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UNICEF in support of:
Second World Congress Against Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children

Background Paper for the
North American Regional Consultation
on the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children

University of Pennsylvania School of Social Work
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
December 2-3, 2001

Prepared by Nicole Ives

Introduction

My friend and I would go to where these gang members hung out. They gave us free pot, coke, etc., then they said “You owe us.”…I started trying heroin, but I didn’t understand the price. They would explain, “This doesn’t come for free. You have to earn money.” They’d keep me at an apartment all day. I’d just sit there and wait for the next guy. I hated doing it, wasn’t being good at it, wasn’t doing my job properly, so he beat me up and threw me out. I had nowhere to go.

Female experiential youth, whose exploitation started at age 12, Canada[i]

Operators of the Hong Kong Spa in Washington, DC, were arrested in 1995 for purchasing underage immigrant Asian girls, one only 13 years old, in Atlantic City and transporting them to DC to work in an indentured sexual servitude arrangement. The girls had answered ads in local newspapers for restaurant jobs paying $1,000 to $2,700 a week but were picked up at the airport and taken to massage parlors and brothels and forced to work up 15 hours a day.

– Report by the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women[ii]

These stories describe but two of more than one million children who are trafficked, sold, or forced into prostitution or pornography each year. In Canada, Mexico, and the United States, hundreds of thousands of children annually are sexually abused for profit. In 1996, in response to growing concerns about the protection of children and evidence of increasingly heinous violations of children’s rights, the government of Sweden hosted the First World Congress Against Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children in Stockholm. The Congress was planned by the government of Sweden, UNICEF, End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography, and the Trafficking of Children for Sexual Exploitation (ECPAT)-International and the NGO Group for the Convention on the Rights of the Child. The Congress brought together a diverse group of government leaders and governmental agency representatives from 122 countries, representatives of intergovernmental and nongovernmental organizations, service providers, researchers and members of the media to focus on child prostitution, the trafficking and sale of children for sexual purposes, and child pornography. At the Congress, all 122 countries accepted the Declaration and Agenda for Action, committing their national governments to confront the insidious problem of commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC). The Congress attracted attention to the severity of the problem.

In preparation for the Second World Congress Against the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children in Yokohama, Japan, to be held December 17-20, 2001, ECPAT-USA, NGO Group for the Convention on the Rights of the Child Focal Point on Sexual Exploitation of Children, UNICEF, and the University of Pennsylvania School of Social Work will convene a Regional Consultation on Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children in Canada, Mexico, and the United States, December 2-3, 2001. This Consultation will be the first of its kind. Concerned participants from government agencies and nongovernmental organizations, academic institutions, service providers, and the private sector in these countries have been invited to lay the foundation for developing ways to reduce and ultimately end the commercial sexual abuse of children.

National Plans of Action

The First World Congress recommended that delegates draft a National Plan of Action to address the sexual exploitation of children in their home countries. The National Plans would contain indicators of progress, with set goals and time frames for implementation, targeted toward reducing the number of children vulnerable to sexual exploitation. Canada, Mexico, and the USA all supported the Declaration and Agenda for Action of the First World Congress. While Canada does not have an official National Plan of Action along the lines of the First World Congress, it does have an integrated national strategy that government officials assert is more suitable than a formal Plan to Canada’s federal structure.[iii] Explaining Canada’s opting for a national strategy rather than a National Plan of Action, officials assert that what is most important is that each country do what it can according to its own governance structure to improve the situation of children who are being sexually exploited.[iv] Canada’s strategy includes objectives, actions, partners, and key results in combating CSEC. In addition to the national strategy, Canada has a Declaration and Agenda for Action of Sexually Exploited Children and Youth that emerged from an international summit of youth convened in 1998 in Victoria, British Columbia. The summit brought together 54 experiential youth from Canada, the USA, Latin America, and the Caribbean to provide narratives on their life experiences as exploited children.

A Plan of Action to Prevent, Attend, and Eradicate the CSEC in Mexico was proposed by the Sistema Nacional para el Desarrollo Integral de la Familia (national DIF) in 1999. However, there is currently no formal National Plan of Action for Mexico. While there are movements against CSEC at the federal level, the USA does not have a formal National Plan of Action along the guidelines of the First World Congress.

The purpose of this document is to provide a background paper for use at the Regional Consultation. A discussion of the terminology used in the CSEC literature is necessary before describing the details of the exploitation in Canada, Mexico, and the USA. There are multiple definitions of the same terms in the various materials published in the three countries. Clarifying the definitions that will be used is essential to a meaningful dialogue at the Consultation.

Forms of CSEC with Definitions of Terms

The following is a list of key terms used to discuss the CSEC. For the purposes of this paper, forms of CSEC and related definitions are taken from international covenants and declarations and international organizations working in the area of CSEC.

Child: According to the definition in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989), a child is any human being under the age of 18.

Child pornography: The Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography (2000) offers the following definition: Any representation, by whatever means, of a child engaged in real or simulated explicit sexual activities or any representation of the sexual parts of a child for primarily sexual purposes.

Child prostitution: The Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography defines child prostitution as the use of a child in sexual activities for remuneration or any other form of consideration.

Commercial sexual exploitation of children: The World Congress Declaration in Stockholm defines commercial sexual exploitation of children as sexual abuse by the adult and remuneration in cash or in kind to the child or third persons or person. The child is treated as a sexual object and as a commercial object. The commercial sexual exploitation of children constitutes a form of coercion and violence against children and amounts to forced labor and a contemporary form of slavery. ECPAT and UNICEF estimate that more than 2 million children worldwide are in the sex trade.

Sex exploiter: “Sex exploiter” has been defined as “those who take unfair advantage of some imbalance of power between themselves and a person under the age of 18 in order to sexually use them for either profit or personal pleasure”.[v] The definition is extended to include those third parties who have no sexual contact with children, but who profit from facilitating or orchestrating children’s sexual contact with another person or persons. There are four categories into which most people who sexually abuse children fall: pedophiles, preferential abusers, situational abusers, and third-party abusers.

The term “pedophile” is a clinical diagnosis referring to an adult with a personality disorder that involves a specific and focused sexual interest in prepubertal children. While there have been cases of female pedophiles, the majority of pedophiles are male. All pedophiles do not discharge their sexual urges in the same way. Some limit their sexual life to fantasy while others may engage in non-contact abuse (exposure of genital organs, showing and/or talking about pornographic material) or contact abuse (genital touching and fondling, attempted or actual anal, oral, or vaginal penetration).

“Preferential abusers” are those individuals whose preferred sexual objects are children who have reached or passed puberty. Children are the envisaged objects of their sexual desire. They have sex with children not because of some situational stress or insecurity but because they are sexually attracted to and prefer children. Such abusers are primarily men, and their victims are either male or female children.

Situational or opportunistic abusers are those who exploit children if and when they find themselves in situations where sex with a child is more convenient or cheaper than sex with an adult, but whose fulfillment is not contingent on the physical or emotional immaturity of the person they exploit.[vi] Under this category also fall men who choose children as sexual partners primarily on the basis of misconceptions about sexual health or myths surrounding the sexual contact with virgins.

According to ECPAT, there are five primary motivating factors for sex exploiters involved in the CSEC[vii]:

1.      Abusers who use prostitutes to satisfy what they imagine to be a biological or emotional need for a sexual “outlet” or physical contact;

2.      Abusers who use prostitutes in order to obtain a sense of camaraderie with male colleagues or friends;

3.      Abusers who use prostitutes in order to obtain a sense of “true” masculinity;

4.      Abusers who use prostitutes to satisfy a compulsive urge to perform transgressive acts or to exercise sexual power over extremely vulnerable, powerless, objectified and/or degraded individuals; and

5.      Abusers who do not wish to see themselves as prostitute users.

The motivation of sex exploiters who are involved as third-party beneficiaries of CSEC is rarely anything other any profit. These suppliers are rarely fuelled by personal sexual fixations on children, but rather by the motivation of money. Suppliers to pedophiles and other abusers justify their actions because of the demand and the fact that abusers are willing to pay money for the service. According to a 1996 estimate made by Special Rapporteur Ofelia Clacetas Santos, the sale of children, child prostitution, and child pornography net $5 billion annually.[viii]

Sexual solicitation: In the context of online victimization, sexual solicitation is defined as a request to engage in sexual activities or sexual talk or to give personal sexual information that was unwanted or, whether wanted or not, was made by an adult.

Sex tourism: Child-sex tourism is an increasingly significant component of the sexual exploitation of children. It involves individuals, mostly men from Western countries, traveling to a country with the intention of seeking out sex with children.[ix] According to ECPAT, the tourism industry is the largest employer in the world. While tourism is not the cause of child prostitution, it does provide easy access to vulnerable children. 

The primary motivation behind exploiters traveling abroad to have sex with children is to experience freedom from the social constraints of their home countries. Secondarily, exploiters may see the children of developing countries as inferior, which may rationalize their behavior, especially if they believe that there are no social taboos in that country regarding having sex with children.[x] They may have the misconception that children are less likely to transmit sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV. An additional, unfortunate motivation is also that poor countries are often under strict economic pressure to develop tourism as a source of income. In pursuit of that income, sometimes those governments ignore the sexual exploitation of children.

ECPAT has underscored the important role that the tourism industry can play in preventing sex tourism. Airlines such as Lufthansa and Air France have produced in-flight videos to inform travelers about the laws about child sex tourism.

Trafficking of children for commercial sexual exploitation: Trafficking is the “...recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons...” by improper means, such as force, abduction, fraud, or coercion, for an improper purpose, such as forced or coerced labour, servitude, slavery or sexual exploitation. Countries that ratify the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Optional Protocol to UN Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime are obliged to enact domestic laws making these activities criminal offenses, if such laws are not already in place (Article 3). “Trafficking in persons” includes a range of cases where human beings are exploited by organized crime groups and where there is an element of force involved. It also includes both domestic trafficking, where there is exploitation within a country by domestic or transnational organized crime groups, and international trafficking where there is the forced movement of people across borders.

CSEC in Canada, Mexico, and the USA

            The three countries involved in the Regional Consultation have a variety of problems and approaches to the problems of CSEC. However, there are common themes across the three countries. This section of the background paper includes a detailed information profile of the CSEC issues for each of the three countries since the First World Congress. The subsections are parallel across the three and include: profiles of the children; profiles of the exploiters; trafficking; national legislation pertaining to CSEC; law enforcement; prevention, protection, and recovery programs; child pornography; and role and involvement of the private sector.

Canada

Having all the abuse in the family and all the alcohol, really there was nobody to turn to…when I did it [turned a trick] I had to cry at least 2 hours each time before I went out because I was afraid for my life…it’s what I had to do to survive.

– Experiential youth[xi]

Profiles of the children

Histories of sexual abuse, poverty, and poor income and employment are recurring themes in the life experiences of exploited children, particularly those engaged in prostitution.[xii] Specifically for children involved in prostitution, evidence suggests several commonalities in childhood experience: a history of family dysfunction (including substance abuse, violence, and sexual abuse), running away from home and surviving on the streets. The experience of victimization at home or in foster care is frequently part of the lives of children and youth who live on the streets. Once on the streets and separated from family, a lack of food and shelter make them vulnerable to being abused through prostitution.[xiii] Research studying homeless youth further suggests that there may be a pattern of increasing involvement in criminal activity (such as drug use, theft, and prostitution) as the length of time on the street increases.[xiv] Substantial research has also demonstrated links between high-risk behavior and exposure to drugs and violence while on the street.

Some studies indicate that homeless youth in Ottawa, Saskatoon, Vancouver, and Toronto who turn to prostitution do so as a means of survival while on the streets, although it cannot be assumed that all homeless or runaway children and youth are predictably involved in prostitution.[xv] There have been countless cases of homeless or runaway youth who engage in sex in exchange for food, shelter, or gifts, or to experiment with their sexuality. Survival sex appears to have gender distinctions, where it is more of a factor for females than males. A study of Ottawa street youth found that males are more often able to stay at the home of an acquaintance while females are frequently forced to exchange sex for food, shelter, and money.

Issues particular to certain groups, such as aboriginal youth, need to be considered separately in discussing the situation of exploited children. For example, in Saskatoon many of the street youth self-identify as aboriginal. These youth seem less likely than non-aboriginal to sever ties with their families after entering the street culture.[xvi] On the other hand, others who leave their home communities for urban areas often end up being exploited. These youth may feel doubly alienated because they may be both homeless and in a culture that is quite different from that of their home community. This can make them particularly vulnerable to sexual exploitation by pimps and other abusers.[xvii] Canadian consultations have suggested that there is a higher level of aboriginal youth involved in prostitution in Saskatchewan and Manitoba than in other areas of the country as well as within Vancouver in some areas of the city.[xviii]

I was brought up in care, and I was abused. Care is a very tough way to grow up; they move you from place to place, you’re owned by them, they can give and they can take, they choose your clothes, if you don’t like it you can’t change it. In care I was brought up to think all Indians were bad, gross, on welfare and then I ended up being that. I’m Metis…[and] I was made fun of. I was quite young when I started prostitution.

-Experiential female youth, Saskatoon[xix]

Any attempts to develop a profile of youth who are involved in prostitution in Canada are difficult because of lack of information. There is some evidence that many are runaways and homeless and engage in street prostitution. However, there also are indications that some engage in prostitution even though they live at home, and some work in venues run under the auspices of other businesses such as escort agencies. The majority of youth involved in prostitution are females, although boys, irrespective of sexual orientation, are also involved in the sex trade.[xx] Estimates of the numbers of females and males who are involved in prostitution vary. It is difficult to calculate the numbers of exploited children involved in prostitution since young people do not often come to the attention of the law or appear in official records and statistics as prostitutes.

Similar difficulties are encountered when trying to determine the age at which children and youth become engaged in prostitution. Various studies and interviews with people involved in prostitution indicate that there are youth who first have sexual relations for money as young as 6 years old.[xxi] A Victoria survey and British Columbia consultations estimate age of entry between 14 and 15.5 years of age, however findings from interviews with prostitutes in Vancouver revealed an average age of entry as 16.3 for females and 15.6 for males.[xxii] In other cities, higher age estimates are found. In Ottawa, the average age of entry was 17.8 years of age. Surveys in Montreal did not report an average age of entry, but noted that one third of the 75 prostitutes interviewed had begun prostituting themselves before the age of 18.[xxiii]

Findings from consultations support the supposition that approximately 10-15% of prostitutes on the street are children and youth.[xxiv] Of the total number of people thought to be involved in street prostitution in Vancouver in 1996 (estimated to be between 300 and 450), social agencies and advocates estimate that approximately 30 to 40 at any point in time were believed to be youth, many of them aboriginal. Furthermore, a 1987 study of street prostitution in Montreal obtained estimates of the number of youth involved in prostitution ranging from 80 to over 5,000. Apparently, these differences are the result of different definitions of prostitution.[xxv]

It should be noted that there are also children and youth who become engaged in other facets of prostitution. In some jurisdictions in Canada, it seem that children and youth are also becoming caught up in the more serious forms of prostitution-related offenses, such as procuring and pimping other children and youth. Estimates of the number of children and youth involved in these activities is unknown.[xxvi]

I grew up in a very dysfunctional family: there was always more drugs and booze than food in the fridge at any given time. I was raped in 1992, and even the police stated that it was the worst rape of a female they had ever come across. And my dad said, “You’re damaged goods, you’ve always been damaged goods, and you’ll never be anything else.” But at least when I’m out working, I’m not waking up to find my dad in my bed.

– Female, started prostitution at age 14, Winnipeg[xxvii]

Profiles of the exploiters

Prostitute users encompass the categories of the sex exploiter discussed above. There is evidence of pedophiles and preferential abusers as well as situational abusers and third-party exploiters. Child sex exploiters in Canada are drawn primarily from the following groups that are typically prone to prostitute use: the military, seamen and truckers, temporary farm workers, traveling businessmen, tourists, expatriates, aid workers, employers of domestic workers in addition to local prostitute users.[xxviii]

Research in British Columbia found that there are at least two categories of pimps: professional pimps and “popcorn” pimps.[xxix] A professional pimp has control over a number of girls while a “popcorn” pimp is typically a casual boyfriend or associate on more equal footing with the female (the girl sells sex, the boy sells drugs, and they share the earnings.)[xxx]

Exploiters are skilled in identifying areas in local neighbourhoods, particularly where youth are unsupervised, to procure children for the sex trade. Popular recruiting places include malls, video arcades, fast food restaurants, record stores, community centres, bus stations, and movie theatres.[xxxi]

Trafficking

            Trafficking of children in Canada is a significant problem, both internationally and domestically, especially in the larger cities such as Vancouver, British Columbia, and Toronto, Ontario. According to an American INS agent, a group of American and Canadian exploiters calling themselves “the West Coast Players” are actively involved in trafficking Canadian children to Los Angeles for the sex trade.[xxxii] Canadian law enforcement officials also believe that American girls are being trafficked into Canada from the USA. In 1998, an exploiter and his co-defendants were convicted on eight counts of transporting minors from Canada across the USA-Canadian border and across state lines for prostitution.[xxxiii] Traffickers have flown into Toronto and Vancouver and transported women and children over land into the USA. Toronto is a popular transit point with the Russians as there are over 150,000 Russians living there.[xxxiv]

National legislation pertaining to CSEC

While prostitution is legal for adults in Canada, selling sex is illegal for minors under the age of 18. It is a criminal offense for anyone to profit from prostitution of another person under the age of 18 years. This includes aiding, abetting, counseling, or compelling the person under age 18 to engage in prostitution with any person, and using, threatening, or attempting to use violence, intimidation, or coercion.

Provincial legislation designed to protect children from sexual exploitation has made extensive headway. British Columbia’s Child, Family and Community Services Act contains a reference to sexual exploitation as a basis for taking a child into care. It also provides for the use of restraining orders against adults who are believed to be exploiting the child, such as a pimp. In Alberta, the Child Welfare Act defines a child in need of protection as one who is sexually abused, and defines this abuse as including prostitution-related activity. Section 1 (3)(c) states that a child is sexually abused if the child is inappropriately exposed or subjected to sexual contact, activity or behavior, including prostitution related activities. Under the Protection of Children Involved in Prostitution Act (1999), the Alberta Government has introduced programs and services to help children end their involvement in prostitution, either voluntarily or involuntarily. A child who wants to end his or her involvement in prostitution may access community support programs. A child who does not want to end his or her involvement in prostitution can be apprehended by police. Police officers then take the child to a protective safe house, where he or she can be confined for up to 5 days (under amendments to the Act in March 2001, the length of confinement was increased from 72 hours to 5 days). In particular cases, a child may be confined for up to two additional periods for a maximum of 21 days each. In a secured facility, the child receives emergency care, treatment and an assessment. Additionally, child welfare workers develop a long-term plan for the child. This legislation also introduces legal penalties for consumers of prostitution and pimps, who can be charged with child sexual abuse and fined up to $25,000, jailed for up to 2 years, or both fined and imprisoned.

One legislative hindrance in protecting children has been the differences in defining age of consent and age of maturity. Currently, under the Criminal Code, anyone who is 14 years of age or older can consent to most forms of non-exploitative sexual conduct without criminal consequences. However, many who work in this area, particularly in British Columbia, feel that 14 years is too young for a person to knowledgeably consent to sexual activity with an adult.[xxxv] The Criminal Code delineates the circumstances under which a child may legally consent to sexual activity and the defenses that apply to some of these offenses, such as mistake of fact. For example, consent by complainants under 14 years of age is not a defense to specified sexual offenses, including sexual interference (Section 151), invitation to sexual touching (Section 152), and sexual exploitation (Section 153). The first two offenses, which apply to persons under the age of 14, are punishable by no more than 10 years on indictment or a maximum of 6 months on summary conviction. The offense of sexual exploitation (Section 153) prohibits the same type of conduct set out in Sections 151 and 152 in respect of persons from 14 to 17 years of age, where an accused is a person in a position of trust or authority or where an accused is someone with whom such a complainant is in a relationship of dependency. However, this offence is punishable only by a maximum penalty of 5 years imprisonment on indictment or 6 months on summary conviction. It has been suggested that the penalty under Section 153 should be raised to the same level as that available in the case of complainants under 14 years of age (Sections 151 and 152), such as a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment. It would seem that through legislation, the worst cases involving complainants between 14 and 18 years of age would not be considered as serious as those involving complainants under the age of 14.

Another form of CSEC, child pornography, is defined in the Canadian Criminal Code as (a) a photographic, film, video or other visual representation, whether or not it was made by electronic or mechanical means, (i) that shows a person who is or is depicted as being under the age of 18 years and is engaged in or is depicted as engaged in explicit sexual activity, or (ii) the dominant characteristic of which is the depiction, for a sexual purpose, of a sexual organ or the anal region of a person under the age of 18 years; or (b) any written material or visual representation that advocates or counsels sexual activity with a person under the age of eighteen years that would be an offence under this Act. Individuals can be prosecuted for producing, distributing or selling child pornography or for being possession of child pornography. It is also a criminal offense to send obscene materials through the mail or over the Internet if they fall under the auspices of child pornography.

On March 15, 2001, Bill C-15, An Act to amend the Criminal Code and to amend other Acts, was introduced for first reading and debated at second reading in May, 2001, in the House of Commons. The bill strengthens the protection of children online by combating cyber crime, creating a new offence that targets the luring and exploitation of children for sexual purposes via the Internet; makes it a crime to transmit, make available, export or access child pornography on the Internet; allows judges to order the deletion of child pornography on the Internet and to seize materials or equipment used; enables judges to keep known sex offenders away from children through prohibition orders and 1-year peace bonds for offenses relating to child pornography on the Internet; and amends the sex tourism law (former C-27) to make it easier to prosecute Canadians who sexually assault children abroad.[xxxvi]

Law enforcement

One of the problems in identifying the number of exploited children involved in prostitution relates to the different ages that are used to refer to them. The Badgley Committee defined “juvenile prostitutes” as individuals under 20. The Fraser Commission addressed those under 18, while still others describe children as persons under 16, especially when viewing them in the context of child welfare concerns. These distinctions may account for different explanations of what is meant by “youth involved in prostitution” and how much of it exists. The maximum age referred to in the definition of “young person” included in the Young Offenders Act is a person under 18 years of age. This is consistent with Parliament’s view that prostitution of young persons under the age of 18 represents sexual exploitation. According to Parliament, these youth should be protected, as signified by the creation of the offense contained in Section 212(4) of the Criminal Code (i.e., obtaining the sexual services from a person under 18 years of age). There is further disagreement over definitions of whether a youth is actually involved in prostitution. A Montreal study of street prostitution reported that police defined “juvenile prostitute” more narrowly than did social workers, who included youth involved in the exchange of sex for consideration, including food and shelter.[xxxvii]

Some estimates of youth involvement are made by analyzing arrest statistics for Section 212 of the Canadian Criminal Code. Between 1986-1990, approximately 10-15% of prostitutes arrested under the Communicating Provision of the Criminal Code were in the young offender age category—the majority were 16 or 17.[xxxviii] There were a handful of reports of 14- or 15-year olds. The number of young persons charged continued to decline until 1995, when only 3% of charges for prostitution offenses were youth from 12 to 17 years of age. The small numbers of youth who are charged with prostitution-related offenses most likely reflect police enforcement patterns as opposed to the real number of youth involved in street prostitution. Some police departments have asserted that youth should be treated as victims rather than criminals and in such cases should not be arrested unless there is no other vehicle for getting them off the street and out of danger. Thus, unless charges are brought under Subsection 212(4), youth involved in prostitution are practically invisible.[xxxix]

A survey of youth in the Victoria, British Columbia, area who self-identified as working in prostitution revealed an interesting pattern illustrative of the law enforcement policy there. The majority of the 75 youth interviewed had been picked up by the police at some point in their lives (77%); however, of those who had been picked up, most were either simply taken home (47%), lectured about the dangers of the sex trade (43%) or taken to a shelter, social worker or clinic.[xl] Fifteen percent of the 75 youth in the sample had been arrested for communicating for the purpose of prostitution; all of them were under the age of 24. None of the youth who were under 18 when the interview occurred reported that they had been arrested for this offense.

I don’t want somebody coming up to me saying ‘you’re wrong, you’re doing it because you’re stupid’. You need somebody out there who actually has had experience, somebody to tell you their story: ‘This is what I did to get out of it; this worked for me, it might work for you, it might not and it if does great, and if it doesn’t we’ll find some other way’.

Female youth, Vancouver, British Columbia[xli]

Prevention, protection, and recovery programs

Education programs about the realities of exploitation could prevent some youth from being lured into this situation as well as decrease the tolerance for exploiters. In British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Nova Scotia, programs portraying the procurement of youth for sexual purposes as child sexual abuse have been seen to be relatively successful in changing public attitudes.[xlii]

One method of protecting exploited children and helping them recover is the integration of enforcement efforts against exploiters with social supports for children and youth. In 1996, the Provinces of Ontario and British Columbia instituted a Provincial Prostitution Unit (PPU) within their police forces that targets the sexual exploitation of children.[xliii] British Columbia’s Provincial Prostitution Unit assists police in enforcement operations targeting exploiters of children and youth. The Unit ensures that social supports are available: a social worker accompanies the police and provides immediate support to the youth, talks to him or her about options and where possible, ensures that the child is referred to appropriate services. This immediate support not only helps ensure that the youth will feel able to testify in court, but may help him or her to get the supports needed to leave the sex trade. The PPU has also developed training strategies for police, Crown, and judges regarding both innovative enforcement strategies as well as information on the dynamics of the sex trade and the victimization of youth.

In Victoria, British Columbia, PEERS (Prostitute Empowerment, Education, and Resource Society) provides peer outreach, support, advocacy, and education for young people wishing to exit the sex trade. The Society focuses on prevention, harm reduction, advocacy, and public awareness. Established by ex-prostitutes and community supporters, PEERS program objectives include conducting outreach activities with sex trade workers and providing support where appropriate to reduce harmful effects of the trade; increasing public awareness and understanding of the impact of youth and adult prostitution as part of their prevention strategy; acting as advocates for current and exited sex workers in legal, housing, and welfare rights to facilitate access to services and respect for their rights; and providing information and training programs to former and current sex trade workers to reduce harmful effects and/or assist them in exiting the trade.[xliv]

Nova Scotia has developed a successful model for providing witness protection programs for youth that have assisted many of them to eventually leave the street. The Nova Scotia Task Force used a number of intermediate strategies to address the needs of potential witnesses, rather than enrolling them in a full witness-protection program. These strategies include police personally assisting witnesses to find supportive resources, assisting them in finding and moving to a new apartment, and other strategies that give the witness added security.[xlv]

Child pornography

In Ontario, the Ottawa-Carleton Regional Police Service established a High Tech Crime Unit composed of four officers who deal with child pornography and the enticement and seduction of children on the Internet. The Unit created a Cyber Investigation Course for use by Canadian cyber investigators in cooperation with the National White Collar Crime Centre.[xlvi]

Role and involvement of the private sector

            Even with the advent of the Internet and the ease of transfer of electronic images downloaded directly from digital cameras, print photography still plays a major role in the sexual exploitation of children. The private sector can be very influential in providing information about incidents of child pornography. Photo processing shops can help in reporting any questionable images developed in the shops. A large photo-processing company in Canada has a policy requiring police reporting where employees find questionable material in clients’ films.[xlvii]

Status of Women Canada (SWC) partnered with Kids Friendly in Vancouver to pilot Stolen Innocence: A National Education Campaign Against the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children, in cooperation with the travel and tourism industries.[xlviii]

Mexico

A recent study found that over 16,000 children in Mexico are being sexually exploited[xlix]. The escalation in CSEC cases has been traced to several factors, the most salient being (a) poverty, (b) exploitation by family members/family friends, (c) participation in survival sex, (d) recruitment by organized crime networks, and (e) trafficking of children for sexual purposes from underdeveloped countries to developed countries.[l] While the correlation between poverty and CSEC is strong and poverty has been found to explain involvement of substantial numbers of children in sexually exploitative activities, poverty alone, cannot explain the large number of children under 16 years of age who are recruited for these activities.[li] Other studies show a strong relationship between sexual victimization of children and adolescent pregnancies, adult prostitution, substance abuse, violence, and other types of adult criminal behavior. Further factors that have been proposed to explain CSEC include: pedophilia, accessibility, ineffectual legislative control, debt bondage, sadomasochism, intergenerational prostitution, and sex tourism profits.[lii]

The border towns of Ciudad Juarez and Tijuana are both transit zones and receiver zones. They serve as a way station for persons who want to cross the frontier legally or illegally and a receiver zone for individuals who are returned and who, in many cases, remain in the area in order to make another crossing attempt. In 1998, approximately 12,365 children were repatriated along the Mexico/U.S. border. Of that number of children, 1,706 were repatriated from El Paso to Ciudad Juarez. In 1999, the total number of repatriated children decreased to 10,740 but the number of those children repatriated from El Paso to Ciudad Juarez increased to 2,637.[liii] Other factors come together in border towns to create a welcoming environment for the local sex trade: (a) the flow of people with no or few job skills who often arrive without family or resources but with an urgent need for income, (b) the demand for these services by local clients and persons who are in transit and have left their families somewhere else, and (c) tourists who cross the border with the specific purpose of sexual exploitation.[liv] The infrastructure of these cities is insufficient to meet the needs of these children, who often are abandoned and living on the streets.

