefs.

Cacho was arrested, charged with libel and received death threats after publishing a book about a child sex abuse ring involving business figures in Cancun in 2005...

The awards will be presented in London on Oct. 20.

The Associated Press

Sep. 16, 2010

See also:

Journalist / Activist   Lydia Cacho is    Railroaded by the Legal Process in Mexico for Having Exposing Child Sex Networks In Mexico


Added: Sep. 19, 2010

The World, Chile

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (right) with former Chilean president Michelle Bachelet, on 14 September 2010

Bachelet: ONU Mujeres Será un Enorme Desafío

La ex presidenta de Chile, Michelle Bachelet describió su nombramiento al frente de ONU Mujeres como un enorme desafío que acoge con beneplácito.

En una entrevista exclusiva con la Radio de la ONU, Bachelet indicó que su designación representa un reconocimiento a los logros de su gobierno y a los avances de su país en políticas destinadas al adelanto de la mujer.

Consideró que su experiencia como mandataria y su relación con otros jefes de Estado contribuirán a avanzar en el objetivo de la igualdad de los géneros.

“Mi experiencia también en todo lo vinculado al trabajo de igualdad de las mujeres, igualdad de derechos, a luchar contra la violencia, a luchar contra la discriminación, esta ha sido la historia de mi vida. No sólo con respecto a las mujeres, sino de los hombres, mujeres, niños, ancianos. Toda esta experiencia la quiero entregar en esta tarea que es la dirección de esta nueva estructura de Naciones Unidas”.

La nueva Entidad para la Igualdad entre los Géneros, “ONU Mujeres”, fue creada por la Asamblea General el pasado 2 de julio, y fusiona cuatro organismos de la ONU que se ocupaban del tema. Comenzará a operar en enero de 2011.

Radio ONU - UN Radio

Sep. 15, 2010

See also:

Former Chilean president to head new high-profile UN women’s agency

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (right) with Michelle Bachelet

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today named former Chilean president Michelle Bachelet to head United Nations Women (UN Women), a newly created entity to oversee all of the world body’s programmes aimed at promoting women’s rights and full participation in global affairs.

The new body – which will receive a large boost in funding and become operational in January – merges four UN agencies and offices: the UN Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), the Division for the Advancement of Women (DAW), the Office of the Special Adviser on Gender Issues, and the UN International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women (UN-INSTRAW).

“UN Women will promote the interests of women and girls across the globe,” Mr. Ban told reporters in announcing the appointment. “Ms. Bachelet brings to this critical position a history of dynamic global leadership, highly honed political skills and uncommon ability to create consensus and focus among UN agencies and many partners in both the public and private sector.”

“I’m confident that under her strong leadership we can improve the lives of millions of women and girls throughout the world.”

Ms. Bachelet, Chile’s first female president who prioritized women’s issues throughout her tenure and since leaving office has been working with UNIFEM to advocate for the needs of Haitian women following January’s devastating earthquake, was chosen over two other candidates.

The new entity is set to have an annual budget of at least $500 million, double the current combined resources of the four agencies it comprises.

“As you know the creation of UN Women is the culmination of almost four years’ effort and today’s announcement has been made possible thanks to the hard work of the Member States and the many partners who share our commitment to this agenda, and this has been a top and very personal priority of mine,” Mr. Ban said.

He stressed that at next week’s UN Summit on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) women and children will be “at the very core of our final push” to realize the ambitious targets for slashing extreme poverty and hunger, maternal and infant mortality, rampant diseases, and lack of access to education and health services, all by the deadline of 2015...

The United Nations

Sep. 14, 2010

See also:

Bachelet Named Head of UN Agency for Women

Former Chilean President Michelle Bachelet became the head of UN Women, a new agency that merges four UN agencies devoted to women’s and gender issues. In his announcement of the position, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said “Ms. Bachelet brings to this critical position a history of dynamic global leadership.”

Americas Quarterly - Weekly Update

Sep. 16, 2010

 


Added: Sep. 19, 2010

Ecuador

Ecuador Closes Open-Door Policy

Authorities announced that Ecuador will begin requiring entry visas for visitors from nine Asian and African countries, ending the country’s policy of universal free entry. The government says it added the exceptions to its visa laws in an effort to stop the use of Ecuador as a base for human trafficking, reports IPS News.

Americas Quarterly - Weekly Update

Sep. 16, 2010


Added: Sep. 19, 2010

The World

Governments seek coordination to fight sex trafficking

Child trafficking is one of the fastest growing crimes in the world - an underground business, often conducted on the internet, and driven by enormous profits. According to UNICEF, an estimated 2.5 million children, the majority of them girls, are sexually exploited in the multibillion-dollar commercial sex industry.

While the problem is usually associated with countries with unstable economic and political systems, today it is the biggest in Europe, the United States, Russia and Africa.

[We disagree with the conclusion that . Mexico alone has many more victims of child sex trafficking than the United States. The Dominican Republic, Colombia, Peru,  Brazil and Argentina each have more child victims than the U.S. has at any given time. It is unacceptable that the Latin American sex trafficking problem remains 'invisible' to large segments of journalists, researchers and decision makers. Human smuggling and trafficking in Mexico amounts to a $15 to $20 billion per year criminal industry. The UN's International Organization for Migration has noted that sex trafficking across Latin America totals an estimated $16 billion in annual revenues. That amount in half of the commonly used global number for all human trafficking profits - $32 billion. - LL]

"Last year we identified 56 cases of young people who have experienced sexual exploitation just in the Washington D.C. area," Andrea Powell, executive director of FAIR Fund stated. Powell co-founded the organization eight years ago to stop the trafficking of youth worldwide. It has assisted thousands of teen-aged girls and boys so far in the United States, Bosnia, Serbia, Russia and Uganda.

"Asia" is one of her group's success stories: Lured into prostitution, she often worked 15-hour days in the sex trade…"It was just gross. I separated myself, my mind; I was in another place when it happened," she recalls, "It was like it was not me."

...FAIR Fund helped her turn her life around.

"To put it in a nutshell, they have helped me transform to who I am now," Asia says, "I am not the same person. "But for every "Asia" there are many more who are not so fortunate.

U.S. Congressman Chris Smith is one of the strongest advocates for rights of victims of human trafficking.

"At least a 100,000 American girls, mostly runaways, average age of 13, are on the streets. And within 48 hours, if they are not brought back home or to some shelter, through the use of drugs, crack cocaine, or some other harmful drugs, the pimps are able to turn those girls into forced prostitutes," Smith said. "They abuse them, they rape them. They get STDs, including HIV and AIDS."

Many children are brought to the U.S. from other countries, mostly Latin America, Southeast Asia, south and eastern Europe. Roma children are often brought from Bosnia or Serbia to steal or clean houses. Children from East Africa are brought to work as domestic servants or farm labor, while children from India are forced to work in the garment business. Their families often do not have any idea what has become of them. In many countries, including the US, even police officers who come to brothels or strip clubs buy sex from the victims instead of helping them...

Amra Alirejsovic writes for Voice of America.

Amra Alirejsovic

Energy Publisher

Sep. 13, 2010


Added: Sep. 19, 2010

Illinois, USA

West Chicago man gets 30 years for molesting girls

After the West Chicago woman returned home from her daughters' school event, the two girls told her a secret they shared about her live-in boyfriend.

"I had no idea what I was about to hear," the mother wrote in a victim-impact statement. "Both my daughters then said that he had sexually molested them. I am so angry because this man has taken something so sacred. They are going to have to live with the pain and memories of his actions for the rest of their lives."

Francisco Moyotl was sentenced Thursday to 30 years in prison after he pleaded guilty to committing predatory criminal sexual assault of a child and aggravated criminal sexual abuse.

