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The Crisis Facing Indigenous Women and Children

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

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Haitian children are routinely enslaved in the Dominican Republic

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Foto: Belinda Hernández

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


 

United States 

- Latina Women and Children at Risk

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Exploitation of Latinas in the U.S. Workplace

 

Report - 1994 - Montgomery County, Maryland

The Sexual and Economic Exploitation of 

Latin-American Immigrant Women in 

Montgomery County, Maryland

 

By: Charles M. Goolsby, Jr. - February, 1994

Also available as an Microsoft Word Document

 

 

1994 Report on the Sexual Exploitation of Latina Women & Girls in Montgomery County, Maryland workplaces and communities.

 
Our first report on these issues - from 1994

In response to repeated failures to get the legal and press establishment of Montgomery County and the greater Washington, DC area to respond positively to the urgent needs of Latina victims of workplace and community sexual assault, the author wrote the below report and has distributed it to many local police, press and advocacy organizations during the past 9 years. - Chuck Goolsby

  
 Montgomery County, MD -- 1994 

Charles M. Goolsby, Jr.'s 1994 Report on the Sexual Exploitation of Latina immigrant Women and Girls in Montgomery County, Maryland

EXCERPT

...All of my work in Latin-American immigrant victim-advocacy has resulted from victims having approached me seeking help. Repeatedly, the official reaction of cleaning contract companies working within Montgomery County to my polite raising of these issues has been to do the following: 1) silence any discussion of these issues by the use of gross intimidation against the victims and myself, 2) fire or force the victims out, and 3) back-up the actions of the perpetrators, protecting them from legal trouble.

Latin-American immigrant women have thus gotten the message loud and clear on many occasions that they have become a cheap, disposable resource in the American work-place, underpaid, overworked, and often forced into sexual submission while government and commerce knowingly turn their backs.

At this time I have found it necessary to write this report. Since 1988 I have formally presented this information to many persons-in-authority. Time after time, these well-educated, well-paid officials of public and commercial organizations have said "SO WHAT!" This report is a substitute for the muffled CRY OF RAPE from victims who are tired of having become the sexual 'cannon-fodder' of America...

- Charles M. Goolsby, Jr. - February, 1994

 

 

 

Also see our page on U.S. Workplace Exploitation focusing on workplace abuse in Montgomery County, MD, and specifically on cases found in this report.

 
Perspective on why the below report needed writing:

From: Chuck Goolsby's Advocacy Newsletter - 1999-2000: Detailed information on Latin Women Worker/Harassment & Other Exploitation Issues.

 
 
True Cases from the Frontlines of Impunity

The below three workplace sexual and physical abuse cases are all 100% factual.  These cases, which are detailed accounts from the 1994 report, speak for the many victims involved.  These cases also document the voiceless cries of tens if not hundreds of thousands of working women and girls across the United States who face rape and coercion with impunity largely because anti-immigrant hostility and apathy  from government agencies allows it to happen. That must change!  Only public awareness and public expressions of outrage to elected officials, police administrators and local prosecutors will lead to improvement.  Nothing else seems to motivate change.

Deliberate Inaction was the official government and corporate response in all of these cases.

Workplace Rape: Rockville, Maryland - Case 1
Workplace Rape: Rockville, Maryland - Case 2  
Workplace Rape: Rockville, Maryland - Case 3

 

 

 

The Sexual and Economic Exploitation of 

Latin-American Immigrant Women in 

Montgomery County, Maryland

 
By: Charles M. Goolsby, Jr. - February, 1994
 

"Each of them [the foremen] had made it a practice to sleep with the Indian women who were in his work-force, if they pleased him, whether they were married women or maidens. While the foreman remained in the hut or the cabin with the Indian woman, he sent the husband to dig gold out of the mines; and in the evening, when the wretch returned, not only was he beaten or whipped because he had not brought up enough gold, but further, most often, he was bound hand and foot and flung under the bed like a dog, before the foreman lay down, directly over him, with his wife."

Comments by Franciscan priest Bartolome de las Casas to  Spain's King Charles-I in 1519, regarding the abuse of Enslaved Indigenous-peoples of the Carib Nation in the Caribbean Islands under Spain's control.


In 1994 in Montgomery County, Maryland and nationwide, Latin-American immigrant women and teen-aged girls are being subjected to work-place exploitation that differs very little from the nightmare suffered by these enslaved Native-Caribbean women in 1519. Many low-wage immigrant workers are routinely subjected to sexual and physical assault, sexual harassment, wage abuses, and the use of illegal threats, reprimands, and firings to silence them.

Would you allow yourself or a loved-one to submit to these outrages?

This hidden sub-culture of crime and human-rights violations affects the daily lives of many immigrant women and teens in our community.

They want and deserve our help!

Surprisingly, local corporations and government entities have at times engaged in intimidation and bureaucratic foot-dragging to deliberately silence this issue. Silence protects the guilty and allows these abuses to flourish. This silence and government inaction sends these victims a very strong message:

They have no rights under law!


Written in honor of human rights activist Ms. Rigoberta Menchu, the first Nobel Peace Prize winner of Mayan nationality, whose family perished in the Guatemalan Holocaust during the 1980's.


 

Table of Contents:

Definitions used within this document.

About the Author.

A.  Latin-American background:

1: Degrees of the exploitation of women.

2: Urban employment and the rights of women.

3: Rural women and the modern plantation.

4: The five-century oppression of Native-Peoples.

B.  U.S. American background:

1: Intervention and investment in Latin-America.

2: The 1980's wave of immigration and reaction to it.

3: Government relations with the immigrant community.

C.  The present and future

1: A turning of one's back on innocent victims of abuse.

2: The nature of contract office cleaning work.

3: The criteria used in relating this chronology of incidents.

4: A chronology of actual cases within Montgomery County, Md.

 


This report proposes to demonstrate the following premises:

There is a real, widespread epidemic of criminal and civil-law violations being perpetrated against innocent adult-women and minor teen-aged girls in many work-places in Montgomery County, Md., in the Washington, D.C. area, and nationally.

The targets-of and the victims-of this illegal activity are Latin-American women and minor teen-aged girls who work within the low-wage service-business economy, especially within the commercial office cleaning, hotel, and restaurant industries.

The perpetrators of these illegal acts are mostly male supervisors in these industries.

The many victims of these illegal activities are subjected to sexual assault (which often includes rape), physical assault, and very coercive forms of sexual harassment.

The victims are also subjected to a condoned but illegal system of reprimands, wage abuses, and firings, often for refusing to accept the sexual demands of supervisors.

The victims of these illegal acts are usually Central-American immigrant refugees from war and poverty. Salvadorans and Guatemalans are the most frequent victims.

Native (Indigenous), and Mestiza (mixed Spanish/Native) women are often targeted.

The victims do not want these horrible abuses to continue, but they are absolutely dependent on these low-wage service jobs for the very survival of their children, themselves, and their families back home. Many of the victims are single mothers.

The victims and their coworkers are subjected to many forms of coercion and intimidation by these supervisor/perpetrators, which has the deliberate purpose of silencing the victims to protect the perpetrators and allow these abuses to continue.

Latin-American social patterns rooted in the philosophy of machismo, modern forms of agrarian feudalism, anti-Native (Indian) abuses, as well as patterns of violence from Central and South America's many civil-wars all contribute both to the abusive actions of the perpetrators and also to the often submissive behavior of the victims.

This true epidemic of criminal and civil illegality is very-well entrenched in the daily business life of Montgomery County, Md., which is the focus of this report.

The victims encounter American indifference to stopping this epidemic of crime, due in part to anti-Latin-American racism, anti-immigrant hostility, fear of job competition, anti-women hostility, and the view that low-wage workers are inferior.

The victims encounter indifference to their plight from American business managers and owners who run low-wage service-based businesses, due to the above attitudes, due also to the use of intimidation as a legal strategy to protect the business from employee lawsuits, and sometimes due to a bond of common interest (participation in the exploitation of these women) between the perpetrators and their management.

The perpetrators of these illegal acts have tended to receive strong backing from the management and ownership of these service businesses, including some very large local corporations. This support includes the calculated management approval of the use of illegal intimidation tactics against the victims, such as issuing unjustified reprimands, threatening the victims with firing, verbally ordering victims to keep quiet about abuse, and demands that victims not file formal government complaints.

The perpetrators have also received strong backing for this illegal activity from their business clients. In the commercial office-cleaning industry, for example, cleaning companies contract with building owners, management firms, or tenants. The author has witnessed both a local federal agency and one of the largest corporations within Montgomery County, Md. (both were cleaning contract clients) participate actively in deliberate intimidation aimed at stopping victims from filing legal complaints.

The victims have a fear of law-enforcement and government agencies based upon the very-real history of the use of public, police, and military forces in Latin-America to enforce the will of land-owners, corrupt public officials, and dictators.

Very little government informational literature, electronic media and public speaking is effectively targeted at our vast, tax-paying Latin-American immigrant public regarding their rights to be protected by civil and criminal law from victimization.

The victims have at-times received 'the brush-off' from the Montgomery County agencies charged with enforcing civil and criminal laws which should protect them.

One victim was told to "wait for more abuse [sexual harassment and retaliation] to occur before filing a complaint", one assault victim was laughed at in a County Police Station in 1988, and one VERY serious complaint was declared by the Human Relations Commission to be lost, after it foot dragged for 13 months.

 


Introduction:

The rapid growth in the Latin-American immigrant population in the Washington, D.C. area and within Montgomery County, Maryland has brought about a set of social and economic conditions which allow for the widespread work-place abuse of Latin-American women and teen-aged girls within our community. These conditions exist at a crisis level, in the opinion of the author, and require urgent action by government and private organizations to stop them. All who read this report can help end this abuse.

Urgent action is needed by our elected officials and others to restore the full, basic rights of all immigrant women and children within Montgomery County to live in peace and to enjoy the same rights which other residents of Montgomery County enjoy. These include the right to the dignity of the unquestioned ownership of one's own body, the right to live and work within Montgomery County without being subjected to sex-on-demand and other blatant and unpunished forms of sexual harassment and assault by persons in positions of authority, and the right to job security without being subjected to a widely condoned system of random and arbitrary punishments and firings in the low-wage service sector, which are both illegal and widespread within Montgomery County. These abuses are very real, every-day threats to the lives and the dignity of many Latin-American immigrant women and teenagers.

The analysis of the issues covered within this report may introduce the reader to some new and eye-opening perspectives on an urgent problem which literally affects the daily-life of thousands of working women and teen-aged girls who are your neighbors, who may go to, or whose children may go to your children's schools, and who cross paths with you every day. The women and teen-aged girls who are the subject of this report have come to the United States seeking the opportunity to escape war, live in peace, work hard (which they are well-known for), and contribute their many talents to this society.

Unfortunately, a combination of the historical legacy of the oppression of women within Latin America, (which has migrated here with the immigrant population), the serious post-traumatic stresses affecting many Latin-American war refugees, illiteracy, a lack of English skills, poverty, the tight job market, employer exploitation and job-discrimination, immigration reform, racial hostility, and government's inexplicable deaf-ear on these issues have all converged upon the immigrant community.

The convergence of these complex factors has resulted in a very simple reality in Montgomery County, Maryland and by extension nationwide. That reality is that unlike her African-American, European-American and other native-born American sisters, who generally have a much better understanding of criminal and civil laws and usually know something about the legal process and how to access it, poor, tax-paying Latin-American immigrant women and teen-aged girls have been left virtually abandoned when it comes to getting local government and the business community to protect them from being routinely subjected to the most severe forms of sexual harassment and sexual assault within the modern American work-place. The history-of and the reality-of this crisis is the subject of this report.

While Montgomery County prides itself on being a place where the respect for human-rights is a top priority, the reality is very different. Minorities in general, women, and especially immigrants are subjected daily to abuses that few other residents ever face. When they complain, they are stepped on.

 


Definitions used within this document.

This paper attempts to bring about a cross-cultural communication with the objective of resolving a serious crisis within our communities. Several terms used within this document require clarification.

As this paper investigates working conditions for women, that term is defined. American is also described. Latin-American, Latino, Hispanic, Hispanic-American, Native-American, Indigenous-American and Indian are all debatable terms. Not all Spanish speakers from the Americas accept any one of these terms to describe themselves. Some reject the above terms in favor of identification by national origin.

A similar argument on semantics exists within the community of the original, indigenous (Native) inhabitants of all of the Americas. I have made an effort within this paper to settle on a set of standard terms which are clearly understandable and which respect the dignity of each of these ethnic communities.

The term 'Women', and also the phrase 'Women and Teen-aged girls' for the purposes of this report refers to both adult-women and teen-aged girls within the work-force in the United States.

The term 'Native' is used within this document to refer to the original inhabitants of the western hemisphere (indigenous inhabitants). Many Native-Peoples view all of the original inhabitants of the Americas as having a common identity, and others prefer tribal or nation-state based identity.

The Native nations mentioned within this paper include the Mayan Native-People resident in the modern nation-states of El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico; the Inca Native-People from the Aymara and Quechua speaking groups resident in Chile, Bolivia, Ecuador, and Peru, and many smaller nations of Native-Peoples inhabiting the Americas, totaling 80 million people.

The term 'Mestizo' refers to people of combined Spanish and Native-Latin-American heritage. Within countries in Latin-America, the great majority of the population is of Mestizo heritage.

The term 'Latin-American' is used in reference to all residents of those American countries where Spanish is the national language. This includes residents of Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, The Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Puerto Rico, Uruguay, and Venezuela.

The term 'U.S. American' is used within this document to refer to the United States of America. This term is used to distinguish between the U.S. and the rest of the Americas. Latin-American school history and geography courses as well as daily conversation all refer to 'America' (North-America, Central-America, The Caribbean, and South-America) as a single multi-state entity.

The term 'Machista' refers to men who follow the social philosophy of 'machismo' (macho-ism). Machismo represents a lifestyle which involves a view of women as human-beings who are literally inferior to men. Machismo impacts heavily on social-justice for women in Latin-America.

Neo-Feudalism refers to modern survivals of the medieval European agrarian-based social-system of feudalism. It enforces the strict separation-of and exploitation-of women and 'lower-classes.'

 


About the author -

Before I expand on this topic, I will detail some of the qualifications and life-experiences which I believe allow me to speak out with accuracy and authority on these very charged legal and social issues.

I, Charles M. Goolsby, Jr. have made the defense of basic human rights a cornerstone of my life work for over 20 years. A am a man of African-American, Muskogee Native-American, and European decent who respects and intensely celebrates ALL of those ancestral heritages. I thank my parents for providing me with a good basic education and a good compass of moral common sense in this life. Professionally, I am a computer systems engineer with a very large federal computer services contractor in Rockville, Md. I have worked part-time for the Montgomery County Government since 1987. I am currently a part-time civilian information systems support specialist with the County Police Department.

I speak to these issues from the point of view of a veteran of over fifteen years of both paid and voluntary community service work within the Latin-American community of Washington, D.C. and Montgomery County, Md. During the period from 1978 to 1981 I worked actively with many community service organizations, including: Centro Adelante - working with housing and immigration issues; the Latin-American Youth Center - involved in on-the-job training for young people; the School of Rumba -the area's first Latino music school teaching Afro-Caribbean traditional and modern music, where I was a student and then an instructor; and El Centro de Arte, a long-existing focal-point of Latino folkloric music, dance, and theater in the D.C. area. In addition, I have performed with over two dozen folkloric and popular music ensembles in the Latino community. My work with these and other community groups and the many friendships that grew from that work gave my life focus during my twenties, allowed me to serve my community in many ways, and gave me complete fluency in written and spoken Spanish.

During 1980 and 1981, I worked in the production and announcing of radio news and Latin-music programming on one of the D.C. area's first bilingual programs, Salsa De Las Americas on WPFW-FM, 89.3. The "Sauce of the Americas" program combined popular Spanish language music with weekly discussions of issues covered infrequently elsewhere, such as news about Central-America's civil wars.

During this same time period I assisted in coordinating the public-relations, musical entertainment, and logistics for over 30 public cultural events, mostly benefit fundraisers for non-profit Latino community groups. I provided calendar of events information for the Spanish language newspapers El-Barrio and EL-Latino, and for the radio show Salsa De Las Americas. I also produced my own calendar of events newsletter called 'What's Happening This Week,' which publicized non-profit fundraiser events.

Also during the early 1980's, I personally identified over ninety non-profit organizations within the Dupont Circle to Columbia Heights 'Columbia Road corridor'. Seeing a lack of public access to these services, I assisted many organizations, such as El Hogar De La Familia (The Family Place, providing support to teenage mothers), the Ayuda legal services agency, and the Andromeda mental health center by providing more effective distribution for their public-service literature and public calendars-of-events.

My voluntary work with folkloric groups has included those representing the cultures of Bolivia and Chile: with the Andean quartet Rumisonko ['Heart of Stone' in Quechua, an Incan Native language]; Colombia: with Grupo Tyrona, of which I was musical director in 1984, with El Ballet Folclorico de Patricia Medina, and with Colombianos Unidos, a thirty member folkloric dance ensemble of mostly teen-aged members, with whom I performed many times at the Expo '92 world's fair in Seville, Spain; the Dominican Republic, Cuba and Puerto Rico: with the folkloric Quintet 'Esto No Tiene Nombre' [This Group Doesn't Have a Name]; and also Ecuador: with the folkloric-dance and music troupe Ruminahui ['Face of Stone' in Quechua]. I have also performed with and promoted many commercial Latin bands.

Since the mid-1980's I have focused on putting-to-work the social-service advocacy skills which I learned in the Adam's-Morgan community of Washington, D.C. to assist Latin-American immigrants within Montgomery County, Md. As a well-known local musician, as a person fluent in written and spoken Spanish, and as a concerned community resident who knows about Maryland human relations and employment law, I have worked hard to help fill a growing void within the local immigrant community.

The void which I try to help fill involves doing my share to improve the quality of life and defend the dignity of a segment of our community who are currently suffering severely under the strains of mass-joblessness, are being locked out of the job-market due to racism, increased immigration law enforcement and other factors, are abused on the job without redress, and have a real lack of access to the legal and social services which they pay for with their taxes just as much as any other ethnic group in our County.

Since 1988 I have assisted six Latin-American immigrant women in beginning formal complaints of race and sex discrimination related sexual harassment and assault before the Human Relations Commission of Montgomery County, Md. I have intervened for, sought legal assistance for, and advocated for victims of sexual assault, sexual harassment, non-payment of wages, and against the widespread use of arbitrary and discriminatory work-place punishments and firings of Latin-American immigrant women injanitorial jobs. These illegal acts have occurred, and still continue to occur, within many private, federal, and local government office buildings located within Montgomery County, Md.

All of my work in Latin-American immigrant victim-advocacy has resulted from victims having approached me seeking help. Repeatedly, the official reaction of cleaning contract companies working within Montgomery County to my polite raising of these issues has been to do the following: 1) silence any discussion of these issues by the use of gross intimidation against the victims and myself, 2) fire or force the victims out, and 3) back-up the actions of the perpetrators, protecting them from legal trouble.

Latin-American immigrant women have thus gotten the message loud and clear on many occasions that they have become a cheap, disposable resource in the American work-place, underpaid, overworked, and often forced into sexual submission while government and commerce knowingly turn their backs.

At this time I have found it necessary to write this report. Since 1988 I have formally presented this information to many persons-in-authority. Time after time, these well-educated, well-paid officials of public and commercial organizations have said "SO WHAT!" This report is a substitute for the muffled CRY OF RAPE from victims who are tired of having become the sexual 'cannon-fodder' of America.

 


A Latin-American Background - 1: Degrees of the exploitation of women.

The topic of women's rights relative to the 'third-world' generally brings to mind the outrageous practices of 'bride-burning' and the murder of baby-girls in rural India, wife-murder without penalty in Brazil, and the sexual enslavement of girls and women in the sex-for-sale industries in The Philippines and Thailand. The above issues cover perhaps the most gruesome and vile aspects of the exploitation of women in poverty. The U.S. American press has covered these issues as being typical of the third-world.

Sex-based oppression within the Americas is, we like to believe, much less severe than the above examples. Civil and criminal laws protecting women from exploitation are well-developed, if not even close to perfect, within the United States. While a whole range of social and economic relationships between men and women within the U. S. give wide latitude for the continued exploitation of women by men, the law as written, and the increasing economic and political power of women does give some degree of control over one's options and alternatives. The recent appointment of the Honorable Ruth Bader-Ginsburg as the second woman to sit on the U.S. Supreme Court will probably speed that trend.

Latin-American cultures are diverse and dynamic. Many positive things may be said in relation to Latin-American concepts of family interaction and personal interactions within communities. These cultures, when compared to cultural norms within the United States, may be said to be spiritually healthier than our own in many respects. The importance of religion, the intense celebration of cultural heritage, the very close interaction between parents, children, extended family, and friends, the minimal importance of racial difference in most Latin countries, and the nearly open inclusion within many Latin-American countries of African, Native-American, Spanish, and other world traditions within the common national culture are mostly very positive lessons which U.S. Americans can and should learn more about.