Sexually exploited children are at great risk for contracting sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). In 1999, health officials in Ciudad Juarez reported that there were 35 new cases of AIDS reported among young people and minors that prostitute themselves.[lv] In that same year in Guadalajara, within the group of boys and girls ages 5 to 14, there were a total of 419 cases of STDs which included 2 cases of AIDS. Sexual exploitation of children occurs in places which operate under different auspices than adult brothels, which makes it very difficult for health control officials to track and treat exploited children. For example, covert prostitution has been found to take place in massage parlors, beauty parlors, and modeling and escort agencies, but health officials do not have entrè into those establishments because they are not registered as places where adult prostitution occurs. Only children who work in places subject to obligatory health control receive medical attention; the remainder of boys and girls who are being sexually exploited receive none.[lvi] Additionally, when children are rotated around the country by organized criminal networks, any kind of continuity of care (which includes treatment as well as immunizations against communicable disease) becomes impossible, putting the children’s health in even greater jeopardy.

I have a friend who has a daughter and she’s only 13 years old. She’s still a baby; I’m still a baby. Every time I see her, her baby is dirty and crying, looking like it hasn’t been fed…it’s so scary to see it, it rips me up to see young girls like that who are out there thinking that they have to do this.

Experiential Youth[lvii]

Profiles of the children

Boys and girls involved in commercial sexual exploitation have been found to be as young as 8 years of age, although the majority is between 12 and 17 years of age.[lviii] In Mexico City, an NGO study found that 50% of the females involved in prostitution in the area were minors, and the majority of that group was 15-16 years old.[lix] The background and current environment of children who are being exploited contain several common factors that fall under the categories of abuse history, familial circumstances, at-risk status, and socioeconomic status.

A substantial amount of research in many countries has shown a link between child exploitation and emotional, physical, and/or sexual abuse by family members.[lx] In particular, in Guadalajara, a religious organization that cares for children who are exploited estimated that 70% of the children in their care were victims of sexual abuse at home.[lxi] In these cases the boys and girls show an important loss of self-esteem that makes them susceptible to new outrages since their defenses are weak and the support they might obtain from the family who has already subjected them to violence is questionable.

Family abuse history as well as current status contributes to children’s susceptibility to exploitation. The Observation Centre for Young Offenders in Guadalajara found the most important factor to the situation of child exploitation was parents’ or stepfathers’ alcoholism and subsequent violent behavior.[lxii] In many cases, child prostitution has been found to be promoted by family members. Familial abuse not only scars children, but also plays a role in driving children from their homes, which in turn leads to the children’s rootlessness. Disconnection from one’s familial network, although perhaps beneficial in that the experience of family abuse ends, increases the vulnerability of children who are forced to make their own way. Child exploiters prey on such children, portraying themselves as protectors and oftentimes providing children with food and shelter. Particularly if they are from rural areas, children often move to larger towns and cities. There they can be forced into prostituting themselves in order to survive, may get caught by procurers who “sell” them to brothels or bar owners and entrench them in a world of debt bondage, or try to crossing a border to find employment that provides a livable wage.

The existence of drugs has become central to the exploitation of children in Mexico. Children who may become addicted to drugs before being exploited often find their way to prostitution to pay for their addictions. In semi-organized/organized prostitution settings, exploiters will use drugs purposefully as a tool to ensure the continuation of their profits from child prostitution. Exploiters will get children addicted to drugs, thereby ensuring the children’s need to continue prostituting themselves in order to pay for their addiction. Azaola (2001) found this occurring in Mexico’s largest cities. In some cases, children are also used in drug trafficking.

In Mexico, poverty can play an important role in leading children into a situation where they are exploited. Rural and urban poor families struggle with deteriorating living conditions. However, many children recruited into prostitution also come from middle-class backgrounds. In many cities throughout Mexico, groups of girls from higher socioeconomic backgrounds are exploited by organizations that arrange private parties or arrange for the adolescents to offer their sexual services in hotels in the tourist zones.[lxiii] In Guadalajara and Puerto Vallarta, for example, one company organizes girls, most of whom are students from middle-income families, to work in area hotels.[lxiv]

Profiles of the exploiters

In Mexico several factors converge to create an appropriate atmosphere for the facilitation of the exploitation of children. Several transit zones in Mexico bring in temporary farm workers, illegal immigrants, polleros (traffickers of illegal immigrants over the border), truck drivers, traveling businessmen, military personnel, and seamen. These groups are characterized as being predominantly male populations who have no family nor are looking to establish roots in the transitory communities. This lack of roots unites them, and historical and contemporary evidence have shown that this rootlessness is linked to prostitute use. The majority of men belonging in these groups are situational abusers, whereas they come to sexually exploit children through their prostitute use, rather than using prostitution as a means of access to children.

In addition to the groups that are most often situational abusers mentioned above, pedophiles and preferential abusers come to Mexico as tourists with the primary purpose of having sex with children. The majority of sex tourism exploiters are male. Massage parlors, escort and modeling agencies, in spite of not being authorized to provide these sexual services, offer and promote sex with children openly in the media. The following are some examples from Acapulco: “School girls and ardent young boys. The best services you can find. Just dare!” and “All you desire! Beautiful, precocious young girls. Just what you deserve.” In Puerto Vallarta and Guadalajara, researchers found evidence of organized sex tourism with boys.[lxv] In the border town of Tijuana, sex tourism is something that happens daily as Americans cross the border with the purpose of having sex with minors. These “sex tourists,” often relatively affluent compared with the socioeconomic level of the children they are exploiting, take advantage of the destitution of these abandoned and neglected children.

While pedophiles, preferential abusers, and situational abusers benefit from the sexual exploitation of children directly, third-party exploiters benefit as well. Taxi drivers play an important role as middlemen between tourists and the various options offered by the sex trade in the area. They know girls who work in the milieu and transport them and, even though they sometimes consider themselves to be their protectors, can also be their pimps.

Trafficking

Domestic and international trafficking and the sale of children are widespread throughout Mexico, and is a lucrative business. Research has uncovered the recruitment of children as sex workers by organized crime networks. In one trafficking case, Mexican traffickers made approximately $2.5 million over 2 years by forcing Mexican women and girls into prostitution.[lxvi] Sale of children for sexual purposes can take the form of girls who are given in marriage to older adults who give economic benefits to the family in exchange. In other cases, children are also sold by their parents, bought by middlemen, and sold again to American families.[lxvii] This has been reported in Ciudad Juarez and Tijuana. Second only to Mexico City, Guadalajara reports the greatest number of stolen children each year. In that number is included cases of children who have been in the custody of public and private institutions in the city and the participation of officials in granting irregular adoptions.[lxviii] Young girls from Veracruz are trafficked across the northern border and forced to have sex with migrant workers in the southeast United States.[lxix]

In Tapachula, which borders Guatemala, children are especially prone to abuse. Hundreds of children cross the border each year from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.[lxx] Some children, mostly girls, are “bought” by club owners from procurers who find them in their villages within the state or across the border and bring them along under duress or under false pretenses with phony promises of work. The girls begin working in order to pay the debt the owner paid for them, plus the amount the owner charges for food and lodging. This system of perpetual debt forces them to stay in servitude. Other children from El Salvador and Guatemala reported that they had traveled with adults who had paid for assistance with illegal migration into the USA and who had used Mexico as a transit country.[lxxi] According to the US State Department’s 2001 Trafficking in Persons Report, children from Central America, China, and Eastern Europe have been trafficked through Mexico to perform commercial sex work in the USA, Canada, and Japan.[lxxii] Additionally, illegal status compounds the children’s problems as they are much less likely to prosecute their exploiters for the abuse they have suffered as that could lead to deportation.

National legislation pertaining to CSEC

Mexico has various articles of legislation pertaining to CSEC. The Federal Penal Code does not ban prostitution among persons over 18 years of age, neither in the case of the person who practices it or the one who requests it. They do, however, prohibit exploitation with the objective of profiting from the sexual work others do, regardless of whether they under or over 18 years of age.

The Federal Penal Code declares that the procurement, facilitation, and force of a child under 18 years of age to perform acts of pornography, prostitution, consumption of narcotics, and/or commit criminal deeds is a criminal offense punishable by a prison term at least 5 years in length (Articles 201, 201 bis.). While few states explicitly delineate child pornography as a crime, the crime of “corruption of children” can be applied to sanction these activities. Article 208 states that the person who promotes, conceals, or permits the carnal intercourse of a child under the age of 18 will be sentenced to 8 to 12 years in prison. However, each of the 31 States has its own penal code. In the State of Quintana Roo in which Cancun, a major tourist destination and site of CSEC, is located, age of majority for criminal matters is 16 so it is considered that after that age they are no longer children.

Trafficking of children was recently characterized as a crime, although it is not included in the legislation of all the states and children 16 and older are not included in the legislation’s protection. According to Article 366 (Trafficking in children), a sentence of 25 to 50 years in prison will be applied when liberty is taken away in order to take a child under 16 years of age out of the national territory with the purpose of obtaining an unlawful profit from the sale or delivery of the child. This mismatch between the state and national age of majority leads to reduced protection for children.

            Recently incorporated into the Federal Penal Code is a law to combat sex tourism. Article 201 bis 3 makes a criminal offense any person who promotes, advertises, invites, facilitates, or negotiates, by any means, the movement of a person(s) inside or outside national territory with the purpose of having sexual relations with children under 18 years of age. This is punishable by a sentence of 5 to 14 years in prison.

Law enforcement

During 1998, the authorities of the Attorney’s Office for Justice in Guadalajara carried out 186 preliminary investigations into the corruption of children and 133 in 1999 for different motives not necessarily linked to sexual exploitation. From a total of 319 investigations, only one person was remanded for the corruption of children and two for inciting children to prostitution.[lxxiii] This demonstrates the difficulty of prosecuting exploiters, as very few cases are prosecuted and even fewer end in the trial of the persons responsible. In Cancun, local police reports demonstrate the lack of proportion of prostitution cases in the different areas of the city brought before judges during 1999. Out of a total of 638 cases, only 21 were from the tourist hotel area while 449 corresponded to poorer areas of the city. This inequality illustrates a situation where local law enforcement is more interested in controlling the sex trade in poorer areas as opposed to intervening in the lucrative hotel zone.[lxxiv]

There are two significant reasons why very few cases of sexual exploitation of children are prosecuted. First, even in cases where children press charges, often the children drop the charges because the exploiters threaten them or their family or pretend that they are the children’s godfathers or benefactors. Second, the difficulty of prosecuting exploiters is compounded by the complicity of some members of local law enforcement in the sexual exploitation of children. In the border city of Tapachula, local children as well as children from Central America work in the bars in the red light district. While there is fear of raids by the police which could lead to deportation for the undocumented children, Azaola (2001) through interviews found that raids did not happen very often since the bar owners buy police protection. Additionally, in some cases, children working in the district, with or without documents, are victims of extortion by the police. This was also found in Tijuana, where children interviewed stated that not only were they victims of extortion by police officers but some police officers were pimps as well.[lxxv]

Very few cases are tried and aggressors rarely go to prison. Even those cases in which children have been raped or suffer sexual abuse, there is a quite generalized attitude on the part of the families in the sense of not pressing charges to avoid scandal.[lxxvi] Additionally, often charges are not pressed against exploiters because families fear reprisals. Tightening Mexican laws will not be enough if they are not exercised or their violation is tolerated in practice. This situation allows exploiters to continue to act with impunity.

Kids can’t get a job or into school or collect welfare because they need ID and a place to live, they don’t have ID because someone wants to find them that they are afraid of – the public needs to be aware that some people can’t get a job, can’t get welfare … prostitution is the only job you don’t have to apply for.

Male youth, Toronto[lxxvii]

Prevention, protection, and recovery programs

In the major Mexican cities where CSEC has been found to be thriving, there appears to be a lack of programmatic and institutional responses available to children who have been sexually exploited. There are few government institutions that provide shelter for children living in the streets. Most of the shelters available do not have specific programs to provide specialized care to the child victims of CSE. Furthermore, there are no adequate programs for children with addiction problems. In Cancun, which reports at least 700 boys and girls who are being exploited, there are only two civil homes for children who have been abandoned or maltreated and a government home, Casa Filtro, provided by the municipal Sistema Nacional para el Desarrollo Integral de la Familia (DIF).[lxxviii] This home receives about 400 children each year, from newborns to 16 year olds. Although it has at times received girls and boys who work in the sex trade, they recognize that these cases are beyond their competence because they would require specialized attention that they are not a position to provide. Neither are they in a position to receive adolescents with severe addiction problems. DIF also runs another home in Tapachula that serves a wide range of people from small children to the elderly. However, the institution does not have specific programs for child or adolescent victims of sexual exploitation. In Guadalajara, there are about 30 homes for children that have been abandoned or maltreated, most of which are private institutions run by religious orders. Only one of them, which is run by nuns, has specialized care programs for the girl and boy victims of sexual exploitation.

There are several programs that are striving to make a difference in the lives of exploited children. For example, the Attorney’s Office for the Defense of the Child, the Woman and the Family and the Attention Centre for Border Children in Ciudad Juarez provide legal and psychological services for all child victims of different types of abuse by request. The Office and the Centre have collaborated in trying cases and in-following up of exploitation before the corresponding authorities.[lxxix]

Another example of good practice is found in Mexico City. El Caracol offers street children and youth an educational alternative by providing productive workshops where young people can acquire values, skills, and incomes. Participants include children and youth aged 15 to 23 living on the streets of the city who have shown potential for productive lives and successful reintegration into society. El Caracol’s program focuses on prevention, healing, and making connections with street children and youth. Program objectives include providing training to children and youth living on the streets, giving them the opportunity to develop and reintegrate into society; supporting youth at risk before they end up on the streets; and providing and training staff of other institutions to assist them in working appropriately with homeless children and youth.[lxxx]

            Casa Alianza has a program designed to meet the particular needs of children living on the streets. The programs’ four components include: (a) Outreach: Outreach teams provide children living on the streets with emergency medical care, counseling, nonformal education, and friendship; (b) Crisis Centers: As children are encouraged to leave the streets, Casa Alianza offers a structured, supportive, secure environment providing food, clothes, medical treatment, and educational and vocational training; (c) Transition Homes: After the Crisis Centers, children are transferred to Transition Homes run by staff trained to help children develop long-term goals; and (d) Group Homes: The last component of the program replicates a positive family environment and provides nurturance by a team of counselors. Each group home accommodates approximately 14 boys and girls.[lxxxi]

Child pornography

The use of children in producing pornographic material is widespread throughout Mexico. In most of the major tourist areas, the victims are often, although not exclusively, children who live on the streets.[lxxxii] Major players are expatriates, particularly American and Canadian nationals, who purposely visit tourist spots in order to exploit children for pornographic purposes. In Acapulco, there have been cases of expatriates who have lured children to their houses in the area and have kept them there locked up for days or weeks while the pornographic materials were produced.[lxxxiii] These expatriates collaborate with local exploiters in organized networks where they buy children from the poorest areas of the country and then move them around from one place to another. Keeping the children under the influence of illegal substances inhibits their running away.

Often progress in combating CSEC is coupled with steps back. In 1998, a group that was distributing videos and pornographic images using children over the Internet was shut down.[lxxxiv] However, in 1999 in Puerto Vallarta, several Mexicans and expatriates who were involved in procuring children for pornographic purposes were arrested, but they were allowed to go shortly afterwards.[lxxxv]

The situation is similar in Tijuana. Child pornography happens frequently, in particular with children who prostitute themselves and are further exploited by Americans who offer them an additional payment to let themselves be photographed.[lxxxvi] Although it is widely known that child pornography is something that happens often, law enforcement officials emphasize the difficulties they face in prosecuting these cases since they have not found a technique for getting the children to agree to prosecute and collaborate with the investigations. Police officials need to respond appropriately to the reality that children who prosecute exploiters are most often jeopardizing food, shelter, and other subsistence needs.

Role and involvement of the private sector

Of the three subsectors traditionally associated with CSEC, travel and tourism, media, and new technologies industries, the most central to Mexico’s CSEC problem appears to be travel and tourism. A great deal of the CSEC activity occurs in the tourist areas of Mexico; the Mexican travel and tourism industries are a logical source of action. Internationally, 93% of CSEC activities take place in hotels.[lxxxvii] This finding is in step with research in Mexican tourist areas where hotel managers and other employees turn blind eyes toward child prostitution in their midst. In some cases, exploited children work and live in hotels, such as those in Cancun’s tourist zone. An analysis of local police reports in Cancun demonstrates that police officers focus more on policing poorer areas than the hotel zone, even though there is substantial visible activity in both areas.[lxxxviii] In Guadalajara, researchers found that most of the girls, as young as 8 years of age and up to 17, prostituted themselves in the hotels in the central zone of the city.[lxxxix]

The burgeoning maquiladora industry plays a key role in the growing number of exploited children in Ciudad Juarez. More than 250 companies operate in the area, preferring to employ young women and minors. Women and children perform tedious work for low wages. However, for many who come to this area, the poverty that drove them from their home villages or towns was worse. The growth of this sector has attracted important contingents of young women and minors from both the locality and rural areas of other states who move to the town with the expectation of obtaining employment and settling down there, or getting enough money to cross the border. Local firms could make an important contribution by providing child care services to employees. Unfortunately, hardly any firms offer these services, which means that a substantial number of children are left alone during the day. This is considered to be the origin of the large number of children who from an early age spend a lot of time on the streets, leave home, take drugs, and/or join gangs.[xc]

Media involvement is also crucial to making progress in the elimination of CSEC. As mentioned above, advertisers in the print media market sex with children overtly. However, there have been instances of media cooperation. Until a recent crackdown by the municipal authorities, Cancun was one of the major centers for child sex tourists and pedophile groups, both foreign and local. Now there are concrete symbols that tolerance of child sexual exploitation is decreasing: around the city, billboards and taxis display signs reading, “No sex with children”.[xci]

To galvanize support from the legal sector, Bruce Harris, Latin American Regional Director for Casa Alianza, spoke to the annual conference of the International Bar Association on November 1, 2001, in Cancun. Twenty-five hundred lawyers from 158 countries, including 500 delegates from the USA, heard Harris’ presentation on the international trafficking of Central America’s children. He called for lawyers at the conference to contribute their efforts in halting the trafficking of infants and children. Additionally, attendees participated in more than 100 sessions covering a wide range of business, human rights and professional issues, including the focus on the trafficking of children.

United States

The growing number of children involved in commercial sexual exploitation in the USA has been termed a “silent emergency”.[xcii] Conservative estimates vary from 100,000 to 300,000 children[xciii]; other sources calculate that there could be 500,000.[xciv]

Profiles of the children

There are numerous factors that converge to create a climate where the sex trade can thrive. In the USA, poverty is a critical contextual factor in CSEC. Poor children and adults driven by dire circumstances become caught up in sexually exploitative activities.[xcv] Thirty-seven percent of children under 18 are categorized as poor in the USA even though they make up only about 26% of the total population.[xcvi] In addition to poverty, research findings support the assertion that children with histories of family dysfunction, familial or personal drug addiction, and recurrent school and other social failures are more vulnerable to CSEC.[xcvii]

For a substantial number of children, sexual exploitation begins with sexual assaults by family members. Numerous studies have shown a link between child exploitation and emotional, physical, and/or sexual abuse by family members.[xcviii] Researchers analyzing reports filed with the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System found that there are 105,000 new cases of child sexual abuse confirmed to occur each year in the USA. Estes and Weiner (2001) found that up to 40% of girls and up to 30% of boys who are victims of sexual exploitation have been victims of physical or sexual abuse at home. Estimates of the prevalence of incest among prostitutes range from 65% to 90%. The Council for Prostitution Alternatives, Portland, Oregon Annual Report in 1991 stated that: 85% of prostitute/clients reported history of sexual abuse in childhood; 70% reported incest.[xcix] Although child prostitutes are not always runaways, there is a close link between the two. Runaway children often see prostitution as the only option to make money while living on the streets. Since child prostitution is so closely connected to the issue of runaway children, preventative measures for both should be explored. The probability that homeless children will engage in survival sex is increased for those who have been victimized.[c] One youth shelter in a large, urban northwestern city reported that 60% of homeless girls they served had been sexually abused.[ci]

Studies have found children as young as 8 in the sex trade in the USA, while the majority of exploited children range in age from 13 to 17.[cii] Most of these 13- or 14-year-old girls were recruited or coerced into prostitution. Ethnic composition of exploited children varies by region, although the majority is Caucasian. In Seattle, researchers found that 65% of homeless children who were involved in some type of sexual exploitation were Caucasian, while 14% were African American, and 3% were Asian/Pacific Islander.[ciii] The proportions change somewhat in the southern part of the country. Findings in New Orleans revealed 61% Caucasian, 36% African American, 2% Hispanic, and 1% Other for the same group. However, in New York City, service provides estimate that the large majority of prostituted children are African American and Hispanic.

The most tangible consequence of involvement in juvenile prostitution is the extremely high probability of suffering violent assault. The vast majority of female prostitutes are beaten by their pimps and abused by their customers repeatedly. Rape is often a common-place experience for girls involved in prostitution, with up to 70% of female-juvenile prostitutes admitting that they have been raped by customers an average of 31 times per prostitute.[civ]

Girls were found to be primarily involved in exploiter-controlled prostitution, including street prostitution and prostitution organized through massage and escort agencies. Boys, on the other hand, were found to be primarily engaged in entrepreneurial prostitution and pornography. Significantly, in terms of providing appropriate services to boys trying to leave the sex trade, 25-35% involved in commercial sex self-identify as sexual minorities, such as gay, bisexual, or as transgender or transsexual.[cv] Substantial percentages of children involved in the sex trade have been removed from their homes by Child Protective Services, have spent time in foster care, and have had parents with substance abuse problems.[cvi]

I think you should do something about the johns. They should be charged for sex abuse of young girls, not just given a slap on the arm. The johns…are the trade. They always blacklist the prostitutes, but they should do something about the johns. Put them in jails, and when they are in there, give them some help to stop them doing this, because they are very sick people.

– Experiential female youth, started at age 14[cvii]

Profiles of the exploiters

According to current research, nearly all offenders of sexual assault reported to law enforcement (96%) are male.[cviii] While the majority of these offenders are adults, 23% of all sexual assaults against children are committed by juveniles under the age of 18 and 22% are committed by adults between 18 and 24 years old.[cix]

Evidence of participation in CSEC in the USA comes from each exploiter category mentioned above. Pedophiles, preferential abusers and sex tourists plan their vacations around the purpose of having sex, primarily with children, as this is highly stigmatized, illegal, and difficult in their home countries.

Situational or “opportunistic” exploiters do not indicate a sexual preference for children but instead have sex with children because children are available. Most prostitute users fall into this category. Nearly half of prostitute users have been found to be married men, often with children. The majority of users are Caucasian, employed full-time, self-identified as heterosexual, and have personal incomes in excess of $30,000USD per year. Transience is a key factor in male prostitute use. Men who are military personnel, truck drivers, seasonal workers, or conventioneers are more likely to exploit children for sex.

Exploiters, mostly male, who profit from child prostitution (“pimps”) are mostly African American or Hispanic in the USA. Their ages range from 16 to mid-50s.[cx] Recent research found that at least 25% of exploiters were tied into citywide crime rings, 15% were involved in regional or nationwide networks, and approximately 10% were tied into international sex crime networks.[cxi] Many are also involved in drug trafficking and sales, both for profit and to keep the children they exploit addicted so that it is difficult for them to leave their exploiters.

When I was a pimp I manipulated three girls into prostitution, by leading them to believe they were of no use to anyone but me. I think a person has to believe in themselves or they are vulnerable to this type of manipulation. Their self-esteem was very low, so it was easy to get them out there.

– Transvestite, started pimping at age 15[cxii]

Trafficking

Between 700,000 and 2 million women and children are trafficked across international borders each year.[cxiii] Approximately 45,000-50,000 women and children in the USA are trafficked annually, primarily by small crime rings and loosely connected networks.[cxiv] Victims have historically come from Latin America and Southeast Asia, though increasingly they are coming from the Newly Independent States and Central and Eastern Europe.[cxv] Trafficking in human beings has been found to be the fastest growing criminal enterprise in the world, and the targets are typically poor, young, uneducated children and women.[cxvi] One reason for the increase is the weak economies and lack of job opportunities in the countries of origin of the victims. In July, 2001, a landlord from Berkeley, California, was sentenced to nearly 9 years in prison and ordered to pay $2 million in restitution to the women and girls whom he had been bringing from India for sex and cheap labor for the last two decades.[cxvii]

            Under President Clinton, the President’s Interagency Council on Women led the coordination of domestic and international policy on the trafficking in women issue. The Council formulated the following definition of trafficking:

“Trafficking is all acts involved in the recruitment, abduction, transport, harboring, transfer, sale or receipt of persons; within national or across international borders; through force, coercion, fraud, or deception; to place persons in situations of slavery or slavery-like conditions, forced labor or services such as, forced prostitution or sexual services, domestic servitude, bonded sweatshop labor or other debt bondage.”[cxviii]

Major ports of entry used by traffickers to move women and children into the USA include the following airports: Chicago’s O’Hare, Los Angeles International, Miami International, New York City’s JFK, and San Francisco International.[cxix] Once inside the USA, women and children are moved around on a sex trade circuit that includes Houston, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Reno, San Francisco, and Seattle. Movement of exploited children is a common feature of CSEC. The goal of movement is twofold: by rotating children between cities and states, traffickers ensure a “fresh supply” of children for users as well as keep children rootless and unaware of local law enforcement contacts.[cxx]

Poor, uneducated children are easy prey for traffickers and exploiters. Richard (1999) recounts one case where from February 1996 to March 1998, between 25 and 40 Mexican women and girls were trafficked to Florida and South Carolina for prostitution. Typical of trafficking situations, the exploiters offered false promises of jobs in landscaping, child care, and elder care, and had convinced the children’s parents that the jobs were legitimate. In August 1998, an organized crime task force in Atlanta indicted 13 members of an Asian smuggling ring for trafficking up to 1,000 Asian women and girls between the ages of 13 and 25 for prostitution in Atlanta and other American cities. The women and girls were held in bondage until their $30,000 to $40,000 contracts were paid off.

National legislation pertaining to CSEC

Since the First World Congress in 1996, American legislators have made significant progress in criminalizing the actions of exploiters. The Child Pornography Prevention Act of 1996 amends the definition of child pornography to include that which actually depicts the sexual conduct of real minor children and that which appears to be a depiction of a minor engaging in sexual conduct. Computer, photographic, and photocopy technology is amazingly competent at creating and altering images that have been altered to look like children even though those photographed may have actually been adults. People who alter pornographic images to look like children can now be prosecuted under the law. State governments have taken a number of steps to prevent the sexual exploitation of children. Today, every state has enacted statutes that specifically address the problem of child pornography.

In 1998, Congress passed the Child On-Line Protection Act. The Act requires the operator of any website or online service directed to children that collects personal information from children or the operator of a website or online service that has actual knowledge that it is collecting personal information from a child: (a) to provide notice on the website of what information is collected from children by the operator, how the operator uses such information, and the operator’s disclosure practices for such information; and (b) to obtain verifiable parental consent for the collection, use, or disclosure of personal information from children.

Legislative progress is being made against human trafficking in the USA. Congress passed the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act in October, 2000. The Act is designed to combat trafficking in persons, especially in the sex trade, slavery, and involuntary servitude, and to reauthorize certain Federal programs to prevent violence against women. The Act has specific provisions for the prevention of trafficking, the protection and assistance of victims of trafficking, minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and assistance to foreign countries to meet those standards, actions such as withholding humanitarian aid against governments failing to meet those standards, actions against significant traffickers in persons, and strengthening the prosecution and punishment of traffickers. Assistance to victims includes the creation of a new visa category for trafficking victims, the T-visa, guaranteed for those under 18 or who cooperate with law enforcement in pursuing traffickers and would suffer extreme hardship and severe harm upon removal from the USA.[cxxi]

Law enforcement

            There is a contrast between the actual number of cases of juvenile prostitution and the numbers turned up from various studies. In 1999, there were only 1,300 arrests for prostitution and commercialized vice; 54% were girls and 14% were under the age of 15.[cxxii] In New Orleans, a recent study[cxxiii] found that child prostitution was not even a secret in some of the clubs in the French Quarter. However, a New Orleans Police Department spokesperson stated that in the last 3 years, only five prostitution cases have involved prostitutes younger than 18 years old.[cxxiv] One reason for the discrepancy is that including prostitution as part of the charge made against juveniles would require law enforcement to place the children in an already overburdened child welfare system in addition to increased paperwork on the part of the police. Also, children who work for pimps carry fake IDs and claim to be older. There have also been instances of police collusion in cases of exploited children where police officers, for example, own clubs where children are being prostituted or participate in pimping. However, there is rarely evidence to support these claims, and what substantiation exists is primarily anecdotal. Another reason on the agency side is that shelters report that they are reluctant to ask children about their involvement in CSE and operate under a “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.[cxxv] Lastly, there simply are not enough law enforcement personnel devoted solely to CSEC cases.

Prevention, protection, and recovery programs

Organizations work both to assist women and children out of prostitution and to prevent local youth from commercial sexual exploitation. For example, Sisters Offering Support (SOS), a private, non-profit organization located in Hawaii, provides prostitution prevention, protection, and recovery through education, public awareness, and legislative pressure. SOS is an affiliate member of ECPAT. Every year, 300-600 youth age 12-21 are educated on the dangers and realities of commercial sexual exploitation through the Youth Prevention Program.

A number of other groups around the country provide similar services, such as Girls Educational and Mentoring Services (GEMS), Helping Individual Prostitutes Survive (HIPS), and Standing Against Global Exploitation (SAGE). In New York City, GEMS serves young women at risk for future sexual exploitation and violence through workshops designed to educate youth about the realities of prostitution. It works with young women in the criminal justice system, the foster care system, and on the streets.  

