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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.

The war against indigenous women and girls in the Americas

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Haitian children are routinely enslaved in the Dominican Republic

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Foto: Belinda Hernández

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


¡Feliz Día International de la Mujer 2012!

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Agosto / August 2011




Added: Aug. 23, 2011

Mexico, The United States

Mexico's Attorney General Marisela Morales Ibáñez meets in Mexico City with Melanne Verveer, U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues

Recibe PGR a encargada de Asuntos Mundiales de la Mujer de EU

México.- La titular de la Procuraduría General de la República (PGR), Marisela Morales Ibáñez, recibió la visita de Melanne Verveer, embajadora especial para Asuntos Mundiales de la Mujer de Estados Unidos, quien está de gira por México. En un comunicado, la procuraduría informó que ambas abordaron temas relativos al desarrollo económico y la participación política de las mujeres, quienes enfrentan grandes retos en los principales problemas sociales, tales como la seguridad de la ciudadanía.

Durante la reunión también estuvieron Patricia Bugarín, subprocuradora de Investigación Especializada en Delincuencia Organizada, e Irene Herrerías, fiscal especial para la Atención de Delitos de Violencia contra las Mujeres y Trata de Personas.

Entre las funciones de la embajadora estadounidense destaca la de buscar la reducción de la violencia contra las mujeres por razones de etnia, raza, clase social, religión, nivel educativo y nacionalidad. Verveer también se encarga de verificar que se combatan amenazas como el infanticidio por género, el matrimonio infantil, la trata de personas y la violencia doméstica, entre otros problemas que afectan a la población femenina en el orbe.

En ese contexto, Morales Ibáñez refrendó el compromiso de la PGR de velar por la estricta aplicación de la ley, agotando las instancias legales procedentes para su cumplimiento, siempre con respeto a los derechos humanos, así como a los procedimientos y competencias establecidos en la ley.

Todas coincidieron en que el fortalecimiento de las instituciones de procuración de justicia es fundamental para la construcción de una sociedad democrática, así como en el papel que actualmente desempeña el sector femenino para el fortalecimiento del tejido social.

Mexico's Attorney General receives Melanne Verveer, U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues

Marisela Morales Ibáñez, Mexico’s Attorney General, has received a visit by Melanne Verveer, U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues, who is currently touring Mexico. In a press release, Morales Ibáñez stated that the two had discussed issues related to economic development and political participation of women, who today face great challenges in regard to the nation’s major social problems such as personal safety.

Also present during the meeting were Patricia Bugarín, Deputy Attorney General for Organized Crime, and Irene Herrerías, Special Prosecutor for Attention to Crimes of Violence against Women and Trafficking in Persons (FEVIMTRA).

Ambassador Verveer’s responsibilities include leading global efforts to reduce violence against women that are caused by their condition of ethnicity, race, social class, religion, educational attainment or nationality. The Ambassador is also empowered to verify the efforts of nations in regard to reducing the threats of gender based infanticide, child marriage, human trafficking and domestic violence, among other themes.

In this context, Attorney General Morales Ibanez reiterated her commitment as Attorney General to ensure strict enforcement of the law, the compliance of government entities with their responsibilities, as well as maintaining respect for human rights in accordance with the procedures and powers established by law.

The attendees at the session agreed that the strengthening of criminal justice institutions is fundamental to building a democratic society, as is the role played by women in strengthening the nation's social fabric.

Notimex

Aug. 19, 2011

See also:

Added: Aug. 23, 2011

Mexico, The United States

Travel of Ambassador Melanne S. Verveer to Mexico

Melanne Verveer, Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues, will travel to Mexico City, Mexico August 16-19 to promote bilateral engagement on women’s economic empowerment and political participation, as well as challenges women face on key societal issues like citizen safety. On August 17, she will deliver the keynote address at the Mexican publisher Expansion Group’s event “50 Most Powerful Businesswomen in Mexico,” highlighting the role of women in driving economic growth. While in Mexico, Ambassador Verveer will also meet with government, civil society, and business leaders to exchange views on the economic, political, cultural, and social situation of women in Mexico and the United States.

Office of the Spokesperson - U.S. Department of State

Aug. 15, 2011


Added: Aug. 23, 2011

Mexico, The United Nations

Autorizan a la ONU hacer diagnóstico sobre trata

Informará sobre la situación actual en el país

Informará sobre la situación actual en el país Autorizan a la ONU hacer diagnóstico sobre trata 2011-08-20•Política .El gobierno federal avaló la elaboración de un Diagnóstico Nacional del Delito de Trata de Personas en México, el cual será realizado por la Oficina de las Naciones Unidas contra la Droga y el Delito. El subsecretario de Asuntos Jurídicos y Derechos Humanos de la Secretaría de Gobernación, Felipe de Jesús Zamora, informó lo anterior durante la quinta sesión ordinaria de la Comisión Intersecretarial para Prevenir y Sancionar la Trata de Personas. En un comunicado explicó que el análisis permitirá conocer la situación actual de México en materia de trata de personas. Además de consolidar políticas públicas transversales para prevenir y sancionar ese delito y atender a las víctimas. México.

Mexico authorizes the United Nations to perform a study on the current state of human trafficking and the effectieness of government responses

The federal government has endorsed the development of a National Assessment of the Crime of Trafficking in Mexico, which will be conducted by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). Felipe de Jesus Zamora, who is Undersecretary for Legal Affairs and Human Rights in the Department of the Interior, announced the agreement at the fifth ordinary session of the Interdepartmental Commission to Prevent and Punish Trafficking in Persons [a commission established under the nation's 'underpowered' 2007 Law to Prevent and Punish Trafficking in Persons] . In a statement he explained that the analysis will reveal the current state of trafficking in Mexico, and will measure the strength of the nation’s policies for preventing and punishing trafficking crimes, as well as efforts to assist victims.

Notimex

Aug. 20, 2011


Added: Aug. 23, 2011

Mexico

Indigenous girls in Mexico live under constant threat from international sex traffickers

Oaxaca state

Investigan a comunidades indígenas por supuesta venta de niñas

Las autoridades mexicanas iniciaron una investigación en varios pueblos y comunidades indígenas en el estado de Oaxaca, donde supuestamente las familias venden a niñas, informó hoy la Comisión Nacional de los Derechos Humanos (CNDH, defensoría del pueblo).

El organismo público inició una queja de oficio por esos casos de abuso contra mujeres en la región de la Mixteca Alta, en el sureño estado de Oaxaca, indicó la dependencia en un comunicado.

La CNDH explicó que se trata de una "costumbre ancestral" que "al parecer se sigue llevando a cabo", en la que "se vende a las menores en cuanto llegan a los once años y hasta los 15 años".

"Los padres han encontrado la manera de negociar y a cambio de dinero dar a sus hijas, ya sea al futuro esposo o a familias que las llevan a otras ciudades para ayudar en labores domésticas", explicó la defensoría.

Una vez que son vendidas hasta por tres mil pesos (250 dólares) o el equivalente en productos varios como cabezas de ganado, fríjol o maíz, los padres renuncian a todo derecho sobre las menores, agregó la institución.

Los pueblos y comunidades indígenas en México gozan de cierta autonomía, por las leyes de "usos y costumbres" del país, pero se deben ceñir a "lo establecido en la Constitución" de México "en materia de derechos humanos", consideró.

Las mujeres indígenas son uno de los grupos más vulnerables y menos atendidos del país, subrayó la CNDH, y es importante la defensa de sus derechos humanos.

En México 10,1 millones de habitantes (9,8 % de la población) son considerados indígenas.

Según el Consejo Nacional de Población (Conapo), siete de cada diez hablantes de lengua indígena reside en municipios con alto grado de marginación.

La población indígena es más pobre que el resto de los mexicanos, y esa condición se evidencia en menores niveles salariales, educación de menor calidad y, en general, en un acceso restringido a los servicios públicos.

Los estados con mayor presencia de indígenas son Yucatán (65,5 %), Oaxaca (55,7 %), Quintana Roo (45,6 %) y Chiapas (30,9 %).

De acuerdo con Unicef, los indígenas en México, en especial los niños, niñas y adolescentes, constituyen la población con mayores carencias y menor grado de cumplimiento de sus derechos fundamentales.

Mexican authorities investigate the suposed sale of girl children in indigenous communities

Mexic's National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) has announced that they are investigating a number of indigenous communities in the state of Oaxaca, where families supposedly sell their girl children.

According to a press release from the agency, the CNDH opened a formal complaint in regard to reported cases of abuses against female minors in the Mixteca Alta region of southern Oaxaca state.

The statement said that the problem involves ancestral customs that "apparently are still being followed," in which girl children are sold between the ages of 11 and 15.

"The parents have found a way to negotiate the sale of their daughters in exchange for money, be it to a future husband or to a family that wants to take the girl to be a domestic worker.

Once the girl is sold, for the equivalent of 3,000 Pesos (US$250) or its equivalent in head of cattle or beans or corn, the parents renounce any parental rights in regard to the child.

The indigenous peoples of Mexico enjoy a certain level of autonomy, but they should follow the requirements of Mexico's constitution, said the press release.

Indigenous women are one of the most marginalized and underserved communities in Mexico, emphasized the CNDH statement...

The indigenous population is more impoverished than the rest of Mexico, a fact that is reflected in the lower salaries paid, the substandard education and, in general, the restrictions that are placed on their access to public services.

The state with the highest indigenous populations are (65,5 % of the total population), Oaxaca (55,7 %), Quintana Roo (45,6 %) y Chiapas (30,9 %).

According to the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), indigenous peoples in Mexico, and especially boys, girls and adolescents, constitute the demographic group that suffers from the highest levels of poverty and the lowest level of compliance with enforcement of their human rights.

EFE

Aug. 19, 2011

See also:

Added June 28, 2008

Guatemala, Mexico

Rigoberta Menchú denuncia venta de niñas indígenas Centroamérica y México

Mayan Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Rigoberta Menchu denounces the sale of indigenous children into sexual slavery in Central America and Mexico

[Mayan human rights leader] Rigoberta Menchú, the 1992 Nobel Peace Prize laureate, during a visit to Veracruz, Mexico, has denounced the sale of indigenous girls in Mexico and Central America, in which traditional indigenous marriage customs are perverted by criminal gangs to force underage girls into sexual slavery.

According to information from Prensa Libre, Menchu said that the trade in minors involved organized mafias, doctors, lawyers, legislators and local authorities.

Menchu regretted that the sale of children, mainly girls, occurs with the knowledge of officials within indigenous communities.

Menchu protested the fact that in Guatemala, there is an extensive, underground trade in boys and girls, which authorities find hard to detect.

Menchu stated that many nongovern-mental organizations have denounced this situation, and that they are mainly concerned by the fact that families 'sell' [underage] girls to older men to become wives. In reality, the girls [typically in the age range of 11 to 13] are resold [to child sex traffickers and pimps] for sexual exploitation. she noted.

The Nobel laureate said that in southeastern Mexico and across Guatemala this practice is common. She asked that the public report these sales of children.

Finally, Menchu announced that the Rigoberta Menchu Foundation has signed an agreement with the state government of Veracruz [Mexico] to perform various prevention measures in rural [indigenous] communities.

- CERIGUA

Guatemalan Human

Rights News

June. 27, 2008

See also:

Launch event for the book ‘Mirame,’ shining a light on challenges facing indigenous girls in Guatemala

Manuel Manrique, UNICEF Represent-ative in Guatemala:

“Indigenous people in general are discriminated against, the indigenous child doubly discriminated against, [and] the indigenous girl triply discriminated against.”  “If you review the life cycle from birth until 18 years of age, the situation of the indigenous girl is worse than that of others...”

'Mirame is a project of UNICEF and the Office of the Public Defender of Indigenous Women in Guatemala.

- UNICEF

Guatemala City

Aug. 22, 2007

See also:

LibertadLatina Special Section

About the crisis of sexual exploitation facing indigenous women and children

in Guatemala's civil war aftermath - including the history of Mayan Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Rigoberta Menchu.


Added: Aug. 23, 2011
 

Guatemala

Mayan women who survived genocidal massacres during the civil conflict in Guatemala

Cuatro acusados niegan participación en matanza en Guatemala en 1982 Cuatro acusados niegan participación en matanza en Guatemala en 1982

Guatemala.- Cuatro exmilitares y patrulleros civiles guatemaltecos negaron hoy su participación en la matanza de más de 240 campesinos perpetrada el 18 de julio de 1982 en una remota comunidad indígena del norte de Guatemala.

En su primera declaración ante el Juzgado Primero de Primera Instancia de Mayor Riesgo, que preside la jueza Patricia Flores, tras su captura la semana pasada, Lucas Tecú, Mario Acoj, Eusebio Grave y Santos Rosales se declararon inocentes

El fiscal del Ministerio Público (MP) Orlando López acusó a los cuatro detenidos de asesinato múltiple e incumplimiento de los deberes de humanidad...

Según la investigación de la Fiscalía de Derechos Humanos del MP, los exmilitares, luego de asesinar a recién nacidos, adolescentes, mujeres y hombres, les prendieron fuego para no dejar evidencia de "los actos inhumanos contra la población civil".

El alto tribunal, luego de analizar la primera declaración de los cuatro detenidos y las pruebas del MP, decidirá si envía o no a juicio oral y público a los cuatro detenidos.

La matanza de Plan de Sánchez se perpetró durante el régimen militar que presidió el general golpista José Efraín Ríos Montt (1982-1983) y es la segunda que llega a los tribunales.

El pasado 2 de agosto fueron condenados a 6.060 años de prisión cuatro exmilitares guatemaltecos que fueron hallados culpables por el Tribunal de Alto Riesgo, en la capital, de la matanza de 201 personas el 7 de diciembre de 1982 en una comunidad del departamento norteño de Petén.

Se trata de Daniel Martínez, Manuel Pop, Reyes Collin, los tres ex miembros del grupo kaibil, una fuerza elite del ejército entrenada para matar, y del exteniente de infantería Carlos Antonio Carias.

La Comisión del Esclarecimiento Histórico (CEH), auspiciada por las Naciones Unidas, documentó 669 casos de masacres durante el conflicto interno (1960-1996), la mayoría de ellas atribuidas al Ejército.

Four defendants deny involvement in killings in Guatemala in 1982

Guatemala. Four former military and civil [guard] patrollers today denied their involvement in the killing of more than 240 peasants perpetrated on July 18, 1982 in a remote indigenous community in northern Guatemala.

In their first statement to Judge Patricia Flores after their capture last week, Lucas Tecú, Mario Acoj, Eusebio Grave and Santos Rosales pleaded not guilty.

Prosecutor Orlando López accused the four detainees accused of the crime of multiple murders and dereliction of their duties to humanity.

Lopez said the detainees participated along with other military and not-yet identified civilian patrol members in the killing of more than 240 farmers in the community of Plan de Sánchez, in the municipality of Rabinal, the northern department of Baja Verapaz, July 18 1982, after accusing them of being guerillas.

However, Tecú, a 56-year-old former military commissioner, denied involvement in the slaughter and assured the court that the army had in fact killed one of his brothers. And that he himself had been shot for not collaborating with the massacre that took place in his community.

Tecú said an Army captain named José Antonio Solares "was the commissioner who ordered César Baldizón to recruit 20 people to carry out the massacre." Further details are not known about these two additional suspectsn as the prosecutor’s case is not being publicized.

Tecú admitted that he observed when the inhabitants were killed, called the killing "an injustice" but said he is innocent of the crimes of which he is accused.

Mario Acoj, age 54, explained that when the slaughter was perpetrated he was on duty in the military zone of Playa Grande in the northwestern province of Quiché.

"I was in Playa Grande. The accusation is false," said Acoj. The suspect insisted that he was unaware of the massacre and that he was “not in the area at the time.”

"I will not make a statement because I don’t know anything" said Santos Rosales, age 71, who is also an ex civil patrol member.

Eusebio Grave, another suspect and former soldier, said that he is "innocent in this case" and explained that he didn’t learn about the massacre until 1985, when he returned to the community of Concul, in the town of Rabinal after completing his military service in the Guards of Honor Brigade in the capital.

According to an investigation conducted by the human rights office of the Public Prosecutor’s Office, the accused and their accomplices

murdered newborns, adolescents, women and men. They then attempted to cover-up the crime by burning the bodies.

The high court, after analyzing the statements of the four detainees and the case offered by the prosecution, will decide whether to hold a public trial in the matter.

The Plan de Sanchez massacre was perpetrated during the military regime headed by coup-installed General Jose Efrain Rios Montt coup (1982-1983). It is the second [civil war massacre] case to find its way to the courts.

On August 2, 2011. four former Guatemalan Armey soldiers were found guilty by the Court of High Risk in the capital in the killings of 201 people on December 7, 1982 in a community of the northern department of Petén.

Sentenced were Daniel Martinez, Manuel Pop and Reyes Collin. All three are former members of the Kaibiles special forces. Former Infantry lieutenant Antonio Carlos Carias was also sentenced in the case.

The Commission for Historical Clarification (CEH), sponsored by the United Nations, has documented 669 individual cases of massacre events during the internal conflict in Guatemala that took place between 1960 and 1996. Most of the massacres have been attributed to the Guatemalan Army.

EFE

Aug. 16 2011

See also:

LibertadLatina Special Section

About the crisis of sexual exploitation facing indigenous women and children

in Guatemala's civil war aftermath - including the history of Mayan Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Rigoberta Menchu.


Added: Aug. 17, 2011

Nicaragua

Measuring Machismo

Sandwiched in the middle of Central America, with a population of just under six million and a heavily agricultural economy, Nicaragua remains the poorest country in Latin American and the Caribbean after Haiti with a Human Development Index (HDI) ranking of 115. Yet, in the 2010 World Economic Forum (WEF) Global Gender Gap (GGG) Report, it ranks at 30 of 134 countries in terms of gender-based disparities, joining a top 30 club including equality champions Iceland and the Scandinavian states, and wealthy nations Australia, the US, and the UK. The report’s message is clear - bulging state coffers are not the sole prerequisite for establishing frameworks for fairness and gender equality.

The legacy of the 1979 socialist revolution in Nicaragua lives on. Female literacy rates equal those of male, girls enjoy equal enrollment in primary school, and female achievements in secondary and third level education outnumber those of boys and young men. Nicaraguan women also outnumber men in technical and professional positions. Moreover, the country has been making 20 place leaps every year for the past three years, from a dip to 90 in 2007, a spot occupied today by neighboring El Salvador. Guatemala comes in at 109 while Belize is at 93, Honduras at 54 and Panama at 38. Of the Central American family, only wealthy Costa Rica outranks Nicaragua, and only by two places.

Nicaragua’s strong ranking flows from significant equality in the formal education and employment sectors, and the fact that the country had relatively high proportion of female government ministers (although women’s representation in parliament is low at 19 out of 92 members). The latter measurement implies that women in positions of power are a Universal Good Thing, whereby feminists hope that female politicians will concern themselves with socially progressive policies, use their power to address gender disparities and provide positive role models for young women and girls. However, there is no guarantee that a woman in power will not reproduce, reinforce or even instate patriarchal structures and leave ‘soft’ issues such as gender equality to civil society organizations.

More significantly, little regard is given by the WEF Report to gender based violence (GBV). While it includes the existence (not the effectiveness) of legislation punishing acts of violence against women in Nicaragua as additional data, it in no way examines or captures the most fundamental sort of inequality, whereby women and girls are are not safe from assault, sexual attack and harassment at home or in the street.

Despite advances made under banners of revolution and progress in the past 30 years, Nicaraguan society remains steeped in machismo culture. Only last month, the Supreme Court downgraded a rape conviction to a ‘crime of passion’, thus reducing the sentence from eight to four years, in a high profile case where the assailant is known to have influential political connections. According to the Nicaraguan Network of Women against Violence, 89 women were murdered in 2010, and 51 in the year to date, while one in three Nicaraguan women and girls report having suffered some form of GBV. The vast majority of these crimes are committed by a spouse, ex-partner or other family member. Domestic violence is endemic, as is the rape and sexual abuse of young women and girls by relatives, evidenced by this 2010 Amnesty International report. The Amnesty report finds that rape and sexual abuse remain strictly taboo in the country, and that to report the crime often leads to humiliation for the victims, disbelief by authorities and rejection within their family and wider communities.

A further attack on the rights of victims of sexual violence comes in the form of a 2006 ban on therapeutic abortion, so that women and girls pregnant as a result of rape must carry and give birth to their attacker’s child whether or not they want to. In a 2010 case outlined by Amnesty, the mother of a girl who was repeatedly raped by her stepfather was charged with complicity in the crime when she reported it to the police, while the suspect was allowed to remain in the community. The girl’s mother was sentenced to 12 years in prison and spent four months incarcerated before the sentenced was quashed.

While this case study is particularly shocking, it provides a grim snapshot of the dangerous attitudes that prevail in the country from the grassroots level to the president’s office, and and the battle that women and girls face to pursue justice, or just to stay safe. While Nicaragua has some of the most progressive gender-related legislation in Central American, few local or national level resources have been allocated to tackling the problem of gender based violence, and police are generally untrained and unprepared to deal with cases on the rare occasion that they are reported. This leaves prevention, counseling and the pursuit of justice for abused women and girls to an overworked and under-resourced network of human rights organizations...

Eva Allen

Inter Press Service (IPS)

Aug. 10, 2011


Added: Aug. 14, 2011

Mexico, Central America, South America

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

Se recrudecen violencia y discriminación contra las migrantes en Mexico

Vía crucis de 120 mil mujeres en su paso por México

En 10 años, el panorama para las migrantes centroamericanas en transito y estancia en México se recrudeció por la violencia del crimen organizado, la corrupción de las autoridades, y por la discriminación y obstáculos institucionales para que ellas puedan regular su situación migratoria.

La Ley de Migración, aprobada por el Congreso el pasado 27 de abril, no impedirá las múltiples violaciones a los Derechos Humanos (DH) de las y los migrantes que cruzan el país, toda vez que los criminaliza y no garantiza su integridad, señaló a Cimacnoticias Gretchen Kuhner, del Programa de Mujeres en Migración del Instituto de las Mujeres en Migración (IMUMI).

Con esta legislación se prevé que continúen las transgresiones a los derechos de las mujeres migrantes de origen centroamericano, que se caracterizan por el uso de la violencia sexual por parte de la delincuencia organizada y también de autoridades migratorias y seguridad pública.

En Transito

Las mujeres representan entre 10 y 30 por ciento de las personas migrantes en tránsito por México rumbo a Estados Unidos; se calcula que cada año ingresan al país 400 mil personas.

Las migrantes en tránsito o transmigrantes son víctimas de múltiples delitos en su camino por territorio mexicano cometidos por bandas de la delincuencia organizada coludidas con las policías y autoridades del Instituto Nacional de Migración (INM), según los testimonios de estas mujeres, apuntó Kuhner.

Ante el crítico panorama el gobierno se deslinda de su responsabilidad, acusó la investigadora. Y por si fuera poco promovió una legislación migratoria que legitima las detenciones arbitrarias de transmigrantes mediante redadas y operativos en los que “las autoridades corren atrás de ellas hasta la selva o el río”.

La mayoría de las centroamericanas paga a traficantes por documentos falsos y se quedan en hoteles, a diferencia de los hombres, quienes viajan en tren y duermen en las casas de apoyo a personas migrantes.

Esa circunstancia aumenta la violencia y extorsión de las migrantes, por eso “en los casos de secuestros siempre hay mujeres”, ejemplificó.

Cuando caen en manos de secuestradores y su familia en su lugar de origen no puede costear el rescate, y tampoco tiene quien envíe el dinero desde EU, ellas cocinan o limpian en las casas de seguridad, donde las mantienen cautivas “como estrategias de sobrevivencia”.

Sin embargo, la mayoría de las mujeres secuestradas son violadas sexualmente y son forzadas a prostituirse.

Van por una vida mejor

Las mujeres que salen de sus países lo hacen con la intención de conseguir un empleo que les permita “salir adelante, tener una vida mejor”. Algunas salen solas y cuando se establecen en EU mandan por sus hijos con algún “pollero comunitario” o algún familiar.

La violencia contra las personas migrantes convirtió el paso por México en un “lugar muy arriesgado para que las niñas, niños y adolescentes se trasladen solos”.

Por ello, otras mujeres prefieren viajar con sus niñas y niños con la intención de que sus descendientes crucen con documentos falsos, mientras ellas lo hacen por el desierto. Cada vez son menos las que salen de sus países en busca de la reunificación familiar; el principal motivo de expulsión es la pobreza.

Las circunstancias en que las migrantes viven en México dependen de su condición migratoria. Si tienen un permiso de estancia lo deben renovar cada año y tramitar permisos adicionales para trabajar y para que sus hijas e hijos puedan estudiar, detalló Gretchen Kuhner.

Es por eso que se ocupan sobre todo en empleos informales, como trabajadoras del hogar y carecen de servicios de salud. La falta de regularización migratoria limita sus oportunidades de acceso al empleo formal.

La educación para sus hijas e hijos también se ve limitada por su condición migratoria, ya que sus actas de nacimiento y documentos de identificación tienen que pasar por el INM.

De igual modo, cuando son víctimas de violencia no denuncian por temor a ser deportadas al llegar con las autoridades. Hasta la fecha, cuando las migrantes sufren violencia por parte de su pareja, sus compañeros suelen amenazarlas con la deportación y con quedarse con las hijas e hijos.

La Ley de Migración, mencionó Kuhner, tiene entre sus disposiciones la garantía de educación y atención médica de las personas migrantes en el país, ahora falta que se implementen.

Además, estableció que las actas civiles de registro de niñas y niños, así como de matrimonio estarán desligadas del INM; éste es un aspecto favorable porque ellas se podrán divorciar sin que el proceso tenga que pasar por ese instituto, y sus hijas e hijos tendrán derecho a la educación.

Violence and discrimination against migrant women intensifies in Mexico

Up to 120,000 women annually face the traumatic ordeal of crossing Mexico

During the past 10 years, the outlook for Central American migrants who are either crossing or residing in Mexico has deteriorated due to the fact that they are targeted by organized, crime, and because they face both the corruption of authorities and institutional obstacles.

According to Gretchen Kuhner, who works for the Institute for Women in Migration (IMUMI), the nation’s new Migration Law, passed by Congress on April 27, 2011 will not prevent the multiple violations of human rights that women migrants face today.

[The gaps in this] legislation allow for the continuation of violations of the rights of migrant women from Central America, which are characterized by the use of sexual violence that is perpetrated by organized crime as well as federal immigration authorities and law enforcement officers.

In Transit

Women represent between 10 and 30 percent of all migrants who are in transit through Mexico seeking to enter the United States. It is estimated that 400,000 migrants enter Mexico annually.

Migrant women become the victims of multiple crimes during their journeys through Mexican territory. Kuhner notes that, according to the testimonies of these women, these acts are committed by organized criminal gangs in collusion with the police and authorities of the National Migration Institute (INM).

Kuhner added that the Mexican Government denies its responsibilities in the face of this crisis. And as if that weren’t enough, federal authorities pushed for the passage of the new migration law that calls for the arbitrary arrests of migrants through the use of raids, and that allows “authorities to chase them into the jungle or into a river."

Most Central American women pay smugglers for fake documents. They stay in hotels, unlike men, who travel on [freight] trains and sleep in migrant shelters.

These circumstances increase the violence and extortion used against migrant women. "In cases of kidnappings there are always women [victims involved],” said Kuhner.

When you fall into the hands of kidnappers and your family in your home country can’t afford the ransom, and when you also don’t have anyone to send money from the U.S., the victims accept ‘work’ cooking or cleaning the kidnapper’s safe houses "as survival strategies," said Kuhner.

Nonetheless, most migrant women who are kidnapped are raped and forced into prostitution.

Seeking a better life

Women who leave their countries do so with the intention of getting a job that allows them to "get ahead and have a better life." Some women come to the U.S. alone. When they become established they send for their child to be brought across the U.S. border by a “community smuggler” (coyote) or a family member.

Violence against migrants has turned Mexico into a “very risky place for girls, boys and adolescents to cross by themselves.”

Therefore, some women prefer to travel with their children with the intention that their family members might cross [official border crossings] with false documents, while they cross undetected through the desert.

Fewer migrants are leaving their countries in search of family reunification. The main reason for their migration is poverty.

How migrant women live in Mexico depends on their immigration status. If they have a residence permit, they must renew it each year and arrange additional permits to work and so that their children can study, explained Kuhner.

That is why undocumented women work mostly in informal jobs as domestics, with a lack of health services. Their status as undocumented migrants limits their opportunities for access to formal employment.

Education for their children is also limited because of immigration status - because a child’s birth certificate and identity documents have to be processed by the National Institute for Migration (INM – the nation’s immigration agency).

In addition, migrant women who are victims of violence do not report these crimes to the authorities due to a fear of being deported. Abusive partners also threaten women migrants with having them deported, while the man stays in Mexico with their children.

The nation’s new Migration Act, Kuhner said, ensures education and health care for migrants in the country. These provisions remain to be implemented.

It also established that the civil registration records of children, as well as marriages [and divorces] will be detached from the INM. This is a positive development, given that women will now be able to obtain a divorce without involving the INM, and the children will continue to have the right to an education.

Guadalupe Cruz Jaimes

CIMAC Women's News Service

Aug. 12, 2011


Added: Aug. 13, 2011

Chile, Paraguay, Argentina

Francisca Vidal González (left) has been arrested on charges of human trafficking

Detienen a mujer acusada de traer engañadas a paraguayas para ejercer la prostitución

Se investiga su eventual responsabilidad en un delito de “trata de personas”.

Caaguazú (Paraguay), Buenos Aires, Río Gallegos. Este era el periplo que las jóvenes paraguayas debían sortear para llegar en búsqueda de una tierra prometida, la de Magallanes.

Claro que aquí la realidad distaba bastante de lo que, aparentemente, le habían prometido. El trabajo de asesora del hogar no era tal, más bien se trataba de garzona con servicios sexuales.

Así se reveló ayer durante la formalización de cargos en contra de Francisca Vidal González (62 años), propietaria del local nocturno Extasis, de Avenida España, a quien se le imputa responsabilidad en el delito de “trata de personas”. La mujer fue detenida el jueves cerca de las 14,40 horas en el paso fronterizo de Monte Aymond, por personal de la Brigada de Delitos Sexuales de la PDI.

Lo anterior, en base a la denuncia formulada por cinco jóvenes paraguayas que aseguran haber sido forzadas al trabajo sexual al interior del establecimiento ubicado en Avenida España a pasos de Errázuriz.

La investigación en manos del fiscal Fernando Dobson se basa en dos hechos. El primero data de abril de 2011 cuando se logra, a través de un tercero, el contacto con cuatro jóvenes de la ciudad paraguaya de Caaguazú (localidad cordillerana ubicada a 179 kms. de Asunción).

Trabajo como “garzonas”

Con la promesa de trabajo (como garzonas), R.C.A., E.G.R., E.G.V., y M.R.J.L., todas jóvenes mayores de edad, se desplazan por sus propios medios (vía terrestre) hasta Buenos Aires. En la capital argentina son contactadas y traídas en bus hasta Punta Arenas. El 8 de abril -se indica- son recibidas por su nueva empleadora e informadas de que además deben ejercer la prostitución.

El segundo hecho reviste características similares. Esta vez se trata de M.C.R., quien en su denuncia dice haber vivido una verdadera pesadilla en su paso por Magallanes.

Relata que fue seducida para trabajar como mucama. El dinero le aseguraba mejorar su vida y la de su pequeña hija. Pronto estaría camino a una tierra desconocida.

Asegura que recién en Río Gallegos fue informada que su nuevo trabajo era en un local nocturno, donde debía oficiar de garzona y prostituta. Para su empleadora era sencillo, viajaba a Punta Arenas o le devolvía el dinero invertido en su traída. La joven dijo no tener opción.

“Trabajé, pero no mantuve relaciones sexuales con nadie”, asegura en su declaración. Precisa que su sueldo era de 174 mil pesos, además de una comisión de 2 mil 500 pesos por cada trago “sacado” a los clientes.

La joven, al igual que sus compañeras, retornó a su país.

Corrupción de menores

Para el fiscal Dobson, los hechos expuestos constituyen a todas luces la configuración del delito de “trata de personas”, que es condenado por la Ley 20.507. El abogado del Ministerio Público citó el artículo 411 ter que indica que “el que promoviere o facilitare la entrada o salida del país de personas para que ejerzan la prostitución en el territorio nacional o en el extranjero, será castigado con la pena de reclusión menor en su grado máximo y multa de veinte unidades tributarias mensuales” y el quáter, que indica que “el que mediante violencia, intimidación, coacción, engaño, abuso de poder, aprovechamiento de una situación de vulnerabilidad o de dependencia de la víctima, o la concesión o recepción de pagos u otros beneficios para obtener el consentimiento de una persona que tenga autoridad sobre otra capte, traslade, acoja o reciba personas para que sean objeto de alguna forma de explotación sexual, incluyendo la pornografía, trabajos o servicios forzados, servidumbre o esclavitud o prácticas análogas a ésta, o extracción de órganos, será castigado con la pena de reclusión mayor en sus grados mínimo a medio y multa de cincuenta a cien unidades tributarias mensuales”.

El fiscal solicitó la prisión preventiva, argumentando el peligro de fuga y el peligro que constituye su libertad. Asimismo, mencionó que Francisca Vidal fue condenada en 1977 por el delito de corrupción de menores. La pena de cinco años y un día fue prescrita luego que permaneciera 10 años fuera del país.

El Juzgado acogió la petición del representante del Ministerio Público, ordenando el ingreso de la imputada a la cárcel de Punta Arenas. Se fijó un mes para la investigación.

Authorities arrest woman using false promises of employment to force Paraguayan women into prostitution

Prosecutors are determining whether human trafficking charges will be brought

From the cities of Caaguazú, Paraguay and Buenos Aires, Argentina and Rio Gallegos (capital of Patagonia province) in Chile - This was the journey that young Paraguayan woman had to take in search of the promised land, the land of Magallanes [in Patagonia Province, Chile].

Of course here in Chile the reality was much different that what had been promised. Having been promised work as domestics, the actual jobs involved being waitresses who where required to prostitute themselves [to customers at their employer’s business].

These facts were revealed yesterday in an indictment against Vidal Francisca González (62 years), owner of nightclub Ecstasy, who is accused of being responsible for the crime of "human trafficking." The accused was arrested at the Monte Aymond border crossing i[in Patagonia] by personnel from the Sex Crimes Brigade of Chile’s Investigative Police (PDI).

This, according to the complaint by five young Paraguayan who declared that they had been forced into sex work.

Work as "waitresses"

Four young adult women, who will be identified by the initials RCA, EGR, EGV, and MRJL, traveled on their own from Paraguay to Buenos Aires. In Argentina's capital they were contacted and brought by bus to the city of Punta Arenas. On April 8, 2011, they met their new employer who informed them that they must engage in prostitution in addition to their jobs as waitresses.

A fifth victim, identified by the initials MCR, went through a similar process and lived through what she referred to as a true nightmare.

MCR stated that was seduced to work as a maid. The money would have allowed her to improve her life and that of her young daughter.your life and your daughter. Soon she would be on her way to an unknown land.

MCR had just arrived in Rio Gallegos when she was told that her new job would be as a waitress, and that she had to engage in prostitution as well. For her employer was simple, MCR could travel to Punta Arenas, or she could pay the employer the cost of her travel and go back to Paraguay. MCR said that she didn’t have a choice.

"I worked, but I did not have sex with anyone," MCR said in her statement. States that his salary was 174,000 pesos (about 390 dollars], plus a commission of 2,500 pesos for each drink that she convinced customers to buy.

Like the other victims, MCR returned to her country.

For the fiscal Dobson, the facts clearly constitute the configuration of the offense of "trafficking", which is condemned by Law 20,507…

The prosecutor requested the detention, saying the flight risk and danger is their freedom. He also mentioned that Francisca Vidal was convicted in 1977 for the crime of corruption of minors. The penalty of five years and a day was ordered in her case after she had returned from living abroad for 10 years.

The court accepted the request of the representative of the Public Ministry, ordering the pre-trail detention of the accused at a prison in Punta Arenas. Prosecutors will spend a month to further investigate the case.

La Prensa Austral (Chile)

Aug. 13, 2011


Added: Aug. 13, 2011

Paraguay, Argentina

Fiscala viaja a Argentina para acelerar retorno de 2 indígenas víctimas de trata de personas

La fiscala Teresa Martínez viajará a Buenos Aires, Argentina, para una serie de reuniones a desarrollarse este martes con autoridades de ese país. Esto, con el objetivo de acelerar los trámites de traslado de dos adolescentes indígenas, víctimas de trata de personas.

La fiscala de la Unidad Especializada Contra Trata de Personas, Teresa Martínez, confirmó que a las 17:00 de este lunes partirá rumbo a Argentina.

La agente tiene previstas para tempranas horas de este martes una seguidilla de reuniones con distintas autoridades bonaerenses, para acelerar el regreso de las dos adolescentes indígenas que fueron rescatadas de distintas ciudades de Argentina, cuando se encontraban bajo explotación laboral.

Sobre el mismo caso, Martínez mencionó que cuentan con el apoyo total de la Embajada paraguaya en Argentina, además de la colaboración de su par argentino Marcelo Colombo, de la Unidad Fiscal de Asistencia en Secuestros Extorsivos y Trata de Personas.

En conversación con ULTIMAHORA.COM, agregó que la comitiva fiscal se interiorizará también del caso de las 23 paraguayas que fueron rescatadas de un prostíbulo de las afueras de Buenos Aires, para que ellas también puedan volver al país lo antes posible.

Editorial El Pais S.A.

Aug. 08, 2011

See also:

Added: Aug. 13, 2011

Paraguay, Argentina

Liberan a 23 paraguayas y una peruana de red de trata en Argentina

Un total de 23 paraguayas y una peruana que eran obligadas a prostituirse por una red de trata de personas fueron rescatadas de un prostíbulo de las afueras de Buenos Aires, informaron este domingo fuentes policiales.

Las mujeres fueron liberadas durante un operativo de la Gendarmería de Argentina (policía de frontera), que también detuvo a cinco personas y se incautó de tres escopetas, un revolver, teléfonos celulares, documentos y dinero, precisó un comunicado de la fuerza de seguridad.

Durante el operativo, los gendarmes allanaron una vivienda y un prostíbulo situado en la localidad bonaerense de Florencio Varela, añadió la nota.

La investigación comenzó mediante la denuncia de una mujer traída desde la provincia argentina de Corrientes con una falsa oferta laboral por parte de la banda, pero que finalmente logró escapar y denunciar el caso ante la Justicia.

EFE

Aug. 07, 2011

See also:

Added: Aug. 13, 2011

Argentina, Paraguay

"Cafichos" piden desde mil dólares para "entregar" a una adolescente

Buenos Aires - Prostíbulos ubicados en La Plata y Florencio Varela, en las afueras de Buenos Aires, ofrecen menores paraguayas “por encargo” y piden desde mil dólares por cada una, según reveló una investigación periodística. La fiscala Teresa Martínez se halla en esta capital y pretende repatriar a dos niñas indígenas que fueron traídas con la promesa de una mejor oferta de trabajo, pero eran “preparadas” para la prostitución.

Solo en La Plata se calcula que hay 70 prostíbulos. El promedio es de 15 mujeres por cada local y, según datos que maneja la Fundación La Alameda, la mayoría de ellas son paraguayas en edades que oscilan entre 17 y 23 años.

Esta ONG tiene registrado que las paraguayas son reclutadas de Encarnación, Ciudad del Este, Asunción y San Pedro. Dicen que las toman a través de los avisos en los diarios pidiendo mujeres en Ciudad del Este y que incluso en muchos casos son entregadas por sus propios padres o familiares a cambio de dinero.

El domingo pasado en el programa argentino “GPS”, emitido por América TV, el periodista Rolando Graña mostró un informe en el que reveló el “modus operandi” de los proxenetas a la hora de ofrecer prostitutas, que en su mayoría eran paraguayas. Pero, lo más grave y revelador del material periodístico fue la confesión de uno de los “cafichos”, que fue grabada. El hombre que mantuvo una conversación con un supuesto cliente ofreció menores e incluso mujeres “vírgenes”.

El “caficho” aclaró que el precio por una menor es superior a lo que se paga habitualmente y habló de unos US$ 1.000 (mil dólares). Sin embargo, hizo la salvedad de que podría incluso llegar a conseguir una virgen, pero para ello necesitaba realizar una gestión que llevaba un poco más de tiempo y por supuesto otro precio que sería unos US$ 5.000 (cinco mil dólares). En otro momento del informe, el proxeneta hace mención de que las menores y las vírgenes que consigue vienen desde el Paraguay.

Niñas indígenas

En estos momentos, la fiscala Teresa Martínez se encuentra en Buenos Aires realizando trámites con el fin de repatriar a dos menores indígenas, que fueron encontradas en la localidad de Campana, distante a unos 120 kilómetros de la capital argentina.

En principio se mencionó que la representante de Ministerio Público viajó para repatriar a las 23 mujeres paraguayas que eran obligadas a ejercer la prostitución en la zona de Florencio Varela.

Pero, según explicó, las mismas son mayores de edad y ya habrían sido liberadas, aunque aún aguardan informes de Gendarmería, ya que las mujeres se negaron a recibir asistencia.

Martínez, quien estuvo acompañada del abogado Luis Parodi, asesor jurídico del Consulado paraguayo, mantuvo reunión con representantes de la Secretaría Nacional de Niñez, Adolescencia y Familia (Senaf), dependiente del Ministerio de Justicia, con el propósito de coordinar acciones conjuntas para iniciar procesos penales en contra de los responsables del delito de trata de personas.

El cónsul paraguayo en Buenos Aires, Anastacio Medina, explicó a ABC Color que las dos menores indígenas son de Mariscal Estigarribia y habrían ingresado a la Argentina en una lancha para luego ser transportadas en un ómnibus hasta Campana. Allí estaban trabajando en una casa.

“Son dos menores aborígenes entre 14 y 16 años, quienes estaban listas para ser sometidas a la prostitución y que están a cargo ahora del juzgado del menor de Campana y que junto a la fiscala de nuestro país estamos tramitando para que sean llevadas a Paraguay junto a sus respectivas familias”, explicó el cónsul.

Jorge Torres Romero

ABC.com (Paraguay)

Aug. 10, 2011

See also:

Added: Aug. 13, 2011

Paraguay, Argentina

Estado paraguayo se moviliza contra la trata de personas

La Embajada y el Consulado General del Paraguay en la República Argentina brindaron su total apoyo a la delegación judicial paraguaya para efectivizar el traslado de dos adolescentes indígenas víctimas de trata de personas y explotación sexual.

Fue en el marco de la visita de la fiscala de la Unidad I Especializada en Trata de Personas y Explotación Sexual Infantil, Teresa Martínez.

La agente fiscal en su visita desde este martes a Argentina mantuvo entrevistas con el embajador Gabriel Enciso López y luego con la secretaria de Seguridad Operativa del Ministerio de Seguridad de Argentina, Cristina Caamaño, así como también contó con el apoyo de su par argentino Marcelo Colombo, de la Unidad Fiscal de Asistencia en Secuestros Extorsivos y Trata de Personas.

La delegación judicial paraguaya se interiorizó, por otra parte, del caso de 23 compatriotas que fueron rescatadas recientemente de un prostíbulo de las afueras de Buenos Aires, informa prensa de la Cancillería Nacional.

Uno de los objetivos de la visita de los especialistas paraguayos, en el futuro inmediato es la firma de un convenio, en elaboración, para coordinar acciones con el gobierno argentino en materia de control, prevención e intercambio de información entre ambos países, acerca de un flagelo que golpea principalmente a la población juvenil en situación de riesgo.

La Embajada paraguaya está coordinando una próxima reunión con referentes de la colectividad residentes en Argentina para informar sobre mecanismos de denuncias, protección de denunciantes y hacer partícipe a la comunidad, como un actor fundamental en la contención y asistencia de las víctimas de trata de personas y explotación sexual y laboral.

Dentro de las actividades planificadas este año por la Embajada paraguaya en relación al combate a la trata de personas se prevé del 19 al 23 de septiembre próximos la realización de Jornadas, que incluirán la presentación del libro "La Trata interna de niños, niñas y adolescentes con fines de Explotación Sexual" del Grupo Luna Nueva de Paraguay, así como charlas y debates con especialistas.

