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Latin America
Women & Children at Risk
 
Topic:  Rape Case Profile - California
Assailant: Three Unknown Suspects
Article Title:  Woman Reports Rape in Santa Cruz
 
Publisher:  (c) 2004 Mercury News
Author Chuck Carroll
Publish Date:  2004-02-25
URL: http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercurynews/news/local/8040196.htm?1c

An 18-year-old woman in Santa Cruz was dragged into a van with three men inside and raped Tuesday afternoon before being released near Cabrillo College.

Det. Brad Goodwin said the woman was walking by herself from the downtown Metro Center to the boardwalk and was about halfway there, at Cliff and Third streets, when full-size brown van pulled up to her between 2:30 p.m. and 2:45 p.m.

She said one of three men in their mid-20s who were in the van pulled her into the van, where she was raped by a second man as the vehicle drove around town.

The woman was dropped at an unknown street near Cabrillo College and walked from there to the Capitola Mall, where she called the police.

Goodwin said investigators have not found any witnesses to the attack, and that the woman has been too upset to provide them with a good description of her attackers.

``We're hoping that when she calms down, she'll be able to give us more,'' he said, adding that she was scheduled for an afternoon interview today. Police hope to be able to put together a composite sketch of at least one assailant.

In a preliminary interview, the victim said all three men were about 25 years old and Hispanic. The one who pulled her into the van was about 6-foot-2, while the rapist has thick or bushy eyebrows. They have no make or model on the van.

The attack added yet another bead to a six-month string of unsolved sex crimes that have plagued the Santa Cruz community and bedeviled the police.

 

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LibertadLatina

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



Últimas Noticias

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Added: Nov. 03, 2009

The World, Latin America, Venezuela

Kidnapping and Human Trafficking – the Seamy Side of Globalization

Globalization has created new opportunities for the transfer of people and products across borders, and broadened the scope of many businesses around the world. But it’s not all good news of course: one of the seamier sides of growing international commerce is the abduction and trafficking of human beings.

The problem is getting worse. Just over a year since the collapse of the global market, countries around the world have reported a significant increase in cases of the exploitation of people for monetary gain. While cases of kidnapping and ransom continue to be common in African and Latin American countries, such as Nigeria and Venezuela, the majority of organized human trafficking cases are actually in Europe.

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) announced that the number of human trafficking cases has increased dramatically since 2006. In Europe alone, its report estimated there are 270,000 victims of human trafficking, but authorities fear it is only a fraction of unreported cases. The majority of these victims are women who have been forced into prostitution.

Yet the most shocking statistic released by the UN is an estimate that only around one-in-100,000 traffickers are actually convicted for human exploitation. “Perhaps police are not finding the traffickers and victims because they are not looking for them,” said the UNODC executive director Antonio Maria Costa. “Lives should not be for sale or for rent on a continent that prohibits slavery and forced labour, and prides itself on upholding human dignity.”

Even though most human trafficking cases are in Europe, human abduction and kidnapping have also become a significant problem in Latin America. Recently, Venezuela became the continent’s latest hot spot for kidnappings, with abduction rates higher than both Colombia and Mexico. The country’s most recent surge of kidnappings have been in Barinas, in west central Venezuela, where the abduction rate is 7.2 people per 100,000 inhabitants. According to the country’s interior ministry, the national average is much lower - roughly two kidnappings per 100,000 inhabitants...

Leah Germain

International News Services

Oct. 28, 2009

Added: Nov. 03, 2009

LibertadLatina

Commentary

Chuck Goolsby

We say again

Give Latin America and Especially its At-Risk Indigenous Peoples a Seat at the Table in the Global Fight Against Gender Oppression

The above article from International News Services, Kidnapping and Human Trafficking – the Seamy Side of Globalization, states that "most human trafficking cases are in Europe."

From our perspective, the idea that more human trafficking victims exist in Europe than in Latin America, or in Asia, does not ring true. Among the experts trying to focus the spotlight of urgent action on the crisis in Latin America is Teresa Ulloa, executive director of the Latin American and Caribbean branch of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women (CATW). Ulloa estimates that in Mexico alone, 500,000 victims of trafficking exist, far beyond the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) estimate that 270,000 victims exist in Europe. Ulloa also notes that Mexico generates an estimated 17% of its gross domestic product (DGP) from prostitution.

Repeatedly, the mainstream press, experts in human trafficking and entities such as human trafficking task forces around the United States fail to take notice of the fact that Latin America is an unending source of sex trafficking victims, given that regional efforts to combat the problem are weak, unfunded and largely unsupported by national governments, civil institutions and the general public. That source of adult and child victims is funneled into the United States, Japan and Europe by the many tens of thousands.

Until the anti-trafficking movement wakes-up and discovers that modern Latin American sexual slavery and related forms of community-based sexual exploitation are absolutely pervasive in the cities and farm fields in every corner of the United States and other destination nations for Latin America's migrant populations, victims will continue to suffer, anti-trafficking funds will continue to be misdirected, and multi-billion dollar trafficking mafias will continue to laugh in the face of civilized society.

That is not an acceptable scenario for the present, nor for the future.

Although the anti-trafficking movement in western nations is made-up of a dedicated cadre of largely white and Asian activists, reflecting the college and women's studies roots of this form of activism, Latin American, Indigenous American, African and other populations, who are indeed those who are especially targeted for kidnapping, rape and enslavement by sex traffickers across the Americas, deserve an equal place at the table in the anti-trafficking movement.

Their interests must be represented. Projects that target their rescue and restoration must also be prioritized.

Fair representation is not being effectively accomplished today.

That is not acceptable!

End impunity now!

- Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

Nov. 03, 2009

See also:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Un millón de menores latinoamericanos atrapados por redes de prostitución

Former federal special prosecutor for violent crimes against women - Alicia Elena Perez Duarte:

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

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

Full story (in English)


Added: Nov. 02, 2009

Guatemala

Guatemaltecas Son Madres Desde los Diez Años

Incesto, violación y falta de educación sexual, las causas

Las niñas guatemal-tecas suelen tener hijos más temprano de lo que mudan dientes. Desde los diez años de edad ellas ya conocen una sala de parto y saben lo que significa recuperarse del dolor de una cesárea...

Guatemalan Girls Become Mothers From the Age of Ten

Incest, Rape and a Lack of Sex Education are the Causes

Guatemalan girls have children sooner than they loose all of their baby teeth. From the age of ten they know what a delivery room is, and they know what it means to recover from the pain of a cesarean section.

Human rights advocates see this social phenomenon as a problem that occurs behind closed doors, and involves abuse by the father, an uncle or a grandfather within the home. Prosecutors and the Public Ministry are convinced that the statistics are an indication of a high incidence of rape in this nation.

Experts on sex education perceive the problem as resulting from poor knowledge about sex and its consequences, which leads to a state of social disorder.

In this Central American country of 14 million inhabitants, with a population of five million children, girls menstruate between the ages of 10 and 13. According to the Maternal and Child Health Survey of 2006, 26 of 100 girls have their first sexual experience between the ages of 13 and 15.

These teens typically have their first relationship with a friend, a boyfriend or a partner. But in many cases their first experience is a result of rape. Two out of every ten girls have been raped before finishing elementary school. Frightened, rejected and discriminated against by their families, these girls accelerate their sexual maturation by [an average of] 5 years. By the time they reach age 20, according to the National Statistics Institute, they often have two or three children.

A study conducted in 2006 by the Guttmacher Institute, entitled "Early Childbearing: A Continuing Challenge," in Guatemala there are 114 births per thousand women, while in the rest of the region, the figure is 80 births per thousand women...

However, the high level of pregnancies in girls is not  related just to a lack of sex education. According to Ana Gladys Ollas of the Prosecutor's Office for Human Rights for Women, these [child] pregnancies are also the result of incest, and emotional blackmail exerted by gang members and gangs of teenagers who sometimes rape girls collectively.

The official noted that the neighborhoods where poor pregnant girls live are also places where gangs abound. And the situation is repeated in prisons. Girls are brought to prisons to be raped as a result of acts of extortion committed against their families.

In this country, the poorest are also the most vulnerable citizens. With just  [pennies] to survive, a [typical] household with five children must submit to extortion by gangs that require them to pay fees of $50 to $1,000...

Spanking, scolding, beating, burning, being locked in a room and [extreme] prohibitions are the forms of violent punishment that girls suffer on a daily basis. Some 22 of every 100 Guatemalan girls have been beaten by their parents before age 15. These forms of violence drive young girls to seek affection from teens and men who end-up deceiving them.

Leonel Dubon, who heads the Foundation for the Girl, explains that families get rid of the babies of these young girls through the use of clandestine abortions. According to Zenaida Escobedo, head of gender affairs in the Guatemalan judiciary, in Guatemala around 65,000 illegal abortions are performed each year.

Often, after giving birth, these girls sell their babies for up to $600 to clandestine human trafficking operations...

Mayan women are the poorest of Guatemalans. They often have up to 10 sons and daughters, given that within their indigenous culture, condom use among men and contraceptive use by women is often frowned upon.

Full English Translation

CIMAC / SEMIlac

Oct. 30, 2009

LibertadLatina Note:

The above story states that the rate of childbirth in Guatemala is 114 births per thousand women. In the surrounding region the birth rate is 80 births per 1,000 women.

Here are comparable rates for young women between the ages of 15 and 19 in the United States:

  • All races and origins, 42

  • Asian/Pacific Islander, 17

  • White (including Hispanic), 38

  • American Indian/Alaska Native, 55

  • Black (including Hispanic), 65

  • Hispanic, 83

Source: U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) - 2006

LibertadLatina Note:

The targeting of ten-year-old girls by teen and adult Latino gang members for rape with impunity described in the above story occurs not only in Guatemala, by across the Americas.

See also:

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

EXCERPT

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

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

When this sexual violence occurs within the context of a seemingly permissive public environment -- indifferent civil institutions, forced silence and complicity of families, gang culture, a society that explicitly promotes the sexualization and exploitation of children through media -- its criminal and immoral nature goes unquestioned. My question is how and where do we create the public environment that allows us to voice our disapproval and to hold the implicated adults accountable for their negligent care of our children?

...We're also looking at the rate of incidence among black and Asian girls and young women to document that this is not merely a culturally accepted behavior, but rather a complex and systemic form of violence carried out against poor girls and young women of color.

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

LibertadLatina Note:

Although this serious, truthful, accurate and  poignant letter was written in 1999, from my observations, the same conditions exist today in 2009. Nothing has changed for the better, while the code of silence in the barrio and the extending tentacles of criminal networks have made the violence worse, resulting in a permissive environment in the Washington, DC, Maryland and Virginia region.

End impunity now!

- Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

Nov. 03, 2009


Added: Nov. 02, 2009

Texas, USA, Mexico, Honduras

The sex trafficking routes used by the brutal enslavers described in the several cases related in this story.

Map: LibertadLatina

Special Investigation: Inside the Slave Trade

Mission, Texas - One woman was sold on an auction block. Another became an involuntary servant in the land of the free.

"Human slavery, we have it. It is in our neighborhood but a lot of people don't want to see it," says Jaime Ortiz, a coordinator for the South Texas Civil Rights Project.

"Slavery is still here in our neighborhood in the Rio Grande Valley."

During Channel 5 News' investigation into the slave trade, we met a woman in Reynosa who had escaped her life as a sex slave the night before we spoke to her. We'll call her "Carlita."

The Honduran native says her captivity began the moment she arrived by boat in Veracruz, Mexico. Her smuggler sold her to a madam and the nightmare began.

"Carlita" tells us she ended up in a nearby brothel. Forty-five days later, she was lined up again for auction in Reynosa. She was allegedly one of half a dozen women up for sale.

…A man bought her there for $1,000.

"Carlita" says she was held captive in a home for three months…

Her captors would allegedly rape her and other slaves repeatedly. "Carlita" tells us screaming and yelling only made it worse. She learned to be quiet and turn the pain inward.

Eventually, she asked a trusted friend for help and escaped.

"Carlita" tells us her buyer wanted a child. But his long-term plans were to add "Carlita" into "the pipeline." It's the dangerous underground sex slave trade in American cities.

It starts in Houston.

FBI Agent Maritza Conde-Vazquez says Latin women like "Carlita" become cantineras.

They're forced to work in dirty saloons found among a cluster of cantinas. The businesses cater to Central Americans and are often owned by people from those countries…

From Houston, slaves are taken to Atlanta and moved up the East Coast. From Washington, D.C., the pipeline continues to New York. Some women are eventually trafficked west to San Francisco...

Conde-Vazquez says the only reason traffickers force women into prostitution is to make money.

"It's a very profitable business, when you come to think about it," explains the FBI agent. "It's a human being. And it's basically a person who can provide you endless services as long as that person is alive and in fair condition. It's going to provide you services for the life of that person."

The FBI tells us victims rarely come forward and traffickers are difficult to catch...

As for "Carlita," she was headed home to Honduras. There's no word where she is tonight.

Alex Trevino

KRGV.com

Oct. 29, 2009


Added: Nov. 02, 2009

Mexico, Latin America, The United States

Expertos: En Auge, la Trata de Personas en México

Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Chiapas - México se ha convertido en uno de los países que tienen un alto índice de trata de personas, ilícito sólo superado por el tráfico de drogas, advirtieron expertos de Centro y Sudamérica que participan en el primer Congreso internacional sobre migración, trata de personas y derechos humanos, que se inició hoy en esta entidad...

Experts: Human Trafficking is Booming in Mexico

Tuxtla Gutierrez, Chiapas state -Mexico has become one of the nations that have a high incidence of trafficking in people, [with profits] second only to illegal drug trafficking, warned Central and South American experts participating in the first International Congress on migration, human trafficking and human rights , which began today in this city.

Ana Maria Martinez, coordinator of the Violence and Trafficking Convention of Save the Children in Nicaragua; Edith Zavala, coordinator of the technical secretariat of the Regional Network of Civil Organizations for Migration of Honduras, and Rodolfo Casillas Ramirez, a researcher at the Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences Mexico (FLACSO), all indicated that in Chiapas state, human trafficking is on the increase, and declared that this criminal activity is tied to the smuggling of migrants seeking to reach the United States.

Edith Zavala stated that the problem has its origins [principally] in Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Mexico and the Dominican Republic, and that the principal destinations are the United States and Argentina.

4 Million Victims

Zavala explained that the International Labor Organization estimates that there are some 2.5 million victims of trafficking, of which 77 percent are women and 48 percent under 18, but non-governmental civil organizations indicate that people subjected to this form of slavery amount to more than 4 million people. The revenue generated is estimated at about 42 billion, 500 million dollars…

Rodolfo Casillas, a researcher at FLACSO, said the sexual and labor exploitation is present within the international and domestic migration flows because current migration policies have undesirable effects that lead to the existence, development and operation of networks of smugglers and human traffickers.

We have moved from simple smugglers to criminal networks that make this a lucrative business, and organized crime has discovered this source of profits, he concluded.

Angeles Mariscal

La Jornada

Oct. 21, 2009


Added: Nov. 02, 2009

United States, Mexico

Gustavo de la Rosa Hickerson

Mexican Official Calls U.S. Detention Unfair

Rights watchdog for Chihuahua is released by Customs and Border Protection

Human-rights official: Mexican soldiers part of drug violence

El Paso, texas - Chihuahua human-rights investigator Gustavo de la Rosa Hickerson feels betrayed and disappointed.

One day after being released by U.S. immigration authorities, Hickerson said Thursday that he felt betrayed by the Mexican government for not coming to his aid after he was taken into custody against his will last week.

And he said he was disappointed in a system in the United States that allows immigration officials to take someone into custody for his or her own safety without legal recourse.

"I was in prison five days without a legal cause to process me -- why? Because the only thing I did was to say I was afraid to be in Juárez," Hickerson said at a news conference.

On Oct. 15, de la Rosa was crossing at the Paso del Norte Bridge into El Paso when officers recognized him as a human-rights activist and questioned him, said his lawyer, Carlos Spector.

Spector said border agents asked de la Rosa whether he was afraid to be in Mexico because of his work. de la Rosa told the agents that he was afraid but that he did not want asylum.

de la Rosa said that at the moment of his detention, he expressed fear to go back to Juárez because one of his bodyguards was recently killed and he needed time to find out why. He added that the slaying was not connected in any way to him. de la Rosa receives protection from Mexican authorities.

Early in October, de la Rosa said he could document 170 cases in which Mexican soldiers extorted, kidnapped, tortured, beat or killed innocent people while deployed in the state to limit the violence that has taken hold in Chihuahua.

"I want to know who ordered my detention for being afraid. They didn't protect me; they detained me. Why did the Mexican Consulate not intervene?" asked de la Rosa, a former director of the Cereso prison in Juárez.

"The Mexican Consulate was notified of my detention immediately," he said.

"I feel betrayed by the Mexican consul; he didn't even show up to visit me once. This is not fair, not only because of who I am, but for the rest of the Mexicans," de la Rosa said.

But Mexican Consul Roberto Rodríguez said that at the beginning of de la Rosa's detention, he took immediate action by sending a letter to Ana Hinojosa, director of field operations for Customs and Border Protection, asking her to inform the consulate about de la Rosa's legal status. The letter was sent on Oct. 16, one day after de la Rosa's detention...

Aileen B. Flores

The El Paso Times

Oct. 23, 2009


Added: Nov. 02, 2009

California, USA

Manuel Ortega. Ortega, 19, is charged with rape, robbery and assault causing great bodily injury in the attack.

Richmond High School Gang Rape: Four Men Charged in Viscious Attack on 15-year-old California Girl

Richmond - Four teens could appear in court as early as Thursday after being charged in the alleged gang rape of a 15-year-old girl outside her high school homecoming dance in Northern California.

The four - ages 15, 16, 17 and 19 - were charged Wednesday with rape and enhancements that they acted in concert, which could make them eligible for life in prison.

"These are people who played a significant role in the incident," Richmond Police Lt. Mark Gagan said. "I'm confident that more arrests will be made."

Besides rape, the 19-year-old, Manuel Ortega of Richmond, was charged with robbery and assault causing great bodily injury. It was unknown if he had an attorney.

The other three face one count each of felony rape with a foreign object. They were charged as adults because of the severity of the crime, Gagan said. The 16-year-old also faces robbery charges.

All four remained in custody Wednesday. A fifth suspect arrested Tuesday, 21-year-old Salvador Rodriguez of Richmond, also remained jailed but had not been charged.

The alleged gang rape and beating Saturday night at Richmond High School have rattled the city of about 120,000 in the San Francisco Bay area.

Police believe as many as 10 people ranging in age from 15 to mid-20s attacked the girl for more than two hours in a dimly lit area. As many as two dozen people witnessed the rape without notifying police...

New York Daily News

Oct. 29, 2009


Added: Nov. 02, 2009

Nevada, USA

Police Arrest Mother of Girl, 15, in Relationship with Soccer Coach

Daughter told police her mother approved of relationship, but mother denies it

Henderson Police have arrested the mother of a 15-year-old girl who was in an ongoing sexual relationship with a soccer coach.

The private soccer club coach, 40-year-old Gabriel G. Lopez of Las Vegas, was booked Wednesday on 11 counts of statutory sexual seduction, Henderson Police said.

A Henderson police officer spotted a black Chevy Tahoe parked in a dark area of the Arroyo Grande Sports Complex parking lot about 10:30 p.m. Tuesday, police said. The officer found a man and a girl inside the vehicle and the girl said she had had sexual relations with Lopez since June.

Police said that the alleged sexual relationship is believed to be consensual, the girl had not reached the age of consent, which is 16 years under state law.

After Lopez and the girl gave police separate interviews to the police, the girl told police that her mother approved of the relationship. "Love only comes around once," she quoted her mother as saying.

The girl also told police that her mother also said, "You can't deny love. You never know who it will be," according to a police report.

The girl told police that her mother suggested Lopez provide a second cell phone to the girl, so her father would not find out about the relationship, the report said.

According to the mother's interview with police, she denied approving of her daughter's relationship with Lopez, and told her to end the affair.

The mother is facing a felony charge of child abuse, neglect or endangerment.

Mary Manning

The Nevada Sun

Oct 23, 2009


Added: Nov. 02, 2009

Texas, USA

Francisco Manuel Rodriguez

Lubbock Man Sentenced for Rape of 11-Year-Old Girl

A Lubbock man will spend up to 35 years in prison for the rape of his young neighbor.

137th District Judge Cecil Puryear sentenced Francisco Manuel Rodriguez, 36, for the July 2008 rape of an 11-year-old girl.

Rodriguez pleaded guilty Monday. He had faced up to life in prison.

His victim described the attack Tuesday morning in front of families from both sides of the case.

Rodriguez walked into the girl’s house while she was home alone and began rubbing her legs, the girl said.

It progressed to forced sex from there.

“I asked him what he was doing but he never answered me,” the girl said. “I told him to stop, but he didn’t.”

She reported the assault shortly after. Police found Rodriguez drinking beer on his couch not long after her call.

Logan G. Carver

Avalanche Journal

Oct. 27, 2009


Added: Nov. 02, 2009

Connecticut, USA

Norwalk Man Guilty of Sexually Abusing 11-Year-Old Girl

Stamford - A Norwalk man was found guilty by a Stamford Superior Court jury of sexually molesting his girlfriend's 11-year-old daughter and faces 60 years in prison when sentenced in January.

After the guilty verdict came in at noon Tuesday, Judge Richard Comerford increased Ricardo Roman's bond to $250,000, and he was taken into custody. Since his arrest on two counts of first-degree sexual assault and risk of injury to a child in January 2008, Roman had been freed on $20,000 bond.

The jury found Roman, 40, formerly of 3 Trinity Place, Norwalk, guilty on all three counts.

The verdict, after five hours of deliberation Monday and Tuesday, followed three days of testimony last week where the victim, now 18, and Roman's daughter, 19, testified against him. The victim's name is being withheld by The Advocate. Last week, Roman took the stand and denied the allegations and professed his innocence.

Supervisory Assistant State's Attorney James Bernardi, the prosecutor, said jurors made the right decision. "I think the jury carefully considered the evidence and came to the right conclusion. The victim in the case lives in South Carolina, and the victim's advocate said she was extremely gratified and emotionally overcome by the verdict," he said...

During the trial, the victim told the jury that when she was 11 and 12, Roman forced her to perform oral sex on him at the Trinity Place apartment on more than one occasion.

The woman said that even though the sexual abuse occurred much earlier, she decided to come forward with her allegations against Roman in 2007 after she gave birth to a boy -- not Roman's -- and wanted to give him a "better life."

John Nickerson
Stamford Advocate
Oct. 27, 2009


Added: Nov. 02, 2009

Texas, USA

12-year-old Sexually Assaulted in Northeast Austin

Police are investigating the sexual assault of a 12-year-old girl in NE Austin on Tuesday evening.

Police responded to the call of a sexual assault around 8:30p.m. at the Dottie Jordan Recreation Center, located at 2803 Loyola Lane, that’s near Manor Road and Northeast Drive.

Authorities tell KEYE TV a Hispanic male enticed the girl into a vehicle where he sexually assaulted her.

Police aren’t releasing any other details but say they are investigating the incident...

John Bumgardner

WeAreAuston.com

Oct 27, 2009 Austin


Added: Nov. 02, 2009

California, USA

Maximum Sentence Handed Down in Three Molestations

Oroville - A Gridley farmworker captured in Mexico was sentenced Tuesday to the maximum term of 12 years in prison for molesting three minor girls.

Rodolfo Dolorez Campos had been facing a potential life sentence on multiple charges of continuous sexual abuse of minors, before pleading no contest this summer to three of the molestation counts.

Prior to sentence being imposed Tuesday, statements were read to Butte County Superior Court Judge Thomas Kelly from the defendant's wife and the three victims.

The spouse said Campos frequently beat her when he drank, but that she did not immediately go to the police because he was the sole breadwinner in the family.

It was after he fled to Mexico that she said she learned of the molestations involving the three victims, ages 13 and 14.

In her written statement, Campos' wife told the judge that before her husband was arrested last year and extradited back to face trial, he had been involved in smuggling illegal aliens across the border.

A victim witness advocate read prepared statements from two of the molestation victims and a third victim addressed the court herself Tuesday.

All three said they reviled Campos for the humiliating and emotionally scarring crimes against them and hoped he could receive more time behind bars than 12 years.

The judge noted that was the maximum sentence that could be imposed on the counts to which the defendant had pleaded no contest.

The plea bargain had been offered in part to avoid the victims having to relive the ordeal on the witness stand, the judge noted.
Kelly agreed with deputy district attorney Lynda Hunt the crimes were "particularly cruel and callous," the teenage victims were vulnerable and Campos had taken advantage of a position of trust...

Terry Vau Dell

ChicoER.com

Oct. 21, 2009


Added: Oct. 29, 2009

California, USA

Victim is carried to waiting helicopter ambulance

15-year-Old Girl Beaten and Gang-raped Outside of High School

Richmond, - Police believe as many as a dozen people watched a 15-year-old girl get beaten and gang-raped outside her high school homecoming dance without reporting it.

Two suspects were in custody Monday, but police said as many as five other men attacked the girl over a two-hour period Friday night outside Richmond High School.

"She was raped, beaten, robbed and dehumanized by several suspects who were obviously OK enough with it to behave that way in each other's presence," Lt. Mark Gagan said. "What makes it even more disturbing is the presence of others. People came by, saw what was happening and failed to report it."

The victim remained hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries.

Manuel Ortega, 19, was arrested at the scene and was being held on $800,000 bail for investigation of rape and robbery. He is not a student at the school.

Richmond police Sgt. David Harris said he did not know if Ortega had retained an attorney.

A 15-year-old student also was booked late Monday on one count of sexual assault...

The Associated Press

Oct. 27, 2009

See also:

Friend of Gang Rape Victim Blasts School Officials Over Safety

...Police investigating the rape have arrested five people -- two adults and three minors, who will be charged as adults, said Lt. Mark Gagan, the Richmond police spokesman.

As many as 10 people were involved in the assault in a dimly lighted back alley at the school, police have said. Another 10 people watched, without calling 911.

The victim was released from hospital Wednesday.

[Article includes link to video report]

Moni Basu
CNN
Oct. 29, 2009


Added: Oct. 28, 2009

Colombia

Indigenous women in Colombia

Photo: Intermón Oxfam

Sexual Violence as Weapon of War

Women's bodies are not spoils of war, say the women of Colombia.

Bogota, - Sexual violence is used as a weapon of war in Colombia by all parties in the country’s longstanding armed conflict, and its main victims are women and girls, states a report recently released by Intermón Oxfam, backing up claims made repeatedly by national and international human rights groups.

At the launch of the report, released simultaneously in Bogota and Madrid, Paula San Pedro of Intermón Oxfam – the Spanish branch of the relief and development organization Oxfam International - stressed that all of the armed groups in Colombia, including government security forces, far-right paramilitary forces and leftist guerrilla rebels, use sexual violence as a weapon of war, "to the extent that it has become an integral part of the conflict."

