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


 

 
Latin America
Women & Children at Risk
 
Title: 

Political Right Advances its Agenda in Latin America Using the Language of Human Rights

 

Strategy focuses on defeating abortion rights

Author:

Lourdes Godínez Leal

Publisher:

CIMAC Noticias

Publish Date: 

July 27, 2009

 

Versión en Español

Version in Spanish

Derecha avanza en AL, bajo el discurso de los derechos humanos

Para cancelar derechos SyR, advierten feministas

Martha María Blandón, directora de IPAS para Centroamérica, alertó que bajo el discurso de los derechos humanos progresistas, los grupos de derecha están avanzando en la región centroamericana y latinoamericana, lo que ha significado un retroceso en la región en materia de derechos humanos, sexuales y reproductivos...

   
Translation: July 29, 2009 - Chuck Goolsby LibertadLatina

Martha Maria Blandon, director of IPAS in Central America, has warned that right-wing groups are moving in the Latin American and Central American region, and are promoting their agenda under the cloak of progressive human rights discourse. Their goal is to weaken human rights, and especially sexual and reproductive rights in the region.

Interviewed after a press conference where Amnesty International presented their report "The total abortion ban in Nicaragua: Women's lives and health endangered, medical professionals criminalized", Blandon, one of the legal defenders in the case of Rosa, a 9-year-old girl raped and became pregnant, said that those who make the argument against a woman’s right to decide are the same people who are also against a large numbers of other human rights guarantees for individuals.

These opponents of the right to choose are also advocating to ban the right to sex education, family planning, use modern contraceptive methods, and same sex marriage, noted Blandon. She added that these activists masquerade their rhetoric with that of progressive human rights speech…

Six years after the case of Rosita

Martha Maria Blandon is "one of the 9" – as she says they are known in Nicaragua - advocates who demanded that Rosa be allowed to have a therapeutic abortion.

It was in 2003 when Rosa, age 9, worked with her immigrant parents in Costa Rica on a coffee plantation. A 28-year-old man raped her. She became pregnant as a result of the rape.

Rosa was evaluated in two hospitals in Costa Rica where doctors warned of the complications that would arise from continuing with her then 4 month of pregnancy. However, despite seeking help from the Nicaraguan authorities to return Rosa to her country to perform the therapeutic abortion that Rosa was entitled to, the Nicaraguan Ministry of Health refused this request. The government required that Rosa carry the pregnancy to term.

Finally after a long conflict between government, pro-life, feminist and human rights groups, Rosa was provided with a therapeutic abortion.

Since then, the group of feminists who fought for the right girl to have an abortion has faced  an investigation by the public prosecutor’s office, which Blandon says, has served as a tool to intimidate and persecute members of the group.

A private citizen belonging to a human rights commission of the Catholic Church filed the request for an investigation two years ago for having [supposedly] obstructed the investigation of the rapist, and for having provided Rosa with an ‘illegal’ abortion.

"The abortion was legal, but it was carried out clandestinely because of all the pressure [created by Rosa’s case], said Blandon.

As director of IPAS Central America, Blandon traveled to Mexico with the Amnesty International delegation to present the report. Blandon finds that the persecution against women activists has become political, and those who defend and demand the restoration of therapeutic abortion and "respect for a number of other human rights and civil liberties,” have been intimidated and threatened for defending the feminist agenda.

Although the feminists have never been called to testify, the investigation has become the "sword of Damocles," said Blandon, who added, "If you talk a lot, if you are very public, if you are very critical to the government, or if you speak ill of the presidential couple, then there is a possibility that the government will revive the investigation against us."

Blandon said that some of hers colleagues have continued to receive anonymous telephone threats. The callers say, "we hear you on TV," or “we know where your son is studying,” or "we know where you live,” or “remember that you are being persecuted," and that sort of thing.

However, Blandon asserted that everything that has happened and continues in his country "which is the most extreme, maximum violation of human rights possible," will not hold us back from continuing the struggle.

 
 
 
     

LibertadLatina

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Last Updated: Feb. 22, 2010


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LibertadLatina

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


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Últimas Noticias

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Added: Feb. 22, 2010

Mexico

Lydia Cacho's top says, "No Pedophiles; No Corruption; No Impunity!

Lydia Cacho Asegura que el Gobierno de Veracruz Protege a Pederastas

En su artículo semanal, la periodista Lydia Cacho, acusa que el gobierno de Veracruz encabezado por Fidel Herrera, así como la jerarquía católica, se confabularon para lograr la libertad del padre Rafael Muñiz López, acusado de pertenecer a una red de pederastas.

Dice: "Los altos jerarcas de la Iglesia católica y el gobierno de Veracruz, acompañados de una sospechosa ayuda del Tribunal Superior de Justicia del Distrito Federal, dejarán en libertad al líder de una red de pornografía infantil que fue arrestado luego de una impresionante y exitosa investigación de la policía cibernética"...

Father Rafael Muñiz Lopez, front, far right, is presented by authorities to the press with the other suspected child pornography ring members, at the time of their arrest. The other accused suspects, including Father Muñiz Lopez's brother, remain in custody.

Lydia Cacho Accuses the State Government of Veracruz of Protecting Pedophiles

In her weekly newspaper column, journalist Lydia Cacho has accused the government of Veracruz state, headed by governor Fidel Herrera, as well as the state’s Catholic hierarchy of collusion to achieve the recent release of Father Rafael Muñiz Lopez, who had been accused of belonging to a child pornography distribution network.

Cacho declared that, “The high officials of the Catholic Church and the Government of Veracruz, together with the suspicious involvement of the Superior Tribunal of Justice of the Federal District, freed the leader of a child pornography network who had been arrested after an impressive and exhaustive investigation by cyber [Internet and computer] crimes police.”

Cacho, the author of books on child sex trafficking, noted that Father Muñiz Lopez used the online alias of "Lobo Siberiano" [Siberian wolf] to sell and transmit child pornography from his office computer San Pedro Apóstol [Saint Peter the Apostle] parish, in the capitol of Veracruz [Xalapa]. Cacho went on to say that the child pornography ring involved five [other] suspects who were arrested. The ring operated in Mexico City, and in the states of Hidalgo, Puebla, Aguascalientes, Veracruz and Yucatan.

Cacho says that [authorities have] documented the fact that Father Muñiz Lopez emailed child pornography to ciber-pedophiles in the United States, Russia, Spain, Chile and Colombia.

Nonetheless, Cacho says, the lawyers for the Archdiocese were able to convince the judge in charge of the case to allow Father Muñiz Lopez to [escape justice], because his acts of distributing child pornography were not ruled to be an act “against public morals,” because Father Muñiz Lopez only distributed the illegal photographs within a “closed circle of people.”

Cacho indicated that the Archbishop of the city of Xalapa, Hipólito Reyes Larios, intervened with the Veracruz state government to prevent further prosecutorial investigation in the case.

Cacho, “It is not by accident that the laws against child pornography [in Veracruz] don’t protect children. But these laws do protect cyber-pedophiles, as is the case on other states. Priests and judges constitute an infamous alliance that works to shelter impunity, and, therefore, the repetition of crimes against children. The nation stands in horror and demands, legislators approve laws, police agents become trained to address the threat, and with one signature from a judge’s pen, they destroy our collective efforts to establish the rule of law.

Cacho: “Until when?”

Ignacio Carvajal

e-consulta.com

Feb. 16, 2010

See also:

Jueces, Pedófilos y Sacerdotes

...La impunidad en México no es abstracta, tiene nombres y apellidos. En este caso hallamos que los cómplices concretos son los jueces, quienes ignoran las leyes de la mano de los líderes del clero, capaces de ejercer todo el poder político y dinero para liberar a sus pedófilos. No es culpa de la Iglesia que algunos de sus miembros cometan delitos, particularmente pederastia, pero ciertamente los que están libres de culpa podrían hacer algo más para prevenirla y evitarla. Lo inexplicable es la protección cómplice que otorga a este tipo de criminales, pese a que sus delitos atentan contra todo aquello que defiende la doctrina cristiana. Curas y jueces constituyen una alianza infame que prohíja la impunidad y, por ende, la repetición de crímenes contra la infancia. El país se horroriza y exige, las y los legisladores aprueban leyes, las policías se capacitan e investigan, llegan los jueces y de un plumazo destruyen los esfuerzos colectivos por restablecer un estado de derecho. ¿Hasta cuándo? ...

Judges, Pedophiles and Priests

A further excerpt from Lydia Cacho's original opinion column on the release of Father Rafael Muñiz Lopez

...Impunity in Mexico is not abstract, it has first and last names. In this case we have found that the definitive accomplices are the judges, who ignore the law at the behest of Church powers who are willing to exercise all of their political power, and their money, to free their pedophiles. It is not the Church’s fault that some of its members commit crimes, and especially pedophilia. But certainly those who are not guilty could do something more to prevent and avoid these acts.

What is inexplicable is the Church’s complicity in protecting these types of criminals, given that their crimes attempt to violate everything that Christian Doctrine defends. Priests and judges constitute an infamous alliance that shelters impunity, and therefore, allows the repetition of crimes against children. The nation stands in horror and demands, and legislators approve laws, police agents become trained to address the threat, and with a signature from a judge’s pen they destroy our collective efforts to establish the rule of law.

Cacho: “Until when?”

Weekly Column of Lydia Cacho

El Universal

Mexico city

Feb. 15, 2010


Added: Feb. 22, 2010

Mexico

National Action Party legislators Agustín Castilla and Rosi Orozco

Demanda Acción Nacional cero tolerancia para pederastas 

Los legisladores panistas consideraron que es muy laxo el criterio del poder Judicial federal y local en este sentidoDiputados del PAN demandaron aplicar "todo el peso de la ley a los pederastas", independientemente de su poder político y económico, y que ante todo se garanticen los derechos humanos de la infancia.

Al hablar sobre la decisión judicial de trasladar a Jean Succar Kuri de un penal de máxima seguridad a una cárcel municipal de Cancún, al considerar que el procesado por pederastia no representa ningún peligro, consideraron que es muy laxo el criterio del poder Judicial federal y local...

National Action Party legislators demand zero-tolerance for pedophiles

Legislators from [the ruling] National Action Party (PAN) congressional deputies Agustín Castilla and Rosi Orozco have announced that they consider the current federal and state judicial criteria used to punish the sexual abusers of children to be too lenient. Therefore, they say, they are calling for the full weight of the law to fall on pedophiles regardless of their economic and political power, and state that above all, children’s human rights must be guaranteed.

The legislators highlighted as an example of this laxity the case of Jean Succar Kuri [a millionaire who was identified in journalist / activist Lydia Cacho’s 2005 book Demons of Eden as being a major child sex trafficker], and the recent decision by authorities to move him from a maximum security prison to a municipal jail in [his home city of] Cancun because, supposedly, Succar Kuri does not represent a threat.

PAN congressional deputies Agustín Castilla and Rosi Orozco also talked about the recent freeing of Father Rafael Muñiz Lopez, who was found in the possession of child pornography. The case of a pimp in Oaxaca state who exploited an underage girl was also mentioned.

Castilla and Orozco, who are members of the [recently formed] Special Commission for the Fight Against Human Trafficking [in the House of Deputies – the lower house of Congress], demanded a congressional review of these to assure that the rule of law is being followed, and that those who are guilty pay for their crimes.

Deputy Castilla, “We needed to send a very clear message of zero tolerance of child sexual abuse, child prostitution, child pornography and [other forms of] child sexual abuse.

Deputy Castilla added, “We will not allow these messages from the Judicial branch, which are of course terrifying, because it appears that [judges] are saying that they have a large space of impunity [to work in].”

Deputy Rosi Orozco [head of the newly formed anti-trafficking commission] called upon judges to be sensible and to educate themselves so that they know what has been done in the area of [law regarding] pedophiles, and to achieve a uniform application of the law.

Notimex

Feb. 16, 2010


Added: Feb. 22, 2010

Mexico

Father Rafael Muñiz Lopez

Mexican Priest in Internet Child-Porn Case Released

Veracruz - A Catholic priest arrested last year for his alleged participation in a child-pornography ring operating via the Internet has been released due to lack of evidence in the case, church spokesmen said.

The Rev. Rafael Muñiz Lopez, who was assigned to St. Peter Apostle Church in Xalapa, the capital of the Gulf coast state of Veracruz, was released without charges Friday and left the Mexico City jail where he was being held.

A criminal court judge in the Federal District ordered Muñiz’s immediate release “due to insufficient evidence” that the priest was involved in organized crime, Archdiocese of Xalapa public affairs office director Jose Juan Sanchez Jacome said.

The investigation that led to the priest’s arrest began in March 2009, when Mexico City prosecutors discovered an e-mail containing images of sex acts involving minors.

The Federal District prosecutor’s office arrested seven suspects on April 17, 2009.

Muñiz and his brother, Francisco Javier, were identified as suspected members of the Internet child-pornography ring.

On a Web page link included in the e-mail investigators noted “scenes of explicit sex between adults and girls and boys from 0 to 10 years old,” the prosecutor’s office said at the time.

Police tracked the Web site to Luis Alejandro Vergara, at whose Mexico City home they found a large amount of child pornography.

Vergara, who confessed to rape and sexual abuse, was an employee of Mexico’s Foreign Relations Secretariat.

Information on Vergara’s computer led police to six other individuals in five different Mexican states, including the Rev. Muñiz and his brother.

Francisco Javier Muñiz Lopez was released a few days after his arrest.

Five of the other suspects in the case are still being held by authorities.

Father Muñiz is happy to be free and to have proven his innocence, but the case took a tremendous physical, emotional and psychological toll, Sanchez Jacome said.

The church spokesman thanked the Catholic community and all those who believed in Father Muñiz’s innocence, as well as local officials who provided legal assistance.

The Latin American Herald Tribune

Feb. 15, 2010

See also:

Mexico

Father Rafael Muñiz

Foto: David Solís - xonline.com

Exigen el PAN liberar a sacerdote vinculado a red de pornografía infantil

National Action Party (PAN) in Mexico City’s local legislature demands freedom for priest accused of [leading] a child pornography network

 www.proceso.com.mx

May 25, 2009

See also:

Mexico

Major Blow to Child Porn Ring

Seven Mexicans who allegedly created and ran a child porn ring that sent on-line images to Argentina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Colombia, Chile, Spain, the United States and Venezuela were arrested in Mexico.

The ringleaders of the dismantled network included a Catholic priest and a foreign ministry IT [information technology] employee, the police announced after the arrests Wednesday. The group distributed some 100,000 on-line pictures and videos of children ranging from infants to age 10.

'It was an excellent blow, perhaps one of the most important so far in Latin America. But this is just the tip of the iceberg,' Teresa Ulloa, director of the Mexico City-based Regional Coalition Against Trafficking in Women and Girls in Latin America and the Caribbean

(CATWLAC), told IPS...

Ulloa said she hopes the police cooperate with authorities abroad to track down the users and members of the ring in other countries, in order to arrest more criminals, which 'without a doubt there are,' she added.

'This case should have international repercussions; this is an extremely serious crime,' said the activist, whose regional coalition brings together 250 NGOs from 25 countries...

In Latin America there are at least 100 online forums that swap child porn, one-third of which are in Mexico, Dimitri Senmache Artola, president of the Peruvian Network Against Child Pornography, said in an October international conference on the issue in Mexico...

...The president of the city’s Human Rights Commission, Emilio Álvarez, put the number [of child prostitutes in Mexico City] at 7,000.

Diego Cevallos

Inter Press Service

April 23, 2009

See also:

Mexico

Parishioners Support Mexican Priest Accused in Child Porn Case

Veracruz [state], Mexico - Scores of people demonstrated Friday in Xalapa, capital of the Gulf coast state of Veracruz, to demand the release of a Catholic priest jailed for his alleged participation in a child-pornography ring operating via the Internet...

EFE

04/25/2009

See also:

Mexico

Señala autoridad que cura sólo veía fotos de menores

La Procuraduría General de Justicia de Veracruz descarta red de pornografía infantil en la entidad

Prosecutors indicate that Father López Muñiz spent all of his time viewing child porn

The Attorney General of the state of Veracruz (on the Caribbean coast) denies that a child pornography network exists in the state capitol of Xalapa.

