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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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Latina Women & Children at Risk

The True Story of the Sexual Exploitation with Impunity of Latina Immigrant Women and Children in Washington, DC and its Maryland and Virginia Suburbs

This Section Last Updated: Nov. 14, 2010

A Focus on Washington, DC and Montgomery County, Maryland

 

A crisis of rape with impunity and sexual slavery severely impacts the lives of Latin American immigrant women and girls in Greater Washington, DC


This section of LibertadLatina.org contains information regarding the exploitation and abuse of Latina immigrant women and children in the Maryland suburbs of Washington, DC and within the greater Washington, DC region.

These factual materials document a human rights crisis that has in the past been hidden from public view by a combination of anti-immigrant apathy and hostility and by a code of silence within the affected Latino communities.  The most dire result of this disturbing pattern of reactions has been that Latin women, children and men victims of criminal abuse and civil law violations have often been ignored, underserved and at-times they have been openly intimidated by government institutions that their taxes pay for, institutions that should defend them!

From the author's experiences in participating in and hearing first, second and third person case histories in this region for 24 years, including over 65 case stories and taking 6 Latina cases before the local U.S. Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC) processor (now called the Montgomery County Human Rights Office) and one Latina case intervention before criminal court as a lay advocate, it is clear that a problem exists. 

Latina immigrant women and girls continue to be sexually exploited largely because local government agencies do not respond to this crisis, and the perpetrators of criminal abuses and civil sexual harassment law violations see this and know that they can continue with impunity.  Other advocates (see social worker's letter below) have come to the same conclusion.

The children, women and men victims of this illegal exploitation deserve equal protection under the law!  Let us all work together to make that dream a reality soon! 

Chuck Goolsby, September, 2003

- LibertadLatina


Issues Covered in this Section


Click on each topic to jump to it...


  1. The Challenges of Advocacy

  2. Sex Trafficking

  3. Labor Slavery

  4. Workplace Sexual Exploitation

  5. The victimization of Latina Children

  6. The Rape of Adult Latinas

  7. Youth Gang Violence and Sexual Exploitation

  8. Hold Government Accountable

  9. Before LibertadLatina, Chuck Goolsby's Human Rights Newsletter

  10. Discrimination in Healthcare

  11. About the Montgomery County, Maryland Commission for Women

  12. Federal Immigration Reform and Latina Human Rights


Links:

U.S. Community Exploitation for coverage of community exploitation issues within the U.S.

 

U.S. Workplace Exploitation for coverage of workplace exploitation issues across the United States

 

All of our reports and commentaries: 1994 to present

More about / Mas sobre Chuck Goolsby and LibertadLatina.org

"I stand with other men who have made a decision that enough is enough, and have decided that the brutal men who act with impunity, subjecting women and children to kidnapping, rape, torture, domestic violence, murder and sex trafficking with impunity will not continue to get away with it.  We will stand up and take these guys on and defend the innocent.  Our grandmothers, living and gone, our mothers, our sisters and daughters deserve more than the sexist apathy that currently plagues many male attitudes about these severe forms of gender oppression..."

- Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

Dec. 10, 2005

See also:

 A snapshot of the Latin music history of Washington, DC, by Chuck Goolsby

Latest News



Added: Nov. 14, 2010

Maryland, USA

Vice and Intelligence Detectives Develop Initiatives Against Human Trafficking

Press Release

The detectives in the Vice and Intelligence Section of the Special Investigations Division of the Montgomery County Police Department want to advise the public of initiatives they have enacted to address the growing concern of human trafficking.

The crime of human trafficking / prostitution may be thought to be a victimless and voluntary crime. That notion is frequently portrayed in films and television shows but those story lines have very little to do with reality. Although it is true that the demand side of the crime is voluntary, the provider side is often not voluntary. The provider may not be a lone entity. The provider can be exploited for money and often coerced through violent means by individuals, and that may go unnoticed by the public and law enforcement. Frequently faceless corporations and persons that utilize the unregulated internet to openly promote illegal activities for a price benefit financially from this crime and fail to take any responsibility for it...

The Montgomery County Police Department is committed to addressing the true benefactors of human trafficking and making them accountable for their illegal activities. The following initiatives have been developed over the past year to address the use of the internet by individuals to promote and financially benefit from human trafficking:

1. The Vice Section has effectively shut down escort websites that blatantly advertise activities that are illegal in Maryland. No other crime is so openly confessed to in any forum as the crime of human trafficking. The Vice Section is using a variety of investigative techniques to make web hosts accountable for their complicity in the advertising of human trafficking. Consequently, Web Hosts are eliminating the internet site from their servers. This tactic has eliminated the internet sites for TGND Talent, Diamond Escorts, and Desirable Companions. Sadly, these sites are now moving to servers outside the USA to continue their illegal activities.

2. The Vice Section has effectively infiltrated the Erotic Review website and identified key members of the group. The Erotic Review is a website where members openly confess to illegal activities. The website’s members rate women’s appearance, sexual performance, etc. while providing information on contact numbers, organized crime outfits, and local police activities.

3. The Vice Section through plea agreements is now operating established and once legitimate escort internet sites where “johns” are currently providing names, places of employment, and contact numbers as if they are communicating with the now defunct service. These contacts are being utilized to arrange “john stings” and identify individuals on the demand side of human trafficking...

The trafficked individuals are the face of the business and consequently the most exposed and accountable to law enforcement and the judiciary. The true profiteers of human trafficking have learned to make large profits while allowing others to take all the risk. These legal investigative tactics are bringing vice investigations into the 21st century and making everyone involved in the organized crime of human trafficking accountable for their actions.

[Read the complete press release for additional details]

Montgomery County Police Department

Nov. 08, 2010

See also:

LibertadLatina Commentary

Latina victims of sexual exploitation continue to be underserved in Montgomery County, Maryland

Chuck Goolsby

As a former civilian computer programmer for at Montgomery County Police headquarters during the 1990s, I applaud the innovative techniques that the department is developing to fight human trafficking.

Keep up the great work!

During the 1990s I made a number of efforts to raise awareness within the department about the extensive problem of sexual exploitation faced by Latina immigrant girls and women in the county. Some officials at that time expressed disinterest in the issue, while others supported my efforts. Today, tensions between the regions vast immigrant community and police forces continue to exist, unfortunately. We support full law enforcement in El Barrio. At the same time, we continue to demand that Latin American immigrants, be they legal or not, be provided with equal protection under the law. That goal has not-yet been achieved.

During March of 2010, I attended an anti-trafficking training session for a Parent Teacher Association meeting at a local high school. Gaithersburg City Police Officer Jesse Argueta, a local anti-trafficking task force member and an excellent presenter on human trafficking issues was the keynote speaker.

I spoke up and mentioned the fact that Latina immigrant women and girls, and particularly those who are undocumented in the city of Gaithersburg and across Montgomery and neighboring Prince Georges counties in Maryland faced severe sexual exploitation in communities, at work and in schools. I asked Officer Argueta what efforts were being made to serve this population. He responded that local police agencies planned to focus on U.S. domestic minor victims of trafficking. He went on to say that focusing on those victims will lead us to the immigrant victims. Discussion of the Latin immigrant aspects of human trafficking appeared to make Officer Argueta nervous, a response that I have seen in several public settings when I ask officials 'what is being done for the Latina victims?'

As an advocate for the human rights of Latin American immigrants in Montgomery County for the past 30 years, I have to say that local police forces and their federal partners need to provide equal protection under the law to undocumented immigrant victims.

The problem of human trafficking in the region does not exist only at the level of Internet-based, Craigslist-like operations. It is important to identify those criminal operations and shut them down (I brought the problem of local trafficking on the Eros web site mentioned in the above MCPD press release to anti-trafficking NGO Polaris Project’s attention in 2001). Beyond the Internet, and beyond the Korean and other Asian massage parlors - exists a vast underground network of sexual slavery operations that provide unwilling Latina women and underage girls to the largely male communities of immigrants throughout the cities and farm communities of Maryland and neighboring jurisdictions.

Criminal sex trafficking operations in Maryland and elsewhere hide behind a very effective smokescreen (a barrier of non-communication and distrust), that exists due to: 1) the tense relationship between local police and law enforcement; 2) disinterest on the part of police, at times, in regard to protecting women and girls from exploitation because they are immigrants; the language barrier and Latin American cultural traditions of the ‘code of silence,’ that prevent intelligence from reaching police (an issue that exists equally in Tijuana, Mexico and across the Americas); resistance to addressing the issue from within the leadership of some Latino community organizations – often because the topic detracts from the ‘higher goal’ of achieving immigrant reform; and an unspoken, yet existent reality that especially some male law enforcement officers feel, that the sexual exploitation of immigrant women and underage girls is simply an unimportant issue. I have run into all of these attitudes when advocating for the human rights of victims in Maryland.

I wrote words that are effectively the same as what I state in the above paragraph in my 1994 report – The Sexual Exploitation of Latin American Immigrant Women in Montgomery County, Maryland. Unfortunately, not much has changed during the past 16 years.