The 42-year-old West Chicago man must serve 85 percent of the prison term before being eligible for parole. He also likely will face deportation because he is not a U.S. citizen...

Christy Gutowski

The Daily Herald

Sep. 16, 2010


Added: Sep. 19, 2010

New York, USA

32-year-old sex offender arrested for rape of 75-year-old woman in Bronx

A hulking sex offender raped a 75-year-old Bronx woman who employed his mother as a caretaker, police said Monday.

Marcos Cuevas sneaked into a private senior citizens residence on Sunday and had wormed his way into the apartment of another woman - a neighbor of the victim - when she happened to come by for a visit, police said.

"I'm looking for my mother," the brawny pervert told her.

"She's not here," the elderly victim replied. "She's off on weekends."

So Cuevas, 32, tied the wrists of the victim and her 76-year-old pal behind their backs - and then raped the younger woman, police said.

The tattooed terror, who stands 6-foot-2 and weighs 295 pounds, also robbed the 76-year-old of $10 before fleeing the Bronx building, cops said.

When detectives arrived, the rape victim had no problem identifying her attacker because his mom, Iris, works as a home care attendant for her 95-year-old mother, police said.

A Level 3, or high risk, sex offender, Cuevas was caught later on E. 141st St. in Manhattan.

Cuevas was charged with rape, robbery, sex abuse and unlawful imprisonment. His alleged victim was in stable condition at Lincoln Hospital.

Ivonne Suarez, who said she is Cuevas' wife, defended her "Gentle Giant" and insisted the rape accusation was dreamed up by a "crazy woman."

"He would never do this after spending that time in jail," said Suarez, 40. "The woman is senile. She made up this story. My husband wouldn't lay a hand on her."

...Cuevas spent nearly a decade behind bars for raping two Manhattan women - one of them at knifepoint in Harlem - in 1996.

Sentenced to seven to 14 years in prison, Cuevas was twice denied parole by boards that deemed him a danger to society. He won a conditional release in November 2005, but a year later he was back in jail after violating his parole in August 2006.

He wasn't released again until November 2009, according to records.

Rocco Parascandola, Kevin Deutsch and Corky Siemaszko

The New York Daily News

Sep.13, 2010


Added: Sep. 19, 2010

California, USA

San Bernardino County Priest Accused of Sexually Abusing 2 Boys

Reverend Alex Castillo maintains his innocence.

Ontario - A Catholic priest in San Bernardino County is accused of sexually abusing two boys within the last two years.

Rev. Alex Castillo was removed from duty as an active priest in June.

He served at four churches within the Diocese of San Bernardino, including Our Lady of Guadelupe in Ontario.

The parents of two adolescent boys, who are brothers, claim Castillo sexually abused their sons. Castillo maintains his innocence.

The accusations were revealed in a letter read in church over the weekend.

Parishioners say the man they call "Reverend Alex" is strict and spiritual.

"It's a good person. It's a good father. He's been here for quite a few years," parishioner Benjamin Rosas told KTLA.

Church members say they were told Castillo was sick when he left back in June.

The diocese will only say he's in a place where he no longer has any contact with parishioners. They won't say where.

Police will not comment on the allegations.

The San Bernardino Diocese is asking any potential victims to come forward.

Eric Spillman

KTLA News

Sep. 14, 2010


Added: Sep. 19, 2010

Ohio, USA

Teen girl says she was raped

Dayton - Police are looking for a man, possibly Hispanic in connection with the sexual assault of a 15-year-old girl.

Officers say the girl was walking home from school near Bolton Avenue when a man started following her. He then jumped out , grabbed the girl, threw her over his shoulders, and took her into a vacant house where she was assaulted.

Police say the man is between the ages of 18 and 20 and weighs about 140 pounds. He has a teardrop tattoo under one of his eyes, and he is dressed in black.

If you have any information about this crime, please call 333-COPS.

Charlie Van Sant

WHIO

Sep. 17, 2010


Added: Sep. 14, 2010

Mexico

The wrong solution in Mexico

The Obama administration is right to consider boosting funding, but increased militarization to combat drug cartels is misguided. The U.S. would be wiser to address rampant corruption.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton made a dangerous mistake Wednesday when she spoke of Mexico's drug cartels as "insurgents" and suggested reviving President Clinton's Plan Colombia to address the issue. That program set up U.S. military bases in Colombia and funneled billions of dollars in military aid to fight the country's drug-trafficking left-wing insurgency. The last thing the United States needs today is a new quagmire south of the Rio Grande.

Mexico is different from Colombia. Colombia was up against a rebel organization bent on taking over the government. In contrast, Mexican drug traffickers are businessmen who we can assume are principally concerned with increasing their profits. In the end, they prefer to use "silver," or bribes, over "lead," or bullets. Although they are quick to kill or decapitate members of rival gangs, they much prefer a pliant police officer, soldier or mayor to a dead one. This is why government officials make up such a small percentage of the dead — only about 3,000 out of 28,000, according to official statistics...

Plan Colombia was highly problematic. More than $4 billion of military aid and the construction of U.S. military bases did reduce the violence. Nevertheless, Colombian cocaine still flows freely into the U.S. market and is one of the most important sources of income for the Mexican cartels.

U.S. military support in Colombia also led to skyrocketing human rights abuses and numerous "disappeared" citizens, at a considerable cost to the country's social fabric. Nongovernmental organization and media reports have found that much of the aid was channeled to [ultra-conservative] paramilitary groups and that the U.S. presence emboldened the Colombian military to act with impunity...

[One] strategic move would be to aggressively fund and support independent investigative journalism and alternative media outlets, which have played a major role in holding government accountable. Journalism has become a high-risk profession in Mexico. Both cartels and the government have done their best to suppress the truth about corruption.

Unfortunately, neither strong anti-corruption agencies nor support for journalists have formed a part of the new focus on social programs, which months ago the Obama administration suggested as a possible focus for future funding to Mexico. Under the influence of the Calderon government, most of the talk has been about much "softer" initiatives, such as drug education, urban renewal, scholarships and community development programs. All of this is fine, but none of it will attack the roots of the present failure to rein in the drug cartels in Mexico.

It is time to turn the corner in U.S. policy toward Mexico. Instead of sending more money [for] attack helicopters, military bases or social development programs, the U.S. could make a significant contribution to peace in North America by helping to aggressively combat corruption and supporting freedom of expression.

John M. Ackerman is a professor at the Institute for Legal Research at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, editor-in-chief of the Mexican Law Review and a columnist for La Jornada newspaper and Proceso magazine.

John M. Ackerman

Sep. 10, 2010


Added: Sep. 11, 2010

New Mexico, USA

New Mexico receives $1.6 million from Justice Department

The U.S. Department of Justice has awarded the state of New Mexico $1.64 million in grants for public safety initiatives.

[The grants included ...$215,000] to create a special agent position assigned to the [state attorney general's office's] Border Violence Division to investigate human trafficking cases.

The grants were announced by Democratic U.S. Sen. Jeff Bingaman.

The Associated Press

Sep. 11, 2010


Added: Sep. 10, 2010

Mexico, The United States

Los Angeles Times metro columnist Hector Tobar is a former Mexico City bureau chief for the newspaper.

Photo: L.A. Times

Where's the outrage over immigrant slayings in Mexico?

...For those of us who remember the tragedy of Latin America's recent past, seeing the images of last month's massacre of 72 immigrants in northern Mexico is like reentering an old and very familiar nightmare.

Not long ago, dictators ruled most of Latin America. They had large groups of people kidnapped, tortured and executed in secret. Their crimes against humanity hit nearly every corner of the region, from cosmopolitan Buenos Aires to provincial Guatemala City.

But this new act of mass murder was not the work of a military junta run by generals. It didn't take place in a tiny banana republic without a judicial system worthy of the name.