The Archdiocese of Xalapa reported yesterday that it will provide legal support to Rafael López Muñiz, a priest from the Church of St. Peter the Apostle, who is accused of participating in a network of pedophiles through the Internet. Some parishioners have also described Father López Muñiz’ detention as “unjust” and have started prayer vigils for the priest.

At the same time, the Attorney General of Veracruz denied the existence of a network of pedophiles operating in the state and said that the López Muñiz brothers were "fans of these types of pictures (child pornography)." ...

Veronica Danell

Excelsior

April 24, 2009

See also:

[We rebut the Attorney General of Veracruz's assertion that no child sex trafficking exists in that state with the following article. - LL]

Mexico

Opera red de explotadores de menores indígenas en Veracruz

Child Sex Traffickers Exploit Indigenous Children in Veracruz State

Veracruz City in Veracruz state - A powerful network of child exploiters is operating in the eastern Mexican coast resort city of Veracruz. Especially during peak vacation seasons, this criminal network forces indigenous girls and boys to engage in begging, street vending and child prostitution, according to municipal authorities.

Enrique Kanarek Romero, director of municipal commerce, stated that the City's investigation has found that 80 girls and boys between 4 and 10 years of age are forced to work the streets by adults who are not their parents.

The victims are, for the most part, indigenous children who are originally from [Mayan] Chiapas state, Oaxaca and the north of Veracruz state. They appear during both the summer and winter vacation seasons, when Veracruz fills up with Mexican and foreign tourists.

These children sleep on the street and eat tacos from street vendors twice a day.

Another trafficking network operates in Boca del Río, the most popular tourist strip in Veracruz state, where children are sent out at 8 pm nightly to bars and restaurants, where they are prostituted to local and international tourists.

Health services director Martha Layva stated that many children are also prostituted to tourists in the Los Portales de Lerdo area.

- Érick Viveros

El Universal

Mexico City

Dec. 10, 2007

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.

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


Added: Feb. 22, 2010

Mexico

Víctimas apelan reubicación de Kuri

Cancún, Quintana Roo - La dirección de la cárcel de Cancún informó que Jean Succar Kuri, procesado por encabezar una red de pornografía y explotación sexual infantil, podría regresar en breve a esa prisión de baja seguridad por orden del Juzgado Segundo de Distrito en esta ciudad...

Victims Appeal Succar Kuri’s Relocation to a Minimum Security Jail in Cancun

The city of Cancun in Quintana Roo state – The administrators of the Cancun municipal jail have announced that Jean Succar Kuri, who have been prosecuted for heading-up a child pornography ring and engaging in child sexual exploitation, may be relocated from a high security prison to this minimum security prison, as a result of orders from the Second District Court in this city.

Nevertheless, lawyer Xavier Olea, who has worked for several of Succar Kuri’s child victims, denied the possibility that the transfer would take place, and said that the judge’s decision has been appealed to the Unitary Tribunal of the state of Quintana Roo.

Olea: “We will offer the necessary proof to confirm that Succar Kuri in a dangerous person, that the transfer is not appropriate, and because Succar Kuri has the economic means [he is a millionaire hotelier] to buy-off the authorities.

Second District Judge Gabriel García Lanz decided that Succar Kuri is not a danger, and ordered him transferred from the El Altiplano maximum security prison in Mexico State, to the municipal jail in Cancun. The transfer could occur as early as tomorrow.

A Lebanese born immigrant, Succar Kuri fled Cancun at the end of 2003 to evade an arrest warrant issued against him. At the start of 2004, he was arrested in Chandler, Arizona. On July 16, 2006 he was extradited to Mexico, when Judge García Lanz ordered him jailed for the crime of child pornography.

Later Succar Kuri was taken to the Center for Social Re-adaptation (CERESO) in Chetumal. Upon discovering that he was receiving special privileges, he was returned to prison in Cancun. In November 2006, he was ordered transferred to the maximum security prison of El Altiplano, based on psychological assessments performed by personnel of the federal Office of the Attorney General.

The announcement of the return to prison of Cancun came four years after the detention of writer and journalist Lydia Cacho, author of book The Demons of Eden, which exposed the activities of a pedophile ring.

Cacho, who was arrested in Cancun in December 2005 and taken to Puebla state under a criminal charge of defamation, considers that there is a very high probability that, once in Cancun, Succar Kuri will use his influence to live a comfortable life, and will escape and exact revenge against his victims. Cacho, “Succar Kuri promised that he would return to Cancun to get revenge on girls who denounced him and, of course, to take revenge on me."

Adriana Varillas Corresponsal

El Universal

Feb. 16, 2010

See also:

Horror Story: Lydia Cacho's Exposé of Pedophilia Has Her Critics Up in Arms

Cancun, Mexico - The bodyguards linger in the steakhouse foyer, conspicuous with their handguns in lumpy fanny packs. The bulletproof SUV sits in quick-getaway position outside.

And now Lydia Cacho Ribeiro's cellphone rings.

"Yes, I got in okay," Cacho says from an out-of-the-way table. "I'm fine."

Cacho sets the phone down, a weary smile forming beneath high cheekbones and dark, deep-set eyes.

"He was worried," she says of her longtime partner, the prominent Mexican editor and columnist Jorge Zepeda Patterson. "This is my life."

A crusade against pedophiles has made Cacho, who will be in Washington tomorrow and Tuesday to be honored by Amnesty International, one of Mexico's most celebrated and imperiled journalists. She is a target in a country where at least 17 journalists have been killed in the past five years and that trailed only Iraq in media deaths during 2006. Do-gooders and victims want to meet her, want to share their stories. Bad guys -- well, they want her in a coffin.

In the spring of 2005, Cacho published a searing exposé of the child abuse and pornography rings flourishing amid the $500-a-night resorts and sugar-white beaches of Cancun. Her book "The Demons of Eden: The Power That Protects Child Pornography" chronicles in cringe-inducing detail the alleged habits of wealthy men whose sexual tastes run to 4-year-old girls...

...Seven months after her book was published, Cacho says, police officers from the far-off state of Puebla shoved her into a van outside the women's center she runs on a crumbling side street well removed from Cancun's gaudy hotel strip. They drove her 950 miles across Mexico, she says, jamming gun barrels into her face and taunting her for 20 hours with threats that she would be drowned, raped or murdered. The police have disputed her version of events, saying she was treated well.

Cacho found herself in police custody because Mexico's "Denim King," the textile magnate Kamel Nacif, had accused her of defamation, which at the time was a criminal offense under Mexican law. (Inspired by Cacho's case, the Mexican Congress recently passed a law decriminalizing defamation.) Cacho had written that Nacif used his influence to protect a suspected child molester, Cancun hotel owner Jean Succar Kuri, and that one of Succar's alleged victims was certain Nacif also abused underage girls...

Manuel Roig-Franzia

Washington Post Foreign Service

April 1, 2007


Added: Feb. 22, 2010

Mexico

Proponen endurecer medidas contra impulsores del turismo sexual infantil

Ante el aumento de los casos de turismo sexual infantil en este país, el diputado del PAN, Agustín Castilla, manifestó que se debe sancionar con prisión de 15 a 20 años, y multa de 3 mil a 5 mil días de salario, a quienes consuman prostitución infantil o realicen actos sexuales con menores de edad…

Legislators Propose Stricter Laws Against Child Sex Tourism

With the increasing cases of child sex tourism in this country, National Action Party (PAN) congressional deputy Agustín Castilla has proposed penalties for 15 to 20 years in prison and 3,000 to 5,000 days of minimum wage, for those who are consumers of child prostitution, or who otherwise engage in sexual relations with children and underage youth.

During a press conference, Deputy Castilla, who is a member of the Governance Commission, anticipated that he would present an initiative to add to Article 203 TER and Article 304 of the Federal Penal Code, which are sections that address penalties for sex crimes involving child victims.

Deputy Castilla said the goal of his penal code reform effort is to defeat the child pornography industry. To achieve that end, we must attack the demand from abusers, who, he says, are “generally people without any morals and without scruples, who utilize children to satisfy their desires.”

Caribbean News Digital

Feb. 10, 2010


Added: Feb. 22, 2010

Guatemala, The United States

Norma Cruz stands with First Lady Michelle Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as she receives the “International Woman of Courage” award from the U.S. Department of State in 2009

Guatemalan Activist to Speak On Violence Against Women

Norma Cruz, a human rights activist who last year staged a hunger strike in front of the U.S. Supreme Court to protest the illegal adoption of stolen children from Guatemala, will will talk about “Violence Against Women in Guatemala: Global Connections and Action,” Monday, March 1 at the University of Central Florida. The speech, which is free and open to the public, will be at 1 p.m. in the Cape Florida Ballroom of the Student Union.

Her presentation is part of the School of Social Work’s ongoing effort to raise awareness about international social welfare issues. Violence against women, including femicide — the murder of women by men simply because they are women — has reached epidemic proportions in Guatemala, says Cruz. She provides emotional, social and legal support to victims of domestic violence and the families of murdered women through the Survivors Foundation, a Guatemala City-based organization that she co-founded and directs.

Her effort to bring justice to perpetrators has occurred at enormous personal risk, including death threats. Last year, she received the “International Woman of Courage” award from the U.S. Department of State.

The Orlando Sentinel

Feb. 18, 2010

See also:

La Fundación Sobrevivientes es una institución de servicio social, no lucrativa, sin intereses políticos o religiosos. Integrada por mujeres sobrevivientes de violencia para brindar apoyo a mujeres que también son victimas de violencia hacia la mujer: intrafamiliar, sexual y asesinato.

The Survivor's Foundation

“I Will Not Yield”: Norma Cruz wins a Woman of Courage Award - Fundacion Sobrevivientes

Anyone with any interest in Guatemala cannot fail to be aware of the appalling wave of murders directed against women. While many more men are murdered each year the sadistic brutality with which women are often killed suggests a particular malice, and a strength of both stomach and will not to turn away. It is gratifying to see those with that strength being recognized.


Added: Feb. 22, 2010

El Salvador, Mexico

El Salvador Protests Migrant Deaths

The government of El Salvador has filed a complaint with Mexican officials over the killing of three migrants and the rape of four others by armed men in southern Mexico. El Salvador’s deputy minister for Salvadorans abroad said about 150 migrants were pulled off a train by unidentified assailants in Oaxaca state. The official, Juan Jose Garcia, said three men were slain and four women raped in the Jan. 23 attack. Salvadoran migrants frequently hop freight trains in Mexico trying to reach the United States.

Compiled from news reports by Foreign Editor David Gaddis Smith

The San Diego Union-Tribune

Jan. 31, 2010


Added: Feb. 22, 2010

The United States, The World

Ambassador-at-Large Luis CdeBaca, director of the U.S. State Department Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, speaks Feb. 18th, 2010 at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government

Photo:Kristyn Ulanday / Harvard Staff Photographer

From Bondage to Freedom: The Fight To Abolish Modern Slavery

[Abstract of prepared remarks]

...Human trafficking is sexist, racist, environmentally degrading, and economically destabilizing. Its presence undermines the rule of law and its perpetrators are guilty of the most heinous human rights abuses any of us could imagine. But human trafficking around the world is not something we can address only by ridding the world of sexism and racism, of poverty, conflict, corruption or human rights abuses. Nor is it a cultural phenomenon that can only be tackled with education and awareness building.

To put it bluntly, trafficking in persons is a crime. It is a crime akin to murder and rape and kidnapping. We have to confront it not just by addressing root causes that are so far away from the realities of the trafficker and those they enslave, but by using all of our tools. And so the UN Protocol mandates criminalization of trafficking in persons, and the U.S. laws are very focused on law enforcement, because a policy solution to a heinous crime problem must involve freeing the victims and punishing their tormentors.

As long as there are only 3,000 prosecutions worldwide every year, society is sending a message that despite movies and advertisements and conferences, somehow the injustice the victims suffer is not really a national or an international priority. That may be because the victims of this crime are perceived to be throwaways – runaways, poor, prostitutes, or “illegals.” We should not be measured by how well we protect the “deserving victim” – the innocent who is deceived and kidnapped. Rather, we have to stand for everyone’s entitlement to justice. Traffickers should not be assessed by who their victims are, but by the heinous crimes they commit. Otherwise, we’re sending a message that the traffickers are not hurting people who matter.

We need only to look at our own history to know the moral depravity of failing to protect some in society. African-Americans who were once held in legal slavery were the most obvious inhabitants of a zone of impunity – an alternative America where those who burned them alive, beat them in their jail cells, or held them in debt bondage could do so because society ignored the Constitutional promises of freedom and equal protection. Later, crimes against women were often dismissed as family matters, or events that she “should have seen coming.” Native Americans and undocumented immigrants, street children and prostitutes have also been left at times to fend for themselves.

The people who are on the farthest margins of any society have as much right as anyone to the protection of the criminal law. Indeed, they need the protection more than those who legal establishments would like to favor. They have a right to see their abusers brought to justice. They have a right to have their voices heard in the legal process. It is because of this that I strongly believe that compassionate and smart prosecution is the foundation to the victim-centered approach... And yet, as sure as we cannot wait for every societal ill to end before we free people, we will never effectively combat modern slavery through prosecution alone. Prosecution alone cannot provide victims with the compassion and patience that meets their immediate needs and long-term potential alike...

The sad truth is that we have a long way to go here. In my travels (as I have today) I speak frequently about the “3P’s” of prosecution, protection, and prevention. But all too often, when it comes to protection, policies and practices are at best unhelpful and at worst harmful. In the failure of many countries to adequately protect their victims, a new alliterative paradigm emerges: the “3Ds” of victim mis-protection – Deterrence, Detention, and Deportation – as countries jail and repatriate victims without screening or protection, deterring NGOs from bringing their clients to government's attention. If we are to deliver on the promise of freedom, we must confront what happens to the victim when liberated from their trafficker...

Luis CdeBaca

U.S. Department of State

Feb. 18, 2010


Added: Feb. 22, 2010

The United States, The World

Critic says halting human trafficking ‘takes all of us’

Nations all over the world have to get to the root causes of human trafficking, including understanding what creates the markets that make the practice viable, said Luis CdeBaca, who directs the U.S. State Department’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons...

Modern slavery’s ubiquity — and our collective responsibility for it — were two of the messages driven home in an Institute of Politics lecture on Thursday (Feb. 18) at the Harvard Kennedy School’s John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum.

Co-sponsors were Harvard College for Free the Slaves, the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy, the Committee on Human Rights Studies, and Harvard College Human Rights Advocates.

The man behind the messages was Luis CdeBaca, who directs the U.S. State Department’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons. When he was a federal prosecutor, he sent more than 100 traffickers to prison and freed 600 sex and garment workers kept in involuntary servitude.

Trafficking in humans “is a crime akin to murder,” said CdeBaca, who seasoned his 40-minute talk with case studies and statistics. “It’s a crime akin to rape, and to kidnapping.”

Worldwide, there are more than 12 million people who exist in some form of slavery, he said, part of a shadow economy that turns a $32 billion annual profit for traffickers. About a tenth of those are in what experts call “commercial sex servitude.”

[Note: The above quoted figure, stating the one tenth of an estimated 12 million global victims of slavery are trapped in sexual exploitation would mean that only 1.2 million victims of sexual slavery exist in the world.

In contrast, Latin American expert Teresa Ulloa has identified 5 million sex trafficking victims just in Latin America (see Ulloa's figures below).

It is known that 80% of victims are women, and that 50% of them are minors.

Within the U.S. alone, 200,000 to 300,000 minors are exploited in prostitution, and are defined as sex trafficking victims.

Ambassador CdeBaca, please show us your figures on this. Without evidence, we find them hard to understand in the context of the work of other global known experts. Also, please tell us about your criteria for defining who exactly is a sex trafficking victim. - LL]

Yet in a typical year, nations around the globe initiate only 3,000 prosecutions against traffickers, “an unforgivably low percentage,” said CdeBaca.

