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Noticias de Noviembre, 2009

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Added: Nov. 30, 2009

New York, USA

She Survived the Horror - Ex-'Chica' Takes Aim at Trafficking

As children and their parents walked past crowded restaurants on Roosevelt Ave. in Jackson Heights recently, men yelled "Chicas!" and handed out cards with phone numbers and pictures of busty, scantily clad women.

For Kika Cerpa, a woman in her mid-30s, those cards bring back memories of her harrowing ordeal as one of those "chicas."

Cerpa's hellish tale began in 1993, when she was lured from her native Venezuela by a boyfriend who had moved to the U.S.

"I was forced," Cerpa said of her coercion into prostitution.

She escaped that life after a friend was killed by a drunken client, said Cerpa...

She lobbied for passage of a state law against human trafficking in 2007. The measure passed. But citywide, there were only eight arrests for sex trafficking in 2008, state records show.

And sex trafficking remains all too common along Roosevelt Ave. and in the vicinity, advocates and local leaders said.

When Cerpa arrived in the U.S. at age 20, her boyfriend's cousin - a brothel madame - took her passport and her life savings of almost $2,000 and told her she had to pay off her beau's debt. She was taken to a brothel on Roosevelt Ave.

It's been 13 years since Cerpa worked there. But her tale of horror has received international attention, including from the United Nations secretary general.

Before she told her story to a recent UN forum on human trafficking, she told Queens News that for three years she was often forced to serve 40 johns a day.

Young women, many of them undocumented immigrants, are being intimidated and blackmailed to work for prostitution rings operating near restaurants, bars and clubs in the neighborhood, community leaders said.

"Once they get here, they are enslaved," said Arnaldo Salinas, a member of the Guardian Angels, which patrols the neighborhood. "I've seen scars...from women beat upon by their pimp." ...

Sonia Ossorio, of the National Organization for Women's New York City chapter, said one reason there are so few arrests for sex trafficking is that local law enforcement officials are not trained to detect it as a crime.

When asked whether sex trafficking is treated as a crime, an NYPD spokesman said it would be considered a "derivative of prostitution."

The Queens district attorney's office declined to comment when asked how sex trafficking offenses are prosecuted...

Mary Stachyra and Rima Abdelkader

The New York Daily News

Nov. 24, 2009

Added: Nov. 30, 2009

International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women - 2009


UNIFEM and  CICIG officials sign letter of understanding with the participation of Mayan congressional deputies Beatriz Concepción Canastuj Canastuj and Elza Leonora Cu Isem.

Guatemalan federal congressional deputy Beatriz Concepción Canastuj Canastuj.

Deputy Canastuj Canastuj represents Quetzaltenango, home of the K'iche Maya, who faced numerous massacres during the Guatemalan armed conflict.

Guatemalan federal congressional deputy Elza Leonora Cu Isem.

Deputy Cu Isem represents Alta Verapaz, where numerous massacres occurred during the Guatemalan armed conflict.

Firman Carta de Entendimiento Entre CICIG y UNIFEM

Guatemala - Con el fin de establecer los parámetros de cooperación interinstitucional entre CICIG y UNIFEM para apoyar y fortalecer a las instituciones del Estado de Guatemala encargadas de velar por la defensa de los derechos de las mujeres, adolescentes y niñas; Carlos Castresana, Comisionado de la CICIG y Gladys Acosta, Jefa para América Latina y el Caribe del Fondo de Desarrollo de las Naciones Unidas para la Mujer (UNIFEM), firmaron una carta de entendimiento entre ambas instituciones (se firmó el día miércoles 25 de noviembre)…

Mayan women and supporters gather to protest a then-recent massacre in Quetzaltenango - 1978

Photo: El Gráfico

CICIG and UNIFEM Sign Letter of Understanding

Guatemala City - In order to establish the parameters of interagency cooperation between the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) and the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) to support and strengthen the institutions of the State of Guatemala for upholding the rights of women, adolescents and children, Carlos Castresana, CICIG Commissioner and Gladys Acosta, UNIFEM’s director for Latin America and Caribbean – have signed a letter of understanding between the two institutions.

Honorary witnesses who attended the signing, which took place in the Guatemalan Congress, included: Roberto Alejos, the President of Congress; Rebeca Grynspan, the United Nations Development Fund (UNDP) Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean, and Delia Back, president of the Commission for Women . Federal congressional deputies Beatriz Canastuj and Elsa Leonora Cu, as well as UNIFEM Coordinator for Guatemala Rita Cassisi, also attended the signing ceremony.

According to the text of the letter of understanding, "the parties will collaborate to implement actions to strengthen women's access to justice, especially the recording and collation of data to analyze the impact of organized crime in the violence and the impunity of crimes against women. The parties agree to generate quarterly reports reflecting the results of these actions and promote its dissemination in the appropriate spaces..."

UNIFEM's Gladys Acosta said: "We discussed with [CICIG]Commissioner Castresana the fact that one of the key issues that needs to be understood is the nature of the link between the organized crime organizations that span our region, especially in Central America and more specifically in Guatemala, and violence against women. Clearly the primary responsibility for protecting women lies with the state, but what happens when non-state actors have even more power than the state itself and can not be controlled?

Society needs to react very strongly, and that's what we're doing today. It is a justified, and very strong reaction, [insisting] that the high levels of violence against women not be tolerated any longer, and that once and for all, we have an answer."

Rebeca Grynspan, UNDP Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean stated: "This is a very important moment, because not only must we fight against violence, but we must also fight against impunity. We must say no to violence, and we must say no to impunity. Paraphrasing Commissioner Castresana: ‘Violence plus justice equals less violence. But violence plus impunity equals more violence.' "

The union of the efforts of UNIFEM, a United Nations organization that fights tirelessly for the rights of women, and the Committee Against Impunity in Guatemala [CICIG], is exactly what we need to carry this agenda forward...

The International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala

Nov. 26, 2009

Added: Nov. 29, 2009

International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women - 2009

Guatemala, Honduras, Latin America

Women of El Carmen Varituc, Guatemala, working together to create change in their community.

Mujeres Guatemaltecas: Entre la Vulnerabilidad y la Violencia de Estado

“Rescatemos el derecho a tener derechos”: Feministas en Resistencia

En Guatemala, de 2005 a 2008, 2 mil 680 mujeres fueron asesinadas, de acuerdo con datos de la Policía Nacional Civil, el Organismo Judicial y el Instituto Nacional de Ciencias Forenses (Inacif); de estos crímenes, únicamente dos por ciento –43 casos– ha sido resuelto.