It happened in the proud, multiparty democracy called Mexico, a country with ample social freedoms, including a vibrant free press. And it wasn't an isolated occurrence. A report last year by Mexico's human rights ombudsman said at least 400 mass kidnappings are reported in Mexico every year, many involving the rape and murder of hostages.

Modern death squads are operating freely in northern Mexico, extorting those who wish to come here, where relatives and jobs await. The kidnappings and murders of immigrants carried out by these groups are a stain on Mexican democracy, and many commentators there recognize this.

"The abuse against migrants is an everyday embarrassment we don't want to talk about because it would rob us of all our moral authority before our neighbors to the north," columnist Alfonso Zarate wrote in response to the massacre in the newspaper El Universal.

"Mexico demands respect for the human rights of 'illegal' workers in the U.S.," Zarate continued, " … but is now itself under the microscope of the international community, which is rightly scandalized and indignant."

...As with the many killings of police officers and officials in Mexico, the San Fernando massacre was an act of psychological warfare. Such extreme violence is meant to spread fear and thus make it easier for the killers to impose their will on the living.

If we stay silent about their crime, if we treat it as just another episode in Mexico's unwinnable drug wars, then we'll allows the killers to win.

And yet, here in the United States, the expressions of outrage from the immigrant rights movement have been muted. You could say they are a mere whisper compared with the very loud campaign against Arizona's SB 1070, a law whose most controversial provisions will probably never go into effect.

We should see the killings as a blunt reminder of the reasons why people so desperately want to come here. And we should speak of San Fernando with the same horror as we do El Mozote and the Naval Mechanics School of Buenos Aires — sites of the most heinous crimes committed by the militaries of El Salvador and Argentina in the 1970s and '80s.

It's not just the killers who deserve our moral outrage, it's the failed judicial systems that allow them to thrive without fear of punishment.

In Latin America, the massacre has already provoked much reflection and protest. The government of Honduras, home to the largest number of its victims, announced it would take new steps to try to discourage illegal immigration to the U.S.

In Mexico, the northern city of Saltillo witnessed a rare event just days after the Aug. 23 massacre: a march by 200 undocumented immigrants, carrying the flags of El Salvador, Guatemala and other Central American countries.

"Our countries deny us the opportunity for economic development," the demonstrators said in a written statement, after marching through the city with covered faces. "But Mexico denies us the opportunity to live."

To stop SB 1070, we've seen Angelenos drive across the desert to Phoenix to march, to denounce both the governor of Arizona and the mad sheriff of Maricopa County, Joe Arpaio.

But I've yet to hear of any rallies at the Mexican consulate or anywhere else here in Los Angeles, demanding that the Mexican government prosecute those guilty of so many migrant killings and disappearances.

Most of the country's leading immigrant rights groups haven't even bothered to issue a news release.

That doesn't surprise me. Generally speaking, the U.S. immigrant rights movement doesn't have much to say about the social and political conditions that lead so many to leave their native countries and place themselves at the mercy of an increasingly violent smuggling industry.

This is wrong. We can't turn a blind eye to the deeper, seemingly intractable injustices that are the obvious root cause of the problem.

Simply put: It's wrong that people have to undertake the journey to the U.S. in the first place. People shouldn't have to leave the land of their ancestors, their extended families, their barrios and their farms.

They leave because the promise of democracy in Mexico and Central America remains unfulfilled.

The Tamaulipas murders are really just the most sickening expression of a vast system of inequality and corruption that still defines life for millions of people.

U.S. immigration reform, unfortunately, won't do anything to strengthen the rule of law in those countries that supply the greatest number of migrants. It won't stop the power of the criminal groups that infiltrate government and intimidate officials, not just in certain regions of Mexico but in much of Central America.

There's a movement for democracy and government accountability in those places. But it's often under threat...

...Many more of us need to stand with those who work to keep the promise of democracy and justice alive in northern Mexico, Guatemala and other places.

It matters not just to them but to us.

And now, as in the age of the dictators, it's a matter of life and death.

Hector Tobar

The Los Angeles Times

Sep. 9, 2010

See also:

LibertadLatina Commentary

Chuck Goolsby

Clarifying the Issues in an Age of Impunity

The September 9th, 2010 article by Los Angeles Times columnist Hector Tobar: Where's the outrage over immigrant slayings in Mexico?, speaks volumes of truth in regard to the world's lack of response to the human rights crises that terrorize the daily lives of the people of Mexico and the rest of Latin America. While much attention is paid to the injustices that immigrants, including the undocumented, face in the United States, few U.S. human rights organizations, including those that exist within the Latino community, dare to address the root causes of the oppression that drives millions to flee to the U.S. in response.

We go beyond Mr. Tobar's analysis to state that the same problem, that of an imbalanced attention to human rights tragedies, also exists in regard to the mass gender atrocities that are today a constant in Mexico and elsewhere in Latin America. Our project, LibertadLatina, exists to counter that lack of awareness and action by focusing the world's attention on the problems of criminal impunity and state corruption and complacency. These dynamics have created conditions in Mexico that have resulted in conditions where rule of law is weak, and where both criminal networks and corrupt law enforcement and military forces compete to see how many Central and South American migrants they can kidnap, rob, rape and, in many cases, sell into slavery.

It is clear to us that the criminal impunity that dominates in Mexico has spread its influence across the United States. The fact that Latin American victims of human slavery account for approximately 60% of the U.S. total of enslaved persons is one indicator of that reality. The related fact that Mexico's human smuggling networks now earn between $15 and 20 billion annually by smuggling immigrants to the U.S. under often inhuman conditions, according to a recent CNN report, is another red flag that should start the alarm bells ringing in Washington.

Mexico's governmental and social institutions are not capable of addressing criminal impunity, and especially its human trafficking component, without being pushed hard to do so. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's recent statement indicating that Mexico's drug cartels are mounting an 'insurgency-like' campaign against Mexican governmental rule, should give pause to anyone who thinks that bringing human slavery under control in that nation will happen anytime soon.

Both the global human rights community and the U.S. federal government must shift focus and begin to address this crisis as the emergency that it truly is. There is no hope for ending human trafficking in Latin America, nor in the United States, while criminal impunity and state inaction continue to reign in Mexico.

End impunity now!

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

Sep. 10/14, 2009

Also mentioned in Hector Tobar's September 9, 2010 Los Angeles Times article was the El Mozote massacre:

No Rescue From Atlacatl Battalion

The U.S.-trained Atlacatl Battallion massacred hundreds of unarmed villagers in the town of El Mozote

About the El Mozote Massacre in El Salvador, perpetrated on December 10, 1981

A case of anti-indigenous repression through state sanctioned rape and mass-murder

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

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

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

"They slit some of the kids' throats, and many they hanged from the tree ... The soldiers kept telling us, 'You are guerrillas and this is justice. This is justice.' Finally, there were only three of us left. I watched them hang my brother. He was two years old. I could see that I was going to be killed soon, and I thought it would be better to die running, so I ran. I slipped through the soldiers and dove into the bushes. They fired into the bushes, but none of their bullets hit me."

Parascope.com


Added: Sep. 10, 2010

Mexico

37 suspected illegal immigrants found captive in Riverside

The group, which included juveniles, was being held in a 10-by-12-foot room that was locked from the outside and had boarded-up windows.

Federal agents found 37 suspected illegal immigrants, smuggled into the United States from six countries, crammed into a small house in Riverside where some had been held captive for weeks, authorities said Wednesday.

Immigration agents raided the "drop house" after a relative of one of the captives called the Los Angeles Police Department. The caller told police the smugglers had threatened to kill his relative because the family failed to come up with enough money to pay for his release, according to Virginia Kice, spokeswoman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Los Angeles.