Nations all over the world have to get to the root causes of human trafficking, he said, including understanding what creates the markets that make the practice viable. (So far, 136 countries have signed on to a decade-old U.N. protocol against slavery.) Stepping up criminal prosecutions is still a prominent key, said CdeBaca, along with a range of other strategies to “rescue and punish.”

He outlined a “3-P paradigm” for addressing human trafficking: prosecute, prevent, and protect.

CdeBaca was introduced by journalist E. Benjamin Skinner, a Carr Center Fellow this year and author of the 2008 book “A Crime So Monstrous: Face-to-Face with Modern-Day Slavery.”

Skinner’s research, conducted both in public and underground, took him to child markets, trafficking networks, illegal brothels, and other slave venues in a dozen countries in the Middle East, Asia, Europe, and North America. Even suburban America, he discovered, contains its own parallel universes of hidden slavery...

Corydon Ireland

The Harvard Gazette

Feb. 19, 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.

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


Added: Feb. 22, 2010

Europe, The World

Human Trafficking: Call for Unconditional Aid to Victims

Victims of human trafficking, especially women and children, should receive protection and "unconditional" assistance, demanded the European Parliament (EU) in a resolution adopted on Wednesday. The victims should be entitled to free legal aid, the penalties for traffickers should be rethought and ways must be found to discourage demand for services supplied by the victims, say MEPs. The fight against trafficking in human beings must stay high on the EU agenda during times of economic and financial crisis, stresses the resolution. According to Europol’s assessment for 2009, trafficking of women for sexual exploitation has not decreased and trafficking for forced labor is increasing.

Trafficking takes many forms. It is linked to sexual exploitation, forced labor, the illegal trade in human organs, begging, illegal adoptions and domestic work. Of the identified victims of trafficking, 79% are women and girls.

Further EU action in this field should focus on the protection of victims, say MEPs, by ensuring that assistance to victims is “unconditional”, that a victim’s consent to exploitation is always deemed irrelevant and that victims are entitled to assistance irrespective of their willingness to cooperate in criminal proceedings.

According to the EP, victims should receive all possible help from the moment they are identified as such, including access to at least a temporary residence permit, irrespective of their willingness to cooperate in criminal proceedings, and simplified access to the labor market, including the provision of training and other forms of up-skilling. The EP also asks for a simplified family reunification policy for victims, particularly where this is required for their protection, access to appropriate secure accommodation, including the provision of a food/subsistence allowance, to emergency medical treatment, to counseling services, translation and interpretation where appropriate, help contacting family and friends, and access to education for children.

Free legal aid should also be given to the victims, which “is essential to enable them to escape the situation of coercion in which they find themselves, bearing in mind that they lack financial means and would thus be unable to pay for such assistance”.

Further prevention and action could also focus on the users of services supplied by trafficked people. MEPs call for massive awareness-raising campaigns targeting both potential victims of trafficking and potential buyers of services from trafficked persons...

The European Parliament

Feb. 02, 2010


Added: Feb. 22, 2010

El Salvador, Mexico

El Salvador Protests Migrant Deaths

The government of El Salvador has filed a complaint with Mexican officials over the killing of three migrants and the rape of four others by armed men in southern Mexico. El Salvador’s deputy minister for Salvadorans abroad said about 150 migrants were pulled off a train by unidentified assailants in Oaxaca state. The official, Juan Jose Garcia, said three men were slain and four women raped in the Jan. 23 attack. Salvadoran migrants frequently hop freight trains in Mexico trying to reach the United States.

Compiled from news reports by Foreign Editor David Gaddis Smith

The San Diego Union-Tribune

Jan. 31, 2010


Added: Feb. 22, 2010

Puerto Rico

Ricky Martin Calls for Focus on Human Ttrafficking

San Juan - Puerto Rico needs more effective legislation to halt human trafficking in the U.S. Caribbean territory, Latin superstar Ricky Martin said Monday.

Martin was visiting his native island to present a study conducted by the nonprofit Ricky Martin Foundation, a group advocating children's rights globally.

The 91-page report concludes that sex tourism and human trafficking are serious problems in Puerto Rico, and that the island is used as a transit point for smuggled women and children.

"This is happening on our island," said Martin, a winner of multiple Grammy awards, as he presented the study at the University of Puerto Rico. "We cannot turn our back on the victims."

Luis Cdebaca, director of the U.S. State Department's division of human-trafficking monitoring, praised the singer — perhaps best-known for his "Livin' the Vida Loca" single — for bringing attention to human trafficking and other forms of modern-day slavery. He said traffickers are thriving in Puerto Rico and across the U.S. mainland.

"What we are dealing with is a situation where people are suffering because no one is hearing their voice," he said.

The Associated Press

Feb. 16, 2010


Added: Feb. 22, 2010

Delaware, USA

3 Men Arrested In Alleged Rape Of 16-Year-Old

Georgetown - A horrifying attack that allegedly took place in the Classic Motel in Georgetown earlier this month has landed three men behind bars. Lt. Lawrence Grose of Georgetown Police described, "They just raped her repeatedly between the 5th and the 6th [of February]. They held her down, wouldn't let her leave the room."

Police say Felix Flores, Alex Alvarado and Erik Maldonado have all been charged with kidnapping and raping a 16-year-old.

The victim had dated Alvarado in the past, but did not know the other alleged attackers. Lt. Grose said, "It took us a while to figure out who they exactly were... The other two guys involved actually turned out to be his cousins."

The day after, a family member reported the alleged assault. Police say the victim was tested at Nanticoke Memorial and interviewed at the Children's Advocacy Center, where officials confirmed there were signs of a sexual assault.

"You can't really lay blame on the motel, but we've had some other instances of crime out there," said Lt. Grose. He told WMDT that they're working on trying to reduce the reports of assaults by increasing patrols in the area.

"At least we got them, and they can't hurt anybody else," said the lieutenant. "Nobody should be treated like that, nobody. Especially a little girl. Because to us, she's still a little girl."

However, that's not all for two of the suspects. Police say Flores and Alvarado were wanted for not showing up to a deportation hearing about four years ago. They say the two men were in the country illegally.

Each suspect is being held at Sussex Correctional Institute in lieu of $133,000 bond.

WMDT

Feb. 16, 2010


Added: Feb. 22, 2010

USA

Oviedo man sentenced to 8 years in child-sex case

An Oviedo man was sentenced Tuesday to eight years in prison for sexually molesting a 9-year-old girl.

Miguel Angel Ceballos-Gomez agreed to a plea deal Monday and pleaded no contest to lewd and lascivious molestation of a child under the age of 12.

He was originally charged with three counts of child rape and two counts of sexually molesting the child.

Rene Stutzman

The Orlando Sentinel

Feb. 16, 2010


Added: Feb. 18, 2010

Mexico

Senator Irma Martínez Manríquez (left), and Deputy Rosi Orozco call for effective anti trafficking legislation in Congress

Alertan Sobre Normalización de la Violencia Hacia las Mujeres

Estado mexicano, ineficaz para sancionar delito de trata

México, DF, - A pesar de que México cuenta con la Ley Federal para prevenir y Sancionar la Trata de Personas, reglamentada desde 2008, no hay una respuesta eficaz del Estado para llevarla a la práctica y hace falta trabajar “en atención a la víctima, sanción y prevención social”, afirmó Rodolfo Casillas Ramírez, investigador de la Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales (FLACSO).

En conferencia de prensa, la diputada Rosi Orozco presidenta de la recién instalada Comisión Especial de Lucha contra la Trata de Personas de la Cámara de Diputados y el senador Guillermo Tamborrel Suárez, ambos del Partido Acción Nacional (PAN), coincidieron en que el delito de trata “es un desafío no sólo en lo jurídico sino en lo social” puesto que el alcance de la ley “está sujeto a lo que la sociedad hace o deja de hacer”...

Academics and Congressional Leaders Warn About the ‘Normalization’ of Violence Against Women

The Mexican state is ineffective in its Efforts to Punish Human Trafficking

Mexico City – Although Mexico has in-place a federal law, passed in 2007, to combat human trafficking, there has not been any effective effort on the part of the Mexican state to put that law into practice. There has been a lack of effort put into “giving attention to victims, punishment and social prevention” says Rodolfo Casillas Ramirez, investigator of the Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences (FLACSO).

During a press conference on the subject, federal congressional deputy Rosi Orozco, a National Action Party (PAN) legislator and president of recently created Special Commission to Fight Against Human Trafficking, and Senator Guillermo Tamborrel Suárez, also of the PAN, agreed that the crime of human trafficking is not only a legal challenge, but a social one as well, given that the law can only be as effective as society allows it to be.

Casillas Ramirez stated that in a patriarchal society such as Mexico, in which women are used as if they were “merchandise and objects,” there exist [social] processes that create victimizers and victims within families, and that problem has to be addressed...

Problems with the anti trafficking law

Senator Guillermo Tamborrel declared that the nation’s anti trafficking law has two essential problems: “1) its definition; and, 2) its application.” The lack of sensitivity and commitment that exists in the federal Attorney General’s Office as well as the voids and inconsistencies in the 2008 law have created a situation in which the law is not having any effect, despite the fact that there are aspects of the law that can put the brakes on trafficking.

Senator Tamborrel, who is also president of the Commission on Vulnerable Populations in the Senate, indicated that another of the limitations of the trafficking law is that, because it is a federal law, it is not synchronized with state laws, but in competition with them [in Mexico’s federal system state laws are preeminent]...

Legislative initiatives in the Senate

Members of the Senate of the Republic have presented four initiatives to reform the existing trafficking law and add to articles 6, 12, 13, and 14 of the legislation. In addition, three proposed non-binding resolutions have been presented that call upon the competent authorities to develop a synchronized legal framework that will be applied equally across all of Mexico.

Among these initiatives is one presented by New Alliance Party senator Irma Martínez Manríquez. This proposal seeks to “perfect and make precise” the definition of the crime of human trafficking, and eliminates the impact of the consent of the victim on sentencing...

Full English Translation

Paulina Rivas Ayala

CIMAC Women’s News Agency 

Mexico City

Feb. 17, 2010

See also:

Una proposición con Punto de Acuerdo por el que se exhorta al Ejecutivo Federal y a la Comisión Intersecretarial, para que a la brevedad concluyan y hagan público el Programa Nacional para Prevenir y Sancionar la Trata de Personas, así como la estrategia que seguirán para instrumentarlo de manera inmediata y coordinada con las autoridadesfederales, estatales, municipales y del Distrito Federal...

In the Senate of the Republic, a proposal for a Sense of the Senate calling for the federal executive and the Inter-Ageny Commission to Fight Human Trafficking to quickly conclude and release to the public the National Program to Prevent and Punish Human Trafficking, and, the strategy that the Executive will follow to implement the Program immediately, and in coordination with the federal, state, municipal and Federal District governments...

Senators Gerardo Montenegro Ibarra and Irma Martínez Manríquez

Senate of the Republic

Mexico

Feb. 03, 2010


Added: Feb. 17, 2010

Puerto Rico

Ambassador-at-Large to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, Luis C. de Baca (left), and Ricky Martin at the University of Puerto Rico Law School presentation on human trafficking

Photo: The Associated Press / Andres Leighton

Ricky Martín: Hay Que Combatir Trata de Personas

El cantante Ricky Martin saluda participó en la presentación del estudio "La trata en Puerto Rico: un reto a la invisibilidad" en la sede de la Universidad de Puerto Rico en San Juan

San Juan.- El astro Ricky Martín advirtió hoy que Puerto Rico no está exento de la trata de humanos y la explotación infantil, por lo que "necesitamos crear guerreros de luz" que se encarguen de hacer más visible y de combatir este problema.

El cantante, que además de su faceta artística, se dedica a alertar y trabajar para prevenir la explotación infantil a nivel mundial, presentó un informe sobre el tema en su país natal, auspiciado por la fundación que lleva su nombre y varias organizaciones educativas, informó AP.

"Esto está pasando en nuestra isla", declaró el ganador del Grammy y tres Latín Grammy al presentar el estudio y sus conclusiones en la Universidad de Puerto Rico. "No podemos darle la espalda a las víctimas".

El informe, que se realizó durante tres años, señaló que "esto que parecía tan lejano como un fenómeno del Pacífico o de la Europa Central, lo cierto es que hoy la tenemos en la casa".

Para Martín, "queda mucho por hacer, particularmente conocer a fondo la realidad de la trata de personas en nuestra isla y comenzar a establecer política pública que nos ayude a despertar consciencia colectiva sobre este crimen"...

Crear campañas públicas de educación, establecer y cursos y adiestramientos para que maestros puedan detectar posibles víctimas y que los menores sepan acerca de sus derechos y formas de escapar al abuso son otras de las recomendaciones que hace el estudio.

"Confío en que esta semilla sembramos hoy germine en un Puerto Rico que mire con detenimiento esta problemática y actúe por el bien de nuestros niños y niñas y por el bien de nuestra sociedad", expresó el cantante boricua.

El Universal

Feb. 15, 2010

See also:

Added: Feb. 17, 2010

Puerto Rico

Ricky Martin

Photo: Ricky Martin Foundation

Sex Tourism and Sex Trafficking Serious Problem in Puerto Rico - Study

A 91-page report has concluded that sex tourism and human trafficking are serious problems in Puerto Rico.

That’s the word from the study undertaken by the Ricky Martin Foundation, a group advocating children’s rights globally. The research, led by Dr. César Rey is titled, Trafficking in Persons in Puerto Rico: An Invisible Challenge.

“This is happening on our island,” Martin said. “I am very pleased that through my foundation we can bring awareness to the crime of human trafficking in my island. I am confident that the seeds we sow today will germinate in a Puerto Rico that ponders on this issue and acts for the sake of our children and for the good of society.”

The findings were the result of a three year comprehensive work which involved 10 researchers who compiled actual cases of survivors for this crime, which is inserted as part of the country’s informal and underground economy.

Dr. Rey emphasized that this investigation has “the purpose of educating members of academic institution about this global phenomenon. And propose amendments to existing legislation to protect, prevent and rehabilitate potential victims.”

“We are confident that we will achieve awareness in the society and strengthen the capacity of government officials and non-government sector organizations to combat a ruthless industry. It is the tip of the iceberg, the beginning of a profile to a crime we cannot deny,” he added.

The United States Government was represented by Ambassador-at-Large to Monitore and Combat Trafficking in Persons, Luis C. de Baca, renowned expert on this global phenomenon. Johns Hopkins University was also represented through Dr. Mohamed Mattar, Executive Director of the Protection Project. They both traveled to the island at the invitation of Martin.

The study, which had the participation researchers fro the Graduate School of Public Administration of the University of Puerto Rico, Ricky Martin Foundation personnel and the Protection Project Team, highlighted among its findings various forms of human trafficking: commercial sexual exploitation; labor exploitation and purchased marriages…

Caribbean World News

Feb. 17, 2010

See also:

Women Suffer Brutal Captivity: Global Sex Slavery

[One woman's story of child sexual slavery in Puerto Rico]

Catalina Suarez was 9 years old when a grandfatherly neighbor lured her with a gift, kidnapped her and kept her chained to a bed in a rural Puerto Rican shack, forcing the child to have brutal sex with a succession of men.

It was the beginning of 18 years of sexual slavery throughout Latin America and the United States. By her own account, Suarez should have died several times from drugs, disease, beatings and neglect, but in December the San Francisco resident testified before the United Nations about her ordeal.

"I was always under the influence of some kind of drugs, or I was traumatized by the beatings or the pain or the fear," said Suarez, 36. "I was put into trunks of cars with rats and roaches. I screamed and screamed and screamed. No one would help me." Suarez's testimony comes as officials and watchdog groups confront a booming international trade in women and children as slaves for prostitution...

Catalina Suarez's ordeal, which she related in a sometimes tearful interview, underscored the dehumanizing impact of the sex trade.

Her parents were divorced, her mother was an alcoholic, and she'd been raped by a stepbrother. So the runaway was only too eager when a kindly older neighbor said he had a gift for her in his car.

He drove her to a rural area and took her to the backroom of a rickety bar, where a man started to undress. She ran, but after shots were fired at her, she submitted.