Lo anterior fue comentado por Carlos Castresana, presidente de la Comisión Internacional contra la Impunidad en Guatemala (CICIG) y uno de los expertos de la Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos que realizó el peritaje de tres casos de feminicidio ocurridos en un campo algodonero en Ciudad Juárez, México; actualmente se espera la sentencia de la Corte Interamericana de Derechos Humanos (CoIDH)...

Guatemalan Women: Stuck Between Vulnerability and State Violence

“We are rescuing our right to have rights” - Feminists in Resistance of Hunduras

In Guatemala, from 2005 to 2008, 2,680 women were killed, according to data from the National Civil Police, the Judiciary and the National Institute of Forensic Sciences (INACIF); of these crimes, only two percent - 43 cases - have been solved.

The above figures were announced by Carlos Castresana, president of the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) and one of the experts of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, which conducted a survey of three cases of femicide that occurred in a cotton field in Ciudad Juarez , Mexico. [Having found in favor of families of the victims against the Mexican state] Everyone is currently waiting for the sentence in the case to be announced by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR).

To date in 2009 there have been 602 murders of women, with a rate of impunity of 98 percent, according to data from the Panel Study of Guatemala.

With these facts as a backdrop, today on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, a campaign initiative by United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, "Unite to end violence against women" was launched in a ceremony at the National Palace of Culture. The event was attended by the President of Guatemala, Alvaro Colom, and representatives of UN agencies...

A significant role in the campaign launch was offered to activist Daysi Flores of the Feminist Resistance of Honduras, a nation which, sine June 28th 2009, has lived through a coup d’etat, and which is a few days away from holding elections.

Flores, who won the applause of the audience, narrated the story of the violence that women and men are living through since the coup. She said that 325 [Honduran] women have been murdered, and that other women have been repressed, raped and harassed.

Flores declared that the right of women to live a life free of violence has so-far existed only in words, and that it takes more than that to fully exercise those rights. Flores said that practical responses from governments are needed, such as policies, budgets, access to resources of all kinds and state secularism.

We need, emphasized the Honduran feminist, to "rescue our right to have rights"...

Full English Translation

Lourdes Godinez Leal

CIMAC Noticias

Nov. 25, 2009

See also:

Comisión Internacional Contra la impunidad en Guatemala

The International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala

Added: Nov. 29, 2009

International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women - 2009


Indigenous Women in Guatemala

Photo: Rudy Girón

Campaign Is Launched To Combat Violence Against Women.

On this International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, Guatemala holds a week of activities to inaugurate the United Nations program against violence against women, with headquarters in Guatemala. Yesterday, participants from the UN and Latin American Countries discussed five themes: legislative and judicial advancements; prevention strategies, plans and programs, information and training systems; access to justice; and armed conflict and displacement. On Nov. 23, there was an event held in Guatemala City to emphasize the extremes of violence against women and femicide. Names were placed under shoes to symbolize the missing people who no longer fill those shoes.

Prensa Libre - Guatemala

Translated abstract by the Guatemala Human Rights Commission USA

Nov. 25, 2009

Added: Nov. 29, 2009

International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women - 2009


United Nations and Guatemalan officials participate in the launch of the Unite Campaign in Guatemala City on Nov. 25, 2009

More photos at Prensa Libre - Guatemala City

"Unite To End Violence Against Women"

Un Secretary General's Campaign To Be Launched From Guatemala - NOV. 23-30, 2009

On November 25th in Guatemala, the United Nations [launched] Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's campaign “Unite to End to Violence Against Women” for the region of Latin America and the Caribbean.

The campaign focuses on strategies to counter violence against women at the regional, national, and local levels. At the Board of Directors 41st Regional Reunion Conference about Women in Latin American and the Caribbean, the Secretary General proposed an agreement to formally initiate the campaign, and many UN organizations have committed to lead campaign activities in the region.

The regional efforts are focused on ending impunity for the crime of violence against women and girls through the implementation of international and national legal mechanisms; the increased commitment of governments to fulfill their promises to put and end to violence against women and girls; and the mobilization of  key actors working for the empowerment of women and their communities.

Women’s organizations have been invited to be part of the campaign with the understanding that they are the key actors in this international and national effort...

Why Guatemala?

Guatemala has been chosen as the focal point of this effort because of the escalation of violence against women in the country, a level of violence which has yet to be fully recognized by the international community.

In 2007, Guatemala was ranked third highest in death rates in Latin America resulting from violence against women.  In 2009, Guatemala has moved quickly to first (depending on the method of classifying causes of death). Between January and May of 2009, 265 femicide (murder of women for being women) cases were recorded.

Between 2005 and 2007, there were 19,600 women murdered; however, only 43 of those responsible for the deaths were sentenced.  A factor that explains the increase of assassinations in 2009 is that, in the previous three years, 1,912 murders were never prosecuted.

Since the law against femicide took effect in May of 2008, only two offenders have been sentenced, although 722 women have been killed by violence.  (Fundación Sobre-vivientes  (the Survivors' Foundation)...

Violence in Guatemala generates a cost of more than $300 billion annually, equivalent to 7% of the GDP.

...Women's organizations and the specialized programs that they have created for the promotion of their rights in Guatemala reflect a strong measure of resilience and resistance, as well showing the infinite creativity possessed by these women as they organize, prepare, and mobilize for the struggle against adverse conditions of social devaluation, misogyny, and ethnocentrism. The UN campaign supports these efforts by promoting solidarity among regional and international organizations and initiatives in order to share knowledge, strength, and resistance...

María Suárez Toro

Feminist International Radio Endeavour (RIF/FIRE)

Translated by Hannah Powell Losada

Edited by Ross Ryan & Margaret Thompson

Oct. 20, 2009

Added: Nov. 29, 2009


Sex Slave Horror in Brooklyn

A sex slave trafficker lured a love-smitten 15-year-old girl from Mexico to Brooklyn, turned her into a prostitute and then let their infant child die without medical care, authorities said today.

The ghoulish story emerged as federal agents raided an apartment on 40th Street in Sunset Park and removed a cement-packed bucket that is believed to hold the tiny remains of the child.

Agents arrested Domingo Salazar, 33, who was described as an illegal alien who had been deported to Mexico after being arrested in a similar sex trafficking case.

Sources said he returned to the US and ran a new trafficking ring that brought in several unwitting women from Mexico to become prostitutes.

While in Mexico he began a romantic relationship with the teen and later paid a smuggler to bring her to the US in April 2007.

After she arrived she gave birth to their baby.

But Salazar forced her into turning $17.50 tricks, at a rate of 8 to 15 tricks per shift.

He and his wife Norma Mendez, 32, began abusing her — including beating her with a brick.

Sources said the woman, now in protective custody, had knife wounds, black eyes, broken fingers and broken bones in her hand when rescued.