The Paraguayan state is mobilizing to address human trafficking

Full English translation to follow

La Nación (Paraguay)

Aug. 08, 2011


Added: Aug. 13, 2011

Brazil

Human rights group denounces Christian missionaries contact with Brazilian native peoples

Diary entries obtained by Survival International allegedly illustrate the attempt of two Christian missionaries to contact isolated Indians in the Brazilian Amazon. According to SI – a human rights advocacy group - the missionaries, working with the American fundamentalist missionary organization JOCUM (Jovens com uma Missão- Youth with a Mission) searched unsuccessfully for the uncontacted Hi Merimã Indians in 1995.

One missionary wrote, “We believe we are very close to these people, close to contact, the signs are fresh, it is not a dream, it is real, they were in our camp and took some things from there, the Himarimã people still exist and we are quite close, Halleluja!!!” He also described the missionaries’ act of ‘invading enemy territory, entering into a region that had always been dominated by the devil, waging spiritual war.” The other missionary stated, “While I traveled I waged spiritual warfare, taking possession of this region which we believe God has given to us. And really we entered into a territory that until today was dominated by enemies, but we came to take possession of this land and this people for the Lord, we came in his name, as ambassadors, sent by God.”

According to SI, “It is illegal and very dangerous for outsiders to contact uncontacted tribes, as they are highly vulnerable to outside diseases to which they have little resistance, and which could prove fatal to them.” The group also claims that in the 1980s, the New Tribes Mission contacted the Zo’é tribe, with disastrous results: about a quarter of the Zo’é died from disease in the space of six years.

JOCUM has also produced ‘Hakani’, a film that depicts an indigenous child who was supposedly buried alive by her tribe, the Suruwaha. The organization is now campaigning for the Brazilian Congress to approve the so-called Muwaji law. According to SI, the proposed law is “a dangerous initiative opposed by many indigenous people, which says that the authorities must intervene in cases where anyone thinks there is a risk of ‘harmful traditional practices’. Si asserted that the proposed law “is unnecessary as it is already illegal to kill children in Brazil, and it is dangerous as it means that the authorities must intervene, with powers to remove indigenous children, solely on the basis of somebody thinking there is some sort of risk. This could have devastating consequences, dividing families and threatening the cohesion of communities.”

JOCUM or Youth With A Mission (YWAM) describes itself as “an international movement of Christians dedicated to serving Jesus throughout the world; our calling is to know God and make Him known. YWAM was created in 1960 and was started in Brazil in 1976. Since then, YWAM Brazil has become the second largest missionary force in YWAM International.”

Speroforum editor Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. He is also a freelance translator.

Martin Barillas

Speroforum

June 23, 2011


Added: Aug. 13, 2011

Brazil

Activists address sex trafficking in advance of Olympic Games

A cocktail of sex slavery, violence, and human trafficking is expected for the 2012 Summer Olympics.

A seminar for Brazilian educators and activists, organized by the "A cry for life" network was held on August 6-7 in Teresina, the capital of Piaui state. The meeting, sponsored by the conference of Catholic religious orders in Brazil (CRB) and the Regional Teresina CRB, was attended by 40 people, including nuns and lay people, pastoral workers and leaders of institutions committed to addressing the scourge of human trafficking and sexual slaveyr. The meeting was called by the de Sousa Nair Sisters (Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph), Roselea Berthold (Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary) and Denise Morra (Missionaries of the Sacred Heart of Jesus).

On the seminar's first day, the reality of human trafficking in Brazil and in the world was described. The second day was reserved for the presentation of the network "A cry for life" and the elaboration of a common action plan to be implemented this semester. Activists will work in their respective fields, putting special emphasis on leadership training, and prevention of human trafficking (especially children, adolescents and young adults).

In Brazil, human trafficking is becoming a serious problem to the extent that the federal Senate has decided to address the issue well in advance of the 2012 Summer Olympic Games and World Cup Soccer in 2014, which could be used by criminal organizations as a cover up to expand their activities. Even while Brazil is conducting armed mop-up operations by paramilitary police forces in Rio de Janeiro slums, for example, critics contend that criminal violence could still make a dent in the party scene expected for the upcoming sports events over the next three years.

Speroforum editor Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. He is also a freelance translator.

Martin Barillas

Speroforum

Aug. 10, 2011


Added: Aug. 13, 2011

Mexico

Inaugura en Nacajuca el Foro Efectivo de los Derechos Humanos de los Indígenas ante los Usos y Costumbres

Tabasco. Ante el presidente de la CNDH, el gobernador se pronunció por el respeto a las etnias. Andrés Granier admitió que en los recientes años se han hecho evidentes conductas que violentan los derechos de ciertos grupos, como migrantes, discapacitados y, desde luego, indígenas.

Al inaugurar en Nacajuca el Foro Efectivo de los Derechos Humanos de los Indígenas ante los Usos y Costumbres, solicitó trabajar para eliminar la discriminación, explotación y transgresión a la dignidad de estas personas.

En este sentido aseguró que en Tabasco se han dado pasos importantes para respetar a los pueblos y sus comunidades.

Ante el presidente de la CNDH, Raúl Plascencia Villanueva, y el fiscal nacional de los Agentes Pastoral Indígena y titular regional del Consejo Indígena Ik’Nas’Kin’Jha, Efrén Hernández Maldonado, el mandatario aseguró que en Tabasco el respeto al ciudadano se promueve y se cumple.

Destacó que en 2009 se aprobó la Ley respectiva que protege la libre determinación de los indígenas a la enseñanza en sus lenguas, a sus valores culturales y religiosos, así como a la equidad para su desarrollo.

Servicios públicos

En presencia de indígenas de Cunduacán, Macuspana, Nacajuca, Tacotalpa, Centla, Centro y Tenosique, que se reunieron en la ranchería El Cedro, el jefe del Ejecutivo ofreció su reconocimiento a Plascencia Villanueva por aplicar la Declaración de la Organización de las Naciones Unidas en la materia. “Un logro que tomó dos décadas de negociaciones mundiales y que México y Noruega ratificaron en principio”, precisó.

Dio a conocer que recientemente se construyó el sistema de agua potable para más de 20 mil habitantes de 32 localidades de Centro y Centla, y en materia educativa, Tabasco ocupa el cuarto lugar nacional en la Prueba Enlace en primaria indígena.

Indicó que se imparte educación superior en las zonas chol, chontal y zetzal, y los indígenas chontales cuentan con libros de texto en su lengua materna.

A principios de 2011 se aprobó la Ley sobre Derechos de Personas con Discapacidad y, con respecto a los migrantes, Tabasco impulsó desde la Conago, el fortalecimiento de la seguridad en la frontera Sur.

también se edificó a través del Sistema Estatal para el Desarrollo Integral de la Familia (DIF) el Módulo para la Atención a Menores Migrantes no Acompañados, para atender a víctimas de delincuentes organizados, y el Centro de Procuración de Justicia y Trata de Personas, en Tenosique. “En Tabasco se trabaja todos los días en el tema”, afirmó...

Tabasco state governor opens forum on the rights and customs of indigenous peoples

Tabasco state - At the inauguration of the Forum on the Human Rights and Traditions of Indigenous Peoples, Tabasco state governor Andrés Granier that the rights of certain groups have been violated [in Tabasco]. These violations have targeted, migrants, disabled people, and, of course, indigenous peoples.

The governor asked those present to work for the elimination of discrimination, exploitation and transgressions against the dignity of these peoples.

Granier added that Tabasco state has taken important measures to respect indigenous peoples and their communities...

Full English translation to follow

Milenio

Aug. 06, 2011


Added: Aug. 13, 2011

Mexico

Impulsan visitaduría contra trata en Tlaxcala

Tlaxcala. En esta entidad donde la trata de personas se ha convertido en un grave problema social en diversos municipios, la Comisión de Derechos Humanos de Tlaxcala (CDHT) buscará crear una visitaduría que atienda los casos de este tipo y proponga una estrategia para el combatir el problema, dijo el presidente del organismo, Francisco Mixcoatl Antonio.

Luego de presentar su plan de trabajo, el ombudsman local señaló que después de hacer un diagnóstico de la situación de los derechos humanos y saber en qué zonas se práctica la trata de personas, analizarán la creación de una visitaduría que se avoque al problema.

Refirió que para luchar contra este delito existen dos vías: la primera, es la participación de la Comisión al interior del Consejo Estatal Contra la Trata de Personas, donde recientemente fueron integrados para trabajar con organizaciones no gubernamentales y dependencias estatales; la segunda, es hacer un enfoque multidisciplinario para la elaboración del diagnóstico.

“Si hubiera necesidad de crear una visitaduría especializada en esa materia, pues se tendrá que valorar bajo criterios muy concretos, pero tenemos que focalizar en dónde se encuentra principalmente este problema. En estos momentos de mi parte sería aventurado decirlo o precisarlo. Creo que debemos ser muy conscientes de que primero debemos tener este estudio y con base en eso focalizar los esfuerzos de la CDHT para participar y coadyuvar en la erradicación de esa práctica en el estado”.

Mixcoatl Antonio señaló que tienen como objetivo conocer cuál es la situación de este problema en el estado en un plazo de tres meses, por lo que confió que para el año próximo los resultados del estudio sirvan para encaminar los trabajos de la comisión en esas actividades donde se requieran medidas de emergencias y prioritarias.

El ombudsman local señaló “que en el Consejo Estatal Contra la Trata de Personas se está trabajando sobre ese diagnóstico de forma específica, nosotros no queremos duplicidad, más bien colaborar en la elaboración de ese diagnóstico y con base en eso palpar de forma objetiva dónde se enfoca el problema, cómo se suscita, cuáles serían las posibles soluciones”.

Tlaxcala state human rights commission pushes to create investigative position to handle human trafficking cases

Full English translation to follow

Juana Osorno

El Universal

Aug. 12, 2011


Added: Aug. 13, 2011

North Carolina, USA

Human trafficking cases on the rise in Charlotte area

Charlotte - As Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police investigate and track the sale of black tar heroin by the Mexican drug cartel, human trafficking becomes a concern.

"There's an overlap between drug trafficking and human trafficking, there's rarely just one thing involved," said victim specialists Elyse Hamilton with United Family Services of Charlotte.

Hamilton says human trafficking cases in Charlotte and North Carolina are on the rise. "People are identifying them more, because investigators know what to look for, service providers know what to look for."

Human trafficking victims in the area are being identified and linked to the Mexican drug cartel. It's easier and more lucrative for the criminal organization to traffic people than drugs. And they're using Charlotte to further their criminal organization.

"The diversity and the ability to exploit people who are vulnerable anyway because of the economy definitely contributes to the rise," said Hamilton

The human trafficking victim doesn't fit a certain profile. Law enforcement officials and victim specialist have seen children as young as 12-year-old forced into sex and labor trafficking. And it's not just women but men as well, who are forced to work by the cartel when their families are threatened.

"These are vastly unreported victims," said Eddie Agrait, Resident Agent in Charge in the Charlotte area for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Investigations.

"Victims live in fear," said Agrait. "Victims have been trained by these organizations not to disclose who they are, do not give too many details or background about where they came from."

The Department of Justice estimates that between 14,000 - 17,000 human trafficking victims each year are forced to come to the U.S., mostly from Latin and Asian countries. Advocates say lately they've seen more cases involving sexual exploitation.

"It does raise tremendous alarms to us," said Agrait, "but what I definitely can say is, it also has really prioritized our investigations in human trafficking."

And it's also forcing law enforcement agencies to change how they investigate cartel activity, because it's not just products they are trafficking but people. "We distinguish the difference between us targeting a trafficking organizations and us assisting the victims," said Agrait.

Fox News Charlotte

July 29, 2011


Added: Aug. 13, 2011

The United States

President Obama Declares Transnational Organized Crime Threat A National Emergency

President Barack Obama issued an Executive Order today declaring the threat of transnational organized crime networks a national emergency.

The executive order freezes U.S. property and assets owned by four major international criminal organizations — including Mexico's powerful Los Zetas criminal network — and anyone who conspires with them.

A related presidential proclamation gives U.S. Immigration authorities more authority to keep suspected organized crime members out of the United States.

The other groups targeted are the Brother's Circle, an organized crime network that operates in the former Soviet Union, the Middle East, Africa, and Latin America; the Camorra, an Italian crime group that specializes in counterfeit goods; and the Yakuza, a Japanese organization whose profits primarily come from methamphetamine and human trafficking.

From Obama's letter to Congress announcing the Executive Order:

"Significant transnational criminal organizations have become increasingly sophisticated and dangerous to the United States, and their activities have reached such scope and gravity that they destabilize the international system. These groups have taken advantage of globalization and other factors to diversify their geographic scope and range of activities. They have increased and deepened their ties to governments and the international financial system, relying not only on bribery and violence, but also more and more on the ability to exploit differences among countries and to create and maintain legal facades to hide illicit activities."

The administration also notes that transnational criminal organizations are increasingly working with terrorists. (We recently illustrated ties between Mexico's drug trafficking networks and Hezbollah militants.) In 2010, 29 of the top 63 drug traffickers had ties to terror groups, according to U.S. Department of Justice data.

Today's executive order is part of a broader national security strategy to combat international organized crime groups, which the White House unveiled this morning. We will post highlights from the new initiative this afternoon.

Grace Wyler

Business Insider

Jul. 25, 2011


Added: Aug. 13, 2011

Argentina

Supreme Court Justice Eugenio Zaffaroni

Denuncian a juez supremo porque en sus propiedades funcionan prostíbulos, principalmente de mujeres paraguayas y de RD

Una organización humanitaria argentina denunció penalmente a un juez de la Corte Suprema al argumentar que en al menos tres inmuebles de su propiedad funcionan prostíbulos en los que trabajan mujeres paraguayas y dominicanas en su mayoría.

La denuncia fue presentada ante la Procuración General de la Nación por la Fundación La Alameda, cuyo vicepresidente, Mario Ganora, dijo ayer a Efe que "no es creíble" la versión del juez Eugenio Zaffaroni, quien se desmarcó del escándalo y se declaró víctima "del amarillismo y del hostigamiento mediático".

Ganora explicó que la presentada este jueves es una ampliación de la denuncia hecha por su ONG en 2009 sobre la existencia de 163 prostíbulos en la capital del país.

"En aquel momento sólo teníamos las direcciones, pero en los últimos días aparecieron notas periodísticas que denuncian que tres de esas propiedades pertenecen a Zaffaroni", apuntó.

El abogado dijo que desde el punto de vista penal existe la posibilidad de que el juez del máximo tribunal del país "haya violado la ley que prohíbe la existencia de prostíbulos en Argentina o bien que haya cometido el delito de encubrimiento".

"Él alega ignorancia o error. Su versión no me parece creíble", destacó antes de indicar que hay "más propiedades" del ministro de la Corte bajo investigación y también la posible existencia de "otros delitos más graves".

En una entrevista que publica ayer el diario Página/12, Zaffaroni reconoció que posee 15 inmuebles en la ciudad de Buenos Aires, pero aclaró que no los administra de forma personal sino que tiene un apoderado y una inmobiliaria que los renta.

"Me limito a recibir lo que me pagan y ni siquiera reviso mucho las cuentas. Nunca firmé un contrato de locación personalmente y nunca conocí a ninguno de mis inquilinos. Tampoco recibí una carta documento de ningún consorcio notificándome algo raro o anormal", subrayó.

"Quizás haya pecado de ingenuo, pero nunca tuve un reclamo serio sobre el destino de alguno de los inmuebles", insistió.

Zaffaroni dijo no saber "a qué responde" el escándalo mediático que se ha generado sobre el asunto.

"Quieren desequilibrarme emocionalmente, aprovecharse de una situación desgraciada para provocar una reacción agresiva en mí o en los colaboradores más cercanos y explotarla al máximo", completó.

Supreme Court justice is denounced for renting properties to pimps

A non profit organization has denounced the fact that Supreme Court Justice Eugenio Zaffaroni owns at least three rental units that are being used as brothels housing mostly Paraguayan and Dominican women...

Full English translation to follow

EFE

July 29, 2011

See also:

Added: Aug. 13, 2011

Argentina

Supreme Court Judge Carmen Argibay

Justice Argibay considers Zaffaroni scandal to be 'a private matter'

Justice Carmen Argibay assured that the scandal affecting Judge Eugenio Zaffaroni “is a private matter” and it “doesn’t affect the Supreme Court in the least.” She said, however, that Zaffaroni “will have to provide an explanation eventually.”

“To me this is a private matter and Zaffaroni is the one who should be giving an explanation to whomever he sees fit. The Court is not affected by this,” she stated.

She also denied the existence of any uneasiness among Court members due to this situation, and stated that “he will have to provide an explanation to whomever he sees fit, if Congress demands it.”

“We’d rather not discuss this matter,” she stressed, and seemed to position herself next to Supreme Court [Justice] Ricardo Lorenzetti, who earlier said the scandal that involves Zaffaroni with a prostitution ring “is a personal matter” that bears no relation with the Supreme Court.

Argibay, however, stated her position on prostitution and brothels while recalling the agreement between the Supreme Court and the Justice and Security Minister in order to fight human trafficking.

From a gender point of view, she said that prostitution is degrading, even for those who exercise it willingly.

“Human trafficking is closely related to prostitution,” she said, assuring that clients are the ones responsible for it, for which “they should be persecuted as accomplices for taking part in an act of prostitution.”

“Prostitution degrades the person and when members of the AMMAR (Argentine Prostitutes Association) say they consider it a job, they don’t realize this because they have never had the chance to have a decent job that respects their human condition,” she explained.

She closed by saying that “brothels are banned in Argentina,” as she denounced that sometimes security forces are complicit with them, since it’s a business that “makes a lot of money,” what leads to bribery and corruption.

Buenos Aires Herald

Aug. 13, 2011

See also:

Added: Aug. 13, 2011

Argentina

Respaldan a una ONG en el caso Zaffaroni

Una serie de personalidades y ONGS salieron a respaldar ayer a la Fundación La Alameda, tras el escándalo que involucra al juez de la Corte Suprema, Eugenio Zaffaroni. “La Fundación La Alameda se dedica desde hace casi diez años a investigar y denunciar el delito organizado, en particular el trabajo esclavo y la trata de personas. Que el nombre del juez de la Corte Suprema Eugenio Zaffaroni aparezca en este contexto es la consecuencia de una investigación y no la causa de la denuncia. Que el árbol no tape al bosque”, señalaron en una carta. La misma lleva la firma, entre otros, de Daniel Sabsay, Carlos March, Alfredo Kasdorf, la Fundación Poder Ciudadano, Fundación Banco de Bosques y Contadores Forenses ONG.

“La Alameda y sus miembros, como Gustavo Vera y Mario Ganora, han mostrado plena independencia de intereses políticos y sectoriales, y una impecable trayectoria en defender los derechos cívicos y sociales. El debate desatado por sus investigaciones no puede transformarse en un torneo de apoyos”, agregaron.

Por otra parte, la Asociación de Magistrados de Córdoba expresó ayer su respaldo al juez Zaffaroni, envuelto en una polémica por ser dueño de cinco departamentos alquilados que eran usados por sus inquilinos para la prostitución. También los profesores universitarios nucleados en la Federación de Docentes de Universidades Nacionales (Fedun) respaldaron ayer al juez de la Corte.

Several non profit organizations back up the allegations against Supreme Court Justice Eugenio Zaffaroni made by the Alameda Foundation

Full English translation to follow

Listin Diario

Aug. 10, 2011


Added: Aug. 13, 2011

Mexico, Guatemala

How Mexico's deadly gang tactics are spreading

Central American migrants heading north to the United States fear that they are increasingly in danger of being kidnapped and murdered by drug gangs expanding their criminal operations south from Mexico.

"People and body parts were scattered everywhere like stones. There was a torso here, a head there. Even the animals were chopped up."

Salvador, a boatman, is describing the scene at Los Cocos ranch in the region of Peten, in the north of Guatemala, where a gruesome massacre took place on 14 May, blamed on members of a feared Mexican drug gang known as the Zetas.

In this case, those targeted were 27 farm workers, killed in retribution for the farm owner's alleged unpaid drug debt.

But the fear among locals and migrants passing through on their way to the US is that the Zetas are expanding into this remote region.

When Salvador heard about the massacre, he drove there to take a look for himself.

"What I saw at Los Cocos, was just terrible," he says. "I don't want to talk about it a lot because I could get into trouble."

Written in blood

The Zetas have been operational in Peten since 2008, and the fear among local people is palpable.

Following the massacre, a warning was written in blood to the farm owner "No-one talks about them," says Salvador. "They do their thing, and no-one knows what they are doing or who they are."

Illustrative of this fear, the guide who takes us to Los Cocos does not want to be identified, and we are escorted by a pick-up truck full of soldiers.

The ranch is deserted with just the sound of birdsong carrying on the hot, still air.

There are two rough, wooden huts, which were home to some of the murdered farm workers.

"If aside from making a profit from transporting drugs, the cartel can make money from extorting migrants or kidnapping them, they are going to do it” - Julie Lopez.

Guatemalan journalist

The earth is littered with the detritus of their lives - mugs, shoes, a mattress.

A message is written - in blood - in large, letters on the wall of one of the white-washed buildings. It is addressed to the owner of the ranch, who was absent on the night of the killings.

"I'm going to find you," it reads, "and I'm going to leave you like this" - a reference to the gruesome scene that Salvador witnessed.

Peten is on many migrants' route through Central America as they head north to the US, through Mexico, where the Zetas routinely kidnap and murder migrants.

Mexico's National Commission for Human Rights reported that in just six months last year, 11,333 migrants were kidnapped in Mexico.

So far they have not done this in Guatemala, but there are real concerns that if they gain control of Peten, this will change.

"The massacre at Peten was a repeat of Zeta behaviour in Mexico," says Julie Lopez, a Guatemalan journalist.

"Right now in Peten, they are struggling for control with some local drug-trafficking groups. For them it's all about profit, and business."

Brother Tomas runs a migrant hostel in Tenosique, Mexico "If aside from making a profit from transporting drugs, they can make money from extorting migrants or kidnapping them, they are going to do it."

Forty miles across the border in Mexico, the migrants head for Tenosique in the state of Tabasco. Here they can catch la bestia - the Beast - a goods train that wends its way north.

But it is dangerous for migrants to group together.

"If there are more than five migrants together, it is easier for organised crime to kidnap them," says Brother Tomas, who runs a migrant hostel in Tenosique.

"Organised crime groups like the Zetas often target migrants who are waiting for the train. They befriend them, ask them if they want to make a call home or give them food. Then they get on the train, too.

"And just beyond Tenosique, the train is ambushed by masked men in pick-up trucks, and the migrants are taken off at gun-point."

Brother Tomas hears reports of kidnap and serious assault every week...

Linda Pressly

BBC Radio 4, Crossing Continents

Aug. 10, 2011


Added: Aug. 14, 2011

Mexico

Arrestan a director de cárcel en Ciudad de Juárez por orgía

La policía de Chihuahua arrestó al director del penal municipal de Ciudad Juárez, así como a cuatro custodios y dos reos, por los delitos de negligencia y violaciones que derivaron en la matanza de 17 presos el pasado 25 de julio.

La Procuraduría de Justicia de Chihuahua indicó que el destituido director del penal, Lucio Cuevas Sánchez, está acusado de negligencia, omisión o corrupción en el cargo público y por uso erróneo de su puesto.

Asimismo, los cuatro custodios detenidos enfrentan los mismos cargos señalados, además de los delitos de encubrimiento. Uno de ellos afrontará adicionalmente la acusación de corrupción de menores, luego que fue sorprendido cuando sacaba del penal a una menor de 15 años que había participado en una fiesta dentro de esa cárcel.

Los dos presos a quienes se les dictó una nueva orden de aprehensión fueron identificados como Alejandro Alvarado Ruiz y Sergio Bustamante, quienes enfrentan el cargo de homicidio calificado.

Las órdenes de aprehensión fueron libradas al mismo tiempo aunque se trata de dos casos distintos. Uno es el de la masacre de 17 reos ocurrida el 25 de julio y otro la presunta orgía celebrada el domingo 24 del mismo mes, durante la cual se consumieron alcohol y drogas y participaron mujeres menores de edad dentro del centro penitenciario.

Ciudad Juárez está considerada la más violenta de México con más de 9 mil asesinatos en los últimos cuatro años.

Prison chief is arrested in Ciudad Juarez for permitting orgy

Chihuahua police have arrested the director of the Cereso municipal prison in Ciudad Juarez, as well as four guards and two inmates for crimes of negligence and violations that resulted in the killing of 17 prisoners on July 25, 2011.

 The Attorney General's Office for Chihuahua state said the prison director Lucio Cuevas Sanchez was fired, and has now been accused of negligence, omission or corruption in public office and misuse of office.

The four guards arrested face the same charges as well as the crime of concealment. One of them will face additional charges of corruption of minors after he had been discovered smuggling out of the prison a 15-year-old girl who had participated.

 The two prisoners who were issued arrest warrants were identified as Alejandro Alvarado Ruiz and Sergio Bustamante. They both face the charges of murder.

The arrest warrants were issued at the same time though they involve two seperate events. One case is in regard to the slaughter of 17 prisoners that occurred on July 25th. The other involved an alleged orgy that took place on Sunday, July 24th. On that occasion, inmates consumed alcohol and drugs and underage women were allowed into the prison.

Ciudad Juarez is considered to be the most violent city in Mexico, with more than 9,000 murders having occurred during the last four years.

Manuel Villegas

EFE

Aug. 03, 2011

See also:

Added: Aug. 14, 2011

Mexico

Cereso director, 4 guards face corruption charges

The Cereso municipal prison director in Juárez and four guards were formally charged with corruption on Wednesday in connection with last week's massacre of 17 inmates.

Cereso director Lucio Cuevas Sánchez and guards Gregorio Pedroza Romero, Juan Francisco Gómez Ravelo, José Luis Ramírez Ozuna and Ricardo Martínez Rincón were arrested outside the prison on Tuesday around 4 p.m., said Arturo Sandoval, spokesman for the Chihuahua state prosecutor's office.

Sandoval added that two inmates, Alejandro Alvarado Ruíz and Sergio Bustamante, will be formally charged with homicide today.

Cuevas Sánchez and the four guards will remain in prison until their next hearing on Monday, where a judge will determine if there is enough evidence for them to face trial.

The men are facing a number of corruption charges, including abuse of authority, providing unauthorized privileges to inmates and child exploitation.

Sandoval said the prosecutor's office formally accused the men based on mounting evidence.

"These apprehension orders are in relation to the events that took place last week," he said. "There are videos, there are declarations and there are testimonies from prison staffers and the unauthorized people who were inside the prison."

If found guilty, then the men would face between 4 to 15 years in prison, Sandoval said...

Authorities are also investigating the unauthorized party. Witnesses told police that several teenage girls and prostitutes were present, along with Cereso prison officers.

On Wednesday, the parents of a 15-year-old girl found inside Cereso were formally charged with child exploitation and child endangerment by negligence.

Alejandro Martínez-Cabrera

El Paso Times

Aug. 04, 2011

See also:

Added: Aug. 14, 2011

Mexico

Juarez Prison Celebrates International Women's Day With Lurid "Captive Beauty" Pageant

...Rarely in recent history has there been any focused attention on the continuing victimization of women in Ciudad Juarez, in the northern Mexican state of Chihuahua, where, since 1993, more than 500 women have been kidnapped, tortured, mutilated and murdered with impunity. Yet on International Women's Day, women artists in Los Angeles and Chicago mounted exhibitions to chronicle the ongoing femicide and commemorate its victims. In Sydney, Australia, women marched through the city to honor the women of Juarez.

But perhaps the most publicized event for this year's International Women's Day, in Juarez itself, was a march of a very different kind.

Belleza Cautiva (Captive Beauty) commemorated no one. A beauty pageant, it was planned, overseen, and judged by the authorities of Juarez's Cereso Prison, who selected 15 out of the 600 inmates of the over-crowded facility to compete for the crown, title, and some cash. A February story produced by Mexico City's large Millenia TV network showed the young women practicing for the big day: Wearing skin-tight jeans and T-shirts, they strike poses, produce provocative pouts, and wrap their bodies around poles, looking drained and scared, as if someone out of view holds a gun. The prison director, in a close-up, explains that these are not bad women, just women who made a bad mistake.

The real mistake was living in Ciudad Juarez, where drug trafficking, the crime for which most all of the women inmates have been convicted, is one of the few available jobs besides prostitution. The jobs at the maquiladoros, mostly U.S.-owned plants assembling clothes and electronics for U.S. consumers, are both dangerous -- the bodies of women continue to show up in fields and garbage dumps -- and dwindling. As the economy slows, corporations are moving on to other countries, where they can pay even lower wages than the prevailing $2 and change paid to women in Juarez. Time Magazine recently reported a 40 percent reduction in cargo trucked across the U.S. border in the past year, and the El Paso Times has reported that, in the last two years, some 11,000 Juarez businesses have closed and 116,000 houses -- a quarter of the city's housing -- have been abandoned.

In a country where prostitution is legal, 10- and 20-year sentences are not uncommon for women convicted of carrying drugs. The director of the Cereso Prison, Gerardo Ortiz Arellano, declared the goal of project Belleza Cautiva to be "Recapturing Women's Self-Esteem." But it's hard to see how strutting down a catwalk for the judgment of prison officials could do anything for the contestants (or the hundreds of other women prisoners lined up to watch). Millenia's coverage of the event revealed few proud smiles, but rather a line-up of sad women, forcing viewers to wonder whether the real goal of the pageant had more to do with recapturing the esteem and reputation of the prison administration, the prison, and the city...

The winner of the Miss Captive Beauty crown was a 22-year-old named Cecilia Flores -- no likely relation to Maria Sagrario Gonzalez Flores, one of the earliest and most publicized victims of the Juarez femicide; but the pageant of Captive Beauties is not unrelated to dead young women. The cynical stunt didn't kill or dismember any women but it disremembered the murdered girls of Juarez and displaced the cruel and stark reality of young women's lives with the fantasies of men of position and power...

Nora Eisenberg

AlterNet.org

March 16, 2010


Added: Aug. 13, 2011

The World

Actress Mira Sorvino talks to 2NEWS about human trafficking

Award-winning actress Mira Sorvino learned about the serious problems of child trafficking in the United States when she was a asked to speak for a women's organization years ago. Since then, she's traveled across the world to raise awareness about the dark underworld of child trafficking.

Sorvino's passions radiates as she shares countless stories of victims, like the five-year-old girl who was taken and forced into prostitution in Mexico, and the woman whose child was taken from her and forced into prostitution to earn the money to "buy" her child back.

Sorvino has the personal accounts from victims and a plethora of statistics to back it up. She shared her knowledge and her passion with state legislators from across the country at the national conference for state legislators in San Antonio.

2NEWS attended the conference and sat down with Sorvino. She said she wants states to toughen their laws on child trafficking.

Sorvino says just six states have what's called a Safe Harbor Law, which relieves burdens for victims and gives them more rights.

Stay tuned to 2NEWS. We'll air our story with Sorvino's interview in the coming week.

Marla Carter

KJRH

Aug. 12, 2011


Added: Aug. 13, 2011

Illionois, USA

Suspect held in disappearance of three-year-old Missouri girl

Authorities in southeast Missouri said a suspect was in custody on Saturday in connection with the disappearance of a toddler last seen riding her bicycle in front of her home last weekend.

The unidentified suspect was from the local area but unrelated to the family of 3-year-old Breeann Rodriguez of Senath, Mo., said Dunklin County Sheriff Bob Holder and Senath Police Chief Omar Karnes in a statement.

County and state authorities are searching for the girl's body and bicycle in an undisclosed area of the county, according to the statement.

The man, whose name was not yet being released, was being held at the Dunklin County Justice Center, pending formal charges.

The Dunklin County prosecutor's office said it would release more information after the suspect is charged.

The small town of Senath is about 90 miles north of Memphis, Tennessee.

Reuters

Aug. 13, 2011


Added: Aug. 13, 2011

Oregon, USA

Citizenship looms over rape trial

A jury convicted a Hermiston man of first-degree rape and other crimes Wednesday after hearing emotional testimony from his wife, an illegal immigrant who said she endured years of abuse because he threatened to sink their children’s chances of citizenship.

Diego Andrade, 50, has been held at the Umatilla County Jail in Pendleton since October on charges of rape, sodomy, attempted rape, sexual abuse and assault.

Erin Mills

East Oregonian

July 28, 2011


Added: Aug. 13, 2011

California, USA

Jury convicts man of raping two women

Santa Ana - An Orange County jury Wednesday convicted a dry-cleaning store manager of raping two women about nine months apart, one of them a minor he supervised.

The jury of eight women and four men deliberated for nearly two days before finding Jaime Zamora Ramirez, 42, of Costa Mesa guilty of two felony counts of forcible rape with a sentencing enhancement allegation for forcibly raping multiple victims.

He faces a maximum of 140 years to life in prison for the rapes in 2008 and 2009 at his Aug. 17 sentencing by Orange County Superior Court Judge Kazuharu Makino.

Deputy District Attorney Jennifer Walker said in her closing arguments that Ramirez showed a similar pattern in raping the women, assuming that he had gotten away with the first sexual assault.

" 'I've already gotten away with the first (rape),' " Ramirez thought, Walker told jurors. " 'No one's going to believe (the second victim), like no one's believed (the first).' "

Vik Jolly

The Orange County Register

July 20, 2011


Added: Aug. 12, 2011

Mexico

 

Exige Permanente protección para Lydia Cacho

Comisión Permanente demanda al Gobierno federal medidas cautelares de protección para la periodista Lydia Cacho ante las amenazas de muerte que ha recibido

Ciudad de México, México.- Ante las amenazas de muerte que ha recibido la periodista Lydia Cacho, la Primera Comisión de la Permanente solicitó al Ejecutivo federal que la Secretaría de Gobernación (Segob) otorgue las medidas cautelares de protección a la comunicadora.

Además, el órgano legislativo demandó al Gobierno federal realizar las investigaciones conducentes para identificar a los responsables de dichas amenazas.

De igual manera, pidió a los organismos públicos de Derechos Humanos a nivel nacional y de Quintana Roo dar seguimiento y verificar la ejecución de las medidas cautelares de protección.

En su petición, la Primera Comisión aseguró que las acciones intimidatorias en contra de la comunicadora se han intensificado y "ha tenido que suspender los comentarios en su blog tras haber recibido amenazas de muerte".

Recordó que la periodista puso al descubierto diversas redes de corrupción para la trata de mujeres, niñas y niños, y particularmente vinculadas con la pornografía y prostitución infantil.

Los legisladores que integran la Comisión presidida por el senador José Guadarrama subrayaron que ante la gravedad de las denuncias éstas "no pueden ser desatendidas", al tiempo que demandaron brindar la protección necesaria a la periodista.

Standing Committee of Congress demands protection for anti trafficking activist Lydia Cacho

Mexico City – In response to [an increasing level of] death threats that have recently been received by journalist Lydia Cacho, the Standing Committee of Congress (which handles legislative affairs during congressional recesses) has asked the nation’s Secretary of the Interior to authorize enhanced security measures to protect Cacho.

In addition, Congress has demanded that the federal government investigate those who are responsible for the threats, and has asked both federal and local authorities in Cacho’s home state of Quintana Roo to assure that the protective measures are being implemented.

In their petition, the Standing Committee stated that acts of intimidation against Cacho have escalated, adding that Cacho has had to suspend posting commentaries to her Internet blog in response to the threats.

The congressional members noted that Cacho had exposed numerous ‘networks of corruption’ that are involved in the human trafficking of women and children, and especially those that are engaged in child pornography and prostitution.

Standing committee members, including chairman Senator José Guadarrama, stressed in their statement that, given the seriousness of the allegations, they "can not be neglected." They therefore demanded adequate [federal and state] security measures to protect Cacho.

NOTIMEX

Aug. 09, 2011

See also:

LibertadLatina Special Section:

Journalist / Activist

   Lydia Cacho is

   Railroaded by the

   Legal Process for

   Exposing Child Sex

   Networks In Mexico


Added: Aug. 12, 2011

Mexico

De cada 100 indígenas 2 llegan a la educación superior: expertos

El sistema les ha hado una enseñanza de segunda y más empobrecida: Etelvina Sandoval

México, DF.- Aunque México es una de las naciones del mundo con mayor diversidad étnica y lingüística –casi 16 millones de personas se autodefinen indígenas–, el sistema educativo es expresión de la profunda desigualdad y exclusión, ya que sólo dos de cada 100 integrantes de los pueblos indios llegan a la educación superior.

El rezago y la falta de una oportunidad para acceder a la escuela viene de atrás: apenas 10 de cada 100 indígenas estudió primaria, siete de cada 100 tiene secundaria, y cinco de cada 100, bachillerato, de acuerdo con datos de la Subsecretaría de Educación Superior.

Para especialistas del ramo, lo anterior refleja el "fracaso" del gobierno en los programas destinados a una de las poblaciones más vulnerables del país, en razón de que 76 de cada 100 indígenas subsisten en condiciones de pobreza.

Al celebrarse ayer el Día Internacional de los Pueblos Indígenas, la profesora-investigadora de la Universidad Pedagógica Nacional (UPN), Etelvina Sandoval, destaca que a la situación de marginación y precariedad se suma que el sistema educativo siempre ha dado a esta población "una educación de segunda", con una enseñanza de menor calidad y más empobrecida, cuando la lógica tendría que ser al revés: dar una muy buena enseñanza a quienes más lo necesitan.

La menor presencia de integrantes de estas comunidades se registra en el nivel superior. La subsecretaria del ramo estima que hoy día existen alrededor de 60 mil estudiantes de los pueblos originarios en dicho nivel educativo, lo que representa 2 por ciento de la matrícula total, que asciende a más de 3 millones de estudiantes. Es decir, agrega, el peso de las comunidades indias en la población total es de casi 15 por ciento, pero la matrícula de educación superior apenas llega a 2 por ciento.

La realidad, dice por su parte la profesora-investigadora de la Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana (UAM), Claudia Santizo, es que "el sistema no les ha proporcionado una opción educativa adecuada".

La situación "dramática" de falta de acceso a la educación se remonta al inicio de la enseñanza básica, donde ya hay muchas dificultades para darles clases y que los niños aprendan en su lengua materna, expresa.

En el país hay 15.7 millones de integrantes de los pueblos indios, de los cuales 9.1 millones no hablan lengua indígena y 6.6 millones mantienen vivas 68 lenguas con más de 364 variantes.

El problema, continúa Santizo, es que no para todos hay herramientas en su lengua. "¿Entonces, con qué material didáctico les das educación, primero, en su lengua materna, para luego transitar al español? Si integras a un niño que solamente habla su lengua materna a un grupo de primaria normal se desincentiva, porque no entiende. La otra cuestión es que se requieren maestros de las mismas comunidades, porque de acuerdo con experiencias de la Secretaría de Educación Pública (SEP) y del Consejo Nacional de Fomento Educativo (Conafe) los educadores comunitarios primero empiezan con entusiasmo, pero luego ven a la comunidad como un lugar temporal".

A lo anterior se añade la problemática de estos mentores, subraya, por su parte, Etelvina Sandoval, quien recuerda que se trata de maestros que provienen de un reclutamiento de jóvenes que recientemente terminaron secundaria o bachillerato y que al ingresar a la docencia tienen que tomar cursos en la UPN para obtener una plaza o permanecer como educadores. Es decir, son maestros que se forman en la práctica, sin apoyos, sin un salario digno y sin ninguna seguridad laboral, lo cual nos remonta "a la época posrevolucionaria, cuando había maestros de primera, de segunda y tercera".

Por su parte, la SEP admite que la calidad educativa que reciben los integrantes de los pueblos originarios en el nivel básico y medio superior tiene escasa pertinencia cultural y lingüística, lo cual "los pone en situación de desventaja para garantizar su ingreso y permanencia en instituciones de educación superior".

Además, los costos de oportunidad y de traslado, de sostenimiento o de estancia que implican el ingreso y permanencia de los jóvenes indígenas en el nivel profesional difícilmente pueden ser cubiertos por la familia, dada su vulnerabilidad económica.

Reflejo de lo anterior es que 98 de cada 100 localidades con importante presencia indígena enfrentan contextos de alta o muy alta marginación, donde la tasa de mortalidad infantil es 60 por ciento mayor a la del resto de la población mexicana.

Con una tasa de analfabetismo de los indígenas tres veces más alta que la media nacional, Claudia Santizo explica que al no existir opciones educativas en sus pueblos, pues puede haber una primaria bilingüe, pero no secundaria, provoca que los alumnos emigren en busca de una oportunidad, pero al ingresar a la fuerza de trabajo, "hasta ahí llegó su educación".

En los hechos, sintetiza Etelvina Sandoval, ocurre "una exclusión por inclusión, porque están excluidos de tener en las posibilidades de la educación una verdadera alternativa".

Only two out of every 100 indigenous school children in Mexico goes to high school. Native children are offered an impoverished, second class education.

English translation to follow

La Jornada

Aug. 10, 2011


Added: Aug. 12, 2011

Massachusetts, USA

Event

Join us for the screening of Sex + Money: A National Search for Human Worth

...A documentary about domestic minor sex trafficking and the modern-day abolitionist movement fighting to stop it

Showing: Thursday, August 18 · 6:30pm - 9:00pm

Old South Meeting House

310 Washington Street

Boston, MA 02108

Hosted by the Boston Initiative To Advance Human Rights and Demand Abolition

This event is free to the public and will be followed by a panel discussion

The Boston Initiative To Advance Human Rights and Demand Abolition

Aug. 2011


Added: Aug. 12, 2011

Mexico

Turistas sexuales

La organización End Child Prostitution Pornography and Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes (Ecpat) dice que la explotación sexual comercial involucra prácticamente a todo el planeta, pero hay mayor presencia en países como Bangladesh, Laos, Camboya, Vietnam, Tailandia, Sri Lanka, Taiwán, India, Brasil, Colombia, México, Venezuela, Perú, Filipinas, República Dominicana, Ucrania, Bulgaria y muchos países africanos.

Y según el documento de investigación “Dimensión territorial del turismo sexual masculino en México”, elaborado por Álvaro López, del Departamento de Geografía Económica de la Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, el país ocupa el quinto lugar mundial en turismo sexual con ganancias multimillonarias. Los principales centros turísticos de esta práctica son Veracruz, Cancún, Puerto Vallarta, Acapulco, Tijuana, Distrito Federal, Guadalajara y Puebla; los visitantes extranjeros en busca de este tipo de ilícitos son en su mayoría de Estados Unidos, seguidos por los europeos.

Pues bien, ahora esos turistas europeos ya no tendrán tantas facilidades para cometer sus atrocidades. La Comisión de Libertades Civiles del Parlamento Europeo aprobó el pasado 13 de julio una serie de medidas para endurecer las penas contra los delincuentes sexuales que, sin duda, serán aprobadas en las sesiones plenarias de septiembre próximo para sustituir la legislación vigente de 2004 en todos los países miembros, lo cual se estima tomaría 24 meses.

Por primera vez se criminaliza el grooming, fenómeno que permite a un adulto relacionarse con un niño vía internet con fines de abuso sexual, y se incluye el concepto de “turista sexual”, que es aquel que viaja al extranjero para cometer delitos sexuales contra infantes. Se le perseguirá y condenará, y quedará en un registro de acceso público abierto a empresas, organizaciones civiles y cualquier persona, para dar a conocer que se le condenó como delincuente sexual; al cumplir su sentencia no se le permitirá incorporarse a ninguna actividad profesional que implique contacto con niños. “Habrá tolerancia cero”, apuntó Roberta Angelilli, la eurodiputada italiana que impulsó la propuesta.

Se aprobaron penas mínimas de uno a 10 años de prisión por delitos de abuso, explotación y pornografía infantil, y que todo material paidófilo online debe ser eliminado en su origen. Si las páginas web se alojan fuera de la Unión Europea, los países podrían bloquear su acceso en función de su legislación nacional, y si un tercer país fuera de la región se niega a cooperar en ese sentido.

Las sanciones son mayores para los delincuentes sexuales que sean “personas de confianza” de los niños, como familiares o profesores. Las “penas mínimas no sólo se aplicarán a quienes produzcan o posean pornografía infantil, también a quienes visualicen sus contenidos con conocimiento de causa”.

Los países señalados por Ecpat al principio del texto, México entre ellos, también deberían hacer más. Es creciente el problema de la prostitución en varias ciudades del país, y si se visitan las zonas de tolerancia con los ojos bien abiertos, se podrá concluir con certeza que hay muchas niñas y niños seguramente cooptados por la delincuencia internacional. Lo peor de todo es que no se hace nada; las autoridades se hacen como que no ven o son parte de la corrupción.

