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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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Antenco

Foto: Belinda Hernández

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


 

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

Noticias de Agosto, 2009

August 2009 News



Added: August 31, 2009

New York Sate, USA

Patrick Klatt

Photo: Karoliszy - New York Daily News

Staten Island Man Comes to Rescue of Girl Being Sexually Assaulted

A Staten Island man may have prevented the rape of a local 15-year-old girl when he heard her screams from inside the woods near his home and immediately raced out wielding a baseball bat. The girl was walking to a friend's house on Cleveland Avenue in Great Kills Thursday night around 9:30 p.m. when she was dragged into the woods by her neck by a man described as a heavyset Hispanic male, about 5-foot-5 and about 200 pounds. The girl said to her attacker, "Please don't rape me," and he responded, "No, don't scream."

She did scream and was able to alert 51-year-old Patrick Klatt, who luckily happened to have his door open. Klatt, who has a 19-year-old daughter himself, grabbed a bat and gave chase. The attacker ran off, but Klatt arrived at the girl's side to tell her, "As long as you're with me, nobody's going to hurt you." The girl was released from the hospital after being treated for scrapes and cuts on her legs and bruises on her throat...

Billy Parker

Gothamist.com

Aug. 29, 2009


Added: August 31, 2009

Utah, USA

South Salt Lake Man Arrested After Confessing to Sex with Minor

West Valley City - A South Salt Lake man is looking at possible rape of a child charges after admitting to an illegal sexual relationship. Investigators are also looking into whether the alleged victim's mother knew about it.

On Friday morning, a West Valley patrol officer saw something suspicious just outside the Factory 4 U at 3570 S. Redwood Road.

"He sees a young Hispanic girl who is being pinned up against some suitcases that are parked outside," explained West Valley police Lt. Bill Merritt.

Merritt says 25-year-old Pedro Romero was trying to kiss the girl, and she was resisting. The girl told the officer she was only 12.

After giving some false information, Romero reportedly admitted he'd been in a sexual relationship with the girl and that her mother would bring her to his home.

The mother denied knowledge of the sexual relationship, but Merritt says her behavior was odd.

"She didn't act surprised or concerned at all," Merritt said.

Police say Romero would call the visits to his South Salt Lake apartment "play dates."

Paul Nelson

KSL

Aug. 21, 2009


Added: August 31, 2009

New York State, USA

Police Raid Two Suspected Brothels

Police arrested five people during evening raids on alleged brothels in Westhampton and Southampton on Saturday...

First, Luis Fernando Torres Altimaro, 25, of Westhampton, who police said worked as a promoter for the brothels, and Carol Maria Lopez, 51, of Queens were arrested by Southampton Town Police at a two-room cottage on Glendale Street in Westhampton at 9:43 p.m. Mr. Altimaro was charged with promoting prostitution in the fourth degree and Ms. Lopez was charged with prostitution.

Then, Daniela Zuniga, 18, of New Brunswick, New Jersey, Delcin Omar Contreras, 30, and Juan Trujillo, 22, both of Southampton were arrested by police... Ms. Zuniga was charged with prostitution in the third degree, Mr. Contreras, who police said fled the scene, was charged with obstructing governmental administration in the second degree and Mr. Trujillo was charged with patronizing a prostitute in the third degree...

Police said that both homes were frequented by up to 40 men each night in the past month and that the women earned $15 per customer while promoters received up to $40 per customer. Police were tipped off about the homes by neighbors who complained about vehicle traffic...

Bryan Finlayson

The Southampton Press

Aug 31, 2009


Added: August 30, 2009

Mexico

Slow Progress Against Human Trafficking

Mexico City - Despite progress in bringing Mexican law into compliance with the international treaty against human trafficking, little has been achieved so far in this country in terms of prosecutions and convictions of traffickers, protection of victims and prevention of this increasingly widespread crime, says a new report released in the Mexican capital Thursday.

The "Human Trafficking Assessment Tool Report for Mexico" was produced by the American Bar Association’s Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI).

"So far there have been no convictions, which is a very serious problem," attorney Gretchen Kuhner, one of the authors of the report, told IPS. "But the law against trafficking in Mexico is very new, and more time is needed to evaluate its implementation."

The Mexican Congress passed the Law to Prevent and Penalize Trafficking in Persons, creating federal mechanisms for the prevention, protection, and prosecution of human trafficking, in November 2007, although the regulations for the law were not issued until February 2009

The law provides for both territorial and extraterritorial jurisdiction over trafficking in persons, which is classified as a felony, the ABA ROLI report says.

Based on 78 interviews with experts and government officials carried out between January and June 2008, the report found legal inconsistencies such as limiting the definition of "trafficking victim" to passive subjects of the crime of trafficking who participate in criminal proceedings in Mexico or abroad.

"This narrow definition may have detrimental implications for those individuals who have been subjected to trafficking in persons but are unwilling to file an official complaint or testify against the perpetrators, or who require assistance before making a decision about cooperation with law enforcement authorities," the report states.

Human trafficking consists of the recruitment, kidnapping, harboring or transportation of individuals through the use of force, threats, coercion, deception or fraud, generally for the purposes of sexual or labor exploitation.

"One of the greatest challenges regarding trafficking in persons in Mexico is that the phenomenon is believed to be extensive, but has yet to be documented in a systematic manner," the report says.

In the case of Mexico, it identifies trafficking in relation with domestic work, prostitution, seasonal agricultural labor, maquilas (export assembly factories in duty-free zones), panhandling, the construction industry, informal trade, and organ harvesting.

The report focused on eight states in northern and southern Mexico where the practice is particularly widespread...

"There is a jurisdictional vacuum," Mónica Salazar, a Mexican attorney specializing in human rights who coordinated the field research, told IPS.

The federal law stipulates that trafficking cases fall under the Special Prosecution Unit for Violent Crimes against Women and Human Trafficking (FEVIMTRA), created in January 2008...

Mexico is a signatory to the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children – the international treaty against human trafficking – which supplements the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organised Crime that came into force in 2003.

So far, FEVIMTRA has investigated 24 cases and issued two formal indictments. And between March 2008 and February 2009, FEVIMTRA’s assistance centre provided support to 52 victims of trafficking.

But from 2005 to 2008, non-governmental organizations discovered 300 cases of human trafficking and helped 1,500 Mexican victims of that practice in the United States between 2002 and 2007.

"Most of the cases have been uncovered by Mexican or international organizations, or by the National Human Rights Commission," said Kuhner...

Some 500,000 Central Americans go through Mexico every year in their attempt to make it to the United States. And although there are no reliable figures, an estimated 20,000 to 50,000 people a year apparently fall prey to trafficking rings.

According to authorities in Mexico, at least 20 networks are involved in the trafficking of persons, with links to organized crime rings involved in other activities like drug smuggling.

Although the report acknowledges advances made in terms of prevention, prosecution, and victim protection, it criticizes the government for failing to channel funds so that NGOs can help work on the issue...

To date, 22 of Mexico's 32 states have reformed their legal codes to define trafficking of persons as a crime.

In one high-profile case, a group of women reported in June that they had been exploited by a network that trafficked women from Costa Rica and South America, with the collusion of Mexican migration officials. Two people were arrested as a result of their speaking out.

The National Human Rights Commission, which established a program against trafficking in persons in 2007, says the activity is one of the most profitable for organized crime.

"There is growing awareness that trafficking is an extremely serious problem," Michael McCullough, director of the ABA's Latin America and Caribbean Division, told IPS.

The Mexican law created several counter-trafficking bodies, like an inter-ministerial committee, while calling for a National Program to Prevent and Penalize Trafficking in Persons, which has not yet been established.

Emilio Godoy

Inter Press Service (IPS)

Aug 27, 2009

See also:

The American Bar Association: Human Trafficking Assessment Tool for Mexico

(PDF file)

See also:

LibertadLatina Commentary

The American Bar Association evaluation discussed in the above article provides an extensive review of many important aspects of the legal and social environment in Mexico as they relate to human trafficking. Their analysis provides an interesting framework that can be built-upon in future studies of modern human slavery in Latin America.

The report was published in March, 2009, long before the federal government of Mexico created, after much resistance from President Calderon, the National Program to Prevent and Penalize Trafficking in Persons, in July of 2009.

The ABA's analysis would be more useful if it had provided in-depth discussion in regard to several key issues that heavily impact Mexico's legal response to their crisis in modern human trafficking. These factors include the following:

1. For over a year, Mexico's ruling socially  conservative National Action Party (PAN), and its leader, President Felipe Calderón aggressively resisted publishing federal regulations to activate the Law to Prevent and Penalize Trafficking in Persons. The regulations were only published in February of 2009, after four stern warnings to the President from Congress. The final set of regulations were weak and intentionally designed to be ineffective. They did not, for example, envision a role for the Attorney General's Special Prosecution Unit for Violent Crimes against Women and Human Trafficking (FEVIMTRA) in enforcing the new anti-trafficking law.

Only congressional protests forced the Interior Department to repair that serious and obvious flaw in the regulations.

Together with other actions taken by the PAN to roll-back women's equality, this action demonstrates an unwillingness on the part of the PAN to address modern human trafficking seriously. This fact is substantiated by the extensive writings of the women's human rights press in Mexico, and by the repeated protests of opposition legislators in Congress.

2. A similar situation exists with regard to the 30% indigenous population of Mexico, who are the main target of many sex and labor traffickers. Indigenous adults and children have been openly exploited in sex and labor slavery for 500 years, and that remains the status quo in 2009. Human rights and anti-trafficking efforts completely ignore this population.

As one view into this crisis, today an estimated 3,000 to 4,000 underage indigenous girls, some kidnapped at the age of 10, are enslaved as prostituted 'geishas' in Japan, with neither the Mexican nor the Japanese governments having lifted one finger to do anything about it.

3. Some 99% of domestic servants, who are 'employed' in very large numbers of upper, middle and even working class households in Mexico, are adolescent girls and children. About 40,000 of them are age 14 and under at any given time. The majority of servants are indigenous women and girls who face slavery, or at best, slave-like conditions, in which they are paid little or nothing except food, are psychologically and sexually abused, and are expected to behave like submissive, peon-like slaves.

Nobody should hold their breath while waiting for Mexico's government and society to take action to end this socially embedded form of modern slavery.

3. Sexism, violence against women, racism against Afro and indigenous Mexicans, and hostility towards the annual stream of 500,000 South and Central American transitory migrants who cross Mexico each year create the conditions in which somewhere between 20,000 and 500,000 (CATW Latin America / Caribbean director Teresa Ulloa's estimate) modern human trafficking victims exist.

Mexico's PAN government, and the elite, 'socially conservative' sectors of society have no desire to address the issue of modern human slavery. Only intense international pressure causes the current government to take minimal action to avoid being seen as acting in violation of international protocols and norms, and to avoid loosing U.S. foreign aid due to a poor annual review by the U.S. State Department's Office to Monitor Trafficking in Persons.

4. Mexico's judicial institutions have not responded to blatant criminal impunity due to a tacit acceptance of the primacy of sexist machismo and anti-indigenous racism in Mexican society and jurisprudence. This has as much to do with the failure to investigate, prosecute and convict criminals involved in heinous sexual and labor exploitation cases as any other factor.

A key marker of these failures is the fact that the numerous rapes of indigenous women perpetrated by soldiers as a byproduct of the  deployment of federal troops in rural Mexico related to the war against the drug cartels have been prosecuted only within the military justice system, where accused rapists are routinely exonerated, even when their victims die from the rape. President Calderón denies that any problem exists, and refuses to honor his past commitment, given during negotiations with the U.S. for Merida Initiative funding, to allow military service members accused of major crimes against civilians to be tried in Mexico's civilian courts.

This 'permission' granted to the nation's military, allowing it to exercise total impunity in cases of the rape of domestic civilians is consistent with many other misogynist policies of the ruling PAN administration, which actively seeks to roll-back decades of progress on women's equal rights in Mexico.

Unfortunately, these are the true facts on the ground. 'Little Brown Maria' in the brothel is not going to be rescued anytime soon in a Mexico where the age of sexual consent in almost all Mexican states is 12.

I have been to Tijuana's tolerance zone, and I have seen 1,000 woman and underage girls in prostitution standing along a ten by two block area. Some 5,000 women are registered and are given health checkups, and thousands more (including children) are unregistered prostitutes in Tijuana's massive La Coahuila red light district. The police cars sit on the street corners and do nothing about the 12-year-old girls in plaid Catholic school girl uniforms, who sell sex to Mexican and U.S. men day and night. The same police officers do nothing about the armed men who stand on the roof-tops of La Coahuila, to control their 'street business.'

Academic and legal analyses of the problem of modern human slavery in Mexico are important. What is equally important is for western societies to understand that Roman feudal impunity reigns as the Law in Mexico, and it guides the heartless actions of criminal traffickers and johns, as well as the actions of the ruling PAN political party.

Until such analyses contain a clear understanding and discussion of the roles that Mediterranean machismo and anti-indigenous racism and impunity play in modern Mexico, the actions taken by modern western societies to combat the mass gender atrocities that are now taking place in Mexico will be inadequate.

LibertadLatina works to build that bridge of understanding of the real facts on the ground in Mexico, a ground that is strewn with the bones of countless thousands of victims of modern slavery. They were women and children who awaited, yet never received well deserved attention from the 'morally responsible' parties in the world community.

It is never too late for that disconnect to be healed, and for the world community to act responsibly to prevent these crimes, and rescue Mexico's legions of victims based on an honest understanding of the facts involved.

End impunity now!

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

Aug. 30 - Sep. 1, 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

See also:

Mexico

Cecilia Romero, a long-time PAN Party official and the head of Mexico's national immigration service, reflects PAN policy in her declaration that the sex tourism and pedophile networks that exist across Mexico are "inevitable" and cannot be stopped.

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

Photo: El Universal

LibertadLatina Commentary

(Excerpt from our June 28, 2009 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 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 his allowing unending mass gender atrocities to occur on Mexico's southern border with Guatemala and Belize.

In this hell-on-earth, an estimated 450 to 600 migrant women are sexually assaulted each day, according to the International Organization for Migration. Police response is almost non-existent. At times, police 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 the below 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 of this ongoing 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 last several years, demanded action to end these atrocities...

End impunity now!

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

June 28, 2009

See also:

Mexico

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Un millón de menores latinoamericanos atrapados por redes de prostitución

Former Special Prosecutor for Violent Crimes Against Women - Alicia Elena Perez Duarte:   

At least one million children across Latin America have been entrapped by child prostitution and pornography networks.

[In many cases in Mexico] these child victims are offered to [wealthy] businessmen and politicians.   

Full story (in English)

See also:

Renuncia fiscal por vergüenza en resolución sobre Cacho

On December 14, 2007 Alicia Pérez-Duarte resigned as Mexico's Special Prosecutor for Violent Crimes Against Women [Fevim].  Duarte:

"I cannot work... where the justices of the Supreme Court won't bring justice in cases of grave violations of human rights."


Added: August 30, 2009

Colorado, USA

Aurora - A higher resolution photo of a suspected sex offender has been released by the Aurora Police Department as they continue their search for the man accused of sexually assaulting a 4-year-old.

Police are still asking the public for help in finding 20-year-old Daniel Hernandez-Ramos who they believe sexually assaulted the child in early August. There is a nationwide arrest warrant out for Hernandez-Ramos...

Aurora Police say the 4-year-old girl went out to the parking lot alone to get something out of her family's car and investigators say that's when Hernandez-Ramos snatched her, took her away to a nearby area and sexually assaulted her.

Police say when several minutes passed and the girl did not return from the parking lot, the girl's mother went looking for her. She found her daughter, and realized the girl had been sexually assaulted. The mother did not see the attacker, but immediately called police.

"He took advantage of the fact that, here's a 4-year-old, defenseless, little girl on her own in a parking lot and it sickens us to see this kind of thing happen," Det. Bob Friel with Aurora Police said...

Investigators say it appeared Hernandez-Ramos left the apartment in a hurry, as some of his belongings were still there.

Hernandez-Ramos faces charges of sexual assault on a child and child abuse - serious bodily injury.

"There's always the possibility that if he is on the loose, that he would commit this crime again. And that is the reason that it's so important that we catch up to him as quickly as possible," Friel said.

KUSA

Aug. 29, 2009


Added: August 29, 2009

Mexico

"Peace" - Members of the pacifist 'Las Abejas' movement protest Mexican Supreme Court decision to release some 20 convicted murderers of 45 innocents

Photo: EFE

Mexicans Tell Court to Keep Massacre Convicts Behind Bars

San Cristobal De Las Casas - Some 2,000 Indians marched to protest a ruling by Mexico’s Supreme Court overturning the convictions of a score of men accused of carrying out the 1997 massacre of 45 indigenous people here in the southern state of Chiapas.

Wednesday’s protest in San Cristobal de Las Casas came two weeks after the high court ordered the release of 20 men who have spent more than 11 years in prison for their alleged role in the slaughter.

The judges found that the men were denied due process.

Another 30 people remain behind bars in connection with the massacre, but most of them are appealing their convictions with the help of lawyers from the government-funded Center for Economic Research and Teaching, which also aided the 20 defendants whose sentences were thrown out.

The protesters in San Cristobal urged the Supreme Court not to release any additional defendants in the case, contending that if freed, those men would pose a threat to survivors of the massacre and the families of those who died.

The march was organized by a grassroots Roman Catholic group known as Las Abejas (The Bees), to which the massacre victims belonged.

On Dec. 22, 1997, a contingent of men toting assault rifles killed 45 unarmed Las Abejas members – including 21 women and 15 children – praying inside a church in Acteal, Chiapas.

Though pacifist in philosophy, Las Abejas supported the leftist, Indian-rights agenda of the Zapatista National Liberation Army, whose January 1994 uprising brought national and international attention to the impoverished state bordering Guatemala...

The head of Mexico’s independent National Human Rights Commission, Jose Luis Soberanes, praised the Aug. 12 Supreme Court decision, saying that the 20 men serving time for the Acteal Massacre “were unjustly accused” and denied due process.

“We have always been conscious that the trial was badly conducted,” Soberanes said. “They (the defendants) were Indians who didn’t even speak Spanish and they were tried without the basic guarantees.”

Taking the opposite position was the Fray [Friar] Bartolome de las Casas Human Rights Center, which said the defendants’ guilt was proven and that their release would signify impunity for a “crime against humanity.”

The massacre forced the resignation of Chiapas’ then-governor, Julio Cesar Ruiz Ferro, and the ouster of Mexico’s interior minister, Emilio Chuayfett.

Human rights organizations said the massacre resulted from acts of both commission and omission by allies of Ruiz.

“Compelling evidence,” Amnesty International said in a 1998 statement on the Acteal bloodbath, “shows that the authorities facilitated the arming of paramilitaries who carried out the killings and failed to intervene as the savage attack continued for hours.” [Note: Mexican Army troops were stationed nearby to Acteal, and did nothing to intervene in the massacre. - LL]

EFE

Aug. 27, 2009

See also:

Massacre in Chiapas

...The 6 pregnant women murdered in Acteal had their bellies split open and the contents exhibited as war trophies. This is a trademark ritual of the "Kaibiles"; part of the US trained Guatemalan military responsible for 40 years of counter-insurgency war that left approximately 200,000 civilians dead. After January 1994, a selected group of Mexican army officials accepted the Guatemalan army's offer to train Mexican forces in counterinsurgency warfare. Since then additional groups have been trained. This is not the only US connection to the warfare strategies used by the Mexican military. Between 1988 and 1998, over 700 Mexican military officials had been trained at the School of Americas in the USA, more than from any other Latin American country. Hundreds of millions of dollars in US military aid have been sent between 1994 and 1998, primarily under the auspices of the war on drugs...

Mariana Mora

Massacre in Chiapas

Feb., 1998

Referenced in: Indigenous and Women’s Resistance to Globalization in Chiapas
By Soneile Hymn

Dec. 2006


Added: August 29, 2009

Phillip Craig Garrido

Nancy Garrido

California, USA

Reapareció niña secuestrada en 1991

El 11 de junio de 1991, Jaycee Lee Dugard, una niña de 11 años, fue raptada en las inmediaciones del lago Tahoe, en Estados Unidos, cuando se dirigía a tomar el autobús escolar.

Este jueves, más de 18 años después, su presunto secuestrador la entregó a la policía en California...

BBC

 Aug. 28, 2009

18 Years of Missed Chances to Find Kidnap Victim

Antioch - Authorities struggled to explain Friday how they missed opportunity after opportunity over 18 years to discover Phillip Craig Garrido's alleged backyard prison compound for girls - some admitting to bungling, others giving Garrido credit for outwitting them.

During the time prosecutors say Garrido, a registered sex offender, kept Jaycee Lee Dugard [kidnapped from her school bus stop at age 11] prisoner, he had two daughters with her and allegedly housed all three in tents and sheds in a walled-off backyard on unincorporated land near Antioch...

During the time prosecutors say Garrido, a registered sex offender, kept Jaycee Lee Dugard prisoner, he had two daughters with her and allegedly housed all three in tents and sheds in a walled-off backyard on unincorporated land near Antioch...

The leader of one local law enforcement agency... admitted Friday to a sloppy investigation that missed an opportunity to rescue Dugard and her girls nearly three years ago from the man some neighbors called "Creepy Phil." ...

Ralph Hernandez, a former police officer, said he visited Garrido's home last year and met his wife and a young girl. Although he saw nothing suspicious himself, parole officials should have done more than just look around the inside of the home, he said.

"They should have done unannounced visits," Hernandez said. "There were a lot of chances for them to solve this early on. They blew it."

Jaxon Van Derbeken, Henry K. Lee, Kevin Fagan,

San Francisco Chronicle

 Saturday, August 29, 2009

See also:

LibertadLatina Commentary

The case of the kidnapping at age 11, and 18 years of sexual slavery faced by Jaycee Lee Dugard is tragic. The fact that it took the assertive action of a female University of California Berkley police officer to break the case, after years of missed opportunities, also makes a statement about the need for women sworn officers to represent women's interests in police matters. Public comment in regard to the August 29th San Francisco Chronicle article (see above link) focuses heavily on anger about the fact that the case of Jaycee Lee Dugard was not solved earlier because the perpetrator was cut too much slack.

We remain concerned that press coverage of child sexual victimization within the United States remains a topic that focuses on cases of white, middle class girls. All of their cases are deserving of intense police attention. But so are the thousands of cases involving poor girls of color, where victims and those are risk are not well served by law enforcement. This has been a topic of discussion in the mainstream press in the United States for years.

LibertadLatina documents several case histories where law enforcement simply dropped the ball on investigations into child sexual exploitation. We hope that the current emphasis on fighting human trafficking is giving officers on the street both training and 'permission' from their command structures to treat cases involving poor Latina and especially immigrant victims of rape, human trafficking and intimidation with the dignity and urgency that the case of Jaycee Lee Dugard is receiving after the fact.

Latina adult women have also felt the indifference of law enforcement. In one case where I intervened in 2004, officers would not arrest three Latino indigenous men who attempted rape of a Latina indigenous woman walking home from work at night, when the men lunged out of some trees and grabbed her. Only after I showed the responding officers my LibertadLatina business card did these officers 'snap-to,' call their shift supervisor to the scene, and arrest only one of the three suspects. At the trial, where this man was found guilty, the judge yelled out, referring to the officers, "why didn't you arrest all three suspects?"

We support law enforcement. Having worked as a civilian computer programmer for my local police agency, I know that officers on the street need to be given both training and 'permission' from their superiors to feel empowered to actually enforce the law when the victims are Latin Americans, immigrants, and other people of color. Beyond that, the command structure must reinforce the fact that personal prejudices will not be tolerated in the performance of police duties.

See also:

LibertadLatina

* Our 1999 letter the the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children about unresponsive police action to protect young underage Latina girls from sexual harassment and rape in the city of Gaithersburg, Maryland

* A responding letter from a girl's center director in Washington, DC, who witnessed apathetic police response to the systematic rape with impunity of Latina girls from the age of nine and up by gang members and other men in DC's local Latin communities

* The story of the Child Rape Camps run by Mexican child sex traffickers in San Diego County, California, and ineffective law enforcement responses to the mass kidnappings and rape of girls as young as age 7 on U.S. soil.

* Our February, 2004 commentary addressing the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in regard to poor treatment by law enforcement in cases involving poor Latina child victims

Excerpt:

…Thousands of Mexican, Central American, Eastern European, Asian and African children… have been trafficked through the Mexican border to face torture, rape and death in the U.S. This web site, and the efforts of some very brave journalists (including Peter Landesman of the New York Times and also those of the Spanish language NBC subsidiary Telemundo network) strive to address these harsh issues head on. These efforts at public education and open dialog have finally broken the 'code of silence' that has for decades forced victims to remain unheard and undefended in the face of the most outrageous violations of a person's personal dignity and basic human rights... the right to the sanctity of one's own human body...

The child rape camps that exist today in San Diego, California were known about by law enforcement for ten years before any action was taken to raid them. A Latina medical doctor was threatened with legal action if she violated the non-disclosure section of her federal government contract to provide condoms to the San Diego child rape camp victims. She was forced not to take action and organize the rescue of these girl victims, some of them as young as 7 years old...

LibertadLatina.org encourages the NCMEC and the criminal justice system in the U.S. to find its voice on these issues and to speak up in public in defense of these innocent children.  Being Black or 'Brown' or Indigenous and/or Mexican and/or Central American children does not reduce their right to equal law enforcement and judicial protection.  

One has to ask the simple question: Is even one of these many thousands of Latina child kidnapping and sexual slavery victims registered in the Amber Alert system?  Are any of the hundreds of child victims of the San Diego, California child rape camps registered with the Amber Alert system?  If not, why not?

The 5, 7, 10, 13 and 16 year old 'Marias' of the United States face exploitation and impunity from sexual predators in their homes, in their neighborhoods, in their schools, in their... jobs, and for some, while being enslaved in the brothel. Each one of them deserves as much attention from this nation's law enforcement, judicial officers and advocacy organizations as (the equally deserving and tragic cases of) Polly Klass, Megan Kanca and Carlie Brucia.

The fact that cases as horrendous as those of these three girls occur every day in the United States in silence, targeted against indigenous and Latin American girls and boys by the thousands, should rightly shock the public, the National center for Missing and Exploited Children and every agency with responsibility for protecting our children...

May all of the child victims who have-been and are-being raped, tortured and murdered with impunity while nobody comes to their rescue, be in the Creator's hands and in the thoughts and actions of all of those who can, and want-to do something to stop this madness...

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

Feb. 11, 2004

End impunity now!

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

Aug. 29, 2009

 


Added: August 28, 2009

Our Ongoing Coverage of Military and Police Impunity, and State Complicity in the Perpetration of Murder Targeting Indigenous Communities

Mayan Indigenous women resist a Mexican Army incursion into their community near the time of the 1997 Acteal Massacre

Mexico

Acteal assassins released from prison

In an unprecedented ruling on Wednesday that overturned a lower court on legalistic rather than constitutional grounds, the Supreme Court released 20 prisoners serving time for the infamous Acteal massacre in which paramilitaries gunned down 45 indigenous members of Las Abejas, a pacifist group, on December 22, 1997. At least 30 additional paramilitary members will be released in coming days as Justices complete paperwork.

In its 4-1 decision, the Supreme Court ignored eye witness evidence from survivors, focusing instead on mismanagement of the investigation by the Federal Attorney General and fabrication of evidence by presiding judges. “This tribunal is not absolving anyone of guilt,” claimed Justice Jose Ramon Cossio. “We determined that the complainants did not receive due process, which is not equivalent to a pronouncement of innocence.”

However, dozens of paramilitary members, many who confessed to their crimes, are now free, and some have threatened to return to seek revenge against survivors of the massacre who testified against them. Human rights groups universally criticized the decision on three grounds: confessed assassins were released from prison, eye witnesses are now in danger, and the intellectual authors of the massacre have never been brought to justice.

Religious leaders affiliated with both the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) and the [ruling] National Action Party (PAN) [of President Felipe Calderón] organized the legal defense of the paramilitaries under the Center for Economic Research and Teaching (CIDE). CIDE is suing the Fray Bartolome Human Rights Center, community leaders from Mitziton, and Hermann Bellinghausen, reporter from La Jornada, for defamation of character. The religious leaders are affiliated with the Eagle’s Wings and the Army of God, evangelical groups who claim as members the paramilitaries who carried out the Acteal massacre.

Mexico Solidarity Network

News for August 3-16, 2009

See also:

Mexico's top court orders the release of 20 men convicted in 1997 Chiapas massacre

Mexico City - Mexico's Supreme Court ordered freedom for 20 men convicted in the 1997 massacre of 45 Indian villagers in southern Chiapas state and new trials for six more, ruling Wednesday that prosecutors used illegally obtained evidence.

The bloodshed in the village of Acteal was the worst single instance of violence during the conflict in Chiapas, which began when the Zapatista rebels staged a brief armed uprising in early 1994 to demand more rights for Indians.

Paramilitaries with alleged ties to government figures attacked a prayer meeting of Roman Catholic activists who sympathized with the rebels. Over several hours on Dec. 22, 1997, the assailants killed 45 people, including children as young as 2 months old...

Antonio Arias, who was wounded in the attack, called the ruling unfair and warned there could be unrest in Acteal if those released return there.

"We feel a lot of pain in our hearts because we think it's unfair that after almost 12 years these people are being freed when we know they are responsible because we saw them," Arias said in the nearby city of San Cristobal de las Casas, where members of his community gathered to pray for the continued imprisonment of those convicted in the massacre.

...Victims' families say the massacre resulted from a bid to crush the Zapatistas, with state officials providing weapons and paramilitary training for the attack...

Olga R. Rodriguez

The Associated Press

Aug. 12, 2009

Acteal: Comunicado de Comunidad Las Abejas

Las “pruebas verdaderas que son nuestros testimonios que los vimos asesinar…”, declaran los sobrevivientes de Acteal.

Ante las versiones que se han empezado a difundir en algunos medios de comunicación de que la Suprema Corte de Justicia de la Nación está a punto de emitir una sentencia que permitirá poner en libertad a 40 de los paramilitares responsables de la masacre de Acteal del 22 de Diciembre de 1997, queremos declarar lo siguiente:

Nosotros y nosotras somos los integrantes de la Sociedad Civil Las Abejas, del Municipio de San Pedro Chenalhó, Chiapas y con sede en la Tierra Sagrada de Acteal de ese mismo municipio.

...Con el apoyo de la sociedad civil nacional e internacional presionamos al gobierno para que castigara a los responsables de la Masacre de nuestros hermanos. La primera detención de un grupo de autores materiales se dio el mismo día en que sepultamos a nuestros seres queridos ante los ojos de miles de testigos. Como una provocación los asesinos se paseaban enfrente de los sobrevivientes en un camión de la presidencia municipal de Chenalhó, cuando todavía estaba fresca la sangre de los mártires. Ahora dicen los licenciados defensores de los presos que esos paramilitares deben quedar libres porque cuando obligamos a las autoridades a que los detuvieran no había una orden de aprehensión. Y así como ése son sus argumentos para liberarlos...

Acteal: Statement from Las Abejas Community on the release of paramilitaries

...In 1997, [Mexican government] armed paramilitary groups appeared in Chenalhó. Through force they demanded that all the communities help them buy weapons and attack the Zapatistas. If we didn’t accept taking up arms against the government would we possibly accept taking them up against our own indigenous brothers and sisters? We refused to support the armed paramilitary groups that we saw clearly had the support of the government to get weapons, to be trained and to take violent actions. We were loyal to our principles in spite of the threats and when we refused to support them, the paramilitaries kidnapped us, ran us out of our communities, robbed our harvests, took our belongings and burned our houses. Because of this we became displaced, but we remained loyal to our principles of peace and non-violence.

It was while we were displaced that the paramilitary attacked on December 22, 1997 and the Acteal Massacre occurred, where 45 of our brothers and sisters died while praying and fasting for peace...

Today, five months from the twelfth anniversary of the murder of our brothers and sisters we were informed with great sadness and indignation that the government is going to free 40 of these paramilitaries through a Supreme Court of Justice decree, that more appropriately should be called the Supreme Court of Injustice. Faced with this news we declare the following:

1) It’s not true, as many media outlets are saying, that the Supreme Court decree is a step towards achieving justice for Acteal. Rather it’s a step back from the little that has been achieved. It’s a step forward for impunity.

2) They are saying that the PGR [Federal Attorney General’s Office] fabricated evidence against the prisoners and that what the Supreme Court is doing is just because there is no true evidence of the paramilitaries’ guilt. This is not true either. There is and there has always been real evidence which is our testimony of who we saw do the killing and we know the paramilitaries. But the government (the Attorney General and the judges) has weakened our evidence. They created holes in the case so that when this moment arrived the paramilitaries would be able to get out through these holes with the help of their lawyers and Supreme Court judges. It’s the same thing they do so that the narcos go free. The Supreme Court is not correcting the work of the PGR as they say. It is completing the work they started so that the accomplices of the government can remain free.

3) They say that we haven’t presented proof of the guilt of the paramilitaries. This is not true either. We’ve presented proof not once but many times. And 11 years after the murders in Acteal they continue calling on us to present our statements, because they tell the judge or the public ministry that something is missing from the previous time. To the lawyers from CIDE we say that their clients are not the only victims of corruption in the justice system. They have had those witnesses who saw their loved ones die repeat time and again the terrible story with all the pain it causes their hearts. And in the end they say: “we need you to tell us again because the judge ordered a renewal of the proceedings.” We know that this is called “psychological torture.”

4) The communities of Chenalhó are ill at ease because for days rumors have been circulating that when their friends get out the paramilitaries who have been free this whole time are going to get those who sent their friends to jail. We hold the Supreme Court and all their accomplices, from Mr. Aguilar Camín, the CIDE lawyers and the government of Felipe Calderón responsible if the return of these 40 paramilitaries brings violence back to our municipality. We hold them responsible for the lives of the witnesses and any criminal act that these paramilitaries who they say are innocent commit.

5) We call on the country’s highest authorities to reflect on what they are doing. If organizations such as Las Abejas Civil Society, who reject violence as a means to defend our rights, tell them that the justice system and state institutions are completely on the side of the government accomplices, then, what path does that leave us? What hope do the Mexican people have? The government says that it is against violence but daily we see how it is the first to promote it.

6) In spite of this, we, the members of Las Abejas Civil Society declare that we are not going to take down our flag of peace and justice. We are going to continue fighting in a non-violent way. But we don’t have any faith in the government. Our faith is in the solidarity of civil society, in the blood of our martyrs which gives us strength to not abandon the struggle and in our god who is not deaf to the clamor of the poor and oppressed.

Yours faithfully,

The Voice of Las Abejas Civil Society

For the Board of Directors:
* Sebastián Pérez Vázquez, President

* Pedro Jiménez Arias, Vice President

* Francisco Gómez Pérez, Treasurer

* Francisco Pérez Gómez, Deputy Treasurer

Translated by Scott Campbell

Las Abejas [The Bees] Civil Society Organization

Sacred Land of the Acteal Martyrs, Chiapas, Mexico

August 9, 2009

See also:

LibertadLatina Special Section

The Acteal Massacre - Chiapas Mexico - December 22, 1997


Added: August 27, 2009

Mexico

Photo: CIMAC

Las mujeres en México: Perseguidas, procesadas y encarceladas por abortar

México, DF -Tiene 20 años y se llama Alejandra Gómez Sánchez. Decidió inducirse un aborto a las 14 semanas en la Cruz Roja de Puebla. Fue detenida y ahora enfrenta un proceso penal bajo la amenaza de ser condenada a 12 años de prisión.

En México, Alejandra no es la única mujer encarcelada por abortar. Hay decenas de casos esparcidos por los estados que han modificado sus constituciones para proteger la vida “desde el momento de la concepción”...

Women in Mexico: Persecuted, prosecuted and imprisoned for abortion

Mexico City – She is 20-years-old and her name is Alejandra Gomez Sanchez. She decided to have an abortion at the 14th week of pregnancy at the Red Cross in the city of Puebla. Because of her action, she was arrested and now faces criminal prosecution and 12 years in prison.

In Mexico, Alexandra is not the only woman who has been jailed for abortion. There are dozens of cases scattered across the [13] states that have amended their constitutions to protect life "from the moment of conception".

Landy Jafcel Hernandez Rodriguez, 22, was jailed for an abortion in the city of Tijuana, in Baja California state. Twenty women were jailed for the same reason in Guanajuato. Some 130 women who had been raped and then chose abortion are also being prosecuted in Guanajuato.

These women were reported to the police by doctors and nurses at public hospitals. Prosecutors have accused them of "parental murder." They face prison sentences of up to 35 years.

These reversals in regard to sexual and reproductive rights have been promoted and specified by state governments run by the conservative National Action Party [PAN], in some cases in partnership with the Institutional Revolutionary Party [PRI]. Both parties prefer to criminalize women who seek abortion before they would criminalize their rapists.

The persecution against Mexican women who freely decide what to do with their bodies is a grim reality promoted by the government of President Felipe Calderón. The threat of imprisonment hangs over them...

These policies condemn poor women to have abortions in Mexico because of their condition of poverty, not because of reasons of morality. Mexican women who have resources travel to the United States, and pay between $800 and $1500 for an abortion. The political and social groups that promote the criminalization of women hide these realities about abortion.

Abortion has and always will exist in Mexico. The laws intended to stop abortion were not previously applied. Now, the amendments to the constitutions of more than a dozen states have radicalized the harassment and increased repression.

In Mexico, records show that between 850,000 and 2 million abortions are performed each year. Some 1,500 women die every year from medical complications from illegal abortions.

The government maintains a double standard on this issue. When Mexico faces international forums, they avoid talking about their retreat from sexual and reproductive rights for women, particularly when speaking before the United Nations Human Rights Council as part of the nation’s so-called Universal Periodic Review…

Guanajuato... is the state with the highest number of women imprisoned for abortion. Here... 130 women who were raped have been prosecuted, while most of their rapists continue to enjoy freedom. In recent years, nine women have been sentenced and 11 are being processed. Guanajuato has banned abortion in cases of rape since 1978.

The Mexican government persecutes women who fight for their sexual and reproductive rights. It is time that international human rights organizations  challenge them. It's time to stop this 'hunt.'

Sanjuana Martínez

Sanjuana Martinez is a freelance investigative journalist and writer, author of several books, most recently: Se venden niños (They sell children), published by Editorial Temas de Hoy.

CIMAC Noticias

News for Women

Mexico City

Aug. 26, 2009


Added: August 26, 2009

Peru, The United States

Underage prostituted youth at the entrance to a brothel in Lima, Peru - From a Peruvian television news documentary on child prostitution (In Spanish)

News Release

Travelers Unite to Stop Child Sex Trafficking in Peru

Campaign Seeks to Pressure Peruvian Government to Pass and Enforce Laws

Berkeley, California, USA - Peru's fascinating cultural heritage and Incan legacy are being eclipsed by a more sinister attraction. Young women and girls, as well as boys, are being exploited by a commercial sex industry fueled by increasing numbers of tourists who visit Peru to engage in sex with children.

A coalition of five non-profit groups has launched a campaign to highlight the plight of children in Peru's sex trade. The effort, spearheaded by Berkeley-based Ethical Traveler, will send hundreds of letters from concerned travelers to Peru's Minister of Foreign Trade and Tourism, Mercedes Aráoz. The letters will urge Ms. Aráoz to use her influence to end child sex slavery in her country.

"Child sex tourism is a threat to Peru's status as a world-class travel destination," says Jeff Greenwald, Ethical Traveler's Executive Director. "If the practice is allowed to continue, travelers of conscience may be reluctant to support the government with their travel dollars."

Sex tourism is a flourishing industry in Peru, where tourists have easy access to vulnerable children. The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child estimated that there are up to 500,000 child victims of sexual exploitation and violence in Peru. But the Peruvian government's efforts to eradicate the sex slave trade have been stalled by corruption, insufficient law enforcement, and apathy.