Having said that, Latin-American cultures also have many deeply-rooted traditions which expose women to severe exploitation in daily life. The heritage of European agrarian-feudalism, the (related) exploitation of people based on their social status and position in society, poverty, and the (ongoing) violence and abuses surrounding the conquest of Native-peoples have all worked against women's rights.

Also, the philosophy of machismo, a widely followed male code of honor and conduct, (especially in rural areas) places strict limits on, and very clearly defines, the 'correct' behavior of men and women. Machismo legitimizes the domestic abuse of women and work-place economic and sexual exploitation.

In addition, while Latin-American countries do accept many Native-Peoples and heavily Native mestizos (mixed-bloods) into it's cultural folds, the reality is that Native-Peoples are the most exploited and impoverished social class/ethnic-group in all of the Americas. The Native and Mestizo rebellion which is occurring in Chiapas, Mexico at the time of this writing affirms that reality. That reality holds true in regard to the sexual and economic exploitation of rural and urban Native-Latin-American women.

It would be unfair to single out Latin-America regarding these problems, My purpose here is to explain the historical roots of the exploitation of Latin-American immigrant women as a background for understanding why that group, as immigrants to the U.S., are vulnerable to such widespread exploitation.

 


A Latin-American Background - 2: Urban employment and the rights of women.

It has only been within the last ten years that (mostly urban) women have entered the work-place in large numbers in Latin-America. Expanding economies, huge rates of inflation, single parenthood, and poverty-driven need all affect that trend. Within Latin-America, business is based on trading favors for favors. What favors do you think Latin-American women are expected to trade in the urban work-place?

Two personal friends from South America have related to me stories of their being subjected to attempted rape by potential employers during their first job interviews as teenagers. A friend from Peru stated that she had to break a lot of furniture to get out of that situation. She also stated that denouncing the assailant to the police would have been impossible, as he was a wealthy member of the community, capable of buying-off the judicial entities involved. A friend from Ecuador also made a super-human effort to escape her first job interview/attempted rape. She did not report this violent assault to anyone.

I have had casual conversations with several Latin-American men regarding this topic. Conversing with an Ecuadorian accountant and businessman during a visit to Quito, Ecuador, he stated to me that "well, of course, any woman who applies for an office job must also 'like' the boss." Literally translated, a female applicant for office employment is expected to sleep with the boss. In a recent conversation with a Colombian friend, I explained to him the nature of a sexual abuse case involving Latin-American women workers in Maryland. He stated unsympathetically that "If a male supervisor has several female workers working under him, he has the right to sexual privileges from them". This man regards himself as a "Machista" (macho-ist). A Salvadoran cleaning supervisor, who is a party to a severe incident of sexual exploitation of women workers under his control, was heard stating that 'America gives too much freedom to women, that's what's wrong with it'. This cleaning supervisor also calls himself a 'Machista'.

In December, 1993 I asked a Guatemalan friend of mine to describe any incidents known to him of the sexual-economic coercion of working women within his home country. My friend proceeded to explain to me how a major retailer, which he described as being like a Sears and a supermarket combined, traditionally advertised during the winter holidays for temporary help (as is done here, of course). According to my friend, this large retailer systematically accepted job applications only from women, and then only from the young women whom they regarded as being the prettiest. The male managers would make it known to these high school girls that permanent employment was available to them in the company after their graduation. The only requirement was accepting a sexual relationship with those managers now! My friend noted that these managers could buy everyone's silence if needed.

My Guatemalan friend mentioned in the above paragraph related to me a second incident in which a female high school friend, who was tall, blond (uncommon in Guatemala), and was 'beautiful' by Guatemalan standards, was asked by a Chief of Police to come work for him. This teen-aged-girl soon became pregnant with the child of her boss. An abortion was arranged for by the girl's employer to hide the situation from the Police Chief's wife. The sexual relationship apparently continued after the abortion.

Throughout Latin-America, and in many other countries of the world, women and teenagers who enter the urban work-force are forced to submit to sexual pressures that are (in theory) illegal in the U.S.

 


A Latin-American Background - 3: Rural women and the modern plantation.

The agrarian-based social system of feudalism as it existed in Europe still has followers within atin-America. Feudal society is heavily dependent upon the differential treatment of various social classes, and women are one social class which faced and faces major disadvantages under feudalism and it's modern spin-offs. Regardless of one's personal politics, few can deny that the last half century of civil wars in Latin-America have been movements of whole societies away from agrarian feudalism and toward democracy. Women have experienced many improvements in social and economic power and status with these changes. These societal changes have not caught on as fast in rural areas as they have in the cities.

During conversations with friends in Quito, the capitol of Ecuador, South America, I learned that some of the sexual practices common under European feudalism still exist today. While the country of Ecuador is one of the most stable and well educated in South America (the 'Switzerland' of South America), it's rural provinces are dotted by plantations. Ecuador's population is 40% full-blooded Native Americans, and 50% mixed Spanish and Native-American, 5% African-descended, and about 5% full-blooded European. On most of these plantations the descendants of the Spaniards and mixed-blood Ecuadorians manage their operations with cheap Native labor, who (oddly enough) are the original owners of that land. These farm workers usually live on the landowner's property. It is common in daily conversation to hear talk of how such-and-such a plantation owner is the father of many of the children of the Native-women on his plantation. The lighter complexion of these children is one barometer of the extent of this behavior on a given plantation. In 1992, 1 million Native-Ecuadorians held a strike to demand an end to this plantation system. These social practices exist in many Latin-American countries.

This custom, oddly enough, is exactly the topic of a Spanish language video-cassette available at Montgomery County, Md. Public Libraries: 'Sol en Llamas', (Sun In Flames) which relates how the debutante daughter of a wealthy 'White' Mexican plantation owner goes through a spiritual crisis as she comes to find out that she is the half-sister of many of the Native-Mexican children of the plantation's farm workers whom she grew up with. This film takes place during the 1960's in Mexico. Mexico produces the majority of films for the Latin-American market. I have also seen the theme of the sexual demands on female job applicants related on-screen in Mexican films. It is treated as a mere fact of life.

On February 1, 1994, a National Public Radio news piece about the Chiapas, Mexico rebellion stated that the (now waning) feudal plantation system there treated Natives as a mere natural resource, like lumber. They were expected to work hard from infancy till death in exchange for basic provisions!

From the time of the Roman emperor Caligula (according to Fellini's film about him), in which he got, by way of his power relationship with his peons, the first sexual experience with just-married brides, to medieval Germany, where the local baron also got first dibs on new brides, to the southern U.S. American plantation, where (according to 'Roots') the overseer got to sleep with the slave girl (one more time) the night before her wedding, to the modern neo-feudal plantation in parts of Latin-America, the story is the same. Women were and are treated as property, and in the feudal plantation system, the plantation owner AND HIS SUPERVISORS had and have the right to use his 'property' the way they see fit. The rural and urban work-place abuse of Latin-American women has it's roots in this history.

 


A Latin-American background - 4: The five-century oppression of Native-Peoples.

As if this mix of social chemistries weren't enough, consider the effect that civil war and wars of Native- American genocide have had on the exploitation of Native-American women within Latin-America. As a person of African and Maskoke Native-American decent, the exploitation and modern-era genocide of Native-People in all of the Americas is a subject I've followed for twenty years, and which I have worked actively to stop. Of the Native-Americans within my family, I will relate that one of my great-grandmothers, who was Native-American, was 'married to?' a Caucasian man when she was 13 and he MUCH older. Does one get the picture? This story has repeated itself across the Americas for 500 years.

The 'Native-wars' within Latin-America were carried out differently than the methods of whole-sale extermination and 'reservationization' (sic) carried out against Native tribes within the United States. The English colonists tended to migrate to America in family groups, and progeny tended to also be European. Within Latin-America, the male conquistador migrated by the thousands to Latin-America seeking fame and fortune. Men vastly outnumbered women among the Spanish colonists. Intermarriage with Native-American and African women was commonplace, and the uniquely U.S. American concept of segregation never even came close to stepping foot in Latin-America. Also, the Inca empire in western South-America, the Maya Empire in Central-America, and the Aztec Empire in Mexico were all technologically close to the conquering Spaniards. Despite the violent Spanish overthrow of these empires, mass-murder of Native-Peoples had tended to be restricted to rebellion (liberation) control. This general 'policy' towards Native-Peoples changed during the early 1900's, and mass-murders of innocent Native-People have occurred with frequency in a number of Latin-American countries, up to this present day. This 'change' grew mainly out of the U.S. market (and thus U. S. corporate) demands for arable lands for export crops, especially coffee and bananas, and more recently, for petroleum from Guatemala.

I will cite here a few examples. In the period from the 1870's through the early 1900's, during the era known as 'The Coffee Republic', communally owned tribal land reserves in El Salvador were eroded (stolen) by an economic arrangement in which trade goods sold on credit, and taxes due, had to be paid off by these Native-Peoples with real property. This system of stealing Native reserve lands was also implemented in Oklahoma, in regard to the Cherokee, Maskoke, Choctaw, and Chickasaw tribes, any elsewhere during this period. By the 1920's most Native-Salvadoran land was in the hands of Spanish-descended plantation owners, who used (and still use) the virtually land-less Native-Peoples as cheap labor for their coffee plantations. During the great depression, the coffee market collapsed, causing the now almost unpaid Native farm-workers to consider rebellion. At that time just a handful of families owned most of the arable land in El Salvador. In 1932, rebellious farm workers killed several members of these elite plantation families. The government of El Salvador responded by sending troops to murder 20,000 Native-Salvadorans, mostly around the Izalco Volcano near San Salvador. Most of the victims were men and boys. It doesn't take much to figure out what happened to the women and girl survivors.

The popularity of hard-core machismo and the very poor track record regarding women's rights in El Salvador to this day were likely influenced historically by this and other related atrocities. As the mother of a Salvadoran Mestizo friend once said: "me da pena" (it's embarassing [to talk about Native-Salvadorans]). Massacres of Native-Salvadorans and Mestizos also occurred during the 1980's civil war.

In the late 1970's, conditions of social injustice and global politics resulted in guerilla wars being fought on a major scale in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Nicaragua. In Guatemala, who's war I followed closely, the government murdered an estimated 80,000 to 150,000 mostly Native-People in the mountainous highlands of it's northwestern region. This was done under the guise of 'counter-insurgency warfare,' and the training and weapons for this exercise was provided by the U.S. I recall receiving reports of entire villages of 600 or more people being murdered en-mass. The Supreme Court of Guatemala itself has declared that the period of 'civil war' resulted in 200,000 orphaned children. Guatemala has a 60 percent full-blooded Native-population who speak 23 Mayan dialects. Mayan is their primary language.

Throughout the war in Guatemala (still ongoing), and in neighboring El Salvador, the disregard for the dignity of women has been a recurring theme. From the rape and murder of 4 U.S. American nuns by Salvadoran forces, to the deliberate strafing by soldiers and pilots of groups of women and children (stories of which Salvadoran immigrants have related to me from personal experience), to the army tactic in Guatemala of raping the women of a Native town, crowding them into the town church, and hurling grenades into the crowd, women in Central America have faced decades of incredible abuse.

A major factor affecting the willingness of Central-American victims of crime and human-rights violations to come foreword and file a formal complaint is their memory of how things are done in Central America. If you speak-up to denounce injustice, you very likely will pay with your own life.

During the 1980's a Washington Post editorial commented on the fact that six simultaneous wars were being waged in Latin-America against Native-Peoples at that time. These 'wars', whose results and lop-sided unfairness to the victims parallel Bosnia very closely, took place in El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua (under the Sandinista government), and Peru. Many of these wars continue to this very day.

Peru, who's fight against the terrorism of the Shining Path guerrilla movement has led to extreme countermeasures (to be polite), was the subject of an Amnesty International report in August of 1992. Most of the combat has taken place in rural, almost purely Native (Inca) areas, where Spanish is a second language, and the Inca dialects of Quechua and Aymara are first languages. Over 8 million Peruvians, Bolivians, Ecuadorians, and Chileans speak Quechua as their first language. The Amnesty International report stated that a woman does not have the right to her own body in the war zone. Specifically, that the Peruvian government brings troops from the coastal areas of Peru, who have no cultural ties to the Inca peoples, and that these troops have the right to use Inca women in the war zone as they see fit. Note that the Guatemalan government uses the same tactic of occupying a Native region with conscripts from other regions of the country. The old Soviet Union always stationed non-local troops in 'their' republics.

While I have stressed the experience of Native-women and men from the Americas, the dynamic of post-traumatic stress affects all Latin-American immigrants who lived through wars in Central and South America. A Washington, D.C. Public Schools survey of Salvadoran immigrant students found that 50 percent had witnessed a shooting. Also, many Native and non-Native immigrant women were systematically detained, tortured, and raped (usually by rightist government forces) during anti-guerrilla campaigns in a dozen Latin-American countries. While the U.S. Federal Government offers psychological counseling for war refugees from Southeast Asia for example, where are the services for this population?

In have detailed the above history of Native-Peoples' exploitation because it is a very-real social force which carries through very directly to the issues of the current-day economic and sexual exploitation of Latin-American women in Montgomery County, and by extension, nationwide. It has been my observation, from direct personal experience, that the sub-group within the Latin-American immigrant community which is most likely to face the most severe forms of economic and sexual exploitation in the work-place and elsewhere is the Native woman from Latin America, and especially the Native-woman from Central America. I have seen it happen time after time. Modern human relations law within the United States has not been written to even begin to address remedies to this hidden corner of the discrimination/exploitation pie. In many cases Native and other Latin-American women have adapted to a code of conduct (without choice) which requires that they submit to the demands of men, and is an extension of the Machista value system which literally regards women as being less than men. This social reality has been an engine for the widespread sexual and economic exploitation of both Native and Non-Native Latin-American immigrant women in the United States, and within Montgomery County, Md.

Involved within this dynamic is a 'code of silence' traditional to all of the Native cultures in the Americas. As in Japanese culture, Native-Peoples strive to do anything necessary to save face for themselves or another Native-person in difficult and embarrassing situations. This tradition is based on a deep respect for the privacy and dignity of all persons within one's cultural group. It is not timidity.

In the mid 1970's, while researching Native-American issues at the undergraduate library of the University of Maryland - College Park, I found an article regarding this 'code of silence' in the nation's largest Native-American newspaper, Wessaja, published by the Native-American Historical Society in San Francisco, Ca. This article mentioned the work of a well known Lakota (Sioux) psychiatrist, who had taken a team of Native-women to a boarding school for junior high school girls from far-away reservations. It was located in a 'White' town in the upper northwestern U.S. This doctor's team concluded that 80 of the 120 students had been raped by town locals, who took advantage of the fact that Native-American victims of abuse, especially women and teen-aged girls, would not speak to law enforcement authorities regarding their victimization. Within this article the local Sheriff expressed the hope that some of the girls would come forward. None had at that time. The team of Native-women had been the key to bringing this story out. The original U.S. Government justification for sending young Native-Americans to boarding schools was to separate them from "the heathen ways of their ancestors!"

I have been reminded of that story in Wessaja several times recently, when, as part of my victim advocacy work in Montgomery County, I have tried to convince Latin-American women, and especially Native-Latin-American women to come forward and tell their stories of sexual assault and forced, non-consensual sexual contracts between their supervisors and themselves. Between the threat of retaliation (which can extend back to your country of origin) and the traditions which promote silence in these cases, very few women come forward. Those that do are brave indeed. However, coming forward can bring with it a new set of nightmares when these victims confront a sometimes hostile government bureaucracy.

As a footnote, please note that while many Native-women from South-America are proud of who they are, the ferocious repression of Native cultures in Central-America has made many Native and Mestiza Central-Americans ashamed of who they are. This lack of self-esteem contributes to their abuse.

 


B. U.S. American background -1: Intervention and investment in Latin-America.

My objective in this section is to give the reader a basic understanding of some of the historical events which have motivated the current mass-immigration of Latin-Americans into the United-States. While neo-feudalism and other factors have contributed to Latin-America's poverty, injustice, and war-driven exodus, it is important to understand that the past intervention of the U.S. Government and U.S. American corporations in the economic and political life of Latin-America for over 100 years has been a major cause of the current immigration to the U.S. In a nutshell, past misdeeds have come back at us.

The United States, being a close neighbor of Latin-America, has always had a strong influence on the political, social, and economic development of the region. Historically, U.S. American interest in the region has been motivated by the desire to profit from exploiting it's vast natural resources and very cheap agricultural labor, the desire to protect that market from the world via the Monroe-Doctrine, the later desire to deny the Soviet Union a base of support in the Americas, and most recently, since the early 1980's, the desire to promote democracy. The U.S. has long had a vested interest in Latin-America.

A survey of this historical relationship could go back as far as the English-Spanish rivalry which lead to the Battle of the Spanish Armada, or to the later competition by both countries to grab as much Native-American land as possible. After their independence from England and Spain, the U.S. sought to keep Latin-America in 'it's backyard.' Latin-American nations sought freedom from U.S. domination.

Given that African slavery and Native-American genocide were both valid activities in both Latin America and the United States during the 1800's, it shouldn't be too surprising to the reader that the more powerful United States would look at 'little brown' Latin-America with an eye towards profiting from the exploitation of it's people and land. In 1857 for example, a wealthy American businessman, William Carter, paid a large sum of money to be named the president of Nicaragua. One of his ideas was to re-institute African slavery there. He was shot by a Nicaraguan Army firing squad the following year.

In the post-slavery period, American agricultural import businesses invested heavily in acquiring land in Latin-America, especially in Central America. These countries were eventually dominated in their political and economic life in the early 1900's by American corporations such as United Fruit, thus becoming known as the 'banana republics'. In several cases these U.S. American companies paid-off dictators to send in their armies to force the mostly Native and Mestizo peasants off of their land by the tens of thousands, thus breaking up a centuries old system of subsistence and small scale (neo-feudal) plantation agriculture. These now land-less peasants became the cheap-labor pool working the U.S. American owned export-crop mega-plantations. This system remains virtually intact in some countries.

The U.S. American military intervened on numerous occasions throughout the twentieth century in Central America to maintain in power those (neo-feudal) dictators who protected this system. The 1954 CIA overthrow of the elected president in Guatemala to prevent land-reform, for example, was followed by 19 military dictators before elections were held again in the mid-1980's. Unfortunately, the death of 80,000 to 150,000 Native people also occurred during these dictatorships. The 1980's civil wars in Central America grew out of popular reaction to these injustices and the desire to end the dictatorships.

 


B. U.S. American background -2: The 1980's wave of immigration and reaction to it.

The previous description of the roots of poverty and social injustice in Central America explains to the reader one of the major reasons why the United States is receiving so many immigrants from Latin-America. This history, combined with the devastating civil wars fought since the 1980's, the oppression of women, and the lack of educational and job opportunities, especially in Central America, have all fueled the current wave of immigration. Also, U.S. American commerce has benefited greatly by over 100 years of exploiting (draining) Central-America's human and natural resources at the expense of local development. These immigrants have sought refuge from the resulting upheavals shaking their homelands. During the current economic recession, U.S. sympathy for these immigrants has gone from warm to cold.

Latin American immigration increased markedly during the late 1970's and early 1980's when I was working actively within Washington, D.C.'s Adams-Morgan/Mount Pleasant area (known as El Barrio). During those years the complexion and features of immigrants on the street changed. As the wars in Central-America raged, more and more Native and mixed-blood Central-American faces began appearing. Salvadoran and Guatemalan war refugees came by the tens of thousands, becoming the majority immigrant group, taking over from Caribbean Latin-Americans. Large numbers of women and children came here, many by-themselves (risking robbery and assault during the crossing), to escape war.

What impressed me about Washington, D.C.'s Adams-Morgan/Mount Pleasant Barrio at that time was that virtually everyone had a job and homelessness was hardly ever seen. This is in stark contrast to the present situation. If you look at those areas now you will see large numbers of unemployed men drinking beer on the street. Drug dealing and prostitution have also become problems. More than anything else, the U.S. Immigration Reform Act of 1986 served to throw many thousands of undocumented immigrants out of their jobs, wreaking a catastrophe of abject poverty, hunger, fear, and very stiff competition for the few jobs still open to them in the day-labor, cleaning, and food industries.

A related problem for immigrants during the early 1990's has been the rapid growth in the U.S. of popular hostility toward them. A November, 1993 survey cited in a Washington Business Journal article on the work-place abuse of undocumented workers (December 17, 1993), states that 79% of voters surveyed want undocumented hires deported. This hostility is a natural outgrowth of the fear of competition for jobs. The same article mentions that Latin-American immigrants do drive down wages in the lowest paying jobs. This has in fact made the competition tough for native-born U.S. Americans in the low-wage economy. Conversely the article states, these lower wages have kept prices down on many commodities. The article goes on to explain that many of the highest-risk and most dangerous jobs in construction are performed by undocumented immigrant day-labor, who have no access at all to worker's compensation or other benefits. Few would contest the proposition that most U.S. Americans are not interested in many of the low-wage jobs which immigrants take. Care to clean 20 toilets tonight?