In January 2008 her baby became ill but Salazar wouldn’t let her take the child to a hospital.

After the tiny girl died, Salazar had the grief-stricken mother put the child in a bucket which they filled with cement and then hid in a storage bin.

The bucket was removed from the apartment yesterday and x-rays determined there was a tiny child inside, sources said.

Investigators were stunned by the cruelty of the case.

"It is unconscionable in this day and age that there are person who would hold other human beings in conditions of servitude and force them into lives of prostitution in order to line their own pockets," said US Attorney Ben Campbell."

Murray Weiss and Kati Cornell

The New York Post

Nov. 25/29, 2009

Added: Nov. 29, 2009

Florida, USA

Police Search for Alleged Child Rapist

The search is on in Boynton Beach for a man police desperately want to find.

They say he's a danger to the community, especially to children.

He's accused of disgusting crimes against children, committing them over and over again for the past three years.

Police Detective Alfred Martinez is focused on finding a man who has given him the slip since early November.

Twenty Two year old Margarito Andres of Boynton Beach...

Police say Andres is wanted on charges of child sexual battery for repeatedly raping two little girls from Boynton Beach, ages 13 and 11.

One of them, the older girl, was raped more than 40 times.

She says Andres starting having sex with her when she was 10...

Andres is an undocumented illegal alien from Guatemala, who does landscaping and day labor jobs. He is in the U.S. illegally.

Police want to make it clear that if some other undocumented immigrant comes forward with a tip about where they can find Andres, they have no reason to fear that they will be deported.

They can remain anonymous and police say they will not contact federal authorities if an undocumented person helps them find Andres. Contact Detective Martinez at (561) 436-4770.

Al Pefley

CBS 12 News

Nov. 18, 2009

Added: Nov. 29, 2009

Washington, DC, USA

Ingmar Guandique

More Charges Promised in Chandra Levy Case

Move delays trial for 2001 slaying until October

Federal prosecutors in the Chandra Levy murder case told a D.C. Superior Court judge Monday that they plan to file additional charges against the suspect, Ingmar Guandique.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Fernando Campoamor told the judge that his office plans to file a superseding indictment within the next few weeks and has scheduled a new arraignment for Guandique for Dec. 15.

After the hearing, Campoamor declined to name the new charges. But in court filings this summer, prosecutors said they found at least one other person who reported having been attacked by a man fitting Guandique's description. Last month, prosecutors said that Guandique had threatened to kill a potential witness in the case. Prosecutors said Guandique and members of his Salvadoran gang, MS-13, sent two letters to the witness, an inmate in another prison. The witness had to be moved...
Guandique, 28, was arrested in April and charged with six counts, including first-degree murder, kidnapping, robbery and sexual abuse, in connection with Levy's 2001 disappearance and slaying.

If found guilty, Guandique could be sentenced to life in prison. Guandique, an illegal immigrant from El Salvador, has been serving a 10-year term for attacking two women at knifepoint in Rock Creek Park about the time Levy disappeared. Levy's body was found in the park a year later...

Keith L. Alexander
The Washington Post
Nov. 24, 2009

Added: Nov. 29, 2009

California, USA / Mexico

Authorities Free Girl From Alleged Human Smuggler

Santa Ana - Authorities have arrested a suspected human smuggler who allegedly refused to release a 4-year old girl he brought across the border from Mexico at her mother's request.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement said Friday the girl's mother had the man smuggle the child while she took another route, but he later refused to release her, demanding more and more money.

Authorities rescued the girl, who is a U.S. citizen, on Thursday and returned her to her mother.

ICE says deputies from the Orange County Sheriff's Department arrested 32-year old Emanuel De La Costa-Valdiva for investigation of human trafficking, kidnapping and extortion.

ICE says the mother, an illegal immigrant from Mexico, will be allowed to stay in the country to serve as a witness.

The Associated Press

Nov. 27, 2009

Added: Nov. 29, 2009


Mexican National Gets 15 Years in Federal Prison

A Mexican national living Phoenix was sentenced to federal prison Monday for harboring illegal immigrants and sexually assaulting a 15-year-old immigrant girl kept at his house.

Feliciano Rojas-Vivar, also known as Ruben Lopez-Lopez, 53, of Pueblas, Mexico, received a 15-year term.

U.S. District Court Judge Frederick Martone said there was credible evidence Rojas-Vivar sexually assaulted and degraded a female juvenile, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Rojas-Vivar pleaded guilty to three counts of harboring illegal immigrants.

His stepson, Juan Daniel Rojas-Perez, 30, was sentenced to 46 months in prison for conspiracy to harbor aliens. He was not part of the sexual assault.

Young women entering the U.S. from Mexico are sometimes subject to abuse during their treks through the Arizona desert and when they are housed at drop houses in the Phoenix area, according to police and immigration groups on both sides of the contentious issues.

Mike Sunnucks

Phoenix Business Journal

Oct. 27, 2009

Added: Nov. 28, 2009

International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women - 2009


Mayan Women from TRAMA Textiles, which was born out of the most desperate and devastating times of the Civil War in Guatemala when most of the men -- grandfathers, fathers, brothers, and sons, were murdered by soldiers and paramilitary forces, and the women were forced to find a way to survive and support their households and communities.

Photo: Rai

Víctimas de Violación por Parte de Militares Rompieron el Silencio

Guatemala: donde la justicia para las mujeres no llega

Guatemala - A trece años de la firma de los Acuerdos de Paz en Guatemala, las mujeres sobrevivientes y víctimas de la violencia sexual ejercida por militares y paramilitares entre 1981 y 1983 continúan exigiendo al Estado guatemalteco la reparación del daño, la restitución de sus propiedades y de sus derechos, y esperando una justicia que no llega…

Indigenous Women Victims of Rape During the Civil War Break Their Silence

Guatemala: where justice for women

never arrives

Guatemala - Thirteen years after the signing of the peace accords in Guatemala, the surviving women victims of the sexual violence perpetrated by military and paramilitary forces between 1981 and 1983 [during the most intensive period of anti-Mayan ethnic cleansing massacres carried out by government forces] continue demanding restitution of their property rights and other reparations from the Guatemalan State. They have been waiting for a justice that never arrives.

These women came together in the plaza Justo Rufino Barrios, in the historic center of Guatemala as an activity to commemorate the 25th of November [International Day Against Violence Against Women]. These surviving victims of rape during the armed conflict decided to break their silence for the first time.

The majority of these women are widows, as their husbands were murdered during the civil war. The women denounced the lack of support and aid on the part of the Guatemalan government who, they said, had made false promises to repair the damage caused to the victims.