"Tourism is a major economic force in Peru, and inbound tourism is increasing by 10% every year," says Greenwald. "This means that more children will fall victim to sex slavery, unless we take action now. By joining our voices, travelers can convince Peru to protect these children."

Ethical Traveler's campaign against child sex trafficking in Peru is being waged in partnership with Global Exchange, Not For Sale-Peru, Generación and Peruvian Net Against Child Pornography. For more on this campaign, or to sign and send a letter to the Peruvian Minister of Foreign Trade and Tourism...

Contact: Michael McColl
Director of Communications
Ethical Traveler
michael@ethicaltraveler.org

Berkeley, California

(510) 451 0267

July 14, 2009


Added: August 25, 2009

Mexico, The United States

Our Ongoing Coverage of Military and Police Impunity, and State Complicity in the Perpetration of Rape Crimes

Recommendations from some of the good people working on these issues...

Kenneth Roth, Executive Director of Human Rights Watch and a former U.S. federal prosecutor (left), and HRW Board member Jorge G. Castañeda (right), a former Secretary of Foreign Affairs of Mexico from 2000 to 2003 in the administration of President Vicente Fox

Letter to the Editor to the Washington Post from Human Rights Watch

Human Rights in Mexico's Drug War

The Aug. 13 editorial "Mexico's Drug War" asserted that it would be "counter-productive" for the United States to let human rights concerns hold up the release of funds to support Mexico's fight against drug cartels. In fact, the opposite is true.

Human rights abuses are a major obstacle to Mexico's efforts to strengthen public security and contain drug-related violence. By abusing civilians, Mexican soldiers have contributed to the climate of lawlessness and violence in which drug cartels have thrived. These abuses also deter the public cooperation essential to curbing trafficking.

The United States and Mexico agreed to include human rights conditions in the Merida Initiative to help correct this dynamic. But the Mexican government has yet to comply with key requirements, such as ensuring that civilian authorities investigate alleged army abuses.

Releasing the funds now would betray an important bilateral commitment to human rights and signal that the requirements weren't meant to be taken seriously. It would be a serious setback for Mexican efforts (begun by the Vicente Fox administration) to promote adherence to international human rights commitments and use them to leverage long-overdue reform. It would also undermine the credibility of future U.S. efforts to promote human rights.

The bulk (85 percent) of Merida funds have already been authorized, so enforcement of these human rights requirements does not mean scrapping U.S. support for Mexico's fight against the cartels. Instead, it would make the use of those funds more effective.

Letter to the Editor

The Washington Post

Jorge G. Castañeda

Member, Board of Directors

and...

Kenneth Roth, Executive Director -

Human Rights Watch

Aug. 18, 2009 

See also:

Our Ongoing Coverage of Military and Police Impunity, and State Complicity in the Perpetration of Rape Crimes

Mexico: Calderon Denies Military Impunity

Available Evidence Contradicts President’s Statements

Washington, DC - The claim by President Felipe Calderón of Mexico... that army abuse cases are effectively prosecuted in Mexico flies in the face of all available evidence, Human Rights Watch said...

"There is plenty of evidence showing that army abuses in Mexico routinely go unpunished," said José Miguel Vivanco, Americas director at Human Rights Watch. "Rather than pretending it doesn't exist, the Calderón administration should address the problem and stop defending the failed system of military justice that perpetuates it."

Since Calderón deployed more than 40,000 troops to combat drug-related violence, Mexican soldiers engaged in counternarcotics operations have repeatedly committed egregious abuses against civilians - including rape, torture, and killing. Last year, the country's human rights ombudsman received 1,230 complaints of military abuses, a six-fold increase over the past three years...

Human Rights Watch

Aug. 10, 2009

See also:

Mexico

Our Ongoing Coverage of Military and Police Impunity, and State Complicity in the Perpetration of Rape Crimes

Indigenous Rape Victims Fight Military Impunity

Mexico City, May 29 (IPS) - The aberrations of Mexican justice were clearly visible in the cases of rape and torture allegedly committed by soldiers in 2002 against two indigenous women, Inés Fernández and Valentina Rosendo. But their experiences are not exceptional in rural areas of the southern state of Guerrero.

However, Fernández and Rosendo, both 23, who have suffered death threats and have been stigmatized by neighbors and even by their husbands as rape victims, are not giving up. This month Fernández managed to take her case to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, and Rosendo may achieve the same in the near future.

Abuses by the military and police are a permanent feature of life in rural areas in Guerrero, and reporting them to the Mexican justice system has had little to no effect, according to human rights organizations that have documented the cases.

The state security forces are deployed in Guerrero to fight drug trafficking and small guerrilla groups, the authorities say.

"Under the pretext of security concerns, the authorities are rampantly violating the human rights" of campesinos (small farmers) in Guerrero, most of whom are indigenous people, and what happened to Fernández and Rosendo is a clear example of this, Vidulfo Rosales, the legal coordinator at the Tlachinollan Mountain Human Rights Centre, told IPS.

Fernández, of the Tlapanec people, was raped in March 2002 when soldiers came to her house, demanding to know where the beef she was cooking had come from.

Just 17 years old, Fernández did not reply because she does not speak Spanish. Furious, the soldiers burst into her home and one of them raped her there in front of her four small children, said Rosales, her lawyer.

Rosendo, another Tlapanec woman who was also under 18 at the time, had gone through a similar ordeal a month earlier. She was washing clothes when she was approached by a group of soldiers who tried to question her but got no reply because she, too, did not speak Spanish. One of the soldiers then raped her.

Both cases were reported to the local police and justice authorities. The prosecutions that followed were marred by obstacles like indifferent treatment by experts, a marked lack of interest in securing evidence, and discrimination against the victims, "things that, as we well know, are not at all unusual here in Mexico," Rosales said.

After several months of fruitless procedures, the civil justice authorities handed both cases over to the military courts, which in 2006 closed the investigations on the grounds that there was insufficient evidence to prove that the soldiers concerned had committed "breaches of military discipline." ...

Diego Cevallos

Inter Press Service (IPS)

May 29, 2009

See also:

Mexico

Our Ongoing Coverage of Military and Police Impunity, and State Complicity in the Perpetration of Rape Crimes

Government, Military Scramble to Deny Rape [and Murder] of Indigenous Woman

Mexico City - The handling of the case of an elderly indigenous woman who was allegedly raped by soldiers and died soon afterwards has seriously undermined public trust in the governmental National Human Rights Commission (CNDH), the Mexican government and the armed forces, which deny that she was sexually assaulted.

"We believe they want to let the case go unpunished, which is simply unacceptable. We regret and deplore that the government should abase itself in this way before the power of the military," the president of the Mexican League for the Defence of Human Rights, Adrián Ramírez, told IPS.

Ernestina Ascensio, a 73-year-old Nahuátl indigenous sheep herder, died on Feb. 25 in the rural municipality of Soledad Atzompa in the state of Veracruz, located on the Gulf of Mexico. A military detachment of some 100 troops is stationed in this extremely poor area.

According to the elderly woman's relatives, before she died she told them that several soldiers had attacked her, and this testimony was confirmed by Veracruz prosecutors, who stated after a forensic examination of the body that the injuries received were consistent with having been brutally raped and sodomized. She had also suffered fractures of the skull and hip.

However, a rival version of the facts soon followed. After exhumation of the body and a second autopsy, president of the CNDH José Luis Soberanes declared Thursday that Ascensio had not been raped but had died of anemia caused by malnutrition and chronic intestinal bleeding.

"I don't know whether they're trying to protect the guilty or what, but this information from the CNDH is very serious, because it does not appear to be substantiated," Ramírez said.

"What has happened in this case has created a conflict between the authorities on one side and indigenous people and society on the other," the activist said...

Diego Cevallos

Inter Press Service (IPS)

March 29, 2009


Added: August 25, 2009

California, USA

Daniel Blas Flores

Man Held in Kidnap, Rape of 7-Year-Old Autistic Girl

A Huntington Beach man was arrested after he allegedly kidnapped a 7-year-old autistic girl and then sodomized and raped her, police said Saturday.

Daniel Blas Flores, 27, was arrested Wednesday at his apartment and booked for “several sexual assault related charges,” according to a news release from the Huntington Beach Police Department.

Flores’ apartment is near a Sycamore Boulevard complex where the girl was playing outside with friends, the release said. Flores allegedly kidnapped the girl and then took her back to his apartment where he committed the sexual assaults, police said...

Ari B. Bloomekatz

The Los Angeles Times

Aug. 22, 2009


Added: August 25, 2009

Oregon, USA

Ramiro Pineda-Vargas, 18 (left) and Francisco Lopez-Mendez, 19 (right)

Aloha Teenagers Charged with Abusing 12-Year-Old

Aloha, Oregon - Two men have been arrested by the Washington County Sheriff's Office on a variety of sex charges involving a 12-year-old girl.

Ramiro Pineda-Vargas, 18, was accused of first-degree sex abuse and second-degree sodomy.

Francisco Lopez-Mendez, 19, was accused of first-degree sex abuse, second-degree rape and unlawful penetration with a foreign object.

Investigators said the victim knew both of the suspects, though each man allegedly abused the girl alone on different dates, according to Sgt. David Thompson.

In each case, the suspects allegedly befriended the girl and later had sex with her, Thompson said.

Both men were being held in Washington County Jail without bail after U.S. immigrations officials placed holds on the suspects.

Detectives feared the men may have befriended other young girls and victimized them as well...

www.KGW.com

Aug. 20, 2009


Added: August 25, 2009

California, USA

Two Men Held in Rape, Kidnap of Migrants in Desert

Twentynine Palms - Authorities in San Bernardino County have arrested two people accused of kidnapping two undocumented immigrants, raping one of them and leaving the other naked in the Mojave desert.

Sheriffs officials said Friday that Raul Ibarra and Pedro Marcos were arrested on suspicion of smuggling a Guatemalan couple into the U.S. and holding them captive for a month in a Lancaster home.

Officials say the suspects demanded more money from the victims and dumped them in a remote desert area on Wednesday.

The male victim made his way to a residential area of Twentynine Palms, about 25 miles away, where he helped deputies find his girlfriend.

The Associated Press

Aug. 22, 2009


Added: August 25, 2009

California, USA

Roberto Cavillo

District Attorney Alleges 9 Rape Counts, 5 Other Felonies

Prosecutors on Friday charged Roberto Cavillo - a Mexican citizen originally booked under his alias, Roberto Carranza - with a total of 14 felony counts and another misdemeanor.

The district attorney's office has charged a 36-year-old man with nine counts of suspected rape along with other felony allegations in connection with accusations he held a 40-year-old Watsonville woman captive and repeatedly raped her over a four-day stretch before she escaped.

Prosecutors on Friday charged Roberto Cavillo - a Mexican citizen originally booked under his alias, Roberto Carranza - with a total of 14 felony counts and another misdemeanor alleging possession of paraphernalia. Six counts allege rape by force or fear. Another three counts allege rape in concert with force or violence.

Additionally, the charging sheet filed at the county courthouse includes three felony counts alleging oral copulation by force, another for false imprisonment and one more for assault with a deadly weapon other than a firearm...

The victim was transported to a Bay Area hospital for treatment and forensic analysis, which authorities allege confirmed she had been sexually assaulted and that it had been done using a knife...

The Hollister Freelance

Aug. 24, 2009


Added: August 25, 2009

Massachusetts, USA

Jose Arita

Ismael Martinez

Brookline - It was “grunt detective work’’ that quickly brought down the two suspects in a rape in the popular Coolidge Corner neighborhood, police said.

Brookline police arrested Ismael Martinez, 26, of Waltham late Friday night, the second suspect in the early-morning attack Tuesday on a 30-year-old Brookline woman. He joined Jose Arita, 25, who was arrested Thursday.

The victim, returning from Logan International Airport, had been dropped off by taxi at the corner of Harvard and Beacon streets at about 2:20. As she was walking with her luggage, two men hit her in the head from behind, choked her, and put her into a red pickup truck parked on a side street. The truck sped off, but was caught on police surveillance cameras.

The two suspects face charges of assault with intent to rape, aggravated rape, and kidnapping. Martinez faces an added charge of misleading police during a criminal investigation, but authorities did not elaborate on that charge.

During a news conference yesterday afternoon, Brookline police Lieutenant Philip Harrington praised the work of detectives who worked without rest since the attack, he said.

“It was through old-fashioned good detective work and follow-up investigation that led to the arrest of Mr. Martinez,’’ Harrington said. “It’s an example of the quality of officers we have in this department. . . . The whole department gave a great effort to solving this case.’’

Harrington said that the suspects knew each other and worked together as freelance plasterers. Both suspects are believed to be living in the United States illegally - Arita from Guatemala and Martinez from Mexico. US Immigration and Customs Enforcement is involved in the cases of both suspects, police said...

The attack stunned Brookline, which traditionally has very low rates of violent crime, according to FBI statistics. Tuesday’s attack was the first rape of 2009 in Brookline. There were eight reported rapes in Brookline last year, up from two reported cases in 2007. There hasn’t been a murder in Brookline since 2006...

John M. Guilfoil

The Boston Globe

Aug. 23, 2009


Added: August 23, 2009

Mexico, The United States

Our Ongoing Coverage of Military and Police Impunity, and State Complicity in the Perpetration of Rape Crimes

Mexico Cleared for U.S. Anti-Drug Aid as Army Accused of Crimes

The Obama administration is freeing up $85.4 million to help Mexico fight drug cartels, settling a debate over whether to withhold the money because of allegations the Mexican military is carrying out murders and other crimes.

The State Department sent members of the U.S. House and Senate appropriations committees a report on rights abuses in Mexico last week as the administration steps up efforts to crimp cross-border drug-smuggling and violence. The report is required before the department can spend a 15 percent chunk of 2008 and 2009 funds under the so-called Merida Initiative.

Some lawmakers and activists say the Obama administration is ignoring abuses under the crackdown. The report “is most notable for how little it says about the key issue -- impunity within the Mexican military,” Senator Patrick Leahy, chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on State Department and Foreign Operations, said in an Aug. 18 statement...

...Calling Mexico’s military justice system “manifestly ineffective,” Leahy said that neither Mexico nor the State Department “has treated human rights abuses by the military, which is engaging in an internal police function it is ill- suited for, as a priority.” ...

Leahy, a Vermont Democrat, said earlier this month that release of the Merida funds would be premature because human- rights requirements hadn’t been met...

The State Department will send the new money as soon as it decides how to allocate the funds, a department official said on condition of anonymity.

Under the Merida plan, the U.S. wants Mexico to improve the accountability of federal police forces and the cooperation of those personnel with civilian prosecutors and judicial authorities.

Human-rights proponents said Mexico hasn’t reformed its military justice system and doesn’t deserve the planned $85.4 million payment.

Complaints of abuses by the Mexican military have “increased six-fold in the last three years,” reaching 1,230 in 2008, Kenneth Roth, executive director of Washington-based Human Rights Watch said in a July letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton...

The letter alleged “egregious human rights abuses” by “Mexican soldiers engaged in counter-narcotics and public security operations” including “rapes, killings, torture, and arbitrary detentions, and the failure to bring those responsible to justice.” ...

Juliann Neher

Bloomberg

Aug. 22, 2009

See also:

Mexico

Our Ongoing Coverage of Military and Police Impunity, and State Complicity in the Perpetration of Rape Crimes

A photo taken of underage Mayan girls participating in a community ceremony during Guatemala's civil war. At the time this photo was taken, the girls were surrounded by Army troops, who were also their serial rapists. During the Guatemalan conflict, 200,000 people were murdered by military and  police forces. Some 50,000 of those victims were women and girls. Almost all women and minor girls of any age were raped by soldiers and policemen.

From Guatemala - Land of Eternal Spring - Land of Eternal Tyranny, by Jean Marie Simon - 1988

LibertadLatina

It is hard to imagine that in 2009, the same form of impunity, the systematic rape of indigenous women and girls by military and police forces, that took place during the Guatemalan civil conflict in the 1980s and 1990s, is now taking place (often hidden from the press) in Mexico, as the U.S. Government (once again) closes its eyes and not only does not object to these racially motivated mass gender atrocities, but actually funds the culprits, the Federal Government of Mexico, to the tune of tens of millions of U.S. taxpayer dollars as they continue to do so.

For shame!!

LibertadLatina Commentary

The decision made by  the U.S. administration of President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to ignore legitimate concerns about continued impunity in the behavior of Mexico's military and police forces is lamentable. In our August 21, 2009 commentary and related press articles, we detailed the long history of acts of rape, torture kidnapping and murder that state agents have engaged in during anti-drug operations across Mexico. As we have emphasized before, Mexican authorities target innocent rural indigenous women for rape, knowing that they are treated a less than second class citizens, and are, 500 years after the Spanish conquest, still regarded as peons.

We have no doubt that U.S. President Obama and Mexican president Calderón have inside knowledge that the public has no access to, and that the need for the Merida Initiative funds is urgent. The drug cartels are ruthless, and are indeed kidnapping, raping and murdering innocent civilians more than the government forces are. That does not say much of anything positive for Mexico's troops in this battle, though.

From our perspective, the key point is that President Calderón denies that any problem exists with human rights and the behavior of his federal forces. He therefore will not allow civilian prosecutions of accused rapists, torturers and murderers in the ranks of his uniformed services.

President Calderón's behavior in this regard is consistent with the policies of his National Action Party (PAN), which has focused much of its domestic agenda on rolling back many basic human rights of women, in favor of a promoting a Medieval point of view that honors the feudal  traditions of misogynist and anti-indigenous machismo that their Spanish Conquistador ancestors held dear.

We disagree strongly with the Obama administration's decision to disburse the installment of $85 million in Merida Initiative funds that the U.S. State Department is about to send to Mr. Calderón.

The U.S. Government has sent a message to every poor indigenous woman and girl in the 'war zone' about its attitude towards their suffering, their rapes with impunity at the hands of policemen and soldiers, and the death threats and even murders perpetrated by Mexican authorities targeting them, their family members and others who dare to stand up and defend their human rights. That message is that the United States, the leader of the free world, does not, at the end of the day, care that Mexican military and police forces rape them, jail them and sometimes kill them with total impunity.

We repeat the question to Secretary Clinton that we first stated in our August 21st, 2009 commentary:

Is there a circumstance in which your department can act as the world's leading anti-human slavery and anti-trafficking entity, and as a strong advocate for women's equal rights on the one hand, and on the other hand, turn a blind eye to the institutionalized misogyny and rape, among other major crimes, such as murder, that Mexico's armed services members routinely engage in, targeting their domestic civilian population, and especially rural indigenous women and girls, with no legitimate purpose, and with total impunity?

Although we imagine that behind-the-scenes, President Obama and Secretary Clinton are pressuring President Calderón to clean-up his human rights act in regard to the war on drugs, nothing leads us to believe that he will actually do so. As long as the U.S. caves-in to his demands for more U.S. money with no accountability for the rapes and murders that his forces routinely commit, President Calderón will have no incentive to improve the human rights situation that exists today.

That is unacceptable.

We encourage Senator Patrick Leahy and other forces who believe in defending basic human rights and the Rule of Law to continue their morally righteous fight.

The victims of these mass gender atrocities, and those who are at risk each day, await our serious and effective actions to respond to this impunity, and defend them from this outrageous criminal thuggery!   

End impunity now!

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

Aug. 23, 2009

See also:

Our Ongoing Coverage of Military and Police Impunity, and State Complicity in the Perpetration of Rape Crimes

LibertadLatina Commentary

The below article on the case of Atenco defines in clear terms how rape is used by uniformed authorities in Mexico to engage in state-sanctioned acts of violent repression against any woman who dares to assert leadership and a right to free democratic expression.

The United States has gone to war with nations who were less repressive against their civilian population than the government of Felipe Calderón is. Certainly, the official policies of President Calderón's National Action Party (PAN) are similar to the policies of the Taliban toward women.

That is not an exaggeration.

And the United States wants to fund this behavior and ignore the controls on human rights abuses already built into the Merida Initiative legislation?

President Obama and Secretary Clinton, please explain your 'reasoning' to the American People and the world on this one.

We just don't get it!

End impunity now!

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

Aug. 24, 2009

See also:

Our Ongoing Coverage of Military and Police Impunity, and State Complicity in the Perpetration of Rape Crimes

Mexico

Violencia de Estado, Violencia de Género en Atenco

¿Qué mujer en México, sin importar sus ideas, puede honestamente quedarse callada?

Los testimonios de hombres y mujeres detenidos que han empezado a darse a conocer por organismos de derechos humanos después del desalojo, nos hablan de un grado de violencia física y sexual que recuerda los peores días de las dictaduras del Cono Sur. ¿Pero por qué tanta violencia contra un grupo de campesinos pobres desarmados? ¿Por qué la violencia sexual contra las mujeres del movimiento? ¿No era contraproducente para el Estado una respuesta represiva precisamente ahora que México ha sido elegido miembro fundador del recientemente creado Consejo de Derechos Humanos de la Organización de Naciones Unidas? ...

State and Gender Violence in Atenco

How can any woman in Mexico, regardless of her ideology, honestly remain silent?

Gender Violence: Subjugating Women Social Leaders

If the women of Atenco waving their machetes in the air had become a symbol of peasant resistance, their bloodstained faces and bodies now represent the shame of a repressive Mexican state. The accounts that have come to public light... show the specific form that violence takes in patriarchal systems in which women are still considered war booty.

Both the National Human Rights Commission and the Centro de Derechos Humanos Miguel Agusitín Pro A.C. have direct testimonies from the women being held in custody which describe the sexual attacks they suffered. Most of the victims have preferred to remain anonymous for fear of reprisals, but the deported foreign students -- Valentina Palma from Chile, Samantha Diezmar from Germany, and Christina Valls and María Sastres from Spain -- have denounced the sexual assaults they suffered, as well as those other women were subjected to.

The testimonies made public by the human rights organizations show that the attacks were not isolated cases but rather a strategy of sexual violence which was a key part for the police operation:

"They started to clubbing us on the head. Then they were touching my breasts, my buttocks. Then I felt a hand touching my vagina and penetrating me with the fingers."

"There are cases such as that of a 50-year old woman who was forced to perform oral sex on three policemen in order to get them to set her free. Hiding her face in shame and pain, she says she had gone shopping for a gift for her son when policemen in uniform grabbed her. She says they told her: 'you have to give us each a blow job if you want to go back home.' She was afraid they would hit her, like they had done with the other women, so she did what they asked. In the end they set her free."

"They shut the door of the van where they had us and one said, 'That bitch needs a wedgie,' and started pulling on my panties. He realized I was having my period, because I was wearing a sanitary pad, and shouted to the rest, 'Look at this bleeding bitch, let's get her even dirtier' as he shoved his fingers in my vagina, many times. I was not really there any more, but I remember I could hear myself saying, 'My God, what are they going to do to me?"

Alicia Elena Perez Duarte, the [federal special prosecutor] in charge of crimes against women, said that upon hearing about these testimonies she tried to get in touch with the women held in custody, but the representatives of the government of the locality said there were no women in custody (La Jornada, May 12 2006). This lie points to a web of complicities which made possible a police strategy of terror and sexual violence.

Marinana Selvas, an anthropology student among the 28 activist still in jail, has contended that the Public Attorney's rejection to consider the testimonies of rape is a strategy to allow time to erase any physical evidence of the sexual abuses. This contention has probably put her at risk as she is still under arrest...

The attacks on the women of Atenco add to the long list of women who have been the victims of sexual violence for political motives in the last two presidential terms [during the terms of PAN Party presidents Vincente Fox and Felipe Calderón]. For the more conservative sectors of Mexican society -- both mestizo and indigenous -- any show of organization among women in any community or region has become a synonym of Zapatista influence. Organized women, whether they are Zapatistas or not, are a symbol of resistance and subversion, and for that reason are placed at the center of political violence...

Excerpt from a book by  R. Aída Hernández Castillo

Monthly Review Magazine

June 14, 2006

See also:

Case Files: Testimonies of Rape by Police in the Aftermath of Atenco

From the testimony of Italia Méndez, arrested at Atenco

"I was arrested in a private house in San Salvador Atenco, raided by the Federal Preventive Police...

...Then a policeman shouted at me to call him 'cowboy' and he struck my bottom even more violently, but now with his nightstick and he didn't stop until he heard me say what he asked. He then penetrated my vagina with his fingers and squeezed my breasts hard, then violently pinched my nipples. He invited another policeman to do the same and all the while they continued striking me. Later they invited a third person who they called boss, this last one penetrated me with an object and they threatened to rape me (intercourse). They put me above the penis of one of them and he rubbed himself against my buttocks while the other two police officers encouraged him to penetrate me with his penis, but he did not do it. They repeatedly struck me on my breasts and they struck my stomach while they kissed me on the mouth. How I resisted! The punches were so hard that I would open my mouth so the policeman could put his tongue in my mouth."

"I was naked for the entire journey on top of two more people while a policeman traveled seated on my back and head. Until we arrived at the prison and they permitted me to dress and I was lowered down off the bus."

Méndez summarized the abuse she received at the hands of police:

"PFP [Federal Preventive Police] and State Police stripped me, sexually raped me, and beat me, and forced me to travel nude for approximately four hours. They beat and abused all of the people who were on the bus." ...

Al Giordano

"The Other Journalism" with the "Other Campaign" in San Salvador Atenco

May 17, 2006


Added: August 23, 2009

California, USA

5 sentenced in Los Angeles in prostitution case

Los Angeles - Five people who lured Guatemalan women to Los Angeles, where the women were beaten and forced into prostitution, have been sentenced to federal prison terms of 30 to 40 years.

The ringleader, Gladys Vasquez-Valenzuela, got 40 years in prison Monday in U.S. District Court.

Her sister and two nieces received 30 years each. One of her niece's boyfriends was sentenced to 35 years.

The five were found guilty in February of dozens of counts, including conspiracy and sex trafficking by force and fraud.

The judge said the scheme forced girls as young as 13 to prostitute themselves. Some women saw as many as 30 men per day.

Several victims testified Monday about the brutality they endured and their persistent fears.

The judge said none of the defendants showed any signs of remorse.

The Associated Press

Aug. 17, 2009


Added: August 23, 2009

California, USA

FBI: Human trafficking cases rise as Hispanic population grows in Arkansas

Little Rock - The head of the FBI's Little Rock office says the number of human trafficking cases involving Hispanics has risen in Arkansas.

In an interview Friday with The Associated Press, Special Agent in Charge Thomas Browne said the cases often involve individuals brought to the U.S. for prostitution or as modern-day indentured workers. However, Browne says those caught up in the trafficking cases remain under the control of those who brought them into the country.

Arkansas has had one of the nation's fastest growing Hispanic populations in recent years. U.S. Census Bureau estimates put the state's Hispanic population at roughly 160,000.

Browne later spoke with Hispanic leaders as part of an event put on by the Mexican consulate in Little Rock.

Jon Gambrell

The Associated Press

August 14, 2009


Added: August 23, 2009

Mexico

Mexican Man Allegedly Tries To Sell Woman, 4 Kids To U.S. For $2,000 Each

Mexico City - A Mexican man has been detained for allegedly plotting to sell a young woman, two girls and two boys for $2,000 apiece in the United States, police said Sunday.

Police in the northern state of Sonora said the 19-year-old woman and girls aged 12 and 15 were kidnapped by the suspect and another man. The woman and the girls were freed after being held since June 22 at a house in the town of Cananea, near the Arizona border, police said.

The suspect confessed that he planned sell them to a contact in the United States to work as prostitutes, the a police statement said. He also allegedly wanted to sell his two stepsons, ages 1 and 4, it added.

The man has not been formally charged. He is being held on suspicion of human trafficking, a charge that carries a maximum punishment of 23 years in prison

The Associated Press

Update July 30, 2009

June 29, 2009


Added: August 23, 2009

The United States

Human Trafficking: A Problem of Language?

Why is that human trafficking is so pervasive and yet so misunderstood? Why do we assume that it's really an "overseas" issue? Why do most people think of Cambodia or Thailand when the words "human trafficking" are uttered?

It's not because it does not exist here in the United States--we know it does. As a matter of fact, the numbers are astounding: the sex trade is a multi-billion-dollar industry worldwide. UNICEF estimates that approximately 1 million children around the world unwillingly become sex slaves every year. The U.S. Department of Justice estimates that there are 200,000 U.S. citizens yearly, mainly children and young women, who are at high risk of being trafficked throughout the U.S. for sexual purposes.

The perception of human trafficking as an "overseas" issue has persisted even though the U.S. passed the Trafficking Victims Protection Act in October, 2000 to criminalize the issue domestically. It was the first law specifically intended to prevent victimization, to protect victims, and to prosecute perpetrators of human trafficking here in the States...

I am not alone in believing that much of our ignorance of human trafficking and the subsequent lack of prosecutions are because the terminology is vague and confusing. The very phrase, "human trafficking," is a poor description of what really happens...

Robin Sax - A Former Deputy District Attorney

The Huffington Post

Aug. 21, 2009


Added: August 19, 2009

Mexico, The United States

Our Ongoing Coverage of Military and Police Impunity, and State Complicity in the Perpetration of Rape Crimes

Setting the Record Straight About State Impunity in Mexico

President Barack Obama, center,  with Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper, left, and Mexico's President Felipe Calderon, right, at the leader's trilateral meeting in Guadalajara, Mexico on
Monday, August 10, 2009.  Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

Instituciones de justicia aseguran la impunidad uniformada

Casos ante el Sistema Interamericano lo evidencian

México, DF - El pasado 10 de agosto, al término de la Cumbre de Líderes de América del Norte, realizada en Guadalajara, Jalisco, Felipe Calderón retó “a quienes sostienen” que el Ejército mexicano ha incurrido en violaciones a derechos humanos, a que comprueben  “un sólo caso” que no haya sido investigado...

Mexico's Military Justice Institutions Guarantee Impunity Within the Nation's Uniformed Services

Cases presented before the Inter-American Human Rights Commission and Court provide the evidence of this fact

Mexico City - This past August 10th, at the end of the Summit of Leaders of North America, held in the city of Guadalajara in Jalisco state, Mexican President Felipe Calderón challenged "those who maintain" that the Mexican Army has engaged in human rights violations, to find "one single case” that has not been investigated.

Nonetheless, the international human rights organization Human Rights Watch (HRW) noted in its report "Uniform Impunity", presented in April of 2009 that, although "some cases" are being "investigated" by the military justice system, to date, and according to data from the Ministry of Defense, none of these investigations has resulted in the conviction and sentencing of soldiers accused of having committed human rights violations.

Santiago Aguirre, counsel for the Miguel Agustín Pro Juárez Human Rights Center (PRODH), declared that the challenge offered by President Calderón is "a fallacy," and although cases of human rights violations are documented, the current administration has not taken responsibility for ensuring that institutions exist that are capable of investigating these allegations. "Instead, [Calderón] strengthens the [existing] military code of justice."

Aguirre noted that the cases involved are well documented. "The military’s judicial institutions lack the minimum requirements of due process and fairness. One can only expect that these cases will not succeed, and that they will result in impunity.”

A Long List Of Cases Of Impunity

Sexual assault is one of the most frequent human rights violations committed by military personnel, especially in communities where they are assigned. During 2002 alone, PRODH documented 52 cases of indigenous women raped by soldiers in the states of Guerrero and Veracruz.

Another analysis conducted for the period between 1994 and 2006 documented 86 rapes of indigenous women by soldiers, including 13 cases of rape from the town of Castaños in Coahuila state.

To this list must be added other cases of [sexual] assaults against women by military personnel, which have also gone unpunished due to the lack of access to justice.

In February 2007, an elderly Nahuatl indigenous woman, Ernestina Ascencio, was raped in the Zongolica Mountain region in Veracruz state. [She died as a result of her injuries, and her family received death threats for pursuing justice in her case.]

In May of 2007 four underage girls were raped in the municipalities of Nocupétaro and Carácuaro, in Michoacán state.

There are also the cases of: the González Pérez sisters who were raped in 1994 in the state of Chiapas; that of several indigenous Tlapaneca women raped in 2002 in Guerrero state; that of 12 raped indigenous women from the Loxicha area of Oaxaca state, which was documented by the Mexican League for Defense of Human Rights in 1997; and the cases of two raped women from Barrio Nuevo San José, from Tlacoachixtlahuaca, in Guerrero state.

All of these cases were ‘investigated' and 'prosecuted’ by the military justice system, but in none of these cases, except for that which took place in Castaños, Coahuila, have the perpetrators actually been processed...

...Contrary to what President Felipe Calderón has publicly declared on the issue, in Mexico there is no legal recourse available [for victims] to attain justice.

The last available option in these cases remains the international legal forums [such as the Inter-American Court of Human Rights], where, at least, the Mexican state continues to be penalized for supporting a military code of justice that has generated an accumulation of human rights violations and impunity.

Full English Translation

Lourdes Godinez Leal

CIMAC Noticias

News for Women

Mexico City

Aug. 17, 2009

See also:

Our Ongoing Coverage of Military and Police Impunity, and State Complicity in the Perpetration of Rape Crimes

Excerpt from the Official Press Release of the Trilateral Summit in Guadalajara, Mexico on August 10, 2009

U.S. President Barack Obama:

"...Now, with respect to the conduct of this battle against the cartels, I have great confidence in President Calderón's administration applying the law enforcement techniques that are necessary to curb the power of the cartels, but doing so in a way that's consistent with human rights. And we discussed this in our bilateral meeting and I am confident that as the national police are trained, as the coordination between the military and local police officials is improved, there is going to be increased transparency and accountability and that human rights will be observed.

The biggest, by far, violators of human rights right now are the cartels themselves that are kidnapping people and extorting people and encouraging corruption in these regions. That's what needs to be stopped. That's what President Calderón is committed to doing, and that's what I'm committed to helping President Calderón accomplish as long as he is President of Mexico..."

Mexican President Felipe Calderón:

"...Obviously we have a strong commitment to protect human rights of everybody, the victims and even of the criminals themselves. And this is how it has been, this is how it will continue to be, and this is how the federal police will act, the attorney generals and armed forces will act. In all of these cases, there has been a very scrupulous effort to try to protect human rights in all cases.

And anyone who says the contrary certainly would have to prove this -- any case, just one case, where the proper authority has not acted in a correct way, that the competent authorities have not punished anyone who has abused their authority, whether they be police officers, whether they be soldiers, or anyone else.

We have a clear commitment with human rights. We have met this commitment, and we will continue to do so -- not because of any money that might come or come through the Merida Initiative or what's said in the Congress; because we have the strong commitment to human rights. And I certainly in a personal sense for several decades now, I have always had this commitment."

The White House - Office of the Press Secretary

Press Conference by President Obama, President Calderón of Mexico, and Prime Minister Harper of Canada

Guadalajara, Mexico

August 10, 2009

See also:

Our Ongoing Coverage of Military and Police Impunity, and State Complicity in the Perpetration of Rape Crimes

Mexico, The United States

Senator Patrick Leahy

Senator Leahy places hold on $100 million in aid to Mexico

The Washington Post reported today that Senator Patrick Leahy (Democrat - Vermont) blocked the release of $100 million in U.S. aid to Mexico after rejecting the State Department's report to Congress which praised Mexico's progress on human rights. According to the article, the State Department will rewrite the report and attempt to submit it after Congress reconvenes in September...

Just the Facts

Aug. 05, 2009

See also:

Statement Of Senator Patrick Leahy On The Merida Initiative

Congressional Record

Mr. Leahy.

...For years we have trained Mexican and Central American police forces, and it is well known that some of them have ended up working for the drug cartels. It is common knowledge that corruption is rampant within their law enforcement institutions – the very entities we are about to support.

It is also beyond dispute that Mexican and Central American military and police forces have a long history of human rights violations – including arbitrary arrests, torture, rape and extra-judicial killings – for which they have rarely been held accountable. Examples of army and police officers who have been prosecuted and punished for these heinous crimes are few and far between. Mexican human rights defenders who criticize the military for violating human rights fear for their lives.

Some, particularly the Mexican press, argue that conditioning our aid on adherence to the rule of law is somehow an “infringement of sovereignty,” “subjugation” or “meddling,” or that it “sends the wrong message.” I strongly disagree.

Since when is it bad policy, or an infringement of anything, to insist that American taxpayer dollars not be given to corrupt, abusive police or military forces in a country whose justice system has serious flaws and rarely punishes official misconduct? This is a partnership, not a giveaway...

U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy

Democrat - Vermont

May 21, 2008

See also:

Our Ongoing Coverage of Military and Police Impunity, and State Complicity in the Perpetration of Rape Crimes

LibertadLatina Commentary

We commend U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont for having been brave enough to stand up and put a stop to the release to Mexico of a pending $100 million installment of U.S. funds destined to assist in combating the drug cartels as part of the Merida Initiative program.

These funds are indeed important to the effort to stop the cartels. However, Congress held back this $100 million because of Mexico's failure to live up to the human rights standards spelled out in the oversight provisions contained within the U.S. law that funds the Merida Initiative.

If Mexico is not certified by the U.S. State Department as having made improvements in human rights, the U.S. Congress, and specifically Senator Leahy, as Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has an obligation to withhold the $100 million in pending Merida Initiative funds for this year until Mexico's government has proven that its military and police forces are improving their dismal track record on respecting basic human rights.

In this particular case, Senator Leahy rejected the U.S. State Department's fictitious report on a supposedly improved human rights track record, thus putting the brakes on the distribution of Merida Initiative funds.

As the above August 17, 2009 article on the subject by journalist Lourdes Godinez Leal of the CIMAC women's news agency in Mexico City demonstrates, Mexico's military service members routinely target rural indigenous women for violent rape. Some of those cases end in the death of the victim. All such cases result in complete impunity for the perpetrators and unending death threats against victims who attempt to seek justice.

Yet President Calderón shields his military by refusing to allow criminal cases against armed services members to be tried in civilian courts. The nation's military justice system has proven time and again that it will only exonerate accused soldiers, no matter how convincing the evidence.

In addition to the systematic use of rape as a weapon of war targeting innocent rural indigenous women, Mexico's military also faces numerous accusations that its members have engaged in arbitrary detentions, torture, and murder.

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights are truly the venues of last resort for victims of criminal impunity perpetrated by armed services members in Mexico. We see no evidence that President Calderon plans to improve the horrible situation that exists today, where service members literally get away with rape and murder, and not one judicial institution in the entire nation can fairly provide due process to the victims of these heinous crimes.

We thank Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and other human rights groups for having invested their time and resources to investigate, document and then communicate to the Government of Mexico, and to the U.S. Congress, the gravity of this situation.

Leaders in Mexico's human rights community are fearful that U.S. funds from the Merida Initiative will strengthen military institutions that today have no incentive to respect human rights. In fact, armed forces members increasingly violate the rights of Mexico's citizens as well as those of Central and South American migrants seeking to cross Mexico to reach the U.S.

It was flat out wrong for the U.S. State Department to send the U.S. Senate a report on supposed improvements in Mexico's human rights record given the reality on the ground. Senator Leahy was brave enough to tell the State Department that their report was wrong, and that they had better 'take it back to the office' and change its contents to tell the truth about what is really going on in Mexico.

What is really going on in Mexico is a systematic violation of basic human rights by soldiers and police who often hide behind the veil of drug enforcement operations activity to aggressively terrorize those innocents who are the most impoverished and voiceless in Mexican society: poor rural indigenous women and others who dare to stand up to defend their rights to freedom and empowerment, in the face of a feudal, often racist conquistador mentality on the part of elites and government agents who demand that indigenous peoples remain silent, subservient and yes, enslaved.

Across Mexico, human rights complaints against military personnel by citizens in all walks of life have also risen drastically during the present escalation of the federal war against the drug cartels.

