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Latin America
Women & Children at Risk
Title:  Kudos to Turner Broadcasting's TNT Network, and their New Series The Closer for Realistically Highlighting the Plight of Young Undocumented Latina Girls Facing Kidnapping, Rape and Murder in the United States
Publisher:  (c) 2005 - Chuck Goolsby - LibertadLatina.org
Publish Date:  2005-08-09

Mass media kicks in to help women and girls in crisis

LibertadLatina.org is profoundly grateful to TNT Network and its hit show The Closer for raising public awareness in regard to the sexual exploitation of underage Latina immigrant girls in the U.S. American workplace.  The author has seen the events described in the show unfold in so many different arenas that it is amazing that so much factual information was compressed into a one hour commercial police drama.

Commercial television networks in English and Spanish language genres are starting to address the issue of impunity in the sexual exploitation of Latin American women, and Latina immigrant women in the U.S. - in a big way.  We at LibertadLatina.org thank the owners, management, creative talent and staffs of these talk shows, drama series and news programs for their efforts to educate their viewers about this so-far 'silent' crisis.

Silence is also violence!

Among the programs making groundbreaking efforts to address these issues are:

...And many other programs!

Keep up the great work.  The victims, and the possible future victims, await our collective efforts to help end this nightmare!

- Chuck Goolsby


August 9, 2005

LibertadLatina.org applauds Ted Turner, the TNT Network and their new show The Closer for realistically portraying a scenario that highlighted the very real plight of young, poor, undocumented Latina girls who face kidnapping, rape and murder in the United States by the thousands, with impunity.

The Closer, which showcases actress Kyra Sedgwick as an expert investigator expert at closing tough cases, chose an important subject to cover in its episode 8 of the 2005 season: Good Housekeeping.

Promotional Abstract: When the daughter of a maid in an affluent L.A. household is raped and murdered, the Priority Homicide Division is enlisted to find the girl's killer. Leads point to a registered sex offender, and the case seems open and shut until a cruel twist sends the investigation back to square one. But when Brenda uncovers shocking new evidence, she finds herself compromising a conviction to bring the real murderer to justice.

This episode traced the investigation of the murder of a 13 year old school girl, who spent time in the wealthy Los Angeles, California household where her mother worked as a maid.  Upon pulling the girl's body from the Los Angeles River and determining that she had been sexually assaulted, the show's investigative team goes to work to solve the crime.

Of note to advocates is the fact that the story covered explores a very common crime, one that is almost universally hidden by the silence forced on immigrant women and girl victims by impunity, anti-immigrant hostilities and tradition.

During the show, police officers sit together early in the investigation to discuss known facts.  Among the topics discussed was the fact that approximately 256 Latina girls between the ages of 12 and 13 are known to be missing in the Los Angeles City region.  During the dialog, officers noted that the numbers of such young victims of kidnapping (and possibly rape) could actually number to one or two thousand.  The officers noted that the undocumented status of the victims made the victims reluctant to approach police, making these unreported crimes known only to the persons involved.

The plot of the show proceeds to focus attention on a known, registered sex offender, who, after being falsely accused (by the actual assailant who saw his photo on an Internet web site) commits suicide.  The sex offender's mother reproaches the star of the show by stating: 'why do you care about that girl anyway, that wetback, who is here because of my tax dollars.'

The plot proceeds through the normal twists and turns of police drama shows.  The wealthy homeowner at first confesses.  He is confronted with the fact that his gardener, a man from Mexico, has 'provided' several young girls as the family's maids.  The story goes on to point out that the family's previous maid had left her job as a maid after getting pregnant.

The culprit, the 17 year old son of the wealthy family that hired the victim's mother as their maid, flees to Mexico.  The assailant's father states that Mexico will not extradite anyone back to the U.S. for any crime that may carry a penalty of death or life in prison.

The show's star proceeds to travel to Mexico, where she uses threats of jailing the assailant's mother and father, and threats of seeing him prosecuted in Mexico (because the victim was born in Mexico, and thus, exposed the U.S. citizen assailant to Mexican murder charges)... to convince the assailant that he should come back to Los Angeles.  Upon rejecting the star's offer, the assailant is taken away to face justice in the Mexican courts, and a likely 40 years in prison.


We at LibertadLatina.org find that all of the issues described in the above show summary are accurately and compassionately portrayed.  We especially applaud the fact that the producers of The Closer chose to address very tough issues that represent the worst elements of impunity and enforced silence that confront innocent Latina victims of crime every day in the United States.  That grave crime wave grows worse with every passing day.  Efforts to educate the public and motivate politicians and judicial institutions to act are needed at every level of society.  Time is of the essence!

- Chuck Goolsby

August 8, 2005