...Over four million people have been forcibly displaced by the ongoing conflict since 1995, according to figures from a number of non-governmental organizations, including the Consultancy on Human Rights and Displacement (CODHES). This figure represents roughly 10 percent of the country’s total population of 42 million.

The majority of the displaced are peasant farmers and black or indigenous Colombians forced off their land, often after witnessing the killing of family members or rape of women from their communities…

Machista culture trumps modern laws

The persistent struggle waged by women eventually had an impact in the judicial and legislative arenas, leading to reforms of existing laws and the adoption of new ones. Their achievements include the recognition of women as victims of sexual violence and of their right to compensation.

Nevertheless, "these legislative advances do not appear to have had any effect in actual practice," Quintero told IPS.

This is because the modernization of the country’s laws has done nothing to change the underlying culture or to curb acts of aggression against women "in a particularly machista and patriarchal society," said San Pedro, the coordinator of the Intermón Oxfam report, at its launch in Madrid.

The report estimates that "between 60 and 70 percent of Colombian women have suffered some form of sexual, physical, emotional or political violence" - statistics that show that violence against women is a phenomenon that goes beyond the problem of the armed conflict.

Moreover, it is a phenomenon that has actually worsened instead of diminishing in recent years. Sources consulted by IPS concurred that the "democratic security policy" implemented by the right-wing government of President Álvaro Uribe has resulted in a rise in violence against women...

...The report to be released by Sisma-Mujer in November maintains that the perpetrators of this violence go unpunished in an astounding 97 percent of cases...

"There is not a single region in the country where women can feel safe," said San Pedro, before going on to stress that "Afro-Colombian and indigenous women are the most vulnerable to sexual violence, given the triple discrimination they suffer because of their gender, ethnicity and poverty."

Helda Martínez

Inter press Service (IPS)

Oct. 21, 2009


Added: Oct. 25, 2009

Nicaragua

Photo: Evelyn Hockstein

Rozievel, 15 and pregnant, is a child prostitute. She gets into a customer's car on a main street in downtown Managua, Nicaragua. "I do this to help my mother, she is a diabetic. My father left us when I was nine and we have no other alternatives. My mother knows what I do. I used to sell goods at the market but I didn't make enough money. I sold cigarettes and water in bags. I had a friend who also worked in the market and she suggested I come with her."

"I was raped when I was 13 by two guys. It was seven in the evening and I was on my way home from the market when they raped me. These two men used to live in the neighborhood where we used to live. We had problems with these men. (After the rape) I stayed home for a month without going out. We needed money, so we borrowed some, but we were in so much debt I decided to go to the streets."

"Two months after I started working she (mother) asked me how I got money, and I told her. My mom is 60 and a diabetic, and she can't work. She agreed there was no other alternative. I finished third grade. I dropped out when we didn't have any money. ..I go out every night and I make 100 -150 Cordoba's [$US 4.84 to $7.26]...

Evelyn Hockstein

The above photo and story are part of a photo collection on child and youth prostitution by Evelyn Hockstein.


Added: Oct. 24, 2009

Guatemala, Mexico

Jacqueline Maria Jirón Silva, who was kidnapped at age 11 at a beach in Nicaragua, is one of many thousands of children who have been prostituted in the city of Tapachula, Mexico.

The NGO Save the Children has identified southern Mexico as being the largest zone for the commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC) in the entire world. The lawless city of Tapachula is the epicenter of that  crisis of impunity.

Buscan rescatar a niños guatemaltecos explotados en Tapachula

El Gobierno mexicano pondrá en marcha un programa de sensibilización denominado “Los Hijos del Águila y el Quetzal”, que tiene como objetivo rescatar a niños en riesgo de calle, en su mayoría indígenas guatemaltecos, que son víctimas de explotación laboral y de prostitución en Tapachula, Chiapas…

Authorities Seek to Rescue Guatemalan Children Exploited in Tapachula, Mexico

The Mexican government will launch an awareness program called "The Children of the Eagle and the Quetzal, which aims to rescue street children at risk. Most of these children are indigenous Guatemalans who become the victims of labor exploitation and prostitution in Tapachula, Chiapas.

Moises Sanchez Lopez, head of Human Rights for the city government of Tapachula, explained that the first phase of the project is to raise awareness with messages through the media, including that adults not give money to street children, because that money is destined for the pockets of the criminal networks that exploit them.

Sanchez added that the second phase is to rescue the street children. They have sought support from the consulates of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, the National Human Rights Commission, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the National Migration Institute, the Special Prosecutor for Attention to Crimes Against Migrants, and the Catholic Church affiliated NGO Defenders of the Human Rights of Migrants and Entrepreneurs.

Sanchez said the program seeks to prevent children from becoming victims of sexual and labor exploitation.

In Tapachula, dozens of children, mostly indigenous Guatemalans, are forced to work in begging, selling candy and cigarettes, shining shoes, cleaning windshields and as clowns.

These children, who average 13 years-of-age, work as many as 12 hours a day for negligible wages, and in some cases, without pay. They are forced to live in overcrowded conditions and are only given one meal a day.

According to the complaint by Guatemala’s diplomats, the majority of children living in villages on Mexico’s border are sold by their parents to be exploited in Mexico. Children with disabilities are sold for higher prices, and are taken to the cities of Tuxtla Gutierrez, Tapachula and Huixtla.

The the program "The Sons of the Eagle and the Quetzal," has been developed by the state government of Chiapas, through its Secretary for Southern Border Development, Secretaria de Desarrollo de la Frontera Sur, working together with the DIF [Integral Family Development] social services agency.

Prensa Libre

Oct. 22, 2009

See also:

LibertadLatina

Special Section

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

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

According to one study of conditions in Tapachula, city police efforts focus not on stopping rampant child prostitution, but on making sure that child prostitutes don't congregate around city schools and residential neighborhoods.

Tapachula is also the center of the crisis of rape with impunity that takes place along Mexico's border with Guatemala. The International Organization for Migration's office in Tapachula has estimated that 450 to 600 Central and South American migrant women per day are raped along the Mexican side of the border, with no Mexican law enforcement response to that mass gender atrocity whatsoever.

The largely Mayan state of Chiapas, where Tapachula is located, is the only non-federal government entity in the Americas to have developed a working relationship with the United Nations to obtain assistance in its efforts to begin to combat exploitation in the region, due to the urgency of their crisis of impunity.

- Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

Oct. 24, 2009


Added: Oct. 24, 2009

The United Nations, The World, Venezuela

Naciones Unidas: Víctimas de tráfico humano exponen sus desgarradoras experiencias

Cuatro víctimas del tráfico y explotación de personas expusieron hoy en la sede de la ONU sus desgarradoras experiencias para exigir a las autoridades mundiales una mayor persecución de las redes implicadas en esta actividad criminal.

El evento organizado por la Alta Comision-ada para los Derechos Humanos de Naciones Unidas, Navy Pillay, contó con la participación del secretario general del organismo, Ban Ki-moon.

"Las cuatro personas que comparecen hoy aquí son algo más que víctimas y supervivientes, son testigos de la verdad", afirmó el máximo responsable de la ONU, quien les encomió por su "valor".

Ban abogó por intensificar la lucha contra este fenómeno criminal para que la "respuesta sea tan amplia como lo es el problema y se ataque de raíz".

"Los índices de detenciones en la mayoría de países son microscópicos comparados con la magnitud del problema", aseguró...

Las redes criminales trafican anualmente con unas dos millones de personas y mantienen en condiciones de trabajo forzoso en total a unos 12,3 millones, según diversos organismos internacionales.

"Como todos los que estamos aquí, queremos contar nuestra historia para que se persiga más a estos criminales", aseguró la venezolana Kika Cerpa, que durante tres años fue obligada a prostituirse en Nueva York por delincuentes que regentaban burdeles clandestinos.

La joven había conocido a un hombre en el hotel de Caracas en el que trabajaba, que años después la convenció de emigrar a EE.UU. para vivir juntos como pareja, pero a su llegada la forzó a trabajar para su familia.

Cerpa aseguró que durante esos tres años fue detenida en varias ocasiones por la policía, pero en ningún momento se le ofreció la posibilidad de protegerla de la mafia que la controlaba...

www.adn.es

Oct. 22, 2009

[Note: An English-language news article about the U.N. High Commissioner's human trafficking testimony presentation covered in the above story is available immediately below. - LL]


Added: Oct. 23, 2009

The United Nations, The World, Venezuela

Victims of Human Trafficking Speak Out

United Nations - A father of two from Nepal who thought he was going to America wound up in Iraq, forced to work at a U.S. airbase. A 14-year-old Ugandan girl kidnapped by rebels spent nearly eight years in captivity as a sex slave and human shield. And a young Venezuelan woman lured to New York by the man she loved wound up in a brothel his family was running.

The three victims of human trafficking spoke Thursday at an event organized by U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay who said it was "pressing and urgent" not only to listen to their stories of survival but to get their recommendations on how the international community can help end the growing global scourge...

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who opened the event, said the global economic crisis "is making the problem worse."

He urged governments to heed his "call to action" and step up efforts to prevent exploitation, protect victims and pursue traffickers whose conviction rates in most countries "are microscopic compared to the scope of the problem."

The U.N. Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking estimated last year that annual profits from trafficked, forced labor is around $31.6 billion...

Kikka Cerpa described falling in love with a man named Daniel while working at a hotel in the Venezuelan capital, Caracas, when she was 17 years old. A few years later, she said, Daniel moved to New York and eventually she went to join him, only to discover that his family ran a sex trafficking ring.

Cerpa said her passport and money were taken, she was put in a basement and told she owed the family a lot of money, and the only way to pay it off was to work in a brothel.

"The first night was the worst," she said, her voice quavering. "I have [had] to service 90 men."

Cerpa said she was trafficked from brothel to brothel over the next three years. Sometimes police would raid the brothels, but "instead of rescuing us, they demand that we perform sexual services on them." After her best friend in the brothel was murdered by a customer, she said, she knew she had to leave — so she married a customer, but he beat her and threatened to have her deported.

Finally, she escaped and was helped by an organization to get a divorce and legalize her status in the U.S.

"I'm telling my story to help all the trafficking victims around the world," she said. "We need to pass and enforce laws that will protect us from traffickers like Daniel."

Cerpa said customers should also be held accountable and "treated like a criminal, like they are," and police officers and prosecutors should be trained to identify and protect victims.

Edith M. Lederer

The Associated Press

Oct. 23, 2009


Added: Oct. 23, 2009

Mexico, The United States

Human Rights Advocates Rally Around Hickerson

Monsignor Arturo Banuelas from St. Pius X Parish, Ray Rojas, executive director of Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center, immigrant lawyer Carlos Spector, and County Attorney Jose Rodriguez stand behind Gustavo De la Rosa Hickerson during an Oct. 6, 2009 press conference in El Paso, Texas, nine days before his 'forced asylum' arrest.

“He has said, ‘I will not seek asylum; I want to confront my government, I want to seek safety for the people I defend, and for the institution that is supposed to defend these individuals engaged in no other activity other than trying to make an honest living in Mexico.’” - Carlos Spector on Gustavo De la Rosa Hickerson.

Newspaper Tree

Oct. 06, 2009

U.S. Put Mexican Human Rights Crusader into Forced Asylum

Lawyer likens episode at El Paso crossing to 'Twilight Zone'

Mexico City - Gustavo de la Rosa looks over his shoulder, notes suspicious license plates, changes his routine. As one of the most prominent human rights officials in Ciudad Juarez, he says he would be a fool not to. On Wednesday, his home town reached a milestone: more than 2,000 people slain this year. His phone rings all day with pleas for help -- and with threats.

When de la Rosa crossed the international bridge from Ciudad Juarez to El Paso on Oct. 15, as he has done hundreds of times, he did not think it unusual that inspectors with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency asked whether he feared for his life. He said yes. They asked whether he was seeking political asylum. He said no, not at this time. Then U.S. agents detained him, for his own safety.

"They said to me: 'Well, then, we cannot allow you to return. You have not violated any law. But neither can we allow you to be free in El Paso.' I took this as a gesture of hospitality. And then they said, 'We are going to protect you by taking you to a secure place,' " de la Rosa wrote in a letter to his supporters, saying that he was treated well but was put in handcuffs when taken to see a doctor. "Could it be true," he asked, "that I am in prison?"

De la Rosa was held for almost a week as U.S. officials sorted out his case. His attorney asked: What case?

"This is one of those episodes of 'Twilight Zone' on the border," said Carlos Spector, de la Rosa's attorney and friend. "It's one of those cases where idiots screw up, but it is too embarrassing, and so they don't know what to do. You're just trapped in this bureaucratic maze."

Spector said de la Rosa was released late Wednesday.

De la Rosa, 63, is the public face of human rights in Ciudad Juarez, where he serves as a top official on Chihuahua state's human rights commission. He is also a lawyer, a professor and a source for reporters digging into allegations of abuses by police, soldiers and prosecutors...

Between January 2008 and September, de la Rosa collected 154 human rights complaints against the Mexican military, including "allegations of house searches without warrants, arbitrary detentions, torture, abuse and even killings during the detention of the victims..."

William Booth

The Washington Post

Oct. 22, 2009


Added: Oct. 18, 2009

Texas, USA,

Ciudad Juarez, Mexico

Chihuahua state human rights official Gustavo de la Rosa Hickerson dared to speak the truth about military torture and murder in Ciudad Juarez and across Chihuahua state, as well as the failure of state authorities to properly investigate the 'femicide' murders of women.

U.S. Customs Detains Mexican Human Rights Activist

El Paso - A Mexican human rights official is in U.S. customs detention, apparently for his own safety, after he reported 170 instances of Mexican soldiers allegedly torturing, abusing and killing innocent people in Chihuahua [state].

Customs and Border Protection agents took Gustavo de la Rosa Hickerson into custody Thursday.

A report in Saturday's El Paso Times says his lawyer Carlos Spector believed they wanted him to seek political asylum.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokeswoman Leticia Zamarripa says Hickerson was taken into custody due to "mandatory detention provisions and will be afforded all rights and procedures allowed" under U.S. laws.

Hickerson works for the Chihuahua State Human Rights Commission.

The Associated Press

Oct. 17,2009

See also:

Arrestan a Gustavo de la Rosa Hickerson en El Paso

Ciudad Juárez, Chih.- El visitador de la Comisión Estatal de Derechos Humanos asignado a la oficina de Ciudad Juárez, Gustavo de la Rosa Hickerson, fue arrestado en la vecina ciudad de El Paso, Texas por supuestos cargos de ilegal estancia en los Estados Unidos.

A finales de septiembre de la Rosa Hickerson, se refugió en El Paso, Texas, junto con su esposa y su hijo de 21 años, debido a las amenazas de muerte que ha recibido y a la falta de protección de las autoridades mexicanas.

Esta mañana el abogado Carlos Spector informó a través de un comunicado sobre la detención del derechohumanista y aseguró que de la Rosa Hickerson no cometió ningún delito.

En el comunicado se asegura que el derechohumanista ingresó legalmente al vecino país “no cometió ningún crimen ni violación de la ley", indica.

El arrestó lo logro personal del Departamento de Seguridad Interna (DHS, sus siglas en inglés)...

JuarezPress.com

Oct. 16, 2009

See also:

Human Rights Worker Flees Mexico

A prominent human rights worker in Cuidad, Juarez, sought temporary refuge in El Paso, Texas, claiming his life has been threatened. But it's not the drug cartels who are threatening him, he says, it's the Mexican military. He says they've targeted him after he detailed their hundreds of abuses in the past year. Now he's been placed in detention by U.S. Customs and Immigration.

[Story includes link to audio news report.]

Monica Ortiz Uribe

[U.S.] National Public Radio

Oct. 17,2009

See also:

Ciudad Juárez Women's News: Lawyer Beaten, Links Found in Disappearances

Gustavo de la Rosa Hickerson, a Ciudad Juárez labor lawyer, university professor, women's activist and former prison director, was pulled over, beaten, robbed and threatened between 12:00 and 1:00 a.m. on Wednesday, December 11 while driving to his home near Cd. Juárez.

The four men that attacked de la Rosa tried to stop his car three times but he escaped on the first two of these occasions. When he was finally stopped De la Rosa had a gun pointed at him, was severely beaten and told "not to be so brave or outspoken." His wallet, passport and cell phone were also stolen from him.

Because of the lights the pursuing vehicle used and the men's weapons, de la Rosa believes that his assailants were police officers. De la Rosa also believes that robbery was not the motive for the attack because he is not a wealthy man, drives an old car and the warning or threat meant that the men knew who he was.

De la Rosa told the Ciudad Juárez newspaper El Diario that only two people are angry at him: State Attorney General Jesús José Solís Sliva and a local maquiladora owner. De la Rosa believes that he angered the attorney general when he spoke about the investigation of crimes against women in Cd. Juárez. De la Rosa is also the lawyer for a group of Cd. Juárez maquiladora workers and said that the owner of the facility has threatened him a number of times.

Frontera Norte Sur

Feb. 2003

See also:

The Dead Women of Juarez: A New Mexican's Retrospective Upon the Appointment of Arturo Chavez Chavez

...In May 1998, Mexico's National Human Rights Commission asked for an investigation of the attorney general's office in Chihuahua, given mounting evidence that office was severely deficient in its inquiries into the crimes. In response, state authorities belittled the commission's work, characterizing it as "partial," and "leading to false conclusions and statements, and lacking any foundation in objectivity." (Flash forward: last week Chihuahua State Human Rights Commission investigator Gustavo de la Rosa Hickerson moved to El Paso from Juarez, he said, after multiple threats to his life for publicizing complaints about abuses by army personnel in Joint Operation Chihuahua)...

La Politica: New Mexico!

Sep. 26, 2009



Added: Oct. 10, 2009

Óscar Arias Sánchez, President of Costa Rica and 1987 Nobel Peace Prize Winner

 

Óscar Arias Sánchez President of Costa Rica: UN General Assembly Address

United Nations - The following is the English Summary Statement by H.E. Óscar Arias Sánchez, President of Costa Rica, delivered to the United Nations General Assembly in September of 2009 at United Nations Headquarters in New York City:

Óscar Arias Sánchez, President of Costa Rica, said that, when he had first spoken at the United Nations 23 years ago, it was as “an island of reason in a sea of insanity”, and he came bearing the cries of millions of Central Americans who sought a peaceful solution to the civil wars that lacerated the region. The second time he had come, it was to ask for support for a peace plan signed by the Presidents of Central America. In those days, “no one thought we would have the strength to confront the Powers of the cold war and find our own solution to our problems. No one thought that we would be able to sow the seed of democracy in our lands.”

Today, he wanted to recognize the distance Central America had traveled, but to also warn of the risk of falling back. He said one Central American nation had seen the “demons of coup d’état” awaken once again [in Honduras]. The armies of the region received nearly $60 billion [mostly from the United States -LL] to combat “imaginary enemies,” while the people struggled against the economic crisis with empty hands. He said some leaders defied democratic rules in “imaginative ways”, while problems on the continent have remained the same or have deteriorated. Poverty continued to afflict more than a third of its inhabitants, and one in three Latin Americans had not “seen a high school classroom”. Additionally, the violent death rates of some countries in the region exceeded that of countries at war...

He said it was difficult for Latin America to not feel it was always rescuing the future from the claws of the past. The problems of democracy, development and fighting militarism and oppression were cycles that repeated themselves in most developing nations. These nations also bore the worst part of the struggle against global warming, and would carry the heaviest burden of population growth.

Success would depend on whether three fundamental challenges could be taken on, namely strengthening democracy; promoting development through the reduction of military spending and arms trafficking; and the creation of a new international order for the transfer of aid, information and technology to combat climate change...

(Article includes Full-Text & Video in Spanish and English)

MaximsNews Network

Oct. 09, 2009


Added: Oct. 10, 2009

The United States

Report: U.S. Officials Unaware of Child Sex-Trafficking Problem

Washington, DC - Most Americans, including far too many government officials, have no idea that children under the age of 18 are being shipped from state to state as child prostitutes, according to a report from an anti-sex trafficking organization.

In fact, an estimated 100,000 American children under 18 years of age are victimized through prostitution every year and children rented for sex acts might be raped 6,000 times over the course of five years. In addition, the United States should be -- but is not -- listed on the "Tier 2" watch list in the State Department's Trafficking in Persons Report.

Those are among the troubling findings by Shared Hope International (SHI), which conducted investigations in 10 United States cities with a grant from the U.S. Department of Justice.

"Few participants in the assessments realized that the victims described in the [federal anti-trafficking law] definition of sex trafficking victims included specifically U.S. citizen and lawful permanent resident minors under 18 years of age regardless of their perceived consent to the commercial sex activities," SHI reported.

The report also found:

- The majority of law enforcement personnel and social service providers have little or no awareness of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA), the federal law that provides the means to combat trafficking in persons.

- There is a widespread failure by police, courts and youth shelters to identify under-age victims of sex trafficking.

- Children often are arrested and charged with prostitution, even though the TVPA says victims must not be held responsible for being forced to commit a crime.

- There are few shelters in the country to house and protect minor victims of sex trafficking.

Domestic minor sex trafficking consists of "child sex slavery, child sex trafficking, prostitution of children, commercial sexual exploitation of children ... and rape of a child," the report said. Children are exploited through prostitution, pornography and/or stripping, among other means, according to the report.

It is estimated at least 100,000 American [U.S.] children under 18 years of age are victimized through prostitution every year, according to SHI.

Demonstrating the magnitude of the problem for a single child trapped in sexual slavery, SHI said in its 82-page report published in May: "A domestic minor sex trafficking victim who is rented for sex acts with five different men per night, for five nights per week, for an average of five years, would be raped by 6,000 buyers during the course of her victimization through prostitution."

Cindy Ortiz

Baptist Press

Oct. 5, 2009


Added: Oct. 10, 2009

Thousands Believed to be Enslaved in the United States

Kevin Bales, president of the nonprofit group Free the Slaves, said there are 40,000 to 50,000 slaves in the United States, based on conservative estimates.

Bales said about 14,500 slaves are brought into the U.S. each year. Prior to Sept. 11, 2001, the Central Intelligence Agency estimated 50,000 people were being trafficked into the country annually. Bales credited border tightening with the reduction.

Experts said about half of all slaves in the U.S. are in the sex industry. The rest are used in agriculture, domestic service and other forms of labor.

Many nationalities are involved in the U.S. sex trade and slavery, including Mexicans, Russians and Chinese, investigators said.

One recent study found slaves from 60 countries in 90 U.S. cities.

According to the United Nations, human trafficking is the third most lucrative criminal enterprise in the world after weapons and narcotics.

In 2000 Congress passed the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, which makes trafficking people a federal crime and sets aside 5,000 special visas annually for the victims of human trafficking.

Bales said women who are trafficked into the U.S. as sex slaves are subjected to serial sexual assaults that have a traumatic effect.

"It's the complete loss of freedom," Bales said of the sex slaves. "You're under violent control. This meets all the legal criteria for slavery. It is slavery."

Jason A. Kahl

The Reading Eagle

Sep. 27, 2009


Added: Oct. 10, 2009

Detectives Arrest Sex Battery Suspect

Kissimmee - Osceola County Sheriff's detectives on Friday arrested Edwin Antonio Torres-Cruz, 20, of Kissimmee, and charged him with sexual battery, kidnapping, possession or use of a weapon and attempted armed robbery.

Torres-Cruz was identified several days after the incident when detectives received information the suspect was seen back in the area where the crime occurred. He was brought in for questioning and initially cooperated but then refused to provide any information, according to detectives.

Investigators eventually obtained a positive match from DNA evidence from the crime scene that matched Torres-Cruz. An arrest warrant was obtained early Friday and he was picked up and brought back to the Osceola County Sheriff's Office...

Osceola County Sheriff's deputies responded to the Indian Wells subdivision in Kissimmee. Upon arrival, deputies spoke with a 47-year-old Hispanic victim who indicated she was walking in the area of Warrior Lane and Moccasin Drive when an unknown male attacked her from behind. The suspect demanded money from the victim and threatened her with a knife. When the victim told the suspect she did not have any money, he sexually battered her before leaving the area.

"I jog once in a while, but I never jog by myself," said resident Carla Lorena. "My husband jogs with me."

WOFL FOX 35

Oct 10, 2009


Added: Oct. 8, 2009

Maryland, USA

Dr. Mark Lagon - Executive Director of Polaris Project and previously the Ambassador-at-Large and Director of the U.S. State Department's Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (TIP), will speak at the October 24th anti-trafficking rally in Baltimore.

Upcoming Event

Coalition Of Anti-Human Trafficking Organizations To Host "Maryland Stop Modern Slavery Rally

Baltimore, MD  - A "Maryland Stop Modern Slavery Rally" will be held on October 24, 2009, in Baltimore, MD, a coalition of anti-human trafficking organizations, including the Maryland Human Trafficking Task Force announced today.

This ground-breaking rally will be held on "Make a Difference Day." There will be speakers from government and non-profit organizations, live entertainment and information sessions/booths set up by organizations dedicated to combating modern-day slavery.

This event will endeavor to inform the communities and citizens of Maryland on the issues and presence of human trafficking in our 'back-yard.' There will also be information from the various organizations in the region that fight to combat human trafficking, and how YOU can make a difference.

Event speakers:

* Herman Ingram - representing the Maryland Governor's office of Crime Control and Prevention.

* Rev. Jerome Stephens - representing the office of Senator Benjamin L. Cardin

* Trudy Perkins will be at the rally representing the office of Congressman Elijah E. Cummings

* Mark Lagon - Executive Director and CEO of Polaris Project and previously the Ambassador-at-Large and Director of the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (TIP)

* Nancy Winston - Shared Hope International, National Awareness, Member Board of Directors.

* Lisa Lynn Chapman - Survivor Services Director at Boat People SOS.

* Sidney Ford - Director of the YANA Place and Victim Services Subcommittee Chair of the Maryland Human Trafficking Task Force.

* Dan Kane - Justice Advocate at International Justice Mission.

Address: 901 Hollins St., Baltimore, MD

Date: Saturday, October 24, 2009

Time: 3:00 to 5:00 pm

A coalition of anti-human trafficking organizations and the Maryland Human Trafficking Task Force


Added: Oct. 5, 2009

Minnesota, USA

Trafficking Native American Girls and Women in Minnesota

On September 25, Minneapolis councilmember Gary Schiff's monthly breakfast meeting addressed the trafficking of Native American girls and women in Minnesota. Guest speakers Suzanne Koepplinger, Executive Director of the Minnesota Indian Women's Resource Center (MWIRC) and Suzanne Tibbits Young from the Division of Indian Work presented the results of recent research on the subject in an effort to increase community awareness of this issue.

About 20 people attended the meeting, which included a summary of the report entitled "Shattered Hearts: The Commercial Sexual Exploitation of American Indian Women and Girls in Minnesota."  The MIWRC and the Division of Indian Work also made recommendations for confronting the problem. The report was spurred by a 2007 Human Trafficking Task Force estimate that showed a disproportionate amount of Native American Women experiencing sexual exploitation.