It is also hard to take President Calderón's pleas of innocence seriously when we consider the case of  the 'police riot' in the city of San Salvador de Atenco, a suburb of Mexico City, in early May of 2006.

Federal, state and local police officers broke up a protest march to defend the right of flower vendors to work in that city. The event was attended largely by women.

At least 26 women were sexually assaulted by these police officers. These crimes, which took place largely when handcuffed and blindfolded female prisoners were being escorted in trucks to a local prison, included cases of rape, digital penetration and penetration by foreign objects.

Only one police officer was tried, because his victim, who was forced to perform oral sex on him, saw his face when he lifted the blindfold off of her eyes and demanded, "Now swallow it, bitch." The judge only gave the officer a US $800 fine, which he later reduced to $0. All of the perpetrators of these crimes remain on active duty as police officers.

FEVIMTRA, the Attorney General's special prosecutor's office for crimes of violence against women and human trafficking, refused to involve itself in the Atenco case.

How can Mexico be taken seriously as an honest actor on human rights when this type of mass criminal behavior by law enforcement is intentionally condoned?

We ask U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton,

Is there a circumstance in which your department can act as the world's leading anti-human slavery and anti-trafficking entity, and as a strong advocate for women's equal rights on the one hand, and on the other hand, turn a blind eye to the institutionalized misogyny and rape, among other major crimes, such as murder, that Mexico's armed services members routinely engage in, targeting their domestic civilian population, and especially rural indigenous women and girls, with no legitimate purpose, and with total impunity?

We can't imagine that such a scenario can exist in the real world.

If it does exist, then the Obama Administration appears to have chosen to ignore the humanity and basic human rights of indigenous women and girl children, who all across the Americas are subjected to rape and murder with impunity, with virtually no access to legal recourse from the governments of the western hemisphere.

A U.S. acceptance of Mexican government impunity in its active participation in the repression of innocent indigenous women and children is tantamount to the Obama Administration's granting of official U.S. sanction for misogynist and racially motivated acts of rape and murder targeting native peoples, while using hundreds of millions of dollars in funding from the United States of America as the 'fuel' that supports that criminal behavior.

Turning a blind eye to Mexico's tolerance of official impunity is also a slap in the face to all women who engage in pro human rights  activism and journalism, only to face death threats and repressive actions like Atenco in response.

Unfortunately, Mexico's current government does indeed engage in acts of criminal impunity in violation of individual human rights, a problem that, in the context of its relationship with the 30% of the population who are indigenous, has been an ongoing problem for the past 500 years. It is the moral and legal responsibility of the United States government to stand up and respond to that harsh reality.

In parallel with this human rights tragedy, the drug cartels, the mafias and the Japanese Yakuzas work feverishly to kidnap and sell as many thousands of Mexican and Central American Migrant women and children as they can, especially indigenous victims, into sexual slavery across the world. Mexico's federal government, and its military and police forces do virtually nothing to stop this mass gender atrocity, and corrupt agents of the state aid and abet such criminal behavior.

The low intensity 'gender war' of impunity carried out by Mexico's military in the region greatly exacerbates this crisis, and creates the conditions of impunity in which modern slavery is allowed by the State to exist and thrive.

All of these behaviors on the part of President Calderón's government agents are consistent with policies set forth by his National Action Party (PAN), which has drawn strong criticism from women's rights group across Mexico for rolling back women's equal rights in a number of areas.

Acts of repression against women's equality are a hidden arm of official state policy in Mexico.

We do not agree to send $100 million of our U.S. tax dollars to serve the purposes of a Mexican government that systematically rapes, tortures, illegally detains and even murders the innocent under the pretext of engaging in anti-crime operations. Neither should any U.S. citizen agree to do so. We do have a right to say NO!

No, President Obama!

Do not send my tax dollars to support the rape and murder with impunity of indigenous women and children and other 'unpopular' targets of state power in Mexico!!

Fight the cartels? Yes!

Fund Mexico's military and police infra-structure while President Calderón refuses to clean-up corruption and repression, and while he resists effective human rights monitoring as a condition of U.S.  funding... No!!

Indigenous women and children, and activist women are human beings too. It is about time that the U.S. recognize that fact, even if President Calderón's misogynist government refuses to. 

End impunity now!

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

Aug. 19-21, 2009

See also:

Our Ongoing Coverage of Military and Police Impunity, and State Complicity in the Perpetration of Rape Crimes

Los Angeles Times:

Mexico's war on civil rights

Obama must demand an end to abuses linked to President Felipe Calderon's drug crackdown.

...The war on drugs is turning into a war on the civilian population that can't simply be dismissed as collateral damage. Mexico's military is capturing "capos," but it's also raping, extracting confessions through torture and detaining people arbitrarily. Crime is begetting more crime.

In light of this, U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) was right this week to call "premature" the U.S. State Department's draft report claiming that Mexico has fulfilled its human rights obligations under the so-called Merida Initiative. He is right to remind officials on both sides of the border that in return for Merida's $1.4 billion in counter-narcotics aid from the United States, the Calderon government made promises it has not kept. Key among these are greater transparency and accountability, and the imperative that military officers be tried by civilian courts.

Time and again, Calderon has resisted these demands, adopting an increasingly contradictory stance. Calderon stands with his hand outstretched, asking the U.S. for more support and involvement in the war on drugs. But he also obstinately defends military exceptionalism regarding the justice system, decries U.S. intervention in Mexico's internal affairs and rallies Mexico's political class under the banner of a politically expedient anti-Americanism.

In other words, Calderon wants to have his cake and eat it too. He wants the helicopters and the military assistance and the money that the Merida Initiative will disburse without having to abide by the human rights commitments it contains.

So unless the Obama administration insists that those requirements be met, the Merida Initiative will simply be financing impunity...

Denise Dresser

Los Angeles Times Editorial

Denise Dresser is a columnist for the Mexican newspaper Reforma and a professor at the Autonomous Technological Institute of Mexico.

Aug. 07, 2009

See also:

Our Ongoing Coverage of Military and Police Impunity, and State Complicity in the Perpetration of Rape Crimes

Indigenous Mayan women and men, members of the Zapatista Movement's Good Governance Council, at the conclusion of the June, 2009 Americas Encounter Against Impunity

Zapatistas: el plan Mérida busca eliminar a disidentes

Caracol de Morelia, Chis. 22 de junio. Al clausurar el Encuentro americano contra la impunidad la noche del domingo, la junta de buen gobierno (JBG) zapatista de la región Tzotz Choj sostuvo que el plan Mérida no es contra la delincuencia, sino un instrumento para “encarcelar, torturar y desaparecer” a los que luchan por sus derechos...

Zapatistas: Plan Merida Seeks to Eliminate Dissidents

Caracol of Morelia, in Chiapas state - In bringing to a close the American Meeting Against Impunity on Sunday night, the Zapatista Good Government Council (JBG) from the Tzotz Choj region argued that Plan Merida [also known as the Merida Initiative or Plan Mexico] isn't against organized crime, but rather an instrument to "jail, torture, and disappear" those who fight for their rights.

...Barbara Zamora of the Land and Liberty law firm... "We no longer recognize our country's judicial institutions, because we don't see ourselves in the order they propose to us, in the threads that weave together the community they try to make us a part of." Now "we face a double task: create a new tie that binds us--a completely different kind of political experience--and a new way to protect it."

Also in the vein of finding alternative ways of punishing or preventing crimes against humanity, where "the perpetrator is always the State," Juan de Dios Monge, from the Collective of Zapatista Lawyers and also a defender of many political prisoners and groups in resistance, argued that impunity is the State's modus operandi to avoid punishment for crimes against humanity.

This is "systematic" to the point of "having exhausted the national courts" in favor of maintaining impunity for repression, presumably in the name of legality. In Mexico, the State "conflates justice with revenge" and the courts "make up crimes" with repression being the goal. That is where the necessity of an autonomous international tribunal to eradicate this practice comes from...

Hermann Bellinghausen

La Jornada

Translated for Narco News by Kristin Bricker

June 23, 2009

See also:

Our Ongoing Coverage of Military and Police Impunity, and State Complicity in the Perpetration of Rape Crimes

Oral statement by Human Rights Watch during the UN Human Rights Council’s plenary consideration of Mexico’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) outcome

...The dysfunctional Mexican military justice system routinely takes over the investigation of even the most egregious abuses, including alleged rapes, killings, arbitrary detentions, and torture, by adopting an excessively broad definition of what constitutes an "act of service." ... As of April 2009, the military attorney general has been unable to provide a single example in the last ten years in which a member of the military accused of committing a human rights violation was convicted by military courts...

Human Rights Watch

June 11, 2009

See also:

Our Ongoing Coverage of Military and Police Impunity, and State Complicity in the Perpetration of Rape Crimes

Mexico: Violence Against Indigenous Women and Military Injustice

"Over the last decade Amnesty International has learned of at least nine cases of indigenous women who filed legal complaints of rape by members of the Mexican army. Despite determined efforts of the victims and human rights organizations to secure redress for these grave crimes, the unyielding wall of military jurisdiction has put these cases beyond the reach of justice," said Amnesty International as it launched a new report on the rape of indigenous women in the state of Guerrero by members of the military.

Amnesty International believes that these cases of rape amount to torture under international law. Such serious crimes should automatically ensure investigations of the highest standard.

By focusing on the cases of indigenous women victims of rape between 1997 and 2002, the report highlights the ongoing struggle of victims to overcome intimidation, discrimination, incompetence and obstruction in their search for justice.

"Women victims of sexual violence at the hands of military personnel who dare to confront the very real cultural, economic and social barriers that exist to seek justice, have to contend with poor medical care, substandard forensic examinations and a military judicial system that is incapable of providing minimum guarantees of prosecuting those responsible," said Amnesty International.

The impunity that surrounds these cases has a direct impact on women and indigenous communities in Guerrero, where the heavy presence of the military is a reminder of their trauma and generates fear, dissuading other women from reporting complaints...

Amnesty International Press Release

Nov. 23, 2004

See also:

Our Ongoing Coverage of Military and Police Impunity, and State Complicity in the Perpetration of Rape Crimes

"Rape Perpetrated by the Military"

CIMAC Noticias' collection of over 300 articles covering the fact that military soldiers in Mexico routinely commit rape, especially rape targeting indigenous women. Because President Calderón's government does not allow civilian courts to try accused soldiers, not one soldier has ever been convicted of the rape of civilians by the military courts.

Only cases brought by victims before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights have achieved justice in regard to these barbaric acts, which are behaviors that show the overarching power of sexist and racist impunity in Mexico's civilian and military government institutions.

(In Spanish)

CIMAC Noticias

News for Women

Mexico City

See also:

Our Ongoing Coverage of Military and Police Impunity, and State Complicity in the Perpetration of Rape Crimes

Inés Fernández Ortega

IACHR Takes Cases To The Inter-American Court

Washington, D.C. - The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) filed an application in Case No. 12.580, Inés Fernández Ortega, of 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...

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights

Press Release

June 25, 2009

See also:

Our Ongoing Coverage of Military and Police Impunity, and State Complicity in the Perpetration of Rape Crimes

Guerrero: Member of the OPIM murdered in Ayutla de los Libres
February 21, 2008

On February 10, 2008 in the municipal seat of Ayutla de los Libres, Lorenzo Fernández Ortega, a member of the Organization of the Meph´a Indigenous Peoples (OPIM, Organización del Pueblo Indígena Mepha´a) was killed. In the last few months, the OPIM has denounced the intensification of death threats and other aggressions made by the federal army and supposed paramilitary organizations.

According the OPIM, the intensification of the aforementioned threats coincide with the recommendations made by the National Human Rights Commission (CNDH, Comisión Nacional de Derechos Humanos) in regards to the forced sterilizations imposed on members of the indigenous community of El Camalote. The recommendations also pertained to the testimonies of Inés Fernández Ortega and Valentina Rosendo Cantú made before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) which implicated members of the federal army in cases of sexual assault (2002).

Lorenzo Fernández Ortega was the brother of Inés Fernández Ortega and was from the community of El Camalote. According to the OPIM, “Lorenzo was killed by paramilitaries that work for the 48th Infantry Batallion of the Mexican Army based in Cruz Grande”...

International Service for Peacew (SIPAZ) Blog

Feb. 21, 2008

See also:

Our Ongoing Coverage of Military and Police Impunity, and State Complicity in the Perpetration of Rape Crimes

Reporte de Amnestia Internacional: México: Violencia Contra las Mujeres Indígenas e Injusticia Militar.

Amnesty International Report: Indigenous Women Targeted for Rape with Impunity by Mexican Army in Guerrero State.

Amnesty International

Nov. 24, 2004


Added: August 19, 2009

California, USA

Alfredo Granados Canchola

Man Arrested in Orange County Abduction Attempt

Sheriffs: Suspect possibly involved in other cases

Anaheim - An Artesia man was arrested on Monday for allegedly trying to abduct a 10-year-old girl in an unincorporated area near Anaheim, and sheriff's officials said he may have been involved in similar kidnapping attempts.

Alfredo Granados Canchola, 26, was arrested around 4 p.m. when sheriff's investigators conducted some type of sting. They would not elaborate on how he was captured.

He was booked on suspicion of attempted kidnapping. Sheriff's officials said they are investigating whether he was involved in similar abduction attempts, including one in Irvine, though they did not provide specifics...

"The 10-year-old went out to dump some trash and was on her scooter in an alley behind the residence. A suspect drove up and asked her if she knew someone," he said.

When the girl said no, the suspect "parked his vehicle, got out of the car, and had a handful of cash and asked her if she wanted the money, and if she would get in the car to get the money and talk with him," Amormino said.

The girl pushed away on her scooter, told her parents and her father saw the car as the man drove away. He was able to give investigators a partial license plate number.

[Includes video report]

Fox Television

Los Angeles, CA

Aug. 16, 2009


Added: August 19, 2009

Arizona, USA

Oscar Gonzales

Arrest Made In Sex Abuse Of Girl

El Mirage Police Confirm DNA Match

Phoenix - A 20-year-old man was arrested Tuesday morning in connection with a January 2008 assault and sex abuse of a 14-year girl, El Mirage police said.

Oscar Gonzales was booked into jail on one count each of kidnapping, sexual abuse and molestation of a child...

The victim described the attacker as an Hispanic man in his early 20s, wearing a blue jacket and blue jeans...

El Mirage detectives said they pursued numerous leads in the case but were unable to identify a suspect.

During the initial investigation, investigators obtained DNA evidence and submitted it to the Department of Public Safety Crime lab for processing...

The detectives and lab personnel confirmed the forensic evidence as belonging to Gonzales, officers said.

El Mirage detectives, assisted by the U.S. Marshals task force, took Gonzales into custody without incident at a home in... Phoenix.

KPHO

August 18, 2009


Added: August 17, 2009

Our Ongoing Coverage of Military and Police Impunity, and State Complicity in the Perpetration of Rape Crimes

Colombia, United States

Denuncian abuso sexual a una niña por parte de militares extranjeros

Olga Lucía Castillo, una madre cabeza de hogar desplazada se une a las voces que se oponen a la presencia de militares estadounidenses en bases colombianas y tiene una razón muy poderosa: su hija que hoy tiene 14 años, fue al parecer agredida sexualmente por dos efectivos del ejército de estados unidos cuando vivía en Melgar, Tolima...

Mother Denounces Rape of 12-Year-Old Daughter by U.S. Military Personnel

Olga Lucia Castillo, a mother and head of her household, who is now homeless because of the crime that victimized her child, has joined with a chorus of voices who are denouncing the presence of U.S. military bases in Colombia. She has a very important reason: her daughter, who is now 14, was allegedly sexually assaulted by two United States Army employees when she lived in the town of Melgar, located in the department [state] of Tolima, two years ago.

Castillo stated: "A Michael Coen approached Jessica and asked her if she wanted to have [an alcoholic] drink. Later another man, Cesar Ruiz, appeared. The two men forced Jessica to drink. They then took her in a car with the license plate CTU 046, registered to the U.S. Embassy. The two men entered the Air Force base at Melgar, where she was raped."

The girl, who was 12-years-old at the time, was locked in a room in the apartment of one of the suspects. The suspects then took Jessica back into Tolima in the same vehicle, and she was ‘dumped’ in front of the church in Melgar, added Jessica’s mother.

After this painful attack came an ordeal of impunity and harassment [against the victim and her mother]. Castillo had to leave her job, and as a result of the harassment she became homeless, ending up living in the town’s Third Millennium Park.

Today Olga and her daughter want to insure that this crime [of child rape], one that has also victimized other girls in Melgar, will not be repeated.

Castillo: "In 2006 26 cases were reported to the Family Commissioner of Melgar. In 2007 there were 14 cases, including that of my daughter. In the pornographic films that were made [in another case involving U.S. military personnel], a 16-year-old girl appears. She later committed suicide, as did her boyfriend. And the government has  done nothing about it.”

The crime against Jessica has been attributed to an active duty U.S. Army sergeant and an ex-military contractor, who are working in support of the [U.S. funded] Plan Colombia program.

Jessica and her mother do not want revenge, only justice and recognition of the crimes committed against them. Today they live abandoned and in fear of the threats made against them.

www.caracol.com.co

[Note: Caracol is one of the largest and most reputable news organizations in Colombia.]

Aug. 17, 2009

See also:

Our Ongoing Coverage of Military and Police Impunity, and State Complicity in the Perpetration of Rape Crimes

Investigan a dos militares de E.U. por violación de niña de 12 años en Comando Aéreo de Melgar

Two US Soldiers Investigated for Rape of 12-year-old

Air Force Command, Melgar, Colombia

On Saturday, August 25, Second Sergeant Michael J. Coen and his personal security officer, Cásar Ruiz, who are serving with Colombian forces based in Tolemaida and appointed under Plan Colombia, evaded security protocols of the main Colombian Air Force bunker in the municipality of Tolima.

According to testimonies collected by the local authorities - in which military intelligence also have participated - at 4 am on Saturday, August 25, the soldiers arrived at the Air Force Combat Center 4 (Cacom-4) checkpoint, and without getting out of their white truck, Ruiz, known as "The Mexican", lowered his window a few centimeters, identified himself and they continued on their way.

The poor car inspection, aided by the darkened truck windows, allowed the two men to enter the military complex with a 12-year-old girl who they had met at a dance club four hours earlier in Melgar.

Confidential informants point out that the truck, with license plate number CTU-046, La Calera, was parked in front of the apartment that Ruiz was assigned three months ago. Ruiz is a US citizen of Mexican origin, now apparently retired from the US Army, registered with the US Embassy and a member of the group in charge of the personal security of US personnel participating in the counter-narcotics operations in Colombia.

According to a confidential report, "Ruiz loaned his apartment to "Mango" (Coen's alias) so that he could carry out the illegal conduct."

According to the testimony of the minor, around 8 a.m. on Sunday August 26, "The Mexican" took the girl out in the same truck. During the drive he "tried to seduce her as he caressed her intimate parts, not paying any attention to her protests."

Minutes later, he left her in Melgar's main park, where there were witnesses present...

Other Judicial Proceedings against US Soldiers [include:]

* Pornographic Videos: Three years ago, pornographic videos starring Melgar teenagers with US soldiers and technicians from the Tolemaida base were discovered. They were selling for 5 US dollars. The young girls had to leave the area...

Melgar: Plagued by Sexual Crimes

This case regarding an abused minor is part of a growing societal problem in Melgar, Tolima, that involves sexually exploited minors. This seems to be augmented by the presence of foreigners, especially those from the United States tied to oil and military endeavors as well as by the flow of national tourists...

El Tiempo

[Note: El Tiempo is one of Colombia's largest and most reputable newspapers.]

Oct. 7 2007

See also:

Our Ongoing Coverage of Military and Police Impunity, and State Complicity in the Perpetration of Rape Crimes

Group Alleges U.S. Troops Use Honduran Child Prostitutes

A prominent children's advocacy group is claiming U.S. soldiers stationed in Honduras are among foreigners who exploit child prostitutes in the country, but U.S. officials vehemently denied the allegations.

Casa Alianza, a unit of the U.S.-based charity Covenant House, last Friday presented at a news conference a report of its investigation into child sex tourism, prostitution and pornography in Honduras and elsewhere in Central America.

It said the first reports that U.S. military personnel use child prostitutes in Honduras date to the 1980s and continue today.

"This type of abuse continues," said Casa Alianza, whose staff works with street children in Latin America….

The report said U.S. soldiers stationed in a base at Palmerola, 40 miles (65 km) north of the capital of Tegucigalpa, use male and female child prostitutes in the central Honduran city of Comayagua…

In its report on child prostitution, Casa Alianza said testimony from sexually exploited minors and other people in Comayagua, a city of about 100,000 inhabitants, showed the practice continued.

It quoted the testimony of a child prostitute who said, "I charge 500 lempiras ($ 32), but in dollars. But it depends on the client and the place. Sometimes there are parties on the base and they come to Comayagua to take us to the base for the whole night. We charge more for those parties."

U.S. officials challenged the report…

Gustavo Palencia

Antara

March 26, 2002


Added: August 17, 2009

Oregon, USA

Jose Francisco-Francisco

Reward offered in search for Cornelius sex assault suspect

Crime Stoppers and the Washington County Sheriff's Office are asking for the public's help in finding a man accused of sexually assaulting a girl at a farm labor camp in Cornelius.

Jose Francisco-Francisco, 41, is also accused of threatening to kill the girl if she told anyone what happened.

Francisco-Francisco made a number of telephone calls while in jail on another charge in which he admitted to sexually assaulting the girl.

He has since fled, authorities said.

The sheriff's office has warrants for his arrest on the charges of rape and sex abuse in the first degree, and second-degree rape.

Francisco-Francisco is 5 feet 4 inches tall and weighs about 150 pounds. He has black hair and brown eyes. He is from Guatemala and speaks a dialect known as Akateko. He also speaks Spanish and often lives and works at farm labor camps...

John Snell

The Oregonian

Aug, 17, 2009


Added: August 14, 2009

Congo, Africa

Our Ongoing Coverage of Military and Police Impunity, and State Complicity in the Perpetration of Rape Crimes

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during her 2009 visit to Africa

Systemic Rape, Fighting Threaten Congo's Future 

Secretary of State Clinton condemned sexual abuse by Congolese soldiers and rebels against civilians. A women's rights advocate describes the scope of the atrocities.

JIM LEHRER: During Secretary of State Clinton's trip to the region today, she met with refugees and victims of rape. She told Congolese President Joseph Kabila there should be "no impunity for sexual and gender-based violence."

Later, she spoke to reporters.

HILLARY CLINTON, secretary of state: I have just come from a meeting with two survivors of sexual attacks. The atrocities that these women have suffered, which stand for the atrocities that so many have suffered, the United States condemns these attacks and all those who commit them and abet them. And we state to the world that those who attack civilian populations using systematic rape are guilty of crimes against humanity.

JIM LEHRER: For more on the conflict, we talk to Zainab Salbi, the founder and CEO of Women for Women International, an organization that aids women in conflict zones. She's a frequent visitor to Congo.

Ms. Salbi, welcome. The United Nations has called the Eastern Congo the rape capital of the world. Explain what that means.

ZAINAB SALBI, Women for Women International: Congo has one of the worst cases in terms of rape since World War II, where 900,000 German women were raped, and since the genocide of Rwanda, where more than 500,000 women were raped.

In Congo, we have hundreds of thousands of women who are taken as sexual slaves, where they are raped as frequently as possible by rebel and soldiers and where they are forced to clean and cook and carry their ammunition and food for free, or as a slave.

Rape is happening on a public level in front of husbands, in front of fathers, where they are forced to see the rape of their mothers and their daughters. And it's happening in public level in front of the whole community, particularly vis-a-vis respected members of the community, such as teachers. It is one of the worst cases where rape has been utilized as a weapon of force…

Jim Lehrer

PBS News Hour

U.S. Public Broadcasting System

Aug. 11, 2009

See also:

Our Ongoing Coverage of Military and Police Impunity, and State Complicity in the Perpetration of Rape Crimes

LibertadLatina Commentary

We commend U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for raising the visibility of the crisis of the mass rape of women, which is used as a weapon of war in the Democratic Republic of Congo. International attention to this crisis was long overdue. We know that Secretary Clinton's demand for an end to impunity will make a difference for victims and for those women and girls who remain at risk of rape each and every day in Congo.

Action to end the mass rape of women and girls in the Darfur region of Sudan, in northern Africa, is also long overdue. Despite the valiant efforts of a well organized network of activist organizations, and public statements by the world's governments, Sudan is still allowed to reign sexual terror and mayhem down on the lives of thousands of Darfuri women and children.

Within Latin America, similar types of mass rape zones also exist. They are rarely mentioned in the press, except in the women's human rights press, by news agencies such as CIMAC Noticias in Mexico City, and in the mainstream Mexican press in response to press conferences by human rights activists and congressional members about the issue.

The International Organization for Migration, an agency of the United Nations, has reported through their office in the city of Tapachula, in the southern Mexican state of Chiapas, that some 450 to 600 women are sexually assaulted each day along Mexico's southern borders with Guatemala and Belize. The victims are women and girl children who happen to be migrants, fleeing north from South and Central America, seeking to escape poverty and the region's gender hostile living environment by reaching the U.S. To get to the U.S., they must pass through the geographical  bottleneck that is southern Mexico.

LibertadLatina has, over the years, presented extensive factual documentation demonstrating that this mass gender atrocity is indeed occurring in Mexico.

Many of these sexual assault victims are kidnapped and sold into sexual slavery across Mexico, in the U.S., and in Canada, Western Europe and, notably, Japan.

It is known that Mexico's police agencies and military, deployed in southern Mexico not only do nothing to prevent or punish these sexual assaults, but they often contribute to the perpetration of these crimes.

Shame on them!

The mass rape and kidnapping of women and girls also occurs in other regions of Mexico and across Latin America. The southern 'rape zone' of Chiapas state, a largely Mayan indigenous region, is simply the most egregious case.

Secretary Clinton's focus on Congo is a breakthrough. The previous administration never engaged in such high visibility action as what the Secretary's recent visit has brought to the table.

Now, it is time for Secretary Clinton to make a similar visit to Mexico's southern border region, to openly declare that the mass rape and mass enslavement into prostitution of South and Central American migrant women and children, and also the region's local indigenous population, is also a barbarity, an unspeakable crime against humanity that must indeed be spoken of and challenged by the leadership of the U.S. Government.

Silence is also violence!

President Barak Obama has declared in recent days that Mexico deserves to receive the next scheduled installment of $100 million in aid to combat the drug cartels. That is all well and good, but many human rights organizations in Mexico have insisted that the U.S. attach conditions to that aid, to assure that human rights abuses, including rapes of indigenous women by soldiers, stop.

Although Mexico's President, Felipe Calderón, has declared his country's ongoing compliance with international human rights standards, the evidence on the ground tells a different story.

The 450 sexual assaults per day estimate from the IOM for southern Mexico adds up to a yearly total of 164,000 cases. The 600 victim per day estimate from the IOM for daily cases of rape and other forms of sexual assault in the same region totals to 219,000 annual cases.

A U.S. government that publicly declares that impunity must not stand in the case of the mass rapes occurring in Congo must express the same level of outrage in regard to the ongoing mass rapes in Darfur, and they must dare to speak up and challenge Mexico's indifferent government over its complicity and complacency in allowing an average of 200,000 women migrants to be raped along its southern border each year. 

U.S. tax dollars should not support a Mexican government that allows this outrage to continue uncontested.

This mass gender atrocity must not be allowed to stand!

The whole world is watching!

End impunity now!

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

Aug. 14, 2009

See also:

Mexico

Our Ongoing Coverage of Military and Police Impunity, and State Complicity in the Perpetration of Rape Crimes

Ocho de cada diez migrantes son violadas

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

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

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

Extended English Translation

- Prensa Libre

July. 14, 2008


Added: August 13, 2009

New York State, USA

Human trafficking victims are lead from a bar in Long Island

Antonio Rivera

Long Island Horror: Sex traffickers enslave teenaged women

Federal agents and local police officers arrested two owners and the manager of two bars in Long Island, New York following a sex-trafficking investigation. According to a report obtained by the National Association of Chiefs of Police, the three suspects are accused of trafficking young women and physically forcing them to perform sex acts for customers.

Antonio Rivera, 34, Jasmin Rivera, 31 and John Whaley, 34, all Long Island residents, face charges of conspiracy, sex trafficking, forced labor and harboring illegal aliens.

According to the criminal complaint, the investigation revealed Antonio Rivera, a registered sex offender, and his sister Jasmin Rivera owned and operated the Sonidos de la Frontera bar, located in Lake Ronkonkoma, and the La Hija del Mariachi bar, located in Farmingville. Whaley was employed as a manager for both bars…

"As alleged in the indictment, these defendants lured innocent young women into the United States with promises of legitimate jobs and the American dream, but once the victims arrived, their dreams turned into nightmares as the defendants used threats and violence to force them into prostitution," said Homeland Security Assistant Secretary for US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) John Morton. "ICE is at the forefront of the U.S. government's response to international human trafficking. We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to combat this egregious crime."

"As described in the complaint, sex trafficking preys upon vulnerable young women for profit and degrades both the individual victims and the communities where these crimes are committed," said Benton J. Campbell, US Attorney for the Eastern District of New York. "This office will continue to vigorously investigate and prosecute such crimes."

"These serious crimes against young women will not be tolerated in Suffolk County. This department values its role as the local law enforcement component of the Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force for Long Island," said Richard Dormer, police commissioner for the Suffolk County Police Department…

The investigation and arrests were led by ICE and conducted jointly with the FBI, IRS and Suffolk County Police Department. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant US Attorneys Demetri Jones and John Durham with the Eastern District of New York.

Jim Kouri, CPP is currently fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police

Law Enforcement Examiner

August 13, 2009

See also:

Feds Bust Long Island Bar Owners, Sex Offender In Sex Trafficking Ring

...In 1998, Antonio Rivera, 34, was convicted of rape in the second and third degrees, respectively.

A joint investigation conducted on Monday revealed that they lured young women--primarily Central American immigrants--to engage in sex acts with bar patrons for money. Some of the victims were as young as 17 years old. The defendants kept half of the earnings.

If the women refused in engaging in acts of prostitution, authorities say they were assaulted and sometimes raped. They also were threatened with being reported to immigration authorities...

[Story includes video news report]

WPIX.com

August 10, 2009


Added: August 12, 2009

Florida, USA

Task force forms to combat human trafficking in Northeast Florida

...While human trafficking is prevalent in South Florida, [recent] cases show North Florida isn’t immune, say founders of the new Northeast Florida Human Trafficking Task Force.

“We consider it a significant problem,” said Supervisory Special Agent Rick Dent of the FBI’s Jacksonville office. “Part of the issue we have is it’s under-reported. In most of the cases, the victims don’t want to report.”

To raise awareness of the problem, the task force has brought in a former U.S. State Department human trafficking adviser to speak at several Northeast Florida churches and other locations this weekend.  Laura Lederer  kicked off her visit Friday with talks at the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and Five Points Theatre and a benefit concert at Murray Hill Theatre...

“It’s behind the hidden door,” said Lederer, who teaches law at Georgetown University. “These are back-alley brothels, and it’s hard to get people to see and understand.” ...

Freed said Florida ranks third in the country in trafficking incidents...

Trafficking cases frequently involve immigrants who become modern-day slaves, Lederer said. They often don’t come forward because they fear deportation and don’t know about regulations that can grant them special immigration status if they cooperate.

[In a court proceeding involving one trafficking case in Jacksonville, a group of men admitted] to a federal judge in Tallahassee their roles in a statewide sex trafficking ring that snared women from Central and South America.

According to court testimony, the women agreed to be smuggled into the United States, lured by promised jobs as maids or bartenders. The trip involved a four-day walk across the Mexican desert and a series of van exchanges.

When they got to Florida, they were told they had to be prostitutes to pay back transportation fees of $15,000 to $20,000.

The amount is twice the going rate for an illegal immigrant to be smuggled into the United States, said Terry Coonan,  director of the Center for the Advancement of Human Rights at Florida State University. He represented three of the women he said were too traumatized to testify against the men.

“It was a debt that was simply meant to keep those women in sexual servitude,” Coonan told the judge. “The women had no say in that.”

The women were rotated between apartments in Jacksonville, Tallahassee, Orlando and Tampa and forced to have 15-minute sessions with as many as 40 men a day. Most of the complexes were populated by alien workers. The traffickers kept the money from the clients as payment for the women’s  transportation fee.

Immigration authorities said as many as two dozen women were victims since the ring started in 2005...

The women, Coonan said, suffer from “survivor torture,” including physical and psychological trauma.

Paul Pinkham

The Florida Times-Union

July 31, 2009


Added: August 9, 2009

Our Ongoing Coverage of Military and Police Impunity, and State Complicity in the Perpetration of Rape Crimes

Mexico, The United States

Senator Patrick Leahy

Senator Leahy places hold on $100 million in aid to Mexico

The Washington Post reported today that Senator Patrick Leahy (Democrat - Vermont) blocked the release of $100 million in U.S. aid to Mexico after rejecting the State Department's report to Congress which praised Mexico's progress on human rights. According to the article, the State Department will rewrite the report and attempt to submit it after Congress reconvenes in September.

Section 7045(e) of the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2009 (Division H of Public Law 111-8) requires that 15% of the aid allocated to Mexico by that section be held until the State Department reports to Congress on Mexico's progress in four areas: improving transparency and accountability; establishing regular consultations with civil institutions; ensuring that civilian and judicial authorities are prosecuting police and military officers credibly accused of violations; and prohibiting the use of testimony obtained through torture. While the State Department did write this report, it has not been submitted to Congress because Senator Leahy, the chairman of the Senate Appropriations foreign operations subcommittee, would not accept it. Instead, he commented that the "requirements have not been met, so it is premature to send the report to Congress."

Senator Leahy continued his comments, stating that: I continue to support the goals of the Merida Initiative, but the military strategy alone is not a solution in the long term nor is it yet clear what it can achieve in the short term. Mexico needs effective police forces and a justice system that works. And as long as the demand for drugs in the United States and the flow of guns to Mexico continue at these levels, it will be difficult to neutralize the cartels...

Just the Facts

Aug. 05, 2009

See also:

Our Ongoing Coverage of Military and Police Impunity, and State Complicity in the Perpetration of Rape Crimes

"Rape Perpetrated by the Military"

CIMAC Noticias' collection of over 300 articles covering the fact that military soldiers in Mexico routinely commit rape, especially rape targeting indigenous women. Because President Calderón's government does not allow civilian courts to try accused soldiers, not one soldier has ever been convicted of the rape of civilians by the military courts.

Only cases brought by victims before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights have achieved justice in these barbaric cases that show the overarching power of sexist and racist impunity in Mexico's civilian and military government institutions.

See also:

Our Ongoing Coverage of Military and Police Impunity, and State Complicity in the Perpetration of Rape Crimes

LibertadLatina Commentary

(Reprinted from April 05, 2009)

The action of Afghan President Hamid Karzai, in approving a law that legalizes marital rape, is an abomination. Certainly much of the motivation of the Western powers in occupying Afghan-istan is centered on the issue of providing women with equal rights in a nation where conservative forces throw acid on the faces of school girls in revenge for their having the 'audacity' to think that they are equal to men, and can, through education, build a means to sustain themselves independ-ently of men.

A similar set of circumstances exists, although in a [slightly] less blatant fashion, in Mexico and the other nations in Latin America.

Latin American machismo originated historically with the migration to the Americas from Spain of sexist traditions that were born in both the Roman Empire and from the 800 year Moorish occupation of Spain that ended in the year 1492, the same year that Christopher Columbus reached the Americas.

'Negative machismo' in Latin America has, over the centuries, demanded that women obey men's rule, that women not attend school, and it has condoned rape within marriage and in any public social setting.

Like Afghanistan, Mexico faces war-like conditions. The current Mexican government has been heavily criticized by women's rights organizations and leaders for its sexist views, embodied, for example, in the fact that its current ambassador to Canada, Francisco Barrio Terrazas, the former governor of Chihuahua State and mayor of Ciudad Juarez, refused during his tenure in those roles to even recognize that the femicides endangering women were an issue that needed to be addressed. He sought instead to tell grieving mothers that their daughters were raped and murdered because they had worn immodest clothing (which is a mantra of the National Action party -PAN- and its ultra-conservative political allies in the Mexican Church).

Women, especially those who are indigenous, and also other poor Mexicans and Central and South American migrants who cross Mexico to reach the U.S., are subjected to 'legalized rape' - not only from husbands, but from any man on the street who desires to violate them. In the face of this mayhem, police forces remain silent and refuse to act to defend the rights of the victims. The sex traffickers and pimps across Mexico kidnap and sell women and underage girls with impunity in this lawless environment.

In the cases of both Afghanistan and Mexico, western governments have a moral responsibility to uphold the rights of women and girl children to a life free from violence as a condition for their providing continued financial and military support to these recipient nations.

Citizens of donor countries do not have to just sit-by and watch their governments pour hundreds of millions of their tax dollars into supporting regimes that are openly misogynist. We can stand up and say NO!

In both the case of Afghanistan and of Mexico, we stand up to say NO! to the government sponsorship and support for sexist policies that result in the perpetration of mass gender atrocities, as the world stands silently by with little substantive response.

As US Senator Patrick Leahy has said in regard to the hundreds of millions of dollars of US aid flowing into Mexico via the Merida Initiative to combat drug cartels:

"Since when is it bad policy, or an infringement of anything, to insist that American taxpayer dollars not be given to corrupt, abusive police or military forces in a country whose justice system has serious flaws and rarely punishes official misconduct? This is a partnership, not a giveaway…"

End impunity now!

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

April 05, 2009


Added: August 9, 2009

Texas, USA

25 foreign-born sex offenders arrested

A five-day sweep by federal immigration officials and Houston-area law enforcement officers resulted in the arrests last week of 25 foreign-born convicted sex offenders, officials said Monday.

Of those arrested, four entered the country illegally while two had been students who remained in the U.S. after their visas had expired, officials said.

Another sex offender had not yet obtained residency. The remaining 18 were legal residents, ICE officials said.

Among the predators were a Conroe resident, 49, who had been convicted in California of sexually assaulting his stepdaughters, 12 and 15. Another was a 38-year-old permanent resident living in Houston who had been convicted of sexually assaulting his daughter, 12...

Those who were rounded up came from several countries in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East and Asia, officials said.

The arrests were part of Operation Predator, led by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Houston Chronicle

Aug. 03, 2009


Added: August 9, 2009

United States

Lack of funds and space frees suspects

Data show ICE releases alleged illegal immigrants, violent convicts

U.S. immigration officials have released from federal custody hundreds of suspected illegal immigrants accused or convicted of crimes, including homicide and sexual assault, because of a lack of space and funds, according to internal records.

The data, obtained by the Houston Chronicle through a Freedom of Information Act request, show that Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials documented releasing suspects classified as “criminal aliens” during the past five years because of resource shortages.

Mary Loiselle, deputy director for ICE's detention and removal operations, said the agency does not routinely release suspects specifically because of a “lack of space” or “lack of funds.”

ICE could not explain why there were hundreds of documented releases for lack of resources or provide information on individual cases...

According to ICE's files:

* Suspected illegal immigrants accused of or convicted of homicide were released from custody because of “lack of space” or “lack of funds” in Detroit, Chicago, St. Paul, Minn., and San Francisco. Three of the cases involved suspects released and placed on orders of supervision, which require them to check in periodically with ICE before their scheduled court date. One case involved a release on an order of recognizance, which does not involve supervision or require suspects to post a bond.

* Atlanta, Miami and Salt Lake City documented releases of “sexual assault” suspects or convicts because of money or space shortages. The suspects were released on orders of supervision and on their own recognizance, the records show. The most recent case was recorded in 2009...

