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The Crisis Facing Indigenous Women and Children

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

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Haitian children are routinely enslaved in the Dominican Republic

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Urgent Human Rights Issues in Mexico

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Striking Mexican

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Atenco

Foto: Belinda Hernández

Mexican Police

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Journalist / Activist

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   Railroaded by the

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School Exploitation

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


 

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News and Events - English
2001 - 2002 - 2003 - 2004 - 2005 - 2006 - 2007 - 2008 - 2009

Noticias de Noviembre, 2010

November 2010 News



Eventos

Events




Added: Nov. 28, 2010

Massachusetts, USA / The World

Human Rights and Sex Trafficking Film Forum 2010

Cambridge Massachusetts

Dec. 2 - 5, 2010

Recognizing the need for greater public and academic awareness of sex trafficking, Human Rights and Sex Trafficking: A Film Forum will explore the power of film in effectuating a movement to combat commercial sexual exploitation and modern-day slavery.

The Latin American presence at the forum's events will include the following speakers:

Maria Suarez

Maria Suarez is survivor and activist. She was sold at fifteen for $200 to a Mexican witch-doctor after arriving for a summer visit in California from her home in rural Mexico. He kept her in captivity and used her as his sexual slave for five years. When her abuser was murdered, Maria was imprisoned for 22 years for a crime she did not commit.

Virginia Isaias

Virginia Isaias is a survivor of human trafficking. Kidnapped on a trip to Mexico by a sex-trafficking ring, she managed to escape and come back home to the U.S. In spite of the horrors she experienced during her captivity, Isaias has become an inspiring and empowered advocate for victims of human trafficking. She is a counselor for Casa de la Familia, an NGO catering to the immigrant community in Orange County, CA, and has just established her own organization “Sobrevivientes de Trafico Humano,” that seeks to rehabilitate survivors of human trafficking.

Isaias is the subject of the documentary film project Sands of Silence, which will be screening at Human Rights & Sex Trafficking: A film Forum on Sunday, December 5th.

Films:

* Fatal Promises

* Daughters and

   Sons

* I’m a Victim not a

   Criminal (Preview)

* Sold in America

* RedLight

* The Selling of

   Innocents

* Very Young Girls

* Holy Ghetto

   (Preview)

* Sands Of Silence

* Red Leaves Falling

* Playground

Additional speakers include:

* Ambassador Swanee Hunt - The Eleanor Roosevelt Lecturer in Public Policy at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.

* Taina Bien-Aime, Executive Director of Equality Now (Igualdad Ya)

* Siddharth Kara, Fellow with the Harvard Carr Center Program on Human Trafficking and Modern-Day Slavery and author of Sex Trafficking - Inside the Business of Modern Slavery

* Christina Bain, Director of the Program on Human Trafficking and Modern-Day Slavery at the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy.

* Cherie Jimenez - founder and director of Kim’s Project, a Boston-based program offering support services and resources for women working in prostitution and seeking a way to get out.

* Rachel Lloyd, founder and Executive Director of Girls Educational and Mentoring Services (GEMS)

Information on travel arrangements is available.

Directions to the Brattle Theatre

- Boston Initiative to Advance Human Rights



Noticias Clave

Key News


Added: Dec. 1, 2010

Mexico

Teresa Ulloa, director of the Regional Coalition Against Trafficking in Women for Latin America and the Caribbean (CATW-LAC)

Ms. Ulloa is a veteran women's rights lawyer from Mexico. The CATW-LAC manages offices in 21 nations.

50 mil menores en el DF, víctimas de trata

Ubican puntos rojos en delegaciones Cuauhtémoc y Venustiano Carranza

En la ciudad de México se estima que unas 250 mil personas son víctimas de explotación sexual comercial, 20% de ellas menores de edad, y la mayoría se concentra en las delegaciones Cuauhtémoc y Venustiano Carranza.

Teresa Ulloa, directora regional de la Coalición contra el Tráfico de Mujeres y Niñas en América Latina y el Caribe (CATW-LAC), consideró indignante y degradante que sigan existiendo pasarelas en Manzanares y Santo Tomás...

50,000 minors are victims of human trafficking in Mexico City – Teresa Ulloa

Press conference

Teresa Ulloa, director of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women for Latin America and the Caribbean (CATW-LAC), has presented a report, The Rule of Law, Violence Against Women and Human Trafficking for Sexual Exploitation in the Federal District, that details the results of a project to sensitize and equip police forces in Mexico City to [address human trafficking crimes].

Within the report, Ulloa estimates that approximately 250,000 persons in Mexico’s capitol city are victims of commercial sexual exploitation. Some 20% of those victims are minors [that is a figure of 50,000 children and underage youth]. Most [commercial sexual exploitation of children – CSEC] in the nation’s capitol may be found in the city’s boroughs of Cuauhtémoc and Venustiano Carranza.

Ulloa added that the La Merced area of the city has been converted into a wholesale distribution point for prostituted women, victims who are later rescued in the United States and other countries. [Well, a few of them are rescued. - LL].

Ulloa expressed her indignation at the fact that ‘zonas rojas’ [red light districts where adult prostitution is legal] continue to exist along Santo Tomás Street [an infamous strip used to break-in enslaved women and girls  - LL], and also in the Manzanares area.

During her presentation Ulloa stated that under the previous administration of the city’s Cuauhtémoc borough, the number of sex trafficking victims multiplied 100%. When the borough opened a red light district, prostitution extended itself to within blocks of the borough government’s office buildings. A report was delivered to the city attorney, Miguel Ángel Mancera, identifying borough officials who had become involved with prostitution activity.

The most important hot spots of sex trafficking activity within Mexico City are the areas of La Merced, Buenavista, Santo Tomás, Tlalpan and Sullivan. The problem also exists in Iztapalapa, Iztacalco and other boroughs.

Ulloa stated that in Mexico City we have [human trafficking] activity that ranges from enormously large organized crime outfits to lunch counters that hide their prostitution operations.

Ulloa noted that human trafficking in the city also includes labor trafficking, such as that which may be found in the Central de Abasto district [an industrial zone], where it is commonplace to find children working.

Dilcya García Espinoza, the city’s assistant prosecutor for Attention to Victims of Crime and Community Services, reported during the press conference that her office has created an elite unit to address human trafficking crimes. The task force engages in intelligence gathering, investigations and raids, and also offers assistance to victims.

The task force has carried out four operations to date, resulting in the rescue of 100 victims. More than 100 suspects have been arrested. The majority were believed to have been engaged in international trafficking activities.

Mónica Archundia

El Universal

Nov. 30, 2010

See also:

Added: 2004

Mexico

A woman is paraded before Johns on Mexico City's Santo Tomás Street, where kidnap victims are forced into prostitution and are 'trained'

Photo: (C) New York Times

The Girls Next Door

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

Excerpt:

[About Montserrat, a former child trafficking victim:]

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

- Peter Landesman

New York Times Magazine

January 25, 2004

See also:

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina Commentary

We regard veteran anti-trafficking activist Teresa Ulloa, director of the Regional Coalition Against Trafficking in Women for Latin America and the Caribbean (CATW-LAC), to be one of the most reputable sources available for factual information about the dynamics of human trafficking across all of Latin America, and especially Mexico. The CATW-LAC is based in Mexico City.

While Deputy Rosi Orozco, another venerated anti-trafficking activist, who is a member of Congress and the president of the Special Commission to Fight Human Trafficking in the Chamber of Deputies (lower house of Congress) continues to use an antiquated, 2005 figure stating the existence of only 20,000 victims of commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC) across all of Mexico, Teresa Ulloa has consistently presented statistics on the number of victims that are, we believe, much closer to being accurate than the 20,000 victim figure. It is most likely that Deputy Orozco's statements tow a political 'line' for her ruling National Action Party (PAN).

The November 30, 2010 publication by El Universal of the details of  Teresa Ulloa's press conference, where she announced that 50,000 minors are sex trafficked in Mexico City, the most populous city in the Americas, represents a significant step forward towards achieving truthful public recognition that the sex trafficking of children and youth is a crisis that is growing exponentially in the region. El Universal is a reputable publication and is Mexico City's leading daily paper.

The ruling PAN party's thinking in regard to how it publicly discusses human trafficking must equate to the following: As long as the lower figure of 20,000 child victims is repeated, global condemnation of Mexico's ongoing mass gender atrocity, that of legally uncontested girl child and adult female sex trafficking, will not be so harshly criticized.

No accurate figures exist to define this crisis, of course, but we do trust in Teresa Ulloa's analysis as the best among several available sources of data on the topic.

Peter Landesman's 2004 New York Times Magazine story, the Girls Next Door (see above link), also accurately portrays the complex chain of events that occurs when underage girls and adult women are entrapped in rural Mexico, are 'broken in' by mafias in the state of Tlaxcala, just east of Mexico City, are then taken to Santo Tomás street in Mexico City to be be further broken in, and are then trafficked to Tijuana to be prostituted yet again before they are taken to the United States, Japan or Western Europe to be sold as perpetual rape victims - for profit.

We support the work of these voices of truth.

The work of the anti-trafficking movement must include assuring that government institutions everywhere are held responsible for truthfully defining the human trafficking crisis. Without that truth, effectively combating this scourge will become next to impossible to accomplish.

End impunity now!

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

Dec. 01/02, 2010

See also:

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

Expert: More than one million minors are sexually exploited in Central Mexico

Tlaxcala city, in Tlaxcala state - Around 1.5 million people in the central region of Mexico are engaged in prostitution, and some 75% of them are between 12 and 13 years of age, reported Teresa Ulloa, director of the Regional Coalition Against Trafficking in Women and Girls in Latin America and the Caribbean...

La Jornada de Oriente

Sep. 26, 200

[Note: The figure of 75% of 1.5 million indicates that 1.1 million girls between the ages of 12 and 13 at any given time engage in prostitution in central Mexico alone. - LL]



Últimas Noticias

Latest News



Added: Dec. 2, 2010

New York, USA

Kings County District Attorney Charles J. Hynes (left) is shown at a recent event accepting food donations for victims of domestic violence

Sex trafficking in Brooklyn

Sex traffickers in Brooklyn are targeting Caribbean teenage girls, many as young as 13 years, to lure them into prostitution.

Young women from Russia, Germany, China and Latin America are also on the radar screen of criminal youth gangs, including the Crips, Bloods and Latin Kings, who beat, threaten or otherwise force them into becoming prostitutes.

That alarm was raised by Charles Hynes, Brooklyn’s district attorney and top prosecutor, who has created the Brooklyn Sex Trafficking Unit, BKSTU, to investigate cases and bring perpetrators to court. He has also launched a public information campaign to heighten awareness about what he calls a “barbaric” crime. “It’s hundreds of kids and every one of these kids is being trafficked,” Hynes said. “People misunderstand trafficking. When you say trafficking they picture someone being spirited across the Canadian or Mexican border.”

Hynes explained that the profile of a victim was a teenage girl who had moved to the city with her parents from the Caribbean, Europe, Asia and Latin America, probably as an undocumented immigrant, and would have been approached by a gang member.

She was then enticed by the young man who pretended to be interested in a relationship as a boyfriend but then forced her into prostitution...

Carib News

Reprinted in the New York Times

Nov. 28, 2010

See also:

Added: Dec. 2, 2010

New York, USA

Brooklyn DA Works With Local Community to Fight Trafficking

Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes knows too well that the U.S. is not immune to the problem of sex trafficking – it occurs in his own borough every day. And high at risk, Hynes says, are young immigrant girls. That's why he's working with the community and New York celebrity activists like Sarah Jessica Parker and Gabourey Sidibe to create a community safety net for trafficking victims.

According to Hynes, girls between the ages of 13 and 15 are frequently trafficked in Brooklyn, many of them from Latin American countries, as well as Europe and China. Lacking proper documentation and a good handle on language, these girls are easy prey for sex traffickers, many of whom, Hynes says, belong to gangs. The Crips, Bloods and Latin Kings, among other groups, specifically target young, undocumented immigrants, knowing their trademark tactics of threats, coercion and brutality will work like a charm in pushing the girls into prostitution...

Angela Longerbeam

End Human Trafficking

Nov. 30, 2010

See also:

LibertadLatina Note

The below letter from a Latina social worker, although written 11 years ago, continues to accurately describe the problem of community-based sexual exploitation that is epidemic in immigrant neighborhoods across the United States and throughout the Americas.

This pattern of largely uncontested gender violence, targeting underage girls and young women, including many immigrants, is actively used by criminals to entrap victims into forced prostitution. The crime organizations know that the immigrant community's code of silence, its vulnerability to legal status issues and its fear of both police and criminals will provide the shield that is needed to hide sex trafficking and allow it to flourish right under our noses.

During a September 2010 interview with a human trafficking victim's shelter director working in greater Washington, DC, for example, the director stated that ALL of the victims that her organization is rescuing in Washington's populous Virginia suburbs were sex trafficked by major Latin gangs.

End impunity now!

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

Dec. 02, 2010

Added: 2001

A Washington, DC Latina social worker and girls community center director's letter

Dear Mr. Goolsby,

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

...There have been incidents of date rape, gang rape, abductions, drugging, threats with firearms, etc.  The incidents are just as you described in your letter [Chuck Goolsby's 1999 letter to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children], and have been met with the same level of indifference and dismissal of legal (never mind moral) responsibility on the part of civil institutions -- the police department, public schools, etc." 

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

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

- Excerpt of a letter from a Latina social worker and girl's community center director working with young Latina girls in Washington, DC's largest Latino neighborhood.

Late 1999

See also:

Added: Dec. 3, 2010

New York, USA

Prostituted Youth in New York City: An Overview

…By focusing on New York, where ECPAT-USA is based, this report presents the dynamics and ramifications of child prostitution in the microcosm of one city… Through interviews with social workers, law enforcement officials, and others, we are learning that the problem only appears to be getting worse. Younger children are being coerced into prostitution under ever more violent circumstances. Gang pimping has become more common in recent years, as well as sexual assaults and kidnappings by pimps and clients…

…Susan Breault of the Paul and Lisa Program estimates that there are roughly five thousand youth and children in prostitution in New York City…

…The average entering age of prostitutes has decreased from fourteen to thirteen or even twelve years of age in recent years. Also, many girls physically mature between the ages of twelve to thirteen and are prime candidates for the sex trade. According to Laura Italiano, reporting on the scene in East New York, Brooklyn, "the youngest girls are so popular, their customers cause traffic jams…"

Sexually exploited youth in New York reflect the ethnic diversity of the city. A report on New York City streetwalking prostitutes revealed that half of all the prostitutes were African-American, twenty-five percent were Latino, and twenty-five percent were White… According to [Rachel Lloyd, Executive Director of GEMS, Girls Educational & Mentoring Services], latent racism may also serve as one explanation for the lack of attention given to CSEC [commercial sexual exploitation of children], because of the high percentage of prostituted youth who are of color: "They aren't your sympathetic victims-these kids are loud, foul-mouthed, and they're not White..."

Mia Spangenberg

ECPAT-USA

2001


Added: Dec. 2, 2010

Cambodia, The United States, Mexico, The World

Somaly Mam speaks at at Palo Alto High School

CNN Hero Encourages Students to Join Fight Against Sexual Slavery

Somaly Mam speaks to students about how to combat sexual slavery around the globe without leaving their homes.

[Palo Alto, California -] At 2:55 p.m. Friday, the school bell rang in an auditorium building at Palo Alto High School, but no student in the audience so much as flinched. Somaly Mam stopped speaking in bewilderment, looking from face to face, continuing only when a student explained that the bell signals the end of class.

Unlike Paly students, Mam did not grow up with school bells, or any school at all. Mam grew up in Cambodia and was sold into sexual slavery at age 12 by a man who posed as her grandfather. She was forced to work in a brothel with other children, where she was brutally tortured and raped every day for the next 10 years.

Vowing to never forget those left behind, Mam founded the Somaly Mam Foundation, through which she has dedicated her life to saving more than 6,000 victims of sexual slavery in Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos and Thailand. In 2009, Mam was honored as one of TIME Magazine's 100 Most Influential People and named a CNN Hero...

Mam and Bill Livermore, the CEO of Mam's foundation, have spent the last three weeks speaking at schools and events in the United States, shedding light on the organization and on the issue of human trafficking...

"We see the drug cartels in Mexico using woman to mule drugs into the United States and then selling those young girls into brothels that service migrant workers," Livermore says. "In Detroit, Seattle and Buffalo we see a lot of Vietnamese and southeast Asians brought in from across the Canadian border. In Miami we see Latin Americans sex slaves brought in, and in New York we see a lot of Eastern Europeans. Because they are all brought in illegally, it is hard to measure exactly how many there are..."

After a girl is bought, she is forced into a brothel, where she serves clients all day. When a brothel owner is able to recoup costs, usually within two days, there is no incentive for that person to take care of that "capital investment" anymore, according to Livermore.

Fortunately... there are ways to combat human trafficking. Their two main solutions are to build a strong legal system and empower women in developing countries. While there are an estimated 25 million sex slaves the world, only 3,200 people have ever been convicted of owning a slave...

Alexandra Messick-Kopel

Palto Alto Patch

Nov. 13, 2010


Added: Dec. 1, 2010

Bolivia

Congressional deputy Marianela Paco

Presentan proyecto de 12 años de cárcel para trata y tráfico

La diputada por el partido oficialista Movimiento Al Socialismo (MAS) Marianela Paco dijo ayer que la sanción para los infractores del delito de trata y tráfico de personas deberá ser una condena de entre ocho a 12 años.

La parlamentaria manifestó a radio Panamericana que el Proyecto de Ley contra la Trata y Tráfico de Personas pretende resguardar a la sociedad de estos crímenes, que, en su criterio, “son uno de los que mayor lucro da a gente inescrupulosa que trafica con seres humanos”...

Congressional members propose criminal penalties of 8-to12 years in prison for human trafficking crimes

Congressional Deputy Marianela Paco of the ruling MAS [Pro Socialist Movement] party has proposed that the criminal penalties for human trafficking crimes in Bolivia should range from between 8 and 12 years in prison.

Deputy Paco stated during a radio interview that [the anti-trafficking law now being proposed in Congress] is designed to protect society from trafficking crimes, which she characterized as being one of the most profitable illicit activities that unscrupulous people engage in.

On December 1st, 2010, the congressional commission that is developing the trafficking law will meet with citizens in the city of Santa Cruz to understand their concerns about human trafficking. The commission will travel to Sucre on December 6th.

The bill proposes three mechanisms to address trafficking: 1) prevention; 2) protection for victims; and 3) criminal penalties for traffickers.

In regard to "express kidnapping" - a phenomenon that has become commonplace in Bolivia, Deputy Paco said that people must begin to report these crimes without fear, because the authorities are obligated to protect the public. The population has a responsibility to collaborate with police to help victims of trafficking.

Deputy Paco, "Criminal justice institutions must expand training to be able to handle trafficking cases. They should also hire specialists in the field, because it is not easy to prosecute the trafficking networks and the perpetrators of express kidnappings for human trafficking crimes without utilizing other criminal statutes, such as those covering torture, to do so.

Nonetheless, says Deputy Paco, the public is becoming educated about human trafficking, and we look forward to receiving help from civil society.

La Prensa

Nov. 29, 2010

See also:

LibertadLatina Note

Bolivia, who's population is 55% indigenous and a total of over 80% of indigenous descent, suffers from severe levels of human trafficking. Women and children are trafficked to be prostituted internally, and are taken to Argentina and to mining centers in Peru.

Bolivia is one of the few nations in Latin America with significant indigenous populations to actively work to prevent the victimization of its native women and children in sex trafficking.

Labor slavery also impacts the region's indigenous populations. The International Organization for Migration has estimated that approximately 1 million native people are enslaved in labor trafficking schemes in the mining and logging industries of the mountainous Andean regions of Peru, Bolivia, Argentina and Chile.

End impunity now!

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

Dec. 01, 2010


Added: Dec. 1, 2010

Mexico

Encuentran vigilantes ciudadanos prostitución infantil en el zócalo

Extranjeros y locales se presentan en el lugar a comprar menores; señala a padres indígenas

El coordinador general del programa Vecino vigilante de la Secretaría de Seguridad Pública y Protección Civil municipal, Gustavo Téliz Hernández, denunció que brigadas de dicho órgano han detectado casos de hostigamiento sexual en el centro de la ciudad, principalmente en el zócalo.

Expresó que “tenemos problemas de prostitución infantil, reportes de pedófilos extranjeros y locales, individuos que vienen de diversas zonas de Acapulco a hostigar sexualmente a muchas damas”.

Agregó que “tenemos reportes de extranjeros, de hombres mayores de 60 años que se dedican a comprar a los padres inconcientes que venden a sus hijos, muchos de ellos indígenas, para actos sexuales”...

Acapulco's residents are warned to be vigilant about child sex trafficking

Foreign tourists and local men gather in the city's central plaza to buy minors for sex. They especially target indigenous children.

Téliz Hernández, the coordinator of the neighborhood watch program of the city of Acapulco's Secretary of Public Security and Civil Protection, has warned that his watch brigades have detected the fact that foreign tourists and local men are sexually harassing women, especially in the city's central plaza [el zócalo].

Hernández went on to say that "we have a lot of problems with child prostitution perpetrated by foreign and local pedophiles, who come from all over Acapulco to sexual harass 'many women.'"

Héctor Briseño

La Jornada - Guerrero

Nov. 05, 2010

See also:

Added: Dec. 1, 2010

Mexico

Niñas de 12 años, nuevo eslabón de la prostitución en Acapulco

Amanece en la zona dorada. Tres gringos comienzan a contar, uno por uno, los billetes de a 100 que ponen en las manos de una mujer, hasta completar dos mil pesos: es una madrota que al rato les trae en camioneta a seis niñas con bikini y pareo. Ninguna es mayor de 12 años: los tipos, en camisa tipo Miami y bermudas, pagan a cada una 300 pesos por dos horas de compañía.

Espero, paciente, mientras los primeros rayos del sol empiezan a calentar el ambiente de la Costera cuando por fin regresan las muchachas caminando y se colocan frente al bar Barbarroja: se ven cansadas. Se me acerca la más alta, se llama Sofía, es morenita. Sonríe primero y luego se ofrece: “Dame 500 y me quedo a dormir contigo”. No hay trato y subo al coche.

Apenas he avanzado unos 50 metros y un taxista se me empareja y revienta en gritos: “¿Oye, socio, buscas una chamaca yo tengo muchas,?”Se detiene. En cinco minutos aparecen otras siete niñas, entre 12 y 14 años, y empieza el regateo: cada una, como las otras, cobra 300 pesos por dos horas de sexo. A unos metros, un par de policías escucha la conversación y no pasa nada...

Twelve-year-old girls are the new link in the chain of prostitution in Acapulco

Its is late night in the golden zone of Acapulco. Three U.S. men begin to count, one by one, the 100 dollar bills that they are putting into the hands of a woman, until they reach a total of $2,000. The woman is a pimp. She immediately comes back in a pickup truck with 6 girls dressed in bikinis. None of them are over the age of 12. The men, in their Hawaiian shirts and Bermuda shorts, pay each of the girls $300 for two hours of 'company.'

I wait, patiently, until the first rays of the day's sun begin to warm this costal city, when, finally, the girls come walk back and hang out in front of the Barbarroja bar. They look tired. The tallest one, named Sofia, comes up to me. Sofia is Afro-Mexican. First she smiles. Then she tells me: "Give me $500 and I will stay and sleep with you." I don't accept her offer, and get in my car.

I go 50 meters down the street and a taxi driver befriends me and bursts out laughing. "Look, my friend, he says. Are you looking for a girl? I have many. In five minutes he comes back with another six girls. These are between 12 and 14-years-of-age. They too charge $300 for two hours of sex. A few meters away, two policemen listen to the conversation and do nothing...

Francisco Reséndiz

La Crónica de Hoy

Oct. 20, 2005

See also:

Added: Dec. 1, 2010

Mexico

Instala Acapulco cámaras contra prostitución infantil

Acapulco , Gro. El gobierno municipal instaló tres monitores o cámaras de seguridad en el zócalo de esta ciudad, con el objetivo de combatir la pornografía y prostitución infantil en este puerto, que ocupa el primer lugar nacional en este ilícito. Además, dicha zona está considerada como un foco rojo , de entre los 80 puntos para este tipo de "encuentro" existentes en este destino turístico.

La instrucción para la instalación de los citados monitores partió del alcalde, Alberto López Rosas, del Partido de la Revolución Democrática (PRD).

Y es que Rosa María Cruz Muller, presidente de la Asociación Civil por Nuestros Niños y Niñas Guerrerenses, que trabaja en coordinación con la Policía Federal Preventiva (PFP) en la prevención de este tipo de ilícitos, alertó que en Guerrero existen 8 mil menores de edad víctimas de la explotación sexual...

Acapulco installs street cameras in the fight against child prostitution

Acapulco city in Guerrero state - The city government of Acapulco has installed three security cameras in the city central plaza [el zócalo], with the objective of combating child prostitution and pornography activities in this port city, which occupies first place in these types of crime. Acapulco's central plaza is considered to be one of 80 hot spots for child prostitution in this tourist city.

Mayor Alberto López Rosas (Party of the Democratic Revolution - PRD) ordered the installation of the cameras.

Rosa María Cruz Muller, president of the Civic Association for Our Boys and Girls of Guerrero State, who works in coordination with the Federal Preventive Police (PFP) in the prevention of child sexual exploitation crimes, warned that 8,000 minors in Guerrero state are victims of commercial sexual exploitation...

Alfredo Mondragón

El Universal

Feb. 19, 2004


Added: Nov. 28, 2010

Canada

Ron Evans, grand chief of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs

Murder rate of native women is an outrage: Evans

One of [the province of] Manitoba’s most senior First Nations leaders said Thursday that members of the public “should all be outraged” at the deaths of aboriginal women due to violence.

Grand Chief Ron Evans also said indigenous women are five times more likely to be murdered than females of other races in Canada.

“Our missing and murdered sisters are waiting for justice; their families continue to suffer not knowing where their mothers/sisters/daughters are, or who murdered them,” Evans, grand chief of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs, said in a prepared statement.

Though the body of Winnipeg’s Hillary Angel Wilson was found in August 2009 soon after she was slain, many other young Manitoba aboriginal women such as Jennifer Catcheway, Sunshine Wood and Claudette Osborne have simply vanished within the past few years.

On Thursday, while Wilson’s family urged the public to bring any information about her killer to authorities, RCMP Sgt. Line Karpish said a police task force continues to pore over dozens of unsolved Manitoba cases of missing or murdered women - some going back decades - to look for leads or similarities between them.

“We have some promising leads and progress with the task force. They continue their ongoing reviews of the many cases that they have to go through. It’s a very long, detailed process,” Karpish said of the nine-member team of RCMP and Winnipeg officers, who have worked in the Manitoba Integrated Task Force for Missing and Murdered Women for more than a year.

“That’s the whole intent behind it, to take the time and review. Let’s not forget that these matters were already investigated by some of the best investigators in the country.”

Evans suggested human trafficking is a probable factor in the disappearances or deaths of many women in recent years.

Ross Romaniuk

The Winnipeg Sun

Nov. 25, 2010


Added: Nov. 28, 2010

Georgia, USA, Mexico

Amador Cortes-Meza

Man Found Guilty for Forcing Women and Juveniles into Prostitution

The victims were forced to service up to 40 customers per night

Washington, DC - A federal jury today convicted Amador Cortes-Meza, 36, of Mexico, of multiple charges of sex trafficking and human smuggling offenses related to a scheme to force women and juveniles into prostitution. The jury found Cortes-Meza guilty on all 19 counts after a trial lasting approximately two weeks.

“The exploitation of these vulnerable individuals is a violation of the fundamental rights on which our country was founded, and is intolerable in a nation that prides itself on freedom,” said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. “The Department of Justice will continue to prosecute vigorously the trafficking of human beings to vindicate the rights of those held in modern-day slavery, whether for labor or for sexual exploitation...”

According to the evidence presented in court, from Spring 2006 through June 2008, Amador Cortes-Meza and others charged in the conspiracy recruited and enticed approximately 10 victims to enter the United States illegally from Mexico and come to the Atlanta area. Amador Cortes-Meza then forced them into prostitution for the financial benefit of the members of the conspiracy. He lured the young women and girls to the U.S. by promising better lives, legitimate employment or romantic relationships with him. A brother and two nephews of Amador Cortes-Meza were previously convicted after pleading guilty to sex trafficking charges related to this scheme.

Nine of the victims addressed the court about what they suffered at the hands of this sex trafficking ring, telling of physical threats, beatings, and intimidation which caused them to work as prostitutes against their will. Evidence at trial showed that after smuggling the victims into the United States, Amador Cortes-Meza forced them to engage in prostitution by isolating them from their families, brutally beating them, and threatening to harm them and their loved ones. One victim testified that he told her that “he was going to hit her where it hurt the most” and she took that to mean he was going to go after her family. Another victim testified that the defendant told her he would kill her parents in Mexico if he was ever arrested. On a nightly basis, Amador Cortes-Meza provided the victims to drivers who drove them to apartments and homes in Duluth, Ga.; Chamblee, Ga.; Canton, Ga.; Marietta, Ga.; Forrest Park, Ga.; and as far away as Alabama and North Carolina to provide commercial sex to as many as 40 customers a night. The victims testified that the clients were charged $25-30 for 10 to 15 minutes of time with them from which the drivers were given $10...

Press Release

U.S. Department of Justice

Nov. 23, 2010

See also:

Added: Nov. 28, 2010

Georgia, USA, Mexico

Vicious thug who trafficked under-age Mexican women into U.S. and forced them to work as prostitutes faces jail

A Mexican man lured impoverished women from his country to work in the United Sates before beating them and forcing them into prostitution.

Amador Cortes-Meza, 36, ran a vicious sex-trafficking racket, paying smugglers to bring under-age girls across the border illegally.

He used his charm to persuade the women to join him in Atlanta., promising them better lives and high paid jobs.

Once there, however, they discovered he was a ruthless pimp who would break in his victims by forcing them to perform sexual acts on up to 20 people on their first night.

On busy nights, some women were made to service up to 40 men.

Amador Cortes-Meza, 36, could face life in prison after a jury in U.S. District Court convicted him of the 19 counts he was facing, including sex trafficking of minors, conspiracy and smuggling charges.

He will be sentenced at a later date.

Prosecutors said Cortes-Meza and several of his relatives targeted uneducated women.

He even convinced a 14-year-old girl that he loved her to get her to make the trip. In all, he was accused of bringing at least 10 women to the area between spring 2006 and June 2008...

The Daily Mail

Nov. 24, 2010


Added: Nov. 29, 2010

Mexico

Mexico City legislator  Beatriz Rojas Martínez

Aprueba ALDF reformas contra trata de personas

A unas horas de que se conmemore el Día Internacional de la No Violencia hacia las Mujeres, la Asamblea Legislativa del Distrito Federal aprobó reformas para sancionar la trata de personas, además de la creación de un refugio especializado para las víctimas de ese delito, para lo cual se destinarán 61 millones de pesos.

La presidenta de la Comisión de Equidad y Género de la ALDF, Beatriz Rojas Martínez, informó que en México existe un millón 500 mil personas víctima de trata, de las cuales sólo 22 mil han podido ser rescatadas, esto de acuerdo a un estudio de las Naciones Unidas contra las drogas y el delito...

Mexico City Legislature Approves Reforms to Fight Human Trafficking

During the hours leading up to the commemoration of the International Day Against Violence Against Women, the Legislative Assembly of Mexico City approved a series of reforms that are intended to punish human trafficking. A trafficking victim's shelter was also approved, and was funded with a budget of 61 million Mexican Pesos.

Beatriz Rojas Martínez, who is the president of the Commission on Equality and Gender within the city's legislative assembly, reported that 1.5 million victims of human trafficking exist within Mexico. Deputy Rojas Martínez went on to note that only 22,000 of those victims have been rescued, according to statistics compiled by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

To confront this illicit activity, a number of modifications were made to the city's Law for Social Development [social services], the Law Providing Access for Women to a Life Without Violence, and the Penal Code of the Federal District (Mexico City).