According to the report “Guatemala, the Legacy of the Violence”, by Amnesty International (AI), during the four decades [1960 to 1996] that the conflict armed in this Central American country lasted, around 200,000 people became victims of homicide or forced disappearance. Some 400 communities  [actually 440 Mayan villages and towns -LL] were destroyed.

Sexual violence against women and children was in-fact generalized during the entire conflict. At the event, 4 women narrated how they were abused, separated from their husbands and had their land and homes stolen from them during the civil war.

Petrona Cucul is a surviving woman of the conflict. She remembered how the soldiers burned their house and killed their husband. She was left alone in charge of her four children. After burning the house and the harvest and killing all of their farm animals, the soldiers raped her. Till this day Cucul continues to demand justice and aid from the government so that their children can continue their studies.

Germana Lucas was also raped by soldiers. Like Petrona, she had her land, her house, and all of her belongings stolen from here. She has never been repaid for these actions by the State.

Isabela Méndez related how, before the conflict, “there were good crops” of beans and corn. Later everything changed. : Méndez fled to the border and left her home. Who will repay the damage that we suffered, the pain, the sentiments?, she asked.

Illiterate and monolingual, Isabela was forceful and, in her Mayan language, she said: “I do not know how to read nor to write, I do not speak Spanish. But I have learned and recognize that I have rights and that I am citizen of Guatemala. We want to live peacefully and with justice.”

In a ritual ceremony, the indigenous women gave to one ear of corn to the women victims of sexual violence, as a symbol of solidarity and cleansing.

The women stated that, even [now] when there is no war, women continue to be discriminated against, raped, excluded and murdered for the single reason that they are women.

We recall that, during the visit to Guatemala in 2004 of the special representative for women’s rights of the Inter-American Human Rights Commission (CIDH), was informed about the increase in the number of murders against women; a situation that is at its most serious when indigenous women are the victims. For them, justice simply does not exist.

The AI report on this subject makes reference to a report by the Guatemalan Truth Commission, which recognized that during the armed conflict,  the bodies of women were used [by government forces] to destroy and to intimidate the enemy [that is, the entire Mayan population]. Rape became one of the cruelest and degrading ways to violate a woman’s rights during this period.

The Truth Commission report notes that the majority of victims of rape were young Mayan indigenous women.

According to the document [and other reports], in March of 1982 at least 140 women and children of Negro River were forced to march up a mountain, where they were [raped and then] murdered, some to machete blows and others by strangulation. Shortly after, 79 people, in their majority women and children, were massacred in the neighboring town of the Encounter.

As a result of the massacres and other killings during the armed conflict, widowed women, many with five or more children, were forced off of their lands. They did not know how to read, and they lived with the traumas caused by the sexual assaults.

Without support from their government, these women had to begin to help each other. They began to weave alliances to talk, and to fortify themselves by means of self-help groups.

For that reason, on this commemoration of this International Day for the Elimination of Violence against the women, they decided to speak up, and to continue demanding justice. They conclude by stating, “although they cut even the stem off of us, we bloom again.”

Lourdes Loyal Godínez

CIMAC Noticias

News for Women

Nov. 27, 2009

See also:

Guatemala:  No Protection, No Justice: Killings of Women in Guatemala

Amnesty International

June 9, 2005

See Also:

LibertadLatina Special Section

About the crisis of anti-Mayan genocide and femicide in Guatemala Note: The rate of femicide murders in Guatemala is ten times higher than the rate of such crimes in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.

Added: Nov. 28, 2009


The Truth Under the Earth: The Relationship Between Genocide and Femicide in Guatemala

The war in Guatemala has never ceased. While the Peace Accords signed in 1996 demobilized some combatants and weapons - the killing, raping and torturing continues unabated. In 2009 the homicide rate for Guatemala, with a population of 13 million, is about 8,000 per year. Of these 8,000 murders approximately 10 percent are women and girls.

According to figures from Guatemala City based women’s group Grupo Guatemalteco de Mujeres (GGM) between January 2002 and January 2009 there were 197,538 acts of domestic violence, 13,895 rapes and 4,428 women were murdered. What is perhaps even more disturbing is that for this tsunami of violence there is a 97 percent impunity rate. One of the main reasons for near total impunity in the Guatemalan context is that the people responsible for the genocidal civil war against indigenous people in which 200,000 people were murdered and 50,000 disappeared have never, nor are they ever likely to be held accountable.

In August and September of 2009 I visited Guatemala, at least in part, to examine how the civil war has been superseded by an as yet undeclared social war, part of which is an ongoing femicide...

I visited Finca Covabunga, which is just up the road from Chul, a bumpy, dusty, windy three hour trip through the mountains on the back of a pick up, north of Nebaj. On December 9, 1982, 75 men, women and children were massacred by the Guatemalan army...

I talked and recorded survivors of the massacre. Margarheta lost her husband, animals, land and all her possessions on that day. She spent the next ten years living in the mountains running from the army. Digging up the bodies was painful for her as it brought back a flood of painful memories...

The next day Nicolas and I and a couple of other activists visited a community on the outskirts of Nebaj. It is named June 30th which commemorates the date in 2006 in which the community reclaimed land from the army - who had stolen it after eradicating the owners - and started growing food, teaching their kids and various other projects of self-determination...

While at the community I met a young woman of sixteen who had a six month old baby, the father is a soldier and the conception method was rape. Nothing has ever happened in regards to this rape. In June of 2009 a woman who had five young children, was raped, murdered and cut up by soldiers. Nothing will likely ever happen to the person/s who committed this heinous act - impunity for such crimes is total in Guatemala...

Colm McNaughton


Oct. 22, 2009

See Also:

LibertadLatina Special Section

About the crisis of anti-Mayan genocide and femicide in Guatemala

Added: Nov. 28, 2009

International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women - 2009


ONU: Lanza en Guatemala una Campaña Latinoamericana Contra la Violencia de Género

La Organización de las Naciones Unidas (ONU) lanzó hoy en la capital guatemalteca una campaña latinoamericana que durará hasta 2015 con el objetivo de unificar esfuerzos entre diferentes sectores y fortalecer legislaciones para poner fin a la violencia en contra de las mujeres… 

The United Nations Kicks-off Regional  Campaign Against Latin American Gender Violence in Guatemala

Guatemala City - The United Nations (UN) chose the capitol of Guatemala [Guatemala City] to launch is continent-wide campaign against gender violence. The effort will continue until 2015 with the objective to unify efforts between different sectors of society, and to fortify legislative efforts to end violence against the women in the region.

The campaign “Latin America, Unite to End Violence Against Women," will involve efforts by all of the agencies in the UN system. It is an initiative of its UN Secretary General Ban Kin-moon.