Only continued efforts to allow the interests ‘Little Brown Maria’ (our metaphor for the voiceless victims) to be represented at the ‘table’ of jurisprudence and policy discussion will achieve real change. In the meantime, a growing legion of ‘Little Brown Marias’ is being bought and sold right under our noses – feeding a voracious market as authorities do… too little to rescue her and end this madness.

That is an unacceptable and unsustainable situation.

End impunity now.

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

Nov. 14, 2010

See also:

More about government and NGO responses to the mass sexual exploitation of Latina girls and women in the greater Washington, DC region

In October of 2009 I attended a presentation at the University of Baltimore Law School on human trafficking. The keynote speaker at the event was Assistant U.S. Attorney Solette Magnelli, a leading pioneer among federal prosecutors in developing effective anti-trafficking strategies and the founder of the Maryland Human Trafficking Task Force. During her hour long discourse on human trafficking in Maryland, Ms. Magnelli went into detail about anti-trafficking law, and discussed cases of domestic minor victims, European immigrant teens who are contracted to work in restaurants in the resort city of Ocean City, only to be nudged into prostitution, and about cases of African immigrant youth forced to do hair braiding in salons for free. During the presentation, not one word was said about Latina immigrant women and girl victims, who, I believe, make up the vast majority of victims of sexual slavery in the state of Maryland.

I asked Ms. Magnelli about the response to Latina victims. She did not have anything to say on the topic, except to state that police officers are now being trained to be more sensitive to victims, such as the one young teen victim in a case that I mentioned at the event, who was completely ignored by police when their help was sought. I also mentioned the case of a federal agent who called me and asked where to find services for victims they were finding during the investigation into a $60,000 a week Latin prostitution ring in the city of Langley Park, Maryland’s largest Latin American immigrant community. At the going rate of $30 per 15 minute ‘session,’ that one operation represented an average of 2,000 prostitution events per week. That one criminal enterprise likely surpasses every other sex trafficking crime in Maryland, yet I have never seen any press reports of any prosecutions coming out of that case. Although that agent’s phone call too place perhaps 5 years before the 2009 forum, Ms. Magnelli added nothing to my comments about that case.

Although certain members of the Maryland Human Trafficking Task Force were perturbed that I raised these issues in a public forum (a reaction that certainly shocked me), two of Ms. Magnelli’s fellow assistant U.S. attorney’s in Baltimore, present at the event, walked up to me, smiled, shook my hand and thanked me for directly raising the issue of Latina victims. Several law students did the same.

It is completely disingenuous to discuss human trafficking in any setting without acknowledging the tragedy that Latina women and girls (including indigenous and Afro-Latinas) are facing at the hands of sex traffickers and an uncaring bureaucracy, both in the United States and across Latin America.

In late 2009 Ambassador Luis C. deBaca, the U.S. State Department’s director of its Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, declared that 60% of human trafficking victims in the U.S. were of Latin American origin. It is now impossible to leave Latina women and girls out of the discussion. Their interests deserve a ‘place at the table’ of enforcement priorities and policy initiatives.

On October 23, 2010, the first Stop Human Slavery rally on the National Mall in Washington, DC, was held. It was the largest anti-trafficking rally to date in the nation’s capitol, and was a great success. About 35 organizations set up tables to dialog with the 2,000 or more people who showed up to march and express support. Our LibertadLatina table was the only representation specifically focused on Latina and indigenous victims of human trafficking.

The director of one of the region’s largest sexual slavery victim rescue and rehabilitation operations told me at the event that all of the victims that they are rescuing from the populous Virginia suburbs of Washington, DC had been trafficked by major Latin gangs.

It is time for rhetoric of the region’s anti-trafficking task forces, in which they state that they are focusing on domestic U.S. born and "legal resident" minors, expand to protect undocumented Latina and other immigrant girls and women also. That community represents the largest group of victims, yet their ‘invisibility’ allows local law enforcement and legislators to minimize the services to the most vulnerable among us. 

There just is no excuse for this. The general public must hold elected officials, police and prosecutors accountable for protecting ALL women and children who face exploitation in the Washington, DC region and throughout the U.S. and the Americas.

Therefore, we speak.

End impunity now.

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

Nov. 14, 2010

See also:

The criminal networks that traffic young Latina women to the Washington, DC suburbs in Maryland and Virginia described in the below Washington Post story continue to exist in identical form in the year 2004.  Enslaved Latin women and girls are moved in and out of Latino neighborhood-based brothels in Gaithersburg, Maryland, Washington, DC, Arlington, Virginia and within the other Latin communities of the region.  Little has changed since 1994 for women and girls exploited in prostitution.

- Chuck Goolsby

2004

See also:

String of Latino Brothels Found in Va., Md. Suburbs: Police Say Women Come from New York

A growing number of brothels catering to Latino men are opening in the Washington suburbs, and police say a New York prostitution ring may be responsible.

The brothels mostly employ Latino women from the New York area, according to investigators. Court records indicate that virtually all charge the same rates -- $ 30 for 15 minutes of sexual intercourse -- and advertise using the same kind of business cards in Spanish. They also have the same operating procedures: Prostitutes punch playing cards or score sheets to tally each day's customers. "Every jurisdiction from Arlington to Montgomery County is seeing the same thing," said Alexandria police detective Harold Duquette, a member of the city's vice squad, which is investigating two of the alleged brothels.

- The Washington Post

Sep. 21, 1994

See also:

LibertadLatina

Special Section

About the crisis of sexual exploitation facing Latin American women and children in Washington, DC and Montgomery County, Maryland

See also:

The Sexual Exploitation of Latina immigrant Women and Girls in Montgomery County, Maryland - a Report  

Chuck Goolsby

Feb. 1994

1. A Snapshot of the Challenges Facing Advocacy for Victims of Gender Exploitation Targeting Latina Women and Children in the Washington, DC Region

Return to Index


During 1999 and 2000, previous to starting the LibertadLatina.org project, Chuck Goolsby provided an e-mail based newsletter of important community issues related to the right of Latina women and children to live free from sexual harassment, rape and enslavement. 

Here is text from one example...


Detailed information on Latin Women Worker/Harassment & Other Exploitation Issues

(A copy of this e-mail was sent to the U.S. Justice Department, Civil Rights Division on 12/02/1999.)

Excerpt...

E-Mail Date: 12/02/99 10:04:28

Hello friends of human rights,

I wanted to present some background on the issue of sexual harassment and the particular dynamics involved when the victims are Latin-American Women and Girls.

At the local level, especially in Montgomery County, anti-immigrant and anti-Latino sentiment blocks police, human relations commission and social services staff from doing anything about these abuses.  I have documented over 50 cases since 1986, just from my exposure to Latino workers in corporate and government office buildings as I move around doing computer work.  This problem exists at severe levels in virtually every office building, restaurant and hotel in the Washington, DC area. 

The victim and potential victim community represent a form of 'underclass' who literally may be harassed, coerced, touched and raped, while the perpetrators, be they Latino, White or Black, or foreign born business owners and managers of other ethnicity's... can operate with confidence that the victim community is too scared, and too pressured socially (to keep  quiet) to cause any trouble for these criminal perpetrators.

As you likely know, Latino immigrants are afraid of government in general, afraid of the police, and are afraid of bosses on the job.  They are forced to work harder than "Americans" who know their rights, and they are used to the exploitation.

I hear this from Central American immigrants almost every time I meet someone.  In fact I heard it yesterday in a building I just started working in.

In addition to sexual harassment and assault, illegal retaliatory reprimands and firings occur, wages are withheld (CASA of Maryland, in Takoma Park [Maryland], has a list of over 400 Washington, DC area cases documented where Latino workers have not been paid by employers), workers are sometimes actually physically beaten by managers, and other such outrages occur.  These events are normal in much of Latin America.  And government agencies, employers, human rights activists and community leaders have done virtually NOTHING to prevent or respond to these issues.

Getting victims to come forward is going to require some intervention from advocates like us.  In the past, very few victims have been willing to go through the tedious, long duration hassle that bringing a case involves.  And those who have gone through the process have been virtually spit upon time and again by the legal system.  I know this first hand because I've been there as de-facto legal assistant and interpreter and negotiator many, many times.  The system will not listen to these victims...

- Chuck Goolsby

Dec. 02, 1999


1. A Snapshot of the Challenges Facing Advocacy for Victims of Gender Exploitation Targeting Latina Women and Children in the Washington, DC Region

Return to Index


During 1999 and 2000, previous to starting the LibertadLatina.org project, Chuck Goolsby provided an e-mail based newsletter of important community issues related to the right of Latina women and children to live free from sexual harassment, rape and enslavement. 

Here is text from one example...


Detailed information on Latin Women Worker/Harassment & Other Exploitation Issues

(A copy of this e-mail was sent to the U.S. Justice Department, Civil Rights Division on 12/02/1999.)

Excerpt...

E-Mail Date: 12/02/99 10:04:28

Hello friends of human rights,

I wanted to present some background on the issue of sexual harassment and the particular dynamics involved when the victims are Latin-American Women and Girls.

At the local level, especially in Montgomery County, anti-immigrant and anti-Latino sentiment blocks police, human relations commission and social services staff from doing anything about these abuses.  I have documented over 50 cases since 1986, just from my exposure to Latino workers in corporate and government office buildings as I move around doing computer work.  This problem exists at severe levels in virtually every office building, restaurant and hotel in the Washington, DC area. 