The HIPS organization is designed to end the cycle of abuse of sex workers on the streets, to work with them to improve their lives, and to give them tools to pursue a self-determined, independent, and productive way of living. Services by HIPS staff include: (a) outreach on the streets 9:00pm to 5:00am Friday and Saturday nights; (b) 800# hotline 24 hours per day; (c) Divas Against AIDS peer education program; (d) case management and referrals; (e) assistance acquiring legal documents; and (f) volunteer speakers’ bureau.[cxxvi]

Founded by Norma Hotaling in 1993, SAGE is a nonprofit human rights organization based in San Francisco that offers peer counseling, holistic and traditional healthcare, and a mentorship program. Hotaling also co-founded the internationally renowned First Offender Prostitution Program (FOPP) as a constructive alternative for the prosecution of prostitution-related offenses. The mission at SAGE is to serve women, men, transgendered individuals, and children who are at risk of sexual exploitation, entry and/or recruitment into prostitution, and persons who have begun to adopt lifestyles that lead to exploitation and prostitution.[cxxvii]

Illustrative of collaborative protection of children, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children/Exploited Children’s Unit (ECU) was created through a mandate by the US Congress that authorized a cooperative agreement between the US Department of the Treasury and the NCMEC for the establishment of this unit. Prior to its creation, in cooperation with the US Customs Service, the NCMEC operated the Child Porn Tipline, via its telephone Hotline. The ECU is not an investigative agency, but rather a resource center and clearinghouse for the community and law enforcement.

The ECU is creating a database of law enforcement experts and law enforcement officers who have developed an expertise in investigating cases of child exploitation. Currently the database consists of more than 3,000 law enforcement contacts within the United States. The ECU is also developing a news-source database of articles addressing the areas of child pornography, sex tourism, child prostitution, and other child sexual exploitation issues. Additionally, the ECU has been working collaboratively with the US Customs Service, the US Postal Service, the US Department of Justice, and two specialized units of the Federal Bureau of Investigation to investigate the leads received on the NCMEC’s Hotline.

Child pornography

The Internet is becoming central to the proliferation of CSEC. Child pornography is a multimillion-dollar industry in the USA. While the possession of child pornography is illegal, with the advent of the Internet and the exponential growth of its accessibility, finding and tracing child pornography producers, distributors, and customers is becoming increasingly difficult. Strides are being made, however, in the battle against online CSEC. A recent sting operation exposing the largest child pornography ring ever uncovered showcased the success that is possible when there is interagency cooperation. In August, 2001, the FBI, the US Customs Service, the US Postal Inspection Service, and the Dallas Police Department shut down an Internet company based in Ft. Worth, Texas, that provided its 250,000 subscribers with access to sexual images of children through websites based in Indonesia and Russia, and arrested 100 people.[cxxviii] According to authorities, the company grossed as much as $1.4 million in a single month. The number of children involved is unknown, but regarding ages, a child as young as 4 years old was identified.[cxxix]

      The Internet is not limited to bartering and selling images of exploited children. While the educational virtues and recreational merits are undeniable, Internet use by children makes them susceptible to online victimization and even actual physical and/or sexual abuse. In a recent study of Internet use by children, findings revealed that 19% of youth who used the Internet regularly were targets of unwanted sexual solicitation in the last year (N = 1501).[cxxx] Sexual solicitation was defined as a request to engage in sexual activities or sexual talk or to give personal sexual information that was unwanted or, whether wanted or not, was made by an adult. Most vulnerable were girls, older teens, troubled youth, frequent Internet users, chat room participants, those who communicated online with strangers, and those who used the Internet at households other than their own.[cxxxi] Troubled youth have a higher risk of solicitation, which suggests that youth who are alienated or depressed may be more vulnerable to online exploitation by strangers.[cxxxii]

Role and involvement of the private sector

Private sector involvement to date has been scarce, but there are some examples. Some members of local chapters of the International Federation of Women’s Travel Organizations have supported ECPAT and have helped to spread the word to others in the travel industry that child sex tourism is against the law. Major travel industry players have refused to get involved. In an effort to combat online CSEC, government officials from Austria and the USA convened an international conference, “Combating Child Pornography on the Internet” in Vienna in 1999. Since the bulk of Internet users and major Internet Service Providers are based in Europe and the USA, it was particularly critical that the USA and the European Union become involved in finding solutions to this problem. Participants included officials from the Ministries of Interior and Justice, the judiciary, and the police, in addition to representatives of the Internet industry, particularly Internet Service Providers, international and regional organizations, NGOs and experts in the field. The objectives of the conference included strengthening cooperation among law enforcement agencies and the judiciary; establishing voluntary self-regulatory mechanisms (codes of conduct) among Internet Service Providers; and encouraging the creation of more hotlines (to provide a place for citizens to report leads on child pornography found online) and networking among existing hotlines.[cxxxiii]

Current/proposed solutions from all three countries

Proposed/pending legislation

Convention on the Rights of the Child including the Optional Protocol to the CRC on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography

The adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child is nearly universal, missing only ratification by Somalia and the USA. While the USA signed on to the Convention on February 15, 1995, it has not been ratified.[cxxxiv] Major provisions of the Convention on the Rights of the Child relating to CSEC include the protection of the child from all forms of sexual exploitation and sexual abuse (Article 34). For these purposes, States Parties shall take all appropriate national, bilateral and multilateral measures to prevent: (a) the inducement or coercion of a child to engage in any unlawful sexual activity; (b) the exploitative use of children in prostitution or other unlawful sexual practices; and (c) the exploitative use of children in pornographic performances and materials. The Convention also outlines all appropriate national, bilateral and multilateral measures States Parties will take to prevent the abduction of, the sale of or traffic in children for any purpose or in any form (Article 35).

In order to strengthen the States Parties’ commitment to the protection of children, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Optional Protocol to the CRC on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography on May 25, 2000. Canada signed on to the Optional Protocol on June 5, 2000, and ratified it the following month on July 7, 2000. Mexico signed on to the Convention on September 7, 2000, but has not ratified it. The USA signed on to the Convention on July 5, 2000, but has not ratified it. The Optional Protocol will become a legally binding instrument on January 18, 2002 for the States that have ratified it. The Optional Protocol gives special emphasis to the criminalization of serious violations of children’s rights such as the sale of children, illegal adoption, child prostitution, and pornography. Similarly, the text stresses the value of international cooperation as a means of combating these transnational activities, and of public awareness, information, and education campaigns to enhance the protection of children from these serious violations of their rights.[cxxxv]

C182 Worst Form of Child Labour Convention, 1999 (Convention concerning the Prohibition and Immediate Action for the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour)

The Convention was ratified by the USA on December 2, 1999, by Canada on June 6, 2000, and by Mexico on June 30, 2000. Major provisions relating to CSEC include immediate and effective measures to secure the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labor by each member. The “worst forms of child labor” comprises: all forms of slavery or practices similar to slavery, such as the sale and trafficking of children, debt bondage, and serfdom and forced or compulsory labor, including forced or compulsory recruitment of children for use in armed conflict; the use, procuring or offering of a child for prostitution, for the production of pornography or for pornographic performances; the use, procuring or offering of a child for illicit activities, in particular for the production and trafficking of drugs as defined in the relevant international treaties; and work which is likely to harm the health, safety or morals of children.

Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children, Supplementing the UN Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime

            Recognizing increased vulnerability of women and children and their specific needs for protection and support, UN Member States decided that the most appropriate way to deal with the problem was to elaborate a Protocol to the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime. The Protocol puts forward three purposes: (a) to prevent and combat trafficking in persons, paying particular attention to women and children; (b) to protect and assist victims of trafficking, with full respect for their human rights; and (c) to promote cooperation among the States in order to meet these objectives.[cxxxvi] According to the Protocol, its primary purpose is to catch and prosecute the trafficker while simultaneously protecting the victim. Victims’ assistance is critical to law enforcement as he or she would provide the evidence necessary to successfully prosecute the trafficker. Assistance includes privacy protection, physical and psychological recovery, special requirements for children, and safety precautions.

            Canada, Mexico, and the USA have signed on to this protocol; none has ratified it.[cxxxvii]

Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air, Supplementing the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime

The Protocol Against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air is specifically designed to curtail the illegal movement of persons across international borders. It will establish international agreements for cooperation and enforcement that will prevent human smugglers from using international boundaries to escape justice. Signing countries are obliged to criminalize migrant smuggling and counteract methods used by smugglers by using proven deterrents such as enhancing travel document security. The Protocol also provides for international cooperation between law enforcement and other agencies to combat migrant smuggling, and will facilitate the return of smuggled migrants.[cxxxviii] Canada, Mexico, and the USA signed on to this protocol in December, 2000; none has ratified it.[cxxxix]

Private Sector

            In addition to those private sector initiatives combating CSEC generated by Canada, Mexico, and the USA, an interesting example comes from the travel and tourism industry. The tourism industry as a whole can play a tremendous role in preventing sex tourism. The industry should make training available for employees on the extraterritorial legislation of consumer countries that prohibits travel abroad for the purpose of sex with children. Travel agencies, airline companies, and hotels could educate their clients and employees about child prostitution or other forms of CSEC that they may witness during their travels as well as resources available that they can access for reporting abuse.[cxl] Several professional associations representing the international tourism industry (e.g., International Air Transport Association, International Federation of Tour Operators, International Hotels & Restaurant Association, and the Universal Federation of Travel Agents Association) have issued a number of tourism policy documents which directly address the issue of CSEC.[cxli]

To support the international community and tourism industry organizations in their battle against CSEC in tourism networks, the World Tourism Organization launched the online service “Child Prostitution and Tourism Watch”. This online service has up-to-date information on: (a) past and present activities, (b) partners’ tourism policy documents, (c) related statistics, (d) focal points at National Tourism Administration offices and related governmental bodies, (e) hotlines and emergency services at national and local level, and (f) enacted national and extra-territoriality laws, including penalties applicable in cases of sexual abuse of children in tourism.[cxlii]

References

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Azaola, E. (2001). Stolen childhood: Girl and boy victims of sexual exploitation in Mexico. Mexico DF: UNICEF.

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Estes, R. J., & Weiner, N. A. (2001). The commercial sexual exploitation of children in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. Philadelphia: School of Social Work, Center for the Study of Youth Policy, University of Pennsylvania.

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Focal Point for the NGO Group for the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Follow-up activities to the Stockholm Congress 1998. Available: http://www.focalpointngo.org/

Fulbright, L. (2000, April 16). Poverty linked to exploitation of women. Oakland Tribune. Available: http://www.prostitutionresearch.com/mills-trafficking.html

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Youth quotes courtesy of Save the Children Canada.


[i] Youth quotes courtesy of Save the Children Canada.

[ii] Richard, A. O’Neil. (1999). International trafficking in women to the U.S.: A contemporary manifestation of slavery and organized crime. Washington, DC: U.S. State Department Bureau of Intelligence and Research. Available: www.cia.gov/csi/index.html

[iii] Senate of Canada. (1999, June). Report on the 1997-98-99 activities: Canadian strategy against commercial sexual exploitation of children and youth as follow up to the First World Congress in Stockholm, 1996.

[iv] Senator Landon Pearson, Letter to ECPAT, 6/1/2001.

[v] O’Connell Davidson, J. The sex exploiter. Theme paper for the Second World Congress Against Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children, Yokohama, Japan, December 2001, pp 5.

[vi] Ibid.

[vii] Goulet, L. (2001). Out from the shadows: Good practices in working with sexually exploited youth in the Americas. Available: http://www.uvic.ca/icrd/pub_resources.html

[viii] Ibid.

[ix] Munir, A. B., & Yasin, S. H. bt. M. (1997). Commercial sexual exploitation. Child Abuse Review, 6, pp. 147-153.

[x] ECPAT. Tourism and child prostitution. Available: http://www.rb.se/ecpat/tourism.htm.

[xi] Youth quotes courtesy of Save the Children Canada.

[xii] Federal/Provincial/Territorial Working Group on Prostitution. (1998). Report and recommendations in respect of legislation, policy and practices concerning prostitution-related activities; Goulet, op. cit.

[xiii] Goulet, op.cit.

[xiv] Greene, J., Ennett, S. T., & Ringwalt, C. L. (1999). Prevalence and correlates of survival sex among runaway and homeless youth. American Journal of Public Health, 89(9), pp. 1406-1409.

[xv] Federal/Provincial/Territorial Working Group on Prostitution, op.cit.

[xvi] Ibid.

[xvii] Ibid.

[xviii] Ibid.

[xix] Youth quotes courtesy of Save the Children Canada.

[xx] Sexual Exploitation of Youth in British Columbia. (2001). Vancouver, British Columbia: Assistant Deputy Ministers’ Committee on Prostitution and the Sexual Exploitation of Youth.

[xxi] Federal/Provincial/Territorial Working Group on Prostitution, op.cit.

[xxii] Ibid.

[xxiii] Ibid.

[xxiv] Ibid.

[xxv] Ibid.

[xxvi] Ibid.

[xxvii] Youth quotes courtesy of Save the Children Canada.

[xxviii] O’Connell Davidson, op. cit.

[xxix] Ministry of Attorney General. Being aware, taking care. In The Sex Exploiters.

[xxx] Ibid.

[xxxi] Ibid.

[xxxii] Richard, 1999, op. cit.

[xxxiii] Ibid.

[xxxiv] Ibid.

[xxxv] Federal/Provincial/Territorial Working Group on Prostitution, 1998, op. cit.

[xxxvi] Legislative Review, 1st session, 37th Parliament, Senator L. Pearson. Available: http://www.sen.parl.gc.ca/lpearson

[xxxvii] Federal/Provincial/Territorial Working Group on Prostitution, 1998, op. cit.

[xxxviii] Ibid.

[xxxix] Ibid.

[xl] Ibid.

[xli] Youth quotes courtesy of Save the Children Canada.

[xlii] Federal/Provincial/Territorial Working Group on Prostitution, 1998, op. cit.

[xliii] Senate of Canada. (1999, June). Report on the 1997-98-99 activities: Canadian strategy against commercial sexual exploitation of children and youth as follow up to the First World Congress in Stockholm, 1996.

[xliv] Goulet, op. cit.

[xlv] Federal/Provincial/Territorial Working Group on Prostitution, 1998, op. cit.

[xlvi] Senate of Canada, op. cit.

[xlvii] Hecht, M E. (2001). Theme paper for the Second World Congress Against Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children: The role and involvement of the private sector.

[xlviii] Senate of Canada, op. cit.

[xlix] Azaola, E. (2001). Stolen childhood: Girl and boy victims of sexual exploitation in Mexico. Mexico DF: UNICEF.

[l] Ibid.

[li] Azaola, op. cit; Estes, R. J., & Weiner, N. A. (2001). The commercial sexual exploitation of children in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. Philadelphia: School of Social Work, Center for the Study of Youth Policy, University of Pennsylvania.

[lii] Azaola, op. cit.; United Nations Office of Drug Prevention and Crime Prevention. Available: http://www.odccp.org/

[liii] Azaola, op. cit.

[liv] Ibid.

[lv] Ibid.

[lvi] Ibid.

[lvii] Youth quotes courtesy of Save the Children Canada.

[lviii] Azaola, op. cit.; Goulet, op. cit.

[lix] Goulet, op. cit.

[lx] For example, Azaola, op. cit.; Estes & Weiner, op. cit.; Goulet, op. cit.; Greene, Ennett, & Ringwalt, op. cit.

[lxi] Azaola, op. cit.

[lxii] Ibid.

[lxiii] Ibid.

[lxiv] Ibid.

[lxv] Azaola, op. cit.

[lxvi] Richard, op. cit.

[lxvii] Azaola, op. cit.

[lxviii] Ibid.

[lxix] Harris, B. (1999, January 19). Presentation to the UNESCO Conference on Sexual abuse of children, child pornography and paedophilia on the Internet: An international challenge. Available: http://www.casa-alianza.org/EN/human-rights/sexual-exploit

[lxx] Azaola, op. cit.; Shibahara, K., & Saeki, H. (2001).  Trafficking in children for sexual purposes. Theme paper for the Second World Congress against Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children.

[lxxi] Shibahara & Saeki, op. cit.

[lxxii] US Department of State. (2001). Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act 2000: Trafficking in persons report. Washington, DC: Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, US Department of State.

[lxxiii] Azaola, op. cit

[lxxiv] Ibid.

[lxxv] Ibid.

[lxxvi] Ibid.

[lxxvii] Youth quotes courtesy of Save the Children Canada.

[lxxviii] Ibid.

[lxxix] Ibid.

[lxxx] Goulet, op. cit.

[lxxxi] Focal Point for the NGO Group for the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Follow-up activities to the Stockholm Congress 1998. Available: http://www.focalpointngo.org/

[lxxxii] Azaola, op. cit.

[lxxxiii] Ibid.

[lxxxiv] Harris, 1999, op. cit.

[lxxxv] Azaola, op. cit.

[lxxxvi] Ibid.

[lxxxvii] Hecht, M E. (2001). The role and involvement of the private sector. Theme paper for the Second World Congress Against Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children, Yokohama, Japan, December 2001.

[lxxxviii] Azaola, op. cit.

[lxxxix] Ibid.

[xc] Ibid.

[xci] Harris, B. (2001, November 1). Show me the way to go home…The trafficking of children in Central America. A Report to the International Bar Association at their Annual Conference Cancun, Mexico. Available: http://www.casa-alianza.org/EN/human-rights/sexual-exploit

[xcii] Estes & Weiner, op. cit.

[xciii] ECPAT. (1996). Europe and North America regional profile. First World Congress Against Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children, Stockholm, Sweden, August 1996; Estes & Weiner, op. cit.

[xciv] For example, Greenfeld, L. (1997). Sex offenses and offenders: An analysis of data on rape and sexual assault. Washington, DC: Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics), NCJ-163392. Available: http://abstractsdb.ncjrs.org/content/AbstractsDB

[xcv] Fulbright, L. (2000, April 16). Poverty linked to exploitation of women. Oakland Tribune. Available: http://www.prostitutionresearch.com/mills-trafficking.html

[xcvi] “Poor” encompasses “extreme poverty,” “poverty,” and “low income”. Extreme poverty is less than 50 percent of the poverty threshold (i.e., $8,330 for a family of four in 1998). Poverty is between 50 and 99 percent of the poverty threshold (i.e., between $8,330 and $16,659 for a family of four in 1998). Low income is between 100 and 199 percent of the poverty threshold (i.e., between $16,660 and $33,319 for a family of four in 1998). ChildStats.gov (2000). America’s children 2000. Available: http://www.childstats.gov/ac2000/econtxt.asp

[xcvii] Estes & Weiner, op. cit.

[xcviii] For example, Azaola, op. cit.; Estes & Weiner, op. cit.; Greene, Ennett, & Ringwalt, op. cit.

[xcix] Murphy, P. (1993). Making the connections: Women, work, and abuse. Orlando, Florida: Paul M. Deutsch Press. Available: http://www.prostitutionresearch.com/factsheet.html

[c] Greene, Ennett, & Ringwalt, op. cit.

[ci] Estes & Weiner, op. cit.

[cii] Estes & Weiner, op. cit.; Silbert, M. H., & Pines, A. M. (1982). Victimization of street prostitutes. Victimology: An International Journal, 7, 122-133. Available:  http://www.prostitutionresearch.com/factsheet.html;

Weisberg, D. K. (1985). Children of the night: A study of adolescent prostitution. Toronto: Lexington Books. Available:  http://www.prostitutionresearch.com/factsheet.html

[ciii] Estes & Weiner, op. cit.

[civ] National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. About us. Available: http://www.ncmec.org/

[cv] Estes & Weiner, op. cit.

[cvi] Ibid.

[cvii] Youth quotes courtesy of Save the Children Canada.

[cviii] Snyder, H. N. (2000). Sexual assault of young children as reported to law enforcement: Victim, incident, and offender characteristics—A statistical report using data from the National Incidence-Based Reporting System. Washington, DC: US Department of Justice, Office Justice Programs. Available: http://abstractsdb.ncjrs.org/content/AbstractsDB_Results.asp?page=1

[cix] Estes & Weiner, op. cit.

[cx] Ibid.

[cxi] Ibid.

[cxii] Youth quotes courtesy of Save the Children Canada.

[cxiii] According to Richard’s report (1999), these numbers are only preliminary estimates and represent cross-border and international trafficking. It does not include internal trafficking within countries such as Thailand or India.

[cxiv] Richard (1999).

[cxv] Ibid.

[cxvi] ACLU News. (2001, July 13). ACLU lauds punishment in immigrant slavery case while urging U.S. to address growing problem. Available: www.aclu.org/news/2001/n071301a.html

[cxvii] Ibid.

[cxviii] Richard, op. cit.

[cxix] Ibid.

[cxx] Ibid.

[cxxi] Spangenberg, M. (2001). ECPAT-USA fact sheet: The Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act. NY: ECPAT-USA.

[cxxii] US Department of Justice. (2000). Juvenile arrests, 1999. Washington, DC: US Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

[cxxiii] Estes & Weiner, op. cit.

[cxxiv] The Times-Picayune (New Orleans). (2001, October 16). Prostitution’s victims. Metro section, Pg. 6.  

[cxxv] Estes & Weiner, op. cit.

[cxxviii] Gullo, K. (2001, August 8). Federal authorities announce 100 arrests in child porn business. Washington, DC: Associated Press; Marquis, C. (2001, August 12). Porn ring broken. New York Times, Section 4, Page 2.

[cxxix] Gullo, op. cit.

[cxxx] Mitchell, K. J., Finkelhor, D., & Wolak, J. (2001). Risk factors for and impact of online sexual solicitation of youth. Journal of the American Medical Association, 285(23), pp. 3011-3014.

[cxxxi] Ibid.

[cxxxii] Ibid.

[cxxxiii] Human Rights Internet. Available: http://www.hri.ca/

[cxxxiv] University of Minnesota Human Rights Library. Available: www1.umn.edu/humanrts/instree/k2crc.htm 

[cxl] ECPAT. Tourism and child prostitution. Available: http://www.rb.se/ecpat/tourism.htm

[cxli] World Trade Organization. http://www.world-tourism.org/

[cxlii] Ibid.

 
   
 
     
 
     
 
     
    

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Updated: Oct. 11, 2010


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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

Latest News



Added: Oct. 11, 2010

Mexico

Grant lets law school fight human trafficking in Mexico

The University of Michigan Law School is working with a law school in Mexico to take on human trafficking.

The law school has received a $300,000 grant from the U.S. Department of State to establish a human trafficking clinic at the Universidad Autónoma de Zacatecas, Unidad Académica de Derecho, a law school located in north central Mexico. The Mexican clinic is an offshoot of the human trafficking clinic that Michigan launched in 2009, which was the first of its kind in the United States.

"The part that I'm excited about is that here in the U.S., we can do a lot as far as assisting prosecutors and victims of trafficking," said Bridgette Carr, who directs the Michigan clinic. "What we can't work on as much is prevention, because we're sitting here in Ann Arbor. The goal is to not have clients."

Human trafficking involves the recruitment, transportation and harboring of people for forced labor, servitude or slavery. Agriculture, spas and massage parlors, hotels and prostitution are just a few industries that have been connected to human trafficking.

One of the goals of the Mexican clinic, which will represent a partnership between the two law schools and a local nongovernmental organization called Centro de los Derechos del Migrante (Center for Migrant Rights), is to educate people about human trafficking. Although it will officially be part of the Mexican law school, the Michigan law school will help set up the clinic.

"This is really an opportunity to see how we can most effectively advocate for these clients on a transnational basis," Carr said.

The partnership between the two clinics is a real innovation, said center founder and executive director Rachel Micah-Jones. "Students will provide quality legal representation to vulnerable migrant communities whose legal needs often cross borders," she said. "In doing so, students will develop the skills to be transnational advocates in this new economy."

In the year that the Ann Arbor-based clinic has been running, students have assisted clients who were forced to work in hair braiding salons, restaurants and in the commercial sex industry. The clinic's 15 students are part lawyer, part caseworker. They assist victims of human trafficking in criminal and immigration proceedings, but also help them obtain services such as federal money to attend college, Carr said...

The Justice Department grant will fund the project for two years.

Karen Sloan

The National Law Journal

Oct. 11, 2010


Added: Oct. 8, 2010

Mexico

Insiste México en negar justicia a víctimas de violación en Atenco

Pide a la CIDH que no admita 11 casos de 26 mujeres violadas

México, DF - El gobierno mexicano pidió a la Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos (CIDH), que no admita el caso de 11 de las 26 mujeres, que fueron víctimas de violación sexual, durante los operativos del 3 y 4 de mayo de 2006 en Texcoco y San Salvador Atenco, porque las instancias nacionales "aún lo están investigando".

Además insistió en que las peticionarias han tenido diversas vías y recursos legales para acceder a la justicia. Con esta respuesta, el Estado mexicano no reconoce los hechos ocurridos hace cuatro años y tampoco acepta su responsabilidad en ellos, dijo en conferencia de prensa, Jaqueline Sáenz, abogada del Centro de Derechos Humanos Miguel Agustín Pro Juárez (Centro Prodh), asociación que lleva estros casos ante el sistema interamericano.

Aunque en febrero de 2009, la Suprema Corte de Justicia de la Nación (SCJN), reconoció que en los operativos de 2006, se cometieron graves violaciones a derechos humanos; y pese a que el 30 de junio de este año, este mismo tribunal ordenó la liberación de 12 presos políticos que participaron en esos hechos, el Estado mexicano sigue negando la justicia para 11 mujeres violadas sexualmente...

Mexico insists upon denying justice to the victims of rape at Atenco

Mexico City - The government of Mexico has asked the Inter-American Human Rights Commission (IAHRC) to reject consideration of the case of 11 women [from among a total of 26 women victims] who were raped or otherwise sexually assaulted by police officers during a law enforcement operation carried out on May 3rd and 4th of 2006 in the adjoining cities of Texcoco and San Salvador de Atenco, in the state of Mexico. The federal government of Mexico cites the fact that it is still investigating the case [4 years after the events occurred] as the justification for requesting that the IAHRC deny the petition by the victims and their attorneys.

In addition, Mexican officials insisted that the petitioners have had access to a range of legal avenues within Mexico.

According to Jaqueline Sáenz, a lawyer with the Miguel Agustín Pro Juárez Human Rights Center (ProDH), which represents the victims, the government of Mexico has, through its response to the IAHRC, refused to acknowledge or accept any responsibility for the events that occurred four years ago in Atenco.

Mexico takes this position despite the fact that the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation (SCJN) has recognized that grave human rights violations that occurred during the 2006 police operation, and has acted to free 12 political prisoners who participated in protest activities at the event. Nonetheless, Mexico's federal government continues to deny justice for the 11 women sexual assault victims who were willing to seek justice in this case.

Following public protests resulting from a local government ban on allowing flower vendors to work on city streets, a confrontation erupted between protesters and a combined force of federal and state police. The conflict resulted in 211 protesters being detained. Some 47 of those arrested were women. Twenty six women were raped or sexually abused by police officers. Of that group, 13 filed formal complaints, and 11 victims were willing to proceed with the case that is now being considered by the IAHRC.

Sáenz stated that, after seeing that the federal investigation into victim's legal complaints was not progressing, the 11 victims of sexual torture, accompanied by lawyers from ProDH and the International Center for Justice and the Rule of Law (CEJIL), decided to petition the IAHRC on April 29, 2008.

The IAHRC forwarded the petition to the government of Mexico, and allowed for a two month response period. Mexico did not respond within the time limit, and requested an extension. They finally submitted their response on July 23, 2010.

Mexico's response to the petition, which was received by the ProDH Center on September 1, 2010, stated that the investigation into the Atenco case was still open. In addition, the response completely absolved the five policemen who were accused of abuse of authority, despite the fact that the victim's petition before the IAHRC accuses the five men of torture.

Sáenz noted that, consistent with their response to the IAHRC, Mexico denies that any human rights violations occurred at Atenco in their discussions with international organizations.

Since July of 2009, when the federal Special Prosecutor's Office for Violent Crimes Against Women and Human Trafficking (FEVIMTRA), declined to investigate the case, referring it instead to the Attorney General of Mexico State [were Texcoco and Atenco are located], no follow-up action has been taken by authorities, because the preliminary investigation file was quite large, and it is still being revised.

Mexico's response to the IAHRC petition by the victims included a list upcoming investigatory activities that the Mexico State prosecutors will carry out. The list includes a plan to solicit interviews with the victims, despite the fact that the victims have been adequately interviewed in the past. State prosecutors also plan to evaluate the case in the context of the Istanbul Protocol on Torture [to evaluate whether the case meets the Istanbul standard for torture], despite the fact that this process has already been completed, and the results indicate that the case does meet the Istanbul criteria for defining acts of torture.

On October 1, 2010, Sáenz declared, the ProDH Center and CEJIL submitted a document to the IAHRC in which they provide their observations in regard to Mexico's response to the Atenco case petition. They state, among other things, that although they have not exhausted all legal avenues available within Mexico, it is also true that Mexico is not conducting a serious and impartial investigation, and that therefore, the Atenco petition should be admitted before the IAHRC.

In response to this series of events, Bárbara Italia Méndez, one of the victims and a petitioner in the case, observed that the Mexican government response to the petition was a slap in the face to the victims. In addition, she said, the response shows the lack of justice involved, given that the five accused assailants were absolved of any wrongdoing.

Italia Méndez added that she will continue participating in the case, although she knows that the road will be a long one, thanks to the fact that "the responsible authorities continue to lie," and especially the governor of Mexico State, who had ordered the police crackdown on protesters, and who, after the assaults took place, declared that he would repeat his actions if he had to do it again.

For the victims of sexual torture, the most recent ray of hope has been the Inter-American Court of Human Rights decision in favor of indigenous women Valentina Rosendo Cantú and Inés Fernández Ortega, who were raped by Mexican Army soldiers [in 2002]. That decision, she said, puts the issue of sexual violence against women back on the table.

