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2011 DC Stop Human Slavery Walk and Rally

National Mall

Washington, DC

On Saturday, October 22, 2011, thousands will unite for the 2011 DC Stop Modern Slavery Walk on the National Mall to celebrate human rights, raise public awareness about human trafficking and raise funds for non-profits working to end the practice. The event includes a 5K walk around the Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials, resource fair, children's area, live music and luminary speakers, including survivors of trafficking. Last year's walk attracted over 2,000 walkers and raised over $100,000.

At the 2010 march and rally, Libertad Latina provided the only info table among those of 30 or so NGOs to address the Latina, Afro-descendent & indigneous aspects of the human trafficking issue.

For 2011, we are glad to see that vetern Latin@ legal services NGO Ayuda, Inc. is a co-sponsor of this important event.

For those who can attend, We look forward to meeting you there!

onGoolsby

LibertadLatina

See also:

Ayuda Seeks Supporters for Walk to Stop Modern Slavery

Ayuda, Inc., a provider of legal and social assistance for low–income immigrants in the Washington metropolitan area, is looking for supporters to participate in the 2011 DC Stop Modern Slavery Walk taking place on October 22 at the National Mall.

Ayuda will cosponsor the event, which will include a 5–kilometer walk, an anti–trafficking resource fair, guest speakers, and live music.

Human trafficking is an issue that Ayuda regularly addresses. Through legal and social services, the organization has helped hundreds of men, women, and children who have been enslaved in the United States.

Those wanting to participate can do so by either joining Team Ayuda on the walk (the team will have at least 25 walkers) or making a donation online. Ayuda will receive 80 percent of all funds raised.

For more information, contact Casey Tyler at casey @ayuda.com, or visit DC Stop Modern Slavery Walk.



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


 

 
The Americas
Women & Children at Risk
 
Title:  Being Honest About The African American & Latin American Immigrant Relationship
  Bringing Truth to the Table
 
Publisher:  2006 Chuck Goolsby - LibertadLatina.org
Publish Date:  2006-05-25
   
Download: Microsoft Word Version
   

Honest Discussion Regarding an Urgent Social Issue

The intense national debate on immigration raging across the United States has raised questions that everyone should feel concerned about.  One important question is this: How does rapidly-increasing immigration impact U.S. society?

Strangely quiet in the debate until recently have been the voices of the African American community.  As a man of Afro-Native American ethnicity, who has devoted much of the last 25 years to assisting the Latin American immigrant community to defend its basic human rights in the Washington, DC region, I will add my observations about how Latin American immigration affects African Americans, and how African Americans interact with the Latin community.

This commentary addresses racism from both communities, issues of crime, and the need to bring both the growing conflict, and the growing efforts at collaboration between the two communities into the open for an honest discussion. 

When mainstream pundits discuss issues of immigration in TV, radio and print news media, the impact of today’s massive wave of immigration (now 4 million persons per year, with 3 million of those being undocumented) on the African American community is rarely talked about.  As Black leaders begin to emerge, taking a wide range of stands on this issue, I wish to add my 25 years of human rights advocacy experience in the Latin American communities of the Washington, DC region, and my knowledge of racial dynamics across Latin America, to the debate.  The time is right to open an honest discussion about how all who live within the United States and the Americas can work to resolve the migration crisis in a way that does not trample on anyone’s human rights.

Where I’m Coming From

I am, first and foremost, a never-ending friend and member of the African American, Native American and Latino communities in the United States.  I grew up in Cambridge, Massachusetts during the 1960s and Montgomery County, Maryland during the 1970s.  While much of the U.S. was still living in racial segregation, my Cambridge neighborhood was a mix of African American, Haitian, Barbadian, Irish, Italian, Portuguese, Cape Verdean, Jewish and Anglo Americans.  We all played together and we all went to school together.  Our community was so ethnically diverse that when children fought and insulted each other (playfully), instead of using traditional insults, we would say ‘your nation!’

At the age of 22, in 1978, I was introduced to the Latin American community of Washington, DC by my interest in learning African traditional drumming.  That introduction has lead me to 28 years of close interaction with the many cultures, and the politics of the Latino immigrant community.  The Latino community’s friendliness and their relative lack of racial prejudice, which I first saw in my early 20s, allowed me to grow and flourish as a person for the first time in my life.

I can honestly say that, after growing up in environments where Black kids sometimes beat me up for being too light-skinned, and Irish kids at my local magnet school (who came from a far-away Irish ghetto) routinely beat me up, the lack of race consciousness in the Latino community was spiritually refreshing.  Latino willingness to celebrate African and Native cultures was eye-opening.

I have lived with families from several Latin countries.  I have been present when an immigration raid took away a Mexican family.  I have interceded to prevent attempted rapes, and to save the life of a Salvadoran housemate whose drunken husband beat her face into a completely dark purple mass of pulp.

Although my first perceptions were that race relations were better among Latin American immigrants, I have, over the past 25 years, seen that that is how things appear on the surface.  I have also seen the extreme sexism (machismo) that drives many Latino men to dominate women and girl children’s lives with acts of physical, psychological and sexual violence.  I have dedicated myself to acting to end these problems through human rights advocacy and personal action.  My web site, www.LibertadLatina.org, presents the Internet’s largest collection of factual analysis and news articles about the rapidly escalating crisis of ‘mass-gender-violence’ that women and girl children face all across Latin America, and within immigrant communities in every U.S. city, town and rural labor camp.

Like my Afro-Native American ancestors from Georgia and South Carolina (where Hernando DeSoto visited in 1540), my roots in multiple cultures allow me to speak, and hopefully negotiate between the parties when there is conflict.  Our cultures need to deal with these social issues with honesty and compassion.

 

An Overview of the Problem

To state the problem clearly, today's rapidly-growing and unending stream of immigration is causing many negative impacts in the U.S. in general, and in the African American community in particular. These effects have included increased competition for jobs and an inability to secure equal access to educational and social services resources that have taken decades for African Americans to negotiate from the larger society. 

Latin American countries are places where, because of corruption, money is not invested to provide for the well-being of each nation’s population.  There is no such thing as welfare, social security retirement, or food stamps anywhere in Latin America.  If you are poor, elderly or infirm, you just may die if you or your family members don’t migrate to a better place to live.  Latin America’s nations have gladly allowed the U.S. to become the welfare office for their poor citizens. 

Although the Latin American immigrant community understandably seeks work opportunities and freedom from poverty, repression and impunity across Latin America, U.S. society cannot displace its African American, White and other citizens (each group has up-to 500 years of roots in the U.S.), because wealthy corporations and uncaring lawmakers find it convenient to allow that injustice to occur.  Citizens can’t be marginalized because migrants will work for less.

An argument is often made by pro-immigration advocates who say that, “Latino immigrants take jobs that nobody else wants.”  That is only partially true.  It would be hard to make the argument that the 50% undocumented labor presence in the construction trades, at depressed wages, is not hurting working citizens.  Many unskilled, semi-skilled and skilled blue collar workers have in-fact lost their jobs.

While the pro-immigrant rights community justifiably demands an end to anti-Latino racism in the U.S., little if anything is ever said within the Latin American immigrant community, or in their public debates in the press, in regard to that community's own racial prejudices against African Americans.  Those sometimes-hostile sentiments affect the way in which the two communities interact, and make many recent immigrants act without remorse to actively seek to replace African Americans and other U.S. workers in the unskilled, semi-skilled and skilled labor force.  As recent immigrants without a sure footing in U.S. society, many newcomers are not averse to pushing native-born U.S. citizen competitors out of the way to assure that their particular group is ‘taken care of.’

As a long-time advocate for the human rights of women, children and people of color throughout the Americas, and especially in regard to Latin America, I seek an open and honest debate about these very real, but often hidden issues.  I hope to contribute to resolving these conflicts between two related communities who actually have much more in common than they may think.

 

 Overt Expressions of Anti-African American Racism in the Latin American Immigrant Community

Many Latin American immigrants and institutions express anti-African American racism in a variety of ways in daily life.  These currents of racial prejudice exist all across Latin America against African descendants.  Such attitudes, and negative actions related to those views, have migrated en-mass into the United States. 

Citizens from Latin American countries with very small African descendant communities often have the most arrogant and racist views of African Americans.  These realities show their ugly heads in the mass media, in educational settings, and in the form of blatant acts of open discrimination that are perpetrated against African Americans by certain arrogant Latin American immigrants who have hiring and firing authority in the U.S. workplace.

We can start with an examination of the mainstream Mexican-owned media in the U.S.  Afro-Latino activists have complained for years that almost NO Afro-Latino and certainly NO Indigenous men, women or children are ever represented on the two major TV networks, Univision and NBC subsidiary Telemundo.  Telemundo has changed ...a little... because a U.S. company like NBC has, we hope, institutionalized strong anti-discrimination policies.  A Mexican-based network such as Univision likely has no such self-motivated obligation.  I have been in contact with Afro-Latino activists for many years who have rallied to demand changes in this racial exclusion to little or no avail.

In another stark example, the Mexican / Mexican American lead ‘Aztlan’ movement based in Los Angeles and the Southwest has a vision of literally re-taking control of that region, and kicking out all Anglos and African-Americans, with the aim of re-uniting with Mexico.  They declare: "para la Raza, todo, para los demas, nada" (for our race, everything, for everyone else, nothing).

As an Afro-Native American, I can certainly say that a huge Native American claim exists for the Southwest that pre-dates any Mexican claim.  Any re-taking of the Southwest by Mexico would be... unacceptable for a number of reasons.

Within some parts of Latin American and Latino immigrant culture, there are strong strains of solidarity with the African-American community.  Certainly the Afro-centric cultures of Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and Cuba reflect that view.  Racism also exists in those nations.  (Thousands of darker-skinned Haitian children, for example, are sold as slaves in the Dominican Republic.)

There is also a grotesque kissing-up to prejudiced currents in U.S. society that says: "let me take the job from that lazy Black man."  African Americans are not lazy, but more than a few Latino immigrants are willing to exploit racism by providing themselves as an alternative to the hiring of African American workers.

(As a computer professional for over 22 years, I see this discrimination in the consulting market too, but it is the Indian immigrant who happily offers to U.S. citizen managers the opportunity to replace Blacks in the workplace.  I have personally been pushed out of eight contract software professional positions by angry, hostile and arrogant immigrant software managers and co-workers from the country of India.  As many women as men have perpetrated these acts of impunity, which are 'normal' behaviors for them.  Some Indian immigrants also target Latino workers (especially women) for abuse in the U.S. workplace.  The elite Brahman disdain-for and mistreatment-of Hindu ‘‘untouchables’ has been transposed to justify mistreatment of both Black and Latino workers in the U.S.) 

 

The Impact of Ever-Increasing Immigration on Current Conflicts Between Our Communities

Whatever acts of racial prejudice are carried out by immigrants from across the world in the United States, the expected massive increases in the rates of immigration into the U.S. (66 to 100 million during the next 20 years, according to current estimates by the conservative think-tank The Heritage Foundation) will increase the intensity of these social conflicts significantly.

In 1950, Latin America's population was 166 million.  Now in 2006, its population is 530 million.  In 2050, its population is predicted to grow to 800 million.  In the next 45 years, more people will be added to the population of Latin America than the total number of all of the persons alive in the U.S. today - 300 million.

Everyone cannot come to the U.S., yet pro-immigration activists advocate for the freedom to just that.  At what point will Latin America's individuals and political and religious institutions take responsibility for controlling Latin America's rapidly exploding birth rate?  Are persons in the United States responsible for footing the bill for that high birth rate?  Is the African American community, recently emerging from centuries of impoverishment itself, going to be responsible for bearing the burden of that overpopulation without having a say in the matter?

Rapid Latin American immigration has also caused stiff competition for access to labor markets among Latin American nationalities.  A Catholic social service center administrator from Maryland told me in the late 1990s that Colombian friends in New York City had reported that recent Mexican immigrants to New York were offering to work in local garment factories for $.60 cents per hour, motivated by the desire to gain market share by pushing out the Colombians.  Here in Maryland, a major fast food franchise owner, with restaurant assets in the tens of millions, routinely skims 5 to 7 hours of minimum wage labor hours from poor undocumented Latino workers when one of their stores doesn’t meet weekly budget goals.  These illegal practices occur across the low-wage economy.

African Americans employed in service sector and factory employment pay much of the price for these misdeeds through unemployment.  We cannot be competitive at what are literally slave wages offered by otherwise 'respectable' U.S. companies who have no qualms about breaking the law.  The U.S. government rarely enforces any of the laws that would apply in these cases of blatant labor exploitation, even when they know about them.

The U.S. also has some historical responsibility for the massive levels of poverty found in Latin America today.

For example, the United Fruit Company in the early 1900s paid off the dictator of Guatemala to send his troops into the lowland, fertile agricultural areas of the nations and force the then self-sufficient peasants off of their own land.  After that was accomplished, United Fruit owned all the profitable land, and even the nation's railroad.  In 1954 United Fruit and the U.S. CIA conspired to overthrow the democratically elected president, Jacobo Arbenz, because he advocated giving some of United Fruit's land back to the peasants.

That coup-d'etat was followed by decades of dictatorship, and a genocidal civil war that lead to the deaths of over 200,000 innocent Mayan indigenous civilians in the 1980s.  Most women and girls in the conflict were raped by government forces.  Nobody ever went to jail for these crimes against humanity.  The long-term legacy of that criminal impunity shows up today in the form of the murders of 600 women per year (most of them raped and tortured); with very little in the way of police action to stop a violent crime wave that is now called "femicide."

Entire societies were stunted in their economic and social development during 'dirty wars in the 1970s and 80s, as dictators (often with U.S. corporate and government support) used long-standing traditions of corruption, violence and criminal impunity to exploit and impoverish their nation's disenfranchised populations (while they claimed to be fighting against Cold-War communism).

Today’s working citizens did not own United Fruit Company.  Yet the political and economic powers-that-be now favor unlimited immigration, knowing that the most negative impacts will be felt within Black and other working class communities. 

Those who have no problem with authorizing a high rate of immigration into the U.S. also apparently have little-to-no concern about immigration’s human impact.

Some leaders in the Latin American immigrant community are also aware of these social dynamics, and actively market immigrants as "replacements" for African Americans in social and labor niches across U.S. society.  For those community leaders who promote these divisions, the growing public opposition to uncontrolled, continuing migration into the U.S. comes as a surprise, because it goes against their perceptions that playing to the 'race card' was a successful strategy that sold Latin American immigrants as the "non-Black alternative."

Little is said in the immigration debate about the fact that the U.S. has left the Black-White conflict and the national legacy of racial prejudice largely unresolved, despite the existence of anti-discrimination laws on the books. 

Anti-discrimination laws that immigrants benefit-from today were actually designed to resolve issues of race prejudice against African Americans, dating from 500 years ago.  When recent immigrants jump ahead into the line (‘not respecting the line’ is a cultural practice common across Latin America), Black Americans are left scratching their heads in wondering what, if any discrimination a very recent immigrant has ever suffered, and why is that person eligible for receiving a benefit that was designed to correct long-standing issues of racial exclusion perpetrated by the larger society against African American citizens.

When recent immigrants are treated with relative equality in a variety of social and workplace environments where African Americans still face overt hostility, it is not a happy sight to watch.  I see that dynamic happen every day of my life.

It is unethical for immigrants to exploit that social reality for their own ends, knowing that African Americans will, as a result, be even further marginalized. 

 

Acts of Racism Toward People of African Ancestry Committed by Latin Americans and Members of the Latin American Immigrant Community

I have heard many dozens of racist and hateful comments from Latino immigrants in regard to African Americans during the past 25 years.  Some of those attitudes are driven by a desire to kiss-up to perceptions that going-along with racism in U.S. society will ingratiate them with some White Americans. 

The below examples are all anecdotal, but very real, true experiences that myself and people around me have experienced.  Certain nationalities deserve special attention in regard to their cultural biases against people of African descent.

Colombia

Certainly most Latin American societies have a strong, anti-Black racist streak. Colombia’s wealthy elite have particular problems in dealing with race.

One TV show in Colombia was censured by an international human rights organization because it was so overtly and hatefully anti-Black. 

A family friend from Bogotá, who counts three medical doctors among her children, told me during her time living with us, about the dynamics of racism among Bogotá's white elites (known as arribistas or the 'upper-crust').  One of her sons is in medical practice in Colombia with a partner who is Afro-Colombian.  Apparently, NO Afro-Colombian person is allowed to attend any medical school in that nation.  This Afro-Colombian physician had to go to Cuba to get his medical education.

Our friend also told me that NO Afro-Colombian is ever allowed to receive officer training in the Colombian Navy.  Yet the United States Government, using tax dollars from Black, White and other citizens, provides billions of dollars in aid to a society that openly discriminates against Afro-Colombians in all walks of life.

Fifteen years ago, when I worked a part-time job in my local public library, a Colombian woman from Medellin engaged on a regular basis in treating African Americans with hostility.  White library users were treated with total respect.

My next door neighbor, his wife and his adult son are all Colombian immigrants.  They are very big about flying the U.S. flag on holidays.  The son, who is about 30 now, never said one word to me, despite my repeated polite attempts to engage him in conversation.  Three days after 9-11-2001, he was walking from his car to his entrance and called me the “N” word under his breath.  The next day I told him that if I ever heard that from him again, he would find out who I am.

Another Latino immigrant who lives across the street from me (nationality unknown) responded to my effort to say hello to him with a cold, racist stare.

By comparison, other Latino neighbors are completely friendly.

Chile

A former almost-brother-in-law, the son of an Afro-Haitian diplomat who was very dark-skinned (and who went on to run all Haitian government computer services after getting his advanced education in Washington, DC), told me that his time living in Chile, during his father's tour of duty at their embassy, was the worst time of his life.  The anti-Black racism of Chileans was overt and aggressive.  Other Chileans have told me openly of the racism that they traditionally grew up with in Chile.

When a Black jury in a federal criminal case in Washington, DC awarded damages to families of the victims of a Chilean government ordered car bomb that killed former Chilean Ambassador Orlando Letelier on the city's Embassy Row (Massachusetts Avenue), the president (dictator) of Chile, General Agosto Pinochet, openly made remarks that he would comply with a decision by a bunch of Blacks in Washington.  (The U.S. government later seized a Chilean commercial airliner as payment for this judgment.)