U.S. citizens make a valid point that the rate of U.S. immigration should be limited. However, the 1986 Immigration Act has meant disaster for the existing immigrant community. Both legal and undocumented Latin-American men, women, and children are openly and grossly exploited in a tight job market where bosses do as they please, knowing that few will dare to complain, regardless of the abuse.

 


B. U.S. American background -3: Government relations with the immigrant community.

The 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act embodies the current federal response to the issue of foreign immigration into the United States. In addition to the devastating impacts for the immigrant community detailed above, the Immigration Reform Act did have the positive effect of granting amnesty and resident-alien status for those undocumented immigrants who luckily arrived in the U.S. before 1982.

During 1993, U.S. Senator Harry Reid (D-Nevada) proposed the Immigration Stabilization Act. This bill is also supported by the Federation for American Immigration Reform. This bill proposes reducing legal immigration and harshly penalizes employers who hire existing undocumented workers.

At the level of state government, officials in California, Florida and Illinois have all demanded federal payments to compensate them for the huge impact of the cost of social services and other services provided to immigrants. Mayor Sharon Pratt Kelly of Washington, D.C., during testimony before the U.S. Civil Rights Commission hearings on the Mount Pleasant riots, stated that "The frustrations have been festering for 12 years because federal policy has forced immigration into this area with no programs to support this thrust." Clearly, recent immigration has impacted heavily on localities and social-services.

Balancing the perceived 'drain' on U.S. American resources to accommodate this immigration is the economic contribution which immigrants make to the economy. Latin-American immigrants pay taxes just as any other group within the United States. In regard to undocumented immigrants, many don't even file a tax return, thus loosing money that would be refunded to any other worker. An addition, as the baby-boom generation moves into it's senior years, the ratio of tax-paying workers to social security recipients is expected to shrink from the current 5 workers supporting 1 recipient to an early 21'st century ratio of 2 workers supporting 1 recipient. Immigrants and the entrepreneurial zest they bring with them can do much to develop a larger tax base and a higher level of productivity in the U.S. Despite the perceived job-competition strain during this recession, immigration can have a positive long-term impact.

Touching on a critical local government issue, the rates of hate-crimes and of formal human-rights complaints within the United States have increased markedly since the early 1980's. Previously, the rate of human rights complaints had been going down within the U.S.  Federal support for the enforcement of federal civil rights and other anti-discrimination laws was restricted during the 1980's. This has created an undeniable trickle-down effect of setting an example of intolerance for the public, for business, and for local government. Combined with the current recession, this has allowed the virtual open expression of racial hatred and the political acceptability of cutting funding for human relations work. The 500 monthly public inquiries to the Montgomery County Human Relations Commission and the 100 plus hate crimes reported here each year reflect that reality.

Immigrants are frequently victimized by racial, sexual, and national-origin based harassment and hate-violence incidents in Montgomery County, Md. In 1993, an official of the County Human Relations Commission stated to me that Montgomery County is polarizing rapidly along racial-lines.

This official expressed deep concerns that this trend would eventually lead to a situation of open hate violence between ethnic groups. This official also stated that key County officials are turning their backs on this crisis.

 


C. The present and future -1: A turning of one's back on innocent victims of abuse.

The bottom line of this crisis comes down to the following: Latin-American immigrant women and teen-aged workers within Montgomery County, Md. are routinely subjected to: 1) criminal sexual assault, 2) criminal physical assault, 3) extreme forms of sexual harassment designed to force compliance with the sexual demands of supervisors, 4) illegal reprimands and firings used as retaliation against those who resist. Lastly, some government and business officials have actively worked to hide this criminality.

These criminal acts and human-rights abuses routinely occur within office-buildings and other work-sites within Montgomery County, Md and nationwide. The majority of the incidents which I have investigated have occurred in office buildings within Montgomery, County, Md. As stated previously, all of the cases in which I have intervened have involved alleged victims approaching me for assistance. I have been approached in these cases because I am fluent in Spanish, because I am knowledgeable (from a lay standpoint) about human relations and employment law, and because in some of these cases, I have worked within the involved buildings and I witnessed some of the harassment actions of the perpetrators.

As stated previously, I have at times paid a heavy price for coming forward to formally advise the powers that be of existence of these problems. I have been subjected to threats to my job security on several occasions, and many other forms of intimidation have deliberately been perpetrated against me with the goal of silencing my advocacy work in support of these innocent assault and harassment victims.

It would also only be honest of me to say that several actions taken by the Montgomery County Human Relations Commission in response to the problems of Latin-American immigrant women amount to local government turning it's back on innocent victims crying out for help. This includes one Human Relations Commission staffer having told victims to hold-off and suffer more abuse before coming to them, and delays in sending complaint documents to a victim (delaying the case) for OVER 1 YEAR.

While the episodes of local government inaction which I've witnessed in relation to the topic of this paper cannot be labeled criminal, they are highly insensitive. In addition to the above incidents, on June 1, 1992 I wrote the Honorable Mr. Neil Potter, the Montgomery County Executive, a 35 page report titled "Racism and Sexism in Montgomery County." It details many incidents of the abuse of Latin-American immigrant women, and also incidents of abuse suffered by other residents of Montgomery County, Md. (excerpted here). I never heard back from Mr. Potter. Also in 1992, the author's sincere application for one of three open, volunteer seats on Mr. Potter's Hate-Violence Committee was denied.

Ultimately, government and private industry leaders have set the tone for this society's reaction to the crisis detailed in this report. U.S. and world leaders have found it acceptable to do almost nothing in Bosnia in the face of the murder of 200,00 innocent men, women, and children, and to do nothing in the face of 40,000 girl and women victims of Serbian 'rape camps.' Is this is 1994 or 1944? In the same way, the complacency of the King of Spain in 1519 and the leaders of Guatemala in the 1980's, both of whom allowed the mass rape and mass-murder of innocent Native-Peoples to occur, and close to the mentality of certain government officials and local captains-of-industry. Many of them have knowingly contributed to covering-up the issues here at hand, turning their backs on innocent victims of abuse.

 


C. The present and the future -2: The nature of contract office cleaning work.

I have detailed the historical background of this present crisis to help familiarize the reader with the complex nature of the problem of the work-place sexual and economic exploitation of immigrant women, especially in contract cleaning companies. Below are listed some of the conditions which can be found at the typical contract cleaning company work site. These sites often have several dozen workers.

  • Cleaning companies work on contracts won by them, usually obtained from competitive bidding.
  • Cleaning companies have every reason to suppress the open discussion of the issue of work-place sexual harassment and other employee abuses. Silence protects both their overall reputation and it protects individual cleaning contracts from cancellation due to the investigation of these issues.
  • Cleaning companies generally hire men as their contract site supervisors and assistant-supervisors.
  • The majority of the workers at most cleaning contract work sites are women and teen-aged girls.
  • The majority of contract office-building cleaning is done after hours on part-time or full time shifts. Most of these cleaning contracts are worked from 5 pm to 9 pm, or on 8 hour night shifts.
  • Most contract office cleaners and supervisors in the Washington, D.C. area are Central-American immigrants. Most of these immigrants come from the countries of El Salvador and Guatemala.
  • The structure of work within office-cleaning teams usually involves having one or more persons (usually women) clean the building's bathrooms, having one or more persons (usually men) hauling bulk trash from the floors being cleaned to trash dumpsters, and having large work areas within the office building vacuum-cleaned, dusted, and the trash collected (usually by women).
  • The jobs of bathroom cleaners and floor-persons (usually women) involve working for extended periods of time in large office-buildings behind closed and locked doors during business off-hours.
  • The only persons who have access to these locked office areas during the hours when cleaning operations take place are usually the cleaning contract supervisors, their assistants, and guards.
  • These male supervisors within the average large-scale office cleaning contract have the unlimited ability, with their pass-keys, to enter the isolated work areas where their women workers labor.
  • According to an official of the Montgomery County Human Relations Commission, and also from my personal observation and from my victim advocacy work, it is exactly under this set of conditions that the harassment, intimidation, and sexual and physical-assault of workers occurs.
  • The supervisors who are also perpetrators of these illegal acts take advantage of isolation, the locked offices, and the English-Spanish language barrier between their staff and office workers.

 


C.The present and the future -3: The criteria used in reporting this chronology.

On the following pages is related a chronology of true events. They are known to be true to the author either from direct personal knowledge of the incidents involved, or because the sources of this information are known-by and are trusted-by me. They involve episodes of the economic and sexual exploitation of Latin-American immigrant women in the work-place. All of these events occurred at work-sites within Montgomery County, Md. Most were brought to my attention by victims seeking help.

The information within this chronology in presented in this report under the following conditions:

The alleged victims of these episodes are not named. This is done to protect the privacy of these women, and to protect them from possible retaliation by the alleged perpetrators. Victims in these cases typically fear being fired from their jobs, if they are still employed by the company, and they also fear direct physical retaliation against themselves by the perpetrators of these abuses.

The names of the commercial businesses whose supervisory or staff personnel are allegedly involved in these civil and/or criminal law violations will not be mentioned. I will gladly provide government law-enforcement, human-rights, judicial, and legislative bodies with this information.

The names of the work-sites involved, where the alleged victims worked for service providers (usually contract office-cleaning companies) at a contract site, are identified by name and address.

As part of this chronology, I have included excerpts of correspondence which I have sent over the past several years to officials of the government of Montgomery County, Md. regarding several very serious incidents of the alleged economic and sexual exploitation of Latin-American immigrant women in Montgomery County, Md. This correspondence consists mainly of sections of my June, 1992 report to the Montgomery County Executive, "Racism and Sexism in Montgomery County", and memoranda to the Montgomery County, Md. Human Relations Commission regarding other very serious abuse cases.

There is a critical factor here which has served to the benefit of the alleged perpetrators of these incidents of serious sexual harassment and sexual assault against Latin-American immigrant women. That factor is that many of the victims of this sexual abuse are adult and teen-aged women who are either married or live with a partner. As an official of the Montgomery Human Relations commission explained to me in early 1993, while discussing a serious, ongoing set of sexual-abuse incidents at a Montgomery County office building complex, going to the press would likely result in incidents of family break-up and domestic violence for not just some of the actual victims, but potentially for any woman who worked within that complex. I followed that advice for a year, only to see conditions at that site deteriorate. Also, although I brought 2 victims from this complex in to file formal complaints in January, 1993, one victim, who has a very serious complaint, has not received her complaint paperwork from the HRC 1 year later!

This chronology is presented here because the level of these abuse events within work places in Montgomery County, Md. are growing at a rapid rate. The logic of maintaining silence is a moot point, as this on-the-job abuse is as-bad or worse than any potential domestic violence which victims may face.

 


C. The present and the future: 

-4 A chronology of actual cases within Montgomery County, Md.

Chronology Table of contents. (Sexual Assault, Rape, Sexual Harassment, Other Discrimination)

 


CASES:

Event #: Victim #, Origin: Ethnicity Age: Job Business Type: Location: Bus #. Yr:
1 1 Ecuador Mestiza 15 Janitor Cleaning Company Rockville, Maryland 1 1985
2 2 Ecuador Mestiza 16 Shoe Sales Shoe Retail Rockville, Maryland 2 1986
3 3 Ecuador Mestiza 17 Cashier Fast-Food Rockville, Maryland 3 1987
4 4 El Salvador Mestiza 20's Janitor Cleaning Company Rockville, Maryland 4 1987
5 5 Ecuador Mestiza 40's Job  Appli- cant County Gov't. Rockville, Maryland 5 1987
6 6 Guatemala White 30's Janitor Cleaning Company Rockville, Maryland 6 1988
7 7 Guatemala White 30's Janitor Cleaning Company Rockville, Maryland " 1988
8 8 Guatemala White 30's Janitor Cleaning Company Rockville, Maryland " 1988
9 5  Nicaragua    Indigenous 30's Janitor Cleaning Company Case #2 Rockville, Maryland " 1988
10 5  Nicaragua    Indigenous 30's Janitor Cleaning Company Case #2 Rockville, Maryland " 1988
11 5  Nicaragua   Indigenous 30's Janitor Cleaning Company Case #2 Rockville, Maryland " 1988
12 6  Guatemala   Indigenous teen Janitor Cleaning Company Rockville, Maryland 6 1991
13 7  Salvador   

 

? Rest worker  Restaurant Rockville, Maryland 7 1991
14 8 Puerto Rico      White 30's Musician Dance Band Four Corners, Maryland 8 1991
15 9  Guatemala  Janitor Cleaning Company Rockville, Maryland 9 1992
16 10 El Salvador Mestiza ? Janitor Cleaning Company Rockville, Maryland 9 1992
17 10 El Salvador    Mestiza 30's Janitor Cleaning Company Rockville, Maryland 9 1992
18 11 El Salvador   Mestiza 40's  Janitor Cleaning Company Rockville, Maryland 9 1992
19 12 El Salvador    ? ? Janitor Cleaning Company Rockville, Maryland 9 1992
20 13 El Salvador   Mestiza 20's  Janitor Cleaning Company Case #1 Rockville, Maryland 10 1993
21 13 El Salvador Mestiza 20's  Janitor Cleaning Company Case #1 Rockville, Maryland 10 1993
22 14 El Salvador   Mestiza 20's  Janitor Cleaning Company Case #1 Rockville, Maryland 10 1993
23 14 El Salvador  Mestiza 20's   Janitor Cleaning Company Case #1 Rockville, Maryland 10 1993
24 15 El Salvador  Mestiza 14  Janitor Cleaning Company Case #1 Rockville, Maryland 10 1993
25 16 El Salvador  Mestiza 17 Janitor Cleaning Company Case #1 Rockville, Maryland 10 1993
26 17  Colombia    White 30's ? ? Chevy Chase, maryland 11 1993
27 18 Colombia    White 20's ? ? Rockville, Maryland 12 1993
28 19  Nicaragua   ? Janitor Cleaning Company Case #3 Rockville, Maryland 13 1993
29   ?   ? Janitor Cleaning Company Case #3 Rockville, Maryland 13 1993
30 20  Mexico ? Janitor Cleaning Company Case #3 Rockville, Maryland 13 1993
31 1  Ecuador       Mestiza 20's Recep- tion Medical Clinic German- town, Maryland 14 1993
32 22  Guatemala    Mestiza 30's Janitor Cleaning Company Rockville, Maryland 15 1993
33 23 El Salvador    Mestiza 30's Janitor Cleaning Company Rockville, Maryland 15 1993
34 10 El Salvador    Mestiza 30's Janitor Cleaning Company Rockville, Maryland 15 1993
35 24 Guatemala      White teen Rst. Worker Restaurant ? 16 1993
36 24  Guatemala  White ? house cleaner Cleaning Company ? 17 1994
37 10 El Salvador    Mestiza 30's Janitor Cleaning Company Four Corners, Maryland 18 1994
38 10 El Salvador   Mestiza 30's  Janitor Cleaning Company Four Corners, Maryland 18 1994
39 24 El Salvador   Mestiza 40's  Janitor Cleaning Company Four Corners, Maryland 18 1994
 
 
   
   

LibertadLatina

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Updated: June 28, 2011


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Added: Jun. 26, 2011

Mexico, Honduras

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

Sale por presiones Cónsul hondureña en Chiapas

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Officials cite security concerns

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

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

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

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

"To the contrary, the government (of Chiapas) has cooperated on migrant issues, and in regard to the issue that Consul Villamil specializes in, human trafficking," said Consul General Pineda.

Ariadna García and Martín Morita

Terra.com

June 19, 2011

See also:

Added: Apr. 24, 2011

Mexico

Patricia Yamileth Villamil, anteriormente la cónsul de Honduras en Chiapas

Patricia Yamileth Villamil, former Honduran consul in Mexico's southern border state of Chiapas.

Foto/Photo: Diario del Sur

Trafficking, Forced Prostitution Denounced in Chiapas

While focus continues on the dangers to migrants traveling north in Mexico, a new phenomenon appeared in the south: forced prostitution of young migrant women. The culprits, however, may be part of the same Zetas organization that is perpetrating the atrocities in the north.

The outcry about the problem came from Patricia Villamil, the Honduran consul in the southern Mexican state of Chiapas, who told Agence France Presse that women are trafficked from Honduras to be forced into sexual slavery in that state.

"They bring women lured from Honduras, preferably those younger than eighteen,” the consul said. “The majority are brought from San Pedro Sula [in northwest Honduras], but many are also from [the central departments of] Comayagua and Olancho.”

The consul says the victims come in groups of five or six and are distributed among several dozen bars in Chiapas. One victim told AFP that she was promised a job in a restaurant in Mexico. When she arrived, she was forced to prostitute herself without any pay.

Although her office has become flooded with cases of Honduran migrants who have been forced to work without pay against their will, Villamil says Mexican authorities have been slow to react.

"I'm not going to shut up until they do their job," she said.

Mexican authorities disagree with Villamil's assessment. Enrique Mendez, the official prosecutor in charge of crimes against immigrants in Chiapas, says individual cases of extortion and forced prostitution are not widespread in the area.

"Yes, there is people trafficking, but not in an alarming manner," Mendez told the AFP.

He added that many of the women come on their own and are not coerced.

The phenomenon of young Central American women being trafficked for sex is not new. As InSight reported, traffickers are luring women from increasingly more urban and middle-class backgrounds. In some of these cases, the traffickers operate phony dance schools and talent agencies in order to disguise their illegitimate activities.

In the case of Chiapas, however, the victims appear to be more lower class and could be part of the pockets of migrants making their way north through that large border state...

Geoffrey Ramsey

InSight - Organized Crime in the Americas

April 21, 2011

See also:

Added: Apr. 04, 2011 

Mexico, Honduras

Operativos para combatir la trata de personas deben ser permanentes

Tapachula, Chiapas - Ante la tardanza con la que actúa la Fiscalía Especial para los Delitos de Violencia contra las Mujeres y Trata de Personas (FEVIMTRA), de la Procuraduría General de la República para combatir este fenómeno social en la frontera sur de México, la cónsul de Honduras en Tapachula, Patricia Villamil Perdomo, exigió se tomen cartas en el asunto al mismo tiempo de señalar que esta instancia se tarda tres meses en armar sus investigaciones para posterior realizar los operativos pertinentes.

Reconoció que existen redes de trata de personas desde Honduras y Centroamérica hasta México, gente que va a traer a las jóvenes para prostituirlas y explotarlas laboralmente, por lo que instó a las autoridades para que los operativos de combate a este tema que se efectúan de vez en cuando, sean permanentes...

Operations to combat trafficking should be made permanent: Honduran consul in Chiapas

The city of Tapachula in Chiapas state, [on Mexico's southern border with Guatemala] – Reacting to the repeated delays that the Special Prosecutor for Crimes of Violence against Women and Trafficking in Persons (FEVIMTRA) [an office in the Attorney General of the Republic] - demonstrates in reponse to [the ongoing crisis of] gender violence on the southern border of Mexico, the Honduran consul in the city of Tapachula [in Chiapas state], Patricia Perdomo Villamil, has demanded that FEVIMTRA step up and take action on cases in a timely manner. Currently, FEVIMTRA takes three months to set-up their investigations, activity that is carried-out prior to conducting enforcement operations.

Consul Perdomo Villamil declared that there are human trafficking networks that move [victims] from Honduras and Central America to Mexico. Those who are trafficked are girls and young women who will be subjected to prostitution and labor exploitation. She urged the Mexican authorities to conduct their anti-trafficking operations on a permanent basis.

The Consul charged that currently, federal authorities are taking more than three months to investigate allegations, when their response should be immediate. At the same time, Consul Perdomo Villamil recognized that the Chiapas state Special Prosecutor for Crimes Committed Against Immigrants was doing good work.

The diplomat said that a statement issued [by state officials] in Tuxtla Gutierrez [capital of Chiapas state] to be strange, given that it announced that the she had failed to attend a workshop on human trafficking. Consul Perdomo Villamil responded by emphasizing that she is the only Consul to have addressed this problem, and that it was she who had worked with the state Special Prosecutor for Crimes Committed Against Immigrants to prepare an operation that led to the rescue of [a number of] exploited Central American women and the arrest of two suspects. Those arrested included that of "Mother Meche" in the city of Frontera Comalapa. The Consul added that perhaps her error was that she had not known the date that the raids had been planned for, and was in Honduras at the time.

Consul Perdomo Villamil exclaimed that in regard to the issue of human trafficking, she has made public statements warning fellow Central Americas that, from the moment they leave their homes to cross into another country, they are at risk of being subjected to human trafficking and prostitution. "We have made complaints, but the process for the victims is tedious and long. We have waited for up to three months before these operations are carried out. The response should be immediate," she said.

"In Chiapas, when there is human trafficking, you can not fool anyone. The rights of migrants continue to be violated. There are cases of sex trafficking in [the cities and towns of] Comalapa, Huixtla, Motozintla, Tapachula and many of the municipalities the region and across the country” she said...

César Solís

Diario del Sur, Organización Editorial Mexicana

March 23, 2011

See Also:

Added: Apr. 04, 2011 

Mexico, Central America

Migrantes centroamericanas padecen explotación sexual en Chiapas

Adolescentes son obligadas a prostituirse en municipios chiapanecos que hacen frontera con Guatemala

Central American migrants in Chiapas suffer from sexual exploitation

Teens are forced into prostitution in the cities and towns of the Mexican border state of Chiapas

...During the International Congress on Gender and Migration held in the city of Tapachula, Chiapas on March 9th, 2011, the Honduran consul in Chiapas Patricia Perdomo Villamil explained the workings of the international human trafficking networks that operate in Chiapas.