Susan Carroll

Houston Chronicle

Aug. 02, 2009


Added: August 7, 2009

Guatemala

Our Ongoing Coverage of Military and Police Impunity, and State Complicity in the Perpetration of Rape Crimes

Mujeres indígenas denuncian a mineras por violar sus derechos

Guatemala, Guat. - Mujeres indígenas originarias de los municipios de San Miguel Ixtahuacán, San Marcos, El Estor, Izabal y San Juan Sacatepéquez, Guatemala reiteraron sus denuncias por violaciones a los derechos humanos que han sufrido, a causa de la instalación de mineras en sus regiones, como la criminalización de lideresas y abusos sexuales...

Indigenous Women Denounce Mining Companies for Violating Their Human Rights

Guatemala City - Indigenous women from the municipalities of San Miguel Ixtahuacán, San Marcos, El Estor, Izabal and San Juan Sacatepéquez, Guatemala are escalating complaints about human rights violations that they have suffered due to arrival of mining operations in their regions. The work of women leaders has been criminalized, and women in the region are now subjected to sexual abuse.

The development of gold mining operations by multinational companies has brought government eviction orders and localized states of emergency decrees to these rural, indigenous regions of Guatemala.

In the town of San Juan Sacatepequez, for example, there have been incursions by the National Civil Police (PNC) and the Army into indigenous communities ordered by both mining businesses and the government, according to a press release issued by the organization Rights in Action.

According to the press release, civil protest against these mining projects has now been criminalized, as authorities have subjected women and men to arrest warrants, detention, trials and convictions.

One of the cases mentioned is that of Crisanta Gregoria Perez, from the town of Ixtahuacán, in San Marcos department [state]. The mining corporation Goldcorp has filed criminal charges against Gregoria Perez and other members of her community for their having opposed the extraction of gold in their municipality.

According to human rights leaders, cases such as that of Gregoria Perez illustrate how defenseless women are used to set a precedent and send a message to frighten women who fight to defend their rights against the multinationals.

Women in the communities in Izabal Qeqchíes have reported that members of the National Civil Police have sexually abused women in the communities of La Paz, La Revolution, Lot 8, Lot 9 and Barrio La Unión, during evictions sponsored by the Guatemalan Nickel Company (CGN).

Those affected have condemned the Guatemalan state for  leaving , especially indigenous women defenseless. They are calling upon human rights organizations to unite in their struggle against these public policies and projects, that threaten the lives of the people.

CIMAC Noticias

News for Women

Mexico City

LibertadLatina Note

A number of indigenous conferences and protests across Latin America have emphasized the abuse of their human rights that has come at the hands of increased exploitation of indigenous lands at the hands of multinational corporations. A recent massacre of indigenous protesters in Peru is one indicator of the seriousness of this conflict.

These crimes against humanity continue centuries of the exploitation with impunity that indigenous peoples have had to endure from dominant societies.

End impunity now!

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

Aug. 07, 2009

See also:

Peruvian Police Accused of Massacring Indigenous Protesters in Amazon Jungle

Repression of indigenous protect in Peru

Dozens of people are estimated to have been killed in clashes between police and indigenous activists protesting oil and mining projects in the northern Peruvian Amazonian province of Bagua. Peruvian authorities have declared a military curfew, and troops are patrolling towns in the Amazon jungle. Authorities say up to twenty-two policemen have been killed, and two remain missing. The indigenous community says at least forty people, including three children, were killed...

Alberto Pizango, the leader of the national indigenous organization, the Peruvian Jungle Interethnic Development Association, or AIDESEP, accused the government of President Alan Garcia of ordering the, quote, “genocide” of the indigenous communities.

[Includes, Video, audio and the transcript of this report]

Democracy Now

Jun 08, 2009

See also:

Massacre Peru

www.Peruanista.com


Added: August 6, 2009

Mexico

Rechaza Sectur participar en campañas para prevenir la prostitución infantil

La Fundación Infantia pide advertir a turistas de la gravedad de cometer ese ilícito

Han transcurrido nueve años de gobiernos del Partido Acción Nacional y aún persiste la negativa de la Secretaría de Turismo a participar en campañas permanentes para prevenir la prostitución infantil, delito en el cual eventualmente un turista puede incurrir...

Mexico's Secretary of Tourism (SECTUR) Refuses to Participate in Campaigns to Prevent Child Prostitution

The Childhood Foundation calls on SECTUR to warn tourists of the seriousness of the crime of sexually exploiting children

The National Action Party (PAN) has governed Mexico for the past 9 years, and they continue to refuse to allow the [federal] Secretary of Tourism (SECTUR) to participate in campaigns to prevent child prostitution, a crime in which a tourists may participate.

The Childhood Foundation says that while the Department of Labor, at the request of the International Labor Organization and government agencies has been campaigning to prevent and punish child sex tourism, SECTUR has not been involved in combating the so-called "casual abuser.”

Since the second week of June, La Jornada has sought to interview officials of SECTUR with no response.

Xavier Martínez Cortina, president of the Childhood Foundation notes, "We have all gone through the experience of being in a city, on a beach or in a nightclub during vacation, when someone offers us, or we have a chance to ‘be with’ a minor. Here nobody knows you, nobody knows who you are, you are on vacation, and you have every opportunity to sexually exploit a minor. We are fighting against that type of abuser."

In countries like Costa Rica, tourists are alerted at airports that child prostitution is a crime that involves severe penalties, but such information does not exist in Mexico. There are no posters, no flyers, nothing.

This is the activity in which SECTUR should be involved, to give information to tourists and incentives to the business sectors related to tourism. They must carry out prevention campaigns, says Martinez Cortina…

July Reyna Quiroz

La Jornada

Mexico City

July 18, 2009

See also:

About Child Sex Tourism

"On this trip, I've had sex with a 14 year-old girl in Mexico and a 15 year-old in Colombia. I'm helping them financially. If they don't have sex with me, they may not have enough food. If someone has a problem with me doing this, let UNICEF feed them."

- Retired U.S. Schoolteacher

"Maria is... prostituted by her aunt. Maria is obliged to sell her body exclusively to foreign tourists in Costa Rica, she only works mornings as she has to attend school in the afternoon. Maria is in fifth grade."

...Sex tourism is a very lucrative industry that spans the globe. In 1998, the International Labour Organization reported its calculations that 2-14% of the gross domestic product of Indonesia, Malaysia, the Phillipines, and Thailand derives from sex tourism. In addition, while Asian countries, including Thailand, India, and the Phillipines, have long been prime destinations for child-sex tourists, in recent years, tourists have increasingly traveled to Mexico and Central America for their sexual exploits as well.

Child sex tourists are individuals that travel to foreign countries to engage in sexual activity with children. The non-profit organization End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography, and the Trafficking of Children (ECPAT) estimates that more than one million children worldwide are drawn into the sex trade each year...

U.S. Department of Justice

Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section

See also:

Turismo Sexual

Child Sex Tourism in Latin America

...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...

Lucía Nieto

El Imparcial - Spain

June 30, 2009


Added: August 5, 2009

Georgia, USA 

Jose Guillermo Aparicio

Canton Man Charged with Raping Relative

A Canton man is in jail on charges he raped a family member after she passed out from a seizure.

Jose Guillermo Aparicio is charged with raping a family member.

Police arrested Jose Guillermo Aparicio, 46, on one count of rape, Canton Police spokesman Det. G. Alan Rivas said Tuesday...

Police said Aparicio attacked a 19-year-old family member after she passed out from a seizure on July 13. The woman, who is related by marriage, woke up to find Aparicio raping her, Rivas said.

The woman reported the attack to officers on July 29, police said.

The rape remains under investigation.

Megan Matteucci

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Aug. 4, 2009


Added: August 4, 2009

Mexico, Arizona, USA

Menores de Edad, los Más Vulnerables en el Cruce de la Frontera 

Abuso físico, prostitución y hasta la muerte son los riesgos que corren los menores indocumentados que cruzan la frontera de la mano de traficantes que a veces no dudan en abandonarlos en medio del desierto…

Children are the Most Vulnerable Migrants When Crossing the Border 

Physical abuse, prostitution and even death are risks that undocumented minors face when they cross the border in the ‘care’ of human smugglers who sometimes do not hesitate to abandon them in the desert.

Tucson - "Unfortunately, children often travel alone in the company of human smugglers," says Mario Escalante, a spokesman for the U.S. Border Patrol’s Tucson Sector.

Escalante said that there are many risks involved when a child is placed in the hands of these smugglers, who are known as coyotes.

"We understand that many parents want to reunite with their children, but they don’t know the risk they run when they put their child in the hands of a smuggler," said Escalante.

He noted that often when a group of migrants is caught walking through the desert by federal agents, the coyotes try to flee, leaving everything behind, including children.

Most of the children who are rescued say that they have suffered abuses such as assault, rape, having been beaten for crying, and experience hunger along the journey, according to reports from immigrant advocacy groups.

Statistics from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) show that in 2008, the U.S. Border Patrol arrested 1,189,031 immigrants, 86.1% of them of Mexican origin.

Of the total arrested, 114,222 were under 17 years of age, representing 9.6 percent of the total. It is unknown how many of these children were traveling with an adult and how many traveled alone...

Full English Translation

EFE

July 31, 2009


Added: August 2, 2009

Mexico

Hundreds of men line up waiting for women in prostitution on Santo Tómas Street in Mexico City. The street's red light district is notorious for being a place where kidnapped Mexican and Central American immigrant women and underage girl victims are 'broken in' to a life of sexual slavery, before they are trafficked to Tijuana, New York City and elsewhere, as described in an excellent 2004 article in the New York Times by Peter Landesman, The Girl Next Door.

[The below story does not take place in the same section of Mexico City.]

Residents Ask Authorities to Remove Prostitution from Buenavista Neighborhood

The Human Rights Commission of Mexico City (CDHDF) has issued a recommend-ation to the Cuauhtémoc Delegation (a borough government of Mexico City) to address community complaints about prostitution in the Buenavista neighborhood.

For over five years, residents of the Cuauhtémoc borough have presented dozens of complaints to the local Public Security Secretariat (SSP-DF) and the borough government about commercial sexual activity in their residential neighborhood.

Residents have recorded how prostitutes engage in sex acts [on public streets] in the cars of johns, as well as in taxis and microbuses that have been rented for that purpose.

Borough authorities have not responded to citizen complaints about the prostitution of minors, which takes place even in front of the borough's government offices.

This underage prostitution occurs with the complacency of local police.

In Buenavista, half-naked men and women stroll down the street to the annoyance of neighbors and neighbors, who prefer to lock themselves in their homes after dark.

David Mondragón, the only resident willing to speak publicly about this program, said that, regardless of whether the authorities actually take action or not, at least our frustrations about the situation have been documented. What we as residents say is that, if the authorities want to allow this prostitution to exist, let them take it somewhere else...

Claudia Bolaños

El Universal

July 30, 2009

 

 

 
     

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Updated: June 13, 2010


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



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Added: Jun. 13, 2010

Honduras

Venden niñas por edades

En San Pedro Sula hay unas 10 mil menores que son víctimas de abuso sexual y comercial

Apenas tiene 16 años y “Elena” ya ha tenido relaciones sexuales con diferentes hombres. La menor era prostituida por su padrastro, ahora lo hace por su cuenta.

Desde pequeña empezó a sufrir los maltratos del hombre que apenas esperó a que el cuerpo de ella comenzara a notarse el desarrollo para poder lucrarse.

La niña recuerda que tenía cerca de 12 años cuando su padrastro le dijo que llegarían unos amigos de visita y que tenía que ayudarle a su madre a atenderlos...

Un día, cuando estaba cerca de cumplir los 13 y mientras sus seis hermanos jugaban en la calle, su padrastro la dejó en casa con un amigo. “Sólo me dijo que no tuviera miedo y que fuera cariñosa, ahora sé que pagaron por estar conmigo y en vez de que gane dinero él, mejor me lo agarro yo”, expresó la menor, que ahora se prostituye en las calles de la ciudad.

Ella logró huir de su casa, pero no del camino al que la orilló su padrastro...

El caso de “Elena” es más común de lo que parece. Sólo en San Pedro Sula hay cerca de 10 mil menores que son víctimas de abuso sexual y comercial, según información en poder de la Fiscalía de la Niñez. Las cifras recogen datos hasta 2008, por lo que las autoridades temen que el número hasta la fecha sea mucho más alarmante. El 98% de las estadísticas corresponde a niñas...

In the northern coastal city of San Pedro Sula, 10,000 minors are subjected to sexual abuse and commercial exploitation

Elena has just turned 16, but she has ‘been’ with many men. She was first prostituted by her stepfather. Now she does it to make money for herself.

From an early age Elena suffered abuse from her stepfather, who just waited long enough for her to show signs of maturing before he started profiting from selling her body.

Elena recalls that she was almost 12 when her stepfather told her that some of his friends would be coming over to visit, and that she had to help her mother to attend to his visitors.

At that time, Elena didn’t know that type of ‘attending’ she would have to do for her stepfather’s friends. She imagined that she would have to cook for them. Girls her age were expected to help out with the housework.

One day, when she was close to her 13th birthday, while her six brothers played in the street, her stepfather left her in the house with one of his friends. Elena: “He told me not to be afraid, and asked me to be affectionate with him. Now I know that this man paid my stepfather to be with me. Instead of making money for him, now I make it myself.”

Elena was able to escape from her home, but could not escape the path in life that her stepfather has set her upon.

Cases like Elena’s occur more frequently than one would think. Just in the city of San Pedro Sula, there are 10,000 minors who are victims of sexual abuse, including the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (CSEC), according to data collected by the special prosecutor for crimes against children. Their statistics only cover a period through 2008, leaving the authorities believing that today’s figures are likely much higher. Some 98% of cases involve girls.

Special prosecutor for crimes against children coordinator Thelma Martínez indicates that the figures are worrying, given that an increasing number of these cases involve pimping and human trafficking.

Martínez declared that these girls and adolescents are manipulated and recruited by adults who profit from them through prostitution. The victims are selected for the marketplace based on the color of their skin, their age and their height.

The obstacle that prosecutors face in going after pimps is that minors are not willing to testify against them.

Martínez: “Many girls are fearful. Others, unfortunately, have gotten used to earning money this way, and prefer to say nothing.”

Due to the increase in these types of cases, a special office was created to attend to the complaints involving sexual abuse, kidnapping, pimping, human trafficking and rape, which is the most commonly reported crime.

According to the special prosecutor’s office, in the month of May, 2010 alone, 30 child sexual abuse cases were processed.

Although child sexual abuse cases involve a criminal penalty of from 5 to 10 years of prison time, the damage caused to the victim is irreversible.

“The worst part of these cases is that the [perpetrator] is in the same family nucleus. They are fathers, stepfathers, cousins or others” added Martínez.

In addition to attending to the cases of children who are victims of crime, the special prosecutor’s office also deals with at-risk minors and juvenile criminal perpetrators. When they receive a complaint, they sent the child to one of several centers run by the Honduran Institute for Children and Families – IHNFA, while the case is being resolved...

La Prensa - Honduras

June 09, 2010


Added: Jun. 13, 2010

New York, USA

Smugglers kidnap girl bound for Long Island

A Long Island mom is racing against time to find her teenage daughter -- who is being held captive by immigrant-smugglers threatening to kill her unless a ransom is paid.

"Mom, save me! Please help! They are going to kill me," 14-year-old Eloisa Lopez, who left Honduras more than a month ago, told her mom by phone on Tuesday.

The terrified girl somehow managed to take a cellphone from her captors and call her mom. But she had no clear idea where she was being held, sending her family scrambling for help.

The devastated mom had saved up her earnings as a housekeeper and paid "coyotes" $5,000 to bring the girl to the country nearly a month ago, Eloisa's sister told the Post.

But 10 days later, a smuggler brazenly demanded $7,000 more from the family in exchange for Eloisa's life.

It was cash they didn't have.

Then on Tuesday, Dania received the terrifying call.

"I think I'm in Houston, but I don't know where I am!" Eloisa cried over the phone, fearful that her captors would discover she was calling for help.

"Don't worry, we will save you no matter where you are," Dania told her daughter, before phoning cops.

A law enforcement source told The Post yesterday that "authorities are investigating a claim that may have implications of human trafficking."

Federal authorities have since taken over the case, and Department of Homeland Security agents yesterday went to the Lopez family's home in Woodbury.

"She was due back this week," Ingrid Lopez, 18, said of her sister. "This is horrible. My sister is in danger of losing her life. These coyotes don't care. They will kill you and leave you in the desert."

Ingrid would know. She was smuggled from Honduras to Long Island three years ago on a similarly dangerous journey.

The 18-year-old, now a student, often went without food and water and walked for three days straight.

She now fears her younger sister has met a far worse fate.

"She is so small and slight. She would not be able to defend herself against them," Ingrid said.

Eloisa's mom has been working long and hard to bring all five of her children into the country.

Two, including Ingrid, have been safely brought to Long Island. The youngest two live in Honduras with their grandmother.

"We never imagined this would happen. We just wanted to be reunited as a family," Ingrid Lopez said. "We feel helpless but we have faith in God everything will work out."

Kieran Crowley and Emily Ngo

The New York Post

June 10, 2010


Added: Jun. 13, 2010

New Jersey, USA

Man admits sexually abusing boy, 5, in Parsippany

An illegal immigrant from Guatemala faces up to 15 years in state prison on his guilty plea Monday to sexually abusing a 5-year-old boy in Parsippany over a six-month period.

Through a Spanish interpreter, Jorge Mario Hernandez, 26, admitted to state Superior Court Judge Thomas V. Manahan in Morristown to one count of aggravated sexual assault on the child between May 1 and Oct. 23, 2009.

Morris County Assistant Prosecutor LaJuan Tucker has recommended that Hernandez be sentenced to 15 years in state prison, with 85 percent or 12 years and nine months to be served before parole consideration. Defense lawyer Neill Hamilton said he would argue for 10 years.

Hernandez, who told the judge he was educated until the 6th grade in his native Guatemala, said he understood he was likely to be deported upon release from prison. Sentencing tentatively was set for July 9.

Hernandez was arrested in October after an unidentified witness contacted police to say that he or she saw Hernandez assaulting the boy. Upon being confronted, the witness told police, Hernandez dropped to his knees and begged for forgiveness. He said in court Monday only that he assaulted the child on more than one occasion; police had accused him of molesting the boy more than 30 times.

Before he is sentenced, Hernandez must be evaluated at the state's Adult Diagnostic and Treatment Center in Avenel to determine if he is a compulsive and repetitive sex offender who should be incarcerated there. According to the law, if he receives a sentence of more than seven years and is considered compulsive and repetitive, he still must serve a portion of his punishment in state prison before being transferred to Avenel.

Peggy Wright

The Daily Record

June 07, 2010


Added: Jun. 13, 2010

Pennsylvania, USA

Jesus Marrero

Man Charged with Child Sex Assault

A man from Scranton is accused of sexually assaulting a young boy over the course of a few months.

Jesus Marrero, 44, was arrested Wednesday. Police said he made a seven-year-old boy watch while he had sex with his girlfriend, then forced the boy to have sexual relations with him.

The boy was in Marrero's care at the time.

Police learned what happened when the boy told a school official.

WNEP-TV

June 10, 2010


Added: Jun. 13, 2010

Texas, USA

Jose Arturo Lopez

Former Teacher Charged With Indecency With a Child

El Paso County Sheriff's Officers arrest a former Fabens ISD teacher. Jose Arturo Lopez was arrested for an alleged incident that took place in December of 2008 involving a 15-year-old girl. At the time, Lopez was working at O'Donnell Elementary school as fifth-grade teacher. Lopez is charged with indecency with a child.

Oralia Ortega

KTSM

June 09, 2010


Added: Jun. 13, 2010

California, USA

Pedro Hernandez

Relative Caught In Girl's Sex Assault At San Francisco Elementary School

San Francisco - A 68-year-old man suspected of sexually assaulting his 8-year-old step-granddaughter at her San Francisco elementary school last week was arrested Thursday at a homeless shelter after reportedly being harbored by his children and altering his appearance, police said Friday.

San Francisco police arrested Pedro Hernandez, who allegedly assaulted the girl at Sanchez Elementary School in the Mission District around noon June 3, at a shelter at St. Bruno's Catholic Church in San Bruno Thursday night, police said.

Hernandez is expected to be arraigned Monday morning in San Francisco Superior Court on seven felony counts, according to district attorney's office spokeswoman Erica Derryck.

The charges include continuous sexual abuse of a child, sexual intercourse or sodomy with a child 10 years of age or younger, and oral copulation or sexual penetration with a child 10 years of age or younger. The last two charges are punishable by life in prison.

Three of Hernandez's adult children were also arrested Tuesday in connection with the alleged attack on the girl. Prosecutors filed charges against two of the children, but decided not to charge the third.

Marisol Lopez and Jesus Hernandez were arraigned in court Friday morning in on charges of being an accessory to the crime after the fact, according to Derryck. Both pleaded not guilty and were ordered held on $100,000 bail.

Police spokesman Officer Samson Chan said the children are believed to have helped their father get a motel room in Daly City after the alleged assault.

In addition, Hernandez shaved his moustache and cut his hair short in recent days, Chan said.

"He was actively trying to conceal himself," Chan said.

An investigation by the Police Department's Fugitive Recovery Team led police to the homeless shelter.

Following the alleged assault, police issued a $2 million warrant for his arrest and initiated a statewide and international search.

Police do not believe Hernandez was a member of the San Bruno church or that anyone at the shelter knew he was a fugitive, Chan said.

Hernandez has known the girl's family for several years and has lived with them on and off, according to police.

He had married the girl's grandmother but they are now separated, Chan said.

According to police, Hernandez arrived at the school to bring lunch to the girl and a female school district employee saw him "being overly affectionate toward the victim" and became suspicious.

The same employee then caught Hernandez allegedly sexually assaulting the girl in a secluded stairwell area inside the school and Hernandez ran away, police said. The woman called police.

Hernandez allegedly assaulted the girl in the stairwell multiple times and the acts were recorded on a video surveillance camera, police said.

CBS 5

June 11, 2010


Added: Jun. 13, 2010

Indiana, USA

Roberto Vasquez

A Chicago man convicted of child molesting in Elkhart County will be featured on the "America's Most Wanted" web page.

Roberto Vasquez, 54, was convicted last year. He was sentenced to 247 years behind bars for molesting a young girl from the time she was six until she was 12.

According to the America's Most Wanted website, Vasquez posed as a religious adviser in Elkhart to get into people's homes. He molested one girl from 1999 until 2006, when he was arrested.

On the day of his sentencing in 2009, Vasquez went into hiding and authorities have been looking for him ever since.

The Elkhart Police Department actually contacted “America’s Most Wanted”, hoping to get more publicity in the case on a national level.

“Just because of the severity of this crime; 9 different child molests charges of one child and it had been going on for six years, and the fact that he uses the “I'm a religious adviser” to get into him people’s homes. I mean, this family allowed him to live in their homes,” said Elkhart Police Lt. Ed Windbigler.

WNDU

June 02, 2010


Added: Jun. 13, 2010

Texas, USA

Genny Granados

Salvadoran immigrant gets 50 years for dumping baby in the thrash

On Thursday, in a Harris County courtroom, Genny Granados, 31, was sentenced to 50 years in prison for murder, after leaving her infant son in a Houston emergency room bathroom trash can.

According to prosecutors, sometime around midnight Feb. 9, 2008, Granados, who denied being pregnant, gave birth to a baby boy in an emergency room bathroom at Memorial Hermann Southwest Hospital.

She cut the umbilical cord herself, dumped the infant into the trash, and left.

A custodian later found the baby.

Doctors revived the infant, and placed him on life support. The baby was found to be brain-dead and died 11 days later.

At her arraignment, prosecutor Kelli Johnson said of Granados: “She has such little respect for human life that she tells no one, to my knowledge, that she was pregnant. She goes to the hospital, has a pair of scissors in her hand, and cuts her own umbilical cord and looks at her baby and throws it in the trash.”

Granados’ defense attorneys blamed hospital staff for the child’s death, saying they should have known that Granados gave birth in the restroom.

Granados is a legal U.S. resident who came to this country from El Salvador, and has two other children.

This sad case is reminiscent of another in which an illegal alien abandoned her baby in a dumpster in California.

In December 2009, the staff at Anaheim Medical Center became suspicious of the story given them by Juana Perez Valencia, 19, who though showing all of the signs, claimed she had not just given birth. Orange County deputies arrived and questioned her, eventually finding the corpse of her newborn daughter in the dumpster behind Sombrero’s restaurant, where Valencia worked as a waitress.

Apparently, Valencia gave birth to the girl in the restaurant’s bathroom, and allegedly placed the baby into a plastic bag, before tossing her into the dumpster.

An autopsy concluded that the baby had in fact, been born alive and healthy.

Deputy District Attorney Ebrahim Baytieh told the Orange County Register that the Mexican national had concealed her pregnancy, and was fully aware that she could have simply handed the baby over to authorities with no questions asked, but instead chose to let her die in a trash bin.

The Orange County District Attorney‘s Office issued the following statement: “The baby girl was born alive. Baby Doe weighed 6.3 pounds and was 17 inches long. The defendant is accused of murdering the baby, putting Baby Doe in a plastic bag, and throwing her body in a dumpster behind the restaurant.”

Valencia was charged with murder and currently sits in the Orange County Jail awaiting trial. If convicted, she faces a sentence of 25 years to life.

Dave Gibson

The Examiner

June 12, 2010


Added: Jun. 13, 2010

Ohio, USA

Police investigate the use of date rape drug at bar

A 31-year-old Grove City woman reported to Grove City Police that at 1:17 a.m. May 26 that she was the victim of rape while she was at a bar in the 3000 block of Southwest Boulevard. She told police that she believed someone slipped a date rape drug in her drink.

She woke up next to the trash receptacles behind the bar, bleeding copiously and complaining of internal pain. She told police that two to three men, one of whom had a scar above his right eye, raped her.

She told police she believed the men were Hispanic and mentioned a gang initiation. She also complained of confusion. The bartender reported seeing the woman in the company of a number of individuals during the course of the night.

One witness said she saw the victim vomiting and bleeding in the bathroom, but none of the bar patrons reported any awareness of a rape.

Columbus Local News

June 02, 2010


Added: Jun. 13, 2010

Southwest USA

U.S. Border Patrol Crime Blotter - May 27 - June 9, 2010

June 9, 2010 - Tucson Sector - Agents arrested an illegal alien from Honduras near Casa Grande, Arizona. Records checks revealed the subject had a prior conviction for sexual abuse of a child under the age of 12 in the state of Kentucky and had previously been removed from the United States.

June 7, 2010 - El Centro Sector - Agents arrested an illegal alien from Mexico near Calexico, California. Records checks revealed the subject is a convicted sex offender and had previously been removed from the United States.

June 7, 2010 - El Centro Sector - Agents arrested an illegal alien from Mexico near Ocotillo, California. Records checks revealed the subject had a prior conviction for lewd or lascivious acts with a child under 14 in the state of California and had previously been removed from the United States.

June 7, 2010 - Tucson Sector - Agents arrested an illegal alien from Mexico near Cowlic, Arizona. During processing, the subject admitted to being a Latin Kings gang member. Records checks revealed he had a prior conviction for statutory rape in the state of Georgia.

June 5, 2010 - Del Rio Sector - Agents arrested an illegal alien from Mexico near Eagle Pass, Texas. Records checks revealed the subject had a prior conviction for indecency with a child with sexual contact in the state of Texas, and had previously been removed from the United States.

June 4, 2010 - Tucson Sector - Agents arrested an illegal alien from El Salvador near Naco, Arizona. Records checks revealed the subject was a Mara Salvatrucha 13 (MS-13) gang member and had a prior conviction for possession/purchase of cocaine and spousal abuse. He had also previously been removed from the United States.

June 3, 2010 - Tucson Sector - Agents arrested an illegal alien from Mexico near Ajo, Arizona. Records checks revealed the subject had a prior conviction for molestation of a child in the state of California and he had previously been removed from the United States.

June 2, 2010 - Del Rio Sector - Agents arrested an illegal alien from Mexico in Weatherford, Texas. Records checks revealed the subject had a prior conviction for delivery of a controlled substance and an active arrest warrant for aggravated sexual assault on a child issued in the state of Texas. The subject had also been previously removed from the United States.

May 29, 2010 - Yuma Sector - Agents arrested an illegal alien from Mexico near Yuma, Arizona. Records checks revealed the subject had an extensive criminal history, to include convictions for aggravated driving under the influence, assault and disorderly conduct. The subject was also a registered sex offender and had been previously removed from the United States.

May 29, 2010 - Tucson Sector - Agents arrested an illegal alien from Mexico near Casa Grande, Arizona. Records checks revealed the subject had a prior conviction for rape in the state of Washington and had been previously removed from the United States.

May 29, 2010 - Tucson Sector - Agents arrested an illegal alien from Mexico near Douglas, Arizona. Records checks revealed the subject had a prior conviction for lascivious acts and sexual penetration with foreign object of a minor in the state of California. The subject had also been previously removed from the United States.

May 27, 2010 - Laredo Sector - Agents assisted other Federal and local law enforcement officers in the arrest of an illegal alien from Mexico for kidnapping at a bus station near Laredo, Texas. The subject was en route to Mexico after kidnapping an 11-year-old female in the state of Illinois. The child was returned unharmed to proper authorities.

May 27, 2010 - Tucson Sector - Agents arrested an illegal alien from Mexico near Gila Bend, Arizona. Records checks revealed the subject had a prior conviction for rape in the state of California and had been previously removed from the United States.

U.S. Border Patrol

June 9, 2010


Added: Jun. 11, 2010

Delaware, USA

New Castle Police Investigate Child's Abduction and Rape

Hockessin - New Castle County police are investigating a late night abduction and rape of a 9-year-old girl who accepted a ride from a stranger after she was inadvertently locked out of her home.

The investigation revealed that around 8:45 p.m. Wednesday, a family friend drove the victim to her home on the 500 block of Homestead Road in Alban Park home. After the friend drove away, the victim initially entered her building but was unable to get into her home as the door was locked. Police learned she then walked back outside to search for her sister and her parents.

While walking along Alban Drive, near the rear of the Canby Park Shopping Center, the victim was approached by an unknown man who was driving a four-door vehicle. The man offered the victim a ride and after some conversation, she accepted. The two drove out of the community and then to an undisclosed location in the city of Wilmington where the car was parked.

Police say the male suspect then sexually assaulted the victim before she was able get out of the car and run. A good Samaritan found the young girl walking in the area and took her to a nearby convenience store. The victim was able to reach a family member by phone who responded to the store, picked her up and then drove her home. She then disclosed the assault to her mother, who in turned called 911.

The suspect is described as an Asian or Hispanic male with short black hair. Anyone with information regarding this investigation is asked to contact the New Castle County Police Department at (302) 395-8110 (attention Detective Brian Faulkner) or visit www.nccpd.com. Citizens may also provide a text tip at: 847411 (TIP411); begin your message with NCCPD and then type your message. Tipsters may also call Crime Stoppers at (800) TIP-3333.

Police say investigators do not have any evidence at this point to believe this case is related to the two recent abduction and rape crimes that are being investigated by the Delaware State Police.

Kye Parsons

WBOC

June 10, 2010


Added: Jun. 11, 2010

California, USA

Man Tries to Grab Child Walking to School

San Diego - A 14-year-old girls escaped from a kidnapping attempt Thursday morning in City Heights.

The girl told San Diego Police she was walking to school when a man walked out of an apartment complex at 4029 44th Street near University Avenue at about 7:15 a.m. He reportedly tried to grab her and started chasing her.

A passing school bus driver saw the girl appeared to be in trouble and called police.

Police describe the suspect as a Latino male, about 25 years old, 6 feet tall with a medium build, shaved head, wearing dark blue shorts and long white socks.

While the driver called police, the man fled. He was described as Hispanic, about 25 years old, 6 feet tall with a medium build and shaved head.

He had on dark blue Dickies shorts and long white socks.

San Diego 6

June 10, 2010


Added: Jun. 11, 2010

New Jersey, USA

Police Arrest Summit Man in Luring Case

Summit Police arrested Jose Gerardo Mazariedo, a 23 year old city resident, and charged him with two counts of third degree providing obscene materials to a minor and one count of second degree Child Luring on Monday, according to Detective Steve Zagorski.

This arrest, Zagorski emphasized, is not related to the May attempted luring on Linden Place.

On Saturday, the mother of a 14-year-old female reported to police that her daughter and three of her classmates had been followed home from school, every day for the past week, by an unidentified Hispanic male in his late 20s or early 30s who was operating a newer model Honda, color blue, Zagorski said.

At school dismissal time on June 7, the police set up surveillance around the victim's school and in the area of her walking route home. At around 3 p.m. police observed a 2010 Honda, which was being operated by Mazariedo, driving in the area under surveillance, Zagorski said.

The police stopped the vehicle and identified Mazariedo as the suspect from the June 7 complaint. Mazariedo was arrested after police uncovered additional evidence linking him to an additional victim, a 13-year-old female.

Mazariedo was committed to the Union County Jail in Elizabeth where he is being held in lieu of $200,000 bail.

Chief Robert C. Lucid commended the actions and skills of the two detectives assigned to the case, Sgt. Thomas Rich and Det. John Padilla, for "quickly securing the necessary information for these criminal charges before this individual could perpetrate a sexual assault. Without their diligence we may have had a very different story to tell."

Heather Collura

Summit Patch

June 08, 2010


Added: Jun. 11, 2010

Illinois, USA

Cops seek suspect in assault on Waukegan bike path

Waukegan police are asking for the public's help in locating a man suspected in the sexual assault last week of a woman near a bike path in the far northern suburb, officials said today. Police said a 38-year-old woman was attacked at about 5 p.m. on June 4, on the Robert McClorey Bike Path just north of Montesano Avenue.

The woman was riding her bicycle on the path when she a man on another bicycle knocked her off of her bicycle and forced her in to a wooded area, officials said. The man assaulted her at knife point, police said.

After the attack the man left the area on his bicycle, traveling southbound on the path from Montesano Avenue.

The man is described as Hispanic, about 26-years-old, about 5 feet 9 inches tall, with a thin build and short black hair. The bicycle he was riding is described as a dark colored BMX style bicycle with foot pegs on the front wheel.

Police officials said they have a possible suspect identified and are "actively looking for him." Officials are asking anyone with any information about the incident to call detectives at (847)599-2608.

Carlos Sadovi

The Chicago Tribune / WGN

June 09, 2010


Added: Jun. 11, 2010

Virginia, USA

Short Pump jogger fights off attacker whose genitals were exposed

Henrico - Scary moments for a [city of] Short Pump woman who says she was attacked while on a morning jog near Lauderdale Drive and Park Terrace Drive. Tonight, police say they're treating this as an assault, and, exposure case, because when the woman tried to fight back, it turns out the man wasn't entirely covered up.

It's a crime that is as stunning, as it is unusual...in the upscale, private, and peaceful Wellesley neighborhood.

Police say a woman was on a mid-morning jog, when she saw a man walking toward her. She said, "Good morning". But police say the man, all of a sudden, shoved her backward. Police say the woman responded with a push of her own...only to notice the man's genitals were exposed.

"Kind of, just, you know...shocked. You don't really hear that kind of thing going on in our neighborhood," said Wellesley resident Sharon Sachdeva.

After the initial tussle, police say the man tried to run away, so the woman and a passerby chased him. Police say the man then got into a pickup truck, and drove out of sight.

Those who grew up in the area say it makes them think twice about their personal safety, which they usually don't have to do...

Henrico Police are looking for a person who fits this description: Hispanic male. Approximately 6' tall and 230 pounds, wearing white painter-style pants and a dingy white t-shirt. Police say he was driving a pickup truck. If you have information that can help, call Henrico Police at 501-5000 or Crime Stoppers at 780-1000.

WWBT

June 10, 2010


Added: Jun. 11, 2010

California, USA

Woman fights off suspect in attack at San Jose storage facility

Police are searching for a man who attempted to sexually assault and rob a woman in a rented unit of a San Jose storage facility this afternoon.

The woman managed to fight off her assailant in the attack at about 4:30 p.m. at Public Storage in the 900 block of Felipe Avenue, police spokesman Dirk Parsons said.

He said the victim had entered her storage unit when an unknown man came up behind her, hit her with his elbow and attempted to lift her skirt.

The woman fought him off, but the suspect then threatened to steal her car. Parsons said the victim was holding keys to her Mercedes and that the suspect tried to grab them.

The victim, however, resisted and the suspect ran out the door of the storage unit, shutting it behind him, according to Parsons. The woman managed to quickly escape the unit, but the suspect then grabbed her.

Parsons said the victim again resisted and the suspect ran to his vehicle and drove off.

The victim was taken to a local hospital to be treated for minor injuries.

Police described the suspect as a Hispanic man in his 30s, about 5 feet 6 inches tall and 170 pounds. He was wearing a blue hooded sweatshirt, and a blue shirt and pants. A security camera at the business showed him driving away in a small Honda or similar vehicle, Parsons said.

Parson said the suspect could face charges of assault with attempt to commit rape, assault with a deadly weapon and attempted robbery. Advertisement

Anyone with information regarding the case is asked to call police at (408) 277-4102. To remain anonymous, call Crime Stoppers at (408) 947-STOP.

Bay City News Service

June 02, 2010


Added: Jun. 9, 2010

The United States

Female Migrants Charge Sexual Abuse in Detention

New York - In the wake of allegations that a male guard at a central Texas detention facility sexually assaulted female detainees on their way to being deported, immigrant advocacy groups say stronger oversight and accountability is urgently needed to prevent further abuse of female detainees.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), part of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), said last week that the guard has been fired. It added that Corrections Corporation of America, the private prison company that manages the Hutto facility, has been placed on probation pending the investigation's outcome. The consequences of probation were not immediately clear.

ICE said that several women who were held at Hutto facility in Taylor, Texas, were groped while being patted down and at least one was propositioned for sex.

"We understand that this employee was able to commit these alleged crimes because ICE-mandated transport policies and procedures were not followed," David Sanders, DHS's contracting officer, said in a letter to Corrections Corporation of America obtained by The Associated Press.

ICE has ordered Corrections Corporation of America to take corrective actions. Among them is forbidding male guards from being alone with female detainees.

"Hutto is not an isolated incident," Jacki Esposito of Detention Watch Network, a coalition of organizations that monitors ICE treatment of detainees, told IPS. "Allegations of sexual assault have plagued other facilities where immigrants are being held by the federal government." ...

William Fisher

Inter Press Service (IPS)

June 07, 2010


Added: Jun. 9, 2010

Maryland, USA

Man Sentenced for Interstate Travel to have sex with a minor

Baltimore, Maryland - U.S. District Judge Richard D. Bennett sentenced Jose Jhonson Hernandez-Ramos, age 34, a Honduran national living in Baltimore, today to 87 months in prison followed by lifetime supervised release for interstate travel to have sex with a minor. Judge Bennett also ordered that Hernandez-Ramos be removed from the United States by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement after he has completed his sentence.

The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Special Agent in Charge William Winter of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement; Baltimore Police Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III; and Baltimore City State’s Attorney Patricia C. Jessamy.

According to Hernandez-Ramos’ plea agreement, Hernandez-Ramos met the victim in California, when she was 14 years old, and they began to have a sexual relationship in May 2008. After the victim turned 15 years old, Jose Jhonson Hernandez- Ramos brought her from California to Baltimore in December 2008, where they continued a sexual relationship until August 4, 2009.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit projectsafechildhood.gov

United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein commended Baltimore Child Abuse Center Executive Director Adam Rosenberg and his staff, for their assistance in this investigation and thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Bonnie S. Greenberg, who prosecuted the case.

The Maryland Human Trafficking Task Force

June 07, 2010


Added: Jun. 9, 2010

Maryland, USA

Illegal immigrant pleads to sex abuse of 6-year-old boy

Man faces between 15 and 30 years in prison, deportation for crimes

An illegal immigrant caught on video sexually assaulting a 6-year-old boy has pleaded guilty to exploiting a child to make child pornography.