Child sex tourism is on the increase in Mexico. On July 13, 2011, the European Union increased criminal penalties targeting those who travel overseas to exploit children.

English translation to follow

J. Jesús Rangel M.

Empresas hoy

Aug. 07, 2011


Added: Aug. 12, 2011

Mexico

Close-up of a poster seeking the public's help in locating missing women and girls in Mexico

Busca PGR a 525 mujeres y niñas desaparecidas

México, DF.- La Procuraduría General de la República (PGR) investiga el paradero de 525 mujeres mayores y menores de edad reportadas como desaparecidas en todo el País, y quienes podrían haber sido víctima trata de personas, explotación o abuso sexual.

Así lo reveló la titular de la Fiscalía Especializada para Delitos de Violencia contra las Mujeres (FEVIMTRA), Sara Irene Herrerías Guerra, quien indicó que las primeras desapariciones registradas a nivel federal datan de Ciudad Juárez hace unos años.

Indicó que con la creación de FEVIMTRA, el 1 de febrero del 2008, se concentraron esos expedientes y se inició con la recepción de otros casos de mujeres que no volvieron a sus hogares y que podrían haber sido víctimas de algún engaño o secuestro.

''Son casos de jóvenes o menores desaparecidas, de familias que no encuentran a su hija y vienen con nosotros y se abre un expediente administrativo, a veces son los padres los que vienen o a veces son las Procuradurías locales quienes nos piden el apoyo por la capacidad de movilización que tenemos'', indicó.

De acuerdo con la estadística de la Fiscalía, de 2008 a la fecha se han registrado los casos de por lo menos mil 15 desapariciones de mujeres, de las cuales 490 ya fueron encontradas y devueltas con sus familiares.

En 2008 fueron encontradas 87 mujeres perdidas, en el 2009 se encontraron 105, en el 2010 se localizó a 190, y en el primer semestre del presente año 108 ya fueron ubicadas y recuperadas.

No obstante, los datos revelan que 535 desaparecidas continúan sin ser ubicadas en el País, pese al trabajo que se ha realizado para encontrarlas.

''Hay mujeres adultas entre las víctimas pero muchas son niñas o menores, hemos estado trabajando en materia de inteligencia porque son casos que nos preocupan mucho'', indicó.

La fiscal explicó que en los casos donde las mujeres desaparecieron a manos de bandas de tratantes, primero se dio una ea de engaño o seducción en la que los delincuentes sacan de sus hogares a las víctimas con falsas promesas de amor o una mejor situación económica, y luego no les permiten volver.

No obstante, advirtió que desde hace dos años se han venido incrementando los casos en los cuales las víctimas, sobretodo menores de edad, son engañadas a través de recursos tecnológicos como el Internet, en páginas de redes sociales o en las conversaciones conocidas como chats.

''Hemos detectado que esta modalidad es la que va en aumento, yo podría decir que el 80 por ciento de estas niñas, de las desaparecidas, fueron captadas por estos medios electrónicos'', indicó...

El Imparcial

Aug. 03, 2011

See also:

Added: Aug. 10, 2011

Mexico

Mexico Investigates Disappearance of 525 Women, Girls

A Mexican task force for crimes against women is investigating the whereabouts of some 525 women and female adolescents in the country, many of whom are thought to be victims of sex trafficking rings.

In an interview with El Universal, Special Prosecutor for Violent Crimes against Women (Fiscalia Especial para los Delitos de Violencia contra las Mujeres y Trata de Personas - FEVIMTRA) Sara Irene Herreiras Guerra told the paper that her office has become swamped with cases of missing women and teens in recent years.

Since FEVIMTRA’s creation in February 2008 there have been more than 1,500 such cases of missing females, of which 490 have been located and returned to their families. Nearly 300 of the cases occurred in the past 18 months. But while the office is currently working to find 525 women, many of whom are minors, another 500 cases have resulted in dead ends.

As InSight Crime has pointed out on several occasions, increased crackdowns on drug trafficking has forced Mexico’s drug gangs to broaden their criminal portfolios, and many are now attempting to seek profits from the lucrative, relatively low-risk prostitution trade.

This phenomenon has been aided by the rise of social media, which Mexico’s gangs use to lure young women into abandoning their homes and families. According to Herreira Guerra, at least 80 percent of Mexico’s missing women are targeted in this fashion.

Although Mexico passed a law targeting human and sex trafficking in 2007, convictions have been rare, and women’s rights advocates frequently complain that the authorities overlook these crimes, focusing instead on the drug trade.

Geoffrey Ramsey

InSight

Aug. 05, 2011


Added: Aug. 10, 2011

Mexico

Senator Guillermo Tamborrel of the National Action Party (PAN), has long advocated for stronger laws against human trafficking in Mexico.

Nueva Ley contra Trata de Personas amplía tareas a los estados

El senador panista Guillermo Tamborrel expresó que con la nueva Ley General Para Prevenir, Sancionar y Erradicar la Trata de Personas y Delitos Relacionados, que impulsan diputado y senadores del PRI, PAN y PVEM y diputados del PAN, PRI, PRD, PVEM, PT, Panal y Convergencia, se especifican las áreas de competencia entre Gobierno federal y gobiernos estatales y permitirá enfrentar la Trata de Personas de manera más eficaz.

La iniciativa con proyecto de decreto, que será analizada por la Cámara de Diputados el próximo periodo ordinario de sesiones, propone abrogar la Ley para Prevenir y Sancionar la Trata de Personas, vigente, que es de carácter federal y tiene insuficiencias y lagunas evidentes que la hacen prácticamente inaplicable, y considerar los delitos de Trata de persona, como el principal de su objeto, y Esclavitud, Explotación, Corrupción de Menores, Pornografía, Turismo Sexual Infantil y Encubrimiento como relacionados, mismos que, o bien no se encuentran tipificados en el orden jurídico nacional o se encuentran considerados de forma insuficiente, o se les considera en su relación con la comisión del delito de Trata de Personas.

Tamborrel, quien es presidente de la Comisión de Atención a Grupos Vulnerables del Senado, señaló que la trata de personas tiene dos vertientes, la explotación sexual y la explotación laboral y mencionó que es el tercer delito lucrativo para el crimen organizado, antecedido por las drogas y el tráfico de armas.

“Durante mucho tiempo contamos con una ley federal de aplicación federal y en teoría debiésemos haber contado con 32 leyes locales; la realidad es que esto no se dio, a pesar de que se hicieron muchos exhortos, muchas peticiones, yo diría hasta ruegos a los congresos locales para que legislaran en la materia. Salvo un puñado de entidades federativas, no se legisló”.

A raíz de esto, dijo Tamborrel, en julio pasado se aprobaron reformas a los artículos 19, 20 y 73 constitucionales, éste último permite al Congreso de la Unión la facultad de legislar en la materia, “por tanto ahora proponemos una ley general, la que contempla la responsabilidad no sólo del Gobierno federal, sino también de los gobiernos estatales”.

La iniciativa señala que en términos generales, la ley pone el acento en la prevención del delito y la atención a las víctimas, sin dejar de atender la persecución y sanción del delito, para lo cual, entre otras cosas, se reforma el tipo penal del delito de trata de personas para hacerlo más aplicable.

Proposed new federal anti trafficking law will increase state-level legal responsibilities.

English translation to follow

Blanca Estela Botello

La Crónica de Hoy

Aug. 07, 2011


Added: Aug. 10, 2011

The United States, Central America, Mexico

David Aguilar, deputy commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection

Government Introduces Anti-human Trafficking Awareness Campaign

U.S. Customs and Border Protection unveiled a human trafficking awareness campaign Tuesday aimed at three regions that are often final destinations for victims.

Washington, D.C. - "Don’t Be Fooled” public service announcements will begin running Monday here and in Georgia and Florida. The ads illustrate how immigrants can become victims of forced labor or sexual slavery by the smugglers they trust to get them across the border.

“We want to bring human trafficking out of the shadows, show its ugly faces and show that it does too often happen here,” said David Aguilar, deputy commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

The campaign targets family members of potential human trafficking victims who may encourage them to travel to the United States.

“They are inadvertently putting them into a pipeline of potential exploitation,” Aguilar said...

Human trafficking is often perpetrated by drug cartels, Aguilar said, and the 257,000 illegal border crossings every year present a tremendous risk of exploitation or death of immigrants at the hands of smugglers.

“These too often are the fate of illegal immigrants who literally lease their lives to smugglers,” he said.

Kumar Kibble, deputy director for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said that cartels’ control of drug routes allows them to expand their operations beyond narcotics into trafficking. And they can impose fees on human traffickers who want to use their territory.

He reinforced the importance of being able to indentify victims and recalled a California case involving a 12-year-old Egyptian girl who was being held as a domestic servant. Neighbors helped rescue her by calling authorities when they noticed she was never sent to school.

“At ICE, we talk about them being hidden in plain sight,” he said.

The launch of the domestic campaign comes a year after CPB initiated the Spanish-language version, “No Te Engañes,” in Mexico and Central America. The original campaign also ran in the southwestern states and has generated more than 34,000 calls to the crisis and information hotline in the United States alone.

“Don’t Be Fooled” is part of the anti-human trafficking Blue Campaign created by the Department of Homeland Security last year. The initiative is operated in partnership with the Polaris Project, which runs the National Human Trafficking Resource Center hotline.

“When citizens become aware of human trafficking looks like, they will step forward and report it,” Aguilar said.

Nadia Tamez-Robledo

Scripps Howard Foundation

July 22, 2011


Added: Aug. 10, 2011

Mexico

Oaxaca, en la ruta de trata de personas

Tlaxcala, foco rojo, alerta Red Nacional de Refugios

Tlaxcala city in Tlaxcala state - Al menos 47 redes dedicadas a la trata de personas con fines de explotación sexual operan en México favorecidas por la impunidad, y Tlaxcala es el "foco rojo", por ser centro de operaciones, sostuvo ayer la directora de la Red Nacional de Refugios (RNR), Rosa María Salazar.

Explicó que informes basados en investigaciones hechas en Estados Unidos, en las que se evaluaron 195 países, revelan que esas redes explotan cada año, sexual y laboralmente, a 800 mil adultos y 20 mil niños.

Sin embargo, aclaró que son registros aproximados, porque no es posible hacer un censo sobre cuántos se dedican a la trata de personas y quienes han sido víctimas.

"Cómo podríamos llegar a una casa y decir, ¿oye, tu familia es tratante?", apuntó después de dictar la conferencia Trata de Personas, la Esclavitud Post-Moderna.

Todo lo que se tiene, enfatizó, es un registro de 300 casos, de 2005 a 2008, y eso porque algunas mujeres se atrevieron a denunciar.

La activista remarcó que Tlaxcala se convierte en el centro de operaciones de lenones y tratantes, quienes reclutan a las mujeres en distintas partes del territorio mexicano, las movilizan con promesas de amor y empleo hacia la zona centro, y de ahí las llevan al norte.

"Una vez que caen, les ofrecen llevarlas a vivir a su pueblo, y discúlpenme que lo diga, pero generalmente es a Tlaxcala, los enganchadores son de Tlaxcala", alertó.

"El foco rojo de los estados donde están los tratantes es Tlaxcala. Tlaxcala tiene menor índice en cuanto a víctimas y tiene mayor índice en cuanto grupos organizados de tratantes de personas", puntualizó.

Incluso, expuso que la justicia norteamericana señala que las bandas de trata que han detectado en Estados Unidos, y que van desde México, la mayoría de ellos operan en Tlaxcala, principalmente en los municipios de San Pablo del Monte, Tenancingo, Mazatecochoco, Teolocholco y Acuamanala.

Salazar expuso que la ruta incluye los estados de Veracruz, Chiapas, Puebla, Oaxaca, así como países de Centroamérica como Guatemala, Honduras y El Salvador, de donde son la mayoría de las mujeres explotadas, y quienes son trasladas a Tlaxcala.

De ahí son distribuidas al norte del país, con mayor demanda en Tijuana y Ciudad Juárez, así como Acapulco y Cancún, son los principales destinos de turismo y comercio sexual con infantes.

En este sentido, indicó que de 142 países que han ratificado el Protocolo de Palermo para prevenir y erradicar la explotación sexual, sólo 128 han promulgado leyes en materia de trata de personas, y entre ellos está México.

Sin embargo, subrayó que esta actividad existe desde hace más de 100 años y, a la fecha, siguen las víctimas de trata, explotadas por bandas favorecidas por la impunidad, porque las autoridades no han hecho su labor y lo han dejado a las organizaciones de la sociedad civil.

Oaxaca state is a major part of Mexico's human trafficking corridors

English translation to follow

Agencia Reforma

Aug. 04, 2011


Added: Aug. 10, 2011

Honduras, Mexico

Honduran Foreign Minister Mario Canahuati recently spoke with conational sex trafficking victims in Mexico

Catrachas abusadas dan escalofriantes relatos

El canciller Mario Canahuati conversó con 11 hondureñas refugiadas en México que fueron secuestradas

San Luis Potosí, México - Dos mujeres hondureñas víctimas de trata de personas y refugiadas en un albergue en México, Distrito Federal, dieron testimonio de la pesadilla que les ha tocado por buscar un mejor futuro para sus familias.

Aunque al principio estaban contentas y muy expresivas, once mujeres en custodia federal de la Fiscalía Especial para los Delitos de Violencia contra las Mujeres y Trata de Personas, Fevimtra, le expusieron sus preocupaciones al canciller Mario Canahuati y le pidieron que les ayude a gestionar el pasaporte.

Una de ellas, retraída y algo preocupada por contar su historia, se llama Blanca, originaria de Santa Bárbara y con 34 años de edad.

La mujer hondureña trabajaba en una maquila en Choloma, Cortés, y decidió irse a Estados Unidos ilegalmente hace un año porque cerraron la empresa en que laboraba.

“Cuando llegué a Chiapas, una persona nos dijo que nos iba a llevar a Estados Unidos gratis, pero que en el otro lado debíamos pagarle 2,000 dólares. Después ya no fue verdad. Nos llevaron y nos secuestraron”, comentó.

Cada una de las hondureñas víctimas de trata, violación y secuestro le expuso al canciller sus dolencias y le agradecieron la promesa de ayudar en sus casos.

Blanca dijo enfáticamente que en el grupo de secuestradores existen lamentablemente hermanos hondureños.

“Me secuestraron”

Blanca estuvo mes y medio secuestrada en Tamaulipas. “Me tenían en una casa custodiada y me maltrataron. No era un burdel. Había 52 personas secuestradas, pero sólo pedían dinero. Si daban dinero, siempre te mataban. Un día llegaron los militares porque les tomó curiosidad ver la luz prendida. Era una residencial. Estábamos en el piso todos. éramos ocho mujeres y los demás eran hombres. Todas las mujeres éramos hondureñas”, comentaba entre lágrimas al recordar su secuestro.

“Entre los hombres había dos guatemaltecos y dos salvadoreños. Todos los demás eran hondureños. Llamaron a mi familia para que les mandaran dinero. Pedían cantidades grandes y mi familia no tenía. Los militares abrieron la puerta y atraparon a los secuestradores que estaban ahí; uno de ellos era hondureño. Estábamos tirados en el piso. Fue mes y medio de secuestro, en los mismos días de la masacre de Tamaulipas”, expresó Blanca, que tiene un hijo de 22 años en Honduras.

Blanca ahora está en un refugio en Ciudad de México y se siente segura después de lo que le pasó al ser secuestrada. “Los que nos secuestraron a nosotras son un cartel grande, el del Golfo. Son narcotraficantes que están secuestrando. Nos secuestraron en el tren, en Chiapas. Se subieron en el tren y nos bajaron. Se drogaban enfrente de nosotros y a algunos secuestrados hasta las uñas les sacaban, los torturaban”, agregó Blanca.

Desintegración familiar

Blanca planea volver a Honduras, ya que el Gobierno no les brinda oportunidades de trabajo a las mujeres como ella. Su plan inmediato al obtener el pasaporte es buscar un trabajo y ayudar a su hijo en Honduras. Está en un refugio de mujeres de puertas abiertas, en el que pueden salir a trabajar, pero para eso necesitan sus documentos.

“Este caso es especial y claro que vamos a ayudarlas. La mayoría de ellas necesitan que les arreglen sus papeles y la Cancillería de la República está disponible para que ellas arreglen su situación migratoria. Por otro lado, aquí hay serios problemas de desintegración familiar. Estos casos son más especiales y deberemos prestarles atención por medio de la embajada en México para ayudarlas”, les manifestó el canciller Canahuati a Blanca y a las otras diez hondureñas que están en el refugio.

También se conoció el caso de Magda, hondureña que residió en Estados Unidos casi toda su vida y fue deportada a Honduras, por lo que intentó ingresar ilegalmente, pero fue secuestrada en México. “Me hicieron de todo; me maltrataron, me violaron. Por la Marina estoy aquí viva y aquí en la Procuraduría General de la República, PGR, estoy viva. Me golpearon, me maltrataron y me hicieron lo que quisieron. Me secuestraron en Palenque y me encerraron en una casa en Reynosa. Me engañaron dándome comida y diciendo que me van a llevar al otro lado. Todo al final es mentira”, relató Magda.

Canciller recorre vía férrea en San Luis Potosí

De nuevo, el canciller de la República, Mario Canahuati, hizo visitas sin precedentes en la historia de la diplomacia hondureña.

Hasta la fecha, ningún funcionario, mucho menos un canciller, se ha ocupado de visitar centros penales y refugios de migrantes y decidió ir ayer a la línea del tren en la ciudad de San Luis Potosí, a unas cuatro horas del Distrito Federal y a ocho de la frontera con Estados Unidos. En una zona totalmente desértica, el canciller arribó a la desolada línea del tren que atraviesa el estado de San Luis Potosí con rumbo a Estados Unidos.

“Da escalofríos estar en este lugar, donde probablemente han muerto cientos de compatriotas que intentan subirse en el tren conocido como bestia de acero. Es impactante estar en este lugar”, dijo Canahuati. En ese momento pasó el tren a Estados Unidos y un par de migrantes le dijeron adiós a él y su comitiva en la desolada zona.

El canciller decidió ir al sitio para conocer y entender el suplicio de los migrantes hondureños y los riesgos que corren al tomar el rápido tren, que sólo deja las huellas de la incontrolable migración y luto en las familias.

Eleven Honduran women tell their chilling stories of being sex trafficked to Chiapas state, Mexico

English translation to follow

Marilyn Méndez

La Prensa (Honduras)

Aug. 05, 2011

See also:

Added: Aug. 10, 2011

Honduras, Mexico

[El canciller Mario Canahuati viajará a México]

El canciller Mario Canahuati anunció que mañana viaja a México una comisión gubernamental para investigar el supuesto secuestro de inmigrantes hondureños que iban con rumbo a EE.UU. INMIGRANTES.- El canciller Mario Canahuati anunció que mañana viaja a México una comisión gubernamental para investigar el supuesto secuestro de inmigrantes hondureños que iban con rumbo a EE.UU.

Honduran foreign minister will travel to Mexico to investigate cases of human trafficking involving Honduran victims.

English translation to follow

 

La Tribuna (Honduras)

June 29, 2011


Added: Aug. 10, 2011

Guatemala

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

War crimes trial over Guatemala massacre begins

Four former Guatemalan soldiers plead not guilty to war crimes charges Tuesday as the first war crimes trial over the 1982 Dos Erres massacre began. Carlos Antonio Carias, Manuel Pop, Reyes Collin and Daniel Martinez are accused [BBC report] of being members of a military force that allegedly killed more than 250 people in the town of Dos Erres in 1982 during the country's 36-year civil war [GlobalSecurity backgrounder]. Three of the men were members of a special forces unit known as the Kaibiles, at least part of which is alleged to have played a role in the massacre. The military force was attempting to rout out insurgents during Guatemala's military rule under General Efrain Rios Montt. The four men pleaded not guilty arguing that they were not stationed with the group that carried out the atrocities at Dos Erres. They are accused of killing 201 farmers. There are also allegations [AP report] that many women and girls in Dos Erres were raped and killed during the massacre. The Guatemalan civil war resulted in more than 200,000 deaths, mostly among Guatemala's large indigenous Mayan population. According to a UN report released in 1999, the military was responsible for 95 percent of those deaths.

Earlier this month, the UN said it approved of the arrest [JURIST report] of a former top Guatemalan military figure accused of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. General Hector Mario Lopez Fuentes, former chief of staff of Guatemalan armed forces from 1982-1983, is accused of directing military attacks against citizens, namely indigenous Mayans. Villages were destroyed and women and girls were systematically raped under his authorization. In response many deaths during the civil war, the Guatemalan government founded the National Compensation Program (PNR) in 2003 to deal with claims by civilians affected by the civil war. The PNR, after setting up its administrative structure, has begun to use its $40 million budget to work through a backlog of more than 98,000 civilian complaints. More than 1,000 complaints were filed in 2008. The PNR hopes to file the majority of the complaints within the next year.

Jurist.org

July 26, 2011


Added: Aug. 10, 2011

The United States

Hispanic Household Wealth Fell by 66% from 2005 to 2009

The Toll of the Great Recession

Median household wealth among Hispanics fell from $18,359 in 2005 to $6,325 in 2009. The percentage drop—66%—was the largest among all racial and ethnic groups, according to a new report by the Pew Research Center's Social & Demographic Trends project. During the same period, median household wealth declined 53% among black households and 16% among white households.

The Pew Research report provides the first look at how the Great Recession impacted household wealth. It finds that plummeting house values were the principal cause of the erosion in wealth among all groups. However, because Hispanics derived nearly two-thirds of their net worth in 2005 from home equity and a disproportionate share reside in states that were in the vanguard of the housing meltdown, Hispanics were hit hardest by the housing market downturn.

The Pew Research analysis also finds that the median wealth of white households is 18 times that of Hispanic households and 20 times that of black households. These lopsided wealth ratios are the largest in the quarter century since the government first published such data, and roughly twice the size of the ratios that had prevailed between these three groups for the two decades prior to the Great Recession.

These findings are based on a Pew Research Center analysis of newly-available data from the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP), an economic questionnaire distributed periodically to tens of thousands of households by the U.S. Census Bureau. It is considered the most comprehensive source of data about household wealth in the United States by race and ethnicity.

Among the report's other key findings:

¦About a third of Hispanic (31%) and black (35%) households had zero or negative net worth in 2009, compared with 15% of white households. In 2005, the comparable shares had been 23% for Hispanics, 29% for blacks and 11% for whites.

¦About a quarter of all Hispanic (24%) and black (24%) households in 2009 had no assets other than a vehicle, compared with just 6% of white households. These percentages are little changed from 2005.

¦During the period under study, wealth disparities also increased within the Hispanic community. The top 10% of Hispanic households saw their share of all Hispanic household wealth rise from 56% in 2005 to 72% in 2009. The report, "Twenty to One: Wealth Gaps Rise to Record Highs Between Whites, Blacks and Hispanics," is available on the Pew Social & Demographic Trends website.

Pew Hispanic Center

July 26, 2011


Added: Aug. 10, 2011

Mexico, El Salvador

Rescatan a dos menores víctimas de trata en Chiapas

La Procuraduría General de Justicia del Estado (PGJE) informó que rescató a dos menores que eran víctimas de trata de personas en el costeño municipio de Mapastepec, y detuvo a tres presuntos responsables de explotarlas laboral y sexualmente, entre ellos una salvadoreña.

En un comunicado de prensa señaló que el rescate se logró mediante un operativo efectuado por agentes especializados de la PGJE adscritos a la Fiscalía de Distrito Istmo Costa, en coordinación con elementos de la Secretaría de Seguridad y Protección Ciudadana.

“Durante estas acciones se logró la detención de Mayra Leticia Ramírez Martínez, de 42 años de edad, originaria de El Salvador; Orlando Muñiz Gutiérrez, de 39 –propietarios de la cantina Mi Ranchito- y de Jesús Montes Márquez y/o Tito Montes Márquez”, afirmó.

Señaló que en su declaración ministerial, los primeros “reconocieron haber obligado a las jóvenes a prostituirse en el interior de dicho lugar, luego de haber realizado un acuerdo con Montes Márquez, quien se encargó de engancharlas”.

Precisó que “como parte del testimonio de las menores, se logró conocer que aproximadamente en el mes de abril de este año Jesús Montes Márquez se trasladó al municipio de Acapetahua, cercano a Mapastepec, en donde contactó a la joven de 15 años”, y “aprovechándose de su inocencia, le hizo creer que la quería y que deseaba estar a su lado”.

Con el paso de los días, aseveró la PGJE, “le pidió que fuera su novia y la convenció para que junto con su hermana, de tan sólo 13 años, se fueran con él Mapastepec”, donde “las llevó ante los dueños de Mi Ranchito”.

Sostuvo que “el acuerdo consistía en obligarlas a consumir bebidas alcohólicas con los clientes y mantener relaciones sexuales con ellos, actividad por la que cobrarían 500 pesos, de los cuales, 300 eran entregados al enganchador y 200 a los propietarios del establecimiento. Las menores revelaron que sólo tenían acceso a hospedaje y alimentación, y que por los servicios que ofrecían, incluyendo su actividad como meseras, no recibían remuneración alguna”.

Authorities rescue two underage girls, one from El Salvador, in Mexico's southern border state of Chiapas

English translation to follow

La Jornada

July 31, 2011


Added: Aug. 10, 2011

Mexico

President Felipe Calderón Hinojosa (second from right) stands with congressional anti trafficking leaders Deputy Rosi Orozco (far left) and Senator Guillermo Tamborrel

The back board states "Promulgating the constitutional reform in the subject area of human trafficking"

México fortalece respuesta en contra de la trata de personas: el Presidente Calderón reconoce la labor de UNODC y la campaña "Corazón Azul"

En un esfuerzo por reforzar las acciones del Estado Mexicano en el combate a la trata de personas, el Presidente de la República, Felipe Calderón Hinojosa, promulgó un Decreto con el cual se reforman tres Artículos de la Constitución Política de México en materia de trata de personas. Durante la ceremonia, que tuvo lugar en la Residencia Oficial de Los Pinos, el Presidente Calderón detalló que las modificaciones realizadas a la Constitución concederán mayor protección a las víctimas de trata de personas y permitirán que el Estado Mexicano cuente con mejores herramientas y leyes para hacer frente al delito de manera eficaz y coordinada. Por ejemplo, una de las modificaciones garantizará el resguardo de la identidad y datos personales de las víctimas de trata de personas, especialmente al testificar ante un juez. Adicionalmente, se ha incluido al delito de trata de personas entre aquellos por los cuales los jueces deben declarar oficiosamente prisión preventiva.

A partir de la promulgación del Decreto, el Congreso de la Unión deberá expedir una nueva Ley General que contemple la trata de personas como materia concurrente entre la federación, las entidades y los municipios. "Con esta nueva ley, todos estaremos obligados a actuar y ninguna autoridad podrá cerrar los ojos frente a este terrible delito de trata de personas", destacó el Presidente.

La Reforma viene a fortalecer los esfuerzos ya emprendidos por el Gobierno de México para hacer frente al delito de la trata de personas. El Presidente reiteró el compromiso de su Gobierno por continuar trabajando en esa dirección, a través de acciones como el Programa Nacional para Prevenir y Sancionar la Trata de Personas y la campaña de sensibilización "Corazón Azul"; destacando el papel de la Oficina de las Naciones Unidas contra la Droga y el Delito y, haciendo un llamado a la sociedad mexicana a denunciar el delito: "que cada mexicana o cada mexicano denuncie cuando sepa que hay algún lugar en donde se está abusando o explotando a mujeres, a migrantes, a niños, a jóvenes, a personas con discapacidad incluso", precisó.

Asimismo, el Secretario de Gobernación, José Francisco Blake Mora, se refirió a la Reforma como un compromiso de los tres Poderes de la Unión para proteger la integridad de las personas: "es urgente poner un definitivo alto al consumo de las personas por las mismas personas porque el ser humano no está a la venta".

Felipe De La Torre, experto de UNODC en el tema de trata de personase en la región, señaló la exitosa alianza establecida con el Gobierno Federal de México para impulsar y fortalecer las acciones que lidera la Comisión Intersecretarial para Prevenir y Sancionar la Trata de Personas. Anunció que en breve, UNODC estará iniciando un nuevo proyecto con la Secretaría de Gobernación para elaborar el diagnóstico nacional sobre la situación de la trata de personas en México, y que continuarán las acciones de prevención en el marco de la campaña "Corazón Azul".

La campaña "Corazón Azul" México fue lanzada de manera conjunta por UNODC y el Gobierno de México en abril de 2011 y busca crear conciencia en todos los sectores de la sociedad mexicana respecto de este delito en contra de la dignidad humana. La trata de personas es un problema global que se ha convertido en uno de los negocios ilícitos más lucrativos alrededor del mundo, estimándose que más de 2.4 millones de personas son actualmente objeto de explotación sexual y laboral. Las víctimas son también tratadas con fines de servidumbre doméstica, extracción de órganos o mendicidad obligada. Se estima que el 80 por ciento de las víctimas de trata de personas son mujeres y niñas y más de 130 países han reportado casos de trata de personas.

The United nations Office on drugs and Crime

August 04, 2011

See also:

Added: Aug. 10, 2011

Mexico

Reinforcing Mexico's response to human trafficking: President Calderón recognizes role of Blue Heart Campaign

In a move to toughen the law against human trafficking in Mexico, President Felipe Calderón recently passed a draft amendment to three articles of the country's Political Constitution. During a ceremony held at the Official Residence, President Calderón noted that the constitutional amendments will provide more protection for victims of human trafficking and afford Mexico better tools and laws to counter this crime in an efficient and coordinated manner. One such amendment will protect the identity of human trafficking victims and guarantee their personal security, particularly when testifying in a trial. Further measures include better social reintegration of survivors. Another amendment classifies human trafficking as an offence for which prisoners are not eligible.

The legislature branch will eventually issue a new General Law that will enable human trafficking to be dealt with jointly by the federation, states and municipalities. He also stated that "as a result of this new law, we will all be obliged to act, and no authority will be allowed to close their eyes to the terrible crime of human trafficking."

The amendment to the Constitution strengthens the efforts already undertaken by the Mexican Government to fight human trafficking. The President reiterated the commitment of his administration and encouraged initiatives such as the National Programme to Prevent and Sanction Trafficking in Persons and the UNODC awareness-raising Blue Heart Campaign. He also called upon Mexican society to report the crime, saying: "When a Mexican citizen knows of a place where women, migrants, children, young people, or even people with disabilities are being exploited, they should go to the authorities."

Also speaking at the ceremony, the Secretary of the Interior, José Francisco Blake Mora, referred to the amendment as a commitment to protect the integrity of the country's citizens: "It is urgent that we put an end to the purchasing of people by people because humans are not for sale."

Felipe De La Torre, UNODC's anti-human trafficking expert in the region, spoke of the successful alliance with the Federal Government to strengthen the actions implemented by the Inter-Secretariat Commission to Prevent and Sanction Human Trafficking. He also announced that in the coming months, UNODC will collaborate with the Ministry of the Interior to launch a new project to develop a national assessment of human trafficking in Mexico, and discussed the continuing awareness raising work around the Blue Heart Campaign.

The Mexican Blue Heart Campaign - Campaña Corazón Azul - which was developed in partnership with UNODC in April 2010, calls on all sectors of Mexican society to help mobilize social conscience against what is a crime against human dignity. The campaign aims to raise awareness of human trafficking as a modern form of slavery that exploits millions of people around the world and to prevent more people from becoming victims. A global issue, human trafficking is one of the most lucrative forms of crime after drug and arms trafficking. According to United Nations estimates, more than 2.4 million persons are currently being subjected to sexual or labour exploitation as victims of human trafficking. Victims are also trafficked for the purposes of domestic servitude, the removal of organs and the exploitation of children as beggars or child soldiers. Up to 80 per cent of all human trafficking victims are women and girls and more than 130 countries have reported cases of human trafficking.

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime  (UNODC)

August 04, 2011


Added: Aug. 10, 2011

Puerto Rico

Acusan puertorriqueño de prostituir niñas por $1,500

San Juan -El puertorriqueño Rommel Cintrón Pons ha sido acusado de prostituir niñas menores de 15 años por $1,500 en la costa norte de la isla caribeña, informó hoy el portavoz del Servicio de Control de Inmigración y Aduanas (ICE, por sus siglas en inglés), Iván Ortiz.

El funcionario dijo que la detención de Cintrón Pons, alías "Peluquín", se produjo durante la tarde de ayer miércoles, cuando se disponía a transportar cinco jóvenes, tres de ellas menores de 15 años, a una residencia de Río Grande, donde varios clientes iban a pagar $1,500 por los servicios sexuales de cada una.

Ortiz, que detalló que Rommel Cintrón pagaba $100 a cada joven, no descartó nuevos arrestos de miembros de una posible red de prostitución infantil en la isla, además de anunciar que se investigará a los padres de las jóvenes.

Indicó que la supuesta red podría formar parte de una trama criminal dedicada a la producción y distribución de pornografía infantil en la isla. Cintron Pons, según el ICE, dirigía sus operaciones a través de un céntrico restaurante del centro de San Juan y daba a conocer sus servicios por medio de anuncios en internet, en los que se detallaba que las jóvenes eran menores de 15 años.

"Peluquín" fue detenido cuando conducía a las menores a una residencia de Río Grande, localidad de la costa norte de Puerto Rico. El detenido, de ser encontrado culpable, podría ser condenado a una pena castigada con un mínimo de diez años de prisión.

Puerto Rican man is charged with prostituting girls under the age of 15 for $1,500 on island's northern coast

English translation to follow

EFE

July 14, 2011


Added: Aug. 05, 2011

LibertadLatina Commentary

Indigenous women and children in Mexico

During the over ten years that the LibertadLatina project has existed, our ongoing analysis of the crisis of sexual abuse in the Americas has lead us to the conclusion that our top priority should be to work to achieve an end to the rampant sex trafficking and exploitation that perennially exists in Mexico. Although many crisis hot spots call out for attention across Latin America and the Caribbean, working to see reform come to Mexico appeared to be a critical first step to achieving major change everywhere else in the region.

We believe that this analysis continues to be correct. We also recognize the fact that the Dominican Republic, Argentina, Paraguay, Peru and Colombia are other emergency zones of crisis. We plan to expand our coverage of these and other issues as resources permit.

Mexico is uniquely situated among the nations of the Americas, and therefore requires special attention from the global effort to end modern human slavery.

Mexico:

  • Is the world's largest Spanish speaking nation

  • Includes a long contiguous border with the U.S., thus making it a transit point for both 500,000 voluntary (but vulnerable) migrants each year as well as for victims of human slavery

  • Has multi-billion dollar drug cartels that profit from Mexico's proximity to the U.S. and that are today investing heavily in human slavery as a secondary source of profits

  • Has a 30% indigenous population, as well as an Afro-Mexican minority, both of whom are marginalized, exploited and are 'soft targets' who are now actively being cajoled, and kidnapped by trafficking mafias into lives of slavery and death

  • Has conditions of impunity that make all impoverished Mexicans vulnerable to sex and labor trafficking

  • Has a child sex tourism 'industry' that attracts many thousands of U.S., European and Latin American men who exploit vulnerable, impoverished children and youth with virtual impunity

  • Is the source of the largest contingent of foreign victims of human slavery who have been trafficked into the U.S.

  • Has a large and highly educated middle class which includes thousands of women who are active in the movement to enhance human rights in general and women's rights in particular

  • Has a growing anti-trafficking movement and a substantial women's rights focused journalist network

  • Has a politically influential faction of socially conservative men who believe in the sexist tenants of machismo and who favor maintaining the status quo that allows the open exploitation of poor Mexicans and Latin American migrants to continue, thus requiring assistance from the global movement against human exploitation to help local activists balance the scales of justice and equality

For a number years LibertadLatina's commentaries have called upon Mexico's government and the U.S. State Department to apply the pressure that is required to begin to change conditions for the better. It appears that the global community's efforts in this regard are beginning to have impact, yet a lifetime of work remains to be done to end what we have characterized as a slow-moving mass gender atrocity.

Recent developments in Mexico are for the most part encouraging.

These positive developments include:

  • The March 31, 2011 resignation of Attorney General Arturo Chávez Chávez (who had earlier failed to address the crisis of femicide murders facing women in Ciudad Juarez as Chihuahua state attorney general)

  • The replacement of Chávez Chávez with Marisela Morales Ibáñez as the nation’s first female attorney general (Morales Ibáñez was recently honored by U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton)

  • Morales Ibáñez’ reform-motivated purge of 174 officials and employees of the attorney general’s office, including the recent resigna-tions of 21 federal prosecutors

  • Morales Ibáñez’ recent raid in Cuidad Juárez, that resulted in the arrests of 1,030 suspected human traffickers and the freeing of 20 underage girls

  • The recent appointment of Dilcya Garcia , a former Mexico City prosecutor who achieved Mexico's first trafficking convictions to the federal attorney general's office (Garcia was recently honored by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for her anti-trafficking work)

  • The July, 2010 replacement of Interior Secretary Fernando Gómez Mont with José Francisco Blake Mora. (Secretary Gómez Mont openly opposed the creation of strong federal anti-trafficking legislation.)

  • Success by President Calderón and the Congress of the Republic in achieving the first steps to bringing about a constitutional amendment to facilitate human trafficking prosecutions

  • Recent public statements by President Calderon imploring the public to help in the fight against human trafficking

  • Some progress in advancing legislation in Congress to reform the failed 2007 federal anti trafficking law, a reform effort that has been lead by Deputy Rosi Orozco

  • The active collaboration of both the U.S. Government and the United Nations Office eon Drugs and Crime in supporting government efforts against trafficking

Taken together, the above actions amount to a truly watershed moment in Mexico’s efforts to address modern human slavery. We applaud those who are working for reform, while also recognizing that reform has its enemies within Congress, government institutions, law enforcement and society.

Mexico’s key anti-trafficking leaders, including journalist and author Lydia Cacho, Teresa Ulloa (director of the Regional Coalition Against Trafficking in Women for Latin America and the Caribbean – CATW-LAC), and Congresswoman Rosi Orozco of the ruling National Action Party (PAN) have all raised the alarm in recent months to indicate that corrupt businessmen, politicians and law enforcement authorities continue to pressure Mexican society to maintain a status quo that permits the existence of rampant criminal impunity in relation to the exploitation of women, children and men. The fact that anti-trafficking activist Lydia Cacho continues to face credible deaths threats on a regular basis and must live with armed guards for 24 hours a day is one sobering indicator of this harsh reality.

The use of slavery for labor and sexual purposes has a solid 500 years of existence in Mexico and much of the rest of Latin America. Indigenous peoples have been the core group of victims of human exploitation from the time of the Spanish conquest to the present. This is true in Mexico as well as in other nations with large indigenous populations such as Guatemala, Bolivia, Peru and Colombia. African descendants are also victims of exploitation - especially in Colombia, and like indigenous peoples, they continue to lack recognition as equal citizens.

These populations are therefore highly vulnerable to human trafficking and exploitation due to the fact that the larger societies within which they live feel no moral obligation to defend their rights. Criminal human traffickers and other exploiters take advantage of these vulnerabilities to kidnap, rape, sex traffic and labor traffic the poorest of the poor with little or no response from national governments.

A society like Mexico - where even middle class housewives are accustomed to treating their unpaid, early-teen indigenous girl house servants to labor exploitation and verbal and physical violence and where the men of the house may be sexually abusing that child – is going to take a long time to adapt to an externally imposed world view that says that the forms of exploitation that their conquistador ancestors brought to the region are no longer valid. That change is not going to happen overnight, and it is not going to be easy.

Mexico’s current efforts to reform are to be applauded. The global anti-trafficking activist community and its supporters in government must, however remain vigilant and demand that Mexico continue down the path toward ending its ancient traditions of tolerated human exploitation. For that transformation to happen effectively, indigenous and African descendant Mexicans must be provided a place at the table of deliberations.

Although extending equality to these marginalized groups is a radical concept within the context of Mexican society, we insist that both Mexico, the United States State Department (a major driver of these reforms in Mexico) and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC - another major driver in the current reforms) provide the social and political spaces that will be required to allow the groups who face the most exposure to exploitation to actually have representation in both official and NGO deliberations about their fate at the hands of the billion dollar cartels and mafias who today see them as raw material and 'easy pickings' to drive their highly lucrative global slavery profit centers.

Without taking this basic step, we cannot raise Mexico’s rating on our anti-trafficking report card.

Time is of the essence!

End impunity now!

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

Aug. 05, 2011

Updated Aug. 11,2011

Note: Our August 4/5, 2011 edition contains a number of stories that accurately describe the nature of the vulnerabilities that indigenous children and women face from modern day sex traffickers, pedophiles and rapists.

See also:

An editorial by anti trafficking activist Lydia puts the spotlight on abusive domestic work as a form of human slavery targeting, for the most part, indigenous women and girls

Added: Aug. 1, 2010

Mexico

Esclavas en México

México, DF, - Cristina y Dora tenían 11 años cuando Domingo fue por ellas a la Mixteca en Oaxaca. Don José Ernesto, un militar de la Capital, le encargó un par de muchachitas para el trabajo del hogar. La madre pensó que si sus niñas trabajaban con “gente decente” tendrían la posibilidad de una vida libre, de estudiar y alimentarse, tres opciones que ella jamás podría darles por su pobreza extrema.

Cristina y Dora vivieron en el sótano, oscuro y húmedo, con un baño improvisado en una mansión construida durante el Porfiriato, cuyos jardines y ventanales hablan de lujos y riqueza. Las niñas aprendieron a cocinar como al patrón le gustaba. A lo largo de 40 años no tuvieron acceso a la escuela ni al seguro social, una de las hermanas prohijó un bebé producto de la violación del hijo del patrón. Les permitían salir unas horas algunos sábados, porque el domingo había comidas familiares. Sólo tres veces en cuatro décadas les dieron vacaciones, siendo adultas, para visitar a su madre enferma...

Slaves in Mexico

[About domestic labor slavery in Mexico]

Mexico City – Cristina and Dora were 11-years-old when Domingo picked them up in the state of Oaxaca. José Ernesto, a military man living in Mexico City, had sent Domingo to find a pair of girls to do domestic work for him. The girls’ mother thought that if they had an opportunity to work with “decent people,” they would have a chance to live a free life, to study and to eat well. Those were three things that they she could never give them in her condition of extreme poverty.

Cristina and Dora lived in the dark and humid basement of a mansion built during the presidency of Porfirio Díaz (1876 to 1910). Their space had an improvised bathroom. Outside of the home, the mansion’s elaborate gardens and elegant windows presented an image of wealth and luxury. The girls learned to cook for the tastes of their employer.

It is now forty years later. Cristina and Dora never had access to an education, nor do they have the right to social security payments when they retire. One of the sisters had a child, who was the result of her being raped by one of their employer’s sons.

They are allowed out of the house for a few hours on Saturdays. On Sundays they had to prepare family meals for their patron (boss).

Today, some 800,000 domestic workers are registered in Mexico. Ninety three percent of them don’t have access to health services. Seventy Nine percent of them have not and will not receive benefits. Their average salary is 1,112 pesos($87.94) per month. More than 8% of these workers receive no pay at all, because their employers think that giving them a place to sleep and eat is payment enough.

Sixty percent of domestic workers in Mexico are indigenous women and girls. They began this line of work, on average, at the age of 13. These statistics do not include those women and children who lived locked-up in conditions of extreme domestic slavery.

Mexico’s domestic workers are vulnerable to sexual violence, unwanted pregnancies, exploitation, racism and being otherwise poorly treated…

Recently, the European Parliament concluded that undocumented migrant women face an increased risk of domestic labor slavery. In Mexico, the majority of domestic slaves are Mexicans. Another 15% of these victims are [undocumented] migrants from Guatemala and El Salvador. Their undocumented status allows employers to prohibit their leaving the home, prohibit their access to education or deny their right to have a life of their own. The same dynamics happen to Latina women in the United States and Canada.

For centuries [middle and upper class white Mexican women] became accustomed to looking at domestic labor slavery as something that ‘helps’ indigenous women and girls. We used the hypocritical excuse that we were lifting them out of poverty by exploiting them. [They reality is that] millions of these women and girls are subjected to work conditions that deny them access to education, healthcare, and the enjoyment of a normal social life.

We (Mexico’s privileged) men and women share the responsibility for perpetuating this form of slavery. We use contemptuous language to refer to domestic workers. Like other forms of human trafficking, domestic labor slavery is a product of our culture.