The victim and potential victim community represent a form of 'underclass' who literally may be harassed, coerced, touched and raped, while the perpetrators, be they Latino, White or Black, or foreign born business owners and managers of other ethnicity's... can operate with confidence that the victim community is too scared, and too pressured socially (to keep  quiet) to cause any trouble for these criminal perpetrators.

As you likely know, Latino immigrants are afraid of government in general, afraid of the police, and are afraid of bosses on the job.  They are forced to work harder than "Americans" who know their rights, and they are used to the exploitation.

I hear this from Central American immigrants almost every time I meet someone.  In fact I heard it yesterday in a building I just started working in.

In addition to sexual harassment and assault, illegal retaliatory reprimands and firings occur, wages are withheld (CASA of Maryland, in Takoma Park [Maryland], has a list of over 400 Washington, DC area cases documented where Latino workers have not been paid by employers), workers are sometimes actually physically beaten by managers, and other such outrages occur.  These events are normal in much of Latin America.  And government agencies, employers, human rights activists and community leaders have done virtually NOTHING to prevent or respond to these issues.

Getting victims to come forward is going to require some intervention from advocates like us.  In the past, very few victims have been willing to go through the tedious, long duration hassle that bringing a case involves.  And those who have gone through the process have been virtually spit upon time and again by the legal system.  I know this first hand because I've been there as de-facto legal assistant and interpreter and negotiator many, many times.  The system will not listen to these victims...

- Chuck Goolsby

Dec. 02, 1999


2. The Sex Trafficking of Latina Women and Girls in the Greater Washington, DC Region

Return to Index


An Overview

Latina prostitution slavery exists in almost every neighborhood in greater Washington. 

It is well-known that many of the women and girls involved are forced to work against their will, and that the traffickers transport in new groups of them to each apartment-based brothel every two weeks from New York City, New Jersey, Atlanta, and other major prostitution markets.

Another source of women in prostitution involves local Latina women and girls who are subjected to severe sexual harassment and rape by gang members and other men.  Some of these victims are pressured into participating in prostitution, and others actively choose what local Central American Latinas call: "La vide facil" (the easy life).


Additional Analysis

LibertadLatina's Analysis of the  Impunity and Prostitution in Langley Park, MD, Where Brothels Earn Many Tens of Thousands of Dollars Weekly. Shut Down Langley Park's Mega-Brothels!

Prostitution dynamics in the Langley Park Latin American immigrant community

Excerpt #1...

In working class barrios around Washington, DC such as Langley Park, prostitution operations are commonplace.  It is 'traditional' for many men to ‘use’ adult and underage prostitutes in Latin America, and especially in Mexico and Central America where most Langley Park immigrants came from.  As an example, one Salvadoran friend, now an evangelical lay pastor, told me that his father took him to a brothel to be with three prostitutes, when he was 12 years old.

The fact that these communities are also gender imbalanced, with many more men than women being present, creates a large-scale demand for prostitution.

The exploding criminal industry of sex trafficking provides the 'supply' - women and underage girls, that the market demands.  In this case, criminal sex trafficking networks from Mexico, Los Angeles and New York City have for years saturated the Washington, DC region with adult and underage prostitutes working against their will.  A 1994 Washington Post story describes how such networks rotate prostitutes in and out of the Washington, DC region from New York City.  That pattern continues to exist 11 years later in 2005.

In 2003 I had a conversation with a local Latino personality who frequented Latin American immigrant brothels in both Washington, DC and in the suburban city of Gaithersburg, Maryland.  He described the fact that young women from Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and Central America were sent to Gaithersburg from New York City.  The trafficking networks involved ‘rotated’ these women out every two weeks.  The source noted that these women had told him that they were being ‘exploited’ [forced into prostitution].

During a Spring, 2005 trip to New York City to speak to the group Latinas United for Justice at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, a Latina student who formerly worked as a cabbie related to me how cab customers all over New York constantly asked to be taken to the Latin American immigrant brothels that she noted are “everywhere” in New York.  The student stated that all of the cabbies know about these brothels, and she knew that the women ‘working’ in them were working against their will.  This New York source of women in prostitution slavery supplies at least part of the demand for prostitutes in the greater Washington, DC region.

In addition to forced prostitution, thousands of women and girls in the Latin American immigrant communities of the greater Washington, DC region engage in prostitution of their ‘own free will’ (arguably).  It is perhaps more accurate to state that women and teenage girls are forced to engage in prostitution because:

·         They have grown up in sexist cultures where intimacy was forced upon them as children, youth or young adults

      (An estimated 80% of child prostitutes in many Latin American nations were sexually abused at home before fleeing into a life of street prostitution.)

·         A 'machismo' based environment instilled in them the concept that their intimacy is a commodity, that is meant to be sold;

·         They live in immigrant communities where they are constantly barraged with unwanted, severe sexual harassment, and are propositioned on a daily basis; something that some women and underage girls 'give in to.'

·         The expansion of extremely violent Latin American immigrant gangs into Langley Park and other communities in the region are creating environments where women and underage girls are being subjected: to rape with impunity; severe sexual harassment; pressure to join gangs, leading to a gang-rape initiation; forced prostitution and coercive pressure on women and girls to work in prostitution.

·         Immigrant women and girls who complain to the police, and want to press charges for various levels of sexual assault and other forms of physical aggression are often turned away by the indifference, anti-immigrant hostility or bureaucratic rules of the law enforcement community.

·         Strictly enforced rules bar undocumented women and teens (and especially mothers) from receiving public assistance, forcing them into prostitution as their only means of survival

      This factor is a critical point to understand during times of recession in the United States.  Thousands of Latina women literally face a life without income due to a poor economy and increased immigration enforcement!  How can they and their children survive?

- Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

Aug. 16, 2005


LibertadLatina Commentary

Undocumented Women and Girls Who Are Caught Between Increasing Immigration Law Enforcement And Recession Face Sexual Exploitation

Prostitution, quid-pro-quo work arrangements and non-reporting of rape result from a bad economy and tougher federal, state and local immigration enforcement.

...Ms. undocumented Latina finds herself with no relief from comprehensive immigration reform, no green card, no work permit, no job (especially in this recession), little understanding of the details of federal, state and local laws, no protection from crime, protection that should be provided by police forces that today may arrest and deport her, no way to feed herself and her children, and no access to the social services that could help to alleviate those desperate circumstances.

In that situation, Ms. Latina will not report rape to police.  She will not say "no!" to a potential or current employer who says (in violation of the law) that sex is the price she must pay for employment, and she may not say "no!" to a pimp or sex trafficker who offers her 'la vida facil' (the easy life) as a prostitute. 

If she goes home to Bolivia, Peru, Nicaragua, Colombia, Mexico or the Dominican Republic, she will face exactly the same conditions of life, except for the fact that she will not be able to support her  family...

- Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

Mar 29, 2008


Shut Down Langley Park's Mega-Brothels!

Prostitution dynamics in the Langley Park Latin American immigrant community

Excerpt #2...

Mega-Brothels in Langley Park, Maryland

In 2004 a U.S. federal law enforcement official informed me that, much to his surprise, a Latin American immigrant brothel operation existed in Langley Park that was raking in $60,000 per week.  The agent stated that such sums of money are usually earned only through large-scale illegal drug operations.

At perhaps $30.00 per act of prostitution, the above figure breaks down to an estimated 2,000 acts of prostitution per week.  That is the volume that just one of perhaps several Latin American immigrant prostitution operations is earning.

The agent had called seeking resources for women victims of these brothel operations who wanted to leave prostitution.  I referred the caller to Washington, DC's principal non-profit working in direct intervention for the rescued victims of trafficking.

Given that Latino prostitution operations are typically run by gangs, it would not be surprising to find additional prostitution networks operating in Langley Park on a large scale.

Do they transport Puerto Rican, Dominican and Salvadoran women en-mass to and from New York City, as brothel operations in nearby Gaithersburg, Maryland do?  Do they transport Mexican and Central American women en-mass to Langley Park from Los Angeles, California, by way of gang connections there?

These are questions that only U.S. law enforcement authorities are capable of answering for the public. 

Regardless of the origins of the women and girls trapped in prostitution in Langley Park, federal, state and local law enforcement have an obligation under both criminal and moral law, to act to shut down these criminal enterprises and rescue this large community of victims from prostitution.

A year after being told of this giant Latina 'rape-factory' in Langley Park by a federal agent, I have yet to see a news report or a prosecutor's announcement stating that this major criminal enterprise has been shut down, the victims have been rescued and the perpetrators have been given a date to see a judge.

Federal government officials in the current administration often talk about the need to rescue and restore trafficking victims.  Well, here, just 10 miles directly north of the U.S. Capitol Rotunda, is a good place to start...

- Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

Aug. 16, 2005


Additional Sex Trafficking News and Analysis from the Washington, DC Region


Added April 26, 2008

Ricky Martin:

Llama y Vive

Washington, DC - Ricky Martin lanza una campaña de prevención de la trata de personas y proteger a sus víctimas hispanas en esta capital estadounidense.