The launch was celebrated in the presence of the president of Guatemala, Alvaro Colom, and the core UN officials working across Latin America. The November 25th event coincided with the celebration of the the International Day of Non Violence Towards Woman.

The director of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (CEPAL), Alicia Bárcena, stated during the presentation that the various activities to be carried out through this UN campaign will attempt to reduce the levels of violence against the women.

A study by CEPAL of conditions of violence facing women in the region was presented during the event. CEPAL indicates that 40% of women in the region are victims of physical violence, and that the 60 percent suffer from psychological violence.

The report “ Not Even One More! From Words to Facts: How Much Farther Until We Get to This Goal? declares that the many forms of violence facing women in the region include domestic violence, murder, sexual harassment and sexual violence.

Latin American women also suffer from sex trafficking, institutional violence, discrimination against immigrants, and race-based gender violence that targets Indigenous and Afro-descendent women [and girls].

The regional director for Latin America and the Caribbean of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Rebeca Grynspan, explained that by means of this campaign, the UN will collaborate, together with the countries of the region, in efforts to fortify legislation in nations of the region regarding the protection of the rights of women.

In addition, the campaign will advance  a “multisectorial plan”, that promotes the prevention and eradication of machista violence, campaigns of sensitization, and development of national capacities for data collection.

With this campaign, it needed Grynspan, “we will revitalize the fight and the commitment of the UN tp put an end to violence against women, an urgent task that must be accomplished to prevent the continuation of the sentence of violence that generations of women have faced, which many women have paid for with their lives."

President Colom of Guatemala emphasized the importance of the United Nations’ choice of Guatemala as the launch-point of this campaign. Colom assured that “this constitutes a commitment” by his government to eradicate the evils that afflict Guatemalans women.

President Colom added that in Guatemala, most women are targeted for violence because they are poor, indigenous, young and women.

In this Central American country, one of most violent of Latin America, and where the greatest amount of violence against women occurs, two women are murdered every day, often by men known to them.

According to the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala, a UN agency, 94% of murders committed against women between 2001 and 2009 have remained [unsolved and] in impunity.


Nov. 25, 2009

See Also:

"Unite To End Violence Against Women"

United Nations Secretary General's campaign to be launched from Guatemala

Feminist International Radio Endeavor (FIRE)

Nov. 25, 2009

See Also:

LibertadLatina Special Section

About the crisis of anti-Mayan genocide and femicide in Guatemala

Added: Nov. 28, 2009


La Trata de Mujeres, en Chiapas

La vulnerabilidad de las mujeres, adolescentes, niñas y niños que van hacia los Estados Unidos ha aumentado en gran medida ya que son el blanco perfecto para las variadas formas de explotación que existen en la mayoría de las fronteras del país…

The Human Trafficking of Women in Chiapas State

Mexico is rich in natural environments, climates and amiable people. However, we also have problems in our southern region due to the geographic location of Mexico. Adults and children from Central [and South] America, who migrate north in search of the American Dream [in the United States], must migrate through Mexico. As with all nations in the northern regions of the Americas, Mexico experiences a great influx of people from its neighbors to the south. One alarming fact is that a growing number of very young migrants are attempting to travel north, putting themselves at risk of facing bad experiences in the process.

Women, adolescents, girls and boys who attempt to migrate to the United States are at ever-increasingly risk of being exploited in Mexico. They are a ‘perfect target’ for the various forms of human exploitation that exist along Mexico’s borders.

As a country of origin, transit and destination for trafficking victims, Mexico is vulnerable to the interminable networks of national and international organized crime that are dedicated to human slavery. Lamentably, Mexico has reported large numbers of people who have been enslaved for sexual and labor exploitation. These victims include women, adolescents and children, who are easier to convince, to manipulate and to exploit.

Without a doubt the seriousness of this situation represents enormous challenges for Mexico’s government and its society, because it impacts deals not only its direct victims, but also their families, communities, and society in general.

Opinion of Eduardo González A.


Nov. 27, 2009

Added: Nov. 28, 2009

The Dominican Republic, Haiti

Feministas Denuncian la Trata de Mujeres Para la Explotación Sexual

Una agrupación feminista dominicana expresó hoy su preocupación por el tráfico de haitianas a territorio dominicano y de dominicanas hacia Europa y otros países donde son explotadas sexualmente por las redes que se encargan de reclutarlas.

Feminists Denounce the Human Trafficking of Women for Sexual Exploitation

A Dominican feminist group today expressed its concern in regard to the trafficking of Haitians into the Dominican Republic, and the trafficking of Dominican women to Europe and other countries where they are sexually exploited sexually by the networks that recruit them.

While mafia networks that operate in the Dominican-Haitian border recruit and deal to Haitians to prostitute them in the Dominican Republic, many women of this country also are victims of trafficking networks, who send them to Europe for prostitution, noted Raquel Rivera, spokeswoman of the Coordination of Women of the Cibao, located in the northern city of Santiago.

Rivera has presented the idea to the authorities in both Haiti and the Dominican Republic that they collaborate to eradicate the criminal groups that traffic in the women of both nations.

Rivera added that human trafficking, especially involving women who are prostituted, is nothing new in Latin America and the Caribbean. The Dominican Republic and Haiti have not escaped from these dynamics.

According to Rivera, the trafficking of Haitians to the Dominican Republic to exercise prostitution, and of Dominican women trafficked to Spain, Italy, Greece, Germany and other nations of Europe, is a result of the discrimination, violence and lack of opportunities that these women suffer.

Rivera added that all people who attempt to migrate from their home countries in search of better living conditions do so because the authorities in their nations have not given them the opportunity to live in dignity.

In Rivera’s opinion, the trafficking of women is a new indicator of the level of violence that affects females in Latin America and other parts of the world.


Nov. 27, 2009

Added: Nov. 28, 2009


Red de Pederastas en México (Primera Parte)

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

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

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

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

The Mexico City Prosecutor’s Office reported that investigations of this network began last July when Maria del Socorro Vázquez Villegas, aka "La Coco", and Michelangelo Lopez Reyes, known as "The Clown", who were arrested.

However, citizen complaints, and neighborhood monitoring of the problem began years ago.

"It has been almost seven years since we began organizing the neighbors in our [community] association to denounce the prostitution that was happening in the streets. First there were women, then men and women, and now there are men, women and children," said David Alejandro Mondragon president of the Buena Vista Neighborhood Association.

Seven youth between the ages of 14 and 16 were rescued. They are from Oaxaca and Morelos states, and from Mexico City. The authorities found evidence linking this group with other pedophile networks in hotels that were raided.