Domestic work is an indispensable form of labor that allows millions of women to work. We should improve work conditions, formally recognize it in our laws, and assure that in our homes, we are not engaging in exploitation cloaked in the idea that we are rescuing [our domestic workers] from poverty.

To wash, iron, cook and care for children is as dignified as any other form of work. The best way for us to change the world is to start in own homes.

“Plan B” is a column written by Lydia Cacho that appears Mondays and Thursdays in CIMAC, El Universal and other newspapers in Mexico.

Lydia Cacho

CIMAC Women's News Agency

July 27, 2010


Added: Aug. 04, 2011

Death threats continue against one of Mexico's leading anti-trafficking activists

Mexico

Mexican Anti-trafficking activist and journalist Lydia Cacho is shown leaving a court session during one of her several past human rights related legal battles. Her blouse says, "No Pedophiles, No Corruption, No Impunity."

Lydia Cacho: La fama es una herramienta para salvar la vida

"Nuestra visibilidad ha logrado subir el coste político de nuestra desaparición", ha afirmado hoy la autora de "Esclavas del poder", un libro sobre la trata de mujeres y niñas que da nombres de criminales y funcionarios públicos implicados en estas redes en su país.

Lydia Cacho ha relatado, en la Universidad Internacional Menéndez Pelayo, su experiencia como parte de "una hermandad global", la formada por "los sobrevivientes de una guerra que no tiene cuartel y que quiere liquidar por todas las vías posibles la libertad de expresión". Una hermandad, ha dicho, que no existiría "sin las redes humanas que eligen protegerles".

La periodista y escritora mexicana lleva seis años preguntando qué hacer con ese doble papel de narrador y personaje a otros colegas amenazados, con los que ha emprendido lo que ellos llaman el "tour de la fama heroica", esos viajes al extranjero para recoger premios o pronunciar conferencias sobre derechos humanos.

Roberto Saviano, Salman Rusdhie o la fallecida Ana Politkovskaya son integrantes de esa hermandad que tuvo que "abdicar" de su personalidad para convertirse en "símbolo" y también para recordar que "el periodismo es una misión y no solo un trabajo mal pagado".

Para Lydia Cacho, convertirse en noticia es "un arma de doble filo" que hiere, debilita y aleja de colegas y amigos y que antepone "la tragedia de las amenazas a la importancia del trabajo que llevó a ellas".

Pero aún no conoce, ha subrayado, a un colega que haya sido perseguido o torturado y que considere "que defender la libertad individual o colectiva es un acto de heroicidad".

Quienes sufren esas amenazas deben mantenerse en guardia para seguir a salvo y saltan "ante cualquier sonido que se parezca a un disparo" pero tienen que seguir "denunciado a los cuatro vientos hasta el hartazgo el nombre del empresario, el político o el policía que ha puesto precio a su cabeza", ha defendido.

Lydia Cacho ha recordado que 64 periodistas han perdido la vida en México y "ni uno de esos homicidios ha sido esclarecido" en un país donde "estar amenazado de muerte no es noticia, como tampoco lo es morir".

Y le preocupa que a quienes se la juegan como ella se les vea como mártires. "No lo somos, esto no tiene que ver con el sacrificio aunque tenga unos costes altísimos", unos costes que asume porque sabe que su trabajo es "vital", al menos para las 200 niñas que ya no están en la red de trata que denunció. "La valentía es la de ellas, que se atrevieron a contarme sus historias", ha apostillado.

Cree que en su país cada vez hay más periodistas que "se someten al yugo de la autocensura" y que quienes se atreven a hablar se convierten en "el enemigo de una patria que busca disfrazarse de democracia".

Pero están las organizaciones civiles, fundadas por mujeres en un 90 por ciento, que trabajan por la regeneración aunque movilizarse también tenga un coste y una generación joven que se está concienciando.

"Se puede sorprender el mundo muy pronto con lo que puede hacer la sociedad de México", ha avisado.

Lydia Cacho: Being famous can be a lifesaving tool

“Our visibility is raising the political costs of eliminating us” declared author and anti-trafficking activist Lydia Cacho during a recent presentation at Menéndez Pelayo International University. Cacho’s latest work, The Slaves of Power, is a book about the sex trafficking of women and girls that directly names and implicates criminals and public officials in the operation of criminal networks in Mexico.

Cacho related her experiences as being part of a global sister-and-brotherhood that consists of “the survivors of a war that has no ‘army’ – but which works to eliminate by any means necessary freedom of expression.” That sister-and-brotherhood could not exist “without the networks [of global pro human rights activists and supporters] who have chosen to protect us.”

The Mexican journalist and author has spent six years wondering what to do with her double role as narrator and threatened character in this story. Together with colleagues who live in the same situation, she has undertaken what they call the "heroic tour of fame" - trips abroad where they receive awards and give lectures on human rights.

Roberto Saviano, Salman Rusdhie and the late Anna Politkovskaya are members of this group. They each had to set aside their individuality to become “symbols, while remembering that journalism was a mission, not just a poorly paid job.”

For Cacho, being the news is becoming a "double-edged sword" that hurts you, weakens you, distances you from colleagues and friends, and places the "tragedy of the threats into the middle of your working relationships.”

Cacho has yet to meet a colleague who has been persecuted or tortured and who considers "the defense of individual and collective freedom to be an act of heroism." 

Those who suffer such threats are constantly on the lookout for their own safety. [We] jump at "any sound resembling a gunshot." Nonetheless, we must continue to “denounce to the four winds [until people are sick of hearing about it] - the name of the [corrupt] businessman, politician or police officer who may have put a price on your head," Cacho argued.

Lydia Cacho recalled that 64 journalists have been killed in Mexico and "not one of those murders has been solved." This in a country where "being threatened with death is not news, nor is death itself."

Cacho worries that those who find themselves in this position may be seen as martyrs. "We are not. This has nothing to do with sacrifices, despite the fact that we do pay a very high price.” We take on these costs because we know that our work is vital. [In my case], my efforts have been vital for the 200 [underage] girls [in Cancun] who are no longer [enslaved] in the sex trafficking network that I denounced [starting in 2005]. Those girls, who dared to tell me their stories, were the courageous ones, says Cacho.

Cacho believes that more and more journalists are "submitting themselves to the yoke of self-censorship." She added that those who continue to dare to speak up have become the “enemies of a nation that seeks to cloak itself with the label of democracy.”

Cacho says that civil society organizations, some 90% of which have been founded by women, are working to reform Mexican society, despite the fact that acting to mobilize also has a price. We also see that a young generation is becoming aware, she said.

"It may surprise the world very soon to see what Mexican society can do," concluded Cacho.

EFE

July 22, 2011

See also:

Added: Aug. 04, 2011

Mexico

Muckraking Mexican journalist receives death threats

Mexico City – Mexican journalist and author Lydia Cacho told authorities she has received death threats for revealing the names of sex traffickers and urged them to take action to identify the perpetrators.

"Last week, as I was returning from an event in (the northern state of) Chihuahua, I received very specific death threats," Cacho said in a statement released Wednesday, adding that after investigating the source of the threats she decided to report them to authorities.

"We have clear signs of who these people claiming to be hit men are. There's also evidence of the origin of the calls and e-mails. Authorities have the responsibility to act," the investigative reporter and women's rights activist, who has exposed prostitution and child-pornography rings, said.

She recalled that several journalists have been killed "after receiving very similar threats," although they were disregarded at the time by the authorities and the recipients themselves.

The idea was that "those who threaten don't kill, but that's changed," Cacho said.

She said experts who analyzed the threats she received last week and the format in which they were sent urged her to "take them very seriously and take all appropriate precautions."

The journalist and author said she is not asking for any special treatment but only wants authorities to do their duty to investigate "those who are promising to torture me and end my life out of revenge for revealing the names of traffickers of girls and women."

"I don't have the slightest intention of ceasing to practice journalism and work in defense of human rights, but I also don't want to die or risk my life without (taking) necessary precautions," Cacho said.

The journalist has been the target of threats since 2005, when she published a book, "Los demonios del Eden" (The Demons of Eden), that exposed pedophile rings operating under the protection of politicians and business leaders. For publishing the crimes of Lebanese-born Mexican businessman Jean Succar Kuri and others, Cacho was the victim of kidnapping, torture and police abuses, which she revealed in another book titled "Memorias de una infamia" (Memoirs of an Infamy).

In it, she detailed her arrest in late 2005 in Cancun on charges of defamation - a criminal offense in Mexico - filed by Kamel Nacif, one of Mexico's richest men, whom she had identified as a friend and protector of Succar Kuri.

She told of being taken to Puebla, a city more than 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) away, and of being psychologically tortured and threatened with death.

In early 2006, Mexican newspapers published transcripts of wiretapped conversations between Nacif and the then-governor of the central state of Puebla, Mario Marin, in which the two men discussed a plot to have Cacho jailed and then sexually assaulted behind bars.

On the tapes, Nacif, known as the "denim king" for his dominance of the blue-jeans business, is heard telling Marin that he had arranged for "the crazies and the tortilleras (Mexican slang for lesbians)" to sexually assault Cacho in the women's prison in Puebla city.

The transcripts indicate that Nacif engineered the journalist's arrest by bribing court personnel not to send her the summonses for the defamation case.

The reporter's lawyers managed to get her out of jail before any harm could come to her and the defamation case against her was later dismissed.

In her weekly newspaper column and other published works, Cacho also has revealed precise information about people trafficking, organized crime, drug trafficking, gender-related violence and official corruption.

The author's most recent book, "Esclavas del poder, un viaje al corazon de la trata de mujeres y niñas en el mundo" (Slaves of Power: A Journey to the Heart of the World Sex Trafficking of Women and Girls), exposes global sex-trafficking rings and reveals the names of public officals who protect them.

EFE

June 30, 2011

See also:

LibertadLatina Special Section:

Journalist / Activist

   Lydia Cacho is

   Railroaded by the

   Legal Process for

   Exposing Child Sex

   Networks In Mexico


Added: Aug. 04, 2011

Federal agents arrest 1,030 suspected human traffickers in Ciudad Juarez - 20 underage girls are rescued

Mexico

Marisela Morales Ibáñez was appointed as Mexico's first female Attorney General in March of 2011

Más de mil detenidos en Ciudad Juárez por trata de personas

En el marco del Programa Nacional “Alerta Amber” para la localización de menores desaparecidos, elementos de la Policía Federal detuvieron a mil 30 presuntos tratantes de personas y rescataron a 20 menores, tras un operativo gran escala implementado en Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua.

Las detenciones se realizaron por parte de la Secretaría de Seguridad Pública (SSP) durante un operativo contra el tráfico de personas y explotación sexual.

Se informó que se catearon en total 24 bares, tres hoteles y dos casas de huéspedes, ubicados en las calles Carranza, La Paz, Miguel Ahumada, Globo, Grijalva, Francisco Javier Mina, Noche Triste y Rafael Velarde, de la colonia Centro.

La mayoría reportadas como desaparecidas

Como resultado se detuvieron a 500 hombres y 530 mujeres, presuntamente vinculados a redes de trata de personas y explotación sexual, y fueron rescatadas 20 menores del sexo femenino, varias de ellas reportadas como desaparecidas.

Los detenidos fueron trasladados a las instalaciones de la Fiscalía General de Chihuahua, donde se continuará con las investigaciones y el cruce de información con Plataforma México, para conocer si alguno de ellos cuenta con antecedentes penales u órdenes de aprehensión vigentes.

La SSP recordó que el programa “Alerta Amber” inició en Estados Unidos y fue adoptado por México, en virtud de los beneficios que aporta para ayudar a familias que han extraviado por diferentes motivos a algún familiar menor de edad.

Dicha estrategia permite la coordinación inmediata de autoridades de distintos órdenes de gobierno, así como organismos no gubernamentales, ciudadanos y medios de comunicación para localizar a niños desaparecidos.

En un evento la titular de la Procuraduría General de la República (PGR), Marisela Morales Ibáñez, clausuró los cursos de capacitación que impartieron autoridades estadounidenses a funcionarios mexicanos que participan en el programa “Alerta Amber”.

Ciudad Juárez, con 1.2 millones de habitantes, es considerada la urbe más violenta de México por los enfrentamientos entre carteles de las drogas de Juárez y Sinaloa, apoyados por cientos de pandilleros de ambos lados de la frontera, que han causado unos 9.000 muertos desde diciembre de 2006.

Calderón contra trata de personas

El pasado 12 de julio, el presidente mexicano Felipe Calderón promulgó una reforma constitucional para sancionar la trata de personas, un delito que será perseguido sin necesidad de denuncia, y se garantizará el anonimato de las víctimas en el proceso, informó el gobierno.

La trata de personas "es uno de los delitos que más ofende y que más daña la dignidad humana" dijo Calderón al condenar a los "criminales sin escrúpulos" que obligan a personas a "pedir limosna en las calles, a trabajar de sol a sol en trabajos inhumanos, a prostituirse, a soportar golpes o maltratos".

Calderón Hinojosa llamó a toda la sociedad a participar de manera activa en la erradicación de la trata de personas, “que causa tanto dolor”.

La reforma modifica los artículos 19, 20 y 73 de la constitución mexicana a fin de que la trata de personas se persiga de oficio, se dicte prisión preventiva sin derecho a fianza contra los probables responsables y se proteja la identidad de las víctimas en el proceso judicial.

Over a thousand arrested in Ciudad Juarez trafficking

As part of Mexico's national "Amber Alert" program for locating missing children, members of the Federal Police have arrested 1,030 suspected human traffickers and rescued girl 20 children during a large-scale operation that was carried out in the city of Ciudad Juarez, located in the northern border state of Chihuahua.

The arrests were made by agents of the Secretariat of Public Security (SSP) during an operation against human trafficking and sexual exploitation.

It was reported that a total of 24 bars, three hotels and two guest houses were raided. They were located on Carranza, La Paz, Miguel Ahumada, Globe, Grijalva, Francisco Javier Mina, Noche Triste and Rafael Velarde streets, all located in the Centro neighborhood.

Most of those rescued had been reported missing

As a result of the raids, authorities arrested 500 men and 530 women who were allegedly linked to human trafficking and sexual exploitation networks. Several of the rescued children had been reported missing.

The detainees were transferred to the facilities of the Attorney General of Chihuahua, where there names will be cross-checked [with law enforcement databases from across Mexico].

The SSP said that the "Amber Alert" system began in the U.S. and was adopted by Mexico...

Amber Alerts enable the immediate coordination of authorities at different levels of government and among nongovernmental organizations, citizens and media in locating missing children.

Federal Attorney General Marisela Morales Ibáñez presided at ceremonies that concluded training courses that were provided by U.S. authorities to Mexican officials involved in the [nation's new] "Amber Alert" program.

With 1.2 million inhabitants, Ciudad Juarez is considered the most violent city in Mexico due to feuds between the Juarez and Sinaloa cartels, which are supported by hundreds of gang members from on both sides of the [U.S. / Mexican] border. The violence has caused 9,000 deaths since December of 2006.

Calderon against human trafficking

On July 12, [2011,] Mexican President Felipe Calderon issued a constitutional amendment to punish human trafficking, a crime will be prosecuted without the need for an initiating criminal complaint submitted by a citizen [an aspect of Mexico's Napoleonic legal code]. The amendment will also ensure the anonymity of the victims [and pre-trial detention of suspects].

Trafficking in persons "is one of the crimes that is most offensive and damaging to human dignity" Calderon said in condemning the "unscrupulous criminals" that force people to "beg in the streets, working from dawn to dusk in inhuman working conditions into prostitution and withstand blows or maltreatment."

Calderón called upon all in Mexican society to participate actively in the eradication of human trafficking, "which causes so much pain."

The reform amends Articles 19, 20 and 73 of the Mexican constitution so that human trafficking is prosecuted ex officio, allows for [pre-trial] custody without bond for perpetrators and protects the identity of the victims in the process judiciary.

Univision.com

July 24, 2011

See also:

Added: Aug. 04, 2011

Mexico

More than 1,000 people arrested in human trafficking operation in Mexico

Ciudad Juárez - Federal police arrested more than 1,000 people for their alleged involvement in the crimes of human trafficking and sexual exploitation in northern Mexico, La Jornada newspaper reported on Sunday.

Agents of the federal police in the northern border city of Juárez in the state of Chihuahua arrested 1,030 people, including 530 women, accused of human trafficking and sexual exploitation of minors. In the sting, authorities also freed 20 underage girls who were being sexually exploited in bars and hotels in the area.

The operation lasted nine hours and involved hundreds of federal and state police agents. The detainees were transferred to the Chihuahua State Public Prosecutor's office.

The Ministry of Public Security in Mexico City released the results of the operation that was conducted last Friday as part of the Amber Alert program. Mexico joined international efforts to spread the use of the Amber alert on April of this year.

Ciudad Juárez is considered one of the most dangerous cities in the world and is often referred to as the murder capital of Mexico. As a critical site for drug traffickers, violence in the city has increased dramatically since President Felipe Calderón intensified the crackdown on organized crime in 2006.

BNO News

July 24, 2011


Added: Aug. 04, 2011

Mexico's new attorney general cleans house

Mexico

Mexican Attorney General Marisela Morales Ibáñez

Alcances de la limpia en PGR

El Universal Editorial

Ayer, la Procuraduría General de la República (PGR) dio a conocer que 21 de sus delegados estatales renunciaron la semana pasada, advirtiendo que la depuración de estos elementos es “fundamental para dar resultados”.

Ciertamente es imperativo sanear de malos elementos las instancias de procuración de justicia, no sólo a nivel federal, sino también en los tres niveles de gobierno, porque no habrá lucha contra la criminalidad que prospere si desde las propias instancias gubernamentales se sabotea todo el trabajo, ya sea por ineficiencia de los propios funcionarios, como por corrupción de los mismos.

La mira debe estar puesta no sólo en las prioridades que exige la coyuntura, sino en el establecimiento de programas institucionales pensados para el largo plazo, que fijen una ruta ambiciosa y clara, capaz de fincar los cimientos de una nueva estructura judicial, renovada desde su base misma, el Ministerio Público Federal, hasta llegar a los mandos superiores.

Para ello, los delegados salientes deben ser relevados por personal que haya aprobado todos los controles de confianza y pertenezca a una nueva generación de profesionales de la procuración de justicia, sin ligas con viejos vicios y prácticas de la dependencia, apegados a estrictos códigos de conducta y desempeño, que lleven al país a un mejor nivel judicial.

Se informó de 21 delegados removidos, pero se impone pasar lista a todo el país, sobre todo en aquellos estados donde la violencia criminal está concentrada y su amenaza suele complicar la operación del aparato de procuración e impartición de justicia. La tarea no es fácil y sí muy riesgosa, pero aun en esas circunstancias se debe ir hacia adelante en la modernización de prácticas, entendiendo que la tarea implica riesgos y justo es en los lugares más complicados donde se debe probar a los mejores hombres y mujeres de la PGR.

México espera mucho de la PGR, porque los retos en materia de seguridad son enormes. Sacudir las estructuras internas es una buena práctica, que si bien puede afectar intereses enquistados por décadas en la institución, es el primer paso necesario para comenzar a dar resultados. No son tiempos de contemplaciones ni dilaciones. El decantamiento interno de la PGR es una buena noticia para un país que requiere de sus autoridades cada vez más certezas.

Advances in the cleanup of the Office of the Attorney General of the Republic (PGR)

An editorial by El Universal, one of Mexico City’s two largest daily newspapers

The Office of the Attorney General of the Republic (PGR) yesterday announced that 21 of its federal prosecutors working at the state level [around the nation] had submitted their resignations last week. The announcement warned that these resignations would be “a fundamental first step to achieving results.”

It is certainly an imperative to clean up the bad elements within criminal justice institutions, not just at the federal level but at all three levels of government [federal, state and local]. A truly effective effort to combat the criminal elements that prosper in the current situation cannot exist if crime fighting efforts are sabotaged from within the very government offices that are expected to carry them out, be it through the incompetence or the corruption of the involved public servants.

The focus must be placed not only on the priorities required a given [criminal case], but also on the establishment of institutional programs designed for the long term. These programs must set a clear and ambitious course, one that is able to create the conditions needed to establish a new judicial structure that will be renovated from the very foundations of the PGR through to its top leadership.

To achieve this goal, the outgoing prosecutors must be replace by a new generation of criminal justice professionals who have passed every test of integrity and competency. They must be individuals who do not have ties to the old vices and practices of the PGR, and who are willing to follow a strict code of conduct, so that they can take Mexico to an improved state of jurisprudence.

Beyond the 21 resignations, the PGR is imposing reforms throughout Mexico, especially in those states where criminal violence is concentrated and where that threat complicates the operations of the apparatus of administration and enforcement of justice. The task will not be easy and is indeed risky. Nonetheless, the reform efforts to introduce modernized practices must continue. It is precisely the most dangerous regions of Mexico that will require the assistance of the PGR’s best prosecutors.

Mexico expects much of the PGR, because the security challenges are enormous. Shaking-up the PGR’s internal structure is a good start, despite the fact that interests that have been entrenched for decades may have been affected. It is a first step toward achieving improved results. This is not a time for contemplation or procrastination. The clean-up of the PGR is good news for a nation that is increasingly demanding certainty from its criminal justice authorities.

El Universal

Aug. 02, 2011

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Added: Aug. 04, 2011

Mexico

Mexico Prosecutors in Mass Resignation

Federal prosecutors in 21 of Mexico’s 31 states have resigned en masse from their posts, according to a statement from the Attorney General’s Office.

State office coordinator, Rosa Elena Torres Davila, revealed in a short announcement that the resignations were received on July 29, without going into further detail. Torres said the Attorney General’s Office will begin the search for replacements with immediate effect.

Those resigning include prosecutors in Mexico City as well as Michoacan, Sinaloa and Tamaulipas, some of Mexico’s most violent states, where criminal gangs and drug traffickers often operate with impunity.

The Attorney General’s Office is a key agency in Mexico’s fight against organized crime, investigating drugs and weapons trafficking, and initiating court proceedings against suspected criminals.

Attorney General Marisela Morales, who took office in April, has seen a number high-profile prosecutions collapse, including a case against the former mayor of Tijuana, who was suspected of links to the Sinaloa Cartel.

In a brief written statement to the media, Morales said “purging is fundamental within the Attorney General's Office,” adding "the Mexico of today requires that those of us in public office act with total commitment and responsibility of service."

The mass resignation comes only weeks after the Attorney General’s Office announced that it would investigate up to 700 state employees suspected of corruption.

Ronan Graham

In Sight

Aug. 02, 2011

See also:

Added: Aug. 3, 2011

Mexico

Mexican prosecutors step down amid purge

The top federal prosecutors in 21 of Mexico’s 31 states and federal districts have abruptly quit the attorney general’s office, although it is unclear if their resignations were the result of a protest or if they had been forced out.

Newly appointed Attorney General Marisela Morales has led a purge of the office since assuming control in April, announcing during a press conference two weeks ago she had overseen the firing of 140 police officers and investigators and had more than 280 others under investigation.

Ms. Morales said at the time that 424 personnel were involved in dismissal proceedings. In a statement, her office described the purge as a “restructuring,” although it did not elaborate.

The resigning attorneys include the top prosecutors in some of the most violent Mexican states, such as the border regions of Sonora, Sinaloa and Tamaulipas. The prosecutor for the federal district of Mexico City also quit.

The federal prosecutors are considered central to the Mexican government’s fight against the drug cartels and organized crime. More than 35,000 people have died in drug-related killings in Mexico in the four years since President Felipe Calderon declared an offensive against cartels shortly after taking office.

In a statement, Ms. Morales said today’s Mexico requires that those in public service do their jobs “with total commitment and responsibility.” She said the purge within the attorney general’s office was fundamental “to give the public the results it legitimately requires.”

The U.S. Department of Justice declined to comment.

The shake-up at the Mexican attorney general’s office is the most public show of transparency in recent history. In 2008, a total of 35 agents belonging to an anti-organized-crime unit were fired.

Of the 140 already fired in the current purge, CNN reported that 74 were let go because they failed so-called “confidence exams” that included polygraph tests and reviews of financial records. Eighteen others were fired because they faced criminal charges, including allegations of murder, and another seven were terminated after being convicted of crimes, such as murder and kidnapping.

Mexico’s last attorney general, Arturo Chavez, resigned in March after 18 months leading efforts to tackle Mexico’s violent drugs cartels and reform the justice system. He said at the time he was leaving for urgent personal reasons.

In his previous role as the top prosecutor in Chihuahua state, Mr. Chavez was accused of mishandling investigations into the murder of women in Ciudad Juarez on the U.S. border.

The Washington Times

August 2, 2011

See also:

Added: Aug. 3, 2011

Mexico

Marisela Morales (left of center) at the 2011 International Women of Courage Award with Hillary Clinton (right) and Michelle Obama (left)

See: Wikipedia article on Attorney General Marisela Morales

Mexico names new attorney general to fight drug war

Mexico City - Mexican President Felipe Calderon named a senior anti-narcotics investigator praised by Washington as attorney general on Thursday in the government's latest drive to contain drug violence across the country.

Calderon nominated Marisela Morales, who heads the attorney general's investigative division on organized crime, to take on the task of modernizing Mexico's decrepit justice system. Morales, 41, would be the first woman to hold the post.

Her nomination comes at a time of widespread public anger over the impunity of gunmen who kill rivals and escape prosecution in the world's biggest Spanish-speaking nation.

Mexico's prosecutors and courts are under scrutiny as the army has rounded up thousands of suspected criminals in Calderon's war on drug cartels that has claimed more than 36,000 lives since late 2006. But some 90 percent of those crimes go unpunished, international rights groups say.

An expert in criminal law who has spent her career in Mexican justice, Morales was awarded a prize by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton earlier this month and upheld as a brave woman fighting organized crime. Morales, whose appointment still needs to be ratified by the Senate, takes over from Arturo Chavez, who resigned for personal reasons on Thursday but who faced sharp criticism for his professional record even as he took the job 18 months ago.

Chavez was a former prosecutor in Chihuahua, now Mexico's most violent drug war state. Calderon hoped his experience in the north would help stop murders and jail breaks that are scarring the region and frightening off some investors.

But even at his ratification in September 2009, lawmakers harangued Chavez over the deaths and disappearances of hundreds of young women in Chihuahua in the late 1990s when he was state attorney general...

Miguel Angel Gutierrez and Anahi Rama

Reuters

March 31, 2011

See also:

Added: Aug. 3, 2011

Mexico

Marisela Morales Nominated As Mexico's First Female Attorney General

Mexico City - President Felipe Calderon accepted the resignation Thursday of an attorney general known mainly for his weak image in a country fighting a drug war and nominated his top organized crime prosecutor as a successor, the first woman to hold the post if she is approved.

Arturo Chavez Chavez, the second attorney general to resign under Calderon, said he was leaving to "attend to urgent personal issues." The move came just three weeks after a leaked diplomatic said U.S. Embassy officials found his appointment in 2009 "politically inexplicable."

"The attorney general's office has been one of the weakest spots in Calderon's strategy in battling organized crime," said Andrew Selee, director of the Washington-based Mexico Institute. "There have been very few successful prosecutions against organized crime groups, those who launder their money and the public authorities who aid and abet them."

In nominating Marisela Morales, Calderon said the current head of the organized crime special investigations unit "enjoys prestige inside and outside the country."

Earlier this month, Morales was presented with a 2011 Women of Courage Award in Washington by U.S. first lady Michelle Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Chavez came into the job only 18 months ago amid criticism for the botched investigations into the murders of women in the 1990s in Ciudad Juarez, where he was the top prosecutor in Chihuahua state.

A September 2009 U.S. Embassy cable posted by WikiLeaks three weeks ago called Chavez "a less capable political operator ... stymied by his considerable human rights baggage."

According to numbers obtained by The Associated Press from Chavez's office, the government arrested 226,667 drug suspects between December 2006 and September 2009, and let more than three-quarters of them go. Only 15 percent of those detained saw a verdict. His office wouldn't say how many were found guilty.

As head of the organized crime unit, Morales made more public appearances in the capture of major drug lords than her boss.

Morales, who must be approved by the Mexican Senate, has in her current job prosecuted many key cases in Mexico's war on trafficking and organized crime, including corruption charges against some of her colleagues. Among the latter was her predecessor in the organized crimes unit, Noe Ramirez, who allegedly received $450,000 a month to pass sensitive information to the Beltran Leyva cartel.

"She is well-respected both by other agencies in Mexico and agencies in the U.S. government. She's seen as someone who has taken great personal risk and is perceived as very courageous," Selee said...

E. Eduardo Castilo

The Huffington Post

March 31, 2011


Added: Aug. 3, 2011

U.S. Justice Department takes down international child pornography ring that rewarded the torture of young children

The United States, The World

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder at a Justice Department news conference about "Operation Delego"

72 charged in online global child porn ring

Fifty-two people have been arrested so far in the U.S., 4 have pleaded guilty, officials say

10 more men have been charged abroad

U.S. attorney general: Members allegedly traded images "of adults molesting young children"

Washington, DC - More than 50 members of a child pornography ring who engaged in what authorities describe as "horrific" and "unspeakable" crimes have been arrested for sexually exploiting children from 12 years old to as young as infants.

Top federal law enforcement officials say agents busted the global online pornography ring following an intense international investigation that began in 2009. The ring, based in the United States, reached across five continents and 14 countries.

Seventy-two members of the online site called Dreamboard have been charged in the United States. Officials said 52 of them have been arrested in the U.S. and abroad. The identities of the remaining 20 are unknown at this time.

An additional 10 individuals were arrested abroad on charges from other countries.

"In order to become part of the Dreamboard community, prospective members were required to upload pornography portraying children under 12 years of age or younger," said Attorney General Eric Holder at a Justice Department news conference. "Once given access, the participants had to continually upload images of child sexual abuse in order to maintain membership. The more content they provided, the more content they were allowed to access. Members who created and shared images and videos of themselves molesting children received elevated status and greater access," he said.

What particularly horrified investigators were "super-hardcore" posts that involved adults having violent sexual intercourse with "very young kids" who were being subjected to both physical and sexual abuse.

Holder said, "Some of the children featured in these images and videos were just infants and in many cases, the children being victimized were in obvious and also intentional pain, even in distress and crying, just as the rules for one area of the bulletin board mandated. They had to be in distress and crying."

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said, "To give you an example of the scope of this forum, the capture and analysis of the forum revealed that the board may have been the vehicle for the distribution of up to 123 terabytes of child pornography, which is roughly equivalent to nearly 16,000 DVDs. ... Additional media recovered from the targets arrested in the United States alone has been found to contain over one million images of child pornography."

About 600 men belonged to the members-only online bulletin board, which has now been taken down. Authorities said the site encouraged and rewarded members who sexually abused young children and made them cry.

"As alleged, Dreamboard had strict rules and a rigid hierarchy. Its membership was tightly controlled by the group's administrators," Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer told reporters. "Applicants to the group were required to upload quote nude or hardcore child pornography to become members and members were required to continue posting additional images every 50 days or risk expulsion. Moreover, members could increase their status based on their level of commitment to the enterprise. From member, to VIP, to Super VIP, to the most elite status of all, Super VIP Dot. Only those members who produced their own child pornography could be granted the status of Super VIP Dot," Breuer explained.

"The members of this criminal network shared a demented dream to create the pre-eminent online community for the promotion of child sexual exploitation but for the children they victimized this was nothing short of a nightmare," Holder said.

One Justice Department investigator who asked not to be identified because of the ongoing probe said, "Dozens of young children were directly victimized," some of whom had been identified by agents working the case.

Of the five "administrators" who managed the online community, one was arrested in Canada and another in France. The three others have not yet been identified by agents following the case and remain at large.

"Operation Delego" was spearheaded by agents of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

John Morton, the head of ICE, said the day marked a law enforcement "success" but was nonetheless a "sad" day because of the nature of the crimes involved.

"There are days in this job where it's hard to separate great success from great sorrow and today is such a day. It's a day of great success because we've brought an end to one of the worst instances of Internet child abuse ICE has ever investigated. ... It's a day of great sorrow because this case is ultimately a tale of the perverse and often violent exploitation of children, very, very young children to satisfy the dark pleasures of a group of adult men," Morton said.

The law enforcement effort has been quietly unfolding in stages during the past few months. Four of the individuals arrested have already pleaded guilty, and all received sentences of more than 20 years in prison. Those sentenced are from Illinois, Alabama, Florida and Kentucky.

Those arrested outside the U.S. were picked up by officials in Canada, Denmark, Ecuador, France, Germany, Hungary, Kenya, the Netherlands, the Philippines, Qatar, Serbia, Sweden and Switzerland.

Holder said, "It's hard for me to imagine that there will ever be a penalty that could appropriately deal with this kind of conduct. Twenty to 30 years that the people have gotten in the past is, from my perspective, barely sufficient to handle what they have done in damaging the lives of these young people."

Terry Frieden

CNN

Aug. 03, 2011


Added: Aug. 4, 2011

LibertadLatina Commentary

We at LibertadLatina applaud U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, the U.S. Justice Department and all of the agencies and officers involved in Operation Delego, which shut down a grotesque  international child pornography network that glorified and rewarded the torture and rape of young children. We also wish you good hunting in taking down all child pornography rings, wherever they may exist.

We call attention to the below story on the rape with impunity of indigenous school children, from very young ages, in the nation's now-closed Indian boarding school system. The fact that the legislature of the state of South Dakota passed legislation that denies victims the right to sue (see below story) the priests and nuns who raped them is just as disgusting as any of the horror stories that are associated with the pedophile rapist / torturers who have been identified in Operation Delego.

Yet neither the U.S. Justice Department nor the Canadian government, where yet more horrible sexual abuses, and even murders of indigenous children took place, have ever sought to prosecute the large number of rapists involved in these cases.

In addition, federal prosecutors drop a large number of rape cases on Indian reservations despite the fact that indigenous women face a rate of rape in the U.S. that is 3.5 times higher that the rate faced by other groups of women. White males are the perpetrators of the rape in 80% of these cases.

When former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales fired eight U.S. attorneys in December of 2006, it turned out that 5 of those targeted had worked together to increase the very low prosecution rates for criminal cases on Native reservations, doing a disservice to victims of rape and other serious crimes in Indian Country.

The indigenous peoples of the Americas demand an end to the rampant sexual exploitation with impunity of our peoples, be they from the United States, Mexico, Brazil, Guatemala, Bolivia or Peru.

We expect the United Stated Government to set the tone and lead the way in that change in social values.

Time is of the essence!

End impunity now!

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

Aug. 05, 2011


Added: Aug. 04, 2011

The below article from the indigenous press tells the truth about one of the most outrageous human rights abuses in the history of modern Canada and the United States - the mass rape and torture of indigenous children in religious and government run boarding schools

Native United States

Members of the Wanna family - Mary Jane (left) and Patricia - shown on the grounds of what used to be the Tekakwitha Orphanage, where they resided as young children.

The remains of the house in Sisseton, South Dakota, where Tekakwitha Orphanage’s director, Father John Pohlen, lived and allegedly abused young children, when he wasn’t raping them behind the nearby church altar.

Photos: Stephanie Woodard

South Dakota Boarding School Survivors Detail Sexual Abuse

The Dakota expression for child, wakan injan, can be translated as “they too are sacred,” according to Glenn Drapeau, Ihanktonwan Dakota and a member of the Elk Soldier Society on the Yankton Sioux Reservation in South Dakota. “To us, children are as pure as the holy, moving energy of the universe,” he says, “and we treat them that way.”

When Native children arrived at Holy Rosary Mission, founded in 1888 at Pine Ridge to help in the religious conversion of the Oglala Lakota, nuns staffing the school described them as having good “morals” and giving “a tenth of the trouble white children cause,” Raymond A. Bucko wrote in Lakotas, Black Robes, and Holy Women (University of Nebraska Press, 2000). Nevertheless, corporal punishment was meted out regularly at Holy Rosary—“apparently without scruple,” according to Bucko—and a primary goal of the school was to cut the children off from their parents, their language and their culture.

Across the nation, in both the secular and church-run schools the federal government required Native children to attend from the late 1800s to the 1970s, the goal was assimilation—“kill the Indian to save the man” was their motto—seemingly at any cost. Court documents filed over the last several years in lawsuits against the boarding schools in South Dakota allege that as recently as the ’70s Native students were beaten, whipped, shaken, burned, thrown down stairs, placed in stress positions and deprived of food. Their heads were smashed against walls, and they were made to stand naked before their classmates. Untold numbers of children died over the century during which the residential schools flourished: some while en route to the institutions or at the schools themselves, and others of exposure and starvation while trying to escape, according to several sources, including the Boarding School Healing Project. Native parents forced to part with their children came to understand they might never see their youngsters again, and if they did, the children had often become strangers to their own people.

As a cost-saving measure, the federal government eventually turned much of the boarding-school system over to churches, primarily the Catholic Church, which used it to help expand its empire throughout the West. Churches, abbeys, convents and monasteries were built on or near reservations, and religious orders were founded and flourished.

Recent court settlements reveal that the education the Church offered Native children featured not just brutal corporal punishment but also rampant sexual abuse. Some 400 Native ex-students in the Northwest and Alaska recently shared in a $166-million settlement with the Jesuits’ Oregon Province for abuse suffered at schools in that region. Canada has set aside $1.9 billion for payments to survivors of its residential schools; more than 20,000 ex-students have submitted claims.

In South Dakota, 100-some former students of the state’s half-dozen so-called Indian Missions have sued the Catholic Dioceses of Sioux Falls and Rapid City since 2003. They’ve also made claims against the religious orders that ran the mission schools and Blue Cloud Abbey, in Marvin, South Dakota, which provided priests and is the final resting place of several alleged predators. They charge that priests, brothers, nuns and lay employees at these institutions raped, sodomized and molested them, often for years. Court documents, including testimony and Church records filed during the lawsuits’ initial phases, contain accusations of bizarre, violent and humiliating sexual abuse, along with the horrific physical abuse described above.

In 2010, South Dakota legislators discussed the Church’s difficulty defending against these many suits and passed a statute—written by a Church attorney and submitted as a “constituent bill”—blocking anyone over 40 from suing an institution, such as the Catholic Church, for childhood sexual abuse, though they may still sue individual perpetrators. (The South Dakota statute of limitations for physical abuse has long expired for the former students.) Since virtually all the Native plaintiffs are over 40 and some of the alleged perpetrators are dead, many observers, including Robert Brancato, director of the South Dakota chapter of Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, have accused the legislature of targeting the Native cases. “The law was designed both to make things difficult for Native Americans and to help the Church,” says Brancato. In March 2011, a judge applied the statute to throw out 18 of the South Dakota boarding-school cases; the plaintiffs in those cases have filed appeals with the state’s Supreme Court.

Below, former students recall their experiences.

Howard Wanna, 60, is an enrolled member of the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate, whose homeland straddles North and South Dakota. He has terminal lung cancer and recently celebrated what doctors tell him will be his last birthday.

Here is Howard Wanna’s story:

“When I first arrived at Tekakwitha at age four or five, the nuns and priests seemed welcoming, as though they wanted me to think of the place as my home. This friendliness went on for several weeks. Then one day, Father Pohlen came to the Papoose House, where I was living, and took me by the hand. He led me to the church, where we went behind the altar to a little room that had nothing in it but a chair.

“Father Pohlen sat me down, unzipped his pants, took his penis out, and began to wipe it on my face and lips. I was terrified. I didn’t know what was happening. In later sessions, sometimes behind the altar and sometimes at his house, suddenly I’d be choking and something would be running out of my mouth. He’d also turn me around and rape me, hurting me badly as he used his hands to grip my hair, neck, or shoulders.

“He rotated among about five of us younger boys, which left me with such confused emotions. On days it wasn’t my turn, I was so grateful, yet I felt terrible that one of my little friends was suffering. I also dreaded the fact that my day was coming again soon. Worst of all, I had no one to turn to, not even God, because God’s representative on earth was the one hurting me.

“Soon a nun began to abuse me as well, placing me under her gown and rubbing my little hands between her legs. This was something the nuns did to other children there, too. It was horrifying, not just because of what she was doing but because it was dark and I couldn’t breathe. Other abuse included beating us with sticks, hoses, and even a metal shovel.

“The cruelty was strangely inventive. At bath time, we’d line up, a line of naked girls and a line of naked boys, which was embarrassing to begin with. We’d take turns jumping into a laundry tub and being scrubbed—scratch, scratch, scratch—with a stiff brush you’d use for floors. We’d then hop out of the tub with scrapes all over our bodies.

“Once, after I tried to run away, I had to wear a dress for a while, and when we went outdoors I was tied to a tree.

“Tekakwitha was a very quiet place. You’d think with all those children, there’d be noise and laughing. But so many of us were being abused and simply didn’t talk. We were too frightened. It was like a horror movie in which people walk by each other but can’t communicate.

“As the years went by, my abuse lessened, probably because I wasn’t a cute little toy anymore, but also because I became more outspoken. I remember being told I was a smart-ass. When I was 8 or 9—we had no sense of time, because at Tekakwitha there were no markers, like birthday celebrations—my mother got wind of what was going on and came and ranted and raged. I heard they told her something like, ‘Take the little bastards,’ and we left.

“My adulthood was one hell of a struggle. But I fought through my failures and obstacles, went to college, and owned a restaurant and a construction company.

“[I believe] the Church caused the drinking and other problems former students experience. As a result, the tribe must sponsor chemical-dependency, suicide-prevention, anger-management, and many other programs, which is an enormous economic burden. At Sisseton Wahpeton, we just had three suicides, all youngsters in their 20s, and this happens frequently. Why? It’s the result of how we elders were treated as children—an effect that continues through the generations.

“I often wonder how so many pedophiles ended up at Native American schools. Father Pohlen was not only a pervert; he also hired the worst of the worst, which meant none of the Tekakwitha staff would protect us from the others. How did he find them? Is there someone in the Church you can call to request problem priests and nuns? Was there a dual plan to hurt Native Americans while taking care of the pedophiles? Was this genocide? It’s so confusing, but it’s also just plain evil.

“When the orphanage was demolished in 2010 [because of Environmental Protection Act issues], my relatives and I went to watch. Suddenly, during the demolition, we saw three eagles circling overhead, rising up and flying down low repeatedly for about 45 minutes. They had come to take home the spirits of the children. It was so awesome.

“I have sued the Church over my abuse, but because of my cancer I’m going to die with this on my mind, well before any chance of receiving justice. The people we looked up to most as children failed us. God’s servants blocked our power and took away our spirits. But we’ll get ’em back. By telling our stories, we’re opening a door, and we’re not going to let it shut until we’re done with them. No amount of compensation can cure us or absolve them, but we want our day in court. We want the public to hear what was happening to many Native American children in this country while non-Native people lived peacefully in their cities and towns and on their farms. Millions don’t know what we went through, and they need a quick history lesson. It’ll be a hard one, but it’s a fact.”

Mary Jane Drum, née Wanna, a retired counselor for Minnesota's corrections department... recalls that as children she and Mary-Catherine Renville would sit by the shrine [to the Virgin Mary at Tekakwitha] and use pine needles to sew leaves into tiny dresses. Looking back, Renville calls these interludes the instinctive things a person does to relieve a horrific situation, to make life seem ordinary and benign.

In 1946, when she was just three months old, Mary-Catherine Renville, 65, of the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate, was taken from her mother for reasons that remain unclear and placed in Tekakwitha Orphanage. After Tekakwitha, which went through junior high, she was sent to a boarding school in Nebraska.

Here is Renville’s story:

“All I remember of my earliest years at Tekakwitha was being hungry and a punishment that consisted of being placed in a dark crawl space. When I was 6, they moved me from the Papoose House for babies to the main building so I could start school. The nuns there would take us to their private quarters and do things to our bodies that even at that young age I knew were not right.

“The next year, a teenaged boy raped me. He said if I told, he’d bring other boys, and they’d all rape me. I was so frightened that I never did say anything.

“When I was 8 or 9, Father Pohlen placed me with a Michigan family. I understood it was a tryout for being adopted by them. I have a memory of being told to go get Vaseline, then returning to the room to find the boys and men in the family waiting for me. This lasted for a summer.

“I didn’t know where to turn or who to tell. Father Pohlen had placed me with the family, so I couldn’t confide in him, and the nuns were so cold—they didn’t care about our feelings and showed us no affection. They wanted our souls and to teach us to fear God. Sometimes they’d whip us, holding us with the left hand while using the right to beat us with a rubber hose. None of the adults in my life ever noticed anything about me: whether I’d sustained injuries because of the rapes or mistreatment or if I was afraid.