Costa Rica

A Black coworker who grew up in Costa Rica told me that the racism there was pure hell.  When he married a mestiza (mixed Native and Spanish) woman from Honduras, his wife’s family did not accept him, because he was Black.

Cuban-Americans

On Latin American popular TV talk shows such as Univision Network’s The Cristina Show, seen by more viewers than The Oprah Show, I have personally observed Miami’s majority white Cuban community make racist jokes without shame.  Since seeing this spectacle on TV during the late 1990s, I have never again watched another segment of Cristina Saralegui's otherwise great show.

One of my aunts, who is a New York professional woman of dark complexion, traveled to Miami several years ago.  She reported to me that she and other African-Americans, waiting in line to buy items at a retail store, were not attended to by the store's White Cuban clerks.  The same clerks did wait on White Latino customers.  My aunt turned to the local African American persons in line and said "How can you stand to live like this!"  My own theory is that the racist culture of the 1950s and 1960s U.S. South, into which the Cubans fleeing Fidel Castro came, was compatible with Cuban concepts of machismo and racial superiority.  

As a musician who has performed professionally over 600 times with 27 Latin American performing groups in the Washington, DC region, I can recall that the first group I played with, (La Orquesta de) Tulio Arias, a white Cuban immigrant band leader and one of my many mentors, would, unknown to me at the time, sometimes not call me to perform because they were performing (during the 1980s) at whites-only, racially segregated Elks Club events in nearby Virginia.

It must also be recalled that one of Fidel Castro's first acts after taking control of Cuba in 1958 was to repeal the previous, Batista-era ban on allowing Black Cubans (who are 60% of the population) to use the nation's public beaches!

See the writings of Dr. Carlos Moore, and Dr. Miguel de la Torre (Black and White Cuban scholars, respectively), for additional information on the racial dynamics of Cuba and how racism and sexism mix in the ‘code’ of machismo.

The Dominican Republic

A former girlfriend from the Dominican Republic, a largely Black country, told me about how only people of color with “good (non-curly) hair” were allowed to be admitted to her local Catholic school 30 years ago.

Ecuador

During 2001 I worked in the Boston, Massachusetts area, where I am from.  Large numbers of Latin American residents live in the area.  Many, including Ecuadorian friends of mine, have great friendships with African Americans.

During a lunchtime visit to a Burger King in the city of Framingham, Massachusetts, I was waiting in line to order.  An Ecuadorian man in his 30s was talking to two women co-workers, one of whom was his manager.  He began to look at me, and, assuming that I did not speak Spanish, he said, “I can see it now, I would just like to piss all over him (he said this in a derogatory, not a sexual context).  His manager tried to warn him that he should shut up, mostly because she could sense that I was in fact bilingual.  I spoke to this arrogant creep with a lot more respect that he had shown to me with his racist banter.

A documentary about life in the Pacific Coast region of Ecuador, which has a large population of African peoples who still live a traditional African lifestyle, included several interviews with villagers.  One villager interviewed indicated that White Ecuadorians only gave up using leather whips on Black people in 1960.

Mexico

President Fox uttered a racist statement during 2005, saying that “Mexican immigrants take jobs that not even Blacks want.”  That declaration was highly offensive to the African American community. 

President Fox added fuel to the fire by praising the Mexican federal postal service’s efforts to print a series of stamps of a 1940’s racist stereotype of Africans called “Memin Pinguin.”  Although the issue received a lot of mainstream U.S. press coverage, almost no coverage was given to statements by leaders of Mexico’s southwest coastal (Acapulco) region Afro-Mexican community, who declared that, contrary to President Fox's public assertions, anti-Black racism was alive and well in Mexico.  The community’s view was that, indeed, Memim Pinguin was a racially offensive stereotype for Afro-Mexicans.

President Fox exploited the issue of the printing of this racially objectionable postal stamp to needle the U.S. for reacting so strongly to his “not even Blacks” statement.  Now, he gripes about U.S. prejudice against Mexican immigrants (a valid complaint, but quite hypocritical).

See: http://chadfbrown.blogspot.com/2005/07/memin-pinguin.html

During the 1990s mainstream press articles circulated a story that police in Acapulco actively chased Afro-Mexicans away from local tourism beaches.

During 2005, I took my family to buy Mexican breads and pastries in Baltimore’s Latino community.  As we sat in my car sampling what we had just bought, Mexican guys stood on the street, starting at me, grabbing their crotches in a typical gang stance, and generally letting me know that I, as a Black man, was “in their turf, and I should therefore leave.”

Northern South America

Having been married to a Latina immigrant woman from northern South America for 22 years, I have also seen these racist attitudes among my own in-laws.  Other Latina friends married or in relationships with African Americans have faced the same issues of racial hostility from their in-laws. 

There is a widespread concept in Latino communities, especially from South and Central America, of “mejorando la raza” (improving one’s race).  This ignorant and racist concept dictates that Latin Americans should always find someone lighter in skin tone than themselves (if they are not White already)… to marry.  That means that if you are of African or Indigenous ancestry, and if you have been brought up to believe in this garbage, you actively try to marry someone lighter skinned, and more European-looking than yourself.  My Mother-in-Law used to be fond of making comments such as, “my granddaughter has gotten worse” – meaning that her skin had gotten darker during the Summer. 

New Jersey

My family and I have traveled frequently in the past to Bergen, New Jersey, a huge Latino community just across the Hudson River from Manhattan, New York.  We can find dozens of restaurants from my wife’s home country, and the food is good.  As I walked around Bergen, I got the ‘vibe’ from some Latinos, and also from a white American policemen, that, I, as an African American, should not be in that neighborhood and I should therefore leave.  During one trip, a group of Latino youth in their teens actually insulted me and told me not to come back.

Florida

During a trip to Orlando, Florida in 2000, I experienced a number of hostile acts from Latinos.  One young man, eating near us in a family style restaurant, suggested to his mother and other relatives (speaking in Spanish), that I should perform fellatio on him.  My wife had to detain me from ‘verbally’ responding!

California

During a recent working trip to Oakland, California, I stood at a bus stop where a group of 15 Latino guys were standing around drinking strong coffee, talking about Christianity and waiting to go to an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting.  One of them yelled out to me, “Get out of here!”

Maryland

During Christmastime in 2004 I went with friends to a Salvadoran restaurant.  The cooks could see that I was present.  I was the only non-Latino in the restaurant, and the only person of African descent.  The cooks, showing some visible discomfort delayed serving my order for half an hour beyond what anyone else in the restaurant experienced.  (In 1996 I went through a similar experience of ‘illegal denial of food service’ at a predominantly White Denny’s restaurant.)

Racism against people of African, and (even worse) against persons of indigenous ancestry is pandemic across Latin America.  It is unacceptable that these attitudes, and the many acts of impunity and gender, social and labor discrimination that are associated with them, continue to be allowed to flourish in U.S. society without an open and emphatic demand that those practices change and end.  This impunity often hides behind a language barrier, making the acts of discrimination and crime almost invisible to the public, the press and the courts.

Immigration is acceptable.  Converting the U.S. into a mirror image of the racially hostile and sexist environment that exists in most of Latin America is... unacceptable.  The fact that most Latin Americans deny that racial prejudice is a problem raises concerns from experts in the field such as Dr. Carlos Moore, an Afro-Cuban scholar.  Increased immigration from Latin America is a potential source of increased racial conflict largely because of their denial of the issue.  I agree.  Racism is a Trojan Horse that will migrate to the U.S. en-mass over time.

 

Violence between the African American and Latin American communities

In some communities in the United States, African Americans have received new immigrants with hostility and violence.  Here are a few examples that I have seen:

  • A former girlfriend, who’s Honduran family bought a row house in a lower working class community in Washington, DC, had every member of their household (about 8 adults) robbed and/or beaten by local thugs. 
  • As a former worker in the local Latin American Youth Center, also in Washington, DC, I used to see, 27 years ago, African American middle school boys openly throw empty glass bottles across a street at Latina high school girls after the local schools let out.  This occurred frequently. 
  • I was once playing Afro-Cuban drumming (rumba) on the Latino community’s main drag (Colombia Road) in DC, and saw an older Black teen walk by a Central American immigrant at about 8 PM on a busy street, and punch him in the face for no reason, knocking him out cold.
  • In another incident, my own Latina step-daughter was chased around for several hours at 2 AM in a well-off suburban community by a car-load of young Black men bent on doing no-good (obviously intent on rape). 
  • A young Salvadoran woman I worked with witnessed the kidnapping from a bus stop (at night) of another young Latina, by three Black men.  The victim was later found raped and murdered.  The Salvadoran woman and her husband, both witnesses to the kidnapping, refused to testify for fear of their lives.
  • A Salvadoran man I know was shot four times by a young African-American man, although his wounds were slight from the .22 caliber handgun.  Before that incident I used to hear his father talk about carrying around a handgun while he lived in that Washington, DC neighborhood.  I no longer consider him to be a racist for carrying a gun in Columbia Heights.
  • A Latino community center director serving pre-teen and teenage girls of all races, but mostly Latinas, wrote me a letter in 1999 explaining how Latino gangs were raping local girls, from the age of 9 up, in Washington, DC’s poor Latino neighborhoods, with impunity.  Latino gang members would then intimidate family members with violence if they reported the rapes to police.  This advocate for girls was especially incensed that the Metropolitan Police Department and the public school system (majority African American institutions) showed a complete lack of interest in helping these victims.  This activist later helped to form a local task force to assist girls of all races with preventing and responding to this impunity.
  • In the city of Langley Park, the largest Latino community in Maryland, a Peruvian friend once witnessed a minor auto accident in a parking lot, between a Latino driver and an African American driver.  According to my friend, the African American driver was at fault.  Upon calling a police officer to the scene, the officer heard only the African American driver’s account of the problem, because the Latino driver did not speak English.  The Latino driver was arrested by the police officer.
  • The same Peruvian friend went to a gas station in Langley Park, MD at night, and paid for his gas through the cashier’s window with a $50 dollar bill.  Instead of giving my friend his $40.00 in change, the African, or African American attendant passed a ten dollar bill back through the window, and dared my friend to do anything about it.
  • Also in Langley Park, a Salvadoran woman, who I had done workplace discrimination advocacy work for, told me an interesting story.  She said that on her street, she witnessed a Latino man being stopped by two Black police officers for having expired 30 day tags on his car.  The Latino driver explained to the officers that the permanent license tags had not been mailed to him yet.  A number of Latino drug dealers were standing on the street nearby, and began to throw rocks at the two police officers, who hid behind their car doors to avoid being hit.  According to the witness, the officers, being extremely angry at that point, decided to take revenge by arresting the driver they had stopped.  This driver filed a civil suit, but neither the witness I talked to, nor any other Latino witness on that street was willing to come forward, because of fear of deportation.
  • In Washington, DC, a Salvadoran friend who is a lay pastor at his Evangelical church (a former co-worker) told me about how both he and his brother were held up at gunpoint by young African American men. 
  • The same lay pastor told me that he witnessed a traffic accident in Washington, DC, where an African American man was at fault and a Latino driver’s car was hit.  The policeman who arrived on the scene was not bilingual, and proceeded to cite the Latino driver for a traffic violation.
  • The same lay pastor told me that a member of his church who is Latino had his apartment trashed and property destroyed because police had the wrong address for a drug raid.  An officer told him not to report the event, or the police “could” plant drugs in his apartment.  He kept his mouth shut.
  • My wife’s car was rear-ended by an immigrant woman from India (who later wiggled out of any liability for the accident by lying).  Upon calling a young African-American woman agent at Nationwide Insurance several times, the agent treated my wife (who is Latina) with disrespect.  The agent returned no phone calls to my wife until a White American male relative left a message for the agent.  THEN the agent called back.

Obviously, Latin American immigrants who go through these types of experiences do not have a positive view of African Americans.  Many Latino immigrants have also suffered similar treatment from White Americans.  Latino on Latino crime is also a very large problem.

  • During the early 1980s, when my wife and I were dating, a White American man got out of a car and attempted to grab her and force her into his car.  This act of attempted kidnapping and rape followed a pattern that had been seen elsewhere in the region.  Because she was undocumented at the time, we did not report this event to police. 
  • When my stepson came to Maryland from South America in the mid 1980’s, a carload of White teenagers stopped near a bus stop where he and my wife were waiting for a bus.  They were aggressively verbally harassed.

Sexual predators and other violent criminals from all races actively target Latin American immigrants because their undocumented status will ‘keep them quiet.’

Crime in the Latin American immigrant community is also severe.  Gang violence and sexist impunity have created hundreds of thousands of cases or rape, child rape and sexual demands targeting poor Latina and other women in the modern U.S. workplace.  Latino immigrant communities also drive much of the demand for women and children kidnapped in Latin America and forced to be prostitutes in every city, town and migrant labor camp in the U.S.  A cultural code of silence within the Latin American community that prevents reporting crime, and a fear of deportation aid and abet the actions of the huge criminal element that today subjects Latin Americans and Latin American immigrants in the U.S. to terror.

My web site, www.LibertadLatina.org, is devoted to documenting these harsh but very real issues.  The cases are too numerous to describe here.  Suffice it to say that I have more than 1,200 factual documents describing the incredibly high rate of sexual harassment, rape, forced prostitution and kidnapping into sex trafficking that Latin American and Indigenous women face from many thousands of men who act with total impunity.  Corruption and intimidation cover up these crimes.

It is my sense that the anti-African American racism that many immigrants, especially elite immigrants, bring with them into the U.S. is separate from the racism that comes from the very small percentage of Latin American immigrants who are victims of African American crime.  The fact that racial exclusion still exists on the major Spanish language networks is one clear sign that the elites in the Latino community have a powerful and negative influence in regard to issues of race in the U.S.

 

The Impact of Expanded Immigration on Race Relations in the United States

If Latino immigration from countries with a history of strong anti-Black racist sentiments expands to 66 or 100 million people during the next 20 years, as analysts have predicted under the new U.S. Senate Immigration Bill, African-American people will increasingly be subjected to the harsh and aggressive forms of racism and lawless impunity that are commonplace in Latin America. 

The bar for women's rights, which are extensively trampled today in Latin America (millions of women and children are forced to work in prostitution, and many are enslaved), will also be lowered in the United States.  That process has already happened as sex traffickers bring many thousands of enslaved women and underage girls into the U.S. to 'service' the large male immigrant population.  Many of those men have no sense of remorse whatsoever about paying for 20 minutes of sex with a 14 year-old girl who was kidnapped from Mexico or Central America, and is beaten and raped every single day of her now-shortened life.

Carol Bellamy, Executive Director of the UNICEF during the 1990s and early 2000s, presented a speech on the crisis of impunity facing all of Latin America.  Presented on International Women's Day in 1999, the Executive Director's statement included the following description of the rampant level of impunity that exists in sexual exploitation in the region.  That level of exploitation can be said to be a marker for impunity in racist action as well.

On International Women’s Day, designated by the United Nations as UN Day for Women’s Rights and International Peace, UNICEF, in support of the United Nations’ campaign for the eradication of violence against women, calls on society in Latin American and Caribbean to eradicate violence against women and children. Violence is a problem that still remains largely hidden from the public eye; and most countries in the region have only scarce systematic information on the scope of it.

Society’s silence is the main accomplice in allowing widespread impunity. Latin America and the Caribbean face enormous challenges in the prelude to the twenty-first century. The region will have to bring out into the open this increasingly disturbing reality; and it will have to struggle against the high degree to which society tolerates or practices inconceivable forms of aggression against the most vulnerable individuals in society. In commemorating International Women’s Day, Executive Director of UNICEF Carol Bellamy said that "it is everywhere, among rich and poor -- at home, in school, in the workplace and in the community. Yet on the eve of the 21st century, the vast scale of this outrage is still not widely acknowledged, nor even truly understood".

Recent studies indicate that no less than six million children and adolescents in Latin America and the Caribbean are subjected to severe aggression, and that 80,000 of these die each year as a result of violence unleashed in their own families. Sexual harassment, maltreatment, child labor, violence in the home and sexual exploitation occur with such frequency that they can be considered a daily phenomenon.

- Carol Bellamy

Former Executive Director, UNICEF

On March 8, 1999 (International Women's Day

Bogotá, Colombia

The conditions of social injustice that Carol Bellamy accurately described in 1999 have not improved, they have gotten much worse.  These realities are one of the strongest motives for women to leave Latin America seeking not only income, but safety in the U.S.  I consider the United States to have a special moral responsibility to remain available as a refuge for women and children who are facing what is literally a 'gender-hostile environment’ across all of Latin America.

Before massive-immigration is approved and allowed to happen legally, U.S. society will have to discover mechanisms to control and stop the effects (in the U.S.) of the rampant 'racism and sexism with impunity' that today dominates in every region of Latin America, creating what is literally a human catastrophe. 

U.S. citizens, Black, White, Latino and Asian, have no obligation to lower the bar on human rights, and allow an expansion of the blatant and open prejudices that racially exclusive Latino media, and some Latino cultural practices are allowing to take hold in every corner of the U.S. today.  All citizens deserve a place at the table when decisions are made about what level of increased impunity we will accept as a result of importing these often hidden social problems.

Everyone in the Latin American immigrant community in the U.S. knows that these human rights abuses exist in their communities.  I have knocked on the doors of Latino leaders for over a decade seeking to have them engage in the fight against the exploitation of women and children, with little positive response.

These issues are rarely, if ever raised during public and legislative debate about immigration.  While pro-immigration organizations may not want to see such an open discussion, citizens have a right to decide what to do about these concerns.

 

Opening Up the Debate on Immigration to All People in the United States

The extensive debates taking place today have included little consideration of the powerful impact that massive immigration has in the African-American community.

This commentary encourages all parties to open up that honest dialog.  African Americans certainly deserve a place at the table in national media and legislative debate about these issues.

The issue is being further explored by a growing number of African American organizations.  A majority of African Americans, including the author, strongly support the Latin American immigrant community and have strong ties to it.  However, we must address the real impact of immigration on the Black community.  We will not hide our heads in the sand as our community members loose jobs and dignity.  We will also not condone impunity in U.S. society.