Anayeli García Martínez

CIMAC Women's news agency

Oct. 07, 2010

See also:

Added: May 16, 2009

Mexico

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

...Of the 20 accused policemen, none has been sent to prison. Only officer Doroteo Blas Marcelo, a rapist, was convicted for "libidinous acts."

His victim, Ana Maria Rodriguez Velasco, was forced to perform oral sex. She was able to recognize her torturer because when he finished, he yanked her by the hair, looked in her face, and said: “Now swallow it, bitch!”

Judge Tomás Santana Malvaez sentenced officer Blas Marcelo to pay a fine of only 1,877 Mexican pesos (US $142 dollars). The judge pardoned Blas Marcelo from paying reparations to the victim...

Full English Translation

Sanjuana Martínez

CIMAC Noticias

News for Women

Mexico City

May 12, 2009

See also:

LibertadLatina

Mexican Police Rape and Assault 47 Women at Street Protest in the city of San Salvador Atenco


Added: Oct. 7, 2010

Mexico

Teresa Ulloa, director of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women and Girls for Latin America and the Caribbean

DF, a la cabeza en lucha contra trata de personas: Teresa Ulloa

El Distrito Federal va a la cabeza en la lucha contra la trata de personas en el país, pues ha dado pasos importantes como los últimos rescates de mujeres y niñas de hoteles donde eran explotadas sexualmente, reconoció Teresa Ulloa.

La directora regional de la Coalición Contra el Tráfico de Mujeres y Niñas para América Latina y el Caribe (CATWLAC, por sus siglas en inglés) afirmó en entrevista que la ciudad de México también cuenta con un plan que integra políticas públicas en la materia.

La activista, nominada al Premio de Derechos Humanos de las Naciones Unidas 2005 y al Premio de Derechos Humanos del gobierno de Suiza, indicó que en los últimos tres años la capital del país ha mostrado un esfuerzo y se ha preocupado más por atacar la trata de personas...

Mexico City's government leads the way in Mexico's fight against human trafficking

According to Teresa Ulloa, director of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women and Girls for Latin America and the Caribbean, the local government of Mexico City has taken the initiative to become the nation's leader in taking action to combat modern human slavery. In recent months, city police and prosecutors have raided a number of hotels that were fronts for sex trafficking rings that exploited women and girls.

During an interview Ulloa said that Mexico City has also developed an integrated plan of action to address the problem of trafficking. She added that during the past three years, the city's leaders have shown that they are willing to aggressively confront traffickers. City prosecutors have committed to bringing trafficking cases to court. However, [the attitudes of] judges continue to be a major obstacle to their success.

Ulloa added that Mexico City is a major transit and distribution center for trafficked women and girls. Sex tourism exists, but is completely clandestine. Sexual services are sold in 'packages' on the Internet.
The trafficking law that was passed by the Legislative Assembly of the Federal District [Mexico City] has flaws, and is not consistent with international protocols against human trafficking, especially in the area of criminal prosecution, said Ulloa. It is seen as being of limited effectiveness because of these flaws.
Ulloa declared that both Mexico City and Mexico as a whole have yet to come to understand that human trafficking involves a multi-faceted set of crimes that express themselves in diverse ways.

Ulloa noted that human trafficking networks in Mexico are moving fast to adapt to change, and are always one step ahead of society's attempts to implement policies and actions to combat them.

The Mexico City government has made tremendous efforts to fight trafficking, said Ulloa, but they have been hampered in their efforts at prosecution by inadequate laws. Nonetheless, city prosecutors has won four convictions against trafficking defendants, while the federal government has achieved only one conviction at the national level.

Mexico City's trafficking law "is not very good, it requires modification, but in general it has allowed authorities to rescue women and girls, and it is being enforced by officials who are motivated to combat trafficking" said Ulloa.

Ulloa stated that, at the federal level, a need exists to establish effective, integrated strategies in regard to prevention, victim assistance and the prosecution of traffickers. She warned that Mexico is just one step away from becoming a child sex trafficking center at the level of Thailand.

Ulloa concluded by observing that sex trafficking in Mexico has now displaced narcotrafficking in profitability for criminal organizations, and is fighting for first place with illicit arms trafficking. At the same time, she emphasized, poverty and impunity have become the best allies of traffickers in women and girls.

Cronica

Oct. 03, 2010


Added: Oct. 7, 2010

Mexico

Mexico City Attorney General Miguel Ángel Mancera

Detalla PGJDF acciones para combatir la trata de personas

El procurador general de justicia capitalino, Miguel Ángel Mancera, detalló frente a sus homólogos de la zona Centro del país las acciones emprendidas en la Ciudad de México contra el delito de trata de personas.

Durante la Segunda Sesión 2010 de la Conferencia de Procuradores Generales de Justicia de la Zona Centro, Mancera Espinosa señaló que el Gobierno del Distrito Federal ha impulsado una serie de acciones de prevención y persecución para erradicar este delito.

En una sesión de trabajo de esta reunión celebrada el pasado viernes en la ciudad de Puebla, el abogado de la ciudad reconoció que pese a los esfuerzos para erradicar ese acto ilícito, el crimen organizado usa otros medios delincuenciales para eludir la acción de la justicia.

Para contrarrestar las artimañas de los delincuentes, el gobierno capitalino tiene como prioridad establecer políticas públicas en la materia que permitan desactivar y desalentar las conductas delictivas de los individuos...

Mexico City prosecutor details actions to fight human trafficking

During a recent presentation before fellow local prosecutors at the Second Conference of Attorney Generals of the Central Zone of Mexico, Mexico City Attorney General Miguel Ángel Mancera presented his city's strategy and actions to fight human trafficking.

Mancera detailed to his colleagues how Mexico City has initiated a series of efforts to address prevention and prosecution of trafficking crimes. He admitted that going after trafficking networks was difficult work, given that organized crime changes its modus operandi to evade detention and prosecution.

To counteract the evasive actions of traffickers, Mexico City considers its number one priority to be the implementation of public policies that will allow prosecutors to disable and discourage the criminal behavior of individuals.

Mancera noted that, among the actions taken by Mexico City was the implementation in October of 2008 of the Law to Prevent and Eradicate Human Trafficking, Sexual Abuse and the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children.

Mancera added that the city created a specialized agency to address human trafficking crimes, and developed both a telephone hotline and a web page to assist in crime prevention and the reporting of cases by the public.

Currently, the Mexico City Attorney General's Office is in the process of formalizing a relationship with the Special Prosecutors Office for Crimes of Violence Against Women and Children, which is a division of the federal Attorney General of the Republic...

The conference was attended by the attorney generals of Hidalgo, Morelos, Tlaxcala, Puebla states, as well as by officials from Baja California, Sur, Baja California, Guerrero and Oaxaca.

Cronica

Oct. 03, 2010


Added: Oct. 7, 2010

North Carolina, USA

Human trafficking alleged in Durham

Durham - A grand jury has indicted Ivan Cervantes Damian on charges he held a 15-year-old girl captive for more than 18 months and forced her to have sex.

Damian, 30, faces charges of first-degree statutory sex offense, human trafficking and forcing a child into sexual servitude.

Authorities accuse Damian of having sex with the teenage girl between December 2008 and August 2009. They also accuse him of holding the victim in servitude from December 2008 to July 2010.

"He alienated her from society," said Durham Police Cpl. Marty Walkowe.

Walkowe said the relationship began as a voluntary one while the couple was still living in Mexico. When they immigrated a couple of years ago, Walkowe said, Damian violated North Carolina's human trafficking law by bringing a minor from another nation into the state.

"Even though his girlfriend left voluntarily, because she was a minor, it's human trafficking," Walkowe said. "It sounds like a big organized thing, but it was actually just her voluntarily coming from Mexico with him to here."

Walkowe said the victim reported Damian to police after their relationship soured and she wanted to leave.

Damian is being held at the Durham County Detention Center on $250,000 bail. The federal Immigration and Customs

Jesse James Deconto

News Observer

Oct. 06, 2010


Added: Oct. 6, 2010

California, USA

Gregorio Gonzalez

Alert Driver Saves Kidnapped Girl

Fresno - An 8-year-old girl who was abducted by a stranger while playing outside a Fresno home escaped from her captor Tuesday morning after a driver recognized the suspect's vehicle and cut it off, police said.

The child was found in Fresno about 11 hours after she disappeared around 8:30 p.m. Monday, triggering a statewide Amber Alert. Police arrested Gregorio Gonzalez, 24, who they said was a member of the Bulldogs street gang.

Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer said the driver recognized the red pickup truck from media reports that showed surveillance video of the kidnapper's vehicle.

When the driver saw a girl's head in the window, he cut the truck off and forced it to stop, Dyer said. The suspect pushed the girl out of the car, and she ran to safety, he said.

The girl was taken to a hospital in good condition, but Dyer later confirmed she had been sexually assaulted. The police chief described her as "frightened, traumatized." ...

"I was at the same time happy and grateful that my daughter had been brought home," the girl's mother told a news conference. "During the night, the hours seemed very long."

Police said quick action by Fresno resident Victor Perez helped the girl escape...

The Associated Press

Olivia Mu

Oct. 05, 2010


Added: Oct. 6, 2010

Guatemala, Mexico

Another Wall Blocks Route to U.S.

Guatemala City - Travelling without documents to the United States from Latin America can turn into an odyssey, in which migrants have to elude common criminals and drug traffickers along the way, not to mention the laws on migration. But now another obstacle is emerging: a wall between Guatemala and Mexico.

According to the head of customs for Mexico's tax administration, Raúl Díaz, in order to stop boats carrying contraband, the southern Mexican state of Chiapas is building a wall along the border river Suchiate, similar to the one the United States is building along its southern border with Mexico.

"It could also prevent the free passage of illegal immigrants," admitted the Mexican official.

Smugglers use the Suchiate River to move products across an international border without paying duty taxes, but at the same time, thousands of Central and South Americans cross the river in their attempts to reach the United States in search of opportunity -- and without the required documents.

Some 500,000 migrants cross Mexican territory without permission each year, according to Mexico's National Commission on Human Rights (CNDH).

The intention to build a border wall has triggered a wave of opposition from civil society and government organizations, with charges that it is a "senseless" measure that will not succeed in preventing undocumented migrants from crossing the border on their way north...

The cruelty to which undocumented migrants are often subjected was laid bare Aug. 23, when 72 people coming from Guatemala, as well as El Salvador, Honduras, Ecuador and Brazil, were brutally murdered in San Fernando, a town in the eastern Mexican state of Tamaulipas. They were presumably killed by the Los Zetas drug cartel, which is also involved in kidnapping and exploiting migrants.

In addition, a total of 9,758 kidnappings of migrants were reported in Mexico from September 2008 to February 2009, according to the CNDH.

Putting up a wall on the Guatemala-Mexico border "is going to make the migrants' situation worse, because to meet their needs they are always going to find blind points where there are no migration or security controls, which implies greater risks," said Maldonado...

Danilo Valladares

Inter Press Service (IPS)

Sep. 15 , 2010


Added: Oct. 5, 2010

California, USA

Police search for man in California girl's abduction

Authorities early Tuesday were searching for a man they said snatched an 8-year-old girl from a central California neighborhood and took off with her in his pickup.

Police said the mother was close by and got into a car and frantically tried to chase down the truck but was not able to catch up with the man...

[The girl] was last seen wearing bluejeans and a purple sweater with "Winnie the Pooh" on the front, Fresno police said.

Police said the suspect, described as a 6-foot-tall, thin man with slicked-back hair, drove to the Fresno neighborhood in an older reddish-brown Ford truck. The man drove up to six children about 8:30 p.m. Monday.

The man spoke in Spanish and told the children that he would take them to the Dollar Store and buy them toys if they got into his car, CNN affiliate KFSN-TV in Fresno reported.

The man then pulled the victim into his car and sped away, authorities said.

Police told the TV station they had received reports earlier of a man with a similar description and vehicle exposing himself to young girls blocks away from where the abduction happened.

Fresno police said 100 officers were searching for the girl and the suspect, KFSN reported.

Scott Thompson

CNN

Oct. 05, 2010


Added: Oct. 5, 2010

Mexico

Inés Fernández and Valentina Rosendo

Comunicado: Las sentencias de la CoIDH permitirán a Inés y Valentina acceder a la justicia negada en México.

Press Release: Inter-American Court of Human RIghts Decision Allows Inés and Valentina Access to Justice in Mexico

• Valentina Rosendo Cantú narró lo que el fallo del Tribunal significa para ella, su familia y su comunidad.

• Cejil y Tlachinollan explicaron los alcances y el impacto de estas sentencias; Emilio Álvarez Icaza abundó en la relevancia que tienen para el momento actual.

• Valentina y sus representantes reiteran su exigencia de seguridad para Inés y Valentina

México, D.F., a 4 de octubre de 2010.- Valentina Rosendo Cantú y sus representantes -las organizaciones civiles CEJIL y Tlachinollan- detallaron en conferencia de prensa los contenidos y alcances de las sentencias de los casos de las indígenas me´phaa Inés Fernández Ortega y Valentina Rosendo Cantú que fueron notificadas por la Corte Interamericana de Derechos Humanos (CoIDH) el pasado viernes 1 de octubre. Esta mañana, en la conferencia, estuvo presente también el ex ombudsman capitalino, Emilio Álvarez Icaza y el abogado Mario Patrón.

Valentina Rosendo Cantú explicó su sentir en este momento en que después de más de ocho años de búsqueda de justicia, vividos en condiciones de adversidad y de riesgo, finalmente la CoIDH le ha dado la razón, estableciendo como un hecho incontrovertible que fue violada sexualmente y torturada por soldados mexicanos. “Por fin se reconoció que siempre dijimos la verdad”, dijo la mujer Me’phaa. Rosendo Cantú también externó algunas de sus más sentidas preocupaciones, compartidas tanto por ella como por Inés Fernández Ortega, y señaló: “Ya que por fin se demostró que siempre dijimos la verdad porque no sabemos mentir, para nosotras y nuestras familias lo más importante ahorita es que nos dejen vivir en paz, con tranquilidad”...

Valentina Rosendo Cantú and her representatives - the organizations CEJIL and the Tlachinollan Human Rights Center, explained during a press conference the details of the October 1, 2010 decision by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR) in the cases of Rosendo Cantu and Inés Fernández Ortega. Emilio Álvarez Icaza, former director of the Human Rights Commission for Mexico City, and lawyer Mario Patrón were present at the event.

Valentina Rosendo Cantú said that, after 8 years of seeking justice in her case [in which Mexican soldiers raped her], years that involved adversity and risks [due to repeated death threats and acts of retaliation against the victims and their families], the IACHR has finally vindicated us.

Justice for Inés and Valentina

Oct. 04, 2010

See also:

Added: Oct. 5, 2010

Mexico

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

Human Rights Court: Mexico responsible for rapes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

No one was punished in either case.

E. Eduardo Castillo

The Associated Press

Oct. 04, 2010

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Added: Oct. 5, 2010

Mexico

Valentina Rosendo Cantú at the Inter-American Court session where she presented of her case on May 28, 2010

Mexico Ordered to Pay Damages to Women Raped by Soldiers

San Jose - The Inter-American Court of Human Rights ordered the Mexican government to pay damages to two indigenous women raped by soldiers in 2002.

The Costa Rica-based court, a body of the Organization of American States, on Monday published on its Web page rulings against Mexico for the rapes of the Indian women Me’phaa Valentina Rosendo Cantu and Ines Fernandez Ortega, as well as for the lack of investigation by the authorities in both cases.

The court’s rulings are binding on OAS members.

Mexico was found to have violated the rights and personal integrity, dignity and autonomy of the two indigenous women, who lived in the municipality of Ayutla de Los Libres, in the southern state of Guerrero.

In both cases, the Court ordered Mexico to guarantee that the investigations would be conducted “with the knowledge of the civil jurisdiction” and “under no circumstances under military jurisdiction,” and that those found to be responsible would be punished.

In the case of Rosendo Cantu, the Court set at a total of $100,500 the indemnity to which she would be entitled for material damages, immaterial damages and trial costs, while the figure established was $128,000 in the case of Fernandez Ortega.

The Court also ordered Mexico “to modernize its legislation” so that human rights violations will not fall under military jurisdiction and so that “people affected by the intervention of military jurisdiction may have effective recourse to challenge it.”

The state also must take public action to acknowledge its international responsibility, authorize study scholarships for the victims and their children, and ensure that services to care for female victims of sexual violence “are provided by the designated institutions,” among other things...

EFE

Oct. 04, 2010

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Added: Oct. 5, 2010

Mexico

Mexico Ordered To Pay Damages To Two Indigenous Women Raped By Soldiers

In two separate rulings, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights condemned the Mexican government and ordered it to pay damages to two indigenous women who were raped in 2002 by soldiers.

The court said that Mexico failed to guarantee the rights to personal integrity, dignity and legal protection of Ines Fernandez and Valentina Rosendo, both from the southern Mexican state of Guerrero.

Mexico, which has to publicly acknowledge its responsibility, must also compensate both women and publish the court rulings in Spanish and the women’s indigenous language, Me’phaa. The Mexican government promised to fulfill the demands of the court ruling.

“The government of Mexico reiterates its full commitment to the promotion and protection of human rights, in particular to combat violence against women and girls,” according to a statement released by Mexico’s Interior Department, the Associated Press reports...

Latin America News Dispatch

Oct. 05, 2010

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Added: Dec. 4, 2010

Mexico / The United States

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

Mexican Activist Wins Prestigious Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award

Washington, DC / Mexico City - An anthropologist and human rights defender who has worked for years with the indigenous people in one of Mexico's poorest and most marginalized regions has been awarded one of the world's most important human rights prizes.

Abel Barrera Hernandez, the founder and director of the Tlachinollan Human Rights Centre of the Montana in the state of Guerrero, will receive this year's Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award in recognition of his efforts to end abuses committed by the military and police against the local population, the RFK Center for Justice and Human Rights announced here Thursday.

"Our friends at the Tlachinollah Centre represent true courage in their struggle to expose and confront ongoing human rights abuses," said Claudio Grossman, the dean of the Washington College of Law at American University and a member of the five-person jury that decided on this year's winner.

"By standing with the most vulnerable communities, Abel Barrera Hernandez and his colleagues are at great personal risk, and we are proud to recognize their work with this prestigious award," added Grossman, who also served as a member of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) from 1993 to 2001.

The prize, which will be presented here in November, was praised by a number of rights activists who noted that the RFK Center has a well-established reputation for maintaining material and political support for its awardees for many years after the honor is received.

"I think that this prize comes at an especially important moment because of the tremendous increase in human rights violations in the context of the drug war," said Laura Carlsen, the Mexico-based director of the Americas Program of the Center for International Policy.

"Last year, human rights groups reported a six-fold rise in complaints against the army, and the indigenous populations are suffering the most. They require the most vigilance from civil society," she added.

"The centre works in a very difficult and dangerous situation at the heart of one of the most marginalized communities in the country," said Maureen Meyer, a Mexico specialist at the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA), which gave the centre its annual human rights award last year...

In 2002, the centre brought the case of Inés Fernández and Valentina Rosendo, two indigenous women allegedly raped by soldiers in Guerrero in 2002, to the IACHR, which referred it to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, which is set to hand down a sentence.

In 2005, it defended the right to education for people of two towns that had been abandoned by their overworked teaching staff for an entire year. After filing complaints with the Department of Education, lobbying state representatives, and gaining the attention of national and international media, the Centre succeeded in obtaining 14 state-appointed teachers and four additional classrooms.

In the same year, it launched a successful campaign to formally criminalize forced disappearances in Guerrero while carrying out numerous investigations that exposed military abuses, including torture, disappearance, rape of indigenous women, arbitrary detentions and interrogations, intimidation, and dispossession of lands.

It has also taken up the cases of two human rights defenders from the Organization of the Future of the Mixtec People who had been arrested and later found dead with signs of torture in February 2009. Those cases resulted in a new round of threats to centre staff which, in turn, spurred the IACHR to issue new protective orders.

The IACHR has issued more than 100 orders to protect human rights defenders in Guerrero.

The award "represents a shield, from an organization with great prestige, for a region that is terribly vulnerable and unprotected, and where human rights are a dead letter," Barrera told IPS. "It brings visibility to what the authorities wish would remain invisible. They don't want to see the tragedy, the poverty, the hunger."

"May justice flourish in the mountain, where it has been suffocated by impunity, by corruption, by endemic violence, and by the age-old neglect of the local peoples," he said...

Barrera: "We see the war on drugs in our state as a war against the poor; there is cruelty against the indigenous peoples that have been driven to plant poppies in ravines as a last measure to ensure their survival," he said.

Jim Lobe and Emilio Godoy

Inter Press Service (IPS)

Sep. 23, 2010

See also:

Added: Dec. 4, 2010

Mexico / The United States

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

(In Spanish with English subtitles)

On YouTube,com

Sep. 23, 2010

See also:

Added: Dec. 4, 2010

Mexico / The United States

Mexico has failed to prosecute violations, reduce torture

The US government significantly strengthened its partnership with Mexico in combating organized crime in 2007 when it announced the Merida Initiative, a multi-year US security assistance package for Mexico. To date, the US government has allocated roughly $1.5 billion in Merida funding to Mexico. From the outset, the US Congress recognized the importance of ensuring that the Mexican government respect human rights in its public security efforts, mandating by law that 15 percent of select Merida funds be withheld until the State Department issued a report to the US Congress which showed that Mexico had demonstrated it was meeting four human rights requirements.

On September 2, 2010, the State Department issued its second report to Congress concluding that Mexico is meeting the Merida Initiative's human rights requirements, and it stated its intention to obligate roughly $36 million in security assistance that had been withheld from the 2009 supplemental and the 2010 omnibus budgets.

However, research conducted by our respective organizations, Mexico's National Human Rights Commission, and even the State Department's own reports, demonstrates conclusively that Mexico has failed to meet the four human rights requirements set out by law. As a result, Congress should not release these select Merida funds. Releasing these funds would send the message that the United States condones the grave human rights violations committed in Mexico, including torture, rape, killings, and enforced disappearances.

We recognize that Mexico is facing a severe public security crisis, and that the United States can play a constructive role in strengthening Mexico's ability to confront organized crime in an effective manner. However, human rights violations committed by Mexican security forces are not only deplorable in their own right, but also significantly undermine the effectiveness of Mexico's public security efforts...

Human Rights Watch

Sep. 14, 2010

See also:

Added: Dec. 4, 2010

Mexico

Time to Speak up on Military Abuse in Mexico

José Miguel Vivanco, Director - Americas Division - HRW

Human Rights Watch

May 17, 2010


Added: Dec. 4, 2010

Alabama, USA

North Alabama man convicted in sex trafficking of an underage girl

A 31-year-old Florence man was convicted today of sex trafficking involving an underage girl.

Manuel Enrique Zelaya-Rodriguez was also convicted in the trial in Huntsville of coercing a minor to engage in prostitution, harboring an illegal alien, and failing to file a report with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement about an illegal alien in his employment.

Zelaya--Rodriguez will be sentenced by U.S. District Judge C. Lynwood Smith in a Jan. 19 hearing in Huntsville. He could face a sentence of up to life in prison.

The case against Zelaya-Rodriguez began Sept. 8, 2009 when he was driving a car that was stopped by Florence police at a trailer park, according to court documents. An officer was responding to complaints about prostitution when he stopped the car.

Inside the car was a 15-year-old girl who told police that Zelaya-Rodriguez was prostituting her, according to court documents. Condoms and business cards were found inside the car.

The unidentified girl was born in Veracruz, Mexico, in September 1993, according to a trial memorandum from prosecutors. The girl became pregnant when she was 13 years old and later crossed the border into the U.S. "so that she could work and send money back to her mother to care for the victim's baby," according to the document.

The girl started work in Atlanta as a prostitute, but fled there after pimps became violent with her, according to the court document. The girl got the name of Zelaya-Rodriguez from another prostitute, according to the court document filed before the trial.

"The victim had been with the defendant for approximately two weeks, and during that time the victim had engaged in commercial sex acts with approximately forty and fifty men," according to the trial memorandum.

"We have shut down this particular trafficker and, hopefully, given pause to others who would commit the same morally reprehensible crime," U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance said in a press statement after the jury returned its verdict Wednesday.

"Human trafficking for purposes of sexual exploitation and forced labor is a growing problem in North Alabama and across the country and is a grave concern of the Department of Justice," she said. "We want a zero-tolerance policy on this crime."

Florence police, the FBI, and ICE investigated the case.

"The FBI is committed to working with ICE and our other law enforcement partners to combat human trafficking, which is modern day slavery, and bring to justice those who would deny individuals of their fundamental right to freedom," Patrick Maley, special agent in charge of the FBI's Birmingham office, said in the prepared statement.

Al.com

Sep. 22, 2010


Added: Dec. 4, 2010

California, USA

Man arrested in sex case involving Encinitas teen

Girl had made up story she was gang-raped; authorities say she had sex with 20-year-old she met on Internet

Encinitas - Sheriff’s detectives have arrested a 20-year-old Vista man who they say had sex with a 15-year-old Encinitas girl, authorities said Wednesday.

The teen initially told authorities she was raped by three men rather than admit to her mother she had gone off with a man she met on the Internet.

Jose Adrian Cano was arrested Tuesday night and booked on suspicion of unlawful intercourse with a minor, lewd acts with a 15-year-old, and contacting a minor online with intent to commit a sex crime.

Investigators say they have evidence of three more under-age victims and want any others to come forward to report contact with Cano.

He is being held in the Vista jail without bail because federal immigration authorities have put a hold on him. Lauren Mack, Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokeswoman, said Cano is listed in the agency’s records as Cano-Cid and is suspected of being in the United States illegally.

Mack said Cano was arrested earlier this year by a police agency in San Diego County and federal officials returned him to Mexico without a deportation hearing.

Pauline Repard

The San Diego Union-Tribune

Sep. 29, 2010

 


Added: Dec. 4, 2010

California, USA

Man Tries to Kidnap Teen Girl Walking to School

San Jacinto - Police in Riverside County are searching for a man who tried to kidnap a 15-year-old girl as she was walking to school.

The attempted kidnapping happened just after 6 a.m. Thursday on Lyon Avenue, south of Merlot Place, in San Jacinto.

Police say the suspect approached the girl from behind and grabbed her arm, but she was able to fight him off.

A passing driver saw the struggle and called 911, and the suspect ran from the area.

The suspect is described as a Hispanic man, about 19- or 20-years-old, and 5'9" tall. He has a thin build, short "spiked" brown hair and brown eyes. The man was last seen wearing blue jeans and a white t-shirt.

Anyone with information about the suspect is asked to call San Jacinto Police at 951-487-7368.

KTLA News

Oct. 1, 2010


Added: Oct. 1, 2010

Mexico

Outgoing director of Mexico's National Institute for Migration Cecilia Romero

Cecilia Romero sale de Migración

La funcionaria fue notificada que sería removida, por lo que elaboró una carta de despedida para sus colaboradores; en el último mes su posición en el cargo se vio debilitada por la masacre de 72 migrantes en Tamaulipas

El gobierno federal confirmó que Cecilia Romero dejó a partir de hoy el cargo como comisionada del Instituto Nacional de Migración (INM) luego de la matanza de 72 migrantes de distintas nacionalidades en el estado de Tamaulipas.

De acuerdo con fuentes gubernamentales, Romero fue notificada este lunes que sería removida de esa posición, por lo que la funcionaria elaboró una carta de despedida que circuló de manera interna en el INM por el sistema de intranet.

En el texto, Romero agradeció el "trabajo, saludo, apoyo y sonrisa" de sus colaboradores, con quienes se reunió por la mañana para revisar temas pendientes de la agenda migratoria y los exhortó a seguir adelante porque dicha labor no es una moda y parte de una época, sino de una institución, las cuales perduran por encima de las personas.

En agosto pasado un inmigrante de origen ecuatoriano acudió a una caseta naval para denunciar la ejecución de personas en un rancho ubicado en el estado de Tamaulipas, hecho que permitió conocer la noticia de 72 víctimas que habrían caído abatidas presuntamente a manos de los Zetas.

Funcionarios federales definirán en las próximas horas la vía institucional para dar a conocer el cambio de Romero, el cual puede formalizarse en Los Pinos o la Secretaría de Gobernación (Segob).

José Gerardo Mejía

El Universal

Sep. 14, 2010

See also:

Added: Oct. 1, 2010

Mexico

Migration-Mexico: Crisis Sparked by Massacre Spurs Demands for In-depth Changes

Organizations working for the rights of undocumented immigrants are using the crisis triggered by the massacre of 72 migrants a few weeks ago near the U.S. border to press for in-depth changes in Mexico.

'The migration authorities do not have a human rights perspective, and their position is inconsistent with the reality of migration in this country,' Diana Martínez, assistant coordinator of advocacy at Sin Fronteras, a non-governmental organization (NGO) that promotes the rights of migrants and provides them with legal advice, told IPS.

The killing of the undocumented migrants from several Latin American countries, whose bound, blindfolded bodies were found Aug. 24 on a remote ranch in San Fernando, in the northeastern Mexican state of Tamaulipas, unleashed the worst ever migration-related crisis in this country.

The mass murder, which was survived by at least one man from Ecuador, one from Honduras and one from El Salvador, brought down National Migration Institute (INM) Commissioner Cecilia Romero, who resigned Tuesday Sept. 14.

Romero, a former senator for the governing National Action Party (PAN), had ridden out earlier rumors that she would leave the top job at the INM, which she held since December 2006. But the heat and pressure generated by the shocking event made her position untenable...