Consul Perdomo Villamil said that men and women participate in human trafficking as 'procurers' of adult women and underage girls. An unknown number of the victims are forced into prostitution in the towns of Comitan, Huixtla, Chicomuselo, Motozitla and Frontera Comalapa. All of these Chiapan towns border Guatemala.

Consul Villamil Perdomo said there is not enough will on the part of the authorities to clear out these trafficking networks, even when they have identified the places where they operate and the centers where victims are taken.

This past Monday the local consuls of the Central American nations were scheduled to meet with state prosecutors and the President of the Court of Justice for the State of Chiapas, to agree on preventive measures to help reduce the trafficking of persons for sexual and labor exploitation.

On March 4th, the state Attorney General, Raciel López Salazar explained that during the past four years state authorities have dismantled 23 human trafficking gangs. Without specifying numbers, the official said that during these actions state and municipal public servants involved in trafficking have been arrested.

The Mexican Index of Vulnerability to Human Trafficking, prepared by Center for Studies and Research in Development and Social Welfare, has identified the fact that Chiapas is among the five Mexican states with the highest numbers of victims of human trafficking and other forms of exploitation.

The other states are Michoacán, Oaxaca, Zacatecas and Guanajuato. There are no precise figures on the number of people affected...

CNN Mexico

March 23, 2011

See Also:

Added: Apr. 04, 2011 

Mexico, Central America

Comunicado Denuncia De Red De Trata De Personas En Chiapas

Press Release denounces human trafficking network in Chiapas state

Mayan indigenous activists in Chiapas state, Mexico, support Honduran consul in Chiapas Patricia Yamileth Villamil's complaint that Mexican officials are taking inadequate steps to curb human trafficking in the region. The signatories to this letter call upon the authorities to step-up their anti-trafficking enforcement activities.

A Los Gobiernos de Centroamerica

A Las Organanizaciones Nacionales e Internacionales

A La Comision Nacional de Los Derechos Humanos

A La Organizacion de Las Naciones Unidas

A La Sociedad en General

Al Gobierno de Mexico

Al Gobierno del Estado de Chiapas

El Viernes 11 de marzo de 2011 la cónsul de Honduras, Patricia Yamileth Villamil denunció que grupos de tratantes de personas llegan hasta las comunidades pobres como Puerto Cortés, Comayagua y San Pedro Sula a sacar con engaños a jovencitas hondureñas ofreciéndoles trabajos bien pagados como empleadas del hogar o meseras de restaurantes, pero al llegar a Chiapas son obligadas a prostituirse en bares y centros nocturnos de poblados fronterizos con Guatemala como Frontera Comalapa, Comitán, San Cristóbal, San Gregorio Chamic y Tapachula. Las jovencitas, por temor no denuncian los hechos porque vienen dominadas por sus enganchadores que son también sus acreedores de deudas que van de tres mil a cinco mil pesos por costos de traslado. Señaló que esta situación se vive día a día en los municipios fronterizos y la realidad es que en bares de Chiapas hay muchas hondureñas, tanto menores que van desde los 14 y los 17 años de edad, como jóvenes adultas que están siendo explotadas ya sea víctimas de trata o prostitución...

La cónsul Patricia Yamileth Villamil lamentó “la lentitud con que las autoridades actuaron para detener a los responsables de la explotación sexual en contra de jóvenes centroamericanas, y advirtió que exigirá a todas las autoridades competes que asuman su responsabilidad y que ejerzan acción penal contra quienes resulten responsables, porque “Tenemos conocimiento que se encuentran inmiscuidos agentes del ministerio público, policías, elementos de migración y otras autoridades. Vamos a llegar hasta las últimas consecuencias...”

Movimiento Migrante Mesoamericano / Mesoamerican Migrant Movement

March 15, 2011

See Also:

Added: Apr. 04, 2011 

Mexico, El Salvador

Nelson Miguel Cuéllar, cónsul de la república de El Salvador en Chiapas.

Nelson Miguel Cuéllar, El Salvador's consul in Mexico's southern border state of Chiapas.

Foto Diario del Sur.

Alerta Cónsul de El Salvador sobre aumento de migración a Chiapas

Salvadoran Consul warns about the dangers of migration through Mexico's Chiapas state

Nelson Miguel Cuéllar, El Salvador's consul in Mexico's southern border state of Chiapas, warns that due to severe economic conditions in the region, the out-migration of Salvadorans and other Central Americans towards the United States will continue to increase. He also warns that all such migrants risk being victimized by human traffickers...

Tapachula, Chiapas - El consulado de El Salvador en Chiapas, dio a conocer que en Chiapas la regularización de salvadoreños podría incrementar durante 2011, por la dura crisis económica del país centroamericano, aunque se esté buscando mejorías, indicando que en promedio de años atrás a la fecha han regularizado a casi mil ciudadanos en la frontera sur...

Rubén Zúñiga

Diario del Sur/Organización Editorial Mexicana

March 24, 2011


Added: Jun. 26, 2011

Mexico

Dilcya Samantha García Espinoza was recently named as Mexico's Assistant Attorney General for Regional Control, Criminal Procedure and Protection after a successful stint as Mexico City's highly effective prosecutor for sex trafficking cases.

Jueces se resisten a castigar trata: PGR

En México hace falta sensibilizar a los jueces para que castiguen conforme está tipificado el delito de trata de personas.

La subprocuradora de Control Regional, Procedimientos Penales y Amparo, Dilcya Samantha García Espinoza de los Monteros, reconoce que en México hace falta sensibilizar a los jueces para que castiguen conforme está tipificado el delito de trata de personas, debido a que en algunos casos lo han reclasificado como corrupción de menores o lenocinio.

La funcionaria de la Procuraduría General de la República (PGR) dice que a nivel nacional el Poder Judicial ha dictado menos de 15 sentencias por trata de personas, quizá por desconocimiento o porque no sabe identificar la falta.

“Con todo el respeto al Poder Judicial, la verdad es que ahí todavía tenemos un problema, yo quiero pensar que es una cuestión de tiempo, de carácter cultural o en ocasiones es falta de conocimiento...”.

García Espinoza de los Monteros será reconocida este lunes en Estados Unidos con el premio “Heroína contra la Esclavitud Moderna”, por su trayectoria y sus logros en el DF en el combate al delito de trata de personas.

Comenta que será galardonada por el desmantelamiento de la red internacional de traficantes de personas que operaba en la casa hogar Casitas del Sur, donde lograron liberar a 11 menores.

García Espinoza de los Monteros dice que este caso es uno de sus mayores logros, aunque no puede ocultar su frustración por lo que sigue ocurriendo en el barrio de La Merced, en la ciudad de México, que históricamente ha sido un polo de tráfico de personas, prostitución de menores y explotación infantil.

La funcionaria apunta que en México en materia de atención a víctimas falta mucho por hacer, pero reconoce el trabajo de las organizaciones de la sociedad civil en el tema.

Al preguntarle cómo se ve nuestro país en el ámbito internacional en este delito, la funcionaria acepta que somos una nación que consume, permite el tránsito y expulsa a las víctimas de trata de personas.

Deputy Attorney General: Judges are resisting handing-down punishment for human trafficking crimes

Amparo Garcia Dilcya Samantha Espinoza de los Monteros, who is Mexico's Deputy Attorney General for Regional Control, Criminal Procedure and Protection, has announced that Mexico needs to sensitize judges the need to punish human trafficking as a crime. She notes that in some cases judges have reclassified the charges brought against suspects from human trafficking to corruption of minors and procuring.

Espinoza de los Monteros says that nationally, the judiciary has handed down fewer than 15 convictions for human trafficking, perhaps because of ignorance or because [the crime could not be clearly identified as trafficking].

"With all due respect to the judiciary, the truth is that we have a problem here. I want to think that it's a matter of time, cultural or that sometimes it is a lack of knowledge..."

Espinoza de los Monteros will be recognized in the U.S. on Monday with the award "Hero against Modern Slavery," for her career and his achievements in Mexico City in fighting the crime of trafficking.

He says that will be honored by the dismantling of the international network of smugglers operating in the group home Casitas del Sur, where they managed to release 11 children.

Garcia Espinoza de los Monteros said that this case is one of his greatest achievements, but can not hide his frustration at what continues to happen in the neighborhood of La Merced, Mexico City, which has historically been a center for trafficking , child prostitution and child exploitation.

The official pointed out that in Mexico in providing care to victims needs to be done, but recognizes the work of civil society organizations on the subject.

Asked how he sees our country internationally in this offense, the officer accepts that we are a nation that consumes and drives traffic allowed to victims of trafficking.

El Universal

June 26, 2011

See also:

Added: Jun. 27, 2011

Mexico

Funcionaria deja PGJDF por PGR

Dilcya Samantha García Espinoza de los Monteros fue nombrada por la Procuraduría General de la República (PGR) como la nueva subprocuradora de Control Regional, Procedimientos Penales y Amparo de la dependencia federal.

Fátima Salvador. Ciudad de México.- Cabe destacar que hasta el lunes, la funcionaria se desempeñó como subprocuradora de Atención a Víctimas del Delito y Servicios a la Comunidad dependiente de la Procuraduría General de Justicia del Distrito Federal, cargo que ocupó desde 2008 por encomienda del procurador capitalino, Miguel Ángel Mancera.

Entre los casos representativos en los que colaboró durante su estadía en la PGJDF destacan la desarticulación de bandas de lenones y la trata de menores, además contribuyó a realizar reformas en esta materia.

Uno de los últimos trabajos que realizó el despacho a su cargo fue la protección de integrantes de la familia Reyes Salazar, quienes dejaron Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, luego de sufrir amenazas y el asesinato de cinco de sus miembros.

Dilcya Samanta Espinosa de los Monteros encabezó la investigación del caso “Casitas del Sur” por la desaparición de 11 niños en dicho albergue.

La procuraduría capitalina informó que por el momento habrá un encargado de despacho en la Subprocuraduría de Atención a Víctimas del Delito.

Mexico City assistant attorney general moves to federal position

Dilcya Samantha García Espinoza de los Monteros has been named to a position in the federal Attorney General's Office (PGR) after having previously served since 2008 as Assistant Attorney General for Victims of Crime and Community Services under Mexico City Attorney General Miguel Ángel Mancera.

[García Espinoza de los Monteros has focused her efforts in Mexico City on pursuing human traffickers. Mexico City has the highest conviction rate against traffickers of any federated entity in Mexico. - LL]

Among the activities that García Espinoza de los Monteros engaged in at the Mexico City prosecutor's office involved the break-up of sex trafficking rings and assisting in the passage of tougher anti-trafficking laws.

One of her most recent cases involved the disappearance of 11 children from an orphanage called Casitas del Sur [those responsible for the disappearances are believed to have sold these children to sex traffickers]...

Edited by Leyda Martínez

May 3, 2011

About Child Labor and the Risk of Criminal Exploitation in Mexico


Added: Jun. 26, 2011

Mexico

Children labor in Mexico

Trabajan 200 mil niños en campos de Chiapas

Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Chiapas.- Cerca del 14 por ciento de los residentes de Chiapas que tienen entre cinco y 17 años están ocupados económicamente, sobre todo en el sector primario y terciario. Los apuros financieros de sus tutores y la cultura influyen en la situación. Incrementó su participación en actividades peligrosas, ante su mayor necesidad por conseguir sustento, especialmente los migrantes, informó ayer la secretaria del Trabajo del estado, Esther Almazán Torres.

Dijo que el objetivo es tener erradicada parte de la situación en 2015, a más tardar, según los tratados signados por el gobierno federal. Sin embargo, la meta es lejana, porque muchos servidores públicos desconocen el hecho, incluso no saben que existe una Ley contra la Trata de Personas, por lo que ven el tema como algo normal.

México cuenta con 28.2 millones de menores, de los cuales el 10 por ciento está empleado, de los cuales 199 mil 966 viven en la entidad, es decir, uno de cada diez niños chiapanecos forman parte de su campo productivo, según organismos internacionales y el INEGI.

Reconoció que los casos con más violaciones a sus derechos son registrados en las fincas, sobre todo en salud y educación, aunque destacó que el índice bajó en los últimos años.

La funcionaria estatal aseveró que la cultura también contribuye al problema, porque sus responsables enseñan a sus hijos a ganar dinero con alguna actividad familiar, para perpetuar la tradición. Ello no disminuye su vulnerabilidad.

200,000 children are working in the fields of Chiapas state

Tuxtla Gutierrez, Chiapas state - About 14 percent of the residents of Chiapas who are between 5 and 17 years are work... Both the financial troubles of their parents and culture influence the situation. These children engage in Increasingly dangerous activities to earn money to survive. This is especially true of migrants, Chiapas state  labor secretary Esther Almazán Torres stated yesterday.

Secretary Almazán Torres added that the state's goal is to eradicate child labor by 2015 at the latest, in accordance with the according to treaties signed by the federal government [see: United Nations Millennium Development Goals]. However, the goal is distant because many public servants are unaware of the issue, and don't even know that there is a law against trafficking in persons, so see [child exploitation] as normal.

Mexico has 28.2 million children, of whom 10 percent are employed. Some 199,000 child laborers live in the state, amounting to one in ten children in Chiapas who are working in the field, according to international organizations and Mexico's National Institute for Statistics and Geography.

Secretary Almazán Torres acknowledged that cases with most child rights violations are found in farm labor, especially in regard to health and education, but noted that the the number of complaints has declined recent years.

Culture contributes to the problem because parents teach their children to earn money with some form of family activity, to perpetuate their traditions. Such labor is not exempt from risk for these child laborers.

El Heraldo de Chiapas

June 21, 2011

See also:

Added: Jun. 26, 2011

Mexico

Niños trabajadores, en riesgo ante el crimen organizado: Victoria Cruz

Niños trabajadores, en riesgo ante el crimen organizado Las niñas y los niños que trabajan están en riesgo ante el crimen organizado, que los utiliza para transportar droga, para ser explotados sexualmente o para cometer delitos en general, aseveró en Morelia la coordinadora del Programa Internacional para la Erradicación del Trabajo Infantil de la Organización Internacional del Trabajo (OI), Victoria Cruz López.

En el marco del Foro: “La participación de los congresos locales en la prevención y erradicación del trabajo infantil y la protección del adolescente trabajador”, y ante diputados, autoridades y especialistas, la experta abogada aseguró que esa situación es cada vez más visible, por lo que urgió a buscar acciones para frenar la inclusión de menores de edad en actividades laborales.

Victoria Cruz señaló que es necesario perseguir a quienes utilizan a los menores para actividades ilícitas, por lo que entidades gubernamentales y sociedad civil deben prestar atención a esa problemática, ya que la alternativa para los adolescentes no debe ser la delincuencia organizada.

En presencia del presidente de la Junta de Coordinación Política del Congreso del Estado, Wilfrido Lázaro Medina, quien es además coordinador del grupo parlamentario del Partido Revolucionario Institucional (PRI), la representante de la OIT consideró urgente desarrollar políticas públicas para reducir la vulnerabilidad de las niñas, los niños y los adolescentes, porque el hecho de que estén en la escuela y ésta sea una opción de calidad puede ser un punto de partida fundamental.

Acompañada también por la presidenta de la Comisión de Grupos Vulnerables, Equidad y Género, Gabriela Molina Aguilar, del Partido de la Revolución Democrática (PRD), y por la presidenta de la Comisión de Derechos Humanos, Guadalupe Calderón Medina, del PRI, Cruz López argumentó que se calcula que en el país hay 3 millones de infantes, de entre los 5 y los 17 años de edad, que se encuentran laborando, la mayoría en trabajos del sector agrícola, la construcción y la minería, trabajos considerados de alta peligrosidad.

Dicha cantidad, agregó la investigadora del tema, equivale al 10.7 por ciento de la población de niñas, niños y adolescentes que existen en México, lo que equivale a hipotecar el futuro del país, sobre todo cuando 900 mil de esos menores de edad, que son los que tienen entre 5 y 13 años, ni siquiera deberían estar en el trabajo.

En ese sentido, aseveró Victoria Cruz, el trabajo infantil constituye una violación severa a los derechos de las niñas, los niños y los adolescentes, porque se atenta contra muchos de sus derechos, como el derecho al sano crecimiento, a la educación, a la cultura y al derecho a estar protegidos contra la explotación económica, que tiene que empezar a verse como un incumplimiento a las garantías en el cual todos son responsables y todos deben dar respuesta.

Victoria Cruz: Child workers are at-risk from organized crime:

Victoria Cruz López, the International Labor Organization's international program to end child labor spoke in Morelia state.

Cruz López: Child laborers are at high risk from organized criminals who exploit them to transport drugs, to be sold in prostitution and to commit crimes in general.

In a Forum called "The Participation of State Legislatures in the Prevention and Eradication of Child Labor and the Protection of Young Workers," which was presented to a group of state legislative deputies, authorities and experts, veteran attorney and International Labor Organization (ILO) representative Victoria Cruz López [organized crime's exploitation of minors] constitutes a situation that is becoming more visible by-the-day. She therefore urged state legislatures to take action to curb the inclusion of children in work activities.

Cruz López added that the prosecution of those who use children for illicit activities is a must. Government agencies and civil society must therefore pay attention to this problem, given that all agree that the [preferred] alternative [to unemployment] for adolescents should not be organized crime.

Cruz López declared that the development of public policies to reduce the vulnerability of girls, children and adolescents must be made an urgent priority. Cruz noted that schools can be used as the perfect forum for communicating with children and youth about this issue.

Cruz López argued that the country is estimated that there are 3 million children, between 5 and 17 years of age, who are now working, the majority work in agriculture, construction and mining work that is considered highly dangerous.

Some 10.7 percent of Mexico's children and underage youth work, added Cruz López. That fact amounts to mortgaging the nation's future, especially in regard to the 900,000 of these children who are those between 5 and 13 years, who should not be working at all.

Child labor constitutes a severe violation of the rights of girls, boys and adolescents, because it goes against many of their rights, including the right to healthy growth, education, culture and the right to be protected from economic exploitation, which must begin to be seen as a breach of the guarantees to which everyone must be held accountable.

Among the Morelia state congressional deputies attending the event were: Wilfrido Medina Lazaro, Morelia state's president of the Political Coordination Board of the State Congress and parliamentary coordinator of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) delegation; Gabriela Aguilar Molina, president of the Commission on Vulnerable Groups and Gender Equity, of the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD); and Guadalupe Medina Calderon, of the PRI, who is president of the Human Rights Commission.

Quadratin.com

June 17, 2011

See also:

Added: Jun. 26, 2011

Mexico

La OIT presenta en México su campaña internacional contra el trabajo infantil

La Organización Internacional del Trabajo (OIT) presentó hoy en México su campaña internacional contra el trabajo infantil apoyada por varios artistas locales, informaron hoy fuentes de la agencia de Naciones Unidas (ONU).

En un acto celebrado en un hotel de la capital mexicana, el director adjunto de la OIT para México y Cuba, Thomas Wissing, dijo que era necesario "actuar con urgencia" para eliminar las formas más peligrosas de este tipo de actividad laboral que afecta a menores.

En un comunicado, la OIT señaló que en el planeta existen 115 millones de niñas, niños y adolescentes en actividades laborales peligrosas, de los cuales el 64 % son varones y el 36 %, mujeres y niñas.

Por actividad, el 59 % de los trabajos peligrosos se concentra en la agricultura, un 30 % en el sector servicios y un 11 % en la industria.

La tendencia es a un ascenso en la cifra de adolescentes varones de entre 15 y 17 años en el mundo, apuntó la organización, al recordar que el próximo 12 de junio se celebrará el Día Mundial contra el Trabajo Infantil.

En México, añadió, hay aproximadamente 3 millones de menores de edad que trabajan dentro de un grueso de población de 112 millones de personas.

En el acto de hoy, la OIT presentó un vídeo y el vocalista de la banda de rock DLD, Paco Familiar, leyó un mensaje a nombre de una decena de artistas que se han sumado en México a la campaña, que lleva por título "¡Atención! Niños, niñas y adolescentes en trabajos peligrosos. ¡Alto al trabajo infantil!".

En su mensaje, Familiar dijo que "existe una confusión entre lo que sí es y lo que no es trabajo infantil", que permite que haya altos niveles de tolerancia social frente a este problema.

La situación en este país es "insostenible", ya que "más del 10 % de su población infantil tiene que trabajar", lo que va en contra de la educación de ese colectivo y representa un problema que hipoteca "nuestro presente y nuestro futuro", afirmó.