The loss of jobs, and the social conflict in schools and other social settings caused by massive immigrant into Los Angeles and other major population centers has had a very real and negative impact on the African-American community that all parties must acknowledge. 

It is not morally right that some immigrants offer to replace Black people because some in the dominant culture are willing to collaborate in exploiting existing racial divides between White and Black.  African Americans and other ethnicities are NOT replaceable components in U.S. society, to be switched out of the nation's proverbial 'car body' as if we were 30 million burnt-out car batteries.

Many economists and corporate executives appear eager to flood the U.S. with foreign workers while our own economy is unstable.  Let’s first allow the best and the brightest foreign economists and executives to replace them at their jobs.

If Latin America, and the U.S. Latin American immigrant community truly have no problem with race, and if they really believe in the principle of free migration, let’s propose allowing Sudanese, Somali and Congolese migrants to travel to Latin America and replace all of the Latin American migrants who have come to the U.S., leaving their home towns almost abandoned.  Hard working Africans living in poverty certainly could benefit from that opportunity.  If pro U.S. immigration advocates object to that idea, I would like to know their reasoning.

The bottom line is that Latin America’s poor and middle classes are suffering through a tragic human rights and economic crisis.  They need our help.  So do people in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Eastern Europe.  So do millions of U.S. citizens suffering from unemployment, underemployment, job displacement by aggressive H1-B and L-1 migrant workers from India, outsourcing, and the mass-closings of U.S. factories.

Past U.S. immigration policy has encouraged an assumption among Latin Americans that the U.S. border would always be open.  That, together with the Latin American concept that there is a ‘right’ to immigrate, and a ‘right’ to experience the American Dream have caused generations of Latin Americans, and immigrants in the U.S., to ‘bet the farm’ that the U.S. will always be there to be their escape route from conditions of severe poverty and corrupt impunity.  The word ‘America’ in the Latin American context means the entire western hemisphere.  So to Latin Americans, “the American Dream” implies a right to migrate to where that dream is… the United States.  Today’s immigration debate challenges, for the first time, those assumptions and that sense of entitlement.

There is also a sense of arrogance among some (but not all) persons in Latin America in regard to U.S. immigration.  In addition to a sense of entitlement, they believe that U.S. citizens don’t deserve to keep the U.S. to themselves.  In 1995, while conversing with a group of housewives in South America, the hostess stated: “Those dumb Americans, we’re just going to walk right over them.”

I personally know an entire family of South American immigrants who paid bribes to U.S. embassy staff in one country to come to the U.S.  In another case, a coyote (people smuggler) paid-off a U.S. customs inspector in Texas to allow two people to pass through the border station into the U.S. without visas.  In another case, the person simply engaged in a fake marriage to become ‘legal.’  All of these persons today openly express disdain for African Americans, and in some cases, Americans in general.  Their attitudes can only be called racist arrogance.

My compassion and love for the Latin American and immigrant communities and people runs very deep.  I cannot, however, condone racist and sexist impunity by what is hopefully a minority of immigrants who openly apply those ideas in the U.S.

A significant subset of the immigrant population includes a criminal element that is used to operating in Latin America without fear of prosecution.  Official corruption allows such persons to commit violent acts uncontested.  When such persons arrive in the U.S. as immigrants, they continue to commit crime, and typically express disdain for U.S. laws. 

One marker of this trend is the fact that Operation Predator, a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) operations to catch and deport child sex offenders, has arrested more than 7,500 persons as of April 2006.  More than 85% of arrests are of foreign national sex offenders.  Approximately 40% of these are lawful permanent resident immigrants.  An additional 40% are undocumented persons. Those deported represent predators from more than 100 nations, not only Latin America.  Those arrested often are surprised, because they know that they can commit such crimes in almost any Latin American nation without worry.

A number of undocumented migrants have committed murders in the U.S. and then run back over the border to Mexico and Central America (where police will not touch them). U.S. law enforcement officers have been among the victims.  This fact causes deep-seated anger among law-abiding U.S. citizens of all races.

The solution to the current immigration crisis must lie in ending impunity, and reforming corrupt governments and economic systems.  Mass migration into the United States is not the answer.  Those undocumented migrants who are here now do deserve our help.  That position is supported by most U.S. citizens, Black, White and others.  Among that group are many immigrants who originally came to the U.S. as war refugees from El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua.

The Spring, 2006 U.S. House immigration reform proposal, that would have made felons out of the existing undocumented immigrant population was racially offensive.  Naturally, Latin American immigrants took to the streets to protest it.

While I agree that current undocumented migrants should have the right to become legal workers, citizenship deserves further debate.  The pro-immigration movement is asking the population of the U.S. to agree to have its internal politics forever changed by immigrants from Latin America who effectively forced their way into the country.  Granting citizenship will generate never-ending conflict from citizens who understand that point and are offended by that fact.

Undocumented immigration has already skewed U.S. politics by allotting more congressional seats to states with large immigrant populations, actively taking representation away from states with lower rates of immigration.  (The U.S. Constitution requires congressional apportionment based on total population.  This causes the undocumented population to be counted in the division of the nation’s 435 elected House members between the states.  Should people in Michigan feel good about loosing votes to California because of this process?)

Current estimates that the recent U.S. Senate immigration reform bill will allow 60 to 100 million new migrants to come to the U.S. during the next 20 years.

Any immigration reform package that allows such marked increases in the rate of immigration (bringing with it an unending flow of family reunification migrants), without the consent of the U.S. population, will also generate conflict.  That wave of new immigrants will necessarily displace even more of this nation’s citizens in employment, housing, schooling and national political voice. 

The wishes of the nation’s citizens must be the primary voice heard by law-makers in this debate.  Congress exists to work for them.

If the politicians and corporate leaders in the U.S. made a deal to allow today’s uncontrolled immigration in exchange for allowing the NAFTA and CAFTA trade agreements to raid Latin American economies (thus creating waves of new poor – 40 million in Mexico’s case)… let those profiteers foot the bill for that damage.

It is up to each and every one of us to take this dialog in a direction that acknowledges the needs of the immigrant community AND U.S. citizens.  Your contribution to the dialog and decision-making also needs to be heard!

...In the interests of building an honest conversation that includes African American's and women's human rights issues at the heart of the 2006 U.S. immigration debate...

 

- Chuck Goolsby

Founder and Coordinator

www.LibertadLatina.org

The web's largest source of

factual information on women

and children's human rights in

Latin America and its Diaspora.

Since March, 2001

Chuck@LibertadLatina.org

 


See also:


Added May 25, 2006

Colombia - Brazil 

Doctor Maricel Mena López, an Afro-

Colombian theologian now living in Brazil

 

Dr. Maricel Mena Lopez, a 37-year-old Colombian woman, was the youngest in a family of eight brothers and sisters.  She traveled to brazil to study education and religious science.  Today she is a professor of Old Testament Studies at the Upper Theology School in Sao Leopoldo (Saint Leopold,Brazil).

Maricel and one of her sisters were the only family members who were able to study, thanks to the efforts of her mother, a White Colombian woman who had five children in her first marriage.  A seamstress, Maricel’s mother ended up raising eight children by herself, living in a house with two rooms… a living room and a kitchen.

Maricel learned about discrimination firsthand at a young age.  Her mother’s family never accepted her mother’s Black children.

Dr. Maricel Mena Lopez…

“White feminism is elitist.  It thrives in an elite, white academic world, because it was the middle class who had access to education.  They focused on their own concerns as if they were universal, valid for all women, including Black and Indigenous women.”

“In Latin America feminism has many diverse characteristics.  Many feminists in the region do not come from the middle class.  The feminist movement is racially diverse here.  It was important to struggle hard to achieve that result, so that the voices of Black and Indigenous (Native Latin American) women would be heard.  And that is what we want to achieve.  White feminists continue to never see Black women as being protagonists.  Only themselves.”

"Indigenous feminism does also exist.  It is not yet well developed because Indigenous women have had less access to education."

 “I would say that [Black feminism in Latin America] addresses three concerns: sexism, classism and racism.  Black women are exposed to a triple discrimination in society.  Middle class white women only suffer sexism.  Poor women suffer classism and sexism.  Black women face, in addition, another element, which is racism." 

"In Colombian society racism is stronger than it is in Brazil.  Black neighborhoods live in a form of "Apartheid."  A Black person can only gain employment with difficulty."

From: I Am Black and Beautiful  (In Spanish).

An Interview with Dr. Maricel Mena Lopez

Agencia Latinoamericana y Caribeña de Comunicación (ALC)

The Latin American and Caribbean Communication Agency

A project of the Latin American Lutheran Churches United in Communication

August 27, 2004

 


Added May 25, 2006

Latin America - United States

The Subtle Racism of Latin America

Carlos Moore sees a disguised racism permeating Latin American society, invented by Arabs in the Iberian Peninsula.

UCLA International Institute's report on a lecture given by Dr. Moore at the Institute on June 2, 2003.

 

Afro-Cuban scholar Dr. Carlos Moore

 While many believe that Arab and Latin American societies have a better track record in regard to race than the United States, Dr. Carlos Moore, resident scholar at Brazil's Universidade do Estado da Bahia, contends that this impression is wrong. Moore, a black man raised in pre-Castro Cuba, believes that while these societies may look color blind on the surface, race actually dominates every aspect of social and political life.

Moore expressed some concern about the implications for race relations in the United States posed by the increasing immigration from Mexico and Latin America.

While he clearly regarded the often overt racism of the North as perhaps even more objectionable than the Arab-Spanish form in the South, he saw a particular problem in the general Latin American denial of race as an issue. This has made it socially disreputable to raise demands for reform in Latin America around race issues.

Moore concluded by expressing the hope that these new Latin American immigrants will not import their Arab-Latin American model of race relations, as with it comes a false color blindness. To Moore, the U.S. model of dealing with race, while far from ideal, enables groups to make demands on society, and to be able to work for change.

Moore is best known for his book Castro, the Blacks, and Africa (CAAS, 1989), and African Presence in the Americas, co-edited with Shawna Moore and Tanya R. Sanders (Africa World Press, 1996).

- Anson Musselman

UCLA International Institute

June 2, 2003


Added May 25, 2006

United States

Abuse In Latin America Growing

Child sex abuse and prostitution are rising in Latin America and children are most threatened in Brazil, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Venezuela and Cuba, United nations officials said Wednesday... "Poverty and race ... are decisive. It is mainly poor, black women who suffer the worst abuse'.' 

Reuters, 1997.

 

Added May 25, 2006

United States

Rising Black-Latino Clash On Jobs

 "In this era of mass immigration, no group has benefited less or been harmed more than the African-American population," says Vernon Briggs, a Cornell University professor who researches immigration policy and the American labor force.

…Today, the black community is split over how to address immigration. The NAACP, the Congressional Black Caucus and the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights generally support the immigrant marches. They're against exposing all illegal immigrants to felony charges as outlined in a bill passed by the US House in December. A California Field Poll in April found that 82 percent of blacks instead support a US Senate measure, which would give undocumented workers currently in the US for more than five years the opportunity of citizenship.

But a vocal subset of blacks has a different view. Choose Black America, a coalition of business, academic, and community leaders, formed this week to advocate for stronger border security and not allow illegal immigrants to become citizens.

In April, a band of protesters marched in front of the office of Rep. Maxine Waters (news, bio, voting record) (D) of California because she, along with the Rev. Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, supports citizenship for illegal immigrants. Blacks also have "singed the phone lines at black radio talk shows with anti-immigrant tirades" and "bombarded black newspapers with letters blasting illegal immigrants," says Hutchinson.

"It's definitely one of the hottest topics on talk radio I've ever seen," says Greg Johnson, marketing director of KJLH, a leading black radio station in Los Angeles. The majority of callers favor more conservative enforcement solutions to immigration, but the station is getting callers on all sides, he says.

- Daniel B. Wood
Christian Science Monitor

May 25, 2006

 

Added May 25, 2006

United States

Mexico Welcomed Fugitive Slaves And African American Job-Seekers: New Perspectives On The Immigration Debate

 There are of course, many angles from which to view the escalating immigration debate. Mexican immigrants, who constitute the largest share of the undocumented, have a unique history with the African population inside the United States. As the Black community weighs-in on this very contentious issue, it becomes necessary for us (both black and brown) to review the history that we share.

Ron Wilkins is a former member of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and is presently a professor in the Department of Africana Studies at California State University, Dominguez Hills.

- Professor Ron Wilkins

April 23, 2006


Added May 25, 2006

United States

Black Americans Oppose Illegal Alien Amnesty; Urge Passage of Enforcement Only Bill in the Senate

Amnesty Will Hurt All Americans and Blacks the Most, Contends New Coalition Choose Black America

 Washington, - As the U.S. Senate, with the backing of President Bush, rushes to complete work on a bill that grants amnesty to tens of millions of illegal aliens and opens the doors to millions more "guest workers," a new coalition of African American leaders is calling the proposal a "disaster for all Americans that will hit black citizens the hardest."

- PRNewswire

April 22, 2006


Added May 25, 2006

Cuba, Latin America, United States

About Machismo

"I am a recovering macho, a product of an oppressive society, a society where gender, race and class domination do not exist in isolated compartments, 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. The understanding of machismo requires a full consideration of sexism, heterosexism, racism, ethnocentrism and classism. All forms of oppression are identical in their attempt to domesticate the Other. The sexist, who sees women playing a lesser productive role than men, transfers upon the non-elite male Other effeminate characteristics, placing him in a feminine space for "easy mounting."

- Dr. Miguel de la Torre

A White Cuban-American

Baptist Theologian and Ethicist

June 2, 2003

More About Machismo 


June 2, 2003

The Americas

 The crisis facing women & children of African Ancestry in the Americas: the Caribbean; Latin America; the United States and Canada

LibertadLatina.org


 

Mexico

 The Mexican government's sale of the racially offensive cartoon character Memin Pinguin as a commemorative stamp is an outrageous sign that top Mexican officials still refuse to deal with the country's racism. But it's just that a sign. Racism goes much deeper in the country. Even while Mexican writers and politicians rail in articles against American racism, many Mexicans are quick to boast of differences in skin color among their own family members.

 

Many Mexicans refer to dark skinned persons, both Mexican, and non-Mexican, as negritos or little Black people. This is not seen as racially offensive, but rather as a term of affection even endearment. A popular afternoon telenovela (soap opera) has a comedian in Blackface chasing madly after light complexioned actresses in skimpy outfits. Ads have featured Blacks in Afros, Black face, and distorted features. The most popular screen stars in film and on TV, and the models featured on magazines and billboards, are white or fair skinned with sandy or blond hair. That's the standard of beauty, culture, and sophistication that's held up as the penultimate standard to emulate, and that standard is unabashedly commercialized, and peddled as top commodities in Mexico and other Latin American countries. Mexican President Vicente Fox and most of Mexico's past presidents, top officials, business leaders, educators, and government leaders, for instance, are light skinned or Castellan Spanish. They routinely boast that they can trace their bloodlines to Spain (Fox's mother is from Spain).

- Earl Ofari Hutchinson

IMDiversity.com

2006

 


California, USA

Ethnic Media Try To Defuse Ethnic Tensions In L.A.

 LOS ANGELES - Aug 26, 2005 - Black and Latino media are training the spotlight on the state of relations between blacks and Latinos in this increasingly Hispanic city, in an effort to defuse sensationalism in the coverage of thorny problems between the two communities.

It has been a bumpy ride for race relations in recent months. Last April, fights broke out between more than 100 black and Latino students at Jefferson High School in South Central Los Angeles, the latest in a series of brawls that took place in schools in the area, including the Crenshaw, Manual Arts and Jordan high schools.

In July, African American victims of a spate of freeway shootings identified their assailants as Latinos, prompting rumors that Latino gang members were targeting blacks at random. "Whether or not that's true -- and I don't think it is -- it speaks to relations between blacks and Latinos in the inner city," says Andre Herndon, editor of The Wave Newspapers.

- Elena Shore and Donal Brown

Pacific News Service

August 26, 2005

 


California, USA

Store Shooting Brings More Calls for Black-Brown Unity

 South Los Angeles - In an effort to quell more brown-on-black violence - most recently a 16-year-old girl wounded allegedly by a Latino gang member - some area activists have called for an immediate cease-fire and neighborhood unity.

The 16-year-old [African American] girl was shot in the leg by an occupant in a passing car [of Latino youth] last Friday as she was getting out of a vehicle to console the mother of [African Americans] Courtney Whaley, 17, who with William Armistead, 23, was killed by a Latino storeowner at the Super Discount Store, 6728 S. San Pedro St. on Sept. 25.

“To my understanding, [the girl is] doing well,” said activist Najee Ali.

The store owner, Rovidio “Ruben” Espana, has been charged with murder in connection with the shooting deaths of Whaley and Armistead.

Ali added that even though Espana allegedly shot the two unarmed victims, the shooting was not racially motivated.

“No matter what happened [on Sept. 25], it was not a black against Latino issue,” Ali said. “It’s a right-and-wrong thing, first and foremost.” He also called on Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa to become more involved in the black/Latino issue. “Certainly, blacks and Latinos have to get along.”

-         Gene Johnson, Jr.,

 Wave Newspapers

 


United States, Mexico

Mexican President Fox Blew it with NAACP Snub

 A plainly chagrined NAACP chairman Julian Bond lashed out at Mexican President Vicente Fox for flatly turning down the NAACP's invite to address its annual convention that opened this week. Fox begged off with the standard politician's duck and dodge excuse of a scheduling conflict.

Fox didn't bother. His no show at the convention could be chalked up in part to ethnic callousness, and perhaps in bigger part to a belief that now that Hispanics have become a growing economic and political force in the United States, there is no need to engage in dialogue with Black organizations. If that's the case, Fox is wrong, dead wrong. His blunder in dragging Blacks into the debate on illegal immigration, his passionate defense of a Mexican racist commemorative stamp, his arrogant knock at Black activists for protesting the stamp, and the tense and in some cases violent clashes between Blacks and Latinos in some American cities, are urgent reasons to engage in that dialogue.

- Earl Ofari Hutchinson

IMDiversity.com

2006


United States

Racial Tirade Gets Man Two Days In Jail

 A Washington state man stormed from a Yamhill County courtroom Thursday, furious at getting a two-day jail term for threatening to kill a black state trooper, calling him a "nigger" and telling him, "Well, you're black; you should be used to it."