The city's legislature also voted to approve the creation of a special shelter where victims will receive assistance to guarantee their human rights, housing for the time that is needed, and specialized medical, psychiatric, psychological and legal help, among other services. Legislators anticipate the need for additional shelters to accommodate the needs of victims.

The legislature's work to combat human trafficking also included reforming social services law. The reforms authorize the city's Women's Institute to design the needed methodology, policies and procedures to implement training [on human trafficking] for government employees who operate the city's 450 social services programs.

The editors and Carlos Gutiérrez

Milenio

Nov. 23, 2010


Added: Nov. 28, 2010

South Carolina, USA

Rubi Bertaud-Cabrera

Mexican Woman says she was held captive in South Carolina for 3 weeks

North Charleston - A young Mexican woman says she was held captive in a North Charleston home, assaulted and expected to work as a prostitute.

The Post and Courier of Charleston reports that police have arrested one woman in connection with the allegations and are searching for two men.

Rubi Bertaud-Cabrera has been charged with human trafficking and is being held on a $500,000 bond. It couldn't be immediately determined if she has a lawyer.

Police spokesman Spencer Pryor says a neighbor saw the young woman looking lost and confused, and called police. The young woman, whose name has not been released, says she was brought to the U.S. from Mexico believing she would work as a housekeeper.

The State

Nov. 25, 2010

See also:

Added: Nov. 28, 2010

South Carolina, USA

Accused human trafficker in custody, 2 additional suspects sought

North Charleston - A woman is in custody and accused of human trafficking, and two other suspects are sought in the case. A 20-year-old woman called police after escaping a home in the Pepperhill subdivision in North Charleston Tuesday.

According to the incident report, the victim said she had fled a home on Ginger Street where she had been held against her will for nearly three weeks. The victim said she had been forced to have sex with the suspects, and that several other women were being held in the house and forced to work as prostitutes.

The victim said through an interpreter that she had been smuggled into the country from Mexico nearly a month ago.

When police arrived at the Ginger Street address, Rubi Bertaud-Cabrera, 27, was taken into custody. Bertaud-Cabrera told investigators that two men and two other women fled the house about 15 minutes before police arrived.

Bertaud-Cabrera's two children, ages 1 and 4, were taken in by the South Carolina Department of Social Services.

The other two suspects police are looking for in connection with the case are Efrain Bertaud-Cabrera, described as 5'5", 200 pounds, and about 30-40 years old, and Marcos Antonio Pacheco-Martinez, described as 5'9", 160 pounds and about 25-35 years old...

WCSC

Nov. 24, 2010


Added: Nov. 28, 2010

Illinois, USA

Rubicela Montero

Woman charged with human trafficking

An alleged madam regularly picked up a 16-year-old girl from her high school and drove her to a basement brothel to work until 8 or 9 p.m. a couple of days a week, authorities charged Wednesday.

Rubicela Montero forced the underage girls and other victims into prostitution and threatened them or their families with death if they quit, authorities said.

One girl called an anonymous hotline and tipped off Chicago police about the brothel in a Little Village basement apartment. Police set up a sting operation, sending in an undercover officer to pose as a client willing to pay for sex. Montero advertised in a Spanish-language newspaper, authorities said.

Montero's eyes teared up and she put her hand over her mouth after she was ordered held on $400,000 bail Wednesday at the Cook County Criminal Courts Building. She is charged with three counts of involuntary servitude, human trafficking and pandering and faces up to 30 years if convicted.

Matthew Walberg and Annie Sweeney

The Chicago Tribune

Nov. 24, 2010


Added: Nov. 28, 2010

Argentina

A woman from the anti-trafficking law enforcement unit posts a 'closed' notice on the door of a brothel in the city of Córdoba

Amenazan a un suboficial que investiga casos de trata

Un policía que se desempeña como comisionado en delitos relacionados con la trata de personas recibió hace unos días una amenaza anónima en su casa de barrio General Bustos. Así lo confirmó ayer en exclusiva a este diario el sargento primero José Luis Moreno.

Este policía se desempeña en el mismo equipo que conduce la comisario Claudia Flores y son quienes llevan adelante numerosos procedimientos en los que están siendo clausurados prostíbulos en el centro de la ciudad de Córdoba...

Officer from anti-trafficking police unit receives death threat

First sergeant José Luis Moreno, who is a police officer serving on a special law enforcement unit working against human trafficking, has received a threat at his home in the General Bustos neighborhood of the city of Córdoba.

Moreno is a member of an anti-trafficking unit headed by Commissioner Claudia Flores. The team has been responsible for investigating cases that have resulted in the closure of numerous local brothels.

According to Moreno’s account, upon returning to his home [on a recent Tuesday] at 3:30 pm, he found a threatening card at his home. The note, which was composed of letters cut from newspapers, stated: “Morenito [dark one], watch yourself, because you are [now a target]. Neither judge [Eva] Flores nor [Commissioner Claudia] Flores can save you once you are in a coffin. You are a dead sergeant.”

When the note speaks of Judge Flores, it is apparently referring to Third District Court judge Eva Flores, who presides over state cases involving illegal prostitution activities and their links to human trafficking. Judge Flores also issues the search warrants that are used by the anti trafficking police unit.

It has not been lost on authorities that the term Morenito in the note refers to Officer Moreno’s nickname within the police department. First Sergeant Moreno is also referred to simply as sergeant in the note, which is an off-color joke that is commonly used on the force. Moreno moved to his current home only recently, and his address was not widely known…

State prosecutors are following-up on Moreno’s formal complaint about the threat.

Francisco Guillermo Panero

La Voz - Argentina

Nov. 27, 2010


Added: Nov. 28, 2010

New York, USA

Queens sicko pimped out runaway, 13, as sex slave, imprisoned her in squalid apartment

A Queens sicko turned a 13-year-old runaway into a sex slave, imprisoning her in a squalid flat and pimping her out to johns, prosecutors revealed Wednesday.

Anthony Vargas, 21, was hauled to New York from Virginia to faces kidnapping, sex trafficking and prostitution charges.

Prosecutors say he befriended the Queens girl in April and then hid her away in a decrepit Jamaica, Queens, apartment with no running water.

Over the course of two weeks, he allegedly forced the girl to have sex with him at the Ruscoe St. flop - but her nightmare didn't end there.

Vargas only let the girl out for trips to other locations in Queens, where he forced her to work as a hooker and service other men for money he pocketed, prosecutors say.

"The defendant is accused of participating in a modern-day version of slavery by holding a teenage girl captive and prostituting her for his own financial gain," said Queens District Attorney Richard Brown.

"Few activities are as dehumanizing as prostitution."

Acting on a tip, detectives from the NYPD's Missing Persons Squad traced the girl to the tiny apartment on April 12 and freed her by prying open a locked door.

Vargas went on the lam, but cops found him in Newport News, Va. two weeks ago.

After an arraignment yesterday, he was ordered held without bail. He faces 25 years to life in prison. His lawyer, Jorge Santos, could not be reached for comment.

Vargas will be prosecuted under a 2007 law that strengthens the penalties for those who profit from prostitution while engaging in sex trafficking.

Thomas Zambito

The New York Daily News

Nov. 24, 2010


Added: Nov. 28, 2010

Maryland, USA

Human trafficking, violence in Annapolis brings indictment

The Annapolis Capital reports on a 2008 double shooting that left one man dead and sparked a two-year investigation into a prostitution ring being run by illegal aliens in Annapolis, Easton and elsewhere. It notes strong-arm tactics employed by rival pimps trying to intimidate each other, and women forced into prostitution:

The investigation into the murder of Ricardo Humberto Rivas-Ramirez, 34, and the shooting of the woman at 12:30 a.m. Sept. 13, 2008, led to the unraveling of the suspected prostitution enterprise and Monday's arrests, authorities said.

As Annapolis detectives worked the case, it was apparent the operation had spread to multiple jurisdictions. In March of this year other agencies - including ICE, police in Easton and Washington, D.C., and Delaware and Virginia state police - were brought in to assist. Authorities said the case came under federal jurisdiction when evidence was found that the women involved in the ring were transported across state lines.

The Baltimore Sun

Nov. 17, 2010


Added: Nov. 28, 2010

Nepal, India

Anuradha Koirala, founder of the anti-trafficking organization Maiti Nepal

CNN honors unsung heroes of the world

Hollywood award shows come with glamorous stars, popular bands and tearful acceptance speeches, and CNN's laurels offered all of that along with a rare humanitarian twist. The globetrotting cable news channel is celebrating regular people who toil -– against the odds -- to improve the lives of others...

Cooper presented the 2010 CNN Hero of the Year award to Anuradha Koirala, who has spent two decades working to prevent the human trafficking and sexual exploitation of Nepal's women and girls. She and her supporters have raided brothels, educated villagers and provided a haven for some of the more than 12,000 Nepalese women and girls that her group has rescued from a life of prostitution...

Each of CNN's heroes received $25,000 to help with their missions, and Koirala collected an additional $100,000 for her organization, Maiti Nepal...

CNN

Nov. 23, 2010


Added: Nov. 28, 2010

Peru

Virginia Borra, Peru’s Minister of Women, places a sticker from the new anti-trafficking campaign "More Control, Less Routes for Exploitation," on an intercity bus during an interview with TVPeru.

Photo: TVPeru

Mejorarán controles de acceso a zonas mineras para reducir trata de personas

Anuncian nuevo albergue temporal en Puerto Maldonado para atender víctimas de este delito

Puerto Maldonado -Madre de Dios, - Con un mayor control de parte de todas las autoridades del Estado, las rutas de la trata de personas en nuestro país tenderán a reducirse, tanto hacia las zonas de explotación minera de Madre de Dios y Puno, como desde las áreas de captación o tránsito, ubicadas en Ayacucho, Huancavelica y Junín.

Lo dijo la ministra de la Mujer, Virginia Borra, en entrevista con el programa Diálogo Ciudadano, que se emite vía Radio Aurora de Puerto Maldonado en coproducción con INFOREGION...

Authorities plan to limit access to mining towns to reduce human trafficking

A temporary victim’s shelter will also be opened in Puerto Maldonado.

During an recent interview with Radio Aurora’s Citizen’s Dialogue program, Virginia Borra, Peru’s Minister of Women declared that, as the [federal] government’s efforts to gain improved control over the nation’s human trafficking routes takes hold, the ability of traffickers to operate will tend to diminish. She referred specifically to the sex trafficking of minors into some of Peru’s key mining centers, as well as to transit centers in the regions of Ayacucho, Huancavelica y Junín.

Minister Borra explained the progress that has been achieved in implementing thee campaign More Control, Less Routes for Exploitation.” The program has been implemented in coordination with various police agencies and the transportation sector. Its objective is to establish verification mechanisms for the transportation services [mostly intercity buses] that are today are taking child and youth victims to be used in prostitution [in mining centers iun the Madre de Dios region].

Minister Borra, “We believe that we can reduce the numbers of minors being trafficked to Madre de Dios by establishing effective controls on the use of [buses for such purposes].

Strategic checkpoints

Minister Borra stated that the campaign’s strategy will be reinforced by setting-up police checkpoints at access points leading to the mining centers of Mazuko, Mavila e Inambari, to prevent minors from entering.

She added that lamentably, the criminal penalties for those who commit trafficking crimes are “benign.” In response, Minister Borra will coordinate her efforts with the Public Ministry and the judicial system to clarify the parameters under which authorities may interpret a criminal activity as being related to human trafficking.

Minister Borra concluded by mentioning that the federal government will build a temporary trafficking victim’s shelter for girls, to help in the recovery of girls who had been brought to the region with false promises of employment, only to be entrapped by prostitution mafias who had forced them into sexual slavery.

InfoRegion - Peru

Nov. 26, 2010 


Added: Nov. 28, 2010

Argentina

Allanaron a un prostíbulo y rescataron a dos mujeres

El departamento de Lucha Contra la Trata de Personas allanó el inmueble ubicado en Villa Río Negro. En el lugar, secuestraron varios elementos, entre ellos, una tumbera, dinero en efectivo y preservativos.

El procedimiento se realizó el sábado por la madrugada, en un bar que funcionaba como prostíbulo. En el operativo lograron rescatar a dos mujeres mayores de edad que trabajaban en el inmueble. Durante el allanamiento detuvieron a un sujeto que no cooperó con los uniformados. En el lugar secuestraron una tumbera, dinero en efectivo y preservativos, entre otros elementos...

Police raid brothel and rescue two women

The Department for Combating Human Trafficking, together with psychologists from the [Chaco Provincial Police] has raided a house located in the Villa Rio Negro neighborhood of the city of Resistencia [in northeast Argentina]. The authorities confiscated cash and a supply of condoms.

The raid was carried out on a bar that also served as a brothel. Two adult women were rescued. One adult male suspect was detained. He did not cooperate with police.

[Prosecutors are currently investigating the case.]

El Diario de la Región

Nov. 28, 2010


Added: Nov. 29, 2010

Argentina

Condenan a siete años de prisión a acusado por trata de personas

El Tribunal Oral Federal de Posadas condenó a siete años de prisión a un hombre en un juicio oral por trata de personas para explotación sexual realizado en la provincia de Misiones.

Así, los jueces Manuel Alberto Jesús Moreira, Carlos Adolfo Sodá y Norma Lampugnani de Arce Mielnik hallaron culpable a Julio Argentino Rojas de los delitos de trata de personas menores de 18 años agravado por mediar violencia y amenazas, en calidad de autor...

Man sentenced to 7 years of prison for human trafficking

The Federal Oral Court of the city of Posadas has sentenced a man who was charged human trafficking for purposes of sexual exploitation to 7 years in prison for acts committed in the province of Misiones [in northeast Argentina].

Judges Manuel Alberto Jesús Moreira, Carlos Adolfo Sodá and Norma Lampugnani de Arce Mielnik found Julio Argentino Rojas guilty of the crime of human trafficking of minors aggravated by the use of threats and violence.

Rojas engaged in the forced labor and sexual exploitation of two underage girls. The two girls frequented a local bar and pool, where they forced to engage in sex through the use of threats and violence.

During a raid on the location, police confiscated 10 cellular phones, 9 cell phone chips, condoms, lubricants, knives, a syringe, 3 pornographic videos, receipts from a federal prison, a 9 mm pistol clip and 17 video tape cassettes.

Government of Argentina

Nov. 25, 2010


Added: Nov. 28, 2010

New York, USA

Mario Valdivia is shown being  filmed with a cell phone camera as the victim of his 'flashing' shames him on a New York City subway car.

Subway Flasher Target Breaks Silence

[The perpetrator exposed himself and rubbed against the victim before 'flashing' her.]

New York - You could easily say Nicola Briggs is the toast of the town this week.

The tiny New Yorker became a folk hero overnight when a cell phone video surfaced showing her tirade against a subway flasher.

On Wednesday night she’s revealed her name and face in an exclusive interview with CBS 2’s Pablo Guzman...

“It’s about getting over the embarrassment of that circumstance; and bringing the shame, taking away the shame, from you, as a woman being violated — and bringing the shame back on the perpetrator,” Briggs said.

“The perpetrator” - in this case - is accused 51-year-old Mario Valdivia. Because Briggs stood up, he was arrested. Turns out he did this to a woman on a train in 2007; and now he’s alleged to have done something similar again.

Guzman: “About a month after this happens with you, he’s made bail. He’s back out on the street. And he does it again.”

Briggs: “He violated yet another young woman and I couldn’t … I was flabbergasted.”

You have to understand what it is Valdivia is accused of doing on the subway...

Guzman: “He was outside of his pants?”

“Oh he was. Yeah. And he was wearing a condom. It’s just …,” Briggs said before stopping in disgust...

She stood up for herself and all women. And Valdivia is now not only in jail, he will be deported, back to Mexico.

Briggs also wants people to know that when she turned for help a lot of men on that train kept the suspect there until police arrived.

Pablo Guzmán

CBS 2 New York

Nov. 24, 2010


Added: Nov. 28, 2010

California, USA

Omar Sosa

Police: Suspected Sex Predator Fleeing To Mexico

Berkeley - Police released a photo Sunday afternoon of a man believed to have sexually assaulted a girl in her North Berkeley bedroom early Saturday morning.

Omar Sosa, 27, of Berkeley, was suspected of forcing his way through an unlocked window at a residence on Evelyn Street just after 6 a.m., and sexually assaulting a young girl in her room, Berkeley police said.

Detectives believe Sosa likely fled the Bay Area after the attack and headed south in an effort to flee to Mexico.

According to information made public Sunday afternoon, police said Sosa is driving a gray 1997 Ford Ranger pickup truck with a double cab and a white camper shell.

Sosa, who was suspected of rape, sodomy, false imprisonment, oral copulation, burglary and sexual battery, is described as a clean-shaven Hispanic man between 20 and 30 years old, around 6 feet tall and weighing approximately 190 pounds.

He was said to have a "very pronounced nose" and he speaks with a heavy accent. His hair is 1 to 2 inches long and he was last seen wearing blue jeans, a light colored shirt, and a black zip-up hoodie.

Police added that he might have injuries on his hands or fingers.

Berkeley police urged the community to help investigators identify the suspect. Potential witnesses, victims and anyone who might have information regarding his identity and whereabouts are encouraged to contact the Berkeley police Sex Crimes Detail at (510) 981-5734.

KTVU

Nov. 21, 2010


Added: Nov. 23, 2010

Mexico

Inés Fernández and Valentina Rosendo persisted through eight years of death threats to insist that Mexico bring the soldiers who raped them to justice.

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

Award Honors Rights Defenders in "War Against the Poor"

Washington, DC - Ines Fernandez and Valentina Rosendo, two indigenous Me'phaa women from the Mexican state of Guerrero, were raped and tortured by members of the Mexican Army in 2002. Since then, they have been subject to a constant stream of threats to keep them from speaking about the incidents.

But an organization began in a small hotel room in the town of Tlapa de Comonfort was created to allow them be able to do just that.

The Tlachinollan Center was founded in 1994 by Abel Barrera Hernandez to fight to give voice to Fernandez, Rosendo and other members of the many indigenous communities in Guerrero whose rights are often overlooked and abused.

One of its most recent successes was convincing the Inter- American Court of Human Rights to order Mexican authorities to investigate and bring to justice the perpetrators in Fernandez and Rosendo's case.

Their case is just part of the daily work of an organization that has created an independent police-monitoring organization, worked to establish the first state law on forced disappearance, secured the release of numerous illegally detained people, forced a mining company to pay a fairer rent, and helped stopped the construction of a dam local farmers said would displace tens of thousands of people.

Hernandez describes the plight of indigenous communities in Guerrero as a "barbaric world" in which "society finds itself defenseless in the face of violence, violence generated by both organized crime as well as the state."

"It is said that actions taken are done so in the name of the law. But in our region, we know that the authorities are the first to violate the law," he said Friday in Washington, where he received annual Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award at a ceremony on Capitol Hill.

Since day one, the organization's work has been hampered – and made all the more significant – by the constant threat of retaliation for reporting abuses. In 2009, the Inter- American Court even went as far as issuing protection measures for every member of Tlachinollan's staff as well as other human rights defenders in the country.

"Human rights defenders are threatened with death and subject to arbitrary arrest, disappearance and executions," explained U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Human Rights Michael Posner on Friday...

Posner said the administration of President Barack Obama has at least taken steps toward such actions, through such measures as joining the U.N. Human Rights Council last year so that it could help try to apply human rights standard to all countries, including itself.

The U.S. is trying to "lead by example," he said, and cited its policy of "principled engagement" whereby the U.S. strives to makes human rights a priority in countries with which it has strategic relationships.

"The U.S. can and should provide a lifeline of protection when those who advocate for human rights need our help," said Posner. "It should help amplify their voices."

 

Matthew O. Berger

Inter Press Service

Nov. 20, 2010

See also:

Added: Oct. 5, 2010

Mexico

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

Human Rights Court: Mexico responsible for rapes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

No one was punished in either case.

 

E. Eduardo Castillo

The Associated Press

Oct. 04, 2010

See also:

Added: Dec. 4, 2010

Mexico / The United States

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

(In Spanish with English subtitles)

On YouTube,com

Sep. 23, 2010


Added: Nov. 23, 2010

Mexico

Mexico's western state of Baja California is bordered on its north by California, USA and on its south by Baja California Sur (South Lower California), Mexico

Urgen aprobar ley contra trata de blancas en BC

Tijuana está considerada por los pedófilos como la "Bangkok de América Latina" por la facilidad e impunidad con que niños y niñas son explotados sexualmente, y a pesar de ello no cuenta con una ley contra la trata de personas.

El director de la Comisión Binacional contra la Trata de Personas, Jorge Bedoya López, acusó que por pugnas entre la mayoría priísta del Congreso local y el Ejecutivo encabezado por el gobernador panista, José Guadalupe Osuna Millán, no se ha publicado una ley que fue aprobada desde la Legislatura anterior.

Activists urge Baja California state to pass law against sex trafficking

The city of Tijuana, in Baja California state, is considered to be the ‘Bangkok’ of Latin America by pedophiles. Nonetheless the state does not have a law against human trafficking.

Jorge Bedoya López, who is the director of the Binational Commission Against Trafficking in Persons, points the finger at political conflicts between the state’s governor, José Guadalupe Osuna Millán (National Action Party - PAN) and the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) dominated state congress as lying at the heart of the problem. The result of the feud has been a failure by the legislature to present the law to the governor to allow him to formally publish the regulations that will put the Baja California Law to Combat, Prevent and Punish Human Trafficking into effect.

The legislation had been crafted by the Baja California Regional Committee Against Human Trafficking, and had been approved by the 19th Legislature on Sep. 29, 2009.

The new legislature, which is dominated by the PRI, should sent the law to the governor for publication, but this has not occurred due to the fact that the two political parties are embroiled in a fight, said Bedoya López. He added that as long as this conflict remains unresolved, the exploitation of victims continues to occur with complete impunity.

Despite the fact that Tijuana is a ‘paradise’ for pedophiles, no individual has ever filed a complaint in regard to trafficking related crimes [note: Under Mexico's legal system, a formal citizen complaint must be filed with police before they and prosecutors begin a criminal investigation - LL].

As long as this infighting goes on, noted Bedoya López, we run the risk that the number of victims will increase. Anyone can fall victim to modern human slavery.

Bedoya López went on to say that there exists an apparent lack of interest on the part of the authorities to address the problem. In response to that reality, criminal sex and labor traffickers devise new methods to empower their organizations, including the use of high powered weapons to allow them to kidnap more victims and confront police actions taken against them.

As long as the current anti-trafficking law is not sent to the governor to allow its regulations to be formally published, the law will not take effect, leaving prosecutors and judges powerless to use its provisions to attack trafficking with gravitas.

Bedoya López emphasized that not a single criminal sanction against human trafficking exists in Baja California.

Bedoya Lopez observed that throughout Mexico, a paltry sum of four human trafficking cases have resulted in convictions…

Congresswoman Rosi Orozco (PAN – Mexico City), who is the president of the Special Commission to Fight Human Trafficking in the Chamber of Deputies [lower house of Congress], warned that Tijuana has become known as the Bangkok of Latin American due to the level of impunity that is enjoyed by human trafficking networks in the region. Deputy Orozco declared that in Tijuana, girls and boys are exhibited like animals, as if they were merchandise, in the city’s hotels.

Bedoya Lopez concluded by stating that the victims go unnoticed because their presence is considered to be ‘normal’ by the community. Therefore nobody files any complaints, which creates an even greater environment of impunity.

Julieta Martínez

El Universal

Nov. 13, 2010


Added: Nov. 23, 2010

Mexico

En México, migrantes viven etapa trágica: OIM

En México, los migrantes viven “una situación trágica” al ser víctimas de ejecuciones, secuestros y violaciones a sus derechos humanos en su paso por el territorio, sostuvo Thomas Weiss, representante de la Organización Internacional para las Migraciones (OIM), un escenario en el que las organizaciones criminales han encontrado además un negocio lucrativo en la trata de personas, de acuerdo con las Naciones Unidas...

Migrants in Mexico are living through tragic times: IOM

According to Thomas Weiss, a representative of the United Nations affiliated International Organization for Migration (IOM), migrants who pass through Mexico are facing a “tragic situation” as they run the risk of becoming the victims of executions, kidnappings and other violations of their human rights. In addition, organized crime has discovered that human trafficking is a profitable business.

During the presentation of the United Nations report International Migration and Development, Weiss, referring to conditions in Mexico, stated, “We have to mention… the tragic expressions of migration. We all know about the dramatic situation that migrant in transit face, including many forms of abuses and violations of their human rights, kidnappings and also massacres. We are also aware of the unbearable [crime of] human trafficking, and the conditions of extreme vulnerability under migrant boys and girls live.”

Weiss noted that a report by Mexico’s National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) has documented the fact that 20,000 migrant are kidnapped in Mexico each year (most are held for ransom).

Weiss added that the IOM will support the concrete actions taken by Mexico’s government and non profit organizations to “improve the tragic situation that Mexico faces in this moment.”

 Magdy Martínez-Solimán, who is the United Nations’ resident coordinator in Mexico, said that the drug cartels have had to find alternative markets in addition to the drug trade [due to the success of drug interdiction efforts]. She added that, “human trafficking is possibly the most profitable of their [business] options. I believe that this [dynamic] is what is producing some very dramatic public episodes [such as the recent massacre of 72 migrants in Tamaulipas state].

Silvia Otero

El Universal

Oct. 29, 2010


Added: Nov. 23, 2010

Mexico

Consideran a Tijuana como capital de trata

Tijuana.- Debido a que en Tijuana operan redes de trata de personas y pedófilos que buscan a menores de edad que se encuentran en diversas casas de masajes en esta ciudad fronteriza, ahora es considerada el "Bangkok de Latinoamérica", reveló la Diputada federal panista, Rosi Orozco...

Tijuana is considered to be the capitol of human trafficking

Tijuana - Due to the fact that human trafficking networks operate in Tijuana and pedophiles seek out minors in the city's many massage parlors, the region has become known as the Bangkok of Latin America.

Congressional deputy Rosi Orozco (PAN - Mexico City), who is the president of the Special Commission to Fight Human Trafficking in the Chamber of Deputies [lower house of Congress] discussed trafficking in Tijuana during a ceremony held to kick-off the United Nations Blue Heart Campaign against human trafficking initiative in this border city. Deputy Orozco was joined at the event by a panel that included honorary consuls from Honduras and Guatemala as well as representatives of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC - creators of the Blue Heart campaign) and Mexico's secretaries of the Interior (governance), External Relations and Public Security.

Deputy Orozco applauded the office of the State Attorney General of Baja California for having joined the campaign.

"I believe that everyone who lives in Tijuana knows about this problem, because resident have told me that pedophiles refer to this city as the Bangkok of Latin America…" declared Deputy Orozco.

She continued, "We know that there are specific streets in the Coahuila street area [the city's official prostitution tolerance zone], where 12 and 12-year-old girls are displayed as if they were merchandise, as objects, where they are being sold.

A large number of human trafficking mafias from the central Mexican state of Tlaxcala are present in Tijuana, noted Deputy Orozco.

Orozco, "They are pimps who pretend to fall in love with these girls. They have created international networks. They bring a large number of girls to Tijuana, where it is easy to take them over the border into the U.S.

Deputy Orozco said that Mexico is the second largest source of boys and girls exported to the United States, after Thailand.

Deputy Francisco Sánchez (Party of the Democratic Revolution), stated that a study conducted three years ago when he was in charge of the state's office for human rights prosecutions, found that minors were [engaging in prostitution] in massage parlors, where they were given fake identification cards [showing that they were adults].

Adriana Lizárraga, the director of Attention for Victims of Crimes and Witnesses within the state attorney general's office, explained that the Blue Heart Campaign's principal objective was to awaken consciousness about this problem in the general population.

Lizárraga, "In Baja California, nobody has filed a criminal complaint in regard to human trafficking crimes. Because of this, we have no statistical data [about the problem]. We also have not assisted any victims of trafficking. The only cases that we have processed have been for corruption of minors and for pimping…

Aline Corpus y Miguel Cervantes

Agencia Reforma

Nov. 15, 2010

See also:

LibertadLatina Note

Anti-trafficking leader Deputy Rosi Orozco and other officials have stated on many occasions that Mexico is the second largest 'exporter' of trafficked girls and boys into the U.S., trailing only Thailand. This information is incorrect.

Here is what is stated in the 2010 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report, published by the U.S. Department of State:

…More foreign victims are found in labor trafficking than sex trafficking, some of whom have entered the country under work or student visa programs. Primary countries of origin for foreign victims certified by the U.S. government were Thailand, Mexico, Philippines, Haiti, India, Guatemala and the Dominican Republic…

The TIP report statement above addresses only statistics for victims who actually came into contact with U.S. government agencies, which is a small percentage of the total number of foreign born victims.

In reality, the vast majority of foreign born children who are trafficked for sex or labor into the United States are Latin American. The majority of those victims are Mexican.

End impunity now!

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

Nov. 23, 2010


Added: Nov. 21, 2010

Maryland, USA / Latin America

A picture from You Are Never Alone, or YANA, a Baltimore non-profit that is dedicated to helping prostitutes and victims of human trafficking.

[Latina] brothel prostitutes often forced into plight

Former prostitute: 'These guys aren't going to let me walk away'

They come from places such as Honduras, Ecuador and Mexico on the promise of a work visa and an honest job in the United States.

They're told they can work as a waitress, a nanny - nothing glamorous, but a way to make a little cash to send home to their families.

When they arrive, the tables turn.

They're beaten, raped and physically tortured. They are told they owe a debt. They're broken down to the point where they'll do anything to make it stop.

These are often the stories of women found in Hispanic brothels, according to Sidney Ford, founder of You Are Never Alone, or YANA, a Baltimore facility dedicated to helping prostitutes and victims of human trafficking.

Last week, federal agents and Annapolis police derailed a Hispanic brothel operation spanning from Maryland's capital to New York City...

…Last week's charges against five men allegedly connected to the brothels show that illicit sex in Annapolis is taking a dangerous turn, authorities said. It includes violence fueled by competition between pimps and women held against their will in servitude, said Annapolis Police Chief Michael Pristoop.

…Capt. Randy Jones of the county police Special Enforcement Division shed some light on how many women in Hispanic brothels get into the industry.

"…A lot of times, they bring them in with the promise of getting a work visa. They (the women) come here thinking you're doing the legal, right thing (and) the next thing you know, they're here illegally, being threatened. They're swindled into this whole world…"

They would be moved from brothel to brothel, crossing county and state lines.

"They (pimps) do that for several reasons - to avoid law enforcement and so not to give the women a chance to build any foundation and leave," Jones said…

They are often held against their will, but will tell officers they are working willingly out of fear, police said.

One prostitute, who worked as an informant for federal agents and city police in the latest investigation, told police she couldn't get out of the industry.

"These guys aren't going to let me walk away," she said.

It's a lucrative industry, and the women are valuable.

"Drugs and guns can be sold once or twice, but a human being can be sold again and again," Ford said.

Most victims need a lot of support.

"[Rescued victims have] been exposed to so many traumatic situations," Ford said. "They suffer severe depression and feel incredibly alone. They feel isolated and are often suicidal. Often they're beaten to the point of nearly dying, and often they're not getting medical care."

The victim has no job, no friends and family and no place to live. They may not speak English. They may live in fear of their former pimp tracking them down. They may have drug dependencies.

The U.S. Attorney's Office and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement offer resources, like YANA, for victims to seek help, Ford said.

But the women must be willing to get help.

"There is so much damage that's been done, that simply a rescue and a few weeks of therapy isn't going to cut it," Ford said. "A person has to be committed to the process of healing, or they're much more likely to slip back into their previous situation."

Heather Rawlyk

Capital Gazette Communications

Nov. 21, 2010

See also:

Added: Nov. 21, 2010

Maryland, USA

Baltimore part of human trafficking problem, experts say

...Sidney Ford, of You Are Not Alone, or YANA, is part of Maryland's Human Trafficking Task Force. She's counseled women who have sold their own children into prostitution and said there are willing buyers in the Baltimore area.