The arrest of 25-five-year-old Maynor Quintanilla-Leon occurred after someone found a videotape in a Hyattsville trash bin that showed Quintanilla-Leon sexually abusing a male child, according to charging documents.

Quintanilla-Leon faces between 15 and 30 years in prison, and will be deported after he serves his time, prosecutors said.

"Mr. Quintanilla-Leon's despicable acts committed on a 6-year-old boy cry out for a long period of incarceration," Prince George's Police Chief Roberto Hylton said.

On July 8, 2009, authorities were tipped off about the attack after someone turned over a video tape that had been found with a VCR in a trash bin.

The tape lasts 47 minutes and depicts acts of sadistic violence, charging documents said. During the video, the child refers to his assailant as "Maynor."

Three days later, a witness spotted the man on the videotape in Hyattsville and contacted police. Police identified the man as Quintanilla-Leon, but because they did not have a victim they did not immediately arrest him, police said.

Detectives were able to find the boy in the video by going back to the previous addresses where Quintanilla-Leon had lived. Quintanilla-Leon had rented a home near where the boy lived. The child told police that Quintanilla-Leon abused him 20 times.

Quintanilla-Leon had fled to Texas, but U.S. Marshals captured him in Houston on July 29.

In Greenbelt's district court on Friday, Quintanilla-Leon admitted to sexually assaulting the boy twice. He did not admit to videotaping the assault, but admitted to throwing away the videotape in the trash near his brother's house.

Scott McCabe

The Washington Examiner

June 06, 2010


Added: Jun. 9, 2010

California, USA

Manhunt for man who attacked 14-year-old in Kensington

San Diego - Police are looking for a man who tried to rape a 14-year-old girl in Kensington.

The girl says she was walking along on 41st Street near Monroe Avenue at about 9:30 p.m. Sunday when the man threw her to the ground and tore off her undergarments.

A nearby neighbor apparently heard the girl's screams and attempted to apprehend the suspect, but he got away.

The suspect is described as a Latino male in his 30s with a goatee and tattoo on his right forearm. He was last seen wearing a dark colored hooded sweatshirt and shorts.

CBS 8

June 07, 2010


Added: Jun. 9, 2010

New York, USA

Police Seek Suspects In Central Park Sexual Assault

Police released surveillance video that shows three men believed to be suspects in the sexual assault of a woman in Central Park early Sunday morning. The victim, 23, was near the crosstown bus stop at East 86th Street and Fifth Avenue around 3 a.m. when, according to the Daily News, "The men offered to walk her through the park." Police Commissioner Kelly said, "She was taken into Central Park, where she was attacked."

The News also reports, "Two of the men pushed her to the ground, while the third exposed himself. She was sexually assaulted, hit on the head and robbed, the source said." The men allegedly told her they were smoking marijuana with PCP. The woman was able to run out of the park, half naked, onto Fifth Avenue where a cab driver saw her, gave her a shirt and called 911.

Upon learning about the attack, one 24-year-old told the News, "I always walk this way at night, but no way I'm doing that now." And WABC 7 has descriptions of the suspects: "Suspect #1: Hispanic man, 5'5" tall, with a dark colored Yankee baseball cap, dark colored patterned shirt and khaki shorts; Suspect #2: Hispanic man, 5'5" tall, with a red Yankee cap, red shirt and black shorts; Suspect #3: Hispanic man, 5'5" tall, with a light blue baseball cap, light blue shirt and khaki pants." People with information are urged to call Crime Stoppers (800-577-TIPS), log onto the Crimes Stoppers website or texting 274637 (CRIMES) with TIP577.

Gothamist

June 07, 2010


Added: Jun. 9, 2010

Colorado, USA

Fort Collins police arrest suspect in attempted kidnapping

Luis Garcia-Gonzales, 24, of Greeley, was taken into custody at 10:47 p.m. Saturday after a Greeley police officer noticed the vehicle he was driving matched the description of a vehicle Fort Collins police believed was tied to Thursday's attempted kidnapping incident.

Garcia-Gonzales was originally arrested for driving under restraint, but after an interview with a Fort Collins police detective, he was arrested on suspicion of felony attempted second-degree kidnapping and felony menacing.

Police began searching for a suspect after a 21-year-old woman reported that she was riding her bike northbound about 6:30 a.m. Thursday on Shields Street near Hill Pond Road when she noticed a man near an older white station wagon trying to get her attention.

According to police, the man was described as being Hispanic, in his mid-20s with a shaved head or very short hair, about 5-foot-7 and about 200 or 250 pounds.

The woman said the unknown man obstructed her path as she rode along the sidewalk and she stopped thinking he needed assistance.

"It was then that she saw the man had a knife in his hand. She attempted to flee, fell to the ground and two passing motorists stopped to assist," police said in a press release last week. "The suspect fled northbound on Shields Street in his vehicle. The victim was not injured."

Coloradan.com

June 07, 2010


Added: Jun. 7, 2010

Mexico

A young child labors in a melon field

Photo: El Universal

En México, 3.6 millones de niños son explotados

La mayoría de niños, mujeres, adolescentes que laboran en malas condiciones y sin la posibilidad de asistir a la escuela provienen de contextos de pobreza, derivada de la falta de oportunidades educativas

La presidenta de la Comisión Especial de Lucha Contra la Trata de Personas, la panista Rosi Orozco (PAN), informó que con base en datos del Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Geografía, en México hay 3.6 millones de niños trabajadores entre cinco y 17 años en condiciones de explotación.

"El Instituto estima que en México hay 3.6 millones de niños trabajadores entre cinco y 17 años trabajando en malas condiciones, sin la posibilidad de asistir a la escuela y buscar un mejor futuro", dijo.

Aseguró que la trata de personas es un delito con un impacto social complejo, cuya principal característica es convertir a las personas en mercancías que se intercambian en mercados clandestinos nacionales e internacionales, que laboran al amparo de la impunidad que les brindan las autoridades.

Orozco dijo que se deben combatir las raíces que propician el fenómeno de la trata de personas, pues la mayoría de niños, mujeres, adolescentes víctimas de ese delito provienen de contextos de pobreza, derivada de la falta de oportunidades educativas y laborales.

In Mexico, 3.6 million children are exploited

The majority of girls, boys and adolescents who labor in abusive situations, with no hope of being able to attend school, live in poverty that is also caused by a lack of educational opportunities.

National Actional Party (PAN) Congressional deputy Rosi Orozco, who is the president of the Special Commission to Fight Human Trafficking in the Chamber of Deputies, has announced the results of a statistical analysis on conditions facing working children, conducted by the National Institute for Statistics and Geography (INEG).

Deputy Orozco: The INEG estimates that in Mexico, 3.6 million minors between the ages of 5 and 17 work in [deplorable] labor conditions, and are unable to attend school or seek a better future for themselves.

Orozco added that human trafficking is a crime that has a complicated impact on society. Its principal characteristic is that it converts people into merchandise, who are then bought and sold in national and international clandestine marketplaces with the assistance of the impunity that is offered by corrupt authorities.

The deputy added that human trafficking should be fought from the roots up. They majority of children, adolescents and women who are victims of these crimes come from backgrounds of poverty, which itself derives from a lack of educational and labor opportunities.

Andrea Merlos y Juan Arvizu

El Universal

June 02, 2010


Added: Jun. 7, 2010

Texas, USA

Human trafficking decried as "a horrible problem" in Texas

Austin - In the 2008 film thriller Taken, two American girls on a pleasure trip to France are kidnapped from their apartment and thrown into a brutal world of modern-day slavery and forced prostitution.

On Thursday, Texas lawmakers heard grim real-life episodes of human trafficking as law enforcement officials described a burgeoning criminal enterprise that has spread across Texas and other states.

Bexar County District Attorney Susan Reed told of one case in which a homeless teenage girl was abducted from a parking lot and spirited away to a strip club in Corpus Christi.

Capt. Rick Cruz of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission, a participant of a task force operation in Houston, said officers rescued nearly 100 girls from "basically forced slavery" in the break-up of a trafficking ring in Houston in 2005.

Victims are often told that their families will be killed or injured if they try to contact someone on the outside, Cruz said.

Dallas police Lt. Thon Overstreet opened testimony at a legislative hearing by revealing a coordinated law enforcement strike at three locations in the Metroplex on Thursday to arrest suspects in a human trafficking network in North Texas. Overstreet declined to divulge certain details or locations because the operation had not been completed...

"It's a horrible problem," said Rep. Paula Pierson, D-Arlington, a member of the state House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee, citing estimates that more than a half-million young people -- boys as well as girls -- have been kidnapped and forced into prostitution. Pierson said human trafficking often surges around "big events," such as the Super Bowl at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington on Feb. 6.

Overstreet, interviewed after the hearing, said members of a North Texas task force on human smuggling are mapping strategy to combat it as the Super Bowl approaches. The game is expected to draw legions of visitors to North Texas...

Growing problem

During the joint hearing of the Criminal Jurisprudence and the Judiciary and Civil Jurisprudence committees, lawmakers heard testimony that human trafficking rings have grown in sophistication and technological skill, often using the Internet to lure victims or conduct business. There are also strong indications that Mexican drug cartels are increasingly moving into human trafficking to expand their illicit profits.

"It's grown dramatically, and I don't think we've even scratched the surface on a lot of these organizations," Overstreet said.

Asked by Rep. Dan Branch, R-Dallas, to rank where law enforcement stands against human trafficking organizations on a scale of one to 10, Overstreet responded, "two or three, right now."

Overstreet clutched a rolled-up chart that he said detailed the operations of [a] human smuggling ring targeted by [a recent] raid.

The criminal network has ties in Nigeria, Colombia and Mexico, operates in more than 20 U.S. cities, and boasts $12 million in physical assets and more than $6 million cash, he said...

Dave Montgomery

The Star-Telegram

June 03, 2010


Added: Jun. 7, 2010

The Americas

Isabel Allende

Author Isabel Allende to visit New Orleans, hoping to draw attention to modern-day problem of human trafficking

Chilean writer Isabel Allende is no stranger to the rough currents of history. A cousin of Chilean President Salvador Allende, she was forced to flee her native country in the mid-1970s after a military coup overthrew his government. She lived for many years in Venezuela but now is a U.S. citizen, making her home in California with her second husband and extended family.

The author of 18 books -- fiction, memoirs and novels for young adults -- Allende's literary focus is primarily on families and interpersonal relationships, with an emphasis on the lives of women. While fluent in English, she writes in Spanish; her works are then translated into English. Her wildly successful first novel, "The House of the Spirits, " a complex, multigenerational saga set in Latin America, remains for many readers her most important work.

Her new novel, "Island Beneath the Sea, " coming 28 years and 16 books later, echoes in many ways her earliest. The story follows the complicated, often troubled intertwining of several families as they move from Saint Domingue (now Haiti) to New Orleans during the late 18th and early 19th centuries.

The rich history of her settings exerted a natural attraction for Allende...

Allende writes, "The legacy of slavery is like an open wound. In the United States we are only beginning to deal with it. Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863 but it took 100 years for the Civil Rights movement to empower the blacks. To this day, they suffer from discrimination, racism and inequality.

"Unfortunately, in Haiti there are around 300,000 slave children, given away by their families because they can't feed them. It's a system that supposedly ensures that the children will be fed and sheltered, but in reality they are exploited as house servants and brutally abused; they don't receive education of any kind, no one cares for them."

The Isabel Allende Foundation, created in 1996 to honor the memory of her daughter Paula, who died in her late 20s, is focused on "social and economic justice" as well as "empowerment and protection" for women and girls.

The author connects the story of Zarite's journey from enslavement to freedom to contemporary concerns. She writes, "I hope that Zarité's story draws attention to the plight of modern slaves. Today there are 27 million slaves counted. Who knows how many more have not been counted? Some are victims of slave trafficking, but most are enslaved by debt bondage, kidnapping in war zones (child soldiers, for example), exploited under inhuman conditions in mines, fishing industry, sweatshops, agriculture, etc. Slavery is illegal and no country admits that it happens within its borders, yet there is slavery everywhere, even in the U.S. (Google 'Free the Slaves'). Before, slaves were an investment, and therefore valuable. Today slaves are so cheap that they are disposable, they have no voice; they are invisible.

"My foundation supports several grass-roots programs that empower women and girls in the U.S. and other countries. We do some work with clinics in Haiti. We also support programs that rescue women and girls from slavery in sex traffic and in bonded servitude." ...

Marigny Dupuy

The New Orleans Times-Picayune

May 13, 2010


Added: Jun. 7, 2010

The Americas

Tackle immigration problems at economic roots, bishops say

Washington, DC - Bishops of the United States, Canada, Central America and the Caribbean called on their governments to address the economic root causes of migration and seek policies that will help create jobs for people in their homelands.

During a regional consultation on migration held at the headquarters of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops June 2-4, Bishop John C. Wester of Salt Lake City and bishops from Canada, Haiti and Latin America spoke with reporters about some of the issues being discussed at the meeting.

Addressing economic root causes of migration "in our mind, is the lasting and humane solution to the challenge of illegal immigration," said Bishop Wester, chairman of the USCCB Committee on Migration, in a statement he read at the June 3 news conference.

"Second, we believe that all governments, not only the U.S., should look at their immigration laws and reform them in a manner which respects basic human rights," Bishop Wester continued. The nations of the hemisphere also must "redouble their efforts against the scourge of human trafficking," he said.

He noted that in a globalized world, where capital, communications and goods are readily exchanged, the movement of labor has not been regularized, and the impact of globalization on human beings has not been acknowledged or addressed...

Guatemalan Bishop Alvaro Ramazzini Imeri said, for example, that the poor of his country have not benefited from the Central American Free Trade Agreement, known as CAFTA, which it ratified three years ago.

"The level of poverty in Guatemala is increasing," he said...

In an interview with Catholic News Service, Bishop Ramazzini said Guatemala is reeling from the twin effects in less than a week of a volcanic eruption near the capital, Guatemala City, that coated streets and farms with inches of ash and the inundation of much of the country with up to 3 feet of rain by Tropical Storm Agatha. The two have destroyed many farmers' entire production for the season, he said. That jeopardizes their income as well as the source of affordable food for Guatemalans, he said.

At the news conference, Bishop Rafael Romo Munoz of Tijuana, Mexico, chairman of the Mexican bishops' migration commission, said his country is becoming a collection of semi-abandoned small towns as working-age teens and men have gone to the United States to be able to provide for women, children and elderly people left behind...

Participants included more than two dozen bishops from the United States, Canada, Haiti, Mexico and Central America and other representatives of national bishops' conferences, including the migration program director for the Cuban bishops.

Patricia Zapor

Catholic News Service / U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops

June 04, 2010


Added: Jun. 7, 2010

Costa Rica

Menor llegó violada y forense la manoseó

Cuando estaba en valoración médica, Cartago

A pesar de que estaba acostumbrado a ver y tocar mujeres desnudas, el irresistible cuerpo de una joven menor de edad lo llevó a la tentación. Un médico forense del Poder Judicial de Cartago, de apellidos Durán Ramírez, fue detenido por sus propios compañeros de trabajo porque al parecer abusó sexualmente de una menor de edad, quien fue víctima de una violación.

La muchacha llegó a los Tribunales de Cartago para una valoración médica, por lo cual fue atendida por el funcionario, quien además del examen de rutina llevó sus manos más lejos y aparentemente le tocó las partes íntimas.

El incidente se produjo en setiembre de 2009, pero la afectada no interpuso la denuncia hasta la semana pasada...

A child sexual abuse victim is victimized again by a forensic examiner

Despite the fact that a forensic medical examiner (last names Durán Ramírez) was accustomed to examining unclothed women, he proceeded to sexually abuse an underage sexual assault victim who he was assigned to examine.

The victim came to the judicial center of the city of Cartago for a medical examination, which was conducted by Durán Ramírez. After the exam, the doctor touched the victim's intimate areas.

The incident happened in September of 2009, but the victim did not file a complaint until last week.

Surprised by the case, the forensic medical examiner's office immediately opened an investigation.

In the hallways of the local judicial center, the accusations were not taken seriously, given that the 38-year-old was well liked, and was considered to be very professional by his colleagues.

After his arrest, the local prosecutor interrogated Durán Ramírez, and recommend pre-trial detention. He was charged with the crime of sexually abusing a minor.

Despite the prosecutor's recommendation in the case, the Cartago Criminal Court ordered bail and a restraining order that does not allow Durán Ramírez to approach the victim, or the Cartago Legal Medical Office, for a period of three months...

Danny León González

Diario Extra

June 02, 2010


Added: Jun. 7, 2010

Virginia, USA

Hugo Antonio Callejas

Salvadoran immigrant sentenced to prison for pursuing 13-year-old Virginia girl

On May 26, Loudoun County Judge James Chamblin sentenced Hugo Antonio Callejas, 43, to seven years in prison for soliciting a 13-year-old Leesburg girl for sex. Callejas originally approached the girl at a lemonade stand she set up on Memorial Day 2009, trying to raise money for the Relay for Life charity.

Callejas, who was found guilty in January, was working in the girl’s neighborhood and visited the lemonade stand three times in one day. During his last visit, he gave the girl his phone number and told her she was beautiful.

The girl’s friend, told her parents, who called the police.

Loudoun County Sheriff’s investigator, Shannon Cumberledge, then called Callejas, pretending to be the 13-year-old girl.

She and Callejas had 11 conversations over a two-day period. Some of the recorded calls were played during his trial.

Callejas could be heard saying: “You’re beautiful, and I love you.”

During other phone calls, he talked about kissing and touching the teenager, and how he would like to see her without any underwear.

Callejas said: “If you want to touch a lot, I’ll touch a lot. If you want to touch a little bit, I’ll touch you a little bit.”

The investigator agreed to meet Callejas at a community swimming pool. When he showed up, Loudoun County Sheriff’s deputies too him into custody.

Initially, Callejas denied the allegations, telling detectives that he only gave the teenager his number so that he could buy more cookies and lemonade from her. However, once confronted with the taped phone conversations, Callejas admitted to his actions.

Callejas came to this country from El Salvador, eventually becoming a U.S. citizen. He is married with three children.

Dave Gibson

The Examiner

June 05, 2010


Added: Jun. 7, 2010

Deleware, USA

Gino Alfonso Laflora

North Carolina Man Charged With Raping Deleware Teen

Frederica, Deleware - Delaware State Police have charged a North Carolina man with sexually assaulting a teenage girl.

Gino Alfonso Laflora, of Fayetteville, North Carolina, is facing several charges in connection to the alleged incident on May 16.

According to investigators, Laflora was visiting family in Kent County, Delaware when the assault occurred. The victim told police that the assault occurred near an open lot between Willow Drive and Maple Drive in Frederica.

The victim said she knew the suspect from a friend in the neighborhood. She said she was alone with Laflora in his car when the assault happened.

Laflora surrendered to authorities on June 3. He has been charged with Rape and Unlawful Imprisonment.

Laflora is being held on $52,000 bail pending a preliminary hearing.

CBS 3

June 05, 2010


Added: Jun. 7, 2010

Oregon, USA

Hernan Hernandez Vera

High school student charged with sexual assault on graduation day

An Eastern Oregon high school senior who planned to attend his own graduation today, instead is in jail, facing felony sexual assault charges.

The Bellingham Herald reports that 19-year-old Hernan Hernandez Vera was charged with first-degree sodomy, rape and sexual abuse.

The sexual assault was reported around 11:30 p.m. Tuesday by staff at Good Shepherd Hospital.

Deputies learned the victim had been assaulted earlier in the day in Irrigon and around 1 a.m. Wednesday tracked Vera down at his home.

Vera, an Irrigon High senior, was jailed on suspicion of three counts of first-degree sodomy.

Kimberly A.C. Wilson

The Oregonian

June 04, 2010


Added: Jun. 2, 2010

Mexico

Mexican congressional deputy Rosi Orozco, president of the Special Commission to Fight Human Trafficking in the Chamber of Deputies

México, número uno en pornografía infantil

Este fenómeno tiende a incrementarse más.

Ciudad de México.- El país ocupa el primer lugar en apertura de páginas web de pornografía infantil, y tiende a incrementarse más de 5% la distribución de videos de imágenes de abuso a recién nacidos, afirmó la diputada Rosi Orozco, presidenta de la Comisión Especial de Lucha contra la Trata de Personas.

La legisladora dijo que las denuncias telefónicas por delitos de pornografía infantil aumentaron 200% entre el 2008 y el 2009, y que otro problema radica en el uso de internet para la comercialización y funcionamiento de redes de trata de niños y niñas y de explotación sexual comercial...

Mexico is Number 1 in Child Pornography

The problem is continuing to grow

Mexico City - Mexico occupies first place [globally] in access of child pornography by way of the Internet. The problem includes a [recent] 5% increase in the distribution of obscene photos of recently born babies, according to Mexican congressional deputy Rosi Orozco, president of the Special Commission to Fight Human Trafficking in the Chamber of Deputies.

Deputy Orozco stated that phoned-in complaints about child pornography increased 200% between 2008 and 2009. She noted that another Internet-based aspect of the problem involves the fact that child sex trafficking networks in Mexico are using the Web to commercialize and operate their illicit businesses.

She warned that currently, no [anti-pornography] filters exist for cell phone users who browse the Web, which is concerning, given that 75.6 million cell phone users exist in Mexico, 29% of those have Internet access, and 55% of youth between the ages of 12 and 18 use those services.

In response to this problem, Deputy Orozco has presented a non-binding resolution calling upon the nation's state legislatures to reform their penal codes to include crimes that involve public and private telecommunications [networks].

Deputy Orozco also stated that the top criminal activities that take place on the Internet involve, in order of importance: 1) fraud; 2) threats; and 3) child pornography.

The Deputy concluded by noting that 11 million computers have Internet access in Mexico. Some 55% of them are installed in homes, which represents 3.5 computers for every 10 households. Thirty nine percent of the nation's 23 million computer-based Internet users are between the ages of 12 and 18.

El Manana

May 14, 2010


Added: Jun. 2, 2010

New York, USA

Mayor Bloomberg and Deputy Mayor Robles-Roman launch new public education campaign to end human trafficking

“Let’s Call an End to Human Trafficking” Campaign Encourages New Yorkers To “See It. Know It. Report It.”

Press Release (excerpt)

New York City - Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Deputy Mayor Carol A. Robles-Roman and Chief Advisor for Policy and Strategic Planning John Feinblatt today launched a new public-education campaign to raise awareness about human trafficking and encourage New Yorkers to report potential trafficking situations. The multi-media campaign called “Let’s Call an End to Human Trafficking,” features silhouettes of everyday people who may be affected by trafficking. Human trafficking is a horrible crime that involves the recruiting, transporting, selling, or buying of people for the purpose of various forms of exploitation. These victims are often controlled through force, fraud, or coercion. The print advertisements in English and Spanish, created by Grey New York, in partnership with the Somaly Mam Foundation and the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City, will appear on bus shelters in the five boroughs from May 20 – June 13. As part of the new campaign, the City’s new anti-trafficking website, which can be found on www.nyc.gov, was also launched to provide more information about the plight of human trafficking...

“Human Trafficking is happening here, but we don’t know it because we don’t see it,” said Alice Ericsson, Executive Creative Director of Grey New York. “If we want New Yorkers to see the problem, we have to put it in plain view. And, in plain language. The silhouettes will tell the stories of human trafficking that can happen right here in our own town.” ...

The Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs will also help to disseminate information and materials to vulnerable communities in the city, and bring broader awareness about human trafficking and where to go for help. Outreach to community and faith- based organizations serving immigrants as well as ethnic media will reinforce these efforts...

If you are a victim of human trafficking or would like to report a tip regarding suspected human trafficking, call 911. If you would like more information about human trafficking or would like to learn about how you can help, call 311 or visit nyc.gov/ humantrafficking...

Mayor Michael Bloomberg

May 20, 2010


Added: Jun. 2, 2010

Washington State, USA

Crime Spree in Washington State

One woman is dead and two others were raped recently and police say each crime was committed by a different illegal immigrant. One of the sexual assaults happened just hours before the Seattle city council passed an ordinance boycotting Arizona over its new immigration law.

Gregorio Luna Luna had a history of beating up his live-in girlfriend Griselda Ocampo Meza. He was also in the U.S. illegally. On May 1, [2010] Luna Luna was deported to Mexico. Three weeks later Meza was murdered in her apartment in a violent knife attack.

Franklin County prosecutors say Luna Luna slipped past the border again and killed Meza in front of their five year old son. He's in the county jail awaiting trial.

A suspected rapist in Edmonds, Washington has been deported at least 4 times according to Snohomish County prosecutors. Jose Lopez Madrigal has been charged with raping a woman next to a dumpster behind a Safeway store. A witness to the attack alerted police and Madrigal was taken into custody.

An illegal immigrant just convicted of his possible 3rd strike in Whatcom county- a rape of a homeless woman- has been deported to Mexico five times.

Dan Springer

Fox News

June 01, 2010


Added: Jun. 2, 2010

Texas, USA

Joe Chavez

Former TABC officer indicted on sexual assault charges

Bastrop - A former Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission officer was indicted by a Bastrop County grand jury on Tuesday on charges of sexual assault of a child.

During a TABC undercover investigation of alcohol sales in May 2009, 41-year-old Joe Chavez allegedly sexually assaulted a 16-year-old girl hired to assist in the sting.

Investigators say that the incident took place in Chavez's state-issued vehicle immediately after the sting. He also reportedly texted explicit photos of himself to the teen a day before the operation.

He was arrested on Friday by investigators with the Office of the Attorney General.

Prior to being stationed in Bastrop, Chavez was a TABC officer in Waco from June 2004 to August 2005.

Chavez is charged with two counts of Sexual Assault of a Child and one count each of online solicitation of a minor, abuse of official capacity and official oppression.

Louis Ojeda Jr.

KXXV

June 01, 2010


Added: June 1, 2010

Mexico / The United States

Mexican congressional deputy Cora Pinedo Alonso, of the New Alliance Party, speaks with reporters as she calls for the nation's current federal anti-trafficking law to be enforced at the federal level (it currently is limited to being enforced by states in most circumstances.

Segundo proveedor de EU de víctimas de trata

Entre 16 mil y 20 mil niños y niñas son víctimas de explotación sexual cada año en México, lo que convierte al país en la segunda nación que más víctimas de trata provee a Estados Unidos, superado únicamente por Tailandia, afirmó la diputada, Cora Pinedo Alonso, del Partido Nueva Alianza.

La también secretaria de la Mesa Directiva de la Cámara baja precisó que el municipio de Tapachula, Chiapas, es el lugar donde se realiza la mayor venta de mujeres, niñas y niños con fines de trata.

Muchos de esos menores son "redistribuidos" a los estados de Oaxaca, Michoacán, Guerrero, Jalisco, Nayarit, Sinaloa y el Distrito Federal, señaló con base a estudios de la organización internacional End Child Prostitution Child Pornography and Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes (ECPAT).

Mexico is the second largest provider of human trafficking victims to the United States

Between 16 and 20 thousand boys and girls are victims of sexual exploitation in Mexico each year. As a result, Mexico has become the second largest provider of human trafficking victims to the United States, according to congressional deputy Cora Pinedo Alonso of the New Alliance Party.

Pinedo Alonso, who is the secretary of the governing council in the Chamber of Deputies, also stated that Mexico's southern border city of Tapachula, located in Chiapas state, is the largest center for the sale of women, girls and boys for purposes of human trafficking in the nation.

Many of child victims are "redistributed" to the states of Oaxaca, Michoacán, Guerrero, Jalisco, Nayarit and Sinaloa, as well as to Mexico City. Pinedo Alonso based her statements on a research study conducted [in 2007] by the organization End Child Prostitution Child Pornography and Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes (ECPAT).

In response to this situation, Pinedo Alonso has presented a non-binding resolution that has been submitted to the Second Permanent Commission of Congress (37 members of the Senate and Chamber of Deputies who conduct congressional business when Congress is not in session) for consideration. The resolution calls for the creation of stricter measures than now exist to investigate trafficking crimes and to punish those responsible.

The resolution calls upon the director of the National Institute of Migration (INM) to assign staff to supervise and evaluate anti-trafficking activities on Mexico's southern border, and specifically in the city of Tapachula, with reports on conditions there to be sent to Congress.

According the the ECPAT study, Central American adolescents, the majority of whom are minors, "are prostituted in 1, 552 bars and brothels in Chiapas, and also in other cities and towns along the nation's southern border [with Guatemala and Belize.]"

Pinedo Alonso added that in 50% of these cases, the victims are Guatemalans. [Salvadorans, Hondurans and Nicaraguans are also victims]. The victims are usually between the ages of 8 and 14. "They are sold by traffickers [to brothels] for $200 dollars each," Pinedo Alonso denounced.

Joining in the call for action, Chiapas state governor Juan Sabines has asked for working groups to be created that coordinate the work of non-governmental organizations, state agencies, the Chiapas state Human Rights Commission and the state's office of the Special Prosecutor for Crimes of Violence Against Women and Human Trafficking. The goal of the working groups would be to evaluate the effectiveness of policies implemented to fight human trafficking.

Governor Sabines also called for an analysis to be conducted to track actions taken in regard to cases of human trafficking that involve both Mexican and Central American girls, boys and adolescents, and to document the number of prosecutions pursued.

Governor Sabines: "We wish to express our indignation and complete repudiation of these criminal practices. We energetically condemn those public servants who, through acts of omission or commission, have been complicit in collaborating with human trafficking networks. We call upon the executive, legislative and judicial branches of government to join forces [to combat these crimes]."

Cronica

May 31, 2010

See also:

Central America and Mexico

mariajesusdl02297.jpg

María de Jesús Silva, Jackeline's mother

Trata de blancas en Centroamérica

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

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

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

Mexico - The Hot Spot

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

- Ana Lilia Pérez

Revista Contralínea

Oct. 22, 2007

See also:

LibertadLatina Note

About the numbers used to discuss minors involved in sex trafficking in Mexico

We reiterate our belief that the official Mexican Government estimates in regard to the numbers of underage sexual exploitation victims is unbelievably low. The above article about child sex trafficking in the southern border city of Tapachula states that an estimated 10,000 underage victims are prostituted in that city alone.

As we noted in our March 1, 2010 essay - Lead, Follow or Get Out of the Way:

A note about the figures quoted to describe the number of child sexual exploitation victims in Mexico...

Widely quoted 'official' figures state that between 16,000 and 20,000 underage victims of sex trafficking exist in Mexico.

We believe that, if the United States acknowledges that 200,000 to 300,000 underage children and youth are caught-up in the commercial sexual exploitation of children - CSEC, at any one time, based on a population of 310 million, (a figure of between .00064 and .00096 percent of the population), then the equivalent numbers for Mexico would be between 68,000 and 102,000 child and youth victims of CSEC for its estimated 107 million in population.

Given Mexico's vastly greater level of poverty, legalization of adult prostitution, and given that southern Mexico alone is known to be the largest zone in the world for CSEC, with 10,000 children being prostituted just in the city of Tapachula (according to ECPAT figures), then the total number of underage children and youth caught-up in prostitution in Mexico is most likely not anywhere near the 16,000 to 20,000 figure that was first released in a particular research study from more than five years ago and continues to be so widely used.

- Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

March 01, 2010

June 01, 2010

See Also:

Mexico

Víctimas del tráfico de personas, 5 millones de mujeres y niñas en América Latina

De esa cifra, más de 500 mil casos ocurren en México, señalan especialistas.

Five million victims of Human Trafficking Exist in Latin America

Saltillo, Coahuila state - Teresa Ulloa Ziaurriz, the director of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women's Latin American / Caribbean regional office, announced this past Monday that more than five million women and girls are currently victims of human trafficking in Latin America and the Caribbean.

During a forum on successful treatment approaches for trafficking victims held by the Women's Institute of Coahuila, Ulloa Ziaurriz stated that 500,000 of these cases exist in Mexico, where women and girls are trafficked for sexual exploitation, pornography and the illegal harvesting of human organs.

Ulloa Ziaurriz said that human trafficking is the second largest criminal industry in the world today, a fact that has given rise to the existence of a very large number of trafficking networks who operate with the complicity of both [corrupt] government officials and business owners.

Mexico is a country of origin, transit and also destination for trafficked persons. Of 500,000 victims in Mexico, 87% are subjected to commercial sexual exploitation.

Ulloa Ziaurriz pointed out that locally in Coahuila state, the nation's human trafficking problem shows up in the form of child prostitution in cities such as Ciudad Acuña as well as other population centers along Mexico's border with the United States.

- Notimex / La Jornada Online

Mexico City

Dec. 12, 2007

See Also:

Added: Jun. 1, 2010

Mexico

Presenta diputada Cora Pinedo Alonso iniciativa de ley para tipificar trata de personas como delito federal

MEXICO, D.F., - Palacio Legislativo 23 de Febrero de 2010./Notilegis.- La vicecoordinadora de Nueva Alianza, Cora Pinedo Alonso, propuso tipificar la trata de personas como un delito federal y modificar la denominación de la Ley para Prevenir y Sancionar la Trata de Personas, para elevarla a rango federal, ya que actualmente sólo puede ser aplicada por las autoridades federales bajo cuatro supuestos...

Congressional deputy Cora Pinedo Alonso presents an initiate to require the national anti-trafficking law to be enforced at the fedeal level.

Congressional deputy Cora Pinedo Alonso, who is the vice-coordinator of the New Alliance Party in the Chamber of Deputies, has called for the nation's current anti-trafficking law, the Law to Prevent and Punish Human Trafficking, to be changed, to allow its enforcement at the federal level. Currently [states enforce the law]. Federal authorities may only enforce its provisions under four circumstances. First, if the human trafficking crime was committed outside of Mexico, federal action may be taken. Second, when the trafficking crime is perpetrated within Mexico, but is intended to have an impact outside of Mexico, federal agents may also act. Third, federal action may be taken when the criminal act falls within Article 50, Section I, Subsection 'b) a j)' of the Organic Law of the Power of Judicial Power of the Federation. Fourth, when the criminal act is a violation of the Federal Law Against Organized Criminal Delinquency.

Deputy Pinedo Alonso stated that currently, [the federal law differs significantly from the anti-trafficking laws enacted in the majority of states. Therefore, the federal law should be changed to allow for the uniform application of anti-trafficking law across the nation, and especially in regard to the application of criminal penalties.

Deputy Pinedo Alonso referred to the United Nations human trafficking study Human Trafficking: A Global Panorama. The study identifies 127 countries of origin, 98 transit nations and 137 destination nations in regard to victims of human trafficking. Mexico is ranked very high among the countries of origin listed in the report. Mexico is rate in 28th place among nations where traffickers entrap victims, and is in 5th among nations in Latin America.

Deputy Pinedo Alonso's initiative proposes to reform Article 73 of the Constitution, and will update Article 3 of the Law to Prevent and Punish Human Trafficking. It has been referred to the Chamber's Commission on Constitutional Law for review.

Notilegis

Feb. 23, 2010

Note: Mexico's federal system does not impose federal legal jurisdiction on the federated entities (Mexico's 31 states and Mexico City) for federal criminal laws that are passed as 'general laws.' The Law to Prevent and Punish Human Trafficking is a general law. - LL

Note: Deputy Pinedo Alonso's initiative has been superseded by a more recent proposal, submitted by the ruling National Action Party, to update the now ineffective Law to Prevent and Punish Human Trafficking. Earlier in 2010, Mexico's Interior Secretary, Fernando Gómez Mont, expressed his adamant opposition to federalizing anti-trafficking law. - LL


Added: June 1, 2010

Brazil

Descubren red trafico personas en Amazonia Brasileña

Autoridades brasileñas informaron que organizaciones dedicadas al tráfico de personas se instalaron en la región amazónica por donde decenas de haitianos ingresan al país tras el terremoto ocurrido en el país caribeño en enero.

"Coyotes braileños" (traficantes de inmigrantes) cobran 600 dólares por introducir a cada haitiano en el estado de Acre, indicaron fuentes de la Policía Federal.

"El destino preferido en Brasil es Assis Brasil (localidad fronteriza con Perú) desde donde continúan camino hacia otras regiones del país" dijo el comisario Flaveio Avelar, jefe de la delegación de Migraciones de la Policía Federal en Acre.

El número de inmigrantes haitianos llegados a Brasil se incrementó tras el terremoto que devastó a ese país en enero pasado y dejó más de 200 mil víctimas fatales.

La legislación brasileña establece que los inmigrantes sin papeles sean deportados a su país de origen, pero las autoridades decidieron hacer una excepción con los haitianos.

"Se trata de una cuestión humanitaria, ellos dejaron su país debido al terremoto y podrán permanecer en Brasil como refugiados" explicó el comisario Avelar, consultado por el diario Correio Braziliense.

A human smuggling network is discovered in the Brazilian Amazon

Brazilian authorities have announced that human smuggling networks have established themselves in the Brazilian Amazon. These groups have smuggled dozens of Haitians into Brazil through the Assis Brazil area on the Peruvian border. Brazilian coyotes have charged Haitians $600 to bring Haitians to the Brazilian state of Acre, from which they travel to other regions of Brazil. The smuggling of Haitians has increased significantly since the January, 2010 earthquake.

Although Brazilian law calls for the deportation of undocumented immigrants, the government has announced that Haitian migrants will be allowed to stay as refugees,

"It is a humanitarian issue. They left Haiti due to the earthquake, and they may remain in Brazil as refugees," explained the federal immigration police's commissioner in the state of Acre, Flaveio Avelar.

Ansa (Italy)

May 31, 2010


Added: June 1, 2010

Mexico / Brazil

Mexican officials arrest German citizen wanted in Brazil on human trafficking charges

Mexico City - Mexican authorities have arrested a German citizen wanted in Brazil on human trafficking charges.

Mexico's Public Safety Department says Dieter Erhard Fritzchen Stieleke was arrested while waiting to board a flight to Germany out of the resort city of Cancun.

The department says Stieleke was handed over to Interpol for extradition to Brazil. A statement released Wednesday gives no details on the human trafficking charges against Stieleke. He was arrested Sunday.

The German Embassy did not return phone calls seeking comment. The Brazilian Embassy declined to comment.

The Associated Press (Canadian Press)

May 26, 2010


Added: May. 30, 2010

Mexico

A photo of Valentina Rosendo Cantú from earlier in her life

Carta abierta de apoyo para Valentina Rosendo Cantú

Valentina:

El día de hoy, cuando se lleva a cabo la audiencia en la Corte Interamericana de Derechos Humanos, el equipo de la CMDPDH queremos enviarte un mensaje con nuestro profundo respeto y apoyo.

Sabemos que has asumido, junto con las organizaciones que te acompañan en esta lucha, la tarea de denunciar las violaciones a los derechos humanos cometidas por el Ejército Mexicano, en particular la violencia sexual como una forma de tortura. Por tu voz hablan decenas de mujeres que han sufrido la violencia del Estado, pero no han tenido acceso a denunciar. Al mismo tiempo, también nos sentimos representadas las organizaciones de la sociedad civil que trabajamos por el respeto de los Derechos Humanos y por una sociedad libre y democrática.

Asimismo, estamos conscientes de que esta denuncia y todo el proceso de defensa en su conjunto, ha significado una enorme carga para ti y que en este camino has enfrentado amenazas, contra ti y tus seres queridos, que buscan hacerte desistir. Sin embargo, te has mantenido firme en la búsqueda de justicia, reivindicando tu dignidad de mujer indígena, y la de cientos de comunidades que han sido afectadas en su tejido social por la militarización.

Por todo esto, recibe hoy nuestro abrazo solidario y nuestro compromiso de seguir, inspirados en tu ejemplo, en esta lucha.

Atentamente,

El equipo de la Comisión Mexicana de Defensa y Promoción de los Derechos Humanos A.C.