EFE

June 06, 2011

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Added: Jun. 26, 2011

Mexico

ILO Launches Campaign Against Child Labor

The International Labor Organization (Organización Internacional del Trabajo, ILO) launched its newest campaign against child labor in Mexico today. Various artists attended the event, many of which were vocal about their stances against child labor as it interferes with important activities, such as education and recreation. ILO member Victoria Cruz reported that 59.2% of minors employed throughout the world work in agriculture, 30% in the services sector and 11% in industry. In Mexico, there are approximately 3 million minors who are employed and about 700,000 of those minors engage in “high risk” labor, which includes mining, agriculture, and construction. Mexico is also one of the only countries to date that has not ratified the ILO’s Convention 182, otherwise known as the “Worst Forms of Child Labor Convention.”

The ILO addressed other negative effects of child labor, such as physical injuries and illness that in some cases cannot be cured. Particularly in Mexico, it is easy for minors to become involved in more dangerous work, such as narco-trafficking, due to high poverty levels in many areas and lack of better opportunities. In response to this problem, the ILO urged that the laws in Mexico should be amended to include harsher punishments for those who employ minors. According to El Universal, the assistant ILO director of Mexico and Cuba, Thomas Wissing, stated that these laws should be changed with the purpose of reducing child labor and to generate more jobs and more rewarding salaries for parents.

The organization also made sure to note that National Day Against Child Labor will be celebrated this Sunday, June 12.

Justice in Mexico

June 6, 2011

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Added: Jun. 26, 2011

Mexico

Más de 3 millones de niños mexicanos tienen que trabajar

Distrito Federal - En México, más de tres millones de menores de edad laboran y de ellos más de 700 mil lo hacen en empleos de alto riesgo como la minería, la agricultura o la construcción, situación que se agrava por la tolerancia de la sociedad y las autoridades, indicó la Organización Internacional del Trabajo (OIT).

Además, México es el único país que aún no ratifica el Convenio 182 de la OIT, que se refiere a la edad mínima para desempeñar actividades económicas, explicó el organismo en un taller donde se habló de este tema.

Con motivo del Día Mundial contra el Trabajo Infantil, que se celebrará el próximo 12 de junio, funcionarios de la organización y la subsecretaria de Inclusión Laboral de la Secretaría del Trabajo y Previsión Social (STPS) reconocieron que las sanciones económicas para empleadores de menores de edad son mínimas, pues la actual legislación establece un pago de 250 días de salario mínimo...

More than 3 million Mexican children must work

Mexico City - In Mexico, more than 3 million minors work. Around 700,000 children and youth work in high-risk jobs such as mining, agriculture and construction. According to the International Labor Organization (ILO), the situation has been aggravated by the tolerance of society and the authorities.

During an ILO workshop on child labor. officials noted that Mexico is the only nation that has not signed the ILO's Convention 182 on ending child labor, which defines minimum ages for engaging in work activities.

Mariana Otero

Milenio

June 06, 2011

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Added: Jun. 26, 2011

Mexico

En trabajos peligrosos, 600 mil niños mexicanos

En México hay mucha confusión y tolerancia respecto al trabajo peligroso en niños y niñas, particularmente en los que tienen entre 15 y 17 años de edad, lo cual trae graves consecuencias para la integridad física, pues deriva en lesiones, enfermedades irreversibles, abandono escolar y bajo rendimiento, señaló la Organización Internacional del Trabajo (OIT), que coincidió con la Secretaría del Trabajo en que se debe endurecer la ley para castigar a quien emplee a menores.

En el país, son 600 mil los que realizan labores peligrosas, de un total de 3 millones de menores de 18 años de edad que trabajan, paralelamente a los que son utilizados en tareas vinculadas con el narcotráfico -de los cuales no hay cifras-, quienes por la falta de oportunidades y la situación de pobreza que son explotados en esas actividades ilegales....

Some 600,000 underage Mexican children and youth work in dangerous jobs - International Labor Organization

According to the International Labor Organization, much confusion and tolerance exists in Mexico in regard to dangerous jobs that children and underage youth work-in across Mexico, and especially those who are between 15- and 18-years-of-age. These forms of employment cause grave consequences for a child worker's physical integrity - including exposure to diseases an irreversible illnesses. In addition, child workers perform poorly in school and [often] abandon school altogether.

Across Mexico some 600,000 minors engage in dangerous work. They are part of a total underage workforce of 3 million. In parallel, a phenomenon also exists in which minors work for narco-trafficking organizations. No statistics exist to define the size of this population of child laborers...

El Universal

June 6, 2011


Added: Jun. 26, 2011

Argentina

Trata de personas, un flagelo que avanza día a día

La trata de personas es una suerte de esclavitud moderna, que no distingue región, edad, ni clase social. Según las informaciones la zona norte de Argentina es el lugar predilecto para aquellos mafiosos que venden la vida de una persona, en lo que para ellos significa una simple transacción monetaria. Quienes se encuentran luchando contra este flagelo advierten que por cada persona que encuentran, desaparecen otras siete, aunque aseguran que no claudicaran en la batalla.

Un dato que asusta es que durante los últimos años Argentina dejó de ser un país de sólo circulación de personas, para dar lugar a la comercialización y la exportación de éstas, ya sea con fines sexuales o de esclavitud. Asimismo aumentó la trata de niños, especialmente para servidumbre por deudas y prostitución forzosa. Desde mediados del 2008 la trata se convirtió en la actividad delictiva más reditual, después del tráfico de armas y drogas. Se trata de redes de delincuentes muy bien organizadas, bajo las cuales más de 4 millones de personas en el mundo resultaron víctimas.

En relación a este tema, Germán Díaz, abogado de la Fundación María de los Ángeles, alertó a la sociedad sobre la necesidad de extremar las medidas de precaución para evitar un posible secuestro. Aunque sin ánimos de generar miedo, simplemente mayos conciencia.

“Nosotros desde acá tratamos de no crear ningún tipo de psicosis en la sociedad, solamente decimos que tomen las medidas del caso. Generalmente las denuncias que recibimos fueron de menores estudiantes, entonces desde acá les decimos que cambien la rutina del trayecto al colegio y que no vaya solas”, destacó Díaz.

Del mismo modo, destacó la importancia sobre le papel que los medios de comunicación cumplen en relación a este tema, sobre en cuestión de las redes sociales: “La información que se da por internet muchas veces entra en detalles, de los cuales estas redes mafiosas se nutren para captar a sus víctimas”.

Según explicó el letrado, el lugar de captación por excelencia es el norte de nuestro país y la frontera con Paraguay y Bolivia, pues las redes mafiosas consideran a esa zona como “económicamente pobres” y propicias para su delictivo accionar. Mientras que “la zona de explotación es la zona del sur de nuestro país”, debido a que en ese sector hay una concentración de gran poder adquisitivo.

Human trafficking, a scourge that grows from day-to-day

Human trafficking is a kind of modern slavery, which does not distinguish between regions, ages or social class. Reportedly the north of Argentina is the favorite location for organized criminals who live by selling the lives of people. Those who are fighting this scourge warn that for every person they rescue, seven others disappear. They say that they are not giving up the fight.

[Full translation to follow]

Tucuman Noticias

June 25, 2011


Added: Jun. 28, 2011

The World

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton announces the release of the 2011 Trafficking in Persons Report

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton releases the 2011 Trafficking in Persons Report 2011

Secretary Clinton: "Every year, we come together to release this report, to take stock of our progress, to make suggestions, and to refine our methods. Today, we are releasing a new report that ranks 184 countries, including our own. One of the innovations when I became Secretary was we were going to also analyze and rank ourselves, because I don’t think it’s fair for us to rank others if we don’t look hard at who we are and what we’re doing. This report is the product of a collaborative process that involves ambassadors and embassies and NGOs as well as our team here in Washington. And it really does give us a snapshot about what’s happening. It shows us where political will and political leadership are making a difference..."

U.S. Department of State

June 27, 2011


Added: Jun. 26, 2011

Latin America

Pop star and anti-trafficking activist Ricky Martin

Ricky Martin expandirá centros de ayuda a niños a toda Latinoamérica

Río Grande (Puerto Rico), - El cantante puertorriqueño Ricky Martin anunció hoy que expandirá la construcción de instituciones como El Centro Integral de Desarrollo de la Niñez, que se espera esté terminado en Loíza en 2012, a la República Dominicana, México y el resto de Latinoamérica.

Martin y su Fundación celebraron hoy la tercera edición de un torneo de golf para recaudar fondos para la construcción del Centro Integral de Desarrollo que se convertirá en un espacio para combatir en Puerto Rico la trata de personas.

"Esto es solo el comienzo, para continuar por el resto de la isla y en la República Dominicana, México y Latinoamérica", dijo Martin tras concluir el evento celebrado en el Trump International Golf Resort en Río Grande, localidad de la costa este de Puerto Rico.

El Centro Integral de Desarrollo de la Niñez, con un presupuesto de cuatro millones de dólares, comenzará a construirse este año y se espera sea inaugurado en 2012 o a principios del 2013.

El centro constará de diez salones de clases, una biblioteca y un área recreativa.

La institución atenderá desde infantes hasta jóvenes en escuela superior y operará en alianza con la organización filantrópica SER de Puerto Rico, Nuestra Escuela e Iniciativa Comunitaria.

Martin enfatizó que el centro promoverá las artes, la música, la meditación, el yoga, los deportes, las artes marciales, la salud, la educación personalizada, la cultura y los valores éticos.

"Necesitamos y queremos marcar la diferencia en los niños y jóvenes de Loíza. Nosotros estaremos ahí para apoyarlos y darles herramientas que les garanticen un futuro mejor", dijo Martin.

El modelo de construcción estuvo a cargo de la Fundación Ricky Martin (FRM) y el director del Taller Diseño Comunitario de la Escuela de Arquitectura de la Universidad de Puerto Rico, Elio Martínez Joffre.

Ricky Martin will expand child support centers throughout Latin America

Ricky Martin to Expand Children’s Aid Centers Across All Latin America

The Puerto Rican singer took up the fight against this scourge after his 2002 trip to India, where he saw at first hand the immensity of the trafficking and exploitation of minors in the Asian country.

Rio Grande, Puerto Rico - Puerto Rican pop star Ricky Martin announced that he will expand construction of institutions like his foundation’s Child Development and Prevention Center, expected to be completed in Loiza, Puerto Rico, in 2012, to the Dominican Republic, Mexico, and the rest of Latin America.

Martin and his foundation held Friday the third edition of a golf tournament aimed at collecting funds for the children’s center that will combat the exploitation and trafficking of children in Puerto Rico.

“This is just the start of a project that is going to spread across the rest of the island and on to the Domican Republic, Mexico and Latin America,” Martin said after winding up the event held at the Trump International Golf Resort in Rio Grande, a town on the east coast of Puerto Rico.

The Ricky Martin Foundation Child Development and Prevention Center, with a budget of $4 million, will begin construction this year and its inauguration is expected for 2012 or early 2013.

The center will consist of 10 classrooms, a library and a recreation area.

The institution will care for children from infancy to high-school age and will operate, in alliance with the philanthropic organization SER of Puerto Rico, the Our School and Community Initiative.

Martin said that the center will promote the arts, music, meditation, yoga, sports, martial arts, health, personalized education, culture and ethical values.

“We need to and we want to make a difference for the children and young people of Loiza. We will be there to give them support and the tools they need to guarantee them a better future,” Martin said.

The center’s design was entrusted by the Ricky Martin Foundation to the director of the Community Design Workshop of the University of Puerto Rico’s School of Architecture, Elio Martinez Joffre...

EFE (Spanish version)

June 03, 2011

EFE America (English version)

June 06, 2011


Added: Jun. 26, 2011

Nepal

Veteran anti-trafficking activist Anuradha Koirala (left), and actress Demi Moore (right) meet with the Prime Minister Jhala Nath Khanal of Nepal during the filming of CNN's anti-trafficking documentary

Demi Moore estrena documental sobre la trata de personas en Nepal en CNN

Demi Moore se une a CNN Freedom Project (Proyecto Libertad de CNN) para promover la lucha contra la trata humana a través del documental Nepal’s Stolen Children: A CNN Freedom Project Documentary (Los Niños Robados de Nepal: Un documental del Proyecto Libertad de CNN), que se estrena el domingo 26 de junio a las 7:00 p.m. por CNN International y CNN en Español.

Como colaboradora especial de CNN Freedom Project, Moore se dirige a Nepal para unirse a la ganadora del Premio Héroe CNN de 2010, Anuradha Koirala, y a su organización, Maiti Nepal, que desde su fundación en 1993 ha rescatado a más de 12.000 los niños de Nepal robados por tráfico sexual. Moore es una apasionada defensora de las víctimas de tráfico humano y a través de ADN, la organización que ella cofundó con su esposo, cuya labor se enfoca en la necesidad de atacar la demanda de tráfico sexual mediante leyes en contra de los infractores, la educación y la rehabilitación de las jóvenes víctimas atrapadas por estas prácticas abusivas.

“En el burdel yo fui forzada a tener sexo con hombres y si yo me resistía, ellos podían quemar cigarrillos en mi cuerpo, pegarme con un palo o lanzarme agua caliente. Yo fui con mi pequeño hijo, pero fuimos separados y cuando él lloró ellos quemaron su lengua con un cigarrillo”, dijo Radika, una de las niñas rescatadas en su encuentro con Moore en Maiti Nepal.

Cada año, miles de niñas nepalesas son secuestradas obligadas o forzadas a la brutal vida de la prostitución. Los Niños Robados de Nepal sigue a Moore, quien habla con docenas de niñas (algunas de apenas 11 años) que han sido víctimas del tráfico sexual. Las niñas comparten desgarradoras historias de electrocución y otras formas de tortura, y algunas incluso describen que fueron forzadas a alimentarse con hormonas para que sus cuerpos de niñas tengan el parecido del de una mujer adulta...

Elespectador.com

June 23, 2011

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Added: Jun. 28, 2011

Nepal

Nepal's Stolen Children: A CNN Freedom Project Documentary

Actress Demi Moore partners with CNN Freedom Project for a compelling documentary.

A passionate advocate for victims of human trafficking herself, Moore travels to Nepal to meet 2010 CNN Hero of the Year Anuradha Koirala and some of the thousands of women and girls Koirala’s organization has rescued from forced prostitution. How were they taken and where were they sent?

Hear the emotional, first-hand experiences of these young survivors. And follow along with Moore as she searches for answers in the fight to end this form of modern-day slavery.

Along the way she hears horror stories from former sex slaves, plays games with their children, and joins one woman making the daunting trip home.

The group also has a hospice for women with HIV-AIDS, a learning center for women hoping to make a new life and a band of border guards trying to stop women being smuggled in the first place.

CNN

June 17, 2011


Added: Jun. 26, 2011

Mexico, Latin America, Europe

Seminario internacional lucha contra la trata de personas

La Embajada de Francia en México, ha tenido a bien elegir a nuestro estado como la sede para la realización del Seminario Internacional denominado “Lucha contra la trata de personas”, los días 28, 29 y 30 de junio del presente año, siendo esta una problemática mundial de la cual Oaxaca no está exenta, sino por el contrario, somos una entidad de origen, tránsito y destino de la Trata en sus modalidades laboral y sexual, por ello, el Gobierno del Estado a través de la Procuraduría General de Justicia realiza conjuntamente con la Embajada de Francia dicho evento.

Los participantes del Seminario provienen de Francia, Canadá España, Alemania, Panamá, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Belice, República Dominicana, Haití, Chile, Colombia y Ecuador, siendo en total 52 Comisionados, Fiscales especializados, Jefes de Unidades, Agregados de seguridad, Inspectores de policías de los diversos países.

Este seminario tiene como objetivo principal compartir experiencias de investigación y protección a víctimas de la trata de personas, que permitirán a todas y todos los participantes realizar de manera más eficiente nuestra labor, así como establecer redes de coordinación y colaboración, siendo la trata de personas un problema mundial.

Upcoming international seminar on human trafficking to be held in Oaxaca state

The French Embassy in Mexico has selected Oaxaca state as the venue for the International Seminar entitled "Combating trafficking in persons", to be held on June 28th, 29th and 30th of 2011. Human trafficking is a problem that affects Oaxaca. The state is place of origin, transit and destination for labor and sex trafficking victims. The Oaxaca Attorney General is coordinating in holding the event.

Seminar participants from France, Canada, Spain, Germany, Panama, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Belize, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Chile, Colombia and Ecuador will be attending. A total of 52 commissioners, specialized prosecutors and law enforcement officials will be present.

This seminar's main objective is to share research and experiences in regard to protecting victims of human trafficking, to allow the participants perform their work more efficiently and establish coordination and collaboration networks.

NSS Oaxaca

June 25, 2011


Added: Jun. 26, 2011

New York City

Prabhu Dayal

Consul General of India accused of keeping a mother of four as virtual slave in posh Upper East Side digs

Prabhu Dayal, the Consul General of India, is accused of treating a woman like a virtual slave. The Consul General of India and his family kept a mother of four as a virtual slave on the Upper East Side, according to a lawsuit the woman filed Monday.

Santosh Bhardwaj, 45, says she was required to work more than 12 hours a day, every day, for little pay.

She said she had to escape through a back door with a security guard's help earlier this year because her boss kept her passport and wouldn't let her leave.

Prabhu Dayal, 58, who has been the Indian Consul General in New York since 2008, kept Bhardwaj in a storage room in the E. 64th Street Consulate General building and paid her $300 a month to be at his family's beck and call, the lawsuit claims.

"The Dayals did not treat me fairly," said Bhardwaj, who says she was lured from India to New York to be a maid with promises of good working conditions and decent pay.

"I filed the complaint because I want to be paid for all the labor I provided."

The suit names Dayal, his wife and daughter and seeks an unspecified amount of damages.

Emails and phone calls to the consul general's office were not returned.

Dayal took her Bhardwaj's passport and "subjected her to approximately a year of forced labor and psychological coercion in their household, culminating in an incident of sexual harassment," the lawsuit says.

"The Dayals kept Ms. Bhardwaj isolated and led her to believe they had complete control over her," said her lawyer, Legal Aid attorney Hollis Pfitsch.

"Unfortunately, Ms. Bhardwaj is not alone. Human trafficking through psychological coercion like this, designed to keep immigrant workers laboring virtually for free, is shockingly common."

In January, Bhardwaj repeated implored Dayal for money her husband needed for an operation back in India, according to the lawsuit filed in Manhattan Federal Court.

Dayal finally relented, saying he'd give her the money - but only if she'd massage his legs, the lawsuit says.

That turned out to be the last straw.

"In her culture, it was shocking and offensive for a married man to request any type of physical contact from a married woman," according to the lawsuit.

The New York Daily News

June 20, 2011


Added: Jun. 26, 2011

Mexico

Seven sex trafficking suspects are shown to the press by the Mexico City prosecutor's office

Arraigan a 7 personas por lenocinio

Giraron orden de aprehensión por el ilícito de lenocinio y delincuencia organizada a Óscar Jesús Rivera Zúñiga, alias "El Güero'' o "Bugs Bunny''.

Ciudad de México.- Con pruebas reunidas y asentadas en el pliego consignatorio, siete personas que presuntamente obligaban a sus víctimas a ejercer el sexoservicio en el lugar conocido como La Pasarela, localizado en el segundo callejón de Manzanares, colonia Centro, quedaron a disposición de un juez penal, como probables responsables de los delitos de trata de personas agravada; lenocinio y delincuencia organizada; y por corrupción de menores, por lo que cinco hombres fueron ingresados al Reclusorio Preventivo Oriente, y dos mujeres al Centro Femenil de Readaptación Social de Santa Martha Acatitla.

En cumplimiento a la orden de aprehensión librada por el juez 25 de lo Penal, con sede en el Reclusorio Preventivo Oriente, personal del área de Mandamientos Judiciales de la Procuraduría General de Justicia del Distrito Federal (PGJDF), obtuvo la entrega de los involucrados en los referidos delitos, quienes se encontraban en el Centro de Arraigos de la misma institución judicial...

Seven are arraigned for sex trafficking

They turned a warrant for the crime of pimping and organized crime Oscar Zuniga Jesus Rivera, alias "El Guero''or" Bugs Bunny.'' Photo: El Sol de Mexico

Mexico City - seven people who allegedly forced their victims to exercise their sex work at a place known as The Gateway, located in the Manzanares district of Colonia Centro, have been detained on criminal charges as alleged perpetrators of the crimes of aggravated trafficking, pimping organized crime and the corruption of minors. The five men were admitted to the Detention East facility. The two women were sent to the Women's Center for Social Rehabilitation Santa Martha Acatitla...

The trial judge held the defendants over for trial after assessing the evidence provided by the Mexico City Attorney General's Office...

Filiberto Cruz

El Sol de México

June 23, 2011


Added: Jun. 26, 2011

Mexico

Dan formal prisión a tres por el delito de trata de personas

El Juzgado 6 de Distrito de Procesos Penales Federales en la Ciudad de México dictó auto de formal prisión a tres presuntos responsables del delito de trata de personas con fines de explotación laboral y sexual.

La Procuraduría General de la República (PGR) informó en comunicado que los procesados son Denis Javier Ortiz y Ondina Moreira, ambos de nacionalidad hondureña, y Sergio Alejandro Rodríguez Salmorán.

El pasado 18 de abril el Fiscal adscrito a la Fiscalía Especial para los Delitos de Violencia contra las Mujeres y Trata de Personas (FEVIMTRA) consignó ante el juez [el expidiente]...