Agents found the immigrants — including two toddlers and a baby — in a small bedroom, measuring about 10 by 12 feet. The room was locked from the outside and the windows were boarded up. The home is in one of the city's older neighborhoods along Martin Luther King Boulevard, about a mile east of the 91 Freeway.

"As far as we know, they were all in pretty good physical condition, though some reported that they had not eaten for days," said Claude Arnold, special agent in charge for ICE in Los Angeles.

Six suspected smugglers have been detained and are being questioned, but no arrests have been made, Arnold said.

"We're still in the process of interviewing everyone," Arnold said. "In these circumstances, it does take some time to sort this out."

Agents took an additional seven immigrants linked to the same smuggling scheme into custody earlier in the day as they were being taken to other destinations in the Los Angeles area.

The 44 smuggled immigrants are from Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Mexico, Ecuador and the Dominican Republic. The group included 34 men, four women and six juveniles.

Those smuggled into the country illegally will eventually go though deportation proceedings. However, any immigrants who were assaulted by a smuggler or were victims of another crime will be treated as victims and could be eligible for a victims' visa, he said.

Two weeks ago, federal immigration agents found a drop house in Baldwin Park with 35 smuggled illegal immigrants from Central and South America.

Phil Willon

The Los Angeles Times

Sep. 9, 2010


Added: Sep. 10, 2010

Spain, Brazil

Spain Breaks Up a Trafficking Ring for Male Prostitution

Madrid - The Spanish police said Tuesday that it had dismantled for the first time a human trafficking network bringing men rather than women into the country to work as prostitutes.

The police said 14 people, almost all of them Brazilian, were arrested over recent weeks as part of an inquiry into the network’s activities begun in February.

The sex workers were recruited in Brazil, with their travel costs to Spain initially covered by the trafficking network’ organizers in return for a pledge to work subsequently for them, according to a police statement. Most of the recruits, however, expected to work as models or nightclub dancers, although some allegedly knew that they were coming to Spain to offer sex.

The police estimated that between 60 and 80 men were brought to Spain by the network, most of them in their 20s and originating from Brazil’s northern state of Maranhão. They reached Spain by passing through third countries.

The bulk of the arrests occurred on the island of Majorca, including that of the Brazilian accused of being the ringleader, whose identity was not disclosed by the police. The prostitutes ended up owing the network as much as €4,000 each and were sometimes threatened with death if they refused to pay the debt, according to the Spanish police.

Although it is the first time that police officers have broken up a professional male prostitution trafficking network, five people were arrested in 2006 in Spain’s western region of Extremadura for their involvement in an illegal Brazilian prostitution business. More recently, the police have dismantled several gangs exploiting female sex workers, generally from Eastern Europe or Africa. In July, 105 people were arrested for their involvement in a dozen prostitution centers around Madrid in one of the largest clampdowns to date.

A police spokeswoman who asked not to be identified said that Brazilian officials had been involved. Some of the prostitutes were also placed in custody for working illegally in Spain.

Raphael Minder

The New York Times

Aug. 31, 2010


Added: Sep. 9, 2010

Mexico

The Ibero-American University in Puebla opens the Ignacio Ellacuría Human Rights Institute in March of 2010

Acciones vs trata de personas en México son insuficientes: UIA

Cada minuto y medio se comete un delito de trata de personas en el mundo, y en México, aún sabiendo los lugares y rutas donde operan las redes, las acciones que se realizan para evitarlo son insuficientes, señalaron especialistas.

Oscar Castro Soto, director del Instituto de Derechos Humanos “Ignacio Ellacurría” de la Universidad Iberoamericana (UIA), indicó que cada año 400,000 personas son víctimas de dicho delito en el mundo.

En la presentación de la agenda del “II Congreso latinoamericano de trata y tráfico de personas”, el director explicó que 80% de las victimas son niños y mujeres utilizados para explotación sexual y trabajos domésticos, ya sea de forma conciente o en contra de su voluntad.

Las rutas identificadas son: Paraguay, Bolivia, Chile y Argentina; Brasil y España; Panamá, Nicaragua y Costa Rica; y El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, México y Estados Unidos, expresaron académicos de la UIA.

Las redes de trata y de pornografía infantil en México que están vinculadas al narcotráfico, se encuentran en regiones de Tapachula, Cancún, Acapulco, Veracruz, Tijuana, Tlaxcala, Puebla, Ciudad Juárez y La Merced, en el Distrito Federal, indicaron expertos.

Las instituciones federales y estatales de México, con excepción del Instituto de Mujeres del Distrito Federal, no se sumaron a la convocatoria del evento internacional a realizarse del 20 al 24 de septiembre en la UIA de Puebla en la que participaran funcionarios de varios países, lo que ocasionó la sorpresa de varios especialistas.

Raquel Pastor, integrante del Comité Académico del Congreso, señaló en un comunicado, el apoyo del foro para ayudar a quienes trabajan en la persecución del delito de trata, ya que en México no existen instituciones especializadas que atiendan a las víctimas de dicho delito.

Mexico's actions against human trafficking are insufficient: Ibero-American University

According to Oscar Castro Soto, director of the Ignacio Ellacurría Institute for Human Rights at Mexico's Ibero-American University (UIA) in Puebla state, every minute and a half a human trafficking crime is committed somewhere in the world. In Mexico, despite the fact that trafficking locations and routes are known, [state] actions to prevent such crimes are inadequate. According to Castro Soto, 400,000 persons become victims of trafficking each year globally.

Castro Soto presented his observations in the just-released agenda for the upcoming Second Latin American Congress on Human Trafficking, which will be held at the UIA campus in Puebla between September 20th and 24th, 2010. He explained that 80% of the victims of human trafficking are children and women, who either consciously or against their will are utilized for sexual exploitation or domestic servitude.

Known [Latin American] trafficking routes exist in Paraguay, Bolivia, Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Panama, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, Mexico, the United States and Spain, stated Castro Soto [Soto-Castro's statement omits important human trafficking routes that involve the Dominican Republic and Colombia, the two largest sources of sex trafficking victims in Latin America - LL].

Castro Soto's statement noted that within Mexico, human trafficking and child pornography networks are tied to narco-trafficking organizations. These criminal groups may be found in Tapachula, Cancún, Acapulco, Veracruz, Tijuana, Tlaxcala, Puebla, Ciudad Juárez and the La Merced sector of Mexico City.

With the exception of the National Women's Institute, Mexican federal agencies chose not to participate in the conference. This decision brought expressions of surprise from some of the specialists involved with the event. Government officials of several other nations plan to attend.

Raquel Pastor, who is a member of the academic committee of the Congress, stated in a press release that the goal of the Congress was to assist those in government who seek to prosecute human trafficking crimes, given the fact the Mexico currently does not have institutions set-up to assist victims.

El Semanario - Mexico

Sep. 07, 2010

See also:

From the CATW-LAC flyer for their third annual awards ceremony

La Coalición Regional Contra El Tráfico De Mujeres Y Niñas En América Latina Y El Caribe presentará su "Tercer Premio Latino-americano por La Vida y la Seguridad de las Mujeres y Niñas en America Latina y el Caribe

During the upcoming Secnd Latin American Congress on Human Trafficking, which will be held at the UIA campus in Puebla, Mexico, between September 20th through 24th, 2010, the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women - Latin American and Caribbean branch (CATW-LAC), will present its Third Award for the Defense of Life and Security for Women and Girls in Latin America.

(In Spanish)

CATW-LAC

Sep., 2010

See also:

En la UIA Puebla se inaugurará el Instituto de Derechos Humanos Ignacio Ellacuría |22 de Marzo de 2010|

The UIA in Puebla opens the Ignacio Ellacuría Human Rights Institute on March 22nd, 2010.