An open letter to Valentina Rosendo Cantú

Valentina,

On this day, the day when your case will be presented before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, we of the Mexican Commission for the Defense and Promotion of Human Rights wish to send you this message expressing our profound respect and solidarity.

We know that you have taken on, together with the organizations who are assisting you in this struggle, the task of denouncing the violations of human rights that have been committed by the Mexican Army, and in particular the use of sexual violence as a form of torture. Your voice speaks for dozens of women who have suffered violence perpetrated by the State, but do not have access to a forum to denounce these crimes. At the same time, we who work for human rights organizations, who seek to achieve a fee and democratic society, feel well represented by you.

We are aware that your case, and all of the efforts in your defense, have amounted to being a huge burden for you. We know that you have faced threats against yourself and your family, that are designed to force you drop your case. Nonetheless, you have remained steadfast in your search for justice, vindicating your dignity as an indigenous woman, as well as that of hundreds of communities whose social fabric has been affected by [domestic] militarization.

For all of these reasons, today we ask you to accept our hug of solidarity and our commitment to continue, inspired by your example, in this struggle.

Sincerely,

The staff of the Mexican Commission for the Defense and Promotion of Human Rights (CMDPDH)

CIMAC Women's News Agency

May 28, 2010

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

Photo: March 24, 2010 - Cronica

Tlapaneca Indigenous victim Inés Fernández Ortega

Exigen Cese de Agresiones Contra Tlapaneca Violada por Militares

Lanzan activistas campaña contra la impunidad militar

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

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

Human Rights Defenders Launch Campaign Against Military Impunity

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Anayeli García Martínez

CIMAC Women's News Agency

April 06, 2010

See also:

Added: May. 30, 2010

Mexico

This is your war on drugs

...On 16th February 2002, Valentina Rosendo Cantú was washing her clothes in a stream near her home in Caxitepec, Mexico, when six soldiers approached. Seemingly too busy for pleasantries, the men started barking questions at her: Who was she? Where was she from? Had she seen the people they were looking for? Did she recognize the names on the list they thrust in front of her?

Her answers weren’t good enough, so one soldier pulled a gun and threatened to shoot. Another punched her so hard that she passed out. When she came to, two men tore off her underwear and raped her, one after the other. She was sixteen years old.

It took several months for Valentina to find a doctor willing to treat her; her nearest hospital turned her away because they didn’t want any trouble from the military. The next nearest, which she walked for eight hours to reach, examined her but offered no medicine. Only after legal action was threatened did she finally receive the gynecological care she needed.

At the time of writing, no criminal prosecution has ever been brought against these men and no one has been formally disciplined by a military which has perpetually dragged its feet over investigations. Some 7 years later, she still hasn’t found justice.

This case is just one of many allegations of human rights abuses leveled at the Mexican military in pursuit of an expensive, bloody and failed war on drugs. As well as rape, the allegations include enforced disappearance, torture, arbitrary detention and unlawful killing. And it’s all being bankrolled by the United States of America...

This is your war on drugs

August 13, 2009


Added: May. 30, 2010

Georgia, USA

Samuel Sanchez

Man Charged in Cherokee County Sex Assault

Cherokee County deputies say a Woodstock man is behind bars after allegedly breaking into a mobile home and crawling into bed with a woman he didn’t know as she slept with her 1-year-old son.

Deputies say 22-year-old Samuel Sanchez broke into a mobile home off of Dupree Road in Woodstock on Friday morning. They say 19-year-old Bridget Gonzalez was asleep in her bed with her son when the suspect came into the room and got in bed with them. Then, he attempted to sexually assault her, investigators say.

Gonzalez told FOX 5 she thought the man was her boyfriend, but soon realized it was a stranger instead. She says she and her son don’t know Sanchez.

After Gonzalez realized the man wasn’t her boyfriend, she screamed and he ran out of the house. But, much to her surprise, she says he came back.

Sanchez was later picked up while walking along Dupree Road. They say when they spotted him, he began running, but deputies were able to catch up to him.

According to deputies, Sanchez told them he wanted to see someone he knows who lives at the home, so he just went inside.

Sanchez is charged with sexual battery, criminal attempt to rape, and burglary. He is being held without bond at the Cherokee County Adult Detention Center.

Fox 5 Atlanta

May 28, 2010


Added: May. 28, 2010

Mexico

Valentina Rosendo Cantú

Niega Estado mexicano violación de Valentina Rosendo Cantú

Argumenta ante la CoIDH falta de “pruebas fehacientes”

San José, Costa Rica - Durante la audiencia de la Corte Interamericana de Derechos Humanos (CoIDH) sobre el caso de Valentina Rosendo Cantú, el Estado mexicano insistió categóricamente que “no existen pruebas fehacientes de la presunta violación sexual”, por lo cual pidió a este tribunal internacional tome en cuenta este elemento a la hora de emitir su sentencia.

Si bien es cierto que la integración de la investigación de los hechos ocurridos el 16 de febrero de 2002 no se hizo de manera eficaz y eficiente, no se puede responsabilizar al Estado mexicano por tortura y tampoco por violar el derecho a la salud y al debido proceso de Valentina, así lo dijo Armando Vivanco Castellanos, director de Democracia y Derechos Humanos de la Secretaría de Relaciones Exteriores (SRE)...

Después de esta audiencia, tanto la defensa de Valentina como el Estado mexicano deberán entregar sus alegatos finales por escrito, de acuerdo con la CoIDH el próximo 28 de junio y advirtió que no habrá prórroga.

Mexico’s government denies the fact of the rape of Valentina Rosendo Cantú

Mexican state argues that no compelling proof of the rape exists

San Jose, Costa Rica – During a hearing held by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR) in regard to the case of indigenous rape victim Valentina Rosendo Cantú, the Mexican State declared categorically that no compelling proof exists to show that the rape occurred. Mexico asked that the Court take this into consideration when deliberating their decision.

Armando Vivanco Castellanos, director of Democracy and Human Rights in the Secretary of External Relations (SRE), argued part of Mexico’s case before the Court. He declared that Mexico cannot be held responsible if the investigation into the events of February 16, 2002 was not efficient and effective, and that the State also cannot be held responsible for the torture and violation of the right to health and a lack of access to the proper [judicial] process.

Full English Translation to follow.

Anayeli García Martínez

CIMAC

May 27, 2010

See also:

Added: May. 29, 2010

Mexico

Raped with impunity - Inés Fernández Ortega and Valentina Rosendo Cantú

...Inés Fernández Ortega and Valentina Rosendo Cantú are still waiting for justice. The two women, who belong to the Tlapaneca Indigenous community, were raped by members of the Mexican army in February and March 2002 respectively in the state of Guerrero, Mexico.

Inés Fernández Ortega, who speaks little Spanish, was reportedly raped on 22 March 2002. Soldiers entered her home to interrogate her about some meat they claimed had been stolen. When she did not answer their questions, they raped her. Valentina Rosendo Cantú, then aged 17, was approached on 16 February 2002 by soldiers near her home, who questioned her about the activities of some "hooded men" (a reference to armed opposition groups). When she replied that she did not know any, she was threatened and two of the soldiers raped her.

The Mexican authorities claim that both women have failed to co-operate with the military investigation. However, the fact that both cases remain under military jurisdiction places the women at serious risk of reprisals. The women are required to go into the barracks to ratify their complaints before the military prosecutor. There, they may face a real risk of intimidation.

The women have shown great courage in speaking out, demanding that their cases be transferred to the civilian authorities. Amnesty International supports their demands as the military justice system lacks the impartiality and independence to properly investigate such cases. The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights is now investigating the Mexican government’s failure to ensure effective access to justice for both women.

Amnesty International

March 8, 2007


Added: May. 28, 2010

North Carolina, USA

Abel Moreno

Photo from: Abel Moreno Might Get Deported After Reporting Police Groped His Girlfriend

Cindy Casares

Guanabee.com

May 26, 2010

He Did the Right Thing; Now He Faces Deportation

Charlotte - Just like the police tell you to do, Abel Moreno called 911 when a man began assaulting his girlfriend. Before the end of the year, he could be deported to Mexico for his trouble.

Moreno, 29, of Charlotte made the call Dec. 29 because, he alleged, a Charlotte police officer was trying to fondle his girlfriend after a traffic stop. The officer ordered Moreno to drop the call and arrested him and his girlfriend for resisting arrest.

Several things then happened. Five other women came forward to allege that the officer, identified as Marcus Jackson, now 26, had tried to molest them, too. Moreno was released after investigators debunked the resisting arrest charge. So was his girlfriend.

Jackson was fired and faces 11 counts of sexual battery, extortion and interfering with emergency communication. Police Chief Rodney Monroe admitted that Jackson should never have been hired in the first place because of previous charges related to a restraining order filed by an ex-girlfriend. The local 911 system is under review because Moreno’s call wasn’t acted upon.

And Abel Moreno now has a six-month deadline to show why he shouldn’t be deported, even though police acknowledge that his 911 call was crucial to their uncovering a dirty cop, and even though they agree that he shouldn’t have been arrested...

A judge granted Moreno a six-month deferment on his deportation because he is a witness in the criminal investigation. But that reprieve runs out in November.

Moreno’s attorney, Rob Heroy, said he was confident Moreno would eventually be granted a so-called U visa, which allows illegal immigrants who are victims or witnesses in criminal investigations to stay in the country for up to four years. But only 10,000 such visas are available in any year, and while that process works its way through the system, Moreno remains in limbo.

“Now I’m unemployed,” Moreno said, speaking in Spanish through an interpreter. “I don’t have any money, not even for rent, not even for my phone — anything. ... The truth is I’m scared.” ...

MSNBC

May 26, 2010

See also:

Abel Moreno Might Get Deported After Reporting Police Groped His Girlfriend

Cindy Casares

Guanabee.com

May 26, 2010


Added: May. 29, 2010

New York, USA

Rape Victim's Mother Arrives In U.S. To Claim Body

The mother of the Chinese immigrant who died after being brutally beaten and raped in a Queens alley arrived yesterday. The Daily News reports, "Sobbing inconsolably as she stepped off a plane at Newark Airport, the mother was too distraught to speak of her daughter, Yu Yao, 23, who was raped and fatally beaten in Queens by a pipe-wielding madman. Escorted through the airport terminal by relatives, the heartbroken mother collapsed into a chair and laid her head in a cousin's lap."

Yao, who had arrived in NYC two months ago on a student visa, was taken off life support on Friday, after being struck with a metal pipe and then sexually assaulted in Flushing on Sunday May 16. According to the Queens DA's office, she suffered a "fractured skull, bleeding on the brain and trauma to the vagina." While one witness's call to the police enabled the arrest of suspect Carlos Salazar Cruz, Assemblywoman Grace Meng said other people witnessed the attack but did not do anything.

NY1 reports that community activists held an anti-violence vigil at the attack site on 41st Road, urging residents to report violent acts. Community Prevention Alternatives' Martha Florez-Vazquez said, "I feel that it's important to send out a message to the community that it takes a village and that it's up to our neighbors to prevent crime.” One resident added, "I'm very concerned... no one should be beaten to death the way this young lady was."

Jen Chung

Gothamist

May 25, 2010


Added: May. 28, 2010

Arizona, USA

Kyleigh Ann Sousa

Woman dragged by car during robbery dies

Tempe - A young woman who was run over and dragged by a car during a robbery in Tempe early Wednesday morning has died.

The incident happened shortly before 2 a.m. in the area of Apache Boulevard and Mill Avenue near the Arizona State University campus.

The victim has been identified as Kyleigh Ann Sousa, a 21-year-old Arizona State University student. She died of her injuries Wednesday night.

According to police, a man approached Sousa outside of a hotel and grabbed her purse. He then tried to drive away.

Sousa held on to her purse. She was dragged by the suspect's car.

The suspect is described as a heavyset Hispanic man. The car he was driving is a newer model Chrysler 300.

Police and Sousa's parents are asking for the public's help in finding the suspect.

Anybody who has information about the incident should call the Tempe Police Department at 480-350-8311 or Silent Witness 480-WITNESS (480-948-6377).

Catherine Holland

Fox 11

May 27, 2010


Added: May. 29, 2010

Pennsylvania, USA

Omar Shariff Cash

Cash guilty of murder and rape

Jurors must now sentence Omar Shariff Cash to life in prison or death by lethal injection.

After hearing two weeks of testimony that one prosecutor likened to the musings of a horror writer, a Bucks County jury in Doylestown Thursday found Omar Shariff Cash guilty on all counts, including first- and second-degree murder, rape, kidnapping, robbery, theft and other crimes...

The 43-year-old woman [victim] told the jury that Cash laughed as he forced her to perform oral sex at gunpoint, then turned up the volume on the car radio and swayed to hip-hop music after leaving her boyfriend, Edgar Rosas-Gutierrez, dead alongside a Bensalem exit ramp.

In the front row of the courtroom, the rape victim wept softly as the verdict was read. A native of Brazil who doesn't speak English, she listened to the verdict with the help of a Portuguese interpreter.

Rosas-Gutierrez's family also had interpreters to help them understand the verdict. They passed around a box of tissues and cried as each "guilty" was announced...

Prosecutors Marc Furber and Maureen Flannery-Spang laid out a convincing case against Cash...

The prosecution said Cash was on the run from Philadelphia police when he carjacked the victims as they left Jalapeno Joes, a northeast Philadelphia nightclub round 3:30 a.m. on May 11, 2008.

Cash forced Rosas-Gutierrez to drive into Bucks, and trained a gun on his head while he raped the woman in the back seat.

Cash told Rosas-Gutierrez to pull over on the Street Road exit ramp from northbound Route 1, the woman told the jury. While she screamed his name from one of the passenger seats, Rosas-Gutierrez was marched up a steep embankment by the killer and shot in the back of the head.

The woman testified that Cash raped her again at an abandoned office complex immediately after the slaying, and then brought her to the Comfort Inn in Lawrenceville, N.J., where the sexual assaults continued.

Unable to communicate with hotel staff, the woman finally made a break for it when Cash brought her back down to the hotel lobby for breakfast. Footage of her dashing through the lobby and vaulting a four-foot check-in counter was shown to the jury...

Furber called Rosas-Gutierrez and the woman "the perfect victims." He said that once Cash looked through their belongings and learned they were both illegal immigrants, he believed that they wouldn't be missed...

Laurie Mason Schroeder

Bucks County Courier Times

May 28, 2010


Added: May. 28, 2010

Georgia, USA

Police: Lilburn Middle student hit with bleach-filled balloon

A 14-year-old Lilburn Middle School student was struck by a bleach-filled water balloon Wednesday afternoon, police said, sending him to the hospital with burns to both eyes and putting a traumatic damper on what have should been a joyous start to summer vacation.

Just after leaving his last day of school, the student was walking down the sidewalk on the 4000 block of Lawrenceville Highway, Lilburn Police spokesman Capt. Bruce Hedley said.

A water balloon filled with bleach was thrown from a moving vehicle, Hedley said, striking him in the face at around 4:40 p.m.

“From time to time, especially on the last day of school, you see pranks, and maybe a water balloon is just having fun,” Hedley said. “But to see one that is filled with bleach is beyond comprehension ... A kid leaving school for the last day for what could have been a perfect summer, this is just crazy to me.”

The child was transported to Gwinnett Medical Center and was treated for severe trauma to his face and burns to both eyes. He has since been released and is “resting comfortably” at his mother’s Norcross home, Hedley said.

“He was in bad shape, but aware of his surroundings (during a visit Wednesday night),” Hedley said.

Witnesses have reported that the suspects were three Hispanic males driving a gray minivan with a black stripe down the lower portion of the vehicle...

Anyone with information regarding the whereabouts of the van or the identity of the suspects is asked to call 770-921-2211.

Tyler Estep

The Gwinnett Daily Post

May 27, 2010


Added: May. 28, 2010

Texas, USA

Danny Mariel Suarez

Man accused of sexual assault of a 12-year-old

WACO - A man was arrested Tuesday on accusations he sexually assaulted a child.

Officers reportedly began an investigation after they were notified in April that a 12-year-old girl had told a school counselor she had been sexually assaulted.

After the investigation, officers arrested Danny Mariel Suarez, 35, of Waco, in connection with the alleged assault which reportedly occurred on multiple occasions.

Suarez is charged with Aggravated Sexual Assault and bond has been set at $250,000.

Louis Ojeda Jr.

KXXV

May 26, 2010


Added: May. 28, 2010

California, USA

Police suspect 2 men tried to pull girl into car

The Hollister Police Department is searching for two men suspected of trying to force a 17-year-old Hollister girl into a car Wednesday night near the 1500 block of San Juan Road.

Just after 7 p.m., the teenager was walking to a relative's house near the Plaza 156 gas station before police allege that two men inside a black Volkswagen Bug pulled alongside the girl and grabbed her arm, trying to force her inside the car.

The men whistled and spoke Spanish to her as they grabbed her, according to police.

The girl wrestled of their grasp and took off running to her relative's house, police spokesman Sgt. David Westrick said. The car did not follow her.

"Once she was able to break free of the suspects, she ran and never looked back," Westrick said.

The girl didn't know in what direction the car took off after she had left, Westrick said.

The suspects are described as two Hispanic men in their 40s. The passenger wore a black hooded jacket and sunglasses. The girl had no other identifying information about the driver.

The Volkswagen Bug is described as an older model with a loud engine and rusted black paint.

The police department is still searching for more information, Westrick said.

"We are trying to get this handled as soon as possible," Westrick said. "We have as many detectives working on it as we can."

Anyone with more information is urged to call the Hollister Police Department at 630-4330. People who wish to remain anonymous can call WeTIP at (800) 58-CRIME.

Connor Ramey

Freelance News

May 28, 2010


Added: May. 28, 2010

California, USA / Jamaica

Herbert Morrison

Illegal Immigrant a Suspect in Continuous Molestation of Santa Maria Girl Police say the child was victimized over nine years

In April, the Santa Maria Police Department began investigating the sexual-assault case involving a minor female. [Herbert] Morrison was arrested in May, but charges were not filed at that time because of insufficient evidence.

However, evidence gathered in recent weeks led to the issuance of a warrant for the arrest of Morrison, who was being held in a federal detention facility in Los Angeles pending deportation for being in the country illegally after a previous deportation.

He was picked up at the detention facility, transferred back to Santa Maria and booked into jail.

He faces charges of continuous sexual molestation of a child under 14 years old, sexual battery, aggravated sexual assault, rape by force or duress, lewd acts with a child under 14 years old, convicted felon in possession of a firearm, convicted felon in possession of ammunition.

Bail was set at $500,000.

Police have not released how the suspect knew the victim.

Michelle Nelson

Noozhawk

May 26, 2010

See also:

Added: May. 28, 2010

California, USA

Undocumented immigrant can't bail out of jail, officials say

An undocumented immigrant and previously deported felon from Jamaica whose anticipated deportation has been put on hold because he is facing new criminal charges in Santa Barbara County, is not able to bail out of jail.

Herbert Morrison, 49, who had been living in Santa Maria, was picked up Tuesday from a federal detention facility in Los Angeles where he was being held pending deportation for being in the country illegally. He was arrested on suspicion of various charges including continual sexual molestation of a child under 14 years old, sexual battery and rape by force or duress, according to Santa Maria police.

Morrison was booked into county jail with bail set at $500,000.

However, Lt. Dan Ast said that Morrison is not able to bail out of jail because of an immigration hold, and he will eventually once again face deportation.

"If we allowed him to be deported without filing the charges, he could potentially re-enter the country at some later time after arriving back in Jamaica and continue to victimize people in this country," Ast said. "Or, he could stay in Jamaica and potentially victimize others there without ever facing justice."

The Lompoc Record

May 27, 2010


Added: May. 28, 2010

Texas, USA

Man Accused of Kidnapping, Attempted Sexual Assault of a Child

Houston - An accused child predator was behind bars Tuesday, charged with the kidnapping and attempted sexual assault of a 7-year-old girl.

According to investigators, Al D. Checo lured the child into his green Dodge pickup while she was walking home from school in the 9300 block of Pagewood Ln. on Friday. He then drove her to his apartment nearby, forced her to watch pornographic images and tried to sexually assault her, but stopped short of the act.

"It could have been the first time for him to do something like this and he was testing the waters, could have been were something might have spooked him. We don't really don't know exactly yet," said Officer John Colburn with HPD's Juvenile Sex Crime Division.

Checo, 32, held the child at his apartment for several hours before dropping her off near where she was abducted, police said.

According to officials, Checo warned the child not to tell anyone what happened, but she went home and told her mother and was able to identify her abductor.

Checo is charged with aggravated kidnapping and attempted aggravated sexual assault of a child. He was being held Tuesday without bond.

KIAH

May 25, 2010


Added: May. 28, 2010

California, USA

SFPD searching for girl, 12, reported missing

San Francisco police are asking for the public's assistance in locating a 12-year-old girl reported missing.

Police said Mireya Zapata was last seen Thursday morning when she went to school. At about 2:50 p.m., she sent a text message to her mother, saying she was at a bus stop and on her way home.

However, Zapata, who goes to school in the Sunset District and lives downtown, never showed up at her home, police said. The girl exchanged text messages with her mother over the next several hours, but did not text a secret code letting the mother know she was OK upon request, according to police.

At about 7 p.m., Zapata's mother received a text message reading, "Don't look for me no more," and when her mother asked why, the response read, "Just don't," police said.

Police spokesman Officer Boaz Mariles said Zapata does not have a history of running away and she is considered to be at risk. Police are actively searching for the girl and ask anyone with information regarding her whereabouts to call police at (415) 553-1071.

"It's a continuous search, meaning there are officers assigned strictly to this,'' Mariles said.

Zapata is described as a light-skinned Hispanic girl, 5 feet 3 inches, 140 pounds with brown eyes and brown hair. She was last seen wearing a white hooded sweatshirt, blue jeans, black and white Nike shoes and had a white backpack.

BCN

May 27, 2010


Added: May. 29, 2010

Indiana, USA

Suspect faces string of sex assault charges

4 alleged victims range in age from 11 to 49

Luis Alberto Gonzales was armed with a BB gun when he targeted numerous Hispanic women and girls for sexual assaults on Indianapolis' Westside, prosecutors say.

But he didn't even bother to cover his face -- and that lack of a disguise enabled police to arrest Gonzales last weekend. One victim from months ago spotted him sleeping in his red truck in an apartment court off West 30th Street near Moller Road, according to court documents filed Thursday in Marion Superior Court.

Still more alleged victims have come forward after seeing Gonzales' mug shot in media reports...

So far, he faces charges in connection with four victims ranging in age from 11 to 49. He is in the Marion County Jail with a combined bond set at $700,000.

Marion County Prosecutor Carl Brizzi said his office was still readying charges representing two more victims, including one younger than 18; police were investigating allegations by three others.

That could make for nine victims, with convictions bringing up to hundreds of years in prison.

"Mr. Gonzales has essentially been preying on Hispanic adults and children since at least January 2010," Brizzi said. "He was going back to the same area. It seems he was unafraid about being arrested or caught."

The lead charges on the four cases that have been filed are Class A felony child molesting of an 11-year-old girl; Class A felony rape of a 40-year-old woman; Class A felony criminal deviate conduct against a 49-year-old woman; and Class D felony sexual battery against a 23-year-old woman...

Jon Murray

IndyStar.com

May 28, 2010


Added: May. 28, 2010

Nevada, USA

Joel Eliazar Ortega

Illegal immigrant sentenced in Reno rape of paralyzed woman

A life in prison term was imposed Wednesday upon a married father of one who dragged a paralyzed woman out of her wheelchair, raped her, and then left her lying nude in an alley.

The woman, who suffers from cerebral palsy, had been in a shopping center Oct. 30 in the 3300 block of North McCarran Boulevard when Joel Eliazar Ortega, 30, led her behind a business and attacked her. Soon after, Reno police officers responding to a call that Ortega was battering his wife in their nearby apartment, recognized Ortega as fitting the description of the suspect. He was arrested after the victim identified him.

Chief Deputy District Attorney Bruce Hahn described the crime as among the most ghastly sexual assaults he’s ever seen.

“She was dragged from her wheelchair, her clothes taken off, sexually assaulted and then left lying in an alley,” said Washoe District Judge Patrick Flanagan. “I have listened to you carefully, and you said ‘things happen’ and you get in trouble based on your behavior and doctors say you can’t take care of your daughter.

“You are a danger,” Flanagan said. “...you are lucky there is only one life sentence I can impose in this case.”

In rendering a sentence of life against Ortega, Flannagan said he would be eligible for parole after serving at least 10 years in prison. Ortega is also an illegal immigrant who also must face immigration charges.

“You will be deported at the earliest opportunity and will never return to this country again, except lawfully,” Flanagan said.

Ortega had apologized for the crime and said “I need help.”

His public defender, John Malone, said Ortega has been receiving treatment at the state’s mental hospital for several years. He blamed the rape on Ortega not taking his psychiatric medicines and drinking alcohol.

Ortega pleaded guilty to the rape, and was also convicted of domestic violence, related to when police responded to his apartment after the assault.

The victim was not present in court, although her father was and said he was too emotional to speak about the incident.

Jaclyn O'Malley

RGJ.com

May 26, 2010


Added: May. 29, 2010

Virginia, USA

Arturo F. Lopez

Henrico judge sends rape charge to grand jury

A woman testified at a preliminary hearing in a Henrico County court today that her foster son sexually assaulted her at knifepoint and threatened to kill her and her husband.

Arturo F. Lopez, 18, had been living with a foster family in the Interstate 64-Staples Mill Road area since sometime late last year, according to Henrico police. He was charged with rape in the April 9 incident and appeared at a preliminary hearing in General District Court this morning.

At the hearing, the judge certified the rape charge to a grand jury, which will hear the case on July 12. He faces life in prison if convicted.

Lopez came to the Richmond area sometime last year. His attorney said he was a homeless immigrant from Mexico and has no family in the U.S. Lopez was placed in the home by the Richmond Department of Social Services, because Spanish is spoken in the home.

Bill Mckelway

The Richmond Times Dispatch

May 27, 2010


Added: May. 28, 2010

Pennsylvania

Officer Jose Manuel Santiago

Photo

Pennsylvania Cop Charged With Sex Offenses

A southeastern Pennsylvania police officer is charged with hundreds of sex-offense counts including rape, incest, statutory sexual assault and endangering the welfare of children.

Chester County prosecutors say 54-year-old Kennett Square police Officer Jose Manuel Santiago was arrested Thursday at his home in Newark, Del.

Assistant District Attorney Kimberly Callahan says Santiago had sexual encounters with three juveniles under the age of 14 between 1991 and 2000.

Borough officials say Santiago joined the department in 1998. He had been on disability leave since December 2008 and is now suspended without pay.

Santiago is in New Castle County prison awaiting extradition to Pennsylvania. His phone number is unlisted and it was not clear if he had an attorney.

MyFoxPhilly

May 28, 2010


Added: May. 28, 2010

Indiana, USA

Luis Gonzales

Alleged rapists' victims afraid to tell

Indianapolis - Prosecutors expect to file more charges against a man suspected of molesting and raping as many as nine women and girls on the northwest side. Police say 27-year old Luis Gonzales was a serial rapist - preying solely on Hispanic victims for at least five months.

Police say investigating this case was challenging. They didn't begin to put the pieces together until an 11-year-old girl reported being assaulted in May. But the first known attack occurred five months before that.

It was a January evening at about 10:00 at the La Joya apartments on the northwest side of Indianapolis. A 23-year-old woman walked into her building carrying bags and her baby. She says an attacker waited - pretending to be talking on his cell phone. After she went in the building, she says he grabbed and groped her in the stairwell.

An affidavit states she was holding her baby tightly during the attack, and the infant began to cry. At that point her attacker ran away.

But no police report was filed. Detectives believe for the next five months, Luis Gonzales terrorized, molested, and raped as many as nine Hispanic women and girls in west side apartment complexes. The youngest known victim is 11-years old.

Asked why the public wasn't made aware of a serial rapist, IMPD officer Lt. Jeff Duhamell responded, "The lack of reporting from some of our victims, and probably the language barrier and maybe some of them were afraid to come forward because they may be in our country illegally."

Marion County prosecutor Carl Brizzi believes there are likely more victims out there, and at a press conference on Thursday, he had a clear message to victims.

"There is absolutely no threat of immigration and customs enforcement, ICE, of us reporting that documentation status as a result of reporting a crime," Brizzi said.

Luis Gonzales has ties to Indianapolis. The probable cause affidavit states he graduated from Lawrence North High School and has lived in the city for six years. He's being held on a $100,000 bond, and has declined our request for an interview.

WISH TV

May 28, 2010


Added: May. 28, 2010

California, USA

Teen Assaulted In Arroyo Grande

Arroyo Grande, CA -- Police arrested a parolee who allegedly assaulted a teen yesterday afternoon. This happened at about 4:30 in the area near Arroyo Grande Community Hospital and Arroyo Grande High School. Authorities received several reports by phone that a girl was thrown to the ground near the hospital. Many later calls told officers that within minutes several witnesses chased the suspect, 23-year-old Fernando Frias, and cornered him in the back of a home on Cerro Vista Circle.

Meanwhile, according to the Tribune, officers found the 17-year-old victim, near the Fair Oaks bridge with injuries to her head and face. They arrested Frias who is currently on parole. Frias was booked into the San Luis Obispo County Jail on suspicion of kidnapping, assault with a deadly weapon and violating the terms of his parole.

King Harris

KVEC

May 27. 2010


Added: May. 28, 2010

Oregon, USA

Ismael Recinos-Velasquez

Reward Offered for Sex Assault Suspect

Crime Stoppers and the Washington County Sheriff's office are offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of a man wante for sexual assault. Investigators say Ismael Recinos-Velasquez, who may also go by Jose Perez-Perez, or the name 'Carlos', sexually abused his girlfriend's 14-year old daughter and another 12-year old girl.

A warrant was issued for Recinos-Velasquez's arrest on May 13th. He's wanted on charges of first-degree rape and sodomy, along with numerous other charges.

Recinos-Velasquez is 5' 3" tall and 140 pounds. If you see him, call Crime Stoppers at 503-823-4357, go online to crimestoppers oforegon.com, or text message to 823HELP.

Chris Brown

KXL

May 27, 2010


Added: May. 28, 2010

California, USA

Police seek man accused of the assault and attempted kidnap of his ex-girlfriend

Pasadena - Police are searching for a 53-year-old man who allegedly beat and tried to kidnap his ex-girlfriend Thursday afternoon.

At about 1:07 p.m. a 45-year-old female Hispanic, of Temple City, was waiting at a bus stop in the 200 block of South Lake Avenue when the man allegedly grabbed her by the hair and began striking her, Pasadena Police Lt. Chris Russ said.

The victim suffered minor bruising to her face and arms and also complained of back pain, he said.

After a struggle, the man dragged her through a nearby parking lot and attempted to force her into his 2000 Honda Odyssey, but he fled on foot after several passersby came to her assistance, Russ said.

The man is described as a 5-foot-6-inch male Hispanic weighing 186 pounds.

The Pasadena Star News

May 28, 2010


Added: May. 28, 2010

Texas, USA

Midland Police Searching for Suspect Wanted for Inappropriate Conduct

Midland Police are trying to track down a man who has a problem keeping his hands to himself.

A suspect is wanted for inappropriate conduct.

The man in question is Hispanic, who apparently goes around touching women in stores.

He reportedly rubs or bumps into them, making it seem like an accident.

If this has happened to you in an offensive manner or if you have any information, call Midland Police or CrimeStoppers at 649-TIPS.

NewsWest 9

May 28, 2010


Added: May. 28, 2010

Southwest USA

U.S. Border Patrol Weekly Blotter: May 20 - May 26

Excerpt

May 26, 2010 - Tucson Sector - Border Patrol agents arrested an illegal alien from Mexico near Amado, Arizona. Records checks revealed the subject had prior convictions for rape, the sale of marijuana, domestic violence, and possession of a controlled substance. The subject had also been previously removed from the United States.

May 25, 2010 - El Centro Sector - Border Patrol agents arrested an illegal alien from Mexico near Calexico, California. Records checks revealed the subject was a convicted sex offender in the state of California, and had been previously removed from the United States.

May 25, 2010 - El Paso Sector - Border Patrol agents arrested an illegal alien from Mexico near El Paso, Texas. Records checks revealed the subject had prior convictions for rape with threat in the state of California, assault with intent to cause serious injury/sexual abuse in the state of New York, and had been previously removed from the United States.

May 22, 2010 - El Paso Sector - Border Patrol agents arrested an illegal alien from Mexico near El Paso, Texas. Records checks revealed the subject had a prior conviction for fondling, and lewd and lascivious acts against a child in the state of Florida. The subject had also been previously removed from the United States.

May 21, 2010 - Tucson Sector - Border Patrol agents arrested an illegal alien from Mexico near Sells, Arizona. Records checks revealed the subject had a prior conviction for lascivious acts with a child / false imprisonment with violence in the state of California. The subject had also been previously removed from the United States.

May 20, 2010 - Tucson Sector - Border Patrol agents arrested an illegal alien from Mexico near Arivaca, Arizona. Record checks revealed the subject had prior convictions for aggravated child molestation and felony sodomy in the state of Georgia. The subject had also been previously removed from the United States.

U.S. Border Patrol

May 26, 2010


Added: May. 27, 2010

Illinoid, USA

Jennifer Hurtado

11-Year-Old Girl Missing With 22-Year-Old Paramour

An 11-year-old girl is missing from her Brighton Park neighborhood home, and police say she may have disappeared with a much-older man she calls her boyfriend.

Jennifer Hurtado is missing... She was last seen wearing a yellow shirt with the word "Shields" in purple lettering.

She was also wearing blue jeans, black slip-on shoes and was with her 22-year-old "paramour" Jose "Carlos" Contrerras, the release said.

She is described as 4 feet 8 inches tall, 100 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes, according to the release, which said the two may be heading for Mexico or North Carolina.

Anyone with information should contact the Chicago Police Wentworth Area Special Victims Unit, at (312) 747-8385.

CBS

May 26, 2010

See also:

Added: May. 26, 2010

Illinois, USA / Mexico

Police seek girl, 11, who vanished from Southwest Side with man

A missing persons alert has been issued for an 11-year-old girl who has gone missing from the Southwest Side and may be heading to Mexico or North Carolina with her 22-year-old boyfriend, police said.

Jennifer Hurtado, 11, is missing... according to release from police News Affairs. She was last seen wearing a yellow shirt with purple lettering that said, “Shields” that was worn over a black t-shirt.

She was wearing blue jeans, black slip-on shoes and was with her 22-year-old boyfriend Jose “Carlos” Contrerras, the release said.

She is described as 4-foot-8, 100 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes, according to the release, which said the two may be heading for Mexico or North Carolina.

Anyone with information should contact Wentworth Area detectives are (312) 747-8385.

The Chicago Sun TImes

May 26, 2010 0


Added: May. 26, 2010

The Americas

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

40th Washington Conference on the Americas

Remarks of U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

Council of the Americas was pleased to hold its 40th Washington Conference on the Americas. For 40 years, the Washington Conference on the Americas has been honored to host presidents of the United States, foreign heads of state, U.S. cabinet officials, ministers from the region, and congressional leaders...

As the opening speaker at the 40th Annual Washington Conference, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton talked about the primacy of hemispheric issues on the Obama administration’s agenda. She... stressed three priority areas for cooperation between the United States and Latin America: trade and energy partnerships, public security, and inequality and immigration...

[An] area of concern stressed by the secretary was public security... She referred to the “barbarism” of organized crime syndicates, comment[ed] on Washington’s support for Plan Colombia and the Merida Initiative, but also urged for “smarter, more effective strategies.”

...Clinton referred to the twin issues of inequity and immigration. “We don’t have the poorest people in the world in Latin America, with the exception of Haiti, but we have the most inequity,” said the secretary. “Therefore we need to have a partnership between the public and private sector to address this.” In particular, she spoke of the need to increase tax revenues in the region. “We can take a lot of joy in the positive GDP growth, but income disparity continues to grow,” she said, noting it is “a source of social and political instability” that feeds criminal activity. “We have to do a better job.” ...

U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis

Remarks of Hilda Solis, U.S. Secretary of Labor

One of [U.S. Labor Secretary] Secretary Solis’ main concerns is the 12.5 percent unemployment rate among the Latino population. Latinos-who Solis termed the “new entrepreneurs”-are the fastest growing demographic in the U.S. and will account for over 25 percent of the population by 2050. This population, however, accounted for only 5 percent of the 3.6 million STEM (science, technology, education, and math) jobs in 2008. Solis and the Department of Labor are focusing on creating more of these jobs for Latinos as STEM fields are the future of innovation and competitiveness.

Latino workforce development also extends to training workers in the renewable energy sector and to breaking down the barriers between employers and employees.

The Department of Labor has launched a multilingual help line as a resource for workers that have been unfairly treated on the job and is focusing on bringing to light “good business practices” that help to prevent on-the-job injuries. Just recently Secretary Solis and Mexican Ambassador to the United States Arturo Sarukhán signed a declaration reaffirming their joint commitment to work collaboratively on informing Mexican workers about their labor rights. She hopes to extend this type of agreement to El Salvador, the Dominican Republic, and other Latin American countries...

Prepared by Jason Marczak and Carin Zissis

Americas Society

May 12, 2010


Added: May. 26, 2010

The Americas

OAS Secretary General José Miguel Insulza

OAS Secretary General Takes Office for Second Term

The Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), José Miguel Insulza, today... [took] office for his second term at a special session of the Permanent Council...

Reelected by acclamation for the period 2010-2015 in an election held March 24, Insulza described in a speech this morning delivered in the Hall of the Americas the main goals for his new term, reiterating the convictions that will guide his leadership...

Among the successes of his first term, the top OAS official mentioned the effective role of the Organization in nearly a dozen political crises in the continent, as well as the observation of more than fifty electoral processes, asserting that “nobody can in good faith affirm that the OAS in these years has failed in having, in all of these events, a conciliatory and unifying attitude.” In this context, Insulza renewed his commitment to what he called “the three basic pillars of OAS activity: democracy and human rights, integral development and multidimensional security, and the aspects most relevant to the people of the continent.”

With respect to the new five-year period that now begins, Secretary General Insulza reiterated his wish to have “a genuinely multilateral OAS, built by all of us jointly on the basis of common principles,” and he traced five lines of work for his new mandate: to develop a broad, modern and inclusive multilateralism; to increase support for democratic governance by promoting areas such as respect for the rule of law and institutions; to improve the balance between the tasks of democracy building and those of promoting integral development; to continue prioritizing subjects relative to public security, drug trafficking, money laundering, organized crime, arms trafficking and human trafficking; to give greater momentum to the subject of gender at the OAS...

Organization of American States

May 24, 201


Added: May. 26, 2010

Paraguay

The triple frontier region, where Paraguay, Argentina and Brazil meet, is a major child and adult sex trafficking marketplace with many  thousands of victims.

Todos los casos deben ser remitidos a Asuncion para su investigacion

Impunidad hace florecer el trafico de personas en las Tres Fronteras

El tráfico de personas en la zona de las Tres Fronteras sigue siendo un negocio floreciente debido a la impunidad reinante. En el sistema judicial del Alto Paraná no existen datos de que algún caso haya sido elevado a juicio, buscando castigar a los culpables de este delito. El Ministerio Público se convirtió en una especie de “frezeer’’ para los hechos denunciados sobre la trata de personas. Ever Ovelar, fiscal adjunto.

Varios son los esquemas que operan en la zona para el tráfico de personas. Casi siempre integran el sistema las agencias de viaje que camuflan el envío de jóvenes a otros países como excursionistas. En el décimo departamento no existe una unidad fiscal especializada en el tema, pese a que los casos aumentan considerablemente. Los antecedentes algunas veces son remitidos a la unidad especializada en el tema a cargo de la fiscal Teresa Martínez, de Asunción. La fiscal estuvo en esta zona y dijo que al menos tres agencias de turismo locales están en la mira por vincularse supuestamente al tráfico de personas.

