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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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Haitian children are routinely enslaved in the Dominican Republic

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Atenco

Foto: Belinda Hernández

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Lydia Cacho

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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 - 2008

Noticias de Julio, 2009

July 2009 News



Added: July 31, 2009

Mexico, California, USA

Lured To Mexico, Young Girls Often Unable To Return

San Diego - Seven months into the year and already 139 underage girls have been reported missing in San Diego.

Some are runaways, some return home on their own.

Others are lured to a place difficult even for police to track, where they are stuck in a life far different from their dreams.

From there, even one rescue is a success.

Nearly 2 months after her 14-year-old daughter disappeared, one lucky mother got word her daughter was found in the interior of Mexico.

“My heart is happy, happy,” said Francisca Guabarrama.

10News waited with Guabarrama, at the International Border until the wee hours of the morning.

The transfer was being coordinated by an international rescue agency.

Finally, word came to Guabarrama that her daughter was clearing customs.

Her daughter beat the odds and made it back.

Law enforcement sources told 10News the girl met an older boy on My-Space, who was believed to be linked to a National City gang.

“Some of these girls leave with people we suspect to be gang members that do have ties to organized crime in Mexico,” said National City Police Detective, Antonio Ybarra.

The two agreed to meet at Kimball Park on June 2, 2009.

Like many other cases, the girl ended up in Mexico, alone and unable to get home, police said.

None of several other girls believed to be in Mexico has been found.

“The farther you go into the interior of Mexico, the more difficult that becomes,” said National City Police Sergeant, Mike Harlan.

What's happening to them is frightening.

“We have some cases that are active where's there's prostitution, human trafficking. They're used for transporting narcotics and we're not able to get to them,” said Ybarra.

The Guabarrama’s happy ending almost didn't happen.

“They went into hiding,” said former San Diego District Attorney Investigator, Juan Briones, who is now with the Bilateral Safety Corridor Coalition.

He was sent to Guadalajara because he has almost 20 years experience with international missing person's cases.

He went down to bring Guabarrama back home.

“The victim somehow feels powerless and that they need help,” Briones said.

Briones said he threatened criminal charges against the men living in the home with the young girl and they eventually released her.

“It’s difficult to get to these kids to understand,” Ybarra said, “that where you and I can go to any pay phone and dial 9-1-1 and get police service, it does not work that way over there.”

While one girl has been given another chance, many others remain in danger south of the border.

Law enforcement sources say the cooperation between Mexican and U.S. law enforcement agencies has improved in recent years, but it still takes time to get a minor home.

“If a young girl has already slipped into the hands of a cartel to be sold into prostitution and drug running, it's, at the very least, extremely difficult to ever reach her,” Briones said.

www.News10.com

July 29, 2009

See also:

LibertadLatina

Latina Child Sex Slavery in San Diego, California

Hundreds of children and youth are forced into 'child rape camps' by traffickers. 


Added: July 30, 2009

Mexico

Juan cries at the grave site of his son Javier, who took his own life in the face of his inability to do anything to help his brother Juan junior, who had been sentenced to 12 years in prison in Kentucky for rape.

Photo: Aurelia Ventura/ La Opinión

Prisioneros de su ignorancia y costumbres

Part 1 of a series

Más de 20 mil indígenas, cuya mayoría no habla ni español ni inglés, purgan condenas en cárceles de EEUU, y se pierden en un sistema que muchos desconocen y que no entienden

El hijo preso sólo tiene 18 años y, fue sentenciado a 12 años tras las rejas en el Woodford County Detention Center de Kentucky por cargos de violación sexual. Juan, su padre, no lo comprende. Su cultura indígena no lo ve así, porque sus leyes son diferentes.

Sentado en el cementerio de este pequeño pueblo del estado de Guerrero, se pregunta: ¿qué hay de malo en que su hijo tuviera relaciones sexuales con una niña de 12 años?

Indígena mixteco, uno de los 64 grupos nativos de México que ocupan los estados de Guerrero y Oaxaca, en su cultura el matrimonio se pacta en la niñez y los hijos llegan cuando aún no se han cumplido los 15 años.

Con las tragedias de sus hijos, Juan aprendió que en los pueblos del norte, su cultura puede ser vista como delictiva, pero nadie se lo advirtió...

Prisoners of Their Ignorance [of the Law] and Customs

More than 20,000 indigenous Mexicans are in prisons cross the United States. Many are lost in a legal system that they know nothing about and do not understand

Excerpt:

Juan's son, age 18, was jailed in the Woodford County, Kentucky Detention Center on charges of rape. Juan senior, his father, doesn't understand it. He says, "What is wrong with the fact that my son had sexual relations with a 12-year-old girl?"

Juan senior is a 64-year-old indigenous Mixteca man, a member of one of the 64 indigenous cultures that live in the states of Guerrero and Oaxaca. In his culture, parents arrange marriages during the couple's childhood, and children are born before the couple reaches age 15.

With the tragedies that have befallen his sons, Juan senior learned that in the United States, his culture can be seen as condoning criminal acts. But nobody [i.e. the Mexican Government] warned them about that fact...

Claudia Núñez

La Opinion

July 28, 2009

Mixtec girls in California

Faced with Ttheir Cruel Existence

Cochoapa, Mexico – …[Some] 20,000 natives… are behind bars in the U.S. today, a reality whose consequences are suffered on both sides of the border…

For [Steve Jarrett, detective at the Police Department of Montgomery, Alabama], scenes of young drunk immigrants are common in rural Alabama. What he finds new is the presence of Mexicans who do not speak Spanish.

"I did not have the slightest idea that there were Mexicans who did not speak Spanish... It is very frustrating trying to communicate with someone who speaks neither English nor Spanish. And it is even worse to find people who do not understand or respect our laws", he adds.

Over 75% of the cases that involve indigenous Mexicans are reckless crimes. Alcohol, sex with minors, and domestic violence are among the most serious charges that take them to jail, explained Dr. Guillermo Alonso Meneses, researcher and anthropologist at the Colegio de la Frontera Norte, in Tijuana.

At16, Seferino Rosales Ayala's romance with a 14 year-old girl, which is absolutely normal in the Mixteca culture, restrained him to months of confinement in North Carolina, where, in addition, the police listed him as sexual predator of minors...

Almost a year after his deportation, La Opinión interviewed him in Tlapa, a zone belonging to the region known as La Montaña, in the state of Guerrero, whose indigenous population is calculated at 529,780 members who come from as diverse groups as mixtecos, nahuas, me'phaa, amuzgos, among others. All of them speak a dialect different from the Spanish…

The surprise of finding himself behind bars, for something that is considered normal by the mixteca culture, was as great as the message he got from his consulate, telling him "not to bother them any more."

"They talked to my lawyer Smith and told him to let me know not to bother them any longer ... I just wanted them to take me out of there," he comments...

Statistical reports from the Secretary of Foreign Affairs reveal that the legal processes against Mexicans in the United States increased from 1,622 in 2005 to 19,782 in 2008; the highest figure in five years.

Other studies from the Mexican Senate indicate that ten out of 100 Mexicans currently jailed in the United States are of indigenous origins…

The reality, all the specialists agree, it is that at least during the next the 10 years the indigenous, and not only the Mexican, will be the face of migration to the United States, a face that does not deserve to sink into oblivion.

 "There is no step back, we cannot return to be the pre-Hispanic natives, but we must look for a solution to our present reality. We have gangs, HIV; ...colonization is cornering us. I cannot think about the native who is going to come out with his feathers and start dancing, no; we must look for a solution to our current reality, alcoholism, drug addiction, something that was not seen 20 years ago and a great part of that reality is the result of migration...", emphasizes Odilia Romero, from the Indigenous Front of Binational Organizations (FIOB), in Los Angeles…

Claudia Núñez

La Opinión

July 30, 2009


Added: July 29, 2009

Nicaragua

Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega

Prohibición de ILE Deriva en Muerte, Dice Informe de AI

Autoridades negaron entrevistarse con el organismo

En Nicaragua, más del 50 por ciento de los casos de violación reportados hasta 2008 fueron en menores de 18 años de edad, mil 247 niñas fueron víctimas de violación e incesto, el 16 por ciento de ellas resultaron embarazadas mientras que el 87 por ciento de las víctimas que resultaron embarazadas por violación o incesto, tenían entre 10 y 14 años de edad, reportó hoy Amnistía Internacional (AI)...

Abortion Prohibition Results in Deaths, Says Amnesty International

Government authorities refused to meet with Amnesty about the issue

Amnesty International reported today that in Nicaragua, underage girls were the victims in more than 50% of rape cases reported during 2008. Some 1,247 underage girls were victims of rape or incest, of whom 16% became pregnant. Eighty seven percent of victims who became pregnant due to rape or incest were between the ages of 10 and 14...

[See more detail on this issue in English in the below article.]

Lourdes Godínez Leal

CIMAC Noticias

News for Women

Mexico City

July 27, 2009

See also:

Added: July 29, 2009

Therapeutic Abortion Ban a "Disgrace" Says Rights Group

"What happened to me shattered my dreams, my hopes – I wanted to be someone who worked outside the home but I spend all day at home looking after the baby…I can’t even sleep and I feel very unsafe, many of my days are a nightmare, it’s very hard to carry on and I feel very sad and very tired," said "M", who was raped at age 17 by a relative.

Even though she was a victim of incest and rape, "M", who spoke with representatives of Amnesty International on their visit to Nicaragua last week, was unable to abort the pregnancy because of the ban on "therapeutic abortion" in place in this Central American country, one of the poorest in the hemisphere, since 2008.

The Amnesty report issued on Monday, "The total abortion ban in Nicaragua: Women's lives and health endangered, medical professionals criminalized", concludes that the policy has led to a rise in maternal mortality and has put pregnant women of all ages at risk.

"Nicaragua’s ban on therapeutic abortion is a disgrace," Amnesty International’s Executive Deputy Secretary General Kate Gilmore said at a news briefing held Monday in Mexico City to present the report.

"It is a human rights scandal that ridicules medical science and distorts the law into a weapon against the provision of essential medical care to pregnant girls and women," the Australian sociologist added.

Amnesty International describes the total ban on abortion in Nicaragua, even in cases of rape or incest, a deformed fetus, or when the mother's life is in danger, as "cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment."

"There’s only one way to describe what we have seen in Nicaragua: sheer horror. Children are being compelled to bear children. Pregnant women are being denied essential - including life-saving - medical care," said Gilmore.

"What alternatives is this government offering a 10-year-old pregnant as a result of rape? And to a cancer sufferer who is denied life-saving treatment just because she is pregnant, while she has other children waiting at home?"

In the first five months of this year, 33 girls and women died from pregnancy and birth-related complications, compared to 20 in the same period last year, according to official figures cited by the report.

President Daniel Ortega of the left-wing Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) backed the law banning abortion to win conservative votes in the elections that brought him to power in January 2007.

Lobbied by Roman Catholic Church leaders and conservative evangelical pastors, on Oct. 26, 2006 the Nicaraguan parliament approved the draft law to revoke article 165 of the criminal code, which had permitted abortion for medical reasons since 1893.

Nicaragua thus became one of the few countries in the world where abortion is illegal under all circumstances, joining Chile, El Salvador and the Dominican Republic in Latin America...

Emilio Godoy

Inter press Service (IPS)

July 27, 2009

 

Derecha Avanza en America Latina, Bajo el Discurso de los Dderechos Humanos

Para cancelar derechos SyR, advierten feministas

Martha María Blandón, directora de IPAS para Centroamérica, alertó que bajo el discurso de los derechos humanos progresistas, los grupos de derecha están avanzando en la región centroamericana y latinoamericana, lo que ha significado un retroceso en la región en materia de derechos humanos, sexuales y reproductivos.

Marta Maria Blandon is Central American director of Ipas, a group in Chapel Hill, N.C., that advocates against unsafe abortion.

Photo and text: WomensNews

Political Right Advances its Agenda in Latin America Using the Progressive Language of Human Rights

Strategy focuses on defeating abortion rights

Martha Maria Blandon, director of Ipas in Central America, has warned that right-wing groups are moving into the Latin American and Central American region, and are promoting their agenda under the cloak of progressive human rights discourse. Their goal is to weaken the defense of human rights, and especially sexual and reproductive rights in the region.

Interviewed after a press conference where Amnesty International presented their report "The total abortion ban in Nicaragua: Women's lives and health endangered, medical professionals criminalized", Blandon, one of the advocates in the case of Rosa, the pseudonym for a 9-year-old girl who was raped and became pregnant, said that those who are making the argument today against a woman’s right to decide are the same people who are also fighting against a large number of other human rights guarantees for individuals.

These opponents of the right to choose are also advocating to ban the right to sex education, family planning, the use of modern contraceptive methods and same sex marriage, noted Blandon. She added that these activists masquerade their rhetoric with that of progressive human rights speech…

Six years after the case of Rosita

...It was in 2003 when Rosa, age 9, worked with her immigrant parents in Costa Rica on a coffee plantation. A 28-year-old man raped her. She became pregnant as a result of the rape.

Rosa was evaluated by two hospitals in Costa Rica, where doctors warned of the complications that would arise from continuing with her then 4 months of pregnancy. However, despite seeking help from the Nicaraguan authorities to return Rosa to her country to perform the therapeutic abortion that Rosa was entitled to, the Nicaraguan Ministry of Health refused the request. The government required that Rosa carry the pregnancy to term.

Finally after a long conflict between government, pro-life, feminist and human rights groups, Rosa was provided with a therapeutic abortion.

Since then, the group of feminists who fought for the right of this girl to have an abortion has faced  an investigation by the public prosecutor’s office, which Blandon says, has served as a tool to intimidate and persecute the group's members...

Blandon said that some of hers colleagues have continued to receive anonymous telephone threats. The callers say, "we hear you on TV," or “we know where your son is studying,” or "we know where you live,” or “remember that you are being persecuted," and that sort of thing.

However, Blandon asserted that everything that has happened and continues in his country, "which is the most extreme, maximum violation of human rights possible," will not hold us back from continuing the struggle.

Full English Translation

Lourdes Godínez Leal

CIMAC Noticias

News for Women

Mexico City

July 27, 2009

See also:

An Ugly Family Affair

Charges of sexual abuse leveled against Sandinista leader Daniel Ortega swirl atop a power struggle

Among Nicaragua's leftist elite, it had long been more than a terrible rumor, but always less than a public scandal. Throughout much of the 1980s, many loyalists of the Marxist-oriented Sandinista Party suspected that Daniel Ortega Saavedra, their dour leader and the country's President from 1979 to 1990 [and also currently], was sexually molesting his adolescent stepdaughter Zoilamerica Narvaez Murillo...

Narvaez claims the abuse started as early as 1979, when she was 11 and Ortega had just led the overthrow of dictator Anastasio Somoza Debayle. The molestation continued "repeatedly," she says, until 1990, after Ortega's defeat in presidential elections that year...

[Despite Zoilamerica Narvaez Murillo having held a press conference as an adult to denounce her stepfather, President Daniel Ortega, for having sexually abused her since the age of 11, the people of Nicaragua, with the backing of the Catholic Church, voted Ortega back into power in 2007. - LL]

Tim Padgett

Time Magazine/Time.com

March 23, 1998

 


Added: July 29, 2009

Oklahoma, USA

Melvin Urbina

Man sought in rape of 11-year-old girl

Police are looking for a man wanted in connection with the reported rape of an 11-year-old girl at a party on Saturday in south Oklahoma City.

An arrest warrant was issued in Oklahoma County today for Melvin Urbina, 33, who is wanted on rape complaints. Police asked the public for help finding him.

According to a police report, the girl was attending a banquet celebration for her godfather at the Imperial Restaurant Banquet Hall, 4701 Shields Blvd. when she was raped.

About 10:30 p.m., someone asked a male employee of the business to get more chairs, and the employee told the girl there were more chairs in the basement, the report said.

The girl told police when she went to the basement with the man, there were no chairs. Police said the loud music at the party kept anyone from hearing the girl scream.

The girl told police the man raped her before another person came to the door looking for chairs, causing him to flee.

Urbina is described as a Hispanic male with black hair and brown eyes. He is 5 feet, 8 inches tall. His name, Melvin, is tattooed on his neck.

Police Sgt. Jennifer Wardlow said Urbina might be wearing his hair in a ponytail. He is considered dangerous.

"He's done this to one girl," Wardlow said. "He should be considered a threat."

Robert Medly and Johnny Johnson

www.NewsOK.com

July 28, 2009


Added: July 26, 2009

The United States

Ambassador at Large Luis C. de Baca, director of the U.S. State Department's Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons

Question and Answer Session on human trafficking

Before being sworn-in... as President Obama’s Ambassador-at-Large to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, Luis C. de Baca was one of the nation’s most decorated federal prosecutors, and helped to write the principal U.S. law on modern-day slavery, the Trafficking Victims Protection Act.

On [June 16, 2009], the same day that he and Hillary Clinton released a State Department report condemning 69 countries for failing to do enough to combat trafficking, I spoke with de Baca about his 15-year career, which has included more than a hundred successful convictions of human traffickers.

E. Benjamin Skinner: What is modern-day slavery?

Ambassador de Baca: Modern-day slavery, also called human trafficking, is the phenomenon of people being held in some form of service using coercion.

How much of this is sex trafficking?

Ambassador de Baca: International trafficking and trafficking here in the United States is a big problem whether it’s in the sex industry or labor. While a lot of attention has been paid to sex industry over the years, and it is a terrible there, the problem is in the labor sector as well. Regardless of whether the underlying service is in the labor or sex sectors, we see widespread, routine sexual abuse of women who are being held in servitude no matter what it is that they are being forced to do. That’s something that we have to confront regardless of the labels of sex or labor trafficking. So we’re looking to see whether the ideas about trafficking that are gaining some currency worldwide can actually be applied to all forms of trafficking rather than simply one of its many aspects.

One of the phenomena highlighted in today’s report is how the global economic downturn is affecting human trafficking. Could you elaborate on that?

Ambassador de Baca: One of the reasons why we’re concerned that the global economic crisis is making people more vulnerable to trafficking is that there’s such a displacement of workers and a shutting down of opportunities which leaves people much more willing to expose themselves to risk, as they’ve become increasingly desperate. We’re also worried that governments worldwide, and non-governmental organizations, that so often are able to provide victim services are not going to have the resources to be able to find these people, or to help them once they are free.

You’ve worked on trafficking under three administrations now, starting in the Justice Department under Clinton. Do you have any sense of a difference of approach on this issue between Bush and Obama?

Ambassador de Baca: The common challenge of the three administrations that I’ve worked with on this—including the Clinton Administration in the early years of formulating U.S. policy, and the last years as we tried to take the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) and the Palermo Protocol and tried to give it some life—is the promotion of an underlying assumption that this is a crime of slavery and that this is a crime of compelled service. And the appropriate response to it is through the “Three P’s”: protection, prosecution and prevention. Hillary Clinton remarked at the launch of this year’s trafficking report—and we’ll see more of this throughout the coming years under President Obama—a fourth “P”: partnerships. The United States will look at other countries not solely to rank them but to look at them as partners to enlist...

E. Benjamin Skinner

Author and Journalist

Posted on Anderson Cooper 360 Blog Archive

CNN

June 18, 2009

See also:

A Crime So Monstrous: Face-to-Face with Modern-Day Slavery

E. Benjamin Skinner

Free Press

2008


Added: July 26, 2009

California, USA

Judge Orders Trial For Rape, Strangling Death At Fontana Bakery In 2001

Rancho Cucamonga - A man linked by DNA to a brutal rape and killing at a Fontana bakery in 2001 must stand trial for the alleged crimes, a judge ruled Friday after a full day of testimony at a preliminary hearing.

The judge's ruling means that Gilbert Bernard Sanchez, 47, may be eligible for the death penalty if convicted of murdering 30-year-old Sylvia Galindo, an employee at the bakery where she was killed…

Galindo was raped and strangled to death the night of Oct. 18, 2001, after closing time at Maria's Panaderia in the 15300 block of Merrill Avenue.

According to the prosecution's theory of the case, Galindo was standing near the back door of the bakery smoking a cigarette when Sanchez assaulted her.

Galindo ran from the back door toward the front area of the business.

There she was attacked and dragged by force to a storage area of the bakery, where she was raped and strangled to death with an electrical cord and wire coat hanger.

The brutal incident remained unsolved until 2006, when the California Department of Justice notified local authorities that DNA recovered from the crime scene matched Sanchez's DNA profile in the FBI database…

Will Bigham

Contra Costa Times

July 24, 2009


Added: July 25, 2009

Latin America

Article author Lucía Nieto is an investi-gator with the Ortega y Gasset Foundation, and is an expert in public policy analysis

Turismo Sexual

Según cifras de la Organización Internacional de Migraciones, cada año se producen más de 600 millones de viajes turísticos internacionales, de estos un 20% buscan sexo fácil -que no seguro-, desconozco si históricamente este ha sido un motivo principal en las decisiones de viajeros por el mundo, de cualquier manera en muchos de los destinos más exóticos tiene su morbo explorar como cada cultura vive y practica aquello de las sensaciones y los placeres…

About Sex Tourism in Latin America

According to figures from the International Organization for Migration, each year there are over 600 million international tourist trips, 20% of which are taken by those who are seeking easy, if not safe access to sex…

…Jamaican nudist beaches, for example, have long been a destination for those seeking this goal. These tourists don’t look at a list of local tourist sights, wondering where to go today. Their happiness is to be found on that beach alone.

The alarm bells go off when the vacation ads appeal to inconceivable, "products," little innocent children who cannot comprehend what is being asked of them. Some 3% of sex tourists have confessed to having pedophile tendencies. This amounts to more than 3 million people who travel the world looking for sex with children [each year].

Child sex tourism is a phenomenon that usually afflicts the developing world. Its focus has shifted from Southeast Asia to Latin America in a process that has been facilitated by permissive laws and high levels of corruption. Latin America, sadly, has become a preferred destination.