In response to the August 2009 report, Suzanne Koepplinger discussed finding solutions that would be "meeting the needs of the victim from their perspective, not our perspective." A view shared by both Koepplinger and Tibbits Young was that a multidimensional approach to helping victims is key, considering the number of contributing factors associated with this problem. The women explained that poverty, lack of housing options, lack of importance placed on education, and institutionalized racism are all contributing factors to the increased number of Native American women in risk of sexual exploitation.

A main focus of the meeting was community awareness of the problem. Suzanne Tibbits Young stressed that support from the community is a large stepping-stone to action. Tibbits Young said that to begin helping, the first step is to agree that, "Our community is not going to accept this". The MIWRC and Division of Indian Work are promoting the development of broad based training programs aimed at educating police, teachers and medical providers to recognize signs or risks of sexual exploitation...

Nora Leinen

TC Daily Planet

Oct. 05, 2009

See also:

Decades Old Problem Becoming a Priority

Newsweek, the national weekly magazine that "discovered'' a juvenile prostitution problem in Minnesota..., was heavily criticized by journalism peers and law enforcement types for hyping the obvious and painting the Mall of America as a mega breeding farm for pimp recruiting.

Right state, wrong locale. Try [Indigenous] reservations, or practically any mall, street corner, rave party, juice bar or other place where teens will congregate.

"There's an explosion of girls coming from reservations,'' Minneapolis Police Sgt. Andrew Schmidt informed attendees at an all-day conference on the sexual trafficking of women and children at the College of St. Catherine last week. "Girls there are easy to recruit. It's not much of a sell up in Red Lake [a large reservation of the Chippewa Nation].''

Schmidt knows a thing or two about the subject. Four years ago, he teamed up with a St. Louis-area detective and with the help of federal prosecutors in that city dismantled a Minneapolis-based ring that prostituted young girls in 24 states and Canada. One of the ring's leaders is currently serving an 85-year federal prison term...

Ruben Rosario

Pioneer Press

Oct. 27, 2003


Added: Oct. 5, 2009

Iowa, USA

In Police Put Out Alert About Attempted Abduction in Council Bluffs

...Council Bluffs Police are putting out an alert about an attempted abduction. A boy says a man tried to chase him down on Friday afternoon, just outside of Wilson Junior High School at 21st and Avenue G. It happened after school let out for the weekend.

The boy tells Police the man drove up in a red mini van, got out and held up a cell phone. He then told the boy his mother was on the line and he was supposed to go with him in his van.

The 13-year old kid ran several blocks from the school to 21st and Broadway Streets. The entire time, he says the man was chasing him in the van, then on foot. When the boy ran into a nearby business, the man took off. People in the business took action and called 911 for help.

Police are taking this case seriously. They put out the following description of the suspect.

He is a Hispanic man wearing a black shirt, blue jeans and a black baseball cap turned sideways.

He was driving a darker-color red minivan with no license plates...

Action 3 News, Omaha, nNebraska

Oct 02, 2009


Added: Oct. 4, 2009

North Carolina, USA

Convicted Sex Trafficker Jorge Flores Rojas

Teens Become Prey in Charlotte Sex Trade

This story is based on court documents and numerous interviews with federal agents and attorneys involved in the Flores case.

In his east Charlotte apartment less than a mile from Windsor Park Elementary, Jorge Flores Rojas created a religious shrine to a mystical figure known as the patron saint of death, who is said to protect pimps and other criminals.

Each day, Flores prayed to Santa Muerte, or "Saint Death," joined by the teenage girls whom he forced to have sex with as many as 20 men a day...

Local and federal authorities are not sure how extensive the Charlotte sex rings have become. They say Flores' ring brought in hundreds of young women each year to work as prostitutes.

Flores was convicted of trafficking in April. But authorities say other pimps in Charlotte continue to prey on young girls from poor countries.

"I don't think we really realized how big this was," says Delbert Richburg, assistant special agent in charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Office of Investigations in Charlotte. "We're probably just scratching the surface."

The growth is so extensive that this month ICE stationed a team of agents in Charlotte to focus on human trafficking, smuggling and exploitation. Across the Carolinas, immigrant sex rings have been broken up in Monroe, Durham and Columbia.

Jennifer Stuart, a staff attorney for Legal Aid of North Carolina, says her office has seen a "sharp increase" in trafficking case referrals the last few months.

Federal agents say Flores, an illegal immigrant from Mexico, picked up vans full of eight to 10 young women each week outside the McDonald's on West Sugar Creek Road near Interstate 85, where other traffickers had brought them. Others, he smuggled in directly from Latin America...

An undercover agent says the teenagers would be made to have sex with up to 100 men a week.

"I have daughters," he says. "... Every time I think of that number, it's something I can't fathom."

Trading in New York, and Washington, D.C.

To keep a fresh cycle of women in Charlotte, Flores traded with traffickers, including relatives, in Washington, D.C., and New York.

In November 2007, court documents say, he "sold" at least two teenagers from Mexico to Yaneth Martinez, a D.C. madam, who advertised her services with cards offering "Hair Cuts for Men Only." ...

Their business relationship worked like this for more than a year, federal authorities said. Then, Flores took a liking to Martinez's teenage daughter.

He asked her if she'd work with him. She refused. Flores didn't give up.

He later called the girl's cell phone and asked her to meet him. He threatened to hurt her mother if she didn't.

She agreed to meet him. She hoped he only wanted to talk, but Flores threw her in his car, authorities said...

Martinez tipped off a women's center in Washington that her daughter had been kidnapped. The center contacted authorities...

Martinez's daughter spent about three weeks as Flores' captive. Authorities say he raped her repeatedly. He forced her to have sex with dozens of men...

The FBI estimates that some 18,000 people are trafficked into the United States for sex or forced labor. About a fourth end up in the Southeast; thousands come to the Carolinas.

Most victims of the sex rings are from Latin America, others from Asia and Eastern Europe...

A... 14-year-old from Mexico, who thought she was to work at a restaurant, was forced to have sex with men in Greenville, S.C., Columbia and Charlotte...

Martinez's daughter is doing much better, Nugent said. She's living with a foster family. She is getting a special green card for abused or abandoned children.

She wants to go to college and be a lawyer.

Two other girls found with Flores at the time of his arrest were also placed with foster families through a Charlotte women's center, authorities said.

The center arranged medical care and new clothes. ICE agents arranged work permits.

Before the permits arrived, the girls disappeared...

Franco Ordoñez

Charlotte Observer.com

Oct. 04, 2009


Added: Oct. 4, 2009

The World, Belarus

Belarus Foreign Minister Sergei Martynov

Belarus to Promote Global Action Plan to Fight Human Trafficking at United Nations General Assembly Session

Minsk - At the session of the UN General Assembly Belarus will push forward the adoption of the global action plan to fight trafficking in human beings, the press service of the Belarusian Foreign Ministry told BelTA.

As head of the delegation Belarus Foreign Minister Sergei Martynov is participating in the 64th session of the United Nations General Assembly that opened in the UN headquarters in New York.

The head of the Belarusian Ministry of Foreign Affairs will take part in general political discussions to present Belarus’ views on the most topical problems of the international agenda. The Belarusian delegation will focus efforts on promoting Belarus’ initiatives, namely the adoption of the global action plan to fight slave trade, creation of an effective international mechanism to facilitate access of all countries to technologies of new and renewable energy sources, enhancement of international development aid to countries with average incomes.

The Minister is also supposed to take part in events timed to the start of the General Assembly session. Those are the Conference on the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, ministerial meetings on fighting violence against girls, dialogue between religions.

Sergei Martynov is also expected to hold meetings with top executives of the UN Secretariat, several international organizations, and foreign ministers of several countries of Europe, Asia, Africa, and Latin America.

BelTA

Sep. 23, 2009

See also:

Women's Rights at the Crossroads in Mexico

...A Global Plan of Action... must be implemented to get around the seemingly insurmountable obstacle of state impunity.

In extreme circumstances, the United Nations overcomes the problem of criminal impunity by mounting an international force to combat state actors who engage in crimes against humanity.

A Global Plan of Action does not have to target state actors through the use of military action, but some new, creative process must be employed to show nations like Mexico that they cannot just sell the poor and minority women and girls in their nations 'down the river' into a tortured, shortened life of sexual slavery in the brothels of Mexico City, Tijuana, Tokyo, Los Angeles, New York, Amsterdam and Madrid, just because they are willing to look the other way in exchange for a 'piece' of this multi-million dollar criminal action.

We strongly encourage the people of the world to wake up and actively combat the mass crime against humanity that the oppression of women and girl children in Mexico represents.

Enough is enough!

...We also applaud Ecuadorian Minister of Justice and Human Rights (Attorney General) Néstor Arbito Chica and diplomats from a number of nations including Belarus, who have recently spoken out to demand that the United Nations develop a Global Plan of Action to really step-up-the-game to effectively combat modern slavery.

The policy of the United States should, we believe, embrace the efforts of Ecuador, Belarus and other nations to develop a Global Plan of Action to get past the ineffectiveness of the Palermo Protocol...

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

May 30, 2009

See also:

The World, Ecuador

Ecuadorian Minister of Justice and Human Rights (Attorney General) Néstor Arbito Chica

Few Governments Serious About Human Trafficking, U.N. Finds

United Nations - The U.N. General Assembly discussed ways of taking stronger collective action to end human trafficking on Wednesday, with delegates debating the need for… a "global plan of action" to end this form of modern slavery.

"National and regional efforts are not enough to cope with this global problem," said Ecuadorian Minister of Justice and Human Rights Néstor Arbito Chica. "That’s why we call on the U.N. to take action."

The starting point for the debate was whether the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children, passed in Palermo, Italy, in 2000, is enough to stop this global problem.

"The protocol is not a sufficient tool for stopping human trafficking, and more than one-third of U.N. member states are not a party to it," said Valentin Rybakov, assistant to the president of Belarus. "The Palermo Protocol is, if you will, an aspirin which helps us to bring the fever down, but aspirin cannot cure us."

The need for a new global plan of action was echoed by the majority of speakers and delegates. The United States, however, felt otherwise: "We believe that the U.N. is already effectively leading the fight against global trafficking."

The U.S. representative’s concerns were that launching a global plan of action would strain the limited resources of the U.N. and, likewise, that the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime’s (UNODC) "financial and personnel resources would be severely stretched if it were to undertake such a plan of action."

"Efforts undertaken at regional and national levels are clearly not enough," Rybakov countered. "Adopting a global plan of action is not an end in itself to us, but this plan is a logical step."

The U.N. has passed compre-hensive plans of action before - for instance on terrorism, as pointed out by Antonio Maria Costa, executive director of UNODC…

Sexual exploitation accounts for 79 percent of human trafficking, it says, while forced labor makes up 18 percent…

"In 2006, the last year for which we have statistics, 22,000 victims were rescued, and we know the problem goes into the millions," Costa said…

Matthew Berger

Inter-Press Service (IPS)

May 14, 2009


Added: Oct. 3, 2009

Colorado, USA

Frank Gutierrez

Longmont Man Who Sexually Assaulted Child Asks For Life Sentence -- And Gets It

Frank Gutierrez not eligible for parole for 24 years in assault on 9-year-old boy

An 11-year-old boy said his life had been "ruined" by an adult neighbor who sexually assaulted him numerous times at his Longmont apartment two years ago and that his abuser should be imprisoned for the rest of his life.

In a videotaped statement played at a drama-filled sentencing hearing Friday, the victim -- who was 9-years-old at the time of the assault -- said Frank Gutierrez, 64, should "stay away" from children and adults.

Gutierrez injected an unexpected twist into the proceedings by ignoring the advice of his lawyer and asking the judge to forgo the hearing and impose the maximum sentence -- life in prison with a chance for parole after 24 years. He claimed that there was no way he could be cured of his sexual pathologies.

"I would rather take the sentence than take the chance of being on the street again and hurting someone else," Gutierrez said. "I was abused and I don't know how to change it."

Boulder District Judge Maria Berkenkotter sentenced Gutierrez to the maximum prison term...

Gutierrez said he was molested for 10 years as a child and would never be able to control his impulses again...

Gutierrez still faces a charge of sexually assaulting an at-risk adult -- one of his fellow inmates at Boulder County Jail -- last year...

John Aguilar

Daily Camera

Oct. 02, 2009


Added: Oct. 3, 2009

Ohio, USA / Mexico

ICE Deports Mexican Fugitive Sought for Sexually Assaulting a Child

Columbus, Ohio - U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers deported a Mexican national on Thursday wanted by authorities for sexually assaulting a minor in his home country.

Jose Luis Martinez-Gonzalez, 23, was turned over to Mexican authorities at 10 a.m. on Sept. 29 at the Port of El Paso's Stanton Street Bridge. Martinez-Gonzalez is wanted in Oaxaca, Mexico, for raping a minor.

Martinez-Gonzalez entered the country illegally at an undisclosed location along the Arizona-Mexico border. He has been sought by Mexican authorities since February. Earlier this month, ICE agents with the Office of Investigations in Columbus, Ohio, apprehended Martinez-Gonzalez without incident.

An immigration judge ordered Martinez-Gonzalez removed to Mexico on Sept. 17. A week later, the Mexican attorney general's office asked ICE for assistance in returning the fugitive to Mexico. Martinez-Gonzalez, who was arrested and charged on administrative immigration charges, arrived in El Paso Del Norte Port of Entry (Stanton Bridge) in El Paso, Texas, and was turned over to Mexican authorities, Oct. 1 on a flight that originated in Columbus, Ohio...

U.S. ICE

Oct. 1, 2009


Added: Oct. 3, 2009

New Mexico, USA / Mexico

BEST Team Arrests Convicted Child Predator for Illegally Returning to the U.S.

Las Cruces - Members of the local U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)-led Border Enforcement Security Task Force (BEST) on Friday arrested a convicted aggravated felon who illegally re-entered the United States after he was deported in 2004 for raping a minor.

Cesar Gonzalez-Gomez, 43, from Mexico, was arrested Sept. 25 outside a residence in Anthony, N.M. He was convicted of aggravated burglary, criminal sexual contact with a minor, and other related sex crimes. He was sentenced to nine years in prison. After his release from prison, ICE deported him in October 2004.

Recently BEST members received information that Gonzalez-Gomez was back in the United States. He is believed to have returned to the country illegally in January. As a deported aggravated felon, he is charged with re-entry after deportation, which is punishable by up to 20 years in prison.

Doña Ana County Sheriff's Office also served him with an outstanding warrant for failing to register as a convicted sexual offender...

U.S. ICE

Sep. 28, 2009


Added: Oct. 3, 2009

California, USA

Grandfather Pleads Guilty To Molesting Two Young Girls

Santa Ana - An Orange grandfather who watched neighborhood children after school until their parents came home from work pleaded guilty today to molesting two girls younger than 7.

Octavio Reyes Cortez, 59, a landscaper, will be sentenced by Superior Court Judge Frank F. Fasel on Friday to 18 years in prison for six felony counts of lewd conduct on a minor.

Deputy District Attorney Mark Birney said the molestations date back to 1995, and the victims included a 7-year-old girl who came to Cortez' home to play with Barbie dolls with his granddaughter.

Cortez also admitted to repeated acts of molestation on a girl who was younger than 6 between 1995 and 1997.

Larry Welborn

The Orange County Register

Sep. 29, 2009


Added: Oct. 3, 2009

Ohio, USA

Man Pleads Not Guilty to Rape Charges

Zanesville - Charged with three counts of rape and eight counts of gross sexual imposition, Carlos Alfredo Orantes is looking at spending 70 years in prison if convicted on all counts. Orantes, 35, of Zanesville, pleaded not guilty to each charge in front of Muskingum County Common Pleas Judge Kelly Cottrill on Wednesday.

Orantes was indicted last week. He is accused of having sexual conduct (rape) and sexual contact (gross sexual imposition) with two girls, ages 11 and 9, from October 2006 to September 2009.

Judge Cottrill ordered Orantes' bond set at $500,000...

Zanesville Times Recorder

Kathy Thompson

Sep. 23, 2009


Added: Oct. 3, 2009

Ohio, USA

Former Stripper Claims Priest Fathered Baby

Pembroke Pines - A woman who described herself as a former stripper in Miami has filed a petition for a restraining order against a South Florida priest, who she now claims fathered her baby.

The woman, Beatrice Hernandez, told CBS4 News that she was a dancer at a Miami strip club, Porky's. She said she met Father David Dueppen at that strip club and started a relationship shortly thereafter.

Early this year, Hernandez had a baby and demanded Dueppen take DNA paternity tests, according to court documents obtained by CBS4 News. But, in the restraining order petition, Hernandez said that after several attempts for a DNA test, "the [priest's] rage escalated as he attacked [Hernandez], grabbing her by the throat and choking her."

"I'm afraid. I'm on the street. I'm running from people," Hernandez told CBS4's Jim DeFede over the phone. "David said to me that if I go to the media, he would make me disappear and take my baby."

Dueppen last served as an associate priest at St. Maximilian Kolbe Church in Pembroke Pines. He has been on administrative leave for one month, according to Miami Archdiocese spokeswoman Mary Ross Agosta...

CBS 4 Miami

Sep. 20, 2009

See also:

Along Came a Spider: What the Pope Doesn’t See

...In the official “Year for Priests,” dedicated by Pope Benedict, a priest in Florida has upped the ante on clerical malfeasance, allegedly fathering a child with a stripper, and threatening the woman with violence. What will it take for the Catholic Church to begin to take responsibility for priests gone wild? ...

Anthea Butler

Religion Dispatches

Sep.27, 2009


Added: Oct. 2, 2009

Mexico

Child Sex Trafficking Routes: (Purple) Puebla to Tijuana; (Blue) Puebla to Matamoros - Larger Map

Map: LibertadLatina

Desde Puebla Parten Dos Rutas de Trata de Personas Hacia EU 

Las bandas dedicadas a la trata de personas con fines de   explotación laboral y sexual ocupan al menos dos rutas para traficar con menores que parten desde Puebla, y llegan al norte del país, a fin de internar a las víctimas a los Estados Unidos o bien, desde ahí llevarlas a las Bahamas y España...

Authorities Discover Two Child Sex Trafficking Routes from Puebla to the United States

Gangs engaged in trafficking in persons for sexual and labor exploitation are using at least two routes to smuggle children starting in the city of Puebla. Victims are taken to the United States. From the U.S. some of these children are taken to the Bahamas or Spain.

Mexico’s National Human Rights Commission announced these findings as part of a study of Mexico’s vulnerability to human trafficking. 

The first route runs from Puebla through the cities of Hidalgo, Ciudad Victoria, Chihuahua, and Matamoros (a city adjacent to Brownsville, Texas). The second route also starts in Puebla, and passes through Mexico City, Michoacan, Guadalajara, Sinaloa, Sonora and ends in Tijuana (on the U.S. / Mexico border near San Diego, California).

The report reveals that the Special Prosecutor for Crimes of Violence against Women and Trafficking in Persons (FEVIMTRA) of the Attorney General's Office (PGR) reported that during 2008, 24 preliminary investigations were initiated in regard to human trafficking. Only two cases were prosecuted.  [To date, there has never been a federal conviction on human trafficking charges in Mexico - LL.]  

These preliminary investigations occurred primarily in the states of Coahuila, Chiapas, Chihuahua, Mexico state, Guanajuato, Guerrero, Hidalgo, Jalisco, Morelos, Nayarit, Oaxaca, Puebla, Tlaxcala, Veracruz and Yucatan, as well in the Federal District (Mexico City). Three of the investiga-tions related to crimes committed in Spain, Bahamas and the United States.

Among the victims in the Puebla case are Mexican and foreign women [and girls] who are mainly from El Salvador, Korea, Argentina, China, Honduras, Peru and Guatemala.

The study shows that in Puebla, 283,236 children between the ages of 5 and 17 work. Some 106,295 of them do not attend school.

Full English Translation

Suzana De Los Ángeles

e-consulta.com

Sep. 28, 2009


Added: Oct. 2, 2009

Maryland, USA

Police: Men Tried to Abduct Kids Playing Outside

Laurel - Police are looking for two men who attempted to kidnap a group of children playing outside Wednesday night.

The three children - a 7-year-old girl, an 8-year-old boy and a 9-year-old boy - were playing outside next to an apartment building in the 300 block of Thomas Drive around 6:45 p.m.

Police say two Hispanic men sitting in a truck in a parking lot next to a nearby office building began calling out to the children and telling them to "come closer."

The children were able to get away and got home safely...

Police say the men were driving a light blue Mazda pickup truck. The truck is described as being very dirty, with a dent on the driver's side front fender.

Witnesses were only able to provide partial tag information on the truck: 41641W. They did not see the state on the license plate.

Anyone with information is asked to call Laurel Police at 301-498-0092.

Veronica Robinson

WTOP.com

Oct. 01, 2009


Added: Sep. 29, 2009

Trinidad and Tobago

The two island nation of Trinidad and Tobago, located near the northern coast of Venezuela

Government Moves to Stamp Out Human Trafficking

Government is moving to prevent the emergence of human trafficking in Trinidad and Tobago.

According to a release from the Ministry of National Security, Cabinet has approved a proposal from the International Organization for Migration for a nine-month plan to counter any emergence of human trafficking in Trinidad and Tobago.

The plan seeks to address the issue of trafficking in persons. It does so from two bases - that of prevention and protection of victims of trafficking; and that of criminalizing and prosecution of those engaged in human trafficking.

The plan calls for the establishment of a multi-agency task force to develop and oversee a medium-to-long term plan of action. The task force, which will consist of various government ministries, non-governmental organizations, faith-based organizations and the IOM, will be responsible for: implementing a referral process to identify and assist victims; establishing a hotline to field calls pertaining to human trafficking and conducting a nationwide information campaign, using IOM-supplied material.

The release said Government would enact legislation to criminalize trafficking in persons and IOM would support this effort.

The release said: "The Ministry of National Security believes that the assistance offered by IOM through the nine-month plan would serve to address the issue of human trafficking in its embryonic stages, to avoid it becoming a widespread criminal activity in Trinidad and Tobago ... while building public awareness of and minimizing the misconceptions about the nature of the crime of human trafficking."

In implementing the plan, the IOM would conduct a series of outreach and/or training sessions for various audiences, including key stakeholders in government, hotline staff operators, media, NGOs and other representatives of civil society...

Trinidad and Tobago Express

Sep. 28, 2009


Added: Sep. 29, 2009

Illinois

Police Seek Man Who Sexually Exploited Kids On Chicago's Northwest Side

Chicago - Police are looking for a man who allegedly masturbated in front of three children in a Northwest Side garage on Friday.

The incident happened in a garage in the 4100 block of North Sacramento, where three children ages 6 to 11 were playing, according to a release from the Special Investigations Unit.

A man entered the garage while speaking English on a cell phone, the release said. He told two of the children to keep playing and told the third child to watch him while he masturbated. He then fled the scene.

The offender is described as a Hispanic male, 35 to 45 years old, 5-foot-8 to 5-foot-10, 170 pounds with black hair, brown eyes and a dark complexion, the release said. He had a full beard and was wearing a black and white striped shirt, black shoes and either reading or sunglasses....

The Chicago Sun-Times.

Sep. 27,2009


Added: Sep. 27, 2009

The World

Pop Star / Activist Ricky Martin is Presenter at the 2009 Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting

Ricky Martin: "I feel that my heart is, is going to come out of my mouth, and... it goes through my throat. Its not that I'm nervous. I'm just going to say that there are millions of children that are... that  didn't make it. Millions of children who are forced into prostitution, into slavery - and just didn't make it. Today they are using me, they are using my voice, because they were never heard. That's what inspires me to be here..."

"Creo que se me va a salir el corazón por la boca. No son los nervios, sino la emoción por dar voz a los millones de niños que se han visto forzados a prostituirse o que han caído en la esclavitud y a quienes nadie ha escuchado."

Spanish translation - EFE

From a video of Ricky Martin's remarks at the 2009 Clinton Global Initiative's meeting - posted on YouTube.com

Pop singer and advocate against global child sexual exploitation Ricky Martin stands with anti-trafficking leaders at the Clinton Global Initiative during its announcement of CGI's new program to end violence against girls.

Alyse Nelson, head of Vital Voices; Jimmy Briggs, Founder of Man-Up; P. Osmond, founder of Karama; and UNIFEM Deputy Executive Director Joanne Sandler are also shown in this picture.

From a video of Ricky Martin's remarks posted on YouTube.com

Ricky Martin Abandera la Lucha Contra el Abuso Infantil en la Iniciativa Clinton

Nueva York, New York - El cantante puertorriqueño Ricky Martin llevó hoy la lucha contra el abuso infantil a la reunión que la Iniciativa Global Clinton celebra en Nueva York, donde reafirmó el compromiso de su fundación para mejorar la vida de los niños.

En el encuentro anual que el ex presidente de Estados Unidos Bill Clinton celebra para impulsar medidas filantrópicas que mejoren las condiciones de los más desfavorecidos en el mundo, Martin reiteró su compromiso con la defensa de los derechos humanos y explicó el trabajo que su fundación realiza en favor de los más pequeños.

EFE

Sep. 24, 2009

See also:

Ricky Martin Fights Human Trafficking at Clinton Summit

New York, New York – When Ricky Martin took the stage at the Clinton Global Initiative on Thursday, he did not sing, or dance, or even flash his trademark grin. Following the same stage directions as dozens of other celebrities who dropped by Clinton's 5th annual global summit, from Brad Pitt to Bono to Jessica Alba, Martin struck a somber note while discussing the fight against human trafficking.

"I feel that my heart is going to come out of my mouth," he said, recounting his sadness for the "millions of children that didn't make it." Martin was followed by testimony from a woman who, along with her two children, was kidnapped and held for four years of forced labor. Then Luis CdeBaca, a former counsel to Rep. John Conyers who now serves as President Obama's chief diplomat for combating human trafficking, explained that between 12 and 27 million people are enslaved around the world today. In its official materials, The Clinton Global Initiative notes that the higher estimates mean there are more people enslaved "than at any other time in human history..."

Ari Melber

The Nation

Sep. 24, 2009


Added: Sep. 27, 2009

The World

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton: Opening Remarks at Combating Violence Against Girls Event

At an event hosted by the Government of the Netherlands

Secretary Clinton: I want to start by saying something that I believe with all my heart, and, obviously, those of you who are here believe it also, that the issues related to girls and women are not an annex to the important business of the world and the United Nations, they’re not an add-on, they’re not an afterthought; they are truly at the core of what we are attempting to do under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that is the guiding message of this organization and what each of us in our own countries is called to do on behalf of equal opportunity and social justice.

So for me, this is a tremendous opportunity to speak about an issue that has basically been relegated to the backwaters of the international agenda until relatively recently: violence against girls and women, and particularly today, violence against girls.

I wish that we could transport ourselves into a setting where we could be in the midst of girls and women who have been suffering from violence, but we don’t have to because it’s all around us. It is in the home, it is in the workplace, it is on the streets of many of the countries represented here, including my friends Maxine and Celso. And it is in the places that make the headlines from time to time, and then in the very bottom paragraphs, there’s a reference to the violence that is a tactic of war and intimidation and oppression to prevent girls from going to school by throwing acid in their faces, by raping girls as a way of intimidating them and keeping them subjugated and demonstrating power.