Manuel Thomas Diaz, 52, of Vancouver, was sentenced to two days of jail time, two years of probation, 100 hours of community service and a $100 fine after pleading guilty to one count of second-degree intimidation.

Trooper Phil Richardson stopped Diaz in September 2004 on suspicion of drunk driving. "I'm no closer to being drunk than you are to being white," Diaz told Richardson.

After flunking a set of field sobriety tests, Diaz was hauled to jail for a blood alcohol test. And he continued his racial tirade there, records show.

"No wonder whites hate blacks," he said. "I should go north to Portland and kill me two of you."

Facing Judge Cal Tichenor in court, Diaz took an apologetic tack.

"I did get upset," he told Tichenor. "I don't want to make no excuses for myself.

"My mother had just died. I had to take care of my dad. I had this lady to take care of (pointing to his ex-wife, dependent on a wheelchair from a bout with cancer).

Tichenor then asked Diaz, "Did you serve any time in jail on this?" And Diaz said he had not.

Deputy District Attorney Will Lathrop recommended 20 days, but Tichenor settled for two.

"Two days in jail?" Diaz said, incredulous.

"Shhh. Shhh," court-appointed attorney Charles Lisle whispered to his client.

"I think it's sad you're sending me to jail," Diaz told Tichenor, who ignored him.

Diaz continued to mutter about the jail time component, but failed to raise the judge's ire. Then he stormed from the courtroom, leaving his ex-wife behind to maneuver her wheelchair through the heavy double-doors on her own.

Out in the safety of the hall, Diaz vented his feelings about Judge Tichenor more emphatically.

"What a jerk," he said. "It's a bunch of crap. Two days in jail!"

-         Katie Willson
The News-Register - Oregon

-         May 27, 2006


 

United States

Sexual Predators Arrested: More Than 7,500 As Of April 2006

 Operation Predator is a comprehensive initiative designed to protect young people from alien smugglers, human traffickers, child pornographers and other predatory criminals.

This operation brings to bear the broadest range of law enforcement authorities in the federal government to target those who exploit young people. Children are one of the most important and vulnerable assets to America's homeland. ICE will do everything in its power to protect them.

Operation Predator draws on the full spectrum of intelligence, investigative, cyber and detention and removal functions of ICE to target those who exploit children. In a way unachievable before the creation of Homeland Security, ICE is coordinating once-fragmented resources into a united campaign again child predators.

Under Operation Predator, ICE is taking several new steps to identify, investigate and remove child predators from America’s streets.

Removal:

  • ICE is targeting for removal fugitive criminal aliens with sex offense histories.
  • ICE is identifying alien sex offender inmates before release from prison.
  • ICE is partnering with foreign governments.

Results:

  • More than 85% of arrests are of foreign national sex offenders.
  • Approximately 40% of these are lawful permanent residents.
  • Approximately 40% of these are illegal aliens.
  • Nationwide, approximately 42% of those foreign nationals arrested have been deported to date.
  • Represent predators from more than 100 nations.

 

- U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement

April, 2006

 

 
 
     

   

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Updated:Oct. 09, 2011


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LibertadLatina
Key new special sections
About the crisis of forced prostitution of minor girls and young women in the largest center for organized sex trafficking in Mexico: Tlaxcala state.

The war against indigenous women and girls in the Americas

The crisis in the Dominican Republic

The crisis in Paraguay



Latest News
Últimas Noticias



Added Oct. 09, 2011

The Indigenous Americas

LibertadLatina

Commentary

Chuck Goolsby

A Call to Action

During the past ten years the Libertad Latina project has called attention to the crisis of large scale sexual exploitation and trafficking that continually plagues Latin America, the Caribbean and indigenous and African descendent peoples from across the Americas.

One of our core focus areas has been to highlight the fact that indigenous children and women are uniquely targeted by criminal sex traffickers and rapists within the larger societies that they live in. This occurs in Latin America, the United States and in Canada. The documentary evidence for this proposition may be found in the archives of our publication.

Historically, indigenous children and women have been sexually exploited by men of the dominant society. Those abuses occurred 500 years ago across the Americas, and they occur today.

Within the United States, women and girls from the indigenous population suffer 3.5 times the rate of sexual assaults compared to other groups of women in this society. Some 80% of the perpetrators in those cases are white U.S. men. They often get away with their crimes without being prosecuted.

In Canada, 90% of children in prostitution are of indigenous (first nations) ethnicities, which is a direct result of the condoned sexual abuse of native children at the hands of priests and others in the nation's now-closed mandatory native  boarding school system.
                                      

The figures for abuse in Latin America are many times higher, by comparions, given that governments and civil society have no need to hide their continuing racial hostility toward first inhabitants.
The most highly concentrated waves of atrocities against Latin American indigenous women have occurred during the past 30 years. They include::
1) six wars in Central America that entangled indigenous communities, leading in the most horrific case to the deaths of 50,000 mostly Mayan women in Guatemala and the rape of almost all Mayan women and girls of any age during the 1970s and 1980s;
2) Peruvian abuses during the 1990s, when former president Alberto Fujimori authorized the  sterilizations of 300,000 indigenous women without their consent - unethical acts that were carried out by medical doctors during childbirth procedures;
3) the present-day mass kidnapping and enslavement of indigenous girls and women, as well as socially condoned domestic and agricultural labor servitude (peonage) with impunity in modern Mexico.

Our project has written essays for years calling for an end to these mass violations of basic human rights.

During our nearly 11 years of existence, we have insisted that the anti trafficking ‘movement’ and government agencies such as the U.S. State Department end the almost deliberate denial of the existence of the mass sex trafficking crisis in Latin America, the Caribbean and in indigenous communities across the Americas.

Only during 2011 have we seen evidence that U.S. government policy and Mexican government action is placing more emphasis on the crisis in the region. The important role of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in bringing about that change is also to be saluted.

Recently, prominent publications in Mexico have highlighted concerns raised by activists in Mexico and Central America. The alarm bell has been sounded to warn the world that organized criminal sex traffickers are rapidly accelerating their kidnappings and efforts to entrap indigenous children and youth for the purposes of either prostituting them directly, or reselling them to global trafficking networks who will enslave them in Japan, Western Europe or, more recently, the Middle East.

We ask, what has the U.S. State Department’s Office on Trafficking in Persons done to identify and act to stop the human trafficking crisis that affects indigenous women and girls? What have they, or the governments of Mexico and Japan done to investigate the trafficking of thousands of poor, underage indigenous girls from southern Mexico’s heavily indigenous states – to Japan?

From what we can observe, the answer is that nothing at all has been done to address the targeting of indigenous children as a major source of 'raw material' for the global forced prostitution trade.

The anti trafficking movement and government agencies in the U.S. cannot rely only upon the appointment of officials with Spanish  surnames and the engagement of  agencies that serve the Latin America immigrant community to ‘handle’ the Latin American human trafficking issue. Dynamics of intra-Latino oppression permeate both the region and the immigrant diaspora. Many Latin Americans who otherwise have the education and required social consciousness to take action against human trafficking also have culturally ingrained prejudices against indigenous (and African descendent) peoples.

These realities are especially problematic in Mexico.

Therefore, we are glad to see Mexican congressional representative and anti trafficking leader Rosi Orozco and Xavier Abreu Sierra, director general of the National Commission for the Development of Indigenous Peoples - further raise the alarm in an October 8, 2011 article in La Jornada, a Leading Mexico City daily paper, in regard to the crisis facing indigenous victims in Mexico.

We are also encouraged by the efforts of Teresa Ulloa, director of the Regional Coalition Against Trafficking in Women for Latin America and the Caribbean, who has shone a constant spotlight on the crisis facing indigenous girls who confront enslavement by sex traffickers.

More must be done. This crisis has become increasingly dire over time.

Indigenous leaders such as Mayan Nobel Peace Prize laureate Rigoberta Menchu, who is also an activist against the sex trafficking of indigenous children in the region, must be allowed to have a prominent place at the table of deliberations on the subject.

Multi-billion dollar drug cartels seek to diversify their earnings by engaging in the mass kidnapping and sex trafficking of poor Mexican girls and young women. They need large numbers of victims to feed into the wholesale global market for sex slaves. At the end of the day, the most accessible and vulnerable source of victims are young indigenous girls who may not speak Spanish.

Once entrapped, these children are beaten, gang raped, starved, pimped out and then are resold to trafficking operations across Mexico, Central America, the United States, Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

We call upon the anti trafficking community and applicable government agencies to bring more focus to this aspect of the global trafficking crisis. We cannot sit by and watch yet another generation of our indigenous children be subjected to this obscene mass gender atrocity.

The government of Mexico must be held to account for its indifference in the face of the mass sex trafficking of indigenous girl children.

The government of Japan must also be held to account for its indifference in the face of the mass sex trafficking of indigenous Mexican girl children to Japan - to become sex slaves and geishas to the tune of several thousand victims.

All who are victims, and all who are at risk deserve the world's attention. Indigenous girl children from the Americas must not continue to be left on the sidelines of that effort.

We the people will hold both government and the NGO community accountable for their inaction to rescue these innocent children from a life of rape, torture and early death.

We are not second class human beings.

Enough is enough.

End this atrocity now!

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

Oct. 09, 2011


Added Oct. 08, 2011
Mexico

About sex trafficker's war against indigenous children in Mexico

Indigenous girls in Mexico are constantly under threat from local and global sex traffickers and sxex tourists

En México, 45% de las víctimas de trata son niñas indígenas: legisladores

México, DF. En México “45 por ciento” de las víctimas de la trata son niñas indígenas dieron a conocer, Rosi Orozco, presidenta de la Comisión Especial para la Lucha contra la Trata de Personas y Xavier Abreu Sierra, director general de la Comisión Nacional para el Desarrollo de los Pueblos Indígenas (CDI), quienes expresaron la urgencia de contar con una ley general que combata este crimen que arrebata la infancia a más de 20 mil niños mexicanos.

La diputada federal señaló que aunque en 2007 se promulgó la Ley para Prevenir y Sancionar la Trata de Personas, existen importantes vacíos que llenar, sobre todo que en las indagatorias no se “revictimice” a las niñas que han sufrido esta situación y se sancione de manera ejemplar también a los clientes. Recordó que el 13 de julio, Felipe Calderón promulgó un decreto que reforma el artículo 73, lo que faculta al Congreso a expedir una Ley General en la materia.

La legisladora llamó a crear conciencia y advertir a las familias de estos pueblos originarios a no dejarse engañar por los tratantes, pues las formas para enganchar a las menores no sólo son múltiples, sino que muy efectivas”.

Officials: Some 45% of trafficking victims in Mexico are indigenous girls

Mexico City - In Mexico, "45 percent" of the victims of trafficking are indigenous girls, declared federal congressional deputy Rosi Orozco, president of the Special Commission for Combating Trafficking in Persons and Xavier Abreu Sierra, director general of the National Commission for Development Indigenous Peoples (CDI). They expressed an urgent need for the passage of a comprehensive law to combat human trafficking, a crime that robs [the freedom of] more than 20,000 Mexican children.

Deputy Orozco noted that despite the fact that the [ineffective] Law to Prevent and Punish Trafficking in Persons was passed in 2007, there are important gaps ]in criminal law] that must be filled, especially in regard to structuring investigations so that they do not "re-victimize" girls who have experienced being trafficked. Johns should also be punished, she added. Orozco recalled that on July 13th of 2011 President Felipe Calderón issued a decree amending Article 73 of the constitution, which empowers Congress to issue a general law addressing human trafficking.

Orozco called for creating awareness about trafficking and warning families not to be fooled by the traffickers, because techniques used by traffickers to entrap children are not only many in number, but they are also very effective."

Carolina Gómez Mena

La Jornada

Oct, 08, 2011

Added Oct. 08, 2011

Mexico / New York, USA

About sex trafficker's war against indigenous children in Mexico

Photos of four suspects who were arrested on October 6, 2011 for running a sex trafficking ring in the center of Mexico's forced prostitution 'industry' - Tlaxcala state, located just east of Mexio City, Victims were transported to New York City.

Above photos: The Secretariat for Public Security

Tlaxcala state (border in red) is located just to the east of metropolitan Mexican City.

Tlaxcala is used by sex traffickers as a destination for sex trafficking victims, who are beaten, raped and prostituted in Mexico City before being 'exported' to destinations around the world.

Desarticulan red de trata de personas que operaba en México y EU

Elementos de la Policía Federal desarticuló ayer, 6 de octubre, una organización de presuntos delincuentes dedicados a la trata de personas que operaba en México y Estados Unidos. Entre los cinco detenidos se encuentra Antonio Lira Robles, alias "Coñazo", quien es requerido por autoridades de Estados Unidos.

Elementos de la Policía Federal desarticuló ayer, 6 de octubre, una organización de presuntos delincuentes dedicados a la trata de personas que operaba en México y Estados Unidos.

De acuerdo a un comunicado, reportes de inteligencia indican que este grupo delictivo operaba identificando y reclutando a sus víctimas en parques y centros recreativos; posteriormente mediante promesas y engaños las trasladaban a los estados de Tlaxcala, Puebla y al Distrito Federal para obligarlos a trabajar en la prostitución.

La Policía Federal, en coordinación con la Oficina de Inmigración y Administración de Aduanas de Estados Unidos (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement), se tuvo conocimiento que las víctimas también eran trasladadas Nueva York, Estados Unidos, con fines de explotación sexual.

Ente estos hechos, Policías Federales, en atención una orden de aprehensión con fines de extradición internacional, girada por el Juzgado Décimo Octavo de Distrito en Procesos Penales Federales en el Distrito Federal, así como a la orden de cateo otorgada por el Juez Tercero, contra cuatro inmuebles en la localidad San Miguel Tenancingo, Tlaxcala, realizó un operativo en combinación con la Siedo.

Como resultado de estas acciones se detuvo a Antonio Lira Robles "Coñazo", originario de Tlaxcala, a quien se le identifica como encargado de reclutar y explotar a víctimas en México y trasladarlas ilegalmente a los Estados Unidos.

Al realizar el cruce de datos con el Centro de Inteligencia de la Policía Federal se pudo confirmar que esta persona es requerida por autoridades de Nueva York por los delitos de tráfico de personas con fines de explotación sexual.

Asimismo se detuvo a Heladio Ramírez Granados "Eladio", Moisés Ramírez Granados, Francisca Granados Rojas "La Pancha" y Pedro Ramírez Lira.

Así como el aseguramiento de 3 vehículos, 2 armas de fuego, 4 equipos de comunicación y documentación diversa.

Los detenidos y lo asegurado serán puestos a disposición de las autoridades correspondientes, quienes determinarán la situación jurídica de los presuntos responsables.

[Note: The publisher of this article, Grupo Fórmula, was recently honored for its decision to remove sexual services advertising frrom its publications. -LL]

Grupo Fórmula

Oct. 07, 2011

See also:

Added Oct. 08, 2011

Mexico

Mexico detains 5 in US sex slave case

Mexico City - Police arrested four men and a woman for allegedly helping force women to work as prostitutes in Mexico and the United States, authorities said Friday.

Mexican federal police said they acted on information from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement office indicating some of the women were taken to New York. Police did not say where in New York the women were prostituted, but said there were outstanding U.S. extradition requests for some of the suspects.

The arrests were made Thursday during raids on four homes in the town of Tenancingo in central Tlaxcala state, which has long served as a center for Mexican pimps and the forced-prostitution trade.

The alleged leader of the gang, Antonio Lira Robles, lured women with promises and trickery to Mexico City and later forced them into prostitution, authorities said. Some were later taken to the United States.

Pimps in Tenancingo are know for wooing women to their town with false promises of marriage or good jobs. Isolated and under psychological pressure and sometimes beatings, the women are forced to become prostitutes.

In some cases, they are held against their will, or their children are taken away and the pimps threaten the women that they won't see their kids again if they disobey orders.

The suspects were turned over to prosecutors for investigation on possible human trafficking charges.

Police also seized two pistols in the raids.   

 The Associated Press

Oct. 08, 2011

See also:

LibertadLatina
Special Section:

About the crisis of forced prostitution of minor girls and young women in the largest center for organized sex trafficking in Mexico: Tlaxcala state.

Especially see within this section:
Quinientas mujeres son explotadas en Nueva York por Bandas de Tenancingo
Some 500 women and girls have been trafficked from the city of Tenancingo in Tlaxcala state into prostitution in just one borough of New York City.

Added Oct. 08, 2011

Mexico

ONU advierte sobre ‘crisis’ por homicidios en América Central y el Caribe

VIENA, Austria - La Oficina de las Naciones Unidas contra las Drogas y el Crimen (UNODC, sigla en inglés) advirtió que la tasa de homicidios en América Central y el Caribe se estaba acercando a un "punto de crisis", en el primer estudio del organismo sobre homicidio global, publicado el 6 de octubre.

En América Central, por ejemplo, uno de cada 50 hombres de 20 años será asesinado antes de alcanzar la edad de 31 años, porcentaje varios cientos de veces más alto que en algunas partes de Asia, según informó el estudio del organismo, con sede en Viena.

Durante 2010, ocurrieron 468 mil homicidios en todo el mundo, 36 por ciento de ellos en África, 31 por ciento en América, 27 por ciento en Asia, 5 por ciento en Europa y 1 por ciento en Oceanía.

Tomando en cuenta la densidad poblacional de cada región, la tasa de homicidio en África y América supera en más del doble el promedio global, mientras que en Asia, Europa y Oceanía es aproximadamente la mitad.

"Desde 1995, la tasa de homicidios ha disminuido en muchos países, principalmente en Asia, Europa y América del Norte, tanto que podría definirse como de rara ocurrencia", decía el informe.

"Sin embargo ha aumentado en otros, especialmente en América Central y el Caribe, donde hoy puede decirse que se está acercando a un punto de crisis"…

El estudio también muestra que existe un claro vínculo entre el crimen y el desarrollo; los países con graves disparidades en el nivel de ingresos tienen cuatro veces más posibilidades de ser escenario de crímenes violentos que las sociedades más equitativas, según informó la UNODC.