(In Spanish)

ContraParte

March 22, 2010



Other important news stories from 2009 and 2010



Added: Jul. 21, 2010

New York, USA

U.S. Ambassador Luis CdeBaca (second from left) and other presenters at UN / Brandeis conference

Hidden in Plain Sight: The News Media's Role in Exposing Human Trafficking

The Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University cosponsored a first-ever United Nations panel discussion about how the news media is exposing and explaining modern slavery and human trafficking -- and how to do it better. Below are the transcript and video from that conference, held at the United Nations headquarters in New York City on June 16 and co-sponsored by the United States Mission to the United Nations and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

Take a look as some leading media-makers and policymakers debate coverage of human trafficking. What hinders good reporting on human trafficking? What do journalists fear when they report on slaves and slavery? Why cover the subject in the first place? What are the common reporting mistakes and missteps that can do more harm than good to trafficking victims, and to government, NGO, and individual efforts to end the traffic of persons for others' profit and pleasure?

Among the main points: Panelists urged reporters and editors to avoid salacious details and splashy, "sexy" headlines that can prevent a more nuanced examination of trafficked persons' lives and experiences. Journalists lamented the lack of solid data, noting that the available statistics are contradictory, unreliable, insufficient, and often skewed by ideology. As an example, the two officials on the panel -- Ambassador Luis CdeBaca, head of the U.S. Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, and Under-Secretary-General Antonio Maria Costa, executive director of the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime -- disagreed on the number of rescued trafficking victims. Costa thought the number was likely less than half CdeBaca's estimate (from the International Labour Organization) of 50,000 victims rescued worldwide...

Read the transcript

The Huffington Post

July 15, 2010

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina Note:

In response to the above article by the Huffington Post, on the topic of press coverage of the issue of human trafficking, we would like to point out that the LibertadLatina project came into existence because of a lack of interest and/or willingness on the part of many (but not all) reporters and editors in the press, and also on the part of government agencies and academics, to acknowledge and target the rampant sexual violence faced by Latina and indigenous women and children across both Latin America and the Latin Diaspora in the Untied States, Canada, and in other advanced economies such as those of western Europe and Japan.

Ten years after starting LibertadLatina, more substantial press coverage is taking place. However, the crisis of ongoing mass gender atrocities that plague Latin America, including human trafficking, community based sexual violence, a gender hostile living environment and government and social complicity (and especially in regard to the region's completely marginalized indigenous and African descended victims - who are especially targeted for victimization), continue to be largely ignored or intentionally untouched by the press, official government action, academic investigation and NGO effort.

Therefore we persist in broadcasting the message that the crisis in Latin America and its Diaspora cannot and will not be ignored.

End impunity now!

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

July 21, 2010


Added: March 1, 2010

Mexico

Deputy Rosi Orozco watches Mexican Interior Secretary Fernando Gómez Mont's presentation at the Forum for Analysis and Discussion in Regard to Criminal Law to Control Human Trafficking.

Video posted on YouTube

Video: Llama Gómez Mont a Visibilizar Delito de Trata de Personas

Video of Mexican Interior Secretary Fernando Gómez Mont's presentation at the Feb. 23rd and 24th, 2010 congressional Forum for Analysis and Discussion in Regard to Criminal Law to Control Human Trafficking.

[Ten minutes - In Spanish]

Deputy Rosi Orozco

On YouTube.com

Feb. 26, 2010

See also:

LibertadLatina Commentary

Chuck Goolsby

Lead, Follow or Get Out of the Way!

Mexican Interior Secretary Fernando Gómez Mont's presentation at the congressional Forum for Analysis and Discussion in Regard to Criminal Law to Control Human Trafficking has been widely quoted in the Mexican press. We have posted some of those articles here (see below).

The video of Secretary Mont's discourse shows that he is passionate about the idea of raising awareness about human trafficking. He states: "Making [trafficking] visible is the first step towards liberation."

Secretary Mont believes that the solution to human trafficking in Mexico will come from raising awareness about trafficking and from understanding the fact that machismo, its resulting family violence and also the nation's widespread extreme poverty are the dynamics that push at-risk children and youth into the hands of exploiters.

During Secretary Mont's talk he expressed his strongly held belief that federalizing the nation's criminal anti-trafficking laws is, in effect, throwing good money after bad. In his view, the source of the problem is not those whom criminal statutes would target, but the fundamental social ills that drive the problem.

The Secretary's views have an element of wisdom in them. We believe, however, that his approach is far too conservative. An estimated 500,000 victims of human trafficking exist in Mexico (according to veteran activist Teresa Ulloa of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women - Latin American and Caribbean branch - CATW-LAC).

A note about the figures quoted to describe the number of child sexual exploitation victims in Mexico...

Widely quoted 'official' figures state that between 16,000 and 20,000 underage victims of sex trafficking exist in Mexico.

We believe that, if the United States acknowledges that 200,000 to 300,000 underage children and youth are caught-up in the commercial sexual exploitation of children - CSEC, at any one time, based on a population of 310 million, (a figure of between .00064 and .00096 percent of the population), then the equivalent numbers for Mexico would be between 68,000 and 102,000 child and youth victims of CSEC for its estimated 107 million in population.

Given Mexico's vastly greater level of poverty, its legalization of adult prostitution, and given that southern Mexico alone is known to be the largest zone in the world for the commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC), with 10,000 children being prostituted just in the city of Tapachula (according to ECPAT figures), then the total number of underage children and youth caught-up in prostitution in Mexico is most likely not anywhere near the 16,000 to 20,000 figure that was first released in a particular research study from more than five years ago and continues to be so widely quoted today.

Regardless of what the actual figures are, they include a very large number of victims.

While officials such as Secretary Mont philosophize about disabling anti-trafficking law enforcement and rescue and restoration efforts, while instead relying upon arriving at some far-off day when Mexican society raises its awareness and empathy for victims (and that is Mont's policy proposal as stated during the recent trafficking law forum), tens of thousands of victims who are being kidnapped, raped, enslaved and sold to the highest bidder need our help. They need our urgent intervention. As a result of their enslavement, they typically live for only a few years, if that, according to experts.

The reality is that the tragic plight of victims can and must be prevented. Those who have already been victimized must be rescued and restored to dignity.

That is not too much to ask from a Mexico that calls itself a member of civilized society.

Mexico exists at the very top of world-wide statistics on the enslavement of human beings. Save the Children recognizes the southern border region of Mexico as being the largest zone for the commercial sexual exploitation of children on Planet Earth.

Colombian and Mexican drug cartels, Japanese Yakuza mafias and the Russian Mob are all 'feeding upon' (kidnapping, raping, and exporting) many of  the thousands of Central and South American migrant women who cross into Mexico. They also prey upon thousands of young Mexican girls and women (and especially those who are Indigenous), who remain unprotected by the otherwise modern state of Mexico, where Roman Empire era feudal traditions of exploiting the poor and the Indigenous as slaves are honored and defended by the wealthy elites who profit (economically and sexually) from such barbarism.

Within this social environment, the more extreme forms of modern slavery are not seen as being outrageous by the average citizen. These forms of brutal exploitation have been used continuously in Mexico for 500 years.

We reiterate our view, as expressed in our Feb. 26th and 27th 2010 commentary about Secretary Mont.

Interior Secretary Mont has presided over the two year delay in implementing the provisions of the nation's first anti-trafficking law, the Law to Prevent, and Punish Human Trafficking, passed by Congress in 2007.

  • The regulations required to enable the law were left unpublished by the Interior Secretary for 11 months after the law was passed.

  • When the regulation were published, they were weak, and left out a role for the nation's leading anti-trafficking agency, the Special Prosecutor for Violent Crimes Against Women and Human Trafficking in the Attorney General's office (FEVIMTRA).

  • The regulations failed to target organized crime.