"Right here in Baltimore, there are people who are willing to pay big bucks to have sex with children. [It] fuels the market for this really abhorrent practice," Ford said...

"A woman saw an 11-year-old out on the corner. Her mother flew out of her house and said, 'You need to make $500 tonight or I will beat your ass,'" Ford said...

Ford adds that traffickers, including parents, often threaten kids or get them hooked on drugs or alcohol to make them less likely to run away or ask for help.

WBAL TV

Nov. 18, 2009


Added: Nov. 21, 2010

Mexico

Dr. Ángel de la Torre Casillas

En Tijuana no se prostituye a niños: De la Torre

Tijuana.- El director municipal de Salud, Ángel de la Torre Casillas, rechazó que en Tijuana se prostituyan niños en la calle a todas horas tal y como lo afirmara en días pasados la diputada federal Rosi Orozco.

En entrevista, el funcionario municipal aseguró que de las cuatro mil trabajadoras sexuales que laboran en la Zona Norte de Tijuana, sitio con mayor concentración del sexoservicio, más del 90 por ciento se encuentran completamente reguladas por esta dependencia...

Dr. Ángel la Torre: child prostitution does not exist in Tijuana

The city of Tijuana’s municipal health director, Dr. Ángel de la Torre Casillas, has denied reports that children are prostituted on the streets of Tijuana at all hours of the day and night, as federal congressional deputy Rosi Orozco (National Action Party – Mexico City) declared several days ago [during the kick-off of the United Nations’ Blue Heart anti-trafficking campaign in Tijuana].

During an interview, Dr. de la Torre declared that the city’s 4,000 sex workers who ply the streets of the city’s largest red light district [called La Coahuila] in the Northern Zone of Tijuana, are completely regulated by his health department.

Dr. de la Torre went on to state that both his agency as well as the city’s Inspection and Verification Directorate perform continuous checks that look for the presence of sex workers without health cards. He added that… “children are not being sold, as Deputy Orozco has implied.”

“We have a rigorous system of checks in the red light district. We do not accept, and we do not give health cards to anyone under age 18. It may be surprising, but 90 percent or more of these sex workers have a health card,” declared Dr. de la Torre.

In the face of Deputy Orozco’s declarations about child prostitution – that “everyone who lives in Tijuana knows where prostituted children can be found at any hour,” Dr. de la Torre rejected the idea that children are being sold in commercial sex with impunity, as Deputy Orozco alleges.

“If child prostitution does exist here, it must be a very clandestine activity. It could in fact exist, but only in hiding. We haven’t found any evidence of it. The sex workers in the city’s Northern Zone all have their health cards, and we only regulate those who are age 18 and above."

Néstor Cruz

El Sol de Tijuana

Nov. 18, 2010

See also:

LibertadLatina Note

Child sex trafficking does exist in Tijuana and the surrounding region of Baja California state in Mexico. It is a simple fact that children and underage youth sold in prostitution constitute a very profitable 'commodity' from the perspective of sex trafficking mafias.

In April of 2006 I accompanied a fellow anti-trafficking activist on a tour of La Coahuila, Tijuana's red light district in the Northern Zone of the city. We saw girls that were in the 12-to-14 age range selling sexual services to both Mexican and U.S. American men.

There are also several videos posted on Youtube.com that show underage girls selling sex in Tijuana's red light zone.

Several articles (see below) from this month's kick-off event for the United Nations' Blue Heart Campaign against human trafficking also corroborate the fact that children are indeed sold in prostitution in Tijuana. There is, after all, a reason why the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (the creator's of the campaign) chose Mexico, and specifically the city of Tijuana, for the first  implementation of its initiative in the entire world. Tijuana is an epicenter of the crisis of child and adult sexual slavery.

Child sexual slavery in San Diego County, California exists in large part because traffickers bring underage girls in from Tijuana, which is a staging area for taking victims to a number of international destinations.

From our perspective, Deputy Rosi Orozco's allegation, that child sex trafficking is rampant in Tijuana, is correct. The city's health director's statement, that children are not prostituted in Tijuana, is, we feel, false.

End impunity now!

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

Nov. 21, 2010

See also:

An underage teen talk about how Breaking Chains Ministry has changed her life

Video testimonies by underage girls rescued from prostitution in Tijuana and surrounding areas by the Breaking Chains Ministry.

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

Nov. 21, 2010

See also:

Added: Nov. 21, 2010

This excellent documentary accurately describes the true dynamics of child sex tourism in Cancun, Mexico. The facts discussed apply to all of Mexico's top tourist destinations, including Acapulco and Tijuana.

Mexico

Dr. Patricia Seoane is the founder and president of La Casita, which aids the mostly indigenous Mayan victims of the child sex trafficking that is rampant in the tourist beach resort of Cancun.

An underage Mayan girl, one among the many who are hired as prostitutes by thousands of cheap beer stores in the Cancun region.

Another underage girl in prostitution in Cancun

The Dark Side of Cancun

A documentary short film

Excerpt from the film's text

...Thousands of shacks provide an continuous supply of new slaves, to keep the pleasure metropolis [of Cancun] going. This is where the majority of the population, heirs to the Mayan Empire, struggle to live…

Women and children are without a doubt the most affected in such an atmosphere…

Municipal corruption allows gangs… to proliferate. Drugs of all kinds are sold in broad daylight outside of elementary schools. Uneducated young girls are continuously lured or forced by gangs into prostitution. Scenes of public violence… are a regular part of children's every day lives, as are sexual assaults and rape against minors, acts that often go unpunished.

Cancun's impoverished and seldom publicized suburbs can be seen… as modern day slave camps that fuel the zesty life in the hotel strip. In fact, these marginalized neighborhoods are the perfect breeding grounds to feed the appetite of another world-wide industry, the infamous child sex trade, which, according to [a] United Nations report, is now firmly rooted in cosmopolitan Cancun.

…Five to 12-year-old boys and girls are habitually recruited, deceived, rented or sold to provide private entertainment for international and domestic tourism, to make pornographic movies, or, to simply disappear forever.

Once they join the thousands of street children who ran from broken homes, or were caught in the snares of pimps and mobsters, these youth become anonymous commodities. They exist to quench the insatiable hunger of the thriving sex tourism industry… A pedophile's paradise, that is Cancun's... best kept secret.

…Male and female children are among the main attractions [for sex tourists]. So are cheap prices, anonymity, and near guaranteed impunity.

...Thousands of tourists arrive daily to engage in illegal activities...

…European tours [offer] all inclusive vacation packages… Customers are even provided with catalogs that show children pictures, so that they can choose, book and pay for their encounters in advance, along with other activities, such as deep sea fishing or a tour to the pyramids….

Prostitution and abuse hide behind different facades. Organized crime, both domestic and international, controls hundreds of brothels and sex slave houses, disguised as bars, cabarets and massage parlors. [These are the places] where minors are ruthlessly exploited.

In the business of marketing innocence to pedophiles, no venue is left unexplored. From paid intercourse with kids, to erotic shows featuring minors; from classy pre-teen escorts, to on-demand manufacture of child pornography, or expensive, private parties with seven-year-old virgins.

...According to Mexican law, these activities are illegal, yet impunity reigns.

The most vulnerable targets of the sex trade rings are always local Mayan [indigenous] children. Mexican adolescents from other states, or Central American girls, smuggled through the southern border as human cargo, are also used...

We can ask the question - Are we witnessing a preventable tragedy of catastrophic proportions?

...We can say that a verifiable tragedy is unfolding before our own eyes. Because of that, we have chosen not to live in denial... These children cannot wait...

La Casita is is the only comprehensive program in Cancun reaching out to these children. We are currently providing 200 victims of abuse and exploitation with quality, full-time education, all basic health services, legal protection, and a home...

[Note: This film also covers the case of Jean Succar Kuri, a millionaire child sex trafficker based in Cancun who is widely believed to have conspired to have award-winning journalist Lydia Cacho, who runs a women's center in Cancun, arrested for after she exposed Kuri's child prostitution network in her book: Demons in Paradise.]

Produced by Mark Cameron and Monserrat Puig

2007

See also:

Added: Nov. 21, 2010

More about Tijuana

Mexico

Lots of [women in prostitution]

Prostitution has burst its traditional boundaries - the zona de tolerencia [tolerance zone] along Calle Coahuila and its environs - and is expanding into new territories throughout Tijuana.

Frontera reports that at least four more districts are exhibiting an increase in such activities, although in these new areas the practice has yet to be officially recognized. The neighborhoods of La Mesa, Paseo del Guaycura, El Florido, and Mariano Matamoros have engendered their own zonas rojas (red zones [red light districts]).

Economic woes are blamed for the sudden surge in prostitution stats. Lack of employment is luring many a female into being a sexoservidora [sex worker]. Another reason given for the expansion onto new turf is that customers don’t have the time to travel to downtown TJ and the Zona Norte. The majority of the new trade is located in the eastern part of the city, where prostitutes hang out at bars and consummate their transactions in adjacent motels.

Victor Clark Alfaro, director of the Binational Center for Human Rights, points out that the new zonas are not officially recognized and thus are fraught with the potential to incubate disease and foment crime. He points to the “official zona” along Coahuila, where women are given regular health inspections and the area is heavily policed. Alfaro estimates that of 5500 sex workers, only about half are legally registered with the health department.

A mobile health unit has been dispatched to service wayward sex workers in the 32 bars located in the Zona Este. Angel de la Torre Casillas, municipal director of health, stated that those who contract with a sexoservidora should ask to see her health card before indulging.

T.B. Beaudeau

San Diego Reader

Aug. 05, 2010

See also:

Added: Nov. 21, 2010

Mexico

Trata de niñas: servicio para los ricos del norte

Tijuana, un inmenso burdel: Teresa Ulloa

De norte a sur, persiste la explotación sexual de menores en México, donde turistas ricos del norte pueden buscar a niñas hasta de nueve años provenientes de una zona rural.

Ese es el panorama que ofreció esta mañana Teresa Ulloa, quien en el marco de los 16 Días de Activismo contra la Violencia hacia las Mujeres presentó el Informe Final de Resultados, Rendición de Cuentas y Transparencia sobre el Proyecto para Prevenir la Explotación Comercial de la Niñez en México...

Underage girls are sex trafficked for 'men with money' from the U.S.

Tijuana is one huge brothel: Teresa Ulloa

The sexual exploitation of children is a constant reality across Mexico, from its north to its south. It is a place where well-heeled tourists from the U.S. can find rural girls as young as nine-years-of-age [available to be sexually exploited].

That is the scenario that was offered by Teresa Ulloa, the executive director of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women for Latin America and and the Caribbean. Ulloa presented a report - The Results, Accountability and Transparency of the Project to Prevent the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children in Mexico, as part of the events supporting the [global] 16 Days of Activism Against Violence Against Women campaign.

"Tijuana is a giant brothel, of sorts, where you can find sex, alcohol and drugs 365 days a year," said Ulloa, who has previously been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.

Moreover, she said, the international bridge [at the border] leads directly from [San Diego County] to Tijuana's brothel district. "We were able to witness a girl of eight or nine years-of-age, in the red light district, negotiating with a client who was about 50 years old."

Due to the existence of extreme poverty and impunity, human trafficking and sexual exploitation in Mexico is a grave problem, added Ulloa. "In Mexico, we see internal trafficking." Girls are sent north by their families from rural regions across the country.

The map

The trafficking of girl children in northern Mexico is targeted at U.S. customers. In the South Mexican men are the consumers. Along the Pacific Coast, both European and U.S. men are the customers. Along the Gulf Coast, Mexican men are the exploiters.

In Mexico City, we find different types of men who seek out sex with girls and boys.

Of the 100,000 children who are disappeared at any one time in Mexico, 20% are never found.

The promoters of the project asked Mexico's presidential candidates to commit themselves to fighting against human trafficking.

Miriam Ruiz

Cimac Women's News Agency

Dec. 02, 2005

The Dark Side of Cancun

A documentary short film

Excerpt from the film's text

...Thousands of shacks provide an continuous supply of new slaves, to keep the pleasure metropolis [of Cancun] going. This is where the majority of the population, heirs to the Mayan Empire, struggle to live…

Women and children are without a doubt the most affected in such an atmosphere…

Municipal corruption allows gangs… to proliferate. Drugs of all kinds are sold in broad daylight outside of elementary schools. Uneducated young girls are continuously lured or forced by gangs into prostitution. Scenes of public violence… are a regular part of children's every day lives, as are sexual assaults and rape against minors, acts that often go unpunished.

Cancun's impoverished and seldom publicized suburbs can be seen… as modern day slave camps that fuel the zesty life in the hotel strip. In fact, these marginalized neighborhoods are the perfect breeding grounds to feed the appetite of another world-wide industry, the infamous child sex trade, which, according to [a] United Nations report, is now firmly rooted in cosmopolitan Cancun.

…Five to 12-year-old boys and girls are habitually recruited, deceived, rented or sold to provide private entertainment for international and domestic tourism, to make pornographic movies, or, to simply disappear forever.

Once they join the thousands of street children who ran from broken homes, or were caught in the snares of pimps and mobsters, these youth become anonymous commodities. They exist to quench the insatiable hunger of the thriving sex tourism industry… A pedophile's paradise, that is Cancun's... best kept secret.

…Male and female children are among the main attractions [for sex tourists]. So are cheap prices, anonymity, and near guaranteed impunity.

...Thousands of tourists arrive daily to engage in illegal activities...

…European tours [offer] all inclusive vacation packages… Customers are even provided with catalogs that show children pictures, so that they can choose, book and pay for their encounters in advance, along with other activities, such as deep sea fishing or a tour to the pyramids….

Prostitution and abuse hide behind different facades. Organized crime, both domestic and international, controls hundreds of brothels and sex slave houses, disguised as bars, cabarets and massage parlors. [These are the places] where minors are ruthlessly exploited.

In the business of marketing innocence to pedophiles, no venue is left unexplored. From paid intercourse with kids, to erotic shows featuring minors; from classy pre-teen escorts, to on-demand manufacture of child pornography, or expensive, private parties with seven-year-old virgins.

...According to Mexican law, these activities are illegal, yet impunity reigns.

The most vulnerable targets of the sex trade rings are always local Mayan [indigenous] children. Mexican adolescents from other states, or Central American girls, smuggled through the southern border as human cargo, are also used...

We can ask the question - Are we witnessing a preventable tragedy of catastrophic proportions?

...We can say that a verifiable tragedy is unfolding before our own eyes. Because of that, we have chosen not to live in denial... These children cannot wait...

La Casita is is the only comprehensive program in Cancun reaching out to these children. We are currently providing 200 victims of abuse and exploitation with quality, full-time education, all basic health services, legal protection, and a home...

[Note: This film also covers the case of Jean Succar Kuri, a millionaire child sex trafficker based in Cancun who is widely believed to have conspired to have award-winning journalist Lydia Cacho, who runs a women's center in Cancun, arrested for after she exposed Kuri's child prostitution network in her book: Demons in Paradise.]

Produced by Mark Cameron and Monserrat Puig

2007

See also:

Added: Nov. 21, 2010

More about Tijuana

Mexico

Lots of [women in prostitution]

Prostitution has burst its traditional boundaries - the zona de tolerencia [tolerance zone] along Calle Coahuila and its environs - and is expanding into new territories throughout Tijuana.

Frontera reports that at least four more districts are exhibiting an increase in such activities, although in these new areas the practice has yet to be officially recognized. The neighborhoods of La Mesa, Paseo del Guaycura, El Florido, and Mariano Matamoros have engendered their own zonas rojas (red zones [red light districts]).

Economic woes are blamed for the sudden surge in prostitution stats. Lack of employment is luring many a female into being a sexoservidora [sex worker]. Another reason given for the expansion onto new turf is that customers don’t have the time to travel to downtown TJ and the Zona Norte. The majority of the new trade is located in the eastern part of the city, where prostitutes hang out at bars and consummate their transactions in adjacent motels.

Victor Clark Alfaro, director of the Binational Center for Human Rights, points out that the new zonas are not officially recognized and thus are fraught with the potential to incubate disease and foment crime. He points to the “official zona” along Coahuila, where women are given regular health inspections and the area is heavily policed. Alfaro estimates that of 5500 sex workers, only about half are legally registered with the health department.

A mobile health unit has been dispatched to service wayward sex workers in the 32 bars located in the Zona Este. Angel de la Torre Casillas, municipal director of health, stated that those who contract with a sexoservidora should ask to see her health card before indulging.

T.B. Beaudeau

San Diego Reader

Aug. 05, 2010

See also:

Added: Nov. 21, 2010

Mexico

Trata de niñas: servicio para los ricos del norte

Tijuana, un inmenso burdel: Teresa Ulloa

De norte a sur, persiste la explotación sexual de menores en México, donde turistas ricos del norte pueden buscar a niñas hasta de nueve años provenientes de una zona rural.

Ese es el panorama que ofreció esta mañana Teresa Ulloa, quien en el marco de los 16 Días de Activismo contra la Violencia hacia las Mujeres presentó el Informe Final de Resultados, Rendición de Cuentas y Transparencia sobre el Proyecto para Prevenir la Explotación Comercial de la Niñez en México...

Underage girls are sex trafficked for 'men with money' from the U.S.

Tijuana is one huge brothel: Teresa Ulloa

The sexual exploitation of children is a constant reality across Mexico, from its north to its south. It is a place where well-heeled tourists from the U.S. can find rural girls as young as nine-years-of-age [available to be sexually exploited].

That is the scenario that was offered by Teresa Ulloa, the executive director of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women for Latin America and and the Caribbean. Ulloa presented a report - The Results, Accountability and Transparency of the Project to Prevent the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children in Mexico, as part of the events supporting the [global] 16 Days of Activism Against Violence Against Women campaign.

"Tijuana is a giant brothel, of sorts, where you can find sex, alcohol and drugs 365 days a year," said Ulloa, who has previously been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.

Moreover, she said, the international bridge [at the border] leads directly from [San Diego County] to Tijuana's brothel district. "We were able to witness a girl of eight or nine years-of-age, in the red light district, negotiating with a client who was about 50 years old."

Due to the existence of extreme poverty and impunity, human trafficking and sexual exploitation in Mexico is a grave problem, added Ulloa. "In Mexico, we see internal trafficking." Girls are sent north by their families from rural regions across the country.

The map

The trafficking of girl children in northern Mexico is targeted at U.S. customers. In the South Mexican men are the consumers. Along the Pacific Coast, both European and U.S. men are the customers. Along the Gulf Coast, Mexican men are the exploiters.

In Mexico City, we find different types of men who seek out sex with girls and boys.

Of the 100,000 children who are disappeared at any one time in Mexico, 20% are never found.

The promoters of the project asked Mexico's presidential candidates to commit themselves to fighting against human trafficking.

Miriam Ruiz

Cimac Women's News Agency

Dec. 02, 2005

See also:

LibertadLatina

Special Section

Our special section on the San Diego Crisis describes one of the largest known child and youth sex trafficking cases in the United States to date.  The vast majority of child sex trafficking victims in San Diego County have been brought over the border from the neighboring city of Tijuana, Mexico.

See also:

LibertadLatina

Special Section

Journalist / Activist Lydia Cacho is railroaded by a corrupt governor in Puebla state for exposing child sex traffickers in Cancun.


Added: Nov. 19, 2010

Mexico

Gerardo Sauri Suarez, Mexico City's rapporteur for Human Rights

Demandan combatir trata de personas igual que narcotrafico

- La politica de seguridad nacional debe combatir de manera contundente la trata de personas, como se hace con el trasiego de drogas o el trafico de armas, sostuvo el relator de la Comision de Derechos Humanos del Distrito Federal (CDHDF), Gerardo Sauri Suarez.

Durante el Segundo Congreso Nacional ``Explotacion infantil y derechos de ninas, ninos y adolescentes'', dijo que ``el esfuerzo para hacer mapas de delincuencia organizada que operan el trafico de drogas o armas no es el mismo para la trata de personas''.

Mexico City's human rights rapporteur demands that human trafficking be fought on equal footing with illicit arms and drug trafficking

During the Second National Congress on Child Exploitation and the Rights of Girls, Boys and Adolescents, Gerardo Sauri Suarez, rapporteur for the Human Rights Commission of the Federal District [Mexico City] (CDHDF) stated that national security policies must forcefully combat trafficking in persons at a level equivalent to the energy that is now dedicated for combating illicit drugs and arms trafficking...

Sauri Suarez added that very little statistical information and intelligence has been documented in regard to the phenomenon of human trafficking, noting that traffickers operate by taking advantage of historical weaknesses in the structure of state institutions. He also stated that the effort that mapping the workings of human trafficking networks involves a different level of effort than that which is required to document criminal arms and narcotics organizations.

Sauri Suarez proposed that "public policies should refocus their efforts from the current model that concentrates a large amount of energy, attention and resources on public safety strategies, to a model that comes from a human rights perspective and works towards the goals of social equality and equitable economic dynamics that are free from violence.''

This is what the CDHDF wants to accomplish, said Sauri Suarez, "but we also want the state to take responsibility for its commitments as a signatory of international treaties such as the Convention on the Rights of the Child.''

Rene Jimenez Ornelas, a researcher of the Institute for Social Research (IIS) of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) warned that human trafficking for labor and sexual exploitation is a business model that is being widely adopted by organized crime.

Jimenez Ornelas added that he believes that human trafficking should be fought by focusing on the leaders of national and international mafias, and by breaking up their networks.

"We must get rid of our entire culture of violence, death, patriarchy and the concept of marketing human bodies as disposable objects, which is the reality that our young people experience today" concluded Jimenez Ornelas.

Notimex

16 Nov. 2010

See also:

Added: Nov. 19, 2010

Mexico

CDHDF demanda contundencia contra la trata de personas

MÉXICO, D. F.- El relator de la Comisión de Derechos Humanos del Distrito Federal (CDHDF), Gerardo Sauri Suárez, demandó acciones más enérgicas y contundentes para combatir la trata de personas en el país...

“Si el Estado no ha tenido la capacidad de erradicar la explotación sexual que ocurre en comunidades, centros y albergues religiosos ¿tendrá la capacidad de respuesta para combatir la trata de personas que realiza la delincuencia organizada, que con su capacidad de captación, poder económico y destructivo puede someter de una manera distinta a niños, niñas y adolescentes?”...

Mexico City's Human Rights Commission demands parity of resources for the fight against human trafficking

The rapporteur of the Human Rights Commission of the Federal District (CDHDF), Gerardo Sauri Suárez, has demanded more vigorous and forceful actions to combat human trafficking in the country...

"If the state has not been able to eradicate sexual exploitation that occurs in our communities and religious institutions, will it have the capacity to combat trafficking that is perpetrated by organized crime, who possess a destructive economic strength that allows it to entrap our girls, boys and adolescents?"

… René Jiménez Ornelas, a researcher of the Institute for Social Research (IIS) at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), warned that human trafficking and sexual and labor exploitation, is a business model that organized crime has adopted aggressively.

In response to this reality, Jiménez Ornelas believes that it is urgent to combat national and international trafficking networks starting with their leaders...

Nashielli Ramirez, who is the director of the organizations Ririki Social Intervention, said that we do not know how many children are being recruited by organized crime. She indicated that the estimates range from between 25,000 and 40,000.

Ramirez mentioned that children become easy prey to exploitation by organized crime due to a failure to provide access to education for all, a lack of relevant educational content, inadequate transportation, overcrowded housing, a lack of cultural programs and insufficient numbers of teachers, which is an issue that also affects Mexico's population of migrant children.

Ramirez noted that investigations by the Ministry of Public Security (SSP) indicate that organized crime is able to recruit a person into their ranks within three months, "depending on age, beginning as guards, then as chivos - 'goats' If you seen to have skills, you can be contracted to be a sicario [hit man] from the age of 16.

Proceso

Nov. 16, 2010

See also:

Added: Nov. 19, 2010

Mexico

Vigésimo Aniversario de la Convención sobre los Derechos del Niño.

Gerardo Sauri Suárez, director Ejecutivo Red por los Derechos de la Infancia, afirmó que los niños y adolescentes desde la perspectiva jurídica son vistos como propiedad privada, con derechos tutelados, de juguete, por lo que es urgente crear instituciones que fortalezcan la asignación de recursos en beneficio de la niñez.

2009 Senate event recognizes the twentieth anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child

Gerardo Sauri Suárez [then] executive director of the organization The Rights of Childhood, declared that from the legal perspective, children and adolescents are seen as private property, as if they were toys. It is therefore urgent, he says, to build institutions that strengthen the resource allocations that benefit children.

The Senate of the Republic

Nov. 18, 2010

See also:

la Convención sobre los Derechos del Niño

The Convention on the Rights of the Child

UNICEF

LibertadLatina Note

We support the call by Mexico City human rights rapporteur Gerardo Sauri Suárez for a prioritization of the battle against human trafficking.

The ongoing crisis of modern human slavery in Mexico is fueled by the multi-billion dollar profits of the region's drug cartels. Human slavery is 'taking up the slack' in the production of profits for the cartels at a time when drug interdiction efforts have become more successful.

As 500,000 Central and South Americans attempt to cross Mexico's southern frontier each year during efforts to reach the United States, drug cartels wait like trolls under a bridge to deprive these migrants, and other classes of victims in Mexico, of their freedoms.

Dr. M. Cherif Bassiouni, President Emeritus of the De Paul University Law School's International Human Rights Law Institute and the author of A Study of the Trafficking of Women and Children for Sexual Exploitation in the Americas, wrote the following in 2001...

Anecdotal accounts suggest that those held in sexual servitude have a short life-span. Most of them die within a few years due to abuse, torture, neglect and disease. A reasonable statistical projection is that 15% of the sexually exploited population, or 30,000 women and children, die every year. Over a ten year span, it is more than those killed by the atomic bombs of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. This is why it is the most compelling human rights problem of our time. Yet, this tragic situation is causing few concerns among most governments of the world.

The crime of human trafficking is no laughing matter.

We applaud Mexico City's forward thinking on the issue of human trafficking. As recent news stories indicate (see our archives) Mexico City is today being praised by national anti-trafficking leaders for being the only one of Mexico's federated entities (which include 31 states and the capitol city) to have acted aggressively to arrest human traffickers and provide services to victims.

End impunity now!

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

Nov. 19, 2010


Added: Nov. 18, 2010

The United States, Guatemala

Esperanza Arreaga, age 62, lost two young daughters and 14 other family members when they were murdered by Guatemalan soldiers in the massacre of Las Dos Erres.

In this picture, Arreaga looks at the remains of massacre victims uncovered by forensic archeologists.

Photo: Larry Kaplow - GlobalPost

Ramiro Cristales, then age 5, witnessed Guatemalan special forces soldiers murder his family and rape and murder the 10 and 12-year-old girls from his village of Las Dos Erres, in 1982.

From a video statement by Ramiro Cristales, and a collage of photos, by GlobalPost.

Ramiro Cristales, after he was abducted by soldiers who murdered his family

Former Guatemalan special forces soldier sentenced to 10 years in prison

Miami - Following an investigation led by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Office of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Gilberto Jordan, 54, a former Guatemalan special forces soldier, was sentenced today to 120 months in prison and revocation of his U.S. citizenship for unlawfully procuring his U.S. citizenship by lying about his participation in a 1982 massacre at a Guatemalan village known as Dos Erres...

...According to court documents, on or about Dec. 7, 1982, Jordan and the special patrol entered Dos Erres with the support of approximately 40 additional Kaibiles [special forces soldiers], who created a security perimeter around the village so that no one could escape. The members of the special patrol searched all of the houses for the missing weapons, forced the villagers from their homes, and separated the women and children from the men.

Court documents further state that members of the special patrol then proceeded to systematically kill the men, women and children at Dos Erres by, among other methods, hitting them in the head with a sledgehammer and then pushing them into the village well. According to court documents, members of the special patrol also forcibly raped many of the women and girls at Dos Erres before killing them. Approximately 162 skeletal remains were later exhumed from the village well.

At the hearing on his guilty plea, Jordan admitted that he had been a Kaibil in the Guatemalan military who participated in the massacre at Dos Erres. Jordan also admitted that the first person he killed at Dos Erres was a baby, whom Jordan murdered by throwing in the well...

"The Southern District of Florida is home to many hardworking immigrants who have fled political persecution," said U.S. Attorney Wifredo A. Ferrer. "Today's sentencing and the judge's decision to impose the statutory maximum sentence make clear that perpetrators of human rights abuses cannot hide among us and blend in with their victims. They will be found, prosecuted, and punished."

U.S. ICE

Sep. 16, 2010

See also:

Added: Nov. 18, 2010

Guatemala

Ramiro remembers: key witness in Guatemala massacre

Ramiro Cristales was raised by one of the soldiers who allegedly helped slaughter Cristales' entire family.

New York - Ramiro Cristales remembers the two palm trees behind his house and the watering hole where his older brother would toss him in when the rains came to their village in the Guatemalan jungle. He remembers his mother’s kindness and his father’s hard work.

And, unfortunately for the former soldiers accused of killing Cristales’ family, Cristales also remembers the massacre that took place 28 years ago in Las Dos Erres, when 251 men, women and children were murdered. He remembers how the Guatemalan soldiers held babies by their legs and smashed their heads. He remembers the moment a soldier plunged a knife into his mother’s neck before throwing her into a well that was filling up with the bodies of villagers. He remembers seeing his father and brother hanging from a tree.

And he remembers when he first saw Santos Alonzo, one of the soldiers guarding the church full of women and children before they were led to the well to be killed. Cristales recalls how Alonzo took him away from the horrors of that day and adopted him, only to treat him like a slave. For the next 15 years, Cristales was forced to address as "father" the man who had helped kill his family...

Matt McAllester

GlobalPost

May 05, 2010

See also:

Added: Nov. 18, 2010

Guatemala

Guatemala: Unearthing a massacre

Will there finally be justice for more than 100 villagers raped and buried alive during Guatemala's civil war?

Larry Kaplow

GlobalPost

April 29, 2010

See also:

LibertadLatina

Special Section

About the crisis of severe gender exploitation and femicide facing the largely Mayan indigenous population of Guatemala

Note: The rate of murders of women in Guatemala has been identified as being ten times higher than the rate of such 'femicide' murders in the better-known case of the infamous city of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.

Guatemala's current crises of femicide and sex trafficking are tied directly to the atrocities committed against mostly Mayan indigenous victims during the nation's 31 year civil war, which ended in the 1990s.


Added: Nov. 18, 2010

Excerpted from a U.S. ICE press release

Tennessee, USA

ICE/HSI dismantles human trafficking ring, saving 2 young girls from lives as sex slaves

Perpetrator sentenced to 50 years in prison

Soledad was an easy mark for Juan Mendez and his girlfriend Christina Andres Perfecto to ensnare into their sex trafficking ring. Thirteen-year-old Soledad lived in poverty with her family in a small rural town in Mexico. The family eked out a living on $300 a year and did without running water or electricity. Soledad yearned for a better life. When Perfecto traveled to Mexico, she regaled the impressionable girl with promises of riches that awaited Soledad if she traveled back to America with her. Perfecto promised Soledad a job in Mendez's restaurant.

Soledad had no reason to doubt Perfecto. Perfecto, who had once lived in the same village as Soledad, had escaped the same impoverished conditions and by all accounts was living the good life in America. The proof of Perfecto's success was the huge sums of money Perfecto had sent back to her family in Mexico. With Soledad convinced, Pefecto persuaded Soledad's parents to allow her to bring their daughter to the U.S. Perfecto said that Soledad would get a good education in America. With parental blessings, Perfecto then smuggled Soledad across the border.

On their arrival in Nashville, Tennessee, Soledad discovered that she had been duped. No restaurant and no school awaited her. Perfecto's boyfriend, however, Mendez, was all too real. He had been eagerly awaiting the arrival of his newly-delivered prey...

...U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Special Agent (SA) Greg Swearngin of the Nashville Special Agent in Charge office... heard from a confidential informant that underage girls were working at Latino brothels in Memphis, Tenn. Thus began Operation Latina Libre, and the search for possible victims of human trafficking began....