So this, for me, is one of the most important events that I’ve done at the UN. ...

New York City, NY

Sep. 25, 2009


Added: Sep. 27, 2009

The World

Corporate and Foundation Partners Announce $4 Million Raised at Clinton Global Initiative Toward Vital Voices’ Global Women’s Empowerment Efforts

Washington, D.C.,  – A major commitment to action was made to Vital Voices programs during the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) annual meeting totaling $4 million.

Humanity United, Avon Foundation, Mosaic Foundation, ExxonMobil Foundation, Ambassador Elizabeth Frawley Bagley and Donna McLarty joined together to seed a Vital Voices initiative in 2010 that will bring new solutions to enduring and emerging challenges facing women across the globe. The initiative named “Turning the Tide: Translating the Promise of the UN Fourth World Conference on Women into Action” is timed to coincide with the 15th anniversary of the landmark UN Fourth World Conference on Women which brought together women leaders from the public and private sectors in Beijing, China in 1995. This commitment seeks to assess progress and bring innovation to women’s empowerment efforts.

“Despite the undeniable progress towards women’s empowerment over the past 15 years, far too much remains unfinished business and threatens to remain so. The international community must leverage this milestone in history to pursue gender equality in new and innovative ways” said Alyse Nelson, President & CEO of Vital Voices Global Partnership, a global non-profit that traces its roots to the Beijing conference in 1995...

Vital Voices

Sep. 24, 2009

See also:

Vital Voices' programs in Latin America and the Caribbean


Added: Sep. 27, 2009

Florida, USA

Port St. Lucie - It's every parent's worst nightmare, and yesterday afternoon, it happened to Tiffany Serrano.

"I saw him pull up, wave at my daughter, called her "baby girl" and tried to get her in the truck," said Serrano.

Serrano told Newschannel 5 her kids were playing in the drive way, in front of her house, she walked into the garage for a moment, and when she came out, she saw a strange truck parked in front.

She was able to get her 4 year old daughter out of harm's way, and not a minute too soon.

"If I had gone in, I know she would've been gone, because she was going to get in, she was going towards the vehicle," said Serrano...

Serrano says she saw two men inside the truck, and was able to get a good look at the one trying to lure her little girl.

Police describe that man as a Hispanic male possibly in 30's with short hair, heavy eyebrows and big ears.

Serrano says she's talked to her children several times about never getting in a car with strangers, and always tries to keep a close eye on them, but yesterday's incident taught her anything can happen when you turn your back even for a split second.

"I am scared for them, I'm not letting them play outside anymore, I refuse," said Serrano.

If you have any information about the vehicle or the suspect, call Detective Black at (772) 871-5000.

WPTV

Sep. 27, 2009


Added: Sep. 26, 2009

The World

Former U.S. President Bill Clinton (left) presents the initiative to address violence against girls at the closing plenary of the Clinton Global Initiative's 2009 annual meeting.

Photo: UNIFEM

New Initiative to Address Sexual Violence Against Girls Launched at Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting in New York

Collaboration among leading public and private sector organizations formed to bring international attention to this injustice

New York - The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), five United Nations organizations (UNICEF, UNAIDS, UNFPA, UNIFEM, WHO) and private sector supporters will join together later today via the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) in a new approach to address the rights violations and health impacts of sexual violence against girls. According to the World Health Organization, in 2002 approximately 150 million girls experienced some form of sexual violence with physical contact.

“Sexual violence against children is a gross violation of their rights, a moral and ethical outrage and an assault on the world’s conscience,” said Ann M. Veneman, Executive Director of UNICEF. “Sexual abuse can lead to lost childhoods, abandoned education, physical and emotional problems, the spread of HIV, and an often irrevocable loss of dignity and self-esteem.” ...

“While it is generally known that sexual violence against girls is a global problem, very limited data exist on the extent of this problem in the developing world. Obtaining valid data is a key step toward mobilizing policy and other positive interventions,” said Dr. Rodney Hammond, Director of the Division of Violence Prevention in CDC’s Injury Center.

“Sexual violence, including coercion, abuse, exploitation, rape and trafficking, has a devastating impact on children, particularly adolescent and pre-adolescent girls, who are among the most vulnerable members of any society,” said Gary Cohen, Board Director of the CDC [U.S. Centers for Disease Control] Foundation and the US Fund for UNICEF... “This grave injustice ruins lives, undermines human potential and drives the cycle of infectious disease spread, increasing the population of people who require treatment. It also has broader societal impacts, because girls who are protected and educated contribute dispropor-tionately back to their families and communities.”

Research demonstrates that sexual violence against girls is a direct and an indirect driver of the HIV and AIDS epidemic...

United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM)

Sept. 25, 2009


Added: Sep. 26, 2009

Mexico

Arturo Chavez Chavez is sworn-in as Attorney General of Mexico

Photo: Mario Guzmán / EPA

Mexico Senate Confirms Arturo Chavez Chavez as Attorney General

Legislators back the nomination by a 75-27 vote despite criticism from human rights activists.

Mexico political deal the stuff of drama

Reporting from Mexico City - Mexico's Senate on Thursday confirmed Arturo Chavez Chavez as the nation's attorney general, despite objections by human rights activists who assailed his record as prosecutor in the northern state of Chihuahua during the 1990s.

Chavez, 49, who was quickly sworn in, becomes Mexico's top law enforcement official at a crucial moment. The government of President Felipe Calderon is at war with drug-trafficking groups that have unleashed waves of violence across the country.

A lawyer from Calderon's conservative National Action Party, or PAN, Chavez picked up opposition support to win confirmation by a hefty margin, 75 to 27. He takes over for Eduardo Medina Mora, who resigned this month amid criticism by political opponents that the government's anti-crime offensive is foundering.

"I come with my head held high and will work the same way: with honesty, transparency and with a commitment to serve my country," Chavez said after his swearing-in.

Rights advocates charged that Chavez had failed as Chihuahua state prosecutor to properly investigate the killings of hundreds of women in the border city of Ciudad Juarez. Foes lobbied to defeat the nomination, and sign-toting protesters camped outside the Senate as the vote took place...

Ken Ellingwood

The Los Angeles Times

Sep. 25, 2009

See also:

Confirma el Senado a Chávez Chávez para titular de la PGR

Sin escuchar a las madres de las víctimas

México, DF - Con 75 votos a favor, 27 en contra y una abstención, senadores de la República ratificaron hoy a Arturo Chávez Chávez como Procurador General de la República, pese al escrutinio internacional que lo considera “un funcionario negligente y omiso” en la procuración de justicia durante los dos años que estuvo al mando de la Procuraduría de Justicia de Chihuahua, periodo en que se incrementó la impunidad en dicha entidad.

Arturo
Chávez Chávez is confirmed by the Senate as Attorney General

The Senate did not hear testimony from mothers of the victims [of the Ciudad Juarez femicide]

Lourdes Godínez Leal

CIMAC Noticias

News for Women

Mexico City

Sep. 24, 2009


Added: Sep. 26, 2009

Washington, DC

Mendelson, Lagon, Army of Me to Rally Against Human Trafficking in Washington, DC this Saturday, September 25, 2009

...As September comes to an end our Nation's Capital wraps up a successful Human Trafficking Awareness Month.  [Washington] DC has united to bring the face of modern slavery and human trafficking to the forefront.  ...The city is truly going to take the fight against child trafficking to the streets, as citizen politicians, musicians and activists unite for the first ever Walk Against Child Trafficking...

[Speaking] at the walk will be: [Washington, DC Council Member Phil Mendelson], Dr. Mark Lagon, former Ambassador-at-Large and director of the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons at the State Department and current Executive Director and CEO of Polaris Project; former U.S. Representative Linda Smith (R-WA) and current president of Shared Hope International; and Dr. Laura Lederer, former Senior Advisor on Trafficking in Persons at the State Department. Prominent non-profit officials will also be well-represented at the walk. Non-profit luminaries will include Sarah Symons, executive director of the Emancipation Network; Andrea Powell, co-founder and executive director of Fair Fund; and Ray Lian, lead organizer of the citizen activist group DC Stop Modern Slavery.  Prominent authors Aaron Cohen, author of Slave Hunter and Ben Skinner, author of A Crime So Monstrous will also speak following the walk...

Cassandra Clifford

The Examiner

Sep. 25, 2009


Added: Sep. 23, 2009

Guatemala

Jesús Tecú Osorio at the site of the Rio Negro (town of Black River) massacre.

Photo: Renata Avila

The Activism of Massacre Survivor Jesús Tecú

Maya Achí activist Jesús Tecú Osorio is a survivor. When he was a child, he witnessed the Río Negro Massacre, one of the most horrific massacres of Guatemala's armed conflict. Many of his friends, his 2-year-old brother, and his young parents were murdered. He spent some time forced to work, along with 17 other child survivors, doing domestic work for the man who killed his brother.

Years later, after he was released into the custody of his older sister, Tecú began to work to exhume the mass grave of those killed in the Massacre. Eventually, this work led to the convictions of 3 of the men who took part in the killings. This work has been crucial in the pursuit of justice and the preservation of the historical memory on local and international levels.

Tecú wrote a book called “Memory of the Río Negro Massacres” that tells his experience as a homeless child who survived the war. Tadeo explains more about the story that Tecú tells:

The military and paramilitary forces rounded up all of the women and children and accused them of collaborating with the guerrillas. Together they proceeded to rape, torture, and murder everyone. Some 177 human beings, including 107 children, were massacred on the 13th of March, 1982, in Rio Negro. The few survivors, mostly young boys, were forced into slavery.

In The Massacres of Río Negro, survivor Jesús Tecú described being enslaved by a leader of the Xococ PAC [civilian auto-defense patrol - a civilian collaborator of the armed forces], a man who ripped his youngest brother out of his arms and swung him by his feet, smashing his brains against rocks in front of his eyes because his wife was “not used to caring for [such] a small child."

Tecú's case is different from many others, because he stayed in his community helping... to fight for their human rights. He is leading a Legal Clinic to help poor and under-educated people to fight for their rights. This struggle by Tecú and other survivors of Guatemala's civil war led to the creation of the New Hope Foundation (FNE). Their mission can be found on their blog...

For his work, Tecú was awarded the Reebok Human Rights Award...

Despite the progress made by Tecú and the Achí community, the work continues. Survivors are still pressing the Guatemalan government to convict those responsible for the massacres, as shown by the Colectivo Guatemala Blog. Some of these individuals are being intimidated for their work.

Recently, Tecú has received threatening phone calls...

Global Voices

Sep. 22, 2009

See also:

LibertadLatina Special Section


Added: Sep. 23, 2009

Mexico

Mothers of some of the murdered women from Ciudad Juárez testify before a Mexican Senate panel.

Photo by Jesús Robles

Mexico: Protests Against Nomination of Arturo Chávez for Attorney General

Human rights activists in Ciudad Juárez are opposing the recent nomination of Arturo Chávez Chávez as the Attorney General of Mexico. He was nominated by Mexican President Felipe Calderón. Protesters claim that Chávez’s track record regarding human rights work leaves much to be desired and point to the time when he was the Attorney General of the State of Chihuahua in the early 1990s.

This was a time when Ciudad Juárez erupted in a violent wave of femicides—mass murder of women. Most of the protesters and activists are the mothers, family members, and friends of the deceased or missing women. They claim that public officials from Chihuahua have been involved in covering up the crimes and have not done much to solve them.

As [the former] chief prosecutor for the state of Chihuahua, Chávez has been denounced by Mexican and international human rights organizations... [including] the National Human Rights Commission (CNDH), the Inter-American Human Rights Commission (CIDH), members of the European Parliament, and others from the international human rights community...

The death toll continues to climb and many crimes remain unsolved, leaving the community with little recourse but to take matters into their own hands by forming grassroots non-profit groups to shed light on the issue of the border city femicides. Nuestras Hijas de Regreso a Casa A.C. (May Our Daughters Return Home, Civil Association) is at the forefront of the current protests which have taken the streets in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, bordering the city of El Paso in Texas. They also held protests in Chihuahua's state capital and nation’s capital, Mexico City. Protesters who traveled to Mexico City on September 14, 2009 were unsuccessful in their attempts to speak directly with members of the Senate regarding Chavez’s human rights track record...

Chávez met with Senate on September 21, 2009 and admitted failures from some of his agents during his tenure...

However, the PAN political party has already nodded in his favor regarding the nomination. Ganchoblog writes that Chávez is likely to pass since three Senators who would be vital to derailing his nomination as Attorney General will not stand in his way.

Gina Cardenas

Global Voices

Sep. 23, 2009


Added: Sep. 22, 2009

Mexico

Mexico Cartels Kidnap, Kill Migrants Headed to U.S.

Tecate - Mexico's violent drug gangs are increasingly kidnapping illegal migrants for ransom and forcing them to carry narcotics into the United States as they muscle into the lucrative trade of smuggling people across the border.

Traffickers armed with automatic weapons are snatching weary Mexican and Central American migrants on both sides of the border and holding them in cramped houses with little water or food until families pay ransoms of up to $12,000.

The Mexican army and U.S. border officials say that those who cannot pay are killed, stripped and dumped in shallow graves in remote stretches of the desert frontier.

"My sons were tricked, tortured and then killed by the smugglers," said Esmeralda Guerrero outside the morgue in the barren town of Tecate across from California, where she came to identify the bodies of her two sons in their 20s last month.

"They kidnapped them and demanded $4,000 to keep them alive. It took me two days to send the money. They didn't wait," said Guerrero, whose sons trekked up from Mexico City...

Mexican soldiers stormed a suburban house in the factory city of Reynosa across from Texas last month to rescue more than 120 kidnapped Central Americans who were huddled together and watched over by men with guns and baseball bats...

"The kidnapping of migrants is happening in both Mexico and the United States ... and it is on the rise," said Mexico's consul-general in San Diego, Maria de los Remedios Gomez...

Lizbeth Diaz

Reuters

Sep. 22, 2009


Added: Sep. 22, 2009

Texas, USA

Suspected sexual assailant

Commerce Police Ask for Info After Attempted Sexual Assaults at Wal-Mart

On September 11,2009, an unknown Hispanic male grabbed a female from behind and attempted to sexually assault her.

He is described as approximately 5'6", 155 lbs, and at the time of the offense he was wearing blue jeans, light blue and white horizontally striped shirt and a maroon ball cap.

This occurred at Wal-Mart in Commerce.

While reviewing the video, police realized the man attacked another woman who did not report the crime.

If anyone has information on this crime, please contact Commerce Police Department, Detective Steve Scott at 903-886-1139...

Commerce Police Department

Sep. 22, 2009


Added: Sep. 22, 2009

North Dakota, USA

Dru Sjodin

Alfonso Rodriguez Jr.

Prosecutors: Glad, Not Surprised Rodriguez Death Sentence Appeal Denied

Fargo - The team of prosecutors that made the federal case against Alfonso Rodriguez Jr. said at a news conference Tuesday they were glad but not surprised to learn that the Crookston man’s death sentence appeal in the Dru Sjodin case was rebuffed by a federal court in Minneapolis.

“We are gratified by this outcome,” acting U.S. Attorney Lynn Jordheim said. “But we know this is just a step on the road to the ultimate resolution of this case.”

The 2-1 decision by the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals came down three years to the day that a jury decided Rodriguez should die for the kidnapping and murder of Sjodin, a UND student, on Nov. 22, 2003. It’s the first death penalty case in North Dakota, which has no death penalty law, in a century.

Rodriguez remains on death row in a federal prison in Indiana. His attorneys, Richard Ney, Wichita, Kan., and Robert Hoy, West Fargo, are expected to begin further appeals...

Stephen J. Lee, Grand Forks Herald

Sep. 22, 2009


Added: Sep. 21, 2009

Peru

This map shows the cities of Iquitos and Pucallpa, centers of child prostitution and pornography in Peru's northeastern Amazon region.

Padres Prostituyen a Sus Hijos por Menos de Medio Dólar

Muchas familias pobres prostituyen a sus hijos por un nuevo sol (unos 0,34 dólares) en el interior de Perú, donde también se denunció que niños de hasta tres años son violados en vídeos pornográficos, informó hoy la prensa local...

Parents are Prostituting Their Children for Less Than Half a Dollar in Peru's Impoverished Amazonian Cities

Lima - "Many families in the interior of Peru, such as in the [Amazonian] city of Iquitos, 'rent-out' their children for money. In exchange for one New Sol (about $ 0.34) or a quarter chicken, parents prostitute their children in canoes," complained Maria Teresa Mosquera, director of Action for Children, in a column published in the newspaper Peru.21.

Mosquera, a children’s rights advocate, said that families are handing their children over to the mafia in exchange for better economic conditions or to acquire luxury goods.

The Peruvian Network Against Child Pornography (RPCPI) has reported that its specialists have discovered that several foreign networks take advantage of the availability of prostituted children in the poorest areas of Peru to record pornographic movies, which are then sold on the black market.

"We have information that recordings are being made in the jungle regions of Peru, in cities like Iquitos, Pucallpa and Madre de Dios [Mother of God]," said the executive director of RPCPI, Dimitri Senmache.

Senmache added that children as young as age three are used in pornographic films, that some children are killed, and that others are taken abroad for prostitution or to be used in many types of slave labor.

Trafficking networks also operate in the tourist cities of Cuzco and Puno, where child pornography videos are recorded by foreigners.

Peruvian police sources revealed that some of the videos containing child pornography are sold in retail shopping centers in Lima. They emphasized that it was difficult to combat these illicit materials due to delays in getting arrest warrants and because of the restrictions placed on obtaining wiretaps.

EFE

Sept. 20, 2009


Added: Sep. 21, 2009

The United States

Linda Smith of Shared Hope International

Photo: Roger Werth - The Daily News

Shared Hope: Repairing the Damage of Nation's Sex Trafficking

For more than a decade, Linda Smith’s Shared Hope International organization has rescued thousands of women and children around the world from the sordid world of prostitution...

In 2006, Shared Hope International received a grant from the U.S. Department of Justice to research the sex trafficking of American children. Investigation was made in 10 targeted locations — Dallas; San Antonio, Texas; Fort Worth, Texas; Salt Lake City; Buffalo, N.Y.; New Orleans, Independence, Mo.; Las Vegas, Clearwater, Fla.; and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, a U.S. territory.

A private grant allowed further investigation in Atlanta and Washington, D.C. Smith presented the results, “The National Report on Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking: America’s Prostituted Children,” to Congress in July. She also wrote a book, “Renting Lacy,” which was published last month.

Shared Hope’s investigation revealed there are at least 100,000 American children being sexually exploited by pimps and traffickers and the “johns” who pay for them. The average “recruitment” age for the girls is 12 to 13 years of age.

“By the time we got done, between undercover footage and interviews, we pretty well had the nation,” Smith said. “What we found is I can go to Craigslist or a strip club or an adult shop anywhere and find a minor for sex. There’s no town, I don’t care where; if there’s buyers, there’s sellers. Pornography is driving the sex train for younger and younger girls.”

Shared Hope’s national report found that too often, the trafficked children were treated more like criminals than victims...

Cheryll A. Borgaard

The Daily News

Longview, Washington

Sep. 19, 2009


Added: Sep. 21, 2009

Mexico

Photo: W Radio

Chávez No Hizo Nada en Chihuahua: Organización Justicia Para Nuestras Hijas

Patricia Cervante de la organización Justicia para nuestras Hijas, aseguró que “pensé que Calderón era un hombre honesto y justo, pero ahora veo que no”.

Para la Tercera Emisión de Hoy por Hoy con Salvador Camarena, Patricia señaló que Arturo Chávez Chávez “no hizo nada en Chihuahua, sólo le abrió la puerta a los delincuentes a cometer sus fechorías hasta el día de hoy”.

"Si hubiera trabajado como se debe nuestras hijas estuvieran en casa."

“Es machista y misógino”, finalizó Patricia Cervantes, de la organización Justicia para nuestras Hijas.

Chavez did Nothing in Chihuahua: Justice for our Daughters

Patricia Cervantes of the organization "Justice for our Daughters," said, "I thought that [Mexican President Felipe] Calderón was an honest and fair person, but now I see that it is not so."

Cervantes said, [federal attorney general nominee] Arturo Chávez Chávez "did nothing in Chihuahua [state, in which Ciudad Juarez is located]. He only opened the door for criminals to commit their atrocities [femicide], right-up through today.

"If he had done his job, our daughters would be [alive and] back home."

"Chávez is sexist and misogynist," concluded Cervantes.

W Radio

Sep. 21, 2009


Added: Sep. 21, 2009

Mexico

A Wrong Sign in Mexico

The nomination of Arturo Chavez Chavez as Attorney General of Mexico (PGR) is disconcerting. At this moment, Mexico needs a person of impeccable credentials to lead the fight against organized crime and corruption. Yet, the government of Felipe Calderon has chosen to nominate an ultraconservative PAN [National Action Party] political operative who is tainted by the murders of hundreds of young women in Ciudad Juarez. There couldn’t be worse choice for a nominee.

There is a long list of complaints against Chavez stemming from his previous job as Under-Attorney General and as head prosecutor for Chihuahua [state]. The National Commission on Human Rights said he allowed agents to alter evidence, violate procedures, and frame suspects, among other irregularities. These investigations have been in relation to the murders of women and the disappearances of individuals, according to the Commission...

Calderon’s nomination is a slap in the face to those inside and outside of Mexico who — with good reason — are concerned by the abuses against civilians and the impunity of those responsible. The removal of the former attorney general has to do with Calderon’s concerns that Eduardo Medina-Mora Icaza had used the Office for political ends. Chavez represents PAN discipline, but nothing else. The price is a civil servant considered incompetent, suspected of negligence, and tainted by the horrific murders of hundreds of women about whom he said, "they were raped and murdered because they were prostitutes," as if this somehow justified the crimes...

La Opinión

Editorial

Sep. 21, 2009


Added: Sep. 21, 2009

Indiana, USA

David Alex Flores

Man charged in Slayings of 2 Sisters, House Fire

An Indiana man faces murder, rape and arson charges in the slayings of two sisters after he attended a party at one sister's house in Griffith, Indiana, authorities said.

David Alex Flores, 35, of Griffith, was charged Wednesday with murdering Jennifer Evans, 28, and her sister, Kristen Evans-Kennedy, 25, and Evans-Kennedy's rape, as well as with setting fire to Evans' home after the slayings sometime late Sept. 10 or early last Friday, according to Lake County, Indiana, prosecutors...

In a statement, Flores told police he was at a small party in Evans' garage on Sep. 10 and fell asleep on the couch after drinking, according to the release.

When Flores awoke sometime late that night or early the morning of last Friday, he went into a bedroom where Evans-Kennedy was sleeping, and raped her when she resisted his attempt to kiss her; afterwards, he stabbed her in the neck and three or four other places with a knife he got from the home's kitchen, prosecutors said.

After stabbing the younger sister, Flores went to Evans' room and choked her into unconsciousness, then put her into a bathtub and brought Evans-Kennedy's body into the bathroom also, leaving it on the floor, where he covered it with bed linens, prosecutors said...

Flores... could face 130 years in prison, prosecutors said.

The Chicago Tribune

Sep. 17, 2009


Added: Sep. 20, 2009

Texas, USA

Texas Senator Leticia Van de Putte and Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott at a Nov. 17, 2008 press conference [see video] to release the report, “The Texas Response to Human Trafficking” [PDF]

Tighter Laws On Traffickers Get Results

Advocates praise state’s progress against human smugglers

Advocates for human trafficking victims say Texas lawmakers have strengthened state legislation aimed at prosecuting traffickers, leading to the first batch of indictments since Texas first criminalized human trafficking in 2003.

San Antonio prosecutors in August secured multi-count indictments under the state law in cases involving the trafficking of two children, ages 13 and 15, said Sgt. Chris Burchell, a investigator with the Bexar County Sheriff's Office.

Burchell, who also heads up the Texas Anti-Trafficking in Persons and Child Sexual Exploitation Coalition, said prosecutors brought the charges against seven suspects in the two cases...

Law enforcement officials have long described Texas as a major corridor exploited by human traffickers. According to the U.S. State Department, between 14,500 and 17,500 people are trafficked into the United States each year, with nearly one in five victims of human trafficking traveling through Texas.

Texas gained the distinction of being the first state in the U.S. to criminalize human trafficking in 2003, but no cases were prosecuted under the original law in part because it lacked “teeth,” said Robert Sanborn, president of the Houston organization Children at Risk, which aims to combat human trafficking...

Houston is considered a hub for traffickers, officials said, in part because of its diverse population, proximity to the U.S.-Mexico border and international air and sea ports. Recognition of the growing human-trafficking problem locally has spawned coalitions and task forces that include law enforcement agencies and nongovernmental organizations.

“Houston has become the American hub for human trafficking,” Sanborn said. “Girls from abroad and girls from the United States are brought to Houston, and it's here that they are beaten and raped and drugged into submission before being sent to clandestine bordellos all over the country.” ...

Most traffickers generally are prosecuted under federal statutes, but since local authorities are often the first to encounter the victims in such cases, it made sense to give local law enforcement and prosecutors the power to present cases, said Jennifer Solak, a staff attorney with Children at Risk.

Susan Carroll

Houston Chronicle

Sept. 19, 2009


Added: Sep. 20, 2009

The World

United Nations Report: Human Trafficking Likely to Rise Due to Economic Decline

United Nations - Human trafficking is likely to escalate because the global economic crisis has fueled its major causes - poverty, youth unemployment, gender inequality and the demand for cheap labor, the U.N. investigator on trafficking said Thursday.

In a report to the General Assembly, Joy Ngozi Ezeilo expressed concern that trafficking "continues to thrive" because these root causes are not being sufficiently addressed and "potential victims become more desperate to escape their unfavorable situations."

Ezeilo, a human rights lawyer and professor at the University of Nigeria who was appointed by the Geneva-based Human Rights Council job in August 2008, also expressed concern that trafficking victims are sometimes deported "without a sufficient period for recovery and reflection."

People who are trafficked should not be detained, charged, prosecuted or summarily deported, she stressed.

"Often, victims of trafficking ... have suffered severe trauma of a physical, sexual or psychological nature and require an enabling environment and the specialized services provided by trained personnel to trust, feel safe to talk about their victimization to, and assist law enforcement officials," Ezeilo said.

She expressed concern that governments are not paying adequate attention to the identification of women, children and men trafficked for sexual exploitation and cheap labor, and to measures to protect and assist them.

Only 24 of 86 countries that responded to a questionnaire she sent in 2008 indicated that those issues were a priority in the fight against human trafficking.

Overall, Ezeilo said, less than 30 percent of trafficking cases - both internally and across borders - are reported to officials...

Ezeilo reported on visits to Belarus, Poland and Japan and said each country needs to do more to identify and help victims...

The Associated Press

Sep. 10, 2009

LibertadLatina

Note

The above story is yet another example of coverage of global trafficking that omits any mention whatsoever of the mass gender atrocities that are occurring in Latin America.