She was then tied to a metal bed in a shack for most of the next year and forced to have sex with men who paid her captor. She was usually gagged, often drugged and subjected to brutal sexual assaults, some of which were videotaped. Life became a blur of pain and terror, she said. "I didn't know what day it was."

Then, she was forced to work in a succession of brothels in Peru, Ecuador, Panama, Guatemala and, by the time she was 14, Sacramento, Suarez said.

She was constantly beaten, Suarez said, and once was hung from a ceiling and hit with a baseball bat. She caught many venereal diseases and became too sick to eat.

From Sacramento she moved on to cheap motels, massage parlors and escort services in Reno, New York, Ohio and Alaska, Suarez said, adding that she had become addicted to heroin and cocaine and resigned to her role as a prostitute.

Suarez had few skills and knew no other life. A series of some 20 pimps made sure of that...

Suarez now works at Promise, a nonprofit San Francisco group that helps women break out of prostitution.

On Dec. 6, [1996] she told her story to the General Assembly of the United Nations at a hearing on international trafficking of women and children. She called the occasion "a very blessed and holy day for me."

She'd come a long way from the shed in Puerto Rico, but was still dealing with the damage.

"I want a normal life," she said. "I want to be a human being again."

Seth Rosenfeld

San Francisco Examiner

April 06, 1997


Added: Feb. 17, 2010

Haiti, Dominican Republic, United States, El Salvador, Canada

Jorge Puello

Photo: The Associated Press / Javier Galeano

A Ex-adviser to Detained Americans Charged in US

Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic - The fugitive former legal adviser to a group of Americans detained in Haiti on kidnapping charges said Tuesday he has yet another reason to stay in hiding: He's been indicted in the U.S. in an immigrant smuggling case.

Jorge Puello, who surged into the spotlight by providing food, medicine and legal assistance to the 10 Americans jailed in Haiti, was already being pursued by law enforcement authorities in the Dominican Republic on an Interpol warrant out of El Salvador, where police say he led a ring that lured young women and girls into prostitution. He also had an outstanding warrant for a U.S. parole violation...

The growing legal troubles for Puello have become a distraction for the detained Americans and those trying to secure their release. The Baptist missionaries were accused to trying to remove 33 children from Haiti without authorization following the Jan. 12 earthquake...

Puello's involvement with the Americans began to unravel when authorities in El Salvador noted his resemblance to suspect in the sex trafficking case. He acknowledged on Monday that he is in fact the suspect but said he was wrongly accused and will fight the charges...

Authorities in the Central American country disclosed more details about the case Tuesday. The deputy investigations director of El Salvador's police, Howard Augusto Cotto, said Puello would be detained once he steps foot in El Salvador on charges of leading a trafficking ring dedicated to prostituting Central American and Caribbean girls and women.

Cotto said Salvadoran police discovered the operation after three Nicaraguan girls escaped from a home and sought help at the Nicaraguan embassy. Police found two Dominican women and two more Nicaraguan girls at the home along with a credit card and documents in Puello's name. They have since found advertisements on the Internet allegedly from the ring offering the women's services.

On Monday, Puello told the AP that he and his Salvadoran wife had taken in young women from the Caribbean and Central America who had been abandoned by smugglers...

Ben Fox

The Associated Press

Feb. 15, 2010


Added: Feb. 17, 2010

Haiti

Antonio Maria Costa, Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)

Human Trafficking:

A Crime That Shames Us All

UNODC Executive Director Antonio Maria Costa

Vienna Forum to Fight Human Trafficking

Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Violence, exploitation and slavery have been part of humanity since creation, or if you prefer, since our ancestors climbed down from trees. It has persisted over time and space, despite the compassionate message of religions, the aspiration to equality by revolutions and, since 60 years, the recognized supremacy of human rights advocated by the United Nations.

In the past quarter century, the opening up of world markets has facilitated the movement of people, goods, capital and services - commerce has benefited, and so has illicit activity, including the trade of human beings. The ease of travel, the speed of the internet, and global competition have rendered the exploitation of humans by humans easier, broader and more efficient.

In the past decade the moral imperative to stop human trafficking has found its way onto policy agendas -- following a perceived increase in the severity of the problem and a growing concern among humanitarian activists. The first global agreement was brokered by my Office and agreed right here, on this United Nations campus, in 2000. It came into force on Christmas Day three years later -it is the UN Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons.

At the outset, efforts to put in place the UN Protocol have been disjointed; victims often prosecuted for their illegal status; interdiction operations limited; few arrests, with inadequate retribution. In other words, laws have been passed, but unevenly applied, the authorities inclined to speak loudly, but in fact showing benign neglect. I salute the few notable exceptions.

Two hundred years after the end of the trans-Atlantic slave trade, we have the obligation to fight a crime that has no place in the 21st century. This Forum shows our determination. Your participation proves your commitment. Let us combine forces...

The evidence submitted at this Forum provides the foundation of our future work: the knowledge to plan, the means to act, and the recognition needed to guide common efforts.

Over the past twelve months, we have exposed different forms of human trafficking around the world:

- children in conflicts, in Africa and Asia: babes losing their innocence to drugs and arms, or abducted to become the combatants' sex slaves;

- girls sold by their family into Asian brothels because of bad harvest or bad debt;

- women enslaved into sex parlors the world over, robbed of their bodies, dignity and freedom;

- men in bondage, in southern plantations or northern sweat shops;

- underage kids enslaved to beg in Europe and North America, or carrying out dangerous tasks with their nimble fingers to produce luxury goods.

During the Forum, you will hear more about these uncomfortable truths. The resulting collage is sinister but revealing, enabling a targeted response...

United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)

Feb. 13, 2010

See also:

LibertadLatina Commentary

Chuck Goolsby

The February 13th, 2010 speech by Antonio Maria Costa, Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), at the Vienna Forum, is laudable for its emphasis on the world's need to organize to fight human trafficking effectively.

Director Costa listed areas where UNODC has been active, including: Africa, Asia, Europe and North America.

The lack of mention of Latin America is concerning, given that some estimates identify 50% of global sex trafficking activity as taking place within the Latin American region.

As we have stated in other commentaries, many academics, U.S. government anti-trafficking officials and non governmental organization heads have routinely spoken in the public forum in regard to the crisis of global sex and labor slavery without ever mentioning 'Little Brown Maria in the Brothel' - our metaphor for the millions of sex and labor trafficking victims who exist across South and Central America, the Caribbean and Mexico.

We recognize that the United Nations has done important work to fight human trafficking in Latin America. There is, however, no reason whatsoever to leave Latin America off of the list of crisis hot spots for modern human slavery when UN officials present important speeches on the topic of trafficking.

The LibertadLatina web site demonstrates, through our collection of over 1,200 factual articles and related materials, that the human trafficking and exploitation crisis in Latin America is no backwater issue. It is one of the global epicenter's of the crisis.

Whatever causes U.S. officials, academics and NGOs to remain silent about the Latin American emergency needs to stop. The victims, and the tens of millions of women and children who are at risk in the region (50 million are at-risk, according to activist Teresa Ulloa's figures) deserve action and an equal place at the table of leadership and decision making.

In response to a related story in today's news, we thank pop star Ricky Martin and his foundation for having invested in a just-released 3-year research study that exposes the human trafficking crisis on the island of Puerto Rico.

Puerto Rico lies less than 100 miles from the Dominican Republic, which is the very largest source of women and girls trafficked from Latin America into prostitution across the world (and especially to Europe and Argentina), with an estimated 60,000 to 100,000 of its citizens living as prostitutes globally. The Caribbean region as a whole also has a growing problem with human trafficking.

Martin's actions are what we want to see repeated across the Latin American region. There is no reason to remain silent about the issue of Latin American human trafficking!

Keep up the good work!

The presence of U.S. Ambassador-at-Large to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons Luis C. de Baca at Ricky Martin's event also sends positive signals that the U.S. Government is willing to address the Latin American crisis in sex and labor trafficking.

Now, Mr. Ambassador, we need you to please focus-on and to speak publicly about the mass gender atrocities that are taking place on a daily basis in Mexico and across the rest of the Latin American and Caribbean region.

There really is no time to waist!

End impunity now!

- Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

Feb. 16, 2010


Added: Feb. 17, 2010

Texas, USA

Jose Luis Torres

Lufkin Man Arrested for Sex Assault of 10-year-old Girl

A Lufkin man was arrested for the aggravated sexual assault of a 10 year-old-girl, according to an arrest report.

Jose Luis Torres, 32, has been charged with two counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child and one count of indecency with a child. The girl told her mother about the abuse after her 12-year-old brother caught Torres taking her into his bedroom and asked what he was doing, the report stated.

The girl told her mother Torres had been abusing her for a while, including an incident that happened a month ago when she awoke to him touching her inappropriately, according to the report.

During an exam by a sexual assault nurse and an interview with a forensic interviewer, the girl revealed that Torres made her perform oral sex on him and that he had done the same to her.

Torres faces up to 99 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000 for each of the aggravated sexual assault of a child charges and up to an additional 20 years for the indecency charge.

As of Friday afternoon, he was being held in the Angelina County Jail on a collective $250,000 bond. Torres does not appear to have a criminal history, according to a public records search.

Jessica Cooley

The Lufkin Daily News

Feb.12, 2010


Added: Feb. 17, 2010

Texas, USA

Adrian Navarro

99 Years for Man Who Recorded Child Sex Assault

Jury takes less than 30 minutes to convict Adrian Navarro of assaults on young girls.

An Austin tattoo artist who recorded himself on video engaging in sex acts with two young girls while his wife assisted was sentenced to 99 years in prison Wednesday.

Adrian Navarro showed no emotion when the punishment from a Travis County jury, which earlier in the day took less than 30 minutes to convict him, was read aloud in court.

"I am just happy he's not going to be on the street," prosecutor Joe Frederick said after court adjourned.

Navarro, 30, testified during the trial that making the 1-year-old girl and the 5-year-old girl perform sex acts on him was "a bad decision" and "a very ignorant mistake." He did not testify during the sentencing phase of the trial.

Austin police went to the South Austin apartment that Navarro shared with his wife, Mariana Garcia, in January 2009 in a burglary investigation. After Garcia gave them consent to search the apartment, they found pictures depicting child pornography, according to lawyers in the case. Navarro then told police in a recorded conversation that they could search his computer, lawyers said.

That's when they found the approximately six-minute video, taken a year earlier, showing the sex acts with the children, lawyers said.

After their apartment was searched, the couple fled to Tejupilco, Mexico , where Garcia, a Mexican citizen, has family. After Mexican authorities arrested them last year with the help of U.S. marshals, Navarro, a U.S. citizen, was deported and arrested when he arrived in San Antonio in January. Mexican authorities formally extradited Garcia.

Frederick told the jury during closing arguments that he is still troubled that the older girl that Navarro abused could be heard laughing on the recording. He also noted that while it was playing in court, the only dry eyes in the room were Navarro's.

"You need to punish him for... the years of therapy these kids are going to need," Frederick said, "for waking up in the middle of the night and thinking, 'Is this video out there?'" ...

Navarro received 99-year sentences for aggravated sexual assault of a child and attempted aggravated sexual assault of a child, and a 20-year sentence for promotion of child pornography, all maximum sentences. The jury also assessed a $10,000 fine, the maximum, for each crime.

By law, the sentences will run together, visiting state District Judge Fred Moore said.

Navarro, 30, will be eligible for parole after serving 30 years.

Garcia, 24, is serving a 40-year prison sentence after pleading guilty in November to two counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child...

The Statesman

Feb. 10, 2010


Added: Feb. 17, 2010

Texas, USA

Fake Doctor Gets 68 Years In Prison

A jury in Dallas has ordered 68 years in prison for a man convicted of sexual assault in an attack on a 12-year-old girl as he pretended to be a doctor.

Jesus Garza testified Monday, during the penalty phase, that the girl and her mother had lied about the allegations.

Prosecutors say the woman in June took her daughter, who has a skin condition, to Garza's Grand Prairie apartment for an examination. Garza allegedly had claimed he had a clinic that was being painted.

The mother says she could not see what the 64-year-old Garza was doing because he covered the girl, whose name was not made public as a sexual assault victim, was doing to her.

Three adult women testified that they also were molested by Garza when they sought treatment from him.

Click2Houston.com

Feb. 16, 2010


Added: Feb. 16, 2010

Puerto Rico

Ricky Martin speaks at the University of Puerto Rico School of Law

Photo: EFE

Ricky Martin Turns Spotlight on Human Trafficking

San Juan – Singer Ricky Martin on Monday presented a study on human trafficking in Puerto Rico in which he said that people were trying to sell minors on the Internet and trade them for cases of beer.

“It’s a reality that is very difficult for me to accept and which I don’t want to believe, but it is happening,” the star told invited guests at the University of Puerto Rico School of Law.

Dr. Cesar Rey, a sociologist who teaches at UPR’s Graduate School for Public Administration, headed the study entitled “Trafficking in Persons in Puerto Rico: An Invisible Challenge.”

Financed by the Ricky Martin Foundation, the study was put together over three years by 10 researchers from UPR and the Protection Project at the School of Advanced International Studies of Johns Hopkins University, which compiled the true cases of survivors of the trade.

In San Juan, the performer asked the public to become “warriors of light” to combat these evils and the cases of children who are denied permission to go to school and are subjected to slavery, and others who are sold by their parents and forced into prostitution.

Martin said that different forms of humiliation to which the children are subjected include commercial sexual exploitation, labor exploitation and being purchased to become marriage partners.

Rey, the former secretary of education for Puerto Rico during the 2001-2005 administration of Gov. Sila Maria Calderon, said that there are no reliable statistics on human trafficking on the Caribbean island because of the bureaucracy.

He emphasized that the investigation could result in the proposing of amendments to current law to protect and rehabilitate victims and to prevent others from becoming victims of the trade.

“We are confident we will achieve awareness in the society and strengthen the capacity of government officials and non-government sector organizations to combat a ruthless industry,” Rey said.

The sociologist reviewed some of the statistics on human trafficking elsewhere in the world and provided several “heartbreaking testimonies” from persons who were forced into prostitution as children.

Among them, he included the case of a 68-year-old homeless man who from the age of 8 was sodomized by his own parents, and the one of the 11-year-old girl who was forced to have sexual relations with adult men in exchange for food.

The study also reviews the problem of prostitution, which is growing in Puerto Rico due to the activities of the massage parlors in Greater San Juan.

The U.S. Ambassador-at-Large to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, Luis C. de Baca, thanked Martin for his “leadership” on the issue.

UNICEF statistics indicate 1.2 million children are trafficked each year worldwide with an eye toward exploiting them for labor, sex, servitude, pornography and other forms of modern-day slavery.

Jorge J. Muñiz Ortiz

EFE

Feb. 15, 2010


Added: Feb. 16, 2010

Florida, USA

Man Sentenced to 5 Years for Sex Trafficking

A 28-year-old Mexican national was sentenced to five years in federal prison Wednesday after he pleaded guilty to helping smuggle young women from Mexico to Atlanta and forcing them to work as prostitutes.
Miguel Rugerio is one of three people charged by federal prosecutors in a plot that smuggled at least five women across the border to work as prostitutes. Another defendant, Christina Hernandez, is in custody in Mexico on related charges while Saul Rugerio remains a fugitive.

Prosecutors say Miguel Rugerio and the two others targeted "young, vulnerable women and teenagers with limited resources" and threatened them with violence and deportation if they didn't cooperate. The women were often told they must work as prostitutes to repay smuggling fees to sneak them across the border.

The Rugerios often met the women in Mexico, promising them steady work and a better life if they sneaked across the border and travel to Atlanta. Once they arrived, they were sent to live in tiny apartments and supplied with condoms and the phone numbers of drivers who shuttled them to clients.

One alarming case involves a young woman referred to as N.M. in the federal indictment. Prosecutors say Miguel Rugerio met and romanced her in 2006 in Mexico, persuaded her to move to Atlanta and then forced her to work as a prostitute. He let her return to Mexico to care for a sick child months later, but followed her there and continued to make her work.