"Para alcanzar los Objetivos de Desarrollo del Milenio, deben combinarse las políticas de prevención del crimen con el desarrollo económico y social y gobiernos democráticos basados en el estado de derecho", dijo Yury Fedotov, jefe de la UNODC.

El informe está disponible aquí.

InfoSur Hoy

Oct. 06, 2011

See also:

Added Oct. 08, 2011

Mexico

UN study: Homicides soar in Central America

Mexico City - Honduras and El Salvador have the highest homicide rates in the world as killings reach a crisis point in Central America, a United Nations report said Thursday.

The study on homicides by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime blamed organized crime for the region's surge in violence.

Honduras had 6,200 killings in 2010 out of a population of 7.7 million people, while El Salvador with 6.1 million people had 4,000 homicides.

The 2011 Global Study on Homicide calculated a rate of 82.1 homicides per 100,000 people for Honduras and 66 per 100,000 people for El Salvador. Cote D'Ivoire in West Africa followed with 56.9 and the Caribbean nation of Jamaica with 52.1. The United States had a homicide rate of 5 per 100,000 people in 2009, the report said…

Mexico has seen a 65 percent increase in killings since President Felipe Calderon launched his offensive against drug cartels in late 2006, the report found. The country is considered part of Central America in the report.

Mexico had a homicide rate of 18.1 per 100,000 people last year, among the lowest in the region, although the 112 million-person nation dominates headlines for its brutal killings and bloody drug gang turf battles…

Over the past 15 years, the study said, homicides have gone down in Asia, Europe and North America while increasing in Central America and the Caribbean. It said bloodshed in the latter two regions "can be seen to be nearing crisis point."

The U.N. blamed firearms and widening income disparities for the violence. It said guns were used in three-quarters of all homicides in Central America and the Caribbean.

The UN Office on Drugs and Crime report

Adriana Gomez Licon

The Associated Press

Oct. 08, 2011


Added Oct. 06, 2011
Peru

More than 400 Peruvian police took part in a three day operation that rescued almost 300 sex trafficking victims in the nation's Amazon Jungle region.

Photo: Reuters

Detienen a 5 por trata de personas en zona minera

Lima — La fiscalía informó el lunes la detención de cinco personas tras un operativo policial que duró tres días y donde se rescató a 293 mujeres de prostíbulos de una zona selvática donde miles de mineros informales explotan oro.

"Se ha ordenado la detención preliminar de cinco individuos por el delito de trata de personas", dijo a la AP el fiscal Fernando de Santa María, quien intervino en el gigantesco operativo, el primero del gobierno de Ollanta Humala.

La acción se realizó entre el viernes y la madrugada del domingo en más de 60 prostíbulos ubicados en la ciudad de Puerto Maldonado, capital de la región Madre de Dios, ubicada a 861 kilómetros al sureste de Lima.

Madre de Dios, una región rica en biodiversidad, sufre la fiebre de la explotación ilegal de oro lo que conlleva a la contaminación de ríos, destrucción de bosques tropicales, intensa migración y el aumento de la prostitución.

En un primer momento el viceministro de Interior, Alberto Otárola, dijo el domingo a la AP que se rescataron 234 prostitutas, de las cuáles 15 eran menores de 18 años. Pero el lunes, el fiscal de Santa María precisó que el número de prostitutas rescatadas era 293 y cinco de ellas eran menores de 18 años: una de 13 y cuatro de 17.

El delito de trata de personas se castiga en Perú con penas de entre cinco y diez años de prisión y el delito se agrava con hasta 12 años de cárcel si se prostituye a menores de edad.

The Associated Press

Oct. 03, 2011

See also:

Police free 300 women in Amazon

More than 400 police took part in the three-day operation

Police in Peru say they have rescued nearly 300 women from sexual exploitation in a raid in the country's Amazon region.

At least four people were arrested in Puerto Maldonado on suspicion of human trafficking.

Among those rescued from about 50 brothels were at least 10 minors - the youngest was a 13-year-old girl.

More than 400 police took part in the three-day operation in the region, known for its illegal gold mining.

The region has seen an influx of fortune-hunters trying to make a living from the trade.

Prosecutors say young girls are lured to the area by women who travel around offering them jobs in shops or as domestic helpers, but that the girls often end up being forced to work as prostitutes in local bars.

Last month, the charity Save the Children said that more than 1,100 underage girls were being used as sexual slaves in illegal mining camps in the south-eastern Peruvian state of Madre de Dios.

Camps set up along the main highway have also attracted unlicensed bars used for prostitution.

The gold rush is contributing to the destruction of the rain forest and contaminating the environment with tons of mercury, used in processing the precious metal.

Peru is the world's fifth largest gold producer.

BBC News

Oct. 03, 2011

See also:

La prostitución infantil golpea la Selva

Prostituyen a niñas de 14 años. Ofrecen sus servicios sexuales por 50 soles la hora.

Child prostitution is rampant in Peru’s Amazon Jungle region

Fourteen year old girls are sold. Services are offered for as little as 50 new soles ($18 US dollars).

[Includes video report - in Spanish]

Trome

Feb.. 06, 2011

See also:

More about child prostitution in the gold mining camps of the Amazon Jungle

According to June Kane's 1998 book, Sold of Sex, an estimated 2,000 child prostitutes were at that time being exploited in Brazil's Amazon Jungle gold minig town of Fortaleza, a place where newly arrived 9-year-old girls were being auctioned off to local gold miners as sex slaves.

Their ages were: 

15 to 16

approx. 400 girls

13 to 14

approx.  620 girls

 8 to 10

approx.  340 girls

Younger than 8 

approx.    20 girls

See also:

Child Prostitution A Way Of Life In Peru

…Of the 3.8 million people living in extreme poverty [in Peru], 2.1 million are children, with more than 60% of the under-18 population living below the poverty line…

Victoria Huerta, a psychologist at La Restinga, a local nonprofit organization [located in the Amazonian city of Iquitos] that works with at-risk children, said that many girls are lured into prostitution by a family member -- sometimes even a parent -- or a neighbor with the promise of quick cash...

...About half of the 600 male inmates in the Iquitos prison, which was built to house 300, were arrested on charges of rape of a minor under age 14.

Part of the problem is a social attitude that views sex with adolescent girls as normal, said Luis Gonzalez-Polar Zuzunada, president of La Restinga.

"It's not seen as a crime," he said. "People think that's the way it is. Here, anyone is a potential client…"

Once children become involved in prostitution, it is difficult for them to get out. Many were raped by relatives before becoming involved in prostitution, and "it's hard for them to recognize what has happened to them," Huerta said. "They want to (get out), but there is no process that supports them in that…"

The work is not easy, however, because both the family situations that led the girls to get involved in prostitution and the sexual exploitation leave serious psychological scars. Many of the girls are also addicted to drugs, and Huerta said that La Restinga's staff members need specialized training -- or some expert assistance -- in dealing with that combination of problems. Because the city is fairly remote, accessible from the rest of the country only by air or river, such expertise is hard to find.

Many of the children involved in prostitution have dropped out of school -- and some have never been to school, especially if their families have moved to the city from remote villages. La Restinga offers summer school and tutoring to help them get up to their grade level…

La Restinga is currently working with nearly 50 girls who have been sexually exploited or are at risk of being drawn into prostitution. The girls take part in summer school sessions and art workshops, partly funded by Catholic Relief Services, the U.S. bishops' international relief and development agency. Integrating them into the larger group helps keep the girls from feeling stigmatized, Huerta said.

"When they come here," she added, "they turn into what they are -- children."

May 11, 2007


Added Oct. 04, 2011

Mexico

Attorney General Marisela Morales takes action against sex traffickers in Chiapas state, the largest region for commercial sexual exploitation of children in the entire world, according to NGO Save the Children.

Chiapas state is located in southern Mexico along the border with Guatemala.

Close to 1 million of Chiapas state's 3.5 million inhabitants speaks one of the state's 56 indigenous languages. One third of those people do not speak Spanish, a fact that increases their vulnerability to human traffickers..

Las autoridades mexicanas rescataron a 137 víctimas del delito de trata de personas en el sureste del país.

Las autoridades mexicanas realizaron un operativo para poner en libertad a 137 víctimas de la trata de personas que fueron sometidas durante dos años a la explotación sexual en el estado de Chiapas, al sur de México.

En la red de tráfico de personas, las autoridades detuvieron a 143 presuntos responsables La mayoría de las víctimas son menores de edad, 70 de ellas tienen entre 12 y 17 años, 76 son mexicanos, 27 originarios de Honduras, 14 de Guatemala, tres de El Salvador y de 17 aún no se ha determinado su nacionalidad.

Las mujeres integrantes de esta red de trata de personas, 131 de los 137 retenidos, se encargaban de “enganchar” a jóvenes centroamericanas con promesas de trabajo. Sin embargo, eran obligadas a prostituirse bajo amenaza de ser entregadas al Instituto Nacional de Migración, además de privarlas de alimento por varios días.

La procuradora Marisela Morales señaló que la trata de personas no sólo lesiona la integridad física de las víctimas, sino que después del tráfico de drogas y armas, es el delito que más rendimientos genera a los criminales.

“No menos indignante es constatar que la trata de personas es un negocio rentable para quienes la ejercen, esta deleznable práctica se ha multiplicado en años recientes”, señaló la procuradora.

La titular de la PGR reconoció a la Agencia de los Estados Unidos para el Desarrollo Internacional la estrecha colaboración en el combate de este delito.

Mexican authorities rescue 137 victims of the crime of human trafficking in the state of Chiapas

Mexican authorities have conducted an operation that resulted in the release the 137 victims of human trafficking. The victims had been subjected to sexual exploitation in the [border] state of Chiapas in southern Mexico.

Authorities arrested 143 alleged members of the trafficking network. Most of the victims are minors, with 70 of them being between the ages of 12 and 17. Some 76 of the victims are Mexican, 27 are Honduran, 14 are from Guatemala and three are Salvadorans. The nationalities of 17 victims have not yet determined.

Women suspects comprise 131 of of those arrested. They worked to entrap Central American [migrant] youth through the use of false offers of legitimate employment. However, they were forced into prostitution under threat of being handed over to the National Migration Institute. They were also threatened with being deprived of food for several days.

[Federal] Attorney General Marisela Morales said that human trafficking not only harms the physical integrity of its victims, but is also the most profitable crime after drug and arms trafficking.

"It is revolting to see that human trafficking is such a profitable business for those who exercise this despicable practice, one that has increased in recent years," said the Attorney General.

Attorney General Morales acknowledged the United States Agency for International Development for their cooperation in combating human trafficking.

Sara Pablo

Voz de América / Voice of America

Oct. 03, 2011


Added Oct. 02, 2011

Mexico

Accused sex traffickers Darío Lara Lara (left) and Abimail Muñoz Cotilla

Prostituían a mujeres en antros y hotels

Las llevaban por todo el país para explotarlas

La Procuraduría capitalina detuvo a dos personas acusadas de privar de la libertad a dos mujeres, una de ellas menor de edad, para explotarlas sexualmente, burdeles, cantinas y hoteles de la Ciudad de México, Baja California, Morelos, Puebla y Veracruz.

Darío Lara Lara y Abimail Muñoz Cotilla, esposo de la denunciante quienes, fueron consignados.

Entre los detenidos se encuentra el marido de una de las denunciantes. Ambos sujetos fueron capturados en el estado de Tlaxcala. En conferencia de prensa, el doctor Miguel Ángel Mancera Espinosa informó que los imputados son Darío Lara Lara y Abimail Muñoz Cotilla, esposo de la denunciante quienes en su momento quedarán a disposición del Juez Penal 32, como probables responsables de los delitos de trata de personas, privación de la libertad y delincuencia organizada.

Consta en el expediente que el 30 de agosto pasado, la víctima logró escapar del hotel donde la mantenían privada de la libertad y solicitó ayuda de elementos de la Secretaría de Seguridad Pública del Distrito Federal. Fue canalizada a la Fiscalía Central de Investigación para la Atención de Delitos Sexuales.

Al rendir declaración ministerial, una de las víctimas señaló que a finales de mayo de este año cuando regresaba de su trabajo y al descender del transporte público en Panzacola, Tlaxcala, dos sujetos la obligaron a subir a una camioneta negra, para llevarla hacia una vivienda, donde la tuvieron encerrada ocho días y fue agredida sexualmente por Darío Lara.

Por todo el país

Posteriormente, la llevaron a un bar en Izúcar de Matamoros, Puebla, donde la obligaron a prostituirse; de ahí la condujeron hacia otro establecimiento en Poza Rica, Veracruz, y cuando se negaba a brindar sexoservicio era golpeada y le quemaban las piernas y espalda con cigarros. En esos lugares, dijo la afectada, otras mujeres eran también obligadas a brindar sexoservicio y conoció a una menor de 16 años.

También la llevaron a la ciudad de Campeche, Campeche, donde había varias jóvenes, entre ellas una menor de 11 años, y que hacían fiestas para sujetos que llegaban armados; que en una ocasión la agraviada se percató que a dos chicas, una de ellas era la menor de 16 años, una mujer conocida como "La Mami" les ordenó y enseñó cómo introducir droga en sus partes íntimas con un tampón.

Las trajeron después a la capital del país, donde seguían siendo prostituidas en un hotel de la zona de La Merced. Huyeron a Tijuana, Baja California, por el despliegue policíaco derivado de un operativo en la zona. A esa ciudad fronteriza arribó su esposo Abimail Muñoz Ocotitla, quien después de agredirla verbalmente fue a conversar con Darío Lara.

Homicidio

La denunciante manifestó que al estar todavía en Tijuana, los probables responsables llevaron a siete chicas para intentar internarlas a Estados Unidos, pero cuando la menor pretendió huir, Darío Lara Lara la mató de un balazo. Su cuerpo lo abandonaron en un terreno baldío.

De ahí un bar de Cuautla, Morelos, los inculpados y sus víctimas tuvieron que huir porque sujeto armados los balearon a consecuencia de la venta de droga que realizaban, por lo que a bordo de una camioneta llegaron a un hotel del sur del Distrito Federal de donde la denunciante huyó cuando sus captores se encontraban bajo los influjos de enervantes.

La afectada proporcionó información al Ministerio Público para investigar la trata de personas en agravio de mujeres, entre ellas menores de edad, que son explotadas sexualmente, por lo que solicitó medida cautelar de arraigo en contra los inculpados.

Con la denuncia de las víctimas y oficio de colaboración con autoridades ministeriales del estado de Tlaxcala, Darío Lara Lara y Abimail Muñoz Ocotitla fueron detenidos por agentes de la Policía de Investigación y sujetos a investigación en el Centro de Arraigo de la PGJDF, bajo pronunciamiento del Juez 32 Penal; se ejercitará acción penal contra los dos inculpados, en agravio de ambas víctimas.

Trafficking victims were prostituted in clubs and hotels

The enslavers trafficked their victims across Mexico

The Mexico City Attorney General’s Office has arrested two men who are accused of holding a woman and a minor youth against their will, and then sexually exploiting them in brothels, bars and hotels in Mexico City and the states of Baja California, Morelos, Puebla and Veracruz.

The suspects were placed in pre-trial detention.

Both subjects were arrested in the state of Tlaxcala. At a press conference, Mexico City Attorney General Dr. Miguel Ángel Mancera Espinosa reported that the suspects are Darío Lara Lara and Abimail Muñoz Cotilla, who is the husband of one of the complainants. They will be turned over to Criminal Court #32 for trial. They are charged with the crimes of human trafficking, deprivation of liberty and organized crime.

The record shows that on August 30,  2011, one of the victims managed to escape the hotel where she was then being enslaved. She requested help from Mexico City’s Ministry of Public Security. The case was forwarded to the Sex Crimes Investigations section of the city Attorney General’s Office.

During a formal declaration one of the victims stated that in May of 2011 she was returning from work when, as she stepped-off of a public bus in the city of  Panzacola, Tlaxcala, two men forced her into a black SUV. They took her to a house where she was imprisoned for eight days. There, she was sexually assaulted by Dario Lara.

Taken across Mexico

The victim was later taken to a bar in the city of Izucar de Matamoros, in Puebla state, where she was forced into prostitution. She was then taken to another location in the city of Poza Rica, in Veracruz state. When she refused to prostitute herself, she was beaten and her back and legs were burned with cigarettes. This victim testified that she met other women who were forced into prostitution at these locations. One of them was a 16-year-old girl.

This woman was also taken to the city of Campeche, in Campeche state, where she witnessed the fact that several minors, including an 11-year-old girl, [were also being forced into prostitution]. At that location, parties were held for men who arrived carrying weapons. She once observed that two girls, one of whom was less than 16 years were forced by a woman who went by the name of ‘Mami’ to introduce drugs into themselves through the insertion of tampons.

The victims were brought to Mexico City, where they were again prostituted in a hotle located in the city’s La Merced [prostitution tolerance zone]. The traffickers later took the victims and fled the [recent, anti trafficking] heavy police deployment in the area. They were taken to the city of Tijuana, in Baja California, state. The victim’s husband, Abimail Muñoz Ocotitla, then arrived in Tijuana and verbally assaulted her. He then went to talk to Dario Lara.

Murder

The complainant said that while she was in Tijuana, the alleged traffickers brought seven girls to try to enslave the in the United States. When the underage girl in the group attempted to flee, Darío Lara Lara killed her with a single shot. Her body was abandoned in a vacant lot.

From there, the traffickers and their victims were taken to the city of Cuautla, in Morelos state. The group had to flee the area after rivals shot at them as the straffickers attempted to sell illicit drugs.

The group then arrived in the southern section of Mexico City. At that point, the complainant fled while her captors were under the influence of drugs.

The victim supplied detailed information to the City Attorney General’s human trafficking investigations office. The suspects were investigated for crimes against their adult and minor victims. As a result, prosecutors requested pre-trail detention for the suspects.

Having obtained the statements of the victims and the coorperation of the Tlaxcala state authorities, Darío Muñoz Lara Lara and Abimail Ocotitla were arrested by police investigators and were interrogated in the arraignment center of the Mexico City Attorney General’s office. They will be tried by the 32nd Judge of the Criminal Court for crimes committed against the two [known] complainants.