“When I was about 10, Father Pohlen placed me with a Spanish-speaking dentist, who wanted to teach me his language so I could speak it once he and his wife adopted me and took me to their country. Instead, he raped me and said he wanted to continue his ‘affair’ with me, though I mustn’t tell his wife. After several weeks, I was returned to the orphanage. Again, I never said anything to Father Pohlen or the nuns, other than that I didn’t want to learn Spanish or live with that man. I’d learned that to protect myself I shouldn’t say much...

Here is Zephier’s story:

“The priests’ and nuns’ keys jangled as they walked, so we knew when they were coming. Everyone in the dorm would quiet down, because you never knew what they’d do. Sometimes they’d bring high school students or more priests and brothers to hold our arms and press our bodies against a metal pole in the center of the room. Then they’d beat us with straps and a two-by-four with handles, which they called the ‘board of education.’

“There were also regular whippings at noon. One day, my older brother, Loren, created a commotion at midday so just that once we little ones escaped the whipping. Because we showered together in one large room, we could always see that many of us were bruised black, blue and purple. The beatings were so frequent, we adapted to the pain and got used to living that way.

“The nuns were as vicious as the priests—real brutes. I remember getting caught in the barbed wire around the top of the little boy’s playground. I’d seen Loren go by and had tried to go over the fence to get to him. Once the nuns got me untangled, I got quite a beating. At night, they’d pretend they’d left us, then stand in the dark corners of the dorm room, eerie in their hooded robes.

“The school was essentially a prison, with every door locked and total control of the children. We went in supervised groups from one secured place to another: to lunch, play, church, the dorm, and so on. Even if you managed to get out of a dorm room or classroom, you couldn’t run far, because at the end of each corridor was a locked floor-to-ceiling gate. The windows were covered with bars or chain-link grates, and the campus had barbed wire everywhere—along sidewalks and even around the church itself...

“The child-molesters would come and go, as the Church rotated them among the Indian missions. We children stood by each other as best we could, but for a child, it was a disturbing, sickening place to be. I have often wondered, where did the nuns and priests learn those things?

“My class, 1975, was the last to graduate from St. Paul’s Indian Mission, which then passed to tribal control and became Marty Indian School. At our commencement, a medicine man, Pete Catches, was allowed for the first time to fill his sacred pipe on the altar and pray with us.

“There’s beauty in our traditional ways. There’s honor, honesty—no lies, no judgment, no exaggeration. It’s the true experience of life. There’s no interpreting of someone else’s words, and no one else interpreting your experience. No one can tell you what is good or bad. That’s where the Church confused a lot of our people, conditioning them to think the traditional way of prayer was evil, the devil’s way. And if you didn’t believe them, they’d beat you.

“After I filed my lawsuit against the Church—with the blessings of my most revered supporter and hero, my father—I started talking about my experience to sisters, brothers and cousins who had also attended St. Paul’s. It was a relief to sit with them—to share and to cry. We knew what we experienced was unfathomable to others.”

Stephanie Woodard

Indian Country Media Network

July 28, 2011

See also

LibertadLatina Special Sections

Our below three special sections cover various aspects of the crisis of current and past indigenous boarding school-based dynamics of sexual exploitation in Canada, the United States and Mexico.

Native United States

Native Canada

School Exploitation


Added: Aug. 04, 2011

Extreme poverty - one of the key factors in fomenting human trafficking - is on the increase in Mexico's poorest and most indigenous states

Mexico

En Guerrero, Oaxaca y Chiapas se ha agravado la pobreza extrema

México, DF. Mientras en Guerrero, Chiapas y Oaxaca una de cada tres personas vive en pobreza extrema, en los estados donde la miseria es menor, como Distrito Federal, Baja California Sur, Baja California y Nuevo León, más de 30 por ciento de la población vive con carencias sociales, aseguró el Observatorio de Política Social y Derechos Humanos.

En un análisis enfatizó que se trata de entidades donde el ingreso es relativamente alto pero hay importantes rezagos en el cumplimiento de varios derechos sociales, entre ellos salud, educación, calidad en la vivienda, alimentación, seguridad social y servicios en la vivienda.

En el Distrito Federal una de cada cuatro personas se encuentra en situación de pobreza multidimensional moderada, es decir, que presenta al menos una carencia social y su ingreso se encuentra entre mil 20 pesos y 2 mil 180 pesos. Ello indica un crecimiento de 0.7 por ciento, indican datos de la delegación de la Secretaría de Desarrollo Social en esta ciudad.

Ante el incremento a escala nacional de la pobreza moderada en 3.2 millones de personas, para llegar a un total de 52 millones en esa situación, de acuerdo con la medición oficial que presentó el Consejo Nacional de Evaluación de la Política de Desarrollo Social (Coneval), la Sedeso aseveró que sus programas "han incidido directa o indirectamente en el abatimiento de las carencias y en los niveles de pobreza".

En un comunicado explicó ayer que este año el presupuesto para "la superación de la pobreza alcanza un récord histórico de casi 1.5 billones de pesos, que representan 57 por ciento del gasto programable".

Destacó que, de acuerdo con esa medición, sólo 19.3 por ciento de la población, es decir, 21.7 millones de personas, no tiene problemas de ingreso y cubre todas sus carencias, o sea, "no son pobres multidimensionales y tampoco son vulnerables". A ese sector se sumaron 2.2 millones de personas entre 2008 y 2010.

El Observatorio de Política Social consideró que "la crisis puso en evidencia que la política económica juega un papel fundamental en la reducción de la pobreza y los ingresos de las personas que trabajan fueron la causa del aumento del número de personas en pobreza, dada la caída de los salarios".

Indicó que, tomando en cuenta dichas cifras, es "fundamental que el Estado mexicano asuma sus obligaciones respecto de los derechos sociales, con el fin de reducir con mayor celeridad las restricciones de acceso a educación, salud, seguridad social, vivienda y, en especial, la alimentación".

Explicó que la crisis económica “siempre tendrá un papel central en el análisis de la pobreza en el mundo; sin embargo, la medida de la profundidad de las privaciones sociales –promedio de carencias– del Coneval revela la faceta estructural del problema en México”.

En términos de profundidad, para 2010 se muestra que las personas en pobreza moderada tienen 2.1 carencias sociales, es decir, que aún se encuentran lejos de tener un ejercicio adecuado de sus derechos y corren el riesgo de caer en pobreza extrema.

Extreme poverty increases in Mexico’s [largely indigenous] southern states of In Guerrero, Oaxaca and Chiapas

Mexico City – According to the Social Policy and Human Rights Observatory [think tank] (OPSDH), one out of three people who live in the states of Guerrero, Chiapas and Oaxaca, live in extreme poverty. In other regions of Mexico, such as the Federal District (Mexico City) and the states of Baja California Sur, Baja California and Nuevo León, where poverty is less, over 30 percent of the population lives in conditions of social deprivation.

The OPSDH analysis emphasized study of the case of entities where income is relatively high but where there are important lags in meeting various social rights, including health, education, housing quality, nutrition, social security and housing services…

According to official statistics presented by the National Council for the Evaluation of Social Development Policy (CONEVAL), the rate of moderate poverty has increased by 3.2 million people, raising the total to 52 million. The agency added that their programs "directly or indirectly have an impact on the abatement of these levels of poverty." In a statement, CONEVAL stated that this year's budget for "overcoming poverty has reached a record high of nearly 1.5 billion pesos, representing 57 percent of programmable spending."

According to CONEVAL, only 19.3 percent of the population, or 21.7 million people, have no problems in covering their income needs. However, [a segment of] the "non-poor are also vulnerable." This sector amounted to 2.2 million people between 2008 and 2010.

The Observatory of Social Policy found that "the crisis made it clear that economic policy plays a key role in poverty reduction, and income reductions among the working [poor] were the cause of the increased number of people in poverty, due to a decline in wages."

OPSDH said that, given these figures, it is "essential that the Mexican government assume its obligations in regard to social rights, in order to more rapidly eliminate current restrictions on access to education, healthcare, social security, housing, and, especially, food."

OPSDH explained that the economic crisis "will always have a central role in the analysis of poverty in the world, but the measure of the depth of social deprivation, as revealed by the CONEVAL study, demonstrates the structural aspects of the problem in Mexico."

[Many] people in moderate poverty… are at risk of falling into extreme poverty.

La Jornada

Aug. 01, 2011


Added: Aug. 04, 2011

Mexico

Vulnerables a "trata" mujeres y niñas indígenas: PGJE

Las mujeres y niñas indígenas son el grupo más vulnerable a ser víctima del delito de trata de personas, alertó el procurador de Justicia del estado, Manuel de Jesús López López y agregó que Oaxaca se encuentra entre las seis entidades del país con el mayor registro de casos.

En el marco de la inauguración del “Seminario internacional de la lucha contra la trata de personas”, en el cual participan 17 países de Europa y América, detalló que Chiapas, Tlaxcala, Veracruz, Distrito Federal, Puebla y Oaxaca, presentan los más altos registros de este delito.

Acompañado por el gobernador del estado, Gabino Cué Monteagudo y el embajador de Francia en México, Daniel Parfait, apuntó que la trata de personas está relacionada con el secuestro, explotación, narcotráfico y tráfico de órganos.

Por tanto, el mandatario, aseguró que es indispensable estrechar vínculos con otras naciones, mediante los cuales se estrecha la cooperación, de ahí la importancia de realizar este encuentro en la capital oaxaqueña.

Al respecto, el diplomático francés, consideró fundamental la realización del seminario, mediante el cual se compartirán experiencias y se obtendrá un documento que fungirá como protocolo de actuación en estos casos.

Indigenous women and girls are vulnerable to human trafficking: Oaxaca state Attorney General’s office

Oaxaca state Attorney General Manuel de Jesús López López has announced that indigenous women and girls are those who are the most vulnerable to the crime of of trafficking. He added that Oaxaca is among the six states of the country with the largest number of trafficking cases.

As part of the commencement of the "International Seminar on Combating Trafficking in Persons", in which 17 countries from Europe and the Americas participated, Attorney General López López explained that [the largely indigenous states of] Chiapas, Tlaxcala, Veracruz, Puebla and Oaxaca, as well as Mexico City, have the highest rates of trafficking crime.

Accompanied by state governor, Gabino Cué Monteagudo and Daniel Parfait, the French ambassador to Mexico, López López said that trafficking is associated with abductions, exploitation, drug trafficking and organ trafficking.

Therefore, López López declared that the international seminar, held in the state capital city of Oaxaca, was a critical part of efforts to enhance cooperation by strengthening ties with other nations.

French Ambassador Parfait noted that the seminar was key to allowing the participants to share their experiences, emphasizing that the resulting report will set out protocols for guiding state responses in trafficking cases.

Noticias Net

June 28, 2011


Added: Aug. 04, 2011

The following article excerpt describes some of the horrific events that the indigenous peoples of Paraguay have endured during the past 50 years. Their history is also that of most indigenous peoples across the Americas.

Today, Paraguayan indigenous women and girls are routinely subjected to sexual slavery in Argentina.

Paraguay

Paraguay is located in the 'Triple Border' region of South America, and sits adjacent to Missiones Province in Argentina, one of the largest sex trafficking centers in South America

Killings, Enslavement and Confinement

About the  genocide of the Aché tribe of Paraguay

...In 1968, the Aché’s forested home was made accessible by a new road, sending its value on the market skyrocketing as forest product and ranching interests bid for new territory. The Aché became the subject of a campaign by their Paraguayan neighbors of raids, kidnapping and enslavement. A pre-existing colonial legacy of hunting Indians was intensified into a systematic effort wherein manhunters and soldiers attacked with bullets, machetes, poison meals, traps and dogs. Survivors of the hunts were concentrated at the Guayakí National Reserve, a reservation at Cecilio Baez, and some children were separated from the community. There they were denied the right to continue their culture: their own rituals, songs, customs, group activities, language, and original names were forbidden. Adequate food and health care were denied while abuses included humiliation, rape, and torture.

The administration of the reservation by the fundamentalist New Tribes Mission, beginning in September 1972, reduced overt brutality, but not deculturation. The government’s desire for assimilation and the missionaries’ regard for the Aché “as degenerate and given to dealings with the devil” meshed into cooperation. The head missionary participated in the hunt, while the official he replaced had used the reservation to acquire Aché slaves.

Both the hunts and the reservation served as sources for slaves of all ages for fieldwork, domestic service, and sexual slavery.

By 1978, Professor Robert C. Smith of the University of Kansas reports, “the manhunt against the Achés appeared to have stopped because they have killed almost all the Achés in that area and there is no one left to hunt.” However, sporadic killings and kidnappings of Achés continued into the 1980s...

Observing the record, Shoah survivor and moralist Elie Wiesel concluded that genocide was occurring and pleaded for activism...

NationMaster.com


Added: Aug. 04, 2011

Paraguay

The above child is a Paraguayan girl who was photographed after being rescued by police in Argentina from sexual slavery.

Note: This picture is several years old.

Indígenas paraguayos piden ayuda frente a la trata de personas

Asunción, Paraguay. - Indígenas guaranís recurrieron a la Primera Dama, Mercedes Lugo, por ayuda ante un supuesto hecho de secuestro de adolescentes llevadas bajo engaño a Argentina hace nueve meses.

"Le pedimos que vea este caso, y se solucione y vengan nuevamente en nuestra comunidad, las dos chicas (de 14 y 15 años)", declaró Ricardo Benítez, dirigente de los nativos, que viven en una localidad del departamento de Boquerón, a más de 500 kilómetros al norte de Asunción.

Benítez señaló como supuesta responsable a una persona identificada como Mirna Ferreira, quien habría engañado a las madres de las adolescentes, con la promesa de que las mismas venderían a trabajar como niñeras en Asunción, agregó el reporte del portal de la Información Pública del Paraguay (IP).

Sin embargo, las jóvenes fueron a parar a Argentina, donde ya fueron ubicadas pero faltan los trámites para que puedan volver a Paraguay, según las informaciones que manejan los nativos, citando como fuente a la Fiscalía, completó la nota de IP.

Paraguayan Indigenous ask for help against human trafficking

Asunción, Paraguay. – Indigenous peoples of the Guarani tribe have asked Paraguay’s First Lady, Mercedes Lugo, for help with the case an alleged kidnapping of teen girls who were taken under false pretenses to Argentina for nine months.

"We ask that you take a look at this case, that it be resolved, and that that these two girls (ages 14 and 15) be brought back to our community,” said Ricardo Benitez, an indigenous leader from the state of Boqueron, located more than 500 kilometers north of Asuncion.

Benitez identified as the person who is allegedly responsible Mirna Ferreira, who had misled the mothers of adolescents with a promise that they would be given jobs as nannies in [the Paraguayan capital city of] Asuncion, according to a report from the Paraguayan Public Information [Internet] portal.

The two missing girls went to Argentina, where they have now been located. However, the [victims] lack the proper documentation that will allow them to return to Paraguay.

El Mercurio Digital

July 29, 2011

See also:

Added: Aug. 04, 2011
 

Paraguay

Teresa Martínez, fiscala que lleva la investigación.

Teresa Martínez, prosecutor leading the investigation into the trafficking of two female indigenous youth, ages 14 and 15, from Paraguay to Argentina

Desaparición de niñas indígenas sería un caso de trata de personas

Con engaños fueron sacadas de su seno familiar

La investigación está muy avanzada, aseguró la fiscala de la Unidad Especializada Teresa Martínez. Las niñas de 14 y 15 años de la comunidad indígena Guaraní Ñandeva de la localidad Boquerón fueron llevadas por alguien que dijo ser Mirna Ferreira para trabajar como niñeras en Asunción.

Una mujer que se presentó como “Mirna Ferreira” fue hasta la comunidad Ñandeva “2ª Trinchera” de Tte. Enciso, departamento de Boquerón, a pedir por adolescentes indígenas para que trabajen como niñeras en Asunción. El 23 de octubre volvió al lugar llevando víveres y convenció a las madres para que les entreguen a sus hijas de 14 y 15 años, prometiendo que volverían a sus hogares en diciembre. Hasta hoy están desaparecidas, y está abierta una investigación en la fiscalía de la Unidad Especializada de Trata de Personas, a cargo de Teresa Martínez. La denuncia fue formulada personalmente por padres y miembros de la comunidad ante la Comisión de Equidad Social y la Comisión de Pueblos Indígenas de la Cámara de Diputados y remitida a la Secretaría de la Mujer y el Ministerio Público.

La fiscala informó que según los datos que dieron las madres, se hizo toda la investigación en la base de datos de la Policía Nacional que responde al nombre Mirna Ferreira; les mostraron fotos, y ellas no reconocieron ninguna; aparentemente el nombre es falso y está circulando un identiquit de la mujer.

Los guardabosques de la de la Secretaría del Ambiente (Seam) están siendo investigados porque uno de ellos acompañó a la mujer hasta la comunidad.

“Lo extraño en este caso, conforme a los datos que vamos teniendo, fue que uno de los guardabosques no registró los datos de esta persona, teniendo la obligación de hacerlo. Dijeron que se quedó por una noche, pero según las investigaciones estuvo en el lugar 4 días. De confirmarse la información serán imputados”, indicó Martínez.

Teresa Martínez comunicó que la carpeta fiscal está muy voluminosa de todas las investigaciones que se vienen haciendo, ya que los datos que dieron las madres absolutamente no corresponden a la realidad. “Evidentemente fueron engañadas las madres y los guardabosques fueron los primeros en ser llamados ante el Ministerio Público”.

Alerta a la ciudadanía

Luz Gamelia Ibarra, directora de la Dirección de prevención y atención a víctimas de trata de personas, de la Secretaría de la Mujer, manifestó la preocupación sobre el caso de las niñas indígenas que podrían ser víctimas de trata. “Queremos hacer un llamado de alerta a la ciudadanía de que si alguna persona tiene a estas niñas adolescentes con el vínculo de criadazgo, niñera o empleada doméstica, denuncien a la Comisaria más cercana. Lo sensible del tema es que fueron sacadas del seno de sus familias, ellas están desaparecidas”.

Disappearance of indigenous girls may be a case of  human trafficking

The teen’s mothers were tricked into allowing them to travel to a fake job opportunity

Two teen girls, ages 14 and 15, were taken away from their Guarani tribal community of Guarani Ñandeva, located in the Department (state) of Boquerón, by a woman who represented herself using the name Mirna Ferreira. Ferreira told the girl’s parents that they were being taken to the Paraguayan capital city of Asunción, where they were to be given work as nannies.

Teresa Martínez, a prosecutor in the nation’s human trafficking unit, declared that the investigation into the case is in an advanced stage.

Ferreira, the suspected trafficker, traveled to Guaraní Ñandeva to ask for indigenous adolescents to work as nannies in Asunción. On October 23rd Ferreira returned to the town carrying groceries, and convinced the mothers of the two girls to give permission for Ferreira to take the two girls to Asunción to work. She promised the mothers that she would return their daughters in December. The two girls remain missing. In response, a prosecutorial investigation was initiated under the charge of Teresa Martínez. The criminal complaint was created by parents and other members of the community before a session of the Social Equality Commission and the Commission on Indigenous Affairs of the Chamber of Deputies [lower house of Congress]. The resulting complaint was presented to the Secretary for Women and the Attorney General’s office.

The Attorney General’s office reports that the name of Mirna Ferreira does not show up in their databases. The name was apparently false. The parents have not identified the suspect from photos shown to them by the authorities.

Members of the forest patrol are being investigated in the case, due to the fact that a patrol officer accompanied the suspected trafficker to Guaraní Ñandeva.

“The strange part of this case is that the forest patrol officer who accompanied Ferreira did not register her name, despite the fact that he had an obligation to do so. The forest patrol officer reported to us that the suspect stayed in Guaraní Ñandeva for one night, but our investigation shows that she was in the town for 4 days. If we confirm this information, the forest patrol officer will be charged.

Martínez reports that the file in this case is now quite large. “Evidently, the mothers were lied to. The forest patrol officers were the first to be called to account by our office.

Citizen’s Alert

Luz Gamelia Ibarra, who is director of the Directorate for Prevention and Attention for Victims of Trafficking in the Secretariat of Women’s Affairs, expressed her concerns about this case. “We want to issue a public alert asking that anyone who seeing these missing girls working as nannies of domestic help report their sighting to their local police department. The most sensitive part of this case is that these girls were robbed right from the protection of their family homes. Now they are missing.”

ABC.com Paraguay

Feb. 02, 2011

See also:

Added: Aug. 04, 2011

Paraguay

Mujeres indígenas van perfilándose cada vez más como víctimas

La trata de personas es un delito que tiene como principales víctimas a personas de sectores vulnerabilizados en sus derechos, en particular cada vez más, a la población indígena.

La trata de personas es un problema sin visibilidad en las comunidades campesinas e indígenas, lo que constituye un negocio de pocos que nos desafía a todos.

El 14 de julio, en algunos medios de prensa, se publicó un caso de explotación de niñas indígenas del Chaco (como por ejemplo en el Última Hora Digital).

En la ocasión, realizamos la siguiente reflexión:

Es preciso estar cada vez más atentos ante el flagelo de la explotación sexual comercial, la explotación laboral, la servidumbre doméstica y el comercio de niños y niñas.

La trata de personas es un delito que tiene como principales víctimas a personas de sectores vulnerabilizados en sus derechos, en particular cada vez más, a la población indígena, que inmersa en situaciones de desigualdad y abandono, fácilmente escucha y accede a promesas de una mejora de vida hecha por personas inescrupulosas.

Las mujeres, más aún cuando son niñas y no hablan español, son muy proclives a ser engañadas. En este caso, se trató de niñas indígenas totalmente indefensas (que por razones de feria judicial en Argentina, todavía no han logrado retornar). En efecto, las jóvenes, niñas y adultas mujeres, al ser traficadas, una vez en el lugar de destino, ya se topan con un entorno desconocido, no cuentan con posibilidades de contacto familiar, ningún tipo de soporte, lo cual las coloca en una situación de desamparo total. Esta vez, el accionar de ambos Estados estuvo de su lado ¿pero, y el resto de casos denunciados y no denunciados? ¿y la trata interna de mujeres indígenas?

Indigenous women are increasingly being targeted as victims of human trafficking

Human trafficking is a problem without visibility in rural and indigenous communities. It is a business run by a few but which impacts many.

On July 14th a number of media outlets published reports about the case of the exploitation of indigenous girls in the nation’s Chaco region.

On occasion, we made the following observation: We must be increasingly vigilant against the scourge of commercial sexual exploitation, labor exploitation, domestic servitude and trade in children.

Human trafficking is a crime whose main victims are people from sectors of society whose rights are vulnerable. This includes, increasingly, the indigenous population, which continues to be immersed in [a social condition of] inequality and neglect, which makes them at-risk to going along with the false promises of a better life to which they are subjected by unscrupulous people.

Women, and especially girls who do not speak Spanish, are very much at-risk of being deceived. This case involved two completely defenseless indigenous girls (who for reasons of the justice process in Argentina have not yet been returned [to their families]).

Young women, girls and adult women who have been trafficked are, once they reach the [trafficker’s intended] destination, faced with an unfamiliar environment. They have no access to family or other forms of support, which makes them helpless.

In this particular case, the actions of both states (Argentina and Paraguay) stood with the victims. But what about the [many] cases that go unreported. And what about the problem of the internal trafficking of indigenous women?

Base-IS

July 20, 2011


Added: Aug. 04, 2011

Mexico

Conferencia sobre vulnerabilidad de indígenas

Felipe Carrillo Puerto. - Como parte de los festejos de la emisora cultural, Radio XENKA, por los 12 años de estar al aire en este municipio, desde las instalaciones de esta radiodifusora se transmitió la conferencia titulada “Vulnerabilidad de la población indígena ante el fenómeno de trata de personas”, en la cual se contó con la participación de Elda María Castillo Chi, agente investigadora del Ministerio Público de la Subprocuraduría de Justicia de la Zona Centro, adscrita en la mesa III de delitos sexuales y trata de personas Elda María Castillo Chi. La funcionaria señaló que la trata de personas es conocida también como la esclavitud del siglo XXI o esclavitud moderna, está tipificada en el artículo 194 del Código Penal como delito de querella, pero cuando se trata de un menor de edad se persigue de oficio.

“Las mujeres blancas eran sometidas para ser prostituidas, y con el paso del tiempo los delincuentes empezaron a someter a todo tipo de personas y edades, pues la remuneración rebasa al narcotráfico”, apuntó.

Señaló que en la dependencia en la cual labora no ha recibido ninguna denuncia por este delito. Sin embargo, reconoció que sí existe, incluso en las comunidades, pero muchas personas no lo saben y no lo denuncian.

Todas las personas son vulnerables a la trata de blancas, no obstante, los indígenas están todavía en más desventaja, por el grado de estudios con que cuentan o por ignorar que es un delito y a dónde acudir, refirió.

Por último, puntualizó que la Subprocuraduría promueve la cultura de la denuncia a través de programas de radio en donde se invita a la población a participar para despejar sus dudas en cuanto a los delitos que comúnmente se presentan en esta región, además en la dependencia se cuenta con peritos traductores para atender a las personas que no hablan español y sólo se comunican a través de la lengua materna, que en este caso es la maya.

State prosecutor participates in radio program about the vulnerability of indigenous peoples to human trafficking crime

Felipe Carrillo Puerto - As part of its celebration of 12 years on the air, the indigenous radio station XENKA aired a lecture entitled, The Vulnerability of the indigenous population to the phenomenon of human trafficking." Participants included Elda Maria Castillo Chi, an investigative agent of the  Public Ministry of the Attorney General’s office for the central region [of Quintana Roo state].

Castillo Chi said that trafficking in persons is also known as 21st Century slavery and as modern slavery. Human trafficking is defined as a crime in Article 194 of the [state] Penal Code as an offense that requires a [civilian] complainant [in keeping with Mexico’s Napoleonic legal code]. When cases involve a minor victim, the crime is prosecuted ex officio [without requiring a complainant].

"White women were subjected to being prostituted. Over time, the criminals started to [traffic] people of all races and ages. This income augments their profits from drug trafficking,” noted Castillo Chi.

Castillo Chi added that her office has not received any complaints in regard to human trafficking, but she acknowledged that it is taking place, including within communities. Many people are unaware that it is happening. Others will not report it.

All people are vulnerable to sex trafficking, said Castillo Chi. However, indigenous peoples remain more disadvantaged as measured by their rates of educational attainment and their lack of knowledge that trafficking is a crime, and because theey don’t know where to go to report it.

Castillo Chi concluded her radio presentation by stating that the state attorney general’s office works to promote a culture of denouncing crime [a goal that is difficult to achieve in any part of Mexican society] through participation in radio programs, where the public is invited to allay their fears about the legal process involved. Castillo Chi explained that her office had translators to assist non-Spanish speaker to file complaints in their Mayan language.

Diario de Quintana Roo

June 11, 2011


Added: Aug. 04, 2011

Mexico

Explotan a indígena

Cordoba,Veracruz.- La trata de personas es una realidad en las zonas serranas del estado de Veracruz, este problema social se da más en los municipios del sur que del centro o del norte.

Y es que las mujeres indígenas siguen siendo objeto de abuso sexual, físico, psicológico y ahora hasta del económico, dice Sara María López Gómez, Delegada Estatal de la Comisión de Nacional para el Desarrollo de los Pueblos Indígenas.

Discriminación

La funcionaria admite que “en las comunidades indígenas todavía continúan algunos actos de discriminación más cuando vemos que hay emigración en las comunidades, la trata de personas es uno de los problemas, un problema serio” dice la entrevistada que es difícil contabilizar datos exactos sobre la trata de personas indígenas en Veracruz

“porque muchas de las veces no hay denuncias, no hay datos exactos pero es un realidad que existe” y aclara que en la zona centro del estado de Veracruz no se presenta tanto como en el sur de la entidad.

Pero no es el único problema “el abuso físico y sexual de los integrantes de las comunidades indígenas es una situación que prevalece y que hoy en día nos topamos con la barrera del silencio, y mientras no se declare en este sentido, y no se rompa con la barrera y la justicia sea pronta y expedita, esto no se podrá acabar”, dice la funcionaria Dio a conocer que este problema se ataca a través del funcionamiento de las casas de la mujer indígenas, instaladas en todas las zona serranas de la entidad, mismas que tienen como propósito precisamente atender los casos de este tipo

“donde los temas de violencia intrafamiliar, física, económica y emocional son tratados por mujeres que hablan náhuatl, mujeres que atienden a las propias mujeres y que también han padecido el flagelo” dio a conocer que a través de la CDI se busca mejorar las condiciones de vida, principalmente de las mujeres.

Asociaciones

> Save the children reporta que 3 mil niños y adolescentes son sustraídos diariamente de sus casas en todo el continente americano, para utilizarlos en el comercio sexual

> La CNDH ubica a Veracruz como uno de los corredores principales en la trata de personas dentro del país

Indigenous women are exploited in Veracruz state

The city of Cordoba in the state of Veracruz - Human trafficking is a reality in the mountain regions of Veracruz. It is especially concentrated in the southern zones of the state.

The fact is that indigenous women continue to be the objects of sexual, physical, psychological, and now even the economic abuses, says Sara María López Gómez, the federal government’s representative in Veracruz for the National Commission for the Development of Indigenous Peoples (CDI).

Discrimination

López Gómez admitted that "in the indigenous communities some acts of discrimination continue. These problems are accentuated when emmigration from these communities is involved. Human trafficking is one of the problems, a serious problem." She added that it is difficult to assemble accurate statistics on the problem "because in many cases nobody files a complaint. Therefore, no figures exist [to measure the extent of the problem], but it  does exist.” López Gómez noted that trafficking crimes are affecting southern Veracruz the most.

However trafficking is not the only problem. "Sexual and physical abuse of members of these indigenous communities is a reality that prevails today. We run into a wall of silence in these cases. Until we break through that wall, to the extent that we can render justice promptly and expeditiously, these problems may not end,” said López Gómez.

López Gómez said that this problem is being addressed through a network of homes of indigenous women that have been set-up precisely to assist indigenous women in their communities.

"Where issues of domestic, physical, economic and emotional violence are treated by women who speak [the indigenous language] Nahuatl, women who are caring for victims themselves and who have also suffered this scourge," that is where the CDI works to improve the lives of people, and primarily women.

Facts

* The NGO Save the Children reports that 3,000 children and adolescents are trafficked daily from their homes across the Americas for use in the sex trade.

* Mexico’s National Human Right Commission (CNDH) has identified the state of Veracruz as one of the main corridors used for human trafficking in Mexico.

Julián Ramos

El Clarin Veracruzano

April 15, 2011


Added: Aug. 04, 2011

Mexico

Conapred: plan antitrata estigmatiza a indígenas

El Programa Nacional para Prevenir y Sancionar la Trata de Personas 2010–2012 estigmatiza a los grupos indígenas del país con relación a sus usos y costumbres, al no incluir la descripción y el análisis de los patrones culturales de otros sectores sociales dentro de las posibles causas de este delito, consideró Ricardo Bucio Mújica, presidente del Consejo Nacional para Prevenir la Discriminación (Conapred).

MÉXICO, D.F.- El Programa Nacional para Prevenir y Sancionar la Trata de Personas 2010–2012 estigmatiza a los grupos indígenas del país con relación a sus usos y costumbres, al no incluir la descripción y el análisis de los patrones culturales de otros sectores sociales dentro de las posibles causas de este delito, consideró Ricardo Bucio Mújica, presidente del Consejo Nacional para Prevenir la Discriminación (Conapred).

Lo anterior debido a que la estrategia publicada el 6 de enero pasado en el Diario Oficial de la Federación prevé de manera focalizada para el ámbito indígena realizar un estudio respecto de los matrimonios forzados, servidumbres, la venta de niños y niñas, la explotación laboral de menores de edad y demás conductas que pudieran vincularse con la trata de personas.

“Es un estereotipo que pude estigmatizar, porque el hecho de que en esa estrategia no haya ningún otro grupo social y esté focalizado a los pueblos indígenas, sí puede estar estigmatizando a este grupo como parte de la causa de la trata de personas”, dijo Bucio Mújica.

En días pasados organizaciones de la sociedad civil pidieron al presidente Felipe Calderón Hinojosa y al secretario de Gobernación, Francisco Blake, sea derogado el Programa Nacional por considerar, entre otras cosas, que es deficiente, discriminatorio y no atiende a las víctimas de este delito.

En entrevista, el presidente del Conapred detalló que al subrayar prácticas que favorecen el delito de la trata de personas sólo en las comunidades indígenas, se limita la acción de esta estrategia nacional y se disminuye la posibilidad de que se tengan más conocimientos para poder combatir este ilícito en todos los niveles de la sociedad.

- Omite patrones culturales

Ricardo Bucio consideró necesario que se analicen todos los patrones culturales que tengan que ver con “una perspectiva de comercialización de las personas”. Explicó que en el programa puede estar presente un “asunto de omisión”, en cuanto a que no contempla la manera de tener una perspectiva amplia sobre todos los patrones culturales que están detrás de la trata de personas en México.

Bucio Mújica agregó que el Programa Nacional para Prevenir y Sancionar la Trata de Personas 2010–2012 es un documento “que se puede mejorar”, y en el cual no debe quedar una visión parcial o incompleta, “y sobre todo tratar de establecer los mecanismos para poderlo hacerlo operativo”.

CONAPRED: Anti-trafficking plan stigmatizes indigenous peoples

Mexico City - According to Ricardo Bucio Mujica, chairman of the National Council to Prevent Discrimination (CONAPRED), Mexico’s National Program to Prevent and Punish Trafficking 2010-2012 stigmatizes indigenous groups in this nation in regard to their customs by not including a description and analysis of cultural patterns of these non-mainstream social sectors within the realm of causal factors that contribute to trafficking.

The above statement responds to the the strategy published on January 6, 2011 in the Official Journal of the Federation (Federal Registry) plans a targeted manner to the Indian context a study on forced marriages, peonage, the sale of boys and girls, the labor exploitation of minors and other behavior that could be associated with human trafficking.

"It's a stereotype that could stigmatize due to the fact that no other ethnic group is targeted as are indigenous peoples. Indigenous peoples can be stigmatized (due to the wording of the strategy) as being part of the cause of human trafficking," said Bucio Mujica.

In recent days, non governmental organizations have called on President Felipe Calderón and the Secretary of the Interior, Francisco Blake to repeal the National Program to Combat Human Trafficking because, among other reasons, of the fact that it is flawed, discriminatory and does not serve the victims.

Bucio Mujica explained that by focusing the spotlight on practices that occur within indigenous communities, the federal government limits the effectiveness of the national strategy, and reduces the possibility of gaining the knowledge that will be needed to combat this illegal activity at all levels of society.

Strategy ignores cultural patterns

Bucio Mujica considered necessary to analyze all the cultural patterns that have to do with "a perspective of marketing people." He explained that gaps in the strategy may exist in ways that do not provide a broad perspective in regard to all of the cultural patterns that are behind human trafficking in Mexico.

Bucio Mujica added that the National Program to Prevent and Punish Trafficking in Persons 2010-2012 is a document "that can improve," and that should not be a partial or incomplete strategy. "Above all else it should try to establish mechanisms to facilitate making the plan operational.”

Miguel Ángel Sosa

El Universal

Feb. 01, 2011


Added: Aug. 04, 2011

Native United States

Laws "not enough" to tackle violence against Native women

Washington, DC - Juana Majel Dixon, first vice president of the National Congress of American Indians, said earlier this year that, "Young women on reservations live their lives in anticipation of being raped…They talk about 'how I will survive my rape‚' as opposed to not thinking about it at all."

"We shouldn't have to live our lives that way," she added.

But this is the harsh reality that a majority of all American Indian and Native Alaskan women face.

According to the Indian Law Resource Center, one in three native women is raped in her lifetime, while one in six will be domestically abused by a husband, boyfriend or intimate partner.

The National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC) estimates that the average annual rate of rape and sexual assault among American Indians is 3.5 times higher than for all races.

Several studies, which rely on statistical data from the Bureau of Justice, indicate that Native American women experience the highest rate of violence of any ethnic or racial group in the United States.

Furthermore, nearly 65 percent of American Indian women surveyed for the National Violence Against Women Survey (NVAWS) reported experiencing rape or physical violence.

Although the high rates of violence in Indian Country have long been the concern of a handful of community organisations, a series of recent gestures by the U.S. federal government suggests that the crisis has become sufficiently dire to merit national attention.

Addressing the press and the public in a conference call Thursday, Thomas Perrelli, associate attorney general with the Department Of Justice, said that the White House and its partners are engaged in consultations with tribes across the country about how best to protect Native women from violence.

He added that domestic violence in particular has reached "epidemic" rates in many Indian communities, and stressed the need for swift action.

Tribal leaders across the country have for decades lamented the limitations of existing legal structures for prosecuting perpetrators of both physical and sexual abuse, as well as stemming the escalating violence on reservations.

Under current law, tribal governments lack the necessary authority to impose punitive measures against perpetrators; in fact, tribal courts can only sentence Indian offenders to one year in prison.

The landmark Tribal Law and Order Act, which celebrates its one year anniversary later this month, extended possible sentencing of offenders from one to three years, but failed to grant tribal governments the authority to put non-Indians behind bars – even if the men in question live on the reservation, are part of the community or are married to tribal people.

Given that 50 percent of Native women have non-Native husbands, according to Kimberly Teehee, White House senior policy adviser for Native American Affairs, these limitations pose huge challenges for tribal governments.

The legislation currently before Congress will address some of the most gaping legal holes in the justice system, including recognising tribes' power to exercise criminal jurisdiction over domestic violence cases regardless of whether the offender is Indian or non- Indian and allowing for harsher sentencing for severe acts of violence such as spousal intimidation, strangling or suffocating.

"The highly complex legal framework in Indian Country - often referred to as a 'jurisdictional maze' - is the key factor creating and perpetuating the disproportionate violence against Indian women," Katy Jackson, a staff attorney at the National Congress on American Indians (NCAI), told IPS.

"[Therefore] the DOJ's proposals to restore tribal authority to hold on-reservation perpetrators - both Indian and non-Indian - accountable for these heinous crimes are by far the most critical piece of the puzzle at this point in time," she added.

Judicial changes alone, however, will not be sufficient to tackle the problem. Many experts see the escalating violence as a diffuse and far-reaching plague that must be tackled at various... levels.

"The judicial system is only one component of this crisis and can only help those people who choose to participate in the criminal justice system, which many women do not want to do," Monika Johnson Hostler, president of the National Alliance to End Sexual Violence, told IPS.

"So while judicial strides are necessary, we must remember that prevention is the only way to end the actual cycle of violence," she added.

Jackson added that resources for treatment were also sorely needed.

"Too often, Native victims find themselves going without access to critical, lifesaving services and treatment programs that are more easily acceptable to other victims of domestic violence and sexual assault," she told IPS.

"That is why the NCAI Task Force on Violence Against Women continues to advocate for increased funding to support tribal coalitions and victim services programmes on tribal lands," she said.

Another obstacle to justice for Native women is the fact that violence in Indian Country is stripped of its historical background and presented in isolation of its socio-political context, which is perhaps part of the reason why the crisis has received so little attention in the mainstream.

"Colonisation is one of the root causes of violence against Native women," Lucy Simpson, executive director of the National Indigenous Women's Resource Center, told IPS.

'In order to effectively respond to and prevent such violence, we need to address colonisation and its impacts. We need to restore women to their traditional role as sacred within our communities by turning to Native cultures and traditions that already recognise this."

"We also need to address the poverty and lack of employment and infrastructure in Indian country that prevents adequate responses when violence occurs," Simpson added.

"We honour the voices and perspectives of American Indian and Alaska Native leaders who speak out about the devastating and lasting effects of colonisation on American Indian and Alaska Native communities," Anna Marjavi, a project manager at Futures Without Violence, told IPS.

"Many domestic violence and sexual assault advocates who work in Indian Country also believe that violence against Native women is rooted in the colonisation of tribal nations when an unnatural worldview brought a level of violence not seen before by tribal peoples. The path of non-violence and respect for women is the natural life way of indigenous people," she added.

Furthermore, while punitive actions generally only impact individual survivors and offenders, broader measures such as education and awareness programmes could reach whole communities.

"Not just colonialism and institutionalised racism, but other factors such as the boarding of Native American school children and adopting them en masse out of the own culture perpetuates this violence," Hostler told IPS.

"Now more than ever people need to understand that words matter, that media matters, that the method of reporting on this issue matters, if society is really going to change its perceptions of women," she added.

Kanya D'Almeida

Inter Press Service (IPS)

July 25, 2011


Added: Aug. 04, 2011

Colombia

María Chaverra

'Matriarch' Leads Struggle to Recover Stolen Land

Camelias - "God willing, we will make it" reads the sign on a rusty old all-terrain vehicle, ideal for the complicated drive to the remote Curbaradó river valley in the banana-producing region of Urabá in northwest Colombia.

This area is part of the jungle province of Chocó, one of the world's most biodiverse places until it was drawn into the armed conflict between left-wing guerrillas and government forces – and, since the 1980s, far-right paramilitary militias – that has plagued Colombia for nearly half a century.

IPS travelled to this isolated region with documentary-makers from Justice for Colombia, a coalition founded in 2002 by the British trade union movement in response to murders of labour activists and the overall humanitarian crisis in Colombia.

The killings in Urabá began in 1995, and the major paramilitary offensive started in 1996. "This has all changed so much that it looks completely different now. Everything has been destroyed: the trees, the jungle, the rivers, the streams," says María Chaverra, 69.

The slight, dark-skinned mother of eight and grandmother of 37 has lived here for over half a century, as a member of one of the afro-descendant communities who have practiced subsistence agriculture in the sparsely populated Chocó, Colombia's poorest province, for generations.

Although by law the rural black communities collectively own their territories, many have been driven off their land, which is rich in natural resources and biodiversity, since the 1990s.

Throughout the Curbaradó river basin and the Jiguamiandó river valley to the south, Chaverra is known as the "Matriarch" in recognition of her leadership role.

African oil palm companies financed with capital of dubious origin came into the area and diverted rivers and dried up streams. After weeks of drought – inconceivable in the past in Chocó, one of the world's rainiest regions – the water is finally pouring down now.

This is the Camelias humanitarian zone, a five-minute walk from the Curbaradó river. The zone, which is under the protection of Inter-American Court of Human Rights provisional measures, is home to some 30 internally displaced families who have braved the dangers to return to their land.

In the humanitarian zones, no armed actors are allowed within the premises, to protect the civilians from the surrounding armed conflict.

Some have dared to leave Camelias, to move back to their nearby farmland, which is not encompassed by the humanitarian zones. Meanwhile, new families arrive, seeking refuge from threats.

Camelias, a 3.5-hectare area, belongs to Chaverra. "My husband and I donated it to create the humanitarian zone, and to bring people together here, to struggle, defend and denounce. When everyone goes back to their nearby farms, there will be no more humanitarian zone," she says.

"By denouncing what has happened here, at the national and international levels, with the support of the Colombian Inter-Church Justice and Peace Commission, we were able to get help to create this humanitarian zone. So we started moving closer to our territory, but most of the people haven't made it back to their land yet," she explains.

"We live in the middle of a conflict, but we have nothing to do with any of the armed groups – neither the paramilitaries, nor the army, nor the guerrillas, none of them," she says.

Large signs announce that Camelias is "exclusive to a civilian population protected by Inter-American Court provisional measures".

The area is marked off by barbed wire on all sides. On the nearby river bank is a military base. Across the river is Puerto Brisas, a village reportedly under the control of paramilitaries who are supposedly demobilised.

The paramilitaries moved into the area with the excuse that they were driving out the left-wing guerrillas, who took up arms in 1964. But their real aim turned out to be the land.

To force the local population out, the paramilitaries accused them of belonging to the rebel groups, burned down their houses and villages, and killed many. By 1997 the entire population in the two river basins had fled their homes, and most had left the area.

Between 3.6 and five million Colombians have been displaced since the mid-1980s. The number depends on the source of the estimate – the government or human rights organisations.

"We were displaced by the Colombian State itself, because the incursions were carried out by the paramilitaries in complicity with the army, Brigade 17," which was based in a nearby municipality, says Chaverra, repeating what she had denounced to the Inter-American Court.

"It wasn't guerrillas they drove out. I was a witness. I never saw a war like the one that took place here," she says. "It was the peasants who suffered. The ones who didn't die suffered calamities and were exposed to the elements. Many saw their children die," and the adults died without any medical treatment or even a simple painkiller, she recalls.

"Many pregnant women gave birth along the trails. They would go into labour as they ran, and when they couldn't run anymore, they would stop and the baby would drop out right there. That's what our life was like in this war," she says...