La acción penal se ejerció contra los inculpados por el delito señalado en agravio de dos jóvenes hondureñas a las que explotaban en un table dance denominado “La Tentación”, ubicado en el Estado de México.

De la averiguación previa se desprende que Denis Javier Ortiz y su pareja sentimental Ondina Moreira trasladaron desde Honduras a las dos mujeres, a quienes obligaban a trabajar en el lugar referido y las despojaban de sus ingresos.

Por su parte, Sergio Alejandro Rodríguez Salmorán las trasladaba y les “arreglaba” su supuesta legal estancia en México, por lo cual les cobraba cantidades que constantemente se incrementaban.

Los dos hombres enfrentarán su proceso penal en el Reclusorio Preventivo Oriente, mientras que Ondina Moreira lo hará en el Centro de Readaptación Social de Santa Martha Acatitla.

A formal arrest three on charges of trafficking

The 6th District Court Federal Criminal Proceedings in Mexico City has arrested three suspects for the crime of trafficking in persons for sexual and labor exploitation.

The Attorney General's Office (PGR) said in a statement that the defendants are Denis Moreira Javier Ortiz and Ondina, both Honduran nationals, and Sergio Alejandro Rodriguez Salmorán.

On April 18 the prosecutor assigned the case to the Special Prosecutor for Violent Crimes against Women and Trafficking (FEVIMTRA)...

Action was taken against said defendants for crimes committed against two young Honduran women which exploited in a table dance club called "The Temptation", located in the State of Mexico.

The preliminary investigation shows that when Denis Javier Ortiz and his girlfriend moved to Mexico from Honduras, the two women, who were forced to work in the place referred to and stripped of their income...

The two men face their criminal trial Detention in the East, while Ondine will Moreira at the Center for Social Rehabilitation Santa Martha Acatitla.

La Crónica

June 24, 2011


Added: Jun. 27, 2011

Texas, USA

4 sentenced in immigrant kidnapping ring near Peñitas

McAllen - Four men learned their prison sentences Monday after federal authorities busted a human trafficking operation near Peñitas last year.

The prison sentences came Monday after U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrested a man who shot himself in the leg while attempting to kidnap a group of illegal immigrants in May 2010.

One of the smuggled immigrants told ICE agents their coyote, or smuggler, had loaded him and a dozen others into a truck May 10, 2010. But before they could leave, several armed men assaulted the driver and unloaded the migrants from the vehicle.

The gunmen took the immigrants to a stash house near Peñitas, where a man known as "Comandante" told the victims they each would have to pay $2,000 if they wanted to be smuggled farther north.

When “Comandante” left the property, Mario Leon Villa was left in charge, the immigrant told investigators. When Leon and two other guards were distracted, six immigrants climbed out a window and ran to a nearby store.

Leon found the immigrants at the store, pulled out a gun and told them not to run. The immigrants ran anyway, jumped a fence and Leon accidentally shot himself in the leg.

Several other kidnappers located and rounded up the escaped immigrants and transferred them to a stash house in Edinburg. Agents and Hidalgo County sheriff’s deputies later found the remaining victims at that stash house.

The case resembled that of kidnapped immigrants in Mexico, who are abducted and held for ransom before they are able to cross the Rio Grande.

But because many incidents are charged as immigrant smuggling or assault — as in this case — it’s difficult to track exactly how often they occur on U.S. soil, local authorities have said.

Sentenced Monday by U.S. District Judge Randy Crane were:

Leon, 21, a Mexican national who received a 14-year prison sentence for his role as a stash house guard in the immigrant kidnapping scheme. Leon had faced 13 counts of conspiracy, harboring illegal aliens and hostage taking.

Fredy Bermudez Benito, 28, a Mexican national who made threatening phone calls to the immigrants’ families, demanding the additional $2,000 payments. He faced 27 counts of conspiracy, harboring illegal aliens, hostage taking and unlawfully possessing a firearm. Crane sentenced Bermudez to 20 years in federal prison.

Edinburg resident Juan Alberto Jimenez, 25, a stash house guard who was sentenced to more than 11 years in prison on 13 counts of conspiracy, harboring illegal aliens and hostage taking.

Edinburg resident Jose Rocha Pinon, 25, a stash house guard who was sentenced to nine years in prison on 19 counts of conspiracy, harboring illegal aliens and hostage taking.

Still awaiting sentencing is Mexican national Hugo Oscar Rodriguez Montoya, 27, of Tamaulipas, who was indicted on 16 counts of conspiracy, harboring illegal aliens, hostage taking and transporting illegal aliens within the United States. He faces up to life in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Already sentenced in the case was Jose Israel Leon Villa, who was sentenced to 33 months in federal prison in December 2010.

Jared Taylor

The Monitor

June 27, 2011


Added: Jun. 26, 2011

California, USA

Jose Wilson Rojas Guzman, 30, of Riverside was arrested May 16 in connection with the kidnapping and sexual assault of a 9-year-old Riverside girl.

Riverside: Man accused of abducting, raping girl faces more charges

An illegal immigrant accused of kidnapping his ex-roommate’s 9-year-old daughter from her Riverside home, then sexually assaulting her and trying to kill her, pleaded not guilty Thursday to multiple felonies — including new allegations that he assaulted two other children.

Jose Wilson Rojas Guzman, 30, of Riverside was arrested May 16 in connection with the kidnapping and sexual assault of a 9-year-old Riverside girl.

Jose Wilson Rojas Guzman, 30, could face life in prison without the possibility of parole if convicted of attempted murder, kidnapping for rape, two counts of aggravated sexual assault on a child and a sentence-enhancing allegation of inflicting great bodily injury on a child under 14 years old during a felony.

The charges stem from a May 7 abduction in Riverside. Since Guzman’s arrest on May 16, police have been investigating whether he might be responsible for similar crimes in the area.

According to Riverside County Deputy District Attorney Mike Carney, detectives located two girls allegedly attacked by the defendant in the fall of 2008.

None of the victims’ identities have been released. One girl, who was 12 at the time, alleged Guzman held her at gunpoint and molested her, Carney said. The other girl, who was 11, told detectives the defendant choked her and sexually assaulted her, according to the prosecutor.

He said DNA and fingerprint evidence connected Guzman to both crimes, as well as the most recent one.

The Mexican national has been additionally charged with two counts of burglary and one count each of aggravated sexual assault on a child and forced lewd acts on a child under 14.

Guzman appeared today before Superior Court Judge Robert Law, who set a felony settlement conference in the case for June 27. The defendant is being held in lieu of $1 million bail at the Robert Presley Detention Center in Riverside.

According to Riverside police, in the most recent case, Guzman was familiar with the victim after having rented a room from her mother in January and February.

The 9-year-old, whose identity was not released, was asleep with her older brother and younger sister in a second-story apartment in the area of Pike Street and Herman Drive when she was forcibly taken the night of May 7, investigators said.

According to Detective Roberta Hopewell, the child’s mother — a single parent — was working as a server at Leonardo’s Mexican restaurant on Arlington Avenue and had left the boy in charge of watching his sisters.

Guzman allegedly accessed the apartment through an unlocked window in the two-bedroom unit. The other youngsters were not harmed during the kidnapping, which occurred around 11 p.m.

Around two hours later, people living on Giles Court — about 2 ½ miles from where the abduction occurred — were awakened when the child began knocking on doors, asking for help, according to investigators.

The disoriented girl told officers she had been carried out of her residence by a man and was later pushed out of a car. Hopewell said videotape from security cameras at the scene showed a dark-colored pickup truck in the area around the time of the abduction. Guzman owned a black Ford F-150 pickup.

Hopewell said the suspect was a person of interest from the beginning because of his contact with the victim, her siblings and their mother. The girl was seriously injured in the attack and is now recovering at home.

City News Service

June 02, 2011


Added: Jun. 26, 2011

South Dakota, USA

Ruben Garcia

[Man] raped stepdaughter in front of 7-year-old in South Dakota

On Monday, through an interpreter, Ruben Garcia, 31, pleaded guilty to the first-degree rape of his 9-year-old stepdaughter on February 9, 2011.

Garcia admitted committing the rape to Sioux Falls police when he was captured.

According to police, Garcia raped the girl while a seven-year-old watched the ordeal. The girls reported the attacks to their mother who immediately call the police. Garcia fled, but was soon captured in Omaha.

While the maximum sentence for rape in South Dakota is life in prison, the plea agreement will ensure a somewhat shorter sentence.

Minnehaha County State's Attorney Aaron McGowan said: “There's a mandatory minimum of 15 years and under the plea agreement he's facing up to 40 years actually.”

Garcia has been held in the Minnehaha County Jail on an Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainer since his arrest since his arrest on February 10. He will be sentenced on August 15.

The Examiner

June 08, 2011


Added: Jun. 26, 2011

Pennsylvania, USA

[Man] Faces Child-Luring Charges

Williamsport police have charged a Hispanic male with luring a 12-year-old girl into his truck while it was parked across from the YMCA yesterday. Officer Marlin Smith II was dispatched to the parking lot across from the building in the 300 block of Elmira Street shortly after 10 p.m. on June 23, where he spoke with Lucinda Campbell and her 12-year-old daughter.

Campbell had observed her daughter in a truck with a Hispanic man in his twenties, Smith said. Campbell’s daughter had seen the man before and knew where he lived, and had waved to him. The man, Adrian Arriaga Castro, of Houston Texas, pulled up to the daughter in his truck and opened the passenger’s side door and gestured for her to get in. The girl entered the vehicle and stated that Castro began to talk to her and called her “pretty,” then began to rub her arm. She exited the truck as her mother arrived and Castro ran in the direction of 345 West Third Street.

Smith arrived at the apartment building to investigate; a Hispanic male approached officers outside of the building. The daughter pointed at Castro and police confirmed his identity via his Mexican identification cards; Castro was taken into custody and faces one misdemeanor charge of luring a child into a motor vehicle and one summary charge of harassment.

Additionally, it was discovered that Castro is a Mexican national and has no papers to prove that he is in this country legally, Smith said.

“Because of this police investigation, 16 illegal immigrants were detained by I.C.E. officers from the Department of Homeland Security,” Williamsport Bureau of Police Captain Raymond O. Kontz III said.

“All of these illegals were rooming at 345 West Third Street and 309 Elmira St and working for GPX Surveyor, a gas company originating from Houston Texas,” Kontz said. Castro was taken to the Lycoming County Prison.

NorthCentralPA.com

June 24, 2011


Added: Jun. 26, 2011

North Carolina, USA

Suspect... faces rape charge

A 24-year-old man, who police say is an illegal immigrant already deported once, was arrested and charged Thursday with the statutory rape of a minor under age 6.

Mario Alberto Tellez Ordaz faces three counts of statutory rape or sexual offense against a minor under 6 years. He is being held in the Henderson County jail under a $75,000 secured bond.

In a news release issued Friday, Sheriff Rick Davis said Ordaz has previously been deported and will now face federal prosecution as well, due to the nature of the charges.

“This arrest highlights the illegal immigration problem,” Davis said. Ordaz is scheduled to appear in court on Monday.

Blue Ridge Now

June 24, 2011


Added: Jun. 26, 2011

Idaho, USA

Vicente Manturano-Soto

Sex-crime case ends in prison sentence

Man gets 6.5 years for sexual battery of a minor

A 31-year-old Peruvian native was sentenced Monday to six and a half years in prison for sexual involvement in 2010 with a 16-year-old Ketchum girl.

Vicente Manturano-Soto will be required to spend two and half years in prison before parole eligibility. He was given credit for more than seven months already spent behind bars following his arrest in November. Once released, he will likely be deported.

He was also fined $2,000 and will be required to register as a sex offender.

Originally charged with four counts of rape, Manturano-Soto pleaded guilty in March to a single count of sexual battery of a minor child. The plea was in accord with an agreement with the Blaine County Prosecuting Attorney's Office.

A Blaine County grand jury indictment against Manturano-Soto in November alleged that he had an ongoing sexual relationship with the girl from May through June of 2010.

In court Monday, Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Matt Fredback described Manturano-Soto as a "close friend" of the victim's family and said he often drove the girl to school or to counseling for a previous episode of sexual abuse.

"He was aware that she was vulnerable because of her age as well as her previous abuse," Fredback said.

He said Manturano-Soto took advantage of the girl's vulnerability to engage in a sexual relationship with her.

"The victim relayed that this happened about 10 times," Fredback said.

He further noted that the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency has filed a charge against Manturano-Soto alleging that he is an illegal immigrant.

"It appears that while he initially came into this country legally, that expired in 2001 and he continued to stay in this country," Fredback said.

Defense attorney Douglas Nelson noted that his client only pleaded guilty to sexual battery of a child.

"We are here because Vicente admitted basically to making out with this girl, and he's denied anything other than that," Nelson said.

He said Manturano-Soto has recognized what he did was wrong and completed a 10-week course while in jail on moral recognition therapy. Further, Nelson said his client has been a "model prisoner" and has served as a jail trusty.

Speaking through a court interpreter, Manturano-Soto apologized for his actions.

"The truth is I feel very bad about this," he said. "What I did was wrong. I know that God loves all his children and I ask you for forgiveness."

Fifth District Judge Robert J. Elgee said he would have given Manturano-Soto more prison time if not for steps the defendant has taken to improve his life.

"I recognize that you have expressed remorse and you have tried to improve yourself while in jail," Elgee said. "But what you did was a bad act, even if you only did what you've admitted to.

"I happen to believe you did more than you've admitted to. She was half your age. The law is designed to protect young girls who are not adults from older men like you. I know that what you did was not forcible, but the sentence is because of her age."

Terry Smith

Idaho Mountain Express and Guide

June 22, 2011

 


Added: Jun. 22, 2011

Colombia

Youth from the city of Cartegena's impoverished Boquilla neighborhood participate in performing Colombian folkloric music in as part of cultural activities organized by the Renacer (Rebirth) Foundation to guide local children and youth away from the tourist resort's child sex traffickers.

A Renacer (Rebirth) Foundation information table promotes the "We are the Wall" campaign, working to bring the hotel industry and other tourist businesses into a campaign to stop child sex tourism in the beach resort city of Cartagena

Prostitutas protegen a niños de redes de proxenetas

Trabajadoras sexuales de Cartagena le declararon la guerra a la prostitución infantil en este turístico balneario del Caribe colombiano y junto a la policía y ONGs buscan estrategias para evitar que los menores caigan en las redes de proxenetas.

Las prostitutas lideran un proyecto para que taxistas, vendedores ambulantes y meseros cooperen frente a mafias que ofrecen a unos 2.000 niños de los barrios marginales.

“Fui prostituta antes que mujer. Comencé a los 10 años y sufrí experiencias que no creerían. Sé que no puedo borrar el pasado, pero sí puedo evitar que otros niños pasen por lo que yo viví y por eso los invito a ayudar”, dijo Damaris a un grupo de taxistas reunidos en un salón público de La Boquilla, un deprimido sector de la ciudad.

La mujer, que aún ejerce en un prostíbulo del centro de la ciudad, forma parte de la campaña ‘La muralla soy yo’ que busca involucrar a quienes viven del turismo en la lucha contra la explotación de niños y adolescentes.

“Desafortunadamente aquí al turista que llega con plata se le permite casi todo. Mi invitación es a ponerle límite. Que cuando pregunten por niños para (tener) sexo, no les pasen información. Piensen que son niños y que ellos, como sus hijos, valen más que cualquier propina”, pidió.

Pero el negocio de la prostitución ha cambiado y con las nuevas tecnologías “ahora es menos frecuente ver el corrillo (grupo) de muchachitos esperando en una esquina la llegada del cliente”, señaló Luis Céspedes, uno de los taxistas que participó en el taller.

“Antes los turistas preguntaban por niñas, pero ahora los contactos se hacen por internet. El turista dice ‘Lléveme a tal hotel’ ahí tiene su cuento con el muchachito o la pelada (niña) le paga y ya. No entiendo cómo vamos a poder ayudar”, cuestionó.

El comandante de Policía local, general Ricardo Restrepo, admitió que este negocio ilegal “se ha sofisticado” y que detrás del abuso sexual a menores en Cartagena se mueven poderosas mafias...

Prostitutes unite to protect children from sex traffickers

Sex workers in the coastal tourist resort city of Cartagena have declared war on child prostitution. Working in collaboration with police and non governmental organizations, they are developing strategies to prevent children from falling into the hands of prostitution networks.

Adult sex workers are leading a project to convince taxi drivers, street vendors and waiters not to cooperate with the sexual exploitation networks that today sell some 2,000 children from the city's slums in prostitution.

A woman named Damaris, speaking to a gathering of local taxi drivers in a poor section of Cartagena called La Boquilla said, "I was a prostitute before I became a woman. I started at the age of 10, and I went through experiences that you would not believe. I know that I can't erase the past, but I can prevent other children go through what I lived through, and I invite you to help."

The woman, who still works in a brothel in the city center, is part of the campaign "I am the wall,' that seeks to involve those who work in the tourism industry in the fight against the exploitation of children and adolescents.

Damaris, "Unfortunately the tourist who comes here with money is allowed to do almost anything they want. I invite you to help us place limits on them. When these tourists ask for children to have sex [a question asked of taxi drivers across Latin America], don't give them information. Remember that they are children and that they, like your children, are worth more than any tip."

The business of prostitution has changed with the emergence of new technologies [the Internet]. "It is now less common to see a circle of boys on a corner waiting for the arrival of a customer," said Luis Cespedes, one of the drivers who participated in the workshop.

"Before the tourists asked for girls, but now the contacts are carried out online. These days, the tourist says, 'Take me to this hotel.' They engage with a boy or girl, pay them, and that's it. I do not understand how we can help," exclaimed Cespedes.

The local police commander, General Ricardo Restrepo admitted that this illegal business "is sophisticated." He acknowledged that powerful mafias control child prostitution in Cartagena.

"Last year we conducted operations with U.S. authorities with very good results. Now we're doing the same with an organization in Spain. These countries know that they have citizens who come to Cartagena to engage in these types of crimes. These nations have therefore taken on their responsibilities [to react]," said the official said.

Mayerlin Vergara, of the non governmental organization Renacer, noted that "ten years ago, we found the child victims of sexual exploitation in the clubs or on the streets. They now engage in prostitution in communities and in educational institutions. They no longer have a reason to come to the city center."

Attorney Freddys del Toro, of the Swiss NGO Tierra de Hombres, which advocates for victims of child sexual exploitation, noted that child sex tourism is promoted "through so-called travel agencies that operate online and that don't have local offices, making it difficult to combat their activities."

The Cartagena prosecutor's office has registered 400 complaints of child sexual abuse. Prosecutions of child sexual exploiters have resulted in 19 convictions to-date.

"We just had a historic decision in Colombia. For the first time, a foreigner was convicted. Italian Paolo Pravisani, age 72, was [sentenced] in the death of a young boy, Yesid Torres, whom Pravisani was sexually abusing," said del Toro.

In 2010 Colombian authorities arrested Briton Anthony Paul Brailsford, who has lived in Cartagena since 2001. Police found photos of naked girls in his possession. Meanwhile, in March, the Spanish film producer Pablo Lapiedra was arrested on accusations that he was filming pornographic movies with children.

Colombian law provides for penalties of up to eight years in prison for those who lead, organize or promote tourist activities that include the sexual use of children and provides that property used for that purpose may be confiscated.

Figures from the government's Colombian Family Welfare Institute estimates that about 35,000 children are forced into prostitution in the country. Some 2,000 of those children live in Cartagena.

El Nuevo Heraldo

June 17, 2011

See Also:

Added Sep. 14 2005

Colombia

Así se mueve la cadena del turismo sexual con menores de edad en Cartagena.

About child sex tourism in Cartagena

Cartagena - in Colombia's largest spa and beach resort city, popular with foreign tourists, 1,200 underage children and youth engage in prostitution. 

At the city's international airport, 15 year old girls line up waiting for the arrival of one of the many weekly flights that bring in male tourists, especially from Spain and Italy. 

Many of these girls have been contacted from Europe by phone, and a week of 'companionship' has been set up. Other girls make deals with newly arrived airline passengers.  In other cases, taxi drivers and bar owners receive a fee for connecting tourists with young prostitutes.

The victims are typically young Afro-Colombian girls and boys. 

According to Vittorio Chimienti, director of a child advocacy project in Cartagena started by the Italian government following growing concern about its citizen's flagrant sex tourism:

"Law enforcement does almost nothing to control the child sex trade, and word of impunity travels rapidly around the world." 

See Also:

Added July 18 2005

Cartagena, donde se ofrecen niñas de entre ocho y 17 años en la prostitución.

Colombian authorities urged to change the laws and fight child prostitution in the spa resort city of Cartagena, where increasing numbers of girls between 8 and 17 are prostituted to sex tourists.

See Also:

Added: Nov. 07, 2004

The sexual exploitation of 1,600 minors taints Colombia's Caribbean tourist haven [of Cartagena]

...Cartagena's history as a Spanish bastion against English invasion, its cobblestone streets, quaint plazas, colonial churches, art museums and seafood restaurants attract many visitors. Yet behind the thick, ancient walls lurks a darker attraction: the sexual exploitation of minors by foreigners .