End impunity now!

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

Sep. 20, 2009


Added: Sep. 20, 2009

Arizona, USA

Andrew Robles

Missing Man Caught After Sexually Assaulting Young Girl

Scottsdale police are seeking a man wanted in connection with the sexual assault of an 11-year-old girl...

Officers said Andrew Robles, 54, is wanted on a charge of sexual conduct with a minor. Police said the girl was staying at his home in the area of Granite Reef and McDonald Drive.

Robles is Hispanic, about 5 feet 8 inches tall and weighs 190 pounds. He has a mustache and a scar across the bridge of his nose.

Investigators said he has been known to disappear for days and weeks on end and lives a transitory lifestyle.

People who know of his whereabouts are asked to call Scottsdale police at 480-312-5000.

KPHO

Sep. 18, 2009


Added: Sep. 18, 2009

Mexico

Jacinta Francisco Marcial

Photo: CIMAC Noticias

Tras 37 Meses de Prisión, Liberan a Jacinta Francisco

México, DF - Tras la liberación el pasado 16 de septiembre de la indígena otomí Jacinta Francisco Marcial, acusada con otras dos mujeres del secuestro de seis elementos de la Agencia Federal de Investigación (AFI) en 2006 --por lo que había sido sentenciada a 21 años de prisión--, Amnistía Internacional (AI) hizo un llamado a revisar completamente su proceso y a que sea resarcida por el daño causado por los tres años que permaneció en la cárcel, así como a revisar el proceso contra las coacusadas Alberta Alcántara y Teresa González...

See Also:
Las Otras Jacintas

"The 'Other' Jacintas"

CIMAC Noticias

News for Women

Mexico City

Sep. 17, 2009

See Also:

Jacinta Francisco Marcial, in her cell in San José El Alto prison, Querétaro state, Mexico, June 29, 2009

Photo: Ricardo Ramírez Arriola - Amnesty International

Freedom for Indigenous Mexican Woman Wrongly Imprisoned for Three Years

Amnesty International welcomes the release of Mexican prisoner of conscience Jacinta Francisco Marcial, who was held in prison for three years after being falsely accused of kidnapping six federal agents.

The mother of six, an Otomí Indigenous woman from Santiago Mexquititlán in the Mexican state of Querétaro, was sentenced to 21 years' imprisonment in December 2006.

Amnesty International is calling for a full review into her unfounded prosecution and for her to receive full compensation for unfair and wrongful imprisonment.

“The Mexican government has finally recognized that there was never evidence to justify Jacinta’s trial and conviction of 21 years imprisonment on charges of kidnapping,” said Kerrie Howard, Americas Deputy Director at Amnesty International...

The 46-year-old was released by the judge presiding over the retrial following an appeal won in her favour earlier in 2009. The judge’s decision was inevitable after the Federal Attorney General’s Office announced that it was dropping the case against Jacinta due to lack of evidence.

Jacinta Francisco Marcial was convicted of the kidnapping of six Mexican Federal Investigation Agency (Agencia Federal de Investigación, AFI) agents...

Amnesty International

Sep. 17, 2009

See Also:

Indigenous Mexican Woman Unfairly Accused of Kidnapping Agents

A Mexican market stall holder accused of kidnapping six federal agents has been adopted as a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International.

Mother of six Jacinta Francisco Marcial, 46, an Otomí Indigenous woman from Santiago Mexquititlán, Querétaro state, has been sentenced to 21 years in prison.

Amnesty International said she has been denied a fair trial and is in prison solely due to her marginal status in society as a poor Indigenous woman with limited access to justice. It has demanded that the Mexican authorities release her immediately and unconditionally...

"Jacinta's case is a scandal," said Rupert Knox, Mexico Researcher at Amnesty International. "This is a travesty of justice and a clear example of the second class justice Indigenous People often receive in Mexico.

"Jacinta's story shows how the Mexican criminal justice system is being misused to unfairly prosecute the most vulnerable. She has been targeted because of her ethnicity, gender and social status," said Rupert Knox...

On July 17, 2009, the National Human Rights Commission concluded that there were serious irregularities and fabricated evidence in Jacinta's case. Jacinta remains in prison pending the outcome of a retrial.

Amnesty International

Aug. 18, 2009


Added: Sep. 18, 2009

Brazil

Policía brasileña desbarata red de pedofilia internacional 

La policía brasileña detuvo este martes a siete personas que integraban una red de pedofilia internacional que operaba por internet desde 24 países, informó la prensa local. 

En el marco de la operación Laio, contra la producción y divulgación de imágenes sexuales de niños y adolescentes, la Policía Federal (PF) detuvo a seis hombres en el Estado de Sao Paulo y uno en Minas Gerais...

Police Dismantle International Pedophile Ring

Sao Paulo - As part of an operation targeting the production and dissemination of sexual images of children and adolescents, Brazil's Federal Police (PF) have arrested six men in the State of Sao Paulo and one in Minas Gerais.

"The group distributed pictures, and later began to produce them," said the PF spokesperson Jesse Coelho.

"With court approval, our officers posed posing as pedophiles and connected with the group," added Coelho.

The investigation identified 11 pedophile suspects in Brazil and about 60 in 23 other countries. Coelho said that his agency does not yet know the outcome of the operations in other countries related to this case, which were to be conducted on Tuesday.

Agence France-Presse (AFP)

Sep. 16, 2009


Added: Sep. 18, 2009

California, USA

Attacker Tries To Take Girl From Mother In San Rafael

A man tried to kidnap a 6-year-old girl who was walking in San Rafael with her mother, police said Thursday.

The incident occurred at 7:30 p.m. Sep. 4, but the woman, shaken and afraid after the attack, did not decide to report it until Thursday, said San Rafael police Sgt. Jim Correa.

The woman told police the man approached while she was walking with her daughter and 4-year-old son on Mission Avenue near Union Street, near San Rafael High School.

The man started to speak with them, but the mother walked away with the children. Then the man ran toward them and tried to take the girl away, Correa said.

As the woman and the attacker struggled over the child, the woman screamed and a bystander rushed to help. The man fled and was last seen running on Mission Avenue...

The man was described as Hispanic, 23 to 25 years old and about 5 feet 10 inches tall. He had a heavy build and a large belly, and wore a white shirt with black lettering...

Anyone with information about the man can call police directly at 485-3000 or place anonymous tips with Bay Area Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS, which is a multilingual call center...

Correa said the attack does not appear to be related to an incident on Aug. 15, when a 12-year-old girl said two men forced her into a car in Gerstle Park and drove away with her. The girl said she was able to get out of the car in the Bret Harte neighborhood and walk home.

Gary Klien

Sep. 17, 2009


Added: Sep. 18, 2009

California, USA

La Habra Teen Grabbed on Way to School

Authorities today sought a man who grabbed a 16-year- old La Habra High School student as she walked to school along some railroad tracks about a half mile from the campus…

The man was described as Hispanic, in his 30s, between 5 feet 8 and 5 feet 10, with short hair and a stocky build, Knapp said. He was wearing a black jacket, blue jeans, and black athletic shoes.

The assailant "approached her from behind, grabbing her buttocks and then wrapping his arms around her in a 'bear hug' fashion," Knapp said in a statement.

"The victim screamed loudly several times and the subject released her," Knapp said. "The suspect then fled the location running away from the victim and down the tracks toward Beach Boulevard." …

Anyone with information about the case was urged to call police at (562) 905-9750.

Al Naipo

FOX 11 News

Los Angeles, CA

Sep. 17, 2009


Added: Sep. 17, 2009

Mexico

Mexican Attorney General nominee Arturo Chávez Chávez

Photo: Notimex

Senado Mexicano Debate Propuesta de Nuevo Procurador

El Senado mexicano se enfrascó el lunes en un debate inicial sobre los méritos del hombre propuesto por el Ejecutivo como nuevo procurador general, quien ha recibido severas críticas de activistas y organismos civiles por sus cuestionados antecedentes como fiscal de un estado que padeció el asesinato de cientos de mujeres...

Mexican Senate Debates Attorney General Nominee

On Monday the Mexican Senate began initial discussions of the merits of the man nominated by President Felipe Calderón to be the nation's new attorney general. Arturo Chávez has received severe criticism from activists and non-governmental organizations for his history as the head prosecutor in Chihuahua state, where hundreds women have been murdered...

The Associated Press

Sep. 14, 2009

See also:

With New Attorney General, Mexico Tries to Revamp Drug War

Mexico City - With a new attorney general, Mexican President Felipe Calderon is trying to get even tougher on drug cartels and those who protect them.

But critics say he tapped the wrong man for the job: Arturo Chavez was mired in controversy as attorney general of a border state where corruption ran rampant and hundreds of women were raped and murdered with impunity...

During his 1996-98 term as state attorney general, state police botched investigations into the murders of hundreds of women whose bodies turned up dead in the desert outside Ciudad Juarez so badly that former President Vicente Fox later had to send in federal prosecutors to take over the cases.

Activists accused Chihuahua state officials of torturing suspects, contaminating and falsifying evidence and harassing victims' relatives.

Chavez drew fire for suggesting the victims were partly to blame "for wearing miniskirts." He recommended women take karate classes and carry pepper-spray.

"God help us," said Victoria Caraveo, a women's activist in Ciudad Juarez. "He did nothing when faced with this problem in Juarez. What will he do as attorney general for Mexico?" ...

Julie Watson

Olivia Torres contributing

The Associated Press

Sep. 8, 2009

See also:

Barrio Terrazas: dejó atrás el feminicidio y es embajador en Canadá

Las víctimas ocasionaron su muerte, decía el ex gobernador

México DF, 16 enero 09 (CIMAC).- México ratificó como embajador ante el Gobierno de Canadá al hombre que afirmó que los asesinatos de mujeres en Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua --más de 400 hasta hoy-- era una situación “natural”, en virtud de que las víctimas caminaban por sitios oscuros y “se vestían de manera provocativa” con minifaldas: Francisco Javier Barrio Terrazas, del Partido Acción Nacional

(PAN)...

Barrio Terrazas has Left Femicide Behind and is Now Mexico's Ambassador to Canada

Congress has confirmed Francisco Javier Barrio Terrazas, of the National Action Party (PAN), as ambassador to Canada. Barrio Terrazas once declared that the murders of women in Ciudad Juarez, in Chihuahua state - of which there are over 400 to date - were "natural" because the victims were walking in dark places and had dressed provocatively in miniskirts...

[Javier Barrio Barrio Terrazas was the Mayor of Ciudad Juarez in the 1980s, and became Chihuahua state's governor in 1992.]

Gladis Torres Ruiz

CIMAC Noticias

Jan. 18, 2009

See also:

LibertadLatina Special Section

About the Femicide Murders and Impunity in Ciudad Juarez and Other Regions of Chihuahua State, Mexico


Added: Sep. 16, 2009

Mexico

Mexican Attorney General nominee Arturo Chávez Chávez

Foto: El Universal

Critics Blast Work History of Calderón's Choice to Lead Drug Battle [as Attorney General]

Mexico City – President Felipe Calderón's choice to lead the battle against drug traffickers is under attack by critics who question the nominee's previous work in the state of Chihuahua.

Arturo Chávez Chávez is set to replace Eduardo Medina Mora, who for nine years has been the face of Mexico's campaign against traffickers.

In announcing the change Monday, Calderón praised Chávez, who faces a tough nomination fight in the Mexican Congress.

...Critics in Chihuahua [state] and Ciudad Juárez, the violent border city across from El Paso, [Texas] took issue with Calderón's assessment. They include Oscar Maynes, a former forensics director for the state, and Esther Chávez, director of Casa Amiga, which has documented the killing and disappearance of women in Juárez.

"If there is one thing we're sure of in Chihuahua, it is Chávez's incompetence," Maynes said. "This is a very delicate time for Mexico - the massacre of Juárez and Mexico is under way - and Calderón names a person with a questionable history. This is a sad, terrible mistake."

Once known as a beacon of democratic change, Juárez is best known today as Mexico's murder capital. More than 1,500 people have been killed this year, including nearly 100 in the first eight days of September. Nationwide, more than 5,000 people have been killed in drug violence.

Between 1992 and 1999, when Chávez worked in different roles with the Chihuahua state attorney general's office, the Juárez drug cartel cemented its presence in the region and the cases of hundreds of slain women came to light...

Alfredo Corchado

The Dallas Morning News

Sep. 9, 2009


Added: Sep. 15, 2009

Asia, Africa, The World

Half the Sky

Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide

Written by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn

New book abstract:

From two of our most fiercely moral voices, a passionate call to arms against our era’s most pervasive human rights violation: the oppression of women and girls in the developing world.

With Pulitzer Prize winners Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn as our guides, we undertake an odyssey through Africa and Asia to meet the extraordinary women struggling there, among them a Cambodian teenager sold into sex slavery and an Ethiopian woman who suffered devastating injuries in childbirth. Drawing on the breadth of their combined reporting experience, Kristof and WuDunn depict our world with anger, sadness, clarity, and, ultimately, hope...

Random House

Sep., 2009


Added: Sep. 14, 2009

The World

Report co-author and Chief Executive of the Australian NGO Child Wise, Bernadette McMenamin

One Million Children Trafficked for Sexual Exploitation: Report

A new report on child sex slavery says nearly 80 percent of all global trafficking is for sexual exploitation.

The End Child Prostitution, Pornography and Trafficking (ECPAT)report released today says an estimated 1.2 million children are trafficked for sexual exploitation or cheap labor every year.

The report says the proportion of minors involved in all forms of human trafficking has increased between 2003 and 2007, from 15 per cent to 22 per cent.

Co-author of the report and Chief Executive of Child Wise, Bernadette McMenamin says there's also concern the global recession could result in a rise in child sex trafficking.

"There is new anecdotal evidence coming from many countries including Asia and the Pacific where we're seeing more children entering or being sold into prostitution because there are less jobs around - there are less opportunities for education," she said.

"And the global economic crisis has definitely increased this problem. So governments have paid a lot of lip service to this problem, they've signed declarations, they've introduced laws, etc etc, but they're not working."

The study is part of a global campaign involving 45 countries, aimed at raising awareness about the scale of the child sex trade.

Reuters

Sep. 14, 2009


Added: Sep. 14, 2009

The World

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton

Clinton Urges Crackdown on Human Trafficking

Vienna, Austria - U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton warns that human trafficking is flourishing in the shadows of the global economic downturn.

Clinton gave a video address to an international conference in Vienna examining the scourge of forced labor, sexual slavery and other forms of exploitation. She says urgent steps are needed to crack down on traffickers.

Clinton says she has seen the suffering firsthand: girls in Thailand who were trafficked as young children and are now dying of AIDS, and mothers in Eastern Europe whose daughters have vanished.

She warns that "new economic pressures are likely to aggravate the problem further."

Clinton's speech Monday kicked off a two-day conference of the Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe.

The Associated Press

Sep. 14, 2009


Added: Sep. 15, 2009

LibertadLatina

Commentary

Chuck Goolsby

Give Latin America and Especially its At-Risk Indigenous Peoples a Seat at the Table in the Global Fight Against Gender Oppression

Three recent news stories that have been prominently covered by the press include: U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's call to crackdown on human slavery; a new report by Australia's Bernadette McMenamin and End Child Prostitution, Pornography and Trafficking (ECPAT), identifying 1.2 million children as being made the victims of global sex trafficking each year; and a new book, Half the Sky, by Pulitzer Prize winners and New York Times veteran couple Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, which presents views of the crisis of mass gender oppression in Asia and Africa.

All of these events are important. They will no doubt raise awareness about modern human slavery. That consciousness raising is an important element in helping to build the public pressure that will allow truly effective action to be taken to end modern slavery.

The common theme across all of the above-listed events is an emphasis on addressing the gender rights crisis in Asia, and to a lesser extent in Eastern Europe and Africa. While these regions of the world do have critical women's human rights emergencies to contend with, Latin America is also one of the world's most serious hotspots for modern human slavery and gender exploitation with impunity.

We have previously called out the fact that the modern human trafficking movement in western nations started in the 1990s when the former Soviet Union disbanded, causing widespread sex trafficking to occur in Eastern Europe. In fact, Latin American women and girls had been sex trafficked into the U.S. for decades prior to these events, with no visible reaction from the women's movement in the West. Some aspects of the same problem, that of looking at gender exploitation issues through a lens that ignores Latin America, continue to concern us.

During a recent edition of the U.S.-based, nationally broadcast Diane Rehm Show, from WAMU public radio in Washington, DC, authors Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn discussed their new book, Half the Sky, that focuses on the mass rapes, sex trafficking and other forms of gender oppression facing women in Africa and Asia.

I called-in to the show, and mentioned that currently, Latin America, and specifically Mexico were, in addition to Asia, Africa and Europe, also hot spots for the oppression of women that need public attention. I mentioned that: 1) Hundreds of thousands of women and girls have been forced into prostitution in Mexico; 2) that Save the Children has identified southern Mexico as being the largest region in the world for the commercial sexual exploitation of children; and 3) that all along the southern border of Mexico, an estimated 450 to 600 women and girls are raped each and every day as they attempt to migrate from South and Central America to the U.S.

In response, Nicholas Kristof stated that he had done a minimal amount of work looking into Latin America, but that in his view, India was that largest hot spot in the world for sex trafficking. He added that women prostitutes are "bred" - and that their children are also forced into prostitution. Kristof mentioned that women trapped in prostitution in India are often caged, and are at times killed by their enslavers.

Sheryl WuDunn went on to acknowledge that Mexico was a growing problem that needed to be addressed. But, she said, something has to be done about India before it grows even further out of control.

We agree that India, the rest of Asia, Africa and Eastern Europe are crisis hot spots for the oppression of women and modern human trafficking. That is not in dispute. That does not mean that Latin America should be ignored as yet another critical issue.

We call upon the mainstream media and the U.S. administration of President Barack Obama to address the fact that the crisis of sex trafficking, labor slavery and other severe forms of the oppression of women  in Latin America constitute a regional emergency, and that many of the region's governments, such as that of Mexico, actually aid and abet criminal sex traffickers through their political stances, and by way of their actions and acts of omission.

Importantly, indigenous and African descendant peoples are made highly vulnerable to these abuses by a long history of continuing racial prejudice across Latin America, and especially in Mexico.

Many statistics can be presented to show that Latin America has a number of child and adult women victims of sexual exploitation that is roughly equivalent to the numbers of victims seen today in Asia. It is well known that the sex trafficking 'industry' 'mines' victims in Latin America as if they were coal in the ground, to be exploited locally or sent across the world to a life of torture and death in sexual slavery.

This ugly reality, one that continues to be partially hidden by the fuedal 'code of silence' that the misogynist 'El Yunque' movement and other ultraconservative, pro-feudal and pro-machismo forces promote in Mexico and the rest of Latin America, must be acknowledged by the movement to end modern slavery. Based on that knowledge, we as civilized societies and governments must stand-up and take action to end the mass gender atrocities that plague this region of the world.

Neither the modern anti-slavery movement nor the government entities that have been created to fight human trafficking in the Americas are set-up to address the problem of dealing with nations that actually support modern human slavery, directly or indirectly.

It is apparent from a number of political stances and actions taken by the administration of President Felipe Calderón that Mexico is in fact such a nation.

Is the global anti-trafficking movement ready to tackle the ultraconservative, misogynist and apparently pro-trafficking El Yunque movement, who hold significant power as a dominant faction of the ruling National Action Party (PAN)?

Does the anti-trafficking movement understand that a Mexico that is governed by the PAN will likely never lift a single finger to actually attempt to end the labor and sexual slavery that Mexico has relied-upon to sustain its economy for hundreds of years?

Significant international pressure must be put on the PAN to require it to change its course. Pro-women's rights activists in Mexico must also be supported in ways that send a message to the PAN and to El Yunque (who's Falangist fanaticism literally views all social activists, including women's rights advocates as the children of Satan),

that their violations of international norms governing the human rights of women will not be tolerated.

The victims, and those who are at risk in Latin America cannot await the procrastination of the United Nations, the Organization of American States and the United States Government in regard to these issues.

Women, girls and other victims of modern slavery and other forms of gender and race-based criminal exploitation in Latin America deserve our immediate attention.

There is just no excuse for allowing these horrors to continue uncontested.

End impunity now!

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

Sep. 15, 2009

Updated Sep. 17, 2009


Added: Sep. 14, 2009

Illinois, USA

Sketch of attempted child abduction suspect

Police seek offender in attempted abduction on Far North Side

Police have issued a community alert following the attempted abduction of a 10-year-old girl last week in the East Rogers Park neighborhood on the North Side...

The girl was crossing the alley when a man driving a white pickup passed by and told the girl to get into his truck for a ride home. The girl reported the incident to a citizen standing nearby and the offender fled in an unknown direction.

The offender is described as a Hispanic man 35-45 with a mustache and a dark complexion. He was wearing a baseball cap and spoke only Spanish to the victim. The vehicle is described as a white pickup with a black strip, the alert said. It has a wood board surrounding the cab of the truck, which may be used for scrap or junk collecting...

Anyone with information should call Bemont Area detectives at (312) 744-8200.

Sun Times News Group

Sep. 14, 2009


Added: Sep. 14, 2009

Mexico

Border Mothers Angry Over Mexican Nominee for Attorney General

Ciudad Juarez, Mexico - A group of women whose daughters were murdered in a violent Mexican border city are protesting President Felipe Calderon's choice for new attorney general.

Protesters say the nominee, Arturo Chavez, did little to solve dozens of rapes and murders of women in Ciudad Juarez when he was Chihuahua state attorney general from 1996 to 1998.

About 25 women picketed Wednesday outside the federal attorney general's office in Ciudad Juarez, across from El Paso, Texas.

Ester Luna, whose 15-year-old daughter was killed in 1997, said Chavez "didn't care about those killings, (so) what makes him fit for this post?"

Chavez was nominated... to replace Attorney General Eduardo Medina-Mora.

The Associated Press

Sep. 09, 2009


Added: Sep. 14, 2009

...[The] PAN [National Action Party], like the Republican Party north of the border, has come to rely heavily on a religious right “base” to turn out the vote. As happened in the United States, this has ended up costing the party in general elections, but unlike the Republicans, PAN is showing signs of being willing to jettison the narrow interests of that base in return for a chance to maintain more than a regional dominance. Eduardo Medina-Moro Icaza — a stalwart in the piety wing of the party, and said to have close ties to the shadowy Catholic fascist group, El Yunque, is out as Procurador General (Attorney General)...

The Mex Files

Sep. 09, 2009


Added: Sep. 14, 2009

Mexico, The United States

[More background on the 'El Yunque' movement in Mexico]

‘Purge Anti-Semites from Mexican Government Before Giving U.S. Military Aid’ Friends of Brad Will Tells Congress

Denouncing the appointments of members of El Yunque, an ultra-right anti-semitic movement, to the highest levels of the Mexican government, Friends of Brad Will has told key [U.S.] Democratic Party leaders to reject the Bush military aid package called the Merida Initiative. Friends of Brad Will is a non-government organization advocating for accountability for the murder of U.S. journalist Brad Will, who was killed by Mexican government paramilitaries in October, 2006.

Members of the group have spoken with the powerful Democrat Chairs of the Congressional Subcommittees on Foreign Operations and on Western Hemispheric Affairs, warning that President Bush’s proposed Merida Initiative would arm a Mexican Administration that has recently appointed members of El Yunque, who advocate discrimination against women, homosexuals, and Jews, to top posts. Friends of Brad Will noted the initiative would risk the democratic advances made by Mexico since the ending of one-party rule...

An investigative piece by journalist and feminist activist Irene Ortiz published in the January/February 2008 issue of NACLA [North American Congress on Latin America] Report on the Americas, ‘Putting Down Roots: The Latin American Right Today‘ details the history of the secretive organization dedicated to ‘eternal combat (with) the forces of Judaism, Masonry and Communism’.

Excerpt:

Building the City of God: Mexico's Ultra-Right Yunque [PDF]

…The Yunque has positioned itself not only against critical, independent movements of the left (movements for indigenous rights and autonomy, reproductive rights, feminism in general, rights for sexual minorities, independent unionism, independent neighborhood movements) but also against most of the long-standing institutions of the secular state (religious pluralism; public education and the teachers who carry it out; and organizing/activity by students, labor, campesinos and urban residents…).

The Yunque sees itself not as a conservative group trying to preserve some version of the status quo (nor even some Mexican status quo ante) but as a radical organization out to overturn “the system.” It is very much on the cutting edge of the radical right: a movement to overthrow a godless, secular state, and to replace it with a theocratic (Catholic) state. That explains its current anger at Calderon’s pragmatic, opportunistic [political] shift...

Irene Ortiz

NACLA Reports

Jan. / Feb. 2008

Alvaro Delgado, who published a book on El Yunque in 2003, used the group’s written internal communi-cations and the testimonies of members and deserters, to expose its determination to “create the City of God in accordance with the Gospels”...

Friends of Brad Will

April 17, 2008


Added: Sep. 14, 2009

Mexico

Álvaro Delgado, reporter for Mexico's Progreso Magazine and author of El Yunque - La Ultraderecha en el Poder - "The Anvil – The Extreme Right in Power

The Raging Storm Over Mexico's New Attorney General

If Arturo Chavez Chavez is confirmed as Mexico's new Attorney General, the lawyer from the state of Chihuahua will be in a pivotal role to influence, steer and direct the binational, anti-drug Merida Initiative between the United States and Mexico, as well as an expanded version with Canada and other nations, in the drug war.

As Mexico's chief law enforcement officer, Chavez will also be in charge of federal prosecutions for human trafficking, women's murders, product piracy, and environmental crimes, among others.

But President Felipe Calderon's nomination of Chavez, to replace Eduardo Medina-Mora, has stirred up a storm of controversy.

Women's and human rights organizations, and members of opposition political parties, reject Chavez. They accuse the controversial lawyer of covering up the mass murders of women and the disappearances of many men in Ciudad Juarez, as well as helping to fabricate a scapegoat, the late Egyptian national Abdel Latif Sharif Sharif, in the border femicides.

"This is a bad piece of news," said Paula Flores, mother of 1998 Ciudad Juarez femicide victim Sagrario Gonzalez. "It could be more of a political favor, because Chavez is a member of the PAN (National Action Party) and President Calderon is a member of the PAN."

Mexican press accounts allege Chavez concealed from the public a series of 1996-97 armed robberies in Chihuahua that could be linked to the PAN and a clandestine ultra-conservative organization, El Yunque, which promotes a [misogynist] Catholic theocracy as the solution to Mexico's crisis...

In his different capacities, Chavez was among the first state law enforcement officials to oversee the investigations of numerous sex-related slayings in Ciudad Juarez, as well as the kidnappings of men (and some women) said to have fallen out with the dominant drug cartel. Both the women's and men's murder investigations were characterized by indifference, irregularities, lost files and evidence, threats against victims' family members, and no credible prosecutions, in spite of credible leads.

In 1998, Mexico's National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) issued its Recommendation #44/98 that held Chavez and other Chihuahua state officials responsible for bungling the femicide investigations. Later probes by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, Amnesty International, the United Nations, and others reached similar conclusions.