He soon arranged for her to be smuggled back to the United States, sometimes dispatching her to work in other towns, including Orlando and South Carolina, and keeping whatever cash she earned, authorities said.

"It impacted every aspect of my life," she told the judge, speaking through a translator in between sobs. "I haven't really even recovered from everything that happened even now. I don't think that actually I'll ever be able to recover from this."

Greg Bluestein

The Associated Press

Feb. 04, 2010


Added: Feb. 16, 2010

Maryland, USA

Trucker Charged in Maryland Abduction

Seat Pleasant - A Texas truck driver has been arrested and charged with abducting an 11-year-old Maryland girl and driving her to Tennessee, officials said.

Elmer Joaquin Zelaya, 41, was stopped and arrested by a Tennessee Highway Patrol officer about 10 p.m. Saturday after Maryland authorities issued an Amber alert earlier that day, The Washington Post reported Monday.

Zelaya was an acquaintance of the girl's family, authorities said, and neighbors often saw his tractor-trailer parked at the family home.

Relatives reported Karina Manzano-Garcia missing from her Seat Pleasant, Md., home about 2:30 p.m., Saturday and authorities began radio and television broadcasts with descriptions of the girl and the truck Zelaya was thought to be driving, the Post reported.

The highway patrolman spotted the truck in Tennessee's Madison County and took Zelaya into custody, a spokesman for the Tennessee Department of Safety said.

Police would not say how or why Zelaya allegedly drove off with Karina, who was returned to her home Sunday, the Post said.

"It's bad, man. We know the kids," neighbor Larry Summers, 50, said. "When something like that goes on, that kind of bothers the whole neighborhood."

 UPI

Feb. 15, 2010


Added: Feb. 16, 2010

Florida, USA

Ramiro Alvarado Carranza

5-year-old Delray Beach Girl Molested; Man, 22, Arrested

Delray Beach - A 22-year-old man was arrested late Monday on charges of molesting a Delray Beach girl, 5, whose parents found her naked beneath him, police said.

Ramiro Alvarado Carranza was charged with lewd or lascivious molestation of a person younger than 12 and kidnapping of a person younger than 13 after he pinned the victim Jan. 23, according to a police report.

The girl's parents heard her crying about 5 a.m. that day and went to see what was wrong. The father saw Carranza atop the girl on her bed, police said. She was trying to get away from him. The father noted Carranza smelled of alcohol, police said.

Carranza had been living with the family in the past six months. He is now in the Palm Beach County Jail.

Erika Pesantes

Sun-Sentinel

Feb. 10, 2010


Added: Feb. 16, 2010

Illinois, USA

Prison, Deportation for Sex with 13-year-old

A Waukegan man will spend three years in prison and will likely be deported for having sex with a 13-year-old girl, a Lake County judge said at sentencing Tuesday.

Andy Granda, 20, met the girl on My Space and had a relationship with her for seven months before they had sex.

He pleaded guilty to aggravated criminal sexual abuse on Dec. 1.

“Children do not have the capacity to make the right decisions, particularly when deciding to have sexual intercourse,” Judge George Bridges told Granda.

“Even though someone of a young age may appear to agree, the law made it clear they cannot agree. You were dealing with a child, not an adult.”

Prosecutor Mary Kay Foy said, “It is appalling he would take advantage of her in this way.”

Defense attorney Rudolfo Rios acknowledged that the crime was “appalling,” but he told the court that the pre-sentence investigation revealed Granda to be immature and below average in intelligence.

“He is not motivated in a criminal mindset, but he did make a bad decision,” Rios said.

Although probation was recommended after the pre-sentence investigation, Bridges said he did not believe Granda would be able to meet community program requirements.

Granda was 7 when he immigrated to this country from Mexico, Rios said.

It’s a just a matter of time until Granda is deported, Bridges said, and sentenced him three years in the Illinois Department of Corrections.

No victim came forward to make a statement, but the Granda made a brief statement to the court.

“All I can say is I’m sorry and I’m ashamed. What’s done is done, and I’m embarrassed,” Granda said.

Chicago Sun Times

Jan. 21, 2010


Added: Feb. 15, 2010

Texas, USA

Bar Owner Indicted on Sex Trafficking Charges

McAllen - A Mission bar owner has been indicted on multiple counts of conspiracy, harboring illegal immigrants and sex trafficking, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced Thursday.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents arrested Beleal Garcia Gonzalez, 34, last month on allegations he arranged for three Honduran minors to be smuggled into the United States to work as prostitutes in his nightclub - Bar El Paraiso, on Bentsen Palm Drive just south of 5 Mile Line, north of Palmview.

Two women - Garcia’s girlfriend and a bartender at his club - also face charges in the indictment handed down Tuesday. If convicted of conspiracy or harboring illegal immigrants, the women could each face up to 10 years in prison and $250,000 in fines. Garcia faces up to a 15-year sentence on his three additional sex trafficking counts.

“Because human traffickers prey on the most vulnerable, ICE will continue to aggressively identify and assist all victims … and apprehend and present for prosecution those allegedly responsible,” said Jerry Robinette, head of the ICE field office in San Antonio.

ICE agents initially received a tip in January that a home north of Palmview was housing several undocumented minors who were being forced to have sex for money.

Investigators followed two of the girls - who were clad in miniskirts and high heels on a rainy and cold January morning - back to a stash house near the intersection of Mile 3 Road North and Moorefield Road, ICE Special Agent Anson Luna testified during a Jan. 20 hearing in the case.

“All three pretty much had a consistent story,” he said. “They were approached in their home country by a couple and promised a better life working in a restaurant in the United States.”

But once the girls arrived here, Garcia forced them to work in his bar for $20 a day until they paid off their smuggling fees ranging from $4,000 to $4,500, Luna said. Their duties allegedly included having sex with customers for money.

Garcia’s girlfriend, Maria Luisa Vasquez Garcia, 19, and the charged bartender, Elizabeth Mendez Vasquez, 22, kept the girls under a tight watch during their off hours at the stash house, according to a probable cause affidavit filed against them.

All three remained in federal custody.

Garcia’s attorney did not return calls for comment Thursday.

Jeremy Roebuck

The Monitor

Feb. 11, 2010


Added: Feb. 14, 2010

Mexico

Deputy Rosi Orozco (left). chair, and Deputy Maria Araceli Vázquez Camacho, secretary, preside at the first session of the Special Commission to Fight Human Trafficking of the Chamber of Deputies

Instalan Comisión Especial de Lucha Contra Trata

En México unas 20 mil niñas y niños son víctimas de ese flagelo

éxico, DF. - Con el objetivo de promover iniciativas, revisar el marco jurídico y dar seguimiento a la acción de los funcionarios en el combate del delito de Trata, que en México afecta a unas 20 mil niñas y niños, según cifras de la ONU, ayer se instaló en la Cámara de Diputados la Comisión Especial de Lucha contra la Trata de Personas en el país…

Congress Creates Special Commission to Fight Human Trafficking

In Mexico 20 thousand boys and girls are victims of sex trafficking

Mexico City – On February 11th, 2010, Mexico's Chamber of Deputies (lower house of Congress) created the Special Commission for the Fight Against Human Trafficking.

During the Commission’s first session, members stated that the legal framework for controlling human slavery needs to be revised, given that there are a number of gaps in existing laws that prevent the effective control of trafficking related crimes.

Deputy Leticia Quezada Contreras of the Democratic Revolution Party (PRD) declared that human trafficking is an issue that should unite all political parties, with the goal of passing better legislation and ensuring that the legal system has what it needs to fight trafficking.

Deputy Quezada Contreras: “We must provide  tools to non governmental organizations (NGOs) to allow them to rescue more women and children…”

Deputy Claudia Ruiz Massieu Salinas of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) said that “our nation is both a source and destination for victims of human trafficking,” and that in response, we must work on the legislative front to raise awareness, protect victims and eradicate these forms of slavery.

Ecological Green Party of Mexico (PVEM) deputy Caritina Sáenz Vargas proposed creating a caucus of legislators to study the gaps in legislation covering issues of migration, given the close links that exist between migration and human trafficking.

Deputy Sáenz Vargas added that the solution is not to pass more laws, but to revise the existing legal framework and assure that existing laws are enforced. “We have found that the most serious abuses in human trafficking cases involve migrants.”

Mexico’s [first federal] anti-trafficking law, The Law to Prevent, Punish and Eradicate Human Trafficking in Mexico, went into effect in 2008. However, gaps exist in the methodology used in the law.

According to the Center for Investigation and Training in Development and Social Assistance (CEIDAS), the 2008 law is ambiguous, and it lacks resources. To date, the National Program Against Human Trafficking [which is called for in the 2008 law] has not been created. When the program is put in place, it will assign responsibilities to various federal agencies in regard to human trafficking related prevention efforts, prosecutions and victim assistance.

The National Human Rights Commission’s report, “First Diagnosis of the Conditions of Vulnerability that Cause Human Trafficking in Mexico" states that, since the 2008 law went into force, the federal government has only initiated 24 preliminary investigations in cases linked to trafficking [with no resulting convictions].

The new congressional commission will be presided over by Deputy Rosi Orozco (PAN). The secretary will be Deputy Maria Araceli Vázquez Camacho (PRD). Other members of the Commission are deputies: Leticia Quezada Contreras (PRD); Claudia Ruiz Massieu Salinas and Mercedes del Carmen Guillén Vicente (PRI); Oscar González Yánez - Labor Party (PT); Pedro Jiménez Leon (Convergence); Norma Leticia Orozco Torres and Caritina Saénz Vargas (PVEM), and Agustín Carlos Castilla Marroquin.

Gladis Torres Ruiz

CIMAC Women's News Agency

Mexico City

Feb. 12, 2010

See also:

Instalación de la Comisión Especial para la Lucha en Contra de la Trata de Personas

More about the first meeting of the Special Commisison to Combat Human Trafficking

Palacio Legislativo de San Lázaro, 11 de febrero de 2010.- Con la finalidad de revisar todo lo relativo a la Ley para Prevenir y Sancionar la Trata de Personas, publicada en 27 de noviembre de 2007, y para dar voz y atención a las víctimas de este delito, se instaló la Comisión Especial de Lucha contra la Trata de Personas, presidida ´por la diputada federal Rosi Orozco.

Esta Comisión, propuesta por la propia diputada Orozco, recibió el voto a favor de más de 350 diputados, caso único en los anales legislativos, ya que todos los partidos políticos han manifestado su amplio compromiso por erradicar a la Trata de Personas en nuestro país.

En la sesión de instalación, la diputada Rosi Orozco manifestó la necesidad de que nuestro país de cauce al proceso de armonización legislativa para adecuar la actual codificación penal con los instrumentos internacionales sobre la materia. Explicó también que durante el mes de enero se estableció contacto con los expertos más reconocidos en tema de combate a este delito, y ya se tiene integrada una ruta de trabajo para esta Comisión Especial.

[Linked page includes photos and video links about the Commission]

Blog of Deputy Rosi Orozco

Feb. 11, 2010


Added: Feb. 13, 2010

Mexico

PAN party federal congressional deputy Agustín Castilla Marroquín

Tlaxcala, Exportador de Postitución Infantil

México, D.F. “Tlaxcala que se ha convertido en una exportadora de niñas y niños con objeto de prostituirlos”, denunció el diputado federal Agustín Castilla Marroquín, quien añadió que anualmente en nuestro país 60 mil menores de edad son víctimas de la prostitución infantil.

Por ello, el legislador panista adelantó que presentará al pleno de la Cámara de Diputados federal una propuesta de reforma al Código Penal Federal a fin de establecer como delito el consumo de prostitución infantil. La propuesta plantea también castigar ese ilícito con penas de ocho a 20 años de prisión y multa de mil a cinco mil días de salario mínimo, lo que equivaldría a 57 mil 287 pesos…

Tlaxcala State is an Exporter of Child Prostitution

Mexico City - Federal congressional deputy Agustín Castilla Marroquín has denounced the fact that, “Tlaxcala [state] has become an exporter of underage girls and boys for the sex trade.” He added that each year in Mexico, 60,000 children are victimized by prostitution.

For that reason, Castilla Marroquín, a member of the National Action Party (PAN) announced that during the plenary session of the federal Chamber of Deputies (lower house of Congress), he will introduce a proposal to reform the Federal Penal Code by criminalizing the consumption of child prostitution. The proposal calls for penalties of 8 to 20 years in prison and fines of 5,000 days of minimum wage, or about 57,287 pesos.

Deputy Castilla Marroquín warned that Mexico is witnessing an alarming increase in the trafficking of children, to such a degree that the nation already ranks among the top locations in the world for these types of crimes, displacing nations such as Thailand.

The Deputy added that child prostitution is most prevalent in the cities of Tijuana, Acapulco, Cancún and Mexico City, but noted that the problem is even more alarming in the state of Tlaxcala, because it has been turned into an exporter of children for the sex industry.

Castilla Marroquín went on to say that the child sex industry is so perverse that the NGO End Child Prostitution and Trafficking for Sexual Purposes (ECPAT) has had to create a new category for victims, infants from the ages of zero to one.

Castilla Marroquín said that ECAPT has stated that babies and virgins are the children most sought-after by pedophiles. The legislator commented that Mexico faces a paradoxical situation in which our laws punish pimps, pornography consumers and brothel owners, but no criminal penalties exist whatsoever for consumers of child prostitution.

Deputy Castilla Marroquín concluded by stating that the child prostitution industry earns 10 billion dollars annually without [government] punishing those who pay to have sexual relations with children. He is presenting his legislation to address that problem.

Alfredo Plascencia Sanchez

Feb. 04, 2010

See also:

More about the central Mexican state of Tlaxcala, a major center for child sex trafficking

Red de Pederastas en México (Primera Parte)

La red de trata de personas desarticulada el pasado 24 de octubre en la colonia Guerrero no está aislada. Se trata de crimen organizado que opera en Tlaxcala, Guerrero, Chiapas, Morelos y Oaxaca. Durante años hizo del Distrito Federal un mercado para la explotación sexual comercial infantil y lo convirtió en punto de partida hacia los estados fronterizos del norte…

Pedophile Ring is Broken-up in Mexico City (Part One)

The human trafficking network that was dismantled on October 24th, 2009 in the Guerrero neighborhood in Mexico City is not isolated. This is organized crime ring that operates in the states of Tlaxcala, Guerrero, Chiapas, Morelos and Oaxaca. For years they made Mexico City, as well as northern states on the U.S. border a marketplace for the commercial sexual exploitation of children.

"What we have here is a phenomenon where women trafficked for sexual exploitation were [first] assembled in Tlaxaca state. From there, they are taken to other states. They were taken to Puebla, them to Tijuana, and then to the United States," said Federico Pholsen Fuentevilla, of the Friar Julián Garcés Center of Tlaxcala...

"Disgracefully, sex trafficking is inherent in the social behavior in some cities and towns in Tlaxcala state. In Tlaxcala, if you ask boy children what they want to do when they are grown-up, they say that they would like to have lots of sisters in order to have money" [from pimping them], said Dilcya Samantha Garcia, assistant prosecutor for the Care of Victims of within the Mexico City prosecutor’s office.

Without any backing from the government of Tlaxcala, civil organizations and the Human Rights Commission of Mexico City discovered, on their own, the specific sex trafficking routes into the Mexico City neighborhoods of Colonia Guerrero, Centro Historico, Alameda Central, La Calzada de Tlalpan, La Merced and La Central de Abasto.

Last August, the Commission issued a recommendation.

"The [government of the Mexico City] borough of Cuauhtémoc was cynical in its rejection of the commission’s recommendations, even though they have a moral responsibility for what is happening, including their lack of action, as in their failure to inspect the hotels that shelter this [child prostitution] activity,” said Buena Vista association president David Alexander Mondragon.

But the Pandora's box that opened by the October 24th extends even further.

"We have grave problems of human trafficking in the state of Chiapas, particularly in the area Zoconúzco and Tapachula, where there is a brutal problem in human trafficking," said Samantha Garcia Dilcya...