…In each country there are different factors that promote child sex tourism. Violence in Colombia, drug trafficking and [civil war refugee] displacement encourage the sexual exploitation of children. In Mexico, there is the phenomenon of "beach, tequila and sex with children.” There is concern in Mexico that the problem is growing problem and that measures taken to combat it are ineffective. In Central America, the problem is growing rapidly and many "sex tourists" in the developed world openly recommend visiting this region.

According to data from the United Nations Fund for Children (UNICEF) and the International Labor Organization, nearly two million children worldwide are involved in child prostitution, and of these, about 50% are from Latin America. This market is worth billions of dollars annually and, therefore, it is a very difficult crime to combat.

This cruel marketplace promotes prostitution, slavery and child abuse. Its consequences are heartbreaking. If these child victims don’t pay with their lives, they pay for [for the brutality of adults] through suffering cruel physical and psychological trauma that is painful and difficult to reverse.

Lucía Nieto

El Imparcial - Spain

June 30, 2009


Added: July 25, 2009

Willamette Tree Wholesale Sued By EEOC For Severe Sexual Harassment, Retaliation

Latina Workers at Oregon Nursery Sexually Harassed, Threatened, and One Woman Repeatedly Raped, Federal Agency Charges

Seattle - A Molalla, Oregon nursery violated federal law when it allowed female employees to be severely sexually harassed and retaliated against the women and male co-workers after they reported the harassment, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it filed today. This is the agency’s third such case against Oregon agricultural employers. Last October, the EEOC filed lawsuits against Scheimer Farms of Nyassa, Ore., and against Wilcox Farms, Inc., and Wilcox Dairy Farms Group in Aurora, Ore.

The EEOC’s suit charges that sexual harassment and retaliation occurred at the Molalla, Ore., facility of Willamette Tree Wholesale, which operates 140 acres of retail nursery farmland, including a garden supply store and business office. According to the federal agency’s investigation, one worker, a 38-year-old Latina, was taken to remote areas of the farm by the company foreman and raped repeatedly over several months. In addition to threatening her with termination and loss of needed income, the harasser physically coerced her with pruning shears, and made threats against her life as well as against her family. Ultimately, when she refused to be sexually assaulted yet again, she was fired.

Another Latina co-worker, age 35, faced daily sexual innuendos and propositions for sex as well as grabbing and touching. When she and her husband, who also worked there, reported sexual harassment by a crew leader, Willamette Tree failed to investigate or respond to their complaint. The EEOC alleges that the couple and her brother were terminated in retaliation for having reported and opposed sexual harassment.

“All sexual harassment is unacceptable, but what happened here is unspeakable,” said EEOC Acting Chairman Stuart J. Ishimaru. “This shows how dangerous a situation can become when employers are hostile to workers' rights and sexual harassment goes unchecked. There simply is no excuse for any employer tolerating this sort of worker abuse, and enough is enough. The EEOC is going to be focusing more and more on finding new and better ways to reach the most vulnerable of discrimination victims, like these farm workers, and to halt this kind of horrific mistreatment." ...

EEOC Regional Attorney William R. Tamayo said, “From California, where the fields were called ‘field de calzon’ (or ‘field of panties’) because so many supervisors raped women there, to Florida, where female farm workers call them ‘The Green Motel,’ and throughout the country, we have found women working in agriculture are often particularly vulnerable to sexual harassment. We hope this third Oregon lawsuit will send notice to employers in this industry to stop predatory sexual behavior and abuses of supervisor power.”

EEOC District Director Michael Baldonado noted, “Our investigation found that sexual harassment at Willamette Tree was widespread, tolerated, expected, and a condition of employment...

The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.

U.S. EEOC

PRESS RELEASE

June 18, 2009


Added: July 24, 2009

Border Patrol Agents In Arizona Arrest 3 Illegal Immigrants With Sex-Assault Histories

Border Patrol agents in the Tucson sector have arrested three illegal immigrants with sex-related charges or convictions for illegally re-entering the United States.

Agents arrested a 47-year-old Salvadoran man Saturday on the Tohono O'odham Indian Reservation who served about six months in prison for conviction of attempted rape and forcible sodomy in New York state before being deported in 2004.

On Sunday, agents arrested a 30-year-old Mexican man near Arivaca who was convicted in 1998 of sexually assaulting a 13-year-old in Illinois. An immigration judge deported the man in 2003.

Also on Sunday, a 23-year-old from Mexico City was arrested south of Ajo who has been charged twice since November with having sex with a minor.

Associated Press

July 20, 2009


Added: July 24, 2009

Honduras, Arizona, USA

Carly and Richard Cantrell (center) with a few of their young Honduran charges

The Thin Blue Line Ministries' Work in Honduras

During a recent tour through Illinois Valley, a couple from Phoenix, Arizona shared the story of how their ministry to help victims of sexual abuse and trauma has spurred them to relocate to Central America.

Former Illinois Valley resident Carly Cantrell and her husband, Richard, for the past two years have been involved with Thin Blue Line Ministries’ Phoenix House orphanage, which provides a sanctuary for trafficked children in Tegucigalpa, Honduras...

...The International Organization for Migration reports that “Honduras is a country of origin for human trafficking.” The report goes on to state that many female victims are transported out of the country, while internal trafficking takes place from rural areas and small towns to cities. “The majority of these victims are trafficked for sexual exploitation,” said the IOM.

Endemic poverty and corruption lead to a cycle of crime and violence in which young girls’ childhoods evaporate in an arena of exploitation.

Said Cantrell, “Some are orphaned. Some are sold or stolen. Some chose to go out on the streets. There are a number of ways that these girls find themselves in this situation.”

...The couple’s home in Arizona serves as a ministry for young women who have been victims of sexual abuse or trauma. They bring that experience with them in their Central American endeavor.

While the Cantrells have worked at a few different homes in Honduras, the primary location for their ministry serves some 30 girls at a time, and perhaps 75 each year. The girls range between 9 and 18 years old.

Michelle Binker

Illinois Valley News

July 15, 2009

See also:

LibertadLatina

About the crisis of sexual exploitation with impunity facing women and girls in Honduras

See also:

The important victim rescue work of the Breaking Chains Ministry working in Tijuana, Acapulco, and other regions of Mexico

Breaking Chains Ministry


Added: July 22, 2009

Mexico

A young person in prostitution in Tijuana's massive tolerance zone, just over Mexico's border with San Diego, California, where more than 5,000 prostitutes are registered with local government health clinics

Ley Contra Tráfico Humano Demora Repatriación de Menores Mexicanos

Los niños pasan hasta cuatro meses en los albergues, afirma Ileana Holguín, directora de Servicios para Inmigrantes y Refugiados de la Diócesis de El Paso

Los niños mexicanos que cruzan la frontera de manera ilegal son retenidos hasta cuatro meses en albergues por la equivocada interpretación de una nueva ley contra el tráfico de personas con fines de explotación sexual o laboral…

US Law Against Human Trafficking Delays Repatriation Of Mexican Children

Mexican children who cross the border illegally are held for up-to four months in shelters due to an incorrect interpretation of a new law against human trafficking for purposes of sexual exploitation and labor.

Federal law HR7311, the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act, which was enacted in March of 2008, puts particular emphasis on under-age Mexicans who are arrested by the bureau of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

"Previously, Mexican children were repatriated within 24 and 48 hours of being arrested by immigration agents. They now spend up to four months in the shelters where before there were only South American minors were being held," said lawyer Ileana Holguin, director of Services for Immigrants Refugees and the Diocese of El Paso...

"The law requires the authorities to ensure that the child has not been a victim of human trafficking prior to repatriation. Because CBP inspectors do not know how to [perform that evaluation], these undocumented children are being sent to shelters," complained Holguin, who added that the majority of Mexican children in shelters are between three and 14 years of age...

Mexico’s Consul in El Paso, Texas, Roberto Rodriguez Hernandez, expressed concern over the delay in the repatriation and outlined the concerns of parents of children who, although having been sent to shelters that are adequate for their age, are still being detained.

"We are concerned that repatriation is carried out now with such a delay because these children may be affected psychologically," said the diplomat...

Rodriguez Hernandez added, "While some agencies distinguish between the [voluntary] smuggling and the human trafficking of children, other agencies do not.” ...

Full English Translation

CIMAC Noticias (Written with information from EFE and CGE)

News for Women

Mexico City

July 14, 2009

Added: July 19, 2009

LibertadLatina Commentary

Let's continue to protect migrating children from sex traffickers and other abusers

On July 3, 2008, U.S. immigration attorney Christopher Nugent provided an eye-opening interview to Mexico's Excélsior newspaper, which we translated into English at that time. Nugent raised concerns about the fact that many thousands of child sex trafficking victims from Mexico were attempting to flee across the U.S. border to escape from slavery, but that U.S. authorities were returning them to an uncertain future in Mexico before they could be evaluated as victims of traffickers or other abuses.

Now that the 2008 William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act has provided a process for assisting these children, we would not want to see at-risk minors put back on the 'deportation mill,' where they will likely end up right back in the hands of their pimps in the border towns of Tijuana, Nogales, Juarez and Matamoros.

If children are being held in U.S. detention for up to 4 months, while families wait in anguish for them, perhaps the above article makes a valid point that U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials may not know how to conduct timely processing of the required interviews of these children about their possible history of having been sex trafficked or subjected to domestic violence, conditions that may afford them the right to ongoing protection from the U.S. government.

We agree with Christopher Nugent's basic point, which is that returning Mexican children to Mexican authorities within a short time frame, as was done before the Act went into effect, is an unacceptable solution.

We hope that the current push by Mexican consular officials to speed-up repatriations of children by the U.S. CBP is not an initiative that is being influenced by other policies of the administration of President Felipe Calderón. His policies have reversed equal rights for women in a number of areas. As we have noted elsewhere, President Calderón, together with his National Action Party (PAN), have fought tooth-and-nail during the past year against implementing any effective federal anti-trafficking regulation in Mexico.

Let's keep the current U.S. Government protections for at-risk unaccompanied minor migrants in place, while improving the process and the reducing the time that children spend in detention.

End impunity now!

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

July 19, 2009

See also:

En Desventaja, Nños Mexicanos Indocumentados

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 each year 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...

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

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

Many children [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...

...Children who have been caught seven times 'jumping the fence' into the U.S. are considered to be juvenile delinquents by the Mexican authorities. These children face a "black hole" and are thrown into juvenile detention, says Nugent.

Full English Translation

Georgina Olson

Excélsior

July 3, 2008

See also:

From our commentary on Latin American anti-trafficking policy under the administration of former President George W. Bush

Regarding questions posed by Chuck Goolsby at an August, 2008 anti-trafficking conference in Washington, DC, during a presentation by Mark P. Lagon, then Ambassador-at-Large and Director of the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (TIP), and Senior Advisor to the Secretary of State for the administration of President George W. Bush

...During the question and answer period following Dr. Lagon's remarks at this conference, where he spoke eloquently about the problem of trafficking in Eastern Europe, Asia and the U.S. (but without mention of [any] Latin American issues), I stated in my question to Dr. Lagon that a U.S. immigration lawyer [attorney Christopher Nugent] had been interviewed by a Spanish language newspaper (Excélsior -in Mexico), and that he had stated that thousands of Mexican children and underage youth were fleeing from the hundreds of brothels on the U.S. border, many of them run by the Russian mob. I stated that when they escape into the U.S. and are caught, they were not being afforded the 72 hour waiting period required by law and access to a lawyer, as other arrested migrants, those not from Mexico, are given. I stated that in violation of the law, these minors were being deported back into Mexico after only 24 hours.

As the moderator of the event asked me to get to my question, I simply stated emphatically, "What are you going to do about it?"

Dr. Lagon responded by stating that "all immigrants are God's children," but he did not clearly answer the question, nor did he openly commit the TIP office to doing anything about the issue...

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

Feb. 16, 17, 2009

See also:

Littlest Immigrants Left in Hands of Smugglers

[50,000 Children Cross the Mexico - U.S. Border Alone Annually]

Cincuenta mil menores cruzan solos la frontera

Ginger Thompson

New York Times

Nov. 03, 2003


Added: July 21, 2009

Peru

Dr. Beatriz Merino, director of Peru's public ombuds-man's office

La trata de personas se incrementaria en nuestro país 

La representante de la defensoría del pueblo, doctora Mayda Ramos, señaló en horas de la mañana, que la trata de personas sigue siendo ignorada por muchas autoridades...

The Level of Human Trafficking May Increase In Our Nation

Dr. Mayda Ramos, the director of the Division for Children and Adolescents of the Office of the Defender of the People [the public ombudsman's office – a constitutionally mandated federal agency] of Peru has announced that human trafficking is continuing to be ignored by many government authorities.

Dr. Ramos: "It is important that complaints of human trafficking incidents be channeled to the appropriate agencies. Otherwise, we may see an increase in the size of this ‘evil industry’ in future years."

Currently there are no precise figures on the scope of human trafficking in Peru. Several agencies have conducted research studies, including the Public Ministry (the Attorney General), the National Police of Peru and the Ombudsman’s office. Each agency has its own sets of statistics. Therefore, the Ombudsman’s office has volunteered to conduct a new study [to establish an accurate baseline of the scope of the problem].

Dr. Ramos added that women between the ages of 16 and 25 years-of-age are the group who are the most vulnerable to human trafficking in Peru.

www.correoperu.com.pe

July 20, 2009


Added: July 21, 2009

Mexico

Mexican Sex Traffickers Victimize 10,000 Women Every Year [in Central and Southern Mexico]

Monterrey, Mexico – Every year, rings engaging in human trafficking entrap or abduct 10,000 women in the southern and central states of Mexico for sexual exploitation in the northern part of the country, according to a study presented on Monday.

The investigation, the work of the state University of Nuevo Leon and funded by the National Science and Technology Council, focuses on the sexual exploitation and trafficking of women in northern Mexico, the study coordinator Arum Kumar told EFE.

The investigators found, for example, that in Monterrey, capital of Nuevo Leon [state] and a leading business hub, most sexually exploited women are brought by gangs from other regions under the false pretense of getting them jobs.

“We’re finding that those who entrap the women take photos to their villages showing that Monterrey is a first-world city, they show women pictures of the metropolitan municipality of San Pedro Garza and tell them that they can work there for a salary of between $50 and $100 a day,” Kumar said.

Once the women get to the city of their destination and find they are being duped into working in brothels, most of them decide to return home – at which time they are threatened and submitted to all kinds of physical, sexual and psychological violence to make them stay.

Monterrey, the biggest city in northern Mexico, is one of the most frequented destinations [for] sexual tourism thanks to its proximity to the United States, the study found.

“It is estimated that out of every 10 women trafficked from the states of Michoacan, Oaxaca, Guerrero, Veracruz and Chiapas, three are taken to the United States and seven are exploited within the country,” the expert said.

Most women forced to work as prostitutes in Monterrey come from the central states of Puebla, San Luis Potosi and Zacatecas.

Kumar cited recent investigations showing that close to 5,000 women are trafficked yearly [from Mexico] to the United States and Canada.

At present “Mexico is the leading destination for sexual tourism in all Latin America, and has become known as the Bangkok of Latin America,” he said.

Kumar added that trafficking in women represents a serious problem of violence against females that Mexican authorities and society in general have to face and fight...

[And yet the federal government of Mexico has done virtually nothing to recognize this crisis and stand up to fight the destruction of generations of women and girls, both Mexican and immigrant, who are targeted by criminal sex traffickers. - LL]

EFE

July 21, 2009


Added: July 19, 2009

Mexico

Attorney General of the Republic, Eduardo Medina Mora (left) and the Interior Minister, Fernando Gomez Mont (right) participate in a ceremony to inaugurate the nation's federal human trafficking commission.

Photo: EFE

México acogerá lanzamiento en América de campaña de ONU contra trata personas

México acogerá en 2010 el lanzamiento en América de la campaña 'Corazón Azul', promovida por la Oficina de las Naciones Unidas contra la Droga y el Delito (ONUDD), que pretende combatir la trata de personas, informaron hoy fuentes oficiales…

[President Felipe Calderón's Adminis-tration Finally Creates Mexico's Anti-Trafficking Commission]

Mexico will host the launch of the United Nations campaign against human trafficking in the Americas

In 2010 Mexico will host the launch in the Americas of the 'Blue Heart' campaign, promoted by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), which aims to combat trafficking in persons, official sources reported today.

[The initiative] aims to raise awareness of public opinion about this phenomenon and its impact, to promote civil society's participation [in finding solutions] and to develop measures to contribute to its eradication," said Undersecretary of Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights, Juan Manuel Gomez Robledo.

[In related news...]

Mexico's new inter-agency commission to fight trafficking has been inaugurated in an event held at the Interior Ministry.

The Commission will begin its work by documenting accurate figures on human trafficking, an effort that will occur in the first trimester of 2010, Gomez-Robledo said.

Gomez-Robledo noted that Mexico has worked in recent years in the 'prevention, punishment and protection' of human trafficking, a task which 'favors international cooperation.'

[Many anti-trafficking advocates in Congress would disagree that Mexico's federal government has been actively combating trafficking at all. Indeed, there have been zero convictions in Mexico for trafficking related offenses to date. - LL]

The new commission, which will begin its work immediately, will be coordinated by the Special Prosecutor for Crimes of Violence Against Women and Human Trafficking, Guadalupe Morfin, who declared that human trafficking is the 'third-largest global crime,' after drug and weapons trafficking.

In Mexico "we work in a minefield of social tolerance and the complicity of state agents" Morfín regretted. She pledged to create public knowledge and awareness about the crime.

In particular Morfín said that [her office] has detected cases of duped farm laborers, underground sweatshops, forced prostitution and labor associated with child trafficking...

Mexican Attorney General Eduardo Medina Mora stressed that Mexico already has a law against trafficking in persons, [passed by Congress on November 27, 2007], and also a Protocol of Care for Victims of Trafficking in Persons.

"This is the first time Mexico has had a tool like this, the result of interdisciplinary work that facilitates the development of institutional processes to address this very sensitive issue," he added.

It "puts the victim and the protection of their rights at the heart" of the Government's efforts to exchange information, deal with the victims and bringing to justice those responsible.

EFE

July 16, 2009

See also:

Vienna - Today at the Women's World Awards in Vienna, the Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Antonio Maria Costa, launched the Blue Heart Campaign against human trafficking.

UNODC

March 05, 2009

Added: July 19, 2009

LibertadLatina

Commentary

Finally creating an anti-trafficking program is a good first step, Mr. President, but now show us that you are really sincere about fighting human trafficking in Mexico

We at LibertadLatina applaud President Felipe Calderón of Mexico for finally creating the long-awaited national inter-agency commission to manage the National Program To Prevent and Punish Trafficking In Persons, as called for in the National Law To Prevent and Punish Trafficking In Persons, passed by congress in November of 2007. This significant action is one small step in the right direction. Many others must now be taken.

During the media event held by the Interior Department to announce the inauguration of the Commission, Undersecretary of Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights Juan Manuel Gomez Robledo, Attorney General Eduardo Medina Mora and Mexico’s special prosecutor for Crimes of Violence Against Women and Trafficking in Persons (FEVIMTRA), Maria Guadalupe Morfín Otero, spoke profound and wonderful words about their dedication to ending human trafficking. We sincerely hope that they are speaking the truth.

What was not discussed at the press conference was the fact that concerned members of Congress from several political parties have had to agitate, and even send repeated, stern congressional warnings to President Calderón to push him and his federal agencies to finally take action to combat human trafficking in Mexico.

The July 16, 2009 creation of the national inter-agency commission came about only as the result of intensive pressure from anti-trafficking activists within Congress, within Mexican non-governmental organizations, and from the international community (including our own editorializing on the topic)...

As we have described through articles reprinted here, and in commentaries written on Libertad Latina in the recent past, the more conservative elements of the ruling National Action Party (PAN) have engaged in a wide range of actions that have had the cumulative result of reversing women's equal rights in Mexico. From our observations, we can see no enthusiasm on the part of the PAN for supporting a serious fight against human trafficking.

It has become obvious, since President Calderón intentionally delayed publishing the official federal regulations required to enable the new law for over a year, resulting in four formal warnings from Congress, that the Administration has not been interested in combating human trafficking. The poor quality of the official regulations published in February 2009, that omitted a role for the leading anti-trafficking prosecutor's office (FEVIMTRA) in enforcing the new law (a flaw now rectified), was further evidence of the disinterest on the part of the Calderón Administration in regard to anti-trafficking enforcement...

Anti-trafficking activists within Congress, in Mexican civil society and across the globe will have to maintain a constant vigilance, monitoring the actions and the progress of the Mexican government in regard to its willingness to combat trafficking and assist victims.

This one eloquent press conference, designed to quiet criticism of the Executive Branch's lack of action in regard to this emergency, is a good start, but we all want to see President Calderón back up those words, not with smoke and mirrors, but with an honest commitment, and aggressive action, finally, to end the barbaric 'mass gender atrocities' that today are tolerated in every corner of that great nation.

And by the way, President Calderón, we still want you to rescue and return the estimated 3,000 to 4,000 underage Mayan and other Mexican indigenous girls who have been sold from Mexico by the Yakuza to become enslaved geisha prostitutes in Japan!

We also want to see an end to the child rape 'mega-center' in the city of Tapachula, in Chiapas state, on Mexico's southern border, where over half of the 21,000 persons trafficked into prostitution are children and underage youth!

And we want you to shut down the ongoing 'rape mill' that also exists on the southern border of Mexico, where between 450 and 600 Central and South American migrant women and girls of all ages are kidnapped and raped with impunity each and every day with no law enforce-ment intervention whatsoever!

Many of those victims are later sold into sexual slavery.

To date, all of these gender atrocities have occurred with govern-ment complicity and/or tolerance.

You say that you are serious about combating trafficking President Calderón? Then let us see real action on these three issues, among the many other crises that exist. Then we will have faith in the words that your agency heads speak about their commitment to ending human trafficking.

Read the full text of this commentary

End impunity now!