At the height of the investigation, more than 150 law enforcement agents and officers from seven federal and state agencies executed one of the largest, most complex search warrants in the Western District of Tennessee. Law enforcement teams raided brothels at seven different locations, disrupting the activities of brothel owners, prostitutes and male customers and took 27 individuals into custody. Cell phone records and subsequent interviews provided more leads. The trail ended in Smyrna, Tenn., where Soledad was found and brought to safety.

Soledad recounted to Special Agent Swearngin well as to an FBI agent and an Assistant U.S. Attorney, who also played major roles in the case-the horrifying details of extreme psychological and physical abuse she endured, including rape and beatings, at the hands of Mendez. Mendez kept Soledad on the move from brothel to brothel throughout the South forcing her to engage in prostitution with a continuous stream of customers.

Soledad also said that Mendez dispatched Perfecto back to the Mexican village to recruit Soledad's 17-year-old cousin, Emma. Succumbing to Perfecto's persuasive deceit, Emma met the same fate as Soledad. Locked away and forbidden to communicate with each other, Soledad and Emma remained fearful and depressed. Mendez retained the lucrative profits from his sex slavery ring.

Law enforcement authorities found Mendez and Perfecto in a hotel in Nashville where they were arrested and brought to justice.

Mendez pled guilty on Dec. 13, 2007 to two counts of child sex trafficking and sex trafficking by force, fraud and coercion...

U.S. ICE

Nov. 15, 2010

See also:

Added: Nov. 18, 2010

Comments about the above U.S. ICE press release by Baptist minister Steven Cass, who's innovative and effective rescue mission aids sex trafficked children and youth in Tijuana, Acapulco and other 'hot spots' in Mexico

The United States / Mexico

Praise the Lord for the work of ICE in this case

...This story is being written daily on the streets of Mexico and even sadder in every city throughout our great country the good old United States...

The Lord is preparing our ministry to do greater things...we are GO on the mission training center which will allow us to train more than 50 missionaries a year to go out to all of Latin America and fight for Christ by bringing His light to the dark world of sexual exploitation...

He is doing more than He ever has to show He is with us and ready to take this ministry to the next level which is duplication...we are going to all of Latin America and the enemy has reason to come now and to come hard...He will be defeated...these children will be saved. As you read this remember this is one case of 1000's and these kids can be found, rescued and more so liberated in Christ. Those liberated girls will be His solution, they will be the warriors who will go out and save those enslaved as they were before He freed them.

Steven T. Cass

Breaking Chains Ministry

Nov. 17, 2010


Added: Nov. 18, 2010

Argentina

The 'Triple Frontier' region of South America, where the borders of Paraguay, Brazil and Argentina converge, is one of the largest 'hot spots' in the Americas for child and adult sex trafficking.

En el norte del país las redes de trata captan más mujeres

Salta, Misiones, Chaco, Corrientes, Formosa y Jujuy, son las provincias donde más se captan mujeres para la prostitución. Las jurisdicciones poseen dos patrones comunes: son lugares de captación y reclutamiento de personas con fines de explotación sexual y, por otro lado, en su mayoría, las denuncias por desaparición son formuladas por familiares en comisarías y son iniciadas por fugas de hogar...

Sex trafficking networks entrap most of their victims in Argentina’s northern provinces

Argentina’s provinces of Misiones, Chaco, Corrientes, Formosa and Jujuy are the most active locations in the nation for the kidnapping and recruitment of sex trafficking victims. The residents of the region also file the largest number of disappeared persons reports.

The process of entrapment

The trafficking mafias first conduct intelligence in a particular region to locate women. They then proceed to kidnap victims of interest in public spaces.

Traffickers also use the technique of engaging in false romance to entrap their victims. The kidnappers become ‘novios’ [boyfriends] of potential victims by way of Facebook and chat rooms on the Internet. They then convince the victim to run away with them. Once that has happened, the victim is drugged and transported to a location where she is raped and beaten. If the victim refuses to be prostituted, she is threatened with death.

In response to complaints filed by family members of the disappeared person with police, authorities interview the victim’s intimate circle of friends and family. Police typically decide that the victim has run off with a boyfriend, although they often have no information on who that boyfriend might be. They only know that these ‘boyfriends’ come from other provinces in Argentina and are known only by their nicknames.

In some cases, if the traffickers feel that police are close on their heels, they will free their victims…

Misiones Online

Nov. 17, 2010

See also:

"An estimated 500,000 girls younger than 16 are in prostitution in the northeast states of Argentina."

The Protection Project

[Annual report on global human trafficking]

Johns Hopkins University, School of Advanced International Studies, Washington, DC

2001

See also:

LibertadLatina

Special Section

About the crisis of severe gender exploitation in Argentina


Added: Nov. 18, 2010

North Carolina, USA

Tuscarora Yarns to Pay $230,000 to Settle EEOC Sexual Harassment and Retaliation Suit

Employee Subjected to Unwelcome Comments and Sexual Assault, Federal Agency Charged

Charlotte – Tuscarora Yarns, Inc. will pay $230,000 to settle a sexual harassment and retaliation lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today. The EEOC had charged that the yarn manufacturing company subjected a female employee to sexual harassment based on her sex and retaliated against her for complaining about the harassment.

In its suit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Tuscarora Yarns, Inc., Civil Action No. 1:09-cv-217), the EEOC alleged that Tuscarora Yarns, Inc. subjected Lilia Ixtlahuaca Martinez to sexual harassment by the former plant manager at its Oakboro, N.C., facility.

The EEOC said that the male plant manager propositioned Martinez for sex, made unwelcome sexual comments to her, inappropriately touched her and trapped her in an office where he sexually assaulted her. When she escaped from the office, the police were called. The harasser was arrested for sexual battery, but pled guilty to a lesser charge of assault on a female.

When Martinez complained about the sexual harassment, Tuscarora Yarns disciplined and suspended her in retaliation for her complaints, the EEOC charged. Martinez had worked for Tuscarora Yarns at its Oakboro plant as a linked winder operator for about two years when she was suspended...

“The EEOC takes seriously allegations of sexual harassment, particularly where the harassment involves serious abuse such as sexual assault. We are pleased with the settlement and the fact that Tuscarora Yarns is taking action to prevent future incidents of sexual harassment and retaliation in its workplace,” said Tina Burnside, the supervisory trial attorney who litigated the case for the EEOC...

U.S. EEOC

Nov. 15, 2010

See also:

Added: Nov. 18, 2010

North Carolina, USA

Tuscarora Yarns sued by EEOC for Sexual Harassment and Retaliation

“...This case involves unlawful conduct that cannot be tolerated in any workplace: egregious sexual harassment and sexual assault,” said Tina Burnside, supervisory trial attorney who is litigating the case for the EEOC. “All employees have the right to work in an environment that is free from sexual harassment – and to complain about unlawful behavior without the fear of retaliation.”

Lynette A. Barnes, the regional attorney for the EEOC’s Charlotte District Office... “This case is particularly troubling because not only did Tuscarora Yarns’ management fail to deal with a sexual assault, it punished the victim by removing her from the work force. The EEOC will vigorously prosecute cases where an employer makes a bad situation worse instead of solving it...”

U.S. EEOC

Mar. 30, 2009

See also:

LibertadLatina

Special Section

Latina Workplace Rape

Low wage workers face managerial threats of 'give me sex or get out!' across the U.S. and Latin America.

Note: The abuses found at Tuscarora Yarns in North Carolina are commonplace in low wage jobs where Latin American immigrant women are supervised by men from cultures where machismo predominates (be they men from the U.S., Latin America, Asia, South Asia and other regions of the world).

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

Nov. 18, 2010

See also:

The Sexual Exploitation of Latina immigrant Women and Girls in Montgomery County, Maryland - a report about workplace rape  

Chuck Goolsby

Feb. 1994


Added: Nov. 18, 2010

Maryland, USA

5 charged in scheme to transport prostitutes to work in brothels in Maryland

Baltimore – Five men were charged in a criminal complaint and nine search warrants were executed yesterday in connection with a scheme to transport individuals from Virginia and Washington, D.C., to engage in prostitution in Annapolis and Easton, Maryland...

Charged in the criminal complaint are: German de Jesus Ventura, 32, of Capitol Heights, Md.; Kerlin Esau Esquivel-Feuntes, 23, of Annapolis, Md.; Luis Alberto Reyes, 28; Isidro Jiminez-Sanchez and Wibert Alejandro Herrera-Aranda, both 32, of Easton, Md.

Ventura was arrested yesterday and is expected to have an initial appearance in U.S. District Court in Baltimore later today. Jiminez-Sanchez and Herrera-Aranda are in state custody on related charges. Esquivel-Fuentes and Reyes are fugitives. All of the defendants are illegal aliens.

According to the affidavit filed in support of the criminal complaint, since at least September 2008, Ventura has allegedly run brothels in Annapolis, Easton and elsewhere in Maryland, using and threatening to use violence against competitor pimps. According to the criminal complaint, Esquivel-Fuentes, Jiminez-Sanchez and Herrera-Aranda assisted Ventura in running the brothels, advertising the brothel, making appointments for the prostitutes and collecting money. The complaint also alleges that Reyes assisted in transporting the sex workers to the brothel locations, as well as purchasing supplies...

U.S. ICE

Nov. 18, 2010


Added: Nov. 17, 2010

Mexico, Central 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 guantlet' at Mexico's southern border region known as 'La Arrocera' - the Rice Cooker.

Tens of Thousands of Missing Central American Migrants

Mexico City - ...Some 500,000 undocumented migrants from Central and South America cross Mexico every year in their attempt to reach the United States, according to estimates based on official statistics and figures from NGOs.

Along the way, they face the risk of arbitrary arrest, extortion, theft, assault, rape, kidnapping, [sex trafficking - LL,] and murder, at the hands of youth gangs and organized crime, as well as corrupt police and other agents of the state.

Undocumented migrants cross the porous border between Mexico and Guatemala and ride what is known as the "train of death" [the local freight trains which are routinely attacked by armed criminal gangs] through the southern states of Chiapas, Tabasco, Oaxaca and Veracruz, the most dangerous areas, before they head northwards towards the U.S. border.

But perhaps the most horrifying face of the phenomenon is the disappearance of migrants. A recent report by the Mexican legislature's committee on population, borders and migration affairs states that more than 60,000 Central and South Americans went missing between 1998 and 2008 in Mexico on their journey to the U.S.

In late August, 72 undocumented migrants from several Central and south American countries were killed on a ranch near the U.S. border in the northeastern state of Tamaulipas, presumably by members of Los Zetas, a crime syndicate made up of former elite Mexican army commandos that dominates the kidnapping of undocumented migrants racket…

…Nothing has changed since the mass killing, according to migrant rights advocates. This week, a train running between Oaxaca and Veracruz, carrying numerous migrants perched on the roof of the box cars as usual, was assaulted and a score of people were kidnapped, Catholic priest Alejandro Solalinde, one of the leading advocates for migrants' rights, complained Thursday.

Solalinde, who runs a shelter for migrants in the state of Oaxaca, said the authorities are still not doing anything to prevent or investigate the frequent kidnappings and assaults…

Emilio Godoy

Inter Presservice (IPS)

Nov. 05, 2010

See also:

Added: Nov. 17, 2010

Mexico, Central America

Kidnapped Migrant Women - Out of Sight, Out of Mind

Mexico City - "I don't see any investigation, only grief and despair," said Heyman Vázquez, a Catholic priest who runs a shelter for migrants on the border between the southern Mexican states of Chiapas and Oaxaca, referring to the recent kidnappings of 20 Central American women by groups of armed men.

"They promised to investigate, but no one has even come to make enquiries," Vázquez told IPS from Arriaga, where the women, most of them under 30, boarded a freight train heading north. A short distance from there they were kidnapped, in two separate incidents on Nov. 5 and 11...

Diego Cevallos

Inter Presservice (IPS)

Nov. 14 , 2008

See also:

“Wall of Violence” on Mexico’s Southern Border

Calderon’s “two-faced” policy combines police, the military, gangs, and Los Zetas [ex-military, who are now 'hit men' for the drug cartels] to fulfill US mandate to deter Central American migration

...A Wall of Violence

“Migrants don’t have rights in Mexico,” says Father Heyman Vazquez Medina, founder of El Hogar de la Misericordia [a migrant shelter]. “It’s ok to beat them, extort money from them, rob them, sexually abuse them, murder them, and nothing happens.

Central American migrants’ legal security guarantees appear to be repeatedly and permanently violated by individuals and groups of people who rely on the protection, consent, tolerance, or acquiescence of the State and who have the power of weapons, money, police protection, corruption, and impunity. They have put a price on the head of each migrant.”

Migrant shelter staffers say those who abuse migrants operate with absolute impunity... [Father Alejandro Solalinde Guerra, the southern coordinator of the Catholic Church’s Human Mobility Mission Migrants program] recalls one case where a woman was kidnapped from one of the shelters he oversees. Solalinde remained in contact with her family throughout the ordeal. When she finally turned up in the United States, she said that the group that kidnapped her forced her to make several [pornographic movies]. When they finally brought her to the US-Mexico border, they made her family pay thousands of dollars in ransom. Solalinde offered to fly her back south and pay all of her expenses if she filed a complaint with the government. The woman refused, saying she never wanted to set foot in Mexico ever again...

 ...[Mercedes Osuna of La Semilla del Sur (Seed of the South), a Chiapas-based organization that works primarily on indigenous issues,] explains that [after crossing into Mexico, to avoid a migration station on the highway north], undocumented migrants must walk a roundabout route through an area called la Arrocera. La Arrocera is teeming with violent criminals who mug [and rape and kidnap] migrants as they pass through. Osuna spoke with some migrants who recently passed through la Arrocera. They told her that in la Arrocera they saw uniformed Chiapas state police in marked vehicles pick up and drop off people who mugged migrants. In la Arrocera, the muggers are painfully thorough: migrants complained to Osuna of being stripped searched. The assailants even checked their victims’ anuses and vaginas for hidden valuables.

Police don’t just offer rides to assailants; they often are the assailants...

**

The “Wall of Violence” is fierce: El Hogar de la Misericordia estimates that 80% of all migrants who pass through Chiapas state have been assaulted during their travels. Approximately 30% of the women who come to El Hogar de la Misericordia report being sexually assaulted in la Arrocera, Chiapas, which is only one of many stops along the migrants’ route. Fermina Rodriguez of the Fray [Friar] Matias de Cordova Human Rights Center, which monitors human rights on Mexico’s southern border, says, “When you talk to women, they consider rape to be part of the price they pay to migrate...”

Kristen Bricker

My Word is My Weapon

Dec. 24, 2008


Added: Nov. 16, 2010

Mexico

The late human rights pioneer and heroine Esther Chavez Cano, the founder of the movement against femicide in Ciudad Juárez, is shown standing in front of her creation, the Casa Amiga Crisis Center for women

Ninguna garantía de autoridades para Casa Amiga en Juárez

Trabajamos para las mujeres en medio de amenazas: defensoras

Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua.- defensoras de Derechos Humanos (DH) son mujeres que actúan de manera pacífica en la promoción y protección de las garantías individuales. En Ciudad Juárez ellas trabajan en medio de amenazas y el hostigamiento de parte de quienes se sienten transgredidos por su labor.

“Nuestro principal trabajo es para las mujeres de Juárez, incluidas nosotras mismas; sin embargo la violencia en el estado ha llegado a tal grado que hace que nosotras también vivamos con temor”; dijo a Cimacnoticias Irma Casas, directora del Centro de Crisis Casa Amiga.

Sostuvo que en Ciudad Juárez el Estado de derecho no existe, “sales a la calle y no sabes si vas a perder la vida, tus cosas, o vas a ser violentada de cualquier forma, a la afueras de la organización nos han robado”.

Authorities refuse to protect the staff of the  Casa Amiga women's center in Ciudad Juárez

Activists work in an environment of constant threats

The city of Ciudad Juárez, in Chihuahua state – These human rights defenders are women who act peacefully to promote and protect individual rights. In Ciudad Juárez they work in the midst of threats and harassment from those who feel threatened by their work.

"Our goal is to help the women of Juárez, including ourselves, but violence in thise state has reached such a degree that we also live in fear", said Irma Casas, director of the Casa Amiga (friendship house) Crisis Center .

Casas added that the rule of law no longer exists in Juárez. "When you go out, you don’t know if you will lose your life or your belongings, or whether you will be violated in every conceivable way. We have been robbed right in front of our center.”

Casas, “In one week thieves stole two cars from us. The police never responded to our complaints. We know that gangs of car thieves operate in the center’s neighborhood. What can we expect when the police are in collusion with the bandits.”

Casas went on to explain the problems that Casa Amiga faces as a result of its work for domestic violence victims. Previously, “male batterers stopped by here, looking for women and justifying their actions as they argued with us. They never came here with as much indignation and power as they do now.”

Casas, “They know that we exist in very vulnerable conditions today. Therefore, men come to our center and threaten that they are going to kidnap us, that they will find out where we live, that they are going to shoot-up Casa Amiga, or they send us threats by mail or by phone.”

Casas said that the only help that is available to the center comes from other non governmental organizations. Casas: “We have an alarm button in the center to alert the police in emergencies. When we use it, the police don’t respond. Once they showed up after 3 hours. The second time they arrived after we had closed for the day.”

Casa Amiga is open from 9 am until 5 pm daily. They operate a 24 hour hotline. They operate in a city where authorities will not guarantee their safety, exclaimed Casas.

Almendra Robles Rosales and Elia Orrantia Cárdenas, director and coordinator respectively of the women’s shelter “Without Violence,” also located in Ciudad Juárez, agree with Casas in regard to this point. They declare that, despite their fears, they will not stop serving the women of Juárez.

Robles Rosales and Orrantia Cárdenas noted that the risks and the attacks on women’s human rights defenders have increased. They cite an attack on their center on June 9, 2010 as an example.

On that occasion, 14 policemen, including six who were armed with high powered weapons, used the pretext that they were searching for an underage girl to raid the Without Violence shelter and threaten its leaders. The raid was under the command of judicial officer Román García.

The raid exposed the confidential location of the shelter, and put the lives of the women being protected there in danger by putting them at risk of future reprisals. Nonetheless, neither state nor local authorities have done anything to relocate the shelter, as the center has asked them to do.

Robles Rosales and Orrantia Cárdenas emphasized that after this attack on their shelter, it was not the authorities that came to protect them, but non governmental organizations, and especially women’s groups - not just at the state and local level, but from throughout Mexico. Their show of unconditional support has helped to detain, a bit, the acts of harassment against them.

"When the authorities contact us today, they are cautious in how they deal with us.“ They know that we are protected. "The women’s networks are not going to leave us alone. The authorities know that they will be causing a big problem for themselves if the continue to harass us,” said Robles Rosales and Orrantia Cárdenas.

Gladis Torres Ruiz

CIMAC Women's News Agency

Nov. 10, 2010

See also:

Added: Nov. 16, 2010

Mexico

Casa Amiga: Feminist Community-Building in Ciudad Juárez

Excerpt from a paper presented at the 2009 annual meeting of the American Studies Association

...Casa Amiga, located in Ciudad Juárez, was the first crisis center for women in the entire Mexican side of the Mexico-U.S. border region. Its staff focuses their efforts upon addressing some of the major manifestations of globalization in this particular location, especially domestic violence and femicide.

“Femicide” (feminicidio, or, less commonly, femicidio) is the term that has been applied to the particular problem faced in Ciudad Juárez in recent years, given that the city has been the site of a wave of unsolved murders of an estimated 340 women over the past twelve years. The majority of the women who have been the targets of this violence share certain characteristics in common: most are young (teenagers or in their early twenties); nearly all have been employees in the maquiladoras; and many of them share indigenous features that mark them as “outsiders” to Ciudad Juárez—i.e., they are from southern Mexico or other regions of Mexico’s interior...

Joanna Swanger

All Academic

May 24, 2009

See also:

Added: Nov. 16, 2010

Mexico

The late Esther Chávez Cano

Un minuto de silencio en San Lázaro para Esther Chávez Cano

México, DF.- Con motivo del fallecimiento de Esther Chávez Cano, el pasado 25 de diciembre en Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, durante la instalación de la Tercera Comisión de la Permanente, las y los diputados y senadores de las diferentes fracciones parlamentarias guardaron un minuto de silencio por el fallecimiento de quien calificaron como pionera en la denuncia del feminicidio...

The Congress of the Republic recognizes one minute of silence in honor of Esther Chávez Cano

Gladis Torres Ruiz

CIMAC Women's News Agency

Jan. 10, 2010

See also:

Added: Feb., 2010

Mexico

Award-winning journalist, author and anti-child sex trafficking advocate Lydia Cacho Ribiero

¿Quién mató a Esther Chávez Cano?

A Esther la conocí en Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, en 1994 durante un encuentro de mujeres. De inmediato comenzamos a hablar sobre qué hacer para defender los derechos de las mujeres; yo como buena reportera tomé mi libreta y escribí sus respuestas, ella con su mano sutilmente detenía mi pluma y me pedía que la mirara a los ojos. Mira Lydia, ustedes que están jóvenes, tienen que saber cómo van a dar la batalla, apenas estamos intentando abrir la cloaca y cuando comiencen a salir las ratas tendremos que saber qué hacer, cómo hacerlo y quién nos protegerá. Esto sucedió hace casi 16 años...

Who or What Killed Esther Chavez?

[Anti-trafficking leader Lydia Cacho eulogizes Esther Chavez, the founder of the movement against femicide and impunity in Ciudad Juarez]

I first met Esther in Ciudad Juárez, in Chihuahua state, in 1994 during an encounter for women. We immediately began to talk about what needed to be done to defend the rights of women. Like any good reporter I took out my notebook and wrote down her answers. Her hand subtly stopped my pen and she asked me to look into her eyes. Look, Lydia, she said. Those of you who are young must figure out how you are going to wage this battle. We are just beginning to try to open-up the sewer. When the rats begin to swarm out of there, we must know what to do, how to do it, and we must also know who will be able to protect us. We had this conversation almost 16 years ago...

Esther had a mathematical mind, and her experience as an accountant prepared her to become the first Mexican to create a registry to document each and every one of the murders of girls and women in this state in impeccable and detailed form.

She was the one who showed us the way.

It was Esther who perceived that the 'sewers' she had mentioned to me were not really conduits under the streets, but were actually Mexican government institutions and men who murder for pleasure and power.

It was she who described in her first book the details of the appearances of the victims at crime scenes, who had reported the death and what the authorities had done or failed to do about the case.

She wasn’t alone. She was accompanied by an extraordinary group of activist women, all of whom were willing to learn and develop the strategies that were needed to prevent violence against women and girls. Out of that experience, in 1999 Esther founded Casa Amiga, a crisis care center in which women could find a place of safety after fleeing violence at home, or when after being raped a victim received nothing but abuse from the authorities, and a mixture of fear and contempt within their communities.

Although this collective had begun to identify patterns in the murders of women in 1993, the most powerful businessmen in Chihuahua state chose to disqualify and silence those complaints. Many local media despised the warnings and the analysis that was being presented about the decay in Chihuahua state and in Ciudad Juarez in particular.

By the end of 2009, the businessmen, journalists and officials who had discredited Esther in the past had fled Mexico and now lived on the other side of the border under the protection of U.S. laws. Esther called these people "the willing accomplices.” As an accountant determined not to lose count of these acts of shame and their authors, Esther wrote down the names of those who had the power to protect the lives of women and girls, but who chose to ignore their murders; and those who had the economic, political and social power to change Mexico, but who had chosen not to.

Esther pointed them out with a firm hand and with just and true words.

On December 17th, 2005, the afternoon when I had left the prison which I had been taken to by the protectors of the child sex trafficking networks allied with Puebla state Governor Mario Marín, Esther Chavez Cano called me. "You have to be strong," she said without cracking, "this is the hour of battle. You exposed their names to the light, and we stand with you to point them out, as we always will. But you are their target, and this is a lonely battle."

Esther always knew when she needed to hug us as a loving and nurturing mother, and when she needed to show us the path and the strategy to move the [battle] forward...

Full English Translation

Lydia Cacho

El Universal

Dec. 26, 2009

See also:

Added: Nov. 16, 2010

Mexico

In Memoriam: Esther Chavez Cano

Esther Chávez Cano [was a] world-renowned human rights activist... who, for over ten years brought international attention to the horrific violence committed against women and girls in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. Since 1993, over 600 women and girls have been murdered in Juarez.

Chavez worked tirelessly to assist the families of these women, and to help other survivors of violence through her work as founder of Casa Amiga, a domestic violence and rape crises center. In just ten years Casa Amiga has sheltered thousands of survivors of sexual crimes and other types of violence in the border region of Chihuahua, Mexico and provides psychological counseling, medical assistance, and legal aid for the survivors of domestic violence and incest.

Through Casa Amiga, Ms. Chávez Cano brought much needed education to the public on the rights of women and girls, and violence prevention. Ms. Chavez created a model, both nationally and internationally for empowering survivors of violence. She was the recipient of the 2008 National Human Rights Prize in Mexico (El Premio Nacional de los Derechos Humanos).

Esther passed away on December 25, 2009...

VDAY

Dec. 25, 2009

JUAREZ FEMICIDE

Remember Them!


Added: Nov. 14, 2010

Mexico

Congressional anti-trafficking leader Deputy Rosi Orozco

Tijuana, la “ Bangkok” de América Latina: comisión especial

Ahí hay menores exhibiéndose como mercancía, denuncia

Tijuana in Baja California state - Tijuana se ha convertido para los pedófilos en la “nueva Bangkok”, ya ni se toman la molestia de ir a Tailandia porque aquí encuentran niños y niñas exhibiéndose en hoteles como animales, como mercancía, aseveró la presidenta de la Comisión Especial contra la Trata de Personas del Congreso de la Unión, Rosi Orozco...

Durante el arranque de la campaña Corazón Azul impulsada por la Oficina contra la Trata de Personas y Tráfico Ilegal de Migrantes de la ONU, la legisladora alertó que esta ciudad es uno de los principales puntos de partida a Estados Unidos de las bandas.

En Tijuana se ha detectado una fuerte presencia de tratantes originarios de Tlaxcala. Padrotes que enamoran a sus víctimas, niñas y mujeres que luego son traídas a esta frontera...

A young teen being sold in Tijuana's red light district.

Photo from a video of Tijuana’s red light district posted on YouTube.com

Many sex trafficking victims in Mexico have been ‘broken in’ in the major ‘distribution center’ of Tlaxcala state, just east of Mexico City, before being taken to brothels around the world.

This map shows two of the many sex trafficking routes that originate in Tlaxcala state: Tlaxtala to Tijuana (purple); and Tlaxcala to Texas (blue).

English translation

Tijuana has become the "Bangkok" of Latin America - Deputy Rosi Orozco

The city of Tijuana in Baja California state - Tijuana has become the "New Bangkok" for pedophiles. They no longer bother to go to Thailand because there are children in Tijuana who are on display like animals, as a commodity, said  federal Congressional Deputy Rosi Orozco (National Action Party - Mexico City), who is the president of the Special Commission to Fight Human Trafficking in the Chamber of Deputies [lower house of Congress]. Deputy Orozco, who also warned that Tijuana was one of the major staging areas for traffickers engaged in transporting victims to the U.S., was speaking at the kick-off of the United Nations' Blue Heart anti-trafficking campaign’s new initiative in this border city.

Congresswoman Orozco stated that a large number of sex traffickers from the state of Tlaxcala have been found to be operating in Tijuana. They are pimps who entrap women and underage girls through false romantic relationships, and then bring their victims to Tijuana.

Deputy Orozco, “We know that pedophiles refer to Tijuana as the Bangkok of Latin America. Pedophiles tell each other that they don’t have to go to Thailand anymore. Why go to Thailand when Tijuana is the Bangkok of Latina America?”

Mariana Alegret, who is the regional coordinator for trafficking in persons and illicit trafficking in migrants for the United Nations Office on Drugs and crime (UNODC), the agency that created the Blue Heart Campaign, declared that the Campaign has now been put into practice in Mexico.

Calling the problem a 21st century form of slavery that exists in more than 131 nations, Alegret said that the Blue Heart Campaign has been initiated in Mexico with the objective of detecting, eradicating and punishing trafficking, as well as to sensitize the general public about the problem.

Due to a lack of complaints, exact figures do not exist to measure human trafficking. In 2005, the National Institute of Statistics, Geography and Informatics (INEGI) estimated that between 16,000 and 20,000 girls and boys are victims of trafficking in Mexico.

[Note: We strongly object to the use of these antiquated 2005 statistics (of the existence of only 16,000 to 20,000 child trafficking victims in Mexico) in current discourse.

Estimates by Teresa Ulloa, head of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women for Latin America and the Caribbean, reports that 500,000 trafficking victims exist in Mexico, and that in Central Mexico alone, 1.2 million underage girls, most between the ages of 12 and 13, work in prostitution at any given time.

Deputy Rosi Orozco of the ruling PAN political party recently stated that the real numbers of underage victims are higher than the official 20,000 number. Mexico government agencies have also place the estimates of children trapped by child pornography rings at 80,000. - LL]

Gabriela Navarro Peraza, coordinator of the National Commission on Human Rights (NCHR) noted that although the state of Baja California passed an anti-trafficking law just one month ago, not one public complaint has been reported in regard to the problem.

Deputy Orozco would like to see human traffickers face the same punishment that is applied to kidnappers, because, she says, trafficking victims suffer more than kidnapping victims.

[Note: A recently passed federal law raised the maximum punishment for kidnapping to 70 years in prison. Penalties for human traffickers, who's victims tend to be poor (as opposed to the middle and upper class victims of kidnapping for ransom), are much lower.]

Julieta Martínez

El Universal

Nov. 13, 2010

See also:

Added: Nov. 14, 2010

Mexico

Officials kick-off the United Nation's Blue Heart anti-trafficking campaign for the city of Tijuana, one of the largest child and adult prostitution markets in the Americas.

Photo: Ramón Hurtado - El Sol de Tijuana

Lanzan campaña Corazón Azul en [Tijuana]

Tijuana.- "El ser humano no está a la venta", es el mensaje que da la ONU a través de la campaña Corazón Azul contra la Trata de Personas se lanzó en nuestra ciudad ayer en las instalaciones del Centro Cultural Tijuana...

Blue Heart Campaign is launched in Tijuana

Tijuana - "No Person is for Sale" is the theme of the United Nations’ Blue Heart campaign. The Campaign launched its new, local initiative focused on Tijuana yesterday at the city’s cultural center.

Mariana Alegret, who is the regional coordinator for the Blue Heart Campaign, announced that millions of reports of commercial sexual exploitation have been received from over 130 nations globally. She explained that the Blue Heart campaign was developed in 2008 at the headquarters of the United Nations in Austria...

Adán Mondragón

El Sol de Tijuana

Nov. 13, 2010

See also:

Added: Nov. 14, 2010

Mexico

Convenio Corazón Azul vs trata de personas

Baja California convenio UNODC de la ONU

Con la firma del pacto con el corazón de Baja California para Latinoamérica la Procuraduría General de Justicia del Estado (PGJE) en coordinación con representantes de la Oficina de las Naciones Unidas Contra la Droga y el Delito (UNODC, por sus siglas en inglés) dieron a conocer la campaña “Corazón Azul” para alentar a la denuncia de la trata de personas considerado un delito grave a nivel mundial.

Mariana Alegret, representante de la UNODC para México, Centroamérica y el Caribe indicó que la trata de personas ocurre en México, en Tijuana o diversos países del mundo, el problema, es la ignorancia que se tiene al respecto...

The Blue Heart Campaign and Baja California State sign agreement to fight human trafficking

Officials of the United Nations’ Blue Heart campaign in Mexico, an initiative created by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), have signed an agreement with the Baja California [state] Attorney General’s office to encourage the reporting of human trafficking.

Mariana Alegret, who is UNODC’s representative in Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean indicated that human trafficking occurs in Tijuana, across Mexico and globally. The problem that we face, she said, is ignorance about this crime.