Pornographic materials, video cameras, customer log books and other evidence was collected, said Juana Camila Bautista Rebollar, a prosecutor for Sex Crimes Investigative Center in the Mexico City attorney general’s office.

One victim testified that: "I was sold from one man to anther and to yet another, as if I were a toy.”

At the end of 2008 the Centro Fray Julián Garcés and various civil society organizations in Tlaxcala state denounced the fact that a well-structured network of pedophiles operating in the cities of Tenancingo and Zacatelco was recruiting youth, most of them just over the age of 14, to be trafficked to Mexico City for purposes of prostitution.

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

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

Last August, the commission issued a recommendation.

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

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

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

The crusade began in the Federal District on October 24th brings us to the question, what took them so long?

November 4, 2009

News Eleven

Added: Nov. 28, 2009


Aprueban Ley de Prevención en Trata de Personas [en Tlaxcala]; prevén sanciones a servidores públicos

Tal y como se había previsto, en sesión extraordinaria del Congreso del estado se aprobó por unanimidad de votos en lo general y particular  el decreto por el que se crea la Ley de Prevención de la Trata de Personas para el Estado de Tlaxcala, así como las reformas a los Códigos Penal y de Procedimientos Penales…

Tlaxcala State Congress Approves New Anti-Trafficking Law

Just as had been anticipated, a special session of the Tlaxcala state congress has unanimously approved the Law to Prevent the Trafficking of Persons of the State of Tlaxcala. The law includes reforms to the criminal code and sentencing rules in relation to trafficking crimes.

The law has been designed to criminalize human trafficking in the state, as well as to provide for assistance, protection and reparations for victims. The ultimate goal is the eradication of trafficking in Tlaxcala.

The legislation was approved after a brief period of review by the state legislature’s Commission on Constitutional Compliance, the Interior, Justice and Political Affairs.

The law contemplates the formation of a State Council on Human Trafficking. The Council will be charged with developing strategies and taking actions to prevent trafficking. The Counsil will oversee the provision of care for victims, which will include medical, psychological, legal and material services. The law also creates a fund to support these operations through the fines levied against those convicted of trafficking offenses.

The law anticipates the participation of municipal governments, who will be expected to participate in prevention programs and coordinate their anti-trafficking work with civil organizations. Municipal governments will be expected to be on the front lines of efforts to detect trafficking crime.

The law identifies as a crime any activity by a person that “promotes, solicits, offers, facilitates, obtains, transports, gives shelter to, gives or receives, for themselves or for a third person, acts of sexual exploitation, forced labor or services, slavery or practices analogous to slavery, or the extirpation of any human organ, or tissue.”


In cases where the victims granted consent, the perpetrator will not escape responsibility. Their crime will be sanctioned with prison sentences of between seven and fifteen years, and fines amounting to 500 to 1,500 days of minimum wage pay.

In cases where physical or moral violence was used to control their victims, sentences will range from 9 to 18 years in prison, and will include fines of between 1,000 and 2,000 days of minimum wage pay.

Government employees found guilty of trafficking related offenses will face prison terms of 15 to 25 years, and fines of 1,500 to 3,000 days of minimum wage salary. Government employees who are fired from their positions will be ineligible for reemployment for a period equal to the length of their prison sentence.

In cases where the victimizer is a family member, having a blood relationship with the victim to the fourth degree, sentencing will range from 15 to 25 years of prison time, and the fine will be the equivalent of 1,500 to 3,000 days of minimum wage salary.

If the crime has been committed against a person who is under age 18 or over age 60, or against a person with a mental or physical handicap, prison sentences will range from 30 to 40 years, and fines will range from 1,000 to 6,000 days of minimum wage salary.

The Congress of Tlaxcala also reformed Article 93 of the state penal code. The reform defines pimping and human trafficking as serious crimes. Suspects in these cases will not be allowed pre-trail release on bail.

Yvonn Márquez


Nov. 2009

Added: Nov. 28, 2009

Washington State, USA

Pacific Pair Accused of Smuggling, Enslaving... Mexican Immigrants

For at least three years, a couple in the town of Pacific [a Seattle suburb] ran a smuggling operation that brought illegal immigrants from Mexico to be housed in the garage of their home, where the immigrants lived as indentured servants while paying off their smuggling debt, according to court documents.

Maria Bartola Santos-Gonzalez and Juan Gonzalez-Guerra slipped illegal immigrants from Aguascalientes, Mexico, across the border and up into Washington state, for $3,000 to $3,500 each, federal and state documents allege.

Among their victims was an 8-year-old girl, whom the couple brought to the United States in 2007, along with her parents and brother. The girl described to a school counselor and to a Pacific detective how Gonzalez-Guerra, 55, a legal permanent resident, sexually molested her.

Her 7-year-old brother told of how Santos-Gonzalez, 63, a U.S. citizen, would sometimes tie him up, cover his mouth with a handkerchief or tape and beat him with a stick, leaving purple marks.

The family said they were fed twice a day and a chain was kept around the refrigerator so they couldn’t get more food.

Family members told a Pacific detective the couple threatened to “cut out their tongues” if they told anyone about what happened and told the immigrants the police wouldn’t listen to them anyway because they were undocumented...

Lornet Turnbull

Seattle Times

Nov. 27, 2009

Added: Nov. 28, 2009

South Dakota, USA

[News Briefs]

[Yankton -] Thumbs down to news that human trafficking may be much closer to our front door than we would like to believe. A Tea couple has been charged with conspiring to sell the services of underage prostitutes. The issue of human trafficking has been receiving a lot of publicity from human rights organizations around the world and for good reason — it is one of the most heinous crimes imaginable. Millions of children are enslaved and used for sex acts. According to data reported at CNN.com, the global commercial sex trade exploits one million children annually. At least 100,000 children in America are victims of sex trafficking each year. It’s no secret that this activity is funneled through many small towns across the nation. To have it uncovered so close to Yankton is disturbing, and we hope that if this couple is guilty they are brought to justice.

Yankton Press & Dakotan

Nov. 27, 2009

Added: Nov. 28, 2009

The United States

US Officials Begin Push Against Human Trafficking

Boston - Fourteen cities are being targeted in a new campaign aimed at alerting people about human trafficking, federal immigration officials have announced.

The "Hidden in Plain Sight" initiative, sponsored by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, features billboards highlighting "the horrors and the prevalence of human trafficking," which the agency says is equivalent to "modern-day slavery."

The words "Hidden in Plain Sight" are displayed on the advertisements with a toll-free number people can call to report situations where they believe people are being sexually exploited or forced to work against their will.

Cities in the new campaign are Atlanta; Boston; Dallas; Detroit; Los Angeles; Miami; Philadelphia; Newark, N.J.; New Orleans; New York; St. Paul, Minn.; San Antonio; San Francisco and Tampa, Fla.