In another matter, Chavez's office was also found responsible by the official Chihuahua State Human Rights Commission for violating the human rights of indigenous members of the Monterde Ejido who were brutally attacked by the Chihuahua state police while conducting an anti-logging protest in 1997...

Frontera NorteSur

Sep. 14, 2009

See also:

Cecilia Romero, a long-time PAN Party official and the head of Mexico's national immigration service, reflects PAN policy in her declaration that the sex tourism and pedophile networks that exist across Mexico are "inevitable" and cannot be stopped.
"El turismo sexual es inevitable" - Cecilia Romero del Instituto Nacional de Migración de México

Photo: El Universal

LibertadLatina

Commentary

The federal government of Mexico as well as a number of state governments have been very active in recent years in reversing the basic human rights of women and people of non-European ancestry. We have covered the mass gender atrocities that continually affect poor women of all ethnicities, with a focus on the horrendous abuses that indigenous women face. The ruling National Action Party (PAN) has been the unashamed author of these acts, and their forces continue to attack equality for women as if it were a national security threat.

PAN officials have publicly declared that women victims of mass murder in Ciudad Juarez caused their own deaths because they wore "immodest" clothing and walked in bad parts of town. PAN city officials have attempted to ban the wearing of short skirts, low-cut blouses and kissing in public.

PAN activists have criminalized all forms of abortion in 14 states, and have also made the use of some forms of contraception illegal. With the most recent congressional elections, the PAN and their allies in the Institutional Revolutionary Party stand ready to pass national legislation banning abortion under all circumstances, a feat that has already been accomplished in Nicaragua.

At the same time, the PAN's leader, President Felipe Calderón, intentionally delayed publishing the regulations for the nation's first human trafficking law for over a year, and then made sure that the final version of the regulations were watered down and did not allow inter-agency coordination of anti-slavery efforts.

The PAN has no objections to current state laws that consider incest to be a voluntary act between the parties, which subjects victimized children to criminal prosecution and exposes them to the same types of sentencing that an adult victimizer faces. Under this system, even the limited right of rape victims to abortion that still exists in some states cannot apply to the case of a child impregnated by a family member, because such acts of incest are not legally considered to be rape.

President Felipe Calderón also resists having members of the armed services come under civilian criminal justice jurisdiction when they are accused (as they often are) of having raped and even murdered Mexican civilian women in rural areas where they patrol. This form of impunity especially impacts the lives of countless indigenous women, who, when they see that the judicial system does not react by providing them with justice, suffer these sexual crimes in silence, afraid to raise their voices to the corrupt public servants who refuse to serve them because they are women, and because they are indigenous. It has been that way in Mexico for 500 years.

In the Mexico City suburb of San Salvador de Atenco in May of 2006, 30 police officers raped and sodomized 26 women who they had arrested at a protest. Only after worldwide condem-nation over a period of three years did prosecutors in FEVIMTRA, the PAN controlled special prosecutor's office to combat violent crimes against women and human trafficking -  choose to call the officers responsible into court to answer for their crimes.

Lydia Cacho, an award-winning author, journalist and champion of children and women's human rights, was kidnapped, threatened with rape, tortured and unjustly jailed in retaliation for exposing wealthy, politically connected child sex traffickers in the resort city of Cancun. When the Puebla state police agents responsible for these crimes were taken to state court, FEVIMTRA announced that they had 'lost' the files related to Cacho's case. FEVIMTRA also refused to conduct a federal prosecution, the normal practice in cases of suspected state-level corruption.

In May of 2009 a PAN city councilman in Mexico City demanded that Father Rafael López Muñiz, who had been arrested as a ringleader in a major child pornography ring, be released from pre-trial detention. Many PAN party activists also held rallies to advocate for Father López Muñiz' release.

Some 450 to 600 Central and South American women are systematically raped as they migrate across Mexico's southern border each day, as police forces not only do nothing to protect them or arrest any of the 'trolling serial rapists,' but at-times they actively participate in these crimes. The southern border region of Mexico has been identified by Save the Children as the largest region condoning the commercial sexual exploitation of children the entire world. Yet in response to these horrors, PAN activist and head of the National Institute for Migration (INM) Cecilia Romero has declared that criminal pedophile networks, sex trafficking and the abuses of migrants are simply inevitable evils of mankind that cannot be stopped in Mexico.

Finally, the federal General Law on Women's Access to a Life Free of Violence has not been effectively implemented at the state level, a development that also apparently had can be attributed to the PAN's lack of enthusiasm for the measure.

We do not know if the PAN is infiltrated by the ultra-conservative Catholic El Yunque secret society, as Álvaro Delgado, reporter for Mexico's Progreso Magazine and others have alleged. What we do know is that the PAN has repeatedly shown itself to engage in activities that reverse women's basic rights, with a special focus on maintaining the state of virtual slavery in which poor indigenous women continue to live across Mexico.

The PAN has established itself as a leader in the movement to promote the continued existence and empowerment of the concept of machismo, that views women as being literally inferior to men, and indigenous women as being less than full human beings. Its policies are having a negative impact in Mexico, which can be seen by all.

It is the responsibility of the civilized world, and that means civil society (the general public and its diverse non-profit organizations), religious institutions (and especially the main-stream Catholic Church), governments around the globe, and intergovernmental organizations to stand up and confront the PAN on its policies.

There is no justification for allowing the PAN government of Mexico to continue to permit mass gender atrocities to be the accepted mainstream of social and government behavior in a modern state.

If the PAN continues to behave like the Taliban, and wants to be known as a modern Falangist TaliPAN, then the civilized world must stand up and sanction Mexico for its promotion of mass gender atrocities and repression of equal rights for women.

We propose a global human rights protest and boycott movement to put an economic and political dent in the PAN's assumption that they can violate the human rights of the innocent with impunity.

We also propose that the U.S. government run by the Obama Administration take a second look at U.S. foreign aid and military funding. Most U.S. citizens can agree that U.S. tax dollars should not fund state-sponsored mass gender atrocities against women!!!

End impunity now!

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

Sep. 14, 2009

See also:

About El Yunque

The National Organization of the Anvil, or simply El Yunque (The Anvil), is the name of a secret society of Mexican regional character... whose purpose, according to the reporter Alvaro Delgado, "is to defend the Catholic religion and fight the forces of Satan, whether through violence or murder "and establish" the kingdom of God in the land that is subject to the Mexican Government, to the mandates of the Catholic Church, through the infiltration of all its members at the highest levels of political power.

Wealthy businessmen and politicians (mostly from the National Action Party) have been named as alleged founders and members of The Anvil...

According to its critics, the secret organization of El Yunque was supposedly paramilitary in nature, performing its actions (including political assassination) mostly through a set of front organizations, and, according to the magazine "Contralinea", this included the student organization MURO at the National Autonomous University of Mexico in the 1960s. Over time, the organization supposedly evolved and began working towards the establishment of what critics call "a fascist" government in Mexico achieving its goals through more conventional political means.

Wikipedia.com

See also:

Critics Say Secret Society Has Infiltrated Mexican Government

Despite denials, critics say hard-liners have infiltrated ruling party

Mexico City - It sounds like a Hollywood thriller.

A secret organization born in the Cold War and determined to overthrow an authoritarian government outlives the regime and instead begins to undermine a democratically elected administration in hopes of installing a modern theocracy.

Luis Paredes Moctezuma, the former mayor of Puebla in central Mexico, said that very scenario exists in the administration of President Felipe Calderón and the National Action Party, or PAN. He asserted that the party has been slowly infiltrated by the radical group over decades.

Mr. Paredes, a PAN member, said he spent three decades in the secret group El Yunque, or The Anvil, and participated in an ongoing conspiracy "to restore the rule of God" through an ultraconservative Roman Catholic government.

"El Yunque is more dangerous than the narcos," Mr. Paredes said, referring to the government's struggle to recover large swaths of Mexico from drug cartels. Hundreds of Yunque members are now in the bureaucracy, and they control four state governments, he said.

Mr. Paredes said El Yunque established cells in the U.S. 15 years ago, as university-educated professionals migrated and put down roots. "They're in Dallas, in Boston, in Washington, D.C., in Los Angeles, in Miami," he said...

Laurence Iliff

The Dallas Morning News

July 9, 2007

See also:

El Yunque, la ultraderecha en el poder

The Anvil - The Extreme Right in Power

Habla el reportero Álvaro Delgado sobre El Yunque, una organización secreta de extrema derecha que opera en México y tiene raíces católicas...

Noticieros Televisa

June 21, 2004


Added: Sep. 13, 2009

Peru

Operativo contra la trata en Sechura rescata a 8 menores de edad

Piura - En una intervención policial realizada el 1 de septiembre en la provincia piurana de Sechura a 15 cantinas se identificó a ocho menores de edad que eran víctimas de la trata y la prostitución infantil...

Anti-Trafficking Operation Rescues 8 Underage Youth in Sechura

Piura - During a raid on 15 bars carried out on September 1st in the [northwestern Peruvian] city of Sechura, police identified eight underage youth who were the victims of trafficking and child prostitution.

The operation, led by General Walter Rivera, found girls between 13 and 16 who were working as waitresses and were forced to exercise prostitution. Prosecutors ordered these victims to be sent to a shelter. Their relatives where informed.

The victims apparently were trafficked from the eastern Peruvian Amazon province of Bagua. They were recruited with offers of work as waitresses and nannies with a salary of between 200 and 400 nuevos soles [US$63 to $126].

The head of the Municipal Defender of Children and Adolescents (DEMUNA) in Sechura, Nelly Chapa, is doing legal work to arrange for the girls’ safekeeping. Police made no arrests during the operation, although they have summoned the owners of the bars, My Betty, My Jungle, My Cinthia, Blue Sea and Las Delicias.

Leoncio Rumiche

Radio Cutivalú (Piura)

Sep. 11, 2009


Added: Sep. 13, 2009

Texas, USA

Brownsville Couple Pleads Guilty In Sex Trafficking Case

A Brownsville couple has pleaded guilty to running a sex trafficking ring that brought women and teenage girls into the United States for prostitution.

Juan Luis Coronado and Lee Ann Zieger appeared before U.S. District Court Judge Hilda Tagle in Brownsville on Wednesday.

Coronado pleaded guilty to smuggling a teenage girl into the United States for prostitution.

Zeiger pleaded guilty to two counts of harboring illegal immigrants for prostitution.

Prosecutors told Action 4 News that the prostitutes were housed in a Brownsville hotel where 40-year-old Zieger was the manager and Coronado used a room key labeled “Property Manager”...

U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement agents launched an investigation after a prostitute working for Coronado was found accompanying a 14-year-old illegal immigrant at the Gateway International Bridge in Brownsville back in October.

KGBT 4

Sep. 11, 2009


Added: Sep. 13, 2009

Texas, USA

Wanted: Ezequiel Moreno

Kidnap, Sex Assault Suspect [Mistakenly] Released From Dallas County Jail Despite High Bail

A man accused of sexually assaulting a teenage girl in 2008 and then plotting her kidnapping last week was released from jail despite a judge's order that he be held on more than $1 million bail.

Authorities were searching Monday for Ezequiel Moreno, 45, to rearrest him after he posted $100,000 bail early Saturday on charges that he planned a failed plot to take the girl and her mother from Dallas to the Mexican border.

Dallas County Jail officials apparently were not informed of state District Judge Andy Chatham's order two days earlier that bail on the two sexual assault charges be raised to more than $1 million in an effort by police and prosecutors to keep Moreno behind bars...

A $5,000 reward is being offered for information leading to Moreno's arrest.

He is Hispanic, 5 feet, 7 inches tall and weighs 140 pounds.

Anyone with information can call police at 214-767-6700 or 214-671-3584.

Moreno's girlfriend, Rosemary Garza Inocencio, 39, and her cousin, Michael Garcia, 40, are accused of carrying out the kidnapping plot last week. Police say they handcuffed and kidnapped the 16-year-old girl and her mother from a Far North Dallas shopping center by pretending to be federal immigration officers...

The teen said she does not plan to go back to school until Moreno is caught.

"I feel like I'm a prisoner in my own house," said the girl, who is not being named because The Dallas Morning News typically does not identify victims of sexual assault.

"I feel real unsafe, and I just want him to pay for what he did," she said.

Scott Goldstein Jennifer Emily

The Dallas Morning News

Sep. 01, 2009


Added: Sep. 12, 2009

Mexico

Women textile workers in Mexico

Trabajadoras en México Recurren a la Prostitución Ocasional por Crisis

Aguascalientes, México - Obreras y empleadas mexicanas recurren a la prostitución ocasional como actividad paralela ante la crisis económica, en el estado de Aguascalientes (centro), donde líderes sindicales y ONG empiezan a alzar la voz...

Women Workers Resort to Occasional Prostitution to Survive the Economic Crisis

Aguascalientes, Mexico - Mexican women workers are occasionally resorting to prostitution as a part time source of income during the economic crisis in the state of Aguascalientes. In response, union leaders and non-governmental organizations are beginning to speak-out on the issue...

Women workers in Aguascalientes state hold jobs in important industrial activities such as automotive, electronics, auto parts and textile manufacturing, among others. A large number of women in the city are involved in manufacturing blue jeans. They earn an average of 600 pesos a week (about US$44).

"The truth is that if I do it (engage in prostitution), it is not every week, but one or two times a month, because I have two children and my husband left me six years ago, and by doing this I earn about 300 pesos (20 dollars) more," said Jazmin, a young worker at a textile company...

"This is an issue that instead of highlighting us should focus on our employers and government officials and make them feel ashamed. While they eat high on the hog, we women have to do things like this [prostitution] just to be able to eat [at all],” added a poultry worker...

The new phenomenon is less perceptible in [local] red light districts, because "we do it with co-workers or with men we contact through them," said one of the workers...

Full English Translation

Agence France-Presse (AFP)

Sep. 11, 2009


Added: Sep. 12, 2009

Peru

Cárcel para promotores de turismo sexual

En primera votación, el Congreso de la República aprobó la Ley General del Turismo, que contempla una pena carcelaria no menor de cuatro años ni mayor de ocho para quienes publiciten o promuevan la explotación sexual comercial de menores de edad en el ámbito turístico...

New Law Includes Prison for Promoters of Child Sex Tourism

On the first vote, Peru’s Congress approved the General Law of Tourism, which provides for a prison sentence... for those who advertise or promote the commercial sexual exploitation of minors in relation to tourism.

The penalty would apply to any person who creates brochures or other printed media, or audio visual, electronic, magnetic or Internet materials in order to offer commercial sexual relations with minors.

The penalty for exploiting teens who are between 14 and 18 years of age will be a prison sentence of not less than four years nor more than eight. If the victim is less than 14-years-of-age, the sentence is six and eight years. If the offender is a parent, guardian, public authority or teacher of the victim, the penalty is a term of between eight and 10 years.

The law also requires tourism service providers to disseminate and publicize rules designed to prevent and punish the commercial sexual exploitation of children and adolescents, and the use of drugs.

Moreover, the Act provides for the need to approve and update the nation's Strategic Plan for Tourism…

www.losandes.com.pe/

Sep. 11, 2009


Added: Sep. 12, 2009

Virginia, USA

Police: Man Attacking Women Near Fair Oaks Becoming More Violent

Fairfax County police worry a man attacking women walking alone in the dark just north of Fair Oaks Mall is becoming more violent.

The attacker has gone from assaulting with just his hands to wielding a knife, and investigators say the quick escalation is a dangerous sign of what might come...

"Our concern is that these type of attacks tend to escalate," said Fairfax County police spokesman Bud Walker. "We can already see he's escalated from the first to second attack, so we want everyone in that area to be aware and on the lookout."

On Sunday night, the attacker, who is described as a Hispanic man with curly black hair, approached a 56-year-old woman... authorities said. After the victim fended him off, the attacker fled toward West Ox Road.

On Wednesday night, he went after a much younger target, grabbing an 18-year-old woman from behind and threatening her with a knife before the victim broke free. The attacker ran off, heading toward Monument Drive...

"We want to get him off the street before there's a third attack," Walker said. "Who knows what he will do on a third attack."    

Anyone with information on these cases should call Crime Solvers at 1-866-411-TIPS(8477) or Fairfax County police at 703-691-2131.

Freeman Klopott

The Examiner

Sep. 11, 2009


Added: Sep. 12, 2009

Guatemala

Guatemalan Army Stole Children For Adoption, Report Says

The Guatemalan army stole at least 333 children and sold them for adoption in other countries during the Central American nation's 36-year civil war, a government report has concluded...

Many of those children ended up in the United States, as well as Sweden, Italy and France, said the report's author and lead investigator, Marco Tulio Alvarez.

In some cases, the report said, parents were killed so the children could be taken and given to government-operated agencies to be adopted abroad. In other instances, the children were abducted without physical harm to the parents.

"This was a great abuse by the state," Alvarez told CNN on Friday.

Alvarez acknowledges that many more children possibly were taken. Investigators zeroed in on the 1977-89 period because peak adoptions occurred during that time frame, particularly in 1986. They will investigate through 1995 and hope to have another report ready by early next year, he said.

A presidential ministry has determined that about 45,000 people disappeared during the nation's civil war, which lasted from 1960 to 1996. About 5,000 of those were children, the ministry said. Another 200,000 people died in the conflict between the leftist guerrillas and right-wing governments...

Guatemala has the world's highest per capita rate of adoption and is one of the leading providers of adoptive children for the United States. Nearly one in 100 babies born in Guatemala end up with adoptive parents in the United States, according to the U.S. consulate in Guatemala...

CNN

Sep. 12, 2009


Added: Sep. 11, 2009

Guatemala

Closeup of a community mural scene, showing a 1980's military massacre of women and children in the Mayan town of Comalapa, Guatemala.

From a short film by

Ian Ramsey North

Guatemalan Soldiers Sold Children in War - Government

Guatemala City - At least 333 children and probably thousands more were taken by Guatemalan security forces and sold abroad during the country's 36-year civil war, a government report said on Thursday.

Soldiers and police killed children's parents, lied about how they had been found and handed them to state-run homes for sale to adoptive parents in the United States and Europe, said the report, which was based on government archives.

The archives in the Guatemalan presidency's social welfare department show hundreds of children whose parents were killed by the army or who were forcefully taken from their families and were put up for adoption with false papers.

"Some of the people involved in organizing these adoptions made the process into a very lucrative business for themselves, and with that in mind they gave priority to international adoptions," Marco Tulio Alvarez, the report's author and the director of the archives, told a news conference.

By the end of the war in 1996, Guatemala was the second largest source of children adopted internationally after China, but numbers have dropped after the government tightened regulations in 2007...

Around 250,000 people, mostly indigenous Mayan Indians, died in the war between successive right-wing governments and leftist insurgents, which ended with the signing of UN-backed peace accords in 1996.

Human rights groups hope that dozens of people could be prosecuted based on the new report. There may be thousands more cases but little paperwork survives as proof...

Sarah Grainger

Reuters

Sep. 11, 2009


Added: Sep. 11, 2009

Guatemala

Photo: Prensa Libre

Condenan a 150 Años de Prisión a Ex Comisionado Militar

El primer juicio por desaparición forzada en el país concluyó ayer con la condena de 150 años de prisión contra el ex comisionado militar Felipe Cusanero Coj, hallado culpable de la desaparición forzada de seis personas...

Aura Elena Farfán, de Familiares de Detenidos-Desaparecidos, expresó: “En el país hay 45 mil personas desaparecidas, y esta condena es un precedente para continuar la lucha en busca de nuestros seres queridos”.

En el juicio estuvieron presentes los embajadores de Holanda y de Chile, quienes expresaron su beneplácito por la sentencia.

Former Paramilitary Officer is Sentenced to 150 Years in Prison

The first trial involving a case of forced disappearance in Guatemala [during the 1980's-1090s civil war] has concluded with a 150 year prison sentence for former military commissioner Felipe Cusanero Coj, who was found guilty of causing the forced disappearances of 6 people...

Aura Elena Farfán, from the group Families of the Detained and Disappeared, stated, "In our nation there are 45,000 disappeared persons. This sentence sets a precedence for continuing our struggle to find our loved ones.

The Ambassadors of Chile and Holland to Guatemala were present at the trial, and expressed their approval of the conviction and sentence...

Prensa Libre

Aug. 31, 2009

See also:

Added: Sep. 11, 2009

Guatemala

Guatemala Sees Landmark Sentence

A Guatemalan court has sentenced an ex-paramilitary officer to 150 years in prison for the forced disappearance of civilians in the civil war.

Felipe Cusanero, found guilty over the disappearance in the 1980s of six indigenous Maya farmers, is the first person to be jailed for such crimes.

Human rights groups have hailed the verdict as a breakthrough in the fight against impunity in Guatemala.

Some 250,000 people were killed in the 36-year conflict, which ended in 1996.

The court in Chimaltenango, about 40km (25 miles) west of Guatemala City, was packed as the judges read their verdict and sentence - 25 years for each victim.

Cusanero was found guilty in connection with the disappearances of six people in the Chimaltenango region between 1982 and 1984.

At the time, which was the height of the long-running civil war between government forces and left-wing guerrillas, he was a military commissioner, a civilian working with the army.

"We weren't looking for vengeance but for the truth and justice," Hilarion Lopez, whose 24-year-old son was taken by soldiers in 1984 and never seen again, told Reuters news agency.

Rights groups believe Cusanero was involved in the disappearances of more people but only six families came forward to testify against him.

A UN-backed truth commission found that between 1960 and 1996 some 200,000 people were killed and more than 45,000 [were] disappeared.

Most of those who died were civilians.

BBC

Sep. 1, 2009

See also:

LibertadLatina Special Section

(Guatemala has a rate of 'femicide' murders that is ten times higher than the rate of such murders in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. -LL)


Added: Sep. 10, 2009

New York State

Police arrest sex slavery suspect at the La Hija del Mariachi Bar in Farmingville, on Long Island in New York state in August of 2009

Photo: James Carbone / Newsday

Three Plead Not Guilty to Running Sex Slavery Ring

The brother-and-sister owners of two Suffolk County bars who authorities say ran a sexual slavery ring pleaded not guilty Wednesday in federal court to charges in a 13-count grand jury indictment.

Attorneys representing Antonio Rivera and Jasmin Rivera, along with a third defendant, John Whaley, pleaded not guilty in U.S. District Court in Central Islip to conspiracy to engage in sex trafficking by means of force, fraud and coercion; sex trafficking by means of force, fraud and coercion; conspiracy to commit forced labor; forced labor; conspiracy to harbor illegal immigrants; and illegal immigrant harboring.

Federal and county agents raided Sonidos de la Frontera in Lake Ronkonkoma and La Hija del Mariachi in Farmingville last month.

Federal prosecutors have described Antonio Rivera, 34, of Patchogue, Jasmin Rivera, 31, of Medford, and John Whaley, 29, of Bellport, as ringleaders.

According to the indictment, the three "compelled the Latin American women, through deception, coercion and threats of harm, to engage in commercial sex acts and sexual contact with patrons at Sonidos, Mariachi and elsewhere, and to turn over a portion of the proceeds they received from engaging in commercial sex acts and sexual contact with patrons to the defendants."

The indictment says the defendants recruited women who entered the United States illegally from Latin America to work as waitresses at the bars.

According to the allegations, one of the operators repeatedly raped some of the women, referred to in the indictment as Jane Does. The women were kept in line through beatings, and threats of deportation and death, according to court papers...

Jennifer Sinco Kelleher

Newsday

Sep. 9, 2009

See also:

Sex-slave bars reportedly overwhelmingly profitable

Robert E. Kessler

Newsday

Aug. 12, 2009

See also:

Women In Sex-Slave Case Could Be Eligible For Visas

The 23 immigrant women who federal authorities say were forced into prostitution at two Suffolk bars could be eligible for visas if they are deemed to be victims and cooperate with law enforcement.

Mostly undocumented immigrants from Central America, the women are being held at an undisclosed hotel as Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents continue investigating. If authorities decide they're not victims, they will face deportation...

The T Visas ("T" for trafficking) were established in 2000 and allow immigrants and their family members to eventually apply for legal permanent residency. Victims can also be eligible for U Visas, which are available to undocumented immigrants who are victims of a broader range of crimes.

However, advocates say applying for the visas is a lengthy and unwieldy process and few are granted. There is a national 5,000-person annual cap for the granting of T Visas and fewer than half of that have been granted since 2001, according to U.S. Department of Justice statistics...

While some of the women were recruited through ads for jobs as waitresses, a common tactic, others entered the country illegally on their own and sought jobs at the establishments, less common in trafficking cases...

Sumathi Reddy

Newsday

Aug. 10, 2009

See also:

Human trafficking victims are lead from a bar in Long Island

Antonio Rivera

Long Island Horror: Sex traffickers enslave teenaged women

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

Law Enforcement Examiner

August 13, 2009

See also:

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

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

[Story includes video news report]

WPIX.com

August 10, 2009


Added: Sep. 09, 2009

Mexico

Outgoing Congressional Deputy Elsa Conde of the Partido Alternativa Socialdemócrata

(Alternative Social Democratic Party)

Tres Años de Retroceso Para las Mujeres  

Ciudad de México.- Hay evidencias documentadas de que en los últimos tres años las mujeres hemos vivido un profundo retroceso en derechos, posición pública, empleo y capacidad organizativa.

Hace unos días, al cierre de la LX Legislatura, Elsa Conde, del Partido Socialdemócrata (PSD), integrante del pequeño grupo de legisladoras feministas, reveló que las diputadas progresistas tuvieron que enfrentar en resistencia un cúmulo de acciones, algunas fallidas, contra los avances de las mujeres...

Three Years of Reversals for Women

[Feminist Caucus in Congress regroups after electoral losses]

Mexico City - There is documented evidence that during the past three years women have experienced a profound decline in rights, social position, jobs and organizational capacity in Mexico.

A few days ago, at the closure of the 60th Legislature, Elsa Conde, of the Social Democratic Party (PSD), who is a member of a small caucus of feminist legislators, announced that progressive deputies have had to resist a host of initiatives, some of which failed, that have aimed at impeding progress for women.

The group was able to temper a long tirade against emergency contraception. There was a flaw in the electoral reform initiative that reduced rather than increased seats for women in Congress. The national PRI (Institutional Revolutionary Party) joined with the PAN (National Action Party) to declare, via amendments to the constitutions of 14 states, that the fetus is a judicially protected human being - and thus previously legal exemptions that allow for abortion [such as in cases of rape] have been eliminated.

For the first time in nearly one hundred years women are being persecuted and imprisoned for having an abortion...

Meanwhile, during these past three years we have seen an increase in violence against women, yet not one state has taken into account the fact that two federal laws have been passed [in recent years], one establishing equality between women and men, and the other designed to ensure that women have a right to a life without violence...