Baja California has, through its signing of the agreement, become the first state government in Latin America to promote and carry out the UN campaign.

On April 14th this year, the President of Mexico and the Secretary General of the United Nations first presented the Blue Heart Campaign’s initiative in Mexico. Mexico became the first country in the world to officially adopt the campaign...

"The campaign will develop different activities such as launching a call for a regional competition among university students to create graphic representations with the theme of safe outlets for youth, and the development of a student outreach day, among other activities...

Mexico City federal congressional deputy Rosie Orozco, who is president of the Special Commission to Fight Trafficking in Persons, said the best way to begin to combat these trafficking networks is by acknowledging the problem, as the authorities in Baja California have done.

It is important to honor the participation of a 17-year-old young woman who we will call Esperanza (Hope). Esperanza gave anonymous testimony, telling how she was enslaved [in prostitution] by a human trafficking network who used [Internet] social networks to entrap victims. They used the deception of offering modeling and acting jobs to unsuspecting victims.

Work will begin on the campaign this coming Saturday at 10:00 am with a conference to be held at the National Chamber of Commerce in Tijuana, where communications media specialists will conduct three information sharing sessions.

 Elizabeth Vargas

Ensenada.net

Nov. 12, 2010

See also:

Added: Nov. 14, 2010

Mexico

Observations by Baptist minister Steven Cass, who's innovative and effective rescue mission aids sex trafficked children and youth in Tijuana, Acapulco and other 'hot spots' in Mexico

United Nations Corazon Azul (Blue Heart Campaign) Human Trafficking meeting Friday in Tijuana

[The United Nations Blue Heart Campaign kick-off event in Tijuana was created] to bring awareness to the issue of human trafficking and child prostitution here in Tijuana, which is one of the hot spots worldwide for this evil. The event was put on by the Baja California office of the PGJE [state attorney general's office], and featured one of our own daughter's testimonies...she was amazing and showed a strength that can only come from above.

In the end the master of ceremonies - a local TV talk show host, asked her what advice she had for the 100's of high school and college students among the 1,000+ crowd and she nailed it... She was abducted through the internet with the promise of a television career... She was taken to Mexico City and the story, while cloudy from there... it is clear she has suffered greatly.

The results of this meeting will, God willing, be greater coordination among the local state and federal law enforcement groups, as we live in a city where exploitation is a growing concern and puts us in one of the top spots worldwide....yet so far there are no cases being prosecuted. I believe this is about to change as the PGJE high ranking officials we work with sure seemed moved to act now.

Steven T. Cass

Breaking Chains Ministry

Tijuana, Mexico

Nov. 13, 2010

See also:

Added: March 29, 2009

Mexico

Niñas Mixtecas

Mixtec girls

En Tijuana, nueve de cada diez niñas y niños mixtecos no van a la escuela

Tijuana, Baja California.- De 30 mil niñas y niños mixtecos que habitan en la ciudad de Tijuana, unos 26 mil 500 no asisten a la escuela --9 de cada 10-- de acuerdo a datos proporcionados por la Comisión de Derechos Humanos y Grupos Vulnerables del ayuntamiento y por el supervisor de Educación Indígena de la zona este de Tijuana, Bartolomé Cano Allende, informó la Agencia Internacional de Prensa Indígena (AIPIN)...

In Tijuana, 9 out of 10 Mixtec indigenous children don’t attend school

Tijuana, Baja California – Of the 30,000 children of the Mixtec indigenous ethnicity who live in the city of Tijuana, only 3,500 attend school. According to the  thousand children who live in the city of Tijuana, about 26 thousand 500-of-school - 9 out of 10 - according to data provided by the Commission on Human Rights and Vulnerable Groups and the supervisor of Indigenous Education in the area east of Tijuana, Bartolomé Cano Allende.

Olga Macias, chair of the commission, said that about 30,000 Mixtec children live in the city, representing 10 percent of the total child population. However, of those, only 3,500 thousand are students, representing 11.6 percent of the total, whereas 88.4 percent are engaged in begging, selling or crime.

One of the factors exacerbating this problem is the fact that many Mixtec parents [have their children work with them on the street]. Mixtec people suffer discrimination because of the way they speak and dress, which are part of their ethnic identity.

El Sol de Mexico

Via Cimac Noticias

March 22, 2009

See also:

LibertadLatina Commentary

Mixtec and other poor children living in Tijuana and its surrounding region must live by begging, selling candy, washing car windshields and stealing on the streets of that rough city. All of these 'occupations' also involve selling sex to Mexican men and to some of the thousands of U.S. men who cross into Tijuana each day and night to visit the estimated 5,000 prostitutes in the city's legal red light district, called La Coahuila. Many of its brothels employ girls as young as age 12.

Teresa Ulloa, of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women - Latin American and Caribbean, has accompanied police of raids in Tijuana where 7-year-old girls were rescued from prostitution.

End impunity now!

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

March 29, 2009

Updated Nov. 14, 2010

See also:

En desventaja, niños mexicanos indocumentados

Many of the 80,000 Mexican children who cross from Mexico into the U.S. alone as undocumented immigrants are fleeing abuse at home, or are escaping from child prostitution rings...

According to attorney Christopher Nugent, of the law firm Holland and Knight, ...Thousands of Mexican and Central American children flee northward into the U.S. each year to escape child prostitution...

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

Many [prostituted] children from Tijuana are trying to flee to San Diego.

Georgina Olson
Excélsior

July 3, 2008

See also:

LibertadLatina

Special Section

Our special section on the San Diego Crisis describes one of the largest known child and youth sex trafficking cases in the United States to date.  The vast majority of child sex trafficking victims in San Diego County have been brought over the border from the neighboring city of Tijuana, Mexico.


Added: Nov. 14, 2010

The United States

Sixty-Nine Children Rescued During "Operation Cross Country V"

Over the past 72 hours, the FBI, its local and state law enforcement partners, and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) concluded Operation Cross Country V, a three-day national enforcement action as part of the Innocence Lost National Initiative. The operation included enforcement actions in 40 cities across 34 FBI divisions around the country and led to the recovery of 69 children who were being victimized through prostitution. Additionally, nearly 885 others, including 99 pimps, were arrested on state and local charges.

“Child prostitution continues to be a significant problem in our country, as evidenced by the number of children rescued through the continued efforts of our crimes against children task forces,” said Shawn Henry, executive assistant director of the FBI’s Criminal, Cyber, Response, and Services Branch. “There is no work more important than protecting America’s children and freeing them from the cycle of victimization. Through our strategic partnerships with state and local law enforcement agencies, we are able to make a difference.”

Task Force operations usually begin as local actions, targeting such places as truck stops, casinos, street “tracks,” and Internet websites, based on intelligence gathered by officers working in their respective jurisdictions. Initial arrests are often violations of local and state laws relating to prostitution or solicitation. Information gleaned from those arrested often uncovers organized efforts to prostitute women and children across many states. FBI agents further develop this information in partnership with U.S. Attorney’s Offices and the U.S. Department of Justice’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS) and file federal charges where appropriate.

To date, the 39 Innocence Lost Task Forces and Working Groups have recovered over 1,200 children from the streets. The investigations and subsequent 625 convictions have resulted in lengthy sentences, including multiple 25-years-to-life sentences and the seizure of more than $3.1 million in assets...

For more information on Operation Cross Country and the Innocence Lost National Initiative, visit www.fbi.gov, www.justice.gov, or www.ncmec.org.

FBI National Press Office

Nov. 08, 2010


Added: Nov. 14, 2010

Maryland, USA

Montgomery County Vice and Intelligence Detectives Develop Initiatives Against Human Trafficking

Press Release

The detectives in the Vice and Intelligence Section of the Special Investigations Division of the Montgomery County Police Department want to advise the public of initiatives they have enacted to address the growing concern of human trafficking.

The crime of human trafficking / prostitution may be thought to be a victimless and voluntary crime. That notion is frequently portrayed in films and television shows but those story lines have very little to do with reality. Although it is true that the demand side of the crime is voluntary, the provider side is often not voluntary. The provider may not be a lone entity. The provider can be exploited for money and often coerced through violent means by individuals, and that may go unnoticed by the public and law enforcement. Frequently faceless corporations and persons that utilize the unregulated internet to openly promote illegal activities for a price benefit financially from this crime and fail to take any responsibility for it...

The Montgomery County Police Department is committed to addressing the true benefactors of human trafficking and making them accountable for their illegal activities. The following initiatives have been developed over the past year to address the use of the internet by individuals to promote and financially benefit from human trafficking:

1. The Vice Section has effectively shut down escort websites that blatantly advertise activities that are illegal in Maryland. No other crime is so openly confessed to in any forum as the crime of human trafficking. The Vice Section is using a variety of investigative techniques to make web hosts accountable for their complicity in the advertising of human trafficking. Consequently, Web Hosts are eliminating the internet site from their servers. This tactic has eliminated the internet sites for TGND Talent, Diamond Escorts, and Desirable Companions. Sadly, these sites are now moving to servers outside the USA to continue their illegal activities.

2. The Vice Section has effectively infiltrated the Erotic Review website and identified key members of the group. The Erotic Review is a website where members openly confess to illegal activities. The website’s members rate women’s appearance, sexual performance, etc. while providing information on contact numbers, organized crime outfits, and local police activities.

3. The Vice Section through plea agreements is now operating established and once legitimate escort internet sites where “johns” are currently providing names, places of employment, and contact numbers as if they are communicating with the now defunct service. These contacts are being utilized to arrange “john stings” and identify individuals on the demand side of human trafficking...

The trafficked individuals are the face of the business and consequently the most exposed and accountable to law enforcement and the judiciary. The true profiteers of human trafficking have learned to make large profits while allowing others to take all the risk. These legal investigative tactics are bringing vice investigations into the 21st century and making everyone involved in the organized crime of human trafficking accountable for their actions.

[Read the complete press release for additional details]

Montgomery County Police Department

Nov. 08, 2010

See also:

LibertadLatina Commentary

Maryland, USA

Latina victims of sexual exploitation continue to be underserved in Montgomery County, Maryland

Chuck Goolsby

As a former civilian computer programmer at Montgomery County Police headquarters during the 1990s, I applaud the innovative techniques that the department is developing to fight human trafficking.

Keep up the great work!

During the 1990s I made a number of efforts to raise awareness within the department about the extensive problem of sexual exploitation faced by Latina immigrant girls and women in the county. Some officials at that time expressed disinterest in the issue, while others supported my efforts. Today, tensions between the region's vast immigrant community and local police forces continue to exist, unfortunately.

We support law enforcement efforts in El Barrio. At the same time, we continue to demand that Latin American immigrants, legal or not, be provided with equal protection under the law. That goal has not-yet been achieved.

During March of 2010, I attended an anti-trafficking training session for a Parent Teacher Association meeting at a local high school. Gaithersburg City Police Officer Jesse Argueta, a local anti-trafficking task force member and an excellent presenter on human trafficking issues was the keynote speaker.

I spoke up and mentioned the fact that Latina immigrant women and girls, and particularly those who are undocumented in the city of Gaithersburg [one in three of that city's residents are immigrants - mostly from El Salvador] and across Maryland's Montgomery and neighboring Prince Georges counties faced severe sexual exploitation in their  communities, at work and in local schools. I also mentioned that one Latina student at the high school where the meeting took place was so severely sexually harassed that she had to quit school (an issue that has been reported on in regard to Latina students in other regions of the U.S.).

I asked Officer Argueta what efforts were being made to serve this population. He responded that local police agencies planned to focus on U.S. domestic minor victims of trafficking. He went on to say that focusing on those victims will lead us to the immigrant victims. Discussion of the Latin immigrant aspects of human trafficking appeared to make Officer Argueta a little nervous, a response that I have seen in several public settings when I have asked officials, "What is being done for the Latina victims?"

As an advocate for the human rights of Latin American immigrants in Montgomery County for the past 30 years, I have to say that local police forces and their federal partners need to improve their relationship with the local Latin community and provide equal protection under the law to undocumented immigrant crime victims.

The problem of human trafficking in the region does not exist only at the level of Internet-based, Craigslist-like operations. It is, of course, important to identify those criminal operations and shut them down (I brought the problem of local trafficking on the Eros web site, mentioned in the above MCPD press release, to the attention of anti-trafficking NGO Polaris Project in 2001).

Beyond the Internet, and the more visible Korean and other Asian massage parlors - exists a vast underground network of Latino-run sexual slavery operations that provide unwilling Latina women and underage girls to  communities of migrant men throughout the cities and farm communities of Maryland and neighboring jurisdictions.

Latino criminal sex trafficking operations in Maryland and elsewhere hide behind a very effective smokescreen (a barrier of distrust and failed communication), that exists due to: 1) the tense relationship between local police and law enforcement; 2) disinterest on the part of police, at times, in regard to protecting women and girls from exploitation because they are immigrants; 3) the language barrier and Latin American cultural traditions of a ‘code of silence,’ that prevent intelligence from reaching police (an issue that exists equally in Tijuana, Mexico and across the Americas); 4) resistance to addressing the issue from within the leadership of some Latino community organizations – often because the topic detracts from the ‘higher goal’ of achieving immigration reform; and 5) an unspoken, yet existent reality that especially some male law enforcement officers feel, that the sexual exploitation of immigrant women and underage girls is simply an unimportant issue. That is a 'space' where sexist attitudes and Latin male machismo finds common ground, leading to reduced attention to crimes of violence against women.

I have run into all of these attitudes when advocating for the human rights of Latina women and girl victims of crime in Maryland.

I wrote words that are effectively the same as those stated above in my 1994 report – The Sexual Exploitation of Latin American Immigrant Women in Montgomery County, Maryland. Unfortunately, not much has changed during the past 16 years.

Only continued efforts to allow the interests of ‘Little Brown Maria’ (our metaphor for the voiceless victims) to be represented at the ‘table’ of jurisprudence and policy discussion will achieve real change. In the meantime, a growing legion of ‘Little Brown Marias’ is being kidnapped from Latin America - and especially Mexico, transported to the U.S., and bought and sold right under our noses – to feed a voracious local market for paid sex as authorities do… far too little to rescue these victims and end this madness.

That is an unacceptable and unsustainable situation.

We the people must hold our elected officials and criminal justice institutions accountable and demand equal protection under the law for Latina immigrant victims of crime.

End impunity now.

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

Nov. 14, 2010

See also:

More about government and NGO responses to the mass sexual exploitation of Latina girls and women in the greater Washington, DC region

In October of 2009 I attended a presentation at the University of Baltimore Law School on human trafficking. The keynote speaker at the event was Assistant U.S. Attorney Solette Magnelli, a leading pioneer among federal prosecutors in developing effective anti-trafficking strategies, and a founder of the Maryland Human Trafficking Task Force. During her hour long discourse on human trafficking in Maryland, Ms. Magnelli went into detail about anti-trafficking law, and discussed cases of domestic minor victims, European immigrant teens who are contracted to work in restaurants in the resort city of Ocean City - only to be nudged into prostitution, and about cases of African immigrant youth forced to do hair braiding in salons for free. During the presentation, not one word was said about Latina immigrant women and girl victims, who, I believe, make up the vast majority of victims of sexual slavery in the state of Maryland.

I asked Ms. Magnelli about the response to Latina victims. She did not have much to say on the topic, except to state that police officers are now being trained to be more sensitive to victims, such as the one young teen victim in a case that I mentioned at the event, who was completely ignored by police when their help was sought in a case of child sexual harassment. I also mentioned the case of a federal agent who called me and asked where to find services for victims that he was finding during the investigation into a $60,000 a week Latin prostitution ring in the city of Langley Park, Maryland’s largest Latin American immigrant community. At the going rate of $30 per 15 minute ‘session,’ that one operation represented an average of 2,000 prostitution events per week. That one criminal enterprise likely surpassed every other sex trafficking crime in Maryland, yet I have never seen any press reports of prosecutions coming out of that case. Although that agent’s phone call took place perhaps 5 years before the 2009 forum, Ms. Magnelli added nothing to my comments about that case.

Although certain members of the Maryland Human Trafficking Task Force were perturbed that I raised these issues in a public forum (a reaction from them that certainly shocked me), two of Ms. Magnelli’s fellow assistant U.S. attorney’s in Baltimore, present at the event, walked up to me, smiled, shook my hand and thanked me for directly raising the issue of Latina victims. Several law students did the same.

It is completely disingenuous to discuss human trafficking in any setting without acknowledging the tragedy that Latina women and girls (including indigenous and Afro-Latinas) are facing at the hands of sex traffickers and an uncaring bureaucracy, both in the United States and across Latin America.

In late 2009 Ambassador Luis C. deBaca, the U.S. State Department’s director of its Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, declared that 60% of human trafficking victims in the U.S. were of Latin American origin. It is now impossible to leave Latina women and girls out of the discussion. Their interests deserve a ‘place at the table’ of enforcement priorities and policy initiatives.

On October 23, 2010, the first Stop Human Slavery rally on the National Mall in Washington, DC, was held. It was the largest anti-trafficking rally to date in the nation’s capitol, and was a great success. About 35 organizations set up tables to dialog with the 2,000 or more people who showed up to march and express support.

Our LibertadLatina table was the only representation specifically focused on Latina and indigenous victims of human trafficking. We spoke with many activists who were eager to hear about the problem in Latin America.

The director of one of the region’s largest sexual slavery victim rescue and rehabilitation operations told me at the event that all of the victims that they are rescuing from the populous Virginia suburbs of Washington, DC had been trafficked by major Latin gangs.

It is time for rhetoric of the region’s anti-trafficking task forces, in which they state that they are focusing only on domestic U.S. born and "legal resident" minors, expand to acknowledge their obligation to protect undocumented Latina and other immigrant girls and women also. That community represents the largest group of victims, yet their ‘invisibility’ allows local law enforcement and legislators to minimize the services that are available to the most vulnerable people among us.

At a meeting of the Maryland Human Trafficking Task Force in 2009, attended by federal, state and local prosecutors and law enforcement as well as activists, a representative of the pioneering anti-trafficking NGO Polaris Project stated that some Maryland legislators, while being lobbied to support anti-trafficking legislation, had declared that they should not have to protect undocumented immigrant victims of human trafficking, given that they were in the U.S. illegally.

There just is no excuse for this. The general public must hold elected officials, police and prosecutors accountable for protecting ALL women and children who face exploitation in the Washington, DC region and throughout the U.S. and the Americas.

Therefore, we speak.

Silence is also violence!

End impunity now.

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

Nov. 14, 2010

See also:

Analysis of the  impunity and prostitution in Langley Park, Maryland, where brothels earn many tens of thousands of dollars weekly. Shut down Langley Park's mega-brothels!

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

Aug. 05, 2005

See also:

The criminal networks that traffic young Latina women to the Washington, DC suburbs in Maryland and Virginia described in the below Washington Post story continue to exist in identical form in the year 2004.  Enslaved Latin women and girls are moved in and out of Latino neighborhood-based brothels in Gaithersburg, Maryland, Washington, DC, Arlington, Virginia and within the other Latin communities of the region.  Little has changed since 1994 for women and girls exploited in prostitution.

- Chuck Goolsby

2004

See also:

String of Latino Brothels Found in Va., Md. Suburbs: Police Say Women Come from New York

A growing number of brothels catering to Latino men are opening in the Washington suburbs, and police say a New York prostitution ring may be responsible.

The brothels mostly employ Latino women from the New York area, according to investigators. Court records indicate that virtually all charge the same rates -- $ 30 for 15 minutes of sexual intercourse -- and advertise using the same kind of business cards in Spanish. They also have the same operating procedures: Prostitutes punch playing cards or score sheets to tally each day's customers. "Every jurisdiction from Arlington to Montgomery County is seeing the same thing," said Alexandria police detective Harold Duquette, a member of the city's vice squad, which is investigating two of the alleged brothels.

- The Washington Post

Sep. 21, 1994

See also:

Virginia, USA

Added March 14, 2008

Immigration-Linked Prostitution Cases Pose Challenge

Woodbridge - South of Washington, DC - The business cards handed to men at a North Woodbridge grocery store didn't say much. Just a first name, a cell phone number and the phrase Casa de Carne, or House of Meat...

- Theresa Vargas

The Washington Post

March 06, 2008

See also:

LibertadLatina

Special Section

About the crisis of sexual exploitation facing Latin American women and children in Washington, DC and Montgomery County, Maryland

See also:

The Sexual Exploitation of Latina immigrant Women and Girls in Montgomery County, Maryland - a Report  

Chuck Goolsby

Feb. 1994


Added: Nov. 14, 2010

Ohio, USA

Ohio Latino Affairs Commission and Ohio Latino Leaders Support Human Trafficking Advocacy Day

Columbus - The Ohio Commission on Hispanic / Latino Affairs supported Senator Fedor’s Human Trafficking Advocacy Day today at the Ohio Statehouse. OCHLA was joined by Latino leaders from League of United Latin American Citizens and by the Latino Ministry for the Diocese of Columbus. State Senator Teresa Fedor (D-Toledo) had convened dozens of anti-trafficking advocates from around the state to rally for Senate Bill 235, a bipartisan bill that will make human trafficking a stand-alone felony. Passage of S.B. 235 is in jeopardy due to a light, non-voting lame duck session ahead. If the bill is not voted on this year, it will die at the end of December.

“Ohioans cannot allow political wrangling to stop this bill from being heard and voted on during this General Assembly,” said Senator Fedor. “Now is the time for legislators to take action to protect Ohioans from becoming victims of human trafficking.”

Human trafficking is a rapidly growing and under-reported problem affecting both inner cities and affluent suburbs. Minorities and immigrants are particularly vulnerable targets of human traffickers. Immigrant communities create optimal conditions to smuggle and traffic others because traffickers can easily hide victims within larger immigrant communities. A report released by the Trafficking in Persons Study Commission estimated that over 1,000 Ohio children are trafficked within our borders each year for the purpose of sex. The same report estimated nearly 800 Latino immigrant males and females are at risk of being trafficked within Ohio borders. They are trafficked for sex, labor and services.

The Ohio Commission on Hispanic/Latino Affairs was created in 1977 under Governor Jim Rhodes with a mandate to advise state government on issues affecting Hispanic Ohioans; connect the diverse Latino communities across the state; and build the capacity of community organizations so they may better serve the Latino population of Ohio.

Hispanic Ohio

Nov. 11, 2010

 


Added: Nov. 12, 2010

Argentina, Paraguay

Women in Argentina protest against human trafficking

En busca de un freno para el tráfico

Es el primer juicio oral y público por trata de personas que se realiza en los tribunales de Mar del Plata, aunque corresponde a hechos ocurridos en la ciudad de Tandil, en un cabaret que funcionaba –créase o no– en la misma cuadra, sobre la misma vereda y a escasos 30 metros de una iglesia. Las víctimas y denunciantes del caso son dos jóvenes de nacionalidad paraguaya que fueron traídas al país con engaños, bajo la promesa de trabajar “cuidando ancianos”, y terminaron siendo privadas de su libertad y obligadas a prostituirse. En la causa hay cuatro imputados –tres hombres y una mujer–, a la vez que se sabe de la existencia de otras víctimas y del pago de coimas a la policía local por parte de los que regenteaban el local nocturno. La explotación sexual de las dos chicas paraguayas, que había comenzado en julio de 2008, terminó a los ocho días, cuando una de ellas pudo escapar arrojándose a la calle desde un primer piso y solicitando ayuda en un centro comunitario...

Seeking to Stop Human Trafficking

In the first oral trial involving a case of human trafficking in Argentina, the courts of the city of Mar del Plata will try four defendants charged with enslaving two Paraguayan women in prostitution in the city of Tandil. The women were forced to sell sexual services in a cabaret (brothel) that existed just 30 meters from a local church.

The victims are two young women from the neighboring country of Paraguay, who were tricked with false promises that they would be given jobs caring for senior citizens. Instead, the two were deprived of their liberty and were forced into prostitution.

Four suspects have been charged in the case, three men and a woman.

The sexual exploitation of the two women, which began in 2008, ended eight days ago when they jumped to the street from a second floor of a brothel, and sought help in a community center.

The defendants are Argentine citizen Raul Angel Romero, two Paraguayans who live in Argentina - Carmen Mercado Sandoval and her brother, Mario Mercado Sandoval, and Chilean Mauricio Aguirre Raúl López. The four are charged with having “kidnapped, transported, received and exploited" the victims, identified as ‘MRA’ and ‘FGV.’ Both of the victims have ratified a [criminal] complaint that has been submitted to the members of the Federal Court of Mar del Plata.

The victims testified by teleconference call, as they have already returned to Paraguay.

The two youth were promised work in elder care, and were promised between one and one and a half million Paraguayan pesos as payment. The amount is an exorbitant sum, considering that the victims earned only 500 pesos in their home country.

M.R.A. tried to escape more than once. She first attempted to escape from the ground floor of the building, but she was intercepted by one of the guards, who beat her and brought her back into the brothel. The second time she managed to jump from the top floor of the building and escaped to a Community Health Center, where she was helped by social worker Julie Cimino, who accompanied her to make a report at a women's police station.

The trial in now entering its second week.

Carlos Rodríguez

Pagina 12 (Page 12)

Nov. 05, 2010

LibertadLatina Note

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

Estimates of the number of underage girls in prostitution in northeast Argentina alone have run as high as 500,000 at any particular time. Many victims of sex trafficking are transported from neighboring Paraguay, where the nation’s indigenous women are among the victims.

Women from the Dominican Republic, a largely African descendant population and the largest ‘exporter’ of trafficked women in Latin America, also form a very large community of sex trafficking victims in Argentina.

As is the case in other Latin American nations, institutional indifference and corruption, and the wealth of organized criminal syndicates collude to impede the significant efforts of non governmental organizations to end trafficking and support victims.

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

Nov. 12, 2010


Added: Nov. 12, 2010

Massachusetts, USA

Upcoming Event

Harvard University's Morris Panner will speak on the battle against organized crime in Guatemala on Nov. 17, 2010 in Cambridge, Massachusetts

Battling Organized Crime in Guatemala

How A Unique UN Partnership Protects Human Rights Through Tough Multi-National Law Enforcement

Wednesday November 17th 4:00-6:00pm Carr Center Conference Room Room 219, Rubenstein Building John F. Kennedy School of Government Cambridge, MA

Mr. Morris Panner, Former Organized Crime Prosecutor and Senior Advisor for Project Minerva, will speak.

 

Latin American Initiative at the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy

 John F. Kennedy School of Government

Harvard University

Nov. 11, 2010

See also:

Added: Nov. 14, 2010

Guatemala

Danger in Guatemala

The battle to regain control of Guatemala's institutions from deeply entrenched criminal interests has reached an alarming new juncture. Two weeks ago, the head of the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG), a UN-led commission to investigate and prosecute high-profile organized crime and corruption, resigned in frustration.

Since January 2008, the CICIG has made progress in fighting organized crime. Under the leadership of respected Spanish jurist and expert organized crime prosecutor Carlos Castresana, the commission has successfully prosecuted dozens of corrupt high-level officials, and its work has led to the arrest of ex-military officers and the dismissal of hundreds of dirty cops.

Now, Castresana says he can do no more because Guatemalan government inaction and corruption have made his job impossible. He singled out recently named attorney general, Conrado Reyes, with alleged links to organized crime who had been undermining the commission's investigations. Guatemala's Constitutional Court, in a courageous move, removed Reyes, but government corruption and growing influence of organized crime remains.

The transnational nature of this organized crime has made fighting it hard. In addition to the criminal structures that date back to the country's civil war, Guatemala is feeling the impact of the sprawling organized crime wars in Mexico. Narcotics traffickers and their enforcers, including the notorious Zetas, are moving into Guatemala. No longer relying solely on narcotics, these organizations have diversified into other criminal activities, including extortion, human trafficking and arms sales. Recent intelligence reports also suggest that corrupt Guatemalan military officers are selling weapon stores left over from the Cold War, so even as U.S. authorities cut down on arms trafficking from the U.S. into Mexico, the Guatemalans are picking up the slack.

The stakes could not be higher. These groups easily overwhelm the weak institutions of any one nation. The CICIG was a response to a fundamental lack of law enforcement infrastructure and rampant institutional corruption in Guatemala. Lacking any real ability to investigate and prosecute the most serious offenders, Guatemala agreed to the involvement of the UN-backed commission to prosecute jointly with national authorities members of powerful criminal networks that for decades have held the country's institutions hostage. It was a courageous step for Guatemalans and one born of desperation. Ninety-eight percent of the murders in Guatemala go unsolved. The justice institutions unable to cope with common crime are simply no match for the powerful forces of organized crime.

...The Guatemalan government has to hold up its end of the deal with the UN to prosecute corruption and eliminate impunity. The Guatemalan people know they are in danger of losing their nation to bandits and are legitimately terrified at the prospect. President Colom has said he will honor the CICIG's mandate. The Constitutional Court and many Guatemalans have shown remarkable courage but now, the Guatemalan government-the executive, legislature and the Courts-must take action to show that Guatemala can implement urgent reforms, prosecute corrupt officials and prove that it can be a partner in the vital fight against organized crime.

Morris Panner

Americas Quarterly

July 1, 2010

LibertadLatina

Special Section

About the crisis of severe gender exploitation and femicide facing the largely Mayan indigenous population of Guatemala


Added: Nov. 12, 2010

Spain, Romania

Mom in Spain Happy Her 10-Year-Old Daughter Gave Birth

A Romanian Gypsy woman whose 10-year-old daughter just gave birth in Spain says she's delighted to have a new granddaughter and doesn't understand why the birth has shocked anyone -- let alone become an international sensation.

Spanish authorities have released few details about the case to protect the girl's privacy.

But in comments published Wednesday, her mother told reporters the baby's father is a 13-year-old boy who is still in Romania and is no longer going out with her daughter.

The 10-year-old girl and her baby daughter plan to stay in Spain because the young couple separated, said the girl's mother. She identified herself only as Olimpia and appeared to be in her 30s but did not give her age.

She also said she didn't understand the attention the case was generating because she and her daughter are Romanian Gypsies, or Roma, and their custom is to allow girls to marry young even though that's against the law in Romania.

"That's the way we get married," the girl's mother told reporters Tuesday outside the modest apartment building in the southern town of Lebrija where the family lives.

Meanwhile, the story was going viral on the Internet and causing an uproar in Spain.

"Mother at 10 years old" blared a headline in Barcelona's La Vanguardia newspaper, which dedicated two pages to the story.

The girl moved to Spain about three weeks ago, her mother said, and her baby was born in a public hospital last week in the nearby city of Jerez de la Frontera. There were no complications during the birth, and the 10-year-old and her baby are doing fine, her mother said.

"She's doing well and is very happy with her daughter," the woman said...

Roma girls are often not encouraged to pursue a full education, and Romanian authorities do not widely enforce education laws that require children to attend school until age 16...

The Associated Press

Nov. 03, 2010

LibertadLatina Note

Preteen births, social tolerance of such practices and the trivializing of the need for a girl to receive an education are common experiences across the rural regions of Latin America.

The age of consent in the majority of Mexico's states is twelve, for example.

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

Nov. 12, 2010


Added: Nov. 11, 2010

Mexico

Felipe de Jesús Zamora, who was named by  President Felipe Calderón Hinojosa of Mexico as Undersecretary of the Secretariat of Governance [Interior Department] for Human Rights and the Rule of Law in July of 2010, has announced that current delays in case-by-case implementations of emergency protective measures for women facing regional surges in gender violence, as called for in the  'gender emergency' alerts  provisions of the federal General Law on Women's Access to a Life Free of Violence, will be eliminated.

Alerta de Género podría aplicarse de forma inmediata

Se compromete Gobernación a agilizar mecanismo

La Secretaría de Gobernación (SG) se comprometió a modificar el reglamento de la Ley General de Acceso de las Mujeres a una Vida Libre de Violencia (LGAMVLV) para que la alerta de género se aplique de forma inmediata en los estados donde la vida de las mujeres esté en riesgo.