Bruce Foucart, an ICE special agent in charge of New England, said officials hope the billboards persuade residents to report suspected cases to ICE or local law enforcement.

"It's difficult to identify victims and it's difficult for them to tell their stories," said Foucart.

About 800,000 men, women and children are trafficked each year around the world and about 17,500 of them end up in the United States, according to ICE. Immigration officials say the victims are lured from their homes with false promises of well-paying jobs but are trafficked into the commercial sex trade, domestic servitude or forced labor.

Foucart said victims who cooperate with law enforcement are offered temporary status and can later apply to stay in the U.S. permanently.

Jozefina Lantz, director of New Americans services at Lutheran Social Services in Worcester, Mass., welcomed the new campaign and said the public is generally unaware that human trafficking is occurring near their homes.

"Often the victims get mistaken for undocumented immigrants," said Lantz. "It's not the same because these people were abducted from their homes and forced into trafficking."

Lantz said her group has recently helped trafficking victims from Africa and South America.

Russell Contreras

The Associated Press

Nov. 10, 2009

Added: Nov. 28, 2009

The United States

Sex Trafficking: An American Problem Too

Editor's note: Professor Bridgette Carr directs the Human Trafficking Clinic at the University of Michigan Law School. The Human Trafficking Clinic provides direct representation to victims of human trafficking and works to identify solutions to combat human trafficking.

Ann Arbor, Michigan...

The grim reality of child sex trafficking in the United States is this: Human traffickers are selling sex with children in big cities and small towns throughout America...

Through my work with... clients in the Human Trafficking Clinic we have identified a number of ways to fight sex trafficking.

Raise awareness within your community: One of the biggest barriers to helping victims of sex trafficking is the lack of awareness about the issue. Human traffickers profit when we think human trafficking only happens in foreign countries.

• Human trafficking happens everywhere, and sex trafficking cases involving children have been found in all regions of the country. No community is immune to the horrors of human trafficking.

• Communities must prioritize the fight against human trafficking -- including providing enough resources to law enforcement.

Change the conversation: Children who by law are too young to consent to having sex obviously cannot consent to selling sex, so:

• Victims should not be described as entering into prostitution; they are being exploited and should be described as victims of human trafficking.

• Law enforcement officials often arrest and detain child victims of sex trafficking on either prostitution charges or other charges, such as truancy or curfew violations. Law enforcement must be trained about human trafficking.

• Sellers of sex, especially when they are children, should not be guilty of a criminal violation. Buyers and pimps should be the only individuals at risk of criminal penalties. This would ensure that no victims are arrested or jailed.

Reduce demand: The reality of sex trafficking must not be neutralized or glamorized.

• Individuals who travel abroad to purchase sex from children are demonized in the media and identified as sexual predators, yet individuals who stay in the United States and pay to have sex with children are given the anonymous title "john" -- and frequently aren't even charged with a crime.

• Individuals who pay for sex with children in the United States should be punished.

Commentary by Bridgette Carr

Special to CNN

Nov. 25, 2009

Added: Nov. 28, 2009

Maryland, USA

Charges Dropped in East Baltimore Brothel Case

The sex trafficking and prostitution charges seemed pretty clear cut -- Carlos Silot was accused of running a brothel near Patterson Park, staffed with illegal immigrant women, from a rented row house, where police found a customer roster, photographs, condoms and more. But the case fell apart this week for a predictable reason: The women refused to testify.

How could we have expected otherwise? Women are brought to this country from Mexico, cut off from family, made to endure countless deprivations, and can't possibly expect that testifying against the man they say was responsible would turn out well. What believable assurances could the Baltimore State's Attorney's Office possibly make that it could protect these women? It certainly can't have helped that prosecutors initially charged the women -- the victims in this case -- with prostitution, only dropping the charges due to a lack of evidence.

It's unclear why local, rather than federal, prosecutors took this case. The U.S. Attorney's Office can bring to bear more resources to investigate the alleged crimes and to offer protection for the women who are the true victims. Moreover, federal laws for such crimes are much stricter, thanks to a law signed by President George Bush in 2005. The federal government also has mechanisms to help provide legal status for victims of such crimes -- the women in this case were in the country illegally -- and to help them rebuild their lives.

Maryland law was tightened recently to deal more harshly with child sex trafficking, but not with cases such as this one, in which the women were adults. Sex trafficking involving adults is a misdemeanor under Maryland law; if convicted, Mr. Silot faced at most 10 years in prison on a charge of pandering. That needs to be changed.


The Baltimore Sun

Nov. 10, 2009

A Response by a Baltimore Anti-Trafficking Activist

The news that a credible sex trafficking case "fell apart" due to a lack of testimony from two victims is unsurprising at best. Both foreign national and U.S. citizen victims of sex and labor trafficking face enormous obstacles as they attempt to leave (or simply survive) unimaginable, often terrifying circumstances.

However, rather than cast blame on prosecutors who were undoubtedly trying their best to further a tough-to-win case, it is more productive to understand that in Maryland, over 100 community and NGO advocates, law enforcement officers and legislative experts have come together in the form of the Maryland Human Trafficking Task Force to assist victims and ensure justice, including successful prosecution. This body, first convened in December, 2007 by Baltimore City State's Attorney Patricia Jessamy, U.S. Attorney Rod Rosenstein, and Attorney General Doug Gansler, has grown not only in number but in capacity to serve victims and "get the word out" about the scourge of sex and labor trafficking in Maryland.

Rather than curse the darkness, all of us have to be part of growing light that is the human trafficking movement in Maryland. A recent awareness event in Baltimore -- held in the pouring rain -- brought dozens of individuals and families together, seeking ways to prevent all forms of human trafficking and more effectively address the issue. Let's put aside our differences and focus on the real enemy -- male and female traffickers, from this country and elsewhere, who ruthlessly exploit child, teen and adult victims -- and on real solutions, which always involve working together as one.

Sidney Ford

Nov. 10, 2009

LibertadLatina Commentary

As a resident of the state of Maryland for the past 40 years, I am impressed to see that the Maryland Human Trafficking Task Force is a well-developed collaboration between both state and federal law enforcement and prosecutors, as well as non-governmental anti-trafficking organizations and individuals. According to the Task Force, they are considered to be a model for such collaborations nationally.

During my decades in Maryland and the adjoining regions of Washington, DC and Virginia, I have witnessed the many faces of exploitation facing women and children in local Latin American communities. Much of that history has been told on  LibertadLatina.org. During that time, I have been consistent in my efforts to contact and collaborate with local law enforcement, to ensure that Latin American immigrant residents of the region receive equal and fair access to the criminal justice system as victims of crime.