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

July 19, 2009

See also:

Beltrones exige a gobierno combatir trata de personas

Senator Beltrones Demands That Government Combat Trafficking In Persons

...[Senator] Manlio Fabio Beltrones said that he feels that it is urgent that the federal government create the National Program To Prevent and Punish Trafficking In Persons, which action remains on hold, as El Universal reported yesterday.

Beltrones recalled that the Law to Prevent and Punish Trafficking in Persons was approved by Congress in 2007, as a priority for action within its legislative agenda support of the fight against organized crime.  The anti-trafficking law was passed on November 27 of that year.

However, more than a year passed before [President Calderón] published the [official federal] regulations rules. Those regulations were finally released in February of 2009. To date, the Interior Ministry has not created the National Program to Prevent and Punish Trafficking in Persons, as called for in Article 12 of the Act.

Senator Beltrones, who is a former governor of Sonora state, noted that the National Program has not been created by the Interior Ministry despite the fact that for the past four months (since the regulations were published in February, 2009), they have had all of the legal instruments necessary to do so.

Ricardo Gomez

El Universal

June 22, 2009

See also:

¡Héroes!

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

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

LibertadLatina

May 24, 2009

Teresa Ulloa, director of the Regional Coalition Against Trafficking in Women and Girls in Latin America and the Caribbean (CATWLAC):

[In Mexico] "We have half a million victims and a flawed trafficking law"

Teresa Ulloa:

Mexico: 500,000 children have been kidnapped or lost during the past 5 years. Only 100,000 have been found.

...The lack of interest “on the part of prose-cutors and public security agencies to address this problem has increased the impunity of those who dedicate themselves to this illicit but lucrative business.”

La Jornada

Oct. 16, 2007


Added: July 19, 2009

Mexico

Special prosecutor Maria Guadalupe Morfín Otero, during her January 2008 swearing in as Mexico special prosecutor for Crimes of Violence Against Women and Trafficking in Persons

Prioritario combatir y erradicar la trata de personas: PGR

México - El combate y erradicación de la trata de personas es una causa de vida por la paz y la justicia mundial, afirmó la fiscal especial para los Delitos de Violencia contra la Mujeres y Trata de Personas (Fevimtra), María Guadalupe Morfín Otero...

Combating and Eradicating Trafficking In Persons is a Priority: Federal Attorney General’s Office (PGR)

Mexico - The combating and eradication of human trafficking is a lifelong cause for peace, and justice, around the world, affirmed Mexico’s special prosecutor for Crimes of Violence Against Women and Trafficking in Persons (FEVIMTRA), Maria Guadalupe Morfín Otero.

In a press release, Morfín Otero, an official of the Attorney General the Republic (PGR), said that all of the agencies of government that are involved in the response to these crimes are committed to do so from an integrated perspective.

Meeting with representatives of the Ministry of Justice in France to exchange experiences on the development of preliminary investigations into human trafficking cases, Morfín Otero said that their work is informed by the reformed Mexican criminal justice system.

The minister-counselor of the French Embassy, Jean Rémi Baptiste Chauvin, said that combating human trafficking requires a common international front that is extended and strengthened by the prevailing laws and human rights [standards].

"Prevention, victim assistance, national coordination and regional and international cooperation are key pillars for a global fight against this serious crime" he said.

Noticiero Enfoque

June 27, 2009

See also:

Comunicado dee Prensa: El combate y erradicación de la trata de personas, causa de vida por la paz y justicia

Press Release: The combating and eradication of human trafficking is a lifelong cause for peace, and justice, around the world - In Spanish

By Special Prosecutor Guadalupe Morfín Otero

Released by the Office of President Felipe Calderón

June 27, 2009

See also:

Alternative views on the work of FEVIMTRA...

Women of Atenco, sexual torture and impunity

[Where FEVIMTRA failed to respond to the sexual and physical assaults against 26 women perpetrated by federal, state and local police officers in the city of San Salvador Atenco on May 3rd and 4th of 2006.]

...In Mexico, torture carried out by the state is not a crime. It is a constant presence that is not punished. Unfortunately, in this case the government has used a woman to perpetuate impunity: Guadalupe Morfín. Morfín is the head of the Special Prosecutor’s office for Violent Crimes against Women and Trafficking in Persons (FEVIMTRA). Morfín has been unwilling to take on the Atenco case [at the federal level] to ensure the necessary impartiality. The Atenco prosecutions are taking place in the State of Mexico, which is an anomaly.

FEVIMTRA has been the entity which has hampered the search for justice for victims in the Atenco case, and has itself perpetrated acts of re-victimization. Fevimtra has applied strict standards to define torture without complying with the Istanbul Protocol.

CIMAC Noticias

Nes for WOmen

Mexico City

May 11, 2009

LibertadLatina

Antenco

Police Sexually and Physically Assault 26 Women at a Street Protest in May, 2006

See also:

Lydia Cacho: tres años de lucha contra la impunidad

Su caso, en la Corte Interamericana de Derechos Humanos

Lydia Cacho: three years of combating impunity

Her case is now before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights

[About the failure of FEVIMTRA to follow-up on the kidnapping, torture and false imprisonment of award-winning journalist and anti-trafficking activist Lydia Cacho. The previous special prosecutor, Alicia Pérez Duarte, resigned when the Supreme Court refused to hear Cacho's Case. She was replace by Guadalupe Morfín Otero, who 'disappeared' the federal investigation into Cacho's tormentors.]

...Although Cacho filed a formal complaint of torture [while in state police detention] before a FEVIM [now FEVIMTRA] panel chaired by [Special Prosecutor Alicia] Pérez Duarte, at this point in time, three years later, the case has [disappeared]... nobody knows what happened to the investigatory materials that were developed by FEVIM, that could have helped in the prosecution of the agents from Puebla state who tortured Cacho [who were being tried in a state court at the time of this article's publication - LL]...

Lourdes Godínez Leal

CIMAC Noticias

Dec. 18, 2008

See also:

LibertadLatina

Lydia Cacho

Journalist / Activist Lydia Cacho is Railroaded by the Legal Process for    Exposing Child Sex Trafficking Networks in Cancun, Mexico

LibertadLatina Note

As part of the socially conservative PAN administration of President Felipe Calderón, FEVIMTRA has not previously demonstrated that it can address serious violations of women's basic human rights with independence. Although Special prosecutor Maria Guadalupe Morfín Otero has received high marks for advocacy for women's human rights, in the past, FEVIMTRA has apparently been diminished in its effectiveness by the policies of the PAN.

We can see no indication that those dynamics have changed, or that the current creation of the anti-trafficking commission is anything other than a response to heavy international pressure on the Calderon Administra-tion to finally get some work done in regard to this ongoing crisis!  

End impunity now!

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

July 20/21, 2009


Added: July 19, 2009

Mexico

Mauricio Farah Gebara, 'Fifth Visitor General' (left), and ombudsman José Luis Soberanes, both of the National Human Rights Commission of Mexico, seen in this photograph from June 16, 2009 announcing their study showing that 9,758 undocumented immigrants in Mexico had been kidnapped during a recent six month period.

In Spanish  

Related Story in English

Photo: María Luisa Severiano - La Jornada

Pide desmantelar “la red de complicidades” en dependencias

Alertan contra trata, tráfico y secuestro de personas

Tuxtla Gutiérrez.- La Comisión Nacional de Derechos Humanos (CNDH) alertó sobre una situación vulnerable respecto a los delitos de trata, tráfico y secuestro de indocumentados, por lo que demandó la puesta en marcha de estrategias integrales...

Human Rights Official Raises Warning About Human Trafficking

The city of Tuxtla Gutierrez, in Chiapas state - A National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) official has warned that the nation is in a vulnerable position in regard to crimes of human trafficking and the kidnapping of undocumented immigrants. In response, the CNDH demands the development of integrated strategies [to confront the crisis].

CNDH official Mauricio Farah Gebara stressed that federal, state and local governments as well as non-governmental organizations must share responsibility for addressing this crisis.

Farah Gebara added that this situation puts hundreds of thousands of people at very high risk [of victimization].

He said that "what we have to do is to create a uniform law throughout the country [to target these crimes], because of the 21 states that have criminalized [human trafficking], the laws in some of those states open the door to criminals, and in other states the law closes the door to victims."

In an interview conducted after he joined the state government of Chiapas in Tuxtla Gutierrez in an event to inaugurate the State Committee Against Trafficking in Persons, Farah Gebara said that it was urgent that decisions be made to help combat this crime and provide for prevention and victim assistance.

He explained that each state needs "a law that allows us to adequately address the crime, promote changes in public policies, as well as to formulate the required legal framework."

Farah Gebara noted that human trafficking is not a criminal offense in the states of Baja California Sur, Durango, Hidalgo, Nayarit, Nuevo Leon, Queretaro, Sinaloa, Tabasco, Tamaulipas, Veracruz and Yucatan.

Notimex

June 26, 2009


Added: July 19, 2009

Mexico

Beltrones exige a gobierno combatir trata de personas

Senator Beltrones Demands That Mexico's Government Combat Trafficking In Persons

Pide desmantelar “la red de complicidades” en dependencias

El coordinador del PRI en el Senado, Manlio Fabio Beltrones, reconoció que el gobierno federal no ha avanzado como debiera en el combate al tráfico de personas, a pesar de que se ha legislado para combatir con decisión ese delito.

Ante las recientes denuncias contra funcionarios del Instituto Nacional de Migración (INM), ligados al tráfico de personas, dijo que el gobierno debe empezar por desmantelar la red de complicidades en las dependencias federales, y exigió que se vaya al fondo de la acción judicial, que se llegue hasta donde se tenga que llegar, sin importar niveles en el organigrama oficial...  

Senator Beltrones Demands That Government Combat Trafficking In Persons

The PRI Party’s Senate leader calls for a dismantling of networks of criminal complicity involving federal agents

The coordinator of the PRI (the Institutional Revolutionary Party – one of Mexico’s three main political parties) in the Senate, Manlio Fabio Beltrones, has declared that the federal government has not progressed as far as it should in its efforts to combat trafficking in persons, despite the fact that Congress has passed anti-trafficking legislation.

Given the recent allegations against officials of the National Migration Institute (INM) who have been linked to human trafficking, Beltrones stated that the government must begin to dismantle the network of complicity in federal agencies [that supports this criminal activity]. He demanded that criminal investigations dig into the matter no matter how far up the organizational chain of command it reaches.

In a press release, Beltrones said that he feels that it is urgent that the federal government stand-up the National Program To Prevent and Punish Trafficking In Persons, which remains on hold, as El Universal reported yesterday.

Beltrones recalled that the Law to Prevent and Punish Trafficking in Persons was approved by Congress in 2007, as a priority for action within its legislative agenda support of the fight against organized crime.  The anti-trafficking law was passed on November 27 of that year.

However, more than a year passed before [President Calderón] published the [official federal] regulations rules. Those regulations, which were finally released in February of 2009. To date, the Interior Ministry (Secretaría de Gobernación) has not created the National Program to Prevent and Punish Trafficking in Persons, as called for in Article 12 of the Act.

Beltrones, who is a former governor of Sonora state, noted that the National Program has not been created by the Interior Ministry despite the fact that for the past four months (since the regulations were published), they have had all of the legal instruments necessary to do so.

"This is urgent and imperative, because the focus of this legislation is not only designed to severely punish the criminals, but also, most importantly to assist victims and prevent crime. The postponement of the creation of the National Program is inexplicable" said the PRI legislator during a meeting with members of the League of Revolutionary Economists.

Ricardo Gomez

El Universal

June 22, 2009


Added: July 19, 2009

The World

Ricky Martin to the Rescue

On July 10th at 8:00pm EST, V-me ...[premiered] a powerful new documentary titled Vivir en Libertad: Lucha Contra la Trata de Personas [To Live in freedom: The Struggle Against Human Trafficking], featuring Ricky Martin and María Hinojosa, that addresses the issue of human trafficking.

The 30-minute documentary, a co-production between the Inter-American Development Bank and the Ricky Martin Foundation, is narrated by the award-winning journalist María Hinojosa, whom I’ve met before and really respect. In a special introduction, Ricky Martin addresses the complexities of this modern form of slavery. Vivir en Libertad: Lucha Contra la Trata de Personas covers the multi-layered issues of prevention, protection and prosecution of human trafficking.

Gotta love Ricky for continuously trying to make the world a better place.

For local channel information go to vmetv.com/estaciones.

Angie Romero

www.Latina.com


Added: July 18, 2009

Rhode Island, USA

Hermenehildo Lopez

[Man] Breaks into Room, Fondles Teenage Girl

[Police in Pawtucket are saying an undocumented Guatemalan immigrant, Hermenehildo Lopez, broke into his neighbor's apartment, entered the 15-year-old daughter's bedroom while she was asleep, and began fondling her. He was discovered by the victim's mother, and was arrested. A U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainer was placed on Lopez.] - Video report

ABC 6 Pawtucket

July 17, 2009


Added: July 17, 2009

Texas, USA

Richmond - A college student says he was sexually abused by two female employees at a local fast food restaurant. Now he says the sheriff's department is not taking him seriously...

Raymond Smith, 20, says he was attacked, sexually harassed and burglarized during a 15 minute dinner at a Fort Bend County McDonalds restaurant...

Smith says his attackers were two Hispanic teenage girls, who are employees at the fast food restaurant. One of them is a shift manager. It started as playful flirting.

Smith said, "They threw caramel syrup on my pants."

After that the situation heated up.

Smith said, "(They said) like, 'I wanna have sex with you, I wanna do this to you.'"

At one point Smith says the two girls jumped on him and bit him twice so hard that he went to the hospital.

He said, "I was telling them to stop, telling them I have a girlfriend."

But when he tried to leave, Smith says the girls jumped in his car, locked the doors and stole some CDs.

"She also undid her pants and as she's going back in the store, her pants are undone on camera," Smith said...

[Barbara Jones, the alleged victim's mother] says it gets worse. When deputies arrived at the scene, she says they mocked her son.

"I'm going to be embarrassed if they said that and they won't be working here," promised Chief Deputy Brady...

McDonalds issued the statement: "We care deeply about the well-being of our customers and employees, and their safety is our top priority. We are working hard to gather the facts and are fully cooperating with authorities with their investigation of the alleged incident. It would be inappropriate to comment further at this time."

KTRK

July 14, 2009

Added: July 12, 2009

LibertadLatina Commentary

It is obvious to everyone that the majority of victims of sexual harassment and sexual assault are female, and that the majority of perpetrators are male. However, men can certainly be victims of actions by women perpetrators.

During my years of work in independent victim advocacy, I have seen several such cases.

In one instance, a Nicaraguan woman who supervised a cleaning company (that was owned by a local police officer) demanded, according to her sister's account, sex from her male employees. Any man who refused, or who did not perform well, was summarily fired (this is a dynamic of impunity that is common in many Latino immigrant run workplaces, but these abuses usually affect female workers).

In the second case, a male co-worker and friend from South America complained to me that his manager, a woman from Mexico, routinely demanded sex from him. When he refused, his manager downgraded his periodic performance reports. He told me that he felt bad about doing this. He had a wife and children. This occurred at a party-affiliated computer services bureau supporting one of the two major U.S. political parties.

A white female medical doctor once subjected me to a medical exam than I can only define as a sexual assault. As in the case of Raymond Smith described in the above story, it is a reasonable assumption that any man reporting such an incident of impunity perpetrated by a woman would only bring laughter from the investigating  authorities. That was my thinking at the time. Therefore I did not report it. Yet if a male doctor had done the same thing to a woman patient, he would have gone to jail.

Men also subject other men to exploitation in the workplace. A friend from Guatemala who is an air conditioning mechanic applied for a job in his profession at a major hotel in Los Angeles, California. A long line of applicants waited patiently for their turn to interview with the hiring manager.

My friend told me that after a while, the manager, a Latino man, came out of his office, went down the line, and told five men to line up for the interview at his office (totally disrespecting the line, a common practice in Latin American cultures). My friend was one of the five men selected.

The hiring manager told my friend during his interview for the job that, "I have a job for you, but you have to agree to have sex with me" (on a regular basis). My friend refused to 'participate.'

'Of course' these types of experiences are faced by women and girls across the board. It is important to acknowledge, though, that men and boys can experience these types of abuses also.

End impunity now!

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

July 17, 2009


Added: July 17, 2009

Honduras

Xiomara Castro -First Lady of Honduras

Honduras' first lady leads fight for Zelaya return

Tegucigalpa - Honduras' first lady has emerged as the public face of the movement to restore President Manuel Zelaya to power, a role she took against her husband's wishes and despite her continuing fears for her safety.

Xiomara Castro told The Associated Press on Wednesday that she was so afraid the Honduran military would shoot her on sight after soldiers whisked Zelaya out of the country in his pajamas, she fled to the U.S. Embassy.

Though she still sleeps in hiding, she vowed to take to the streets daily in protest of the June 28 coup that ousted her husband. The family of a pro-Zelaya demonstrator slain by soldiers on Sunday urged her to get involved — over Zelaya's objections.

"He told me that my presence could cause more problems, more persecution on the family. But I insisted," Castro said, while trudging up a steep road with 3,000 Zelaya supporters, who blocked traffic on a route connecting the capital of Tegucigalpa with a highway to Nicaragua. "I consider our presence here as like having the president himself here, like feeling that the president is standing firm." ...

The morning of the coup, Castro said she and her teenage son Hector sneaked to the U.S. embassy, then stayed there until the attorney general's office said no charges would be filed against Zelaya family members...

Castro remained out of sight for nine days after the coup. But she came out of hiding at the request of the family of Isis Obed Murillo Mencia, 19, a protester from Zelaya's home state of Olancho who was shot by soldiers at the airport Sunday during Zelaya's unsuccessful attempt to return...

"Today we are a fractured family because (Zelaya is) in one place and my kids are in another and I'm in another," ... "But all of this has strengthened us."

Will Weissert

The Associated Press

July 8, 2009

See Also:

Added: July 17, 2009

Honduras

Honduran diplomat who insulted Obama quits

Tegucigalpa - Honduras' interim top diplomat, who insulted U.S. President Barack Obama, has quit his post as foreign minister and has been offered the post of minister of justice and government, caretaker president Roberto Micheletti said on Friday.

"Foreign Minister Enrique Ortez has presented his resignation and given his abilities, I have asked him to take up the post of minister of government and justice," Micheletti said at an act...

(Reporting by Gustavo Palencia; writing by Simon Gardner; editing by Todd Eastham)

Reuters

July 10, 2009

See also:

[Foreign Minister of the Coup Government in Honduras Steps Down Over Racist Remarks About U.S. President Barak Obama]

A quote by [Foreign Minister Enrique] Ortez Colindres surfaced yesterday, made during an interview with a Honduran television station and cited in El Tiempo newspaper:

"He negociado con maricones, prostitutas, con ñángaras (izquierdistas), negros, blancos. Ese es mi trabajo, yo estudié eso. No tengo prejuicios raciales, me gusta el negrito del batey que está presidiendo los Estados Unidos."

"I have negotiated with queers, prostitutes, leftists, blacks, whites. This is my job, I studied for it. I am not racially prejudiced. I like the little black man who is president of the United States."

[At one point Ortez used the term "negrito del batey," meaning, in the context of its origins in the Dominican Republic, 'little black Haitian immigrant sugar plantation worker.']

NowPublic.com

July 9, 2009

A note to the editor on NowPublic.com responding to the above quote:

...In this context, if you put together the choice of words, the dismissive gestures, tone of voice and body language, and the dismal educational level displayed by this "indignatary's" speech patterns, you have a baldfaced 1950's-style lowlife Honduran bigot unmasked before you. A Minister of Foreign Relations who has obviously been living in a cave for the last 50 years? Symptomatic of a problem that is not political, but cultural in nature. He cannot hide his racism, he cannot even measure his tongue and seems to have never faced a camera before. There goes the credibility for a "Constitution-defending" government...

Letter to the editor

NowPublic.com

July 9, 2009

See also - Video:

Racist statements made against U.S. President Barack Obama by Honduran Foreign Minister Enrique Ortez Colindez

YouTube.com

July 4, 2009


Added: July 17, 2009

Kansas, USA

Rape Charges Against [Undocumented Immigrant] Dismissed

Judge says defendant denied speedy trial; issue likely to go to Kansas Supreme Court

Newton - The case against a man charged with the rape of a girl who was younger than 10 was dismissed Monday in Harvey County District Court because of an appellate court ruling regarding speedy trials.

Margarito Cervantes-Aguilar, of Wichita and allegedly a citizen of Mexico and in the United States illegally, was charged with two counts of rape and three counts of aggravated indecent liberties with a child...

Until recently, courts and prosecutors assumed an immigration hold constituted a second reason for the defendant to be held. This would extend the deadline required by law for a speedy trial from 90 days to 180 days, Harvey County Attorney David Yoder said.

However, a recent ruling by an appeals court in a Lyons County case Kansas v. Montes-Mata said an immigration hold could not be considered a second charge against the defendant, which extends the speedy trial time...

Judge Richard Walker said in his decision the court was in new waters as the Montes-Mata, which was being appealed to the Kansas Supreme Court, and a similar case in Ohio, Ohio v. Sanchez, were the only cases that addressed the issue of immigration holds and speedy trials...

Although the case against Cervantes-Aguilar was dismissed, he still faces charges and possible deportation because of his immigration status.

James Gutierrez, an immigration agent who testified at the hearing, said his investigation indicated Cervantes-Aguilar already had been deported twice from the United States and served probation for illegal re-entry to the United States...

If convicted of illegal re-entry into the United States, Cervantes-Aguilar could face five to 10 years in a federal prison.

Yoder also expressed his desire to appeal Walker’s decision pending the decision of the Kansas Supreme Court on the Montes-Mata case.

“This is very new, very unsettled law,” Yoder said. “I will pursue an appeal. I will not let this case go. I will not let this case go until they make me.”