Lo anterior, lo expresó ayer Felipe de Jesús Zamora, subsecretario de Asuntos Jurídicos y Derechos Humanos, de la SG, en reunión con las integrantes de la Misión Internacional: “Por el Acceso de las Mujeres a la Justicia en la Región Mesoamericana”, conformada por abogadas, activistas e investigadoras especialistas en violencia de género...

Interior Department promises to issue ‘gender emergency’ alerts without the delays of the past

The Government Secretariat (SG) [Interior Department] has agreed to amend the federal regulations governing the implementation of the General Law on Women's Access to a Life Free of Violence (LGAMVLV), so that gender alerts are applied immediately in states where the lives of women are at risk.

During a meeting held with human rights activists from the international [United Nations sponsored] mission: For Access to Justice for Women in the Mesoamerican region [Mexico and Central America], Interior undersecretary Felipe de Jesus Zamora declared that the regulations governing the LGAMVLV law will be changed. The human rights mission is composed of lawyers, activists and researchers specializing in gender violence.

The undersecretary explained that the Commission for the Prevention and Eradication of Violence against Women (CONAVIM) will work on changing the rules of the three-year-old LGAMVLV law, to expedite the implementation of gender alerts.

Victoria de Pablo, from the General Council of the Bar of Spain and the spokesperson for the International Mission said, "It is unacceptable that today, gender alert are delayed for up to three months before their mechanisms start to be applied, so we need to modify the regulations governing the LGAMVLV law to eliminate the red tape that hinders the law's application."

Spokesperson de Pablo, who specializes in cases of violence against women, said that these delays "make the law ineffective. Therefore, our petition asks that the obstacles be removed, so that its provisions can be applied immediately upon the identification of life threatening conditions in a given state."

While actions like these, which protect the lives of Mexican women are not carried out, and while the lack of access to justice for women continues in this nation, society will receive a message that "institutional impunity exists, and that anyone who murders a woman will get a free pass."

According to official data compiled by the National Citizens' Watch on Femicide (OCNF), from January of 2009 through June of 2010, some 1,728 women were murdered in 18 Mexican states. Of these cases, 1,074 can be identified as cases of femicide.

Maria de la Luz Estrada, a member of the international mission, stated that at the time of the creation of the LGAMVLV law, “we saw that the gender alert and its security measures had already been weakened." Two years ago, she said, "the Interior Department promised to change the federal regulations governing its provisions, if they did not work. Today, we can prove that the law, which is the only legal mechanism available to society and human rights organizations who are faced with conditions of femicide violence, does not work…”

Guadalupe Cruz Jaimes

CIMAC Women's News Agency

Nov. 10, 2010

See also:

Added: Nov. 11, 2010

Spain, Mexico, Central America

La Fundación CGAE participa en una misión internacional de la ONU en Nicaragua, Honduras y México

El Consejo General de la Abogacía Española, a través de su Fundación, estará presente en la Misión Internacional "Por el acceso a la Justicia de Las Mujeres en la Región Mesoamericana", que se desarrollará desde entre el 1 y el 10 de noviembre en Nicaragua, Honduras y México...

CGAE Foundation participates in an international UN mission in Nicaragua, Honduras and Mexico

The General Council of the Spanish Bar, through its Foundation, will attend the international mission "For access to Justice for Women in the Mesoamerican region,” which will take place from November 1st through the tenth, and will travel to Nicaragua, Honduras and Mexico.

The dean of the College of Lawyers of La Rioja, Victoria de Pablo Davila, will represent the CGAE Foundation in this international mission in defense of women. The mission was organized by the Regional Alliance for Access to Justice for Women, and by the Women, Justice and Gender program of the United Nations Latin American Institute for the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders.

During the ten day mission, the group will meet directly with organizations that defend the rights of women, and with relevant public institutions in Nicaragua, Honduras and Mexico. These meetings will promote: the prevention, punishment and eradication of femicide in Mexico and Central America; the establishment of a basic agenda between governments and civil society to prevent, punish and eradicate femicide; education of the general public in the region about their the role in preventing and eradicating femicide.

Widespread violence in Mesoamerica

Despite the existence of an international legal framework aimed at protecting the human rights of women, violence against women persists in the Central American countries as a pervasive violation of human rights. It is one of the main obstacles to achieving gender equality in the region.

The legal starting point to combat this scourge involves [holding Mexico accountable for enforcing the 2010] Judgment of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in the case of femicide Cotton Field (in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico), [compliance with] the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and the Convention on the Prevention, Punishment and Eradication of Violence against Women (the Convention of Belém do Pará).

General Council of the Bar of Spain

Oct. 29, 2010

See also:

LibertadLatina note

The below statement by women's rights organizations working in Mesoamerica [Mexico and Central America] is not associated with the November, 2010 United Nations mission described in the above news articles.

However, the statement accurately describes the ongoing emergency facing women and girls in the region. These conditions, which form a 'gender hostile living environment,' are the social subtext that allows mass gender atrocities to occur as a permanent feature of the region's landscape.

The mass sex trafficking of women and girls is but one aspect of this 'slow motion' crisis.

- Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

Nov. 11, 2010

See also:

Added: Nov. 11, 2010

Mexico, Central America

Pronunciamiento final de la Reunión Mesoamericana de Defensoras de Derechos Humanos

"Nosotras, diversas activistas y defensoras de derechos humanos de distintos países de Mesoamérica, reunidas en la Ciudad de Oaxaca, México, del 23 al 25 de abril del 2010, comprometidas con la lucha por la defensa y promoción de los derechos humanos y conscientes de nuestra memoria histórica, coincidimos en la preocupación por la profundización del patriarcado en nuestra región, que se expresa en la creciente desigualdad y pobreza, la violencia, la impunidad, el militarismo, la corrupción, y el avance del conservadurismo y fundamentalismo. Este contexto afecta el trabajo y pone en riesgo las vidas de activistas y defensoras de derechos humanos..."

Final Statement: Meeting of Mesoamerican Women Human Rights Defenders

"We, diverse women activists and human rights defenders from Mesoamerica, having met in Oaxaca, Mexico April 23-25, 2010, are committed to the defense and promotion of human rights and share an historical memory and grave concern regarding deepening patriarchy in our region. This manifests itself in growing poverty and inequality, violence, impunity, militarism, corruption, and the entrenchment of conservatism and fundamentalism. This reality affects our work and threatens the lives of diverse women activists and human rights defenders.

The authoritarianism that dominates States in our region is accompanied by a return of political repression, which we once believed had been successfully overcome. Rights we fought for in the past are now being eliminated. Examples of this include the June 2009 coup d’état in Honduras; the growing weakness and lack of legitimacy that characterize electoral processes in the region; and the criminalization—product of the complicity between our governments and religious fundamentalists—of women who exercise their right to reproductive choice.

Furthermore, whether in partnership with States or as a result of States’ inability to govern effectively, powerful non-state actors such as organized crime, transnational corporations, religious institutions, and paramilitary groups, among others, have increased their ability to interfere and control our societies, resulting in increased violence and women’s rights violations.

We are women and trans people committed to fighting for freedom and against all forms of oppression and injustice. Many of us define ourselves as feminists. We fight for the rights of indigenous peoples, lesbians, trans women, working women, young women, sex workers, and many others. We work for the eradication of all forms of violence against women; the freedom to choose employment; civil and political rights; economic, social and cultural rights; the right to lasting peace, truth, memory and justice; poverty eradication; for democracy and political participation; in defense of land rights; for the environment and environmental sustainability; for the decriminalization of abortion; and for the full enjoyment of sexual and reproductive rights.

Our commitment to defending human rights is a fundamental pillar of democracy, social justice, gender equality and the eradication of all forms of violence in the region. Nevertheless, the threats, attacks and defamation campaigns, executions and feminicides, sexual attacks and violence perpetrated against our families, as well as the diverse forms of harassment to which we are subjected as a result of our work as women human rights defenders and activists, undermines democracy-building, weakens social movements and decreases active political participation.

In light of all of the above, it is fundamental that all women activists and human rights defenders in Mesoamerica enjoy the conditions necessary to do our work without fear for our personal safety, and in a climate which respects our right to defend and promote human rights.

Mesoamerican Women Human Rights Defenders

May 25, 2010


Added: Nov. 10, 2010

Peru

An underage prostitute in Lima, Peru huffs glue from a plastic bag while pushing her baby carriage 'at work' in the prostitution zone of La Victoria.

From a video documentary on child prostitution in Lima created by ATV and posted on YouTube.com

Cuidado con las ofertas de empleo

Peligro. Mafias colocan anuncios en diarios y mercados para captar a menores. Traficantes de personas ofrecen trabajo de empleadas del hogar o de meseras bien remunerado para llevárselas a provincia y prostituirlas.

La trata de personas tiene mil rostros. Uno de ellos es el que muestran los seres humanos que reclutan “amablemente” con la oferta de un trabajo bien remunerado en provincia. Sin embargo, tras el primer contacto, los traficantes de personas podrían quitarse la careta y llevárselos por la fuerza. Por eso, son los menores de edad, en la mayoría de casos, sus presas favoritas por ser las más fáciles de engañar, pero sobretodo de someter. Este es el caso de N. C. (16), quien actualmente trabaja como empleada doméstica en Surco. Ella es natural de Huánuco y asegura que cuando vino a Lima a buscar trabajo vio un anuncio en el periódico que decía: “Se necesita chica con cama adentro. 800 soles de sueldo más comida”.

Beware of Job Offers

Danger. Mafias place ads in newspapers and in shopping centers seeking to entrap underage girls with offers of high-paying jobs in rural areas. Victims are then trafficked into forced prostitution.

Human trafficking has a thousand faces. One of those faces involves the use of ‘friendly’ recruiters who offer well-paying rural jobs [to underage teen girls]. After the first contact, these recruiters may show their real face and kidnap the victim. Minor girls are the trafficker's favorite victims, because they are relatively easy to entrap and enslave.

Traffickers go unpunished

Although many young victims have escaped from these schemes, others have not been so lucky. This was the case with a 15-year-old girl who’s initials are JZNT. The victim answered a job ad posted in a shopping center. She was kidnapped by a human trafficking mafia, and was then drugged and taken to the rural city of Ayacucho, in Huamanga province, where she was forced into prostitution. When her mother rescued her, the victim had a venereal disease and was two months pregnant.

The victim’s mother stated, “I reported this crime to a police officer, who saw the kidnappers pass in front of him on the street. He did nothing. The police never arrested the traffickers.”

According to Peruvian National Police [PNP] general Eduardo Perez Rocha, another technique used by traffickers is to approach young women in shopping centers. After telling them that they have unique qualities, they offer them modeling opportunities. The traffickers target females between the ages of 14 and 18 years-of-age because the criminal penalties that they might suffer in such cases would not exceed 4 years in prison.

Former Peruvian Interior Minister Fernando Rospigliosi states that criminals enjoy conditions of impunity because the national government does not see human trafficking as a priority.

Rospigliosi: “What we are lacking are more drastic measures to enforce the law. We also face corruption from within the institutions that are in charge of controlling human trafficking. They have been corrupted [bribed].”

To prevent more young people from falling victim to traffickers, specialist Adolfo Herrera recommends that teens avoid answering job ads, and those posted by anonymous companies. “If you are a minor, never go to a job interview alone. Ask an adult to accompany you," warned Herrera...

The mother of the girl who was taken to Ayacucho to be sexually exploited in a brothel continues to seek help from the authorities, not only to punish those responsible (warrants have been issued for the arrest of each of them) but also to cover the expenses being faced by her daughter. She seeks to pay for prenatal care and psychological treatment.

The mother filed a complaint against the traffickers, but she also says that the DIRINCRI [the Criminal Investigations Directorate of the Peruvian National Police] des not want to arrest the perpetrators.

PNP General Marco Miyashiro agrees that officers may have committed a crime of omission of their duties. The case will be investigated.

Claudia Toro

La Republica - Peru

Nov. 08, 2010


Added: Nov. 10, 2010

Mexico

México abre debate sobre emigración y desarrollo

El desarrollo de alianzas estratégicas de cooperación internacional entre los gobiernos es uno de los temas centrales del Cuarto Foro Mundial sobre Migración y Desarrollo, que inicia hoy sus sesiones en el balneario de Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco.

Aunque el encuentro tiene un carácter no vinculante, en tanto no obliga a ninguno de los estados a aplicar las acciones acordadas, los resultados ayudarán a encauzar políticas públicas para enfrentar este fenómeno en ascenso...

Mexico opens debate regarding migration and development

The development of strategic partnerships for international cooperation between governments is a central theme of the Fourth Global Forum on Migration and Development, which begins today in the resort city of Puerto Vallarta in Jalisco state...

According to the United Nations report "International Migration and Development," there are 214 million migrants in the world today, of whom 49 percent are women, while six in 10 reside in industrialized countries. The majority of migrants come from developing nations.

According to the report, "The economic crisis has reduced the rate of increase in international migrants in developed countries, but their total number continues to rise." The document also highlights the importance of remittances for the sending states...

For his part, Thomas Weiss, representative in Mexico of the International Organization for Migration, said that the Aztec nation [Mexico] faces serious challenges in regard to matters of migration.

"Abuses, kidnappings, murders and human trafficking continue to take place in Mexico. We must take on the challenge of ensuring respect for the human rights of migrants," said Weiss.

Weiss added that the forum represents an opportunity to establish partnerships of shared responsibility, allowing focus on the problem as a political and not a security issue.

The Fourth Global Forum on Migration and Development, which will be held through November 12th, will involve delegates from at least 160 countries, representing both governments and non-governmental organizations.

The official agenda of the event consists of three themes: "Partnership for Migration and Development," "Human Mobility and Human Development" and "Institutional and Policy Coherence to Address the Relationship Between Migration and Development."

Nubia Piqueras Grosso

Prensa Latina

Nov. 08, 2010


Added: Nov. 10, 2010

Virginia, USA

Alfredo R. Prieto

Prieto sentenced to death for Fairfax murders

A Fairfax County jury imposed two death sentences Friday on serial killer Alfredo R. Prieto for the murders of Rachael A. Raver and Warren H. Fulton III near Reston in December 1988...

Prieto has been incarcerated in California since his arrest there in 1990, and he has been on death row since 1992 for the rape and murder of Yvette Woodruff, 15.

In 2005, Fairfax's cold case homicide unit resubmitted the DNA from the unsolved rape and shooting of Raver and the killing of her boyfriend, Fulton, in an empty lot near Hunter Mill Road. At some point after Prieto entered San Quentin State Penitentiary, his DNA was entered into a national database, and it matched the semen left at the scene of Raver's killing...

Prieto regularly saw dead and mutilated bodies in the street, his father brutalized his mother before going to prison, and he watched guerrillas murder his grandfather before he legally entered this country with his mother at age 15. She had left the family six years earlier. Two experts testified about the lasting damage done by exposure to war, poverty, abuse and abandonment.

"I'm not trying to tell you those things excuse what he did," Shapiro told jurors. "But you can consider whether his moral culpability is reduced... Kids exposed to this stuff become desensitized. It changes your values. It changes your moral code. It changes the way your brain develops..."

Prieto has never cooperated with investigators or testified at any of his trials.

Fulton had been shot in the back, the medical examiner found, and Morrogh theorized that Raver, forced to disrobe, then ran terrified through the dark bramble until she was shot in the back, too. Morrogh said Prieto raped Raver as she lay dying.

"Anyone who would commit crimes this dastardly, amoral and inhuman," [Commonwealth's Attorney Raymond F.] Morrogh said, "is someone who poses a threat to society..."

In Riverside County, California, Stacey Siegrist, 19, and Tony Gianuzzi, 21, were also shot in the back, in May 1990, and Siegrist was raped. Their bodies were found in Rubidoux, Calif., the same place where the car used in Woodruff's murder was found. The killings remained unsolved until Riverside County Sheriff's Department cold case detectives submitted the DNA earlier this year and it matched Prieto, Riverside Sgt. Scott Brown said.

In June 1990 in Ontario, Calif., Herbert and Lula Farley were returning recyclables to a grocery store when Lula Farley, 71, was shot to death and Herbert Farley, 65, was abducted. His body was later found in Rubidoux. Brown said ballistics showed that the gun used to kill the Farleys was used to kill Siegrist and Gianuzzi. Prieto has not been charged in the four newly linked cases.

Tom Jackman

The Washington Post

Nov. 05, 2010


Added: Nov. 9, 2010

The World

Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore at Trust Fund Launch. The sign says: Real Men Don't Buy Girls!

Demi Moore y Ashton Kutcher se unen al Secretario General de las Naciones Unidas para lanzar el Fondo Fiduciario para las Víctimas de la Trata de Personas

Nueva York - en un intento por ayudar a las víctimas de la trata de personas, el Secretario General Ban Ki-Moon ha lanzado hoy el Fondo Fiduciario Voluntario para las Víctimas de la Trata de Personas  en compañía de las estrellas de Hollywood y activistas humanitarios Demi Moore y Ashton Kutcher. Junto a ellos se encontraban Joseph Deiss, Presidente de la Asamblea General, Yury Fedotov, Director Ejecutivo de la Oficina de Naciones Unidas contra la Droga y el Delito (en sus siglas en inglés, UNODC), antiguas víctimas de la trata de personas, así como Nicholas Kristof, periodista del New York Times y ganador del Premio Pulitzer.

El Fondo Fiduciario es uno de los elementos más importantes del nuevo Plan Global de Acción de las Naciones Unidas en la Lucha contra la Trata de Personas que ha sido adoptado por la Asamblea General en julio de 2010. Dicho fondo proveerá ayuda humanitaria, legal y financiera a las víctimas de la trata de personas con el objetivo de incrementar el número de víctimas que vuelven a tener una vida normal y reciben servicios de apoyo adecuados y así poder ampliar el alcance de la asistencia que perciben.

La Sra. Moore y el Sr. Kutcher están fuertemente comprometidos en la lucha contra la trata de personas. Juntos crearon “DNA”, la Fundación Demi y Ashton, la cual tiene por objetivo multiplicar la concienciación en materia de esclavitud sexual infantil en el mundo, transformando por ello los estereotipos culturales sobre el tema y proveyendo asistencia para la rehabilitación de víctimas. El Sr. Kutcher señaló que “la libertad es un derecho humano básico y que la esclavitud es una de las mayores amenazas para dicha libertad.” De igual forma, la Sra. Moore destacó que “nadie tiene el derecho de esclavizar a otra persona”...

See also:

United Nations launches its Voluntary Trust Fund for Victims of Trafficking in Persons, especially women and children

On 4 November 2010 at 3:00 pm at UN Headquarters in New York, UNODC will formally launch the UN Voluntary Trust Fund for Victims of Trafficking in Persons, especially women and children. The Fund is one of the most important elements of the new United Nations Global Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Persons adopted by the UN General Assembly on 30 July 2010.

Celebrated humanitarians and actors Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher will lead the Fund's kickoff, along with H.E. Joseph Deiss, President of the UN General Assembly, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, New York Times Pulitzer Prize winning author-journalist Nicholas Kristof, and UNODC Executive-Director Yury Fedotov, among others. Also attending the launch will be civil society leaders who have championed trafficking victims’ rights, as well as experts from academia and law enforcement, private sector supporters of the cause, and survivors of modern day slavery....

See also:

Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher join Secretary-General to launch Trust Fund for victims of human trafficking

United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime

Nov. 04, 2010

See also:

Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore Fight Human Trafficking

Ashton Kutcher: “The truth is slavery globally is a dirty little secret. It is happening everywhere, right in front of our eyes and we ignore it. There are more slaves in the world today than ever before in world history. [It is happening] behind the closed doors of the Internet. Behind those closed doors you can make a purchase on the Internet and feel completely anonymous.”

The Hollywood Gossip

Nov. 8, 2010

 
   

LibertadLatina

News / Noticias


Updated: June 28, 2011


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Added: Jun. 26, 2011

Mexico, Honduras

HERO: Patricia Villamil - Consul for Honduras in Chiapas state, on Mexico's southern border, has been removed from her post in retaliation for her criticism of Mexican officials' failure to respond to the mass sex trafficking of Central American women and girls.

Sale por presiones Cónsul hondureña en Chiapas

Villamil asumió como Cónsul de Honduras en Tapachula en noviembre de 2010 y en marzo de 2011 lanzó una denuncia contra autoridades mexicanas.

Ciudad de México.- El Gobierno de Honduras removió del cargo de Cónsul de ese país en Tapachula, Chiapas, a Patricia Villamil, quien se destacó en los últimos meses por sus denuncias de abusos contra migrantes en tránsito por México y de trata de personas tolerada por las autoridades.

De acuerdo con Villamil, su remoción respondió a presiones de funcionarios de la Secretaría para el Desarrollo de la Frontera Sur del Gobierno de Chiapas, a quienes molestó que denunciara la explotación laboral y sexual de que son objeto mujeres migrantes en la entidad.

Relató que el jueves pasado, cerca de las 20:00 horas, recibió un oficio firmado por el Embajador José Mariano Castillo Mercado en el que se le informó del término de su misión a partir del día siguiente.

"Me despidieron de mi cargo y todo por las denuncias que hice y porque funcionarios de (la Secretaría para el Desarrollo de la) Frontera Sur (de Chiapas) fueron a la Embajada a manifestar su disgusto por mi trabajo, por la labor que he hecho en contra de la trata de personas", indicó en entrevista.

Villamil asumió el cargo de Cónsul de Honduras en Tapachula en noviembre de 2010 y en marzo de 2011 decidió lanzar una denuncia pública ante la falta de atención por parte de las autoridades mexicanas.

"En Chiapas hay clara evidencia de la explotación laboral y sexual de mujeres hondureñas. Hay testimonios desgarradores de niñas esclavizadas en prostíbulos de Frontera Comalapa, así como de abusos por parte de policías ministeriales y agentes del Instituto Nacional de Migración (INM). Por ello exigimos la intervención del Gobierno", señaló durante un foro en en la Universidad Autónoma de Chiapas.

Ayer sostuvo que las autoridades chiapanecas se quejaron de ella por no seguir los protocolos al hacer sus denuncias.

"Creo que lo que les molestó es que nosotros diéramos a conocer todo lo que está pasando en Ciudad Hidalgo, en todo Chiapas, porque ellos siempre dan la impresión de tener la casa limpia y viene una persona nueva a sacar las cosas, eso no les gustó, no les pareció", insistió.

Durante su gestión en el Consulado, destacó, fue posible rescatar a 10 mujeres hondureñas, 8 de ellas menores de edad, que eran explotadas laboral y sexualmente en antros de la entidad...

Chiapas state officials pressure Honduras to remove  Consul (and anti-trafficking activist) Patricia Villamil

Patricia Villamil took over as Honduran consul in Tapachula in November 2010 and in March 2011 launched a complaint against Mexican authorities.

Mexico City - The Government of Honduras has removed Patricia Villamil, her nation's consul in [Mexico's southern border region city of] Tapachula in Chiapas state, from office. Consul Villamil raised attention in recent months as a result of her allegations of abuses against migrants in transit through Mexico, and the tolerance that Mexican authorities have shown in response to [the region's widespread problem of] human trafficking.

According to Villamil, her removal came as a result of pressure exerted by officials of the Secretariat for the Development of the Southern Border of the Government of Chiapas state, who were angered by Consul Villamil's complaints about the labor and sexual exploitation that migrant women are subjected-to in Chiapas.

Consul Villamil said that last Thursday at about 8:00 pm she received a letter signed by Honduran  Ambassador to Mexico José Mariano Castillo Mercado in which she was informed that her assignment was to end effective as of the following day.

"I was fired from my job because of the allegations that I have made, and because officials (of the Secretary for Development) for the southern frontier (Chiapas state) went to the [Honduran] embassy to express their displeasure with my work, the work that I've done against human trafficking, said "Consul Villamil during an interview.

Villamil took office in Tapachula as Honduran Consul in November of 2010. During March of 2011 she decided to issue a public complaint about the lack of attention that was being paid by Mexican authorities [to the exploitation of migrant women].

"In Chiapas there is clear evidence of the labor and sexual exploitation of Honduran women. There are harrowing accounts of girls enslaved in brothels in the town of Frontera Comalapa, as well as abuses by the judicial police and agents of the National Migration Institute (INM - Mexico's immigration agency). I therefore demand government intervention," Villamil said during a forum at the Autonomous University of Chiapas.

Yesterday Villamil noted that state authorities in Chiapas complained about her because she did not follow the proper protocols in making her complaints.

"I think what bothers them is the fact that I exposed everything that is happening in [the city of] Ciudad Hidalgo, and all across Chiapas state. They always want to give the impression that they are running a clean house. Here comes a new person [and starts to make the truth public]. They didn't like that," said Villamil.

During her tenure at the Honduran consulate in Tapachula, Consul Villamil made possible the rescue of 10 Honduran women and girls, including 8 children who were being subjected to sexual and labor exploitation in Chiapas.

"They are now in shelters, and are just awaiting completion of the proper forms before they are repatriated to Honduras," Villamil explained.

After receiving several threats, Villamil filed a complaint with the Mexico's federal Attorney General's Office (PGR).

Mexico's general director for Latin America and the Caribbean in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (SRE), Norma Pensado, asked Consul Villamil to avoid talking publicly about the threats.

Honduran Vice Chancellor Alden Rivera stated that the complaint was not submitted through the correct channels.

Villamil will be returning to her country in the coming days, and then plans to file a lawsuit against Vice Chancellor Rivera for libel.

Officials cite security concerns

According to Honduran Consul General for Mexico Carolina Pineda, the removal of Patricia Villamil from her post came about as a response to security concerns and did not result from pressures by state authorities in Chiapas.

Consul General Pineda added that Villamil was removed because of repeated threats against her.

"She will probably be transferred to another location, above all to protect her. I guess at the Foreign Ministry (in Honduras) will make the decision," said Consul General Pineda in an interview.

She reemphasized that Honduran diplomatic representatives had not been pressured by authorities in Chiapas.

"To the contrary, the government (of Chiapas) has cooperated on migrant issues, and in regard to the issue that Consul Villamil specializes in, human trafficking," said Consul General Pineda.

Ariadna García and Martín Morita

Terra.com

June 19, 2011

See also:

Added: Apr. 24, 2011

Mexico

Patricia Yamileth Villamil, anteriormente la cónsul de Honduras en Chiapas

Patricia Yamileth Villamil, former Honduran consul in Mexico's southern border state of Chiapas.

Foto/Photo: Diario del Sur

Trafficking, Forced Prostitution Denounced in Chiapas

While focus continues on the dangers to migrants traveling north in Mexico, a new phenomenon appeared in the south: forced prostitution of young migrant women. The culprits, however, may be part of the same Zetas organization that is perpetrating the atrocities in the north.

The outcry about the problem came from Patricia Villamil, the Honduran consul in the southern Mexican state of Chiapas, who told Agence France Presse that women are trafficked from Honduras to be forced into sexual slavery in that state.

"They bring women lured from Honduras, preferably those younger than eighteen,” the consul said. “The majority are brought from San Pedro Sula [in northwest Honduras], but many are also from [the central departments of] Comayagua and Olancho.”

The consul says the victims come in groups of five or six and are distributed among several dozen bars in Chiapas. One victim told AFP that she was promised a job in a restaurant in Mexico. When she arrived, she was forced to prostitute herself without any pay.

Although her office has become flooded with cases of Honduran migrants who have been forced to work without pay against their will, Villamil says Mexican authorities have been slow to react.

"I'm not going to shut up until they do their job," she said.

Mexican authorities disagree with Villamil's assessment. Enrique Mendez, the official prosecutor in charge of crimes against immigrants in Chiapas, says individual cases of extortion and forced prostitution are not widespread in the area.

"Yes, there is people trafficking, but not in an alarming manner," Mendez told the AFP.

He added that many of the women come on their own and are not coerced.

The phenomenon of young Central American women being trafficked for sex is not new. As InSight reported, traffickers are luring women from increasingly more urban and middle-class backgrounds. In some of these cases, the traffickers operate phony dance schools and talent agencies in order to disguise their illegitimate activities.

In the case of Chiapas, however, the victims appear to be more lower class and could be part of the pockets of migrants making their way north through that large border state...

Geoffrey Ramsey

InSight - Organized Crime in the Americas

April 21, 2011

See also:

Added: Apr. 04, 2011 

Mexico, Honduras

Operativos para combatir la trata de personas deben ser permanentes

Tapachula, Chiapas - Ante la tardanza con la que actúa la Fiscalía Especial para los Delitos de Violencia contra las Mujeres y Trata de Personas (FEVIMTRA), de la Procuraduría General de la República para combatir este fenómeno social en la frontera sur de México, la cónsul de Honduras en Tapachula, Patricia Villamil Perdomo, exigió se tomen cartas en el asunto al mismo tiempo de señalar que esta instancia se tarda tres meses en armar sus investigaciones para posterior realizar los operativos pertinentes.

Reconoció que existen redes de trata de personas desde Honduras y Centroamérica hasta México, gente que va a traer a las jóvenes para prostituirlas y explotarlas laboralmente, por lo que instó a las autoridades para que los operativos de combate a este tema que se efectúan de vez en cuando, sean permanentes...

Operations to combat trafficking should be made permanent: Honduran consul in Chiapas

The city of Tapachula in Chiapas state, [on Mexico's southern border with Guatemala] – Reacting to the repeated delays that the Special Prosecutor for Crimes of Violence against Women and Trafficking in Persons (FEVIMTRA) [an office in the Attorney General of the Republic] - demonstrates in reponse to [the ongoing crisis of] gender violence on the southern border of Mexico, the Honduran consul in the city of Tapachula [in Chiapas state], Patricia Perdomo Villamil, has demanded that FEVIMTRA step up and take action on cases in a timely manner. Currently, FEVIMTRA takes three months to set-up their investigations, activity that is carried-out prior to conducting enforcement operations.

Consul Perdomo Villamil declared that there are human trafficking networks that move [victims] from Honduras and Central America to Mexico. Those who are trafficked are girls and young women who will be subjected to prostitution and labor exploitation. She urged the Mexican authorities to conduct their anti-trafficking operations on a permanent basis.

The Consul charged that currently, federal authorities are taking more than three months to investigate allegations, when their response should be immediate. At the same time, Consul Perdomo Villamil recognized that the Chiapas state Special Prosecutor for Crimes Committed Against Immigrants was doing good work.

The diplomat said that a statement issued [by state officials] in Tuxtla Gutierrez [capital of Chiapas state] to be strange, given that it announced that the she had failed to attend a workshop on human trafficking. Consul Perdomo Villamil responded by emphasizing that she is the only Consul to have addressed this problem, and that it was she who had worked with the state Special Prosecutor for Crimes Committed Against Immigrants to prepare an operation that led to the rescue of [a number of] exploited Central American women and the arrest of two suspects. Those arrested included that of "Mother Meche" in the city of Frontera Comalapa. The Consul added that perhaps her error was that she had not known the date that the raids had been planned for, and was in Honduras at the time.

Consul Perdomo Villamil exclaimed that in regard to the issue of human trafficking, she has made public statements warning fellow Central Americas that, from the moment they leave their homes to cross into another country, they are at risk of being subjected to human trafficking and prostitution. "We have made complaints, but the process for the victims is tedious and long. We have waited for up to three months before these operations are carried out. The response should be immediate," she said.

"In Chiapas, when there is human trafficking, you can not fool anyone. The rights of migrants continue to be violated. There are cases of sex trafficking in [the cities and towns of] Comalapa, Huixtla, Motozintla, Tapachula and many of the municipalities the region and across the country” she said...

César Solís

Diario del Sur, Organización Editorial Mexicana

March 23, 2011

See Also:

Added: Apr. 04, 2011 

Mexico, Central America

Migrantes centroamericanas padecen explotación sexual en Chiapas

Adolescentes son obligadas a prostituirse en municipios chiapanecos que hacen frontera con Guatemala

Central American migrants in Chiapas suffer from sexual exploitation

Teens are forced into prostitution in the cities and towns of the Mexican border state of Chiapas

...During the International Congress on Gender and Migration held in the city of Tapachula, Chiapas on March 9th, 2011, the Honduran consul in Chiapas Patricia Perdomo Villamil explained the workings of the international human trafficking networks that operate in Chiapas.