The city has become a magnet for men, many of them Europeans, seeking sex with young girls and sometimes boys, many of them from families displaced from their rural homes by fighting among leftist rebels, government forces and right-wing paramilitary groups.

On the main hotel strip, foreigners openly haggle with underage girls selling their bodies or duck past pink neon lights into what purports to be a discotheque. Inside, bored-looking teenage girls at tables perk up only when a man walks by. He can take his pick, pay as little as $15 and take her to a room across the road.

"Unfortunately, Cartagena has the image of being a place where people can have whatever kind of sexual relations they want," says Fabian Cardenas, the local coordinator for Renacer, a private group that helps victims of sexual exploitation.

"There are many foreigners who come here with the sheer objective of having sex. And what the tourist wants, the tourist gets."

An estimated 1,500 girls and boys work in Cartagena's sex industry . Over the last three years, Renacer has learned of girls as young as 7 and boys as young as 9 being sexually exploited, Cardenas says.

Cartagena isn't alone. Many Latin American cities, in countries like Mexico, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic and Brazil, are now being frequented by "sex tourists" looking for minors, as a result of shift in the business from Asia following police crackdowns.

Poverty and domestic sexual abuse push many children into the sex industry...

The Associated Press

April 07, 2004



A sample of other important news stories and commentaries



Added: Apr. 17, 2011

Massachusetts, USA

Donna Gavin, commander of the Boston Police Human Trafficking Unit, at Wheelock College

Norma Ramos, executive director of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women, speaks

Wheelock professor and anti pornography activist Dr. Gail Dines, and survivor and activist Cherie Jimenez speak at Wheelock

LibertadLatina's Chuck Goolsby speaks up to represent the interests of Latin American and indigenous victims at Wheelock College

Wheelock College anti-trafficking event

Stopping the Pimps, Stopping the Johns: Ending the Demand for Sex Trafficking

This event is part of Wheelock's sixth annual "Winter Policy Talks."

Speakers:

•Donna Gavin, commander of the Boston Police Human Trafficking Unit and the Massachusetts Task Force to Combat Human Trafficking. She is a sergeant detective of the Boston Police Department.

•Cherie Jimenez, who used her own experiences in the sex trade to create a Boston-area program for women

•Norma Ramos, executive director of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women

•Gail Dines, Wheelock professor of Sociology and Women's Studies and chair of the American Studies Department

Wheelock College

March 30, 2011

See also:

Added: Apr. 17, 2011

Massachusetts, USA

Wheelock College to discuss Massachusetts sex trafficking

Wheelock College is set to hold a panel discussion on the growing sex trafficking in Massachusetts.

The discussion, titled "Stopping the Pimps, Stopping the Johns: Ending the Demand for Sex Trafficking," is scheduled for Wednesday and will feature area experts and law enforcement officials.

Those scheduled to speak include Donna Gavin, commander of the Boston Police human trafficking unit and the Massachusetts task force to combat human trafficking.

Experts believe around 14,000 to 17,000 people are trafficked into the U.S. every year, including those from Latin America, Asia and Africa.

The panel is part of the Brookline school's sixth annual "Winter Policy Talks."

The Associated Press

March 30, 2011

See also:

LibertadLatina Commentary

Chuck Goolsby

On March 30, 2011 Wheelock College in Boston presented a forum that explored human trafficking and ways to end demand. Like many human trafficking gatherings held around the world, the presenters at this event provided an empathetic and intelligent window into current thinking within the different interest groups that make up this movement. Approximately 40 college students and local anti-trafficking activists attended the event.

Norma Ramos, executive director of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women (CATW) spoke about current human trafficking conditions around the world. Pornography abolitionist Dr. Gail Dines of Wheelock presented a slide show on pornography and its link to the issue of prostitution demand. Survivor Cherie Jimenez told her story of over 20 years facing abuse at the hands of pimps, and her current efforts to support underage girls in prostitution. Detective Donna Gavin discussed the Boston Police Department’s efforts to assist women and girls in prostitution, including the fact that her department’s vice operations helping women in prostitution avoid criminal prosecution to the extent possible.

The presentation grew into an intelligent discussion about a number of issues that the presenters felt were impacting the effectiveness of the movement. Among these issues were perceptions on the part of Dr. Dines that a number of activists in the human trafficking movement have expressed pro-pornography points of view. She added that the great majority of college students in women’s programs with whom she talks express a pro-pornography perspective. Panelists also expressed the view that many men who lead anti-trafficking organizations also have a pro-pornography viewpoint.

Cherie Jimenez shared her opinion that U.S. born victims do not get as much visibility and attention relative to foreign born victims. She emphasized that victims from all backgrounds are the same, and should be treated as such.

Jimenez emphasized that much of her work as an activist focuses on helping young women who, at age 18, leave state supported foster care, and must then survive on their own. She emphasized that foster care is a broken system that exposes underage girls to routine sexual abuse. CATW’s Ramos, who was a victim of that system herself, agreed.

Ramos, head of the global Coalition Against Trafficking in Women and Girls for Sexual Exploitation (CATW), emphasized that men who operate in the arena of anti sex trafficking activism must be accountable to women activists, because the issue was a gender issue. She also stated that she approached the human trafficking issue from an indigenous world view.

In response to a question from a Latina woman about services for transgender youth, Detective Gavin of the Boston Police Department stated that they have not run into sex trafficking cases involving males. Norma Ramos did note that sex trafficked male youth did exist in significant numbers in the New York City area.

During the question and answer period of the forum, I spent about 15 minutes discussing the issue of human trafficking from the Latin American, Latin Diaspora and indigenous perspectives.

* I noted that as a male anti-trafficking activist, I have devoted the past dozen years of that activism to advocating for the voiceless women and girls in Latin America, the United States and in advanced nations of the world in Europe and Japan where Latina and indigenous victims are widely exploited.

* I pointed out that within the Boston area as elsewhere within the United States, the brutal tactics of traffickers, as well as the Spanish/English language barrier, the cultural code of silence and tolerance for exploitation that are commonplace within Latin immigrant communities all allow sex trafficking to flourish in the Latin barrios of Boston such as East Boston, Chelsea, Everett and Jamaica Plain.

* I also mentioned that during the current climate of recession and increased immigration law enforcement operations, Latina women and girls face a loss of jobs and income, and a loss of opportunities to survive with dignity, which are all factors that expose them to the risk of commercial sexual exploitation.

* I mentioned that the sex trafficking of women and girls in Latin America focuses on the crisis in Mexico, which, I stated was the epicenter of sex trafficking activity in the Americas.

* I stated that the U.S. anti-trafficking movement cannot make any progress while it continues to treat the sex trafficking crisis in Mexico as a secondary issue.

* I mentioned that Teresa Ulloa, director of the Regional Coalition Against Trafficking in Women for Latin America and the Caribbean (CATW-LAC), was a stellar activist who has provided the vanguard of leadership in anti sex trafficking activism in the region. I added that Ulloa recently promoted statistics developed by the Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences, that state that 25% of the Gross Domestic Product across all Latin American nations is derived from human trafficking.

* I mentioned that a number of years ago, I called-on my local police department to enforce the law and arrest an adult man who was severely sexually harassing an 11-year-old Latina girl. These two officers told me in a matter of fact way that they could not respond to what the county Police Academy had taught them (in cultural sensitivity classes there) was just a part of Latino culture.

As is the case in most public events that I attend that address the crisis in human trafficking, the issue of Latina and indigenous victims (who are the majority of U.S. victims) would not have been discussed in detail without the participation of LibertadLatina.

The event was an enlightening experience. My perception is that both the activists and the audience were made aware of the dynamics of the crisis of mass gender atrocities that women and children are facing in Latin America, the Caribbean and in their migrant communities across the globe.

End impunity now!

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

April 17, 2011


Added: Feb. 27, 2011

Mexico

This map shows the number of types of child slavery that occur in the nations of Latin America and the Caribbean

Indigenous children are the focal point for underage sex and labor slavery in Mexico

Around 1.5 million children do not attend school at all in Mexico, having or choosing to work instead. Indigenous children are often child laborers. Throughout Central and South America, indigenous people are frequently marginalized, both economically and socially. Many have lost their traditional land rights and they migrate in order to find paid work. This can in turn make indigenous peoples more vulnerable to exploitative and forced labor practices.

According to the web site Products of Slavery.org, child slavery, especially that which exploits indigenous children, is used to generate profits in the following industries in Mexico:

* The production of Child Pornography

* The production of coffee, tobacco, beans, chile peppers, cucumbers, eggplants, melons, onions, sugarcane and tomatoes - much of which is sold for export

Key facts about Mexican child sex and labor exploitation defined on the Product of Slavery:

* Many indigenous children in Mexico aged between seven and 14 work during the green bean harvest from 7am until 7pm, meaning they cannot attend school.

* Amongst Mexico's indigenous peoples, 86% of children, aged six years and over, are engaged in strenuous physical labor in the fields six days a week working to cultivate agricultural produce such as chile peppers.

* Indigenous child labor keeps costs of production down for Mexican companies as boys and girls from indigenous families are frequently denied recognition of their legal status as workers, charged with the least skilled tasks, such as harvesting cucumbers, and so receive the lowest pay.

* Child labor is widespread in Mexico's agricultural sector; in 2000, it was discovered that 11 and 12 year olds were working on the family ranch of the then-President elect, Vicente Fox, harvesting onions, potatoes, and corn for export to the United States.

[I know a couple of U.S. ICE agents who can add 'another paragraph' to the above statement - LL.]

* Mexican children who are exploited by the sex industry and involved in activities such as pornography and prostitution suffer physical injuries, long-term psychological damage with the strong possibility of developing suicidal tendencies and are at high risk of contracting AIDS, tuberculosis and other life-threatening illnesses.

* There are strong links between tourism and the sexual exploitation of children in Mexico; tourist centers such as Acapulco, Cancun and Tijuana are prime locations where thousands of children are used in the production of pornographic material and child prostitution is rife.

* Mexican street children are vulnerable to being lured into producing pornographic material with promises of toys, food, money, and accommodation; they then find themselves prisoners, locked for days or weeks on end in hotel rooms or apartments, hooked on drugs and suffering extreme physical and sexual violence.

* David Salgado was just eight years old when he was crushed by a tractor as he went to empty the bucket of tomatoes he had just collected on the Mexican vegetable farm where he worked with his family. The company paid his funeral expenses but refused to pay compensation to his family as David was not a formal employee.

The web site explores child enslavement in all of the nations shown in the above map.

Products of Slavery


Added: Feb. 27, 2011

North Carolina, USA

"For Sale" - A composite from a poster announcing Davidson College's recent event on Human Trafficking in Latin America

See the complete poster

Chuck Goolsby speaks at Davidson College

On February 3rd of 2011 I travelled to Davidson College, located in a beautiful community north of Charlotte, North Carolina, to provide a 90 minute presentation on the crisis of sexual slavery in Latin America, and in Latin American immigrant communities across the United States. I thank the members of Davidson's Organization of Latin American Students (OLAS) and the Vann Center for Ethics for cosponsoring the presentation, and for their hospitality and hard work in setting up this event.

During my talk I described many of the dynamics of how sexual slavery works in the Americas. I summarized the work of LibertadLatina as one of the few English language voices engaging the world in an effort to place Latin American gender exploitation issues on an equal footing with the rest of the world's struggle against sex trafficking. I covered the facts that:

1) Sexual slavery has long been condoned in Latin America;

2) Community tolerance of sexual exploitation, and a cultural code of silence work to hide crimes of violence against women across the region;

3) The multi-billion dollar pockets of Latin American drug cartels, together with the increasing effectiveness of anti-drug trafficking law enforcement efforts are driving cartel money into major investments in kidnapping, 'breaking-in' and selling underage girls and young women into slavery globally, en mass;

4) Men in poverty who have grown up in [especially rural] cultures where women's equality does not exist, are prime candidates to participate in the sex trafficking industry - this is especially true in locations such as Tlaxcala state, just east of Mexico City, where an estimated 50% of the adults in the La Meca neighborhood of the major city of Tenancingo are involved in sex traffickers;

5) Male traffickers, often from family organized mafias of adults and teens [especially in Tlaxcala], either kidnap women and girls directly, or engage in false romances with potential victims that result in the victim's beating, gang rape and enslavement, getting the victim pregnant - and then leaving the infant with the trafficker's family as a form of bribery [threatening the baby's death if the victim does not continue to submit to forced sexual enslavement;

6) Traffickers typically take their victims from Tlaxcala, to Mexico City, and to Tijuana on the U.S. border - from which they are shipped like merchandise to Tokyo, Madrid, Amsterdam, Los Angeles, Miami, Atlanta, Charlotte, Washington, DC and New York City;

7) Traffickers also bring victims to farm labor camps large and small across the rural U.S.;

8) North Carolina, including the major population centers of Raleigh-Durham and Charlotte are places where Latina immigrant sexual slavery is a major problem (given the rapid growth in the local immigrant population, who see the state as a place with lots of jobs and a low cost of living);

9) Mexico's government is reluctant (to be polite) to engage the issue of ending human trafficking (despite recent presidential rhetoric), as exemplified by the multi-year delay in setting up the regulations and inter-agency collaborations needed to actually enforce the nation's 2007 Law to Prevent and Punish Human Trafficking (note that only in early 2011 has the final element of the legislation been put into place to actually activate the law - which some legislators accurate refer to as a "dead letter.");

10) heroes such as activist Lydia Cacho have faced retaliation and death threats for years for having dared to stand-up against the child sex trafficking networks whose money and influence corrupts state and local governments;

11) it is up to each and every person to decide how to engage in activism to end all forms of human slavery, wherever they may exist.

Virtually everyone in the crowd that attended the event had heard about human trafficking prior to the February 3rd presentation. They left the event knowing important details about the facts involved in the Latin American crisis and the difficulties that activists face in their efforts to speak truth to power and the forces of impunity. A number of attendees thanked me for my presentation, and are now new readers of LibertadLatina.org.

The below text is from Davidson College's announcement for this event.

Slavery is (thankfully) illegal everywhere today. But sadly, it is still practiced secretly in many parts of the world. One persistent form of it occurs when women and girls are forced into prostitution or sexual slavery, sometimes by being kidnapped and trafficked or smuggled across national borders.

Chuck Goolsby has worked tirelessly for decades to expose and end this horrific, outrageous practice. As the founder and coordinator of LibertadLatina, much of his work has focused on sex-trafficking in the Latin American context.  Join us to hear from him regarding the nature and scope of the current problem, and what we can do to help stop it.

We have given similar presentations to groups such as Latinas United for Justice, a student organization located at the John Jay College for Criminal Justice in New York City.

We are available for conferences and other speaking engagements to address the topics of human trafficking in its Latin American, Latin Diaspora, Afro-Latina and Indigenous dimensions.

Please write to us in regard to your event.

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina.org

Feb. 26, 2011


Added: Feb. 10, 2011

The United States

Tiffany Williams of the Break the Chain Campaign

Highlighting New Issues in Ending Violence Against Women; More Women Afraid To Come Forward And Access Services

Congressional leaders will participate in an ad-hoc hearing examining violence against immigrant women this Thursday on Capitol Hill Washington, DC—Reps. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) and Gwendolyn Moore (D-WI) will co-chair an ad-hoc hearing this Thursday afternoon, bearing witness to the testimony of immigrant women and advocates who are speaking out about increasing barriers to ending violence against immigrant women and families. Honorable guests Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) and Rep. Grace Napolitano (D-CA) will join the co-chairs.

Maria Bolaños of Maryland will share her personal story. Juana Flores from Mujeres Unidas y Activas (MUA), an immigrant women’s organization in California and the Rev. Linda Olson Peebles from the Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington will share the perspective of community groups, and legal advocates Leslye Orloff (Legal Momentum) and Miriam Yeung (NAPAWF) will offer testimony in light of the expected 2011 re-authorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).

WHAT: Ad-hoc hearing on violence against immigrant women

WHEN: Feb. 10, 2011 - 2 pm-3 pm

WHERE: Rayburn House Office Building, Room 2456

WHO: Rep. Raul Grijalva, Rep. Gwendolyn Moore, Rep. Jared Polis, Rep. Napolitano, members of the press, domestic violence advocates, immigrant rights advocates, and other invited guest

Co-Sponsoring Organizations: 9to5, AFL-CIO, Family Values @ Work Consortium, Franciscan Action Network, Institute for Policy Studies, Legal Momentum, MomsRising, Ms. Foundation for Women, Mujeres Unidas y Activas, National Domestic Workers Alliance, National Day Laborer Organizing Network, National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum, National Immigration Law Center, National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, South Asian Americans Leading Together, United Methodist Women/Civil Rights Initiative, Urgent Action Fund for Women's Human Rights, Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations

Contact: Tiffany Williams

Tel. (202) 787-5245; Cell (202) 503-8604; E-mail: tiffany@ips-dc.org 

The Institute for Policy Studies / Break the Chains Campaign

Feb. 9, 2011

See also:

Added: Feb. 10, 2011

The United States

Silencing human trafficking victims in America

Women should be able to access victim services, regardless of their immigration status.

Thanks to a wave of anti-immigrant proposals in state legislatures across the nation, fear of deportation and family separation has forced many immigrant women to stay silent rather than report workplace abuse and exploitation to authorities. The courts have weakened some of these laws and the most controversial pieces of Arizona's SB 1070 law have been suspended. Unfortunately, America's anti-immigrant fervor continues to boil.

As a social worker, I've counseled both U.S.-born and foreign-born women who have experienced domestic violence, or have been assaulted by either their employers or the people who brought them to the United States. I'm increasingly alarmed by this harsh immigration enforcement climate because of its psychological impact on families and the new challenge to identify survivors of crime who are now too afraid to come forward.

For the past decade, I've helped nannies, housekeepers, caregivers for the elderly, and other domestic workers in the Washington metropolitan area who have survived human trafficking. A majority of these women report their employers use their immigration status to control and exploit them, issuing warnings such as "if you try to leave, the police will find you and deport you." Even women who come to the United States on legal work visas, including those caring for the children of diplomats or World Bank employees, experience these threats.

Though law enforcement is a key partner in responding to human trafficking, service providers continue to struggle with training authorities to identify trafficking and exploitation in immigrant populations, especially when the trafficking is for labor and not sex. While local human trafficking task forces spend meetings developing outreach plans, our own state governments are undermining these efforts with extremely harsh and indiscriminate crackdowns on immigrants...

Regardless of their legal status, these women are human beings working hard to feed their families. Their home countries' economies have been by shattered by globalization. Our economic system depends on their cheap labor. Yet much of the debate about U.S. borders fails to acknowledge immigrants as people, or appreciate the numerous cultural contributions that ethnic diversity has provided this country. As a result, humane comprehensive immigration reform remains out of reach in Congress.

We're a nation of immigrants and a nation of hard-working families. An economic crisis caused by corporate greed has turned us against each other in desperation and fear. We should band together to uphold our traditional values of family unity, to give law enforcement the tools they need to provide effective victim protection and identification rather than reactionary laws, and ensure that women can access victim services, regardless of immigration status.

Tiffany Williams is the advocacy director for Break The Chain Campaign, a project of the Institute for Policy Studies.

Tiffany Williams

The Huffington Post

Feb. 07, 2011

See also:

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina Commentary:

We at LibertadLatina salute the Break the Chain Campaign and their advocacy director, Tiffany Williams, for bringing voice to the voiceless immigrant working women and girls (underage teens) across the United States. Latin American and other immigrant women routinely face quid-pro-quo sexual demands of "give me sex or get out" from male managers and supervisors across the low-wage service sector of the U.S. economy.

My advocacy for victims of gender violence began with efforts to provide direct victim assistance to Latina women facing workplace gender exploitation in the Washington, DC region. My work included rescuing two Colombian women from the fearful labor slavery that they faced in two diplomatic households in Montgomery County, Maryland, just north of Washington, DC. I also assisted six women in bringing complaints to police and to our local Montgomery County human rights commission (a local processor of U.S. Equal Employment Opportunities Commission cases).

Immigrant women have never had free and equal access to the legal system to address these employer abuses. The Break the Chain Campaign rightly identifies the fact that the social and political climate in the U.S. in the year 2011 is creating conditions in which immigrant women and girl victims fear coming forward.

It is encouraging that the Break the Chains Campaign openly identifies the sexual and labor exploitation of immigrant women and girls in domestic and other low wage service jobs as being forms of human trafficking. Ten years ago, local anti-trafficking organizations in the Washington, DC region did not buy into that view of the world.

Conditions have not changed for the better for at-risk immigrant women and girls since we first wrote about this issue in the year 1994 (see below).

These community continues to need our persistent help on this issue.

End impunity now!

- Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

Feb. 10, 2011

See also:

LibertadLatina

Our section covering human trafficking, workplace rape and community exploitation facing Latina women and children in the Washington, DC regional area.

See also:

Latina Workplace Rape

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

See also:

On the Front Lines of the War Against Impunity in Gender Exploitation

Government, corporations and the press ignored all of these victims cases in which Chuck Goolsby intervened directly  during the 1990s.