  • The Inter-Agency Commission to Fight Human Trafficking, called for in the law, was only stood-up in late 2009, two years after the law's passage, and only after repeated agitation by members of Congress demanding that President Calderón act to create the Commission.

  • Today, the National Program to Fight Human Trafficking, also called for in the 2007 law, has yet to be created by the Calderón administration.

  • In early February of 2010, Senator Irma Martínez Manríquez stated that the 2007 anti-trafficking law and its long-sought regulations were a 'dead letter' due to the power of impunity that has contaminated the political process.

All of the delaying tactics that were used to thwart the will and intent of Congress in passing the 2007 anti-trafficking law originated in the National Action Party (PAN) administration of President Felipe Calderón. All aspects of the 2007 law that called for regulations, commissions and programs were the responsibility of Interior Secretary Mont to implement. That job was never performed, and the 2007 law is now accurately referred to as a "dead letter" by members of Congress.

Those of us in the world community who actively support the use of criminal sanctions to suppress and ultimately defeat the multi-billion dollar power of human trafficking networks must come to the aid of the many political and non governmental organization leaders in Mexico who are working to create a breakthrough, to end the impasse which the traditionalist forces in the PAN political machine have thrown-up as a gauntlet to defeat effective anti-trafficking legislation.

Interior Secretary Mont's vision for the future, which involves continuing on a course of complete inaction on the law enforcement front, must be rejected as a capitulation to the status quo, and as a nod to the traffickers.

While "Little Brown Maria in the Brothel" - our metaphor for the voiceless victims, suffers yet another day chained to a bed in Tijuana, Acapulco, Matamoros, Ciudad Juárez, Mexico City, Tlaxcala, Tapachula and Cancun, the entire law enforcement infrastructure of Mexico sits by and does virtually nothing to stop this mass gender atrocity from happening.

That is a completely unacceptable state of affairs for a Mexico that is a member of the world community, and that is a signatory to international protocols that fight human trafficking and that defend women and children's human rights.

We once again call upon U.S. Ambassador at Large Luis CdeBaca, director of the Trafficking in Persons office at the State Department, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and President Barack Obama to stand-up and speak out with the moral authority of the United States in support of the forces of change in Mexico.

Political leaders and non governmental organizations around the world also have a responsibility to speak-up, and to let the government of President Felipe Calderón know that the fact that his ruling party (finally) supported presenting a forum on trafficking, and the holding of a few press conferences, is not enough of a policy turn-around to be convincing.

The PAN must take strong action to aggressively combat the explosive growth in human slavery in Mexico in accordance with international standards. Those at risk, and those who are today victims, await your effective response to their emergency, President Calderón.

Enacting a 'general' federal law that is enforceable in all of Mexico's states would be a good fist step to show the world that sincere and honest voices against modern day slavery do exist in Congress, and are willing to draw a line in the sand on this issue.

As for Secretary Mont, we suggest, kind sir, that you consider the age-old entrepreneurial adage, and either "lead, follow, or get out of the way" of progress.

No more delays!

There is no time to waste!

End impunity now!

- Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

March 1, 2010

See Also:

Mexico

Víctimas del tráfico de personas, 5 millones de mujeres y niñas en América Latina

De esa cifra, más de 500 mil casos ocurren en México, señalan especialistas.

Five million victims of Human Trafficking Exist in Latin America

Saltillo, Coahuila state - Teresa Ulloa Ziaurriz, the director of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women's Latin American / Caribbean regional office, announced this past Monday that more than five million women and girls are currently victims of human trafficking in Latin America and the Caribbean.

During a forum on successful treatment approaches for trafficking victims held by the Women's Institute of Coahuila, Ulloa Ziaurriz stated that 500,000 of these cases exist in Mexico, where women and girls are trafficked for sexual exploitation, pornography and the illegal harvesting of human organs.

Ulloa Ziaurriz said that human trafficking is the second largest criminal industry in the world today, a fact that has given rise to the existence of a very large number of trafficking networks who operate with the complicity of both [corrupt] government officials and business owners.

Mexico is a country of origin, transit and also destination for trafficked persons. Of 500,000 victims in Mexico, 87% are subjected to commercial sexual exploitation.

Ulloa Ziaurriz pointed out that locally in Coahuila state, the nation's human trafficking problem shows up in the form of child prostitution in cities such as Ciudad Acuña as well as other population centers along Mexico's border with the United States.

- Notimex / La Jornada Online

Mexico City

Dec. 12, 2007

See also:

Mexico: Más de un millón de menores se prostituyen en el centro del país: especialista

Expert: More than one million minors are sexually exploited in Central Mexico

Tlaxcala city, in Tlaxcala state - Around 1.5 million people in the central region of Mexico are engaged in prostitution, and some 75% of them are between 12 and 13 years of age, reported Teresa Ulloa, director of the Regional Coalition Against Trafficking in Women and Girls in Latin America and the Caribbean...

La Jornada de Oriente

Sep. 26, 200

[Note: The figure of 75% of 1.5 million indicates that 1.1 million girls between the ages of 12 and 13 at any given time engage in prostitution in central Mexico alone. - LL]

Added: Dec. 03, 2009

Mexico

Award-winning anti-child sex trafficking activist, journalist, author and women's center director Lydia Cacho

Muertes por violencia en México podrían ser plan de limpieza social: Cacho

Especialistas indagan si asesinatos vinculados con el crimen son una estrategia del Estado, dijo.

Madrid. Las muertes por violencia en México en los últimos años, 15 mil en los últimos tres años, podrían formar parte de un plan de "limpieza social por parte del Estado mexicano", declaró este lunes en Madrid la periodista mexicana Lydia Cacho….

Deaths from violence in Mexico could be the results of social cleansing: Lydia Cacho

Specialists are investigating whether murders are state strategy, Cacho says.

Madrid. Deaths from violence in Mexico in recent years, including 15,000 during the past three years, could form part of a plan of "social cleansing by the Mexican State," declared Mexican journalist Lydia Cacho in Madrid, Spain on Monday.

"Experts are beginning to investigate at this time in Mexico whether these 15,000 murders are linked to intentional social cleansing by the Mexican State," Cacho said in a press conference in which she denounced human rights violations and persecution of the press in her country.

Since President Felipe Calderón [became president] three years ago, we have been witnessing a growing authoritarianism in Mexico "justified by the war " (on drugs), in which " militari-zation, and harassment of journalists and human rights defenders is increasing danger-ously," stated Cacho.

Cacho was kidnapped [by rogue state police agents] and tortured in Mexico after divulging information about a pedophile ring in which businessmen and politicians were involved.

The Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR) will determine in an upcoming decision whether Mexican authorities violated the rights of the journalist in that case.

The foundation that bears Cacho's name, created in Madrid a year ago, is organizing a concert to raise funds to help pay for her defense before the IACHR...

Cacho is the author of [the child sex trafficking exposé] The Demons of Eden. In recent years she has received several awards for her work on behalf of human rights carried out through investigative journalism, including the UNESCO-Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Award.

Agence France Presse (AFP)

Nov. 23, 2009

See also:

Mexican Government Part of Problem, Not Solution, Writer Says

Madrid - A muckraking Mexican journalist known for exposes of pedophile rings and child prostitution said on Monday that President Felipe Calderón’s bloody campaign against Mexico’s drug cartels is “not a battle for justice and social peace.”

Lydia Cacho, who has faced death threats and judicial persecution for her writings, told a press conference in Madrid that Mexico’s justice system is “impregnated with corruption and impunity.”

Accompanied by the head of the Lydia Cacho Foundation, Spanish screenwriter Alicia Luna; and Madrid Press Association President Fernando Gonzalez Urbaneja, the author said the nearly three years since Calderón took office have seen increased “authoritarianism” and harassment of journalists and human rights advocates.