- The Associated Press

April 24, 2008

The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), Ricky Martin Foundation [and others] have partnered to launch Call and Live in Washington DC, a campaign that promotes an anti-trafficking hotline.

- Inter-American Development Bank

April 24, 2008

Llama y Vive / Call and Live Hotline:

1-888 NO-TRATA

llamayvive.org/


Added April 30, 2008

Washington, DC  USA

Ricky Martin at the

April 29th Inter-

American Develop-

ment Bank (IADB)

event kicking-off the

"CALL AND LIVE"

campaign in

Washington, DC

El cantante Ricky Martin ha decidido extender su lucha contra el tráfico de personas a Estados Unidos, donde se calcula que hay unas 20 mil personas [nuevas cada año] que son retenidas o han sido desplazadas contra su voluntad.

El artista, que desarrolla esta labor a través de la Ricky Martin Foundation (RMF) , presentó hoy en Washington la campaña "Llama y Vive"...

La campaña consta de anuncios de radio, televisión y prensa escrita, en los que el cantante promociona una línea telefónica de información y asistencia contra el tráfico de personas en la capital estado-unidense...

"Si estás lejos de casa y te están explotando sexual o laboralmente, eres víctima de trata" rezan los tres comerciales dirigidos a la población latina...

"No están solos" dijo Martin dirigiéndose a los latinos de Washington. "Vamos a llamar a sus puertas si es necesario, para preguntarles si necesitan nuestra ayuda"...

- EFE / El Universal

April 29, 2008

Ricky Martin campaigns against human trafficking [in Washington, DC]

Latin heartthrob Ricky Martin is using his star power to launch "Llama y Vive" or "Call and Live", a campaign to prevent human trafficking from Latin America and also provide services for victims.

"Call and Live" has already been implemented in Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Peru, and Nicaragua. Now, it's expanding to five more Latin American countries.

Martin has partnered with the Inter-American Develop-ment Bank and Ayuda [a local Latino legal services agency] to launch "Call and Live".

Ricky Martin on human trafficking says: "My dream right now is all about seeing abolition, abolition of a new era, abolition of what we call a modern day form of slavery which is human trafficking and I'm not going to give up."

The campaign works to prevent human trafficking from Latin America and provide protection services to Latino victims in Washington, D.C. including offering a confidential victims' hotline...

- TimesNow.tv - with material from Reuters

India

April 30, 2008

LibertadLatina commentary:

The Llama y Vive / Call and Live kick-off event in Washington, DC on April 29, 2008 was an historic occasion and was well-attended.  Human trafficking, in its many forms, has long-existed in the Washington, DC region.  Ten and twenty years ago when I began seeking help from Latino agencies and the local press for exploited Latinas, few people and organizations in a position to help answered the call.

The LibertadLatina project and this web site came into existence as a result of those efforts, dating back to 1986, to bring assistance to the victim community.

I salute Ricky Martin, his foundation, the Ayuda legal services agency, the Washing-ton DC Office of Latino Affairs, other collaborating agencies and local Latino media outlets for working to address the issues of human trafficking and exploitation head on.

¡Mil gracias!

A thousand thanks!

The victim community awaits our serious and substantial efforts to help them!

- Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

April 30, 2008


Added March 14, 2008

Virginia, USA

Immigration-Linked Prostitution Cases Pose Challenge

[Woodbridge - South of Washington, DC -] The business cards handed to men at a North Woodbridge grocery store didn't say much. Just a first name, a cell phone number and the phrase Casa de Carne, or House of Meat.

But their simplicity made clear the illicit purpose: sex.

Authorities say the cards solicit customers for highly organized prostitution rings that cater to Hispanic immigrants and chauffeur women from out of state. Although prostitution crosses ethnic and racial lines, these immigration-related cases raise complex questions about the interplay of local and federal law and are likely to pose special challenges for Prince William County police in the push against illegal immigration that began this week...

"A lot of girls we've interviewed don't even know what city they are in or what state they're in," said 1st Sgt. Daniel Hess, commander of a street crime unit that has handled several of the prostitution cases...

"These detectives who have this training now understand the nuances of immigration law and how we can protect victims of human smuggling," Deane said. "The goal of these cases really should be the people who are running these operations, the people who are making the money."

In the prostitution cases uncovered locally, law enforcement officials say women get about $30 for 15 minutes and are allowed to keep half of that.

"They are called las treinteras," after treinta, the Spanish word for 30, said Dilcia Molina, a human rights advocate. "In the world of sex work, they are usually the cheapest and the poorest. They are the ones who are usually on the periphery."

- Theresa Vargas

The Washington Post

March 06, 2008


U.S. Department of Justice Announces Human Trafficking Task Force in the District of Columbia and Grants for Law Enforcement to Fight Human Trafficking and Assist Victims

Excerpt...

The D.C. Task Force on Trafficking in Persons, part of a broader push by the Department of Justice and other federal agencies, concentrates the resources of the Criminal and Civil Rights Divisions of the Department of Justice, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia, the FBI and the Metropolitan Police Department on the problem of human trafficking in the District of Columbia. 

The Task Force will work closely with community organizations and support groups committed to helping the victims of this crime.  The Task Force effort is in conjunction with Operation Innocence Lost, a program sponsored by the FBI Crimes Against Children Division, the Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS) of the Criminal Division and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.  Innocence Lost, announced in early 2003, is a nationwide initiative to focus on child victims of interstate sex trafficking in the United States.

- The Washington Post

Nov. 23, 2004


About the important work of the Polaris Project

See: www.PolarisProject.org

Derek Ellerman, Co-Executive Director of Polaris Project in Washington, DC Presents Testimony to Congress on Anti-Trafficking Work and Polaris Project's Identification of Numerous Latin and Asian Network Run Brothels Within Blocks of the White House in Washington, DC.  (Link to a U.S. Congress web site is now broken)

U.S. House of Representatives

July 8, 2004

 

From Derek Ellerman's ground- breaking interview with National Public Radio News

Excerpt...

Mr. Derek Ellerman (Co-Executive Director, Polaris Project): This is what we call our war room. This is the main room where our task force is based.

NPR's Libbie Lewis: Derek Ellerman is co-director of Polaris.

Mr. Ellerman: What we have on the walls are maps of the greater DC area, and we have pins that mark the locations of what we consider high-risk brothel locations, where trafficking either does take place or where we believe it may take place...

Mr. Ellerman: If you look just in the area around the White House, we have probably 20 different locations in this radius stretching up to about Dupont Circle and over just about to the Capitol. Most of the customers of those brothels are people who work in the area. They're professionals.

NPR's Libbie Lewis: They work in government?

Mr. Ellerman: Lots of government officials. All the time we see men walking into the brothels, sometimes even wearing their government tags. They'll walk straight out of their offices, around the corner and in wearing their government tags. We see people with diplomatic plates all the time go in. And then people just from around will come into the downtown area.

NPR's Libbie Lewis: In the 18 months it has been in existence, Polaris says it's helped identify victims in some state criminal cases, but no federal trafficking cases yet. The DC police work with Polaris on a local task force on human trafficking.

- National Public Radio

All Things Considered

June 13, 2004

LibertadLatina commentary

Around 1982, when I was working as the conga drummer for one of Washington, DC’s oldest Salsa bands, La Orquesta de Tulio Arias, I ran into one of these brothel operations in the Connecticut Ave and ‘K’ Street area, the center of DC’s legal and association industries.

Our band had been called to perform during a weekday happy hour, at a small restaurant owned by a Colombian man. 

I arrived at the gig and observed at least 20 women, all white Americans, all scantily clad or naked.  The place was filled with businessmen with drinks in their hands.  They seemed quite happy.

I concluded that the women were prostitutes.  I immediately picked up my drums, walked out, and went home.  My fellow band members stayed to perform.  They later told me that the police had raided the place that night.

Apparently, what was happening in the early 1980's continues today, on a larger scale.  Now it is Latina and Asian women who predominate as the prostitutes.

- Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

May 3, 2008


Note: The criminal networks that traffic young Latina women to the Washington, DC suburbs in Maryland and Virginia described in the below Washington Post story continue to exist in identical form in the year 2004.  Enslaved Latin women and girls are moved in and out of Latino neighborhood-based brothels in Gaithersburg, Maryland, Washington, DC, Arlington, Virginia and within the other Latin communities of the region.  Little has changed since 1994 for women and girls exploited in prostitution.

- Chuck Goolsby

2004

String of Latino Brothels Found in Va., Md. Suburbs: Police Say Women Come from New York

A growing number of brothels catering to Latino men are opening in the Washington suburbs, and police say a New York prostitution ring may be responsible.

The brothels mostly employ Latino women from the New York area, according to investigators. Court records indicate that virtually all charge the same rates -- $ 30 for 15 minutes of sexual intercourse -- and advertise using the same kind of business cards in Spanish. They also have the same operating procedures: Prostitutes punch playing cards or score sheets to tally each day's customers. "Every jurisdiction from Arlington to Montgomery County is seeing the same thing," said Alexandria police detective Harold Duquette, a member of the city's vice squad, which is investigating two of the alleged brothels.

- Washington Post - 09-21-1994


Slavery Happens Here

Back on June 11 Colbert I. King used his op-ed column to discuss violence against women, but he highlighted only the tip of a jagged iceberg.