Tomás Rojas Madrid

Impacto

Sep. 2011


Added Oct. 02, 2011

Mexico

Congressional Deputy Rosi Orozco (far left), President of the Special Commission to Combat Trafficking in Persons in the Chamber of Deputies, sits at the speakers table as El Universal newspaper publisher Juan Francisco Ealy Ortiz, announce that his paper, one of Mexico City's two largest dailies, will end sexual services advertizing on its pages. From a story published on Sep. 20, 2011

Hay avance en combate al delito de trata de personas, afirma Rosi Orozco

México, Distrito Federal - La presidenta de la Comisión Especial de Lucha contra la Trata de Personas, Rosi Orozco, del grupo parlamentario del PAN, presentó la revista “México Social” y comentó que comienza a avanzar el combate a la impunidad de este delito como resultado de la serie de reformas que se han impulsado.

No obstante, la legisladora manifestó que es necesario brindar mayor certeza jurídica a la población, por lo que urgió aprobar la Ley General para Prevenir, Sancionar y Erradicar la Trata de Personas y Delitos Relacionados.

Comentó que estas publicaciones mensuales contribuirán a mantener a la sociedad informada sobre los temas de trata de personas y violación a los derechos humanos, de manera que las víctimas se animen a denunciar ante las autoridades para erradicar el problema que cada vez se hace más evidente.

Recordó que el tres de agosto se propuso ante el Pleno de la Comisión Permanente del Congreso de la Unión, la Ley General para Prevenir, Sancionar y Erradicar la Trata de Personas y delitos relacionados, a fin de solventar los problemas en la materia para la procuración de justicia.

Explicó que dicha ley tiene como objetivo establecer definiciones claras y armonizar el marco jurídico nacional en materia de trata de personas y los compromisos internacional de los que el país forma parte.

“Es importante atender el problema de trata de personas de manera interna y no sólo los compromisos internacionales del país en materia de derechos de las víctimas nacionales y extranjeras”, dijo.

En su intervención, el director de la revista “México Social”, Mario Luis Fuentes, consideró que parte de la erradicación del problema es hacerlo visible, por lo que el tema de trata de personas será analizado y plasmado en estas ediciones mensuales.

“Este problema debe ser visible a los jóvenes que están en situaciones de riesgo, de ser víctimas para construir mecanismos de prevención, protección y reintegración de las víctimas una vez que han sido rescatadas”, dijo.

Mario Luis Fuentes señaló que el Estado debe reconocer que aún no cuenta con los elementos suficientes, ni con los diagnósticos que ayudarán a atacar el problema de trata, por lo que las fuentes de investigación deben ampliarse para conocer las dimensiones reales de las sociedades que se encuentran en alta vulnerabilidad.

Congressional anti-trafficking leader Deputy Rosi Orozco says that advances are being made in the fight against human trafficking

Mexico City - The president of the Special Commission for Combating Trafficking in Persons in the Chamber of Deputies [lower house of Congress], Deputy Rosi Orozco of the National Action Party (PAN), recently commented about advances that are being made in the fight against human trafficking in Mexico. She also introduced a new journal, "Social Mexico," that will cover human trafficking.

Deputy Orozco added that it will be necessary to provide greater legal certainties to the public [to demonstrate the government’s serious commitment to confront trafficking]. She urged Congressional members to approve the General Law on the Prevention, Punishment and Eradication of Trafficking in Persons and Related Offences [a bill that has been awaiting passage during many months of impasse caused by opponents].

Orozco said that Social Mexico will be a monthly publication that will inform society about issues related to human trafficking and other human rights violations, and will encourage victims to report trafficking, which is an ever increasing problem.

The current anti-trafficking bill was presented to on August 3rd, 2011 to a plenary session of the Permanent Committee of Congress, says Orozco. The General Law on the Prevention, Punishment and Eradication of Trafficking in Persons and related crimes is designed to solve problems [that exist today] in anti-trafficking criminal enforcement.

Orozco explained that the law is designed to establish clear definitions [of activities that constitute trafficking] and will standardize the national legal framework to fight trafficking in persons and assure compliance with international protocols.

"It is important to address the problem of trafficking internally, and not just focus on the nation’s international responsibilities to protect foreign and domestic victims,” said Orozco.

Mario Luis Fuentes, director of Social Mexico, stated that he believes that part of the effort to eradicate human trafficking must involve giving the issue higher public visibility. Social Mexico will therefore cover human trafficking in-depth in its monthly issues.

"This problem must be made visible to the young people who are at risk of becoming. We must also build prevention mechanisms, design ways to protect those who are at risk and reintegrate victims into society,” said Fuentes.

Fuentes added that the State must recognize that it still does not have adequate information or studies to understand the dimensions of human trafficking in the nation. Therefore, institutions should increase their research efforts to understand the true dimensions of the situation facing vulnerable populations in Mexico.

El Observador Diario

Sep. 28, 2011


Added Oct. 02, 2011

Mexico

Detiene PGR a presunto tratante de personas en Tlaxcala

Tlaxcala, Tlaxcala.- Elementos de la Procuraduría General de la República detuvieron a Jorge Cuahutle Pérez, a quien apodaban “el Tlacuache y/o El Moreno”, presunto tratante de personas, con fines de prostitución.

En un comunicado, la PGR señaló que esta persona es señalada como responsable del delito de trata de personas y el aseguramiento se realizó en el municipio de Tenancingo.

Esta comunidad está ubicada al sur de esta capital y es señalada como un sitio donde se ubican redes de trata de personas.

La dependencia federal señaló que “de acuerdo con el expediente PGR/TLAX-AMPDC/475/2011, una mujer denunció a Cuahutle Pérez, señalando que mediante amenazas y haciendo uso de la violencia, el 12 de julio de 2011, la introdujo a su domicilio y la mantuvo por más de dos meses privada de su libertad”.

Sin embargo, el pasado 14 de septiembre, “la víctima logró escapar de su cautiverio y acudió al agente del Ministerio Público Federal a denunciar esta situación”.

Después de integrarse la averiguación previa respectiva, se realizó un operativo “para la detención de Cuahutle Pérez, en el centro de Tenancingo”.

La PGR indicó que al momento de su detención, “le fueron encontrados diversos paquetes conteniendo hierba verde al parecer marihuana, así como cocaína”.

“Al verse acorralado trató de ofrecerles a los elementos aprehensores, la cantidad de 60 mil pesos para evitar ser puesto a disposición de la autoridad federal”.

Es importante señalar que Jorge Cuahutle Pérez cuenta con antecedentes por el delito de lesiones y lenocinio en el estado de México y Tlaxcala, acotó la dependencia federal.

Indicó asimismo que a la víctima se le brindará protección en un albergue.

Federal agents arrest suspected human trafficker in Tlaxcala state

Tlaxcala city in Tlaxcala  state - La enforcement agents from the federal attorney general’s office (PGR) have arrested Jorge Cuahutle Perez, who was nicknamed "the opossum and / or the dark one" on allegations of sex trafficking.

In a statement, the PGR said that Cuahutle Perez has been identified as having engaged in the crime of human trafficking. The suspect was arraigned in the city of Tenancingo.

Tenancingo is located south of the capital and is a known center for human trafficking networks.

The PGR related that a woman denounced Cuahutle Perez. The victim stated that on July 12, 2011, the suspect had taken her to his home and had deprived her of liberty by holding her there against her will for over two months through the use of threats and violence.

On Sep. 14, 2011 "the victim managed to escape from captivity and went to the Federal Prosecutor's Office to report the situation," stated officials of the PGR.

After conducting a preliminary investigation, authorities conducted an operation “to detain Cuahutle Perez in Tenancingo’s downtown area."

The PGR said that at the time of his arrest, "he was found with several packets that apparently contained… marijuana and cocaine."

"Finding himself cornered, Cuahutle Perez attempted to offer the arresting officers a bribe of 60,000 pesos to avoid federal detention."

Federal officials pointed out that Cuahutle Perez has a history of involvement in violent crimes and pimping in the states of Mexico and Tlaxcala.

His victim will be provided with protection in a shelter.

Notimex

Sep. 30, 2011


Added Oct. 02, 2011

Paraguay, Argentina

El 80% de las víctimas de trata en Argentina son Paraguayas

Los gobiernos argentino y paraguayo fortalecerán la cooperación para combatir este flagelo. Se firmará un convenio con Migraciones por este tema.

Buenos Aires . Funcionarios y especialistas de Argentina y Paraguay se reunieron en Buenos Aires para fortalecer la cooperación entre ambos países con el fin de prevenir y combatir la trata de personas.

Durante la jornada organizada por la embajada paraguaya, Josefina Keim, coordinadora de Prevención y Combate de la Trata de la Cancillería de ese país, confirmó que una investigación argentina “asegura que el 80 por ciento de las mujeres explotadas en Argentina son paraguayas”. “Por eso nuestros países necesitan articular mejor el trabajo”, agregó.

Por su parte, la titular de la Dirección Nacional de Política Criminal de Argentina, calificó como “intenso” el trabajo que realizan ambos países en conjunto, en relación a este tema.

Explicó que se intercambia información con la fiscalía especializada en trata de Paraguay de forma tal que, “cuando se detecta el ingreso al país de una persona que manifiesta que va a un domicilio con antecedentes de allanamientos, se puede agilizar las actuaciones judiciales y avanzar en la investigación para evitar la explotación de esa persona”.

Adelantó que “se firmará un convenio con la Dirección Nacional de Migraciones para generar un mayor conocimiento de la problemática y utilizar toda la información de las distintas áreas del Estado, para lograr un trabajo coordinado”.

Por su parte, Ida González de Paredes, ministra de la embajada de Paraguay, explicó que la motivación para organizar el encuentro era “proteger a los connacionales”. “Estamos tratando de coordinar actividades y mejorar la comunicación con las instituciones competentes”, cerró.

En Madrid. La Policía española detuvo en Madrid al rumano Ion Clamparu, considerado uno de los mayores capos de la trata de blancas y presunto cabecilla de una red de explotación de prostitutas, cuyo nombre figura en la lista de los criminales más buscados de Interpol.

La detención de Clamparu, de 43 años y conocido como “cabeza de cerdo”, se produjo el pasado jueves, por agentes llevaban tiempo vigilándolo. Él mismo se entregó.

Eighty percent of sex trafficking victims in Argentina are Paraguayan

The governments of Argentina and Paraguay are strengthening their cooperation to better combat the scourge of modern slavery. Both nations will sign an accord on migration to address the issue.

Buenos Aires, Argentina - Officials and experts from Argentina and Paraguay recently met in Buenos Aires to strengthen cooperation between the two countries to prevent and combat trafficking.

During a conference organized by the Embassy of Paraguay, Josefina Keim, coordinator of preventing and fighting human trafficking within Paraguay’s Foreign Ministry, confirmed that an investigation conducted in Argentina "shows that 80 percent of the women who are [sexually] exploited in Argentina are Paraguayan." "For that reason, our two nations need to improve their efforts in this area," she said.

Paula Honisch, the head of the National Directorate of Criminal Policy in Argentina, noted that both nations are working “intensively” on the issue.

Honisch explained that Argentina exchanges information with Paraguayan prosecutors in such a manner that, “when a person enters Argentina stating that they plan to arrive at a location that the authorities have previously raised, judicial action can be quickly taken to avoid the exploitation of that persons.”

Honisch added that Paraguay "will sign an agreement with Argentina’s National Directorate of Migration to generate greater awareness of the problem and to bring together information from across state agencies to achieve a coordinated effort."

Ida Gonzalez de Paredes, Minister of the Embassy of Paraguay, said the purpose of  the meeting was "to protect our co-nationals". "We're trying to coordinate activities and improve communication with the relevant institutions," she said.

EFE y Télam

Sep. 25, 2011


Added Oct. 01, 2011

Added Oct. 02, 2011

Mexico

1 millón de emigrantes con registros penales

Un total de 2.901 inmigrantes indocumentados, con antecedentes criminales, fueron arrestados en todo Estados Unidos. Se trata del mayor operativo policial, hasta la fecha, informó ayer la agencia de Aduanas e Inmigración (ICE).

La operación Verificación  (Cross Check) se desarrolló en los 50 estados y  territorios de ultramar del 17 al 23 de este mes.

De los detenidos, 1 282 tenían múltiples condenas, y más de 1.600 habían purgado penas  por delitos como asaltos a mano armada, tentativa de asesinato, secuestro o narcotráfico, informó en rueda de prensa el director de la ICE, John Morton.

 681 detenidos habían sido expulsados del país tras sus condenas penales, pero reingresaron  ilegalmente. De los aproximadamente 11 millones de indocumentados que se calcula  viven en EE.UU., cerca de un 10% tiene  algún tipo de antecedente y sigue en las calles, dijo Morton.

Entre los detenidos hubo ciudadanos de México, República Dominicana, Panamá, Honduras y Nigeria.

Alrededor de un millón de inmigrantes ilegales que tienen condenas penales y están sujetos a deportación aún se encuentran en EE.UU. La agencia dijo que deporta a cerca de 390 mil personas al año, aproximadamente la mitad de las cuales son criminales convictos...

One million immigrants with criminal records live in the U.S.

A total of 2,901 undocumented immigrants with criminal records have recently been arrested in the United States. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced that the effort was the largest law enforcement operation of its type to date.

Operation Verification (Cross Check) was carried out in 50 states and U.S. territories from Sep. 17th through the 23rd.

Of those arrested, 1,282 people had multiple convictions, and over 1,600 had been convicted of serious crimes such as armed robbery, attempted murder, kidnapping or drug trafficking, said ICE director John Morton at a press conference.

Some 681 detainees had been deported after their criminal convictions, but reentered the U.S. illegally...

Among those arrested were citizens of Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Panama, Honduras and Nigeria.

About one million illegal immigrants have criminal convictions and are subject to deportation in the U.S. are still The agency said it deports about 390,000 people per year. About half of that number are convicted criminals…

AFP, Reuters, ANSA

Sep. 20, 2011


Added: Sep.27, 2011

About sex trafficker's war against indigenous children in Mexico

Mexico

Indigenous girls in Mexico live under constant threat from local and international sex traffickers

Delito de trata es recurrente en la Zona Montaña de Guerrero

Guerrero state - México ocupa la segunda posición a nivel mundial en el delito de trata de personas, tan sólo superado por Tailandia.

Falta de papeles agudiza el problema

Activistas reportan explotación sexual y laboral en comunidades indígenas que padecen marginación y pobreza extrema

Acapulco, Guerrero state -  En la Montaña de Guerrero, la marginación y pobreza extrema orilla a algunos indígenas nahuatlecos, mixtecos, amuzgos y tlapanecos a vender a sus hijos menores de edad; otros son robados y los padres no pueden reclamarlos “por falta de papeles”, además de que muchos “desaparecen” en la búsqueda de mejores condiciones de vida.

No existe un registro oficial ni de ninguna otra clase, pero por las escasas denuncias ante organismos no gubernamentales como Tlachinollan —reconocido mundialmente por su férrea defensa de los derechos humanos—, se sabe que muchos de esos niños desaparecidos terminan reclutados para la pizca de jitomate en Sinaloa, como víctimas de las redes de prostitución infantil o como esclavos domésticos.

Neil Arias, vocera de Tlachinollan, dijo que, por usos y costumbres, cuando las hijas cumplen 12 años, sus padres las entregan en matrimonio a cambio de una “dote” que se traduce en dinero en efectivo.

La organización tiene registrados siete casos de desaparición de menores en 2010 luego de que sus padres los enviaron a las ciudades de Tlapa, Chilpancingo y Acapulco en busca de trabajo, pero como son “cazados” por los tratantes, desaparecen.

Sin embargo, la Procuraduría de Justicia del Estado tiene confirmadas 15 denuncias por la desaparición de niños indígenas que habían sido secuestrados fuera de sus escuelas.

No obstante, “los casos que son denunciados ante la Procuraduría no son investigados, sólo los archivan”, dijo Neil Arias, miembro del área jurídica de la organización.

Basándose en publicaciones locales, la abogada aseguró que sólo en Tlapa de Comonfort se dan al mes de dos a tres casos de niños o niñas indígenas desaparecidos. Otros casos se han registrado en Metlatónoc, Cochoapan El Grande, Atixtlac y Acatepec.

Entre los casos documentados por Tlachinollan está el de Claudia, una joven de 19 años de edad que tiene tres meses de haber desaparecido en la comunidad de Yoxondacua del Carmen, de Cochoapan El Grande, uno de los municipios más pobres del país.

La joven viajó al municipio de Tlapa de Comonfort para buscar trabajo y fue empleada por una comerciante ambulante de frutas. Hasta ahí sus huellas; nadie ha sabido más de ella.

Además, como sucede en muchos casos de desaparición, la familia no tiene ningún documento de la existencia de Claudia, ni acta de nacimiento ni fotografías, lo que dificulta la intervención de las autoridades.

“Es un trauma para las familias. Aquí, en la Montaña, carecemos de documentos y hay muchos niños y adultos que no tienen registro oficial. Muchos casos no son denunciados porque para poder denunciar a una persona extraviada es necesario presentar documentos de su existencia”.

De acuerdo con la Coordinación Técnica del Sistema Estatal del Registro Civil, en Guerrero hay 300 mil personas que no tienen acta de nacimiento ni otro documento para identificarse. De esa cantidad, 60% son niños y 40% adultos.

Dotes y ventas

Tlachinollan documentó denuncias en la región de la Montaña de padres que se llevan a sus hijos a trabajar como jornaleros en otros estados para luego regresar sin ellos y asegurar que desaparecieron. Otras denuncias fueron por la entrega de las hijas de entre 12 y 15 años de edad a cambio de dinero, según la práctica de usos y costumbres.

En algunos casos, las jóvenes son llevadas a las familias de sus novios a cambio de una “dote” de 100 mil pesos, lo que la organización no gubernamental calificó de “un comercio” que propicia la violencia familiar debido a que los novios consideran a las mujeres un objeto de su propiedad.

La venta de niñas se mantiene en municipios como Cochoapan El Grande y Metlatónoc, así como en Atixtlac y Acatepec, considerados entre los más pobres del país.

En ellos, las familias mantienen a las hijas como una mercancía.

En 2008, en el municipio de Atixtlac, tres niñas de 14, 15 y 16 años de edad fueron vendidas por cantidades de entre 30 y 50 mil pesos por un hombre que actualmente es procesado por el delito de trata de personas.