A subdued meeting was held by the feminist caucus, where outgoing deputies declared their resistance. The four women left in the new caucus busily discussed what had happened with their proposals for women. The group had to acknowledge that there were reversals, and that a resolution completely banning abortion at the national level, and restrictions in the use of birth control, loom on the horizon in the new Congress. Many of the new deputies from the PRI, as well as activists such as the PRI governor of Yucatan state, Ivonne Ortega Pacheco, have expressed delight with the reversals experienced by the progressive women’s agenda.

The federal laws that provide for gender equality, and the General Law on Women's Access to a Life Free of Violence, simply can not be applied, not only because there are backward-looking ‘fiefdoms’ among the states, but also because within some states, such as Guerrero, acts of violence against women and the kidnapping of women are not considered serious crimes. In other locations including Guanajuato, state government has simply refused to set-up the ‘gender alert’ system [required by federal law to respond to gender violence emergencies under the right to life without violence law]. Gender alerts exist on paper but are not actually supported by these states...

Full English Translation

Sara Lovera

Proceso

Sep. 04, 2009

See also:

Diputadas Enfrentarán Embates de la Derecha Contra Mujeres

Female Congressional Deputies  Face Attacks From the Right Against Women's Rights

Gladis Torres Ruiz

CIMAC Noticias

Sep. 07, 2009

See also:

Added: Sep. 09, 2009

Mexico

La Nueva Legislatura Deberá Superar Retrocesos en Derechos de Mujeres

México DF - Diputadas de la LX legislatura señalaron que en los tres años que duró su trabajo se enfrentaron a un Congreso dominado por acuerdos copulares y por un machismo soterrado, dedicando gran parte de su tiempo a detener iniciativas que violentaban los derechos de las mujeres y que lejos de representar una avance a su favor implicaban un retroceso…

The New Legislature Must Overcome Setbacks In Women's Rights

Mexico City – Women representatives from the 60th Legislature have noted that during the last three years of work they have faced a Congress dominated by “copulated” agreements and an underground machismo. They have devoted  much of their time to stopping initiatives that violate the rights of women and that represent a major setback [to the women’s rights

agenda].

During a presentation titled, The 60th Legislature - Legislative Balance and the Commitment to Equality, Congress-woman Elsa Conde of the Social Democratic Alternative Party (PSD) declared that progress was made on some fronts, but that much work has been left undone for the 61st Legislature to address.

Deputy Conde said that the 60th Legislature involved a climate of polarization and constant conflict between the main political forces…

"We were in constant dispute during the entire initial period of sessions in regard to [control] of the Special Commission on Femicide and the Center for the Advancement of Women. Despite our efforts, these committees ended-up being chaired by the party in power" [the National Action

Party]...

Gladis Torres Ruiz

CIMAC Noticias

Aug. 26, 2009

See also:

Ending Gender Violence in Mexico

…The March 2007 General Law on Women's Access to a Life Free of Violence seeks to end violence against women, while addressing what advocates consider its root cause: gender-inequity…

The General Law on Women's Access to a Life Free of Violence has been celebrated by many women's groups and lawmakers who say that its innovative features, which include the regulation and coordination of domestic violence shelters nationwide, mandatory gender reeducation for those who commit gender-based crimes, and a Gender Violence Alert System, modeled after natural-disaster alert mechanisms, will improve services for gender violence survivors and treat the root causes of the problem.

But, even some of the law's supporters worry about its implemen-tation, because it is designated as a general law, which means no federal or state resources have been allocated, and some critics, most notably the Archdiocese of the Catholic Church, argue that the law could further divide the genders...

Press Institute For Women In The Developing World Newswire

Dec. 02, 2008


Added: Sep. 07, 2009

Mexico, United States

The green line on the above map shows the child sex trafficking route from Navojoa to Imuris, in Sonora state, Mexico. The red route shows how U.S. pedophile men travel on U.S. Route 19 to the Mexican border, before continuing the short distance from Nogales to the child brothel located in Imuris.


Added: Sep. 08, 2009

Mexico

"Interesa" a PGR posible caso de prostitución infantil

La Procuraduría General de la República (PGR) está “interesada” en la posible existencia de una red de prostitución infantil que fue descubierta a través de una investigación que realizó Diario del Yaqui, al recibir una denuncia del caso por parte de los afectados, por lo que en breve se dijo se iniciará un proceso de indagación del hecho…

Federal Attorney General’s Office Expresses “Interest” in Possible Child Prostitution Case in Sonora

The Attorney General's of the Republic (PGR) is "interested" in the possible existence of a child prostitution ring that was discovered through an investigation conducted by the Diario del Yaqui newspaper in Sonora state. The PGR has received a complaint in regard to the case from the victims, and it has declared that it will soon begin its fact-finding process.

A spokesman for the PGR’s office in southern Sonora pointed out that although the Sonora State Attorney General has denied the existence of a sex trafficking network..., the PGR will conduct a separate investigation, as there is a [formal criminal] complaint, and given that agents of the Imuris Preventive Police and the Sonora State Investigative Police, as well as American citizens and also truck drivers are implicated…  

Oscar Felix

Diario del Yaqui

Aug. 17, 2009


Added: Sep. 08, 2009

Mexico

Sonora state Attorney General's offices

Niega PGJE que en Sonora exista red para prostituir infantes

Mientras que la Procuraduría General de Justicia en el Estado negó de la existencia de una red de prostitución infantil que opera en todo Sonora y que tiene su punto final en Imuris, la misma corporación se encuentra tras la localización de Yajaira Berenice Rentería Bonilla, de 23 años de edad, a quien se busca para ser interrogada con relación al rapto de dos menores...

State Attorney General’s Office Denies That a Child Prostitution Network Exists in Sonora

While the Attorney General of Sonora state (PGJE) denied the existence of a child prostitution ring operating throughout Sonora that has its endpoint the town of Imuris, they were at the same time searching for Yajaira Berenice Renteria Bonilla, 23, who is wanted for questioning in relation to the abduction of two children. [Renteria Bonilla was at-first arrested during a police raid on the child brothel in Imuris, and was then mysteriously released by authorities.]

PGJE spokesman José Larrinaga Talamantes said that Rosalía Rentería Silva, age 23, a resident of Loma de Guamuchil, filed a criminal complaint regarding the disappearance of her daughters, thereby initiating a preliminary investigation of child kidnapping, but not of child prostitution...

Larrinaga Talamantes denied any complicity and protection [of a sex trafficking network] by state police officers and agents of the [Imuris] preventive municipal police. He also denied that child abuse had occurred, and cited as proof the medical and psychological examinations conducted by the PGJE of kidnapping victims Stephanie Yucupicio Renteria, age 11, and Fatima Silva Renteria, age 8. The report, he says, states that neither sexual nor psychological abuse occurred...

Nonetheless, Diario del Yaqui has been informed by unofficial sources that the federal Office of the Attorney General (PGR), will launch an investigation into the child prostitution network in Sonora. This network was discovered through an investigation carried out by Diario del Yaqui. The case has alarmed citizens of Sonora, especially in regard to the fact that the customer’s of the brothel were truckers and men from the United States...

Full English Translation

Diario del Yaqui

Aug. 16, 2009

  Child sex trafficking suspect Yajaira Berenice Renteria Bonilla

Descubren En Sonora Red De Prostitución Infantil; Opera Desde Navojoa Hasta Imuris  

“Levantan” menores desde Navojoa a Imuris, donde todo hace indicar que la jefa de la organización delictiva cuenta con la complicidad y protección de agentes de las policías Estatal Investigadora y Preventiva Municipal, quienes como premio son los primeros en abusar sexualmente de las víctimas...

Child Prostitution Ring That Kidnapped Over 20 Indigenous Children is Discovered in Sonora Operating Between Navojoa and Imuris

Sonora state - Children are being kidnapped from the town of Navojoa and are then taken to the town of Imuris [near the Arizona U.S. border], where it appears that the woman ringleader of a child sex trafficking ring can count on the connivance and protection of state police and municipal preventive police officers in Imuris, who become the ‘first in line’ to sexually abuse the victims.

The child sex ring, which operates throughout the state, was discovered during an ongoing investigation into the disappearance of two girls, ages 8 and 11, originally from the Yaqui indigenous community of Loma de Guamuchil.

According to an investigation carried out by the Diario del Yaqui newspaper, after these police officers quench their base instincts with the children, the victims are prostituted in Imuris to the highest bidder. The customers include truckers, who are charged 3,000 Mexican pesos [$220], and U.S. men, who are charged $1,500.

[Yajaira Berenice Renteria Bonilla, the kidnapping suspect] had previously taken over 20 girls to [the home of a Madame named Doña Tere in Imuris].

[The suspect's 15-year-old brother told police] that the house where the girls were being kept was also visited by officers of the municipal police and the PEI (State Investigative Police) stationed in [the town of] Imuris, and that they apparently sexually abuse the victims before anyone else was allowed to, as a reward for the protection they give to Doña Tere.

Upon learning of these facts, the PEI commander in the town of Esperanza, Julian Rafael Hernández Gómez, spoke to the PEI commander in Imuris, who   immediately conducted a raid to rescue more than 10 girls, including Estefanía Yucupicio Rentería and Fátima Rentería Silva. Five people were arrested on charges related to child prostitution.

Some hours after the rescue, authorities contacted the police station in Imuris to confirm whether Estefanía Yucupicio Rentería, age 11, and Fátima Rentería Silva were actually rescued in the raid.

In circumstances that are suspicious, the Imuris police reported that the two missing girls had been released into the hands of suspect Yajaira Berenice Rentería, who was released from custody...

Full English Translation

Oscar Felix

Diario del Yaqui

Aug. 15, 2009

See also:

LibertadLatina

Commentary

The recently discovered child sex trafficking case in Mexico's Sonora state, involving the kidnapping of over 20 children from unsuspecting families, highlights several major problems that plague the effort to end modern human slavery in the 'Aztec Nation,' as TV network news services like to call Mexico.

Because indigenous peoples continue to be treated largely as less than second class citizens and peons, they are not typically taken seriously when facing the crisis of having had a child kidnapped from them.

Indigenous children have been kidnapped from across Mexico with impunity. Some three to four thousand of them are currently enslaved as 'geishas' - forced prostitutes, in Japan. Many others have been taken to Spain and other western European countries, where they are sold to brothel owners for up to $25,000 each because they are viewed as 'exotic' merchandise.

The fact that one of the kidnappers in this case is an indigenous woman, Yajaira Berenice Renteria Bonilla, ads a different twist to the typical modus operandi of Mexican sex trafficking gangs, who typically involve non-indigenous Mexicans, Japanese Yakuza and Russian Mob members in the dirty work of enslaving underage indigenous Mexican girls.

The fact that Sonora state prosecutors responded with denials after the investigation by the Diario del Yaqui newspaper, that lead to the discovery of this child sex trafficking network, is disconcerting. However, that is also a common response to crimes of impunity across Mexico. We are encouraged that the Attorney General of the Republic has expressed interest in the case, despite their past lack of follow-through on cases of severe violations of women's rights.

Another aspect of this case that is common across thousands of other similar crimes is the fact that criminals target underage girls, especially those who are indigenous, from rural, interior regions of Mexico for kidnapping into prostitution along Mexico's northern and southern borders.

The involvement of state and local police officers, who are alleged to have been the first to rape each of these kidnapped children, is also part of a pattern that has been seen across Mexico. In some cases, police officers are themselves the pimps.

In one example of that type of behavior that has been seen within the U.S., a Latina U.S. Health and Human Services Administration contractor and medical doctor who provided condoms to victims of the San Diego, California child rape camps, alleged in a widely publicized 2003 article in the Mexico City daily newspaper El Universal that U.S. immigration agents entered some of the 25 suburban house-based child brothels set-up by the infamous Salazar Brothers trafficking gang in northern San Diego County, and exchanged protection of the criminal gang for access to rape the enslaved children in these brothels. At least one victim in the San Diego case was 7-years-old.

It has been reported by anti-trafficking activists for over a decade that thousands of men from the U.S. cross the Mexican Border each day to have sex with children who are forced into prostitution. Despite modernized U.S. laws that criminalize child sex tourism perpetrated by U.S. citizens, we have seen no evidence whatsoever that federal law enforcement have targeted pedophiles who victimize the thousands of children and underage youth who are literally chained to beds in brothels in Tijuana, Nogales, Imuris, Ciudad Juarez, Matamoros, Tapachula, Acapulco and Cancun.

We request that the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama step up to the plate and take aggressive action to curb the mass sexual victimization of Mexican children by U.S. sex tourists along the U.S. / Mexican border.

We also request that the U.S. Government, the United Nations, international human rights agencies and the anti-trafficking movement take a serious look at the dynamics of anti-indigenous exploitation, including the mass kidnappings of underage indigenous girls to be sold wholesale into sexual slavery across Mexico, in the United States, and in Europe and Japan.

To date, this most severely affected victim community has not been given a visible seat at the table in the movement to stop modern human sex and labor slavery.

There just is no excuse for this situation!

End impunity now!

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

Sep. 08, 2009


Added: Sep. 08, 2009

Utah, USA

Jorge Gutierrez-Ortiz

Man Arrested in Alleged Bathroom Sex Assault on 7-Year-Old Boy

West Valley City police have arrested a man accused of sexually assaulting a young boy in a Burger King bathroom.

The 7-year-old boy was assaulted on Aug. 15 by a man allegedly waiting in the bathroom at the restaurant, located at 5600 West and 3500 South. He was with his mother and sibling when he left to use the restroom, then came back out and told his mother about the attack, police said.

Officers searched nearby businesses for clear surveillance video of the man, and released it Thursday. Dozens of tips came in, and police arrested 44-year-old Jorge D. Gutierrez of West Valley City later the same day, said Lt. Bill Merritt. He was booked on suspicion of child kidnapping and sodomy on a child.A search of court records did not show a criminal history for Gutierrez.

The Salt Lake Tribune

Sep. 04, 2009


Added: Sep. 08, 2009

Pennsylvania, USA

Man Accused of Raping Boy, 17

Emigdio Asencio, 48, is in Bucks County Prison after the incident at Bucks Landing Apartments.

"That's him," the boy said, crying. "That's him."

The 17-year-old was in tears as he identified the 48-year-old man he was accusing of raping him at the Bucks Landing Apartments in Warminster, according to court records.

Police arrested Emigdio Asencio, who lives at the apartment complex…

Asencio was sent to Bucks County Prison on 10 percent of $1 million bail. He remained incarcerated Thursday, according to a prison official. Immigration authorities have placed a detainer on Asencio, meaning there are suspicions he is in the United States illegally…

Asencio made "sexual overtures" toward the teen and then exposed himself to the boy, court papers said.

The man made the boy touch him sexually, then became more aggressive, pinning the teen's arms behind his back and forcing him toward another building, said records.

The two ended up inside an apartment where Asencio held the boy down on a bed and raped him, according to an affidavit of probable cause…

A nurse at Abington Memorial Hospital examined the alleged victim. She determined he had injuries consistent with being raped…

Christopher Ruvo

Bucks County Courier Times

Aug. 28, 2009


Added: Sep. 08, 2009

Nevada, USA

Pastor Arrested on Lewdness Charges

A local pastor was arrested last week in Las Vegas on multiple counts of lewdness with a minor and open and gross lewdness charges, Las Vegas police said.

Ladislao "Constantino " Morales, 56, was arrested Tuesday. He was booked into the Clark County Detention Center on two charges of lewdness with a minor under 14 and four counts of open and gross lewdness.

Morales is a pastor of the local "Centro Evangelistico Alfa y Omega" church. It is unknown who the victim was or whether they attended the church.

He is being held on $24,000 bond.

Maggie Lillis

Las Vegas Review-Journal

Aug. 31, 2009


Added: Sep. 07, 2009

Oregon, USA

Wilcox Farms Settles EEOC Sexual Harassment and Retaliation Suit for $260,000, Other Relief

Federal Agency Says Latina Employee Forced to Quit to Escape Abusive Supervisor

Portland - Wilcox Farms, which operates dairy and egg production facilities in Oregon and Washington, will pay $260,000 and provide remedial relief to settle a federal sexual harassment and retaliation suit, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced today.

The EEOC’s lawsuit charged that a male supervisor repeatedly grabbed, sought to forcibly undress and propositioned Wilcox Farms employee Diana Dominguez at its Aurora, Ore., facility. According to the federal agency’s investigation, the harassment continued over many months despite Dominguez’s complaints to management, to the point where she began to fear for her physical safety. The EEOC found that Wilcox retaliated against Dominguez for reporting the harassment by isolating her from co-workers, forcing her to continue to work with the harasser and pressuring her to resign. Dominguez ultimately was forced to quit out of fear for her safety...

Under the terms of the consent decree settling the suit, Wilcox Farms denied any wrongdoing but will pay Dominguez $260,000. The company also agreed to adopt and to distribute to all employees a sexual harassment policy written in both English and Spanish; make its complaint procedures more convenient for employees to report harassment and retaliation; conduct sexual harassment training in English and Spanish for all managers, supervisors and employees; and to provide various reports to the EEOC over a three-year period.

Dominguez said, “This job was important to me, but I had to leave it to feel safe. I am thankful to the EEOC, Oregon Law Center and Legal Aid Services for protecting my right to be safe at work. And I am glad that the company will make changes so that what happened to me doesn’t happen to other workers.” ...

U.S. EEOC

Aug. 20, 2009


Added: Sep. 07, 2009

California, USA

Hometown Buffet, Inc. Agrees to Settle Sexual Harassment Suit With EEOC

EEOC Says Women Subjected to Groping and Sexual Advances by Male Managers

San Diego - The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) today announced a class litigation settlement against Hometown Buffet, Inc., on behalf of teens and Latinas who were subjected to a sexually hostile workplace, including verbal and physical abuse, in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.

Specifically, the EEOC alleged that Hometown Buffet failed to prevent and tolerated a pattern of ongoing sexual harassment in which male managers, supervisors, and co-workers subjected female employees to a sexually hostile workplace, including groping, hugging, kissing, sexual advances, and stalking employees outside the workplace. One female victim was allegedly raped by a male co-worker. The EEOC further alleged that due to the female employees’ young age and/or lack of English proficiency, a breakdown in the company’s complaint process failed to adequately remedy the sexual harassment.

In addition to a monetary settlement of $710,000, the two-year consent decree resolving the matter will also ensure the implementation of measures to prevent and remedy sexual harassment at the company’s El Cajon location...

U.S. EEOC

Aug. 03, 2009


Added: Sep. 07, 2009

Florida USA

Mother, Son Accused of Human Trafficking

Manatee County - A mother and son are facing charges after investigators said they were involved with a human trafficking organization.

According to reports, Lazara Moreira-Penin, 53, and her son, Erisbel Artiles, 31, helped smuggle a 30-year-old Guatemalan man into Bradenton, and then held him captive when his family couldn't pay a "transportation fee."

A family member of the victim, who lives in Bradenton, contacted law enforcement. Officers from the Manatee County Sheriff's Office, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Federal Bureau of Investigation started investigating the case.

On Saturday, officers found the victim. He is expected to be OK.

Moreira-Penin and Artiles, both residents of Miami, were arrested. They are facing charges of extortion and financial benefit from forced labor service.

Moreira-Penin was being held at Manatee County Jail. She has since posted bond of $12,500. Artiles was incarcerated in Miami.

Central Florida News 13 / Bay News 9

Sep. 06, 2009


Added: Sep. 07, 2009

Texas, USA

Texas Enacts Law to Aid Human-Trafficking Victims

Texas has become the first state in the nation to provide assistance to domestic human-trafficking victims with a landmark law that Governor Rick Perry signed into law in August.

The law establishes a statewide Human Trafficking Prevention Task Force in the attorney general's office, creates a human-trafficking training component for law-enforcement officers, starts a program to connect services to trafficking victims and begins a grant program for groups that provide assistance to domestic trafficking victims.

Among faith groups that helped shepherd the bipartisan bill through the Lone Star State's legislature was the Texas Baptist Christian Life Commission. Human-trafficking victims account for 74 percent of the sex-trade market, according to statistics provided by the commission.

"Most people think human trafficking happens elsewhere in places like Thailand and Cambodia, but the reality is that it is happening in our own backyard," said Republican state representative Randy Weber of Pearland, who authored the legislation, which was also sponsored by Democratic senator Leticia Van de Putte of San Antonio.

"In fact, the vast majority of the victims identified within Texas are actually our own citizens," said Weber.

Republican governor Perry, in signing the bill August 24, said, "The task force created by this bill will focus state efforts on ending this criminal activity that primarily targets women and children."

ABP

Christian Century

Sep. 22, 2009


Added: Sep. 07, 2009

Oklahoma, USA

Melvin Urbina

Suspect in Oklahoma City Rape is a Registered Sex Offender

Officials say a man wanted in connection with the rape of an 11-year-old girl at a wedding anniversary celebration in Oklahoma City is a high-risk registered sex offender and illegal immigrant.

Oklahoma City police say 33-year-old Melvin Urbina is a suspect in the July 25th, 2009 rape at the Imperial Restaurant Banquet Hall.

According to court records, Urbina was convicted of sexual assault in Tarrant County, Texas, in 1999, and was required to register as a lifetime sex offender.

Finding no evidence that Urbina had registered as a sex offender in Oklahoma, officials charged him in federal court Aug. 19 with failing to register.

Police say Urbina has relatives in Mexico and Honduras and suspect he has fled Oklahoma.

The Associated Press

Sept. 2, 2009

See also:

Man Sought in Rape of 11-Year-Old Girl

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

Robert Medly and Johnny Johnson

www.NewsOK.com

July 28, 2009


Added: Sep. 07, 2009

Utah, USA

13-Year-Old Female Comes Forward with Allegation of Rape

Logan police say a 13-year-old female adolescent came forward last week to report she was the victim of a sex crime.

Jose Rios Jimenez, 24 of Logan, is behind bars at the Cache County Sheriff’s Complex after being charged with first-degree felony rape of a child.

Logan Police Capt. Jeff Curtis said Jimenez and the girl were alone in an apartment when the situation between the two escalated. The alleged victim in the case was visiting a girlfriend and planned to stay the night, police say.

“Because of the age of the young lady, she is unable to consent,” said Curtis.

The alleged victim told police the incident took place Aug. 26. She and her parents reported it to police just days later. Investigators issued an arrest warrant for Jimenez and located him Thursday... ...He was arrested.

Jail staff said Friday that bail for Jimenez is set at $20,000.

Utah court records show Jimenez was arrested in 2007 on burglary charges and earlier this year for multiple counts of theft and vehicle burglary.

A Utah legal statute defines the rape of a child as sexual intercourse with a child who is younger than 14. The offense is “punishable by a term of imprisonment of not less than 25 years and which may be for life,” the code reads.

Matthew K. Jensen

Sep. 05, 2009


Added: Sep. 07, 2009

South Dakota, USA

Man Sentenced To 10 Years For Rape, Drugs

A Sioux Falls man who authorities say took a 15-year-old girl to a party house for a weekend of drugs and sex last February has been sentenced to 10 years in prison.

The defense attorney for 25-year-old Benjamin Dejesus Cruz says Cruz believed the girl to be 18 years old. Circuit Judge Peter Lieberman told Cruz that his drug use and the drawn-out nature of his relationship with the girl went against the notion that the crimes were a simple mistake.

Cruz was arrested for methamphetamine possession after his release on bond for the rape charge.

The Associated Press

Sep. 04, 2009


Added: Sep. 07, 2009

Massachusetts, USA

Rape Victim, 66, Identifies Assailant in Allston, Police Say

It was recycling day in Allston last Thursday and the 66-year-old woman got up early to collect cans she planned to return for cash.

At around 5:30, a slight, clean-shaven man she had seen in the neighborhood before rode up to her on his scooter and told her of a place nearby where she could find more cans, prosecutors said yesterday. Instead, he lured her to an alley near Gardner Street and Harvard Avenue, where he suddenly turned on her, beating her about the head and face, and then raping her, according to law enforcement officials.

Yesterday morning, one week later and almost at the same time the assault took place, the victim led police to her alleged attacker. The suspect was walking just a few blocks from where police said she was raped.

The woman identified Jose Sariano Gonzalez, a 20-year-old Allston man, as her attacker and police ran after him. Gonzalez tried to get away, police said, but the officers arrested him after wrestling with him.

A Brighton District Court judge ordered that he be held on $250,000 cash bail. He pleaded not guilty to sexual assault, assault and battery on a person over 60, and resisting arrest, said Jake Wark, spokesman for Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley. Little was known yesterday about Gonzalez, who is from El Salvador and lives close to where the alleged assault took place...

Gonzalez was ordered to surrender his passport, Wark said. US Immigration and Customs Enforcement has ordered Gonzalez detained so they can determine whether he should be deported. It was unclear yesterday whether Gonzalez was in the country legally.

Even if he posts bail, Gonzalez would still be held by federal officials, Wark said...

Gonzalez was also charged with receiving stolen property after police found him with a stolen credit card belonging to another woman, Wark said. That charge does not appear to be related to the case, he said.

Maria Cramer

The Boston Globe

Sep. 4, 2009


Added: Sep. 04, 2009

Mexico

Protest signs proclaim "Freedom for Political Prisoners" at May, 2009 commemoration of Atenco

El Frente de Pueblos en Defensa de la Tierra y organizaciones sociales realizaron una manifestacion conmemorando el tercer aniversario de la represión en San Salvador Atenco.

The Front of Peoples in Defense of the Land and social organizations of Mexico held a demonstration in commemoration of the third anniversary of the police repression in San Salvador Atenco.

Three years after the violence, a number of protesters remain in state prison in cases related to the Atenco protests.

Photo: Prometeo Lucero / LatinPhoto

Protest wall: "47 women... In Mexico there is torture!"

Van por Policías Torturadores

Después de tres años, la PGR concluye que 30 funcionarios son responsables de los hechos de San Salvador Atenco

La Procuraduría General de la República (PGR) concluyó que existen elementos de prueba para acusar y detener a 30 servidores públicos del gobierno del Estado de México involucrados en los hechos violentos de San Salvador Atenco, del 3 y 4 de mayo de 2006...

Federal Prosecutors Will Charge 30 Rogue Police Officers / Torturers of 47 Women Protesters in Atenco Case

Three years after the fact, Mexico’s federal Attorney General’s office (PGR) has concluded that 30 public servants of the government of the state of Mexico were involved in the violent events in the city of San Salvador Atenco on May 3rd and 4th of 2006.

In the near future the PGR will ask a federal judge to issue arrest warrants for those who are presumed to be responsible for the acts of torture and sexual crimes that were perpetrated against a number of women who were in the state of Mexico during a security crackdown.

High-level sources in the PGR have stated that the case is being managed by the Special Prosecutor for Crimes of Violence against Women and Trafficking in Persons (FEVIMTRA). After three years of investigation, FEVIMTRA is basing its charges on eye witness testimony, the work of experts and other sources of evidence.

The PGR investigation found that federal law enforcement agents [who participated in the police action] were not involved in the violations of individual rights and against the physical integrity of victims that occurred...

Sources within the PGR said that it has been determined that acts of torture with sexist connotations… serious acts of violation of women's rights, did take place.

The case has been documented and examined by experts. Foreign victims from Chile, Germany and Spain will be allowed to join in the complaint.