Violence against women in Washington takes many ugly forms, including slavery and forced labor.

- Michelle Clark

Opionion/Editorial

The Washington Post

October 13, 2002


-- Michele Clark is [a former] co-director of the Protection Project at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS).



3. The Labor Slavery of Latina Immigrant Women and Girls in the Washington, DC Region

Return to Index


LibertadLatina.org founder Chuck Goolsby conducted the rescue of two Colombian women domestic workers in Montgomery County, Maryland.  These women were subjected to virtual slavery and the terrorized labor conditions described here below in this accurate Washington Post article.  Both women successfully started new lives in the Washington, DC area and legalized their immigration status. 

Among the experiences of the principal victim were: working from 6 AM until Midnight every single day; cutting the grass of a huge yard (and shoveling the huge driveway in Winter alone, by hand) while simultaneously caring for three children, washing, cleaning and cooking for a family of five; putting up with the all-day screams and verbal insults of the wife in the diplomatic family; not being permitted to ever leave the house alone; not being permitted to go anywhere on her weekend time off unless she was accompanied...

- Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

Around 2000


'Modern-Day Slavery' Prompts Rescue Efforts

...For nearly two years, she had worked 80-hour weeks cooking, cleaning and baby-sitting for an Ecuadoran official of the Organization of American States. For that, her attorneys said, she was paid little more than $2 an hour. She had worked for the same family in Ecuador, but since arriving, she said, her employer had taken her passport, she had no money and she was afraid that if she left, she would lose her visa and police would come for her.

Stories like hers are increasing among the thousands of women who are recruited every year from impoverished countries as live-in domestic help, according to law enforcement officials and advocacy groups. Now, a growing number of organizations are reaching out to mistreated domestic workers, helping them leave their employers and providing emergency housing and legal advice...

 - Lena H. Sun

The Washington Post

2004-05-03


4. Workplace Sexual Exploitation and Physical Abuse Targeting Latina  Women and Youth in the Washington, DC Region

Return to Index


Working To Make a Difference for Working Latina Women and Girls

The work of LibertadLatina.org grew out of 2 decades of effort focused on providing Latina and Latina Indigenous women and girls in Montgomery County, Maryland (a suburb just north of Washington, DC)... with advocacy against rape and retaliatory firings (for not giving in to rape) that were and are the daily reality in the low-wage workplace.  The abuses commonly encountered include those described outrages in the Laurel, MD EEOC case (see below), and included  actual cases of rape and coerced sexual exploitation.  Latina and Indigenous women and girls in the U.S. face an epidemic of rape in their workplaces and communities. 

The legal system does not now effectively protect these women and children from criminal sexual assault.

LibertadLatina.org's work within the Washington, DC region has documented the fact that the dynamics of historic patterns of anti-female exploitation with impunity that target Latina and Indigenous women and girls are merging with other, existing forms of local criminal sexual predation in the U.S.,  subjecting immigrant women and children to open sexual assault with impunity in low-wage workplaces and on the streets of their communities.

The below employment abuse cases document the  sexual assault, coercion and severe sexual harassment events that the I have witnessed first-hand, second-hand and through third-hand stories from dozens of immigrant women and girls since the 1980's. 

Convincing abused victims to come forward and pursue long-term legal actions (cases typically take two years to resolve) is difficult.  Case duration combines with justified  immigrant women's fear of the judicial system's possible prejudices and fear of the known terror tactics of their supervisors to often convince victims to either keep quiet and submit to rape in the workplace, or to face retaliatory reprimands, demotions, shift changes and firings for not submitting to the sexual demands of their supervisors and managers.  These events occur every day in the U.S.

Latina immigrant women and girl workers are typically unaware of the laws against sexual harassment and sexual coercion on the books. 

When I  distributed the translated version of the Montgomery County Women's Commission's Sexual Harassment brochure to Latina women workers in the mid 1990's, for example, it was read with astonished surprise that such laws existed in the United States.  When I  noted to the Montgomery County Women's Commission during a May, 1994 presentation to them on these issues that... more brochures needed to be printed, and that I could effectively distribute them (I did Latin event promotions at the time), several commission members shook their heads in disbelief and my request was denied.  That simple action still, nine years later in 2003, needs to be taken in Montgomery County, MD and across the U.S.

The effective communication by advocates to Latina victims of their rights and abilities to pursue criminal, civil and EEOC legal cases will be a critical part of the education process needed to break the code of silence surrounding these acts of blatant impunity in the U.S. workplace.

Our first report on these issues - from 1994

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

Montgomery County, MD -- 1994 

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

Excerpt...

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

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

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

- Charles M. Goolsby, Jr.

February, 1994


Added 02/19/ 2005

Latina Immigrant Women Domestic Workers in Montgomery County, Maryland Plea to Montgomery County Council for an End to Workplace Exploitation.


Added May 17, 2004

Latin American Immigrant Women Cleaning Workers Face Sexual Harassment, Sexual Coercion and Retaliatory Firing in Arlington, Virginia Federal Office Building (U.S. National Science Foundation).

- LibertadLatina.org


Gaithersburg, Maryland

Latina_Assaulted by Manager At Major Gaithersburg Restaurant 08-31-2004


Rockville, Maryland - September, 2002

Latina Female Workers, including several pregnant women and one elderly woman, faced repeated violent acts of physical intimidation and illegal firings at the Derwood area Wendy's Restaurant in Rockville, Maryland


Laurel, Maryland -- June, 2002

The below case from Laurel, Maryland, a city on the Route !-95 corridor in Prince Georges County, just East of Montgomery County, has defined in a formal legal setting exactly the types of sexual coercion and severe sexual harassment that the I have fought against in neighboring Montgomery County, Maryland since the 1980s.  Even pregnant Latina women and girls are routinely pressured for sexual favors by their managers and supervisors in the low-wage workplace.

Workplace Rape: Rockville, Maryland - Case # 3:

"One of the complainants, having been fired after putting up with daily unwanted fondling, was, at the time, pregnant. She was told to come back after the pregnancy (when she could be exploited sexually)."


The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) today announced a $1 million settlement of a class action lawsuit against Grace Culinary Systems, Inc. and Townsend Culinary, Inc. alleging egregious sexual harassment of 22 Hispanic women at a food processing plant in Laurel, Maryland. The suit charged the companies with routinely subjecting the female workers, all recent immigrants from Central America who spoke limited English, to unwanted groping and explicit requests for sexual favors by male managers and co-workers over several years. 

...The sexual harassment was widespread with managers routinely subjecting women to groping and crude and explicit requests for sexual favors over a period of years. The harassers were managers and male co-workers...

One woman was locked in a freezer by her supervisor after she turned down his sexual request. Two other women who were pregnant at the time were pressured for sex and subsequently demoted and fired following their refusal to comply with the advances.

 Other women at the plant were given menial or difficult work assignments for rejecting requests for sexual favors by plant managers. 

- U.S. Equal Employment Oportunities Commission

, Laurel Maryland Case

 


Washington, DC -- 1997-1998 

Julia Chávez, a Bolivian domestic worker employed by an Organiz-ation of American States (OAS) official from July 1997 through October 1998, alleged in a civil complaint that her employer and his wife required her to work when she was sick and, despite her repeated requests for medical treatment, refused to take her to see a doctor, telling her that doctors were expensive and the family could not afford to pay her medical bills.

Chávez also alleged in her complaint that after she told her employer and his wife that she was sexually abused and raped by an acquaintance of the family in August 1998, they denied her medical treatment and a forensic exam, though Chávez allegedly "exhibited . . . signs of physical and emotional trauma" and "repeatedly explained to them that she was very sick and preferred to die." Responding to her complaint, Chávez' employer and his wife denied these allegations and asserted "no knowledge" of Chávez' claim that she was raped.

 Human Rights Watch


True Cases from the Frontlines of Impunity

The below three workplace sexual and physical abuse cases are all 100% factual.  The case narratives speak for the victims, and they document the voiceless cries of tens if not hundreds of thousands of working women and girls across the United States who face rape and coercion with impunity largely because anti-immigrant hostility and apathy  from government agencies allows it to happen,

That must change!  Only public awareness and public expressions of outrage to elected officials, police administrators and local prosecutors will lead to improvement.  Nothing else seems to motivate change.

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

Workplace Rape with Impunity

Rockville, Maryland - Case 1  

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

Workplace Assault and Battery with Impunity

Rockville, Maryland - Case 2

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

The local Maryland State's Attorney's Office repeatedly pressured the victim to drop her insistence on having her assailant prosecuted.

Workplace Rape with Impunity

Rockville, Maryland - Case 3 

About One Central Plaza

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 housing Maryland state government & other offices.

A medical doctor who rented office space there 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 has keys to access the offices they clean).

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.

A (now former) Latina Washington Post reporter refused to do a story.  After requesting first a copy and then the original of a tape recoding of one of the complainants defending herself from a 20 minute attempted sexual assault by one of these assailants, the reporter intentionally 'lost' these tapes, which were investigatory materials in the Human Relations Commission case.

During one phone conversations with this reporter, she stated to me: "After all, you are accusing these guys of felonies" - as if there was something wrong with me exposing this criminal sexual assault of Latina  women and underage youth.  It was obvious that her loyalties were with the rapists.