El hombre se hizo pasar por su padre para venderlas luego de atraerlas ofreciéndoles trabajos de cinco mil pesos mensuales. Después las obligó a realizar trabajos domésticos sin salario y en calidad de esclavas.

The crime of human trafficking is commonplace in the mountain region of Guerrero state

 Mexico ranks second worldwide in the crime of human trafficking, surpassed only by Thailand.

The lack of paperwork documenting the existence of indigenous children exacerbates the problem

Activists report the existence of sexual and labor exploitation in indigenous communities suffering from extreme poverty and marginalization

Acapulco, Guerrero state - In the mountains of Guerrero, marginalization and extreme poverty of some indigenous causes some Nahuatleco, Mixtec, Amuzgo and Tlapaneco families to sell their underage children. Others are kidnapped, and their parents cannot supply the police with documentation [or even photos] of their child, because they don’t have any. Children and youth also disappear as they migrate in search of better opportunities in life.

The Tlachinollan Center is known globally for its fierce defense of human rights. Although no official registries of the plight of trafficked indigenous children exist in Mexico, the Center and other nongovernmental organizations have documented the few formal complaints of missing children that indigenous parents have been willing to make. From that work it is known that many of these missing children are taken to work in the tomato fields of Sinaloa state, are forced into child prostitution networks or are enslaved in domestic servitude.

Tlachinollan Center spokesman Neil Arias says that by custom, when a family’s daughter reaches age 12, the parents give her away in marriage in exchange for a "dowry" which translates into cash.

During 2010 the organization registered seven cases of missing children after their parents had sent them to the cities of Tlapa, Chilpancingo and Acapulco in search of work. They had been "hunted" by traffickers and disappeared.

The Guerrero Attorney General’s Office has also confirmed 15 cases involving indigenous children who were abducted outside of their schools.

However, "cases that are reported to the Attorney General are not investigated, they are only archived," said Arias, who is a member of the Tlachinollan Center’s legal team.

Based on news reports found in local publications, Arias said that in the town of Tlapa de Comonfort alone, two or three indigenous children disappear each month. Other cases have been reported in the towns of Metlatónoc, Cochoapan El Grande, Atixtlac and Acatepec.

Among the cases documented by the Tlachinollan Center is that of Claudia, a 19-year-old indigenous woman who has been missing for three months from the community of Yoxondacua del Carmen, in the Cochoapan El Grande municipality – one of the poorest regions in Mexico.

She traveled to the town of Tlapa de Comonfort to find work and was employed by a street vendor who sold fruit. That is the last that anyone has heard from her.

The family has no documentation of the existence of Claudia, neither a birth certificate nor photographs, which makes the intervention of the authorities difficult.

"This is traumatic for the families. Here in the Mountain region, many children and adults are not officially registered. Many cases go unreported because in order to file a report of a missing person, the family  must present documentation of their existence," says Arias.

According to the technical coordination of the State System of Vital Records, Guerrero is 300 000 people who have no birth certificate or other document to be identified. Of that amount, 60% are children and 40% adults.

Dowries and sales

The Tlachinollan Center documented allegations in the Mountain region of parents who take their children to work as laborers in other states before returning without them. The parents then report them as having disappeared. In other cases, complaints were filed because families had handed over their 12- to 15year-old daughters in exchange for cash, in accordance with their indigenous traditions.

In some cases, girls are taken to the families of their boyfriends in exchange for a "dowry" of 100 thousand pesos [$7,300 US dollars]. One nongovernmental organization called this a "business" that fosters domestic violence because the boyfriend consider the woman [or underage girl] to be their property.

The sale of underage girls continues to take place in towns such as Cochoapan El Grande, Metlatónoc, Atixtlac and Acatepec, which are considered to be among the poorest areas in Mexico.

In these regions, families view their daughters as merchandise.

In 2008 in the municipality of Atixtlac, three girls - ages 14, 15 and 16 - were sold for amounts between 30 and 50 thousand pesos [between $2,200 and $3,600 US dollars] by a man who is now on trial for the crime of human trafficking.

The man had posed as the father of the girl victims, after having entrapped them with false job offers stating that he would pay them 5,000 pesos [$360 US dollars] per month to perform domestic work. After accepting the offers, the girls were put to work as unpaid domestic slaves.

Informador

Sep. 26, 2011

Added: Sep. 25, 2011

Honduras, Mexico

Sex traffickers are increasingly targeting underage indigenous girls from Honduras.

The victims, who are typically between the ages of 12 and 15, are for the most part taken to Mexico's southern border city of Tapachula, in the state of Chiapas. We note that Save the Children has identified the southern Mexico border region near Guatemala as being the largest zone of commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC) in the world. Tapachula is the center of that hell.

- LibertadLatina

About sex trafficker's war against indigenous children in Central America

Miskito indigenous girl children in Honduras

See also:

Indigenous communities in Honduras – like indigenous communities around the world – are among the most poor and marginalized. Working with Change for Children's local partner Alianza Verde, [our] project works with indigenous women’s associations to build capacity, develop a strong network amongst indigenous communities, educate about women’s rights and engage communities in national level policy dialogue.

Change for Children

Aumenta trata de niñas indígenas en Honduras

La mayoría de las menores tienen entre 12 y 15 años de edad

Tegucigalpa, Honduras - La trata de niñas indígenas de Honduras hacia México ha aumentado, denunciaron organizaciones mexicanas en contra de la explotación sexual infantil.

La miembro de la organización Enlace, Comunicación y Capacitación, Ana Elena Barrios, aseguró que la mayoría de las menores tienen entre los 12 y 15 años de edad y son explotadas en la ciudad de Chiapas, fronteriza con Tapachula.

Barrios advirtió que este es “uno de los puntos de prostitución más grande del mundo”. Opinó que aparte de Honduras, igualmente ha aumentado la trata de niñas indígenas de Guatemala y El Salvador, hacia México.

La coautora de la investigación "Sur inicio de un camino", que versa sobre los derechos de la población migrante centroamericana, reveló que hay nuevas rutas, más aisladas, para introducir centroamericanas a través de la zona de la Mesilla, del municipio Frontera de Comapala, Chiapas.

Este fenómeno a la alza es ignorado en México por discriminación racial y de género, señaló América Martínez, de la Asociación para el Desarrollo Integral (APADI), que realiza campañas de salud sexual en sexoservidoras y contra la trata.

Así funciona la trata

Los compradores pueden ser hombres de la comunidad que migraron y ahora son "enganchadores", o desconocidos que emborrachan a los padres o autoridades locales y van por niñas desde los ocho años de edad, revelan las investigaciones.

“El que busca sexualmente a estas niñas obviamente es mucho más violento, porque es una expresión absoluta de poder, donde ellas no tienen ninguna opción de defenderse, ni siquiera de usar condón”, lamentó América Martínez.

Otro mecanismo de los "enganchadores" es el de enamorar a las adolescentes y prometerles casarse, y uno más el de ofrecer empleo fuera de la comunidad.

Esas niñas terminan en prostíbulos de la región, son esclavas laborales o se trafica con sus órganos, por lo que también se les lleva a otros estados mexicanos o incluso a Estados Unidos, indican los estudios.

Teresa Ulloa, titular de la Coalición Regional Contra el Tráfico de Mujeres y Niñas en América Latina y el Caribe (CATW en sus siglas en inglés), observa que el incremento de este delito también se debe a “la llegada del crimen organizado a las comunidades indígenas” y a la fallida estrategia del Estado contra el narcotráfico.

En su opinión el narco recién descubrió en las niñas en general un potencial a explotar “porque no se les pone atención, y ya las empezaron a reclutar de halconas, sicarias, mulas o de esclavas sexuales, y eso es trata, porque al final las están usando para proteger su negocio”.

Igualmente responsabilizó del aumento de la trata infantil a la estrategia del Estado contra el narco: “generalmente donde se mueve el operativo conjunto hay más trata hacia ese lugar, más violaciones de mujeres, más consumo de prostitución, y más feminicidos”.

The sex trafficking of indigenous children is on the increase in Honduras

Most of victims are between 12 and 15 years old

Tegucigalpa, Honduras – Non-governmental organizations that work against child sexual exploitation in Mexico have denounced the fact that the sex trafficking of underage girls from Honduras into Mexico is on the increase.

Ana Elena Barrios of the organization Networking, Communication and Training noted that most of the girls who are being victimized are between the ages of 12 and 15 years. They are typically taken to city of Tapachula in Mexico’s southern border state of Chiapas.

Barrios warned that “this is one of the largest centers of prostitution in the world.” She added that the enslavement of minor indigenous girls from Guatemala and El Salvador to Mexico is also increasing.

Barrios is the co-author of "The South, the Beginning of a Journey", which investigates the state of human rights of Central American migrants. She revealed that traffickers have now developed new, more isolated routes for human trafficking that are located in the Mesilla area in the Comapala region of the Mexican Border in Chiapas state.

This rising phenomenon is being ignored by Mexico’s government due to racial and gender discrimination, according to América Martínez of the Association for Integral Development, which provides health services to those in prostitution and works against human trafficking.

This is how trafficking works

Those who work as traffickers may be migrant men who now who work as ‘trappers,’ or other anonymous men who scheme to get [indigenous] parents drunk. These traffickers target girls as young as age 8, according to research.

"The men who seek out sex with these underage girls are obviously much more violent, because their actions are an absolute expression of power, when the girl has no option available to defend herself – not even to use a condom,” lamented América Martínez.

Another tricks used by these "recruiters" is to pretend to fall in love with the victim and then promise to marry her, or to offer the girl a false employment opportunity outside of her community.

These girls end up in brothels in the region, face labor slavery or have their human organs taken from them. They are taken to states within Mexico or to the United States.

Teresa Ulloa, president of the Regional Coalition Against Trafficking in Women and Girls for Latin America and the Caribbean (CATW), notes that the increase of this crime is also due to "the arrival of organized crime in indigenous communities" and is also a byproduct of Mexico’s failed strategy against drug trafficking.

In Ulloa’s view, the drug cartels recently discovered that the sex trafficking of girls in general was profitable, "because nobody pays attention [to their plight],”  and because the drug traffickers have begun to recruit [large numbers of youth] to work are street hawkers, assassins, sex slaves and drug mules. All of those activities constitute trafficking, because at the end of the day they are using these minors to protect their businesses."

Ulloa equally blamed the rise in child trafficking on the State's strategy against drug trafficking. “Generally, we see an increase in trafficking, more violations of women’s rights, more consumption of prostitution and more femicide [gender based murders] in areas where anti-drug operations are taking place.”

El Heraldo

Honduras

Sep. 22, 2011

See also:

Latest News



A sample of other important news stories and commentaries



Added: Aug. 05, 2011

About sex trafficker's war against indigenous children in Mexico

LibertadLatina Commentary

Indigenous women and children in Mexico

During the over ten years that the LibertadLatina project has existed, our ongoing analysis of the crisis of sexual abuse in the Americas has lead us to the conclusion that our top priority should be to work to achieve an end to the rampant sex trafficking and exploitation that perennially exists in Mexico. Although many crisis hot spots call out for attention across Latin America and the Caribbean, working to see reform come to Mexico appeared to be a critical first step to achieving major change everywhere else in the region.

We believe that this analysis continues to be correct. We also recognize the fact that the Dominican Republic, Argentina, Paraguay, Peru and Colombia are other emergency zones of crisis. We plan to expand our coverage of these and other issues as resources permit.

Mexico is uniquely situated among the nations of the Americas, and therefore requires special attention from the global effort to end modern human slavery.

Mexico:

  • Is the world's largest Spanish speaking nation

  • Includes a long contiguous border with the U.S., thus making it a transit point for both 500,000 voluntary (but vulnerable) migrants each year as well as for victims of human slavery

  • Has multi-billion dollar drug cartels that profit from Mexico's proximity to the U.S. and that are today investing heavily in human slavery as a secondary source of profits

  • Has a 30% indigenous population, as well as an Afro-Mexican minority, both of whom are marginalized, exploited and are 'soft targets' who are now actively being cajoled, and kidnapped by trafficking mafias into lives of slavery and death

  • Has conditions of impunity that make all impoverished Mexicans vulnerable to sex and labor trafficking

  • Has a child sex tourism 'industry' that attracts many thousands of U.S., European and Latin American men who exploit vulnerable, impoverished children and youth with virtual impunity

  • Is the source of the largest contingent of foreign victims of human slavery who have been trafficked into the U.S.

  • Has a large and highly educated middle class which includes thousands of women who are active in the movement to enhance human rights in general and women's rights in particular

  • Has a growing anti-trafficking movement and a substantial women's rights focused journalist network

  • Has a politically influential faction of socially conservative men who believe in the sexist tenants of machismo and who favor maintaining the status quo that allows the open exploitation of poor Mexicans and Latin American migrants to continue, thus requiring assistance from the global movement against human exploitation to help local activists balance the scales of justice and equality

For a number years LibertadLatina's commentaries have called upon Mexico's government and the U.S. State Department to apply the pressure that is required to begin to change conditions for the better. It appears that the global community's efforts in this regard are beginning to have impact, yet a lifetime of work remains to be done to end what we have characterized as a slow-moving mass gender atrocity.

Recent developments in Mexico are for the most part encouraging.

These positive developments include:

  • The March 31, 2011 resignation of Attorney General Arturo Chávez Chávez (who had earlier failed to address the crisis of femicide murders facing women in Ciudad Juarez as Chihuahua state attorney general)

  • The replacement of Chávez Chávez with Marisela Morales Ibáñez as the nation’s first female attorney general (Morales Ibáñez was recently honored by U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton)

  • Morales Ibáñez’ reform-motivated purge of 174 officials and employees of the attorney general’s office, including the recent resigna-tions of 21 federal prosecutors

  • Morales Ibáñez’ recent raid in Cuidad Juárez, that resulted in the arrests of 1,030 suspected human traffickers and the freeing of 20 underage girls

  • The recent appointment of Dilcya Garcia , a former Mexico City prosecutor who achieved Mexico's first trafficking convictions to the federal attorney general's office (Garcia was recently honored by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for her anti-trafficking work)

  • The July, 2010 replacement of Interior Secretary Fernando Gómez Mont with José Francisco Blake Mora. (Secretary Gómez Mont openly opposed the creation of strong federal anti-trafficking legislation.)

  • Success by President Calderón and the Congress of the Republic in achieving the first steps to bringing about a constitutional amendment to facilitate human trafficking prosecutions

  • Recent public statements by President Calderon imploring the public to help in the fight against human trafficking

  • Some progress in advancing legislation in Congress to reform the failed 2007 federal anti trafficking law, a reform effort that has been lead by Deputy Rosi Orozco

  • The active collaboration of both the U.S. Government and the United Nations Office eon Drugs and Crime in supporting government efforts against trafficking

Taken together, the above actions amount to a truly watershed moment in Mexico’s efforts to address modern human slavery. We applaud those who are working for reform, while also recognizing that reform has its enemies within Congress, government institutions, law enforcement and society.

Mexico’s key anti-trafficking leaders, including journalist and author Lydia Cacho, Teresa Ulloa (director of the Regional Coalition Against Trafficking in Women for Latin America and the Caribbean - CATW-LAC), and Congresswoman Rosi Orozco of the ruling National Action Party (PAN) have all raised the alarm in recent months to indicate that corrupt businessmen, politicians and law enforcement authorities continue to pressure Mexican society to maintain a status quo that permits the existence of rampant criminal impunity in relation to the exploitation of women, children and men. The fact that anti-trafficking activist Lydia Cacho continues to face credible deaths threats on a regular basis and must live with armed guards for 24 hours a day is one sobering indicator of this harsh reality.

The use of slavery for labor and sexual purposes has a solid 500 years of existence in Mexico and much of the rest of Latin America. Indigenous peoples have been the core group of victims of human exploitation from the time of the Spanish conquest to the present. This is true in Mexico as well as in other nations with large indigenous populations such as Guatemala, Bolivia, Peru and Colombia. African descendants are also victims of exploitation - especially in Colombia, and like indigenous peoples, they continue to lack recognition as equal citizens.

These populations are therefore highly vulnerable to human trafficking and exploitation due to the fact that the larger societies within which they live feel no moral obligation to defend their rights. Criminal human traffickers and other exploiters take advantage of these vulnerabilities to kidnap, rape, sex traffic and labor traffic the poorest of the poor with little or no response from national governments.

A society like Mexico - where even middle class housewives are accustomed to treating their unpaid, early-teen indigenous girl house servants to labor exploitation and verbal and physical violence – and where the men of the house may be sexually abusing that child – is going to take a long time to adapt to an externally imposed world view that says that the forms of exploitation that their conquistador ancestors brought to the region are no longer valid. That change is not going to happen overnight, and it is not going to be easy.

Mexico’s current efforts to reform are to be applauded. The global anti-trafficking activist community and its supporters in government must, however remain vigilant and demand that Mexico continue down the path toward ending its ancient traditions of tolerated human exploitation. For that transformation to happen effectively, indigenous and African descendant Mexicans must be provided a place at the table of deliberations.

Although extending equality to these marginalized groups is a radical concept within the context of Mexican society, we insist that both Mexico, the United States State Department (a major driver of these reforms in Mexico) and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC - another major driver in the current reforms) provide the social and political spaces that will be required to allow the groups who face the most exposure to exploitation to actually have representation in both official and NGO deliberations about their fate at the hands of the billion dollar cartels and mafias who today see them as raw material and 'easy pickings' to drive their highly lucrative global slavery profit centers.

Without taking this basic step, we cannot raise Mexico’s rating on our anti-trafficking report card.

Time is of the essence!

End impunity now!

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

Aug. 05, 2011

Updated Aug. 11,2011

Note: Our August 4/5, 2011 edition contains a number of stories that accurately describe the nature of the vulnerabilities that indigenous children and women face from modern day sex traffickers, pedophiles and rapists.