The ministers of agriculture, Juan Camilo Restrepo, and the interior, Germán Vargas, visited Camelias in March, to formally recognise the local community's collective ownership of the two river basins.

The government did so in compliance with several Constitutional Court verdicts in favour of the traditional inhabitants of the area, issued after the community began its legal battle in 2000 with the help of the Inter-Church Commission, which also receives constant death threats.

The court rulings also ordered outsiders who occupied the land of displaced persons to move out. But the ministers didn't mention that aspect, and the police have done little to nothing.

Conservative President Juan Manuel Santos promised that during his 2010-2014 term in office, his government will distribute two million hectares of land to peasant farmers, by returning land seized from them and issuing formal land titles, which many small farmers lack even when the property has been in their family for generations.

The goal for 2011 is 500,000 hectares, but the official figures indicate that of the 217,000 hectares distributed so far, only 14,000 involved the restoration of land to the original owners.

The people who have occupied the land around Camelias are not to be trusted. In June, one sexually assaulted a four-year-old girl and fled, after another did the same with a 10-year-old girl just a few weeks earlier.

In May, the Ministry of Agriculture reported to the public prosecutor's office the attempted rape of two women in the area. An unarmed group of activists from the UK-based Peace Brigades International (PBI) had driven the attackers off.

In June, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights asked the Inter-American Court to expand the provisional measures to the areas surrounding the humanitarian zones.

In December, waves of squatters, poor but intimidating, began to flood into the Curbaradó basin. They warned that if they were bothered, "there are three possibilities: club, machete or lead," Chaverra says.

"The business owners who drove us out are behind the invasion," she adds.

"They want us to clash with them, to be able to say 'it's a fight among peasants'. We have avoided that," she says. "We want them to be evicted legally from our territory, by peaceful means, by the authorities."

A census is now being carried out, under the orders of the Constitutional Court, and elderly inhabitants like Chaverra can play a key role in identifying members of the traditional community, and determining which people are invaders who should be evicted.

More than 1,000 hectares in the area have been occupied and time is pressing. "The farms of five of our families have been invaded. We don't have anywhere to plant even a clump of rice," says Adriana Tuberquia.

"We had plantain crops and the invaders cut the plants down to plant corn. We're desperately waiting for them to be evicted," she says.

Constanza Viera

Inter Press Service (IPS)

July 15, 2011


Added: Aug. 04, 2011

Congressional leaders in the fight against human trafficking walk the streets of Mexico's City's toughest red light district

Mexico

La diputada Esthela Damián entrega folletos e invita a denunciar la trata de personas

Congressional Deputy Esthela Damián hands-out anti-trafficking brochures in Mexico City's infamous La Merced prostitution tolerance zone.

Diputadas recorren La Merced; piden denunciar trata

Las representantes federales acusan a las autoridades delegacionales de no supervisar establecimientos donde se ha detectado que mujeres y niñas son explotadas sexualmente

Las diputadas federales Rosi Orozco, Estela Damián, Lorena Corona, de los partidos Acción Nacional, de la Revolución Democrática y Verde Ecologista de México, respectivamente, realizaron un recorrido por la zona de La Merced, en el que entregaron folletos para invitar a denunciar trata de personas.

Las representantes federales pidieron a compradores, vendedores y a las mismas sexoservidoras de la zona a no acostumbrarse a que las mujeres sean esclavizadas de manera sexual.

Estela Damián exigió que las autoridades delegacionales de Venustiano Carranza y Cuauhtémoc, realicen verificaciones a establecimientos donde se da ese permiso, pues por años no han colocado un sólo sello de clausura.

La diputada dijo que las autoridades delegacionales no han hecho su labor de supervisar establecimientos, por lo que en varios de ellos se ha detectado la presencia de mujeres y niñas que son explotadas sexualmante.

Comentó que al Instituto de Verificación (Invea) ha apoyado en la clausura de negocios irregulares, pero ello no exime a las autoridades de ambas demarcaciones de hacer su trabajo.

"Ninguna persona es ni puede ser tratada como mercancía. La trata de personas es la esclavitud del siglo 21", indica el folleto entregado por las diputadas, en el cual se mencionan los derechos de las personas a vivir en libertad. En éste también se invita a hacer la denuncia correspondiente, de manera anónima si es que se desea.

Rosi Orozco se acercó a varias trabajadoras sexuales a quienes invitó a recibir ayuda si es que la desean. "No estás sola, si quieres puedes vivir de manera libre, aquí estamos para ayudarte, nadie debe obligarte a hacer algo que no quieres".

Resalta que durante el recorrido por Circunvalación casi no se observó la presencia de este tipo de trabajadoras, no así en avenida San Pablo, donde las diputadas mencionaron su preocupación al observar a muchas jovencitas, vestidas con ropa muy corta y altos tacones; una de ellas es cuidada por una mujer que negó ser su madrota, pero quien estaba atenta a sus movimientos.

Congresswomen walk through city prostitution tolerance zone asking the public to denounce human trafficking cases

Federal congressional deputies Rosi Orozco [president of the Special Commission to Fight Human Trafficking in the Chamber of Deputies (lower house of Congress)] - of the National Action Party (PAN), Estela Damián - of the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD), and Lorena Corona - Green Ecological Party, joined forces to walk the streets of Mexico City's La Merced prostitution tolerance zone to hand-out a brochure that invites its reader to denounce cases of human trafficking.

The legislators asked buyers, pimps and sex workers to not accept the idea that women should be sexually enslaved.

Deputy Estela Damián demanded that the local authorities of the Mexico City boroughs of Venustiano Carranza and Cuauhtémoc investigate establishments that are permitted to operate [as brothels], given that during past years not one of these locations has been shut down.

Deputy Damián added that borough authorities have failed to perform their role in supervising these businesses. As a result, women and minors who are being sexually exploited have been found in a number of these brothels. She added that although the Institute of Verification (INVEA) had assisted in achieving the closure of irregular businesses, that does not excuse the local governments of the two aforementioned boroughs from doing their jobs.

The brochure states that "No person is, nor can they be treated as merchandise. Human trafficking is 21st Century slavery." It also mentions the rights of persons to live in freedom, and invites the reader to denounce cases of human trafficking, including by providing anonymous tips to the authorities.

Deputy Rosi Orozco spoke with a number of sex workers during the walk. She told them, "You are not alone. You can live in freedom if you want to. We are here to help you. Nobody should force you to do things that you don't want to do."

During the walk in the Circunvalación area few sex workers were present. Things were different in the Avenida San Pablo, where the deputies mentioned their concern at seeing a large number of young girls wearing short skirts and high heels. One of them was being watched over by a woman who denied being her pimp, but who kept track of the girls movements.

El Universal

July 29, 2011


Added: Aug. 04, 2011

Argentina

Avanza la lucha contra trata de personas en Argentina

Buenos Aires - Argentina dio algunos pasos en las últimas semanas en la lucha contra la trata de personas, mientras el Senado trabaja en la modificación de la ley existente, debido a que el delito se sigue cometiendo con amplia impunidad, en un país que según ONU es origen, destino y tránsito de víctimas.

El lunes, el gobierno informó a través de su Boletín Oficial la creación de la línea telefónica 145 para las denuncias relacionadas con este delito, el tercero más lucrativo en el mundo, tras el tráfico de drogas y armas, con ingresos anuales por 32 mil millones de dólares.

La medida, que conforma a las organizaciones sociales que batallan contra la trata, sigue a la adoptada por la presidenta Cristina Fernández el 5 de julio pasado, cuando por decreto prohibió el rubro 59 en los diarios, que es el que promocionaba la prostitución. “ Con la firma de este decreto hemos dado un gigantesco paso no solamente en la lucha contra la trata de personas, sino la discriminación también, porque la oferta sexual no solamente es un vehículo en la comisión del delito de tratas de personas sino una profunda discriminación hacia la mujer ” , precisó la mandataria al anunciar la iniciativa. La medida fue bien recibida a excepción de organizaciones de meretrices que consideran que de esta manera se penaliza el trabajo sexual y se arrastra a las mujeres que realizan ese empleo a la clandestinidad.

Una fuente de ANSA que trabaja en la lucha contra la trata ponderó el decreto, aunque precisó que los casos vinculados a este delito no aparecen en los avisos clasificados directos de oferta sexual sino como ofertas engañosas. Agregó que lo más importante es lograr la modificación de la ley contra la trata, para que la justicia tenga herramientas más valiosas en la persecución de quienes manejan este delito y sus cómplices, como las fuerzas de seguridad y aduaneras, sin las cuales sería imposible cometerlo.

Justamente, la semana pasada la Comisión de Justicia y Asuntos Penales del Senado debatió la reforma a la Ley 26.364 de Trata de Personas, discusión de la que participaron legisladores, especialistas en derecho penal y trabajadoras del sexo. El tema será abordado por el pleno en la próxima sesión del Senado, que podría ser el miércoles o después de las elecciones primarias del 14 de julio.

La presidenta de la comisión, Sonia Escudero, dejó en claro que no se buscaba penalizar “ la prostitución de las personas adultas que se dedican por voluntad propia a esa actividad ” , un reclamo en el que insistió la Asociación de Mujeres Meretrices de Argentina. Escudero aseguró que el objetivo es “ castigar la trata y la explotación de las mujeres adultas y sobre todo de las menores, por parte de los secuestradores y proxenetas ” .

En septiembre de 2010 Joy Ezeilo, Relatora Especial de ONU sobre Tráfico y Trata de Personas, estuvo en Argentina y luego elaboró un informe en el que aseguró que se hicieron avances significativos, pero instó a las autoridades a tomar varias medidas para prevenir este delito, combatirlo y asistir a las víctimas. Para ONU, el país, en el que aumentó la trata laboral y sexual, es lugar de origen, tránsito y destino de víctimas, como también es alarmante la impunidad con la que se desarrolla este delito, los horribles abusos a las víctimas y la falta de coordinación de la lucha contra la trata entre las provincias y el gobierno nacional. Como país de destino, a Argentina llegan víctimas de explotación sexual desde Brasil, Paraguay, República Dominicana y Perú, en tanto que las personas que padecen explotación laboral son trasladas desde Bolivia, Colombia, Perú, República Dominicana y Paraguay. El movimiento interno de víctimas se produce desde las provincias pobres, del norte, principalmente, hacia las más ricas, del centro y sur del país.

The fight against human trafficking advances in Argentina

Buenos Aires - Argentina has taken a number of steps during recent weeks in its fight against trafficking in persons, while at the same time the nation’s Senate is working to modify the existing law due to the fact that trafficking crimes continue to be perpetrated with impunity in a country that according to United Nations is source, destination and transit point for victims.

On Monday, the government reported through its Official Gazette the creation of the 145 human trafficking telephone hotline.

…On July 5, 2011 President Cristina Fernández decreed a ban on advertising for prostitution in the nation’s newspapers.

President Fernández, "With the signing of this decree we have taken a huge step not only in the fight against trafficking in persons, but also against discrimination, because [advertised] offers of sex is not only a mechanism for committing human trafficking crimes, but is also a profound form of discrimination against women.” The president’s initiative was well received, although sex worker organizations penalizes their work and causes women who engage in sex work clandestinely to be arrested.

A source from the anti-trafficking organization ANSA praised the decree, but said that human trafficking cases do not actually have a relationship to ads for sexual services, but actually involve deceptive employment ads. The source added that the most important goal is to achieve changes in the national anti-trafficking law, so that the criminal justice system is provided with the tools that are needed to affect prosecutions of those who organize trafficking activities and their accomplices, such a [corrupt] security forces and customs agents, without whom it would be impossible for traffickers to operate.

Just last week the Commission on Criminal Justice and Senate debated amendments to the Law on Trafficking in Persons 26.364.

The discussion included lawmakers, experts in criminal law and sex workers. The topic will be addressed by the [first] plenary meeting at the next session of the Senate…

Committee chairwoman Sonia Escudero, made it clear she did not seek to penalize "adults who willingly engage in prostitution," as claimed by the Association of Women Prostitutes of Argentina. Escudero said the goal is to "punish trafficking and exploitation of adult women and especially of minors, their kidnappers and their pimps."

In September 2010 Joy Ezeilo, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Trafficking in Persons visited Argentina. She prepared a report which said that significant progress was being made, but urged the authorities to take several steps to prevent trafficking and assist victims. From the UN perspective, Argentina - a nation where sex and labor trafficking is increasing - is a source, transit and destination point for victims.

It is also alarming that trafficking crimes take place with impunity, and includes a horrible abuse of victims and a lack of coordination between the provinces and the national government.

As a country of destination, Argentina receives victims of sexual exploitation from Brazil, Paraguay, Dominican Republic and Peru, while people who labor exploitation victims [often used in agriculture and sweat shop factories] are brought in from Bolivia, Colombia, Peru, the Dominican Republic and Paraguay. The internal movement of victims is from Argentina’s poor northern provinces to its wealthier regions in the center and south of the country.

ABC Digital (Paraguay)

July 23, 2011


Added: Aug. 04, 2011

Georgia, USA, Mexico

Georgia Bureau of Investigations (GBI) Director Vernon Keenan has formed an anti-trafficking unit within the agency.

Human trafficking summit...

The state's most powerful law enforcement officials held a summit on Monday seeking new solutions to combat the age-old problem of human trafficking. The stories they heard were as disturbing as they were unfortunately familiar.

The summit at Georgia State University drew more than 400 attendees with speakers including Gov. Nathan Deal, GBI Director Vernon Keenan, state Attorney General Sam Olens and U.S. Attorney Sally Quillian Yates, along with representatives from several nonprofit organizations.

They heard from a panel of victims like "Sara" and "Kristina," who used pseudonyms to protect their identities.

They were victims of a band of five men who brought young women into the United States with promises to marry and find good jobs. But once the victims crossed the border illegally into Arizona, the suspects obtained fake ID's for the women, flew them to Atlanta and forced them into prostitution.

The ringleader, Amador Cortes-Meza, 36, was sentenced in federal court earlier this year to 40 years in prison.

Sara said she was still in high school in Mexico when the ringleader's cousin wooed her. He asked her mother for permission to take her to a carnival celebration in his hometown. But he refused to bring her home afterward. She said, "By now, I was his woman."

He told her they were going to the U.S. to work, save money and get married.

Kristina said Cortes-Meza told her the same lies. Like Sara, she was forced into prostitution and wound up being compelled to have sex with as many as 30 men per night for money that their pimps pocketed. Taxi drivers took the women to customers' houses. Anyone who balked was beaten or threatened.

"I told him I didn't want to go," said Kristina. "I told him I come from a humble home. I never wanted to do this."

The FBI recently recognized Atlanta as one of 14 cities in the nation with the highest incidences of children used in prostitution. And the Georgia Care Connection, a program of the Governor's Office for Children and Families that cares for victims of child sex trafficking, has handled 255 victim referrals since the program began in June 2009.

But human trafficking is not limited to sexual slavery nor to children, although those cases can be the most disturbing, Yates said. It also takes the form of forced labor for the agriculture and restaurant industries and domestic servitude.

There is hope, because heightened attention to the problem has spurred government action.

The U.S. departments of Justice, Homeland Security and Labor announced last week that Atlanta had been selected as a site for one of six anti-trafficking coordination teams. The others sites are El Paso, Texas; Kansas City, Mo.; Los Angeles; Memphis; and Miami.

The GBI also formed a human trafficking unit with four investigators on July 1, according to GBI Director Vernon Keenan.

Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard urged police and prosecutors to designate a person in their office to handle human trafficking cases, so they can be trained to recognize human trafficking. Howard said he will prosecute his 47th pimp case next week.

Few haunt him like Charles Floyd Pipkins, aka "Sir Charles," and Andrew Moore, aka "Batman," who were convicted in 2002 of federal charges related to coercion of young girls into prostitution. In the trunk of a car seized in connection with their case, authorities found photographs of the girls that had been forced into the sex trade.

"One of them was holding a teddy bear and wearing a negligee," Howard said. "She was only about 5 years old."

Andria Simmons

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Aug. 01, 2011


Added: Aug. 04, 2011

Mexico, Central America

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

Mexican cartels move into human trafficking

The Salvadoran single mother was hoping to support her children in the United States. Instead, gunmen from the Zeta drug cartel kidnapped her in Mexico and forced her to cook, clean and endure the rapes of multiple men.

Now the survivor of this terrifying three-month ordeal is a witness for a growing group of legislators, political leaders and advocates who are calling for action against the trafficking of women for sexual exploitation in Mexico.

As organized crime and globalization have increased, Mexico has become a major destination for sex traffic, as well as a transit point and supplier of victims to the United States. Drug cartels are moving into the trade, preying on immigrant women, sometimes with the complicity of corrupt regional officials, according to diplomats and activists.

"If narcotics traffickers are caught they go to high-security prisons, but with the trafficking of women, they have found absolute impunity," said Rosi Orozco, a congresswoman in Mexico and sponsor of a proposed new law against human trafficking.

In Mexico, thousands of women and children are forced into sex traffic every year, Orozco said, most of it involving lucrative prostitution rings.

"It is growing because of poverty, because the cartels have gotten involved, and because no one tells them 'no,' " said Teresa Ulloa, the regional director of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women and Girls in Latin America and the Caribbean. "We are fighting so that their lives and their bodies are not merchandise."

"This is an inferno of sexual exploitation for thousands and thousands of women," President Felipe Calderon told officials in mid-July, after they heard the testimony of a young survivor. "With this new law we will all be obliged to act, and no authority can say it's not my responsibility or turn a blind eye to the terrible crime of human trafficking."

Mexico passed a law against human trafficking in 2007.

Hopes for enforcement have been raised by the appointment of Mexico's first female attorney general, Marisela Morales, who was praised for her efforts against human trafficking earlier this year when Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton honored her as an "International Woman of Courage."

Anne-Marie O'Connor

The Washington Post

July 28, 2011


Added: Aug. 04, 2011

Mexico

Mexico City Attorney General Miguel Ángel  Mancera

Trata, delito difícil de tipificar: Mancera

De 2008 a la fecha, la Procuraduría General de Justicia del Distrito Federal (PGJDF) ha iniciado más de 20 procesos y aprehendido a igual número de bandas, relacionadas con el delito de trata de personas.

De acuerdo con el procurador capitalino, Miguel Ángel Mancera, algunos de estos grupos estaban ligados con redes que operaban en La Merced, Buenavista y en Calzada de Tlalpan.

Así lo manifestó tras la presentación del libro Del cielo al infierno en un día, de la diputada Rosi Orozco y la periodista Evangelina Hernández. Mancera Espinosa dijo que ya se conocen varios de los lugares de enganche en otros estados, por lo que invitó a las autoridades para sumar esfuerzos.

Dijo que no se tiene un número claro de casos de mujeres afectadas por la trata originarias del DF, pues es una situación difícil de detectar al tener que ver con la denuncia y ante la existencia de casos donde las víctimas se vuelven victimarias.

Mexico City prosecutor: Human trafficking cases are difficult to identify

From 2008 to the present, the office of the Attorney General of Mexico City (PGRDF) has initiated 20 human trafficking cases involving an equal number of criminal gangs.

According to the city's attorney general, Miguel Ángel Mancera, a number of these gangs are tied to sex trafficking networks that operate in the La Merced, Buenavista and Calzada de Tlalpan neighborhoods of the city.

Attorney General Mancera made these comments during a presentation of the book From Heaven to Hell in One Day, [a book about human trafficking] authored by federal congressional deputy Rosi Orozco and journalist Evangelina Hernández. The Attorney General added that his office has identified a number of locations in other Mexican states where trafficking victims are entrapped. He therefore invited those authorities to join forces with his efforts.

Mancera noted that he does not have clear statistics that show the number of victims who are native to Mexico City. He commented that the detection of human trafficking activity is difficult in regard to convincing people to denounce cases [a private citizen complaint is required to initiate a police investigation under Mexico's Napoleonic Code based legal system], and because of the existence of cases where a victim has fallen back into being victimized.

El Universal

July 27, 2011



   

LibertadLatina

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Updated: March 14, 2011


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Added: Mar. 14, 2012

Mexico / Argentina

Former Argentine spy Raúl Luis Martins Coggiola has been accused by his adult daughter, Lorena Martins, of running a sex trafficking ring based in Cancun, Mexico.

El “caso Martins”, al Congreso de la Unión

La Comisión Especial de Lucha contra la Trata de Personas de la Cámara de Diputados del Congreso de la Unión, solicitó la expulsión de Raúl Luis Martins Coggiola del país, debido a que significa un riesgo para la sociedad mexicana su presencia por lucrar con seres humanos.

La titular de la comisión, Rosi Orozco, afirmó que es urgente concretar la expulsión del país del ciudadano argentino Raúl Luis Martins al señalar que esta persona junto con un socio "está lucrando con seres humanos", por lo que es necesario que las autoridades mexicanas investiguen a fondo su presunta participación como líder de una red de trata de personas en Cancún y la Riviera Maya...

La legisladora federal explicó que "es urgente que las autoridades tomen cartas en el asunto, pues no entiendo cómo pueden no darse cuenta que el mismo abogado que defendió a Succar Kuri es quien ha estado defendiendo a este señor", puntualizó. Indicó que el asunto debe ser investigado de manera exhaustiva ya que se tiene una procuradora comprometida contra la trata de personas, a quien no le tiembla la mano para castigar a personas que explotan a niñas, niños y jóvenes. De acuerdo con medios de comunicación argentinos Martins Coggiola es líder de una red de trata de personas en centros nocturnos en su país y en Cancún, donde jóvenes sudamericanas son enganchadas con promesas de trabajo y posteriormente las obligan a prostituirse.

Lea el artículo completo

Congress considers the case of Raúl Martins

The Special Commission for Combating Trafficking in Persons of the lower house of Congress has called for the expulsion of Argentine citizen Raul Luis Martins Coggiola, because his presence represents a risk to Mexican society due to his [ilicit] efforts to profit from human exploitation.

The head of the commission, Deputy Rosi Orozco, said it is urgent to realize the deportation of an Argentine Raul Luis Martins, stating that both he and a partner "are profiting from human beings," so it is necessary that the Mexican authorities thoroughly investigate his alleged role as the leader of a trafficking network based in [the beach resort cities of] Cancun and Riviera Maya.

Deputy Orozco explained that "it is urgent that the authorities take action on the matter...I do not understand how they have failed to realize that the lawyer who defended [infamous convicted millionaire child pornographer Jean] Succar Kuri is the same one who has been defending this man." She added that the matter should be investigated comprehensively, given that we now have a prosecutor who is dedicated to human trafficking cases and whose hand does not tremble when it comes to the task of punishing those who exploit children and youth. According to Argentine media reports, Martins Coggiola leads a human trafficking network based in nightclubs both in Argentina and in Cancun, Mexico, where young South American women are entrapped with false promises of jemployment, and are then forced into prostitution.

Read the full article

Por Esto

Feb. 2012


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

Mexico / Argentina

Lorena Martins, daughter of Raul Martins

Argentine ex-spy accused of sex trafficking

The daughter of former Argentine intelligence officer Raul Martins will arrive in Mexico this week with evidence that her father is running a sex trafficking ring in the Mexican resort city of Cancun, an activist told EFE Monday.

Lorena Martins will deliver the evidence to Mexican lawmaker Rosi Orozco, who chairs a special committee investigating human trafficking, Gustavo Vera, head of the NGO La Alameda, said.

Lorena has already filed a criminal complaint in Argentina accusing her father of luring Argentine women and girls to Cancun and then forcing them into prostitution.

Read the full article

IANS/EFE

Jan. 31, 2012


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

Mexico / Argentina

Prostitution Network Buenos Aries – Cancun case will go to the Chamber of Deputies in Mexico City

Lorena Martins daughter of Raul Martins, an Argentine former spy accused of managing a prostitution network in Cancun that has reached even the mayor of Buenos Aires of receiving money for his campaign from this illegal activity in Mexico, will flight to Mexico City to denounce her father before the Chamber of Deputies, reported the Excelsior.

Lorena Martins will present emails, cell phones and other materials as proofs of a prostitution network between Buenos Aires and Cancun that ties her father Raul Martins with several businessmen, politicians and high ranking official in Mexico.

Read the full article

The Yucatan Times

Jan. 31, 2012


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

Mexico / Argentina

Tratan de expulsarlo por la trata

La Comisión Especial de Lucha contra la Trata de Diputados de México pidió que Raúl Martins fuera deportado. Sus abogados apelaron. Lorena, su hija, entregó a la jueza Servini de Cubría el diario de una ex de su padre en el que relata la trata de dos niñas.

La Comisión Especial de Lucha contra la Trata de Personas de la Cámara de Diputados de México pidió ayer la expulsión de Raúl Martins. El pedido es un reflejo de la denuncia de su hija, Lorena, quien relató la forma en que la organización de su padre llevó chicas argentinas, brasileñas y de otras nacionalidades a ejercer la prostitución en Cancún. Ya en 2010, la multipremiada periodista mexicana Lydia Cacho, en su libro Esclavas del Poder, tituló el capítulo sobre Martins con el nombre de “El Intocable”. En Buenos Aires, Lorena se presentó ante la jueza María Romilda Servini de Cubría, que finalmente es quien investigará el caso, y le entregó pruebas manuscritas de un diario de una ex pareja de su padre en la que se relata cómo le trajeron dos chicas de 15 años. Otras evidencias fueron remitidas a la jueza por el procurador Esteban Righi.

Lorena Martins estuvo cinco días en México. Presentó las denuncias ante la Comisión de Lucha contra la Trata y también ante la Procuración General de la República. La joven fue recibida por la primera dama de México, Margarita Zavala, en la sede del gobierno azteca, de manera que el interés por el caso –adelantado en exclusiva por Página/12 en diciembre– llegó hasta el más alto nivel del país del Norte.

Ayer, la diputada Rosy Orozco, titular de la Comisión de Trata, pidió la expulsión de Martins de México, porque “está lucrando con seres humanos. Es urgente que las autoridades se den cuenta de que quien defiende a este señor es el mismo que defendió a Succar Kury”, un famoso pederasta, poderoso dueño de una cadena hotelera, que hasta decía en un video que mantenía relaciones sexuales con niñas, incluso de cinco años. El caso también fue investigado por Lydia Cacho en el libro Los demonios del Edén.

Lea el artículo completo

Congressional members call for the expulsion of Raúl Martins from Mexico

The Special Commission to Combat Human Trafficking in the Lower House of Congress has requested that Raúl Martins be deported. Martins' lawyers have appealed. Martins' daughter Lorena has turned over evidence to a Judge Servini de Cubría

The Special Commission for Combating Trafficking in Persons of the of the lower house of Congresss yesterday asked the expulsion of Raul Martins. The demand is a reaction to a complaint made by Martins' daughter Lorena, who recounted how her father's [ilicit human trafficking] organization has brought women from Argentina, Brazil and other nations to engage in prostitution in the city of Cancun, Mexico. In 2010, the award-winning Mexican journalist Lydia Cacho, in her book Servants of Power, mentions Martins in a chapter called "The Untouchable." In Buenos Aires, Argentina, Lorena appeared before Judge Maria Romilda Servini de Cubria, who investigated the case, and provided evidence in the form of a handwritten diary written by a former girlfriend of her father, in which she relates how Raul Martins had [sex] trafficked two 15-year-old girls. Other evidence was submitted to the judge by the prosecutor Esteban Righi.

Lorraine Martins [recently] spent five days in Mexico. She presented her complaints before the Special Commission to Combat Human Trafficking [of the lower house of Congress], as well as before the federal Attorney General's Office. She was also received by the first lady of Mexico, Margarita Zavala in the seat of the Aztec [Mexican] government, showing that the case, which was releaved by Page12 reporters in December of 2011, had reached the highest level of attention. .

Yesterday, Deputy Rosi Orozco, president of the congressional anti-trafficking commission, called for the expulsion of Martins from Mexico, because, she said, "he is profiting from human exploitation. It is urgent that the authorities realize that the lawyer who is defending Martins also represented [convicted child sex trafficker] Jean Succar Kuri," an infamous pedophile and powerful hotel chain owner, who had once been recorded with hidden video admitting that he had engaged in sexual acts with girls as young as age five. The case was [first exposed by anti-trafficking activist and journalist] Lydia Cacho in her book The Demons of Eden.

Read the full article

Raúl Kollmann

Page 12

Feb. 09, 2012


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

Mexico / Argentina / Paraguay / Dominican Republic

Prostitution ring brought people from Argentina to Mexico

Buenos Aires.- A prostitution ring operated by former Argentine spy Raul Martins, reported yesterday in Mexico by his own daughter, started by advertising vacancies in local newspapers and culminated in the sexual exploitation of women in Cancun, Mexico.

Gustavo Vera, representative of La Alameda, a prestigious organization dedicated to denouncing people trafficking for labor and sexual slavery in the South American country, told Notimex details of the operation.

In fact, La Alameda published the photo of Martins with the mayor of Buenos Aires, Mauricio Macri, who is alleged to have received funding of the alleged pimp in his election campaign.

Read the full article

Cecilia Gonzalez

Notimex

Feb. 02, 2012


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

Mexico

Mayoría de víctimas de trata de personas en NY son hispanos

Nueva York - Más de la mitad de los afectados por la trata de personas y que viven en el estado de Nueva York son inmigrantes latinoamericanos obligados a realizar trabajos forzados o a prostituirse, según datos de la mayor agencia de servicios a víctimas de Estados Unidos.

Un 58% de los clientes de Safe Horizon, la agencia más importante de servicios de víctimas en el país, proviene de Latinoamérica, dijo la organización a The Associated Press. Aproximadamente un 24% de esas víctimas son mexicanos.

Las victimas de trata no tienen oportunidad de denunciar su situación por temor a ser deportados.

Lea el artículo completo

The majority of human trafficking victims in New York are Hispanic

New York - According to data gathered by the largest [non profit] victim service agency in the United States, more than half of New York ressidents who are victimized by human trafficking are Latino immigrants who are forced into prostitution or labor exploitation.

Some 58% of the clients of Safe Horizon were Latin Americans, the organization told The Associated Press. Approximately 24% of those victims were Mexican.

[Many immigrant] victims of trafficking have have not had an opportunity to speak out de to their fear of being deported.

Read the full article

The Associated Press

Feb. 04, 2012


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

New York City, USA / Mexico

Sex slave's story: Woman duped into leaving Mexico, forced to New York City's trafficking underworld

Sofia tells the Daily News how a "boyfriend" tricked her into leaving Mexico illegally -- and forced her into the life of a sex slave.

Her boyfriend told her they were leaving Mexico to live with his relatives in Queens, get restaurant jobs and build a happy life in America.

Instead, she was forced into a life of sex slavery — made to work as a “delivery girl” prostitute riding from john to john in a livery cab.

Read the full article

Erica Pearson

New York Daily News

Feb. 12, 2012


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

Mexico

Mexican Member of Congress and leading anti-trafficking advocate Deputy Rosi Orozco

Cada semana llegan a Tijuana decenas de niñas y mujeres de para ser forzadas a prostituirse: Rosi Orozco

Diputada Rosi Orozco: "cada semana llegan a Tijuana, Baja California, autobuses y aviones con decenas de niñas y mujeres de entre 3 a 65 años de edad para ser forzadas a prostituirse, refirió."

Distrito Federal.-La presidenta de la Comisión Especial para la Lucha contra la Trata de Personas, diputada Rosi Orozco (PAN), impulsa un punto de acuerdo para la colocación de un muro en las instalaciones del Palacio Legislativo de San Lázaro, en el que se exhiban fotografías de niñas, niños y mujeres desaparecidos por posible trata de personas. Además, que el Canal del Congreso difunda, de manera permanente, cápsulas con las imágenes de las posibles víctimas, así como los datos de las instancias competentes para formular denuncias, como señal de solidaridad y efectivo auxilio, precisó la legisladora.

Señaló que la trata de personas con fines sexuales es el tercer negocio ilícito más lucrativo a nivel mundial, después del tráfico de drogas y armas; genera al año diez mil millones de dólares.

La gran mayoría de las víctimas provienen de contextos en los que difícilmente pueden conocer plenamente sus derechos, subrayó.

Lea el artículo completo

Each week, dozens of girl children and women are trafficked into sexual slavery in [the Mexico/U.S.] border city of Tijuana

Deputy Rosi Orozco: "According to a study conducted by the College of the Northern Frontier (Colegio de la Frontera Norte), each week dozens of girls and women between the ages of 3 and 65 are brought by bus and by air to the city of Tijuana, in the state of Baja California so that they can be exploited sexually."

Mexico Ciy - National Actional Party deputy Rosi Orozco, who is President of the Special Commission for Combating Trafficking in Persons in the lower house of Congress, has introduced a resolution for the placement of a mural on the premises of the Legislative Palace of San Lazaro, where the photographs of children and women who have disappeared and may be vicims of human trafficking will be displayed. In addition, Deputy Orozco proposes that the Congress Channel permanently broadcast segments that show the images of possible victims, as well as instuctions for filing human trafficking complaints, as a practical act of solidarity and assistance.

Orozco noted that human trafficking for sexual purposes is the third most lucrative illicit business worldwide, after drugs and arms trafficking, generating a year ten billion dollars.

The vast majority of victims come from contexts [situations] where it is difficult for them to fully know their rights, she said.

Read the full article

El Observador Diario

Feb. 04, 2012


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

California, USA / Mexico

Human Trafficking Continues To Rise Along San Diego-Tijuana Border

San Diego - Nearly every official who attended the second annual bi-national forum to address human trafficking in Chula Vista agreed: Human trafficking along the U.S.-Mexico border is on the rise.

Government figures show about 18,000 people are trafficked into the U.S. every year. But officials also acknowledge there are many more victims hidden in communities who are sold for prostitution, labor or other services. Often times the illegal practice goes unreported.

The goal of Thursday's forum was to improve collaboration between agencies on both sides of the border to help crackdown on human trafficking and child prostitution.

Read the full article

Marissa Cabrera

Fronteras Desk

Jan. 16, 2012


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

New York City, USA / Mexico

ICE agent cites 'disturbing and subhuman' methods used to trick young women into sex slavery

"It’s very difficult for us to break through to the average American, the average New Yorker and let them know that people in 2011 and 2012 are actually held against their will," says Special Agent in Charge James Hayes, Jr., of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

G-men and cops are busting twice as many human traffickers, but advocates say a sickening number of immigrants are being forced into prostitution in the city.

Last year, Immigration and Customs Enforcement racked up 172 arrests for trafficking in the metropolitan area, up from 75 the previous year.

Read the full article

Erica Pearson

New York Daily News

Feb. 12, 2012


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

Mexico

Presentan marcas de abuso sexual, bebes recuperados en Jalisco

En entrevista con Hoy por Hoy con Salvador Camarena, Tomás Coronado Olmos, procurador de Justicia de Jalisco, ratificó que bebés adoptados ilegalmente en dicha entidad presentan huellas de abuso sexual. “De los 11 menorcitos recuperados, seis presentan marcas de violencia sexual”.

“De los 11 menorcitos recuperados, seis presentan marcas de violencia sexual”.

Derivado de las investigaciones que realiza la PGR, dijo, hay nueve detenidos pero aun no se precisa si extranjeros de origen irlandés están relacionados con las agresiones sufridas por los menores.

“Los tenemos plenamente identificados y el embajador de Irlanda en México ha estado muy al pendiente. Una vez que concluya el proceso se determinará su situación jurídica”.

Lea el artículo completo

Children put up for adoption in the cityof Jalisco show signs of sexual abuse

Jalisco state Attorney General Tomás Coronado Olmos has confirmed that the babies show signs of abuse.

"Six of 11 recovered todlers show signs of sexual abuse"

According to the federal Attorney General's Office, their investigations into this case have resulted in nine arrests. The authorities have not yet determined whether prospective adoptive parents from Ireland have any connection to the abuses.

"The [couples seeking adoption] have been identified. Ireland's ambassador in Mexico has been very attentive. After completion of the process the legal status of the prospective parents will be determined."

Read the full article

wradio.com.mx

Feb. 08, 2012


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

Mexico

Deputy Rosi Orozco at recent anti-trafficking forum

México, segundo lugar en pornografía infantil a nivel mundial

El 45 por ciento de las víctimas de trata son indígenas, dijo la diputada Rosi Orozco. En tanto que Margarita Zavala consideró fundamental combatir de manera frontal este delito.

El 45 por ciento de las víctimas de trata son indígenas, dijo la diputada Rosi Orozco. En tanto que Margarita Zavala consideró fundamental combatir de manera frontal este delito.

México está ubicado en el segundo lugar en producción de pornografía infantil a nivel mundial, afirmó la presidenta de la Comisión Especial de Lucha contra la Trata de Personas, diputada panista Rosi Orozco al inaugurar el Foro Líderes de Opinión Contra la Trata de Personas.

En presencia de la presidenta del Sistema Nacional para el Desarrollo Integral de la Familia, Margarita Zavala Gómez del Campo, la legisladora subrayó que el delito de trata de personas ocupa el segundo lugar a nivel mundial, como el negocio ilícito más redituable para el crimen organizado, con 42 mil millones de dólares, y después está el de la venta de armas.

Lea el artículo completo

Mexico holds second place globally in [the production of] child pornography

Some 45% of human trafficking victims in Mexico are indigenous, according to Deputy Rosi Orozco. First Lady Margarita Zavala declares that confronting trafficking head-on is fundamental.

Some 45% of trafficking victims are indigenous, according to Deputy Rosi Orozco.

According to National Action Party Depurty Rosi Orozco, president of the Special Committee to Combat Trafficking in Persons in the Lower House of Congress, Mexico holds a second-place position in the global production of child pornography. Deputy Orozco made these remarks as she opened the forum Opinion Leaders Against Human Trafficking. The event was attended by Mexico's First Lady Margarita Zavala Gómez del Campo, who is also the president of the National System for Integral Family Development (the nation's social services agency).

Depurty Orozco explained that the global human trafficking business brings in ilicit earning of $42 billion per year, making it the most profitable criminal enterprise after illegal arms trafficking.

Read the full article

Grupo Fórmula

Jan. 24, 2012


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

Mexico

México, Segundo en Pornografia Infantil en el Mundo

Trata de personas y pornografía infantil, delitos graves… Al señalar que México es de los cinco países del orbe con el mayor problema en materia de trata de personas y segundo en pornografía infantil, la diputada panista Rosi Orozco previno que el delito de la trata, ya superó las ganancias que obtiene la delincuencia organizada por el tráfico de armas a nivel mundial, con más de 42 mil millones de dólares.

Al inaugurar el foro “Líderes de Opinión contra la Trata de Personas”, sostuvo que por todo ello, la Organización de las Naciones Unidas escogió a nuestro país para iniciar la campaña del Corazón Azul, donde se pretende sensibilizar a la población y a las autoridades para erradicar el delito.

En nuestro país, el negocio de la trata de personas sigue en ascenso; mientras que a la fecha, sólo 19 entidades del país tienen una Ley contra la Trata de Personas, y únicamente el Distrito Federal, Puebla y Chiapas han aplicado sentencias condenatorias.

Lea el artículo completo

Mexico: The second largest producer of child pornography globally

Human trafficking and child pornography, felonies ... Noting that Mexico is among the five countries in the world with the biggest problem in terms of trafficking in child pornography and second, the National Action Party's Deputy Rosi Orozco, who is a member of the Lower House of Congress, has warned that the crime of trafficking has surpassed the profits earned through ilicit arms trafficking, and now amount to $42 billion dollars per year [in criminal profits].

During her presentation opening the forum Opinion Leaders Against Trafficking in Persons, Deputy Orozco added that the Organization of the United Nations chose Mexico to start its [global] Blue Heart campaign, which aims to sensitize the population and authorities with the goal of eradicating modern human slavery.

In our country, the business of trafficking in persons continues to rise, while to date only 19 states [out of 32 federated entities] in the country have a law against trafficking in persons, and only the Federal District [Mexico City], and the states of Puebla and Chiapas have have handed down sentences in criminal cases associated with these crimes.

Read the full article

Jaime Arizmendi

Quadratín

Jan. 25, 2012


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

Mexico

Mexico No. 2 Producer Of Child Porn, Lawmakers Say

Mexico is the world's No. 2 producer of child pornography and is classified as a source, transit and destination country for people traffickers involved in sexual exploitation, lawmakers said.

Child pornography is the No. 2 illegal business, trailing only drug trafficking, and generates $42 billion annually, Special Committee to Fight People Trafficking chairwoman Rosi Orozco said.

Indians account for about 45 percent of the victims, Orozco, a member of the ruling National Action Party, or PAN, said at the start of a forum in Mexico City on people trafficking.

Read the full article

EFE

Jan. 26, 2012


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

Mexico

Estados más pobres, vulnerables a trata de personas: PAN

La diputada Rosi Orozco, apuntó que en el tema de la trata de personas, ahora se ha hecho mucha conciencia, luego que tiempo atrás se veía una marcada ignorancia de lo que sucedía. Asimismo, dijo ya hay acciones encaminadas a terminar con la pornografía infantil, "con los ciberdelitos que agreden tan fuertemente a los niños, niñas y jóvenes".

Rosi Orozco, diputada del PAN quien ha buscado combatir desde tiempo atrás la trata de personas, destacó el encuentro que se llevó a cabo el día de ayer en donde una chica por primera vez dio su testimonio sin cubrirse el rostro.

Explicó que la joven, quien en el libro "Del cielo al infierno", narró su historia de cómo la habían enganchado a través de enamoramiento, con el que se sentía en el cielo al estar con un príncipe, para después bajar a lo peor de un infierno de vida, de golpes para obligarla a prostituirse.

Lea el artículo completo

Mexico's poorest states are vulnerable to human trafficking: National Action Party

During a recent event focused on the topic of human trafficking in Mexico, Congresswoman Rosi Orozco of the National Action Party stated that significant public awareness of the issue has now been acheived, after a period in which ignorance about the facts had prevailed. She added legislation is being considered by Congress that will put an end to child pornography and "cybercrimes that seriously assault children and youth." First Lady Margarita Zavala and the media also attended.

Deputy Orozco, who has had long sought to combat human trafficking, said the meeting that was held yesterday included for the first time testimony by a victim who appeared without hiding her face.

Deputy Orozco explained that the youth, who's story is told in Orozco's book "From Heaven to Hell", related the story of how she was entrapped by a trafficker who pretended to fall in love with her. She felt that she was in heaven with her prince. Later, she fell into the worst depths of hell-on-earth when the same man beat her to force her into prostitution.

Read the full article

Paola Rojas

Grupo Fòrmula

Jan. 25, 2012


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

Mexico

Avances, no descartan riesgos de frenar ley

No se descartan riesgos en San Lázaro que frenen la aprobación de la Ley para Prevenir, Sancionar y Erradicar la Trata de Personas y los Delitos Relacionados, toda vez que al momento sólo 104 legisladores de todos los partidos la han avalado, todavía falta trecho por andar, y aunque “está bastante acordada”, todos los esfuerzos se hacen para que avance, a fin de combatir el lacerante comercio y explotación sexual de seres humanos: niñas, niños y mujeres.

La diputada del PAN Rosi Orozco, presidenta de la Comisión Especial de Lucha Contra la Trata de Personas aclaró: “no he politizado ninguna situación, realmente va más allá de los partidos, estamos hablando de nuestros mexicanos, de nuestros niñas y niños y protegerlos a ellos no tiene colores”, ya que es una esclavitud en pleno siglo XXI, advirtió en entrevista durante la sesión en San Lázaro.

Confió que en este último periodo ordinario de la LXI Legislatura salga la Ley para Prevenir, Sancionar y Erradicar la Trata de Personas, “es una ley que no tiene por qué no salir, la gente que está en las comisiones está de acuerdo en que tengamos una Ley General, lo difícil fue sacar la reforma al artículo 73 y eso, pues ya se logró” apunta la legisladora albiceleste.

Lea el artículo completo

Human trafficking legislation advances in Congress, members decline to reveal hidden threats to passage

Congressional lawmakers have declined to reveal the sources of hidden influences that are putting efforts to pass the proposed Law on the Prevention, Punishment and Eradication of Trafficking in Persons and Related Crimes at risk. Currently, only 104 federal lawmakers from across Mexico's political parties have endorsed the proposal. Although significant work needs to be accomplished to achieve passage of the bill, basic agreement has been reached [on the need for an enforceable federal anti-trafficking law]. All possible efforts are being made to advance the bill, which will allow [a more effective federal effort to fight the damaging effects of the labor and sexual exploitation of girls, boys and women].