No quiso dar el nombre de las firmas para no entorpecer las investigaciones que casi no han avanzado en los últimos 30 días. En Ciudad del Este y Presidente Franco son donde más abundan personas que reclutan a jóvenes especialmente para llevarlos a otros países, de preferencia europeos siendo las mujeres las preferidas. Varias de ellas son obligadas a prostituirse y son mantenidas en régimen de esclavitud, mientras otros deben trabajar en viviendas en régimen inhumano.

El silencio de las víctimas y sus familiares contribuyen a que los traficantes sigan operando normalmente en esta región fronteriza. Pero la inacción de los organismos públicos contribuyen más para que se de esta situación. El Minis-terio Público de Ciudad del Este se convirtió en una especie de “frezeer’’ para los casos de trata de personas, pues al menos son 20 carpetas fiscales las que nunca fueron investigadas. No existen antecedentes en el Poder Judicial de la zona de que algún caso haya sido llevado a juicio oral y público...

All human trafficking cases should be referred to federal agencies in the capital city of Asuncion

Impunity allows human trafficking to flourish in the triple frontier (Paraguay, Argentina and Brazil) region.

(English Translation to follow)

Diario Vanguardia

May 26, 2010


Added: May. 26, 2010

US Fights Human Slavery in Major Cities

People from Latin America, Asia trafficked to the US for sex, labor

In almost every major city in the United States, advocates say victims of human slavery are exploited everyday.

"Human trafficking is a very serious problem in the United States," says Bradley Myles of the Polaris Project, an organization that fights human trafficking.

According to Myles, some of the victims are forced to work in the homes of the wealthy and at restaurants. Many others, especially women, are forced into prostitution.

"We know from our very own eyes that it's happening. We're not kind of hearing it third hand. We've been inside those places. We work with those women."

The Polaris Project operates a human trafficking hotline. Calls come in from around the country.

"So we're getting calls from Texas. We're getting calls from California. We're getting calls from New York, Florida and DC is one of those top five cities where we're getting calls," says Myles.

Deborah Sigmund, founder of the advocacy group, Innocents at Risk, says most of the victims of human trafficking come from economically depressed countries and are lured to the U.S. with promises of a better life.

"They want to think that they can come to America and have a great job so it's very easy to fool them," she says.

According to the experts, some of the victims are forced to sell sex from brothels disguised as massage parlors.

Tim Whittman of the Federal Bureau of Investigation is an expert on human trafficking in the U.S.

"The number one foreign country is Mexico," says Tim Whittman, an expert on human trafficking with the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). "Approximately 20 percent of our cases involve victims from Mexico."

The nation's capital is not immune to the problem. In Washington, the Polaris Project sees sex trafficking victims who are U.S. citizens, and women from South Korea, China and Latin America.

A study by The Human Smuggling and Trafficking Center finds nearly 83 percent of suspected human trafficking incidents involve sex trafficking. Advocates say other types of human slavery include people being forced to work as domestic servants and in agriculture. The FBI says the smugglers often threaten their victims and make it difficult for them to pay off their debts...

Elizabeth Lee

Voice of America News

May 24, 2010


Added: May. 26, 2010

Indiana, USA

Luis Gonzales

Sexual assault suspect may be linked to 7 attacks

Indianapolis - Police have arrested a suspect in the sexual assault of a young girl.

Luis Gonzales, 27, was taken into custody Saturday evening after an IMPD officer found him sleeping in a pick-up truck on Hillsboro Drive. A woman told police she recognized Gonzales from an incident a month or two ago when he attempted to fondle her. The woman told her father, who called police.

Police say Gonzales sexually assaulted an 11-year-old girl at her west side apartment complex on May 13. Investigators identified the suspect in that assault as a Hispanic male, who left the scene in a red Nissan pick-up truck, like the one Gonzales was in when police apprehended him Saturday.

Metro police detectives say Gonzales is a prime suspect in at least two confirmed assault cases. He was found in possession of a BB gun described in the other attacks, as well as other possible evidence belonging to his victims. He is being held on felony charges of child molesting and criminal confinement.

Monday, police described Gonzales as a dangerous predator, saying he may be linked to as many as seven attacks on girls.

"He is almost like an addict. He has to have sex all the time," said IMPD Lt. Jeff Duhamell.

One of the other attacks happened to a 13-year-old girl in the Covered Bridge Apartments on Georgetown Road. The victim remained reluctant to even report the attack until IMPD Officer Candi Perry, a Spanish translator for the department, intervened. That's when the 11-year-old girl in the May 13 attack came forward, too.

"Right now, we definitely have him on admitting two child molestation cases," said Lt. Duhamell.

Sex crime detectives suspect Gonzales in a May 7 sexual assault on a 23-year-old woman. The attack happened at the West Lake Apartments near Rockville Road.

WTHR

May 24, 2010


Added: May. 26, 2010

Georgia, USA

Man gets 35 years for sexually assaulting child

A DeKalb man will spend the next 35 years in prison after being convicted of raping and infecting a child with a sexually transmitted disease.

Omar Luna-Fraide, 22, of Doraville, was convicted Wednesday on one count of rape; two counts of child molestation; two counts of aggravated child molestation; and one count of false imprisonment, said Orzy Theus, spokesman for the DeKalb County District Attorney’s Office.

Fraide was accused of assaulting the child on multiple days in 2009, Theus said. He also infected the child with a sexually transmitted disease, Theus said.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

May 21, 2010


Added: May. 24, 2010

Guatemala, The United States

Esperanza Arreaga, age 62, lost two small daughters and 14 other family members when they were murdered by Guatemalan soldiers in the massacre of Las Dos Erres.

In this picture, Arreaga looks at the remains of massacre victims uncovered by forensic archeologists.

Photo: Larry Kaplow - GlobalPost

Ramiro Cristales, then age 5, witnessed Guatemalan special forces soldiers murder his family and rape and murder the 10 and 12-year-old girls from his village of Las Dos Erres, in 1982.

From a video statement by Ramiro Cristales, and a collage of photos, by GlobalPost.

Ramiro Cristales, after he was abducted at age 5 by the Guatemalan soldiers who murdered his family

U.S. rounds up Guatemalans accused of war crimes

Washington - U.S. federal agents are today closing in on four former Guatemalan soldiers accused of taking part in a 1982 massacre, which one law enforcement official called "the most shocking modern-day war crime American authorities have ever investigated."

One former soldier alleged to have taken part in the massacre of 251 villagers in the rural Guatemalan hamlet of Las Dos Erres is already in custody in Texas. Another former soldier in Florida and two more in California are under active investigation.

Law enforcement officials close to the case acknowledged the four men are part of a probe by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency into immigration violations aimed at rounding up suspects named in a recently revived, landmark human rights case in Guatemala. If found in violation of U.S. immigration laws, the men would likely face deportation to Guatemala and a possible prosecution there for war crimes.

For years these men, who are all accused of serving in a notoriously brutal Guatemalan military unit, have lived in America, blending in to communities in Florida, California and Texas. One is a popular karate teacher. One is a cook. The man in custody is a day laborer who had allegedly abducted and then adopted a boy who was orphaned in the slaughter 28 years ago.

That boy, Ramiro Cristales, who was 5 years old at the time, is now a key witness in the case in Guatemala against the former soldiers and against the man who raised him.

In an exclusive interview with GlobalPost, Cristales, one of only two known survivors of the massacre, saw his entire family murdered. He said he was frustrated it has taken so long for the men to be brought to justice. But he said he hoped U.S. and Guatemalan officials might work together to make that happen.

"They have to do something... The only thing I ask is justice," said Cristales, who is now hiding in an undisclosed location. One former soldier alleged to have taken part in the massacre of 251 villagers in the rural Guatemalan hamlet of Las Dos Erres is already in custody in Texas. Another former soldier in Florida and two more in California are under active investigation.

Law enforcement officials close to the case acknowledged the four men are part of a probe by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency into immigration violations aimed at rounding up suspects named in a recently revived, landmark human rights case in Guatemala. If found in violation of U.S. immigration laws, the men would likely face deportation to Guatemala and a possible prosecution there for war crimes.

For years these men, who are all accused of serving in a notoriously brutal Guatemalan military unit, have lived in America, blending in to communities in Florida, California and Texas. One is a popular karate teacher. One is a cook. The man in custody is a day laborer who had allegedly abducted and then adopted a boy who was orphaned in the slaughter 28 years ago.

That boy, Ramiro Cristales, who was 5 years old at the time, is now a key witness in the case in Guatemala against the former soldiers and against the man who raised him.

In an exclusive interview with GlobalPost, Cristales, one of only two known survivors of the massacre, saw his entire family murdered. He said he was frustrated it has taken so long for the men to be brought to justice. But he said he hoped U.S. and Guatemalan officials might work together to make that happen.

"They have to do something... The only thing I ask is justice," said Cristales, who is now hiding in an undisclosed location.

The massacre in Las Dos Erres, where a total of 251 men, women and children were killed, is widely considered one of the darkest chapters of Guatemala's 36-year civil war that claimed some 200,000 lives, and in which the U.S. military played a shadowy role.

One month after allegedly raping young girls and women during the massacre, one of the men under investigation, Pedro Pimentel Rios, began work as an instructor at the School of the Americas, the Pentagon-run training school for Latin American militaries, then located in Panama...

Because the alleged crimes occurred before the passage of war crimes laws in the United States, prosecutors are not legally permitted to charge the men under any of those laws. This limitation in U.S. law has long frustrated federal prosecutors, who have only... been able to denaturalize and deport even suspected Nazi war criminals living in the United States.

U.S. officials began their investigation after the Inter-American Court on Human Rights decided last year that Guatemala's 1996 amnesty agreement does not apply to serious human rights violations, including the massacre at Las Dos Erres. Officials at Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Department of Justice who monitor cases involving foreign-born human rights abusers decided to see if any of the accused killers were living in the United States...

U.S. involvement

Human rights groups have long criticized the involvement of the American government and military in Guatemala. The Las Dos Erres case reveals several connections between the two countries.

The U.S. government knew the Guatemalan army was probably responsible for the massacre at Las Dos Erres, yet the School of the Americas began to welcome new instructors and students from the army only days after the killings...

In the 1970s, President Jimmy Carter had introduced a ban on cooperating with the Guatemalan military. But President Ronald Reagan lifted the ban and the School of the Americas began admitting Guatemalan soldiers, including Rios, one of the alleged perpetrators of the massacre...

Just as the massacres were intensifying, Reagan re-established military and political cooperation with the Guatemalan government. Reagan saw [Guatemalan president Efrain] Rios Montt as a useful ally against leftist guerrillas and maintained friendly relations in the face of evidence that Rios Montt's government was responsible for increasing numbers of civilian massacres. (In July 1982, Amnesty International published a report listing more than 50 massacres of non-combatant civilians by the military.)

On Dec. 4, 1982, when the massacres in the Guatemalan countryside were fully under way, Reagan met with Rios Montt. Reagan publicly described Rios Montt as "a man of great personal integrity…[who] wants to improve the quality of life for all Guatemalans and to promote social justice." Reagan said that Rios Montt had received a "bum rap" from human rights groups.

It was an inauspicious day to make such a show of support. On the same day Reagan spoke, the 17 members of the Kaibiles [counter-insurgency rangers] squad arrived at a military base near Las Dos Erres. On Dec. 7, the massacre started. Over the following two days, the men are alleged to have killed 251 residents of Las Dos Erres. "Everything that moved had to be killed," one of the soldiers later wrote in a sworn statement.

Last month archaeologists began exhuming the mass grave and DNA testing is now underway to confirm the identities of those killed.

"I lost everything"

The Kaibiles tortured the men first. They then began throwing children alive into the village well. Women were shot or beaten to death with a sledgehammer and then thrown in. Men were then shot and dumped on top. One of the Kaibiles abducted a 5-year-old boy [Ramiro Cristales]. Another boy escaped. They may be the only surviving witnesses...

Matt McAllester

Minnpost.com

May 06, 2010

LibertadLatina Commentary

Chuck Goolsby

Genocide, Femicide and Human Trafficking in Guatemala All Grew From the Same Roots of Wartime Impunity

The genocide suffered by the indigenous Mayan majority population of Guatemala during the 1980s took place with the complicity of the U.S. Government, especially during the administration of President Ronald Reagan. Some 200,000 innocent civilians, including 50,000 women, were murdered by government military forces during the civil conflict. The nation's Supreme Court has officially declared that 200,000 orphans resulted from the war.

While the International Court in the Hague and other international judicial bodies have aggressively prosecuted, or at least charged suspects in the genocidal mass murders in Bosnia, Sudan and other equally notorious circumstances, the largest act of ethnic cleansing and genocide in the modern history of the Americas, which was carried out by pro-U.S. government forces during the Guatemalan Civil War, has until recently been off limits to effective prosecution.

We thank the Inter-American Court of Human Rights for laying the legal groundwork for permitting renewed judicial action in regard to important cases such as that of the Las Dos Erres Massacre. Many other massacres and individual murders have yet to be investigated.

In all, some 440 Mayan villages, located mostly in Guatemala's northwestern highlands region, were completely destroyed by Guatemalan soldiers during a brutal scorched earth campaign of ethnic cleansing that hid behind a cloak of supposedly justifiable cold war counter insurgency.

Guatemala's military was supported in this endeavor with military strategy, training and equipment supplied by the United States, Argentina and Israel.

The perpetrators of mass murder in Guatemala thought that they would have a lifetime of protection in regard to their crimes, because past conservative U.S. presidential administrations lead them to believe that was the case. Thanks to the changing political and legal landscape in the Americas, serious prosecutions of these criminals may, finally, occur.

In the early and mid 1980s I and many other activists in Washington, DC and across the Americas worked hard to publish and broadcast news about the ongoing massacres of innocents in Guatemala. We also protested in front of Congress and organized to do everything we could to save the lives of Guatemalans from the murderous hands of these cruel perpetrators.

Today in 2010, Guatemala's postwar culture has the highest rate of 'femicide' murders in all of the Americas. Thousands of women have been murdered during the past several years with almost total impunity. The rate of femicide murders, (which are crimes that typically include acts of rape, torture, mutilation and dismemberment -echoing the behavior of military forces during the civil war), is ten times higher than the rate of gender-based murders in Mexico's infamous Ciudad Juarez..

These femicides, and Guatemala's inability to investigate the rape/ torture killings of so many women and girls, as well as that nation's serious problems with mass sex trafficking currently, are all direct outgrowths of the impunity that the world community ALLOWED to exist in Guatemala during the 1970s, 80s and 90s. Effectively, these crimes were never prosecuted because past conservative U.S. administrations were  both passively and actively complicit, and the world community of nations simply stood silently by and watched these horrific events unfold with impunity.

A nexus with the anti-trafficking movement

During the early 2000's, I joined the anti human trafficking listserv (email-based private forum) of Dr. Donna Hughes, who was then, and is today, Professor and Eleanor M. and Oscar M. Carlson Endowed Chair of the Women's Studies Program at the University of Rhode Island. Dr. Hughes is one of the original pioneers of the modern U.S. movement against human trafficking, and she deserves all of the honors that she has received over the years for those important efforts.

Dr. Hughes' listserv, which was made up of many notable names in the anti-slavery movement across the globe, including names that many followers of the movement today would recognize, totaled about 400 members. Simultaneous to her work with this listserv, Dr. Hughes was also writing for the conservative National Review Online.

The majority of U.S. listserv participants were conservative women. I educated that online community of professionals and activists about the dynamics of the Latin American crisis in human trafficking at a time when few were aware of the issues.

As part of that work, I discussed the mass rapes and murders of innocent Mayan indigenous women and girls (among others) during the Guatemalan Civil War (almost all Mayan women and girls of any age, among other victims, were targeted for rape by soldiers and civilian paramilitary guards during the war). I also discussed Mayan Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Dr. Rigoberta Menchu, who fled into the jungle to avoid becoming another victim of a government massacre. Several of Dr. Menchu's relatives died at the hands of soldiers.

Conservative members of the listserv became so infuriated with my simple and truthful educational postings that several of them quit the listserv. Dr. Hughes told me by phone, almost apologetically, that she had to ban me from participating to prevent her conservative followers from leaving.

In an earlier email conversation, Dr. Hughes had rationalized the human rights abuses in Guatemala by stating that some victims supported communist insurgency.

What Mayans actually supported was building a future for themselves that was free from the 500 years of peonage (slavery) that Spanish descendants had subjected them to.

During this online debate, an anti-trafficking activist from the Salvation Army wrote-in to emphasize that the group was not denying the events that took place in Guatemala (although only she expressed that view, not the other listserv members).

U.S. Conservatives had long supported the efforts of former President Ronald Reagan and others to back often brutal right wing dictators in Latin America. Any mention of the mass murders of Guatemalan innocents, including women and children, was considered to be an unacceptable topic of public conversation.

In late 1995, for example, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich denounced then-Democratic Representative Robert G. Torricelli, who, like Speaker Gingrich, was a member of the House Intelligence Committee, for having publicly exposed information about the atrocities in Guatemala, followed by a demand for congressional hearings.

Speaker Gingrich also demanded that the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) not air a documentary on the massacres of Mayan peoples in the Guatemalan Civil War. He only relented and allowed the program to be broadcast after his demand for adding 'alternative views' to the program's content were agreed to by PBS.

How do you provide an alternative view about multiple acts of racially motivated mass murder being perpetrated against innocent children, women and men with impunity?

This truthful account of one part of the history of the Guatemalan Genocide also sheds light on aspects of the modern U.S. response to the human trafficking crisis in Latin America.

The U.S. based anti-trafficking movement is a unique social space where conservatives, liberals and others (and I am 'other') may join in common purpose to save human lives. Unfortunately, politics has often been played with the issue of Latin American human trafficking.

In the early 2000s, conservatives such as Dr. Donna Hughes and her followers shunned any discussion of the important gender related human rights issues (specifically, the Guatemalan Genocide) that were closely associated with the modern human slavery issue in Latin America.

During the administration of former U.S. President George W. Bush, I was present at two separate major public speeches given by the first and second directors of the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons at the U.S. Department of State - Ambassador John R. Miller, and Ambassador Mark P. Lagon. Latin America’s human trafficking crisis was never mentioned during those presentations, despite what we know today, that Latin American human trafficking generates an estimated $16 billion per year, perhaps half of all world income from human slavery.

When, on May 27, 1994, I gave a presentation on Latina women and exploitation to the Montgomery County, Maryland Commission for Women, I mentioned the mass rapes and murders of women in the Guatemalan conflict, several conservative women commission members shook their heads and declared that the genocide never happened. In response, a Cherokee indigenous woman commission member, and a Panamanian woman physician who was also a member both acknowledged the fact of the Guatemalan genocide, and also recognized the other issues that I had raised for their consideration (the workplace sexual exploitation of Latina immigrant women).

An intentional failure to  acknowledge the problem of Latin American human trafficking during the administration of President George W. Bush (as a byproduct of conservative politics) effectively allowed the region's billion dollar cartels and other criminal elements free reign to grow their now $16 billion per year human slavery 'industry' (IOM figure) without any visible U.S. opposition.

On the other end of the political spectrum, some liberals, including, perhaps, influential members of the administration of President Barack Obama, also politicize human trafficking, from a leftist perspective.

It does not add to Obama administration Latin America strategy to have a highly visible public discussion of human trafficking and the mass rape and enslavement of women and girls in Mexico, when such visibility would raise doubt in Congress, and among the public, as to the value of continued funding of the war on drug traffickers, given that Mexican soldiers deployed in the conflict have been the culprits in many rapes and murders of indigenous women with total impunity.

Open discussion of the severe levels of human trafficking and the brutal sexual exploitation of women perpetrated by some Latino men in Latin America, and in U.S. community settings, is also an uncomfortable topic for progressives as they market Comprehensive Immigration Reform to the people and Congress of the United States.

That concern does not justify remaining silent about the growing humanitarian emergency of mass gender atrocities that is taking place in Mexico, throughout the rest of Latin America and, increasingly, in U.S. Latino immigrant population centers.

Progressives who favor the legalization of prostitution also apparently have strong influence in the Obama Administration, which perhaps leads to a diminished focus on sex trafficking while labor trafficking takes center stage in U.S. anti-trafficking efforts.

By justifying the genocide of Mayan indigenous peoples during the Guatemalan Civil War (a mentality that is consistent with excusing the mass murder of U.S. indigenous peoples in the past), U.S. conservatives, together with their allies in Guatemala, succeeded in setting-up the circumstances that lead not only to the anti-Mayan genocide, but also set off the 'firestorm' of the largest ongoing crisis of mass murders of women in the Americas, today's Guatemalan femicide.

A similar conservative-lead environment of social and govern-mental tolerance for mass gender atrocities also exists in neighboring Mexico.

We assert that the lack of willingness of the U.S. government and of some U.S. NGOs to fully engage the issue of human trafficking in Latin America (where half of the world's estimated $32 billion of human trafficking apparently takes place) during the George W. Bush administration and beyond had its roots in conservative unwillingness to acknowledge the serious human consequences of their past support for murderous dictators such as Guatemalan president Efrain Rios Montt.

To be clear, U.S. conservatives cannot declare their opposition to modern day human trafficking and slavery on the one hand, and on the other, declare that the genocide in Guatemala, or Mexico's current repression of women's rights (and until recently, intentional inaction on human trafficking) all orchestrated by the ruling conservative National Action party (PAN), are justifiable expressions of modern conservatism.

You cannot have it both ways.

The left, which has often been indifferent to the issue of human trafficking, bears a similar responsibility for condoning inaction... because human trafficking is, for some of them, a round peg that will not fit into the square holes of their political ideologies.

Shame on those who politicize human trafficking, be they from the right or the left!

The victims, and those who are at-risk, await our effective and hurried efforts to protect and rescue them.

Public servants, put the politics aside, and get to work! There is no time to waste.

End impunity now!

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

May 23/24/27, 2010

See also:

Added: May. 24, 2010

Guatemala

An indigenous woman walks by a street poster of Guatamala's most brutal president, Efrain Rios Montt.

In the words of a poem by Pablo Neruda: 'For the one who gave the order of agony, I ask for punishment.'

Guatemala: Massacre investigation breakthrough

Recently declassified documents from US archives have shed further light on the extent of US complicity in Guatemalan human rights crimes, one of Latin America’s most brutal examples of population control.

The hard-working farmers of Dos Erres, in Peten department, had never asked for much — just a few acres of recently-cleared land from which to scratch a meager living in a country racked by violence.

When armed guerrillas cut across their land six months prior to December 7, 1982, community leaders had done everything possible to placate the national army, even inviting the soldiers in for inspections.

They had nothing to hide, they said. But a psychopathic military killing machine had already condemned them to death on the grounds that they were the soil in which the seed of resistance grows.

Acting on orders issued by the US-backed regional command, a death squad of army Kaibiles (counterinsurgency rangers) entered the peaceful hamlet early that morning, smashing in doors, killing livestock, starting fires and rounding up groups of men, women and children.

Hours of rape and torture ensued, followed by execution in small groups. After being shot, stabbed or bludgeoned to death with a sledgehammer, the victims were hurled into a village well or left in nearby fields.

By nightfall, more than 250 were dead - almost the entire population. There were two child survivors - one who escaped and one, Ramiro Cristales, who was spared by his parents’ murderer only to be subsequently raised as a domestic slave (reputedly an army custom). Cristales, now aged in his 30s, has recently come forward at considerable risk to his own life as an eyewitness to the horror at Dos Erres.

His testimony to the Guatemalan truth commission has been corroborated by previously classified material obtained by the National Security Archive’s Guatemala Documentation Project under the US Freedom of Information Act...

David T. Rowlands

Green Left (Australia)

May 22, 2010

See also:

Former Guatemalan Soldier Arrested for Alleged Role in Dos Erres Massacre

Washington, D.C. - Following this week's arrest of a former Guatemalan special forces soldier, the National Security Archive is posting a set of declassified documents on one of Guatemala's most shocking and unresolved human rights crimes, the Dos Erres massacre.

On May 5, 2010, agents from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) arrested Gilberto Jordan, 54, in Palm Beach County, Florida, based on a criminal complaint charging Jordan had lied to U.S. authorities about his service in the Guatemalan Army and his role in the 1982 Dos Erres massacre. The complaint alleges that Jordan, a naturalized American citizen, was part of the special counterinsurgency Kaibiles unit that carried out the massacre of hundreds of residents of the Dos Erres village located in the northwest Petén region. Jordan allegedly helped kill unarmed villagers with his own hands, including a baby he allegedly threw into the village well.

The massacre was part of the Guatemalan military's "scorched earth campaign" and was carried out by the Kaibiles ranger unit. The Kaibiles were specially trained soldiers who became notorious for their use of torture and brutal killing tactics. According to witness testimony, and corroborated through U.S. declassified archives, the Kaibiles entered the town of Dos Erres on the morning of December 6, 1982, and separated the men from women and children. They started torturing the men and raping the women and by the afternoon they had killed almost the entire community, including the children.

Nearly the entire town was murdered, their bodies thrown into a well and left in nearby fields. The U.S. documents reveal that American officials deliberated over theories of how an entire town could just "disappear," and concluded that the Army was the only force capable of such an organized atrocity. More than 250 people are believed to have died in the massacre...

The National Security Archive

George Washington University

May 7, 2010

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LibertadLatina Note

An indigenous woman in Guatemala holds a sign saying, WANTED: Jose Efrain Rios Montt (the unseen part says, "for genocide") - during the 2008, 28th anniversary of the Spanish Embassy Massacre in Guatemala City, Guatemala.

General José Efraín Ríos Montt is best known for heading a military dictatorship from 1982–1983 that was responsible for some of the worst atrocities against civilians in the 36-year Guatemalan civil conflict.

Photo: MiMundo

My observations about the only human trafficker I have ever met.

...To further tie together these linked issues, I know victims of that genocide, and I have met a perpetrator, through one of his family members. This family member talked to me at length about this perpetrator’s activities in Guatemala. I will refer to him here as ‘Juan.’

Juan’s grandfather owned a large ranch in Guatemala, and when he was feeling especially angry, he would go to the Mayan village at the far-end of his ranch and "shoot a few Indians" (a direct quote). During the time of the 1970s-1980s Guatemalan Civil War, Juan was a member of the Guatemalan president's security detail, the Presidential Guard. This security unit had a secondary task, aside from protection, of receiving a daily hit list from the president’s palace, finding these persons and murdering them for being suspected ‘subversives.’

The bodies of the victims were typically left laying in the street as a message to the population. Juan stated to his family: "Me daba mucha lastima tener que malograr a las mujeres" - that is: "it really saddened me to have to tear-up the women [on the hit list]." In other words, he supposedly felt sad for having willfully kidnapped, tortured, gang-raped and finally murdered his mostly Mayan women and girl victims over a number of years...

During the mid 1990s, before I even knew what sex trafficking was, Juan’s family member explained to me that Juan was engaged in smuggling people into the United States under peculiar circum-stances, and that he had ties to Colombian mafias. Today, I understand that what was being explained to me was the fact that Juan, a former mass rapist and murderer of women, had 'graduated' to sex trafficking women into the U.S. while living a comfortable and otherwise 'normal' life in Washington, DC.

It was also explained to me that Juan would travel to Guatemala City, place an add in a local paper seeking young girls to work as escorts, and that 13 and 14-year-old girls would gleefully respond. Juan then 'trained' these girls as prostitutes, and sent them out as escorts for wealthy businessmen.

In Washington, DC, Juan, when working in the role of office building cleaning crew manager, imposed quid-pro-quo sexual demands upon the Latina women who applied to work at his office building.

The world's past denial of the Guatemalan Genocide plays into the world's current lack of attention to the ongoing femicide, mass kidnappings of babies for illegal adoptions and prostitution, and to the mass trafficking of Guatemalan women into the brothels of southern Mexico...

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

Ashoka anti-trafficking competition entry

June 18, 2008

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LibertadLatina Note

Mayan women and supporters gather to protest a then-recent massacre in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala - 1978

Photo: El Gráfico

In the early 1980's I lived in a house in Washington, DC where a couple who had fled Guatemala were invited to stay. The husband was an agronomist from Spain. His wife was a white U.S. citizen from the Midwest. They told me how they were saved from a death squad execution in Guatemala.

A Guatemalan woman friend had told the couple that her boyfriend, a high-ranking Guatemalan military officer, had told her one night while he was drunk that the couple had been put on the to-be-murdered list that was printed nightly in the presidential palace (using a computer system set up by the Israeli military). Having been warned by their friend, the couple and their young child immediately fled Guatemala.

What was their crime?

The husband taught people in rural Mayan communities how to grow food better and improve their nutrition. For the Guatemalan military, anything that benefited the Mayan population was subversive, and deserved a murderous response. Any arguments that the Mayan majority was subversive fly out the window when one understands that the goal of the genocide was ethnic cleansing, pure and simple.

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

May 23, 2010

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Israel and Guatemala

The history of Israel's relations with Guatemala roughly parallels that of its ties with El Salvador except the Guatemalan military was so unswervingly bloody that Congress never permitted the ... Reagan Administration to undo the military aid cutoff implemented during the Carter years.

Weaponry for the Guatemalan military is the very least of what Israel has delivered. Israel not only provided the technology necessary for a reign of terror, it helped in the organization and commission of the horrors perpetrated by the Guatemalan military and police. And even beyond that: to ensure that the profitable relationship would continue, Israel and its agents worked actively to maintain Israeli influence in Guatemala.

Throughout the years of untrammeled slaughter that left at least 45,000 dead, and, by early 1983, one million in internal exile - mostly indigenous Mayan Indians, who comprise a majority of Guatemala's eight million people - and thousands more in exile abroad, Israel stood by the Guatemalan military. Three successive military governments and three brutal and sweeping campaigns against the Mayan population, described by a U.S. diplomat as Guatemala's "genocide against the Indians," had the benefit of Israeli techniques and experience, as well as hardware...

...It does not take convoluted reasoning to conclude that "both the U.S. and Israel bear rather serious moral responsibility" for Guatemala.

Third World Traveler

See also:

May 26, 2009

More about Former Guatemalan president Efrain Ríos Montt

In 1978, [Efrain Ríos Montt] left the Roman Catholic Church and became a minister in the California-based Evangelical / Pentecostal Church of the Word; since then Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson have been personal friends [both reverends Falwell and Robertson had publicly defended Ríos Montt's human rights abuses].

Ríos Montt's brother Mario is a Catholic bishop, and in 1998 succeeded the assassinated Bishop Juan Gerardi as head of the human rights commission uncovering the truth of the disappearances associated with the military and his brother.

About Efrain Ris Montt

Wikipedia

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Bill Clinton during his presidency

Clinton says U.S. did wrong in Central American Wars - March 10, 1999

...President Clinton admitted Wednesday to Guatemalans that U.S. support for "widespread repression" in their bloody 36-year civil war was a mistake.

"For the United States, it is important that I state clearly that the support for military forces or intelligence units which engaged in violent and widespread repression ... was wrong," Clinton said as he began a round-table discussion on Guatemala's search for peace.

"The United States must not repeat that mistake. We must and we will instead continue to support the peace and reconciliation process in Guatemala," he said on the third day of a Central American tour.

CNN

March 10, 1999

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LibertadLatina

Read our special section of the crisis of sexual exploitation and femicide facing women and girls in modern Guatemala.

See also:

LibertadLatina

Raids and Rescue Versus...?

Read our special section on the human rights advocacy conflict that exists between the goals of the defense of undocumented immigrants from the threat of deportation on the one hand, and the urgent need to protect Latina sex trafficking victims through law enforcement action, on the other hand...

- Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

Dec. 18, 2008


Added: May. 24, 2010

Mexico

These workers from the Adulam shelter were arrested for forcing children and elderly clients into labor slavery, while also subjecting some of the victims to rape.

Photo: Mexico City Prosecutor's Office

Desmantelan redes de trata de personas en México

Una red de explotación laboral camuflada en un hogar social, que abusaba de menores de edad, y otra de prostitución que simulaba ser un salón "spa" fueron desarticuladas por la policía, informó hoy la Procuraduría General de Justicia de la capital mexicana.

El 13 de mayo la Fiscalía capitalina comenzó un operativo que se saldó este lunes con cinco detenciones y con la liberación de 37 personas, entre ellas 27 menores, a las que supuestamente se explotaba laboral y sexualmente en la casa de asistencia a indigentes "Adulam", ubicada en el oeste de la ciudad.

Asimismo, el pasado martes fueron capturados Claudia Escalante González y Hugo Escalante Penkoff, presuntos responsables de la red de prostitución que se ocultaba en una casa de masajes antiestrés en el sur de la capital, donde se engañó y obligó a vender su cuerpo a varias jóvenes mediante amenazas y extorsiones.

En marzo, cuatro de los huéspedes de "Adulam" denunciaron que eran obligados a comerciar con distintos productos en la calle, sin obtener remuneración, y a entregar entre 700 y 800 pesos diarios (entre cincuenta y sesenta dólares) ya que, si no lo hacían, se les negaba el alimento.

Una menor de dieciséis años denunció también que Emilio Moctezuma, director de "Adulam" y uno de los detenidos, la violó mientras una de las asistentes de éste la sujetaba.

Todas las víctimas eran amenazadas constantemente con ser trasladadas a otras casas fuera del Distrito Federal y a un lugar llamado Isla Veracruz, donde la hermana de esta última chica fue enviada para ejercer la prostitución.

Además, una mujer declaró que desconoce el paradero de su hija desde que le fue arrebatada recién nacida y enviada a un hogar de asistencia en el vecino estado de México, y otra -también menor de edad-, aseguró que le practicaron un aborto sin su consentimiento.

Human trafficking networks are dismantled in Mexico City

The Mexico City Prosecutor's Office has announced that establishments dedicated to human exploitation have been taken down. One location, which operated as a shelter for children and the elderly. The other passed itself off as a massage parlor, but was actually a house of prostitution.

On May 13, 2010 the city prosecutor's office commenced an operation that concluded with 5 arrests and the liberation from slavery of 27 children and 10 adults, who were subjected to labor and sexual exploitation in the Casa Adulam shelter, located on the west side of Mexico City.

At the same time, the authorities arrested Claudia Escalante González y Hugo Escalante Penkoff, who are alleged to have run a prostitution network out of a massage parlor. A number of youth were entrapped and forced to sell their bodies in prostitution while facing threats and extortion.

In March of 2010, four residents of Casa Adulam denounced to police that they were forced to sell between 700 and 800 pesos of various products on the streets of Mexico City. On days when the victims failed to meet their quota, they were not fed.

A 16-year-old girl also reported to police that she was raped by both the Adulam shelter's director, Emilio Moctezuma, and a male resident of the shelter, while one of the women shelter workers held her down.

All of the victims were constantly threatened with being taken to other shelters outside of Mexico City.

One of these locations was called Veracruz Island. The sister of the above-mentioned rape victim had earlier been taken to that location and forced to engage in prostitution. Another victim, a woman, told police that her newborn child was kidnapped from her by shelter employees and taken to another shelter in the neighboring state of Mexico. An underage girl victim reported that she was forced to have an abortion without her consent.

EFE

May 21, 2010

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Perspective on this case from the Breaking Chains Ministry

The article [above] highlights a very important action that is just the beginning of what is going to be massive fruit from the last trip I took... There were 5 arrests and at least 10 more coming from this operation including the scum who rob these children from their homes and families. They used physical... as well as mental abuse and threats to force these children to serve as prostitutes. The big one is still coming but this is VERY GOOD....the government of Mexico is working to stop this evil and that is God!!! This is just the beginning...there are 6 operations live right now so please continue to pray for Jesus justice...

Reverend Stephen Cass

Breaking Chains Ministry

May 21, 2010

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Added: May. 24, 2010

Mexico

Rescatan a 37... esclavizados de casa de asistencia

Sin embargo, los inculpados refirieron que por su labor habían sido recibidos por el presidente Felipe Calderón y en la Embajada de Estados Unidos.

De acuerdo con la dependencia policiaca, los detenidos explotaban a niños y adultos, a quienes obligaban a vender diversos productos en la calle sin recibir ningún pago.

Incluso, se informó que la cuota diaria que les exigían era de 800 pesos. En el operativo, se liberaron a 37 niños y... personas de la tercera edad.

Las víctimas dijeron a la policía que fueron violadas, otras que las obligaban a entregar a sus hijos recién nacidos, e incluso una dijo que fue presionaba para que abortara.

RECHAZO. Durante su presentación ante los medios de comunicación, los inculpados denunciaron una presunta fabricación de culpables por parte del Ministerio Público.

Y se dijeron dispuestos a someterse a cualquier tipo de investigación y análisis, “pero de autoridades que sean imparciales”.

Agregaron que el Albergue Casa Adulam goza de una trayectoria reconocida por varias organizaciones sociales, incluso por las propias autoridades federales.

Es de mencionar que los cinco detenidos cumplirán un arraigo de 30 días.

Thirty seven are rescued from shelter

This story repeats the story of the arrests in the Casa Adulam case. It adds that Casa Adulam was previously praised for its work by the Calderon administration, and they had been received at the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City.

Cronica

May 21, 2010

Note: Allegations of abuses taking place at Casa Adulam had been received and investigated since 2007. - LL


Added: May. 24, 2010

Mexico

Deputy Rosi Orozco (left)and Actress Mira Sorvino, (right) appointed in 2009 as  Goodwill Ambassador on Human Trafficking for the United Nations, at the Blue Heart Campaign launch in Mexico City on April 14, 2010

A... Moment With Mira Sorvino

Mira Sorvino... talks at length about her activism.

Mirror: Could you talk about your work as a human rights activist?

Sorvino: I was Amnesty International's campaign spokesperson to “Stop Violence Against Women” for over two years and on the subject of trafficking, I am Goodwill Ambassador for the UN Office on Drugs and Crime ((UNODC).

Mirrror: What’s been your experience?

Sorvino: I just came back from Mexico for the kick-off the U.N.’s worldwide campaign to combat trafficking. The goal is to raise awareness and to get countries to commit to fighting this trafficking within their borders.**

Mirror: Can you talk about that trip?

Sorvino: It was a fascinating trip and I did a lot of public speaking. It’s a country where not much is known about trafficking [?-LL], so I felt like I was able to be informative. The most important thing for me, by far, was going to go to a shelter for recently liberated girls, and I mean girls. I’ve met trafficking victims before, but they were all past 30. These were teenagers and children. I met a little girl who was eight years old who had been sold into a brothel when she was four. She was walking around with a big smile on her face showing everyone her arithmetic homework. When I saw her I thought ‘Oh God, please tell me she’s the daughter of someone here.’ She was a victim, just like all the other girls, but we should call them survivors. I felt like I wanted to adopt her, but I can’t adopt everyone who is needy. I just wanted to save her and protect her for the rest of her life so she would never undergo anything like what had happened to her. There is only one shelter in Mexico for girls like this and I got to meet thirty lucky survivors, but there are hundreds of thousands of girls exactly like them all over Mexico...

Mirror: How many cases are prosecuted in the U.S.?

Sorvino: We have only a 1 percent solve rate and have about same number of trafficking cases as murder cases. Can you imagine if we only solved 1 percent of the murder cases? So it means that we have intensify our efforts and raise public awareness, train the police, get the judiciary to be very well informed, and encourage everyone to become a watcher. It’s very subterranean and hard to find, but it’s always concerned citizens who call in with tips that break cases...

Mirror: Why are men attracted to these little girls?