News Eleven

Nov.4, 2009

See also:

Diputado Federal Habla Sobre Comisión Que Investigara el Caso Casitas del Sur

El diputado federal Agustín Castilla Marroquín habla para la Primera Emisión de Noticias MVS con Carmen Aristegui, sobre la comisión creada para impedir, investigar y resolver casos como el de "Casitas del Sur", albergue vinculado a una red internacional de trata de menores, que dirige la secta religiosa Los Perfectos, encabezada por el prófugo Jorge Erdely Graham.

Deputy Agustín Castilla Marroquín Speaks About the Commission That Will Investigate the Casitas Del Sur Child Trafficking Case

[Federal congressional deputy Agustín Castilla Marroquín is interviewed by Noticias MVS reporter Carmen Aristegui in regard to the child trafficking case known as "Casitas del Sur" [Little Houses of the South], which is the name of a children's shelter in Mexico City that was raided in January of 2009 by police.

Casitas del Sur is one of the most notorious child trafficking cases in Mexico.

During the interview, Deputy Castilla Marroquín notes that this case is tied to a powerful human trafficking ring that may have ties to the Cancun based child sex trafficking network that activist journalist Lydia Cacho exposed in her 2005 book, Demons of Eden. - LL]

Carmen Aristegui

Noticias MVS - OnYouTube Video

Sep. 25, 2009

LibertadLatina

About the Casitas del Sur Child Trafficking Network & Case

FBI Investiga Caso Casitas del Sur

Ciudad de México - El Buró Federal de Investigaciones de EU (FBI), colaborará con el gobierno en las averiguaciones de los 26 niños desaparecidos de los albergues de Casitas del Sur.

En conferencia de prensa, el diputado federal del Partido Acción Nacional, Agustín Castilla, junto con Ardelia Martínez, abuela de la niña desaparecida Ilse Michel, cuyo caso desató toda la investigación, confirmó que la SIEDO ya comenzó esta cooperación ya que varios de los integrantes de la Iglesia Cristiana Restaurada, involucrados en el caso, contaban con visa estaduni-dense y pudieron haberse llevado a ese país a varios menores...

U.S. FBI Will Investigate the Casitas del Sur Case

Mexico City - the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) will collaborate with the government of Mexico to investigate the case of children who disappeared from the Casitas del Sur children’s shelter.

During a press conference, National Action Party federal deputy Agustín Castilla, together with Ardelia Martinez, the grandmother of Ilse Michel, the missing girl whose case exposed [the trafficking network], confirmed that the organized crime division of the Attorney General’s office (SIEDO) had already began had already begun collabor-ating with the FBI.

Several members of the Restoration Christian Church who are involved in the case held U.S. visas, and could have taken [the missing] children out of Mexico.

Milenio.com

Jan. 28, 2010

See also:

Mexico

Nearing the End of His Term, Mexico City Human Rights Ombudsman Reports on His Tenure

In his last address to representatives of the congress of Mexico City (Federal District - DF) as president of the Mexico City Human Rights Commission (CDHDF), Emilio Álvarez Icaza applauded the progress his organization has achieved during his tenure in transcending its previous role as simply an office with which to register complaints. He lauded the Commission’s success in engaging the three branches of local government to effect lasting changes in the interest of protecting victims of human rights abuses...

Álvarez Icaza also highlighted two high-profile cases [including] Casitas del Sur, a youth home from which 11 children have been reported missing...

Regarding the Casitas case, he maintained that there are many more children unaccounted for than have been reported. To date, criminal proceedings have been initiated against Casitas’ director and an English teacher for the center.

Nicole Ramos

Justice in Mexico Blog

Sep. 24, 2009

See also:

Mexico

Disappearance of Children in Institutions

Mexico City - Children are reportedly going missing from alternative care institutions across Mexico. Red por los Derechos de la Infancia en México, a national child rights NGO, is calling on the State to investigate the disappearances and hold those responsible to account.

On June 13, 2005, nine-year-old Ilse Michel Curiel Martínez was placed in a temporary children’s home managed by the Attorney General, following an order by a family judge in Mexico City.

In January 2007, having spent more than a year and half in this institution, she was placed in an NGO children’s home called Reintegración Social del Individuo A.C. (Social Reinte-gration of the Individual, Inc.), known as “Casitas del Sur.”

On August 20, 2008, a year and seven months later, the same judge granted the custody of the girl to her grandmother. It took more than one month for the Office of Public Prosecutor to enforce the court order.

The NGO refused to return the girl to her family.

On January 29, 2009, police police broke into Casitas del Sur and rescued all the children living there. Ilse Michel was not found.

Six months later, Ilse Michel is still missing and Mexican authorities have taken no legal action against the represent-atives of “Casitas del Sur”.

Ilse Michel’s case is not unique. Prelim-inary inquiries show that eleven other children are still missing: six more children disappeared from “Casitas del Sur” in Mexico City, as well as two children from the institution ”La casita” in Cancun, Quintana Roo, and three from the Centro de Adaptación e Integración de la Familia [The Center for Family Adaptation and Integration] (CAIFAC) in Monterrey, in Nuevo León state.

The shelters concerned were founded by members of the Iglesia Cristiana Restaurada (The Restored Christian Church) founded by Jorge Ederly. This church owns shelters in at least seven Mexican states and allegedly in other countries too. The Iglesia Cristiana Restaurada has important financial resources and has a strong capacity to mobilize.

Families, witnesses and human rights defenders have been harassed and have received no protection from local authorities...

Red por los Derechos de la Infancia en México

Network for the Rights of Children in Mexico

March 21, 2009

See also:

Casitas del Sur, Red Nacional de Abuso y Maltrato Infantil

Relacionan caso con el expuesto por Lydia Cacho

México, DF, - Existen vínculos que relacionan el albergue Casitas del Sur de la Ciudad de México con los albergues  de distintos estados de la República: en Quintana Roo, Nuevo León, Veracruz  y Estado de México, en donde hay casos de niñas y niños desaparecidos, maltratados y abusados sexualmente, denunció Alicia Leal, especialista en el tema de la violencia contra mujeres.

“Casitas del Sur” Case is Linked to National Child Trafficking Network

The case is related to the Cancun child sex trafficking network exposed in 2005 by Lydia Cacho

Mexico City – According to violence against women specialist Alicia Leal, links have been found between the Casitas del Sur children’s shelter in Mexico City and children’s shelters in the states of Quintana Roo, Nuevo León, Veracruz and the state of Mexico.

During a press conference held at the facilities of the Network for the Rights of Children in Mexico, to address the case of the  disappear-ances of children and other irregularities at Casitas del Sur, Leal stated that the modis operandi was the same in each shelter: religious congregations “hooked” poor families, took advantage of their poverty and emotional problems, and offered them a better life for their children.

Leal said that since denouncing these crimes, both she and the Network for the Rights of Children in Mexico have received telephone threats and harassment from unknown subjects in vehicles who follow them constantly. Leal is especially concerned about the safety of a girl and her family in Nuevo Leon, given that the girl had denounced her abuse at a shelter located in that state.

Trafficking Network Has a Sophisticated Capacity for Mobilizing Corrupt Officials

Gerald Sauri, another repre-sentative of the Network for the Rights of Children in Mexico, commented that all of the indications are that the group involved in these activities is a human trafficking network. He added, “we don’t know what their aims are, but they have a high capacity to mobilize corrupt officials in the judicial system.”

Sauri demanded that the National System for the Integral Family Development (DIF-the federal social service agency) use its regulatory powers to intervene and investigate the organizations that may be linked with Casitas del Sur...

Narce Santibañez Alejandre

CIMAC Noticias

News for Women

Mexico City

18 February 09

Note: The CIMAC news agency has published 40 articles in Spanish on the Casitas del Sur case. - LL


Added: Feb. 13, 2010

Arizona, USA

Mayor Phil Gordon of Phoenix

Photo: Matthew W. Hutchins

Phoenix Mayor Paints Disturbing Picture of Immigrant Experience

Phoenix, the fastest growing major city in the country, with a population of over 1.7 million, has just surpassed Philadelphia to become the fifth largest metropolis in the nation. But this rising star in the Southwest has an estimated 300,000 undocumented immigrant residents, leading to a rising xenophobic discontent among local residents and increasing burdens on law enforcement, especially due to the organized crime operations smuggling immigrants across the border.

Mayor Phil Gordon of Phoenix, speaking at Harvard Law School on February 5th, said that the steady flow of illegal immigrants into his city has created a crisis situation that is extremely dangerous for local law enforcement and a devastating drain on the city’s budget. Although by statistical measures Phoenix is one of the safest cities in the United States, it has experienced a wave of kidnapping and violent crimes that have challenged its law enforcement capacity. The problem, said Mayor Gordon, is the violent behavior of the “coyotes” involved in human trafficking operations across the nearby Mexican border and who regularly kidnap, torture, rape and kill those who do not comply with their extortion, sometimes forcing captives to dig their own graves while awaiting either freedom or death.

According to Gordon, over 20,000 people, including women and children, have been rescued by Phoenix police over the last three years from “drop houses” where dozens or even hundreds are held captive or even tortured, sometimes in the midst of ordinary suburban neighborhoods. These people, who have often paid the coyotes for transit into the United States, become victims of what Gordon called modern slavery when the coyotes seek to extort more money out of them. “While I don’t condone the initial breaking of our federal law to enter this country, I also understand the reasons . . . the same reasons my grandparents had, to benefit their children and their children’s children.”

Gordon said that the fight against the coyotes’ organized crime has forced the city to hire over 600 additional police officers, many to replace the 100 full-time officers assigned to federal task forces investigating violent criminals and 50 officers embedded undercover in federal operations. The cost to Phoenix of employing these 150 officers, over $15 million dollars a year, is not reimbursed by the federal government and threatens to force reductions in city services like libraries and after school programs...

 Matthew W. Hutchins

Harvard Law Record

Feb. 12, 2010


Added: Feb. 13, 2010

Mexico

Journalists' Options - Silence, Exile or the Grave

Mexico City - Journalists are the target of such violence in Mexico that many have been forced to seek refuge in the United States, or to give up their profession. And the outlook at the start of this year is even grimmer for media workers in this country.

One reporter was murdered and another went missing in early January, feeding expectations that violence against journalists in this Latin American country can only get worse in the immediate future.

Valentín Valdés, a journalist for the newspaper Zócalo in the city of Saltillo, 850 kilometres north of Mexico City, in the state of Coahuila, was found dead Jan. 8, the day after he and a colleague, who was later freed, had been kidnapped by persons unknown.

Before he was murdered, Valdés, who covered the local news in Saltillo, wrote an article about the arrest of several drug traffickers in the city. His killers left a message on his body: "This is what will happen to those who don't understand. This message is for everyone."

"Our organization is extremely concerned about the situation of journalists in Mexico. It is a dramatic situation. The outlook for 2010 is that it will be more violent than 2009; there are no indications that the risks will decrease," Balbina Flores, the representative in Mexico of Reporters Without Borders (RSF), told IPS.

The Paris-based international organization dedicated to promoting press freedom worldwide has monitored the situation of journalists in Mexico particularly closely since violence against them became more acute in the mid-2000s...

Last year, 13 media professionals were murdered in Mexico, making it the highest-risk country in Latin America for journalists, with a record even worse than civil war-torn Colombia's. Since 2000, 57 journalists have been killed and at least nine more have been forcibly disappeared.

"Violence is going to increase and 2010 is going to be the worst year in the history of Mexican journalism," Armando Prida, head of the non-governmental Foundation for Freedom of Expression (FUNDALEX), told IPS.

President Felipe Calderón of the rightwing National Action Party (PAN) launched an offensive against the drug cartels, deploying thousands of police and army troops soon after he took office in December 2006.

Since then there have been over 15,000 drug-related killings, including 155 casualties among the security forces, according to media counts...

"Being a journalist in Mexico, and covering news related to drug trafficking, organized crime in general and those who protect them, disguised as public servants, has become a high-risk profession. Reporting is dangerous," wrote Avenida 24, an on-line publication.

Emilio Godoy

Inter Press Service (IPS)

Jan 15, 2010


Added: Feb. 13, 2010

California, USA

Landwin Management to Pay $500,000 for National Origin Bias and Sexual Harassment

EEOC Said Hotel Refused to Hire Non-Chinese Banquet Servers and Subjected Women to Verbal Abuse

Los Angeles – The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) today announced the settlement of two lawsuits against Landwin Management, Inc., a San Gabriel, Calif.-based hotel operator, for $500,000 and significant remedial relief in cases alleging national origin discrimination and sexual harassment. Both suits were filed in September 2007 under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

In the first lawsuit (Case No. CV 07-06169 SJO), the EEOC charged that non-Chinese banquet servers were rejected for hire based on their national origin when the San Gabriel Hilton severed its contract and hired Landwin Management to operate the establishment in April 2005. The EEOC said that all the non-Chinese banquet servers who previously worked for the hotel at the time, many of whom were Latino, were not hired back during the turnover and instead replaced with less qualified Chinese workers.

In the second suit (Case No. CV 07-05916 PA), the EEOC alleged that the San Gabriel Hilton subjected female employees to a sexually hostile work environment, including verbal sexual harassment by the housekeeping department supervisor, who referred to the women as “whores” and “prostitutes” in addition to other offensive language. The supervisor also allegedly reprimanded the female employees if they even spoke to men, and Landwin failed to respond to the employees’ complaints of harassment...

“The days when employers make decisions based on stereotypes and assumptions shaped by the race or national origin of their employees should be far behind us,” said Anna Y. Park, the regional attorney for the EEOC’s Los Angeles District Office. “Further, sexual harassment should no longer be tolerated in any workplace, and employers should never condone or overlook the mistreatment of vulnerable victims, such as monolingual Spanish-speaking women.” ...

U.S. EEOC

Feb. 03, 2010

See also:

LibertadLatina Special Section

About the crisis of the sexual exploitation with impunity of Latina and indigenous women and girls in the low wage industry in the United States and Latin America.


Added: Feb. 13, 2010

Texas, USA

Joseph Salvador Andrade

Therapist's Assistant Allegedly Follows Patient Hhome, Sexually Assaults Her

Copperas Cove - The Coryell County Sheriff's Office has made an arrest in sexual assault that occurred just outside of the city limits of Copperas Cove in December.

On January 29, 2010 the investigation lead to the arrest of Joseph Salvador Andrade, a 42-year-old physical therapist's assistant at Darnall Hospital.

The Sheriff's Office says the victim was a female patient at Darnall. Andrade apparently followed her home and sexually assaulted her.

During the investigation it was learned that Andrade had been previously convicted of three counts of sexual battery to a minor in the State of Florida back in 1999 where he had been employed as a physical trainer. The charges were reduced to aggravated battery and he was convicted.

Right now this is the only reported allegation of sexual assault connected to Joseph Andrade (aka: Reece), but it is possible there may be more incidents that have not been reported. Law enforcement in Florida said that after his arrest there in 1999 more women came forward with similar allegations.

The Criminal Investigation Division of the Coryell County Sheriff's Office is asking anyone that may have had any incidents, of a [violent] nature, involving Joseph Salvador Andrade (aka: Reece) to contact their office at (254) 404-8911 or the main Sheriff's Office number of (254) 865-7201.

[Andrade bond was set a $5,000.00. He is currently out on bond awaiting trial.]

Nate Bishop

KXXV

Feb 11, 2010


Added: Feb. 13, 2010

California, USA

Ernesto Parraguirre

Fugitive Accused of Molesting 9-year-old Girl Surrenders

Santa Ana - A fugitive accused of sexually assaulting a 9-year-old girl and threatening to kill her 15-year-old sister after breaking into their home in Orange last September turned himself in to police today.

Ernesto Parraguirre, 20, of Anaheim, is charged with sexual assault on a child 10 years or younger, lewd acts on a child under 14, criminal threats, plus a sentencing enhancement for committing a sexual offense during a burglary.

He remains in custody in $1 million bail pending arraignment on Tuesday in the Central Men's jail. He could be sentenced to 25 years to life in prison if convicted.

Parraguirre is accused of breaking into a home in Orange about 5 a.m. on Sept. 16, 2009, by removing a screen and climbing through a bedroom window. He allegedly entered a bedroom where the two sisters slept and sexually assaulted the younger girl.

