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Added June 28, 2008

Guatemala, Mexico

Mayan Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Rigoberta Menchu

Rigoberta Menchú denuncia venta de niñas indígenas Centroamérica y México

Rigoberta Menchu denounces the sale of indigenous girl children in Central America and Mexico

Mayan Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Rigoberta Menchu denounces the sale of indigenous children into sexual slavery

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

- CERIGUA

Guatemalan Human

Rights News

June. 27, 2008