Consul Perdomo Villamil said that men and women participate in human trafficking as 'procurers' of adult women and underage girls. An unknown number of the victims are forced into prostitution in the towns of Comitan, Huixtla, Chicomuselo, Motozitla and Frontera Comalapa. All of these Chiapan towns border Guatemala.

Consul Villamil Perdomo said there is not enough will on the part of the authorities to clear out these trafficking networks, even when they have identified the places where they operate and the centers where victims are taken.

This past Monday the local consuls of the Central American nations were scheduled to meet with state prosecutors and the President of the Court of Justice for the State of Chiapas, to agree on preventive measures to help reduce the trafficking of persons for sexual and labor exploitation.

On March 4th, the state Attorney General, Raciel López Salazar explained that during the past four years state authorities have dismantled 23 human trafficking gangs. Without specifying numbers, the official said that during these actions state and municipal public servants involved in trafficking have been arrested.

The Mexican Index of Vulnerability to Human Trafficking, prepared by Center for Studies and Research in Development and Social Welfare, has identified the fact that Chiapas is among the five Mexican states with the highest numbers of victims of human trafficking and other forms of exploitation.

The other states are Michoacán, Oaxaca, Zacatecas and Guanajuato. There are no precise figures on the number of people affected...

CNN Mexico

March 23, 2011

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Added: Apr. 04, 2011 

Mexico, Central America

Comunicado Denuncia De Red De Trata De Personas En Chiapas

Press Release denounces human trafficking network in Chiapas state

Mayan indigenous activists in Chiapas state, Mexico, support Honduran consul in Chiapas Patricia Yamileth Villamil's complaint that Mexican officials are taking inadequate steps to curb human trafficking in the region. The signatories to this letter call upon the authorities to step-up their anti-trafficking enforcement activities.

A Los Gobiernos de Centroamerica

A Las Organanizaciones Nacionales e Internacionales

A La Comision Nacional de Los Derechos Humanos

A La Organizacion de Las Naciones Unidas

A La Sociedad en General

Al Gobierno de Mexico

Al Gobierno del Estado de Chiapas

El Viernes 11 de marzo de 2011 la cónsul de Honduras, Patricia Yamileth Villamil denunció que grupos de tratantes de personas llegan hasta las comunidades pobres como Puerto Cortés, Comayagua y San Pedro Sula a sacar con engaños a jovencitas hondureñas ofreciéndoles trabajos bien pagados como empleadas del hogar o meseras de restaurantes, pero al llegar a Chiapas son obligadas a prostituirse en bares y centros nocturnos de poblados fronterizos con Guatemala como Frontera Comalapa, Comitán, San Cristóbal, San Gregorio Chamic y Tapachula. Las jovencitas, por temor no denuncian los hechos porque vienen dominadas por sus enganchadores que son también sus acreedores de deudas que van de tres mil a cinco mil pesos por costos de traslado. Señaló que esta situación se vive día a día en los municipios fronterizos y la realidad es que en bares de Chiapas hay muchas hondureñas, tanto menores que van desde los 14 y los 17 años de edad, como jóvenes adultas que están siendo explotadas ya sea víctimas de trata o prostitución...

La cónsul Patricia Yamileth Villamil lamentó “la lentitud con que las autoridades actuaron para detener a los responsables de la explotación sexual en contra de jóvenes centroamericanas, y advirtió que exigirá a todas las autoridades competes que asuman su responsabilidad y que ejerzan acción penal contra quienes resulten responsables, porque “Tenemos conocimiento que se encuentran inmiscuidos agentes del ministerio público, policías, elementos de migración y otras autoridades. Vamos a llegar hasta las últimas consecuencias...”

Movimiento Migrante Mesoamericano / Mesoamerican Migrant Movement

March 15, 2011

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Added: Apr. 04, 2011 

Mexico, El Salvador

Nelson Miguel Cuéllar, cónsul de la república de El Salvador en Chiapas.

Nelson Miguel Cuéllar, El Salvador's consul in Mexico's southern border state of Chiapas.

Foto Diario del Sur.

Alerta Cónsul de El Salvador sobre aumento de migración a Chiapas

Salvadoran Consul warns about the dangers of migration through Mexico's Chiapas state

Nelson Miguel Cuéllar, El Salvador's consul in Mexico's southern border state of Chiapas, warns that due to severe economic conditions in the region, the out-migration of Salvadorans and other Central Americans towards the United States will continue to increase. He also warns that all such migrants risk being victimized by human traffickers...

Tapachula, Chiapas - El consulado de El Salvador en Chiapas, dio a conocer que en Chiapas la regularización de salvadoreños podría incrementar durante 2011, por la dura crisis económica del país centroamericano, aunque se esté buscando mejorías, indicando que en promedio de años atrás a la fecha han regularizado a casi mil ciudadanos en la frontera sur...

Rubén Zúñiga

Diario del Sur/Organización Editorial Mexicana

March 24, 2011


Added: Jun. 26, 2011

Mexico

Dilcya Samantha García Espinoza was recently named as Mexico's Assistant Attorney General for Regional Control, Criminal Procedure and Protection after a successful stint as Mexico City's highly effective prosecutor for sex trafficking cases.

Jueces se resisten a castigar trata: PGR

En México hace falta sensibilizar a los jueces para que castiguen conforme está tipificado el delito de trata de personas.

La subprocuradora de Control Regional, Procedimientos Penales y Amparo, Dilcya Samantha García Espinoza de los Monteros, reconoce que en México hace falta sensibilizar a los jueces para que castiguen conforme está tipificado el delito de trata de personas, debido a que en algunos casos lo han reclasificado como corrupción de menores o lenocinio.

La funcionaria de la Procuraduría General de la República (PGR) dice que a nivel nacional el Poder Judicial ha dictado menos de 15 sentencias por trata de personas, quizá por desconocimiento o porque no sabe identificar la falta.

“Con todo el respeto al Poder Judicial, la verdad es que ahí todavía tenemos un problema, yo quiero pensar que es una cuestión de tiempo, de carácter cultural o en ocasiones es falta de conocimiento...”.

García Espinoza de los Monteros será reconocida este lunes en Estados Unidos con el premio “Heroína contra la Esclavitud Moderna”, por su trayectoria y sus logros en el DF en el combate al delito de trata de personas.

Comenta que será galardonada por el desmantelamiento de la red internacional de traficantes de personas que operaba en la casa hogar Casitas del Sur, donde lograron liberar a 11 menores.

García Espinoza de los Monteros dice que este caso es uno de sus mayores logros, aunque no puede ocultar su frustración por lo que sigue ocurriendo en el barrio de La Merced, en la ciudad de México, que históricamente ha sido un polo de tráfico de personas, prostitución de menores y explotación infantil.

La funcionaria apunta que en México en materia de atención a víctimas falta mucho por hacer, pero reconoce el trabajo de las organizaciones de la sociedad civil en el tema.

Al preguntarle cómo se ve nuestro país en el ámbito internacional en este delito, la funcionaria acepta que somos una nación que consume, permite el tránsito y expulsa a las víctimas de trata de personas.

Deputy Attorney General: Judges are resisting handing-down punishment for human trafficking crimes

Amparo Garcia Dilcya Samantha Espinoza de los Monteros, who is Mexico's Deputy Attorney General for Regional Control, Criminal Procedure and Protection, has announced that Mexico needs to sensitize judges the need to punish human trafficking as a crime. She notes that in some cases judges have reclassified the charges brought against suspects from human trafficking to corruption of minors and procuring.

Espinoza de los Monteros says that nationally, the judiciary has handed down fewer than 15 convictions for human trafficking, perhaps because of ignorance or because [the crime could not be clearly identified as trafficking].

"With all due respect to the judiciary, the truth is that we have a problem here. I want to think that it's a matter of time, cultural or that sometimes it is a lack of knowledge..."

Espinoza de los Monteros will be recognized in the U.S. on Monday with the award "Hero against Modern Slavery," for her career and his achievements in Mexico City in fighting the crime of trafficking.

He says that will be honored by the dismantling of the international network of smugglers operating in the group home Casitas del Sur, where they managed to release 11 children.

Garcia Espinoza de los Monteros said that this case is one of his greatest achievements, but can not hide his frustration at what continues to happen in the neighborhood of La Merced, Mexico City, which has historically been a center for trafficking , child prostitution and child exploitation.

The official pointed out that in Mexico in providing care to victims needs to be done, but recognizes the work of civil society organizations on the subject.

Asked how he sees our country internationally in this offense, the officer accepts that we are a nation that consumes and drives traffic allowed to victims of trafficking.

El Universal

June 26, 2011

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Added: Jun. 27, 2011

Mexico

Funcionaria deja PGJDF por PGR

Dilcya Samantha García Espinoza de los Monteros fue nombrada por la Procuraduría General de la República (PGR) como la nueva subprocuradora de Control Regional, Procedimientos Penales y Amparo de la dependencia federal.

Fátima Salvador. Ciudad de México.- Cabe destacar que hasta el lunes, la funcionaria se desempeñó como subprocuradora de Atención a Víctimas del Delito y Servicios a la Comunidad dependiente de la Procuraduría General de Justicia del Distrito Federal, cargo que ocupó desde 2008 por encomienda del procurador capitalino, Miguel Ángel Mancera.

Entre los casos representativos en los que colaboró durante su estadía en la PGJDF destacan la desarticulación de bandas de lenones y la trata de menores, además contribuyó a realizar reformas en esta materia.

Uno de los últimos trabajos que realizó el despacho a su cargo fue la protección de integrantes de la familia Reyes Salazar, quienes dejaron Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, luego de sufrir amenazas y el asesinato de cinco de sus miembros.

Dilcya Samanta Espinosa de los Monteros encabezó la investigación del caso “Casitas del Sur” por la desaparición de 11 niños en dicho albergue.

La procuraduría capitalina informó que por el momento habrá un encargado de despacho en la Subprocuraduría de Atención a Víctimas del Delito.

Mexico City assistant attorney general moves to federal position

Dilcya Samantha García Espinoza de los Monteros has been named to a position in the federal Attorney General's Office (PGR) after having previously served since 2008 as Assistant Attorney General for Victims of Crime and Community Services under Mexico City Attorney General Miguel Ángel Mancera.

[García Espinoza de los Monteros has focused her efforts in Mexico City on pursuing human traffickers. Mexico City has the highest conviction rate against traffickers of any federated entity in Mexico. - LL]

Among the activities that García Espinoza de los Monteros engaged in at the Mexico City prosecutor's office involved the break-up of sex trafficking rings and assisting in the passage of tougher anti-trafficking laws.

One of her most recent cases involved the disappearance of 11 children from an orphanage called Casitas del Sur [those responsible for the disappearances are believed to have sold these children to sex traffickers]...

Edited by Leyda Martínez

May 3, 2011

About Child Labor and the Risk of Criminal Exploitation in Mexico


Added: Jun. 26, 2011

Mexico

Children labor in Mexico

Trabajan 200 mil niños en campos de Chiapas

Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Chiapas.- Cerca del 14 por ciento de los residentes de Chiapas que tienen entre cinco y 17 años están ocupados económicamente, sobre todo en el sector primario y terciario. Los apuros financieros de sus tutores y la cultura influyen en la situación. Incrementó su participación en actividades peligrosas, ante su mayor necesidad por conseguir sustento, especialmente los migrantes, informó ayer la secretaria del Trabajo del estado, Esther Almazán Torres.

Dijo que el objetivo es tener erradicada parte de la situación en 2015, a más tardar, según los tratados signados por el gobierno federal. Sin embargo, la meta es lejana, porque muchos servidores públicos desconocen el hecho, incluso no saben que existe una Ley contra la Trata de Personas, por lo que ven el tema como algo normal.

México cuenta con 28.2 millones de menores, de los cuales el 10 por ciento está empleado, de los cuales 199 mil 966 viven en la entidad, es decir, uno de cada diez niños chiapanecos forman parte de su campo productivo, según organismos internacionales y el INEGI.

Reconoció que los casos con más violaciones a sus derechos son registrados en las fincas, sobre todo en salud y educación, aunque destacó que el índice bajó en los últimos años.

La funcionaria estatal aseveró que la cultura también contribuye al problema, porque sus responsables enseñan a sus hijos a ganar dinero con alguna actividad familiar, para perpetuar la tradición. Ello no disminuye su vulnerabilidad.

200,000 children are working in the fields of Chiapas state

Tuxtla Gutierrez, Chiapas state - About 14 percent of the residents of Chiapas who are between 5 and 17 years are work... Both the financial troubles of their parents and culture influence the situation. These children engage in Increasingly dangerous activities to earn money to survive. This is especially true of migrants, Chiapas state  labor secretary Esther Almazán Torres stated yesterday.

Secretary Almazán Torres added that the state's goal is to eradicate child labor by 2015 at the latest, in accordance with the according to treaties signed by the federal government [see: United Nations Millennium Development Goals]. However, the goal is distant because many public servants are unaware of the issue, and don't even know that there is a law against trafficking in persons, so see [child exploitation] as normal.

Mexico has 28.2 million children, of whom 10 percent are employed. Some 199,000 child laborers live in the state, amounting to one in ten children in Chiapas who are working in the field, according to international organizations and Mexico's National Institute for Statistics and Geography.

Secretary Almazán Torres acknowledged that cases with most child rights violations are found in farm labor, especially in regard to health and education, but noted that the the number of complaints has declined recent years.

Culture contributes to the problem because parents teach their children to earn money with some form of family activity, to perpetuate their traditions. Such labor is not exempt from risk for these child laborers.

El Heraldo de Chiapas

June 21, 2011

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Added: Jun. 26, 2011

Mexico

Niños trabajadores, en riesgo ante el crimen organizado: Victoria Cruz

Niños trabajadores, en riesgo ante el crimen organizado Las niñas y los niños que trabajan están en riesgo ante el crimen organizado, que los utiliza para transportar droga, para ser explotados sexualmente o para cometer delitos en general, aseveró en Morelia la coordinadora del Programa Internacional para la Erradicación del Trabajo Infantil de la Organización Internacional del Trabajo (OI), Victoria Cruz López.

En el marco del Foro: “La participación de los congresos locales en la prevención y erradicación del trabajo infantil y la protección del adolescente trabajador”, y ante diputados, autoridades y especialistas, la experta abogada aseguró que esa situación es cada vez más visible, por lo que urgió a buscar acciones para frenar la inclusión de menores de edad en actividades laborales.

Victoria Cruz señaló que es necesario perseguir a quienes utilizan a los menores para actividades ilícitas, por lo que entidades gubernamentales y sociedad civil deben prestar atención a esa problemática, ya que la alternativa para los adolescentes no debe ser la delincuencia organizada.

En presencia del presidente de la Junta de Coordinación Política del Congreso del Estado, Wilfrido Lázaro Medina, quien es además coordinador del grupo parlamentario del Partido Revolucionario Institucional (PRI), la representante de la OIT consideró urgente desarrollar políticas públicas para reducir la vulnerabilidad de las niñas, los niños y los adolescentes, porque el hecho de que estén en la escuela y ésta sea una opción de calidad puede ser un punto de partida fundamental.

Acompañada también por la presidenta de la Comisión de Grupos Vulnerables, Equidad y Género, Gabriela Molina Aguilar, del Partido de la Revolución Democrática (PRD), y por la presidenta de la Comisión de Derechos Humanos, Guadalupe Calderón Medina, del PRI, Cruz López argumentó que se calcula que en el país hay 3 millones de infantes, de entre los 5 y los 17 años de edad, que se encuentran laborando, la mayoría en trabajos del sector agrícola, la construcción y la minería, trabajos considerados de alta peligrosidad.

Dicha cantidad, agregó la investigadora del tema, equivale al 10.7 por ciento de la población de niñas, niños y adolescentes que existen en México, lo que equivale a hipotecar el futuro del país, sobre todo cuando 900 mil de esos menores de edad, que son los que tienen entre 5 y 13 años, ni siquiera deberían estar en el trabajo.

En ese sentido, aseveró Victoria Cruz, el trabajo infantil constituye una violación severa a los derechos de las niñas, los niños y los adolescentes, porque se atenta contra muchos de sus derechos, como el derecho al sano crecimiento, a la educación, a la cultura y al derecho a estar protegidos contra la explotación económica, que tiene que empezar a verse como un incumplimiento a las garantías en el cual todos son responsables y todos deben dar respuesta.

Victoria Cruz: Child workers are at-risk from organized crime:

Victoria Cruz López, the International Labor Organization's international program to end child labor spoke in Morelia state.

Cruz López: Child laborers are at high risk from organized criminals who exploit them to transport drugs, to be sold in prostitution and to commit crimes in general.

In a Forum called "The Participation of State Legislatures in the Prevention and Eradication of Child Labor and the Protection of Young Workers," which was presented to a group of state legislative deputies, authorities and experts, veteran attorney and International Labor Organization (ILO) representative Victoria Cruz López [organized crime's exploitation of minors] constitutes a situation that is becoming more visible by-the-day. She therefore urged state legislatures to take action to curb the inclusion of children in work activities.

Cruz López added that the prosecution of those who use children for illicit activities is a must. Government agencies and civil society must therefore pay attention to this problem, given that all agree that the [preferred] alternative [to unemployment] for adolescents should not be organized crime.

Cruz López declared that the development of public policies to reduce the vulnerability of girls, children and adolescents must be made an urgent priority. Cruz noted that schools can be used as the perfect forum for communicating with children and youth about this issue.

Cruz López argued that the country is estimated that there are 3 million children, between 5 and 17 years of age, who are now working, the majority work in agriculture, construction and mining work that is considered highly dangerous.

Some 10.7 percent of Mexico's children and underage youth work, added Cruz López. That fact amounts to mortgaging the nation's future, especially in regard to the 900,000 of these children who are those between 5 and 13 years, who should not be working at all.

Child labor constitutes a severe violation of the rights of girls, boys and adolescents, because it goes against many of their rights, including the right to healthy growth, education, culture and the right to be protected from economic exploitation, which must begin to be seen as a breach of the guarantees to which everyone must be held accountable.

Among the Morelia state congressional deputies attending the event were: Wilfrido Medina Lazaro, Morelia state's president of the Political Coordination Board of the State Congress and parliamentary coordinator of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) delegation; Gabriela Aguilar Molina, president of the Commission on Vulnerable Groups and Gender Equity, of the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD); and Guadalupe Medina Calderon, of the PRI, who is president of the Human Rights Commission.

Quadratin.com

June 17, 2011

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Added: Jun. 26, 2011

Mexico

La OIT presenta en México su campaña internacional contra el trabajo infantil

La Organización Internacional del Trabajo (OIT) presentó hoy en México su campaña internacional contra el trabajo infantil apoyada por varios artistas locales, informaron hoy fuentes de la agencia de Naciones Unidas (ONU).

En un acto celebrado en un hotel de la capital mexicana, el director adjunto de la OIT para México y Cuba, Thomas Wissing, dijo que era necesario "actuar con urgencia" para eliminar las formas más peligrosas de este tipo de actividad laboral que afecta a menores.

En un comunicado, la OIT señaló que en el planeta existen 115 millones de niñas, niños y adolescentes en actividades laborales peligrosas, de los cuales el 64 % son varones y el 36 %, mujeres y niñas.

Por actividad, el 59 % de los trabajos peligrosos se concentra en la agricultura, un 30 % en el sector servicios y un 11 % en la industria.

La tendencia es a un ascenso en la cifra de adolescentes varones de entre 15 y 17 años en el mundo, apuntó la organización, al recordar que el próximo 12 de junio se celebrará el Día Mundial contra el Trabajo Infantil.

En México, añadió, hay aproximadamente 3 millones de menores de edad que trabajan dentro de un grueso de población de 112 millones de personas.

En el acto de hoy, la OIT presentó un vídeo y el vocalista de la banda de rock DLD, Paco Familiar, leyó un mensaje a nombre de una decena de artistas que se han sumado en México a la campaña, que lleva por título "¡Atención! Niños, niñas y adolescentes en trabajos peligrosos. ¡Alto al trabajo infantil!".

En su mensaje, Familiar dijo que "existe una confusión entre lo que sí es y lo que no es trabajo infantil", que permite que haya altos niveles de tolerancia social frente a este problema.

La situación en este país es "insostenible", ya que "más del 10 % de su población infantil tiene que trabajar", lo que va en contra de la educación de ese colectivo y representa un problema que hipoteca "nuestro presente y nuestro futuro", afirmó.

EFE

June 06, 2011

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Added: Jun. 26, 2011

Mexico

ILO Launches Campaign Against Child Labor

The International Labor Organization (Organización Internacional del Trabajo, ILO) launched its newest campaign against child labor in Mexico today. Various artists attended the event, many of which were vocal about their stances against child labor as it interferes with important activities, such as education and recreation. ILO member Victoria Cruz reported that 59.2% of minors employed throughout the world work in agriculture, 30% in the services sector and 11% in industry. In Mexico, there are approximately 3 million minors who are employed and about 700,000 of those minors engage in “high risk” labor, which includes mining, agriculture, and construction. Mexico is also one of the only countries to date that has not ratified the ILO’s Convention 182, otherwise known as the “Worst Forms of Child Labor Convention.”

The ILO addressed other negative effects of child labor, such as physical injuries and illness that in some cases cannot be cured. Particularly in Mexico, it is easy for minors to become involved in more dangerous work, such as narco-trafficking, due to high poverty levels in many areas and lack of better opportunities. In response to this problem, the ILO urged that the laws in Mexico should be amended to include harsher punishments for those who employ minors. According to El Universal, the assistant ILO director of Mexico and Cuba, Thomas Wissing, stated that these laws should be changed with the purpose of reducing child labor and to generate more jobs and more rewarding salaries for parents.

The organization also made sure to note that National Day Against Child Labor will be celebrated this Sunday, June 12.

Justice in Mexico

June 6, 2011

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Added: Jun. 26, 2011

Mexico

Más de 3 millones de niños mexicanos tienen que trabajar

Distrito Federal - En México, más de tres millones de menores de edad laboran y de ellos más de 700 mil lo hacen en empleos de alto riesgo como la minería, la agricultura o la construcción, situación que se agrava por la tolerancia de la sociedad y las autoridades, indicó la Organización Internacional del Trabajo (OIT).

Además, México es el único país que aún no ratifica el Convenio 182 de la OIT, que se refiere a la edad mínima para desempeñar actividades económicas, explicó el organismo en un taller donde se habló de este tema.

Con motivo del Día Mundial contra el Trabajo Infantil, que se celebrará el próximo 12 de junio, funcionarios de la organización y la subsecretaria de Inclusión Laboral de la Secretaría del Trabajo y Previsión Social (STPS) reconocieron que las sanciones económicas para empleadores de menores de edad son mínimas, pues la actual legislación establece un pago de 250 días de salario mínimo...

More than 3 million Mexican children must work

Mexico City - In Mexico, more than 3 million minors work. Around 700,000 children and youth work in high-risk jobs such as mining, agriculture and construction. According to the International Labor Organization (ILO), the situation has been aggravated by the tolerance of society and the authorities.

During an ILO workshop on child labor. officials noted that Mexico is the only nation that has not signed the ILO's Convention 182 on ending child labor, which defines minimum ages for engaging in work activities.

Mariana Otero

Milenio

June 06, 2011

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Added: Jun. 26, 2011

Mexico

En trabajos peligrosos, 600 mil niños mexicanos

En México hay mucha confusión y tolerancia respecto al trabajo peligroso en niños y niñas, particularmente en los que tienen entre 15 y 17 años de edad, lo cual trae graves consecuencias para la integridad física, pues deriva en lesiones, enfermedades irreversibles, abandono escolar y bajo rendimiento, señaló la Organización Internacional del Trabajo (OIT), que coincidió con la Secretaría del Trabajo en que se debe endurecer la ley para castigar a quien emplee a menores.

En el país, son 600 mil los que realizan labores peligrosas, de un total de 3 millones de menores de 18 años de edad que trabajan, paralelamente a los que son utilizados en tareas vinculadas con el narcotráfico -de los cuales no hay cifras-, quienes por la falta de oportunidades y la situación de pobreza que son explotados en esas actividades ilegales....

Some 600,000 underage Mexican children and youth work in dangerous jobs - International Labor Organization

According to the International Labor Organization, much confusion and tolerance exists in Mexico in regard to dangerous jobs that children and underage youth work-in across Mexico, and especially those who are between 15- and 18-years-of-age. These forms of employment cause grave consequences for a child worker's physical integrity - including exposure to diseases an irreversible illnesses. In addition, child workers perform poorly in school and [often] abandon school altogether.

Across Mexico some 600,000 minors engage in dangerous work. They are part of a total underage workforce of 3 million. In parallel, a phenomenon also exists in which minors work for narco-trafficking organizations. No statistics exist to define the size of this population of child laborers...

El Universal

June 6, 2011


Added: Jun. 26, 2011

Argentina

Trata de personas, un flagelo que avanza día a día

La trata de personas es una suerte de esclavitud moderna, que no distingue región, edad, ni clase social. Según las informaciones la zona norte de Argentina es el lugar predilecto para aquellos mafiosos que venden la vida de una persona, en lo que para ellos significa una simple transacción monetaria. Quienes se encuentran luchando contra este flagelo advierten que por cada persona que encuentran, desaparecen otras siete, aunque aseguran que no claudicaran en la batalla.

Un dato que asusta es que durante los últimos años Argentina dejó de ser un país de sólo circulación de personas, para dar lugar a la comercialización y la exportación de éstas, ya sea con fines sexuales o de esclavitud. Asimismo aumentó la trata de niños, especialmente para servidumbre por deudas y prostitución forzosa. Desde mediados del 2008 la trata se convirtió en la actividad delictiva más reditual, después del tráfico de armas y drogas. Se trata de redes de delincuentes muy bien organizadas, bajo las cuales más de 4 millones de personas en el mundo resultaron víctimas.

En relación a este tema, Germán Díaz, abogado de la Fundación María de los Ángeles, alertó a la sociedad sobre la necesidad de extremar las medidas de precaución para evitar un posible secuestro. Aunque sin ánimos de generar miedo, simplemente mayos conciencia.

“Nosotros desde acá tratamos de no crear ningún tipo de psicosis en la sociedad, solamente decimos que tomen las medidas del caso. Generalmente las denuncias que recibimos fueron de menores estudiantes, entonces desde acá les decimos que cambien la rutina del trayecto al colegio y que no vaya solas”, destacó Díaz.

Del mismo modo, destacó la importancia sobre le papel que los medios de comunicación cumplen en relación a este tema, sobre en cuestión de las redes sociales: “La información que se da por internet muchas veces entra en detalles, de los cuales estas redes mafiosas se nutren para captar a sus víctimas”.

Según explicó el letrado, el lugar de captación por excelencia es el norte de nuestro país y la frontera con Paraguay y Bolivia, pues las redes mafiosas consideran a esa zona como “económicamente pobres” y propicias para su delictivo accionar. Mientras que “la zona de explotación es la zona del sur de nuestro país”, debido a que en ese sector hay una concentración de gran poder adquisitivo.

Human trafficking, a scourge that grows from day-to-day

Human trafficking is a kind of modern slavery, which does not distinguish between regions, ages or social class. Reportedly the north of Argentina is the favorite location for organized criminals who live by selling the lives of people. Those who are fighting this scourge warn that for every person they rescue, seven others disappear. They say that they are not giving up the fight.

[Full translation to follow]

Tucuman Noticias

June 25, 2011


Added: Jun. 28, 2011

The World

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton announces the release of the 2011 Trafficking in Persons Report

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton releases the 2011 Trafficking in Persons Report 2011

Secretary Clinton: "Every year, we come together to release this report, to take stock of our progress, to make suggestions, and to refine our methods. Today, we are releasing a new report that ranks 184 countries, including our own. One of the innovations when I became Secretary was we were going to also analyze and rank ourselves, because I don’t think it’s fair for us to rank others if we don’t look hard at who we are and what we’re doing. This report is the product of a collaborative process that involves ambassadors and embassies and NGOs as well as our team here in Washington. And it really does give us a snapshot about what’s happening. It shows us where political will and political leadership are making a difference..."

U.S. Department of State

June 27, 2011


Added: Jun. 26, 2011

Latin America

Pop star and anti-trafficking activist Ricky Martin

Ricky Martin expandirá centros de ayuda a niños a toda Latinoamérica

Río Grande (Puerto Rico), - El cantante puertorriqueño Ricky Martin anunció hoy que expandirá la construcción de instituciones como El Centro Integral de Desarrollo de la Niñez, que se espera esté terminado en Loíza en 2012, a la República Dominicana, México y el resto de Latinoamérica.

Martin y su Fundación celebraron hoy la tercera edición de un torneo de golf para recaudar fondos para la construcción del Centro Integral de Desarrollo que se convertirá en un espacio para combatir en Puerto Rico la trata de personas.

"Esto es solo el comienzo, para continuar por el resto de la isla y en la República Dominicana, México y Latinoamérica", dijo Martin tras concluir el evento celebrado en el Trump International Golf Resort en Río Grande, localidad de la costa este de Puerto Rico.

El Centro Integral de Desarrollo de la Niñez, con un presupuesto de cuatro millones de dólares, comenzará a construirse este año y se espera sea inaugurado en 2012 o a principios del 2013.

El centro constará de diez salones de clases, una biblioteca y un área recreativa.

La institución atenderá desde infantes hasta jóvenes en escuela superior y operará en alianza con la organización filantrópica SER de Puerto Rico, Nuestra Escuela e Iniciativa Comunitaria.

Martin enfatizó que el centro promoverá las artes, la música, la meditación, el yoga, los deportes, las artes marciales, la salud, la educación personalizada, la cultura y los valores éticos.

"Necesitamos y queremos marcar la diferencia en los niños y jóvenes de Loíza. Nosotros estaremos ahí para apoyarlos y darles herramientas que les garanticen un futuro mejor", dijo Martin.

El modelo de construcción estuvo a cargo de la Fundación Ricky Martin (FRM) y el director del Taller Diseño Comunitario de la Escuela de Arquitectura de la Universidad de Puerto Rico, Elio Martínez Joffre.

Ricky Martin will expand child support centers throughout Latin America

Ricky Martin to Expand Children’s Aid Centers Across All Latin America

The Puerto Rican singer took up the fight against this scourge after his 2002 trip to India, where he saw at first hand the immensity of the trafficking and exploitation of minors in the Asian country.

Rio Grande, Puerto Rico - Puerto Rican pop star Ricky Martin announced that he will expand construction of institutions like his foundation’s Child Development and Prevention Center, expected to be completed in Loiza, Puerto Rico, in 2012, to the Dominican Republic, Mexico, and the rest of Latin America.

Martin and his foundation held Friday the third edition of a golf tournament aimed at collecting funds for the children’s center that will combat the exploitation and trafficking of children in Puerto Rico.

“This is just the start of a project that is going to spread across the rest of the island and on to the Domican Republic, Mexico and Latin America,” Martin said after winding up the event held at the Trump International Golf Resort in Rio Grande, a town on the east coast of Puerto Rico.

The Ricky Martin Foundation Child Development and Prevention Center, with a budget of $4 million, will begin construction this year and its inauguration is expected for 2012 or early 2013.

The center will consist of 10 classrooms, a library and a recreation area.

The institution will care for children from infancy to high-school age and will operate, in alliance with the philanthropic organization SER of Puerto Rico, the Our School and Community Initiative.

Martin said that the center will promote the arts, music, meditation, yoga, sports, martial arts, health, personalized education, culture and ethical values.

“We need to and we want to make a difference for the children and young people of Loiza. We will be there to give them support and the tools they need to guarantee them a better future,” Martin said.

The center’s design was entrusted by the Ricky Martin Foundation to the director of the Community Design Workshop of the University of Puerto Rico’s School of Architecture, Elio Martinez Joffre...