An estimated 500,000 Latin Americans a year cross Mexico heading for the United States, according to experts and NGOs. Along the way they face arbitrary arrest, extortion, robbery, rape and kidnapping, especially at the hands of Los Zetas, a criminal organization that dominates the kidnapping of undocumented migrants racket.

'The Mexican state must design a truly comprehensive state policy on migration that is not limited to managing migratory flows, but is centrally focused on the human rights of migrants,' said Martínez of Sin Fronteras...

Migrant protection organizations have urged the Mexican state to issue an official invitation to Felipe González, rapporteur on the rights of migrant workers and their families for the Washington-based Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), part of the Organisation of American States (OAS) human rights system.

In his March 2009 report, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, Jorge Bustamante, recommended legislative reforms to combat the impunity surrounding human rights abuses in this country...

Emilio Godoy

Inter Press Service

Sep. 16, 2010

See also:

Added: Oct. 1, 2010

Mexico

Mexican immigration official quits after massacre

Mexico - Mexico's top immigration official resigned Monday in the wake of a massacre of 72 migrants that exposed how brutally drug cartels have come to control human smuggling routes in the country.

Cecilia Romero stepped down as head of the National Institute of Migration, a post she had held since the beginning of President Felipe Calderon's term in December 2006, the Interior Department said in a statement.

The statement gave no reason for her resignation, only praising Romero's efforts to modernize the Mexico's immigration system and improve the treatment of migrants. It did not name her replacement.

A government official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly about the issue, said the government was looking for someone with more experience in security to head the institute.

The official said the massacre three weeks ago highlighted how intertwined drug trafficking and illegal immigration have become in Mexico.

"She's revamped the institute and made it a more human and respectful place," the official said. "Given that organized crime has gotten into the business, we need a different type of head with a different type of background."

The bodies of the 72 Central and South American migrants were found Aug. 24 at a ranch about 100 miles (80 kilometers) south of Brownsville, Texas...

Drug cartels have long controlled migration corridors in Mexico, demanding that migrants pay for passage through their territory. Now, Mexican authorities say drug cartels are increasingly trying to recruit vulnerable migrants to smuggle drugs.

Romero, a former congresswoman who steadily rose up in Calderon's National Action Party, revamped migrant holding centers across the country and ensured that immigration agents were trained in human rights, the Interior Department said in its statement.

...The government has come under intense criticism for continuing abuses against migrants, who are constantly kidnapped and assaulted as they pass through Mexico — often with the collusion of corrupt police or immigration agents.

Hours before Romero's resignation was announced, Mexico's Congress summoned her to a hearing to explain what the government was doing to protect migrants.

Opposition legislators warned Mexico was losing its moral right to demand better treatment for immigrants in the United States.

The massacre "is the tip of the iceberg that revealed the neglect of Mexican authorities, who are incapable of meeting its responsibilities in human rights," said Sen. Ricardo Monreal Avila of the Workers' Party.

Alexandra Olson

The Associated Press

Sep. 14, 2010

See also:

Added: Oct. 1, 2010

Mexico

Romero leaves the INM

Mexico City – For reasons unknown, Cecilia Romero, commissioner of the National Migration Institute (INM), announced on Tuesday that she is leaving her job.

“Today is my last day as commissioner of the INM. I thank each and every one of you for your work, effort and participation during the transformation of the INM,” Romero said to INM members during her farewell message. She did not say whether she quit or was fired and did not give any reasons for leaving her position.

Her departure is taking place three weeks after the Navy found the bodies of 72 illegal immigrants in the state of Tamaulipas in northeastern Mexico. Romero recently said it was “natural” that there were several rumors of her leaving after the tragedy in Tamaulipas. “I think it is only natural that there are rumors like this when there is a crisis as big as this one, of national security and of organized crime,” she said...

The News

Sep. 15, 2010

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Added: Oct. 1, 2010

Mexico

Evalúa Segob trabajo de Romero en Migración

Mexico's Interior Department to investigate the work of National Institute for Migration director Cecilia Romero

La lupa está sobre migración despues de la masacre de 72 migrantes en Tamaulipas

El secretario de Gobernación, José Francisco Blake Mora, reveló que al interior de su dependencia están evaluando el trabajo de la titular de migración, Cecilia Romero.

Ante las versiones de que habría renunciado el encargado de la política interior del país, dijo que sólo están revisando como en todas las acciones del gobierno su actuación y en su momento vendrán definiciones

Entrevistado al participar en el IV Informe de Gobierno de Felipe Calderón, Blake Mora, dijo que se enfocará en la evaluación al trabajo de Cecilia Romero después de la masacre de 72 migrantes en Tamaulipas, hace unos días.

¿Se queda la titular de migración en su cargo?, se le preguntó

- Estamos revisando, estamos evaluando como en todas las acciones del gobierno que tienen que ser evaluadas, ya en su oportunidad tomaremos definiciones.

¿Para cuándo las conclusiones?

-Voy a trabajar y cuando las tenga seguramente se las informo.

El Universal

Sep. 02, 2010

See also:

Added: June 28, 2009

Mexico

Cecilia Romero, head of Mexico's national immigration service, says that sex tourism and pedophile networks are "inevitable."

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

Photo: El Universal

LibertadLatina Commentary

President Calderón, the Human Rights Crisis at Mexico's Southern Border is Unacceptable

Our current series of articles covering the human rights emergency facing women and girl migrants at Mexico's southern border responds directly to the recent comments of Cecilia Romero, head of Mexico's national immigration service (the National Institute for Migration - INM).

Director Romero stated in a press interview with El Universal, a major Mexico City daily paper, that human trafficking is "inevitable", and that, "the existence of the smuggling of migrants, human trafficking, pedophile networks, and the kidnappings and the violence that affect thousands of migrants are only "evils of mankind" that Mexico cannot eradicate.

We strongly disagree with Director Romero and others in the leadership of Mexico's National Action Party, who habitually dismiss critical women's rights issues, including the femicide murders in Ciudad Juarez, as being the inevitable, and 'normal' results of male human behavior.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

The citizens of Mexico, Mexico's Congress and the international community need to hold the government of President Felipe Calderón accountable for the fact that he is allowing a steady stream of  unending mass gender atrocities to occur on Mexico's southern border with Guatemala and Belize.

In that hell-on-earth, an estimated 450 to 600 migrant women and girls are sexually assaulted each day, according to the International Organization for Migration. Police response is almost non-existent. At times police officers are complicit in this criminal violence.

Mexico's southern border is also the largest zone on earth for the commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC), according to Save the Children.

As Father Luis Nieto states in an article about Salvadoran mothers who must come to Mexico's border to grieve for their raped and murdered daughters, "We cannot keep quiet, we cannot be complicit in this."

We strongly agree with that sentiment. Silence is also violence.

The federal government of Mexico is not ignorant in regard to this ongoing human catastrophe. The United Nations, the International Organization for Migration, Save the Children, elements of the Catholic Church, the National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) and many members of Congress have, for the past several years, demanded action to end these atrocities.

Although INM director Cecilia Romero promised in February of 2007 that she would "entirely eliminate this terrible situation," no visible action has been taken to do so as of June of 2009, 16 months after she made that promise.

With the current economic slowdown and the expansion of global criminal sex trafficking operations, the rapes, kidnappings and brutal sexual enslavement of innocent migrants on that border is increasing with no end in sight.

As the United States Congress prepares to send over $400 million dollars in largely military aid to Mexico as part of the Merida Initiative to combat the drug cartels, we insist that human rights conditions be placed on those and other U.S. foreign aid funds that are headed to Mexico.

Mexico must close down the mass rape,  kidnapping, murder and child sex trafficking gauntlet that exists with total impunity on its southern border.

We also want to see the estimated 4,000 mostly Mayan indigenous children who were kidnapped by the Yakuza mafias from this region and sold to brothels in Tokyo, and also the uncounted thousands of other indigenous child victims who have been sold to brothels in New York and Madrid rescued, repatriated and then truly cared for.

Do you need money, President Calderón, to get these things done? Or is a misogynist, 'socially conservative' ideology that is resurgent in Mexico, and that has as its strongest voice the PAN political party, the real problem here?

¡Esta barbarie no será perdonado por Dios!

This barbarity will not be pardoned by God!

If Mexico does not have control over this part of its own territory, or if, as actually appears to  be the case, the PAN's socially conservative agenda won't allow it to defend innocent and vulnerable women and children in crisis, consistent with their apathetic reaction to the femicide murders in Ciudad Juarez, then perhaps an international force organized by the Organization of American States, or by the United Nations needs to step up to the plate, offer to help Mexico, and take control of the situation.

This crisis in Mexico is the best example in the Americas of why a new Global Plan of Action, as proposed by Ecuadorian Minister of Justice and Human Rights (Attorney General) Néstor Arbito Chica and diplomats gathered at the United Nations on May 13, 2009, is needed to get around this impasse.

Somehow, the fact that the government of Mexico is a signatory to the Palermo Protocol, and the fact that Mexico passed its 2009 U.S. Department of State Trafficking in Persons Report evaluation with a relatively positive Level 2 Rating (as we also acknowledge State's strong critique of corruption in Mexico), misses the point.

New and out-of-the box strategies are needed to oblige Mexico to fulfill its international obligations to end this ongoing mass gender atrocity once and for all.

It is not an impossible task.

The status quo today is... unacceptable!

End impunity now!

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

June 28, 2009

Updated Oct. 2, 2010

See also:

Mexico

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

Our news section on Tapachula 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


Added: Oct. 1, 2010

Mexico

La trata de personas no se persigue en el país. Apenas seis entidades

Gobiernos soslayan la trata de personas

...La trata de personas no se persigue en el país. Apenas seis entidades —Chiapas, Distrito Federal, Nuevo León, Tabasco y Tlaxcala, además de Hidalgo que ayer la aprobó—, tienen legislación sobre la materia. El resto a excepción de Campeche y Tamaulipas tipificaron el delito en sus códigos penales. Sin embargo, sólo 12 estados cuentan con una legislación armonizada con el Protocolo de Palermo.

Organismos civiles ubican a Puebla y Tlaxcala dentro de los cinco principales “corredores” de traslado de personas que son explotadas sexual y laboralmente. Se estima que de 60 municipios que integran el estado de Tlaxcala en al menos 26 se han establecido redes de tratantes.

Government overlooks modern slavery

Human trafficking is not being fought in Mexico

Tenancingo [a major city in Tlaxcala state] - The streets here are different from those in any other region of rural Tlaxcala state. The city's population does not live by farming, nor do they live in humble dwellings. From the time you enter the city, the air is tense. The ostentatious two-to-four floor houses become immediately visible.

Luxury Mustangs, Corvettes and Dodge trucks with tinted windows line the cobblestone streets. Chatting with people is almost impossible for outsiders. Locals immediately know who is a stranger. They seem to alert everyone about the presence of outsiders. The Lenones [family based sex trafficking mafias] are there. At Noon they stop to eat pork quesadillas. It's their territory.

About 30 miles south of Tlaxcala, in the city of Puebla, two men descend from a fancy Mustang blaring reggaeton music. Their imposing presence makes it hard to look at them face-to-face. Each of them is wearing three gold chains and sportswear made by international companies.

The municipal police look at them with the familiarity that is just part of the daily rhythm of life. The same is true of the mothers of children returning to school. The locals are watched and subdued. Within minutes, a group of students questions the reason for my visit. They say that it would be better for me to leave their neighborhood in the company of the Mexican Army troops stationed nearby.

On Wednesday night, federal forces besieged a residential street in the City, presumably in search of a sexual exploitation network. The outcome of their effort is unknown. There were no arrests. Seven soldiers without identifying clothing remain on guard outside the house. They call upon the reporters present to leave. They claim that "no operation ever took place," and say that in Tenancingo, "everything is normal," although the place is known internationally as a center for sex trafficking.

Human trafficking is not being pursued in this country. Only the Federal District [Mexico City] and six states, Chiapas,  Nuevo León, Tabasco, Tlaxcala and Hidalgo have passed legislation to govern human trafficking. The remaining states, with the exception of Campeche and Tamaulipas, have specified the crime in their penal codes. However, only 12 states have harmonized their state legislation with the Palermo Protocol.

Non-governmental organizations located in Puebla and Tlaxcala call the region one of the top five "corridors" in Mexico for trafficking in persons who are exploited for sex and labor. It is estimated that human trafficking networks operate in at least 26 of the 60 municipalities in the state of Tlaxcala....

Tlaxcala ranks sixth nationally in human trafficking as a result of its environment of violence, a lax criminal justice system and poor security. Puebla state holds 5th place...

El Universal

Sep. 24, 2010


Added: Sep. 29, 2010

Mexico

Officials from Mexico's Chiapas state, together with the IOM, launch a major media campaign against human trafficking

Emprenden Gobierno de Chiapas y OIM campaña contra la trata de personas

Con el objetivo de proteger a los grupos más vulnerables, el gobierno de Chiapas, a través de la Secretaría para el Desarrollo de la Frontera Sur y Enlace para la Cooperación Internacional, une esfuerzos a la Organización Internacional para las Migraciones para combatir la trata de personas mediante una amplia campaña mediática.

Siendo Chiapas un estado de tránsito de migrantes, es prioritario que ellos sepan que hacerlo indocumentadamente no es sinónimo de indefensión, sino por el contrario, en Chiapas se comprende el sentido de su viaje en búsqueda de una mejora calidad de vida y la vulnerabilidad con la que lo efectúan. Es por eso que el gobierno de Chiapas, encabezado por Juan Sabines Guerrero, trabaja en transformar la frontera sur de México en una frontera amiga y de oportunidades y que no escatima esfuerzos en llevarlo a cabo.

Bajo el slogan “No permitas que destruyan tu vida”, se lanza el día de hoy una ambiciosa campaña en medios masivos como la televisión y radio, así como espectaculares, pantallas de proyección, material impreso e internet, con lo que se pretende concientizar a la ciudadanía de que la trata de personas es evitable y se combate con la denuncia; además de que tengan la seguridad de que recibirán todo el apoyo, asistencia y protección en caso de ser víctimas de este flagelo. Es importante destacar que la parte medular de la campaña se concentra en la posibilidad de hacer una denuncia anónima y sin costo al 018007152000...

The state government of Chiapas and the International Organization for Migration launch media campaign against human trafficking

Seeking to protect the most vulnerable groups in society, the government of the southern Mexican state of Chiapas, through its Secretary for the Development of the Southern Frontier and its Network for International Cooperation, has joined forces with the [United Nations affiliated] International Organization for Migration to present a new and large scale media campaign to educate the public about the dangers of human trafficking.

Given that Chiapas state is a [major] transit point for migrants [it is the bottleneck point for almost all Central and South American migration to the U.S.], the campaign's priority to let migrants know that their state of being undocumented does not mean that they are defenseless. To the contrary, the campaign stated, Chiapas understands the motives that cause people to migrate in search of a better life, as well as the vulnerabilities that go along with migration. For these reasons, the government of Chiapas state, headed by governor Juan Sabines Guerrero, is dedicating significant resources to achieve the goal of transforming the southern border of Mexico into a friendly frontier of opportunities.

Using the slogan "Don't Allow Them to Destroy Your Life," the ambitious media campaign is being launched today through public service advertising on television, radio, and through materials presented at major public events and on the Internet. The campaign will raise public awareness about human trafficking, and will drive home the point that becoming a victim of trafficking is avoidable. The campaign emphasizes that victims will receive every form of assistance and protection. An anonymous hotline, at telephone number 018007152000, has also been opened...

Diario Chiapas Hoy

Sep. 27, 2010


Added: Sep. 29, 2010

India

Human trafficking slur on Commonwealth Games

The jinxed Commonwealth Games could have done without this. After being troubled by brittle infrastructure, CWG 2010 has now been blamed for a jump in trafficking of women and children from the Northeast. The accusation has come from Meghalaya People’s Human Rights Council (MPHRC) general secretary Dino D.G. Dympep. The platform he chose on Tuesday was the general debate discussion on racism, discrimination, xenophobia and other intolerance at the 15th Human Rights Council Session at the UN headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.

“The human rights situation of indigenous peoples living in Northeast India is deteriorating,” Dympep said, adding New Delhi has chose to be indifferent to human trafficking of and racial discrimination toward these indigenous groups.

“What worries the indigenous peoples now apart from racial and gender-based violence is the fear of alleged human trafficking for flesh trade.” The number of indigenous women and children trafficked particularly for the upcoming CGW could be 15,000, he said.

The rights activist also underscored the racial profiling of people from the Northeast on the basis of their ethnicity, linguistic, religious, cultural and geographical backgrounds.

Dympep also pointed out 86 per cent of indigenous peoples studying or working away from their native places face racial discrimination in various forms such as sexual abuses, rapes, physical attacks and economic exploitation.

“The UN has condemned India's caste system and termed it worse than racism. The racism faced by indigenous peoples of the Northeast is definitely the outcome of the caste system. Such negative attitude as ignoring the region will only lead to deeper self-alienation by the indigenous peoples, which comes in the way of integration in India,” he said.

Rahul Karmakar

Hindustan Times

Sep. 28, 2010

LibertadLatina Note:

Indigenous peoples across the world face the problem of being marginalized by the dominant societies that surround them. They become the easiest targets for human traffickers because the larger society will not stand up to defend their basic human rights. Exploiting the lives and the sexuality of indigenous women is a key aspect of this dynamic of oppression.

We at LibertadLatina denounce all forms of exploitation. We call the world's attention to the fact that tens of thousands of indigenous peoples in the Americas, and most especially women and girls in Guatemala and Mexico, are routinely being kidnapped or cajoled into becoming victims of human trafficking.

For 5 centuries, the economies of Latin America have relied upon the forced labor and sexual exploitation of the region's indigenous peoples as a cornerstone of their economic and social lives. Mexico, with an indigenous population that comprises 30% of the nation, is a glaring example of this dynamic of racial, ethnic and gender (machismo) based oppression. In Mexico, indigenous victims are not 'visible' to the authorities, and are on nobody's list of social groups who need to be assisted to defend themselves against the criminal impunity of the sex and labor trafficking mafias.

For Mexico to arrive in the 21st Century community of nations, it must begin the process of ending these feudal-era traditions.

End impunity now!

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

Sep. 30/Oct. 02, 2010


Added: Sep. 29, 2010

Oregon, USA

Police warn of man exposing himself near Portland school

Portland - A man was spotted exposing himself near a Southeast Portland school Monday morning and now police are warning people to beware of the lurking sex offender.

“A subject was observed openly masturbating in his vehicle parked near Southeast 26th Avenue and Grant Street in view of the public. Four female students from Hosford Middle School walked past his vehicle on their way to school and he soon started his car, followed them for about a block and pulled over next to them as if to make contact with them while still masturbating,” said Lt. Kelli Sheffer with the Portland Police Bureau.

Then, just a few minutes later, Sheffer said the suspect contacted a different female student in the same area, telling her he liked her shirt.

At one point, the man got out of the car and walked after a student, police said.

The suspect was described as a Hispanic man in his 20's to late 30's, about 5'2 and 150 pounds, with very short dark hair, wearing a light-colored shirt and dark pants or jeans. Police said his head was almost shaved and he had a mustache and a goatee.

His vehicle was described as an older model, white 4-door smaller car, possibly a Pontiac, with a dent on one of the front fenders, possibly black wheels and black bumpers, with black scratches on the rear passenger side fender.

Anyone with information about the suspect was urged to call 9-1-1.

Teresa Blackman

KGW

Sep. 28, 2010


Added: Sep. 29, 2010

California, USA

Man Arrested for Peeping in School Bathroom

Covina - Police have arrested a suspect accused of peeping at a student in a bathroom stall at Las Palmas Middle School in Covina.

The suspect, who told police his name was Cristian Estrada Diaz, was arrested Tuesday morning. His fingerprints, however, identified him as Juan Hernandez, 31, according to Covina Sgt. Dave Foster. Detectives are trying to determine his true identity.

Foster says the man is a Covina resident. He does not speak English and had no identification on him, according to Foster.

The man was arrested on suspicion of making contact with a minor with intent to commit a sexual act.

The suspect is accused of entering the girls' bathroom on Friday and crawling on his knees under a bathroom stall to spy on a girl. He ran when another student walked in and noticed him. He fled on a blue bike...

Detectives are trying to figure out if the man is responsible for other similar cases in the area.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Covina Police Department at (626) 384-5808.

KTLA

Sep. 28, 2010



We present full bilingual coverage of the Second Latin American Congress on Human Trafficking



Added: Sep. 28, 2010

Mexico

Buscaremos romper el cerco de los “guardianes del patriarcado”

El delito de trata de personas es tan complejo, que el discutir próximamente sobre el acceso a la justicia y restitución de derechos para las víctimas, permitirá a quienes estamos luchando contra éste, homogeneizar criterios y exigir con mejores herramientas a las autoridades judiciales de Latinoamericana, que cumplan con la ley.

La directora Regional de la Coalición contra la Trata y Tráfico de Mujeres y Niñas en América Latina y el Caribe, Asociación Civil (CATW-LAC), Teresa Ulloa Ziaurriz, dijo a Cimacnoticias que la complejidad del delito de trata, ha impedido su tipificación, y por ende demostrarlo, para lograr sentenciar a los proxenetas.

Al cierre del II Congreso Latinoamericano contra la Trata y Tráfico de Personas: Migración, Género y Derechos Humanos que se realizó en esta ciudad, dijo que una vez que ya se conoce la agenda del próximo Congreso a efectuarse en Perú en 2012; el intercambio de ideas entre la academia, organizaciones de la sociedad civil e incluso con autoridades, generará ideas más claras sobre cómo resolver la problemática.

Reconoció que en América Latina se ha avanzado en la elaboración de leyes, pero no se ha logrado que sean efectivas, que haya sentencias, “ y yo coincido con lo que dicen las españolas que los jueces son los guardianes más celosos del patriarcado y eso es lo que tenemos que romper”, aseguró...

We Seek to Break the Ring of the Guardians of Patriarchy

The crime of human trafficking is hugely complex. Therefore, during the next Congress on Human Trafficking in Latin America, to be held in Lima, Peru in 2012, the event will focus its attentions on developing strategies to resolve one of the largest problems that we face, gaining access to equal justice and restitution for victims. The 2012 Congress will allow those who are fighting against modern human slavery to collaborate to create a common legal framework to address human trafficking and  to demand improved legal tools from Latin America's judicial institutions. The Congress will also insist that the region's governments must comply with the laws governing these crimes.

Teresa Ulloa Ziaurriz, director of the Coalition Against Trafficking of Women and Girls for Latin America and the Caribbean (CATW-LAC) [and a veteran women's rights lawyer in Mexico], told the CIMAC News that the complexity of this crime has impeded its classification [in the criminal code] and use in sentencing traffickers and pimps.

At the close of the Second Congress on Human Trafficking, Migration, Gender and Human Rights, held from Sep. 21 to 24, 2010 in Puebla, Mexico, Ulloa declared that once the agenda for the 2012 Congress is determined, the mechanisms will be in place that will allow for an exchange of ideas between academics, civil society and government officials, to generate clear strategies in regard to what needs to be done to effectively address this problem.

Ulloa recognized that laws have advanced across Latin America. However those laws are not enforced, resulting in a lack of the actual sentencing of convicted traffickers. Ulloa, "I agree with the what people say in Spain, that judges are the most jealous guardians of patriarchy. That [ring of power - old boy's club] is what we have to break through..."

Elizabeth Muñoz Vásquez

CIMAC Women's News Service

Sep. 27, 2010


Added: Sep. 26, 2010

Mexico

Dr. Raquel Pastor, the Academic Secretary of the Second Latin American Congress on Human Trafficking, in a photo from an earlier anti-trafficking press conference

Condena unánime contra migración forzada y aumento de trata en AL

Pronunciamiento del II Congreso Latinoamericano sobre trata

Puebla, Puebla - Con una condena a las autoridades de Puebla, México y Latinoamérica, que han reprimido a aquellas personas que se atreven a denunciar y combatir el delito de trata, y a la masacre de los migrantes centroamericanos ejecutados hace unas semanas en San Fernando, Tamaulipas, concluyó aquí el II Congreso Latinoamericano sobre Trata y Tráfico de Personas: Migración, Género y Derechos Humanos.

Raquel Pastor, Secretaria Académica del Segundo Congreso y representante del Centro de Estudios Sociales y Culturales Antonio Montesinos AC de México, al dar lectura al pronunciamiento precisó que las y los integrantes al evento condenan “los hechos que violentan los derechos humanos, la migración forzada, el aumento de casos de trata en la región”.

Demandamos, dijo, las investigaciones correspondientes exhaustivas para que los crímenes de Tamaulipas, no queden en la impunidad y sean restituidos los derechos de las familias de las víctimas.

De igual manera dijo, “condenamos también los actos represivos y de persecución en contra de aquellas personas que se atreven a denunciar, como los que llevan a cabo algunos gobernantes en Puebla, México y Latinoamérica para acallar y encubrir la vulneración de los derechos de las niñas víctimas de explotación sexual...

Second Latin American Congress on Human Trafficking concludes with a unanimous condemnation of forced migration and slavery in Latin America

Puebla city in Puebla state – The Second Latin American Congress on Human Trafficking ended four days of events today by condemning government authorities in Puebla State [Mexico], in Mexico itself as well as among governments across Latin America for repressing those persons who have dared to speak up about, combat and report cases of human trafficking. In addition, the Congress also deplored the recent massacre of 72 Central and South American migrants in the Mexican state of Tamaulipas.

Dr. Raquel Pastor, the Academic Secretary of the Second Congress and a representative of the Antonio Montesinos Center for Social and Cultural Studies of Mexico, declared that the participants in the Congress “denounce ongoing events that violently deny human rights, including forced migration and the increase in human trafficking cases in the region.”

We demand, she said, exhaustive investigations into the massacre in Tamaulipas, so that this crime does not remain unchallenged, and so that the rights of the victim’s families are restored.

Equally, Dr. Pastor stated, “we also condemn the acts of repression and persecution that have been taken against those persons who have dared to report trafficking cases, such as those that have been perpetrated by government officials across Latin America, including in Puebla state, Mexico [see the Lydia Cacho case], in their efforts to cover-up and silence the sexual exploitation of girl [and women] victims.

Dr. Pastor underlined the fact that the participants in the Congress are speaking-up to pressure the nations of Latin America to reform and modernize their criminal justice systems, so that the definition-of and persecution-of trafficking crimes become focused on protecting the dignity of girls, boys, adolescents and women.

Dr. Pastor asked that academic investigations be undertaken with the participation of civil society and government entities to allow for the development of a body of knowledge about trafficking, as well as to support the development of public policies and protocols that will result in actions and criminal investigations that focus on those who suffer as victims of these crimes.

Dr. Pastor stated - 'We demand these nations address the proposals and the body of experience that non-governmental organizations bring to the table, and that they adopt the best practices that NGOs have developed in the fields of preventing trafficking, and attending to the needs of victims. We especially call-upon Chile and Paraguay to pass laws against human trafficking, given that they are the only nations in Latin America not to have done so.'

The Congress also expressed its support for organizations in Puebla and Tlaxcala states, who have developed the Agenda for the Protection of Women and Girls Against Human Trafficking, and who are demanding punishment for elected and other officials at all levels of government who have benefited from human trafficking activities.

The creation of a Latin American 'Observatory' [think tank] for Human Trafficking was announced, with the goal of creating a center that will allow for the analysis of anti-trafficking efforts being carried out across the nations of the region.

The Congress will also create a web site, a system of statistical indicators, and will create spaces to allow for dialog and reflection among participants before and after each Congress.

The Third Latin American Congress on Human Trafficking will take place in Lima, Peru in 2012. The themes will be: “Access to Justice and the Restitution of Rights.”

Oscar Castro Soto, director of the Ignacio Ellacuria Human Rights Institute at the Ibero-American University in Puebla, stated that some 600 persons attended the Second Congress. Two hundred fifty presentations were make by subject matter experts, and 7 sessions by keynote speakers were presented.

Elizabeth Muñoz Vasquez

CIMAC Women's News Agency

Sep. 24, 201-


Added: Sep. 26, 2010

Haiti

Haitian Women at Increased Risk of Trafficking

Puebla, Mexico - The January earthquake that devastated Haiti put women and girls in the poorest country in the hemisphere at an increased risk of falling prey to people trafficking, activists and experts warn.

"The phenomenon has become much more visible since the earthquake, with the increase in the forced displacement of persons," said Bridget Wooding, a researcher who specializes in immigration at the Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences (FLACSO) in the Dominican Republic, which shares the island of Hispaniola with Haiti.

"There is huge vulnerability to a rise in human trafficking and smuggling," she told IPS.

The Dominican Republic and the United States are the main destinations for Haitian migrants. The figures vary, but there are between 500,000 and 800,000 Haitians and people of Haitian descent in the U.S. and between one and two million in the Dominican Republic.

Women in Haiti "are exposed to forced prostitution, rape, abandonment and pornography," Mesadieu Guylande, a Haitian expert with the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women-Latin America and the Caribbean (CATW-LAC), told IPS.

The situation in Haiti was one of the issues discussed by representatives of NGOs, experts and academics from throughout the region at the Second Latin American Conference on Human Smuggling and Trafficking, which ran Tuesday through Friday in Puebla, 130 km south of Mexico City.

The 7.0-magnitude quake that hit the Haitian capital on Jan. 12 and left a death toll of at least 220,000 forced tens of thousands of people to live in camps...

"We have evidence of a growth in trafficking and smuggling of persons, which is reflected in the increase in the number of children panhandling in the streets of Santo Domingo, for example," said Wooding, co-author of the 2004 book "Needed but Not Wanted", on Haitian immigration in the Dominican Republic.

The author was in Port-au-Prince when the quake hit.