Sorvino: The sexual drive in men is so strong that unless they are educated correctly throughout their formative years, once they are focused on a certain kind of sex object that they find stimulating, that’s going to continue to be stimulating for them. Every culture has always put a prize on virginity and youthful beauty so a child who hasn’t been “spoiled” by other people will always be more ideal to the “John” who wants to have something special. But, men need to be educated to the terrible sorrow that behavior is creating because many times the buyer of commercial sex is not really thinking about the individual, but just view it as a service. I think if you did sensitivity training for males worldwide, you might be able to discourage them from buying sex.

Mirror: We applaud you for doing this important work.

Sorvino: Thank you so much...

Beverly Cohn

The Santa Monica Mirror

Edition 50 - May 20-26, 2010


Added: May. 24, 2010

Haiti

Cassandre St. Vil

See also:

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

Christina Boyle

The New York Daily News

April 18,2010

Escala violencia hacia las mujeres en campamentos de Haití

Preparan abogadas estrategia legal para abordar problemática

Una delegación de abogadas y activistas de Estados Unidos constató en Haití, la alarmante violencia que persiste contra las mujeres en esa nación, y la escalada de otras formas de agresión en los asentamientos provisionales.

Ante la afirmación de algunas fuentes oficiales que responsabilizan a las víctimas de la escalda, “es importante contrarrestar este mito de que es por la promiscuidad, son crímenes violentos por extraños en la noche y ameritan la atención de la policía y otros grupos que ayudan a organizar los campamentos” dijo la coordinación de la delegación y abogado del Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti (IJDH), Blaine Bookey.

Los testimonios de mujeres niñas dan cuenta de que son crímenes perpetrados por grupos armados y asaltantes que las golpean y las amenaza si denuncian las violaciones. Las mujeres entrevistadas también sostienen que cuando reportan, la policía no las toma en serio.

“Es inaceptable que estas violaciones no sean castigadas, ahora estamos trabajando casos legales contra los violadores y para que las mujeres tengan la justicia que se merecen” dijo Mario Joseph, abogado del Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI) que recibió la delegación en su oficina de Puerto Príncipe...

María Suárez Toro

RIF / CIMAC Women's News Agency

May 21, 2010

See also:

Added: May. 24, 2010

Haiti

U.S. Delegation Finds Inadequate Response, and “Victim-Blaming” Approach to Rapes in Haitian Displacement Camps

Lawyers collect rape survivor accounts and plan legal strategy

Port-au-Prince - In over a week of on-site interviews and exploration, a delegation of U.S. lawyers, health professionals, and community activists found continued alarming rates of rape and other gender-based violence (GBV) in the displaced persons camps throughout Port-au-Prince since the Haitian earthquake in January. Expressed sentiments on the part of some Haitian government officials that victims are somehow to blame for the rapes is outrageous to human rights attorneys and community members, who find that women face a grave lack of security necessary to prevent and respond to the sexual violence crisis. Medical services are overwhelmed and unable to meet women's healthcare needs stemming from the assaults.

"It is critical that we dispel the myth that these rapes are a result of promiscuity," said Blaine Bookey, an attorney with the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti (IJDH), and coordinator of the delegation. "These are violent crimes being perpetrated by strangers in the dark of night and they merit the attention of the police and other groups helping organize the camps."

The vast majority of the women and girls reported being raped by groups of armed, unknown assailants who often beat them in the course of the attack, and threatened them with further violence if they reported the rape. Perpetrators often attack at night, when women are asleep beside their children; or when they go to the latrines, men wait for them in the dark stalls. "It is totally unacceptable for these rapes to continue to go unpunished," said Mario Joseph, Managing Attorney at the Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI), which hosted the delegation at its office in Port-au-Prince. "We are now building strong legal cases to hold rapists accountable and bring these women the justice they deserve."

Women who report rapes to the police describe being turned away, not taken seriously, or told to notify the police if they see the rapists again. "Pa tap vini" or "They never would have come," described one woman as to why she did not report her rape. These experiences foster the perception that reporting to the police is futile, especially if the survivor cannot identify her assailants. "If we are going to overcome a culture of complete impunity for rapists, we must create environments in which survivors are able to report these crimes and be taken seriously" said Lisa Davis, an attorney with MADRE. "Haiti's political and economic crises both before and as a result of the earthquake still do not relieve the authorities of the responsibility to protect women from sexual assault," said Deena Hurwitz, associate professor and director of the International Human Rights Law Clinic at the University of Virginia School of Law...

The Insti­tute for Jus­tice & Democ­racy in Haiti (IJDH)

May 17, 2010

Note: The above-described conditions of impunity facing women and girls in Haiti are also the daily 'normal' experiences of many women and girls across all nations in Latin America. - LL


Added: May. 24, 2010

Oregon, USA / Mexico

The Salvation Army's Christine MacMillan speaks at the recent Oregon anti-trafficking rally

Battling human trafficking

Christine MacMillan, director of the International Social Justice Committee for the Salvation Army, speaks last Friday at a rally put on by the student group, Slavery Still Exists. MacMillan spoke about the causes and effects of human trafficking.

Slavery Still Exists, an ASUO (Associated Students of the University of Oregon) student group, kicked off its human trafficking and advocacy awareness campaign with a rally Friday.

Kristin Rudolph, co-president of the club, said the rally’s purpose was to make students aware of a growing, worldwide injustice.

Community members gathered in the EMU amphitheater at noon to listen to the featured speaker, Christine MacMillan, talk about her personal experiences with human trafficking as the director of the Salvation Army’s International Social Justice Commission. The International Social Justice Commission has worked to fight global human rights violations, such as human trafficking, since its inception in 2007...

Rally attendees expressed surprise at learning the prevalence and proximity of human trafficking locally.

“I really didn’t know that this was such a big issue where I live,” University sophomore Apolinar Montero-Sanchez said. “I’m glad that people are getting aware of this stuff, because it’s a big problem.”

MacMillan shared several stories of human trafficking during the rally. For example, she explained that while sex trafficking is well-known, there are other forms of human trafficking, such as trafficking human organs. While visiting Mexico City, MacMillan discovered how unmarked ambulances pick up homeless children, strap the children onto gurneys, bring them to the hospital and drug them with anesthetics in order to traffic their organs. After removing organs, such as kidneys, the traffickers leave most of the children for dead.

Because the majority of the world is not informed about the topic, it continues to go on unbeknownst to many, according to MacMillan. She described human trafficking as “a very hidden problem in our world.”

She urged rally attendees to gain more knowledge about human trafficking and join the fight to end this problem...

Malaea Relampagos

Oregon Daily Emerald

May 17, 2010


Added: May. 24, 2010

Maryland, USA

Police Add Patrols After Man Grabs Girl

Annapolis police are adding patrols near school bus stops and around Bates Middle School after a pair of suspicious incidents involving a man approaching children.

ABC7's Brad Bell spotted some anxious parents waiting while their children got off school buses Friday afternoon.

"It has been the talk in this neighborhood the last couple days," said Joe Hall, a parent. "There's a lot of concerned parents."

So far there have been two reported incidents. On Wednesday, May 5, a man in a car approached a 13-year-old girl and, in Spanish, made suggestive remarks. The man then tried to lure her into his car, police said.

On Tuesday, May 18, a man matching the description from the first encounter made lewd comments and then actually grabbed a 13-year-old girl by her arm in a neighborhood a couple miles from where the first incident took place. The girl was able to break away, but police fear he may strike again

"The reason we're on patrol in the school bus areas and the walkways is to make sure something like that doesn't happen," said Ray Weaver, an Annapolis police spokesman.

Parents and neighbors appreciate the increased police presence and say they, too, are now on the look-out.

"Well, of course it concerns me to know there is a predator out there that's trying to victimize children," said Nancy Fields, an Annapolis resident.

"Me personally, since I have kids, I don't think he should be on the street," Hall said.

Police described the man as Hispanic. One victim said the man was 30-35 years old, average height, with black thinning hair. The other victim described him as six feet, one-inch tall, with a slim build. He wore a black baseball cap with the letters "NY" on the front, a blue zip-up hooded sweatshirt with white stripes and blue jeans.

The suspect's vehicle was described as a small, dark blue Honda and as a blue sedan with dark-tinted windows.

WJLA

May 21, 2010


Added: May. 24, 2010

Mississippi, USA

William Velasquez Castillo

Illegal immigrant arrested on child molestation charge

Pascagoula - An illegal immigrant sought for nearly a month and a half was wearing a shirt emblazoned with the phrase "I'm hiding from the cops" when he was arrested Wednesday on child molestation charges, and tried to wear the shirt inside out Thursday when he went before a Jackson County judge.

A guard removed William Velasquez Castillo from the courtroom, and the 27-year-old returned with his shirt on the proper way.

The guard said that Castillo must have switched his shirt around at the Jackson County Adult Detention Center before he was brought to the courthouse.

Castillo was arrested by U.S. Marshals in Lucedale late Wednesday evening, Jackson County Sheriff Mike Byrd said.

Investigators had been searching for Castillo since April 3, when a 10-year-old girl told investigators he molested her in a vehicle in Ocean Springs, Byrd said.

A warrant was issued for Castillo on April 23, and detectives believe he fled the area shortly after learning he was wanted, Byrd said.

Castillo was discovered by authorities at the Dorsett Hotel on Main Street in Lucedale.

Castillo told County Judge Larry Wilson that he was unemployed and had a previous felony shoplifting conviction.

"I served 1 year and 1 day," Castillo said. "It was from Harrison County."

Wilson said bail for Castillo at $50,000 and placed a hold on him for the U.S. Immigration and Custom Enforcement.

"ICE has their own investigation," Byrd said.

Cherie Ward

GulfFive.com

May 21, 2010


Added: May. 24, 2010

Arizona, USA

Jose Juan Martinez

Gilbert man accused of molesting girl for 4 years

Gilbert police officers arrested a 39-year-old man suspected of molesting a 12-year-old girl for four years.

Police were called to a home near Neely Street and Elliot Road Monday evening. The victim's mother told officers that her daughter said Jose Juan Martinez had molested her.

The girl told investigators that Martinez had molested her over the past four years and the most recent time was Friday.

Martinez was booked into jail on suspicion of 39 counts of sexual misconduct with a minor, one count of continuous sexual abuse of a minor and one count of molestation of a child.

Jennifer Thomas

azfamily.com

May 19, 2010


Added: May. 24, 2010

Texas, USA

Midland Police Searching for Suspect Who Tried to Kidnap Teenage Girl

Midland Police need your help tracking a down a man they say tried to kidnap a teenaged girl in broad daylight on Thursday afternoon.

It happened between 5:00 and 5:30 near the Family Dollar in the Kingsway Shopping Center on West Illinois.

Police tell NewsWest 9, the girl was walking home when a Hispanic man pulled up next to her, blocked her, then tried to talk her in to getting in his car.

The teen was able to get away.

Police are looking for a Hispanic man in his late 20's to late 30's, about 5'9," and heavy set weighing between 250 - 300 pounds.

He has moles or acne on his face and was wearing a white T-shirt.

He was driving a dented two door silver car.

If you have any information, call Midland police or midland crime stoppers at 694-TIPS.

NewsWest9.com

May 21, 2010


Added: May. 24, 2010

New York, USA

Thug bashes Chinese woman with pipe, assaults her in Queens: cops

A 23-year-old woman is on life-support in a Queens hospital after a weekend attack by a pipe-wielding rapist two months after she arrived in New York from China, cops said.

Officials are working desperately to get a visa for the woman's mother, who lives outside Beijing, so she can come to Queens to face the awful task of deciding her daughter's fate.

The young woman was returning from grocery shopping in downtown Flushing around 9:30 p.m. Saturday when a drunken Queens man smashed her in the head with a pipe and dragged her into an alley, authorities said.

Once inside the alley along 41st Road, Carlos Salazar Cruz, 28, removed the woman's clothing from the waist down and raped her with the pipe, according to court papers.

Two months ago, the young woman, who dreamed of becoming a lawyer, traveled from her native China on a student visa. She moved in with a distant uncle in Flushing.

"She was working in a nail salon, saving up money. She was going to start attending school," said Assemblywoman Grace Meng (D-Flushing). "She had good grades in China. That's why her parents wanted her to come and expand her horizons."

Now, the woman who once dreamed of a better future is in the intensive care unit at New York Hospital Queens. She suffered a fractured skull, bleeding on the brain and trauma to her vaginal area.

Meng said she and Rep. Gary Ackerman (R-Bayside) are working to expedite a visa for the woman's mother. Cops collared Cruz a few blocks from the crime scene after a witness, who saw him drag the woman into the alley and then emerge alone - called 911. Police later recovered the pipe about a block from the alley.

Cruz, who did not have a criminal record, emigrated from Mexico two years ago and found work at a Manhattan fish market.

He was arraigned late Tuesday on a slew of charges, including a top count of attempted murder. Prosecutors vowed to upgrade charges if the woman is removed from life-support.

Cruz's family said he claims he blacked out drunk and doesn't remember the incident.

"He woke up and found himself cuffed to the hospital bed," said his stunned sister, Patricia Salazar, 26. "He never acted violently....We just don't know why he would do this. We can't explain it."

John Lauinger

The New York Daily News

May 20, 2010


Added: May. 24, 2010

California, USA

Illegal alien charged with murder

Barstow - A 31-year-old illegal alien who was arrested Saturday on suspicion of kidnapping and raping a 33-year-old woman has now been charged with murder.

Melissa Curley of Arizona died of strangulation with asphyxiation, according to the San Bernardino County Coroner’s office Wednesday.

Police arrested Cesar Rascon in Yermo Saturday afternoon and charged him with rape and kidnapping for the purposes of rape. Now Barstow police are charging him with murder.

Curley’s body was found at the Sunset Inn motel at 860 West Main Street after police received a 911 call at about 9 a.m. Saturday. Detectives learned that Curley was staying at the motel, but wasn’t registered for the room her body was found in. The room was registered to Rascon.

Police found Rascon working at a Yermo gas station at 4:57 p.m. Saturday and arrested him.

V V Daily Press

May 20, 2010


Added: May. 24, 2010

Idaho, USA

Rape suspect deported 4 times

Edmonds - The man accused of raping a woman behind an Edmonds grocery store has been deported at least four times in the past 15 years, reports KIRO Radio.

An officer responding to a woman's cry for help Sunday night found 46-year-old Jose Madrigal on top of the woman and arrested him.

According to court documents, the woman told police that Madrigal had followed her and offered her $35 for sex, but she said no. She said Madrigal then forced her into the bushes on the north side of the store and raped her.

Documents say Madrigal told police "Sometimes we have control in our brains, but we make mistakes."

The 28-year-old Edmonds woman was treated at a hospital.

Snohomish County prosecutors have charged Madrigal in district court with second degree rape. He is also is being held for the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.

The Associated Press

May 19, 2010


Added: May. 24, 2010

Southwest USA

U.S. Border Patrol Weekly Blotter: May 13 - May 19, 2010

Excerpt

May 19, 2010 - El Centro Sector - Border Patrol agents arrested an illegal alien from Guatemala near Cathedral City, California. Records checks revealed the subject had a prior conviction for sexual battery in the state of California and had been previously removed from the United States.

May 19, 2010 - Tucson Sector - Border Patrol agents arrested an illegal alien from Mexico near Douglas, Arizona. Records checks revealed the subject had a prior conviction for sex with a minor in the state of California and had been previously removed from the United States.

May 19, 2010 - Tucson Sector - Border Patrol agents arrested an illegal alien from Mexico near Willcox, Arizona. Records checks revealed the subject had prior convictions for multiple counts of lewd or lascivious acts with a child under 14, as well as other sex offenses in the state of California. The subject had also been previously removed from the United States.

May 16, 2010 - El Centro Sector - Border Patrol agents arrested an illegal alien from Mexico near Calexico, California. Records checks revealed the subject was a convicted sex offender who had been previously removed from the United States.

May 16, 2010 - Tucson Sector - Border Patrol agents arrested an illegal alien from Mexico near Amado, Texas. Records checks revealed the subject had prior convictions for driving under the influence and willful cruelty to a child by means of sexual penetration with a foreign object in the state of California. The subject had also been previously removed from the United States.

May 16, 2010 - Tucson Sector - Border Patrol agents arrested an illegal alien from Mexico near Three Points, Arizona. Records checks revealed the subject was a convicted sex offender in the state of California and had been previously removed from the United States.

May 14, 2010 - El Paso Sector - Border Patrol agents arrested an illegal alien from Mexico near Columbus, New Mexico. Records checks revealed the subject… was a registered sex offender in the state of Arizona. The subject had also been previously removed from the United States.

May 14, 2010 - Tucson Sector - Border Patrol agents arrested an illegal alien from Mexico near Ajo, Arizona. Records checks revealed the subject had a prior conviction for aggravated sexual assault in the state of Illinois and had been previously removed from the United States.

May 14, 2010 - Tucson Sector - Border Patrol agents arrested an illegal alien from Mexico near Douglas, Arizona. Records checks revealed the subject had a prior conviction for indecency with a child/sexual contact in the state of Texas and had been previously removed from the United States.

May 13, 2010 - Tucson Sector - Border Patrol agents arrested an illegal alien from Mexico near Douglas, Arizona. Records checks revealed the subject was a convicted sex offender in the state of Wyoming and had been previously removed from the United States.

May 13, 2010 - Tucson Sector - Border Patrol agents arrested an illegal alien from Mexico near Sasabe, Arizona. Records checks revealed the subject had a prior conviction for child molestation in the state of Washington and had been previously removed from the United States.

U.S. Border Patrol

May 19, 2010


Added: May. 24, 2010

Washington State, USA

Investigators: Edmonds rape suspect deported nine times

Edmonds - KING 5 Investigators have learned that an illegal immigrant accused of raping a woman in Edmonds Sunday has been deported nine times. That's much more than previously reported.

Immigrations and Customs Enforcement won't comment on the case of Jose Lopez Madrigal. But KING 5 got the information through confidential sources and documents.

Larry Klein was the man who heard the alleged victim's cries for help. Police say the suspect pulled the woman off the street to a dumpster and raped her.

"I could see the back of his head. I could see his pants were down. I could see her lying on the ground. I could hear her crying, but I couldn't really see her face," said Klein.

Klein called police, who quickly arrested the suspect. But learning his identity took much longer because of some 30 aliases. It was only through fingerprints that they identified him as Madrigal, a Mexican citizen.

Madrigal's arrest and immigration record includes a staggering number of contacts with law enforcement since 1989. That's the year he was convicted of theft using a firearm in California...

People who live near the scene of Sunday's alleged rape wonder how it could keep happening.

"Makes you wonder, what are we doing wrong? How is he getting back in here?" said Kirby Aumick.

"It’s troubling. I mean, if this man should not have been in this country, he should have been behind bars then, really, this is a senseless tragedy," said Klein.

According to our sources, Madrigal's last contact before Sunday was around 2003. So, it's not clear how much of that time Madrigal was in this country.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement has refused to comment on the case which started making national headlines when it was learned that Madrigal had been deported several times prior to the Edmonds case...

Chris Ingalls

KING 5 News

May 21, 2010


Added: May. 24, 2010

Oregon, USA

Perez gets jail time

Judge cites official abuses

Former North Wasco County schools liaison Carlos Perez was sentenced Thursday to 45 days in jail and five years probation for making sexual advances to a 41-year-old Hispanic woman who had sought his help in receiving basic community services and Spanish-English translation aid.

Although he cut the jail time in half from the 90 days requested by Wasco County Deputy District Attorney Leslie Wolf, Wasco County Circuit Court Judge John Kelly said he was compelled to order some incarceration because Perez, a public official with many community and family connections, took advantage of and preyed on a low-income woman who speaks no English and who is an illegal alien.

“The offensive part of this has less to do with your laying hands on this woman than on your abuse of power,” Kelly told Perez before about 35 people at the Wasco County Courthouse in The Dalles. “You have status and respect in the community – you have power, and she has none.”

Kelly also ordered Perez to register as a sex offender and to have no contact with the victim or to come within 500 feet of her home. Perez, who was a family liaison and coordinator for the Columbia Gorge Educational Service District, is also barred from visiting any North Wasco County schools and from participating in any migrant services programs.

In addition, Perez will have to pay up to $3,000 into a state victims’ restitution fund to cover counseling sessions for the woman. He is also being let go from his job as a translator for Mid-Columbia Medical Center in The Dalles, Kelly said.

Perez maintained at Thursday’s proceeding that he was innocent, that the sentence was unfair and alleged it was the result of racial bias...

Wasco County District Attorney Eric Nisley said he thought the sentence was “appropriate,” and that there was “no evidence at all that this was based on his race,” Nisley said.

“The point is that a jury believed a Hispanic woman over a Hispanic man,” Nisley said. “It isn’t about Mr. Perez’s race.” ...

Keri Brenner

The Dalles Chroncicle

May 21, 2010


Added: May. 24, 2010

North Carolina, USA

Store surveillance photo of suspect

Suspect sought in string of sex assaults at stores

Charlotte - Police are still looking for a man they believe is behind several sexual assaults inside stores.

They have stepped up patrols at shopping centers in Southeast and Union County after they say at least five fondling incidents in three stores might be connected.

They say that they believe one man is responsible for the sexual assaults: two that happened at Wal-Mart on Tuesday, one at a Harris Teeter grocery store on Saturday of last week and two more at another Harris Teeter, this time in Union County, sometime in between.

WBTV talked to Dan Biber, a forensic psychologist who gave us insight as to what drives a person to sexual violence.

"Let's call it adrenaline," he said. "He gets a rush. Part of the rush is not just the sexual rush of groping women, but also the rush of doing it in public when there's a high risk of detection that he successfully avoids."

That is frightening to shoppers like Tracy Brown who said, "that's even more frightening to know that someone is getting a rush from assaulting people because ultimately, that's what you're doing."

Another reason? Biber told us the man could be rationalizing his actions by downplaying the severity of the assaults.

"He might in his own mind, think this is no big deal," he said. "He might just think, well, rape would be bad but this doesn't count."

According to CMPD officers, the girl was in the grocery store at 11516 Providence Road at approximately 12:15 p.m. when a man came up and forcefully fondled her from behind.

Police say two more women reported being groped at a Harris Teeter in Union County. They say, before Union Co. deputies arrived, two employees escorted the suspect off the property because the victims didn't want to press charges.

The latest incident happened Tuesday afternoon when two women told police they were forcibly fondled at a Wal-Mart store on Highway 51.

The incident happened around 2:24 p.m. at the Wal-Mart located at 3209 Pineville-Matthews Road. Investigators say the two victims, who are 55 and 47 years old, actually tried to restrain the man--but he was able to get away.

On Thursday morning, police released in-store photos of the suspect from two incidents at the Harris Teeters. The photos were taken on May 15 between 12:15 and 12:20 pm at the Harris Teeter at 11516 Providence Road.

Police are looking for a Hispanic man who is about 25 years old, and is between 5 feet 8 inches and 5 feet 10 inches tall and weighs about 150 pounds.

Although the incidents happened inside the stores, police say the man drives a white van with ladders on it...

WBTV

May 19, 2010


Added: May. 24, 2010

New Jersey, USA

Reverend Moises Cotto

Authorities say evidence backs charges against Newark pastor in Linden sex assault case

Newark - At the Newark church where his congregants dress all in white, he was known as a husband, father and respected pastor for more than 20 years.

But, authorities said, Moises Cotto, the 55-year-old pastor, had been meeting for the past two years with a female congregant at a motel in Linden where the pair had sex — and forced two teenage girls to videotape them in the act.

Cotto was arrested at his apartment in East Orange on Monday night, and charged with kidnapping, aggravated assault, attempted aggravated sexual assault and endangering the welfare of a minor.

His parishioner, Brenda Pabon, 37, of Middlesex County, has been charged with kidnapping and endangering the welfare of a minor.

But Wednesday, the assistant pastor of the Newark church, Yahweh Templo El Candelero, said he is convinced Cotto is innocent. He called Pabon a "problematic parishioner," saying she had recently threatened the pastor and vowed to leave his congregation along with her husband.

"I do think that an injustice is being done, based on my friendship with the minister," said Assistant Pastor A. Diaz. "There’s no truth to the allegations. He’s been an upstanding pastor for more than 20 years."

The church carefully screens pastors, Diaz said, and holds them to "high standards."

Prosecutors say they have significant physical evidence that corroborates the victims’ allegations...

Julie O'Connor

The Star-Ledger

May 20, 2010


Added: May. 20, 2010

Peru

90% de niñas madres fueron ultrajadas

Alarmante estadística. El 90 % de niñas peruanas que dieron a luz, entre los 12 y 16 años, fueron embarazadas producto de violación, frecuentemente por incesto.

Estos datos brindados por la Organización Panamericana de la Salud (OPS) fueron analizados en el Congreso de la República por la Comisión Especial Revisora de la Ley de Protección Frente a la Violencia Familiar a fin de abordar las causas y los efectos de esta realidad.

La congresista Olga Cribilleros (PAP), coordinadora de la citada comisión, señaló que si no se toma en cuenta el aspecto presupuestal, no será posible realizar un real cambio de los problemas de violencia familiar que se vive en el país. Mencionó que la falta de personal idóneo, jueces especializados así como recursos para capacitación a docentes que desarrollen el tema con contenidos adecuados dificultan la lucha contra la violencia familiar. Sobre las sanciones a los violadores, en Costa Rica, Perú y Uruguay, bajo el Código Penal, se prevé que un violador puede quedar libre si propone casarse con su víctima y ella consiente. Al respecto, la comisión estudia la legislación comparada de otros países para elaborar el anteproyecto de la nueva ley de protección frente a la violencia familiar...

Ninety percent of young adolescent mothers became pregnant due to rape

[We note that the definition of 'rape' used in this Peruvian news article refers to forcible rape, and not statutory rape as that crime is defined in the United States. - LL]

Some 90% of Peruvian girls who became pregnant between the ages of 12 and 16 became pregnant due to rape, often in situations of incest.
These statistics, provided by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), have been analyzed in the Congress of the Republic by the Special Commission to Revise the Law of Protection Against Family Violence. Their goal is to understand the causes and effects of this reality.

Congresswoman Olga Cribilleros, of the Partido Aprista Peruano (PAP - Peruvian APRA Party), who is the coordinator of the commission, said that without [congressional] funding, it would be impossible to bring about real changes in the problem of family violence that exists in the country. She added that the lack of qualified personnel, specialized judges and resources for training teachers to develop relevant content for students all hinder the fight against domestic violence.

In regard to punishing rapists, the commission is examining the laws of others nations. Commission members note that under the penal codes of Peru, Costa Rica, and Uruguay [not to mention Mexico and other Latin American nations], a rapist [even if the victim is age 12] can go free if he proposes to marry his victim and she consents.

For Gina Yañez, director of the Manuela Ramos Movement, these statistics demonstrate that work should begin immediately on this issue, especially in school and family settings, so that victims know what to do if they are raped.
According to PAHO's study, 33% of women between 16 and 49 have been victims of sexual harassment, and at least 45% have been threatened, insulted or have had their personal property destroyed.

Diario la Primera Peru

May 19, 2010

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Young adolescent mothers learn to love and care for their children at the Chuka Chuka center.

In Peru it is not uncommon for women to raise 5 or more children., each with a different biological father. What is also common is for the mother’s latest companion to rape the eldest daughters, often resulting in pregnancy.

One expects a reaction from the mother, but not the sort of reaction that is so evident here in Peru. As a result of the rape the mother feels shamed and jealous and abandons her own daughter who is often without the comfort of additional family members for support and understanding.

These abandoned, pregnant, adolescent rape victims (‘adolescents’), often only thirteen or fourteen years old face a dull future. They are without money; support; homes and job prospects. Most worrying of all, they are carrying an unborn baby, who will enter a world where education will not be available to them and their options for a self-sustainable life non-existent.

It is not uncommon for such desperate girls to drift into the sex trade and drugs; further blighting their lives and potential to contribute to society

Our mission: To save as many of these girls and their unborn children as we can, to prepare them for and steer them into a richer more productive life than they could have known without this project.

Chuka Chuka

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Adolescent prostitution in Lima, Peru

Video news report from Peru showing underage prostitution in the capital city of Lima. Young sex workers are shown sniffing glue, caring for their toddlers in the prostitution zone late at night, and negotiating with johns for the going price of 20 Soles (US$7.00).

(In Spanish)

ATV

Posted on YouTube


Added: May. 20, 2010

Texas, USA

Slain Houston Police Officer Rodney Johnson

Businessman sentenced for harboring illegal alien cop-killer

A Houston, Texas landscaping business owner was sentenced to three months in prison and three months home confinement for harboring the illegal alien who molested a child and ultimately killed a Houston police officer in 2006, according to a report obtained yesterday by the National Association of Chiefs of Police.

The investigation was conducted by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Houston Police Department.

Robert Lane Camp, 47, the owner of Camp Landscaping in Deer Park, Texas, and now a convicted felon, was also sentenced to a five-year probationary term with special conditions by U.S. District Judge Vanessa Gilmore. Camp pleaded guilty on Oct. 5, 2009, admitting that he knowingly harbored Juan Leonardo Quintero-Perez (Quintero), an illegal alien, by employing him and leasing a residence to him.

According to court documents, Camp employed Quintero in his landscape business. When Quintero was arrested and charged by the State of Texas with indecency with a child in 1998, Camp bonded Quintero out of jail and continued to employ him. Quintero was sentenced to a term of deferred adjudication for the state offense.

Quintero was deported in 1999, but illegally reentered the United States in Arizona, then flew to Houston. When Quintero returned to Houston, he resumed his employment with Camp. Camp also rented Quintero a home and listed Quintero's wife, a U.S. citizen, in government records as an employee instead of Quintero.

On Sept. 22, 2006, Quintero was arrested while driving a Camp company vehicle by Houston Police Officer Rodney Johnson. While sitting in the back seat of Officer Johnson's patrol car, Quintero retrieved a pistol hidden on his person, and shot and killed Officer Johnson. Quintero was convicted of capital murder in the 248th District Court of Harris County, Texas, and has been sentenced to life in prison.

Jim Kouri, CPP is currently fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police

The Examiner

May 12, 2010

LibertadLatina Commentary

Chuck Goolsby

Issues that may not (but should) be discussed  during Mexican President Felipe Calderón's May 19-20, 2010 visit to Washington, DC

The May 19-20, 2010 visit of Mexico's President Felipe Calderón to the White House is being closely watched in regard to how the U.S. will react to Calderón's speech before Congress. We know that the war against drug cartels and immigration are top on the agenda.

The issue of mass gender atrocities facilitated by state corruption, complacency and criminal impunity are also critical issues in U.S. / Mexican relations. While these topics are rarely discussed in the mainstream English-language press, holding Mexico's federal government accountable for defending the lives, integrity and dignity of women and girls is just as important as addressing the drug war and immigration. In fact, we believe that the U.S. press needs to step up to the plate and ask both President Calderón and President Obama about their commitment to saving women and girls from mass kidnapping, mass rape and wholesale enslavement, which are crimes that impact tens of thousands of women and children each year in the Aztec Nation.

President Calderón took a major positive step on April 14, 2010 by launching the world's first nationally sponsored instance of the United Nations Blue Heart Campaign Against Human Trafficking. Yet a day later, Calderón's diplomats derided, in front of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, the rape complaint of indigenous victim Inés Fernández Ortega, who had been gang raped by soldiers in 2002, with no effective response from the Mexican civilian and military criminal justice systems.

We repeat here below our list of some of the most critical gender rights issues that are not being addressed by the Calderón administration.

**

During the past several years LibertadLatina has dedicated its efforts to bringing world attention to the mass rapes, kidnappings and enslavement of women, children and men that occurs with almost total impunity in Mexico.

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

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

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

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

In the United States, 60% of U.S. trafficking victims are Latin American. Most of them have been trafficked across the Mexican border into the U.S.

The population of Mexico (and especially its poor and vulnerable Indigenous peoples), also suffer immensely from modern slavery. In addition, Central American migrants are kidnapped, raped and trafficked by the many thousands as they cross Mexico. Some are also murdered.

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

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

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

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

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

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

During the 500 year period since the Spanish conquest of Mexico, Indigenous women have been easy target for rapists and human traffickers. We who are Indigenous know this history inside out, no matter what corner of the Americas we hail from.

What is an abomination in today's world is the fact that in Mexico and across much of Latin America, Indigenous women and girls continue to be enslaved and brutalized with the implied consent of national governments. By extension, none of these women can count on the protection of their national governments and local police forces in the face of such gender atrocities.

In Mexico, an estimated 3,000 to 4,000 Indigenous children and underage youth have been kidnapped and then sold to the Japanese Yakuza mafias, who then transport the victims to Japan, where they are enslaved as 'Geisha' prostitutes. Despite the existence of this story during the past several years, there are no visible signs that either Mexico or Japan have ever lifted a finger to rescue the victims.

In a similar case, a reporter in Spain posed as a pimp, and was offered 6 Mayan Indigenous  girls for sale. They were all 13-years-old. The sale price was $25,000 each, because Indigenous girl children were considered to be "exotic" merchandise.

All of these issues are emergencies that demand your immediate attention, President Calderón. We call upon U.S. President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to raise these important issues with Mexico.

The victims, and those at risk, await our serious and effective efforts to defend and rescue them now!

End impunity now!

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

May 20, 2010


Added: May. 20, 2010

California, USA

Jacobo Reyes

Cops: Man Fondled Little Girl While She Slept

Police say the suspect confessed to fondling five other girls and women.

Santa Ana .-- Police have arrested a 47-year-old man on suspicion of molesting an 11-year-old girl in her bedroom in Santa Ana.

Jacobo Reyes was arrested Monday and is being held without bail, according to Cpl. Anthony Bertanga.

Santa Ana investigators linked him to the crime with DNA evidence, Bertagna said.

Investigators asked Reyes to come in for questioning about the Feb. 11 attack in the 300 block of South Newhope Street.

They arrested him after he confessed to fondling up to five other girls and women ages 11 to 22 as they slept, Bertagna said.

In the Feb. 11 attack, police say Reyes climbed into the girl's bedroom, gaining entry by removing a screen in an unlocked window.

The girl could not describe her attacker because it was too dark, but he left behind genetic material that matched Reyes' DNA, Bertagna said.

Reyes was booked on suspicion of felony assault to commit rape and burglary.

Prosecutors are reviewing the case and have not yet charged him.

KTLA News

May 19, 2010

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Added: May. 20, 2010

California, USA

Previously deported illegal alien admits to being serial molester

On Tuesday, police in Santa Ana arrested Roberto Jacobo Reyes, after DNA evidence linked him to the sexual assault of an 11-year-old girl in February. According to police, Reyes entered the girl’s bedroom through an unlocked window.

Under questioning for that crime, Reyes has reportedly admitted to having assaulted at least four other victims, ages 11-22, in the same manner.

Santa Ana Police Cpl. Anthony Bertagna told the LA Times: “His M.O. was to break into unsecured windows or unsecured doors.“

Reyes is currently being held in the Santa Ana City Jail on suspicion of felony assault to commit rape and burglary, while the Orange County district attorney prepares more charges.

In 2007, Reyes was deported back to Mexico after serving three years in prison for burglary. While in prison, his fingerprints linked him to a sexual assault.

In 1998, Reyes was arrested for DUI and driving without a license, he pleaded guilty and was ordered to pay a fine.

Past arrests also include charges for peeping and possession of stolen property.

Though an illegal alien with a criminal record, Reyes was working for a landscaping business in Santa Ana at the time of his latest arrest.

Dave Gibson

The Examiner

May 19, 2010


Added: May. 20, 2010

New York, USA

Detective Oscar Sandino

NYPD Detective Oscar Sandino charged with demanding sex from women he arrested

A New York Police Department (NYPD) narcotics detective was charged Tuesday with preying on women he arrested - on police property.

The alleged attacks by Detective Oscar Sandino date to 2006 and could land the 13-year veteran behind bars for three years if he's convicted on federal charges.

His lawyer dismissed the accusations as "old news" and questioned the credibility of the women, one of whom has filed a lawsuit.

But federal prosecutors Pamela Chen and Licha Nyiendo said the evidence that Sandino is more perp than protector is "substantial and irrefutable."

"The persistent and repetitive nature of the defendant's misconduct demonstrates that he is a sexual predator," they wrote in court papers.

They say that in August 2006, when he was assigned to the Queens North Narcotics Bureau, he coerced a woman into having sex with him in exchange for help with her cousin's criminal case.

In February 2008, while arresting a woman and her boyfriend on drug charges, he took the woman into a bedroom and forced her to undress, the feds charge.

When he brought the woman to the 110th Precinct stationhouse for booking, Sandino warned she would lose her children unless she had sex with him, prosecutors say.

Sandino allegedly took the woman into the bathroom, ordered her to pull down her pants and molested her.

"Wow, you have an earring down there," Sandino said to the woman, according to a lawsuit she filed.

The victim reported Sandino to the Internal Affairs Bureau, and investigators gathered text messages, phone records and secretly taped conversations to corroborate the allegations.

In a third attack in September, Sandino allegedly took a handcuffed woman arrested for disorderly conduct into a room at Brooklyn Central Booking and made her bare her breasts.

Sandino, 37, was charged with civil rights violations and released on a $250,000 bond to be co-signed by his estranged wife, who lives in Arizona.

Defense lawyer Peter Brill claimed the Queens district attorney had passed on prosecuting Sandino because the second victim was not credible.

John Marzulli

New York Daily News

May 18, 2010


Added: May. 20, 2010

New Mexico, USA

Juan Gonzalez

Children, Youth and Families Department will report immigrant status of criminals

The state’s Children, Youth and Families Department will start reporting violent juvenile criminals who are foreign nationals to immigration authorities.

Governor Bill Richardson ordered the change after Juan Gonzalez, an illegal immigrant, was accused of molesting a 6-year-old girl at an Albuquerque fitness club earlier in May.

Gonzales has been in trouble for sex crimes twice in the past, before he turned 18. In both those cases, CYFD never told authorities Gonzales was in the country illegally.

Taryn Bianchin

KOB.com

May 18, 2010

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Added: May. 20, 2010

New Mexico, USA

Man accused of molesting girl at gym faces judge

The man accused of molesting a young girl at a Midtown Albuquerque fitness club was in court on Thursday.

Twenty-year-old Juan Gonzalez, an illegal immigrant, appeared before a judge on sex assault charges.

Police say Gonzalez pinned a six-year-old girl against a wall at the Midtown Sports and Wellness near Carlisle and Menaul and began touching her sexually.

Police say Gonzalez told them he knew what he was doing was wrong, but said he has a problem.

Charlie Pabst

KOB.com

May 06, 2010


Added: May. 20, 2010

Pennsylvania, USA

Man accused of molesting 14-year-old girl is illegal alien

Bethlehem police said a 23-year-old man who allegedly had sex with a then 14-year-old girl is from Guatemala and illegally in the country. Ivan Antonio Alvarez-Lopez, who last lived in New Jersey, met the girl, who is now pregnant with his child, according to police, through a mutual friend in September. The two talked on the phone until allegedly meeting in December at the Comfort Suites in South Side Bethlehem.

Police allege the two met there four times and had unprotected sex. Alvarez-Lopez knew the girl was 14, police said, and she knew he was from Guatemala.

Alvarez-Lopez was charged with sex crimes and referred to Immigration Customs Enforcement agents. He was sent to Northampton County Prison in lieu of $150,000 bail.

JD Malone

Lehigh Valley Live

May 13, 2010


Added: May. 20, 2010

California, USA

Border Patrol Agents Capture Three Sex Offenders in One Day

Calexico – U.S. Border Patrol agents assigned to the El Centro Sector apprehended three illegal aliens Wednesday who are convicted sex offenders.

One of the men was apprehended in the morning by agents from the El Centro station. Record checks revealed the man had previously been convicted of assault to commit rape and sex with a minor.

The other two men were apprehended in the afternoon, along with four other illegal aliens, near the downtown Calexico port of entry. Record checks revealed that one of the men had a conviction for unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor and that the other man had been convicted of sexual assault of a child.