The girls' parents were sleeping in a nearby room, according to a news release from the Orange County District Attorney's Office.

When the 9-year-old victim began to cry, her older sister woke up, according to prosecutors. Parraguirre then allegedly threatened to kill the older girl before he fled if she said anything.

Orange police detectives believe Parraguirre then fled to Mexico to avoid prosecution. The District Attorney's Office and Orange police distributed a press release seeking the public's help in locating Parraguirre on Sept. 25, 2009.

Anyone with more information about the case is asked to contact Orange police Detective Jeremy Smith at 714-744-7444 or District Attorney's Investigator Randy Litwin at 714-347-8794.

Larry Welborn

The Orange County Register

Feb. 10, 2010


Added: Feb. 13, 2010

Florida, USA

Omar Salas

Deputies: Woman Raped, Run Over

Suspect a criminal justice student

Deland - A woman accepted a ride home from an acquaintance who instead took her behind a used car dealership, raped her and ran her over with his car, sheriff's investigators said.

Omar Salas, 20, of DeLand, a criminal justice student at Florida Technical Institute, told the woman he was a police officer, a sheriff's charging affidavit states.

Salas, arrested Wednesday, was being held Thursday at the Volusia County Branch Jail on $35,000 bail. He is charged with sexual battery and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

The 24-year-old woman's ordeal began immediately after she was fired from the H2O bar on U.S. 17 at 1 a.m. Friday, the report states...

...Salas asked the woman for sex in exchange for the ride home but the woman refused. As the woman bent over by the open passenger's door to retrieve a cell phone, Salas, from behind, pushed her clothing aside and raped her, the report states. The woman fell to her knees asking Salas to stop, the report said.

An angry Salas threw the woman's belongings out of the car and then came at the woman again, she said. The woman tried to use pepper spray on him, but Salas grabbed it away from her. He told her he was a police officer and showed the woman his criminal justice textbooks, the report states.

Salas got angry and ran over the woman with his car before driving off. The woman had to crawl to the roadside so a friend could find her, the report states.

Deputies responding to Florida Hospital in DeLand found the woman with tire marks on her left leg, the bottom of her right ear was ripped and doctors said she had a fractured pelvis, the report said.

Salas pleaded no contest to disorderly conduct last year after being charged with domestic battery. He served three months probation.

ClickOrlando.com

Feb. 12, 2010


Added: Feb. 13, 2010

Mississippi, USA

Mexican Predator Arrested by ICE

Purvis - A Mexican national convicted of fondling a minor was arrested Feb. 10, at the Lamar County Sheriff's Office Adult Detention Center by officers assigned to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Office of Detention and Removal Operations (DRO).

Marcos Hernandez-Duran, 22, was arrested Wednesday by DRO officers assigned to Criminal Alien Operations, which involves the screening and identification of criminal aliens. Based on his criminal history, Hernandez will be held without an immigration bond and processed for removal proceedings before an immigration judge.

Hernandez was unable to provide specific information regarding where and when he illegally entered the United States, ultimately ending up in Lamar County, Mississippi. On March 30, 2009, Lamar County Sheriff's Deputies arrested Hernandez for statutory rape. Hernandez pleaded guilty to the amended charge of fondling on February 2, 2010, and was sentenced to serve five years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections.

"Too many children are victimized by predators that target the most vulnerable among us - our children," said Philip Miller, Field Office Director for ICE's Office of Detention and Removal (DRO) in New Orleans. "ICE is committed to apprehending and presenting for prosecution cases involving those who abuse our children and endanger their lives and well-being. We will continue working with federal, state and local agencies to ensure that those who try to hurt children are brought to justice."

U.S. ICE

Feb. 11, 2010


Added: Feb. 12, 2010

Haiti

The Ti Source camp, which is home to 3,000 people, has set up patrols to prevent attacks against female residents, many of whom are wearing jeans under their skirts as a safeguard

Photo: ActionAid

Rape On the Rise in Haiti's Camps

Girls as young as 12 have been attacked as sexual violence plagues the quake's survivors

In one of the great unmentioned effects of the earthquake in Haiti, women and young girls are suffering a rising number of rapes and sexual assaults, according to leading aid agencies. So widespread are the reports – and they include the rape of a girl of 12 by her rescuer after she was pulled out from the rubble – that emergency measures are now being taken.

Displaced men and women patrol some camps with makeshift arms to ward off attackers; girls wear jeans under their skirts for protection if they go out after dark; temporary women-only health centers are being set up; and NGOs try to deliver aid to dangerous neighborhoods where women are too scared to go out in search for food.

Sarah Spencer, gender-based violence co-coordinator for the International Rescue Committee (IRC), who arrived in Port-au-Prince two weeks ago, said: "Violence against women was a problem in Haiti before this crisis. Now, women and girls are dramatically more vulnerable to attack. The humanitarian community focuses on food, water and shelter, understandably, but this is at the sake of protection for women. Criminal gangs have regrouped; security is poor; people are sleeping in the streets, too frightened to go inside or else in crowded, unlit camps, surrounded by strangers. Many women have been left without male protection because their husbands or brothers were killed. All of this means the risk to women in post-disaster Haiti have elevated dramatically."

Ms Spencer met two women looking for help for their female colleague who had been raped on the street the night before. The victim had been unable to find medical help – emergency contraception, antibiotics and retroviral drugs – because many of the health centers that care for victims of sexual attacks were destroyed or badly damaged in the earthquake.

About half an hour outside the capital, the Ti Source camp is home to 3,000 people who came to the hilly ground to escape their flattened homes in the town of Mariani. Scared by reports of rapes in the town below and neighboring camps, Martine Josil, 24, persuaded some of the men in the camp to form a security group.

Ms Josil said: "After the earthquake we felt very afraid because people were talking about rapes and robberies in other camps. We were all sleeping out in the open on the streets and things were very chaotic. There were many women who had lost their husbands and they felt very vulnerable. We didn't want to get raped so we asked the guards to protect us." ...

Rape was criminalized only in 2005 but, as with domestic abuse, it remains shrouded in shame. Victims are often forced out of school and ostracized by their communities. Many victims do not report violence because they have little faith in the criminal justice system, according to Taina Bien-Aimé, director of the US-based human rights organization Equality Now.

Three of the country's most prominent women's rights activists were killed in last month's earthquake. In a country where the law and infrastructure were already fragile, their deaths have been deeply felt, but those left know they must regroup as soon as possible, said Ms Bien-Aimé, who lost several members of her own extended family in the earthquake.

Ms Bien-Aimé said: "The international agencies, including the UN, are capable of dealing with these issues; they have the experience from previous disasters. We need to know what they are doing about it and whether the protection of women is a priority." ...

Nina Lakhani

The Independent

Feb. 07, 2010


Added: Feb. 12, 2010

Mexico

Ciudad Juárez

Photo: CIMAC Noticias

Mujeres de Juárez Dan la Espalda a Calderón Durante Discurso

Quien “nos ha mantenido en el olvido no merece otra cosa”

Organizaciones de mujeres de Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua que han dado seguimiento a los asesinatos de mujeres desde los años 90, exigieron aquí a Felipe Calderón Hinojosa, que cumpla con la sentencia que dictó la Corte Interamericana de Derechos Humanos por el feminicidio de Campo Algodonero, y garantice la seguridad para las ciudadanas de esta entidad...

Women of Juárez Turn Their Backs on President Calderón During Speech

He who “has forgotten us doesn’t deserve anything else”

Women’s organizations in Ciudad Juárez, in Chihuahua state, who have fought to bring justice to the victims of femicide in this city since the 1990s, demanded during a visit by President Felipe Calderón that he comply with the recent decision of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, in the case of the femicide murders in a crime scene known as the cotton fields. Referring to the Court’s decision, activists demanded that President Calderón act to guarantee the safety of Mexican citizens in Juárez.

Guadalupe Cruz Jaimes

CIMAC Noticias

Feb. 11, 2010

Note: CIMAC News currently has 247 articles in Spanish about the femicide in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico.


Added: Feb. 12, 2010

Mexico

Senator Irma Martínez Manríquez

Photo: Sonia García Ochoa

La ley se Convirtió en "Letra Muerta": Irma Martínez

"Olvida" autoridad trata de personas

Tijuana.- A más de dos años de expedida la Ley para Prevenir y Sancionar la Trata de Personas, y de que su reglamento se expidió 12 meses atrás, "es penoso reconocer que ambas disposiciones son letra muerta", puesto que lo escandaloso es la impunidad, afirmó ayer la senadora Irma Martínez Manríquez…

The Law Against Human Trafficking Has Become a “Dead Letter” - Senator Irma Martinez

The authorities have "forgotten" about human trafficking

Tijuana – More than two years after the passage of the nation’s Law to Prevent and Sanction Human Trafficking, and 12 months after [President Calderón published] the regulations required to put the law into effect, it is sad to have to recognize the fact that both the law and its regulations are a “dead letter,” because of the scandalous role played by impunity [in this process], stated Senator Irma Martinez Manríquez.

While attending a ceremony marking a change of leadership in her New Alliance Party, Senator Martinez Manríquez noted that human trafficking is the third most lucrative criminal business in the world after drug and arms trafficking…

Senator Martinez Manríquez: “There have not been any advances in respect to the compilation of statistics regarding the dynamics of crime and other aspects of trafficking. This has negative repercussions for the development of investigations about the nature of these crimes, from the irresponsible use of statistics, to our limited knowledge of the profiles of both criminals and victims, to our lack of knowledge about patterns of demand, and in the lack of any real impact that decisions about controlling trafficking actually have.”

The senator added that, “Mexico is among the countries with the largest numbers of human trafficking victims, as noted by the United States [annual Trafficking in Persons Report]."

Congress passed the nation's first anti-trafficking legislation on November 27, 2007.  [President Calderón's] regulations to enable the law were published in February of 2009.

Mexico's National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) has stood-up a National 'Observatory' against human trafficking. During the same period, the federal government has failed to fulfill a number of its obligations as required by the 2007 trafficking law. For that reason, the only constant that exists in regard to the perpetration of this scandalous crime is the existence of impunity, said Senator Martinez Manríquez.

In spite of the fact that the law was passed in late 2007, it was not until December 9th of 2009 that the first first ordinary session of the Inter-secretarial Commission to Prevent and Sanction Trafficking in Persons (CIPSTP) took place. That meeting only took place because of the exhortations and pressure applied by many Senators and members of the House of Deputies, concluded the Senator.

Sonia García Ochoa

El Sol de Tijuana

Feb. 08, 2010

See also:

LibertadLatina Special Section

¡Héroes!

Lea nuestra sección sobre la lucha de varios congresistas y defensoras de los derechos humanos para lograr obligar que el Presidente Felipe Calderón publica un reglamiento fuerte respladar a la nueva ley: Prevenir y Sancionar la Trata de Personas, de 2007, que hasta ahora es sigue siendo una ley sin fuerzas.

Read our special section about the brave work of advocates and congressional leaders in Mexico to break-through the barriers of impunity and achieve truly effective federal regulations that will enforce the original congressional intent of Mexico's 2007 Law to Prevent and Punish Trafficking in Persons


Added: Feb. 12, 2010

Mexico

An alternative view of Mexico

Youth served by Breaking Chains Ministry present a Christmas drama

Good Things Happening In Mexico.. Culmination of 4 Years of Prayer

Another operation happened in Mexico City yesterday resulting the rescue of 26 minors and the closure of the hotel where the prostitution of these minors occurred. I can't express my appreciation for what the government of Mexico is doing to eradicate this evil in this country. There are many more coming including several cases where Breaking Chains is helping with intel.

Please pray that God will continue to move and that every one of the 100,000 children who are being exploited here have the chains of sexual slavery broken! It has seemingly taken forever but the government is clearly taking a stand and we owe the thanks to President Calderón, his wife Marguerita and one of my new friends and heroes, Congress-woman Rosi Orozco, who was appointed President of the new Federal commission against human trafficking and sexual exploitation of minors.

God is good and His light is shining bright in these dark places...it is changing!

Breaking Chains Ministry

Jan. 15, 2010

See also:

About Breaking Chains Ministry

"Our goal is to eradicate child prostitution and child trafficking in Latin America. At the same time encourage and enable others to do the same in the United States and world-wide. The subject is children who have been sexually exploited which is a dark subject but it is the darkest places where the light of Jesus Christ shines brightest and this is the case here. For every horrific case of evil there is testimony of Gods love and His power to restore. We love these children but His love for them is AGAPE!"

Breaking Chains Ministry

See also:

Video from Breaking Chains Ministry:

Mexico - Human Trafficking...a view from the streets

Breaking Chains Ministry Acapulco project

Breaking Chains Ministry

Jan., 2010

See also:

National Action Party (PAN) Congresswoman and anti-trafficking activist Rosi Orozco (second from right), with Querétaro's (PAN) Senator Guillermo Tamborrel (left), Querétaro state Attorney General Arsenio Durán Becerra (center), and human trafficking experts at a January, 2010 meeting on human trafficking in Querétaro state, Mexico.

Junta de Trabajo en Querétaro con el Sen. Tamborrel, el Procurador de Justicia y especialistas

Anti-trafficking Working Group Meets in Querétaro State

PAN blog of Rosi Orozco

Jan.26, 2010

See also:

Segob Invita a Crear Comisión Contra la Trata de Personas

La Secretaría de Gobernación emitió la convocatoria para conformar la Comisión Intersecretarial para Prevenir y Sancionar la Trata de Personas (CIPSTP) en su carácter de “invitados consultores”, que tiene como objetivo proponer al Ejecutivo políticas públicas en materia de prevención y sanción de la trata de personas, así como para la protección, la atención y la asistencia a las víctimas.

La convocatoria está abierta a organizaciones de la sociedad civil y expertos de la academia que cumplan con los requisitos estipulados.

Interior Secretary Invites Anti-Trafficking Organizations and Experts to Submit Proposals

[Anti-trafficking law's requirement for an inter-agency coordinating commission is finally being stood-up]

Mexico’s Interior Secretary (Government Secretary) has put out a call for a preliminary convening session of the Inter-secretarial Commission to Prevent and Sanction Trafficking in Persons (CIPSTP). Invited guests will join to propose public policies in regard to the prevention and punishment of human trafficking, as well as to provide protection and attention for victims.

The call is open to subject matter expert organizations and academics who meet the stipulated requirements. The period for receiving proposals ends on February 09, 2010.

Alberto Morales

El Universal

Jan. 13, 2010

See also:

The other side of the PAN

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

Cecilia Romero: Sex Tourism is Inevitable

Cecilia Romero, head of Mexico's national immigration service (INM) and a long-time National Action Party (PAN) official, says that sex tourism and pedophile networks are "inevitable" and cannot be stopped [and that, by extension, nothing should be done to stop it].

Photo and story

 El Universal

June 20, 2009

See also:

LibertadLatina Commentary

Tee shirt from a political rally reads: Yunque No, PAN Yes

Steven Cass and the Breaking Chains Ministry are on the leading edge of new and effective approaches to ending the commercial sexual exploitation of children in Mexico. We have great respect for their mission, which is obviously challenging and dangerous.

I have to take my hat off to Steven Cass, who has, according to his accounts, walked into brothels unarmed and successfully negotiated with brothel owners to have them release underage children into his custody.

In his January 15, 2010 commentary, Cass notes that he sees a very notable change in the approach being taken by the Government of Mexico in regard to supporting anti-trafficking efforts and, finally, collaborating in the rescue of enslaved children and youth. We sincerely hope that these observations represent the sea change that Cass believes is happening. Certainly, the fact that the ruling National Action Party (PAN) senators Rosi Orozco and Guillermo Tamborrel are active in anti-trafficking efforts is a good sign. We have in the past focused on the misogynist policies of the more socially conservative faction of the PAN, an issue that still very much  concerns us.

Balancing this positive view of President Calderón's actions in regard to combating human trafficking and exploitation requires that we look at a long list of 'dirty laundry.'