This reporter also told me that "The Washington Post does not send reporters into dangerous situations."  I said then, as I say now: If it is dangerous, then, is it not news!!

I met with a total of four Washington Post reporters about this case.  No story was ever written.

I mentioned this case a senior female detective and sex crime investigators at the Montgomery County Police Department, where I worked part-time as a civilian computer programmer. 

Nothing was ever done.

When I called the cleaning company, they refused to answer questions, and later apparently moved and shut their phone off.

The dam finally broke when a brave Mexican cleaning woman rebelled against these three rapists, yelled and screamed at them on the job, and got enough people in positions of power to be aware of these crimes to get the head manager fired.  The two assistant managers, also perpe-trators, kept their jobs.

 

  

Using the Pen to Fight Back Against Impunity

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

The organizations that have received  this report in-person from me have included:

  • Montgomery County Police Department

  • The U.S. Department of Labor, Women's Bureau staff and attendees at their 1995 Low Wage Workers Conference

  • he Montgomery County Commission for Women (1994). 

  • The report was sent by mail to the U.S. Department of Justice, Worker Exploitation Task Force in 1999.

LibertadLatina.org is the evolution of that 1994 report over time.  The issues remain the same, and the severity of this crisis is now worse than it was in 1994.  Public pressure is still needed to change the environment of sexual exploitation with impunity facing U.S. immigrant women and girls every day.

- Chuck Goolsby

September, 2003

 

Montgomery County, MD -- 1994 

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

Excerpt...

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

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

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

- Charles M. Goolsby, Jr.

February, 1994

 

 

Presentation to the Commission for Women

A Letter from the Montgomery County, MD Women's Commission responds positively to Charles Goolsby, Jr.'s May 27, 1994 presentation before the Commission that detailed many of of the workplace abuse cases listed on the LibertadLatina.org web site and specifically on this page).  My 1994 report on conditions facing Latina immigrant women was well received. 

Despite over a decade of effort, both the abuse with impunity faced by working Latina women and girls and the apathy and inaction of police and judicial authorities continue to be an ongoing horror in this county.

 

 


5. About the Sexual Victimization of Latina Immigrant Children and Youth with Impunity in the Washington, DC. Region

Return to Index


Underage Latina girls face rape, coercion and severe sexual harassment with impunity in the greater Washington, DC area


See Also:

A Police Officer's View of Violence in Langley Park. A Latina Teen: "I Can't Go Out... Because there are Young People Who Like to Bother a Young Girl. Protection; We Need that."


Added Dec. 03, 2007

Virginia, USA

Centreville - Mynor Andres Gonzalez Estrada, 23... was accused of sexually assaulting four children at the Centreville Regional Library.

In one incident, July 31, a 10-year-old Centreville girl told police she was looking at books when a man squeezed her buttocks.

Police said the child walked away to another book aisle and saw the same man exposing himself. She told her mother who called the police. After investigation, police charged Estrada with this incident and two others.

- Bonnie Hobbs

The Connection Newspaper

Nov. 27, 2007


Montgomery County: Rapist Stalks Young Teen Girls After School

- The Washington Post

Nov. 24, 2004


Peruvian Dentist Dr David Fuster Rapes a 15-Year-Old Patient

- May 21, 2003


Officials, Activists Deplore Remark by Montgomery [County] Judge: 'Takes Two to Tango' Called Ill-Advised

Maryland lawmakers and children's advocates joined yesterday in criticizing a Montgomery County judge who said an 11-year-old girl was partly to blame for a 23-year-old man sexually molesting her because the girl invited him into her bedroom and "it takes two to tango."

Durke Thompson, a Circuit Court judge for six years... ordered Vladimir Chacon-Bonilla, of Alexandria, [Virginia] to serve 18 months in the county jail for a second-degree sex offense. The judge suspended the rest of a five-year state prison sentence and ordered Chacon-Bonilla to serve three years of probation and get alcohol abuse treatment.

- The Washington Post

January 6, 2000

Female Legislators Seek Probe of Md. Judge

- The Washington Post

February 3, 2000

Md. Judge Ready to 'Fight Back'

- The Washington Post

March 27, 2002


A Washington, DC- Latina Social Worker and Community Center Director's Letter - 1999

EXCERPT

"Over the past two years, I have been observing a systemic pattern of violence committed against girls and young women in our community. This violence involves the sexual abuse/assault against girls as young as 10 years old...  

...There have been incidents of date rape, gang rape, abductions, drugging, threats with firearms, etc.  The incidents are just as you described in your [Mr. Goolsby's below NCMEC] letter and have been met with the same level of indifference and dismissal of legal (never mind moral) responsibility on the part of civil institutions -- the police department, public schools, etc." 

...While some do say this is culturally accepted behavior, the reality is that many families -- mothers and fathers alike -- are enraged and wanting to pursue prosecution of the perpetrators, but they find themselves without recourse when the police won't respond to them, when they fear risking their personal safety, and/or when their legal status (undocumented) prevents them from believing they have rights or legal protection in this country. Many girls and young women's families are threatened and harassed by the perpetrators when it becomes apparent that the family is willing to press charges for statutory rape/child sexual abuse. 

...The use of intimidation and violence to control girls and their families results in the following: 1) parents/guardians back off from pressing charges, 2) relatives do not inform the police or others of sightings of girls and young women who have been officially reported as "missing juveniles," and 3) the victims of sexual violence refuse to participate as "willing witnesses" in the prosecution/trial process.

- From a letter by a Latina Social Worker and girl's community center director working with young Latina girls in Washington, DC's largest Latino neighborhood.


Gaithersburg, Maryland

Our letter to The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) about child abuse and exploitation in Gaithersburg, MD, and past official inaction in response. (The above social worker's letter responds to this letter). The NCMEC did refer this letter to the Gaithersburg city government.

EXCERPT

In 1997 I reported the ongoing, daily sexual harassment of an 11 year old Latin immigrant girl from El Salvador by an adult man, to the Gaithersburg City Police Department. The first visits by a patrol officers on two occasions involved (first visit) a [Gaithersburg City Police] officer who didn't care at all and took no action; and (second visit) [by one Gaithersburg, and one Montgomery County officer] a lack of willingness to follow up on the case when the harasser was found not to be home (I served as translator for these two officers). During the second incident, the officers had me translate for a ROOMMATE of the harasser, and never came back to talk to the harasser at all. 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.

The next year, 1998, I again approached the Gaithersburg City Police Force to report that the same adult man was now sexually involved with this now 12 year old girl. The officer whom I spoke with at the city's police station stated to me that "We can't just pick him up, he might sue the city."  

I demanded to know from this officer whether there were laws against pedophilia and statutory rape in Maryland or were there not? I had to assert myself in the face of this apathy and disinterest, to the apparent approval of the female clerk working at the city's police station, where this conversation took place.   

- Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

Dec. 05, 1999


Greater Washington, DC -- 2002

Report on the recently formed Child Sexual Abuse Task Force in Washington, DC.  The report addresses the rampant sexual abuse of children by adults in Washington, DC, the daily sexual exploitation of 12 year old Latina girls by adult men, cultural issues and parental fear of the law. (This Task Force responds in part to the important efforts of the Latina social worker who authored the above letter about girl rape with impunity in DC.)

From: WAMU-FM, 88.5 FM - American University Radio (a National Public Radio station) - Show: Metro Connection 


6. Rape with Impunity Targeting Latina Adult Women in the Washington, DC Region

Return to Index


Added April 12, 2008

Maryland, USA

A Montgomery County man, sentenced to two life sentences for rape Thursday, posed as a police officer and preyed on the fears of illegal immigrants, revealing what State’s Attorney John McCarthy called a growing trend among criminals.

John Robert Lay, 51, whose criminal history stretches back more than 30 years, is already serving time in a Virginia prison for sexually assaulting an [undocumented] Hispanic woman in Fairfax County in 2001. He was convicted of that crime in 2006.

In both cases, prosecutors said, Lay played on the fear of deportation held by many illegal immigrants by flashing a fake police badge at his victims and demanding identification.

When the women said they had none, he put them in his car, brought them to secluded areas and forced them to perform sexual acts...

“This is a pattern we’re seeing too often in our community. … On a regular basis criminals are targeting Hispanics, believing they can act with impunity,” McCarthy said, encouraging witnesses and crime victims, regardless of immigration status, to step forward...

“Preying on vulnerable victims; targeting Latino women is an aggravating factor, and so is impersonating police,” [Judge David] Boynton said. “You’re a lifelong criminal with offenses in every walk of life and in every location you’ve been in … this is to protect the community from you.”

- Freeman Klopott

The DC Examiner

April 11, 2008


Added March 14, 2008

Maryland, USA

Police are searching for a suspect who raped a woman Monday morning near a stairwell in an apartment building.

The 44-year-old woman was taking a walk around 11:30 p.m. Sunday when she was approached by the male suspect who had a knife. The suspect led the woman to a lower stairwell landing in an apartment building... and forcibly raped her...

The suspect is described as a Hispanic male, 39 or 40 years old, 5’11” to 6’0” tall, weighing approximately 220 pounds. He was wearing his black hair pulled back in a pony tail...