One Spanish victim provided testimony to investigators that ultimately proved essential to support the charges against the 30 accused state government employees.

During the research process investigators focused on the 47 women who were injured by the security forces, mainly on May 4th, 2006. Some of them had since changed there place of residence for fear of reprisals...

The Supreme Court of Justice (SCJN) had ordered, in regard to this matter, the formation of a commission to investigate the case of Atenco, to see which authorities had violated individual rights during the operations in question, and to restore public order in that area of the country.

The Court indicated that the crime of torture is classified as serious, and therefore the suspects would not be permitted to remain free on bail.

Full English Translation

Excélsior

Lemic Madrid

Sep. 02, 2009

LibertadLatina

Commentary

According to unnamed internal PGR sources, the Attorney General of Republic (PGR) and the office of the Special Prosecutor for Crimes of Violence Against Women and Trafficking in Persons (FEVIMTRA) within the PGR will, finally, take action and prosecute those believed to be responsible for the sexual assaults of 26 of the 47 women arrested at the May 3rd and 4th, 2006 protest march in San Salvador de Atenco. That is good news, on its face.

The above story, appearing on Sep. 2, 2009 in Mexico's Excélsior newspaper, leaves the reader with the impression that the upcoming prosecutions of 30 state police agents in the case is the result of three years of continuous diligent investigation by the PGR and FEVIMTRA.

We note with interest that this announcement was published three days after the August 31st resignation of Guadalupe Morfin Otero as the special prosecutor in charge of FEVIMTRA.

In reality, numerous women's rights groups have repeatedly criticized FEVIMTRA for having dropped the ball by not having investigated the case of Atenco. Other cases, such as that against Puebla state police agents for the torture of anti-child sex trafficking activist and journalist Lydia Cacho, were also ignored, and the extensive investigatory work on Cacho's case performed by FEVIM, the predecessor office to FEVIMTRA, just happened to 'disappear' once Morfin Otero took charge from special prosecutor Alicia Elena Pérez Duarte in January of 2008.

The following account communicates well the sense of frustration that the women victims of rape at Atenco and their advocates felt during the long period when Morfin Otero's FEVIMTRA refused to engage them and seek justice on their behalf.

Note: Eleven of the original 26 victims of sexual violence filed criminal complaints seeking justice against their aggressors.

Petition of 11 Women from Atenco, Victims of Torture

...On April 29

[2008], female ex-prisoners of Atenco protested outside the Special Prosecutor's Office for Crimes Related to Violence Against Women [FEVIMTRA] to announce their petition before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) regarding the sexual torture they suffered while detained. The IACHR is considered an option of last resort, when citizens are unable to obtain justice through their own countries' legal systems.

The women and their supporters protested outside the Special Prosecutor's Office for Crimes Related to Violence Against Women to make clear that they were forced to seek justice in an international body because of the Special Prosecutor's failure to act on their cases. Sufficient evidence exists to indict the police who tortured them, but the state has failed to do so.

The women report having tried "many, many times" to schedule a meeting with the Special Prosecutor. Mariana de las Selvas has been out of prison for three months. In that time, she's tried on three separate occasions to meet with the Special Prosecutor, but the office always ignored her requests. It wasn't until the women filed their petition with the IACHR and held a protest and press conference outside the Special Prosecutor's office to denounce its inaction did the Special Prosecutor insist on meeting with the ex-prisoners.

The women agreed to the meeting, and entered with a single question for the Special Prosecutor: What has the Special Prosecutor's Office for Crimes Related to Violence Against Women done in the past two years to punish the police responsible for torture in Atenco?

Representatives from the Special Prosecutor's office spoke for thirty minutes in response to the question, effectively saying that they had done nothing. Selvas reports that they gave "every excuse under the sun" for why they hadn't met with the ex-prisoners or prosecuted the police for torture, sexual abuse, and rape...

Kristin Bricker

May 6, 2008

We can only surmise that the administration of National Action Party (PAN) President Felipe Calderón is receiving substantial pressure internationally and within Mexico to repair this most glaring blot on the moral reputation of the nation. Whatever the cause of the PGR's major policy shift on this case, President Calderón's adminis-tration must be closely monitored to assure that justice is actually done for the victims of the violence at Atenco.

Based on past experience, we have little reason to trust that those responsible for rapes and other serious crimes against women will actually face impartial judicial proceedings in relation to their cases, resulting in the punishment that those who are guilty deserve.

The whole world is watching!

End impunity now!

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

Sep. 04, 2009

See also:

LibertadLatina Special Section

Foto: Belinda Hernández

Mexican Police Rape and Physically Assault 26 of the 47 Women Arrested During Street Protests in San Salvador Atenco in May of 2006


Added: Sep. 04, 2009

California, USA

Human Trafficking Bill Passes Assembly

Sacramento – The State Assembly yesterday unanimously approved legislation that would allow courts to seize any property, such as house or automobile, used in the commission of human trafficking. In addition to the courts seizing property, SB 557 would add civil penalties of up to $25,000.

"SB 557 will bring much-needed resources to help fight human trafficking, while also ensuring victims receive the services they need to recover from this horrific crime," said the bill´s author, Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco/San Mateo). "Between 14,500 and 17,500 victims are trafficked into the United States each year and enslaved for purposes of sexual or labor exploitation, and unfortunately many of the cases occur here in California. Our state has led the way in combating human trafficking and exploitation, but we should not stop our efforts until all women, men, and children are free and safe from such an appalling offense." ...

The US Department of Justice recently announced that in the first 21 months of operation, the Human Trafficking Reporting System (HTRS) recorded information on more than 1,200 alleged incidents of human trafficking.

According to the Justice Department, nearly 90 percent of victims in human trafficking cases were female and almost all (99%) victims in sex trafficking cases were female.

Hispanic victims comprised the largest share (37 percent) of alleged sex trafficking victims and more than half (56 percent) of alleged labor trafficking victims. Asians made up 10 percent of alleged sex trafficking victims, compared to 31 percent of labor trafficking victims. Approximately two-thirds of victims in alleged human trafficking incidents were age 17 or younger (27 percent) or age 18 to 24 (38 percent). Sex trafficking victims tended to be younger (71 percent were under age 25) and labor trafficking victims tended to be older (almost 70 percent were age 25 or older).

Nearly eight in 10 human trafficking suspects were male. US citizens accounted for 66 percent of suspects in alleged incidents.

SB 557 will receive a procedural concurrence vote in the Senate before heading to the Governor's desk.

California Chronicle

Sep. 02, 2009


Added: Sep. 04, 2009

Oregon, USA

Store security camera image of suspect

Police seek help identifying Clackamas sex abuse suspect

Clackamas - Sheriff's deputies are asking for the public's help in identifying a man who sexually abused a 6-year-old girl shopping in a Clackamas-area store Tuesday.

The girl suffered no physical injuries in the incident.

Detective Jim Strovink, sheriff's spokesman, said a woman was shopping at the Nordstrom Rack store on Southeast Sunnyside Road shortly after 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, accompanied by her son and daughter. The woman noticed a man who seemed to be near her children when they visited different areas of the store, but didn't say anything.

When they reached the shoe aisle, around 7:50 p.m., a man followed. He then began masturbating and rubbing against the girl.

Strovink said store surveillance cameras showed that the man had contact with the girl about a half-dozen times. Each time, he faced away from the girl's mother and carried a piece of clothing to conceal his abdomen.

After leaving the store, the girl told her mother what had happened, saying the man kept winking at her during contact. The woman then reported the incident to the store's security staff.

The man is described as 40- to 50-years-old, about 5-foot-6, 200 pounds, with short black hair. He was last seen wearing a blue-and-white striped short-sleeved shirt, a dark blue baseball cap with the letter "B" in front and a pair of shoes with an alligator logo -- possibly Izod brand...

Rick Bella

The Oregonian

Sep. 03, 2009


Added: Sep. 04, 2009

Georgia, USA

Jose Hernandez-Ruiz

Teen's Text Message Helps Halt Attack

Gwinnett County - A Gwinnett County man was in jail Thursday without bond, accused of attacking a teenage girl. Authorities said the attack could have been much worse had the girl not sent a text message to one of her friends asking for help.

Jose Hernandez-Ruiz was charged with sexual battery, kidnapping. The victim in the case is 16-years-old.

Investigators said during the attack, the victim was able to send a text message to a friend asking for help. The victim said her friends responded and were able to put a stop to the attack.

Hernandez-Ruiz was arrested and taken to the Gwinnett County jail. Hernandez-Ruiz was also held for federal immigration purposes.

Edited by Leigha Baugham

Fox News Atlanta

Sep. 03, 2009


Added: Sep. 04, 2009

Connecticut, USA

Police artist's rendering of abduction suspect

Police: Man Tried To Pull Girl Into Car

14-Year-Old Was Walking To Bus Stop, Police Say

Stamford, Conn. -- A man attempted to abduct a 14-year-old girl who was walking to her bus stop Thursday morning, police said.

Stamford police said the girl was walking to her bus stop on Atlantic Street near Woodland Avenue at about 6:30 a.m.

The girl told police that a small blue car pulled up to the curb and the driver leaned across the passenger seat and asked for directions to Interstate 95. When the girl approached the car, police said the man opened the passenger door and grabbed her by the shirt and back pack and tried to pull her into the car.

Police said the girl slid out of the backpack and ran into a nearby deli.

The man is described as being Hispanic, possibly from Columbia based on his accent. He appears to be in his mid 20s with a slim build and short, spikey hair. Police said he was wearing a white shirt and black shorts. The shorts were splattered with paint and painting equipment was in the car.

WFSB News

Sep. 03 / 04, 2009


Added: Sep. 03, 2009

Mexico

Mexico's Special Prosecutor for Crimes of Violence Against Women and Trafficking in Persons - Maria Guadalupe Morfin

Photo: ElLaMira.net

Guadalupe Morfín Otero… ¡¿Quiere Pasarse De La PGR A La CNDH?!

La titular de la Fiscalía Especial para los Delitos de Violencia contra las Mujeres y Trata de Personas (FEVIMTRA) de la Procuraduría General de la República (PGR), María Guadalupe Morfín, renunció a su cargo, debido a que buscará presidir la Comisión Nacional de Derechos Humanos…

Maria Guadalupe Morfin… Now She Wants to Transfer from Her Role as Special Prosecutor for Crimes of Violence Against Women and Trafficking in Persons, to become head of the National Human Rights Commission

Maria Guadalupe Morfin, Special Prosecutor for Crimes of Violence Against Women and Trafficking in Persons (FEVIMTRA), in the Attorney General's Office (PGR), has resigned her position in that office to seek to become the head of the National Human Rights Commission (CNDH).

To some analysts, there is clear intent by the current administration, headed by the National Action Party (PAN) President Felipe Calderón, to place a chairperson in the human rights commission who is loyal to his administration and to his party. According to this logic, the president can then provide cover for his administration from the one agency that gives [a highly visible] voice to complaints about the federal government’s human rights abuses.

That is to say, the change in leadership will lead to fewer political embarrass-ments [for Calderón].

Note that Morfin assumed the leadership of FEVIMTRA on January 31, 2008, following the resignation of special prosecutor Alicia Elena Pérez Duarte, who was investigated by the attorney general’s office, and who in her official capacity appeared to advocate for activist/journalist Lydia Cacho, who was arrested in 2005, an advocacy that [Pérez Duarte] was barred from…

Armando Sanchez

www.ElLaMira.net

Sep. 01, 2009

LibertadLatina note:

The above Sep. 1, 2009 news article from En la Mira (In Focus) alleges that former special prosecutor Alicia Elena Pérez Duarte left her post in late 2007 due to an investigation by the Attorney General's office into her support for anti-child trafficking activist and journalist Lydia Cacho. This is the first allegation of this type that we have seen in regard to Pérez Duarte.

It is clear to us, from a review of the timeline of events and from Pérez Duarte's statements at the time, that she resigned from FEVIM (the predecessor to FEVIMTRA) in reaction to the brazen ruling by Mexico's Supreme Court that declared that Lydia Cacho's basic rights were not violated when Puebla state governor Mario Marin, in conspiracy with millionaire and alleged child sex trafficker Kamel Nacif, had Lydia Cacho arrested, tortured and threatened with rape in retaliation for Cacho's use of Kamel's name in her exposé, Demons of Eden.

This new allegation appears to be an attempt to diminish the powerful charges that Pérez Duarte has leveled against the Attorney General's office, that [consistent with the misogynist policies of the ruling National Action Party (PAN) administration] they actively suppressed FEVIM from prosecuting several high-profile cases of the use of official impunity to violate women's basic human rights.

End impunity now!

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

Sep. 03, 2009


Two critiques of FEVIMTRA under the leadership of PAN party activist Guadalupe Morfin

Mujeres de Atenco, Tortura Sexual e Impunidad

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

Women of Atenco, sexual torture and Impunity

Mexico City - The Mexican government violated their individual rights. They were beaten and stripped of their clothing. They were sexually violated, bitten and pinched. Their faces were covered while police officers inserted their fingers and foreign objects into them anally and vaginally. They were raped, humiliated, insulted and subjected to death threats. At the end of it all, they were refused gynecological assistance, to make it impossible to prove that these sexual tortures took place...

Can the democratic Mexican state ever find itself guilty? Never. There are no legal instruments, nor protocols, and much less a political will to do justice for women victims of the sexual torture that occurred in Atenco.

In Mexico, torture carried out by the state is not a crime. It is a constant presence that is not punished.

Unfortunately, in this case the government has used a woman to perpetuate impunity: Guadalupe Morfin. Morfin is the head of the Special Prosecutor’s office for Violent Crimes against Women and Trafficking in Persons (FEVIMTRA). Morfin has been unwilling to take on the Atenco case to ensure the necessary impartiality. The Atenco prosecutions are taking place in the State of Mexico, which is an anomaly.

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

The women of Atenco, in the meantime, continue to resist. They offer us an invaluable lesson on integrity and social commitment.

CIMAC Noticias

May 11, 2009

and...

Mexico

Lydia Cacho: tres años de lucha contra la impunidad

Su caso, en la Corte Interamericana de Derechos Humanos

Lydia Cacho: three years of combating impunity

Excerpt:

First Anniversary of the Resignation of Alicia Elena Perez Duarte

December, 2008 marks the one year anniversary of the resignation in protest of Alicia Elena Pérez Duarte, the federal Attorney General's Special Prosecutor for Crimes of Violence Against Women (FEVIM). Pérez Duarte left her post after the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation voted against recognizing the persecution of Lydia Cacho as having constituted an act that violated her 'fundamental guarantees' [of freedom].

Although Cacho filed a formal complaint of torture [while in state police detention] before a FEVIM panel chaired by Pérez Duarte, at this point in time, three years later [after FEVIM was transformed into FEVIMTRA under the leadership of special prosecutor Guadalupe Morfin], the case has disappeared... nobody knows what happened to the investigatory materials that were developed by FEVIM, that could have helped in the prosecution of the police agents from Puebla state who tortured Cacho...

Lourdes Godínez Leal

CIMAC Noticias

Dec. 18, 2008


Added: Sep. 03, 2009

Mexico

Detectan en México 47 bandas de trata de personas

Operan sobre todo en el DF, Guerrero y otros 15 estados

México, DF - En México existen 47 grupos de delincuencia organizada dedicados a la explotación sexual y laboral de personas, según el Informe  de la Iniciativa para el Estado de Derecho de la Asociación de la Barra de Estados Unidos, que incluyen datos hasta marzo del 2009...

Forty Seven Human Trafficking Networks Identified in Mexico

They operate mainly in Mexico City, Guerrero and 15 other states

Mexico City - In Mexico there are 47 organized criminal groups engaged in sexual and labor exploitation of people, according to the Report of the Initiative for the rule of law of the American Bar Association (ABA), which include data through March of 2009.

According to the report of the "Tool for the Study of the Conditions of Human Trafficking in Mexico 2009", these groups operate mostly in the Federal District and 17 other entities of the Republic, including the states of Baja California, Chiapas, Chihuahua, Guerrero , Oaxaca, Tlaxcala, Quintana Roo, Tamaulipas and Jalisco. The United States and countries in Central America are also bases of operation for this networks.

Reflecting statistics developed by international and national bodies working on human trafficking issues, the report states that in Mexico the number of victims of this crime could reach 500,000 people.

The report notes just in the state of Guerrero, the Attorney-General for Special Investigations into Organized Crime (SIEDO) has detected 14 organized crime gangs that engage in child prostitution and trafficking.

"Public officials estimate that there are 47 Mexican organized crime groups involved in human trafficking in the country," says the report.

Maria Guadalupe Morfin Otero, who until August 31st, 2009 was the Special Prosecutor for Crimes of Violence Against Women and Trafficking in Persons (FEVIMTRA), refused to comment [on the report], because she considered that the subject was outside of the scope of the responsibilities of FEVIMTRA… 

CIMAC Noticias

News for Women

Mexico City

Sept. 2, 2009


Added: Sep. 01, 2009

California, USA

Allison Jacobs, left, and Lisa Campbell of the University of California Berkeley Police Department

Photo: CNN

Officers Who Cracked Missing Girl Case: Something Wasn't Right

Call it mother's intuition. Call it a police officer's intuition. But Allison Jacobs knew something was wrong.

The University of California, Berkeley, police officer was sitting in on a meeting with a man named Phillip Garrido, who wanted to hold an event on campus, and Lisa Campbell, special events manager for the university police. Garrido brought along two young girls, introducing them as his daughters.

Jacobs' and Campbell's intuition, authorities said, led to the arrest of Garrido, a registered sex offender who along with his wife, Nancy, now faces 29 felony charges in connection with the 1991 kidnapping of Jaycee Dugard, who was then 11. Both have pleaded not guilty...

"He was clearly animated, he was very passionate, he was full of life about the things he wanted to talk about," Campbell said. "The girls sort of were recessed in the background. And they were young. It was one o'clock in the afternoon. They weren't in school. They were pretty much unresponsive emotionally, extremely pale ... there was just something about the girls that wasn't right."

She thought the encounter was strange enough to run a background check on Garrido, which revealed that he was on parole after a rape conviction and was a registered sex offender...

Jacobs called Garrido's parole officer to tell him about the meeting. "And he stopped me dead in my tracks," she said. "And he said, 'He doesn't have daughters.' And that's when my heart kind of sunk down into my stomach...

"The parole agent called me on my way home from work," Jacobs said Friday. "And he was all excited ... and he said that ... he was involved with a kidnapping case and ... because I called it in, it helped solve this FBI case that was 18 years old."

"We're never going to forget this day," she said. "And I'm glad that Jaycee is safe and working on her road to recovery..."

CNN

Aug. 31, 2009

See also:

Phillip Garrido Has A Troubled History, His Father Says

The father of Phillip Garrido, suspected of kidnapping an 11-year-old South Lake Tahoe girl 18 years ago, said today his son had a long history of drug use and mental problems.

"They are treating him like he knew what he was doing, but he didn’t know what he was doing," Manuel Garrido, 88, said in a telephone interview from his home in Brentwood in Northern California. "The man is out of it. He is a sick man. He should be treated that way. He should be punished but he should be treated like a crazy person." ...

Los Angeles Times

Aug. 28, 2009



All Aug., 2009 News

All July, 2009 News

 



LibertadLatina

Sobre el Brote de Gripe Porcina

About the Swine Influenza Outbreak




March 8 / Marzo 8

2009


¡Feliz Día Internacional de la Mujer!

Happy International Women's Day!

LibertadLatina

Nuestra declaración de 2005 Día Internacional de la Mujer es pertinente hoy en día, y define bien la emergencia hemesferica que enfrentan las mujeres y en particular as niñas de todas las Américas.

Pedimos a todas las personas de conciencia que siguimos trabajando duro para inform al público en general acerca de esta crisis, y que aumentamos nuestra presión popular sobre los funcion-arios electos y otros encarga-dos de tomar decisiones, que deben cambiar el statu quo y responder con seriadad, por fin, a las   atrocidades de violencia de género -en masa- que afectan cada vez mas a las mujeres y las niñas de las Américas.

¡Basta ya con la impunidad y la violencia de genero!


LibertadLatina

Our 2005 statement for International Women's Day is relevant today, and accurately defines the hemispheric emergency facing women and especially girl children in the Americas.

We ask that all people of conscience work hard to continue informing the general public about this crisis, and that we all ramp-up the pressure  on elected officials and other decision makers, who must change the status quo and respond, finally, to the increasingly severe mass gender atrocities that are victimizing women and girls across the Americas.

End Impunity and violence against women now!

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

March 8, 2008


Tengo 5 meses de edad y soy prostituta

I am 5 months old and I am a prostitute

LibertadLatina

Read our new section on the prostitution of infants by trafficking gangs across Latin America

Last Updated:

Nov. 27, 2008


About Baby Trafficking and [undocumented] Adoptions, and the connection to impunity and anti-Mayan racism in Guatemala


Ricky Martin

Llama y Vive

Ricky Martin lanza campaña contra trata de personas en Washington, D.C. Llama y Vive promoverá línea telefónica de asistencia confidencial y gratuita

Ricky Martin  launches Call and Live in Washington DC, a campaign that promotes an anti-trafficking hotline.

April 24, 2008

Llama y Vive

Call and Live Hotline:

1-888 NO-TRATA

llamayvive.org



LibertadLatina

Raids and Rescue Versus...?

Read our new section on the human rights advocacy conflict that exists between the goals of the defense of undocumented immigrants from the threat of deportation on the one hand, and the urgent need to protect Latina sex trafficking victims through law enforcement action...

...As the global economic crisis throws more women and children into severe poverty, and as ruthless trafficking gangs and mafias seek to increase their profits by kidnapping, raping, prostituting and murdering more women and girls (especially non-citizen migrants passing through Mexico to the U.S.), the level of sex trafficking activity will increase dramatically. 

Society must respond and protect those who are at risk...

- Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

Dec. 18, 2008


Read our special section on the crisis in the city of Tapachula

Mexico

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

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

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

- Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina



See: The National Network to End Violence Against Immigrant Women

And: La Alianza Latina Nacional para Erradicar la Violencia Doméstica.

The National Latino Alliance for the Elimination of Domestic Violence


Added June 15, 2008

Ending Global Slavery: Everyday Heroes Leading the Way

Humanity United and Change-makers, a project of Ashoka International,  are conducting a global online competition to identify innovative approaches to exposing, confronting and ending modern-day human slavery.

View the over 200 entries from 45 nations

See especially:

Teresa Ulloa: Agarra la Onda Chavo", Masculini-dad, Iniciación Sexual y Consumo de la Prostitución ('Get It Together Young Man: Masculinity, Sexual Initiation and Consumption of Prostitution).

Equidad Laboral Y La Mujer Afro-Colombiana

(Labor Equality and the Afro-Colombian Woman)

Alianza Por Tus Derechos, Costa Rica: Our borders: say no to traffick-ing of persons, specially children

(APTD's news feed is a major source of Spanish language news articles translated and posted on LibertadLatina).

Prevención de la migración temprana y fortalecimiento de los lazos familiares en apoyo a las Trabajadoras del Hogar en Ayacucho

(Preventing early migration and re-enforcing families)... serving women in Quechua and Spanish in largely Indigenous Ayacucho, Peru.

LibertadLatina.org contributor Carla Conde - Freuden-dorff, on her work assisting Dominican women trafficked to Argentina

LibertadLatina

Our entry:

A Web-based Anti-Trafficking Information Portal in Defense of Indigenous, Afro-Descend-ent & Latina Women in the Americas

We present our history, plans for the future, and an essay discussing the current state of the anti-traffick-ing and anti-exploitation movements in the context of Indigenous, African Desc-endent and Latina women and children's rights in the Americas.

(Our extended copy of our Ashoka competition application)

Contribute your comments and questions about competition entries.

- Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

June 15/21/22, 2008

See also:

Added June 15, 2008

The World

Entrepreneur for Society

Bill Drayton discusses the founding of Ashoka... "Our job is not to give people fish, it's not to teach them how to fish, it's to build new and better fishing industries."

- Ashoka Foundation

See also:

Ashoka Peru


Mexico

A woman is paraded before Johns on Mexico City's San Tomas Street, where kidnap victims are forced into prostitu-tion and are 'trained'

(C) NY Times

The Girls Next Door

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

[About Montser-rat, a former child trafficking victim:]

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

- Peter Landesman

New York Times Magazine

January 25, 2004



Added March 23, 2008

Mexico

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Un millón de menores latinoamericanos atrapados por redes de prostitución

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

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

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

Full story (in English)

See also:

Renuncia fiscal por vergüenza en resolución sobre Cacho

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

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

Added March 1, 2008

Texas, USA

Kristal Minjarez - age 13, Armida Garcia - 15, and Brenda Salazar - 20... all raped and murdered by Andy James Ortiz

To Catch a Killer is the true story of Andy James Ortiz, his young victims, and the Fort Worth police and Tarrant County prosecutors who brought him to justice. The 24 chapter series ran in February and March of 2008.


Latin American Trafficking News Summary


Coverage of the Elvira Arellano Deportation Case


Hurricane Wilma - 2005

Earthquakes and hurricanes...

The impact of natural disasters on women and children's human rights in the Americas


Video

Roundtable on Trafficking of Women and Children in the Americas

- Organization of American States


United States

More than 163,000 Hispanic children... are reported missing and exploited in the United States every year.

- National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC)

March 22, 2006


Latin America

Beyond Machismo - A Cuban Case Study

"I am a recovering macho, a product of an oppressive society, a society where gender, race and class domination do not exist in isolated compart-ments, nor are they neatly relegated to uniform categories of repression. They are created in the space where they interact and conflict with each other, a space I will call machismo."

- Cuban-American

theologian and ethicist

Dr. Miguel de la Torre

Remember, and FIND Jackeline Jirón Silva

Necesitamos su ayuda para ubicar a esta Niña.


Added Dec. 11, 2006

The World

Sex abuse, work and war deny childhood to tens

of millions

...An estimated 1.2 million children are trafficked every year for labor or sex, and about 1 million children are thought to be exploited in the multi-billion dollar sex industry, UNICEF says.

- Reuters

Dec. 9, 2006

Added Nov. 7, 2006

The World

People trafficking ...is... big business, bringing in US $32 billion annually, worldwide. This makes people trafficking the most lucrative crime after drug trafficking.

- Inter-American

Development Bank
 Nov. 2,2006


More About / Mas Sobre Chuck Goolsby & LibertadLatina.org


 

"Familia" by Salvadoran
artist Zelie Lardé. (1901-1974)

Who will protect them from impunity?

We Must!

 
 

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2009

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Nov.  2008 

2007

Oct.   2008

2006

Sep.  2008

2005

Aug.  2008

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July   2008

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June 2008

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2001


 

We work for all of the children and women who await our

society's effective and substantial help to escape criminal

sexual exploitation's utter brutality and impunity!

End Impunity... Now!

© 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 Charles M. Goolsby, Jr.

All other copyrighted materials © the copyright holder.

Copyrighted materials are presented for non-profit 

public educational 'fair use' purposes only.