During an interview held in San Lazaro (the seat of Congress), National Action Party (PAN) Deputy Rosi Orozco, who is the president of the Special Committee to Combat Human Trafficking in the lower house of Congress said: "I have not politicized this effort. It [is a campaign that] really goes beyond the [interests of individual political] parties. What we are talking about here are our Mexican people, our children. They don't have colors [political affiliations]." She added that this [crisis] is a 21st Century form of slavery.

Deputy Orozco added that she hopes that, during the latter period of the 61st [LXI] Legislature's regular session, the Law to Prevent, Punish and Erradicate Human Trafficking will be passed." She noted that there is no reason why the bill should not pass, given that the members of the relevant congressional commissions [committees] are in agreement that we should have a general law against trafficking [a general law is the only form of federal law that may actually be enforced by federal authorities in the states]. The hardest part was achieving the reform of Article 73, said Orozco [During 2011, President Felipe Calderón achieved the passage of amendments to Articles 19, 20 and 73 of the Mexican Constitution to remove certain obstacles to the prosecution of human trafficking cases].

Read the full article

Luz María Alonso Sánchez

El Punto Critico

Feb. 03, 2012


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

Mexico

Ritmoson combate con música trata de personas

Crean campaña para generar conciencia del delito y cerrarán con un concierto

El tercer delito más lucrativo en México y otros países es la trata de personas, por ello, crear conciencia entre los jóvenes y niños para no ser víctimas de él es la pretensión del canal Ritmoson Latino.

Con la campaña Música libre, la señal internacional puso a andar su tercera iniciativa social, esta vez para combatir un “grave problema”.

Ricky Martin, Calle 13, Selena Gomez y Kinky, entre otros artistas, hacen el llamado que a partir de este mes y hasta julio próximo se transmitirá por televisión restringida y redes sociales oficiales.

Lea el artículo completo

Ritmoson TV channel to run anti-trafficking campaign

The third most lucrative crime in Mexico and other countries is human trafficking. Therefore, the Latino Ritmoson channel, which is a part of the Televisa network, has created a trafficking prevention campaign to raise awareness among children and youth.

The international channel's Free Music campaign is its third social initiative, directed, this time, at addressing a "grave problem."

Performing artists] Ricky Martin, Calle 13, Selena Gomez. Kinky, among other artists will promote the campaign between now and July of 2012. It will be broadcast on television and by way of social media networks.

Read the full article

Josue Fabián Arellano M.

El Universal

Feb. 10, 2012


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

California, USA / Mexico

Bill Aims to Make It Easier to Prosecute Child Sex Traffickers

As child sex trafficking expands as a source of money for San Diego gangs, there’s an effort to make it easier for prosecutors to go after pimps.

The way California law is written now, prosecutors have to prove force or coercion when a sex trafficking victim is younger than 18. Because so many victims are lured by pimps through emotional bribery or promises of work, it’s been difficult for prosecutors to prove trafficking.

Susan Munsey is with the nonprofit group Generate Hope which helps trafficking victims get back on their feet. She said Assembly Bill 90, which changes the standard of proof from forced to encouraged or persuaded, is badly needed.

Read the full article

Amita Sharma

Fronteras Desk

Aug..12, 2011


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

Mexico

Lideraba "La Niurka" red de prostitución de menores

Tijuana.- Una orden de aprehensión por el presunto delito de trata de personas le fue cumplimentada a María Guadalupe Román Valenzuela, alias "La Niurka", señalada como quien lideraba una red de prostitución con mujeres menores de edad desde el año 2005.

Fueron agentes de la Policía Estatal Preventiva quienes finalmente le concretaron el mandato judicial que pesaba en su contra desde el año 2007 por el delito de lenocinio, cuya figura delictiva fue cambiada con motivo de la entrada en vigor de la Ley Contra la Trata de Personas en el estado.

La Secretaría de Seguridad Pública Estatal informó que la detención de la fémina, también conocida como "La Tía", se llevó a cabo la tarde del domingo al ubicarla tras semanas de investigación en el fraccionamiento La Bodega, en la ciudad de Mexicali.

Lea el artículo completo

Police arrest child sex trafficker known as "La Niurka"

The city of Tijuana - An arrest warrant for the alleged crime of human trafficking ihas been carried out against Maria Guadalupe Roman Valenzuela, also known as "The Niurka." Authorities indicate that since 2005, Roman Valenzuela has lead a prostitution ring that exploits underage girls.

The [Baja California] State Preventive Police (SSPE) arrested Roman Valenzuela, who had been wanted since 2007 on charges of pimping. The charges were later modified after the enactment of the state's Law Against Human Trafficking.

The State Secretariat of Public Security reported that the arrest of the suspect, who also went by the name of "Auntie," took place Sunday afternoon following a weeks-long investigation in the La Bodega neighborhood in the city of Mexicali.

Read the full article

Manuel Cordero

El Sol de Tijuana

Jan. 17, 2012


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

Mexico

Journalist, women's center director and anti-trafficking advocate Lydia Cacho

Lydia Cacho wins Olof Palme Prize 2011

Lydia Cacho, Mexican journalist and writer, and Roberto Saviano, Italian author, were awarded with Olof Palme Prize 2011. They both spoke about justice and human rights issues in their native countries with a great deal of courage, and currently they are living under threats and persecution.

In 2009, Lydia Cacho received a lot of attention at the Göteborg Book Fair, where she presented the translated version of her book "I will not let myself be intimidated". She wrote it based on her life experience in Mexico – her motherland, where she is known for her accusations of corruption among Mexican politicians and businessmen.

In 2005, by having written "Demons of Eden", she exposed paedophile Succar Kuri's network in Cancun and named several accomplices among high-ranking politicians and businessmen. Since that moment the author has lived under constant death threats. Besides being an author and having written seven books in total, since 2000, Lydia Cacho has been sheltering vulnerable women and children in Cancún, where they get an opportunity to retreat.

Read the full article

Göteborg Book Fair

Jan. 30, 2012


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

Peru

Lanzan campaña contra la trata de menores en la minería informal

La ONG Save The Children y la Unión Europea lanzaron este fin de semana una intensa campaña para erradicar la explotación sexual y laboral de niños y adolescentes en la minería informal en Madre de Dios (selva sur), una de las regiones más pobres de Perú.

La ONG Save The Children y la Unión Europea lanzaron este fin de semana una intensa campaña para erradicar la explotación sexual y laboral de niños y adolescentes en la minería informal en Madre de Dios (selva sur), una de las regiones más pobres de Perú.

"Una de las metas de la campaña es recuperar con apoyo de la policía y fiscalía a unos mil niños, niñas y adolescentes explotadas sexual y laboralmente en campamentos de la minería informal en Madre de Dios", dijo a la AFP Teresa Carpio Villegas, representante de Save The Children en Perú.

En los campamentos las menores son explotadas en cantinas convertidas en prostíbulos conocidos como 'prostibares', así como en, entre otras actividades, en la extracción de oro y la servidumbre, señaló Carpio.

Lea el artículo completo

NGO launches [million dollar] campaign against child trafficking in Peru's remote informal mining camps

THe NGO Save the Children and the Earopean Union are launching a compaign this week to intensity efforts to eradicate the sexual and labor exploitation of children and youth in the informal mining camps of Madre de Dios, one of Peru's poorest regions.

The NGO Save The Children and the European Union this weekend launched an intensive campaign to eradicate sexual and labor exploitation of children and adolescents in the informal mining region of Madre de Dios (Mother of God), one of the poorest regions of Peru.

"One of the goals of the campaign is to organize police and prosecutorial support to rescue approximately 1,000 children and teens who are exploited for sex and labor in informal mining camps of the Madre de Dios," he told AFP Teresa Carpio Villegas, who Save the Children's representative in Peru.

In the mining camps, children are exploited in bars that have been converted into brothels and are known as 'prostibars.' Minors are also exploited to work in gold mining and [other forms of] servitude, Carpio said.

Read the full article

Agence France-Presse (AFP)

Jan. 30, 2012


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

Indigenous Mexico

Indigenous women are marginalized in Mexican society. Comprising 15-to30 percent of the population, they and their underage daughters make up an estimated 45% of all human trafficking victims in the Aztec nation (Mexico).

Voces del pueblo indígena

México-. La situación de asimetría y desigualdad ha hecho que históricamente los pueblos indígenas en México sean marginados y excluidos de los procesos de toma de decisiones en el país.

En la actualidad, con una población que se acerca a los 16 millones de habitantes, de ellos más de mitad mujeres, de acuerdo con estimados de la Movimiento Indígena Nacional (MIN), estos grupos se localizan, fundamentalmente en los estados de Yucatán (59 por ciento) y Oaxaca (48 por ciento).

También en Quintana Roo (39), Chiapas (28), Campeche (27), Hidalgo (24), Puebla (19), Guerrero (17), San Luis Potosí (15) y Veracruz (15).

Lea el artículo completo

Voices of indigenous peoples

Conditions of inequality have historically resulted in the indigenous peoples being marginalized and excluded from the decision making process in Mexico.

Today, with their population is approaching 16 million people. Over half of them are women, according to estimates from the National Indigenous Movement (MIN). These groups are located mainly in the states of Yucatan (where they are 59% of the state's total population) and Oaxaca (where they are 48%).

The indigenous population is also significant in several other states: Quintana Roo (39%), Chiapas (28%), Campeche (27%), Hidalgo (24%), Puebla (19%), Guerrero (17%), San Luis Potosi (15%) and Veracruz (15%).

Read the full article

Deisy Francis Mexidor

Prensa Latina


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

Mexico

Agents save 13 from sex slavery in Mexican bar

The city of San cristobal de las Casas, in Chiapas state - Investigators say they have rescued a group of 13 women and girls, mostly from Central America, who were forced to have sex with clients at a bar in southern Mexico.

Chiapas state prosecutor Miguel Hernandez says at least half of the 13 women were minors, and 10 were from Central America.

Hernandez and other agents raided the bar in the town of Teopisca Saturday and arrested the manager, 42-year-old Mauri Diaz, on human trafficking, prostitution and corruption of minors charges.

Read the full article

The Associated Press

Feb. 4, 2012


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

Mexico

Mexico unravels child trafficking ring

Zapopan - The Irish couples ensnared in an apparent illegal adoption ring in western Mexico thought they were involved in a legal process and are devastated by allegations organisers were trafficking in children, the families said.

"All the families have valid declarations to adopt from Mexico as issued by the Adoption Authority of Ireland," they said in a statement, which was read over the phone to The Associated Press by their lawyer in Mexico, Carlos Montoya.

Prosecutors in Mexico contend the traffickers tricked destitute young Mexican women trying to earn more for their children and childless Irish couples desperate to become parents.

Read the full article

News24

Jan. 24, 2012


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

Mexico / Central America

Rescatan a centroamericanos víctimas del tráfico de personas

Some 73 undocumented Central Americans have been located and rescued by army units after being held in 'safe houses' that were presumably owned by human traffickers.

El Ejército mexicano encontró a 73 inmigrantes indocumentados en presuntas casas de traficantes de personas en el nororiental estado de Tamaulipas, informó el jueves la Secretaría de la Defensa.

La acción se realizó el martes en la ciudad de Reynosa "de manera coordinada, simultánea y sorpresiva" y permitió la detención de cuatro personas. Entre los indocumentados, cuyas nacionalidades no se dieron a conocer, había 18 menores de edad, informó DPA.

Lea el artículo completo

Central American human trafficking victims are rescued

Se trata de 73 indocumentados localizados por el ejército en casas que presuntamente pertenecen a traficantes de seres humanos.

The Mexican army has found 73 illegal immigrants in alleged human trafficking safe houses located in the northeastern state of Tamaulipas, the Secretary of Defense announced Thursday.

The action took place on Tuesday in the city of Reynosa "in a coordinated suprise raid" that led to the arrest of four people. Among the undocumented, whose nationalities were not released, there were 18 children.

Read the full article

El Universal

Feb. 10, 2012


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

The World

UNODC: The Role of Corruption in Trafficking in Persons

The UNODC report focuses on the close interrelation between corruption and human trafficking, critiquing existing international legal instruments that deal only indirectly with this problem, and providing recommendations on how to strengthen these tools.

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime outlines the impetus for its report:

Trafficking in persons and corruption are closely linked criminal activities, whose interrelation is frequently referred to in international fora. Yet, the correlation between the two phenomena, and the actual impact of corruption on trafficking in persons, are generally neglected in the development and implementation of anti-human trafficking policies and measures. This lack of attention may substantially undermine initiatives to combat trafficking in persons and prevent the customization of responses as needed. Only after recognizing the existence and the effects of corruption in the context of human trafficking, can the challenges posed by it be met.

Read the full article

Insight Crime

Feb. 13, 2012


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

Mexico

Oklahoma Human Trafficking Operation May Have Ties To Mexican Cartels

Oklahoma City - We're learning more about a human trafficking operation busted last week in both Oklahoma City and Tulsa. It appears to have ties to a Mexican human trafficking ring, which are said to be some of the most violent and brutal.

A search warrant obtained by News 9 reveals a victim of human trafficking, who was rescued in Tulsa, said she was also held against her will in Oklahoma City.

She told investigators she was held at the apartments off S.W. 59th Street and Harvey during the first part of January, and that she and others were forced to have sex with multiple strange men.

Read the full article

Adrianna Iwasinski

Oklahoma News 6

Feb. 06, 2012


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

Mexico

Pretenden regular pornografía en Baja California

Baja california es uno de los estados que ofrece más turismo sexual en México, es por esto que el Partido Encuentro Social presentará este mes una iniciativa ante el Congreso del Estado para que las compañías proveedoras de internet regulen el consumo de la pornografía.

La iniciativa pretende regular el uso de internet en el aparto de Gobierno y el sector educativo, además el que vende internet debe cuidar el acceso de los menores el uso de la pornografía reveló el presidente Estatal del PES, Javier Peña García.

“Es una iniciativa ciudadana, pero estamos invitando a las diferentes fracciones de los partidos a que se adhieran en esto para que salga en común acuerdo con todos los partidos de Baja California”, adelantó.

Lea el artículo completo

Legislators work to regulate online pornography in Baja California state

Baja California is one states that offers the most sex tourism in Mexico, which is why the Social Encounter Party will, later this month, present a proposal to the State Congress that will require Internet service provider companies to regulated the consumption of pornography.

The initiative seeks to regulate Internet use in government agencies and in the education sector. The measure will also insist that companies that provide Internet services take measures to limit that access of minors to pornography. which also sells Internet access to take care of children using pornography revealed the leader of the state branch of the Social Encounter Party (PES), Javier García Peña.

"It's a citizens' initiative, but we are inviting the different political parties in Baja California to agree to this so that we may present a common front on the issue," he stated.

Read the full article

Uni Rdio Informa

Feb. 13, 2012


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

Bolivia

In Bolivia, Many Indigenous Communities Turn to Vigilantism to Fight Crime

If a man kills another man in the harsh high plains of Jesús de Machaca or the lush lowlands of Beni, the people who catch him might not call the police. Instead they might call a meeting.

Far from courthouses and police stations that may not know their languages, and despite having no jails to lock up criminals, remote villagers in Bolivia have quietly kept justice in their own hands for centuries, handling everything from malicious gossip to murder. They have demanded fines, doled out whippings, even banished people from the pueblo. These community courts have sometimes been criticized for trampling on human rights, especially when it comes to the rights of women, but indigenous leaders say they work better for them than the regular system.

To press a case in the ordinary courts, “you must hire a lawyer and spend money on paperwork,” says Justina Vélez, who represents Pando, the northernmost province of Bolivia, in an organization of female peasants named for the indigenous hero Bartolina Sisa. “All the courthouses are located in the main cities.… The indigenous authorities are right here where we live.”

Read the full article

Emily Alpert

Indian Country Today

Feb. 08, 2012


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

Mexico

Mexico Official Admits Some Areas Out of Government Control

At a military ceremony yesterday, Mexican Defense Minister Guillermo Galvan Galva described the national security situation in stark terms. “Clearly, in some sectors of the country public security has been completely overrun,” said Galvan, adding that “it should be recognized that national security is seriously threatened.” He went on to say that organized crime in the country has managed to penetrate not only society, but also the country’s state institutions.

Galvan also endorsed the military’s role in combating insecurity, asserting that although they have a responsibility to acknowledge that “there have been mistakes,” the armed forces have an “unrestricted” respect for human rights.

InSight Crime Analysis

Read the full article

Geoffrey Ramsey

InSight Crime

Feb. 10, 2012


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

Mexico

Operan 47 redes de trata de personas en México

Diputados piden a los tres órdenes de gobierno crear políticas adecuadas en la materia

La Cámara de Diputados pidió a los tres órdenes de gobiernos que combatan de manera integral el delito de trata de personas, debido a que en México operan al menos 47 redes que se dedican a este ilícito, de acuerdo con datos de la Red Nacional de Refugios.

Según cifras de la red, al año hay 800 mil adultos y 20 mil menores víctimas de este delito cuyas ganancias oscilan entre los 372 mil millones de pesos.

Las rutas incluyen los estados de Veracruz, Chiapas, Puebla, Oaxaca, Tlaxcala, Baja California, Chihuahua, Guerrero y Quintana Roo, así como países centroamericanos como Guatemala, Honduras y El Salvador.

Lea el artículo completo

Some 47 human trafficking networks are operating in Mexico

Congressional deputies ask the three branches of government to develop adequate policies to address human trafficking

Mexico's Lower House of Congress has asked the three branches of government (legislative, judicial and executive) to integrate their efforts to fight human trafficking, given that at least 47 trafficking networks exist in the nation, according to data released by the National Network of Refuges.

According to the Network, some 800,000 adults and 20,000 children are entrapped by modern human slavery each year, resulting in criminal earnings of some 372 million Mexican pesos ($28 million US dollars).

Trafficking routes exist in the Mexican states of Veracruz, Chiapas, Puebla, Oaxaca, Tlaxcala, Baja California, Chihuahua, Guerrero and Quintana Roo, as well as in Central American countries including Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.

Read the full article

Israel Navarro and José Luis Martínez

Milenio

Feb. 05, 2012


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

Costa Rica

Costa Rica lags in sex-trafficking fight

“Mariel” became a victim of sex trafficking at the age of 17. She managed to escape, but still suffers anxiety and fear. Rahab Foundation is helping her recover.

“Mariel” fears that she will be kidnapped again.

At 17, she was lured into human trafficking by an acquaintance with the promise of work. Her captor used false documents to take her from Costa Rica across the border to Nicaragua, Guatemala and Honduras for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation.

Read the full article

Dominique Farrell

The Tico TImes

Jan. 27, 2012


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

Costa Rica

La pornografía infantil existe en Costa Rica

Adultos sedientos de sentir y tocar la piel de un cuerpo junto al suyo, deseosos de pagar sumas de dinero por alquilar un rato de confort, quizás hasta hacer una película o tomar unas fotos, pero no de cualquier cuerpo ni de cualquier persona, sino de un niño o una niña costarricense.

La explotación sexual comercial -también llamada prostitución infantil- es un flagelo social que existe en Costa Rica y se concentra mayoritariamente en las zonas fronterizas y las costas, según cuentan organizaciones no gubernamentales que han dado seguimiento a los casos esta ha desembocado en una riada de producción de pornografía infantil en la que se utilizan niños y niñas costarricenses.

Según Rocío Rodríguez directora de Alianza por tus Derechos, en la actualidad las zonas más plagadas de casos –tanto de explotación sexual comercial como de pornografía- son Puntarenas, Guanacaste y Limón.

Lea el artículo completo

Child pornography exists in Costa Rica

Hungry adults feel and touch the skin of a body against thiers, eager to pay money to rent a bit of comfort, perhaps even make a movie or take some pictures, but not of any body or any person, but a boy or a girl in Costa Rica.

Commercial sexual exploitation, which is also known as child prostitution, is a social scourge that exists in Costa Rica. It is concentrated along the nation's borders and coasts, accourding to non governmental organizations who support victims. This reality has led to a flood in the production of child pornography that exploits Costa Rican children.

According to Rocio Rodriguez director of the NGO Alliance for your Rights (Alianza por tus Derechos), the cities of Puntarenas, Guanacaste and Limón are the regions that are the most plagued by both commercial sexual exploitation and pornography.

Read the full article

Daniela Araya

Costa Rica Hoy

Feb. 16, 2012


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

Mexico

Arrestan a pastor por violar niñas

De la secta Sendero de Luz.. Abusó de ellas durante años con la complacencia de sus padres

Delicias, Chihuahua.- Años de un sufrimiento en silencio fueron vividos por dos niñas desde que tenían 11 años de edad, pues un pastor de la denominada Iglesia Sendero de Luz les decía que "para ser siervas de Dios tenían que hacerle todo lo que les indicara", y eso incluía tener relaciones sexuales con él, acciones de las cuales aparentemente su padres estaban enterados.

Las familias de ambas sabían lo que pasaba con el religioso, pero su fanatismo les impedía actuar en su contra, según las jóvenes de ahora 22 años de edad, quienes comentaron que los abusos comenzaron desde el año 2001 y continuaron durante 9 años, hasta que se mudaron a la capital de estado.

Tras la denuncia impuesta por parte de las afectadas, agentes investigadores detuvieron mediante una orden de aprehensión a José Manuel Herrera Lerma, de 59 años, líder del grupo religioso previamente señalado.

Lea el artículo completo

Pastor is arrested on charges of child rape

Path of Light sect leader abused two girls over a number of years with the knowledge of the victim's parents

The city of Delicias in Chihuahua state - Two girls suffered years of sexual abuse in silence, from the time they were age 11, at the hands of their church pastor. The reverend of the Path of Light church told the girls that, "to be servants of God they had to do everything that he told them to do," and that included having sex with him. The parents were apparently aware of the pastor's behavior with their daughters.

The families of both girls knew what was happening with the pastor, but their religious fervor prevented them from acting against him. The victims, who are now both age 22, have stated that the abuse began in 2001 and continued for 9 years, until [the family] moved to the state capital.

In response to the complaint filed by the victims, investigative agents served an arrest warrant on José Manuel Herrera Lerma, age 59.

Read the full article

Marisol Marín

oem.com.mx

Feb. 08, 2012


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

Mexico

Children in Mexican adoption scam show signs of sexual abuse

Ten children were seized by authorities in the western Mexican city of Guadalajara after they uncovered the apparent child trafficking scam last weekend.

Eleven Irish couples hoping to adopt children in the country have been caught up in the investigation.

“There are four children who show signs of having been abused (sexually), perhaps not in a violent way but there are signs (of abuse),” the Jalisco state attorney general Tomas Coronado told reporters today.

Read the full article

TheJournal.ie

Jan. 12, 2012


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

Ecuador

148 millones invirtió el Gobierno en implementación de tres mil centros infantiles

Como parte de este proceso, 242 profesionales entre sicopedagogas, parvularias, tecnólogas en educación y especialistas en desarrollo infantil se incorporaron al trabajo en la provincia costera del Guayas, luego de un periodo de selección y capacitación.

Alrededor de 500 mil niños en Ecuador, entre 0 y 5 años, son atendidos por el Ministerio de Inclusión Económica y Social (MIES), en los Centros del Buen Vivir y el programa “Creciendo con nuestros hijos”.

La ministra de Inclusión Económica y Social, Ximena Ponce, indicó que el desarrollo infantil es uno de los seis proyectos de inversión prioritarios del gobierno del presidente Rafael Correa.

La meta es implementar un profesional por cada Centro para garantizar una conducción técnica en sus tres componentes: salud, educación y protección, especialmente en niños de 0 a 3 años.

Lea el artículo completo

Government invests $148 million to implement 3,000 children's centers across the country

As part of the initiative, 242 professionals have joined the effort in the key coastal province of Guayas

About 500,000 children, from newborns to age 5 are served by Ecuador's Ministry of Economic and Social Inclusion (MIES), through its Good Living Centers and by way of its program "Growing with our children."

Minister of Economic and Social Inclusion Ximena Ponce indicated that child development is one of six priority investment projects for the government of President Rafael Correa.

The goal is to provide one professional worker for each center to ensure technical leadership in its three focus areas: health, education and protection. The initiative is especially geared toward assisting children from 0 to 3 years of age.

Read the full article

eldiario.com.ec

Feb. 08, 2012


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

Guatemala

Former Guatemala dictator to give testimony in genocide trial

Former Guatemalan dictator Efrain Rios Montt will be made to testify at his genocide trial, according to a statement by judicial officials on Saturday. Rios Montt was in control of Guatemala from 1982 to 1983 as a result of a coup and is being charged with crimes against humanity and genocide during his rule. He was protected from prosecution until this month because he was serving in congress. Rios Montt said he would cooperate with the court [EFE report, in Spanish]. The case involves at least 1,771 deaths and 1,400 human rights violations during the 36-year Guatemalan Civil War [GlobalSecurity backgrounder] with much of the violations occurring during Rios Montt's rule.

The Guatemalan civil war resulted in more than 200,000 deaths, mostly among Guatemala's large indigenous Mayan population. According to a UN report [text, in Spanish] released in 1999, the military was responsible for 95 percent of those deaths. In response to these violations, the Guatemalan government founded the National Compensation Program (PNR) in 2003 to deal with claims by civilians affected by the civil war. The PNR, after setting up its administrative structure, has begun to use its $40 million budget to work through a backlog of more than 98,000 civilian complaints. Four former soldiers and two former police officers [JURIST reports] have already been convicted in relation to these crime. Spain attempted to extradite Rios Montt [JURIST report] in 2008, but failed due to a lack of jurisdiction.

Read the full article

Matthew Pomy

Jurist

Jan. 22, 2012


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

Mexico

Dictan prisión contra tres hombres por trata de personas en Chiapas

Un juez penal dictó auto de formal prisión por el delito de trata de personas en contra de tres hombres que operaban un bar clandestino en San Cristóbal de las Casas, donde fueron rescatadas cuatro menores víctimas.

La Procuraduría General de Justicia del Estado (PGJE) informó que los presuntos responsables Abraham “N”, propietario del negocio, el encargado Rosendo “N” y el vigilante Diego “N”, son procesados en el centro penitenciario ” El Amate”.

Agentes de la Fiscalía Especializada en Asuntos Relevantes ejecutaron un operativo en el bar ” La Sirena”, donde rescataron a cuatro menores, sometidas a trata de personas y corrupción de menores.

En el sitio fueron sorprendidos también dos menores de edad que ingerían alcohol, lo que constituye una violación a las leyes de salud.

Lea el artículo completo

Three men are sentenced to prison in [the southern border state of] Chiapas

I jusdge has sentenced three men to prison on human trafficking charges who operated a clandestine bar in the cisty of San Cristóbal de las Casas. Four minors had been rescued from the bar.

The Office of the Chiapas State Attorney General (PGJE) has announced that three suspects, Abraham "N," a bar owner, bar manager Rosendo "N" and a guard, Diego "N," have been detained and sent to the "El Amate" prison.

Agents of the Special Prosecutor's Office for Relevant Issues executed an operation at the bar "La Sirena" (the Siren), where they rescued four children who had been subjected to the crimes of human trafficking and the corruption of minors.

The authorities also encountered two other youth who were drinking alcohol in violation of health laws.

Read the full article

Provincia.com.mx

Feb. 08, 2012


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

Peru

Piden cadena perpetua para acusado de violar a 15 menores en 2009

La directora del Programa Nacional contra la Violencia Familiar y Sexual, Ana María Mendieta, exhortó hoy al Poder Judicial a aplicar la pena máxima de cadena perpetua a Óscar Visalot, acusado de abusar sexualmente de 15 menores de edad en 2009.

Este pedido contra Visalot, quien fue capturado en octubre de 2010, surge ante la posible excarcelación del acusado por exceso de carcelería, precisó la funcionaria de ese programa perteneciente al Ministerio de la Mujer y Poblaciones Vulnerables (Mimp).

“Exhortamos al Poder Judicial, a la Primera Sala de Reos en Cárcel de Lima y a las autoridades penitenciarias a que el procesado sea trasladado a Lima y se le dicte una sentencia ejemplar de cadena perpetua”, sostuvo Mendieta.

Lea el artículo completo

Officials ask for a life sentence for a man accused in 2009 of the rape of 15 minors

The director of the National Programme Against Family and Sexual Violence (PNCVFS), Ana Maria Mendieta, today urged the judiciary to apply the maximum penalty of life imprisonment in the case of Oscar Visalot, accused of sexually abusing 15 minors in 2009.

The request to have Visalot, who was captured in October 2010, sentenced promptly arose from the fact that the defendant is being considered for release from prison due to a determination that the has spent an excessive amount of time in detention, said Mendieta, an official of the PNCVFS, which is a program under the Ministry of Women and Vulnerable Populations (MIMP).

"We urge the Judiciary, the First Board of Inprisoned Inmates in Lima and the prison authorities to transport the prisoner to Lima and [that the Court] hand down a sentence of life imprisonment," said Mendieta.

Read the full article

Andina.com.pe

Feb. 08, 2012


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

Ohio, USA

Man guilty of raping girl in 2005

Hamilton - The adoptive parents of a young girl raped and kidnapped by Butler County’s former “most wanted” fugitive say their daughter can finally start “healing from the nightmare she suffered at the hands of this monster.”

The jury of seven women and five men deliberated for three hours Wednesday before deciding “Mario” Lopez-Cruz was guilty of one count of kidnapping and four counts of rape for his attack on a 9-year-old Hamilton girl on Fathers Day 2005.

Lopez-Cruz faces life in prison without parole until he spends 10 years in prison on the rape charges and up to 10 years on kidnapping. Butler County Common Pleas Judge Keith Spaeth will sentence him March 15.

Read the full article

Denise G. Callahan

The Oxford Press

Feb. 01, 2012



A sample of other important news stories and commentaries



Added: Aug. 05, 2011

About sex trafficker's war against indigenous children in Mexico

LibertadLatina Commentary

Indigenous women and children in Mexico

During the over ten years that the LibertadLatina project has existed, our ongoing analysis of the crisis of sexual abuse in the Americas has lead us to the conclusion that our top priority should be to work to achieve an end to the rampant sex trafficking and exploitation that perennially exists in Mexico. Although many crisis hot spots call out for attention across Latin America and the Caribbean, working to see reform come to Mexico appeared to be a critical first step to achieving major change everywhere else in the region.

We believe that this analysis continues to be correct. We also recognize the fact that the Dominican Republic, Argentina, Paraguay, Peru and Colombia are other emergency zones of crisis. We plan to expand our coverage of these and other issues as resources permit.

Mexico is uniquely situated among the nations of the Americas, and therefore requires special attention from the global effort to end modern human slavery.

Mexico:

  • Is the world's largest Spanish speaking nation

  • Includes a long contiguous border with the U.S., thus making it a transit point for both 500,000 voluntary (but vulnerable) migrants each year as well as for victims of human slavery

  • Has multi-billion dollar drug cartels that profit from Mexico's proximity to the U.S. and that are today investing heavily in human slavery as a secondary source of profits

  • Has a 30% indigenous population, as well as an Afro-Mexican minority, both of whom are marginalized, exploited and are 'soft targets' who are now actively being cajoled, and kidnapped by trafficking mafias into lives of slavery and death

  • Has conditions of impunity that make all impoverished Mexicans vulnerable to sex and labor trafficking

  • Has a child sex tourism 'industry' that attracts many thousands of U.S., European and Latin American men who exploit vulnerable, impoverished children and youth with virtual impunity

  • Is the source of the largest contingent of foreign victims of human slavery who have been trafficked into the U.S.

  • Has a large and highly educated middle class which includes thousands of women who are active in the movement to enhance human rights in general and women's rights in particular

  • Has a growing anti-trafficking movement and a substantial women's rights focused journalist network

  • Has a politically influential faction of socially conservative men who believe in the sexist tenants of machismo and who favor maintaining the status quo that allows the open exploitation of poor Mexicans and Latin American migrants to continue, thus requiring assistance from the global movement against human exploitation to help local activists balance the scales of justice and equality

For a number years LibertadLatina's commentaries have called upon Mexico's government and the U.S. State Department to apply the pressure that is required to begin to change conditions for the better. It appears that the global community's efforts in this regard are beginning to have impact, yet a lifetime of work remains to be done to end what we have characterized as a slow-moving mass gender atrocity.

Recent developments in Mexico are for the most part encouraging.

These positive developments include:

  • The March 31, 2011 resignation of Attorney General Arturo Chávez Chávez (who had earlier failed to address the crisis of femicide murders facing women in Ciudad Juarez as Chihuahua state attorney general)

  • The replacement of Chávez Chávez with Marisela Morales Ibáñez as the nation’s first female attorney general (Morales Ibáñez was recently honored by U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton)

  • Morales Ibáñez’ reform-motivated purge of 174 officials and employees of the attorney general’s office, including the recent resigna-tions of 21 federal prosecutors

  • Morales Ibáñez’ recent raid in Cuidad Juárez, that resulted in the arrests of 1,030 suspected human traffickers and the freeing of 20 underage girls

  • The recent appointment of Dilcya Garcia , a former Mexico City prosecutor who achieved Mexico's first trafficking convictions to the federal attorney general's office (Garcia was recently honored by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for her anti-trafficking work)

  • The July, 2010 replacement of Interior Secretary Fernando Gómez Mont with José Francisco Blake Mora. (Secretary Gómez Mont openly opposed the creation of strong federal anti-trafficking legislation.)

  • Success by President Calderón and the Congress of the Republic in achieving the first steps to bringing about a constitutional amendment to facilitate human trafficking prosecutions

  • Recent public statements by President Calderon imploring the public to help in the fight against human trafficking

  • Some progress in advancing legislation in Congress to reform the failed 2007 federal anti trafficking law, a reform effort that has been lead by Deputy Rosi Orozco

  • The active collaboration of both the U.S. Government and the United Nations Office eon Drugs and Crime in supporting government efforts against trafficking

Taken together, the above actions amount to a truly watershed moment in Mexico’s efforts to address modern human slavery. We applaud those who are working for reform, while also recognizing that reform has its enemies within Congress, government institutions, law enforcement and society.

Mexico’s key anti-trafficking leaders, including journalist and author Lydia Cacho, Teresa Ulloa (director of the Regional Coalition Against Trafficking in Women for Latin America and the Caribbean - CATW-LAC), and Congresswoman Rosi Orozco of the ruling National Action Party (PAN) have all raised the alarm in recent months to indicate that corrupt businessmen, politicians and law enforcement authorities continue to pressure Mexican society to maintain a status quo that permits the existence of rampant criminal impunity in relation to the exploitation of women, children and men. The fact that anti-trafficking activist Lydia Cacho continues to face credible deaths threats on a regular basis and must live with armed guards for 24 hours a day is one sobering indicator of this harsh reality.

The use of slavery for labor and sexual purposes has a solid 500 years of existence in Mexico and much of the rest of Latin America. Indigenous peoples have been the core group of victims of human exploitation from the time of the Spanish conquest to the present. This is true in Mexico as well as in other nations with large indigenous populations such as Guatemala, Bolivia, Peru and Colombia. African descendants are also victims of exploitation - especially in Colombia, and like indigenous peoples, they continue to lack recognition as equal citizens.

These populations are therefore highly vulnerable to human trafficking and exploitation due to the fact that the larger societies within which they live feel no moral obligation to defend their rights. Criminal human traffickers and other exploiters take advantage of these vulnerabilities to kidnap, rape, sex traffic and labor traffic the poorest of the poor with little or no response from national governments.

A society like Mexico - where even middle class housewives are accustomed to treating their unpaid, early-teen indigenous girl house servants to labor exploitation and verbal and physical violence – and where the men of the house may be sexually abusing that child – is going to take a long time to adapt to an externally imposed world view that says that the forms of exploitation that their conquistador ancestors brought to the region are no longer valid. That change is not going to happen overnight, and it is not going to be easy.

Mexico’s current efforts to reform are to be applauded. The global anti-trafficking activist community and its supporters in government must, however remain vigilant and demand that Mexico continue down the path toward ending its ancient traditions of tolerated human exploitation. For that transformation to happen effectively, indigenous and African descendant Mexicans must be provided a place at the table of deliberations.

Although extending equality to these marginalized groups is a radical concept within the context of Mexican society, we insist that both Mexico, the United States State Department (a major driver of these reforms in Mexico) and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC - another major driver in the current reforms) provide the social and political spaces that will be required to allow the groups who face the most exposure to exploitation to actually have representation in both official and NGO deliberations about their fate at the hands of the billion dollar cartels and mafias who today see them as raw material and 'easy pickings' to drive their highly lucrative global slavery profit centers.

Without taking this basic step, we cannot raise Mexico’s rating on our anti-trafficking report card.

Time is of the essence!

End impunity now!

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

Aug. 05, 2011

Updated Aug. 11,2011

Note: Our August 4/5, 2011 edition contains a number of stories that accurately describe the nature of the vulnerabilities that indigenous children and women face from modern day sex traffickers, pedophiles and rapists.

See also:

Added: Aug. 1, 2010

An editorial by anti trafficking activist Lydia puts the spotlight on abusive domestic work as a form of human slavery targeting, for the most part, indigenous women and girls

Mexico

Esclavas en México

México, DF, - Cristina y Dora tenían 11 años cuando Domingo fue por ellas a la Mixteca en Oaxaca. Don José Ernesto, un militar de la Capital, le encargó un par de muchachitas para el trabajo del hogar. La madre pensó que si sus niñas trabajaban con “gente decente” tendrían la posibilidad de una vida libre, de estudiar y alimentarse, tres opciones que ella jamás podría darles por su pobreza extrema.

Cristina y Dora vivieron en el sótano, oscuro y húmedo, con un baño improvisado en una mansión construida durante el Porfiriato, cuyos jardines y ventanales hablan de lujos y riqueza. Las niñas aprendieron a cocinar como al patrón le gustaba. A lo largo de 40 años no tuvieron acceso a la escuela ni al seguro social, una de las hermanas prohijó un bebé producto de la violación del hijo del patrón. Les permitían salir unas horas algunos sábados, porque el domingo había comidas familiares. Sólo tres veces en cuatro décadas les dieron vacaciones, siendo adultas, para visitar a su madre enferma...

Slaves in Mexico

[About domestic labor slavery in Mexico]

Mexico City – Cristina and Dora were 11-years-old when Domingo picked them up in the state of Oaxaca. José Ernesto, a military man living in Mexico City, had sent Domingo to find a pair of girls to do domestic work for him. The girls’ mother thought that if they had an opportunity to work with “decent people,” they would have a chance to live a free life, to study and to eat well. Those were three things that they she could never give them in her condition of extreme poverty.

Cristina and Dora lived in the dark and humid basement of a mansion built during the presidency of Porfirio Díaz (1876 to 1910). Their space had an improvised bathroom. Outside of the home, the mansion’s elaborate gardens and elegant windows presented an image of wealth and luxury. The girls learned to cook for the tastes of their employer.

It is now forty years later. Cristina and Dora never had access to an education, nor do they have the right to social security payments when they retire. One of the sisters had a child, who was the result of her being raped by one of their employer’s sons.

They are allowed out of the house for a few hours on Saturdays. On Sundays they had to prepare family meals for their patron (boss).

Today, some 800,000 domestic workers are registered in Mexico. Ninety three percent of them don’t have access to health services. Seventy Nine percent of them have not and will not receive benefits. Their average salary is 1,112 pesos($87.94) per month. More than 8% of these workers receive no pay at all, because their employers think that giving them a place to sleep and eat is payment enough.

Sixty percent of domestic workers in Mexico are indigenous women and girls. They began this line of work, on average, at the age of 13. These statistics do not include those women and children who lived locked-up in conditions of extreme domestic slavery.

Mexico’s domestic workers are vulnerable to sexual violence, unwanted pregnancies, exploitation, racism and being otherwise poorly treated…

Recently, the European Parliament concluded that undocumented migrant women face an increased risk of domestic labor slavery. In Mexico, the majority of domestic slaves are Mexicans. Another 15% of these victims are [undocumented] migrants from Guatemala and El Salvador. Their undocumented status allows employers to prohibit their leaving the home, prohibit their access to education or deny their right to have a life of their own. The same dynamics happen to Latina women in the United States and Canada.

For centuries [middle and upper class white Mexican women] became accustomed to looking at domestic labor slavery as something that ‘helps’ indigenous women and girls. We used the hypocritical excuse that we were lifting them out of poverty by exploiting them. [They reality is that] millions of these women and girls are subjected to work conditions that deny them access to education, healthcare, and the enjoyment of a normal social life.

We (Mexico’s privileged) men and women share the responsibility for perpetuating this form of slavery. We use contemptuous language to refer to domestic workers. Like other forms of human trafficking, domestic labor slavery is a product of our culture.

Domestic work is an indispensable form of labor that allows millions of women to work. We should improve work conditions, formally recognize it in our laws, and assure that in our homes, we are not engaging in exploitation cloaked in the idea that we are rescuing [our domestic workers] from poverty.

To wash, iron, cook and care for children is as dignified as any other form of work. The best way for us to change the world is to start in own homes.

“Plan B” is a column written by Lydia Cacho that appears Mondays and Thursdays in CIMAC, El Universal and other newspapers in Mexico.

Lydia Cacho

CIMAC Women's News Agency

July 27, 2010


Added: Aug. 4, 2011

LibertadLatina Commentary

We at LibertadLatina applaud U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, the U.S. Justice Department and all of the agencies and officers involved in Operation Delego, which shut down a grotesque  international child pornography network that glorified and rewarded the torture and rape of young children. We also wish you good hunting in taking down all child pornography rings, wherever they may exist.

We call attention to a recent story (posted on Aug. 4, 2011) on the rape with impunity of indigenous school children, from very young ages, in the nation's now-closed Indian boarding school system. The fact that the legislature of the state of South Dakota passed legislation that denies victims the right to sue the priests and nuns who raped them is just as disgusting as any of the horror stories that are associated with the pedophile rapist / torturers who have been identified in Operation Delego.

Yet neither the U.S. Justice Department nor the Canadian government, where yet more horrible sexual abuses, and even murders of indigenous children took place, have ever sought to prosecute the large number of rapists involved in these cases.

In addition, federal prosecutors drop a large number of rape cases on Indian reservations despite the fact that indigenous women face a rate of rape in the U.S. that is 3.5 times higher that the rate faced by other groups of women. White males are the perpetrators of the rape in 80% of these cases.

When former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales fired eight U.S. attorneys in December of 2006, it turned out that 5 of those targeted had worked together to increase the very low prosecution rates for criminal cases on Native reservations. Their firings did a disservice to victims of rape and other serious crimes in Indian Country.

The indigenous peoples of the Americas demand an end to the rampant sexual exploitation with impunity of our peoples, be they from the United States, Mexico, Brazil, Guatemala, Bolivia, Peru or Canada.

We expect the United Stated Government to set the tone and lead the way in that change in social values.

Time is of the essence!

End impunity now!

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

Aug. 05, 2011


Added: Apr. 17, 2011

Massachusetts, USA

Donna Gavin, commander of the Boston Police Human Trafficking Unit, at Wheelock College

Norma Ramos, executive director of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women, speaks

Wheelock professor and anti pornography activist Dr. Gail Dines, and survivor and activist Cherie Jimenez speak at Wheelock

LibertadLatina's Chuck Goolsby speaks up to represent the interests of Latin American and indigenous victims at Wheelock College

Wheelock College anti-trafficking event

Stopping the Pimps, Stopping the Johns: Ending the Demand for Sex Trafficking

This event is part of Wheelock's sixth annual "Winter Policy Talks."

Speakers:

•Donna Gavin, commander of the Boston Police Human Trafficking Unit and the Massachusetts Task Force to Combat Human Trafficking. She is a sergeant detective of the Boston Police Department.

•Cherie Jimenez, who used her own experiences in the sex trade to create a Boston-area program for women

•Norma Ramos, executive director of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women

•Gail Dines, Wheelock professor of Sociology and Women's Studies and chair of the American Studies Department

Wheelock College

March 30, 2011

See also:

Added: Apr. 17, 2011

Massachusetts, USA

Wheelock College to discuss Massachusetts sex trafficking

Wheelock College is set to hold a panel discussion on the growing sex trafficking in Massachusetts.

The discussion, titled "Stopping the Pimps, Stopping the Johns: Ending the Demand for Sex Trafficking," is scheduled for Wednesday and will feature area experts and law enforcement officials.

Those scheduled to speak include Donna Gavin, commander of the Boston Police human trafficking unit and the Massachusetts task force to combat human trafficking.

Experts believe around 14,000 to 17,000 people are trafficked into the U.S. every year, including those from Latin America, Asia and Africa.

The panel is part of the Brookline school's sixth annual "Winter Policy Talks."