Cristina Janney

Newton Kansan

July 14, 2009

See also:

Arrestan a Violador

...Agentes de la Patrulla Fronteriza de la estación oeste de Laredo, arrestaron a un hombre que estaba pendiente con dos cargos de violación sexual y de indecencias contra una menor de edad.

Se trata de Margarito Cervantes Aguilar, un indocumentado originario de México, quien estaba siendo requerido por las autoridades judiciales del estado de Kansas, por lo que ahora se encuentra recluido en la cárcel del Condado de Webb, en espera de ser extraditado hacia aquella entidad norteamericana.

Rapist is Arrested

U.S. Border Patrol agents at the Laredo, Texas border station have arrested a man who had outstanding warrants on charges of rape and taking indecent liberties with a child,

The case involves Margarito Cervantes Aguilar, an undocumented immigrant originally from Mexico, who was being sought by authorities in Kansas. He awaiting extradition to Kansas in the Webb County jail.

El Mañana

Dec. 17, 2008


Added: July 17, 2009

Louisiana, USA

Sex Crime Lands Man in Custody

Ouachita Parish deputies arrested a man who tried to have sexual intercourse with a minor.

Marco Guerrero, 33, ...was booked into Ouachita Correctional Center on charges of indecent behavior with a juvenile, two counts of simple battery and theft.

According to an arrest affidavit, deputies were called to Shoney's Inn on Thomas Road in West Monroe early Tuesday about an attempted rape call.

[The 15-year-old]... minor told police while she was taking a shower, the suspect got into the shower with her, telling her he wanted sex. She told him, "No, " and to get out. She also told them he did not force or attempt to force himself upon her.

The suspect told police [that]... he was an undocumented immigrant...

The News Star

July 15, 2009


Added: July 16, 2009

Peru

Schoolgirls in an Amazon community

Photo: Milagros Salazar / IPS

Going to School Still a Feat for Rural Girls

Wawas, Peru - María Belén Sabio, a 30-year-old Awajun woman from Peru’s northeastern Amazonia province, was able to complete a teacher training programme despite having five children to raise. "Life here in the countryside is not easy, and I’ve had a hard time getting ahead," she told IPS.

But not all indigenous women can beat the odds stacked against them. Most only make it as far as primary school, the statistics show...

A brutal crackdown on indigenous protests in Bagua in early June drew attention to the marginalization and exclusion faced by native peoples in Peru's Amazon jungle region.

According to the 1993 census, indigenous people made up one-third of the Peruvian population. But more recent estimates put the proportion at 45 percent, with most of the rest of the population of 28.7 million being of mixed-race (mestizo) heritage, around 15 percent of European descent, and a small minority of African descent...

Multiple reasons for dropping out

"As girls grow older their mothers choose not to send them to school because they need them at home to help care for their younger siblings or with household chores," Fidel Datsa, a teacher at a school in Wawas, told IPS...

Most communities have primary schools, but in order to attend secondary school girls usually have to travel long distances, which is a source of worry for parents.

...Many fear that if they send their daughters far from their villages, they might get lost or be attacked by strangers, and that they’d be putting them in harm’s way...

"We want our girls to study. As mothers, we do everything we can to help them be better than us. But that doesn’t always happen with women who live in the most remote communities, where men have greater control," said Julia Esamat, a 53-year-old woman from the village of Nazareth, a three-hour drive from the town of Bagua...

"Here, all the women work, and little by little we’ve learned to make a place for ourselves," Esamat told IPS. "Things are changing, even if we still have to beat 'machista' (sexist) attitudes." ...

According to Karem Escudero, an expert on indigenous issues, access to schools and quality education in rural areas will directly affect the possibility of women gaining a leadership role in the indigenous movement.

"Women who know how to read and write and are articulate are seen as potential leaders. Being a leader entails having certain social skills and abilities that are developed through both formal and informal education," she told IPS.

Being able to enjoy a basic right like the right to education will allow indigenous women to be active citizens and defend other rights more effectively, to the benefit of their family and their community, the expert concluded.

Milagros Salazar

Inter Press Service (IPS)

Jul 15, 2009


Added: July 16, 2009

Mexico

WOLA and Others Urge Protection of Mexican Human Rights Defenders:
Denounce Attempted Murder of Margarita Martín de las Nieves

Today the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA), the Due Process of Law Foundation (DPLF), Human Rights Watch (HRW), and the Latin America Working Group (LAWG) sent a letter to Ambassador Juan Manuel Gomez Robledo, the Mexican Assistant Secretary for Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights, expressing concern for the attempted assassination of Margarita Martín de las Nieves, the widow of Manuel Ponce Rosas, and indigenous human rights defender who was kidnapped and executed in the state of Guerrero last February along with another defender, Raul Lucas Lucia. WOLA, LAWG, DPLF, and HRW issued a letter to the Attorney General of Guerrero following the murder of Manuel Ponce Rosas and Raul Lucas Lucia and we are deeply troubled by the recent attempts against Ponce Rosas' widow. In our current letter, we urge Assistant Secretary Gomez to ensure the implementation of protective measures awarded to 107 human rights defenders in Guerrero by the Inter-American Court on Human Rights. To date, Margarita Martín de las Nieves remains vulnerable, as the State has yet to provide her increased protections. We also request that the authorities investigate the attempt on Margarita's life and ensure that the perpetrators are brought to justice.

Human rights defenders face increasing levels of persecution in Guerrero, and WOLA has worked with counterparts in the state to oppose militarization and the criminalization of social protest. We are deeply concerned that human rights defenders in Guerrero work in a system of impunity, where abusers are unpunished and crimes are rarely investigated.

Washington Office On Latin America

Washington, DC

July 1, 2009


Added: July 15, 2009

Florida, USA

Pop star Ricky Martin poses with CAHT director Anna Rodriguez

Photo: News-Press.com

Anti-Slavery Group Losing Allies Amid Tax Allegations

The high-profile Florida Coalition Against Human Trafficking (CAHT), which has received nearly $2 million in government grants and private donations the last three years, hasn't filed returns with the Internal Revenue Service to show how that money is being used.

There are other signs things are beginning to sour for the group as well.

Last year, the group lost its contract to provide services to trafficking victims in Lee County.

World Relief, a Baltimore charity that distributes grants from the Department of Justice, didn't renew the group's $200,000 grant.

And the group's director Anna Rodriguez no longer attends meetings of the Lee County Human Trafficking Task force, the key coordinating body for anti-trafficking efforts in Lee County.

In fact, many of Rodriguez's colleagues have distanced themselves from her and are loath to speak about her on the record…

Julie Rocco resigned last fall after 18 months as associate director of the Florida Coalition Against Human Trafficking. She's one of many former employees who worried about the way Rodriguez did business.

Rocco knew the group hadn't filed with the IRS and said she tried to convince Rodriguez to do so, with no success.

"Passion does not equate to knowledge of how to run a nonprofit," Rocco said. "Victims should not be secondary to dollars."

Meanwhile, the group celebrated its fifth anniversary with a gala last month.

In addition to the Bonita Springs headquarters, it now has offices in five other Florida cities: Tampa, Miami, Orlando, Shalimar and Melbourne.

Amy Bennett Williams

News-Press.com

June 28, 2009


Added: July 15, 2009

Mexico

Cárcel a mujer por impedir que ex esposo vea a su hijo de quien abusó

Chihuahua, Chih., 8 julio 09 (CIMAC).- Con tal de que no conviviera con su hijo de seis años, su exmarido Miguel Ángel Barrera Balderrama, y convencida de que el señor abusa sexualmente del niño, la señora Guadalupe Galindo Rodríguez prefirió cumplir las 36 horas de arresto que le ordenó el Juzgado Segundo de lo Familiar...

A Woman Who Prevented Her Ex-husband, Accused of Child Sexual Abuse, from Seeing Their 6-Year-Old Son, is Jailed

Chihuahua city in Chihuahua state - Guadalupe Rodriguez Galindo has chosen the option provided by the Second Family Court here, of  going to jail for 36 hours rather than allow her ex-husband, Miguel Angel Barrera Balderrama visitation with their six-year-old son. Rodriguez Galindo believes that her ex-husband sexually abused the child.

Accompanied by Jasmine Solis, an attorney with the Center for Human Rights of Women, Guadeloupe presented herself last Friday evening at 6pm at the Northern Command of the Municipal Public Security Bureau, where she remained under arrest until six o'clock on Sunday...

In August 2006 Guadeloupe filed a criminal complaint against her Miguel Angel for child sexual abuse. Sex crimes investigators took testimony from the child, who stated: "... I visit my dad and sometimes I go with him, sometimes I like to go with him and sometimes I don’t, because my dad played my rear and my penis." ...

When the Seventh Penal Court acquitted Miguel Angel, the Second Court ruled that he should be allowed to take the child every few days, as the divorce settlement requires.

Guadeloupe strongly objected, explaining that Miguel Angel sexually abused their son. "As much as I explained to the judge the risk to my son, she did not care. She demanded that my son be given to Miguel Angel, which I will not do even if they kill me. I prefer to be in prison before seeing my son abused."

The judge fined Guadalupe because she refused Miguel Angel’s visitations. She paid the fine.

Guadalupe was not opposed to visitations by Miguel Angel, but she demanded that her ex-husband visit their son in her presence. Miguel Angel would not accept these conditions.

Under pressure from Miguel Angel, the judge has taken steps against Guadalupe that are increasingly stringent. The latest was her arrest and incarceration for 36 hours. Guadalupe remains willing to go to jail before allowing Miguel Angel to visit their son alone.

Full English Translation

Dora Villalobos Mendoza

CIMAC Noticias

News for Women

Mexico City

July 8, 2009


Added: July 13, 2009

México

"Rape Carried Out by Soldiers" - See CIMAC Noticias' extensive collection of over 300 articles written since 2006, covering the factual history of the perpetration of rape with impunity by Mexico's military. This 'weapon of war' especially targets rural indigenous women and girls. (In Spanish)

Graphic: CIMAC Noticias

EE.UU. debe retener ayuda militar

Debe exigir cumplimiento de condiciones de derechos humanos en la Iniciativa Mérida

México:Debe proporcionar información sobre impunidad militar

La Iniciativa Mérida brinda al Gobierno de Obama una importante oportunidad para fortalecer la cooperación estadounidense-mexicana en la lucha contra las drogas y en la defensa de los derechos humanos. Sin embargo, para aprovechar esta oportunidad, el Gobierno de Obama debe exigir enérgicamente que se cumpla con los requisitos de derechos humanos incluidos en el paquete.

Mexico: US Should Withhold Military Aid

Rights conditions in Merida Initiative remain unmet

Mexico should provide information about cases of military impunity

The Merida Initiative provides the Obama administration with an important opportunity to strengthen US-Mexican drug enforcement and human rights cooperation. To capitalize on this opportunity, however, the Obama administration should vigorously enforce the human rights requirements included in the aid package.

Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch (Washington, DC) - The US State Department should not certify Mexico's compliance with the Merida Initiative's human rights requirements so long as Mexican army abuses continue to be tried in military rather than civilian courts, Human Rights Watch said in a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton released today.

The US Congress mandated that 15 percent of funds to be provided to Mexico under the Merida Initiative, a multi-year regional aid package to help address the increasing violence and corruption of heavily armed drug cartels, should be withheld until the secretary of state reports to Congress that the Mexican government has met four human rights conditions. They include the requirement that military abuses be investigated and prosecuted by civilian rather than military authorities...

The letter expresses concern over the rapidly growing number of serious abuses committed by the Mexican military during counter-narcotics and public security operations, including rapes, killings, torture, and arbitrary detentions, and the failure to bring those responsible to justice.

In the past 10 years, Mexican military courts - which routinely take over the investigation of military abuses against civilians - have not convicted a single member of the military accused of committing a serious human rights violation...

Human Rights Watch

July 13, 2009 

See also:

Added: July 14, 2009

México

CIDH Presenta Demandas Ante La Corte Interamericana

Washington, DC -

...El 7 de mayo de 2009 la CIDH presentó una demanda en el Caso No. 12.580, Inés Fernández Ortega, México. El caso se relaciona con la violación y tortura de la mujer indígena Me’phaa Inés Fernández Ortega, por parte de agentes del Ejercito mexicano, el 22 de marzo de 2002 en la Comunidad Barranca Tecuani, Municipio de Ayutla de Los Libres, Estado de Guerrero; con la utilización del fuero militar para la investigación y juzgamiento de violaciones a los derechos humanos; con la falta de debida diligencia en la investigación y la falta de sanción a los responsables de los hechos; con la falta de reparación a la víctima y sus familiares; y con las dificultades que enfrentan los miembros de los pueblos indígenas, en particular las mujeres, para acceder a la justicia...

IACHR Takes Cases To The Inter-American Court

...On May 7, 2009, the IACHR filed an application in Case No. 12.580, Inés Fernández Ortega, Mexico.

The case has to do with the rape and torture on March 22, 2002, of Inés Fernández Ortega, a Me’phaa indigenous woman, by agents of the Mexican Army, in the Community Barranca Tecuani, Municipio Ayutla de Los Libres, State of Guerrero; the lack of due diligence in the investigation and the lack of punishment of those responsible; the lack of adequate reparations to the victim and her relatives; the use of the military jurisdiction for the investigation and trial of violations of human rights; and the difficulties faced by indigenous persons, especially women, in terms of access to justice...

[This case also involves the use of death threats against the victim and her family. - LL.]

Inter-American Commission on Human Rights

 Organization of American States

June 25, 2009

See also:

Detener abusos militares, condición para dar recursos a México

Presión de Human Rights Watch sobre Hillary Clinton

México DF - Human Rights Watch (HRW) hizo un llamado hoy a la secretaria de Estado de Estados Unidos, Hillary Clinton, para condicionar a México la entrega del 15 por ciento de los fondos contemplados en la Iniciativa Mérida, si el gobierno no cumple con los requisitos en materia de respeto a los derechos humanos y modifica el sistema de justicia militar.

El llamado coincide con lo afirmado en el informe Impunidad uniformada, presentado por HRW en abril pasado, donde señaló que los recursos se retuvieron hasta que Clinton no informara al Congreso estado-unidense que el Gobierno mexicano había cumplido con cuatro requisitos en materia de derechos humanos...

Lourdes Godínez Leal

CIMAC Noticias

News for Women

Mexico City

July 13, 2009


Added: July 13, 2009

Guatemala

Mayan girl from Quiche province

Photo: Mimundo.com - from Xaxmoxan Hamlet, at a gathering to receive and bury the dead found by forensic examiners, from a mass grave of Mayan massacre victims from Guatemala's 1970s-80s anti-Mayan Genocide. The Mayan people of Quiche experienced 263 massacres during the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, while the 'powers that be' in the U.S. were intentionally asleep at the switch of moral, political and military action to stop this blatant, racially motivated genocide.

Mujeres Ixiles piden solidaridad, apoyo y acompañamiento en la búsqueda de justicia

Quiché- La Red de Mujeres Ixiles de Santa María Nebaj, Quiché, pidió el apoyo y acompañamiento de las organizaciones de mujeres y agrupaciones sociales, en el caso que se lleva por las agresiones en contra de lideresas por parte de trabajadores del alcalde municipal…

Ixil Mayan Women Seek Solidarity, Support And Accompaniment In Obtaining Justice

The Ixil Women’s Network of the town of Santa Maria Nebaj, in Quiché province, has asked for solidarity and support from women's organizations and social groups to counter violent attacks against their leadership by the employees of the town's mayor.

According to a press release, the Network is concerned that the perpetrators have political and economic power, which may corrupt the application of justice. The Network desires outside support to push for justice in the cases of abuse that are occurring.

The network is seeking legal action to stop a five year long series of threats, harassment and defamation instigated by the town's mayor targeting women leaders of the Network.

The last attack was suffered by Juana Baca, who was physically and verbally attacked on the premises of the municipal government. Local police present at the incident did not interfere with the attackers, despite the fact that the victim is pregnant.

The Ixil Women’s Network demands an end to violence against women here, and also hopes that justice will done in the cases of abuse that their organization is facing in this community.

Marielos Carranza

CERIGUA

Guatemalan human rights news

June 23, 2009


Added: July 13, 2009

Washington State, USA

Seattle - Typically, the coffee artisans at the Seattle-based Storyville Coffee Company have one thing on their collective mind - helping people to brew the perfect cup of coffee at home. It's an obsession that borders on fanaticism.

But recently, Storyville made the radical decision to give away everything earned during the month of May - not just profits, but every penny from every sale - to International Justice Mission (IJM), a human rights agency that rescues victims of slavery, sexual exploitation and other forms of oppression. Every purchase was effectively a donation to IJM.

The results? During the "Give It All Away in May" campaign, Storyville raised enough money for IJM - which currently operates in 12 countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America - to expand its work into Ecuador.

The International Labor Organization estimates that thousands of minors in Ecuador are being exploited in prostitution. Ecuadorian children are also being trafficked to Western Europe, particularly Spain and Italy, and to other countries in Latin America. In partnership with a local human rights agency, Paz y Esperanza [Peace and Hope], IJM will fight for these young victims.

"It's an honor for us to be a part of this great endeavor, making justice a reality for those who desperately need advocates," says Storyville Co-President Chad Turnbull...

PRNewswire

July 3, 2009


Added: July 12, 2009

Texas, USA

Nabor Rodriguez-Guillen

Juan Carlos Sanchez-Camacho

Two Men Accused of Holding Up to 25 [Undocumented] Immigrants Captive in Trailer

[Six men were rescued. Some 19 people, include all women hostages, remain missing.]

Dale - Two men have been arrested and charged with aggravated kidnapping after they held as many as 25 illegal immigrants against their will in a single-wide trailer in rural Bastrop County, officials say.

A SWAT team raid on the mobile home... near Dale on Wednesday resulted in the arrests of Juan Carlos Sanchez-Camacho, 29, and Nabor Rodriguez-Guillen, 20, according to an arrest affidavit for the men. They are accused of keeping the illegal immigrants in the trailer near the Bastrop-Caldwell county line for at least four days, beating and starving them, and repeatedly sexually assaulting three female captives.

Bastrop County Sheriff Terry Pickering said the men and women were being held while their kidnappers demanded money from their families in Central America.

Six men were rescued during the raid and are now at an undisclosed shelter in Austin, Pickering said.

Before authorities arrived, the women and several other victims were loaded into a van by the kidnappers and taken to another location, he said.

"We're obviously very concerned for these folks' well-being and safety," Pickering said. "At this point, we don't even know who they are." ...

Patrick George

American Statesman

July 10, 2009

See also:

Human Trafficking Ring Bust in Bastrop County

...They've gone days without food or water, some sexually assaulted. Tonight Bastrop County deputies are on the hunt for the remaining hostages in a human trafficking ring.

Nabor Rodriguez-Guillen and Juan Carlos Sanchez-Camacho allegedly used a trailer home in Dale as a torture chamber. Bastrop County Sheriff Terry Pickering describes what he found inside: "No air-conditioning, no furnishings from what I observed. The people were being held in one room. They were generally unclothed except for their underwear.”

Pickering says a man claiming to be an escaped hostage told them he was one of 25 immigrants from Honduras and El Salvador who were smuggled into the country then held against their will by three captors at gunpoint. The hostages were allegedly deprived of food and water and the women were sexually assaulted...

Noelle Newton

KVUE News

July 10, 2009


Added: July 12, 2009

Pennsylvania, USA

Felix Montoya

Man Accused in Rape, Attempted Murder of Girl, 5

Taylor - A 40-year-old man has been charged in the brutal rape and attempted murder of a five-year-old girl following a holiday picnic at her family's home, police said.

Felix E. Montoya... was discovered half-clothed in a child's bedroom early Sunday by a shocked family who kept him at bay until police arrived. He was charged with rape of a child, attempted homicide and other offenses...

At Community Medical Center, Dr. Michael Rogan of the Children's Advocacy Center, Scranton and emergency room physician Dr. Vincent Pollino cataloged the girl's injuries: Severe bruising and cuts to the back, bruising and bleeding around the eyes consistent with strangulation, adult bite marks on shoulder and thigh, adult hand marks on her neck and right cheek and rape-related injuries significant enough to require surgery.

...Montoyo... was born in Colombia, is married, has a job and two grown children...

Citizen's Voice

July 5, 2009


Added: July 12, 2009

Massachusetts, USA, Guatemala

Prosecutor: Weymouth Girl, 10, Raped by Babysitter’s Boyfriend

Weymouth - The 10-year-old girl kept telling her babysitter’s boyfriend to stop as he pulled on the waistband of her pants four times, the prosecutor said, but the boyfriend, Genesis Orrego Gonzales, didn’t listen as they sat on a bed in the house Gonzales shared with the babysitter, the girl told police later.

Gonzales, 29, of Weymouth, was charged on July 8 with rape of a child with force and indecent assault and battery of a child under 14.

An innocent plea was filed at his arraignment, which took place on July 9 in Quincy District Court...

The federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement [ICE] agency is holding Gonzales, who told police that he came to the United States illegally from his native Guatemala more than 10 years ago...

GateHouse News Service

July 10, 2009


Added: July 12, 2009

Massachusetts, USA

Springfield Man Charged with Rape of Boy

Police have arrested a city man in connection with an alleged rape of a 12-year-old boy.

Springfield police said Fernando Santos, 42, of 40 Cliftwood St. was arrested at his home at approximately 4 a.m. on Saturday.

Santos was charged with two counts of indecent assault and battery on a child under 14, two counts of rape of a child with force and threat to commit a crime, police said...

The Republican Newsroom

July 11, 2009


Added: July 12, 2009

Mexico

Why Has Child Molestation Committed by [Undocumented Immigrants] Become an Epidemic?

...In Operation Predator sweeps across the country conducted between 2003-2007, Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents nabbed over 10,700 foreign national child molesters. Many of these predators had been previously convicted of other crimes, and many had already been deported once. The number predators apprehended in the sweeps actually only represent the tip of the iceberg.