- WLJA TV

March 12, 2008


Arlington, Virginia

Pleas in Sex-Crimes Case

A widely known Latino activist will spend a year in jail for the sexual battery of four women under a plea agreement worked out last week in Arlington County Circuit Court.

Marcos A. Capriles, 37, entered an Alford plea on five sex-related misdemeanor charges in exchange for prosecutors' dropping rape, sodomy and other sexual assault charges against him. Circuit Court Judge Benjamin Kendrick handed him a one-year prison term for each charge, to be served concurrently. Capriles, a Bolivian living in Arlington, will be deported after he serves his sentence.

Capriles, a former Spanish-language reporter and newspaper owner, was arrested in April for the alleged rape of a 32-year-old Latino woman from Falls Church who agreed to pose for photographs after seeking his help in preparing tax returns...

- The Washington Post

March 12, 2008


Added Aug. 16 2005

Langley Park - The State's Largest Latin Community is Besieged by Violent Crime and Severe Sexual Harassment.  Four Throats Slashed and One Hand Nearly Severed in 5 Day Period.

Women say they won't walk to the store alone, and some won't leave their homes at night. They won't wear short skirts, they say, because the men will ask them, "How much?"


June 23, 2004

Rapes in Montgomery County, Maryland jumped nearly 40 percent in the first three months of this year, but the county police department withheld this  information from the public of all but one rape.

(Plus - LibertadLatina Commentary on Rape with impunity in Montgomery County, Maryland)


Gaithersburg, Maryland - August, September 2003

Direct advocacy assists Latina woman victim of attempted street sexual assault in Gaithersburg, Maryland.  One of three assailants was convicted.

- LibertadLatina


7. Youth Gang Violence and Latina Sexual Exploitation in the Washington, DC Region

Return to Index


Added Aug. 17 2005

Atemorizan Maras a Washington. (Gangs Frighten Washington, DC)


Added Aug. 16 2005

Langley Park - The State's Largest Latin Community is Besieged by Violent Crime and Severe Sexual Harassment.  Four Throats Slashed and One Hand Nearly Severed in 5 Day Period.

Women say they won't walk to the store alone, and some won't leave their homes at night. They won't wear short skirts, they say, because the men will ask them, "How much?"

See Also:

A Police Officer's View of Violence in Langley Park. A Latina Teen: "I Can't Go Out... Because there are Young People Who Like to Bother a Young Girl. Protection; We Need that."


DC's Largest Latin Youth Center Plans to Open Branch in Langley Park.


Wheaton (Near Langley Park) - Police Arrest 12 MS-13 Members for Two Stabbing Attacks at a School and Mall.


Veteran Latino Officer Luis Hurtado and Others Tried to Warn of Gang Dangers for Years. Hurtado: "It's Gone on Deaf Ears."


(Nearby In...) Frederick - A 15 Year Old Girl Raped by 3 Men is Abandoned Unconscious at a Dump.


See Also:

Washington Post Stories on Area Gangs.

Montgomery County, Maryland Executive Doug Duncan Visits El Salvador, Birthplace of 65,000 Montgomery Co. Residents, to Address the Gang Problem.

 


8. Holding Federal, State and Local Governments Accountable for the Safety of  Latin American Women and Children in the Washington, DC Region

Return to Index


Extensive work needs to be done to educate local officials, and to monitor  police and judicial actions to assure that Latinas receive equal protection under the law.

Immigrant women and girls do not usually  receive such equal protections now.


The crisis described here below is what is really happening to Latina women and girls in greater Washington, DC, the capitol of the United States.  How do we, as concerned communities, individuals, immigrant and victims advocacy organizations and government agencies effectively address these blatant violations of the law?

Our work in Montgomery County, Maryland and the work of the Latina social worker in Washington, DC, quoted below, identify the fact that Latina adult and girl victims of sexual assault and abuse are usually underserved by local law enforcement.  The below 1999 statement by the U.S. Justice Department on underserved victims of crime also recognizes this fact.

Extensive education of first responders and judicial officers is needed to raise awareness of the "facts on the ground" regarding the impunity with which Latina immigrant girls and women face sexual assault, coercion and harassment from perpetrators who know that the criminal justice system will often ignore the pleas of "Ms. Latina" for equal enforcement of her legal rights to the simple ownership and sanctity of her own human body.  

We encourage the public to raise these issues with your local elected officials, police departments and prosecutors. 

When I began direct, lay victim advocacy before the local criminal justice system in 1988, no victim services existed for Latina victims of criminal abuse.  In that first case (Workplace Rape: Rockville, Maryland - Case 2), the following happened:
  • The court commissioner who received the criminal complaint from the victim (that I had translated)...  laughed out loud in front of the victim when he read the complaint.  He said "gee, this guy [the perpetrator] must have had a bad day."

  • An investigator for the Maryland State's Attorney's office for Montgomery County repeatedly called me and virtually begged me to convince the Nicaraguan victim of a physical beating by her cleaning company supervisor at a local federal office building to... not press charges against the assailant.  

  • No victim services were offered whatsoever.

  • The victim felt intimidated by the perpetrator and unsupported by the Maryland State's Attorney's Office' actions in trying to get her to back out of insisting upon the prosecution of her physical assailant.

  • As a result of these actions by the Maryland State's Attorney's Office, the victim backed down and did not appear at the trial.

  • In a Montgomery County, Maryland Human Relations Commission hearing (they are the local  processor of U.S. EEOC cases), during which I represented the interests of the victim for 9 hours, the victim and her co-worker eyewitness could not convince the commissioners that a violation of worker discrimination law had taken place.

The above case occurred in 1988.  The below case intervention occurred in late 2003.  Not much has changed for the better in terms of police responses, although the Maryland State's Attorney's Office did process the case professionally, while continuing to omit any victim services whatsoever for the Latinas involved in these two cases.

Why?

In my most recent intervention, on August 4, 2003, (Direct advocacy assists Latina woman victim of attempted street sexual assault), the following happened:
  • Police at the scene of an attempted sexual assault were not at-first interested in making any arrests of the three perpetrators of an attempted sexual assault.  

  • When the victim heard this from one of the responding officers, she began crying.  

  • I later presented my LibertadLatina business card to several officers.  At that point, and after bringing the shift sergeant to the scene to translate for the victim (being fluent in Spanish I translated initially), charges were filed, but only against one of the three assailants.

  • The one charged perpetrator was convicted in September, 2003 and was sentenced to 15 days in jail.    

  • The judge asked with curiosity during the trial why only one suspect was arrested? 

  • No victim services were ever offered to the victim whatsoever.

 

These two cases typify the experiences of immigrant women in similar cases that I have been involved with in Montgomery County, Maryland.  These responses from police and prosecutors are also the daily experience of most Latin American immigrants in the Washington, DC region.  The stories told here are just a small fraction of the events that I have seen & heard about over the years.

My hat is off to the responding officers for their swift response in this case and their final decision to arrest at least the one most aggressive perpetrator, who was convicted of second degree assault.  These officers have a dangerous job to do.  

The responsibility for changing how local police officers respond to Latina adult and child victims of sexual assault and related crimes lies directly with local government and police department executives.  They have a moral and a legal responsibility to address these issues.  Officers on the street cannot act without the local police department leadership (in any jurisdiction) approving the needed changes in provision of policing services to women, children and also men in the Latin immigrant community.

The motivation for doing that should go without saying.  

The judicial system, local school systems, social services and other agencies who interact with Latina immigrant victims all have the same responsibility to treat these women and girls with equality and fairness.

Certainly, expressions of concern from the public (we the people) are critical to making real change happen.  It is up to the general public to insist that local governments and criminal justice systems across the U.S. address these issues.

Help us make that change happen!

Many Latina immigrant women in the Washington, DC region face attempted kidnappings, rapes and worse at the hands of sexual predators of all ethnicities who know that petite Ms.  Latina typically feels powerless to respond by seeking legal redress against criminal impunity.  I still remember a 20 year old Salvadoran woman telling of how she and her husband witnessed the kidnapping from a bus stop of a Latina immigrant woman in Prince Georges County, Maryland, by three non-Latino men.  

This kidnapped Latina woman was later raped and murdered by her captors.  These witnesses refused to testify for fear of retribution and the suspects were not convicted, according to the Salvadoran female witness.

Let's all work to change this tragic and barbaric  reality in the daily lives of immigrant and all other women and children now!

- Chuck Goolsby

September, 2003

 

Former Civilian 

Office Systems 

 Programmer for the 

Montgomery County 

Police Department 

from 1992 to 1995.

 


What does the U.S. Department of Justice Say?

The below statement directly addresses several important components of the above-defined problem in victim services: 

...COMPASSION AND SINCERITY

..."There is no substitute for compassion as the foundation, and sincerity as its expression, for carrying out victim services equally and fairly. Although it is not possible to feel the same compassion for all victims, providers have the responsibility to provide the same compassionate service to every victim. Compassionate and sincere advocacy knows no borders.