Even before the disaster, some 500,000 children were not attending school in Haiti, a country of around 9.5 million people, Guylande said.

Since 2007, there have been no convictions in the Dominican Republic under Law 137-03 against trafficking and smuggling, passed in 2003, according to the U.S. State Department Trafficking in Persons Report 2009.

As a result, the State Department reported that the government of the Dominican Republic "does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking" and put the country on its Tier 2 Watch List.

In Haiti, things are no different. Although the government ratified the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children, supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, in force since Sept. 29, 2003, it has failed to implement its provisions in national laws.

"The penal system is fragile and the judiciary is neither independent nor trustworthy, a situation that works in favor of traffickers," Guylande said...

Emilio Godoy

Inter-Press Service (IPS)

Sep. 24, 2010


Added: Sep. 26, 2010

Mexico

Puebla, entre los estados que más producen pornografía infantil, informa una ONG

México ocupa el primer lugar de América Latina en la producción y distribución de pornografía infantil, principalmente hacia Estados Unidos, España y países de Oriente Medio, señaló ayer Mayra Rojas Rosas, representante de la Organización Infancia Común, durante el Segundo Congreso Latinoamericano sobre Trata y Tráfico de Personas que se realiza en la Universidad Iberoamericana.

Los estados con más casos de trata infantil, puntualizó, son: Baja California, Sonora, Chihuahua, Nuevo León, Guerrero, Quintana Roo, Veracruz, Distrito Federal, Tlaxcala y Puebla. “La gente cree que sólo son fotos o que sólo es un video, pero eso daña y los daña para siempre porque a veces son relaciones reales y otras simuladas, pero esos niños están siendo trastocados en su integridad y están siendo sometidos a una serie de experiencias que no tiene que sufrir un niño o un adolescente”, declaró.

Puebla – among the states with the highest rate of producing child pornography – NGO

Mayra Rojas Rosas, director of the non-governmental organization Common Infancy, declared at the Second Latin American Congress on Human Trafficking that Mexico occupies first place among Latin American nations in the production and distribution of child pornography. She noted that most of these illicit materials are destined to be sold in the United States, Spain and in Middle Eastern nations.

Rojas Rosas added that the states with the highest levels of the production of child pornography are Baja California, Sonora, Chihuahua, Nuevo Leon, Guerrero, Quintana Roo, Veracruz, the Federal District [Mexico City], Tlaxala and Puebla. “People think that it is only a video, but participating in child pornography damages the lives of the victims forever. Some of the scenes are simulated, and some are real, but the integrity of these children is being disrupted. They are being subjected to a series of experiences that no child or adolescent should have to suffer through.

During a press conference on the subject, Rojas Rosas lamented the fact that human trafficking is being transformed into a business that is larger and more easily sold than narcotics. In response, she said, the only way to fight this crime is through cooperation and a demand that the problem be made ‘visible.’

“We are not talking about a problem of persecution here. We are talking about the need to engage in construction. We must change legislation and generate spaces to provide for an integral attention to the victims of trafficking, so that they are given a chance to develop a different type of life. The state must assume part of the responsibility, because at times, due to presumed acts of complicity and omission, we have had problems,” said Rojas Rosas.

In a separate press conference, Helen Le Goff, a representative of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Mexico, called upon authorities to investigate and castigate trafficking cases based upon their own sources of information, without waiting for a formal complaint to be filed by a victim (victim complaint initiation is generally required by Mexican law before a police investigation may be carried out).

During her presentation at the Congress, Le Goff mentioned that studies conducted by Mexico’s National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) estimate that each year, 20,000 persons are victims of human trafficking, principally in tourist cities and in frontier regions. Most victims are illegal immigrants, who have migrated from some 13 nations, including Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.

Le Goff, “In addition to the 60% of victims who experience labor trafficking, an additional 40% were victims of sex trafficking.”

Le Goff concluded by stating that the the IOM is launching a campaign called “No más trata de personas” [No more Human Trafficking] in the cities of Ciudad Juarez and Tapachula. The project is being developed in collaboration with the the CNDH. The project’s goal is to educate the public about the risks of irregular migration and human trafficking.

Arturo Alfaro Galán

La Jornada de Oriente

Sep. 24, 2010


Added: Sep. 26, 2010

Mexico

Giovanni, a nine-year-old girl who lives in the violent Mexico City neighborhood of Penitenciaria

Photo:Daniela Pastrana / IPS

Gender Violence Hits Behind the News

Mexico City - Amalia is an indigenous Maya girl from a rural community in southern Quintana Roo, on Mexico's Caribbean coast. She is 11 years old, and in August became the youngest mother in the country when she gave birth to a baby girl, 51 cm long and just under three kg.

Amalia was raped when she was 10, allegedly by her stepfather. She did not have the option of terminating the pregnancy because by the time it emerged that she was pregnant it was too late for a legal abortion.

Her case highlights the government's failures in dealing with violence against girls, a phenomenon that is overlooked due to the many other types of violence plaguing Mexico, such as the epidemic of drug-related murders, and the human rights violations attributed to the military and police.

Amalia "represents an accumulation of social exclusions: she is female, a child, indigenous and poor," Juan Martín Pérez, executive director of the Network for Children's Rights in Mexico, which brings together more than 50 pro-child organizations, told TerraViva.

"It took more than 20 years for me to admit what had happened. It's something that you never forgive; you just learn to live with it," a 35-year-old professional from Mexico City told TerraViva. She was sexually abused by an uncle when she was Amalia's age.

In this Latin American country of 108 million people, there are 18.4 million boys and 17.9 million girls under 18. Violence against children occurs in one-third of households, despite the many institutions across the country entrusted with protecting their well-being.

A UNICEF (United Nations Children's Fund) study ranked Mexico second for mistreatment of children, after Portugal, among the 33 member countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). The mortality rate attributed to this phenomenon is 30 deaths for every million minors.

According to UNICEF, a large portion of this physical, sexual and psychological violence and neglect remains hidden, and is sometimes socially accepted.

And while this crime is underreported, there is even less information about the differences in mistreatment based on gender. "There is a statistical invisibility that prevents us from getting a clear picture of the problem," said Pérez.

Several recent studies provide isolated data for an incomplete puzzle. For example, the latest National Survey on Health and Nutrition reports six pregnancies for every 1,000 girls ages 12 to 15, and 101 per 1,000 for ages 16 to 17.

In Quintana Roo, the state's secretary of health, Juan Carlos Azueta, said that in 2009 5,500 adolescent pregnancies were reported, 16 percent of which were the result of rape -- a proportion in line with the national average.

"I love my daughter, but I've never known how to deal with her. She exasperates me, and I'm often unfair to her," admitted Gloria, a mother of three girls, whose eldest was born after she was raped at the age of 15 by a married man.

"There is something in her that reminds me of how I got pregnant, and nobody taught me how to be a mother or how to deal with this memory inside," said the abusive mother, who lives in Atizapán, on the outskirts of Mexico City.

"La infancia cuenta" (Childhood Counts / 2009), a web-based monitoring tool and publication by the Network for Children's Rights in Mexico dedicated to girls, states "there are specific groups of females who are marginalized from the educational system," such as adolescent mothers or disabled or indigenous girls and adolescents.

According to Mexico's National Institute on Statistics and Geography, 180,500 adolescent mothers, ages 12 to 18, have not completed their basic education. Girls have higher school attendance rates than boys until age 16, when the balance starts to tip, in part due to early pregnancy.

"At 15, I ran away from home with the man who is now the father of my children, but things went even worse for me," Citatli, now 45 and a grandmother, told TerraViva. She lives in a low-income neighborhood in the eastern part of the Mexico City metropolitan area.

She had two children by the time she was 17, "and the younger one was born prematurely after I was beaten," she said. "I have always been surrounded by violence. From my mother, my brothers, my first husband, and now from my children." Her only hope is that her five grandchildren "don't turn out like that."

In Mexico, violent acts against girls, adolescents and women are based on a social construction that assumes males are superior, several sources consulted by TerraViva agreed.

"We've made some limited progress, with a federal law (against gender violence) and local laws in all states, but we haven't seen fundamental changes," said Axela Romero, director of Integral Health for Women. "A culture in which masculine is put above feminine prevails."

Giovanni, a nine-year-old girl who lives in the violent Mexico City neighborhood of Penitenciaria, knows all about that. She has what is traditionally a boy's name because when her mother was about to give birth to her firstborn son, she lost the pregnancy due to "a fright" when the father got involved in a fight. So the name went to the little girl, when she was born.

"I hate violence, and I hate it even more when the men drink," Giovanni told TerraViva.

Years of gruesome unsolved murders of women -- known as "femicides" -- put Ciudad Juárez, on Mexico's northern border, on the global map. At least 800 women have been tortured and murdered in the last 16 years, according to incomplete official data.

Meanwhile, in some Mexican states, the laws are tougher on women who undergo abortions than on the rapists who impregnated them.

According to government surveys, more than 60 percent of male adolescents believe it is solely the responsibility of the woman to take precautions against pregnancy, and at least one-fifth of students have witnessed incidents at their schools, off in a corner, where one or more boys inappropriately touched a girl without her consent.

But those incidents, like other forms of aggression against girls, are likewise abandoned in a corner.

*This story was originally published by IPS TerraViva with the support of UNIFEM and the Dutch MDG3 Fund.

Daniela Pastrana

Inter Press Service (IPS) / TerraViva

Sep. 21, 2010


Added: Sep. 26, 2010

Mexico

Bicentennial Nothing to Celebrate, Say Indigenous Peoples

Mexico City - "I don't understand why we should celebrate [Independence]. There will be no freedom in Mexico until repression against indigenous peoples is eliminated," says Sadhana, whose name means "moon" in the indigenous Mazahua language.

Over the course of the year, the Mexican government has organized a series of lavish celebrations to mark the 200th anniversary of the start of the war of independence against the Spanish Empire, Sep. 16, 1810. The main events, held Sep. 15, included a military parade with soldiers from several other countries and a fireworks display.

But to many of Mexico's indigenous peoples, the festivities are an alien concept.

According to indigenous organizations, at least a third of Mexico's 108 million people are of native descent. But the government's National Council on Population says the majority of Mexicans are mestizo (of mixed European and indigenous ancestry), while 14 million belong to one of the country's 62 native groups.

"There is no birth certificate or other official document that says we are indigenous. The official calculations are based on the census that asks just one question about this: if you speak an indigenous language. That is the only element they use to define who is indigenous," said Julio Atenco Vidal, of the Regional Coordinator of Sierra de Zongolica Indigenous Organisations, in the southeastern state of Veracruz.

"Furthermore, there are many who say they are not indigenous, because it is associated with backwardness," he told IPS.

Registered by her Mazahua parents with the name "Daleth Ignacio Esquivel," Sadhana, 14, participates in a dance group of Mexica origin. They promote the recovery of their ancestral language among youths in San Miguel, a town in the central state of Mexico.

In the latest census of population and housing, conducted in May and June, the question about personal ethnic identification was added...

Of all the segments of the population, indigenous women have the worst living conditions, according to the National Commission for the Development of Indigenous Peoples. These women suffer serious health problems resulting from nutritional deficiencies and high birth rates.

From childhood, indigenous girls are obligated to help their mothers. They tend to marry between ages 13 and 16. And their "normal" workday can last 18 hours daily.

Meanwhile, illiteracy among indigenous children is five times greater than among mestizo children.

An extreme case of indigenous exclusion is found in San Juan Copala, in the southern state of Oaxaca, home of the Triqui community, which declared itself "autonomous" in 2007. The Triqui people have been under siege since January by illegal armed groups that block the entry of food and medicine, and teachers. Governmental authorities have yet to intervene.

The ongoing harassment has led to at least a dozen deaths since 2007 and earned a denunciation from the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights. In April, the armed groups ambushed an international humanitarian convoy that was attempting to bring supplies to the Triqui village.

"We are celebrating the construction of a type of stratified and racist state, which is what has been created in Mexico, often based on liberal ideas," said Rodolfo Stavenhagen, a researcher at the Colegio de México and former UN special rapporteur on the situation of the human rights and fundamental freedoms of indigenous peoples.

"Now is a good time to reform the concept of 'nation'. We must take steps in building an indigenous citizenry and indigenous spaces that have never before appeared in Mexico's institutional fabric," Stavenhagen told IPS.

Along similar lines, 177 organizations from 15 states are working to breathe new life into the indigenous movement. It has been largely stagnant since 2001, when the government quashed the efforts towards autonomy by the indigenous Zapatista National Liberation Army, which took up arms in January 1994 in the southern state of Chiapas.

Now, in a new national and international context, the organizations are pursuing a model of a "plurinational" and "pluricultural" state, one that includes Mexico's array of indigenous ethnicities "without adulteration or compromise."

"We don't have anything to celebrate," reads a declaration from the National Indigenous Movement, which met in the capital on Sep. 15 while the rest of the country commemorated 200 years of the Mexican republic.

The movement questioned "the irrational festive nature of the great national celebration," on which the government spent 200 million dollars, "while our peoples are fighting hunger and desperation."

Daniela Pastrana

Inter-Press Service (IPS)

Sep. 24, 2010


Added: Sep. 26, 2010

Mexico

IOM - Co-organizer and Participant in the Second Latin-American Congress on Migrant Smuggling and Human Trafficking

The [United Nations affiliated] International Organization for Migration (IOM) is participating in the second Latin American Congress on Migrant Smuggling and Human Trafficking, taking place this week in Puebla, Mexico.

The four-day event co-organized by IOM which ends today, brings together hundreds of government officials, experts from international organizations, researchers, civil society and students, as well as the general public, to discuss issues of common concern related to migrant smuggling and human trafficking in Latin-America.

More than 250 international experts are presenting their counter-trafficking work and shared experiences, with the more than 350 participants from every country in the hemisphere.

The main objective of the Congress is to promote active discussion amongst key actors combating human trafficking in Latin America, in order to encourage the development of public policies and legislation against trafficking in the region.

IOM Mexico, as a member of the Latin-American Committee of the Congress, has been coordinating as well as organizing the event. IOM experts from Mexico, Costa Rica and Nicaragua have participated in different panels, presenting IOM activities in the region as well as discussing the link between migration and human trafficking and the need for protection of the human rights of all migrants.

In Latin America, human trafficking for sexual and labor exploitation has reached alarming proportions in recent years. Since 2000, when the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons was approved, many Latin American countries have updated or drafted anti human trafficking laws and have put in place public policies aimed at combating the crime and providing vital protection to the victims.

Organized criminal networks earn billions of dollars each year from the traffic and exploitation of persons who suffer severe violations of their human rights. Common abuses experienced by trafficking victims include rape, torture, debt bondage, unlawful confinement, and threats against their family or other persons close to them, as well as other forms of physical, sexual and psychological violence.

According to Mexico’s National Human Rights Commission (CNDH by its Spanish acronym), with whom IOM Mexico has recently signed a cooperation agreement, each year more than 20,000 persons fall victim to human trafficking in Mexico, mainly in border areas and in tourist destinations.

"Data on human trafficking in Mexico is rare and there are only estimations on this serious problem," said Thomas Lothar Weiss, IOM Chief of Mission in Mexico.

"What we know is that Chiapas and Chihuahua, where IOM has sub-offices, are two of the main states of origin and destination of trafficking in Mexico. One of the worst forms of trafficking detected recently in Mexico is linked with the kidnapping of people for recruitment in the organized criminal groups," Weiss added...

Hélène Le Goff

International Organization for Migration (IOM)  México

Sep. 24, 2010


Added: Sep. 26, 2010

Texas, USA

Chase leads deputies to possible human trafficking ring

San Antonio - A chase led Bexar County deputies to a home they say may be part of human trafficking ring.

Deputies chased a stolen truck to a home in the 11,000 block of Jarrett Road in Far Southwest Bexar County around 11:00 a.m. Friday. The deputies found 17 illegal immigrants living inside the home in horrible conditions. Investigators believe the illegal immigrants were smuggled here and stayed cramped up inside the small home, sleeping wherever they could find space.

"The living conditions are pretty bad," said Sgt. R. Fletcher of the Bexar County Sheriff's Department. "And we're talking about 15 to 17 people in a 3 bedroom home..."

WOAI

Sep. 24, 2010


Added: Sep. 26, 2010

Canada

Woman faces first such Manitoba charge; Victim forced into prostitution, police say

Manitoba's first-ever human trafficking charge has been laid after an older woman befriended a 21-year-old woman from northern Manitoba, then allegedly forced her into the sex trade.

The 38-year-old is accused of taking the victim's identification and clothing, punching her in a fight and stopping her twice as she attempted to run away, Winnipeg police said Thursday.

The pair lived in a home in the 300 block of Aikens Street. The older woman forced the girl to turn over the cash she made to pay for food and a roof over her head, investigators believe.

The Winnipeg Police Service vice unit began probing the case after officers were initially called to the home on a complaint of a fight Monday.

The woman was arrested Wednesday.

"The best way to describe it is we have an individual whose human rights have been violated to an extreme," said WPS spokesman Const. Jason Michalyshen, noting investigators believe the abuse started earlier this month.

"It's certainly not something we come across on a regular basis."

The Criminal Code added a specific section against human trafficking in 2005.

The Criminal Code describes a trafficker in human beings as "a person (who) exploits another person if they cause the victim to provide labour or service for fear of their safety or the safety of someone known to them."

...A source said the victim is from a remote First Nations [indigenous] community and lived in two city shelters before moving in with the older woman...

Theresa Peebles is charged with forcible confinement, assault and three counts of trafficking. All charges date from Sept. 5 to Sept. 20 this year...

"These types of charges are difficult to lay. There's a lot of criteria that need to be established, and because it is fairly new legislation, fairly new law, members of the policing community are still learning and being educated about it," Michalyshen said.

Gabrielle Giroday

The Winnipeg Free Press

Sep. 24, 2010


Added: Sep. 24, 2010

Mexico, Latin America

Marcela Lagarde y de los Ríos - president of Mexico's Network for Women’s Life and Liberty, speaks at the Second Latin American Congress on Human Trafficking

Mujeres con derechos y ciudadanía, debe exigir la sociedad

Plantea Marcela Lagarde en Congreso sobre Trata y Tráfico

El delito de trata de personas no sólo debe ser visto como un hecho del crimen organizado, sino como resultado de una complejidad social apabullante, que abarca a la sociedad y al Estado, y que éste último no se ha reformado para hacer frente a sus obligaciones legales, afirmó aquí la feminista Marcela Lagarde y de los Ríos.

Ante los comités de organización y académico del II Congreso Latinoamericano sobre Trata y Tráfico de Personas: Migración, Género y Derechos Humanos, se pronunció por recurrir a los aportes teóricos de la investigación de la perspectiva de género, para definir y diferenciar los límites precisos sobre los riesgos de ser objeto de trata, que corren las mujeres y las niñas, por edad, clase social, etnicidad, condiciones de migración, de legalidad e ilegalidad...

Women, with our rights of citizenship, must make demands upon society

Feminist activist Marcela Lagarde addresses the Second Latin American Congress on Human Trafficking

In her presentation before the Second Latin American Congress on Human Trafficking, feminist activist Marcela Lagarde y de los Ríos stated that human trafficking should not be seen only as an act perpetrated by organized crime, but also as a overwhelmingly powerful social complex that envelops our society and the state. In response, she said, government has not reformed itself to accept its legal obligations in this area.

During her presentation: Human Rights Synergies for Women in Response to Human Trafficking, Lagarde, who is the president of the Network for Women’s Life and Liberty (in Mexico), went on to discuss the fact that investigating human trafficking from a gender perspective requires that we understand the risks that women and girls face upon becoming victims of trafficking, because of their gender, social class, ethnicity and their legal or illegal condition of migration.

Lagarde explained that when, for example, the topic of immigrants is discussed, the term “inmigrantes”

 (immigrants), not “las migrantes” (women immigrants) is used.

Linguistically, Lagarde declared, this imposes a brutal form of discrimination  when the topic of human trafficking is discussed. When the term “personas” (persons) is used in the context of our patriarchal discourse, the term means, specifically, men.

Thus, the term ‘trafficking in persons’ is never translated to mean that the human slavery of women and girls exists. Female victims are almost never mentioned in the context of human trafficking [in Mexico]. This omission contributes to their invisibility.

Lagarde went on to say that, if we approach the problem of human trafficking without using a gender-based perspective, we cannot arrive at a point where we understand that this problem “is closely associated with the [intentional] domination and dehumanization of women.”

These factors cause society to focus its solutions to trafficking on targeting organized crime, while at the same time failing to work toward equality between men and women and a respect for the sexual and reproductive rights of girls and adolescents, said Lagarde...

Elizabeth Muñoz Vásquez

The CIMAC Women's News Agency

Sep. 22, 2010


Added: Sep. 24, 2010

Mexico, Latin America

Ibero-American University rector David Fernández Dávalos, shown at another university event - spoke at the opening ceremonies of the Second Latin American Congress on Human Trafficking

Erradicar la trata no “le importa a nadie”: Fernández Dávalos

Encuentro Latinoamericano sobre Trata y Tráfico de Personas

Cada año, cerca de 100 mil mujeres provenientes de países de América Latina y el Caribe, son llevadas con engaños y falsas promesas de empleo, a diversas naciones del mundo, sin que se conozcan las cifras nacionales oficiales, estudios, las estadísticas, ni los informes cuantitativos que permitan evidenciar el fenómeno de la trata de personas.

Al inaugurar aquí el Segundo Encuentro Latinoamericano sobre Trata y Tráfico de Personas: Migración, Género y Derechos Humanos, el rector de la Universidad Iberoamericana, Puebla, David Fernández Dávalos, lamentó que este problema no le importe a nadie, “ni a la academia, ni a los gobernantes, ni a gran parte de la sociedad civil”.

En el mundo, dijo, más de 4 millones de personas son víctimas del delito de trata y de esa cifra, el 80 por ciento es sufrida por mujeres, niños y niñas en sus diversas formas de explotación sexual.

Desafortunadamente, continuó, a la trata con fines de explotación sexual y laboral, la adopción ilegal, el comercio de órganos y el tráfico de droga, se suma la venta de niñas y adolescentes en comunidades indígenas de México, los abusos en el servicio doméstico, los matrimonios serviles y la violencia familiar, son validadas por sistemas patriarcales, machistas y conservadores, que limitan la problemática y la reducen...

Ibero-American University rector David Fernández Dávalos: "Nobody cares about  eradicating human trafficking"

Each year, close to 100,000 Latin American and Caribbean women are taken, through the use of offers of work and other false promises, to nations around the world. We do not know the real numbers of victims. Neither official national estimates nor quantitative studies can really tell us the true scope of human trafficking.

During the opening ceremonies of the Second Latin American Congress on Human Trafficking, which is being held on the campus of the Ibero-American University in the city of Puebla, in Puebla state, university rector David Fernández Dávalos lamented that nobody cares about human trafficking, "neither academia, nor those in government, nor the great majority of civil society."

Fernández Dávalos noted that globally, some 4 million persons are victims of human trafficking. Of these, 80% are women and children who suffer through diverse forms of sexual exploitation.

Unfortunately, added Fernández Dávalos, in addition to the traditional categories of sex and labor trafficking, illegal adoptions, organ trafficking and drug trafficking, we must also add the sale of children and youth in the indigenous communities of Mexico [they are 30% of the national population], abuses found in domestic service, servile marriages and family violence. These problems are all validated by [our] conservative and machista [machismo-based] patriarchal  systems, which work to diminish action to respond to the problem.

Fernández Dávalos presented figures compiled by the Civil Guard of Spain which indicate that 70% of the female victims of human trafficking in that nation come originally from Latin America, while in Japan, an estimated 1,700 Latin America women are held as sex slaves.

Fernández Dávalos declared that public strategies must be created to address human trafficking in each region of Latin America. Today efforts at prevention, protection and prosecution are inadequate.

Oscar Arturo Castro, who is the director of the Ignacio Ellacuria Human Rights Center at the university as well as member of the organizing committee of the Congress, argued that the dynamics of migration must be studied as part of the problem of human slavery. Castro, "because organized crime is taking advantage of human mobility."

Castro, "[Organized crime] exploits migration driven by greed, and disregards human dignity, a reality that we can observe in the example of the recent massacre of 72 Central American migrants in Tamaulipas, as well as in the cases of the thousands of Central [and South] American migrants who are kidnapped by drug trafficking gangs across the entire territory of Mexico."

The opening ceremonies of the Congress were also attended by José Manuel Grima, president of the Congress and Teresa Ulloa Ziaurríz, director of the Coalition Against the Trafficking Women and Girls - Latin American and Caribbean branch. Some 300 presenters are expected during the 4 days of planned conference sessions.

Elizabeth Muñoz Vásquez

The CIMAC Women's News Agency

Sep. 21, 2010


Added: Sep. 26, 2010

Latin America

América Latina ineficaz en combate a trata de personas

Puebla city in Puebla state, Mexico - El combate a la trata de personas ha sido ineficaz y ha derivado en la creación de mercados intrarregionales, según especialistas y activistas de América Latina reunidos desde este martes en esta ciudad mexicana.

"El combate ha terminado en respuestas más formales que reales, como los cambios legales. No hay interés de los estados, no es una prioridad", criticó a IPS Ana Hidalgo, de la oficina en Costa Rica de la Organización Internacional para las Migraciones (OIM), la institución intergubernamental que promueve una migración ordenada y justa.

Hidalgo forma parte de los 450 académicos y activistas que participan en Puebla, a 129 kilómetros al sur de Ciudad de México, en el Segundo Congreso Latinoamericano sobre Trata y Tráfico de Personas, inaugurado este martes y que concluirá este viernes 24.

"Se atiende a una víctima y se inicia un proceso penal, pero no hay sentencia porque hay impunidad. El consumidor, léase el prostituyente o el violador, no está captado en la fórmula", señaló la abogada Ana Chávez, del Servicio Paz y Justicia de Argentina.

En México cada año unas 20.000 personas serían víctimas de la trata, según el no gubernamental Centro de Estudios e Investigación en Desarrollo y Asistencia Social (CEIDAS), uno de cuyos ejes es el estudio de ese fenómeno.

En América Latina esa cifra es de 250.000 personas, con una ganancia de 1.350 millones de dólares para las bandas, según estadísticas de la mexicana Secretaría (ministerio) de Seguridad Pública. Pero los datos sobre el fenómeno son variables, si bien las Naciones Unidas subraya que el delito se ha exacerbado en el comienzo del siglo...

Inter Press Service (IPS) / TerraViva

Sep. 21, 2010

English Language Version:

Added: Sep. 24, 2010

Latin America: Five Million Women Have Fallen Prey to Trafficking Networks

The fight against human trafficking in Latin America is ineffective and has led to the emergence of intra-regional markets for the trade, according to experts and activists meeting this week in this Mexican city.

'Responses to the trade in human beings have been more formal than real, as have the changes in legislation. Governments are not interested: it is not their priority,' Ana Hidalgo, from the Costa Rican office of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), told IPS.

Hidalgo is one of the 450 academics and activists taking part in the Second Latin American Conference on Smuggling and Trafficking of Human Beings, under the theme 'Migrations, Gender and Human Rights', Sept. 21-24 in Puebla, 129 kilometers south of Mexico City.

Ana Chávez, a lawyer with Argentina's Peace and Justice Service (SERPAJ) said, 'Victims are listened to, and criminal prosecutions are initiated, but no one is sentenced because of impunity. The consumers, that is, the pimps, clients or rapists, do not come into the equation.'

In Mexico some 20,000 people a year fall victim to the modern-day slave trade, according to the Centre for Studies and Research on Social Development and Assistance (CEIDAS), which monitors the issue.

The total number of victims in Latin America amounts to 250,000 a year, yielding a profit of 1.35 billion dollars for the traffickers, according to statistics from the Mexican Ministry of Public Security. But the data vary widely. Whatever the case, the United Nations warns that human trafficking has steadily grown over the past decade.

Organizations like the Coalition Against Trafficking of Women and Girls in Latin America and the Caribbean (CATW-LAC) estimate that over five million girls and women have been trapped by these criminal networks in the region, and another 10 million are in danger of falling into their hands...

Latin America is a source and destination region for human trafficking, a crime that especially affects the Dominican Republic, Brazil and Colombia.

The conference host, David Fernández Dávalos, president of the Ibero-American University of Puebla (UIA-Puebla), said in his inaugural speech that human trafficking is a modern and particularly malignant version of slavery, only under better cover and disguises.

On Aug. 31, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged member states to implement a Global Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Persons, because it is 'among the worst human rights violations,' constituting 'slavery in the modern age,' and preying mostly on 'women and children.'

The congress coincides with the International Day Against the Sexual Exploitation and Trafficking of Women and Children on Thursday, instituted in 1999 by the World Conference of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women (CATW).

Government authorities and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Mexico concur that criminal mafias in this country have been proved to combine trafficking in persons with drug trafficking, along both the northern and southern land borders (with the United States and with Guatemala, respectively)...

In Mexico, a federal Law to Prevent and Punish Trafficking in Persons has been on the books since 2007, but the government has yet to create a national program to implement it, although this is stipulated in the law itself.

The Puebla Congress, which follows the first such conference held in Buenos Aires in 2008, is meeting one month after the massacre of 72 undocumented migrants in the northeastern state of Tamaulipas, which exemplified the connection between drug trafficking and trafficking in persons, and drew International attention to the dangers faced by migrants in Mexico.

Miguel Ortega, a member of the Democratic Alliance of Civil Society Organizations, a Mexican umbrella group representing 50 NGOs, told IPS: 'In first place, the problem is invisible, and until the state makes appropriate changes to the laws, there will be no progress. We want to see prompt and decisive action.'