In fact, a study conducted by the Violent Crimes Institute reports that between 1999 and 2006, there were nearly 1,000,000 sex crimes committed in the United States by [undocumented] aliens.

...[In a review of cases published in a 2007 article, during a 30 day period, 27 cases of child molestation cases allegedly committed by undocumented immigrants  were documented. The article lists the cases, including that of 15-year-old victim Dani Countryman - see below article].

So why does the crime of child molestation seem to be so prevalent among [undocumented] aliens from Mexico?…The answer may lie within the age-old Mexican culture of "machismo," as well as within the actual laws of that country [which are derived from the code of machismo - LL].

The crime of rape or child molestation is incredibly under-reported in Mexico, because there is so much shame placed upon the victim as well as the difficulty in proving the case. [In] a 2002 Pulitzer Prize winning Washington Post article, reporter Mary Jordan detailed the case of a 16 year old Mexican girl who had reported being raped by three policemen in 1997. When Yessica Yadira Diaz Cazares and her mother went to the police station to report the rape, she was laughed at by the officers and actually jailed overnight...

[One] accused officer laughed at her and verbally abused the girl as she identified him as an attacker. Eventually, Yessica realized that justice would never be served and simply gave up. Sadly, she not only gave up her search for justice but her life as well. Despondent, she committed suicide by taking an overdose of prescription pills.

After Yessica´s death, the national human rights commission pursued the case, resulting in the convictions of two of the accused officers.

The crime of kidnapping a woman for the purpose of rape and marriage against [her] will, or "rapto" as it is known in Mexico is actually a minor crime and is rarely ever prosecuted. A Mexican legislator actually called the practice "romantic." Of course, this crime if committed in the United States would elicit felony charges and a penalty of 20 years to life in prison.

While rape is a serious crime in the United States, many Mexican nationals cannot understand why they are prosecuted on this side of the border. Often, a small payment of $10 to $20 to the victim´s family will settle the matter back in Mexico.

The most troubling and telling reason behind the growing epidemic of child molestation at the hands of Mexican [undocumented immigrants] is the fact the age of sexual consent throughout the majority of Mexico is 12 years of age...

The attitude towards having sex with little girls is carried with many Mexican men as they cross into this country.

An example of this attitude can be found in Mexican national Diego Lopez-Mendez, who pled guilty in 2006 to sexually assaulting a 10 year old West Virginia girl. Through an interpreter, he told the court: "In the pueblo where I grew up girls are usually married by 13 years old….I was unaware of the nature of the offense or that it was a bad crime."

In order to bring charges of rape in most Mexican states, the law requires that the girl prove that she is a virgin, and that the charge of statutory rape be dropped if the rapist wishes to marry his victim.

Of course, when discussing the issue of [undocumented] immigration, this dirty little secret is never talked about by our politicians, nor is the impact that such an attitude towards the abuse of children could have on this nation by offering amnesty to millions of Mexican nationals...

Dave Gibson

Norfolk Crime Examiner

April 21, 2009


Added: July 12, 2009

LibertadLatina Commentary

The rampant sexual exploitation with impunity of women and girls in Latin America, especially when they belong to 'minority' groups such as indigenous and African descendent populations who are not defended at all in their societies, is a fact that cannot be denied. The mass-migration from Latin America has brought these problems to the United States, making them the responsibility of the general public, politicians, law enforcement and the judicial system to monitor and resolve.

To openly discuss these facts is not to engage in an act of prejudice against the Latin American immigrant population. It is in fact an action taken in defense of immigrant women and girls who routinely experience severe sexual harassment, rape and sexual slavery in every corner of the U.S. at the hands of immigrant men from Latin America and throughout the world. The perpetrators are men who grew up in cultures where raping 10-year-old girls is literally considered to be a normal part of adult male behavior.

Such acts do not represent the actions of the majority of migrant men, but they do accurately reflect the beliefs of a majority of men who come from Latin America to live in the United States.

A 2006 survey across Latin America by the International Labor Organization found that 65% of respondents found nothing wrong with, and stated that they would feel no fear or remorse in regard to having sex with children. Millions of underage girls are sexually exploited across Latin America.

Indeed very large numbers of men engage in exploiting the 40 million street children in Latin America (almost all of whom survive through 'survival sex' and prostitution). They also exploit the many tens of thousands of children who engage the virtually legal street and brothel based prostitution that exists and is today expanding in every Latin American nation.

What has been the most surprising for me during my decades of gender advocacy work in the Washington, DC region's Latin community has been to see the intense and misplaced sense of defiance and entitlement that such men, who grew up under the feudal-era code of machismo, display when engaging in sexual harassment and attempted criminal conduct targeting immigrant women and girls. Men who believe this way feel incensed and outraged whenever any person interferes with their actions, which constitute behaviors that they believe are ordained by the 'cult' of machismo.

For example, I know of men in their 20s and 30s who have approached Latina migrant mothers to ask them directly if they can (and if the answer is no, to tell them that they will) date their underage Latina daughters, whether they are 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16 or 17. Such a request, and the act of forcing the issue, is indeed 'traditional' and legal across Mexico, Central America and much of the rest of Latin America. These mothers are hard-pressed to defend their daughters when they must work two and three jobs to support their families.

The fact that the largely undocumented Latin immigrant migrant community lives virtually 'underground' means that the social rules and abuses that exist in Latin America (corruption, impunity, retaliation, and sexist and racist machismo) are being applied by predatory immigrant men in the U.S. and other Latin American Diaspora cultures, with little fear of any real law enforcement response to those crimes. Youth gangs further codify this thinking into a formal set of rituals that include the gang rape of underage girls as an act of group initiation.

These men, and also U.S. born sexual predators of all races who collaborate in this impunity, know that 'little Miss Latina' lives in an underground world where an ancient, sexist, Mediterranean derived 'code of silence' is enforced, and where her access to police assistance, as a person at risk for - or as an actual victim of sexual violence, is limited by the language barrier, fear of deportation and, at times, by police apathy, indifference, red tape and hostility.

Although leaders in the immigrant community would like to limit talk of these types of uncomfortable issues during the current push for comprehensive immigration reform, the topic of sexual violence and impunity in immigrant communities must take a center-stage position during such discussions.

Everyone in the U.S. has a right to know about this criminal behavior and to participate in decision making in regard to it.

In addition, those at-risk, as well as those in the victim community would like to see an end to this self serving code of silence once and for all.

The U.S. public, and law enforcement officers as well, have already seen the reality of these dynamics of sexual exploitation over time, in community life and in news article about local arrests, as the article by Dave Gibson of the Norfolk Crime Examiner shows. The same arrogant impunity that many sexist immigrant men use to subject women and girls to very brutal forms of criminal sexual exploitation must not be tolerated in the form of aggressive efforts to silence any open discussion of these issues as part of the larger immigration debate.

The sexist attitudes involved in this crisis can be seen almost daily on TV shows such as the Spanish language NBC Telemundo network's very popular court show, Caso Cerado (Case Closed), presented by Judge Ana Maria Polo.

Numerous arbitration cases presented on Dr. Polo's program involve addressing the actions of men who openly declare on international television that they have a right to 'take' sex from adult and underage women in a variety of settings, including in cases that involve sex trafficking, kidnapping, rape and child sexual abuse.

The accused, who starts out on the show as a party to voluntary arbitration of what is usually a civil dispute, is often surprised when a sworn officer appears and handcuffs him, as Judge Polo reacts to the man's confession of criminal sexual conduct against a woman or child, which conduct he often expects the judge to ratify as his birthright (as a judge would often do in Latin America).

Any solution to the immigration issue in the U.S. must include a clear and open recognition of these forms of impunity, and clear, enforceable measures for bringing this constantly expanding crisis of sexual exploitation under control.

At the same time, the U.S. must use its influence to demand that social and legal tolerance for the 'gender hostile living environment' that exists across Latin America be rolled-back, and then eliminated all together. That will be a tall order, but an urgently need one!

End impunity now!

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

July 12/13, 2009

See also:

Testimony of University of North Carolina Law Professor Deborah M. Weissman before Congress

...As Alamance county's demographic landscape changed, and with the increase of Latinos in all facets of community, tensions arose. In an interview with the Raleigh News & Observer, Alamance County Sheriff Terry Johnson complained that more Latino criminals were arriving to the area. In an example where a local official implementing federal law reveals ignorance and hostility, Johnson made brazenly racist claims about Mexicans, stating,

"[t]heir values are a lot different - their morals - than what we have here," Johnson said. "In Mexico, there's nothing wrong with having sex with a 12-, 13-year-old girl..." He linked the Latino presence with growing crime rates...

Testimony of Deborah M. Weissman - Reef C. Ivey II Distinguished Professor of Law - Director of Clinical Programs School of Law University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill - Before the Committee on the Judiciary - on the “Public Safety and Civil Rights Implications of State and Local Enforcement of Federal Immigration Laws”

April 2, 2009


Added: July 12, 2009

LibertadLatina Commentary

The fact that Sheriff Terry Johnson of Alamance County, North Carolina made the observation that he is seeing, through his department's law enforcement work, cases of adult men from Mexico having sexual relationships with 12 and 13-year old girls makes his observations neither racist, nor ignorant, nor hostile to the Latino immigrant community. What about the well being of the underage girl victims of these abuses? Knowing what we know today about the crisis of sexual exploitation facing many tens of thousands of girls in this age group in Mexico, Sheriff Johnson's comments are consistent with the observations of women and children's rights advocates all over that nation.

What professor Weissman's comments do reflect is an unfounded yet common assumption that is made by many who live outside of the Latino world, that presumes that the reality of the wholesale sexual exploitation of girls in this age group by men in Mexico and the rest of Latin America cannot possibly be a truth. That conclusion is reached based not of fact, but based on a mental leap that says, "it simply cannot be true."

Well, it is in fact true, and human rights advocates all over Mexico, Central America, South America and within the U.S. have seen the same pattern of abusive behavior targeting young, underage Latina girls. The women's human rights advocacy movement in Latin America has been the largest voice bringing these facts to light.

It is time, finally, to speak honestly about this issue, and come to the defense of young girls in this community.

¿Que no? (Or not!?)

Ignorance may be an excuse for inaction, but we are ignorant of this crisis no more.

End impunity now!

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

July 12-14, 2009

See also:

After conducting a 12 month in-depth study of [undocumented] immigrants who committed sex crimes and murders for the time period of January 1999 through April 2006 - it is clear that the U.S. public faces a dangerous threat from sex predators who cross the U.S. borders illegally.

There were 1,500 cases analyzed in depth. ...93 sex offenders and 12 serial sexual offenders [come] across U.S. borders illegally per day. The 1,500 offenders in this study had a total of 5,999 victims. Each sex offender averaged 4 victims. This places the estimate for [U.S.] victimization numbers around 960,000 for the 88 months examined in this study...

- Deborah Schurman-Kauflin, Ph.D.

Violent Crimes Institute

2006

See also:

Mexico: Más de un millón de menores se prostituyen en el centro del país: especialista

Expert: More than one million minors are prostituted 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, 2007

See also:

In Mexico, an Unpunished Crime;
Rape Victims Face Widespread Cultural Bias in Pursuit of Justice

...Mexico is struggling to modernize its justice system, but when it comes to punishing sexual violence against women, surprisingly little has changed in a century. In many parts of Mexico, the penalty for stealing a cow is harsher than the punishment for rape.

Although the law calls for tough penalties for rape—up to 20 years in prison—only rarely is there an investigation into even the most barbaric of sexual violence. Women's groups estimate that perhaps 1 percent of rapes are ever punished...

Mary Jordan

The Washington Post

June 30, 2002

See also:

Trata de blancas en Centroamérica

Sex Trafficking in Central America

…A study by the international organization ECPAT… made public ithree weeks ago in Guatemala City, reveals that over 21,000 Central Americans, mostly children, are prostituted in 1,552 bars and brothels in Tapachula, Mexico… 

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

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

...In 2006, the International Labor Organization conducted a survey of adult attitudes in Mexico, Central America and South America, where it is quite easy [for men] to engage in sexual relations with children.

Some 65% of respondents stated that they don't see any problem, and they don't feel any sort of conflict or fear in regard to having sex with boy and girl children, and "they don't feel that there is anything wrong with doing it."

...Mexico has been converted into a paradise for pimps and a living hell for thousands of Central American girl children like Jackeline Jirón Silva [who was kidnapped into prostitution at age 11], whose captors have prostituted her during the past 32 months...

- Ana Lilia Pérez

Revista Contralínea

Oct. 22, 2007

Central America: Activists Infiltrate Child Sex Rings

Activists who infiltrated child trafficking, prostitution and pornography networks in Central America and Mexico painted a sordid picture in a new report on the growing commercial sexual exploitation of children in the region, presented by Casa Alianza in the Costa Rican capital...

Psychologist Viviana Retana, [a]… member of the team of investigators, told IPS that the trafficking of children as sexual merchandise was a constant phenomenon in Central America and Mexico, as well as other countries in Latin America. ''The rings of pedophiles and procurers are very well organized, operate with advanced technology and handle large amounts of money,'' she explained. The authors reported that procurers in Mexico buy 12 to 15-year- old girls from Central America - mainly Salvadorans and Hondurans - for 100 to 200 dollars...

Inter Press Service (IPS)

April 5, 2002

Latin America

"Sexual abuse and rape, important causes of HIV/AIDS infection among adolescent girls, has increased and now affects girls at younger ages worldwide (UNAIDS). In many countries of Latin America and the Caribbean, for example, the age of sexual abuse and rape predominates in girls younger than 10 years old. A follow-up study done by the Latin American and Caribbean Women's Health Network in five countries demonstrated that this has been happening in Nicaragua, Peru and Colombia."

Dr. Mabel Bianco, MD

www.BodyPositive.com

1998

A Washington, DC- Latina Social Worker and Community Center Director's Letter - 1999

...Over the past two years, I have been observing a systemic pattern of violence committed against girls and young women in our community. This violence involves the sexual abuse/assault against girls as young as 10 years old...  

...There have been incidents of date rape, gang rape, abductions, drugging, threats with firearms, etc.  The incidents are just as you described in your [Mr. Goolsby's below NCMEC] letter and have been met with the same level of indifference and dismissal of legal (never mind moral) responsibility on the part of civil institutions -- the police department, public schools, etc." 

...While some do say this is culturally accepted behavior, the reality is that many families -- mothers and fathers alike -- are enraged and wanting to pursue prosecution of the perpetrators, but they find themselves without recourse when the police won't respond to them, when they fear risking their personal safety, and/or when their legal status (undocumented) prevents them from believing they have rights or legal protection in this country. Many girls and young women's families are threatened and harassed by the perpetrators when it becomes apparent that the family is willing to press charges for statutory rape/child sexual abuse. 

...The use of intimidation and violence to control girls and their families results in the following: 1) parents/guardians back off from pressing charges, 2) relatives do not inform the police or others of sightings of girls and young women who have been officially reported as "missing juveniles," and 3) the victims of sexual violence refuse to participate as "willing witnesses" in the prosecution/trial process...

My question is how and where do we create the public environment that allows us to voice our disapproval and to hold the implicated adults accountable for their negligent care of our children? ...

- From a letter by a Latina Social Worker and girl's community center director working with young Latina girls in Washington, DC's largest Latino neighborhood.

Dec., 1999

Our letter to The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) about child abuse and exploitation in Gaithersburg, MD, and past official inaction in response.

(The above social worker's letter responds to this letter).

...In 1997 I reported the ongoing, daily sexual harassment of an 11 year old Latin immigrant girl from El Salvador by an adult man, to the Gaithersburg City Police Department. The first visits by a patrol officers on two occasions involved (first visit) a [Gaithersburg City Police] officer who didn't care at all and took no action; and (second visit) [by one Gaithersburg, and one Montgomery County officer] a lack of willingness to follow up on the case when the harasser was found not to be home (I served as translator for these two officers)... These two officers told me in a matter of fact way that they could not respond to what the county Police Academy had taught them (in cultural sensitivity classes there) was just a part of Latino culture.

The next year, 1998, I again approached the Gaithersburg City Police Force to report that the same adult man was now sexually involved with this now 12 year old girl. The officer whom I spoke with at the city's police station stated to me that "We can't just pick him up, he might sue the city." ...

- Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

Dec. 05, 1999


Added: July 10, 2009

Oregon, USA

Dani Countryman

Alejandro Rivera Gamboa

Gilberto Javier Arellano Gamboa

Two men sentenced for 2007 murder of teen Dani Countryman

OREGON CITY -- Two men involved in the strangulation death of a Texas teen in the summer of 2007 in a Milwaukie apartment were sentenced Tuesday in Clackamas County circuit court.

Dani Countryman was a 15-year-old girl who came to live with her sister Ashley in the summer of 2007. She was found strangled by her sister the morning after a party in the Balboa apartments.

Gilberto Javier Arellano Gamboa was sentenced to 70 months in prison for attempted first-degree sex abuse and for hindering prosecution, according to Clackamas County prosecutor Chris Owen.

His cousin, Alejandro Rivera Gamboa, is expected to serve life in prison for aggravated murder and abuse of a corpse. He may have a parole hearing after 35 years.

Ashley Countryman held a party on July 27. Dani was scheduled to return to Texas the following day. The morning of the 28th, Ashley found Dani's body on the floor of a first-floor apartment, partly covered with a blanket. She called police and deputies arrived about 8:30 a.m.

Later that day, police arrested Rivera Gamboa for a probation violation on a drunk driving charge. Allejandro Gamboa was arrested Aug. 6 at his unit of the Balboa apartments, a few doors down from where Dani was strangled.

Both men initially were accused of aggravated murder. Attempted rape charges and sex abuse charges were added later. Both men also told police they knowingly entered the country illegally. Arellano Gamboa had no prior record. Local and federal police never pursued deportation for Rivera Gamboa despite the drunk driving conviction.

Court records showed Rivera Gamboa admitted to stepping on the girl's throat and holding her down and that the two tried to sexually assault her. Police said 15-year-old Dani Countryman tired to fight off the cousins...

KYLE Iboshi

KGW.com

July 07, 2009

See also:

Suspect Stepped on Girl's Neck, Police Say

"As 15-year-old Dani Countryman struggled beneath Gilberto Arellano Gamboa, pinned to the floor with her pants down, he called on his cousin to help subdue the girl. Alejandro Rivera Gamboa responded by stepping on Countryman's throat until she stopped moving.

That's how investigators described Countryman's death in a court document released Tuesday. Evidence outlined in the document included statements by the defendants and a bloody shoe that matched an imprint on Countryman's chest...

The Oregonian

Aug. 9, 2007


Added: July 09, 2009

Mexico

Ineficaz Justicia Ante El Turismo Sexual De Niñas Y Niños

México, DF - Expertos que han estudiado el tema estiman que hay  cerca de 20 mil niñas y niños en México que son víctimas de las redes de explotación sexual, incluyendo trata, pornografía, prostitución y turismo sexual, señaló Infancia Común y difundió la organización Alianza por tus Derechos…

Mexico’s Criminal Justice System is Ineffective in Combating Child Sex Tourism

Mexico City - Experts who have studied the problem estimate that there are about 20,000 children in Mexico who are victims of sexual exploitation networks, including those that engage in pornography, prostitution and sex tourism, according the the organizations Infancia Común (Common Infancy) and Alianza por Tus Derechos (Alliance for Your Rights).

These trafficking networks offer tourist packages on the Internet, in local newspapers and directly through the use of "recruiters" (street hawkers). "In Mexico there is total impunity. We know of not one conviction for sex tourism in the country," said Raquel Pastor, founder of Common Infancy.

Although in 2007 there was a reform of the Federal Penal Code which criminalizes the sexual exploitation of minors, the inefficiency of the judiciary in Mexico exacerbates the problem.  "Foreigners come here because they know that there is very little chance of their being prosecuted. We can count the number of tourists arrested on our fingers," says Elena Azaola, expert of the Center for Research and Social Anthropology.

"There are very few complaints [from individuals, who must file criminal complaints to start the investigative process in Mexico]. The agencies that should investigate, such as the Attorney General (PGJ), have not received enough training," said Gerardo Sauri, executive director of the Network for the Rights of Children in Mexico. "There is no budget allocated specifically to address this situation. We are fighting the sexual exploitation of children in Mexico without resources."

CIMAC Noticias

News for Women

Mexico City

July 9, 2009


Added: July 09, 2009

Mexico

Child-Sex Tourism Increases in Juárez

Child-sex tourism continues to grow in Mexican northern border cities such as Tijuana and Juárez, according to a U.S. State Department report.

"Foreign child-sex tourists arrive most often from the United States, Canada and Western Europe," according to the report, made public this week.

It said people from Mexico also are trafficked into the United States for commercial sexual exploitation. Besides the northern border cities, the report said, Cancun and Acapulco are popular child-sex tourism destinations.

Each year, as many as 20,000 children are sexually exploited in these urban centers, officials said...

The U.S. government said corruption and lax enforcement were to blame for few human-trafficking prosecutions in Mexico.

Jacinto Segura, spokesman for the Juárez city police, said, "We're aware of the report, but our function as city police is prevention. If police become aware of a situation of this nature, then they will step in to prevent it. State and federal authorities can investigate any complaints brought to their attention." ...

In 2001, the United Nations' UNICEF and Mexico's National System for Integral Family Development alleged that sexual exploitation of children was rampant in places such as Juárez, Tijuana, Guadalajara, Acapulco, Cancun and Tapachula in Chiapas state.

Diana Washington Valdez

El Paso Times

June 19, 2009


Added: July 09, 2009

Minnesota, USA

Ringleader Sentenced in Major Prostitution Case

Minneapolis - One of two people who ran a major Minnesota prostitution ring was sentenced Tuesday to more than two years in federal prison. This is the 23rd defendant sentenced as the result of an investigation led by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) with assistance from local and state law enforcement agencies.