EFE (Spanish version)

June 03, 2011

EFE America (English version)

June 06, 2011


Added: Jun. 26, 2011

Nepal

Veteran anti-trafficking activist Anuradha Koirala (left), and actress Demi Moore (right) meet with the Prime Minister Jhala Nath Khanal of Nepal during the filming of CNN's anti-trafficking documentary

Demi Moore estrena documental sobre la trata de personas en Nepal en CNN

Demi Moore se une a CNN Freedom Project (Proyecto Libertad de CNN) para promover la lucha contra la trata humana a través del documental Nepal’s Stolen Children: A CNN Freedom Project Documentary (Los Niños Robados de Nepal: Un documental del Proyecto Libertad de CNN), que se estrena el domingo 26 de junio a las 7:00 p.m. por CNN International y CNN en Español.

Como colaboradora especial de CNN Freedom Project, Moore se dirige a Nepal para unirse a la ganadora del Premio Héroe CNN de 2010, Anuradha Koirala, y a su organización, Maiti Nepal, que desde su fundación en 1993 ha rescatado a más de 12.000 los niños de Nepal robados por tráfico sexual. Moore es una apasionada defensora de las víctimas de tráfico humano y a través de ADN, la organización que ella cofundó con su esposo, cuya labor se enfoca en la necesidad de atacar la demanda de tráfico sexual mediante leyes en contra de los infractores, la educación y la rehabilitación de las jóvenes víctimas atrapadas por estas prácticas abusivas.

“En el burdel yo fui forzada a tener sexo con hombres y si yo me resistía, ellos podían quemar cigarrillos en mi cuerpo, pegarme con un palo o lanzarme agua caliente. Yo fui con mi pequeño hijo, pero fuimos separados y cuando él lloró ellos quemaron su lengua con un cigarrillo”, dijo Radika, una de las niñas rescatadas en su encuentro con Moore en Maiti Nepal.

Cada año, miles de niñas nepalesas son secuestradas obligadas o forzadas a la brutal vida de la prostitución. Los Niños Robados de Nepal sigue a Moore, quien habla con docenas de niñas (algunas de apenas 11 años) que han sido víctimas del tráfico sexual. Las niñas comparten desgarradoras historias de electrocución y otras formas de tortura, y algunas incluso describen que fueron forzadas a alimentarse con hormonas para que sus cuerpos de niñas tengan el parecido del de una mujer adulta...

Elespectador.com

June 23, 2011

See also:

Added: Jun. 28, 2011

Nepal

Nepal's Stolen Children: A CNN Freedom Project Documentary

Actress Demi Moore partners with CNN Freedom Project for a compelling documentary.

A passionate advocate for victims of human trafficking herself, Moore travels to Nepal to meet 2010 CNN Hero of the Year Anuradha Koirala and some of the thousands of women and girls Koirala’s organization has rescued from forced prostitution. How were they taken and where were they sent?

Hear the emotional, first-hand experiences of these young survivors. And follow along with Moore as she searches for answers in the fight to end this form of modern-day slavery.

Along the way she hears horror stories from former sex slaves, plays games with their children, and joins one woman making the daunting trip home.

The group also has a hospice for women with HIV-AIDS, a learning center for women hoping to make a new life and a band of border guards trying to stop women being smuggled in the first place.

CNN

June 17, 2011


Added: Jun. 26, 2011

Mexico, Latin America, Europe

Seminario internacional lucha contra la trata de personas

La Embajada de Francia en México, ha tenido a bien elegir a nuestro estado como la sede para la realización del Seminario Internacional denominado “Lucha contra la trata de personas”, los días 28, 29 y 30 de junio del presente año, siendo esta una problemática mundial de la cual Oaxaca no está exenta, sino por el contrario, somos una entidad de origen, tránsito y destino de la Trata en sus modalidades laboral y sexual, por ello, el Gobierno del Estado a través de la Procuraduría General de Justicia realiza conjuntamente con la Embajada de Francia dicho evento.

Los participantes del Seminario provienen de Francia, Canadá España, Alemania, Panamá, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Belice, República Dominicana, Haití, Chile, Colombia y Ecuador, siendo en total 52 Comisionados, Fiscales especializados, Jefes de Unidades, Agregados de seguridad, Inspectores de policías de los diversos países.

Este seminario tiene como objetivo principal compartir experiencias de investigación y protección a víctimas de la trata de personas, que permitirán a todas y todos los participantes realizar de manera más eficiente nuestra labor, así como establecer redes de coordinación y colaboración, siendo la trata de personas un problema mundial.

Upcoming international seminar on human trafficking to be held in Oaxaca state

The French Embassy in Mexico has selected Oaxaca state as the venue for the International Seminar entitled "Combating trafficking in persons", to be held on June 28th, 29th and 30th of 2011. Human trafficking is a problem that affects Oaxaca. The state is place of origin, transit and destination for labor and sex trafficking victims. The Oaxaca Attorney General is coordinating in holding the event.

Seminar participants from France, Canada, Spain, Germany, Panama, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Belize, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Chile, Colombia and Ecuador will be attending. A total of 52 commissioners, specialized prosecutors and law enforcement officials will be present.

This seminar's main objective is to share research and experiences in regard to protecting victims of human trafficking, to allow the participants perform their work more efficiently and establish coordination and collaboration networks.

NSS Oaxaca

June 25, 2011


Added: Jun. 26, 2011

New York City

Prabhu Dayal

Consul General of India accused of keeping a mother of four as virtual slave in posh Upper East Side digs

Prabhu Dayal, the Consul General of India, is accused of treating a woman like a virtual slave. The Consul General of India and his family kept a mother of four as a virtual slave on the Upper East Side, according to a lawsuit the woman filed Monday.

Santosh Bhardwaj, 45, says she was required to work more than 12 hours a day, every day, for little pay.

She said she had to escape through a back door with a security guard's help earlier this year because her boss kept her passport and wouldn't let her leave.

Prabhu Dayal, 58, who has been the Indian Consul General in New York since 2008, kept Bhardwaj in a storage room in the E. 64th Street Consulate General building and paid her $300 a month to be at his family's beck and call, the lawsuit claims.

"The Dayals did not treat me fairly," said Bhardwaj, who says she was lured from India to New York to be a maid with promises of good working conditions and decent pay.

"I filed the complaint because I want to be paid for all the labor I provided."

The suit names Dayal, his wife and daughter and seeks an unspecified amount of damages.

Emails and phone calls to the consul general's office were not returned.

Dayal took her Bhardwaj's passport and "subjected her to approximately a year of forced labor and psychological coercion in their household, culminating in an incident of sexual harassment," the lawsuit says.

"The Dayals kept Ms. Bhardwaj isolated and led her to believe they had complete control over her," said her lawyer, Legal Aid attorney Hollis Pfitsch.

"Unfortunately, Ms. Bhardwaj is not alone. Human trafficking through psychological coercion like this, designed to keep immigrant workers laboring virtually for free, is shockingly common."

In January, Bhardwaj repeated implored Dayal for money her husband needed for an operation back in India, according to the lawsuit filed in Manhattan Federal Court.

Dayal finally relented, saying he'd give her the money - but only if she'd massage his legs, the lawsuit says.

That turned out to be the last straw.

"In her culture, it was shocking and offensive for a married man to request any type of physical contact from a married woman," according to the lawsuit.

The New York Daily News

June 20, 2011


Added: Jun. 26, 2011

Mexico

Seven sex trafficking suspects are shown to the press by the Mexico City prosecutor's office

Arraigan a 7 personas por lenocinio

Giraron orden de aprehensión por el ilícito de lenocinio y delincuencia organizada a Óscar Jesús Rivera Zúñiga, alias "El Güero'' o "Bugs Bunny''.

Ciudad de México.- Con pruebas reunidas y asentadas en el pliego consignatorio, siete personas que presuntamente obligaban a sus víctimas a ejercer el sexoservicio en el lugar conocido como La Pasarela, localizado en el segundo callejón de Manzanares, colonia Centro, quedaron a disposición de un juez penal, como probables responsables de los delitos de trata de personas agravada; lenocinio y delincuencia organizada; y por corrupción de menores, por lo que cinco hombres fueron ingresados al Reclusorio Preventivo Oriente, y dos mujeres al Centro Femenil de Readaptación Social de Santa Martha Acatitla.

En cumplimiento a la orden de aprehensión librada por el juez 25 de lo Penal, con sede en el Reclusorio Preventivo Oriente, personal del área de Mandamientos Judiciales de la Procuraduría General de Justicia del Distrito Federal (PGJDF), obtuvo la entrega de los involucrados en los referidos delitos, quienes se encontraban en el Centro de Arraigos de la misma institución judicial...

Seven are arraigned for sex trafficking

They turned a warrant for the crime of pimping and organized crime Oscar Zuniga Jesus Rivera, alias "El Guero''or" Bugs Bunny.'' Photo: El Sol de Mexico

Mexico City - seven people who allegedly forced their victims to exercise their sex work at a place known as The Gateway, located in the Manzanares district of Colonia Centro, have been detained on criminal charges as alleged perpetrators of the crimes of aggravated trafficking, pimping organized crime and the corruption of minors. The five men were admitted to the Detention East facility. The two women were sent to the Women's Center for Social Rehabilitation Santa Martha Acatitla...

The trial judge held the defendants over for trial after assessing the evidence provided by the Mexico City Attorney General's Office...

Filiberto Cruz

El Sol de México

June 23, 2011


Added: Jun. 26, 2011

Mexico

Dan formal prisión a tres por el delito de trata de personas

El Juzgado 6 de Distrito de Procesos Penales Federales en la Ciudad de México dictó auto de formal prisión a tres presuntos responsables del delito de trata de personas con fines de explotación laboral y sexual.

La Procuraduría General de la República (PGR) informó en comunicado que los procesados son Denis Javier Ortiz y Ondina Moreira, ambos de nacionalidad hondureña, y Sergio Alejandro Rodríguez Salmorán.

El pasado 18 de abril el Fiscal adscrito a la Fiscalía Especial para los Delitos de Violencia contra las Mujeres y Trata de Personas (FEVIMTRA) consignó ante el juez [el expidiente]...

La acción penal se ejerció contra los inculpados por el delito señalado en agravio de dos jóvenes hondureñas a las que explotaban en un table dance denominado “La Tentación”, ubicado en el Estado de México.

De la averiguación previa se desprende que Denis Javier Ortiz y su pareja sentimental Ondina Moreira trasladaron desde Honduras a las dos mujeres, a quienes obligaban a trabajar en el lugar referido y las despojaban de sus ingresos.

Por su parte, Sergio Alejandro Rodríguez Salmorán las trasladaba y les “arreglaba” su supuesta legal estancia en México, por lo cual les cobraba cantidades que constantemente se incrementaban.

Los dos hombres enfrentarán su proceso penal en el Reclusorio Preventivo Oriente, mientras que Ondina Moreira lo hará en el Centro de Readaptación Social de Santa Martha Acatitla.

A formal arrest three on charges of trafficking

The 6th District Court Federal Criminal Proceedings in Mexico City has arrested three suspects for the crime of trafficking in persons for sexual and labor exploitation.

The Attorney General's Office (PGR) said in a statement that the defendants are Denis Moreira Javier Ortiz and Ondina, both Honduran nationals, and Sergio Alejandro Rodriguez Salmorán.

On April 18 the prosecutor assigned the case to the Special Prosecutor for Violent Crimes against Women and Trafficking (FEVIMTRA)...

Action was taken against said defendants for crimes committed against two young Honduran women which exploited in a table dance club called "The Temptation", located in the State of Mexico.

The preliminary investigation shows that when Denis Javier Ortiz and his girlfriend moved to Mexico from Honduras, the two women, who were forced to work in the place referred to and stripped of their income...

The two men face their criminal trial Detention in the East, while Ondine will Moreira at the Center for Social Rehabilitation Santa Martha Acatitla.

La Crónica

June 24, 2011


Added: Jun. 27, 2011

Texas, USA

4 sentenced in immigrant kidnapping ring near Peñitas

McAllen - Four men learned their prison sentences Monday after federal authorities busted a human trafficking operation near Peñitas last year.

The prison sentences came Monday after U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrested a man who shot himself in the leg while attempting to kidnap a group of illegal immigrants in May 2010.

One of the smuggled immigrants told ICE agents their coyote, or smuggler, had loaded him and a dozen others into a truck May 10, 2010. But before they could leave, several armed men assaulted the driver and unloaded the migrants from the vehicle.

The gunmen took the immigrants to a stash house near Peñitas, where a man known as "Comandante" told the victims they each would have to pay $2,000 if they wanted to be smuggled farther north.

When “Comandante” left the property, Mario Leon Villa was left in charge, the immigrant told investigators. When Leon and two other guards were distracted, six immigrants climbed out a window and ran to a nearby store.

Leon found the immigrants at the store, pulled out a gun and told them not to run. The immigrants ran anyway, jumped a fence and Leon accidentally shot himself in the leg.

Several other kidnappers located and rounded up the escaped immigrants and transferred them to a stash house in Edinburg. Agents and Hidalgo County sheriff’s deputies later found the remaining victims at that stash house.

The case resembled that of kidnapped immigrants in Mexico, who are abducted and held for ransom before they are able to cross the Rio Grande.

But because many incidents are charged as immigrant smuggling or assault — as in this case — it’s difficult to track exactly how often they occur on U.S. soil, local authorities have said.

Sentenced Monday by U.S. District Judge Randy Crane were:

Leon, 21, a Mexican national who received a 14-year prison sentence for his role as a stash house guard in the immigrant kidnapping scheme. Leon had faced 13 counts of conspiracy, harboring illegal aliens and hostage taking.

Fredy Bermudez Benito, 28, a Mexican national who made threatening phone calls to the immigrants’ families, demanding the additional $2,000 payments. He faced 27 counts of conspiracy, harboring illegal aliens, hostage taking and unlawfully possessing a firearm. Crane sentenced Bermudez to 20 years in federal prison.

Edinburg resident Juan Alberto Jimenez, 25, a stash house guard who was sentenced to more than 11 years in prison on 13 counts of conspiracy, harboring illegal aliens and hostage taking.

Edinburg resident Jose Rocha Pinon, 25, a stash house guard who was sentenced to nine years in prison on 19 counts of conspiracy, harboring illegal aliens and hostage taking.

Still awaiting sentencing is Mexican national Hugo Oscar Rodriguez Montoya, 27, of Tamaulipas, who was indicted on 16 counts of conspiracy, harboring illegal aliens, hostage taking and transporting illegal aliens within the United States. He faces up to life in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Already sentenced in the case was Jose Israel Leon Villa, who was sentenced to 33 months in federal prison in December 2010.

Jared Taylor

The Monitor

June 27, 2011


Added: Jun. 26, 2011

California, USA

Jose Wilson Rojas Guzman, 30, of Riverside was arrested May 16 in connection with the kidnapping and sexual assault of a 9-year-old Riverside girl.

Riverside: Man accused of abducting, raping girl faces more charges

An illegal immigrant accused of kidnapping his ex-roommate’s 9-year-old daughter from her Riverside home, then sexually assaulting her and trying to kill her, pleaded not guilty Thursday to multiple felonies — including new allegations that he assaulted two other children.

Jose Wilson Rojas Guzman, 30, of Riverside was arrested May 16 in connection with the kidnapping and sexual assault of a 9-year-old Riverside girl.

Jose Wilson Rojas Guzman, 30, could face life in prison without the possibility of parole if convicted of attempted murder, kidnapping for rape, two counts of aggravated sexual assault on a child and a sentence-enhancing allegation of inflicting great bodily injury on a child under 14 years old during a felony.

The charges stem from a May 7 abduction in Riverside. Since Guzman’s arrest on May 16, police have been investigating whether he might be responsible for similar crimes in the area.

According to Riverside County Deputy District Attorney Mike Carney, detectives located two girls allegedly attacked by the defendant in the fall of 2008.

None of the victims’ identities have been released. One girl, who was 12 at the time, alleged Guzman held her at gunpoint and molested her, Carney said. The other girl, who was 11, told detectives the defendant choked her and sexually assaulted her, according to the prosecutor.

He said DNA and fingerprint evidence connected Guzman to both crimes, as well as the most recent one.

The Mexican national has been additionally charged with two counts of burglary and one count each of aggravated sexual assault on a child and forced lewd acts on a child under 14.

Guzman appeared today before Superior Court Judge Robert Law, who set a felony settlement conference in the case for June 27. The defendant is being held in lieu of $1 million bail at the Robert Presley Detention Center in Riverside.

According to Riverside police, in the most recent case, Guzman was familiar with the victim after having rented a room from her mother in January and February.

The 9-year-old, whose identity was not released, was asleep with her older brother and younger sister in a second-story apartment in the area of Pike Street and Herman Drive when she was forcibly taken the night of May 7, investigators said.

According to Detective Roberta Hopewell, the child’s mother — a single parent — was working as a server at Leonardo’s Mexican restaurant on Arlington Avenue and had left the boy in charge of watching his sisters.

Guzman allegedly accessed the apartment through an unlocked window in the two-bedroom unit. The other youngsters were not harmed during the kidnapping, which occurred around 11 p.m.

Around two hours later, people living on Giles Court — about 2 ½ miles from where the abduction occurred — were awakened when the child began knocking on doors, asking for help, according to investigators.

The disoriented girl told officers she had been carried out of her residence by a man and was later pushed out of a car. Hopewell said videotape from security cameras at the scene showed a dark-colored pickup truck in the area around the time of the abduction. Guzman owned a black Ford F-150 pickup.

Hopewell said the suspect was a person of interest from the beginning because of his contact with the victim, her siblings and their mother. The girl was seriously injured in the attack and is now recovering at home.

City News Service

June 02, 2011


Added: Jun. 26, 2011

South Dakota, USA

Ruben Garcia

[Man] raped stepdaughter in front of 7-year-old in South Dakota

On Monday, through an interpreter, Ruben Garcia, 31, pleaded guilty to the first-degree rape of his 9-year-old stepdaughter on February 9, 2011.

Garcia admitted committing the rape to Sioux Falls police when he was captured.

According to police, Garcia raped the girl while a seven-year-old watched the ordeal. The girls reported the attacks to their mother who immediately call the police. Garcia fled, but was soon captured in Omaha.

While the maximum sentence for rape in South Dakota is life in prison, the plea agreement will ensure a somewhat shorter sentence.

Minnehaha County State's Attorney Aaron McGowan said: “There's a mandatory minimum of 15 years and under the plea agreement he's facing up to 40 years actually.”

Garcia has been held in the Minnehaha County Jail on an Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainer since his arrest since his arrest on February 10. He will be sentenced on August 15.

The Examiner

June 08, 2011


Added: Jun. 26, 2011

Pennsylvania, USA

[Man] Faces Child-Luring Charges

Williamsport police have charged a Hispanic male with luring a 12-year-old girl into his truck while it was parked across from the YMCA yesterday. Officer Marlin Smith II was dispatched to the parking lot across from the building in the 300 block of Elmira Street shortly after 10 p.m. on June 23, where he spoke with Lucinda Campbell and her 12-year-old daughter.

Campbell had observed her daughter in a truck with a Hispanic man in his twenties, Smith said. Campbell’s daughter had seen the man before and knew where he lived, and had waved to him. The man, Adrian Arriaga Castro, of Houston Texas, pulled up to the daughter in his truck and opened the passenger’s side door and gestured for her to get in. The girl entered the vehicle and stated that Castro began to talk to her and called her “pretty,” then began to rub her arm. She exited the truck as her mother arrived and Castro ran in the direction of 345 West Third Street.

Smith arrived at the apartment building to investigate; a Hispanic male approached officers outside of the building. The daughter pointed at Castro and police confirmed his identity via his Mexican identification cards; Castro was taken into custody and faces one misdemeanor charge of luring a child into a motor vehicle and one summary charge of harassment.

Additionally, it was discovered that Castro is a Mexican national and has no papers to prove that he is in this country legally, Smith said.

“Because of this police investigation, 16 illegal immigrants were detained by I.C.E. officers from the Department of Homeland Security,” Williamsport Bureau of Police Captain Raymond O. Kontz III said.

“All of these illegals were rooming at 345 West Third Street and 309 Elmira St and working for GPX Surveyor, a gas company originating from Houston Texas,” Kontz said. Castro was taken to the Lycoming County Prison.

NorthCentralPA.com

June 24, 2011


Added: Jun. 26, 2011

North Carolina, USA

Suspect... faces rape charge

A 24-year-old man, who police say is an illegal immigrant already deported once, was arrested and charged Thursday with the statutory rape of a minor under age 6.

Mario Alberto Tellez Ordaz faces three counts of statutory rape or sexual offense against a minor under 6 years. He is being held in the Henderson County jail under a $75,000 secured bond.

In a news release issued Friday, Sheriff Rick Davis said Ordaz has previously been deported and will now face federal prosecution as well, due to the nature of the charges.

“This arrest highlights the illegal immigration problem,” Davis said. Ordaz is scheduled to appear in court on Monday.

Blue Ridge Now

June 24, 2011


Added: Jun. 26, 2011

Idaho, USA

Vicente Manturano-Soto

Sex-crime case ends in prison sentence

Man gets 6.5 years for sexual battery of a minor

A 31-year-old Peruvian native was sentenced Monday to six and a half years in prison for sexual involvement in 2010 with a 16-year-old Ketchum girl.

Vicente Manturano-Soto will be required to spend two and half years in prison before parole eligibility. He was given credit for more than seven months already spent behind bars following his arrest in November. Once released, he will likely be deported.

He was also fined $2,000 and will be required to register as a sex offender.

Originally charged with four counts of rape, Manturano-Soto pleaded guilty in March to a single count of sexual battery of a minor child. The plea was in accord with an agreement with the Blaine County Prosecuting Attorney's Office.

A Blaine County grand jury indictment against Manturano-Soto in November alleged that he had an ongoing sexual relationship with the girl from May through June of 2010.

In court Monday, Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Matt Fredback described Manturano-Soto as a "close friend" of the victim's family and said he often drove the girl to school or to counseling for a previous episode of sexual abuse.

"He was aware that she was vulnerable because of her age as well as her previous abuse," Fredback said.

He said Manturano-Soto took advantage of the girl's vulnerability to engage in a sexual relationship with her.

"The victim relayed that this happened about 10 times," Fredback said.

He further noted that the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency has filed a charge against Manturano-Soto alleging that he is an illegal immigrant.

"It appears that while he initially came into this country legally, that expired in 2001 and he continued to stay in this country," Fredback said.

Defense attorney Douglas Nelson noted that his client only pleaded guilty to sexual battery of a child.

"We are here because Vicente admitted basically to making out with this girl, and he's denied anything other than that," Nelson said.

He said Manturano-Soto has recognized what he did was wrong and completed a 10-week course while in jail on moral recognition therapy. Further, Nelson said his client has been a "model prisoner" and has served as a jail trusty.

Speaking through a court interpreter, Manturano-Soto apologized for his actions.

"The truth is I feel very bad about this," he said. "What I did was wrong. I know that God loves all his children and I ask you for forgiveness."

Fifth District Judge Robert J. Elgee said he would have given Manturano-Soto more prison time if not for steps the defendant has taken to improve his life.

"I recognize that you have expressed remorse and you have tried to improve yourself while in jail," Elgee said. "But what you did was a bad act, even if you only did what you've admitted to.

"I happen to believe you did more than you've admitted to. She was half your age. The law is designed to protect young girls who are not adults from older men like you. I know that what you did was not forcible, but the sentence is because of her age."

Terry Smith

Idaho Mountain Express and Guide

June 22, 2011

 


Added: Jun. 22, 2011

Colombia

Youth from the city of Cartegena's impoverished Boquilla neighborhood participate in performing Colombian folkloric music in as part of cultural activities organized by the Renacer (Rebirth) Foundation to guide local children and youth away from the tourist resort's child sex traffickers.

A Renacer (Rebirth) Foundation information table promotes the "We are the Wall" campaign, working to bring the hotel industry and other tourist businesses into a campaign to stop child sex tourism in the beach resort city of Cartagena

Prostitutas protegen a niños de redes de proxenetas

Trabajadoras sexuales de Cartagena le declararon la guerra a la prostitución infantil en este turístico balneario del Caribe colombiano y junto a la policía y ONGs buscan estrategias para evitar que los menores caigan en las redes de proxenetas.

Las prostitutas lideran un proyecto para que taxistas, vendedores ambulantes y meseros cooperen frente a mafias que ofrecen a unos 2.000 niños de los barrios marginales.

“Fui prostituta antes que mujer. Comencé a los 10 años y sufrí experiencias que no creerían. Sé que no puedo borrar el pasado, pero sí puedo evitar que otros niños pasen por lo que yo viví y por eso los invito a ayudar”, dijo Damaris a un grupo de taxistas reunidos en un salón público de La Boquilla, un deprimido sector de la ciudad.

La mujer, que aún ejerce en un prostíbulo del centro de la ciudad, forma parte de la campaña ‘La muralla soy yo’ que busca involucrar a quienes viven del turismo en la lucha contra la explotación de niños y adolescentes.

“Desafortunadamente aquí al turista que llega con plata se le permite casi todo. Mi invitación es a ponerle límite. Que cuando pregunten por niños para (tener) sexo, no les pasen información. Piensen que son niños y que ellos, como sus hijos, valen más que cualquier propina”, pidió.

Pero el negocio de la prostitución ha cambiado y con las nuevas tecnologías “ahora es menos frecuente ver el corrillo (grupo) de muchachitos esperando en una esquina la llegada del cliente”, señaló Luis Céspedes, uno de los taxistas que participó en el taller.

“Antes los turistas preguntaban por niñas, pero ahora los contactos se hacen por internet. El turista dice ‘Lléveme a tal hotel’ ahí tiene su cuento con el muchachito o la pelada (niña) le paga y ya. No entiendo cómo vamos a poder ayudar”, cuestionó.

El comandante de Policía local, general Ricardo Restrepo, admitió que este negocio ilegal “se ha sofisticado” y que detrás del abuso sexual a menores en Cartagena se mueven poderosas mafias...

Prostitutes unite to protect children from sex traffickers

Sex workers in the coastal tourist resort city of Cartagena have declared war on child prostitution. Working in collaboration with police and non governmental organizations, they are developing strategies to prevent children from falling into the hands of prostitution networks.

Adult sex workers are leading a project to convince taxi drivers, street vendors and waiters not to cooperate with the sexual exploitation networks that today sell some 2,000 children from the city's slums in prostitution.

A woman named Damaris, speaking to a gathering of local taxi drivers in a poor section of Cartagena called La Boquilla said, "I was a prostitute before I became a woman. I started at the age of 10, and I went through experiences that you would not believe. I know that I can't erase the past, but I can prevent other children go through what I lived through, and I invite you to help."

The woman, who still works in a brothel in the city center, is part of the campaign "I am the wall,' that seeks to involve those who work in the tourism industry in the fight against the exploitation of children and adolescents.

Damaris, "Unfortunately the tourist who comes here with money is allowed to do almost anything they want. I invite you to help us place limits on them. When these tourists ask for children to have sex [a question asked of taxi drivers across Latin America], don't give them information. Remember that they are children and that they, like your children, are worth more than any tip."

The business of prostitution has changed with the emergence of new technologies [the Internet]. "It is now less common to see a circle of boys on a corner waiting for the arrival of a customer," said Luis Cespedes, one of the drivers who participated in the workshop.

"Before the tourists asked for girls, but now the contacts are carried out online. These days, the tourist says, 'Take me to this hotel.' They engage with a boy or girl, pay them, and that's it. I do not understand how we can help," exclaimed Cespedes.

The local police commander, General Ricardo Restrepo admitted that this illegal business "is sophisticated." He acknowledged that powerful mafias control child prostitution in Cartagena.

"Last year we conducted operations with U.S. authorities with very good results. Now we're doing the same with an organization in Spain. These countries know that they have citizens who come to Cartagena to engage in these types of crimes. These nations have therefore taken on their responsibilities [to react]," said the official said.

Mayerlin Vergara, of the non governmental organization Renacer, noted that "ten years ago, we found the child victims of sexual exploitation in the clubs or on the streets. They now engage in prostitution in communities and in educational institutions. They no longer have a reason to come to the city center."

Attorney Freddys del Toro, of the Swiss NGO Tierra de Hombres, which advocates for victims of child sexual exploitation, noted that child sex tourism is promoted "through so-called travel agencies that operate online and that don't have local offices, making it difficult to combat their activities."

The Cartagena prosecutor's office has registered 400 complaints of child sexual abuse. Prosecutions of child sexual exploiters have resulted in 19 convictions to-date.

"We just had a historic decision in Colombia. For the first time, a foreigner was convicted. Italian Paolo Pravisani, age 72, was [sentenced] in the death of a young boy, Yesid Torres, whom Pravisani was sexually abusing," said del Toro.

In 2010 Colombian authorities arrested Briton Anthony Paul Brailsford, who has lived in Cartagena since 2001. Police found photos of naked girls in his possession. Meanwhile, in March, the Spanish film producer Pablo Lapiedra was arrested on accusations that he was filming pornographic movies with children.

Colombian law provides for penalties of up to eight years in prison for those who lead, organize or promote tourist activities that include the sexual use of children and provides that property used for that purpose may be confiscated.

Figures from the government's Colombian Family Welfare Institute estimates that about 35,000 children are forced into prostitution in the country. Some 2,000 of those children live in Cartagena.

El Nuevo Heraldo

June 17, 2011

See Also:

Added Sep. 14 2005

Colombia

Así se mueve la cadena del turismo sexual con menores de edad en Cartagena.

About child sex tourism in Cartagena

Cartagena - in Colombia's largest spa and beach resort city, popular with foreign tourists, 1,200 underage children and youth engage in prostitution. 

At the city's international airport, 15 year old girls line up waiting for the arrival of one of the many weekly flights that bring in male tourists, especially from Spain and Italy. 

Many of these girls have been contacted from Europe by phone, and a week of 'companionship' has been set up. Other girls make deals with newly arrived airline passengers.  In other cases, taxi drivers and bar owners receive a fee for connecting tourists with young prostitutes.

The victims are typically young Afro-Colombian girls and boys. 

According to Vittorio Chimienti, director of a child advocacy project in Cartagena started by the Italian government following growing concern about its citizen's flagrant sex tourism:

"Law enforcement does almost nothing to control the child sex trade, and word of impunity travels rapidly around the world." 

See Also:

Added July 18 2005

Cartagena, donde se ofrecen niñas de entre ocho y 17 años en la prostitución.

Colombian authorities urged to change the laws and fight child prostitution in the spa resort city of Cartagena, where increasing numbers of girls between 8 and 17 are prostituted to sex tourists.

See Also:

Added: Nov. 07, 2004

The sexual exploitation of 1,600 minors taints Colombia's Caribbean tourist haven [of Cartagena]

...Cartagena's history as a Spanish bastion against English invasion, its cobblestone streets, quaint plazas, colonial churches, art museums and seafood restaurants attract many visitors. Yet behind the thick, ancient walls lurks a darker attraction: the sexual exploitation of minors by foreigners .

The city has become a magnet for men, many of them Europeans, seeking sex with young girls and sometimes boys, many of them from families displaced from their rural homes by fighting among leftist rebels, government forces and right-wing paramilitary groups.

On the main hotel strip, foreigners openly haggle with underage girls selling their bodies or duck past pink neon lights into what purports to be a discotheque. Inside, bored-looking teenage girls at tables perk up only when a man walks by. He can take his pick, pay as little as $15 and take her to a room across the road.

"Unfortunately, Cartagena has the image of being a place where people can have whatever kind of sexual relations they want," says Fabian Cardenas, the local coordinator for Renacer, a private group that helps victims of sexual exploitation.

"There are many foreigners who come here with the sheer objective of having sex. And what the tourist wants, the tourist gets."

An estimated 1,500 girls and boys work in Cartagena's sex industry . Over the last three years, Renacer has learned of girls as young as 7 and boys as young as 9 being sexually exploited, Cardenas says.

Cartagena isn't alone. Many Latin American cities, in countries like Mexico, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic and Brazil, are now being frequented by "sex tourists" looking for minors, as a result of shift in the business from Asia following police crackdowns.

Poverty and domestic sexual abuse push many children into the sex industry...

The Associated Press

April 07, 2004



A sample of other important news stories and commentaries



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

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