IOM's Hidalgo said, 'our investigations and research have found that Nicaraguan women are trafficked into Guatemala and Costa Rica, and Honduran women are trafficked into Guatemala and Mexico.'

Women from Colombia and Peru have been forced into prostitution in the southern Ecuadorean province of El Oro, according to a two-year investigation by Martha Ruiz, a consultant responsible for updating and redrafting Ecuador's National Plan against Human Trafficking.

SERPAJ's Chávez said, 'We have not been able to get governments to take responsibility for investigating these crimes. The states themselves are a factor in generating these crimes.'

Out of the 32 Mexican states, eight make no reference to human trafficking in their state laws. Mario Fuentes, head of CEIDAS, wrote this week in the newspaper Excélsior that the country is laboring under 'severe backwardness and challenges in this field, because it lacks a national program to deal with the problem, as well as a system of statistics.'

Emilio Godoy

Inter Press Service (IPS)

Sep. 22, 2010


Added: Sep. 21, 2010

Mexico

Democratic U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont has insisted upon linking U.S. aid to human rights improvements in Mexico

Rights groups against giving US anti-drug aid to Mexico

Human rights groups Tuesday urged US lawmakers not to authorize 36 million dollars in anti-drug trafficking aid to Mexico because of human rights violations by its security forces.

Mexico City - Human rights groups Tuesday urged US lawmakers not to authorize 36 million dollars in anti-drug trafficking aid to Mexico because of human rights violations by its security forces.

"Releasing these funds would send the message that the United States condones the grave human rights violations committed in Mexico, including torture, rape, killings, and enforced disappearances," they said in a letter to the Senate.

Seven human rights groups signed the petition including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the Washington Office on Latin America and Mexico's Association for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights.

An annual US State Department report on September 2 gave the Senate its assessment of the state of human rights in Mexico, required before the disbursement of additional aid in the Plan Merida drug interdiction program, under which Mexico got 36 million dollars last year.

Mexico is facing spiraling drug-related violence that has cost the lives of more than 28,000 murders since 2006, despite a major police-military crackdown on crime by President Felipe Calderon.

The rights groups recognized that Mexico was facing "a severe public security crisis.

"However, human rights violations committed by Mexican security forces are not only deplorable in their own right, but also significantly undermine the effectiveness of Mexico's public security efforts."

Agence France-Presse (AFP)

Sep. 15, 2010

See also:

The CIMAC women’s news agency’s collection of more than 370 factual articles on cases of the rape of civilian women in Mexico by military service members.

(In Spanish)


Added: Sep. 19, 2010

Mexico

Mexican journalist, author and anti-trafficking activist Lydia Cacho Ribeiro

Photo: CIMAC Women's News Agency - Mexico

Premio Internacional al Escritor Valiente para Lydia Cacho

Por investigación y denuncia de red de pederastia en México

La periodista Lydia Cacho Ribeiro recibirá el próximo 20 de octubre el Premio Internacional al Escritor Valiente, que otorga la Asociación de Escritores PEN Internacional, distinción que se confiere a quienes escriben y sufren persecución por sus creencias.

En un comunicado, la Asociación sin fines de lucro informó que otorgará a Cacho el reconocimiento por su investigación y denuncia de una red de pederastia, y sus presuntos vínculos con autoridades y empresarios en México...

Lydia Cacho receives award for valiant journalism

This coming 20th of October, 2010, journalist and author Lydia Cacho Ribeiro will receive International Writer of Courage Prize from the PEN international writer’s association. The prize is awarded to writers who face persecution for their beliefs.

In a press release, the non-profit association declared that Cacho had been chosen in recognition of her investigation and denunciation of a child sex trafficking network that is presumed to have had ties with Mexican business leaders and authorities.

The PEN press release mentioned that, after the release of her 2005 book about the case, the “Demons of Eden, The Powers Behind Pornography,” Cacho was arrested, accused of defamation and became the subject of death threats.

Cacho is a member of the editorial board of the CIMAC women’s news agency, for which she serves as its correspondent in the city of Cancun. She is also a co-founder of the Journalists Network of Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean. Since the year 2000, Cacho has been a special consultant on human rights and women’s health issues for the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM).

In her most recent book, “Slaves of Power, A Journey to the Heart of the Sex Trafficking of Women and Girls Across the World,” Cacho reveals that between 20,00 and half a million victims of trafficking exist [in Mexico]. The great majority exist to make profits for the prostitution mafias.

Cacho spent 5 years researching the operations of large and small international sex trafficking organizations. She conducted interviews with a large number of victims as well as actual members of the trafficking mafias. See the CIMAC article on Cacho’s work at this link.

Cacho’s efforts have been recognized in awards from: Human Rights Watch; Mexico’s National Journalism Prize; the Amnesty Award of 2007, the Oxfam Award of 2007; the 2009 Hermila Galindo prize for her distinguished work in defense and promotion of human rights for women.

IN April of 2010, Cacho was selected as the World Hero for Press Freedom by the International Press Institute. Cacho was also one of 60 journalists honored during the World Congress, celebrated in Vienna, Austria.

During September, 2010, Cacho received the Manuel Leguineche International Journalism Prize, which was awarded to her by the Spanish Federation of Journalism Associations (FAPE). That prize was dedicated by FAPE to the many journalists who have been murdered in Mexico.

By the Editors

CIMAC Women's News Agency

Sep. 17, 2010

See also:

Mexican journalist Lydia Cacho receives PEN prize

London - A Mexican journalist who was arrested and threatened after exposing a pedophile ring is to receive a major writing prize.

Writers' charity PEN says Lydia Cacho is the recipient of its International Writer of Courage Prize, which goes to writers persecuted for their beliefs.

Cacho was arrested, charged with libel and received death threats after publishing a book about a child sex abuse ring involving business figures in Cancun in 2005...

The awards will be presented in London on Oct. 20.

The Associated Press

Sep. 16, 2010

See also:

Journalist / Activist   Lydia Cacho is    Railroaded by the Legal Process in Mexico for Having Exposing Child Sex Networks In Mexico


Added: Sep. 19, 2010

The World, Chile

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (right) with former Chilean president Michelle Bachelet, on 14 September 2010

Bachelet: ONU Mujeres Será un Enorme Desafío

La ex presidenta de Chile, Michelle Bachelet describió su nombramiento al frente de ONU Mujeres como un enorme desafío que acoge con beneplácito.

En una entrevista exclusiva con la Radio de la ONU, Bachelet indicó que su designación representa un reconocimiento a los logros de su gobierno y a los avances de su país en políticas destinadas al adelanto de la mujer.

Consideró que su experiencia como mandataria y su relación con otros jefes de Estado contribuirán a avanzar en el objetivo de la igualdad de los géneros.

“Mi experiencia también en todo lo vinculado al trabajo de igualdad de las mujeres, igualdad de derechos, a luchar contra la violencia, a luchar contra la discriminación, esta ha sido la historia de mi vida. No sólo con respecto a las mujeres, sino de los hombres, mujeres, niños, ancianos. Toda esta experiencia la quiero entregar en esta tarea que es la dirección de esta nueva estructura de Naciones Unidas”.

La nueva Entidad para la Igualdad entre los Géneros, “ONU Mujeres”, fue creada por la Asamblea General el pasado 2 de julio, y fusiona cuatro organismos de la ONU que se ocupaban del tema. Comenzará a operar en enero de 2011.

Radio ONU - UN Radio

Sep. 15, 2010

See also:

Former Chilean president to head new high-profile UN women’s agency

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (right) with Michelle Bachelet

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today named former Chilean president Michelle Bachelet to head United Nations Women (UN Women), a newly created entity to oversee all of the world body’s programmes aimed at promoting women’s rights and full participation in global affairs.

The new body – which will receive a large boost in funding and become operational in January – merges four UN agencies and offices: the UN Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), the Division for the Advancement of Women (DAW), the Office of the Special Adviser on Gender Issues, and the UN International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women (UN-INSTRAW).

“UN Women will promote the interests of women and girls across the globe,” Mr. Ban told reporters in announcing the appointment. “Ms. Bachelet brings to this critical position a history of dynamic global leadership, highly honed political skills and uncommon ability to create consensus and focus among UN agencies and many partners in both the public and private sector.”

“I’m confident that under her strong leadership we can improve the lives of millions of women and girls throughout the world.”

Ms. Bachelet, Chile’s first female president who prioritized women’s issues throughout her tenure and since leaving office has been working with UNIFEM to advocate for the needs of Haitian women following January’s devastating earthquake, was chosen over two other candidates.

The new entity is set to have an annual budget of at least $500 million, double the current combined resources of the four agencies it comprises.

“As you know the creation of UN Women is the culmination of almost four years’ effort and today’s announcement has been made possible thanks to the hard work of the Member States and the many partners who share our commitment to this agenda, and this has been a top and very personal priority of mine,” Mr. Ban said.

He stressed that at next week’s UN Summit on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) women and children will be “at the very core of our final push” to realize the ambitious targets for slashing extreme poverty and hunger, maternal and infant mortality, rampant diseases, and lack of access to education and health services, all by the deadline of 2015...

The United Nations

Sep. 14, 2010

See also:

Bachelet Named Head of UN Agency for Women

Former Chilean President Michelle Bachelet became the head of UN Women, a new agency that merges four UN agencies devoted to women’s and gender issues. In his announcement of the position, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said “Ms. Bachelet brings to this critical position a history of dynamic global leadership.”

Americas Quarterly - Weekly Update

Sep. 16, 2010

 


Added: Sep. 19, 2010

Ecuador

Ecuador Closes Open-Door Policy

Authorities announced that Ecuador will begin requiring entry visas for visitors from nine Asian and African countries, ending the country’s policy of universal free entry. The government says it added the exceptions to its visa laws in an effort to stop the use of Ecuador as a base for human trafficking, reports IPS News.

Americas Quarterly - Weekly Update

Sep. 16, 2010


Added: Sep. 19, 2010

The World

Governments seek coordination to fight sex trafficking

Child trafficking is one of the fastest growing crimes in the world - an underground business, often conducted on the internet, and driven by enormous profits. According to UNICEF, an estimated 2.5 million children, the majority of them girls, are sexually exploited in the multibillion-dollar commercial sex industry.

While the problem is usually associated with countries with unstable economic and political systems, today it is the biggest in Europe, the United States, Russia and Africa.

[We disagree with the conclusion that . Mexico alone has many more victims of child sex trafficking than the United States. The Dominican Republic, Colombia, Peru,  Brazil and Argentina each have more child victims than the U.S. has at any given time. It is unacceptable that the Latin American sex trafficking problem remains 'invisible' to large segments of journalists, researchers and decision makers. Human smuggling and trafficking in Mexico amounts to a $15 to $20 billion per year criminal industry. The UN's International Organization for Migration has noted that sex trafficking across Latin America totals an estimated $16 billion in annual revenues. That amount in half of the commonly used global number for all human trafficking profits - $32 billion. - LL]

"Last year we identified 56 cases of young people who have experienced sexual exploitation just in the Washington D.C. area," Andrea Powell, executive director of FAIR Fund stated. Powell co-founded the organization eight years ago to stop the trafficking of youth worldwide. It has assisted thousands of teen-aged girls and boys so far in the United States, Bosnia, Serbia, Russia and Uganda.

"Asia" is one of her group's success stories: Lured into prostitution, she often worked 15-hour days in the sex trade…"It was just gross. I separated myself, my mind; I was in another place when it happened," she recalls, "It was like it was not me."

...FAIR Fund helped her turn her life around.

"To put it in a nutshell, they have helped me transform to who I am now," Asia says, "I am not the same person. "But for every "Asia" there are many more who are not so fortunate.

U.S. Congressman Chris Smith is one of the strongest advocates for rights of victims of human trafficking.

"At least a 100,000 American girls, mostly runaways, average age of 13, are on the streets. And within 48 hours, if they are not brought back home or to some shelter, through the use of drugs, crack cocaine, or some other harmful drugs, the pimps are able to turn those girls into forced prostitutes," Smith said. "They abuse them, they rape them. They get STDs, including HIV and AIDS."

Many children are brought to the U.S. from other countries, mostly Latin America, Southeast Asia, south and eastern Europe. Roma children are often brought from Bosnia or Serbia to steal or clean houses. Children from East Africa are brought to work as domestic servants or farm labor, while children from India are forced to work in the garment business. Their families often do not have any idea what has become of them. In many countries, including the US, even police officers who come to brothels or strip clubs buy sex from the victims instead of helping them...

Amra Alirejsovic writes for Voice of America.

Amra Alirejsovic

Energy Publisher

Sep. 13, 2010


Added: Sep. 19, 2010

Illinois, USA

West Chicago man gets 30 years for molesting girls

After the West Chicago woman returned home from her daughters' school event, the two girls told her a secret they shared about her live-in boyfriend.

"I had no idea what I was about to hear," the mother wrote in a victim-impact statement. "Both my daughters then said that he had sexually molested them. I am so angry because this man has taken something so sacred. They are going to have to live with the pain and memories of his actions for the rest of their lives."

Francisco Moyotl was sentenced Thursday to 30 years in prison after he pleaded guilty to committing predatory criminal sexual assault of a child and aggravated criminal sexual abuse.

The 42-year-old West Chicago man must serve 85 percent of the prison term before being eligible for parole. He also likely will face deportation because he is not a U.S. citizen...

Christy Gutowski

The Daily Herald

Sep. 16, 2010


Added: Sep. 19, 2010

New York, USA

32-year-old sex offender arrested for rape of 75-year-old woman in Bronx

A hulking sex offender raped a 75-year-old Bronx woman who employed his mother as a caretaker, police said Monday.

Marcos Cuevas sneaked into a private senior citizens residence on Sunday and had wormed his way into the apartment of another woman - a neighbor of the victim - when she happened to come by for a visit, police said.

"I'm looking for my mother," the brawny pervert told her.

"She's not here," the elderly victim replied. "She's off on weekends."

So Cuevas, 32, tied the wrists of the victim and her 76-year-old pal behind their backs - and then raped the younger woman, police said.

The tattooed terror, who stands 6-foot-2 and weighs 295 pounds, also robbed the 76-year-old of $10 before fleeing the Bronx building, cops said.

When detectives arrived, the rape victim had no problem identifying her attacker because his mom, Iris, works as a home care attendant for her 95-year-old mother, police said.

A Level 3, or high risk, sex offender, Cuevas was caught later on E. 141st St. in Manhattan.

Cuevas was charged with rape, robbery, sex abuse and unlawful imprisonment. His alleged victim was in stable condition at Lincoln Hospital.

Ivonne Suarez, who said she is Cuevas' wife, defended her "Gentle Giant" and insisted the rape accusation was dreamed up by a "crazy woman."

"He would never do this after spending that time in jail," said Suarez, 40. "The woman is senile. She made up this story. My husband wouldn't lay a hand on her."

...Cuevas spent nearly a decade behind bars for raping two Manhattan women - one of them at knifepoint in Harlem - in 1996.

Sentenced to seven to 14 years in prison, Cuevas was twice denied parole by boards that deemed him a danger to society. He won a conditional release in November 2005, but a year later he was back in jail after violating his parole in August 2006.

He wasn't released again until November 2009, according to records.

Rocco Parascandola, Kevin Deutsch and Corky Siemaszko

The New York Daily News

Sep.13, 2010


Added: Sep. 19, 2010

California, USA

San Bernardino County Priest Accused of Sexually Abusing 2 Boys

Reverend Alex Castillo maintains his innocence.

Ontario - A Catholic priest in San Bernardino County is accused of sexually abusing two boys within the last two years.

Rev. Alex Castillo was removed from duty as an active priest in June.

He served at four churches within the Diocese of San Bernardino, including Our Lady of Guadelupe in Ontario.

The parents of two adolescent boys, who are brothers, claim Castillo sexually abused their sons. Castillo maintains his innocence.

The accusations were revealed in a letter read in church over the weekend.

Parishioners say the man they call "Reverend Alex" is strict and spiritual.

"It's a good person. It's a good father. He's been here for quite a few years," parishioner Benjamin Rosas told KTLA.

Church members say they were told Castillo was sick when he left back in June.

The diocese will only say he's in a place where he no longer has any contact with parishioners. They won't say where.

Police will not comment on the allegations.

The San Bernardino Diocese is asking any potential victims to come forward.

Eric Spillman

KTLA News

Sep. 14, 2010


Added: Sep. 19, 2010

Ohio, USA

Teen girl says she was raped

Dayton - Police are looking for a man, possibly Hispanic in connection with the sexual assault of a 15-year-old girl.

Officers say the girl was walking home from school near Bolton Avenue when a man started following her. He then jumped out , grabbed the girl, threw her over his shoulders, and took her into a vacant house where she was assaulted.

Police say the man is between the ages of 18 and 20 and weighs about 140 pounds. He has a teardrop tattoo under one of his eyes, and he is dressed in black.

If you have any information about this crime, please call 333-COPS.

Charlie Van Sant

WHIO

Sep. 17, 2010


Added: Sep. 14, 2010

Mexico

The wrong solution in Mexico

The Obama administration is right to consider boosting funding, but increased militarization to combat drug cartels is misguided. The U.S. would be wiser to address rampant corruption.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton made a dangerous mistake Wednesday when she spoke of Mexico's drug cartels as "insurgents" and suggested reviving President Clinton's Plan Colombia to address the issue. That program set up U.S. military bases in Colombia and funneled billions of dollars in military aid to fight the country's drug-trafficking left-wing insurgency. The last thing the United States needs today is a new quagmire south of the Rio Grande.

Mexico is different from Colombia. Colombia was up against a rebel organization bent on taking over the government. In contrast, Mexican drug traffickers are businessmen who we can assume are principally concerned with increasing their profits. In the end, they prefer to use "silver," or bribes, over "lead," or bullets. Although they are quick to kill or decapitate members of rival gangs, they much prefer a pliant police officer, soldier or mayor to a dead one. This is why government officials make up such a small percentage of the dead — only about 3,000 out of 28,000, according to official statistics...

Plan Colombia was highly problematic. More than $4 billion of military aid and the construction of U.S. military bases did reduce the violence. Nevertheless, Colombian cocaine still flows freely into the U.S. market and is one of the most important sources of income for the Mexican cartels.

U.S. military support in Colombia also led to skyrocketing human rights abuses and numerous "disappeared" citizens, at a considerable cost to the country's social fabric. Nongovernmental organization and media reports have found that much of the aid was channeled to [ultra-conservative] paramilitary groups and that the U.S. presence emboldened the Colombian military to act with impunity...

[One] strategic move would be to aggressively fund and support independent investigative journalism and alternative media outlets, which have played a major role in holding government accountable. Journalism has become a high-risk profession in Mexico. Both cartels and the government have done their best to suppress the truth about corruption.

Unfortunately, neither strong anti-corruption agencies nor support for journalists have formed a part of the new focus on social programs, which months ago the Obama administration suggested as a possible focus for future funding to Mexico. Under the influence of the Calderon government, most of the talk has been about much "softer" initiatives, such as drug education, urban renewal, scholarships and community development programs. All of this is fine, but none of it will attack the roots of the present failure to rein in the drug cartels in Mexico.

It is time to turn the corner in U.S. policy toward Mexico. Instead of sending more money [for] attack helicopters, military bases or social development programs, the U.S. could make a significant contribution to peace in North America by helping to aggressively combat corruption and supporting freedom of expression.

John M. Ackerman is a professor at the Institute for Legal Research at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, editor-in-chief of the Mexican Law Review and a columnist for La Jornada newspaper and Proceso magazine.

John M. Ackerman

Sep. 10, 2010


Added: Sep. 11, 2010

New Mexico, USA

New Mexico receives $1.6 million from Justice Department

The U.S. Department of Justice has awarded the state of New Mexico $1.64 million in grants for public safety initiatives.

[The grants included ...$215,000] to create a special agent position assigned to the [state attorney general's office's] Border Violence Division to investigate human trafficking cases.

The grants were announced by Democratic U.S. Sen. Jeff Bingaman.

The Associated Press

Sep. 11, 2010


Added: Sep. 10, 2010

Mexico, The United States

Los Angeles Times metro columnist Hector Tobar is a former Mexico City bureau chief for the newspaper.

Photo: L.A. Times

Where's the outrage over immigrant slayings in Mexico?

...For those of us who remember the tragedy of Latin America's recent past, seeing the images of last month's massacre of 72 immigrants in northern Mexico is like reentering an old and very familiar nightmare.

Not long ago, dictators ruled most of Latin America. They had large groups of people kidnapped, tortured and executed in secret. Their crimes against humanity hit nearly every corner of the region, from cosmopolitan Buenos Aires to provincial Guatemala City.

But this new act of mass murder was not the work of a military junta run by generals. It didn't take place in a tiny banana republic without a judicial system worthy of the name.

It happened in the proud, multiparty democracy called Mexico, a country with ample social freedoms, including a vibrant free press. And it wasn't an isolated occurrence. A report last year by Mexico's human rights ombudsman said at least 400 mass kidnappings are reported in Mexico every year, many involving the rape and murder of hostages.

Modern death squads are operating freely in northern Mexico, extorting those who wish to come here, where relatives and jobs await. The kidnappings and murders of immigrants carried out by these groups are a stain on Mexican democracy, and many commentators there recognize this.

"The abuse against migrants is an everyday embarrassment we don't want to talk about because it would rob us of all our moral authority before our neighbors to the north," columnist Alfonso Zarate wrote in response to the massacre in the newspaper El Universal.

"Mexico demands respect for the human rights of 'illegal' workers in the U.S.," Zarate continued, " … but is now itself under the microscope of the international community, which is rightly scandalized and indignant."

...As with the many killings of police officers and officials in Mexico, the San Fernando massacre was an act of psychological warfare. Such extreme violence is meant to spread fear and thus make it easier for the killers to impose their will on the living.

If we stay silent about their crime, if we treat it as just another episode in Mexico's unwinnable drug wars, then we'll allows the killers to win.

And yet, here in the United States, the expressions of outrage from the immigrant rights movement have been muted. You could say they are a mere whisper compared with the very loud campaign against Arizona's SB 1070, a law whose most controversial provisions will probably never go into effect.

We should see the killings as a blunt reminder of the reasons why people so desperately want to come here. And we should speak of San Fernando with the same horror as we do El Mozote and the Naval Mechanics School of Buenos Aires — sites of the most heinous crimes committed by the militaries of El Salvador and Argentina in the 1970s and '80s.

It's not just the killers who deserve our moral outrage, it's the failed judicial systems that allow them to thrive without fear of punishment.

In Latin America, the massacre has already provoked much reflection and protest. The government of Honduras, home to the largest number of its victims, announced it would take new steps to try to discourage illegal immigration to the U.S.

In Mexico, the northern city of Saltillo witnessed a rare event just days after the Aug. 23 massacre: a march by 200 undocumented immigrants, carrying the flags of El Salvador, Guatemala and other Central American countries.

"Our countries deny us the opportunity for economic development," the demonstrators said in a written statement, after marching through the city with covered faces. "But Mexico denies us the opportunity to live."

To stop SB 1070, we've seen Angelenos drive across the desert to Phoenix to march, to denounce both the governor of Arizona and the mad sheriff of Maricopa County, Joe Arpaio.

But I've yet to hear of any rallies at the Mexican consulate or anywhere else here in Los Angeles, demanding that the Mexican government prosecute those guilty of so many migrant killings and disappearances.

Most of the country's leading immigrant rights groups haven't even bothered to issue a news release.

That doesn't surprise me. Generally speaking, the U.S. immigrant rights movement doesn't have much to say about the social and political conditions that lead so many to leave their native countries and place themselves at the mercy of an increasingly violent smuggling industry.

This is wrong. We can't turn a blind eye to the deeper, seemingly intractable injustices that are the obvious root cause of the problem.

Simply put: It's wrong that people have to undertake the journey to the U.S. in the first place. People shouldn't have to leave the land of their ancestors, their extended families, their barrios and their farms.

They leave because the promise of democracy in Mexico and Central America remains unfulfilled.

The Tamaulipas murders are really just the most sickening expression of a vast system of inequality and corruption that still defines life for millions of people.

U.S. immigration reform, unfortunately, won't do anything to strengthen the rule of law in those countries that supply the greatest number of migrants. It won't stop the power of the criminal groups that infiltrate government and intimidate officials, not just in certain regions of Mexico but in much of Central America.

There's a movement for democracy and government accountability in those places. But it's often under threat...

...Many more of us need to stand with those who work to keep the promise of democracy and justice alive in northern Mexico, Guatemala and other places.

It matters not just to them but to us.

And now, as in the age of the dictators, it's a matter of life and death.

Hector Tobar

The Los Angeles Times

Sep. 9, 2010

See also:

LibertadLatina Commentary

Chuck Goolsby

Clarifying the Issues in an Age of Impunity

The September 9th, 2010 article by Los Angeles Times columnist Hector Tobar: Where's the outrage over immigrant slayings in Mexico?, speaks volumes of truth in regard to the world's lack of response to the human rights crises that terrorize the daily lives of the people of Mexico and the rest of Latin America. While much attention is paid to the injustices that immigrants, including the undocumented, face in the United States, few U.S. human rights organizations, including those that exist within the Latino community, dare to address the root causes of the oppression that drives millions to flee to the U.S. in response.

We go beyond Mr. Tobar's analysis to state that the same problem, that of an imbalanced attention to human rights tragedies, also exists in regard to the mass gender atrocities that are today a constant in Mexico and elsewhere in Latin America. Our project, LibertadLatina, exists to counter that lack of awareness and action by focusing the world's attention on the problems of criminal impunity and state corruption and complacency. These dynamics have created conditions in Mexico that have resulted in conditions where rule of law is weak, and where both criminal networks and corrupt law enforcement and military forces compete to see how many Central and South American migrants they can kidnap, rob, rape and, in many cases, sell into slavery.

It is clear to us that the criminal impunity that dominates in Mexico has spread its influence across the United States. The fact that Latin American victims of human slavery account for approximately 60% of the U.S. total of enslaved persons is one indicator of that reality. The related fact that Mexico's human smuggling networks now earn between $15 and 20 billion annually by smuggling immigrants to the U.S. under often inhuman conditions, according to a recent CNN report, is another red flag that should start the alarm bells ringing in Washington.

Mexico's governmental and social institutions are not capable of addressing criminal impunity, and especially its human trafficking component, without being pushed hard to do so. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's recent statement indicating that Mexico's drug cartels are mounting an 'insurgency-like' campaign against Mexican governmental rule, should give pause to anyone who thinks that bringing human slavery under control in that nation will happen anytime soon.

Both the global human rights community and the U.S. federal government must shift focus and begin to address this crisis as the emergency that it truly is. There is no hope for ending human trafficking in Latin America, nor in the United States, while criminal impunity and state inaction continue to reign in Mexico.

End impunity now!

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

Sep. 10/14, 2009

Also mentioned in Hector Tobar's September 9, 2010 Los Angeles Times article was the El Mozote massacre:

No Rescue From Atlacatl Battalion

The U.S.-trained Atlacatl Battallion massacred hundreds of unarmed villagers in the town of El Mozote

About the El Mozote Massacre in El Salvador, perpetrated on December 10, 1981

A case of anti-indigenous repression through state sanctioned rape and mass-murder

...The women were disposed of next. "First they picked out the young girls and took them away to the hills," where they were raped before being killed, Amaya reported. "Then they picked out the old women and took them to Israel Marquez's house on the square.
We heard the shots there."

The children died last. "An order arrived from a Lieutenant Caceres to Lieutenant Ortega to go ahead and kill the children too," Amaya observed. "A soldier said 'Lieutenant, somebody here says he won't kill children.' 'Who's the sonofabitch who said that?' the lieutenant answered. 'I am going to kill him.' I could hear them shouting from where I was crouching in the tree."

A boy named Chepe, age 7, was the only child to survive the siege. He later described the terrors he witnessed:

"They slit some of the kids' throats, and many they hanged from the tree ... The soldiers kept telling us, 'You are guerrillas and this is justice. This is justice.' Finally, there were only three of us left. I watched them hang my brother. He was two years old. I could see that I was going to be killed soon, and I thought it would be better to die running, so I ran. I slipped through the soldiers and dove into the bushes. They fired into the bushes, but none of their bullets hit me."

Parascope.com


Added: Sep. 10, 2010

Mexico

37 suspected illegal immigrants found captive in Riverside

The group, which included juveniles, was being held in a 10-by-12-foot room that was locked from the outside and had boarded-up windows.

Federal agents found 37 suspected illegal immigrants, smuggled into the United States from six countries, crammed into a small house in Riverside where some had been held captive for weeks, authorities said Wednesday.

Immigration agents raided the "drop house" after a relative of one of the captives called the Los Angeles Police Department. The caller told police the smugglers had threatened to kill his relative because the family failed to come up with enough money to pay for his release, according to Virginia Kice, spokeswoman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Los Angeles.

Agents found the immigrants — including two toddlers and a baby — in a small bedroom, measuring about 10 by 12 feet. The room was locked from the outside and the windows were boarded up. The home is in one of the city's older neighborhoods along Martin Luther King Boulevard, about a mile east of the 91 Freeway.

"As far as we know, they were all in pretty good physical condition, though some reported that they had not eaten for days," said Claude Arnold, special agent in charge for ICE in Los Angeles.

Six suspected smugglers have been detained and are being questioned, but no arrests have been made, Arnold said.

"We're still in the process of interviewing everyone," Arnold said. "In these circumstances, it does take some time to sort this out."

Agents took an additional seven immigrants linked to the same smuggling scheme into custody earlier in the day as they were being taken to other destinations in the Los Angeles area.

The 44 smuggled immigrants are from Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Mexico, Ecuador and the Dominican Republic. The group included 34 men, four women and six juveniles.