U.S. District Court Judge Joan Ericksen sentenced Oscar Rogelio Hisep-Roman, 33, of Dover, Fla., to 28 months in prison for conspiring to commit an offense against the United States. Hisep-Roman, along with 24 other defendants, was indicted in May 2007 following their arrests in Minneapolis and Austin, Minn., by ICE agents with assistance from state and local authorities. Hisep-Roman pleaded guilty April 10, 2008.

A second primary defendant, Marisol Ramirez, 39, of Richfield, Minn., was sentenced June 25 to 30 months in prison for conspiracy money laundering, illegal re-entry after deportation. She pleaded guilty April 3, 2008.

"These sentencings send the message that this is far from a victimless crime," said U.S. Attorney Frank J. Magill. "This conspiracy of operating brothels is an intolerable crime. Our office will continue working to show that Minnesota is not a haven for human trafficking, and that we will use our resources to prosecute those who engage in this heinous conduct."

"Today's sentencing should serve as a reminder of the pain, suffering and humiliation that Hisep-Roman and his criminal organization brought upon the women under their control," said Claude Arnold, special agent in charge of the ICE Office of Investigations in Bloomington, Minn. "While we can't erase that suffering, we can pledge that ICE and its law enforcement partners will continue to aggressively investigate and prosecute those who profit from others' misery." ...

Twenty-two other defendants have already been sentenced for conspiring to commit an offense against the Unites States.

U.S. ICE

July 7, 2009


Added: July 09, 2009

Honduras

Silvia Ayala, a Honduran congressional deputy, visits the wounded in a hospital after protesters were attacked by soldiers.

Deputy Ayala: "Our constitution says that nobody should recognize a government that takes power by force. Therefore, the people have a right to insurrection, which we are exercising in the streets."

From a video of street protests, a tear gas attack at a hospital, and wounded protesters being treated, posted on YouTube.

CIDH Ordena Proteger A Defensores De Derechos Humanos En Honduras

La Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos (CIDH) ordenó a las autoridades hondureñas, el pasado viernes 3 de julio, adoptar “todas las medidas necesarias para asegurar la vida e integridad personal de defensores de derechos humanos, periodistas, familiares del Presidente Zelaya, y observadores internacionales presentes en Honduras”... 

IACHR Order to Protect Human Rights Defenders In Honduras

San Jose, Costa Rica - On Friday July 3rd, 2009, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) [a legal entity of the Organization of American States] has ordered the de facto Honduran government to take "all necessary measures to ensure the life and physical integrity of human rights defenders, journalists, relatives of President Zelaya, and interna-tional observers in Honduras."

Specifically, the IACHR ordered the de facto Honduran authorities must ensure the life and safety of 63 people whoa re considered to be at risk of losing their integrity, their freedom or their lives.

The list includes social leaders, journalists, trade unionists and human rights advocates who have rallied against the coup in Honduras. The Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL) represents 18 of these women and men.

The guarantees sought from the authorities are particularly necessary in regard to persons who have been detained and / or who’s whereabouts are unknown. "The Commission requested a report on the locations of missing persons and, in case of arbitrary detention, that provisions be made for their immediate release."

The Commission also requested information about the repression of peaceful demonstrations "as a result of which there would be missing, wounded, beaten, arrested and tear gassed persons."

Although the Commission established a maximum of 48 hours for information on the implementation of these measures, the representatives of the de facto government have not replied to this international order.

Precautionary measures are a preventive measure to avoid irreparable harm and are granted by the IACHR in situations that threaten human rights of people without it being necessary to rule on the merits of the case. The State is obliged to obey them.

www.CEJIL.org

July 7, 2009


Added: July 09, 2009

Guatamala

The Pink Taxi Company was launched in Moscow in August 2006, modeling the all-women drivers, women passengers-only format found on the streets of London and Tokyo.

The launch followed a spate of violence against women taxi passengers in Moscow, and has proved so popular that the original ‘fleet’ of two cars has now grown to 20.

Photo by Jun7000

Promueven Empresa de Taxis Rosados Para Mujeres

Guatemala - La empresa Rosado Express decidió abrir sus servicios de taxis femeninos a raíz de la inseguridad, robos y violaciones que sufren muchas guatemaltecas en taxis ilegales, especialmente los fines de semana y cuando salen por las noches, indicó Luis Rosales...

Pink Taxi Service for Women Starts

Guatemala - The company Pink Express has decided to a women’s taxi services female to respond to the fact that women taxi customers face insecurity, robbery and rape at the hands of many drivers of illegal taxis, especially during weekends and at night, says Luis Rosales, supervisor at the company.

The taxi service will be provided only to women, children and seniors, and each taxi will include a first aid kit. Pink Express currently has 5 taxis.

Before starting the service, a marketing survey was performed in which a thousand women living in  Guatemala City were interviewed in order to understand their needs for taxi service.

Rosales added that women’s taxis have been implemented in Mexico, Colombia, England, and Dubai, where they are pink. Guatemalan law will not permit taxis to be painted pink.

Rosales concluded by noting that each taxi will have a woman driver, which will allow women passengers to feel confidence and security.

CERIGUA

July 08, 2009


Added: July 08, 2009

Florida, USA

Linda Smith, former member of Congress and founder of Shared Hope International

Shared Hope International Exposes Child Sex Trafficking in South Florida

Miami - Shared Hope International will release a groundbreaking report and training video on domestic minor sex trafficking at the upcoming Child Slavery in Our Community Leadership and Training Summit. The Assessment of Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking in Broward and Dade Counties, Florida reveals that child victims of sex trafficking are being arrested for prostitution in Broward and Miami-Dade counties. These severely victimized and traumatized children are being misidentified as juvenile delinquents and punished for the crime that is being committed against them. In fact, the report documents more than 500 juveniles were arrested for prostitution in Miami-Dade County from 1998-2008. A lack of training for social service providers and first responders is noted as the primary gap causing the misidentification of child victims of sex trafficking...

On July 9, 2009 law enforcement officers, social service providers, and child advocates from Broward and Miami-Dade counties convene at St. Thomas University School of Law for the Child Slavery in Our Community Leadership and Training Summit. Organized by Shared Hope International, the summit will bring an exclusive focus on Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking - the commercial sexual exploitation of children through prostitution, pornography, and stripping. Shared Hope International will use this event to release groundbreaking video with surveillance footage, survivor interviews, and expert testimony to educate and inform social service providers on how to identify and respond to American children who are commercially sexually exploited...

Christian Newswire

July 07, 2009


Added: July 07, 2009

Colombia

Foto: Cuando Hernán Giraldo compareció ante Justicia y Paz, un grupo de manifest-antes llegó a la Fiscalía de Santa Marta a apoyarlo.

Photo: When Hernán Giraldo turned himself in during the peace process, a group of protesters came out to the prosecutor’s office in Santa Marta to support him.

20 casos de niñas abusadas por el extraditado jefe paramilitar Hernán Giraldo investiga la Fiscalía 

En seis de ellos, las menores fueron madres antes de los 14. A los investigadores les tomó casi dos años encontrar la primera persona dispuesta a declarar sobre las aberraciones de 'el Viejo'…

Prosecutors Investigate 20 Cases of Underage Girls Who Had Been Sexually Abused by Extradited [Right Wing] Paramilitary Leader Hernán Giraldo

Six of the cases involve youth who became mothers before the age of 14. It took investigators almost two years before they found the first victim who was willing to testify against ‘the old man.’

A woman who is now 23 told prosecutors that, when she was 13, “He returned every eight days. That’s how I got pregnant.”

Information about these crimes first reached prosecutors as a rumor. Many parents of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta [a high mountain range on Colombia's Atlantic coast] chose to become displaced refugees before they would ever give in to seeing their girl children become the ‘women’ of Hernán Giraldo. Today, prosecutors have documented 19 cases of underage girls who had children by Giraldo...

...Rumors say that Giraldo has had more than 100 children since he became the region’s coca [cocaine] baron in the 1970s...

When the silence was broken, investigators began to discover parents who had given their daughters to Giraldo. These parents hoped that Giraldo would like their daughters, make them one of his ‘women,’ and in that way, the parent’s [financial] future would be insured. Parents took their daughters to parties and events where they literally lined-up in front of Giraldo.

Now, authorities are seeking a girl who was delivered by her mother into the hands of Giraldo. She ended up being prostituted among the troops of [Giraldo’s] paramilitary army.

Prosecutors also have information about a teenager who was 'chosen’ by Giraldo and who was allegedly unfaithful with one of his troops, known as El Flaco [the skinny one]. El Flaco was killed. Nobody has seen the girl since Giraldo removed her from the house that he had given to her in Puerto Nuevo.

Giraldo is not the only paramilitary leader who has these types of stories associated with him. During the peace process, Rodrigo Tovar Pupo – aka 'Jorge 40’ sent a message to fellow paramilitary leader Salvatore Mancuso saying that he would not participate in the demilitarization as long as Mancuso was still seeking out pelaítas [young underage girls]. And ‘El Oso’ [The Bear] - the paramilitary leader in the city of Sucre, is accused of organizing children’s beauty pageants where he chose his victims.

Full English Translation

www.eltiempo.com

06/07/2009

See also:

14 Members of Colombian Paramilitary Group Extradited to the United States to Face U.S. Drug Charges

...Hernan Giraldo-Serna [is] charged in a superseding indictment returned on March 2, 2005, with conspiracy to manufacture and distribute cocaine...

U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration

May 13, 2008

See also:

Colombian authorities prepare Hernán Giraldo for extradition to the Untied States in 2008

Photo: Semana.com

Hernán Giraldo

In 2001, Newsweek reporter Joe Contreras spent some time in the Caribbean port of Barranquilla, Colombia’s fourth-largest city. There, he reported on Hernán Giraldo, the drug-trafficking paramilitary leader who was perhaps the most powerful figure in the city, the nearby port of Santa Marta, and in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta region to their south.

In the foothills of the snowcapped Sierra Nevadas in northeastern Colombia, the Kogi Indians whisper his name in fear. Along the docks of the Caribbean port city of Santa Marta, gangsters speak with awe of his 400-man private army. But everyone knows that when it comes to Hernan Giraldo Serna, it's usually best not to know too much. The gangsters quietly recall, for instance, that in 1999 Giraldo ordered the brutal murders of four construction workers, whose bodies were then cut to bits with a chain saw. Their offense? They had built a special basement to store his multimillion-dollar cache of cocaine, and they knew where it was.

Colombian intelligence sources at the time told Contreras that “Giraldo alone is head of a burgeoning drug syndicate that accounts for $1.2 billion in annual shipments to the United States and Europe. That puts him among the country's top five cocaine traffickers.”

In 2000, Contreras reported, Giraldo even took out a contract on the lives of U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents...

Plan Colombia and Beyond

February 9, 2006


Added: July 03, 2009

LibertadLatina Commentary

This protest poster says: "We won't be silent, and they will not silence us; Feminists of Honduras!"

Photo:  Feminist International Radio Endeavor (FIRE)

We at LibertadLatina join with humanity in expressing our complete outrage at the leaders of the coup d'etat in Honduras. The leaders of the coup were not justified in kidnapping the democratically elected president of the nation and sending him into exile. The United Nations General Assembly, the Organization of American States and U.S. President Barak Obama, among many leaders of nations in the Americas, have all joined in demanding that President José Manuel Zelaya Rosales be returned to power.

Although the coup was approved by Honduran Supreme Court and Congress, this only shows that the nation's democratic institutions are weak. In Colombia, for example, President Álvaro Uribe, a conservative, is seeking, just as did President Zelaya in Honduras, to change the constitution to eliminate the current limits on the number of terms that a president may serve. Yet nobody is trying to overthrow Uribe for have proposed such an idea. The fact that President Zelaya had set-up a popular referendum, to allow the voters to decide the issue, was apparently too much democracy for the coup plotters, so they pounced on Zelaya and raped democracy in the process.

The independent press, including Feminist Radio International Endeavor (FIRE), CIMAC Noticias in Mexico City, and Indymedia Chiapas, have provided excellent coverage of the true story that is taking place inside Honduras. Some of the key stories are reprinted here.

The coup leaders have declared a state of siege, have targeted human rights activists, and have used rifle fire to attack unarmed protesters who are simply outraged that these cowards have resorted to taking power by force.

Coups were a common power-grabbing tactic in Latin America in the late 1900s. The region has since made significant progress in moving towards democracy. This coup is just one of many indicators that democracy is not a 'done deal' in all nations of the Americas.

The conservative coup plotters will, consistent with the emergent anti women's rights movement represented elsewhere in Latin America (with whom they are apparently allied), not bode well for women's equality.

We applaud the activism that we are seeing from brave women and men in the face of this military repression. Just as happened during the popular uprisings against dictators across Latin America in the 1980s and 1990s, the coup leaders in Honduras are using the tactics of the 'dirty wars' that lead to the murders and rapes of tens of thousands of innocent civilians in Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Chile, Argentina, Mexico and other nations of Latin America.

Video from a number of sources shows the terrorism with impunity that the coup's military supporters are using on innocent protesters.

See especially this YouTube video posted on Narco News web site that records the rifle fire of soldiers who were shooting into crowds of protesters, as well as an interview with a congressional representative as she visits wounded at a local hospital and expresses her indignation at the coup.

It is an act of cowardice for the current Honduran coup government to block CCN in Spanish, block the Internet, and place Honduras in a stage of siege with a suspension of all individual liberties. Given the repression that just occurred in the aftermath of presidential elections in Iran, the world community has very little tolerance for  such illegal behavior in Honduras.

Coup leaders, return President Zelaya to his elected position.

Nobody elected you.

Your corrupt government is not wanted and it will not stand!

End impunity now!

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

July 3, 2009


Added: July 03, 2009

Honduras

Banner: "Feminists in Resistance; Coup leaders get out!

Photo: CIMAC Noticias

Urge mayor presión a golpistas: feministas hondureñas

Lideresa pro-vida, designada canciller por golpistas 

Ante el Estado de Emergencia en Honduras, feministas y luchadoras sociales lanzaron un llamado a la comunidad internacional para que pronuncien una condena más enérgica contra lo que denominaron gobierno usurpador; “nos están disparando, golpeando, violentando todos nuestros derechos”, denunciaron…

Honduran Feminists Urge Greater International Pressure Against Coup Leaders

A female pro-life leader has been appointed foreign affairs chancellor by the usurpers

In the face of the state of siege that has been declared in Honduras, feminists and social activists have launched an appeal to the international community to deliver a strong condemnation against what they termed a usurper government. They state that: “We are being shot, beaten, and they are violating all of our rights.”

In a telephone interview with CIMAC Noticias, Hilda Rivera, coordinator of the Center for Women's Rights in Honduras, said that support from Latin America and the global community is urgently needed. Yesterday, the National Congress of Honduras approved a State of Emergency, temporarily suspending individual liberties...

"...We are urging more pressure from the world community, because the situation is becoming more violent here” says Rivera.

"Policemen and soldiers are shooting and beating us. It is urgent that the government not be given additional time [to consider ultimatums to step down]. We have put up with four days of bullets, beatings and rain. There is a general tiredness in the population. Nonetheless, the violence is increasing, so we are standing up to fight.”

Rivera stated that the coup is a serious setback for the entire society, and particularly for women, who’s rights were already restricted. With this coup, the problem is magnified...

Until now, "within the feminist movement we have not anticipated everything that may happen, but we are clear in our understanding that, with this ‘law of the strongest,’ we can be detained, they can raid our offices and homes, and we cannot assemble. It is of grave concern to us that we have important issues on our agenda that are threatened by the coup, such as the legalization of emergency contraception." ...

A central concern for Rivera is the safety of human rights defenders. “The government has already begun to ‘hunt’ various organization leaders by raiding their houses and arresting them." The coup plotters know that  women do not falter in our struggle. There is a danger that repression against feminist leaders may follow.

As an example that the coup government is not interested in defending the rights of women, Rivera cites the naming of the founder of Provida [Pro Life] in Honduras as Foreign Affairs Chancellor.

Eco-feminist Daysi Flores told Feminist International Radio (RIF) that the people are afraid and outraged. They cannot come out of their homes. But, says Flores, feminist resistance has been declared. Women’s rights are going to continue to progress, and we are going to continue the struggle.

Full English Translation

Gladis Torres Ruiz

CIMAC Noticias

News for Women

Mexico City

July 2, 2009


Added: July 03, 2009

Honduras

Comunicado de grupos y organizaciones del Movimiento de Mujeres y Feminista de Honduras 

A Las Organizaciones Internacionales,  Cooperación Internacional, Organismos de Derechos Humanos y a lLos Estados del Mundo

El día domingo 28 de Junio, el Presidente de la República José Manuel Zelaya Rosales, fue agredido, secuestrado y enviado a la República de Costa Rica en el avión presidencial, custodiado por cuerpos militares argumentando que había violado la Constitución de la República por implementar una consulta popular mediante una encuesta de opinión, donde se consultara al pueblo si estaba de acuerdo o no que el 29 de noviembre se colocara una cuarta urna para proponer una Asamblea Nacional Constituyente, que tuviese como objetivo elaborar una nueva Constitución con la plena participación ciudadana de los diferentes actores sociales del país…

Statement By Feminist And Women¹s Organizations From Honduras Following the Coup D‘Etat

To International Organizations, International Development Agencies, Human Rights Institutions And To The States Of The World:

On Sunday, June 28, 2009 the democratically elected President of the Republic of Honduras, José Manuel Zelaya Rosales, was assaulted, abducted and sent to the Republic of Costa Rica in the presidential plane guarded by the military...

The people are peacefully expressing their rejection of the coup d’etat, demanding the immediate reinstatement of President Zelaya, and a return to the Rule of Law...

Given these egregious series of events, we request the support of international development agencies and the international community to demand the reinstatement of the Rule of Law, to demand an end to the prosecution of the members of the cabinet of President Manuel Zelaya Rosales and leaders of social movements and the media, and an end to all types of brutal violence and to prevent the imposition of fascism in our country. 

Most Honduran citizens advocate for peace, solidarity and the respect of human rights.  We emphatically denounce the complicity shown in these events by the Human Rights Commissioner of Honduras, Dr. Ramón Custodio, before the regional and international human rights organizations and the international community.

June 29, 2009

Tegucigalpa, Honduras

Signed:

Centro De Estudios De La Mujer ­ Honduras (Cem-H) - The Women's Studies Center

Centro De Derechos De Mujeres (Cdm) - The Center for Women's Rights

Centro De Estudios Y Accion Para El Desarrollo De Honduras (Cesadeh) - The Center for Development Studies and Action of Honduras

Red De Mujeres Jovenes (Redmuj) - The Young Women's Network

Acciones Para El Desarrollo Poblacional (Adp) - Action for Population Development

Red De Mujeres Adultas (Redmucr) - The Adult Women's Network

Colectivo De Mujeres Universitarias (Cofemun) - The Collective of University Women

Marcha Mundial De Las Mujeres, Comité Nacional - Honduras Global Women's March - Honduras

Articulaciones Feminista De Redes Locales - Articulation of Local Feminist Networks

Comisión De Mujer Pobladora Articulaciones Feminista De Redes Locales -  - Rural Women's Commission - Articulation of Local Feminist Networks

Movimiento De Mujeres Socialistas, Las Lolas - The Socialist Women's Movement, The Lolas

Convergencia De Mujeres De Honduras Iniciativa Centroamericana De Seguimiento A Cairo Y Beijing - The Honduran Convergence of the Central American Initiative to Follow-up on Cairo and Beijing

Feministas Independientes - Independent Feminists

Published by Feminist International Radio Endeavor (FIRE)

June 29, 2009


Added: July 02, 2009

Honduras

"Feminists in Resistance" Photo: CIMAC Noticias

Vive Honduras una insurrección popular contra usurpadores

Berta Cazares, candidata independiente a la presidencia

México DF - Vivimos en Honduras una insurrección popular, un levantamiento con la decidida participación de las mujeres, en contra de las fuerzas armadas y el grupo oligárquico que derrocó al presidente democráticamente electo Manuel Zelaya, pero el costo es alto y la situación de la población civil, incluida la niñez, es crítica, la vida cotidiana está alterada y la brutal represión tiene como blanco principal a la juventud…

Honduras is Experiencing a Popular Uprising Against the Usurpers

An interview with Berta Cazares, independent candidate for president

Honduras is living through a popular uprising, one that is being carried out with the wholehearted participation of women against the armed forces and the oligarchic group which overthrew democratically elected President Manuel Zelaya. The cost has been high, and the situation for civilians, including children, is critical. Everyday life has changed, and the brutal repression is targeting our youth.

Bertha Cazares Flores, an independent candidate for president of Honduras and the national leader of the Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras, described the situation in Honduras in a phone interview with CIMAC Noticias, three days after the military high command, most of Congress and the Supreme Court overthrew the President and his Cabinet…

Hundreds have been injured in the country, especially young people, said Cazares. In the 'Progress City' (Ciudad Progreso) area, the repression was especially brutal, perhaps because that area has historically been a center for social struggles...

In rural and indigenous areas of Honduras the situation is quite critical, including in [the town of] San Francisco de Ocaña, where, during the 1980s, the Army used machine guns against the civilian population. "That's where the resources should go, to see what is really happening there," Cazares says.

Cazares added that the people continue to defy the siege, the curfew and the ban on travel. There are military checkpoints throughout the country. Hundreds of people from rural areas, teachers and indigenous people, are moving toward to the capital...

Thursday

CIMAC: What should we expect on Thursday, the day announced by Manuel Zelaya for his return to Honduras? [The planned return date for President Zelaya has been pushed back to Saturday since this story was written. - LL]

Cazares: We call upon social movements and organizations that defend international human rights to come to Honduras in delegations, to support the civilian population...

We hope that [Mayan Guatemalan Nobel Peace Prize laureate] Rigoberta Menchú, along with other personalities such as Mirna Anaya, a judge on the Supreme Court of El Salvador, and [Argentinean 1980 Nobel Peace Prize leareate] Adolfo Perez Esquivel will arrive [to support President Zelaya].

Meanwhile, Berta is preparing - with an arrest warrant against her and the knowledge that "assassination is a terrible thing in Honduras" - for progress to be made today, Wednesday, when civic organizations will protest against the coup at an army cordon, just three blocks from the house that she one day hopes to govern from.