The intentional delaying by President Calderón in his implementation of the nation's first anti-trafficking law, for two years after the law was passed by Congress, comes first on our long list of complaints. After Congress passed the nation's first anti-trafficking law in November of 2007, President Calderón intentionally delayed publishing the federal regulations required to enable the law, until February of 2009. He only published the regulations after Congress sent him four stern warning during that 14 month period, demanding that he act to take the brakes off of the law.

The February 8th, 2010 article in the Sol de Tijuana (Tijuana Sun) newspaper, "The Law [Against Human Trafficking] Has Become a “Dead Letter,” featuring an interview with federal Senator Irma Martinez (see above), highlights the concerns that we have raised in the past about the Calderón Administration's intentional foot-dragging. Senator Martinez' views are echoed by other sources in the women's rights community.

Senator Martinez' declaration that the 2007 anti-trafficking law is a "Dead Letter" comes as no surprise to us. The fact is that the very concept of fighting human slavery goes against the grain of many traditions and special interests in Mexico.

Entire segments of the economy, from the unpaid domestic work performed by tens of thousands of underage indigenous girls (much like the Restavec child slaves in Haiti, complete with its inherent sexual abuse), to farm labor would collapse if human bondage actually ended.

In addition, the estimated 17% of Gross Domestic Product derived from prostitution across Latin American nations (a statistic from activist Teresa Ulloa of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women - Latin American and Caribbean branch), is not a small market segment. Shutting down portions of the sex industry would not only have a major economic impact in Mexico, but it would affect influential elites, making anti-trafficking efforts politically difficult to pursue effectively.

Other areas of concern to us include: the collusion by federal immigration officers, and by federal, state and local police officers across the nation in acts of human trafficking; the fact that not one human trafficker has ever been convicted in Mexico; the fact that military soldiers consistently get away with the rape of indigenous women, and, in one notorious case, a group of 14 women working in prostitution (the Castaños case / el caso Castaños); inattention and a failure to seek prosecution in the case of the rapes-of and violent assaults-against 27 women protesters by over 30 policemen in the city of San Salvador de Atenco; and the fact that President Calderón has apparently done nothing whatsoever to rescue the estimated 3,000 to 4,000 indigenous children who have been kidnapped from southern Mexico and taken to Japan to work as sex slave 'geishas' by the Japanese Yakuza mafias.

Adding to those problems, the human rights movement in Mexico is under relentless attack, as demonstrated by a series of Amnesty International reports on the topic from January 21, 2010. Veteran women's rights activists and journalists continue to urgently report on the steady deterioration of women's rights across Mexican society. In addition, obvious cases of the sexual abuse of children in day care centers, in children's shelters and in other settings most often go uninvestigated and unpunished, as has always been the case in Mexico.

At the time of this writing, Mexican authorities are forcibly evicting Mayan Indigenous peoples from their towns in the Montes Azules (the Blue Mountains) biosphere nature reserve to make way for privately-owned eco-tourism hotels. That is an act of injustice that is having its most severe impact on indigenous women and children. That is not an act of progress or change for the better!

Another important issue where federal, state and local law enforcement have done virtually nothing to defend the rights of women and children involves the fact that, according estimates from the International Organization for Migration's office in Tapachula, a city on the Guatemalan border, between 450 and 600 women and girls are raped each day as they migrate into Mexico from Central and South America. Those acts of impunity, combined with Save the Children's recognition that southern Mexico is the largest region for the commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC) in the world, and also the region's notorious reputation for being a source of kidnapped women and children taken to be trafficked into sexual slavery (an estimated 10,000 victims per year are trafficked from southern Mexico to other regions of the nation or overseas), make the region a zone of crisis that the Calderón government must immediately target for intensive law enforcement efforts.

We do not see any such sense of urgency on the part of the Calderón government about this issue, despite the fact that major NGOs and the United Nations have demanded action in regard to southern Mexico's crisis for many years. In point of fact, policemen and soldiers are among the perpetrators of these crimes, offenses which they do not ever have to answer for.

We have no rejoicing about these continued acts of misogynist impunity (by commis-sion and by omission) being carried out by, and under the noses of, the Calderón administration.

We hope that Mexico is changing, as Steven Cass has observed. U.S. Ambassador-at-Large Luis CdeBaca, head of the U.S. State Department's Trafficking in Persons Office, was interviewed in a recently published article by the Council of Hemispheric Affairs (COHA). He noted that human trafficking appears to be an area where the [Mexican government] is prepared to cooperate with [the U.S.].

In the meantime, the world must remain vigilant. Mexico remains the largest hot-spot in the Americas for the commercial sexual exploitation of children and for the production-of and the consumption-of child pornography, as Breaking Chains Ministry's own educational videos explicitly point out.

It is possible that the Calderón Administra-tion is approaching organizations such as Breaking Chains Ministry to actually (and finally) try to understand human trafficking, to allow it to respond effectively to the crisis. If that is the case, we are under no illusions. Any change in Calderón policies are most likely the result of exhaustive internal and international protests and pressure demanding that Mexico come into the Twenty-first Century on this issue. We also believe that such change could only happen if the openly Falangist, anti-Semitic, anti-Protestant and fiercely misogynist El Yunque (The Anvil) secret society has lost a significant level of influence within the National Action Party that it had come to dominate in recent years.

Time will tell whether or not the collective efforts of humanity, in demanding that Mexico come around to respect the basic human rights of women and children, will actually result in substantive change.

Until we see clear evidence to that effect, the horrors that impact women and girls living-in and migrating-through Mexico must be watched and fought against with all of the will that humanity can muster.

We continue to insist that U.S. President Back Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Trafficking in Persons Office Director Luis CdeBaca must stand up and speak publicly to denounce the mass gender atrocities that are taking place each and every day across the neighboring nation of Mexico.

Those who are at-risk, and those who are today enslaved, await our effective efforts to protect and rescue them now!

Tomorrow will be too late for many!

End impunity now!

- Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

Feb. 11/12, 2010

See also:

Trata de Mujeres y Niñas, Disparada por la Pobreza: Teresa Ulloa

Medio millón de víctimas y una Ley defectuosa

Trafficking of Women and Girls is Triggered by Poverty: Teresa Ulloa

We have half a million victims and a flawed trafficking law

...Ulloa... said that organized crime has diversified its business. Across Latin America and the Caribbean, she said, the sex industry represents 17 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Ulloa: "This makes clear that women and children are viewed as items to be bought, sold, and rented, exploited and enslaved.”

Teresa Ulloa said that the networks have come to realize that trafficking is a more profitable business that the illicit drug trade because a girl or woman can be sold 40 or 60 times a day while a dose of drug is sold only once.

In Mexico there are about half a million women, children and youth who are victims of trafficking and exploitation, not only in the country, but abroad, Ulloa said.

Ulloa said that among the successes of the CATWLAC last year involved the training of 3,500 people including policemen, prosecutors, immigration agents, teachers, youth and children.

Flaws in the Anti-Trafficking Law and [its Associated Federal] Regulations

In regard to Mexico’s federal anti-trafficking law, Ulloa is not concerned about the recently published regulations [which President Calderon delayed creating for 11 months]. However, Ulloa stated that the law itself contains a number of errors, which may have been intentional or not, which will impede the prosecution of trafficking cases.

Ulloa: “This is very serious, because the law does not apply to all forms of trafficking, and it does not apply to all of the persons who may be involved. She emphasized that the new law does not consider a crime to have been committed if the victim expressed their consent...

Sandra Torres Pastrana

Cimac Noticias

March 19, 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 Catholic religion and fight the forces of Satan, whether through violence or murder "and establish" the kingdom of God in the land that is subject to the Mexican Government, to the mandates of the Catholic Church, through the infiltration of all its members at the highest levels of political power.

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

About El Yunque on Wikipedia.com

 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



All Dec., 2009 News

All Nov., 2009 News




LibertadLatina

Sobre el Brote de Gripe Porcina

About the Swine Influenza Outbreak




March 8 / Marzo 8

2009


¡Feliz Día Internacional de la Mujer!

Happy International Women's Day!

LibertadLatina

Nuestra declaración de 2005 Día Internacional de la Mujer es pertinente hoy en día, y define bien la emergencia hemesferica que enfrentan las mujeres y en particular as niñas de todas las Américas.

Pedimos a todas las personas de conciencia que siguimos trabajando duro para inform al público en general acerca de esta crisis, y que aumentamos nuestra presión popular sobre los funcion-arios electos y otros encarga-dos de tomar decisiones, que deben cambiar el statu quo y responder con seriadad, por fin, a las   atrocidades de violencia de género -en masa- que afectan cada vez mas a las mujeres y las niñas de las Américas.

¡Basta ya con la impunidad y la violencia de genero!


LibertadLatina

Our 2005 statement for International Women's Day is relevant today, and accurately defines the hemispheric emergency facing women and especially girl children in the Americas.

We ask that all people of conscience work hard to continue informing the general public about this crisis, and that we all ramp-up the pressure  on elected officials and other decision makers, who must change the status quo and respond, finally, to the increasingly severe mass gender atrocities that are victimizing women and girls across the Americas.

End Impunity and violence against women now!

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

March 8, 2008


Tengo 5 meses de edad y soy prostituta

I am 5 months old and I am a prostitute

LibertadLatina

Read our new section on the prostitution of infants by trafficking gangs across Latin America

Last Updated:

Nov. 27, 2008


About Baby Trafficking and [undocumented] Adoptions, and the connection to impunity and anti-Mayan racism in Guatemala


Ricky Martin

Llama y Vive

Ricky Martin lanza campaña contra trata de personas en Washington, D.C. Llama y Vive promoverá línea telefónica de asistencia confidencial y gratuita

Ricky Martin  launches Call and Live in Washington DC, a campaign that promotes an anti-trafficking hotline.

April 24, 2008

Llama y Vive

Call and Live Hotline:

1-888 NO-TRATA

llamayvive.org



LibertadLatina

Raids and Rescue Versus...?

Read our new section on the human rights advocacy conflict that exists between the goals of the defense of undocumented immigrants from the threat of deportation on the one hand, and the urgent need to protect Latina sex trafficking victims through law enforcement action...

...As the global economic crisis throws more women and children into severe poverty, and as ruthless trafficking gangs and mafias seek to increase their profits by kidnapping, raping, prostituting and murdering more women and girls (especially non-citizen migrants passing through Mexico to the U.S.), the level of sex trafficking activity will increase dramatically. 

Society must respond and protect those who are at risk...

- Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

Dec. 18, 2008


Read our special section on the crisis in the city of Tapachula

Mexico

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

Our new news section tracks  events related to this hell-on-earth, where over half of the estimated 21,000 sex slaves and other sex workers are underage, and where especially migrant women and girls  from Central and South America, who seek to migrate to the United States, have their freedom taken from them, to become a money-making commodity for gangs of violent criminals.

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

- Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina



See: The National Network to End Violence Against Immigrant Women

And: La Alianza Latina Nacional para Erradicar la Violencia Doméstica.

The National Latino Alliance for the Elimination of Domestic Violence


Added June 15, 2008

Ending Global Slavery: Everyday Heroes Leading the Way

Humanity United and Change-makers, a project of Ashoka International,  are conducting a global online competition to identify innovative approaches to exposing, confronting and ending modern-day human slavery.

View the over 200 entries from 45 nations

See especially:

Teresa Ulloa: Agarra la Onda Chavo", Masculini-dad, Iniciación Sexual y Consumo de la Prostitución ('Get It Together Young Man: Masculinity, Sexual Initiation and Consumption of Prostitution).

Equidad Laboral Y La Mujer Afro-Colombiana

(Labor Equality and the Afro-Colombian Woman)

Alianza Por Tus Derechos, Costa Rica: Our borders: say no to traffick-ing of persons, specially children

(APTD's news feed is a major source of Spanish language news articles translated and posted on LibertadLatina).

Prevención de la migración temprana y fortalecimiento de los lazos familiares en apoyo a las Trabajadoras del Hogar en Ayacucho

(Preventing early migration and re-enforcing families)... serving women in Quechua and Spanish in largely Indigenous Ayacucho, Peru.

LibertadLatina.org contributor Carla Conde - Freuden-dorff, on her work assisting Dominican women trafficked to Argentina

LibertadLatina

Our entry:

A Web-based Anti-Trafficking Information Portal in Defense of Indigenous, Afro-Descend-ent & Latina Women in the Americas

We present our history, plans for the future, and an essay discussing the current state of the anti-traffick-ing and anti-exploitation movements in the context of Indigenous, African Desc-endent and Latina women and children's rights in the Americas.

(Our extended copy of our Ashoka competition application)

Contribute your comments and questions about competition entries.

- Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

June 15/21/22, 2008

See also:

Added June 15, 2008

The World

Entrepreneur for Society

Bill Drayton discusses the founding of Ashoka... "Our job is not to give people fish, it's not to teach them how to fish, it's to build new and better fishing industries."

- Ashoka Foundation

See also:

Ashoka Peru


Mexico

A woman is paraded before Johns on Mexico City's San Tomas Street, where kidnap victims are forced into prostitu-tion and are 'trained'

(C) NY Times

The Girls Next Door

The New York Times' ground-breaking story on child and youth sex trafficking from Mexico into the United States

[About Montser-rat, a former child trafficking victim:]

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

- Peter Landesman

New York Times Magazine

January 25, 2004



Added March 23, 2008

Mexico

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Un millón de menores latinoamericanos atrapados por redes de prostitución

Former Special Prosecutor for Violent Crimes Against Women - Alicia Elena Perez Duarte:

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

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

Full story (in English)

See also:

Renuncia fiscal por vergüenza en resolución sobre Cacho

On December 14, 2007 Alicia Pérez-Duarte resigned as Mexico's Special Prosecutor for Violent Crimes Against Women [Fevim].  Duarte:

"I cannot work... where the justices of the Supreme Court won't bring justice in cases of grave violations of human rights."


Added March 1, 2008

Texas, USA

Kristal Minjarez - age 13, Armida Garcia - 15, and Brenda Salazar - 20... all raped and murdered by Andy James Ortiz

To Catch a Killer is the true story of Andy James Ortiz, his young victims, and the Fort Worth police and Tarrant County prosecutors who brought him to justice. The 24 chapter series ran in February and March of 2008.


Latin American Trafficking News Summary


Coverage of the Elvira Arellano Deportation Case


Hurricane Wilma - 2005

Earthquakes and hurricanes...

The impact of natural disasters on women and children's human rights in the Americas


Video

Roundtable on Trafficking of Women and Children in the Americas

- Organization of American States


United States

More than 163,000 Hispanic children... are reported missing and exploited in the United States every year.

- National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC)

March 22, 2006


Latin America

Beyond Machismo - A Cuban Case Study

"I am a recovering macho, a product of an oppressive society, a society where gender, race and class domination do not exist in isolated compart-ments, nor are they neatly relegated to uniform categories of repression. They are created in the space where they interact and conflict with each other, a space I will call machismo."

- Cuban-American

theologian and ethicist

Dr. Miguel de la Torre

Remember, and FIND Jackeline Jirón Silva

Necesitamos su ayuda para ubicar a esta Niña.


Added Dec. 11, 2006

The World

Sex abuse, work and war deny childhood to tens

of millions

...An estimated 1.2 million children are trafficked every year for labor or sex, and about 1 million children are thought to be exploited in the multi-billion dollar sex industry, UNICEF says.

- Reuters

Dec. 9, 2006

Added Nov. 7, 2006

The World

People trafficking ...is... big business, bringing in US $32 billion annually, worldwide. This makes people trafficking the most lucrative crime after drug trafficking.

- Inter-American

Development Bank
 Nov. 2,2006


More About / Mas Sobre Chuck Goolsby & LibertadLatina.org


 

"Familia" by Salvadoran
artist Zelie Lardé. (1901-1974)

Who will protect them from impunity?

We Must!

 

 

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We work for all of the children and women who await our

society's effective and substantial help to escape criminal

sexual exploitation's utter brutality and impunity!

End Impunity... Now!

© 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 Charles M. Goolsby, Jr.

All other copyrighted materials © the copyright holder.

Copyrighted materials are presented for non-profit 

public educational 'fair use' purposes only.