The plight of undocumented residents or illegal aliens, for example, involves complex issues of personal prejudices and international politics.  Sentiments among Americans regarding the clandestine migration of those who seek a better life here, mostly from Mexico and Central America, range from compassion for the safety and dignity of those fleeing poverty and war to border vigilante hunts and savage beatings. Once in the United States, undocumented aliens become easy prey for employment exploitation, consumer fraud, housing discrimination, and criminal victimization because assistance from government authorities is attached to the fear of deportation.

There is an epidemic of sexual assaults, for example committed upon undocumented Latinas.  Their immigration status, however, does not mean that they should receive less protection under America's criminal laws or less right to victim services"...

From: The United States Department of Justice - 1999

The 1999 National Victim Assistance Academy 

Chapter 7 - Responding to Underserved Crime Victims - Respecting Diversity

 

9. Latina Advocacy E-Mail Newsletter - 1999-2000

Return to Index

Before LibertadLatina.org: Chuck Goolsby's Email Dialog on the Human Rights Issues Facing Latinas in the Washington, DC Region


Using e-mail to begin a local community dialog about the sexual exploitation of Latina immigrant women & girls  in greater Washington, DC


 
Previous to the LibertadLatina project I  provided an e-mail based newsletter of important community issues related to the right of Latina women and children to live free from sexual harassment, rape and enslavement. 

The below list contains some of the more important of these e-mail conversations to people of consciousness in the greater Washington, DC region and elsewhere.

 

 

 

 

10. Intentional Discrimination Against Latinas in Healthcare Services Provision

Return to Index


Rockville, Maryland

From Charles Goolsby's E-mail Advocacy Newsletters


09/29/1999 - Discrimination against Latin Women in Health Care  

An Ecuadorian indigenous woman, who was about  40 years old, was told by two Latino doctors in Montgomery County that the lumps in her breasts were not cancer, she should not worry about it, and that the lumps were just concentrations of calcium.

This friend was told the same thing in Ecuador by another doctor.  After being, finally, correctly diagnosed as indeed having Breast Cancer, Matilde died about a year and a half ago.  Nobody ever had to answer for the injustice that this friend faced.

Another friend, from Guatemala, told me of how a sister-in-law went to our local hospital, Shady Grove Adventist Hospital...  She was also an Indigenous woman. She was having sever abdominal pains.  She was examined and was told to go home and take aspirin.

After being taken by ambulance to another local hospital,  Holy Cross Hospital, this woman was told that she had a tubal pregnancy, and was properly treated.  

(A male relative of this Guatemalan indigenous woman also went to Shady Grove Hospital with stomach pains, and was misdiagnosed and sent home.  I turned out after returning to the hospital later with severe pain that he had appendicitis)

An Ecuadorian woman took her baby to Shady Grove Hospital and the doctor prescribed the wrong diaper rash  cream, which another pediatrician recognized as being something that would actually inflame the baby's diaper rash condition.


11. Montgomery County, Maryland Commission for Women's Analysis of the Crisis Facing Latina Immigrant Women in Montgomery County.

Return to Index


The Montgomery County Commission for Women must play a strong advocacy role in ending immigrant women and girl's exposure to impunity and, most importantly, in ending the local criminal justice system's apathy & hostility toward Latinas.


 

In May of 1994 I made a 45 minute presentation to the Montgomery County Women's Commission covering the issues of immigrant women and girl's exploitation in Montgomery County communities and workplaces that are detailed on LibertadLatina.org.  The author's 1994 Report (35 pages) was distributed to the 15 or so assembled  commissioners and was well received.  In 2001 I  again contacted the Commission and encouraged them to act to resolve these issues.

The Montgomery County government web site currently highlights a seminar series that the Montgomery County Women's Commission has created to increase their visibility in response to the crisis facing immigrants in this county.  The below statement is from the commission's new, 2003 seminar series for immigrant women.

LibertadLatina commends the Montgomery County Women's Commission for taking this important step.  Much more work needs to be done, because a climate of official apathy and hostility continues to affect how immigrant women are served when faced with impunity.  

During recessions, acts of impunity become blatant as jobless women and girls are subjected to sexual quid-pro-quo work arrangements with bosses, and other stressors aggravate community based sexual exploitation.

- Chuck Goolsby, September, 2003

 

 

Montgomery County Women's Commission

401 N. Washington Street, Suite 100
Rockville, MD 20850

 

For information and to contribute your comments, please call 240-777-8330.

 

"U.S. Census 2000 indicates that Montgomery County has by far the largest population, and percent, of foreign born residents of any jurisdiction in Maryland. The Maryland Department of Planning reports that Montgomery County's foreign born population approaches 233,000 residents (26.7% of the county's total population).

...It is often the immigrant woman who faces the most serious challenges. All too often, she is employed in low wage jobs, with no benefits, little knowledge of the laws protecting her rights as an employee, and no access to that information or to agencies that could help. 

...She may be afraid to seek help from the police, health, or social services agencies, should that become necessary, and if she does seek help, language may present still another barrier. Women in these situations are far more vulnerable to abuse, harassment, discrimination and worse.

...The Commission for Women will host a series of four seminars, offering the experience, insights and recommendations of experts on these issues."

2003 MCCW Latina Issues Seminar Series Flyer

 

 
A Letter from the Montgomery County, MD Women's  Commission responds positively to Charles Goolsby, Jr.'s May 27, 1994 presentation before the Commission that detailed many of of the cases listed on this page as well  as cases detailed on our Workplace Exploitation Page.
 
 
To achieve real change, your voice (no matter where you live) needs to be heard by government officials.

Make your voice heard.  Contact:


The Montgomery County Executive and the County Council have recently signed a resolution rejecting Maryland Governor Ehrlich's recent public remarks that were construed as hostile to Latin American immigrant's and their supposed lack of English language skills.  Maybe they are in a mood to reform anti-immigrant abuses here.

- Chuck Goolsby

Excerpt...

Past political hostility towards, and support for Latino immigrants in Maryland by politicians...

On a Baltimore talk radio show, [Maryland Governor Robert] Ehrlich voiced his opinion that immigrants should learn English and adopt American culture. “I reject the idea of multicultural-ism. Once you get into this multiculturalism crap, this bunk, you run into a problem...."

According to a Takoma Park Gazette article on May 12, Ehrlich refused to answer calls for him to apologize for his comments and continued to defend his position. Meanwhile, on May 11, the Montgomery County Council unanimously voted for a resolution that expressed concern about Ehrlich’s “ill-chosen remarks" and suggested that he apologize.

Silver Chips

May 13, 2004


County Executive Isiah Leggett

Elected 2006... and a good guy!

graphic of clean energy rewards

Executive Office Building
101 Monroe Street
Rockville, MD 20850
Phone: 240-777-2500
Fax: 240-777-2517

Montgomery County Council - 2008

Phil Andrews

(District 3 | Democrat)

Roger Berliner

(District 1 | Democrat)

Marc Elrich

(At Large | Democrat)

Valerie Ervin  

(District 5 | Democrat)

Nancy Floreen

(At Large | Democrat)

Mike Knapp

(District 2 | Democrat)

George Leventhal

(At Large | Democrat)

Marilyn J. Praisner

(District 4 | Democrat)

Duchy Trachtenberg

(At Large | Democrat) 


 
The Montgomery County Commission for Women
 
Montgomery County Commission for Women 401 North Washington Street, Suite 100, Rockville, MD 20850-1703
PHONE: 240-777-8300 | TTY: 301-279-1034 | FAX: 301-279-1318
Email:
cfw@montgomerycountymd.gov
 

The Montgomery County Police Department HQ

Montgomery County Police Headquarters
2350 Research Boulevard
Rockville, MD 20850

Chief's Office

240-773-5000


Gaithersburg City Mayor and City Counsil Contact Information

City Hall at 301-258-6310

31 South Summit Avenue, Gaithersburg, Maryland 20877


Gaithersburg City Police Department

Police Station
14 Fulks Corner Ave
Gaithersburg, MD 20877

301-258-6400

301-258-6410

police@gaithersburgmd.gov

 

12. Federal Immigration Reform and Latina Human Rights

Return to Index

January 7, 2003 

President Bush Proposes Immigration Reform

While the true fairness of his plan has yet to be seen... Thank you President Bush for giving global coverage and mainstream respect to the plight of Latin@s and other  immigrants who face the severe crime & workplace exploitation issues that we struggle daily to document, organize against and overcome.

We encourage law enforcement and the judiciary across the U.S. to follow the President's leadership and provide real and equal assistance to victims, ending the  crisis in immigrant victimization with impunity and tepid local government response to that ongoing emergency.

That tepid local government response to the sexual, community and workplace exploitation of immigrant women, children and men is thoroughly described on this page and in our U.S. Latin immigrant crisis and Workplace Latin Immigrant Crisis sections.

We strongly encourage local governments in the Washington, DC region and across the United States to actively remove the restrictions to access to the law enforcement, judicial and civil legal institutions that immigrant workers desperately need access to (as president Bush noted clearly in his January 7, 2004 address).

Local Washington, DC regional communities such as Mount Pleasant in DC, Gaithersburg, Maryland and others have faced racially motivated terror and institutional hostility long enough.  That hostility is described here below.

- LibertadLatina.org

(See our additional commentary and links to press articles in regard to this issue.)

 

Return to Index

 
 

   

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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 Pueb