Full English Translation

Guadalupe Gomez Quintana

CIMAC Noticias

News for Women

Mexico City

July 1 2009

See also:

Informan de batallones hondureños que se niegan a reprimir al pueblo

Radio Progreso, pese a ser acallada por los militares golpistas, confirmó en una de sus transmisiones clandestinas que varios batallones de las Fuerzas Armadas de Honduras, desde el lunes han roto con los golpistas y el gobierno de facto, y han anunciado que permanecerán al margen de la represión al pueblo de su país...

Honduran Army Battalions Reject Repressing the Population

Honduran station Radio Progreso, despite being shut-down by the coup leaders, has confirmed in one of its clandestine transmissions that a number of battalions of the Armed Forces of Honduras have, since Monday, June 29th, broken with the organizers of the coup d'etat and the de facto government. They have announced that they will remain on the sidelines of the repression...

 Radio La Primerísima

Managua, Nicaragua

June 30, 2009


Added: July 1, 2009

Chile

President Michelle Bachelet of Chile, during a June 23, 2009 visit with U.S. President Barak Obama

Bachelet Remueve a Jefe Policial

La presidenta de Chile, Michelle Bachelet, removió al jefe de la policia de investigaciones (civil), Arturo Herrera, tras una serie de denuncias de corrupción, incluida una que involucró a policías con una red de prostitución infantile…

Hace una semana, en el aniversario 76 de la policía de investigaciones, Herrera lamentó la relevancia dada por medios de difusión al caso de prostitución infantil que involucró a un grupo de policías activos.

Bachelet Removes Police Chief

The president of Chile, Michelle Bachelet, has removed the chief of the Investigations Police, Arturo Herrera, after a series of allegations of corruption, including a case in which police officers were allegedly involved with a child prostitution network.

Herrera resigned the post three months before his scheduled retirement. He did so after a telephone conversation with the president, held while she was visiting Mexico.

Upon her return to Chile the president accepted the resignation and appointed as his replacement Marco Antonio Vasquez, now police chief in the region of Bío Bío, 500 kilometers south of Santiago…

A week ago, during the 76th anniversary of the Investigations Police agency, Herrera lamented the importance that the media had given to a case of child prostitution involving a group of police officers.

www.ansa.it/ansalatina

June 29, 2009

See also:

Director of Chile's Investigation Police Steps Down

Americas Quarterly Online

June 26, 2009

See also:

LibertadLatina

Our January, 2006 news page, which contains articles about Chile's first woman president, pediatrician Dr. Michelle Bachelet, who along with her mother was imprisoned and tortured by former dictator Agosto Pinochet's forces. Bachelet's father, an air force general, was tortured to death under the Pinochet regime.

 

 
     

 

    

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

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Added: Oct. 8, 2010

Mexico

Insiste México en negar justicia a víctimas de violación en Atenco

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Anayeli García Martínez

CIMAC Women's news agency

Oct. 07, 2010

See also:

Added: May 16, 2009

Mexico

Mujeres de Atenco, tortura sexual e impunidad

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

Women of Atenco - sexual torture and impunity

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

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

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

Full English Translation

Sanjuana Martínez

CIMAC Noticias

News for Women

Mexico City

May 12, 2009

See also:

LibertadLatina

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


Added: Oct. 7, 2010

Mexico

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cronica

Oct. 03, 2010


Added: Oct. 7, 2010

Mexico

Mexico City Attorney General Miguel Ángel Mancera

Detalla PGJDF acciones para combatir la trata de personas

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

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

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

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

Mexico City prosecutors details actions to fight human trafficking

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cronica

Oct. 03, 2010


Added: Oct. 7, 2010

North Carolina, USA

Human trafficking alleged in Durham

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jesse James Deconto

News Observer

Oct. 06, 2010


Added: Oct. 6, 2010

California, USA

Gregorio Gonzalez

Alert Driver Saves Kidnapped Girl

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Associated Press

Olivia Mu

Oct. 05, 2010


Added: Oct. 6, 2010

Guatemala, Mexico

Another Wall Blocks Route to U.S.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Danilo Valladares

Inter Press Service (IPS)

Sep. 15 , 2010


Added: Oct. 5, 2010

California, USA

Police search for man in California girl's abduction

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Scott Thompson

CNN

Oct. 05, 2010


Added: Oct. 5, 2010

Mexico

Inés Fernández and Valentina Rosendo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Justice for Inés and Valentina

Oct. 04, 2010

See also:

Added: Oct. 5, 2010

Mexico

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

Human Rights Court: Mexico responsible for rapes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

No one was punished in either case.

E. Eduardo Castillo

The Associated Press

Oct. 04, 2010

See also:

Added: Oct. 5, 2010

Mexico

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

Mexico Ordered to Pay Damages to Women Raped by Soldiers

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

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

The court’s rulings are binding on OAS members.

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

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

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

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

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

EFE

Oct. 04, 2010

See also:

Added: Oct. 5, 2010

Mexico

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

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

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

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

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

Latin America News Dispatch

Oct. 05, 2010

See also:


Added: Dec. 4, 2010

Mexico / The United States

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

Mexican Activist Wins Prestigious Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jim Lobe and Emilio Godoy

Inter Press Service (IPS)

Sep. 23, 2010

See also:

Added: Dec. 4, 2010

Mexico / The United States

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

(In Spanish with English subtitles)

On YouTube,com

Sep. 23, 2010

See also:

Added: Dec. 4, 2010

Mexico / The United States

Mexico has failed to prosecute violations, reduce torture

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

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

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

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

Human Rights Watch

Sep. 14, 2010

See also:

Added: Dec. 4, 2010

Mexico

Time to Speak up on Military Abuse in Mexico

José Miguel Vivanco, Director - Americas Division - HRW

Human Rights Watch

May 17, 2010


Added: Dec. 4, 2010

Alabama, USA

North Alabama man convicted in sex trafficking of an underage girl

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Al.com

Sep. 22, 2010


Added: Dec. 4, 2010

California, USA

Man arrested in sex case involving Encinitas teen

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pauline Repard

The San Diego Union-Tribune

Sep. 29, 2010

 


Added: Dec. 4, 2010

California, USA

Man Tries to Kidnap Teen Girl Walking to School

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

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

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

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

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

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

KTLA News

Oct. 1, 2010


Added: Oct. 1, 2010

Mexico

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

Cecilia Romero sale de Migración

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

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

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

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

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

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

José Gerardo Mejía

El Universal

Sep. 14, 2010

See also:

Added: Oct. 1, 2010

Mexico

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Emilio Godoy

Inter Press Service

Sep. 16, 2010

See also:

Added: Oct. 1, 2010

Mexico

Mexican immigration official quits after massacre

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Alexandra Olson

The Associated Press

Sep. 14, 2010

See also:

Added: Oct. 1, 2010

Mexico

Romero leaves the INM

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

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

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

The News

Sep. 15, 2010

See also:

Added: Oct. 1, 2010

Mexico

Evalúa Segob trabajo de Romero en Migración

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

¿Para cuándo las conclusiones?

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

El Universal

Sep. 02, 2010

See also:

Added: June 28, 2009

Mexico

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

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

Photo: El Universal

LibertadLatina Commentary

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

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

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

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

Nothing could be further from the truth.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

¡Esta barbarie no será perdonado por Dios!

This barbarity will not be pardoned by God!

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

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

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

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

It is not an impossible task.

The status quo today is... unacceptable!

End impunity now!

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

June 28, 2009

Updated Oct. 2, 2010

See also:

Mexico

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

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

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

- Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina


Added: Oct. 1, 2010

Mexico

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

Gobiernos soslayan la trata de personas

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

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

Government overlooks modern slavery

Human trafficking is not being fought in Mexico

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

El Universal

Sep. 24, 2010


Added: Sep. 29, 2010

Mexico

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Diario Chiapas Hoy

Sep. 27, 2010


Added: Sep. 29, 2010

India

Human trafficking slur on Commonwealth Games

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rahul Karmakar

Hindustan Times

Sep. 28, 2010

LibertadLatina Note:

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

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

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

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

End impunity now!

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

Sep. 30/Oct. 02, 2010


Added: Sep. 29, 2010

Oregon, USA

Police warn of man exposing himself near Portland school

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Teresa Blackman

KGW

Sep. 28, 2010


Added: Sep. 29, 2010

California, USA

Man Arrested for Peeping in School Bathroom

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

KTLA

Sep. 28, 2010



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



Added: Sep. 28, 2010

Mexico

Buscaremos romper el cerco de los “guardianes del patriarcado”

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

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

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

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

We Seek to Break the Ring of the Guardians of Patriarchy

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

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

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

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

Elizabeth Muñoz Vásquez

CIMAC Women's News Service

Sep. 27, 2010


Added: Sep. 26, 2010

Mexico

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

Condena unánime contra migración forzada y aumento de trata en AL

Pronunciamiento del II Congreso Latinoamericano sobre trata

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Elizabeth Muñoz Vasquez

CIMAC Women's News Agency

Sep. 24, 201-


Added: Sep. 26, 2010

Haiti

Haitian Women at Increased Risk of Trafficking

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Emilio Godoy

Inter-Press Service (IPS)

Sep. 24, 2010


Added: Sep. 26, 2010

Mexico

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Arturo Alfaro Galán

La Jornada de Oriente

Sep. 24, 2010


Added: Sep. 26, 2010

Mexico

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

Photo:Daniela Pastrana / IPS

Gender Violence Hits Behind the News

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Daniela Pastrana

Inter Press Service (IPS) / TerraViva

Sep. 21, 2010


Added: Sep. 26, 2010

Mexico

Bicentennial Nothing to Celebrate, Say Indigenous Peoples

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Daniela Pastrana

Inter-Press Service (IPS)

Sep. 24, 2010


Added: Sep. 26, 2010

Mexico

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hélène Le Goff

International Organization for Migration (IOM)  México

Sep. 24, 2010


Added: Sep. 26, 2010

Texas, USA

Chase leads deputies to possible human trafficking ring

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

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

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

WOAI

Sep. 24, 2010


Added: Sep. 26, 2010

Canada

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

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

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

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

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

The woman was arrested Wednesday.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gabrielle Giroday

The Winnipeg Free Press

Sep. 24, 2010


Added: Sep. 24, 2010

Mexico, Latin America

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

Mujeres con derechos y ciudadanía, debe exigir la sociedad

Plantea Marcela Lagarde en Congreso sobre Trata y Tráfico

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Elizabeth Muñoz Vásquez

The CIMAC Women's News Agency

Sep. 22, 2010


Added: Sep. 24, 2010

Mexico, Latin America

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

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

Encuentro Latinoamericano sobre Trata y Tráfico de Personas

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Elizabeth Muñoz Vásquez

The CIMAC Women's News Agency

Sep. 21, 2010


Added: Sep. 26, 2010

Latin America

América Latina ineficaz en combate a trata de personas

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

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

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

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

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

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

Inter Press Service (IPS) / TerraViva

Sep. 21, 2010

English Language Version:

Added: Sep. 24, 2010

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Emilio Godoy

Inter Press Service (IPS)

Sep. 22, 2010


Added: Sep. 21, 2010

Mexico

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

Rights groups against giving US anti-drug aid to Mexico

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Agence France-Presse (AFP)

Sep. 15, 2010

See also:

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

(In Spanish)


Added: Sep. 19, 2010

Mexico

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

Photo: CIMAC Women's News Agency - Mexico

Premio Internacional al Escritor Valiente para Lydia Cacho

Por investigación y denuncia de red de pederastia en México

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

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

Lydia Cacho receives award for valiant journalism

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By the Editors

CIMAC Women's News Agency

Sep. 17, 2010

See also:

Mexican journalist Lydia Cacho receives PEN prize

London - A Mexican journalist who was arrested and threatened after exposing a pedophile ring is to receive a major writing prize.

Writers' charity PEN says Lydia Cacho is the recipient of its International Writer of Courage Prize, which goes to writers persecuted for their beliefs.

Cacho was arrested, charged with libel and received death threats after publishing a book about a child sex abuse ring involving business figures in Cancun in 2005...

The awards will be presented in London on Oct. 20.

The Associated Press

Sep. 16, 2010

See also:

Journalist / Activist   Lydia Cacho is    Railroaded by the Legal Process in Mexico for Having Exposing Child Sex Networks In Mexico


Added: Sep. 19, 2010

The World, Chile

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (right) with former Chilean president Michelle Bachelet, on 14 September 2010

Bachelet: ONU Mujeres Será un Enorme Desafío

La ex presidenta de Chile, Michelle Bachelet describió su nombramiento al frente de ONU Mujeres como un enorme desafío que acoge con beneplácito.

En una entrevista exclusiva con la Radio de la ONU, Bachelet indicó que su designación representa un reconocimiento a los logros de su gobierno y a los avances de su país en políticas destinadas al adelanto de la mujer.

Consideró que su experiencia como mandataria y su relación con otros jefes de Estado contribuirán a avanzar en el objetivo de la igualdad de los géneros.

“Mi experiencia también en todo lo vinculado al trabajo de igualdad de las mujeres, igualdad de derechos, a luchar contra la violencia, a luchar contra la discriminación, esta ha sido la historia de mi vida. No sólo con respecto a las mujeres, sino de los hombres, mujeres, niños, ancianos. Toda esta experiencia la quiero entregar en esta tarea que es la dirección de esta nueva estructura de Naciones Unidas”.

La nueva Entidad para la Igualdad entre los Géneros, “ONU Mujeres”, fue creada por la Asamblea General el pasado 2 de julio, y fusiona cuatro organismos de la ONU que se ocupaban del tema. Comenzará a operar en enero de 2011.

Radio ONU - UN Radio

Sep. 15, 2010

See also:

Former Chilean president to head new high-profile UN women’s agency

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (right) with Michelle Bachelet

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today named former Chilean president Michelle Bachelet to head United Nations Women (UN Women), a newly created entity to oversee all of the world body’s programmes aimed at promoting women’s rights and full participation in global affairs.

The new body – which will receive a large boost in funding and become operational in January – merges four UN agencies and offices: the UN Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), the Division for the Advancement of Women (DAW), the Office of the Special Adviser on Gender Issues, and the UN International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women (UN-INSTRAW).

“UN Women will promote the interests of women and girls across the globe,” Mr. Ban told reporters in announcing the appointment. “Ms. Bachelet brings to this critical position a history of dynamic global leadership, highly honed political skills and uncommon ability to create consensus and focus among UN agencies and many partners in both the public and private sector.”

“I’m confident that under her strong leadership we can improve the lives of millions of women and girls throughout the world.”

Ms. Bachelet, Chile’s first female president who prioritized women’s issues throughout her tenure and since leaving office has been working with UNIFEM to advocate for the needs of Haitian women following January’s devastating earthquake, was chosen over two other candidates.

The new entity is set to have an annual budget of at least $500 million, double the current combined resources of the four agencies it comprises.

“As you know the creation of UN Women is the culmination of almost four years’ effort and today’s announcement has been made possible thanks to the hard work of the Member States and the many partners who share our commitment to this agenda, and this has been a top and very personal priority of mine,” Mr. Ban said.

He stressed that at next week’s UN Summit on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) women and children will be “at the very core of our final push” to realize the ambitious targets for slashing extreme poverty and hunger, maternal and infant mortality, rampant diseases, and lack of access to education and health services, all by the deadline of 2015...

The United Nations

Sep. 14, 2010

See also:

Bachelet Named Head of UN Agency for Women

Former Chilean President Michelle Bachelet became the head of UN Women, a new agency that merges four UN agencies devoted to women’s and gender issues. In his announcement of the position, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said “Ms. Bachelet brings to this critical position a history of dynamic global leadership.”

Americas Quarterly - Weekly Update

Sep. 16, 2010

 


Added: Sep. 19, 2010

Ecuador

Ecuador Closes Open-Door Policy

Authorities announced that Ecuador will begin requiring entry visas for visitors from nine Asian and African countries, ending the country’s policy of universal free entry. The government says it added the exceptions to its visa laws in an effort to stop the use of Ecuador as a base for human trafficking, reports IPS News.

Americas Quarterly - Weekly Update

Sep. 16, 2010


Added: Sep. 19, 2010

The World

Governments seek coordination to fight sex trafficking

Child trafficking is one of the fastest growing crimes in the world - an underground business, often conducted on the internet, and driven by enormous profits. According to UNICEF, an estimated 2.5 million children, the majority of them girls, are sexually exploited in the multibillion-dollar commercial sex industry.

While the problem is usually associated with countries with unstable economic and political systems, today it is the biggest in Europe, the United States, Russia and Africa.

[We disagree with the conclusion that . Mexico alone has many more victims of child sex trafficking than the United States. The Dominican Republic, Colombia, Peru,  Brazil and Argentina each have more child victims than the U.S. has at any given time. It is unacceptable that the Latin American sex trafficking problem remains 'invisible' to large segments of journalists, researchers and decision makers. Human smuggling and trafficking in Mexico amounts to a $15 to $20 billion per year criminal industry. The UN's International Organization for Migration has noted that sex trafficking across Latin America totals an estimated $16 billion in annual revenues. That amount in half of the commonly used global number for all human trafficking profits - $32 billion. - LL]

"Last year we identified 56 cases of young people who have experienced sexual exploitation just in the Washington D.C. area," Andrea Powell, executive director of FAIR Fund stated. Powell co-founded the organization eight years ago to stop the trafficking of youth worldwide. It has assisted thousands of teen-aged girls and boys so far in the United States, Bosnia, Serbia, Russia and Uganda.

"Asia" is one of her group's success stories: Lured into prostitution, she often worked 15-hour days in the sex trade…"It was just gross. I separated myself, my mind; I was in another place when it happened," she recalls, "It was like it was not me."

...FAIR Fund helped her turn her life around.

"To put it in a nutshell, they have helped me transform to who I am now," Asia says, "I am not the same person. "But for every "Asia" there are many more who are not so fortunate.

U.S. Congressman Chris Smith is one of the strongest advocates for rights of victims of human trafficking.

"At least a 100,000 American girls, mostly runaways, average age of 13, are on the streets. And within 48 hours, if they are not brought back home or to some shelter, through the use of drugs, crack cocaine, or some other harmful drugs, the pimps are able to turn those girls into forced prostitutes," Smith said. "They abuse them, they rape them. They get STDs, including HIV and AIDS."

Many children are brought to the U.S. from other countries, mostly Latin America, Southeast Asia, south and eastern Europe. Roma children are often brought from Bosnia or Serbia to steal or clean houses. Children from East Africa are brought to work as domestic servants or farm labor, while children from India are forced to work in the garment business. Their families often do not have any idea what has become of them. In many countries, including the US, even police officers who come to brothels or strip clubs buy sex from the victims instead of helping them...

Amra Alirejsovic writes for Voice of America.

Amra Alirejsovic

Energy Publisher

Sep. 13, 2010


Added: Sep. 19, 2010

Illinois, USA

West Chicago man gets 30 years for molesting girls

After the West Chicago woman returned home from her daughters' school event, the two girls told her a secret they shared about her live-in boyfriend.

"I had no idea what I was about to hear," the mother wrote in a victim-impact statement. "Both my daughters then said that he had sexually molested them. I am so angry because this man has taken something so sacred. They are going to have to live with the pain and memories of his actions for the rest of their lives."

Francisco Moyotl was sentenced Thursday to 30 years in prison after he pleaded guilty to committing predatory criminal sexual assault of a child and aggravated criminal sexual abuse.

The 42-year-old West Chicago man must serve 85 percent of the prison term before being eligible for parole. He also likely will face deportation because he is not a U.S. citizen...

Christy Gutowski

The Daily Herald

Sep. 16, 2010


Added: Sep. 19, 2010

New York, USA

32-year-old sex offender arrested for rape of 75-year-old woman in Bronx

A hulking sex offender raped a 75-year-old Bronx woman who employed his mother as a caretaker, police said Monday.

Marcos Cuevas sneaked into a private senior citizens residence on Sunday and had wormed his way into the apartment of another woman - a neighbor of the victim - when she happened to come by for a visit, police said.

"I'm looking for my mother," the brawny pervert told her.

"She's not here," the elderly victim replied. "She's off on weekends."

So Cuevas, 32, tied the wrists of the victim and her 76-year-old pal behind their backs - and then raped the younger woman, police said.

The tattooed terror, who stands 6-foot-2 and weighs 295 pounds, also robbed the 76-year-old of $10 before fleeing the Bronx building, cops said.

When detectives arrived, the rape victim had no problem identifying her attacker because his mom, Iris, works as a home care attendant for her 95-year-old mother, police said.

A Level 3, or high risk, sex offender, Cuevas was caught later on E. 141st St. in Manhattan.

Cuevas was charged with rape, robbery, sex abuse and unlawful imprisonment. His alleged victim was in stable condition at Lincoln Hospital.

Ivonne Suarez, who said she is Cuevas' wife, defended her "Gentle Giant" and insisted the rape accusation was dreamed up by a "crazy woman."

"He would never do this after spending that time in jail," said Suarez, 40. "The woman is senile. She made up this story. My husband wouldn't lay a hand on her."

...Cuevas spent nearly a decade behind bars for raping two Manhattan women - one of them at knifepoint in Harlem - in 1996.

Sentenced to seven to 14 years in prison, Cuevas was twice denied parole by boards that deemed him a danger to society. He won a conditional release in November 2005, but a year later he was back in jail after violating his parole in August 2006.

He wasn't released again until November 2009, according to records.

Rocco Parascandola, Kevin Deutsch and Corky Siemaszko

The New York Daily News

Sep.13, 2010


Added: Sep. 19, 2010

California, USA

San Bernardino County Priest Accused of Sexually Abusing 2 Boys

Reverend Alex Castillo maintains his innocence.

Ontario - A Catholic priest in San Bernardino County is accused of sexually abusing two boys within the last two years.

Rev. Alex Castillo was removed from duty as an active priest in June.