The Associated Press

March 30, 2011

See also:

LibertadLatina Commentary

Chuck Goolsby

On March 30, 2011 Wheelock College in Boston presented a forum that explored human trafficking and ways to end demand. Like many human trafficking gatherings held around the world, the presenters at this event provided an empathetic and intelligent window into current thinking within the different interest groups that make up this movement. Approximately 40 college students and local anti-trafficking activists attended the event.

Norma Ramos, executive director of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women (CATW) spoke about current human trafficking conditions around the world. Pornography abolitionist Dr. Gail Dines of Wheelock presented a slide show on pornography and its link to the issue of prostitution demand. Survivor Cherie Jimenez told her story of over 20 years facing abuse at the hands of pimps, and her current efforts to support underage girls in prostitution. Detective Donna Gavin discussed the Boston Police Department’s efforts to assist women and girls in prostitution, including the fact that her department’s vice operations helping women in prostitution avoid criminal prosecution to the extent possible.

The presentation grew into an intelligent discussion about a number of issues that the presenters felt were impacting the effectiveness of the movement. Among these issues were perceptions on the part of Dr. Dines that a number of activists in the human trafficking movement have expressed pro-pornography points of view. She added that the great majority of college students in women’s programs with whom she talks express a pro-pornography perspective. Panelists also expressed the view that many men who lead anti-trafficking organizations also have a pro-pornography viewpoint.

Cherie Jimenez shared her opinion that U.S. born victims do not get as much visibility and attention relative to foreign born victims. She emphasized that victims from all backgrounds are the same, and should be treated as such.

Jimenez emphasized that much of her work as an activist focuses on helping young women who, at age 18, leave state supported foster care, and must then survive on their own. She emphasized that foster care is a broken system that exposes underage girls to routine sexual abuse. CATW’s Ramos, who was a victim of that system herself, agreed.

Ramos, head of the global Coalition Against Trafficking in Women and Girls for Sexual Exploitation (CATW), emphasized that men who operate in the arena of anti sex trafficking activism must be accountable to women activists, because the issue was a gender issue. She also stated that she approached the human trafficking issue from an indigenous world view.

In response to a question from a Latina woman about services for transgender youth, Detective Gavin of the Boston Police Department stated that they have not run into sex trafficking cases involving males. Norma Ramos did note that sex trafficked male youth did exist in significant numbers in the New York City area.

During the question and answer period of the forum, I spent about 15 minutes discussing the issue of human trafficking from the Latin American, Latin Diaspora and indigenous perspectives.

* I noted that as a male anti-trafficking activist, I have devoted the past dozen years of that activism to advocating for the voiceless women and girls in Latin America, the United States and in advanced nations of the world in Europe and Japan where Latina and indigenous victims are widely exploited.

* I pointed out that within the Boston area as elsewhere within the United States, the brutal tactics of traffickers, as well as the Spanish/English language barrier, the cultural code of silence and tolerance for exploitation that are commonplace within Latin immigrant communities all allow sex trafficking to flourish in the Latin barrios of Boston such as East Boston, Chelsea, Everett and Jamaica Plain.

* I also mentioned that during the current climate of recession and increased immigration law enforcement operations, Latina women and girls face a loss of jobs and income, and a loss of opportunities to survive with dignity, which are all factors that expose them to the risk of commercial sexual exploitation.

* I mentioned that the sex trafficking of women and girls in Latin America focuses on the crisis in Mexico, which, I stated was the epicenter of sex trafficking activity in the Americas.

* I stated that the U.S. anti-trafficking movement cannot make any progress while it continues to treat the sex trafficking crisis in Mexico as a secondary issue.

* I mentioned that Teresa Ulloa, director of the Regional Coalition Against Trafficking in Women for Latin America and the Caribbean (CATW-LAC), was a stellar activist who has provided the vanguard of leadership in anti sex trafficking activism in the region. I added that Ulloa recently promoted statistics developed by the Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences, that state that 25% of the Gross Domestic Product across all Latin American nations is derived from human trafficking.

* I mentioned that a number of years ago, I called-on my local police department to enforce the law and arrest an adult man who was severely sexually harassing an 11-year-old Latina girl. These two officers told me in a matter of fact way that they could not respond to what the county Police Academy had taught them (in cultural sensitivity classes there) was just a part of Latino culture.

As is the case in most public events that I attend that address the crisis in human trafficking, the issue of Latina and indigenous victims (who are the majority of U.S. victims) would not have been discussed in detail without the participation of LibertadLatina.

The event was an enlightening experience. My perception is that both the activists and the audience were made aware of the dynamics of the crisis of mass gender atrocities that women and children are facing in Latin America, the Caribbean and in their migrant communities across the globe.

End impunity now!

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

April 17, 2011


Added: Feb. 27, 2011

Mexico

This map shows the number of types of child slavery that occur in the nations of Latin America and the Caribbean

Indigenous children are the focal point for underage sex and labor slavery in Mexico

Around 1.5 million children do not attend school at all in Mexico, having or choosing to work instead. Indigenous children are often child laborers. Throughout Central and South America, indigenous people are frequently marginalized, both economically and socially. Many have lost their traditional land rights and they migrate in order to find paid work. This can in turn make indigenous peoples more vulnerable to exploitative and forced labor practices.

According to the web site Products of Slavery.org, child slavery, especially that which exploits indigenous children, is used to generate profits in the following industries in Mexico:

* The production of Child Pornography

* The production of coffee, tobacco, beans, chile peppers, cucumbers, eggplants, melons, onions, sugarcane and tomatoes - much of which is sold for export

Key facts about Mexican child sex and labor exploitation defined on the Product of Slavery:

* Many indigenous children in Mexico aged between seven and 14 work during the green bean harvest from 7am until 7pm, meaning they cannot attend school.

* Amongst Mexico's indigenous peoples, 86% of children, aged six years and over, are engaged in strenuous physical labor in the fields six days a week working to cultivate agricultural produce such as chile peppers.

* Indigenous child labor keeps costs of production down for Mexican companies as boys and girls from indigenous families are frequently denied recognition of their legal status as workers, charged with the least skilled tasks, such as harvesting cucumbers, and so receive the lowest pay.

* Child labor is widespread in Mexico's agricultural sector; in 2000, it was discovered that 11 and 12 year olds were working on the family ranch of the then-President elect, Vicente Fox, harvesting onions, potatoes, and corn for export to the United States.

[I know a couple of U.S. ICE agents who can add 'another paragraph' to the above statement - LL.]

* Mexican children who are exploited by the sex industry and involved in activities such as pornography and prostitution suffer physical injuries, long-term psychological damage with the strong possibility of developing suicidal tendencies and are at high risk of contracting AIDS, tuberculosis and other life-threatening illnesses.

* There are strong links between tourism and the sexual exploitation of children in Mexico; tourist centers such as Acapulco, Cancun and Tijuana are prime locations where thousands of children are used in the production of pornographic material and child prostitution is rife.

* Mexican street children are vulnerable to being lured into producing pornographic material with promises of toys, food, money, and accommodation; they then find themselves prisoners, locked for days or weeks on end in hotel rooms or apartments, hooked on drugs and suffering extreme physical and sexual violence.

* David Salgado was just eight years old when he was crushed by a tractor as he went to empty the bucket of tomatoes he had just collected on the Mexican vegetable farm where he worked with his family. The company paid his funeral expenses but refused to pay compensation to his family as David was not a formal employee.

The web site explores child enslavement in all of the nations shown in the above map.

Products of Slavery


Added: Feb. 27, 2011

North Carolina, USA

"For Sale" - A composite from a poster announcing Davidson College's recent event on Human Trafficking in Latin America

See the complete poster

Chuck Goolsby speaks at Davidson College

On February 3rd of 2011 I travelled to Davidson College, located in a beautiful community north of Charlotte, North Carolina, to provide a 90 minute presentation on the crisis of sexual slavery in Latin America, and in Latin American immigrant communities across the United States. I thank the members of Davidson's Organization of Latin American Students (OLAS) and the Vann Center for Ethics for cosponsoring the presentation, and for their hospitality and hard work in setting up this event.

During my talk I described many of the dynamics of how sexual slavery works in the Americas. I summarized the work of LibertadLatina as one of the few English language voices engaging the world in an effort to place Latin American gender exploitation issues on an equal footing with the rest of the world's struggle against sex trafficking. I covered the facts that:

1) Sexual slavery has long been condoned in Latin America;

2) Community tolerance of sexual exploitation, and a cultural code of silence work to hide crimes of violence against women across the region;

3) The multi-billion dollar pockets of Latin American drug cartels, together with the increasing effectiveness of anti-drug trafficking law enforcement efforts are driving cartel money into major investments in kidnapping, 'breaking-in' and selling underage girls and young women into slavery globally, en mass;

4) Men in poverty who have grown up in [especially rural] cultures where women's equality does not exist, are prime candidates to participate in the sex trafficking industry - this is especially true in locations such as Tlaxcala state, just east of Mexico City, where an estimated 50% of the adults in the La Meca neighborhood of the major city of Tenancingo are involved in sex traffickers;

5) Male traffickers, often from family organized mafias of adults and teens [especially in Tlaxcala], either kidnap women and girls directly, or engage in false romances with potential victims that result in the victim's beating, gang rape and enslavement, getting the victim pregnant - and then leaving the infant with the trafficker's family as a form of bribery [threatening the baby's death if the victim does not continue to submit to forced sexual enslavement;

6) Traffickers typically take their victims from Tlaxcala, to Mexico City, and to Tijuana on the U.S. border - from which they are shipped like merchandise to Tokyo, Madrid, Amsterdam, Los Angeles, Miami, Atlanta, Charlotte, Washington, DC and New York City;

7) Traffickers also bring victims to farm labor camps large and small across the rural U.S.;

8) North Carolina, including the major population centers of Raleigh-Durham and Charlotte are places where Latina immigrant sexual slavery is a major problem (given the rapid growth in the local immigrant population, who see the state as a place with lots of jobs and a low cost of living);

9) Mexico's government is reluctant (to be polite) to engage the issue of ending human trafficking (despite recent presidential rhetoric), as exemplified by the multi-year delay in setting up the regulations and inter-agency collaborations needed to actually enforce the nation's 2007 Law to Prevent and Punish Human Trafficking (note that only in early 2011 has the final element of the legislation been put into place to actually activate the law - which some legislators accurate refer to as a "dead letter.");

10) heroes such as activist Lydia Cacho have faced retaliation and death threats for years for having dared to stand-up against the child sex trafficking networks whose money and influence corrupts state and local governments;

11) it is up to each and every person to decide how to engage in activism to end all forms of human slavery, wherever they may exist.

Virtually everyone in the crowd that attended the event had heard about human trafficking prior to the February 3rd presentation. They left the event knowing important details about the facts involved in the Latin American crisis and the difficulties that activists face in their efforts to speak truth to power and the forces of impunity. A number of attendees thanked me for my presentation, and are now new readers of LibertadLatina.org.

The below text is from Davidson College's announcement for this event.

Slavery is (thankfully) illegal everywhere today. But sadly, it is still practiced secretly in many parts of the world. One persistent form of it occurs when women and girls are forced into prostitution or sexual slavery, sometimes by being kidnapped and trafficked or smuggled across national borders.

Chuck Goolsby has worked tirelessly for decades to expose and end this horrific, outrageous practice. As the founder and coordinator of LibertadLatina, much of his work has focused on sex-trafficking in the Latin American context.  Join us to hear from him regarding the nature and scope of the current problem, and what we can do to help stop it.

We have given similar presentations to groups such as Latinas United for Justice, a student organization located at the John Jay College for Criminal Justice in New York City.

We are available for conferences and other speaking engagements to address the topics of human trafficking in its Latin American, Latin Diaspora, Afro-Latina and Indigenous dimensions.

Please write to us in regard to your event.

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina.org

Feb. 26, 2011


Added: Feb. 10, 2011

The United States

Tiffany Williams of the Break the Chain Campaign

Highlighting New Issues in Ending Violence Against Women; More Women Afraid To Come Forward And Access Services

Congressional leaders will participate in an ad-hoc hearing examining violence against immigrant women this Thursday on Capitol Hill Washington, DC—Reps. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) and Gwendolyn Moore (D-WI) will co-chair an ad-hoc hearing this Thursday afternoon, bearing witness to the testimony of immigrant women and advocates who are speaking out about increasing barriers to ending violence against immigrant women and families. Honorable guests Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) and Rep. Grace Napolitano (D-CA) will join the co-chairs.

Maria Bolaños of Maryland will share her personal story. Juana Flores from Mujeres Unidas y Activas (MUA), an immigrant women’s organization in California and the Rev. Linda Olson Peebles from the Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington will share the perspective of community groups, and legal advocates Leslye Orloff (Legal Momentum) and Miriam Yeung (NAPAWF) will offer testimony in light of the expected 2011 re-authorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).

WHAT: Ad-hoc hearing on violence against immigrant women

WHEN: Feb. 10, 2011 - 2 pm-3 pm

WHERE: Rayburn House Office Building, Room 2456

WHO: Rep. Raul Grijalva, Rep. Gwendolyn Moore, Rep. Jared Polis, Rep. Napolitano, members of the press, domestic violence advocates, immigrant rights advocates, and other invited guest

Co-Sponsoring Organizations: 9to5, AFL-CIO, Family Values @ Work Consortium, Franciscan Action Network, Institute for Policy Studies, Legal Momentum, MomsRising, Ms. Foundation for Women, Mujeres Unidas y Activas, National Domestic Workers Alliance, National Day Laborer Organizing Network, National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum, National Immigration Law Center, National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, South Asian Americans Leading Together, United Methodist Women/Civil Rights Initiative, Urgent Action Fund for Women's Human Rights, Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations

Contact: Tiffany Williams

Tel. (202) 787-5245; Cell (202) 503-8604; E-mail: tiffany@ips-dc.org 

The Institute for Policy Studies / Break the Chains Campaign

Feb. 9, 2011

See also:

Added: Feb. 10, 2011

The United States

Silencing human trafficking victims in America

Women should be able to access victim services, regardless of their immigration status.

Thanks to a wave of anti-immigrant proposals in state legislatures across the nation, fear of deportation and family separation has forced many immigrant women to stay silent rather than report workplace abuse and exploitation to authorities. The courts have weakened some of these laws and the most controversial pieces of Arizona's SB 1070 law have been suspended. Unfortunately, America's anti-immigrant fervor continues to boil.

As a social worker, I've counseled both U.S.-born and foreign-born women who have experienced domestic violence, or have been assaulted by either their employers or the people who brought them to the United States. I'm increasingly alarmed by this harsh immigration enforcement climate because of its psychological impact on families and the new challenge to identify survivors of crime who are now too afraid to come forward.

For the past decade, I've helped nannies, housekeepers, caregivers for the elderly, and other domestic workers in the Washington metropolitan area who have survived human trafficking. A majority of these women report their employers use their immigration status to control and exploit them, issuing warnings such as "if you try to leave, the police will find you and deport you." Even women who come to the United States on legal work visas, including those caring for the children of diplomats or World Bank employees, experience these threats.

Though law enforcement is a key partner in responding to human trafficking, service providers continue to struggle with training authorities to identify trafficking and exploitation in immigrant populations, especially when the trafficking is for labor and not sex. While local human trafficking task forces spend meetings developing outreach plans, our own state governments are undermining these efforts with extremely harsh and indiscriminate crackdowns on immigrants...

Regardless of their legal status, these women are human beings working hard to feed their families. Their home countries' economies have been by shattered by globalization. Our economic system depends on their cheap labor. Yet much of the debate about U.S. borders fails to acknowledge immigrants as people, or appreciate the numerous cultural contributions that ethnic diversity has provided this country. As a result, humane comprehensive immigration reform remains out of reach in Congress.

We're a nation of immigrants and a nation of hard-working families. An economic crisis caused by corporate greed has turned us against each other in desperation and fear. We should band together to uphold our traditional values of family unity, to give law enforcement the tools they need to provide effective victim protection and identification rather than reactionary laws, and ensure that women can access victim services, regardless of immigration status.

Tiffany Williams is the advocacy director for Break The Chain Campaign, a project of the Institute for Policy Studies.

Tiffany Williams

The Huffington Post

Feb. 07, 2011

See also:

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina Commentary

We at LibertadLatina salute the Break the Chain Campaign and their advocacy director, Tiffany Williams, for bringing voice to the voiceless immigrant working women and girls (underage teens) across the United States. Latin American and other immigrant women routinely face quid-pro-quo sexual demands of "give me sex or get out" from male managers and supervisors across the low-wage service sector of the U.S. economy.

My advocacy for victims of gender violence began with efforts to provide direct victim assistance to Latina women facing workplace gender exploitation in the Washington, DC region. My work included rescuing two Colombian women from the fearful labor slavery that they faced in two diplomatic households in Montgomery County, Maryland, just north of Washington, DC. I also assisted six women in bringing complaints to police and to our local Montgomery County human rights commission (a local processor of U.S. Equal Employment Opportunities Commission cases).

Immigrant women have never had free and equal access to the legal system to address these employer abuses. The Break the Chain Campaign rightly identifies the fact that the social and political climate in the U.S. in the year 2011 is creating conditions in which immigrant women and girl victims fear coming forward.

It is encouraging that the Break the Chains Campaign openly identifies the sexual and labor exploitation of immigrant women and girls in domestic and other low wage service jobs as being forms of human trafficking. Ten years ago, local anti-trafficking organizations in the Washington, DC region did not buy into that view of the world.

Conditions have not changed for the better for at-risk immigrant women and girls since we first wrote about this issue in the year 1994 (see below).

These community continues to need our persistent help on this issue.

End impunity now!

- Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

Feb. 10, 2011

See also:

LibertadLatina

Our section covering human trafficking, workplace rape and community exploitation facing Latina women and children in the Washington, DC regional area.

See also:

Latina Workplace Rape

Low wage workers face managerial threats of 'give me sex or get out!' across the U.S. and Latin America.

See also:

On the Front Lines of the War Against Impunity in Gender Exploitation

Government, corporations and the press ignored all of these victims cases in which Chuck Goolsby intervened directly  during the 1990s.

Rockville, Maryland - Case 1  

Workplace Rape with Impunity

A major corporation working on defense and civilian U.S. government contracts permitted quid-pro-quo sexual demands, sexual coercion and retaliatory firings targeted at Latina adult and underage teen cleaning workers.

Rockville, Maryland - Case 2

Workplace Assault and Battery with Impunity

A Nicaraguan indigenous woman cleaning worker was slapped across the chest and knocked to the floor by her manager in the Rockville offices of a federal agency, the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

The local Maryland State's Attorney's Office repeatedly pressured the victim (through calls to Chuck Goolsby) to drop her insistence on having her assailant prosecuted.

Rockville, Maryland - Case 3 

About the One Central Plaza office complex

Workplace Rape and Forced Prostitution with Impunity

Over a dozen women were illegally fired for not giving in to the sexual demands of three Latino cleaning crew managers who forced women and underage girls into quid-pro-quo sexual relationships as a condition of retaining their jobs. 

Some women were forced to commit acts of prostitution in this office building, that housed Maryland state government and other offices.

A medical doctor who leased office space at One Central Plaza filed a formal complaint with the building owners and stated that he was finding his patient examining tables dirtied by sexual activity after-hours (cleaning managers had keys to access these offices to have them cleaned).

A pregnant woman was severely sexually harassed, and was fired and told to come back after her child was born, when she could be sexually exploited. 

The Montgomery County, Maryland County Human Relations commission in 1995 literally buried the officially filed casework of this pregnant woman and another victim, who had an audio tape of a 20 minute attempt by her manager to rape her.

Both detectives at the Montgomery County Police Department (where I worked part-time during those times) and a team of Washington Post reporters refused to investigate this crisis of workplace impunity.

A Latina Washington Post reporter, when explaining to me why she would not cover the story said, "well, after all, you are trying to accuse these guys (the perpetrators) of felonies." The same reporter stated that her manager would not allow her to cover the story because it was a "dangerous situation."

To this day I continue to ask myself, If it was a dangerous situation, was it not, then, news!

See also:

The above three cases are among those documented in my below report from 1994.

Charles M. Goolsby, Jr.'s 1994 Report on the Sexual Exploitation of Latina immigrant Women and Girls in Montgomery County, Maryland (a suburb of Washington, DC)

The LibertadLatina project grew directly out of these initial efforts to speak truth to the official and criminal impunity in our society that openly targets innocent immigrant women and girls for sexual victimization.


Added: Sep. 29, 2010

India

Human trafficking slur on Commonwealth Games

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rahul Karmakar

Hindustan Times

Sep. 28, 2010

LibertadLatina Note:

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

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

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

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

End impunity now!

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

Sep. 30/Oct. 02, 2010


Added: Jul. 21, 2010

New York, USA

U.S. Ambassador Luis CdeBaca (second from left) and other presenters at UN / Brandeis conference

Hidden in Plain Sight: The News Media's Role in Exposing Human Trafficking

The Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University cosponsored a first-ever United Nations panel discussion about how the news media is exposing and explaining modern slavery and human trafficking -- and how to do it better. Below are the transcript and video from that conference, held at the United Nations headquarters in New York City on June 16 and co-sponsored by the United States Mission to the United Nations and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

Take a look as some leading media-makers and policymakers debate coverage of human trafficking. What hinders good reporting on human trafficking? What do journalists fear when they report on slaves and slavery? Why cover the subject in the first place? What are the common reporting mistakes and missteps that can do more harm than good to trafficking victims, and to government, NGO, and individual efforts to end the traffic of persons for others' profit and pleasure?

Among the main points: Panelists urged reporters and editors to avoid salacious details and splashy, "sexy" headlines that can prevent a more nuanced examination of trafficked persons' lives and experiences. Journalists lamented the lack of solid data, noting that the available statistics are contradictory, unreliable, insufficient, and often skewed by ideology. As an example, the two officials on the panel -- Ambassador Luis CdeBaca, head of the U.S. Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, and Under-Secretary-General Antonio Maria Costa, executive director of the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime -- disagreed on the number of rescued trafficking victims. Costa thought the number was likely less than half CdeBaca's estimate (from the International Labour Organization) of 50,000 victims rescued worldwide...

Read the transcript

The Huffington Post

July 15, 2010

See also:

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina Note:

In response to the above article by the Huffington Post, on the topic of press coverage of the issue of human trafficking, we would like to point out that the LibertadLatina project came into existence because of a lack of interest and/or willingness on the part of many (but not all) reporters and editors in the press, and also on the part of government agencies and academics, to acknowledge and target the rampant sexual violence faced by Latina and indigenous women and children across both Latin America and the Latin Diaspora in the Untied States, Canada, and in other advanced economies such as those of western Europe and Japan.

Ten years after starting LibertadLatina, more substantial press coverage is taking place. However, the crisis of ongoing mass gender atrocities that plague Latin America, including human trafficking, community based sexual violence, a gender hostile living environment and government and social complicity (and especially in regard to the region's completely marginalized indigenous and African descended victims - who are especially targeted for victimization), continue to be largely ignored or intentionally untouched by the press, official government action, academic investigation and NGO effort.

Therefore we persist in broadcasting the message that the crisis in Latin America and its Diaspora cannot and will not be ignored.

End impunity now!

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

July 21, 2010


Added: March 1, 2010

Mexico

Deputy Rosi Orozco watches Mexican Interior Secretary Fernando Gómez Mont's presentation at the Forum for Analysis and Discussion in Regard to Criminal Law to Control Human Trafficking.

Video posted on YouTube

Video: Llama Gómez Mont a Visibilizar Delito de Trata de Personas

Video of Mexican Interior Secretary Fernando Gómez Mont's presentation at the Feb. 23rd and 24th, 2010 congressional Forum for Analysis and Discussion in Regard to Criminal Law to Control Human Trafficking.

[Ten minutes - In Spanish]

Deputy Rosi Orozco

On YouTube.com

Feb. 26, 2010

See also:

LibertadLatina Commentary

Chuck Goolsby

Lead, Follow or Get Out of the Way!

Mexican Interior Secretary Fernando Gómez Mont's presentation at the congressional Forum for Analysis and Discussion in Regard to Criminal Law to Control Human Trafficking has been widely quoted in the Mexican press. We have posted some of those articles here (see below).

The video of Secretary Mont's discourse shows that he is passionate about the idea of raising awareness about human trafficking. He states: "Making [trafficking] visible is the first step towards liberation."

Secretary Mont believes that the solution to human trafficking in Mexico will come from raising awareness about trafficking and from understanding the fact that machismo, its resulting family violence and also the nation's widespread extreme poverty are the dynamics that push at-risk children and youth into the hands of exploiters.

During Secretary Mont's talk he expressed his strongly held belief that federalizing the nation's criminal anti-trafficking laws is, in effect, throwing good money after bad. In his view, the source of the problem is not those whom criminal statutes would target, but the fundamental social ills that drive the problem.

The Secretary's views have an element of wisdom in them. We believe, however, that his approach is far too conservative. An estimated 500,000 victims of human trafficking exist in Mexico (according to veteran activist Teresa Ulloa of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women - Latin American and Caribbean branch - CATW-LAC).

A note about the figures quoted to describe the number of child sexual exploitation victims in Mexico...

Widely quoted 'official' figures state that between 16,000 and 20,000 underage victims of sex trafficking exist in Mexico.

We believe that, if the United States acknowledges that 200,000 to 300,000 underage children and youth are caught-up in the commercial sexual exploitation of children - CSEC, at any one time, based on a population of 310 million, (a figure of between .00064 and .00096 percent of the population), then the equivalent numbers for Mexico would be between 68,000 and 102,000 child and youth victims of CSEC for its estimated 107 million in population.

Given Mexico's vastly greater level of poverty, its legalization of adult prostitution, and given that southern Mexico alone is known to be the largest zone in the world for the commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC), with 10,000 children being prostituted just in the city of Tapachula (according to ECPAT figures), then the total number of underage children and youth caught-up in prostitution in Mexico is most likely not anywhere near the 16,000 to 20,000 figure that was first released in a particular research study from more than five years ago and continues to be so widely quoted today.

Regardless of what the actual figures are, they include a very large number of victims.

While officials such as Secretary Mont philosophize about disabling anti-trafficking law enforcement and rescue and restoration efforts, while instead relying upon arriving at some far-off day when Mexican society raises its awareness and empathy for victims (and that is Mont's policy proposal as stated during the recent trafficking law forum), tens of thousands of victims who are being kidnapped, raped, enslaved and sold to the highest bidder need our help. They need our urgent intervention. As a result of their enslavement, they typically live for only a few years, if that, according to experts.

The reality is that the tragic plight of victims can and must be prevented. Those who have already been victimized must be rescued and restored to dignity.

That is not too much to ask from a Mexico that calls itself a member of civilized society.

Mexico exists at the very top of world-wide statistics on the enslavement of human beings. Save the Children recognizes the southern border region of Mexico as being the largest zone for the commercial sexual exploitation of children on Planet Earth.

Colombian and Mexican drug cartels, Japanese Yakuza mafias and the Russian Mob are all 'feeding upon' (kidnapping, raping, and exporting) many of  the thousands of Central and South American migrant women who cross into Mexico. They also prey upon thousands of young Mexican girls and women (and especially those who are Indigenous), who remain unprotected by the otherwise modern state of Mexico, where Roman Empire era feudal traditions of exploiting the poor and the Indigenous as slaves are honored and defended by the wealthy elites who profit (economically and sexually) from such barbarism.

Within this social environment, the more extreme forms of modern slavery are not seen as being outrageous by the average citizen. These forms of brutal exploitation have been used continuously in Mexico for 500 years.

We reiterate our view, as expressed in our Feb. 26th and 27th 2010 commentary about Secretary Mont.

Interior Secretary Mont has presided over the two year delay in implementing the provisions of the nation's first anti-trafficking law, the Law to Prevent, and Punish Human Trafficking, passed by Congress in 2007.

  • The regulations required to enable the law were left unpublished by the Interior Secretary for 11 months after the law was passed.

  • When the regulation were published, they were weak, and left out a role for the nation's leading anti-trafficking agency, the Special Prosecutor for Violent Crimes Against Women and Human Trafficking in the Attorney General's office (FEVIMTRA).

  • The regulations failed to target organized crime.

  • The Inter-Agency Commission to Fight Human Trafficking, called for in the law, was only stood-up in late 2009, two years after the law's passage, and only after repeated agitation by members of Congress demanding that President Calderón act to create the Commission.

  • Today, the National Program to Fight Human Trafficking, also called for in the 2007 law, has yet to be created by the Calderón administration.

  • In early February of 2010, Senator Irma Martínez Manríquez stated that the 2007 anti-trafficking law and its long-sought regulations were a 'dead letter' due to the power of impunity that has contaminated the political process.

All of the delaying tactics that were used to thwart the will and intent of Congress in passing the 2007 anti-trafficking law originated in the National Action Party (PAN) administration of President Felipe Calderón. All aspects of the 2007 law that called for regulations, commissions and programs were the responsibility of Interior Secretary Mont to implement. That job was never performed, and the 2007 law is now accurately referred to as a "dead letter" by members of Congress.

Those of us in the world community who actively support the use of criminal sanctions to suppress and ultimately defeat the multi-billion dollar power of human trafficking networks must come to the aid of the many political and non governmental organization leaders in Mexico who are working to create a breakthrough, to end the impasse which the traditionalist forces in the PAN political machine have thrown-up as a gauntlet to defeat effective anti-trafficking legislation.

Interior Secretary Mont's vision for the future, which involves continuing on a course of complete inaction on the law enforcement front, must be rejected as a capitulation to the status quo, and as a nod to the traffickers.

While "Little Brown Maria in the Brothel" - our metaphor for the voiceless victims, suffers yet another day chained to a bed in Tijuana, Acapulco, Matamoros, Ciudad Juárez, Mexico City, Tlaxcala, Tapachula and Cancun, the entire law enforcement infrastructure of Mexico sits by and does virtually nothing to stop this mass gender atrocity from happening.

That is a completely unacceptable state of affairs for a Mexico that is a member of the world community, and that is a signatory to international protocols that fight human trafficking and that defend women and children's human rights.

We once again call upon U.S. Ambassador at Large Luis CdeBaca, director of the Trafficking in Persons office at the State Department, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and President Barack Obama to stand-up and speak out with the moral authority of the United States in support of the forces of change in Mexico.

Political leaders and non governmental organizations around the world also have a responsibility to speak-up, and to let the government of President Felipe Calderón know that the fact that his ruling party (finally) supported presenting a forum on trafficking, and the holding of a few press conferences, is not enough of a policy turn-around to be convincing.

The PAN must take strong action to aggressively combat the explosive growth in human slavery in Mexico in accordance with international standards. Those at risk, and those who are today victims, await your effective response to their emergency, President Calderón.

Enacting a 'general' federal law that is enforceable in all of Mexico's states would be a good fist step to show the world that sincere and honest voices against modern day slavery do exist in Congress, and are willing to draw a line in the sand on this issue.

As for Secretary Mont, we suggest, kind sir, that you consider the age-old entrepreneurial adage, and either "lead, follow, or get out of the way" of progress.

No more delays!

There is no time to waste!

End impunity now!

- Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

March 1, 2010

See Also:

Mexico

Víctimas del tráfico de personas, 5 millones de mujeres y niñas en América Latina

De esa cifra, más de 500 mil casos ocurren en México, señalan especialistas.

Five million victims of Human Trafficking Exist in Latin America

Saltillo, Coahuila state - Teresa Ulloa Ziaurriz, the director of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women's Latin American / Caribbean regional office, announced this past Monday that more than five million women and girls are currently victims of human trafficking in Latin America and the Caribbean.

During a forum on successful treatment approaches for trafficking victims held by the Women's Institute of Coahuila, Ulloa Ziaurriz stated that 500,000 of these cases exist in Mexico, where women and girls are trafficked for sexual exploitation, pornography and the illegal harvesting of human organs.

Ulloa Ziaurriz said that human trafficking is the second largest criminal industry in the world today, a fact that has given rise to the existence of a very large number of trafficking networks who operate with the complicity of both [corrupt] government officials and business owners.

Mexico is a country of origin, transit and also destination for trafficked persons. Of 500,000 victims in Mexico, 87% are subjected to commercial sexual exploitation.

Ulloa Ziaurriz pointed out that locally in Coahuila state, the nation's human trafficking problem shows up in the form of child prostitution in cities such as Ciudad Acuña as well as other population centers along Mexico's border with the United States.

- Notimex / La Jornada Online

Mexico City

Dec. 12, 2007

See also:

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

Expert: More than one million minors are sexually exploited in Central Mexico

Tlaxcala city, in Tlaxcala state - Around 1.5 million people in the central region of Mexico are engaged in prostitution, and some 75% of them are between 12 and 13 years of age, reported Teresa Ulloa, director of the Regional Coalition Against Trafficking in Women and Girls in Latin America and the Caribbean...

La Jornada de Oriente

Sep. 26, 2009

[Note: The figure of 75% of 1.5 million indicates that 1.1 million girls between the ages of 12 and 13 at any given time engage in prostitution in central Mexico alone. - LL]


LibertadLatina

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


A child in prostitution in Cancun, Mexico  stands next to a police car with an adult john.

About Child Sexual Slavery in Mexico

Thousands of foreign sex tourists arrive in Cancun daily from the U.S., Canada and Europe with the intention of having sex with children, according to a short documentary film by a local NGO (see below link). Police and prosecutors refuse to criminalize this activity.

This grotesque business model, that of engaging in child sex tourism, exists along Mexico's entire northern border with the U.S., along Mexico's southern border with Guatemala [and Belize], and in tourist resorts including Acapulco, Cancun and Veracruz. Thousands of U.S. men cross Mexico's border or fly to tourist resorts each day to have sex with minors.

Unfortunately, Mexico's well heeled criminal sex traffickers have exported the business model of selling children for sex to every major city as well as to many migrant farm labor camps across the U.S.

Human trafficking in the U.S. will never be controlled, despite the passage of more advanced laws and the existence of ongoing improvements to the law enforcement model, until the 500-year-old 'tradition' of sexual slavery in Mexico is brought to an end.

The most influential political factions within the federal and state governments of Mexico show little interest in ending the mass torture and rape of this innocent child population.

We must continue to pressured them to do so.

End Impunity now!

See also:

The Dark Side of Cancun - a short documentary

Produced by Mark Cameron and Monserrat Puig

2007

About the case of Jacqueline Maria Jirón Silva

Our one page flyer about Jacqueline Maria Jirón Silva (Microsoft Word 2003)


Added: Dec. 03, 2009

Mexico

Award-winning anti-child sex trafficking activist, journalist, author and women's center director Lydia Cacho

Muertes por violencia en México podrían ser plan de limpieza social: Cacho

Especialistas indagan si asesinatos vinculados con el crimen son una estrategia del Estado, dijo.

Madrid. Las muertes por violencia en México en los últimos años, 15 mil en los últimos tres años, podrían formar parte de un plan de "limpieza social por parte del Estado mexicano", declaró este lunes en Madrid la periodista mexicana Lydia Cacho….

Deaths from violence in Mexico could be the results of social cleansing: Lydia Cacho

Specialists are investigating whether murders are state strategy, Cacho says.

Madrid. Deaths from violence in Mexico in recent years, including 15,000 during the past three years, could form part of a plan of "social cleansing by the Mexican State," declared Mexican journalist Lydia Cacho in Madrid, Spain on Monday.

"Experts are beginning to investigate at this time in Mexico whether these 15,000 murders are linked to intentional social cleansing by the Mexican State," Cacho said in a press conference in which she denounced human rights violations and persecution of the press in her country.

Since President Felipe Calderón [became president] three years ago, we have been witnessing a growing authoritarianism in Mexico "justified by the war " (on drugs), in which " militari-zation, and harassment of journalists and human rights defenders is increasing danger-ously," stated Cacho.

Cacho was kidnapped [by rogue state police agents] and tortured in Mexico after divulging information about a pedophile ring in which businessmen and politicians were involved.

The Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR) will determine in an upcoming decision whether Mexican authorities violated the rights of the journalist in that case.

The foundation that bears Cacho's name, created in Madrid a year ago, is organizing a concert to raise funds to help pay for her defense before the IACHR...

Cacho is the author of [the child sex trafficking exposé] The Demons of Eden. In recent years she has received several awards for her work on behalf of human rights carried out through investigative journalism, including the UNESCO-Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Award.

Agence France Presse (AFP)

Nov. 23, 2009

See also:

Mexican Government Part of Problem, Not Solution, Writer Says

Madrid - A muckraking Mexican journalist known for exposes of pedophile rings and child prostitution said on Monday that President Felipe Calderón’s bloody campaign against Mexico’s drug cartels is “not a battle for justice and social peace.”

Lydia Cacho, who has faced death threats and judicial persecution for her writings, told a press conference in Madrid that Mexico’s justice system is “impregnated with corruption and impunity.”

Accompanied by the head of the Lydia Cacho Foundation, Spanish screenwriter Alicia Luna; and Madrid Press Association President Fernando Gonzalez Urbaneja, the author said the nearly three years since Calderón took office have seen increased “authoritarianism” and harassment of journalists and human rights advocates.

The period has also witnessed “15,000 documented killings,” Cacho said, exceeding the carnage in Colombia at the height of that country’s drug wars.

“Specialists are beginning to investigate if those 15,000 killings are linked with intentional social cleansing on the part of the Mexican state,” she said.

Calderón, she noted, “insists on saying that many of those deaths are collateral effects and that the rest are criminals who kill one another.”

“It is a war among the powerful and not a battle for justice and social peace,” she said of the military-led effort against drug cartels, which has drawn widespread criticism for human rights abuses.

Cacho also lamented “self-censorship” in the highly concentrated Mexican media, saying that many outlets color their reporting to avoid trouble with the government and other powerful interests.

A long-time newspaper columnist and crusader for women’s rights, Lydia Cacho became famous thanks to the furor over her 2005 book “Los demonios del Eden” (The Demons of Eden), which exposed wealthy pedophiles and their associates in the Mexican establishment.

In the book, she identified textile magnate Kamel Nacif as a friend and protector of accused pedophile Jean Succar Kuri, who has since been sent back to Mexico from the United States to face charges.

Nacif, whose business is based in the central state of Puebla, accused Cacho of defamation - a criminal offense - in Mexico and arranged to have her arrested for allegedly for ignoring a summons to appear in court for the case.

In February 2006, Mexican dailies published transcripts of intercepted phone conversations in which Nacif was heard conspiring with Puebla Governor Mario Marin and other state officials to have Cacho taken into custody and then assaulted behind bars.

The transcripts indicated that Nacif, known as the “denim king” for his dominance of the blue-jeans business, engineered the author’s arrest by bribing court personnel not to send her the requisite summonses.

Cacho was subsequently released on bail and the case against her was ultimately dismissed.

EFE

Nov. 24, 2009

See Also:

LibertadLatina

Special Section

Journalist / Activist

Lydia Cacho is

Railroaded by the

Legal Process for

Exposing Child Sex

Networks In Mexico

See Also:

Perils of Plan Mexico: Going Beyond Security to Strengthen U.S.-Mexico Relations

Americas Program Commentary

Mexico is the United States' closest Latin American neighbor and yet most U.S. citizens receive little reliable information about what is happening within the country. Instead, Mexico and Mexicans are often demonized in the U.S. press. The single biggest reason for this is the way that the entire binational relationship has been recast in terms of security over the past few years...

The militarization of Mexico has led to a steep increase in homicides related to the drug war. It has led to rape and abuse of women by soldiers in communities throughout the country. Human rights complaints against the armed forces have increased six-fold.

Even these stark figures do not reflect the seriousness of what is happening in Mexican society. Many abuses are not reported at all for the simple reason that there is no assurance that justice will be done. The Mexican Armed Forces are not subject to civilian justice systems, but to their own military tribunals. These very rarely terminate in convictions. Of scores of reported torture cases, for example, not a single case has been prosecuted by the army in recent years.

The situation with the police and civilian court system is not much better. Corruption is rampant due to the immense economic power of the drug cartels. Local and state police, the political system, and the justice system are so highly infiltrated and controlled by the cartels that in most cases it is impossible to tell the good guys from the bad guys.

The militarization of Mexico has also led to what rights groups call "the criminalization of protest." Peasant and indigenous leaders have been framed under drug charges and communities harassed by the military with the pretext of the drug war. In Operation Chihuahua, one of the first military operations to replace local police forces and occupy whole towns, among the first people picked up were grassroots leaders - not on drug charges but on three-year old warrants for leading anti-NAFTA protests. Recently, grassroots organizations opposing transnational mining operations in the Sierra Madre cited a sharp increase in militarization that they link to the Merida Initiative and the NAFTA-SPP [North American Free Trade Act - Security and Prosperity Partnership] aimed at opening up natural resources to transnational investment.

All this - the human rights abuses, impunity, corruption, criminalization of the opposition - would be grave cause for concern under any conditions. What is truly incomprehens-ible is that in addition to generating these costs to Mexican society, the war on drugs doesn't work to achieve its own stated objectives...

Laura Carlsen

Americas Program, Center for International Policy (CIP)

Nov. 23, 2009


Added: Dec. 03, 2009

Mexico

The Numbers Don't Add Up in Mexico's Drug War

Drug Seizures are Down; Drug Production, Executions, Disappearances, and Human Rights Abuses are Up

Just a week before Mexican president Felipe Calderón completes half of his six-year term, [leading Mexico City newspaper] La Jornada reports that 16,500 extrajudicial executions [summary murders outside of the law] have occurred during his administration. 6,500 of those executions have occurred in 2009, according to La Jornada’s sources in Calderón’s cabinet...

While executions are on the rise, drug seizures are down, and drug production is up, Mexico is also experiencing an alarming increase in human rights abuses perpetrated by government agents - particularly the army - in Calderón’s war on drugs. As Mexican human rights organizations have noted, human rights violations committed by members of the armed forces have increased six-fold over the past two years. This statistic is based on complaints received by the Mexican government’s official National Human Rights Commission (CNDH).

No Mas Abusos (No More Abuses), a joint project of the Miguel Agustín Pro Juárez Human Rights Center, the Fundar Center for Analysis and Investigation, and Amnesty International’s Mexico Section, monitors human rights abuses committed by soldiers, police, and other government agents.

Kristin Bricker

Dec. 1, 2009

See also:

LibertadLatina News Archive - October 2009

El Paso - …Mexican human rights official Gustavo de la Rosa Hickerson [has] reported 170 instances of Mexican soldiers allegedly torturing, abusing and killing innocent people in Chihuahua [state].

The Associated Press

Oct. 17,2009

See also:

LibertadLatina Commentary

According to press reports from Mexico, the Yunque secret society is the dominant faction within the ruling National Action party (PAN).

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

During the 1960s, El Yunque perpetrated political assassi-nations and murders targeting their opponents. Although today they profess to adhere to the political process to affect change, it is not a stretch, given their violent history, to conclude that Lydia Cacho's concern, that the federal government of Mexico may be engaging in 'social cleansing through "extrajudicial killings" (which is just a fancy way to say state sanctioned murder of your opponents), may be valid. Cacho is a credible first hand witness to the acts of impunity which government officials use at-times to control free and independent thinking in Mexico. 

We have documented the steady deterioration  of human rights for women in Mexico for several years. Mexico is one of the very hottest spots for the gender rights crisis in the Americas.

The systematic use by military personnel of rape with total impunity, targeting especially indigenous women and girls, is one example of the harshness of  these conditions. The case of the sexual assaults carried out by dozens of policemen against women social protesters in the city of Atenco, Mexico in 2006 is another stark case.

The Mérida Initiative, through which the U.S. Government is funding Mexico's drug war to the tune of $450 million over several years, is financing not only that war, but it is also, apparently, strengthening the authoritarian rule of the El Yunque dominated PAN political party.

El Yunque, which has been identified as being an anti- women's rights, anti-indigenous rights,  anti-Semitic, anti-protestant and anti-gay 'shadow government' in Mexico, does not deserve even one dollar of U.S. funding.

Defeat the drug cartels?

Yes!

Provide funding for El Yunque's quest to build empire in Mexico while rolling-back women and indigenous people's basic human rights?

No!

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

Dec. 4, 2009

About El Yunque

The National Organization of the Anvil, or simply El Yunque (The Anvil), is the name of a secret society... whose purpose, according to the reporter Alvaro Delgado, "is to defend the [ultra-conservative elements of the] Catholic religion and fight the forces of Satan, whether through violence or murder "and establish" the kingdom of God in the land that is subject to the Mexican Government, to the mandates of the Catholic Church, through the infiltration of all its memb