Rockville, Maryland - Case 1  

Workplace Rape with Impunity

A major corporation working on defense and civilian U.S. government contracts permitted quid-pro-quo sexual demands, sexual coercion and retaliatory firings targeted at Latina adult and underage teen cleaning workers.

Rockville, Maryland - Case 2

Workplace Assault and Battery with Impunity

A Nicaraguan indigenous woman cleaning worker was slapped across the chest and knocked to the floor by her manager in the Rockville offices of a federal agency, the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

The local Maryland State's Attorney's Office repeatedly pressured the victim (through calls to Chuck Goolsby) to drop her insistence on having her assailant prosecuted.

Rockville, Maryland - Case 3 

About the One Central Plaza office complex

Workplace Rape and Forced Prostitution with Impunity

Over a dozen women were illegally fired for not giving in to the sexual demands of three Latino cleaning crew managers who forced women and underage girls into quid-pro-quo sexual relationships as a condition of retaining their jobs. 

Some women were forced to commit acts of prostitution in this office building, that housed Maryland state government and other offices.

A medical doctor who leased office space at One Central Plaza filed a formal complaint with the building owners and stated that he was finding his patient examining tables dirtied by sexual activity after-hours (cleaning managers had keys to access these offices to have them cleaned).

A pregnant woman was severely sexually harassed, and was fired and told to come back after her child was born, when she could be sexually exploited. 

The Montgomery County, Maryland County Human Relations commission in 1995 literally buried the officially filed casework of this pregnant woman and another victim, who had an audio tape of a 20 minute attempt by her manager to rape her.

Both detectives at the Montgomery County Police Department (where I worked part-time during those times) and a team of Washington Post reporters refused to investigate this crisis of workplace impunity.

A Latina Washington Post reporter, when explaining to me why she would not cover the story said, "well, after all, you are trying to accuse these guys (the perpetrators) of felonies." The same reporter stated that her manager would not allow her to cover the story because it was a "dangerous situation."

To this day I continue to ask myself, If it was a dangerous situation, was it not, then, news!

See also:

The above three cases are among those documented in my below report from 1994.

Charles M. Goolsby, Jr.'s 1994 Report on the Sexual Exploitation of Latina immigrant Women and Girls in Montgomery County, Maryland (a suburb of Washington, DC)

The LibertadLatina project grew directly out of these initial efforts to speak truth to the official and criminal impunity in our society that openly targets innocent immigrant women and girls for sexual victimization.


Added: Sep. 29, 2010

India

Human trafficking slur on Commonwealth Games

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rahul Karmakar

Hindustan Times

Sep. 28, 2010

LibertadLatina Note:

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

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

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

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

End impunity now!

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

Sep. 30/Oct. 02, 2010


Added: Jul. 21, 2010

New York, USA

U.S. Ambassador Luis CdeBaca (second from left) and other presenters at UN / Brandeis conference

Hidden in Plain Sight: The News Media's Role in Exposing Human Trafficking

The Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University cosponsored a first-ever United Nations panel discussion about how the news media is exposing and explaining modern slavery and human trafficking -- and how to do it better. Below are the transcript and video from that conference, held at the United Nations headquarters in New York City on June 16 and co-sponsored by the United States Mission to the United Nations and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

Take a look as some leading media-makers and policymakers debate coverage of human trafficking. What hinders good reporting on human trafficking? What do journalists fear when they report on slaves and slavery? Why cover the subject in the first place? What are the common reporting mistakes and missteps that can do more harm than good to trafficking victims, and to government, NGO, and individual efforts to end the traffic of persons for others' profit and pleasure?

Among the main points: Panelists urged reporters and editors to avoid salacious details and splashy, "sexy" headlines that can prevent a more nuanced examination of trafficked persons' lives and experiences. Journalists lamented the lack of solid data, noting that the available statistics are contradictory, unreliable, insufficient, and often skewed by ideology. As an example, the two officials on the panel -- Ambassador Luis CdeBaca, head of the U.S. Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, and Under-Secretary-General Antonio Maria Costa, executive director of the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime -- disagreed on the number of rescued trafficking victims. Costa thought the number was likely less than half CdeBaca's estimate (from the International Labour Organization) of 50,000 victims rescued worldwide...

Read the transcript

The Huffington Post

July 15, 2010

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina Note:

In response to the above article by the Huffington Post, on the topic of press coverage of the issue of human trafficking, we would like to point out that the LibertadLatina project came into existence because of a lack of interest and/or willingness on the part of many (but not all) reporters and editors in the press, and also on the part of government agencies and academics, to acknowledge and target the rampant sexual violence faced by Latina and indigenous women and children across both Latin America and the Latin Diaspora in the Untied States, Canada, and in other advanced economies such as those of western Europe and Japan.

Ten years after starting LibertadLatina, more substantial press coverage is taking place. However, the crisis of ongoing mass gender atrocities that plague Latin America, including human trafficking, community based sexual violence, a gender hostile living environment and government and social complicity (and especially in regard to the region's completely marginalized indigenous and African descended victims - who are especially targeted for victimization), continue to be largely ignored or intentionally untouched by the press, official government action, academic investigation and NGO effort.

Therefore we persist in broadcasting the message that the crisis in Latin America and its Diaspora cannot and will not be ignored.

End impunity now!

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

July 21, 2010


Added: March 1, 2010

Mexico

Deputy Rosi Orozco watches Mexican Interior Secretary Fernando Gómez Mont's presentation at the Forum for Analysis and Discussion in Regard to Criminal Law to Control Human Trafficking.

Video posted on YouTube

Video: Llama Gómez Mont a Visibilizar Delito de Trata de Personas

Video of Mexican Interior Secretary Fernando Gómez Mont's presentation at the Feb. 23rd and 24th, 2010 congressional Forum for Analysis and Discussion in Regard to Criminal Law to Control Human Trafficking.

[Ten minutes - In Spanish]

Deputy Rosi Orozco

On YouTube.com

Feb. 26, 2010

See also:

LibertadLatina Commentary

Chuck Goolsby

Lead, Follow or Get Out of the Way!

Mexican Interior Secretary Fernando Gómez Mont's presentation at the congressional Forum for Analysis and Discussion in Regard to Criminal Law to Control Human Trafficking has been widely quoted in the Mexican press. We have posted some of those articles here (see below).

The video of Secretary Mont's discourse shows that he is passionate about the idea of raising awareness about human trafficking. He states: "Making [trafficking] visible is the first step towards liberation."

Secretary Mont believes that the solution to human trafficking in Mexico will come from raising awareness about trafficking and from understanding the fact that machismo, its resulting family violence and also the nation's widespread extreme poverty are the dynamics that push at-risk children and youth into the hands of exploiters.

During Secretary Mont's talk he expressed his strongly held belief that federalizing the nation's criminal anti-trafficking laws is, in effect, throwing good money after bad. In his view, the source of the problem is not those whom criminal statutes would target, but the fundamental social ills that drive the problem.

The Secretary's views have an element of wisdom in them. We believe, however, that his approach is far too conservative. An estimated 500,000 victims of human trafficking exist in Mexico (according to veteran activist Teresa Ulloa of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women - Latin American and Caribbean branch - CATW-LAC).

A note about the figures quoted to describe the number of child sexual exploitation victims in Mexico...

Widely quoted 'official' figures state that between 16,000 and 20,000 underage victims of sex trafficking exist in Mexico.

We believe that, if the United States acknowledges that 200,000 to 300,000 underage children and youth are caught-up in the commercial sexual exploitation of children - CSEC, at any one time, based on a population of 310 million, (a figure of between .00064 and .00096 percent of the population), then the equivalent numbers for Mexico would be between 68,000 and 102,000 child and youth victims of CSEC for its estimated 107 million in population.

Given Mexico's vastly greater level of poverty, its legalization of adult prostitution, and given that southern Mexico alone is known to be the largest zone in the world for the commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC), with 10,000 children being prostituted just in the city of Tapachula (according to ECPAT figures), then the total number of underage children and youth caught-up in prostitution in Mexico is most likely not anywhere near the 16,000 to 20,000 figure that was first released in a particular research study from more than five years ago and continues to be so widely quoted today.

Regardless of what the actual figures are, they include a very large number of victims.

While officials such as Secretary Mont philosophize about disabling anti-trafficking law enforcement and rescue and restoration efforts, while instead relying upon arriving at some far-off day when Mexican society raises its awareness and empathy for victims (and that is Mont's policy proposal as stated during the recent trafficking law forum), tens of thousands of victims who are being kidnapped, raped, enslaved and sold to the highest bidder need our help. They need our urgent intervention. As a result of their enslavement, they typically live for only a few years, if that, according to experts.

The reality is that the tragic plight of victims can and must be prevented. Those who have already been victimized must be rescued and restored to dignity.

That is not too much to ask from a Mexico that calls itself a member of civilized society.

Mexico exists at the very top of world-wide statistics on the enslavement of human beings. Save the Children recognizes the southern border region of Mexico as being the largest zone for the commercial sexual exploitation of children on Planet Earth.

Colombian and Mexican drug cartels, Japanese Yakuza mafias and the Russian Mob are all 'feeding upon' (kidnapping, raping, and exporting) many of  the thousands of Central and South American migrant women who cross into Mexico. They also prey upon thousands of young Mexican girls and women (and especially those who are Indigenous), who remain unprotected by the otherwise modern state of Mexico, where Roman Empire era feudal traditions of exploiting the poor and the Indigenous as slaves are honored and defended by the wealthy elites who profit (economically and sexually) from such barbarism.

Within this social environment, the more extreme forms of modern slavery are not seen as being outrageous by the average citizen. These forms of brutal exploitation have been used continuously in Mexico for 500 years.

We reiterate our view, as expressed in our Feb. 26th and 27th 2010 commentary about Secretary Mont.

Interior Secretary Mont has presided over the two year delay in implementing the provisions of the nation's first anti-trafficking law, the Law to Prevent, and Punish Human Trafficking, passed by Congress in 2007.

  • The regulations required to enable the law were left unpublished by the Interior Secretary for 11 months after the law was passed.

  • When the regulation were published, they were weak, and left out a role for the nation's leading anti-trafficking agency, the Special Prosecutor for Violent Crimes Against Women and Human Trafficking in the Attorney General's office (FEVIMTRA).

  • The regulations failed to target organized crime.

  • The Inter-Agency Commission to Fight Human Trafficking, called for in the law, was only stood-up in late 2009, two years after the law's passage, and only after repeated agitation by members of Congress demanding that President Calderón act to create the Commission.

  • Today, the National Program to Fight Human Trafficking, also called for in the 2007 law, has yet to be created by the Calderón administration.

  • In early February of 2010, Senator Irma Martínez Manríquez stated that the 2007 anti-trafficking law and its long-sought regulations were a 'dead letter' due to the power of impunity that has contaminated the political process.

All of the delaying tactics that were used to thwart the will and intent of Congress in passing the 2007 anti-trafficking law originated in the National Action Party (PAN) administration of President Felipe Calderón. All aspects of the 2007 law that called for regulations, commissions and programs were the responsibility of Interior Secretary Mont to implement. That job was never performed, and the 2007 law is now accurately referred to as a "dead letter" by members of Congress.

Those of us in the world community who actively support the use of criminal sanctions to suppress and ultimately defeat the multi-billion dollar power of human trafficking networks must come to the aid of the many political and non governmental organization leaders in Mexico who are working to create a breakthrough, to end the impasse which the traditionalist forces in the PAN political machine have thrown-up as a gauntlet to defeat effective anti-trafficking legislation.

Interior Secretary Mont's vision for the future, which involves continuing on a course of complete inaction on the law enforcement front, must be rejected as a capitulation to the status quo, and as a nod to the traffickers.

While "Little Brown Maria in the Brothel" - our metaphor for the voiceless victims, suffers yet another day chained to a bed in Tijuana, Acapulco, Matamoros, Ciudad Juárez, Mexico City, Tlaxcala, Tapachula and Cancun, the entire law enforcement infrastructure of Mexico sits by and does virtually nothing to stop this mass gender atrocity from happening.

That is a completely unacceptable state of affairs for a Mexico that is a member of the world community, and that is a signatory to international protocols that fight human trafficking and that defend women and children's human rights.

We once again call upon U.S. Ambassador at Large Luis CdeBaca, director of the Trafficking in Persons office at the State Department, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and President Barack Obama to stand-up and speak out with the moral authority of the United States in support of the forces of change in Mexico.

Political leaders and non governmental organizations around the world also have a responsibility to speak-up, and to let the government of President Felipe Calderón know that the fact that his ruling party (finally) supported presenting a forum on trafficking, and the holding of a few press conferences, is not enough of a policy turn-around to be convincing.

The PAN must take strong action to aggressively combat the explosive growth in human slavery in Mexico in accordance with international standards. Those at risk, and those who are today victims, await your effective response to their emergency, President Calderón.

Enacting a 'general' federal law that is enforceable in all of Mexico's states would be a good fist step to show the world that sincere and honest voices against modern day slavery do exist in Congress, and are willing to draw a line in the sand on this issue.

As for Secretary Mont, we suggest, kind sir, that you consider the age-old entrepreneurial adage, and either "lead, follow, or get out of the way" of progress.

No more delays!

There is no time to waste!

End impunity now!

- Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

March 1, 2010

See Also:

Mexico

Víctimas del tráfico de personas, 5 millones de mujeres y niñas en América Latina

De esa cifra, más de 500 mil casos ocurren en México, señalan especialistas.

Five million victims of Human Trafficking Exist in Latin America

Saltillo, Coahuila state - Teresa Ulloa Ziaurriz, the director of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women's Latin American / Caribbean regional office, announced this past Monday that more than five million women and girls are currently victims of human trafficking in Latin America and the Caribbean.

During a forum on successful treatment approaches for trafficking victims held by the Women's Institute of Coahuila, Ulloa Ziaurriz stated that 500,000 of these cases exist in Mexico, where women and girls are trafficked for sexual exploitation, pornography and the illegal harvesting of human organs.

Ulloa Ziaurriz said that human trafficking is the second largest criminal industry in the world today, a fact that has given rise to the existence of a very large number of trafficking networks who operate with the complicity of both [corrupt] government officials and business owners.

Mexico is a country of origin, transit and also destination for trafficked persons. Of 500,000 victims in Mexico, 87% are subjected to commercial sexual exploitation.

Ulloa Ziaurriz pointed out that locally in Coahuila state, the nation's human trafficking problem shows up in the form of child prostitution in cities such as Ciudad Acuña as well as other population centers along Mexico's border with the United States.

- Notimex / La Jornada Online

Mexico City

Dec. 12, 2007

See also:

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

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

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

La Jornada de Oriente

Sep. 26, 2009

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


LibertadLatina

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


A child in prostitution in Cancun, Mexico  stands next to a police car with an adult john.

About Child Sexual Slavery in Mexico

Thousands of foreign sex tourists arrive in Cancun daily from the U.S., Canada and Europe with the intention of having sex with children, according to a short documentary film by a local NGO (see below link). Police and prosecutors refuse to criminalize this activity.

This grotesque business model, that of engaging in child sex tourism, exists along Mexico's entire northern border with the U.S., along Mexico's southern border with Guatemala [and Belize], and in tourist resorts including Acapulco, Cancun and Veracruz. Thousands of U.S. men cross Mexico's border or fly to tourist resorts each day to have sex with minors.

Unfortunately, Mexico's well heeled criminal sex traffickers have exported the business model of selling children for sex to every major city as well as to many migrant farm labor camps across the U.S.

Human trafficking in the U.S. will never be controlled, despite the passage of more advanced laws and the existence of ongoing improvements to the law enforcement model, until the 500-year-old 'tradition' of sexual slavery in Mexico is brought to an end.

The most influential political factions within the federal and state governments of Mexico show little interest in ending the mass torture and rape of this innocent child population.

We must continue to pressured them to do so.

End Impunity now!

See also:

The Dark Side of Cancun - a short documentary

Produced by Mark Cameron and Monserrat Puig

2007

About the case of Jacqueline Maria Jirón Silva

Our one page flyer about Jacqueline Maria Jirón Silva (Microsoft Word 2003)


Added: Dec. 03, 2009

Mexico

Award-winning anti-child sex trafficking activist, journalist, author and women's center director Lydia Cacho

Muertes por violencia en México podrían ser plan de limpieza social: Cacho

Especialistas indagan si asesinatos vinculados con el crimen son una estrategia del Estado, dijo.

Madrid. Las muertes por violencia en México en los últimos años, 15 mil en los últimos tres años, podrían formar parte de un plan de "limpieza social por parte del Estado mexicano", declaró este lunes en Madrid la periodista mexicana Lydia Cacho….

Deaths from violence in Mexico could be the results of social cleansing: Lydia Cacho

Specialists are investigating whether murders are state strategy, Cacho says.

Madrid. Deaths from violence in Mexico in recent years, including 15,000 during the past three years, could form part of a plan of "social cleansing by the Mexican State," declared Mexican journalist Lydia Cacho in Madrid, Spain on Monday.

"Experts are beginning to investigate at this time in Mexico whether these 15,000 murders are linked to intentional social cleansing by the Mexican State," Cacho said in a press conference in which she denounced human rights violations and persecution of the press in her country.

Since President Felipe Calderón [became president] three years ago, we have been witnessing a growing authoritarianism in Mexico "justified by the war " (on drugs), in which " militari-zation, and harassment of journalists and human rights defenders is increasing danger-ously," stated Cacho.

Cacho was kidnapped [by rogue state police agents] and tortured in Mexico after divulging information about a pedophile ring in which businessmen and politicians were involved.

The Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR) will determine in an upcoming decision whether Mexican authorities violated the rights of the journalist in that case.

The foundation that bears Cacho's name, created in Madrid a year ago, is organizing a concert to raise funds to help pay for her defense before the IACHR...

Cacho is the author of [the child sex trafficking exposé] The Demons of Eden. In recent years she has received several awards for her work on behalf of human rights carried out through investigative journalism, including the UNESCO-Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Award.

Agence France Presse (AFP)

Nov. 23, 2009

See also:

Mexican Government Part of Problem, Not Solution, Writer Says

Madrid - A muckraking Mexican journalist known for exposes of pedophile rings and child prostitution said on Monday that President Felipe Calderón’s bloody campaign against Mexico’s drug cartels is “not a battle for justice and social peace.”

Lydia Cacho, who has faced death threats and judicial persecution for her writings, told a press conference in Madrid that Mexico’s justice system is “impregnated with corruption and impunity.”

Accompanied by the head of the Lydia Cacho Foundation, Spanish screenwriter Alicia Luna; and Madrid Press Association President Fernando Gonzalez Urbaneja, the author said the nearly three years since Calderón took office have seen increased “authoritarianism” and harassment of journalists and human rights advocates.

The period has also witnessed “15,000 documented killings,” Cacho said, exceeding the carnage in Colombia at the height of that country’s drug wars.

“Specialists are beginning to investigate if those 15,000 killings are linked with intentional social cleansing on the part of the Mexican state,” she said.

Calderón, she noted, “insists on saying that many of those deaths are collateral effects and that the rest are criminals who kill one another.”

“It is a war among the powerful and not a battle for justice and social peace,” she said of the military-led effort against drug cartels, which has drawn widespread criticism for human rights abuses.

Cacho also lamented “self-censorship” in the highly concentrated Mexican media, saying that many outlets color their reporting to avoid trouble with the government and other powerful interests.

A long-time newspaper columnist and crusader for women’s rights, Lydia Cacho became famous thanks to the furor over her 2005 book “Los demonios del Eden” (The Demons of Eden), which exposed wealthy pedophiles and their associates in the Mexican establishment.

In the book, she identified textile magnate Kamel Nacif as a friend and protector of accused pedophile Jean Succar Kuri, who has since been sent back to Mexico from the United States to face charges.

Nacif, whose business is based in the central state of Puebla, accused Cacho of defamation - a criminal offense - in Mexico and arranged to have her arrested for allegedly for ignoring a summons to appear in court for the case.

In February 2006, Mexican dailies published transcripts of intercepted phone conversations in which Nacif was heard conspiring with Puebla Governor Mario Marin and other state officials to have Cacho taken into custody and then assaulted behind bars.

The transcripts indicated that Nacif, known as the “denim king” for his dominance of the blue-jeans business, engineered the author’s arrest by bribing court personnel not to send her the requisite summonses.

Cacho was subsequently released on bail and the case against her was ultimately dismissed.

EFE

Nov. 24, 2009

See Also:

LibertadLatina

Special Section

Journalist / Activist

Lydia Cacho is

Railroaded by the

Legal Process for

Exposing Child Sex

Networks In Mexico

See Also:

Perils of Plan Mexico: Going Beyond Security to Strengthen U.S.-Mexico Relations

Americas Program Commentary

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 Santo Tomás Street, where kidnap victims are forced into prostitution 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

Excerpt:

[About Montserrat, a former child trafficking victim:]

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

- Peter Landesman

New York Times Magazine

January 25, 2004


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!

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, 2011 Charles M. Goolsby, Jr.

All other copyrighted materials © the copyright holder.

Copyrighted materials are presented for non-profit 

public educational 'fair use' purposes only.