He served at four churches within the Diocese of San Bernardino, including Our Lady of Guadelupe in Ontario.

The parents of two adolescent boys, who are brothers, claim Castillo sexually abused their sons. Castillo maintains his innocence.

The accusations were revealed in a letter read in church over the weekend.

Parishioners say the man they call "Reverend Alex" is strict and spiritual.

"It's a good person. It's a good father. He's been here for quite a few years," parishioner Benjamin Rosas told KTLA.

Church members say they were told Castillo was sick when he left back in June.

The diocese will only say he's in a place where he no longer has any contact with parishioners. They won't say where.

Police will not comment on the allegations.

The San Bernardino Diocese is asking any potential victims to come forward.

Eric Spillman

KTLA News

Sep. 14, 2010


Added: Sep. 19, 2010

Ohio, USA

Teen girl says she was raped

Dayton - Police are looking for a man, possibly Hispanic in connection with the sexual assault of a 15-year-old girl.

Officers say the girl was walking home from school near Bolton Avenue when a man started following her. He then jumped out , grabbed the girl, threw her over his shoulders, and took her into a vacant house where she was assaulted.

Police say the man is between the ages of 18 and 20 and weighs about 140 pounds. He has a teardrop tattoo under one of his eyes, and he is dressed in black.

If you have any information about this crime, please call 333-COPS.

Charlie Van Sant

WHIO

Sep. 17, 2010


Added: Sep. 14, 2010

Mexico

The wrong solution in Mexico

The Obama administration is right to consider boosting funding, but increased militarization to combat drug cartels is misguided. The U.S. would be wiser to address rampant corruption.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton made a dangerous mistake Wednesday when she spoke of Mexico's drug cartels as "insurgents" and suggested reviving President Clinton's Plan Colombia to address the issue. That program set up U.S. military bases in Colombia and funneled billions of dollars in military aid to fight the country's drug-trafficking left-wing insurgency. The last thing the United States needs today is a new quagmire south of the Rio Grande.

Mexico is different from Colombia. Colombia was up against a rebel organization bent on taking over the government. In contrast, Mexican drug traffickers are businessmen who we can assume are principally concerned with increasing their profits. In the end, they prefer to use "silver," or bribes, over "lead," or bullets. Although they are quick to kill or decapitate members of rival gangs, they much prefer a pliant police officer, soldier or mayor to a dead one. This is why government officials make up such a small percentage of the dead — only about 3,000 out of 28,000, according to official statistics...

Plan Colombia was highly problematic. More than $4 billion of military aid and the construction of U.S. military bases did reduce the violence. Nevertheless, Colombian cocaine still flows freely into the U.S. market and is one of the most important sources of income for the Mexican cartels.

U.S. military support in Colombia also led to skyrocketing human rights abuses and numerous "disappeared" citizens, at a considerable cost to the country's social fabric. Nongovernmental organization and media reports have found that much of the aid was channeled to [ultra-conservative] paramilitary groups and that the U.S. presence emboldened the Colombian military to act with impunity...

[One] strategic move would be to aggressively fund and support independent investigative journalism and alternative media outlets, which have played a major role in holding government accountable. Journalism has become a high-risk profession in Mexico. Both cartels and the government have done their best to suppress the truth about corruption.

Unfortunately, neither strong anti-corruption agencies nor support for journalists have formed a part of the new focus on social programs, which months ago the Obama administration suggested as a possible focus for future funding to Mexico. Under the influence of the Calderon government, most of the talk has been about much "softer" initiatives, such as drug education, urban renewal, scholarships and community development programs. All of this is fine, but none of it will attack the roots of the present failure to rein in the drug cartels in Mexico.

It is time to turn the corner in U.S. policy toward Mexico. Instead of sending more money [for] attack helicopters, military bases or social development programs, the U.S. could make a significant contribution to peace in North America by helping to aggressively combat corruption and supporting freedom of expression.

John M. Ackerman is a professor at the Institute for Legal Research at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, editor-in-chief of the Mexican Law Review and a columnist for La Jornada newspaper and Proceso magazine.

John M. Ackerman

Sep. 10, 2010


Added: Sep. 11, 2010

New Mexico, USA

New Mexico receives $1.6 million from Justice Department

The U.S. Department of Justice has awarded the state of New Mexico $1.64 million in grants for public safety initiatives.

[The grants included ...$215,000] to create a special agent position assigned to the [state attorney general's office's] Border Violence Division to investigate human trafficking cases.

The grants were announced by Democratic U.S. Sen. Jeff Bingaman.

The Associated Press

Sep. 11, 2010


Added: Sep. 10, 2010

Mexico, The United States

Los Angeles Times metro columnist Hector Tobar is a former Mexico City bureau chief for the newspaper.

Photo: L.A. Times

Where's the outrage over immigrant slayings in Mexico?

...For those of us who remember the tragedy of Latin America's recent past, seeing the images of last month's massacre of 72 immigrants in northern Mexico is like reentering an old and very familiar nightmare.

Not long ago, dictators ruled most of Latin America. They had large groups of people kidnapped, tortured and executed in secret. Their crimes against humanity hit nearly every corner of the region, from cosmopolitan Buenos Aires to provincial Guatemala City.

But this new act of mass murder was not the work of a military junta run by generals. It didn't take place in a tiny banana republic without a judicial system worthy of the name.

It happened in the proud, multiparty democracy called Mexico, a country with ample social freedoms, including a vibrant free press. And it wasn't an isolated occurrence. A report last year by Mexico's human rights ombudsman said at least 400 mass kidnappings are reported in Mexico every year, many involving the rape and murder of hostages.

Modern death squads are operating freely in northern Mexico, extorting those who wish to come here, where relatives and jobs await. The kidnappings and murders of immigrants carried out by these groups are a stain on Mexican democracy, and many commentators there recognize this.

"The abuse against migrants is an everyday embarrassment we don't want to talk about because it would rob us of all our moral authority before our neighbors to the north," columnist Alfonso Zarate wrote in response to the massacre in the newspaper El Universal.

"Mexico demands respect for the human rights of 'illegal' workers in the U.S.," Zarate continued, " … but is now itself under the microscope of the international community, which is rightly scandalized and indignant."

...As with the many killings of police officers and officials in Mexico, the San Fernando massacre was an act of psychological warfare. Such extreme violence is meant to spread fear and thus make it easier for the killers to impose their will on the living.

If we stay silent about their crime, if we treat it as just another episode in Mexico's unwinnable drug wars, then we'll allows the killers to win.

And yet, here in the United States, the expressions of outrage from the immigrant rights movement have been muted. You could say they are a mere whisper compared with the very loud campaign against Arizona's SB 1070, a law whose most controversial provisions will probably never go into effect.

We should see the killings as a blunt reminder of the reasons why people so desperately want to come here. And we should speak of San Fernando with the same horror as we do El Mozote and the Naval Mechanics School of Buenos Aires — sites of the most heinous crimes committed by the militaries of El Salvador and Argentina in the 1970s and '80s.

It's not just the killers who deserve our moral outrage, it's the failed judicial systems that allow them to thrive without fear of punishment.

In Latin America, the massacre has already provoked much reflection and protest. The government of Honduras, home to the largest number of its victims, announced it would take new steps to try to discourage illegal immigration to the U.S.

In Mexico, the northern city of Saltillo witnessed a rare event just days after the Aug. 23 massacre: a march by 200 undocumented immigrants, carrying the flags of El Salvador, Guatemala and other Central American countries.

"Our countries deny us the opportunity for economic development," the demonstrators said in a written statement, after marching through the city with covered faces. "But Mexico denies us the opportunity to live."

To stop SB 1070, we've seen Angelenos drive across the desert to Phoenix to march, to denounce both the governor of Arizona and the mad sheriff of Maricopa County, Joe Arpaio.

But I've yet to hear of any rallies at the Mexican consulate or anywhere else here in Los Angeles, demanding that the Mexican government prosecute those guilty of so many migrant killings and disappearances.

Most of the country's leading immigrant rights groups haven't even bothered to issue a news release.

That doesn't surprise me. Generally speaking, the U.S. immigrant rights movement doesn't have much to say about the social and political conditions that lead so many to leave their native countries and place themselves at the mercy of an increasingly violent smuggling industry.

This is wrong. We can't turn a blind eye to the deeper, seemingly intractable injustices that are the obvious root cause of the problem.

Simply put: It's wrong that people have to undertake the journey to the U.S. in the first place. People shouldn't have to leave the land of their ancestors, their extended families, their barrios and their farms.

They leave because the promise of democracy in Mexico and Central America remains unfulfilled.

The Tamaulipas murders are really just the most sickening expression of a vast system of inequality and corruption that still defines life for millions of people.

U.S. immigration reform, unfortunately, won't do anything to strengthen the rule of law in those countries that supply the greatest number of migrants. It won't stop the power of the criminal groups that infiltrate government and intimidate officials, not just in certain regions of Mexico but in much of Central America.

There's a movement for democracy and government accountability in those places. But it's often under threat...

...Many more of us need to stand with those who work to keep the promise of democracy and justice alive in northern Mexico, Guatemala and other places.

It matters not just to them but to us.

And now, as in the age of the dictators, it's a matter of life and death.

Hector Tobar

The Los Angeles Times

Sep. 9, 2010

See also:

LibertadLatina Commentary

Chuck Goolsby

Clarifying the Issues in an Age of Impunity

The September 9th, 2010 article by Los Angeles Times columnist Hector Tobar: Where's the outrage over immigrant slayings in Mexico?, speaks volumes of truth in regard to the world's lack of response to the human rights crises that terrorize the daily lives of the people of Mexico and the rest of Latin America. While much attention is paid to the injustices that immigrants, including the undocumented, face in the United States, few U.S. human rights organizations, including those that exist within the Latino community, dare to address the root causes of the oppression that drives millions to flee to the U.S. in response.

We go beyond Mr. Tobar's analysis to state that the same problem, that of an imbalanced attention to human rights tragedies, also exists in regard to the mass gender atrocities that are today a constant in Mexico and elsewhere in Latin America. Our project, LibertadLatina, exists to counter that lack of awareness and action by focusing the world's attention on the problems of criminal impunity and state corruption and complacency. These dynamics have created conditions in Mexico that have resulted in conditions where rule of law is weak, and where both criminal networks and corrupt law enforcement and military forces compete to see how many Central and South American migrants they can kidnap, rob, rape and, in many cases, sell into slavery.

It is clear to us that the criminal impunity that dominates in Mexico has spread its influence across the United States. The fact that Latin American victims of human slavery account for approximately 60% of the U.S. total of enslaved persons is one indicator of that reality. The related fact that Mexico's human smuggling networks now earn between $15 and 20 billion annually by smuggling immigrants to the U.S. under often inhuman conditions, according to a recent CNN report, is another red flag that should start the alarm bells ringing in Washington.

Mexico's governmental and social institutions are not capable of addressing criminal impunity, and especially its human trafficking component, without being pushed hard to do so. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's recent statement indicating that Mexico's drug cartels are mounting an 'insurgency-like' campaign against Mexican governmental rule, should give pause to anyone who thinks that bringing human slavery under control in that nation will happen anytime soon.

Both the global human rights community and the U.S. federal government must shift focus and begin to address this crisis as the emergency that it truly is. There is no hope for ending human trafficking in Latin America, nor in the United States, while criminal impunity and state inaction continue to reign in Mexico.

End impunity now!

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

Sep. 10/14, 2009

Also mentioned in Hector Tobar's September 9, 2010 Los Angeles Times article was the El Mozote massacre:

No Rescue From Atlacatl Battalion

The U.S.-trained Atlacatl Battallion massacred hundreds of unarmed villagers in the town of El Mozote

About the El Mozote Massacre in El Salvador, perpetrated on December 10, 1981

A case of anti-indigenous repression through state sanctioned rape and mass-murder

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

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

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

"They slit some of the kids' throats, and many they hanged from the tree ... The soldiers kept telling us, 'You are guerrillas and this is justice. This is justice.' Finally, there were only three of us left. I watched them hang my brother. He was two years old. I could see that I was going to be killed soon, and I thought it would be better to die running, so I ran. I slipped through the soldiers and dove into the bushes. They fired into the bushes, but none of their bullets hit me."

Parascope.com


Added: Sep. 10, 2010

Mexico

37 suspected illegal immigrants found captive in Riverside

The group, which included juveniles, was being held in a 10-by-12-foot room that was locked from the outside and had boarded-up windows.

Federal agents found 37 suspected illegal immigrants, smuggled into the United States from six countries, crammed into a small house in Riverside where some had been held captive for weeks, authorities said Wednesday.

Immigration agents raided the "drop house" after a relative of one of the captives called the Los Angeles Police Department. The caller told police the smugglers had threatened to kill his relative because the family failed to come up with enough money to pay for his release, according to Virginia Kice, spokeswoman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Los Angeles.

Agents found the immigrants — including two toddlers and a baby — in a small bedroom, measuring about 10 by 12 feet. The room was locked from the outside and the windows were boarded up. The home is in one of the city's older neighborhoods along Martin Luther King Boulevard, about a mile east of the 91 Freeway.

"As far as we know, they were all in pretty good physical condition, though some reported that they had not eaten for days," said Claude Arnold, special agent in charge for ICE in Los Angeles.

Six suspected smugglers have been detained and are being questioned, but no arrests have been made, Arnold said.

"We're still in the process of interviewing everyone," Arnold said. "In these circumstances, it does take some time to sort this out."

Agents took an additional seven immigrants linked to the same smuggling scheme into custody earlier in the day as they were being taken to other destinations in the Los Angeles area.

The 44 smuggled immigrants are from Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Mexico, Ecuador and the Dominican Republic. The group included 34 men, four women and six juveniles.

Those smuggled into the country illegally will eventually go though deportation proceedings. However, any immigrants who were assaulted by a smuggler or were victims of another crime will be treated as victims and could be eligible for a victims' visa, he said.

Two weeks ago, federal immigration agents found a drop house in Baldwin Park with 35 smuggled illegal immigrants from Central and South America.

Phil Willon

The Los Angeles Times

Sep. 9, 2010


Added: Sep. 10, 2010

Spain, Brazil

Spain Breaks Up a Trafficking Ring for Male Prostitution

Madrid - The Spanish police said Tuesday that it had dismantled for the first time a human trafficking network bringing men rather than women into the country to work as prostitutes.

The police said 14 people, almost all of them Brazilian, were arrested over recent weeks as part of an inquiry into the network’s activities begun in February.

The sex workers were recruited in Brazil, with their travel costs to Spain initially covered by the trafficking network’ organizers in return for a pledge to work subsequently for them, according to a police statement. Most of the recruits, however, expected to work as models or nightclub dancers, although some allegedly knew that they were coming to Spain to offer sex.

The police estimated that between 60 and 80 men were brought to Spain by the network, most of them in their 20s and originating from Brazil’s northern state of Maranhão. They reached Spain by passing through third countries.

The bulk of the arrests occurred on the island of Majorca, including that of the Brazilian accused of being the ringleader, whose identity was not disclosed by the police. The prostitutes ended up owing the network as much as €4,000 each and were sometimes threatened with death if they refused to pay the debt, according to the Spanish police.

Although it is the first time that police officers have broken up a professional male prostitution trafficking network, five people were arrested in 2006 in Spain’s western region of Extremadura for their involvement in an illegal Brazilian prostitution business. More recently, the police have dismantled several gangs exploiting female sex workers, generally from Eastern Europe or Africa. In July, 105 people were arrested for their involvement in a dozen prostitution centers around Madrid in one of the largest clampdowns to date.

A police spokeswoman who asked not to be identified said that Brazilian officials had been involved. Some of the prostitutes were also placed in custody for working illegally in Spain.

Raphael Minder

The New York Times

Aug. 31, 2010


Added: Sep. 9, 2010

Mexico

The Ibero-American University in Puebla opens the Ignacio Ellacuría Human Rights Institute in March of 2010

Acciones vs trata de personas en México son insuficientes: UIA

Cada minuto y medio se comete un delito de trata de personas en el mundo, y en México, aún sabiendo los lugares y rutas donde operan las redes, las acciones que se realizan para evitarlo son insuficientes, señalaron especialistas.

Oscar Castro Soto, director del Instituto de Derechos Humanos “Ignacio Ellacurría” de la Universidad Iberoamericana (UIA), indicó que cada año 400,000 personas son víctimas de dicho delito en el mundo.

En la presentación de la agenda del “II Congreso latinoamericano de trata y tráfico de personas”, el director explicó que 80% de las victimas son niños y mujeres utilizados para explotación sexual y trabajos domésticos, ya sea de forma conciente o en contra de su voluntad.

Las rutas identificadas son: Paraguay, Bolivia, Chile y Argentina; Brasil y España; Panamá, Nicaragua y Costa Rica; y El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, México y Estados Unidos, expresaron académicos de la UIA.

Las redes de trata y de pornografía infantil en México que están vinculadas al narcotráfico, se encuentran en regiones de Tapachula, Cancún, Acapulco, Veracruz, Tijuana, Tlaxcala, Puebla, Ciudad Juárez y La Merced, en el Distrito Federal, indicaron expertos.

Las instituciones federales y estatales de México, con excepción del Instituto de Mujeres del Distrito Federal, no se sumaron a la convocatoria del evento internacional a realizarse del 20 al 24 de septiembre en la UIA de Puebla en la que participaran funcionarios de varios países, lo que ocasionó la sorpresa de varios especialistas.

Raquel Pastor, integrante del Comité Académico del Congreso, señaló en un comunicado, el apoyo del foro para ayudar a quienes trabajan en la persecución del delito de trata, ya que en México no existen instituciones especializadas que atiendan a las víctimas de dicho delito.

Mexico's actions against human trafficking are insufficient: Ibero-American University

According to Oscar Castro Soto, director of the Ignacio Ellacurría Institute for Human Rights at Mexico's Ibero-American University (UIA) in Puebla state, every minute and a half a human trafficking crime is committed somewhere in the world. In Mexico, despite the fact that trafficking locations and routes are known, [state] actions to prevent such crimes are inadequate. According to Castro Soto, 400,000 persons become victims of trafficking each year globally.

Castro Soto presented his observations in the just-released agenda for the upcoming Second Latin American Congress on Human Trafficking, which will be held at the UIA campus in Puebla between September 20th and 24th, 2010. He explained that 80% of the victims of human trafficking are children and women, who either consciously or against their will are utilized for sexual exploitation or domestic servitude.

Known [Latin American] trafficking routes exist in Paraguay, Bolivia, Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Panama, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, Mexico, the United States and Spain, stated Castro Soto [Soto-Castro's statement omits important human trafficking routes that involve the Dominican Republic and Colombia, the two largest sources of sex trafficking victims in Latin America - LL].

Castro Soto's statement noted that within Mexico, human trafficking and child pornography networks are tied to narco-trafficking organizations. These criminal groups may be found in Tapachula, Cancún, Acapulco, Veracruz, Tijuana, Tlaxcala, Puebla, Ciudad Juárez and the La Merced sector of Mexico City.

With the exception of the National Women's Institute, Mexican federal agencies chose not to participate in the conference. This decision brought expressions of surprise from some of the specialists involved with the event. Government officials of several other nations plan to attend.

Raquel Pastor, who is a member of the academic committee of the Congress, stated in a press release that the goal of the Congress was to assist those in government who seek to prosecute human trafficking crimes, given the fact the Mexico currently does not have institutions set-up to assist victims.

El Semanario - Mexico

Sep. 07, 2010

See also:

From the CATW-LAC flyer for their third annual awards ceremony

La Coalición Regional Contra El Tráfico De Mujeres Y Niñas En América Latina Y El Caribe presentará su "Tercer Premio Latino-americano por La Vida y la Seguridad de las Mujeres y Niñas en America Latina y el Caribe

During the upcoming Secnd Latin American Congress on Human Trafficking, which will be held at the UIA campus in Puebla, Mexico, between September 20th through 24th, 2010, the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women - Latin American and Caribbean branch (CATW-LAC), will present its Third Award for the Defense of Life and Security for Women and Girls in Latin America.

(In Spanish)

CATW-LAC

Sep., 2010

See also:

En la UIA Puebla se inaugurará el Instituto de Derechos Humanos Ignacio Ellacuría |22 de Marzo de 2010|

The UIA in Puebla opens the Ignacio Ellacuría Human Rights Institute on March 22nd, 2010.

(In Spanish)

ContraParte

March 22, 2010



Other important news stories from 2009 and 2010



Added: Jul. 21, 2010

New York, USA

U.S. Ambassador Luis CdeBaca (second from left) and other presenters at UN / Brandeis conference

Hidden in Plain Sight: The News Media's Role in Exposing Human Trafficking

The Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University cosponsored a first-ever United Nations panel discussion about how the news media is exposing and explaining modern slavery and human trafficking -- and how to do it better. Below are the transcript and video from that conference, held at the United Nations headquarters in New York City on June 16 and co-sponsored by the United States Mission to the United Nations and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

Take a look as some leading media-makers and policymakers debate coverage of human trafficking. What hinders good reporting on human trafficking? What do journalists fear when they report on slaves and slavery? Why cover the subject in the first place? What are the common reporting mistakes and missteps that can do more harm than good to trafficking victims, and to government, NGO, and individual efforts to end the traffic of persons for others' profit and pleasure?

Among the main points: Panelists urged reporters and editors to avoid salacious details and splashy, "sexy" headlines that can prevent a more nuanced examination of trafficked persons' lives and experiences. Journalists lamented the lack of solid data, noting that the available statistics are contradictory, unreliable, insufficient, and often skewed by ideology. As an example, the two officials on the panel -- Ambassador Luis CdeBaca, head of the U.S. Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, and Under-Secretary-General Antonio Maria Costa, executive director of the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime -- disagreed on the number of rescued trafficking victims. Costa thought the number was likely less than half CdeBaca's estimate (from the International Labour Organization) of 50,000 victims rescued worldwide...

Read the transcript

The Huffington Post

July 15, 2010

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