The period has also witnessed “15,000 documented killings,” Cacho said, exceeding the carnage in Colombia at the height of that country’s drug wars.

“Specialists are beginning to investigate if those 15,000 killings are linked with intentional social cleansing on the part of the Mexican state,” she said.

Calderón, she noted, “insists on saying that many of those deaths are collateral effects and that the rest are criminals who kill one another.”

“It is a war among the powerful and not a battle for justice and social peace,” she said of the military-led effort against drug cartels, which has drawn widespread criticism for human rights abuses.

Cacho also lamented “self-censorship” in the highly concentrated Mexican media, saying that many outlets color their reporting to avoid trouble with the government and other powerful interests.

A long-time newspaper columnist and crusader for women’s rights, Lydia Cacho became famous thanks to the furor over her 2005 book “Los demonios del Eden” (The Demons of Eden), which exposed wealthy pedophiles and their associates in the Mexican establishment.

In the book, she identified textile magnate Kamel Nacif as a friend and protector of accused pedophile Jean Succar Kuri, who has since been sent back to Mexico from the United States to face charges.

Nacif, whose business is based in the central state of Puebla, accused Cacho of defamation - a criminal offense - in Mexico and arranged to have her arrested for allegedly for ignoring a summons to appear in court for the case.

In February 2006, Mexican dailies published transcripts of intercepted phone conversations in which Nacif was heard conspiring with Puebla Governor Mario Marin and other state officials to have Cacho taken into custody and then assaulted behind bars.

The transcripts indicated that Nacif, known as the “denim king” for his dominance of the blue-jeans business, engineered the author’s arrest by bribing court personnel not to send her the requisite summonses.

Cacho was subsequently released on bail and the case against her was ultimately dismissed.

EFE

Nov. 24, 2009

See Also:

LibertadLatina

Special Section

Journalist / Activist

Lydia Cacho is

Railroaded by the

Legal Process for

Exposing Child Sex

Networks In Mexico

See Also:

Perils of Plan Mexico: Going Beyond Security to Strengthen U.S.-Mexico Relations

Americas Program Commentary

Mexico is the United States' closest Latin American neighbor and yet most U.S. citizens receive little reliable information about what is happening within the country. Instead, Mexico and Mexicans are often demonized in the U.S. press. The single biggest reason for this is the way that the entire binational relationship has been recast in terms of security over the past few years...

The militarization of Mexico has led to a steep increase in homicides related to the drug war. It has led to rape and abuse of women by soldiers in communities throughout the country. Human rights complaints against the armed forces have increased six-fold.

Even these stark figures do not reflect the seriousness of what is happening in Mexican society. Many abuses are not reported at all for the simple reason that there is no assurance that justice will be done. The Mexican Armed Forces are not subject to civilian justice systems, but to their own military tribunals. These very rarely terminate in convictions. Of scores of reported torture cases, for example, not a single case has been prosecuted by the army in recent years.

The situation with the police and civilian court system is not much better. Corruption is rampant due to the immense economic power of the drug cartels. Local and state police, the political system, and the justice system are so highly infiltrated and controlled by the cartels that in most cases it is impossible to tell the good guys from the bad guys.

The militarization of Mexico has also led to what rights groups call "the criminalization of protest." Peasant and indigenous leaders have been framed under drug charges and communities harassed by the military with the pretext of the drug war. In Operation Chihuahua, one of the first military operations to replace local police forces and occupy whole towns, among the first people picked up were grassroots leaders - not on drug charges but on three-year old warrants for leading anti-NAFTA protests. Recently, grassroots organizations opposing transnational mining operations in the Sierra Madre cited a sharp increase in militarization that they link to the Merida Initiative and the NAFTA-SPP [North American Free Trade Act - Security and Prosperity Partnership] aimed at opening up natural resources to transnational investment.

All this - the human rights abuses, impunity, corruption, criminalization of the opposition - would be grave cause for concern under any conditions. What is truly incomprehens-ible is that in addition to generating these costs to Mexican society, the war on drugs doesn't work to achieve its own stated objectives...

Laura Carlsen

Americas Program, Center for International Policy (CIP)

Nov. 23, 2009


Added: Dec. 03, 2009

Mexico

The Numbers Don't Add Up in Mexico's Drug War

Drug Seizures are Down; Drug Production, Executions, Disappearances, and Human Rights Abuses are Up

Just a week before Mexican president Felipe Calderón completes half of his six-year term, [leading Mexico City newspaper] La Jornada reports that 16,500 extrajudicial executions [summary murders outside of the law] have occurred during his administration. 6,500 of those executions have occurred in 2009, according to La Jornada’s sources in Calderón’s cabinet...

While executions are on the rise, drug seizures are down, and drug production is up, Mexico is also experiencing an alarming increase in human rights abuses perpetrated by government agents - particularly the army - in Calderón’s war on drugs. As Mexican human rights organizations have noted, human rights violations committed by members of the armed forces have increased six-fold over the past two years. This statistic is based on complaints received by the Mexican government’s official National Human Rights Commission (CNDH).

No Mas Abusos (No More Abuses), a joint project of the Miguel Agustín Pro Juárez Human Rights Center, the Fundar Center for Analysis and Investigation, and Amnesty International’s Mexico Section, monitors human rights abuses committed by soldiers, police, and other government agents.

Kristin Bricker

Dec. 1, 2009

See also:

LibertadLatina News Archive - October 2009

El Paso - …Mexican human rights official Gustavo de la Rosa Hickerson [has] reported 170 instances of Mexican soldiers allegedly torturing, abusing and killing innocent people in Chihuahua [state].

The Associated Press

Oct. 17,2009

See also:

LibertadLatina Commentary

According to press reports from Mexico, the Yunque secret society is the dominant faction within the ruling National Action party (PAN).

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

During the 1960s, El Yunque perpetrated political assassi-nations and murders targeting their opponents. Although today they profess to adhere to the political process to affect change, it is not a stretch, given their violent history, to conclude that Lydia Cacho's concern, that the federal government of Mexico may be engaging in 'social cleansing through "extrajudicial killings" (which is just a fancy way to say state sanctioned murder of your opponents), may be valid. Cacho is a credible first hand witness to the acts of impunity which government officials use at-times to control free and independent thinking in Mexico. 

We have documented the steady deterioration  of human rights for women in Mexico for several years. Mexico is one of the very hottest spots for the gender rights crisis in the Americas.

The systematic use by military personnel of rape with total impunity, targeting especially indigenous women and girls, is one example of the harshness of  these conditions. The case of the sexual assaults carried out by dozens of policemen against women social protesters in the city of Atenco, Mexico in 2006 is another stark case.

The Mérida Initiative, through which the U.S. Government is funding Mexico's drug war to the tune of $450 million over several years, is financing not only that war, but it is also, apparently, strengthening the authoritarian rule of the El Yunque dominated PAN political party.

El Yunque, which has been identified as being an anti- women's rights, anti-indigenous rights,  anti-Semitic, anti-protestant and anti-gay 'shadow government' in Mexico, does not deserve even one dollar of U.S. funding.

Defeat the drug cartels?

Yes!

Provide funding for El Yunque's quest to build empire in Mexico while rolling-back women and indigenous people's basic human rights?

No!

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

Dec. 4, 2009

About El Yunque

The National Organization of the Anvil, or simply El Yunque (The Anvil), is the name of a secret society... whose purpose, according to the reporter Alvaro Delgado, "is to defend the [ultra-conservative elements of the] Catholic religion and fight the forces of Satan, whether through violence or murder "and establish" the kingdom of God in the land that is subject to the Mexican Government, to the mandates of the Catholic Church, through the infiltration of all its members at the highest levels of political power.