Those smuggled into the country illegally will eventually go though deportation proceedings. However, any immigrants who were assaulted by a smuggler or were victims of another crime will be treated as victims and could be eligible for a victims' visa, he said.

Two weeks ago, federal immigration agents found a drop house in Baldwin Park with 35 smuggled illegal immigrants from Central and South America.

Phil Willon

The Los Angeles Times

Sep. 9, 2010


Added: Sep. 10, 2010

Spain, Brazil

Spain Breaks Up a Trafficking Ring for Male Prostitution

Madrid - The Spanish police said Tuesday that it had dismantled for the first time a human trafficking network bringing men rather than women into the country to work as prostitutes.

The police said 14 people, almost all of them Brazilian, were arrested over recent weeks as part of an inquiry into the network’s activities begun in February.

The sex workers were recruited in Brazil, with their travel costs to Spain initially covered by the trafficking network’ organizers in return for a pledge to work subsequently for them, according to a police statement. Most of the recruits, however, expected to work as models or nightclub dancers, although some allegedly knew that they were coming to Spain to offer sex.

The police estimated that between 60 and 80 men were brought to Spain by the network, most of them in their 20s and originating from Brazil’s northern state of Maranhão. They reached Spain by passing through third countries.

The bulk of the arrests occurred on the island of Majorca, including that of the Brazilian accused of being the ringleader, whose identity was not disclosed by the police. The prostitutes ended up owing the network as much as €4,000 each and were sometimes threatened with death if they refused to pay the debt, according to the Spanish police.

Although it is the first time that police officers have broken up a professional male prostitution trafficking network, five people were arrested in 2006 in Spain’s western region of Extremadura for their involvement in an illegal Brazilian prostitution business. More recently, the police have dismantled several gangs exploiting female sex workers, generally from Eastern Europe or Africa. In July, 105 people were arrested for their involvement in a dozen prostitution centers around Madrid in one of the largest clampdowns to date.

A police spokeswoman who asked not to be identified said that Brazilian officials had been involved. Some of the prostitutes were also placed in custody for working illegally in Spain.

Raphael Minder

The New York Times

Aug. 31, 2010


Added: Sep. 9, 2010

Mexico

The Ibero-American University in Puebla opens the Ignacio Ellacuría Human Rights Institute in March of 2010

Acciones vs trata de personas en México son insuficientes: UIA

Cada minuto y medio se comete un delito de trata de personas en el mundo, y en México, aún sabiendo los lugares y rutas donde operan las redes, las acciones que se realizan para evitarlo son insuficientes, señalaron especialistas.

Oscar Castro Soto, director del Instituto de Derechos Humanos “Ignacio Ellacurría” de la Universidad Iberoamericana (UIA), indicó que cada año 400,000 personas son víctimas de dicho delito en el mundo.

En la presentación de la agenda del “II Congreso latinoamericano de trata y tráfico de personas”, el director explicó que 80% de las victimas son niños y mujeres utilizados para explotación sexual y trabajos domésticos, ya sea de forma conciente o en contra de su voluntad.

Las rutas identificadas son: Paraguay, Bolivia, Chile y Argentina; Brasil y España; Panamá, Nicaragua y Costa Rica; y El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, México y Estados Unidos, expresaron académicos de la UIA.

Las redes de trata y de pornografía infantil en México que están vinculadas al narcotráfico, se encuentran en regiones de Tapachula, Cancún, Acapulco, Veracruz, Tijuana, Tlaxcala, Puebla, Ciudad Juárez y La Merced, en el Distrito Federal, indicaron expertos.

Las instituciones federales y estatales de México, con excepción del Instituto de Mujeres del Distrito Federal, no se sumaron a la convocatoria del evento internacional a realizarse del 20 al 24 de septiembre en la UIA de Puebla en la que participaran funcionarios de varios países, lo que ocasionó la sorpresa de varios especialistas.

Raquel Pastor, integrante del Comité Académico del Congreso, señaló en un comunicado, el apoyo del foro para ayudar a quienes trabajan en la persecución del delito de trata, ya que en México no existen instituciones especializadas que atiendan a las víctimas de dicho delito.

Mexico's actions against human trafficking are insufficient: Ibero-American University

According to Oscar Castro Soto, director of the Ignacio Ellacurría Institute for Human Rights at Mexico's Ibero-American University (UIA) in Puebla state, every minute and a half a human trafficking crime is committed somewhere in the world. In Mexico, despite the fact that trafficking locations and routes are known, [state] actions to prevent such crimes are inadequate. According to Castro Soto, 400,000 persons become victims of trafficking each year globally.

Castro Soto presented his observations in the just-released agenda for the upcoming Second Latin American Congress on Human Trafficking, which will be held at the UIA campus in Puebla between September 20th and 24th, 2010. He explained that 80% of the victims of human trafficking are children and women, who either consciously or against their will are utilized for sexual exploitation or domestic servitude.

Known [Latin American] trafficking routes exist in Paraguay, Bolivia, Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Panama, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, Mexico, the United States and Spain, stated Castro Soto [Soto-Castro's statement omits important human trafficking routes that involve the Dominican Republic and Colombia, the two largest sources of sex trafficking victims in Latin America - LL].

Castro Soto's statement noted that within Mexico, human trafficking and child pornography networks are tied to narco-trafficking organizations. These criminal groups may be found in Tapachula, Cancún, Acapulco, Veracruz, Tijuana, Tlaxcala, Puebla, Ciudad Juárez and the La Merced sector of Mexico City.

With the exception of the National Women's Institute, Mexican federal agencies chose not to participate in the conference. This decision brought expressions of surprise from some of the specialists involved with the event. Government officials of several other nations plan to attend.

Raquel Pastor, who is a member of the academic committee of the Congress, stated in a press release that the goal of the Congress was to assist those in government who seek to prosecute human trafficking crimes, given the fact the Mexico currently does not have institutions set-up to assist victims.

El Semanario - Mexico

Sep. 07, 2010

See also:

From the CATW-LAC flyer for their third annual awards ceremony

La Coalición Regional Contra El Tráfico De Mujeres Y Niñas En América Latina Y El Caribe presentará su "Tercer Premio Latino-americano por La Vida y la Seguridad de las Mujeres y Niñas en America Latina y el Caribe

During the upcoming Secnd Latin American Congress on Human Trafficking, which will be held at the UIA campus in Puebla, Mexico, between September 20th through 24th, 2010, the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women - Latin American and Caribbean branch (CATW-LAC), will present its Third Award for the Defense of Life and Security for Women and Girls in Latin America.

(In Spanish)

CATW-LAC

Sep., 2010

See also:

En la UIA Puebla se inaugurará el Instituto de Derechos Humanos Ignacio Ellacuría |22 de Marzo de 2010|

The UIA in Puebla opens the Ignacio Ellacuría Human Rights Institute on March 22nd, 2010.

(In Spanish)

ContraParte

March 22, 2010



Other important news stories from 2009 and 2010



Added: Jul. 21, 2010

New York, USA

U.S. Ambassador Luis CdeBaca (second from left) and other presenters at UN / Brandeis conference

Hidden in Plain Sight: The News Media's Role in Exposing Human Trafficking

The Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University cosponsored a first-ever United Nations panel discussion about how the news media is exposing and explaining modern slavery and human trafficking -- and how to do it better. Below are the transcript and video from that conference, held at the United Nations headquarters in New York City on June 16 and co-sponsored by the United States Mission to the United Nations and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

Take a look as some leading media-makers and policymakers debate coverage of human trafficking. What hinders good reporting on human trafficking? What do journalists fear when they report on slaves and slavery? Why cover the subject in the first place? What are the common reporting mistakes and missteps that can do more harm than good to trafficking victims, and to government, NGO, and individual efforts to end the traffic of persons for others' profit and pleasure?

Among the main points: Panelists urged reporters and editors to avoid salacious details and splashy, "sexy" headlines that can prevent a more nuanced examination of trafficked persons' lives and experiences. Journalists lamented the lack of solid data, noting that the available statistics are contradictory, unreliable, insufficient, and often skewed by ideology. As an example, the two officials on the panel -- Ambassador Luis CdeBaca, head of the U.S. Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, and Under-Secretary-General Antonio Maria Costa, executive director of the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime -- disagreed on the number of rescued trafficking victims. Costa thought the number was likely less than half CdeBaca's estimate (from the International Labour Organization) of 50,000 victims rescued worldwide...

Read the transcript

The Huffington Post

July 15, 2010

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina Note:

In response to the above article by the Huffington Post, on the topic of press coverage of the issue of human trafficking, we would like to point out that the LibertadLatina project came into existence because of a lack of interest and/or willingness on the part of many (but not all) reporters and editors in the press, and also on the part of government agencies and academics, to acknowledge and target the rampant sexual violence faced by Latina and indigenous women and children across both Latin America and the Latin Diaspora in the Untied States, Canada, and in other advanced economies such as those of western Europe and Japan.

Ten years after starting LibertadLatina, more substantial press coverage is taking place. However, the crisis of ongoing mass gender atrocities that plague Latin America, including human trafficking, community based sexual violence, a gender hostile living environment and government and social complicity (and especially in regard to the region's completely marginalized indigenous and African descended victims - who are especially targeted for victimization), continue to be largely ignored or intentionally untouched by the press, official government action, academic investigation and NGO effort.

Therefore we persist in broadcasting the message that the crisis in Latin America and its Diaspora cannot and will not be ignored.

End impunity now!

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

July 21, 2010


Added: March 1, 2010

Mexico

Deputy Rosi Orozco watches Mexican Interior Secretary Fernando Gómez Mont's presentation at the Forum for Analysis and Discussion in Regard to Criminal Law to Control Human Trafficking.

Video posted on YouTube

Video: Llama Gómez Mont a Visibilizar Delito de Trata de Personas

Video of Mexican Interior Secretary Fernando Gómez Mont's presentation at the Feb. 23rd and 24th, 2010 congressional Forum for Analysis and Discussion in Regard to Criminal Law to Control Human Trafficking.

[Ten minutes - In Spanish]

Deputy Rosi Orozco

On YouTube.com

Feb. 26, 2010

See also:

LibertadLatina Commentary

Chuck Goolsby

Lead, Follow or Get Out of the Way!

Mexican Interior Secretary Fernando Gómez Mont's presentation at the congressional Forum for Analysis and Discussion in Regard to Criminal Law to Control Human Trafficking has been widely quoted in the Mexican press. We have posted some of those articles here (see below).

The video of Secretary Mont's discourse shows that he is passionate about the idea of raising awareness about human trafficking. He states: "Making [trafficking] visible is the first step towards liberation."

Secretary Mont believes that the solution to human trafficking in Mexico will come from raising awareness about trafficking and from understanding the fact that machismo, its resulting family violence and also the nation's widespread extreme poverty are the dynamics that push at-risk children and youth into the hands of exploiters.

During Secretary Mont's talk he expressed his strongly held belief that federalizing the nation's criminal anti-trafficking laws is, in effect, throwing good money after bad. In his view, the source of the problem is not those whom criminal statutes would target, but the fundamental social ills that drive the problem.

The Secretary's views have an element of wisdom in them. We believe, however, that his approach is far too conservative. An estimated 500,000 victims of human trafficking exist in Mexico (according to veteran activist Teresa Ulloa of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women - Latin American and Caribbean branch - CATW-LAC).

A note about the figures quoted to describe the number of child sexual exploitation victims in Mexico...

Widely quoted 'official' figures state that between 16,000 and 20,000 underage victims of sex trafficking exist in Mexico.

We believe that, if the United States acknowledges that 200,000 to 300,000 underage children and youth are caught-up in the commercial sexual exploitation of children - CSEC, at any one time, based on a population of 310 million, (a figure of between .00064 and .00096 percent of the population), then the equivalent numbers for Mexico would be between 68,000 and 102,000 child and youth victims of CSEC for its estimated 107 million in population.

Given Mexico's vastly greater level of poverty, its legalization of adult prostitution, and given that southern Mexico alone is known to be the largest zone in the world for the commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC), with 10,000 children being prostituted just in the city of Tapachula (according to ECPAT figures), then the total number of underage children and youth caught-up in prostitution in Mexico is most likely not anywhere near the 16,000 to 20,000 figure that was first released in a particular research study from more than five years ago and continues to be so widely quoted today.

Regardless of what the actual figures are, they include a very large number of victims.

While officials such as Secretary Mont philosophize about disabling anti-trafficking law enforcement and rescue and restoration efforts, while instead relying upon arriving at some far-off day when Mexican society raises its awareness and empathy for victims (and that is Mont's policy proposal as stated during the recent trafficking law forum), tens of thousands of victims who are being kidnapped, raped, enslaved and sold to the highest bidder need our help. They need our urgent intervention. As a result of their enslavement, they typically live for only a few years, if that, according to experts.

The reality is that the tragic plight of victims can and must be prevented. Those who have already been victimized must be rescued and restored to dignity.

That is not too much to ask from a Mexico that calls itself a member of civilized society.

Mexico exists at the very top of world-wide statistics on the enslavement of human beings. Save the Children recognizes the southern border region of Mexico as being the largest zone for the commercial sexual exploitation of children on Planet Earth.

Colombian and Mexican drug cartels, Japanese Yakuza mafias and the Russian Mob are all 'feeding upon' (kidnapping, raping, and exporting) many of  the thousands of Central and South American migrant women who cross into Mexico. They also prey upon thousands of young Mexican girls and women (and especially those who are Indigenous), who remain unprotected by the otherwise modern state of Mexico, where Roman Empire era feudal traditions of exploiting the poor and the Indigenous as slaves are honored and defended by the wealthy elites who profit (economically and sexually) from such barbarism.

Within this social environment, the more extreme forms of modern slavery are not seen as being outrageous by the average citizen. These forms of brutal exploitation have been used continuously in Mexico for 500 years.

We reiterate our view, as expressed in our Feb. 26th and 27th 2010 commentary about Secretary Mont.

Interior Secretary Mont has presided over the two year delay in implementing the provisions of the nation's first anti-trafficking law, the Law to Prevent, and Punish Human Trafficking, passed by Congress in 2007.

  • The regulations required to enable the law were left unpublished by the Interior Secretary for 11 months after the law was passed.

  • When the regulation were published, they were weak, and left out a role for the nation's leading anti-trafficking agency, the Special Prosecutor for Violent Crimes Against Women and Human Trafficking in the Attorney General's office (FEVIMTRA).

  • The regulations failed to target organized crime.

  • The Inter-Agency Commission to Fight Human Trafficking, called for in the law, was only stood-up in late 2009, two years after the law's passage, and only after repeated agitation by members of Congress demanding that President Calderón act to create the Commission.

  • Today, the National Program to Fight Human Trafficking, also called for in the 2007 law, has yet to be created by the Calderón administration.

  • In early February of 2010, Senator Irma Martínez Manríquez stated that the 2007 anti-trafficking law and its long-sought regulations were a 'dead letter' due to the power of impunity that has contaminated the political process.

All of the delaying tactics that were used to thwart the will and intent of Congress in passing the 2007 anti-trafficking law originated in the National Action Party (PAN) administration of President Felipe Calderón. All aspects of the 2007 law that called for regulations, commissions and programs were the responsibility of Interior Secretary Mont to implement. That job was never performed, and the 2007 law is now accurately referred to as a "dead letter" by members of Congress.

Those of us in the world community who actively support the use of criminal sanctions to suppress and ultimately defeat the multi-billion dollar power of human trafficking networks must come to the aid of the many political and non governmental organization leaders in Mexico who are working to create a breakthrough, to end the impasse which the traditionalist forces in the PAN political machine have thrown-up as a gauntlet to defeat effective anti-trafficking legislation.

Interior Secretary Mont's vision for the future, which involves continuing on a course of complete inaction on the law enforcement front, must be rejected as a capitulation to the status quo, and as a nod to the traffickers.

While "Little Brown Maria in the Brothel" - our metaphor for the voiceless victims, suffers yet another day chained to a bed in Tijuana, Acapulco, Matamoros, Ciudad Juárez, Mexico City, Tlaxcala, Tapachula and Cancun, the entire law enforcement infrastructure of Mexico sits by and does virtually nothing to stop this mass gender atrocity from happening.

That is a completely unacceptable state of affairs for a Mexico that is a member of the world community, and that is a signatory to international protocols that fight human trafficking and that defend women and children's human rights.

We once again call upon U.S. Ambassador at Large Luis CdeBaca, director of the Trafficking in Persons office at the State Department, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and President Barack Obama to stand-up and speak out with the moral authority of the United States in support of the forces of change in Mexico.

Political leaders and non governmental organizations around the world also have a responsibility to speak-up, and to let the government of President Felipe Calderón know that the fact that his ruling party (finally) supported presenting a forum on trafficking, and the holding of a few press conferences, is not enough of a policy turn-around to be convincing.

The PAN must take strong action to aggressively combat the explosive growth in human slavery in Mexico in accordance with international standards. Those at risk, and those who are today victims, await your effective response to their emergency, President Calderón.

Enacting a 'general' federal law that is enforceable in all of Mexico's states would be a good fist step to show the world that sincere and honest voices against modern day slavery do exist in Congress, and are willing to draw a line in the sand on this issue.

As for Secretary Mont, we suggest, kind sir, that you consider the age-old entrepreneurial adage, and either "lead, follow, or get out of the way" of progress.

No more delays!

There is no time to waste!

End impunity now!

- Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

March 1, 2010

See Also:

Mexico

Víctimas del tráfico de personas, 5 millones de mujeres y niñas en América Latina

De esa cifra, más de 500 mil casos ocurren en México, señalan especialistas.

Five million victims of Human Trafficking Exist in Latin America

Saltillo, Coahuila state - Teresa Ulloa Ziaurriz, the director of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women's Latin American / Caribbean regional office, announced this past Monday that more than five million women and girls are currently victims of human trafficking in Latin America and the Caribbean.

During a forum on successful treatment approaches for trafficking victims held by the Women's Institute of Coahuila, Ulloa Ziaurriz stated that 500,000 of these cases exist in Mexico, where women and girls are trafficked for sexual exploitation, pornography and the illegal harvesting of human organs.

Ulloa Ziaurriz said that human trafficking is the second largest criminal industry in the world today, a fact that has given rise to the existence of a very large number of trafficking networks who operate with the complicity of both [corrupt] government officials and business owners.

Mexico is a country of origin, transit and also destination for trafficked persons. Of 500,000 victims in Mexico, 87% are subjected to commercial sexual exploitation.

Ulloa Ziaurriz pointed out that locally in Coahuila state, the nation's human trafficking problem shows up in the form of child prostitution in cities such as Ciudad Acuña as well as other population centers along Mexico's border with the United States.

- Notimex / La Jornada Online

Mexico City

Dec. 12, 2007

See also:

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

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

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

La Jornada de Oriente

Sep. 26, 200

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

Added: Dec. 03, 2009

Mexico

Award-winning anti-child sex trafficking activist, journalist, author and women's center director Lydia Cacho

Muertes por violencia en México podrían ser plan de limpieza social: Cacho

Especialistas indagan si asesinatos vinculados con el crimen son una estrategia del Estado, dijo.

Madrid. Las muertes por violencia en México en los últimos años, 15 mil en los últimos tres años, podrían formar parte de un plan de "limpieza social por parte del Estado mexicano", declaró este lunes en Madrid la periodista mexicana Lydia Cacho….

Deaths from violence in Mexico could be the results of social cleansing: Lydia Cacho

Specialists are investigating whether murders are state strategy, Cacho says.

Madrid. Deaths from violence in Mexico in recent years, including 15,000 during the past three years, could form part of a plan of "social cleansing by the Mexican State," declared Mexican journalist Lydia Cacho in Madrid, Spain on Monday.

"Experts are beginning to investigate at this time in Mexico whether these 15,000 murders are linked to intentional social cleansing by the Mexican State," Cacho said in a press conference in which she denounced human rights violations and persecution of the press in her country.

Since President Felipe Calderón [became president] three years ago, we have been witnessing a growing authoritarianism in Mexico "justified by the war " (on drugs), in which " militari-zation, and harassment of journalists and human rights defenders is increasing danger-ously," stated Cacho.

Cacho was kidnapped [by rogue state police agents] and tortured in Mexico after divulging information about a pedophile ring in which businessmen and politicians were involved.

The Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR) will determine in an upcoming decision whether Mexican authorities violated the rights of the journalist in that case.

The foundation that bears Cacho's name, created in Madrid a year ago, is organizing a concert to raise funds to help pay for her defense before the IACHR...

Cacho is the author of [the child sex trafficking exposé] The Demons of Eden. In recent years she has received several awards for her work on behalf of human rights carried out through investigative journalism, including the UNESCO-Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Award.

Agence France Presse (AFP)

Nov. 23, 2009

See also:

Mexican Government Part of Problem, Not Solution, Writer Says

Madrid - A muckraking Mexican journalist known for exposes of pedophile rings and child prostitution said on Monday that President Felipe Calderón’s bloody campaign against Mexico’s drug cartels is “not a battle for justice and social peace.”

Lydia Cacho, who has faced death threats and judicial persecution for her writings, told a press conference in Madrid that Mexico’s justice system is “impregnated with corruption and impunity.”

Accompanied by the head of the Lydia Cacho Foundation, Spanish screenwriter Alicia Luna; and Madrid Press Association President Fernando Gonzalez Urbaneja, the author said the nearly three years since Calderón took office have seen increased “authoritarianism” and harassment of journalists and human rights advocates.

The period has also witnessed “15,000 documented killings,” Cacho said, exceeding the carnage in Colombia at the height of that country’s drug wars.

“Specialists are beginning to investigate if those 15,000 killings are linked with intentional social cleansing on the part of the Mexican state,” she said.

Calderón, she noted, “insists on saying that many of those deaths are collateral effects and that the rest are criminals who kill one another.”

“It is a war among the powerful and not a battle for justice and social peace,” she said of the military-led effort against drug cartels, which has drawn widespread criticism for human rights abuses.

Cacho also lamented “self-censorship” in the highly concentrated Mexican media, saying that many outlets color their reporting to avoid trouble with the government and other powerful interests.

A long-time newspaper columnist and crusader for women’s rights, Lydia Cacho became famous thanks to the furor over her 2005 book “Los demonios del Eden” (The Demons of Eden), which exposed wealthy pedophiles and their associates in the Mexican establishment.

In the book, she identified textile magnate Kamel Nacif as a friend and protector of accused pedophile Jean Succar Kuri, who has since been sent back to Mexico from the United States to face charges.

Nacif, whose business is based in the central state of Puebla, accused Cacho of defamation - a criminal offense - in Mexico and arranged to have her arrested for allegedly for ignoring a summons to appear in court for the case.

In February 2006, Mexican dailies published transcripts of intercepted phone conversations in which Nacif was heard conspiring with Puebla Governor Mario Marin and other state officials to have Cacho taken into custody and then assaulted behind bars.

The transcripts indicated that Nacif, known as the “denim king” for his dominance of the blue-jeans business, engineered the author’s arrest by bribing court personnel not to send her the requisite summonses.

Cacho was subsequently released on bail and the case against her was ultimately dismissed.

EFE

Nov. 24, 2009

See Also:

LibertadLatina

Special Section

Journalist / Activist

Lydia Cacho is

Railroaded by the

Legal Process for

Exposing Child Sex

Networks In Mexico

See Also:

Perils of Plan Mexico: Going Beyond Security to Strengthen U.S.-Mexico Relations

Americas Program Commentary

Mexico is the United States' closest Latin American neighbor and yet most U.S. citizens receive little reliable information about what is happening within the country. Instead, Mexico and Mexicans are often demonized in the U.S. press. The single biggest reason for this is the way that the entire binational relationship has been recast in terms of security over the past few years...

The militarization of Mexico has led to a steep increase in homicides related to the drug war. It has led to rape and abuse of women by soldiers in communities throughout the country. Human rights complaints against the armed forces have increased six-fold.

Even these stark figures do not reflect the seriousness of what is happening in Mexican society. Many abuses are not reported at all for the simple reason that there is no assurance that justice will be done. The Mexican Armed Forces are not subject to civilian justice systems, but to their own military tribunals. These very rarely terminate in convictions. Of scores of reported torture cases, for example, not a single case has been prosecuted by the army in recent years.

The situation with the police and civilian court system is not much better. Corruption is rampant due to the immense economic power of the drug cartels. Local and state police, the political system, and the justice system are so highly infiltrated and controlled by the cartels that in most cases it is impossible to tell the good guys from the bad guys.

The militarization of Mexico has also led to what rights groups call "the criminalization of protest." Peasant and indigenous leaders have been framed under drug charges and communities harassed by the military with the pretext of the drug war. In Operation Chihuahua, one of the first military operations to replace local police forces and occupy whole towns, among the first people picked up were grassroots leaders - not on drug charges but on three-year old warrants for leading anti-NAFTA protests. Recently, grassroots organizations opposing transnational mining operations in the Sierra Madre cited a sharp increase in militarization that they link to the Merida Initiative and the NAFTA-SPP [North American Free Trade Act - Security and Prosperity Partnership] aimed at opening up natural resources to transnational investment.

All this - the human rights abuses, impunity, corruption, criminalization of the opposition - would be grave cause for concern under any conditions. What is truly incomprehens-ible is that in addition to generating these costs to Mexican society, the war on drugs doesn't work to achieve its own stated objectives...

Laura Carlsen

Americas Program, Center for International Policy (CIP)

Nov. 23, 2009


Added: Dec. 03, 2009

Mexico

The Numbers Don't Add Up in Mexico's Drug War

Drug Seizures are Down; Drug Production, Executions, Disappearances, and Human Rights Abuses are Up

Just a week before Mexican president Felipe Calderón completes half of his six-year term, [leading Mexico City newspaper] La Jornada reports that 16,500 extrajudicial executions [summary murders outside of the law] have occurred during his administration. 6,500 of those executions have occurred in 2009, according to La Jornada’s sources in Calderón’s cabinet...

While executions are on the rise, drug seizures are down, and drug production is up, Mexico is also experiencing an alarming increase in human rights abuses perpetrated by government agents - particularly the army - in Calderón’s war on drugs. As Mexican human rights organizations have noted, human rights violations committed by members of the armed forces have increased six-fold over the past two years. This statistic is based on complaints received by the Mexican government’s official National Human Rights Commission (CNDH).

No Mas Abusos (No More Abuses), a joint project of the Miguel Agustín Pro Juárez Human Rights Center, the Fundar Center for Analysis and Investigation, and Amnesty International’s Mexico Section, monitors human rights abuses committed by soldiers, police, and other government agents.

Kristin Bricker

Dec. 1, 2009

See also:

LibertadLatina News Archive - October 2009

El Paso - …Mexican human rights official Gustavo de la Rosa Hickerson [has] reported 170 instances of Mexican soldiers allegedly torturing, abusing and killing innocent people in Chihuahua [state].

The Associated Press

Oct. 17,2009

See also:

LibertadLatina Commentary

According to press reports from Mexico, the Yunque secret society is the dominant faction within the ruling National Action party (PAN).

El Yunque holds the belief that all social activists, including those who advocate for improving the lives of women, indigenous people and the poor, are literally the children of Satan. They take aggressive political action consistent with those beliefs.

During the 1960s, El Yunque perpetrated political assassi-nations and murders targeting their opponents. Although today they profess to adhere to the political process to affect change, it is not a stretch, given their violent history, to conclude that Lydia Cacho's concern, that the federal government of Mexico may be engaging in 'social cleansing through "extrajudicial killings" (which is just a fancy way to say state sanctioned murder of your opponents), may be valid. Cacho is a credible first hand witness to the acts of impunity which government officials use at-times to control free and independent thinking in Mexico. 

We have documented the steady deterioration  of human rights for women in Mexico for several years. Mexico is one of the very hottest spots for the gender rights crisis in the Americas.

The systematic use by military personnel of rape with total impunity, targeting especially indigenous women and girls, is one example of the harshness of  these conditions. The case of the sexual assaults carried out by dozens of policemen against women social protesters in the city of Atenco, Mexico in 2006 is another stark case.

The Mérida Initiative, through which the U.S. Government is funding Mexico's drug war to the tune of $450 million over several years, is financing not only that war, but it is also, apparently, strengthening the authoritarian rule of the El Yunque dominated PAN political party.

El Yunque, which has been identified as being an anti- women's rights, anti-indigenous rights,  anti-Semitic, anti-protestant and anti-gay 'shadow government' in Mexico, does not deserve even one dollar of U.S. funding.

Defeat the drug cartels?

Yes!

Provide funding for El Yunque's quest to build empire in Mexico while rolling-back women and indigenous people's basic human rights?

No!

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

Dec. 4, 2009

About El Yunque

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

Wealthy business-men and politicians (mostly from the [ruling] National Action Party) have been named as alleged founders and members of The Anvil.

About El Yunque on Wikipedia.com



¡Feliz Día Internacional

de la Mujer!

Happy International Women's Day!

LibertadLatina Statement for International

Women's

Day, 2010



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 funcionarios electos y otros encargados 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



LibertadLatina

Raids and Rescue Versus...?

Read our special section on the human rights advocacy conflict that exists between the goals of the defense of undocumented immigrants from the threat of deportation on the one hand, and the urgent need to protect Latina sex trafficking victims through law enforcement action...

...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, located in Chiapas state 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 Montserrat, a former child trafficking victim:]

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

- Peter Landesman

New York Times Magazine

January 25, 2004


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.


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



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


"Familia" by Salvadoran
artist Zelie Lardé. (1901-1974)

Who will protect them from impunity?

We Must!

 

Jan., 2009

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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, 2010 Charles M. Goolsby, Jr.

All other copyrighted materials © the copyright holder.

Copyrighted materials are presented for non-profit 

public educational 'fair use' purposes only.