See also:

Added: Aug. 1, 2010

An editorial by anti trafficking activist Lydia puts the spotlight on abusive domestic work as a form of human slavery targeting, for the most part, indigenous women and girls

Mexico

Esclavas en México

México, DF, - Cristina y Dora tenían 11 años cuando Domingo fue por ellas a la Mixteca en Oaxaca. Don José Ernesto, un militar de la Capital, le encargó un par de muchachitas para el trabajo del hogar. La madre pensó que si sus niñas trabajaban con “gente decente” tendrían la posibilidad de una vida libre, de estudiar y alimentarse, tres opciones que ella jamás podría darles por su pobreza extrema.

Cristina y Dora vivieron en el sótano, oscuro y húmedo, con un baño improvisado en una mansión construida durante el Porfiriato, cuyos jardines y ventanales hablan de lujos y riqueza. Las niñas aprendieron a cocinar como al patrón le gustaba. A lo largo de 40 años no tuvieron acceso a la escuela ni al seguro social, una de las hermanas prohijó un bebé producto de la violación del hijo del patrón. Les permitían salir unas horas algunos sábados, porque el domingo había comidas familiares. Sólo tres veces en cuatro décadas les dieron vacaciones, siendo adultas, para visitar a su madre enferma...

Slaves in Mexico

[About domestic labor slavery in Mexico]

Mexico City – Cristina and Dora were 11-years-old when Domingo picked them up in the state of Oaxaca. José Ernesto, a military man living in Mexico City, had sent Domingo to find a pair of girls to do domestic work for him. The girls’ mother thought that if they had an opportunity to work with “decent people,” they would have a chance to live a free life, to study and to eat well. Those were three things that they she could never give them in her condition of extreme poverty.

Cristina and Dora lived in the dark and humid basement of a mansion built during the presidency of Porfirio Díaz (1876 to 1910). Their space had an improvised bathroom. Outside of the home, the mansion’s elaborate gardens and elegant windows presented an image of wealth and luxury. The girls learned to cook for the tastes of their employer.

It is now forty years later. Cristina and Dora never had access to an education, nor do they have the right to social security payments when they retire. One of the sisters had a child, who was the result of her being raped by one of their employer’s sons.

They are allowed out of the house for a few hours on Saturdays. On Sundays they had to prepare family meals for their patron (boss).

Today, some 800,000 domestic workers are registered in Mexico. Ninety three percent of them don’t have access to health services. Seventy Nine percent of them have not and will not receive benefits. Their average salary is 1,112 pesos($87.94) per month. More than 8% of these workers receive no pay at all, because their employers think that giving them a place to sleep and eat is payment enough.

Sixty percent of domestic workers in Mexico are indigenous women and girls. They began this line of work, on average, at the age of 13. These statistics do not include those women and children who lived locked-up in conditions of extreme domestic slavery.

Mexico’s domestic workers are vulnerable to sexual violence, unwanted pregnancies, exploitation, racism and being otherwise poorly treated…

Recently, the European Parliament concluded that undocumented migrant women face an increased risk of domestic labor slavery. In Mexico, the majority of domestic slaves are Mexicans. Another 15% of these victims are [undocumented] migrants from Guatemala and El Salvador. Their undocumented status allows employers to prohibit their leaving the home, prohibit their access to education or deny their right to have a life of their own. The same dynamics happen to Latina women in the United States and Canada.

For centuries [middle and upper class white Mexican women] became accustomed to looking at domestic labor slavery as something that ‘helps’ indigenous women and girls. We used the hypocritical excuse that we were lifting them out of poverty by exploiting them. [They reality is that] millions of these women and girls are subjected to work conditions that deny them access to education, healthcare, and the enjoyment of a normal social life.

We (Mexico’s privileged) men and women share the responsibility for perpetuating this form of slavery. We use contemptuous language to refer to domestic workers. Like other forms of human trafficking, domestic labor slavery is a product of our culture.

Domestic work is an indispensable form of labor that allows millions of women to work. We should improve work conditions, formally recognize it in our laws, and assure that in our homes, we are not engaging in exploitation cloaked in the idea that we are rescuing [our domestic workers] from poverty.

To wash, iron, cook and care for children is as dignified as any other form of work. The best way for us to change the world is to start in own homes.

“Plan B” is a column written by Lydia Cacho that appears Mondays and Thursdays in CIMAC, El Universal and other newspapers in Mexico.

Lydia Cacho

CIMAC Women's News Agency

July 27, 2010


Added: Aug. 4, 2011

LibertadLatina Commentary

We at LibertadLatina applaud U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, the U.S. Justice Department and all of the agencies and officers involved in Operation Delego, which shut down a grotesque  international child pornography network that glorified and rewarded the torture and rape of young children. We also wish you good hunting in taking down all child pornography rings, wherever they may exist.

We call attention to a recent story (posted on Aug. 4, 2011) on the rape with impunity of indigenous school children, from very young ages, in the nation's now-closed Indian boarding school system. The fact that the legislature of the state of South Dakota passed legislation that denies victims the right to sue the priests and nuns who raped them is just as disgusting as any of the horror stories that are associated with the pedophile rapist / torturers who have been identified in Operation Delego.

Yet neither the U.S. Justice Department nor the Canadian government, where yet more horrible sexual abuses, and even murders of indigenous children took place, have ever sought to prosecute the large number of rapists involved in these cases.

In addition, federal prosecutors drop a large number of rape cases on Indian reservations despite the fact that indigenous women face a rate of rape in the U.S. that is 3.5 times higher that the rate faced by other groups of women. White males are the perpetrators of the rape in 80% of these cases.

When former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales fired eight U.S. attorneys in December of 2006, it turned out that 5 of those targeted had worked together to increase the very low prosecution rates for criminal cases on Native reservations. Their firings did a disservice to victims of rape and other serious crimes in Indian Country.

The indigenous peoples of the Americas demand an end to the rampant sexual exploitation with impunity of our peoples, be they from the United States, Mexico, Brazil, Guatemala, Bolivia, Peru or Canada.

We expect the United Stated Government to set the tone and lead the way in that change in social values.

Time is of the essence!

End impunity now!

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

Aug. 05, 2011


Added: Apr. 17, 2011

Massachusetts, USA

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

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

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

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

Wheelock College anti-trafficking event

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

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

Speakers:

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

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

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

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

Wheelock College

March 30, 2011

See also:

Added: Apr. 17, 2011

Massachusetts, USA

Wheelock College to discuss Massachusetts sex trafficking

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

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

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

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

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

The Associated Press

March 30, 2011

See also:

LibertadLatina Commentary

Chuck Goolsby

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

End impunity now!

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

April 17, 2011


Added: Feb. 27, 2011

Mexico

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

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

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

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

* The production of Child Pornography

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Products of Slavery


Added: Feb. 27, 2011

North Carolina, USA

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

See the complete poster

Chuck Goolsby speaks at Davidson College

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Please write to us in regard to your event.

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina.org

Feb. 26, 2011


Added: Feb. 10, 2011

The United States

Tiffany Williams of the Break the Chain Campaign

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

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

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

WHAT: Ad-hoc hearing on violence against immigrant women

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

WHERE: Rayburn House Office Building, Room 2456

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

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

Contact: Tiffany Williams

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

The Institute for Policy Studies / Break the Chains Campaign

Feb. 9, 2011

See also:

Added: Feb. 10, 2011

The United States

Silencing human trafficking victims in America

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tiffany Williams

The Huffington Post

Feb. 07, 2011

See also:

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina Commentary

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

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

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

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

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

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

End impunity now!

- Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

Feb. 10, 2011

See also:

LibertadLatina

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

See also:

Latina Workplace Rape

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

See also:

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

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

Rockville, Maryland - Case 1  

Workplace Rape with Impunity

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

Rockville, Maryland - Case 2

Workplace Assault and Battery with Impunity

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

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

Rockville, Maryland - Case 3 

About the One Central Plaza office complex

Workplace Rape and Forced Prostitution with Impunity

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

See also:

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

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

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


Added: Sep. 29, 2010

India

Human trafficking slur on Commonwealth Games

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rahul Karmakar

Hindustan Times

Sep. 28, 2010

LibertadLatina Note:

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

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

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

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

End impunity now!

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

Sep. 30/Oct. 02, 2010


Added: Jul. 21, 2010

New York, USA

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

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

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

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

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

Read the transcript

The Huffington Post

July 15, 2010

See also:

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina Note:

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

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

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

End impunity now!

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

July 21, 2010


Added: March 1, 2010

Mexico

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

Video posted on YouTube

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

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

[Ten minutes - In Spanish]

Deputy Rosi Orozco

On YouTube.com

Feb. 26, 2010

See also:

LibertadLatina Commentary

Chuck Goolsby

Lead, Follow or Get Out of the Way!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • The regulations failed to target organized crime.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

No more delays!

There is no time to waste!

End impunity now!

- Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

March 1, 2010

See Also:

Mexico

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

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

Five million victims of Human Trafficking Exist in Latin America

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

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

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

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

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

- Notimex / La Jornada Online

Mexico City

Dec. 12, 2007

See also:

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

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

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

La Jornada de Oriente

Sep. 26, 2009

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


LibertadLatina

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


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

About Child Sexual Slavery in Mexico

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

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

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

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

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

We must continue to pressured them to do so.

End Impunity now!

See also:

The Dark Side of Cancun - a short documentary

Produced by Mark Cameron and Monserrat Puig

2007

About the case of Jacqueline Maria Jirón Silva

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


Added: Dec. 03, 2009

Mexico

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Agence France Presse (AFP)

Nov. 23, 2009

See also:

Mexican Government Part of Problem, Not Solution, Writer Says

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

EFE

Nov. 24, 2009

See Also:

LibertadLatina

Special Section

Journalist / Activist

Lydia Cacho is

Railroaded by the

Legal Process for

Exposing Child Sex

Networks In Mexico

See Also:

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

Americas Program Commentary

Mexico is the United States' closest Latin American neighbor and yet most U.S. citizens receive little reliable information about what is happening within the country. Instead, Mexico and Mexicans are often demonized in the U.S. press. The single biggest reason for this is the way that the entire binational relationship has been recast in terms of security over the past few years...

The militarization of Mexico has led to a steep increase in homicides related to the drug war. It has led to rape and abuse of women by soldiers in communities throughout the country. Human rights complaints against the armed forces have increased six-fold.

Even these stark figures do not reflect the seriousness of what is happening in Mexican society. Many abuses are not reported at all for the simple reason that there is no assurance that justice will be done. The Mexican Armed Forces are not subject to civilian justice systems, but to their own military tribunals. These very rarely terminate in convictions. Of scores of reported torture cases, for example, not a single case has been prosecuted by the army in recent years.

The situation with the police and civilian court system is not much better. Corruption is rampant due to the immense economic power of the drug cartels. Local and state police, the political system, and the justice system are so highly infiltrated and controlled by the cartels that in most cases it is impossible to tell the good guys from the bad guys.

The militarization of Mexico has also led to what rights groups call "the criminalization of protest." Peasant and indigenous leaders have been framed under drug charges and communities harassed by the military with the pretext of the drug war. In Operation Chihuahua, one of the first military operations to replace local police forces and occupy whole towns, among the first people picked up were grassroots leaders - not on drug charges but on three-year old warrants for leading anti-NAFTA protests. Recently, grassroots organizations opposing transnational mining operations in the Sierra Madre cited a sharp increase in militarization that they link to the Merida Initiative and the NAFTA-SPP [North American Free Trade Act - Security and Prosperity Partnership] aimed at opening up natural resources to transnational investment.

All this - the human rights abuses, impunity, corruption, criminalization of the opposition - would be grave cause for concern under any conditions. What is truly incomprehens-ible is that in addition to generating these costs to Mexican society, the war on drugs doesn't work to achieve its own stated objectives...

Laura Carlsen

Americas Program, Center for International Policy (CIP)

Nov. 23, 2009


Added: Dec. 03, 2009

Mexico

The Numbers Don't Add Up in Mexico's Drug War

Drug Seizures are Down; Drug Production, Executions, Disappearances, and Human Rights Abuses are Up

Just a week before Mexican president Felipe Calderón completes half of his six-year term, [leading Mexico City newspaper] La Jornada reports that 16,500 extrajudicial executions [summary murders outside of the law] have occurred during his administration. 6,500 of those executions have occurred in 2009, according to La Jornada’s sources in Calderón’s cabinet...

While executions are on the rise, drug seizures are down, and drug production is up, Mexico is also experiencing an alarming increase in human rights abuses perpetrated by government agents - particularly the army - in Calderón’s war on drugs. As Mexican human rights organizations have noted, human rights violations committed by members of the armed forces have increased six-fold over the past two years. This statistic is based on complaints received by the Mexican government’s official National Human Rights Commission (CNDH).

No Mas Abusos (No More Abuses), a joint project of the Miguel Agustín Pro Juárez Human Rights Center, the Fundar Center for Analysis and Investigation, and Amnesty International’s Mexico Section, monitors human rights abuses committed by soldiers, police, and other government agents.

Kristin Bricker

Dec. 1, 2009

See also:

LibertadLatina News Archive - October 2009

El Paso - …Mexican human rights official Gustavo de la Rosa Hickerson [has] reported 170 instances of Mexican soldiers allegedly torturing, abusing and killing innocent people in Chihuahua [state].

The Associated Press

Oct. 17,2009

See also:

LibertadLatina Commentary

According to press reports from Mexico, the Yunque secret society is the dominant faction within the ruling National Action party (PAN).

El Yunque holds the belief that all social activists, including those who advocate for improving the lives of women, indigenous people and the poor, are literally the children of Satan. They take aggressive political action consistent with those beliefs.

During the 1960s, El Yunque perpetrated political assassi-nations and murders targeting their opponents. Although today they profess to adhere to the political process to affect change, it is not a stretch, given their violent history, to conclude that Lydia Cacho's concern, that the federal government of Mexico may be engaging in 'social cleansing through "extrajudicial killings" (which is just a fancy way to say state sanctioned murder of your opponents), may be valid. Cacho is a credible first hand witness to the acts of impunity which government officials use at-times to control free and independent thinking in Mexico. 

We have documented the steady deterioration  of human rights for women in Mexico for several years. Mexico is one of the very hottest spots for the gender rights crisis in the Americas.

The systematic use by military personnel of rape with total impunity, targeting especially indigenous women and girls, is one example of the harshness of  these conditions. The case of the sexual assaults carried out by dozens of policemen against women social protesters in the city of Atenco, Mexico in 2006 is another stark case.

The Mérida Initiative, through which the U.S. Government is funding Mexico's drug war to the tune of $450 million over several years, is financing not only that war, but it is also, apparently, strengthening the authoritarian rule of the El Yunque dominated PAN political party.

El Yunque, which has been identified as being an anti- women's rights, anti-indigenous rights,  anti-Semitic, anti-protestant and anti-gay 'shadow government' in Mexico, does not deserve even one dollar of U.S. funding.

Defeat the drug cartels?

Yes!

Provide funding for El Yunque's quest to build empire in Mexico while rolling-back women and indigenous people's basic human rights?

No!

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

Dec. 4, 2009

About El Yunque

The National Organization of the Anvil, or simply El Yunque (The Anvil), is the name of a secret society... whose purpose, according to the reporter Alvaro Delgado, "is to defend the [ultra-conservative elements of the] Catholic religion and fight the forces of Satan, whether through violence or murder "and establish" the kingdom of God in the land that is subject to the Mexican Government, to the mandates of the Catholic Church, through the infiltration of all its members at the highest levels of political power.

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

About El Yunque on Wikipedia.com



¡Feliz Día Internacional

de la Mujer!

Happy International Women's Day!

LibertadLatina Statement for International

Women's

Day, 2010



March 8 / Marzo 8

2009


¡Feliz Día Internacional de la Mujer!

Happy International Women's Day!

LibertadLatina

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

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

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


LibertadLatina

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

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

End Impunity and violence against women now!

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

March 8, 2008



LibertadLatina

Raids and Rescue Versus...?

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

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

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

- Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

Dec. 18, 2008


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

Mexico

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

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

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

- Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina



See: The National Network to End Violence Against Immigrant Women

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

The National Latino Alliance for the Elimination of Domestic Violence


Added June 15, 2008

Ending Global Slavery: Everyday Heroes Leading the Way

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

View the over 200 entries from 45 nations

See especially:

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

Equidad Laboral Y La Mujer Afro-Colombiana

(Labor Equality and the Afro-Colombian Woman)

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

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

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

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

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

LibertadLatina

Our entry:

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

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

(Our extended copy of our Ashoka competition application)

Contribute your comments and questions about competition entries.

- Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

June 15/21/22, 2008

See also:

Added June 15, 2008

The World

Entrepreneur for Society

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

- Ashoka Foundation

See also:

Ashoka Peru


Mexico

A woman is paraded before Johns on Mexico City's Santo Tomás Street, where kidnap victims are forced into prostitution and are 'trained'

(C) NY Times

The Girls Next Door

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

Excerpt:

[About Montserrat, a former child trafficking victim:]

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

- Peter Landesman

New York Times Magazine

January 25, 2004


Added March 23, 2008

Mexico

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Un millón de menores latinoamericanos atrapados por redes de prostitución

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

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

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

Full story (in English)

See also:

Renuncia fiscal por vergüenza en resolución sobre Cacho

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

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


Added March 1, 2008

Texas, USA

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

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


Tengo 5 meses de edad y soy prostituta

I am 5 months old and I am a prostitute

LibertadLatina

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


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



Hurricane Wilma - 2005

Earthquakes and hurricanes...

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


Video

Roundtable on Trafficking of Women and Children in the Americas

- Organization of American States


United States

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

- National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC)

March 22, 2006


Latin America

Beyond Machismo - A Cuban Case Study

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

- Cuban-American

theologian and ethicist

Dr. Miguel de la Torre

Remember, and FIND Jackeline Jirón Silva

Necesitamos su ayuda para ubicar a esta Niña.


Added Dec. 11, 2006

The World

Sex abuse, work and war deny childhood to tens

of millions

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

- Reuters

Dec. 9, 2006

Added Nov. 7, 2006

The World

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

- Inter-American

Development Bank
 Nov. 2,2006


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

Who will protect them from impunity?

We Must!

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

society's effective and substantial help to escape criminal

sexual exploitation's utter brutality and impunity!

End Impunity... Now!

© 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 Charles M. Goolsby, Jr.

All other copyrighted materials © the copyright holder.

Copyrighted materials are presented for non-profit 

public educational 'fair use' purposes only.