Wealthy business-men and politicians (mostly from the [ruling] National Action Party) have been named as alleged founders and members of The Anvil.

About El Yunque on Wikipedia.com



¡Feliz Día Internacional

de la Mujer!

Happy International Women's Day!

LibertadLatina Statement for International

Women's

Day, 2010



March 8 / Marzo 8

2009


¡Feliz Día Internacional de la Mujer!

Happy International Women's Day!

LibertadLatina

Nuestra declaración de 2005 Día Internacional de la Mujer es pertinente hoy en día, y define bien la emergencia hemesferica que enfrentan las mujeres y en particular as niñas de todas las Américas.

Pedimos a todas las personas de conciencia que siguimos trabajando duro para inform al público en general acerca de esta crisis, y que aumentamos nuestra presión popular sobre los funcionarios electos y otros encargados de tomar decisiones, que deben cambiar el statu quo y responder con seriadad, por fin, a las   atrocidades de violencia de género -en masa- que afectan cada vez mas a las mujeres y las niñas de las Américas.

¡Basta ya con la impunidad y la violencia de genero!


LibertadLatina

Our 2005 statement for International Women's Day is relevant today, and accurately defines the hemispheric emergency facing women and especially girl children in the Americas.

We ask that all people of conscience work hard to continue informing the general public about this crisis, and that we all ramp-up the pressure  on elected officials and other decision makers, who must change the status quo and respond, finally, to the increasingly severe mass gender atrocities that are victimizing women and girls across the Americas.

End Impunity and violence against women now!

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

March 8, 2008



LibertadLatina

Raids and Rescue Versus...?

Read our special section on the human rights advocacy conflict that exists between the goals of the defense of undocumented immigrants from the threat of deportation on the one hand, and the urgent need to protect Latina sex trafficking victims through law enforcement action...

...As the global economic crisis throws more women and children into severe poverty, and as ruthless trafficking gangs and mafias seek to increase their profits by kidnapping, raping, prostituting and murdering more women and girls (especially non-citizen migrants passing through Mexico to the U.S.), the level of sex trafficking activity will increase dramatically. 

Society must respond and protect those who are at risk...

- Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

Dec. 18, 2008


Read our special section on the crisis in the city of Tapachula

Mexico

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

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

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

- Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina



See: The National Network to End Violence Against Immigrant Women

And: La Alianza Latina Nacional para Erradicar la Violencia Doméstica.

The National Latino Alliance for the Elimination of Domestic Violence


Added June 15, 2008

Ending Global Slavery: Everyday Heroes Leading the Way

Humanity United and Change-makers, a project of Ashoka International,  are conducting a global online competition to identify innovative approaches to exposing, confronting and ending modern-day human slavery.

View the over 200 entries from 45 nations

See especially:

Teresa Ulloa: Agarra la Onda Chavo", Masculini-dad, Iniciación Sexual y Consumo de la Prostitución ('Get It Together Young Man: Masculinity, Sexual Initiation and Consumption of Prostitution).

Equidad Laboral Y La Mujer Afro-Colombiana

(Labor Equality and the Afro-Colombian Woman)

Alianza Por Tus Derechos, Costa Rica: Our borders: say no to traffick-ing of persons, specially children

(APTD's news feed is a major source of Spanish language news articles translated and posted on LibertadLatina).

Prevención de la migración temprana y fortalecimiento de los lazos familiares en apoyo a las Trabajadoras del Hogar en Ayacucho

(Preventing early migration and re-enforcing families)... serving women in Quechua and Spanish in largely Indigenous Ayacucho, Peru.

LibertadLatina.org contributor Carla Conde - Freuden-dorff, on her work assisting Dominican women trafficked to Argentina

LibertadLatina

Our entry:

A Web-based Anti-Trafficking Information Portal in Defense of Indigenous, Afro-Descend-ent & Latina Women in the Americas

We present our history, plans for the future, and an essay discussing the current state of the anti-traffick-ing and anti-exploitation movements in the context of Indigenous, African Desc-endent and Latina women and children's rights in the Americas.

(Our extended copy of our Ashoka competition application)

Contribute your comments and questions about competition entries.

- Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

June 15/21/22, 2008

See also:

Added June 15, 2008

The World

Entrepreneur for Society

Bill Drayton discusses the founding of Ashoka... "Our job is not to give people fish, it's not to teach them how to fish, it's to build new and better fishing industries."

- Ashoka Foundation

See also:

Ashoka Peru


Mexico

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

(C) NY Times

The Girls Next Door

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

[About Montserrat, a former child trafficking victim:]

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

- Peter Landesman

New York Times Magazine

January 25, 2004


Added March 23, 2008

Mexico

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Un millón de menores latinoamericanos atrapados por redes de prostitución

Former Special Prosecutor for Violent Crimes Against Women - Alicia Elena Perez Duarte:

At least one million children across Latin America have been entrapped by child prostitution and pornography networks.

[In many cases in Mexico] these child victims are offered to [wealthy] businessmen and politicians.

Full story (in English)

See also:

Renuncia fiscal por vergüenza en resolución sobre Cacho

On December 14, 2007 Alicia Pérez-Duarte resigned as Mexico's Special Prosecutor for Violent Crimes Against Women [Fevim].  Duarte:

"I cannot work... where the justices of the Supreme Court won't bring justice in cases of grave violations of human rights."


Added March 1, 2008

Texas, USA

Kristal Minjarez - age 13, Armida Garcia - 15, and Brenda Salazar - 20... all raped and murdered by Andy James Ortiz

To Catch a Killer is the true story of Andy James Ortiz, his young victims, and the Fort Worth police and Tarrant County prosecutors who brought him to justice. The 24 chapter series ran in February and March of 2008.


Tengo 5 meses de edad y soy prostituta

I am 5 months old and I am a prostitute

LibertadLatina

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

Last Updated:

Nov. 27, 2008


About Baby Trafficking and [undocumented] Adoptions, and the connection to impunity and anti-Mayan racism in Guatemala



Hurricane Wilma - 2005

Earthquakes and hurricanes...

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


Video

Roundtable on Trafficking of Women and Children in the Americas

- Organization of American States


United States

More than 163,000 Hispanic children... are reported missing and exploited in the United States every year.

- National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC)

March 22, 2006


Latin America

Beyond Machismo - A Cuban Case Study

"I am a recovering macho, a product of an oppressive society, a society where gender, race and class domination do not exist in isolated compart-ments, nor are they neatly relegated to uniform categories of repression. They are created in the space where they interact and conflict with each other, a space I will call machismo."

- Cuban-American

theologian and ethicist

Dr. Miguel de la Torre

Remember, and FIND Jackeline Jirón Silva

Necesitamos su ayuda para ubicar a esta Niña.


Added Dec. 11, 2006

The World

Sex abuse, work and war deny childhood to tens

of millions

...An estimated 1.2 million children are trafficked every year for labor or sex, and about 1 million children are thought to be exploited in the multi-billion dollar sex industry, UNICEF says.

- Reuters

Dec. 9, 2006

Added Nov. 7, 2006

The World

People trafficking ...is... big business, bringing in US $32 billion annually, worldwide. This makes people trafficking the most lucrative crime after drug trafficking.

- Inter-American

Development Bank
 Nov. 2,2006


"Familia" by Salvadoran
artist Zelie Lardé. (1901-1974)

Who will protect them from impunity?

We Must!

 

Jan., 2009

2009

Dec., 2008

2008

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2001


 

We work for all of the children and women who await our

society's effective and substantial help to escape criminal

sexual exploitation's utter brutality and impunity!

End Impunity... Now!

© 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 Charles M. Goolsby, Jr.

All other copyrighted materials © the copyright holder.

Copyrighted materials are presented for non-profit 

public educational 'fair use' purposes only.