During the past several months I have engaged in dialog and activity with the Maryland Human Trafficking Task Force. Their response has shown some resistance to the idea of tackling the hard issues that surround the Latin American dynamics of human trafficking and exploitation in Maryland, but I trust that the Task Force will have an open mind to learn about the unique conditions that face our local Latino communities, where anti-immigrant hostility and the traditional code of silence combine with an often-times unfriendly interaction with government to create cover for the criminal activities of traffickers and the sexual exploiters of women and children.

In response to the above Baltimore Sun editorial and the response to it by Task Force activist and veteran direct services provider Sidney Ford, I posted the below commentary on the Maryland Human Trafficking Task Force web site on Nov. 22, 2009.

End impunity now!

Chuck Goolsby


Nov. 27, 2009

The recent dropping of charges against accused Baltimore brothel operator Carlos Silot emphasizes the need for Maryland anti-trafficking advocates to understand clearly the dynamics of sexual slavery in Latin America, and especially Mexico. I have worked on these issues in Montgomery County, Maryland and greater Washington, DC for 25 years. My site: LibertadLatina, recounts some of that history, and explores related problems in Latin America.

Some 17% of Mexico's gross domestic product is generated from prostitution, according to Teresa Ulloa, executive director of the Coalition Against Trafficking and Women - Latin America and Caribbean (branch). CATW-LAC is a coalition of some 250 NGOs.

The history of the long-standing child and youth sex trafficking crisis in San Diego, California highlights the problems that showed-up in the Carlos Silot case. Women and girls are trafficked from communities where the original traffickers know their families. They, and victims from across Latin America face a very real risk of having their families murdered if they speak-up and testify. In addition, corrupt law enforcement agents routinely participate in trafficking in Latin America. Victims who have been brought to the U.S. have no way of knowing whether they should trust our agents and institutions, so they don't.

More information about the "child rape camps" of San Diego County may be found here.

Chuck Goolsby

Nov. 22, 2009

Added: Nov. 27, 2009


International head of the Salvation Army, General Shaw Clifton (2nd left) with Colonel Onal Castor, territorial commander of the Caribbean; and members of the organization's local chapter Lieutenant Lynette Row (2nd right); and Colonel Edmane Castor, following a press conference at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in New Kingston yesterday. (Photo: Garfield Robinson)

Salvation Army General Arrives in Jamaica

General Shaw Clifton, the international head of the Salvation Army, arrived in the island yesterday for a three-day visit during which he will attend a series of meetings and church services with members of the organization's local chapters to offer encouragement and to discuss ways to tackle gang-violence, human trafficking and other issues affecting Jamaica.

His visit is the first to the island and will be followed by a stop in Haiti tomorrow on his way back to England.

"The purpose of my visit to Jamaica is to find out for myself what the Army is doing here. I have heard about it, I have read about it, but I am here mainly for my own education," Clifton said at a press briefing at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in Kingston yesterday.

"One specific issue, a worldwide issue, is human trafficking and I am very interested to find out how this impacts your beautiful island of Jamaica," he said.

"The Salvation Army is deeply concerned about the level of human trafficking for sexual proposes over the world and we are committed to doing everything in our power to combat it," he added.

The Jamaica Observer

Nov. 25, 2009

Added: Nov. 27, 2009

Arizona, USA

Border Patrol Agents Arrest Sex Offender

U.S. Border Patrol agents from the Yuma Sector arrested a convicted sex offender in Kingman on Wednesday who was in the country illegally.

According to Agent Michael Lowrie, at about 2 p.m., the Arizona Department of Public Safety called the Yuma Sector's Blythe Station and said they had a "possible illegal alien" in their custody.

Agents assigned to the Blythe Station responded to the Kingman jail and took custody of the individual, who was later identified as Jorge De Jesus-Martinez.

Lowrie said agents determined that De Jesus-Martinez was in the country illegally and transported him back to the Blythe Station for further processing.

During processing, Lowrie said a fingerprints checks revealed that De Jesus-Martinez was a convicted sex offender

Back in September of 2008, De Jesus-Martinez was charged with one count of rape and one count of sexual battery. He was convicted on both counts and sentenced to serve two years in prison.

"He served his time in Stockton, California," Lowrie said.

Lowrie said De Jesus-Martinez will be processed for removal proceedings and deported back to Mexico.

James Gilbert

The Yuma Sun

Nov. 06, 2009

Added: Nov. 27, 2009

California, USA

Two Men Plead Guilty to Running Prostitution Ring

San Diego - Two men have pleaded guilty to helping to run a prostitution ring for migrant workers in San Diego County.
Eduardo Aguila-Tecuapacho and Carlos Tzompantzi-Serrano, who are both illegal immigrants from Mexico, pleaded guilty in federal court on Wednesday of harboring illegal immigrants for prostitution.

Each could face up to 10 years in prison. They are expected to be sentenced in January.

Court documents say Aguila-Tecuapacho rented an apartment in Vista where one of the prostitutes lived. Prosecutors say Tzompantzi-Serrano drove the women to work in outdoor brothels.

A third man who faces charges of bringing the women across the border from Mexico will stand trial next month.

The Associated Press

Nov. 26, 2009

Added: Nov. 27, 2009

Maryland, USA

Drawing of suspect

Girl, 14, Says Man Fondled Her, Exposed Self in Howard Store

Howard County police are looking for a Hispanic man in his late 30s or early 40s who a 14-year-old girl said kissed her hand, fondled her and exposed himself in an Ellicott City department store.

The girl said the man, who spoke only Spanish, ran off after her grandmother approached.

Police on Wednesday said the incident took place in a Kohl's department store on Montgomery Road, but they did not specify when it happened.

Anyone with information is asked to call 410-313-STOP. Police are offering a $500 reward for information leading to an arrest.

Don Markus

Baltimore Sun

Nov. 26, 2009

Added: Nov. 27, 2009

Massachusetts, USA

Francisco Wellington Barros-Gomes

J.C. Penney Clerk Charged with Dressing Room Rape

A sales clerk at a J.C. Penney department store in Sturbridge has been arrested and charged with raping a boy in a dressing room, police said.

Francisco Wellington Barros-Gomes, 26, of Charlton, was charged with indecent assault and battery on a child under 14 and rape of a child with force, according to Sturbridge police. He was arraigned today in Dudley District Court and ordered held on $25,000 bail.

Police arrested Barros-Gomes after they responded to a report of an assault at the Sturbridge store around 6 p.m. yesterday.

Barros-Gomes is a Brazilian immigrant who is here legally as a resident-alien, police said.

Edward Mason

The Boston Herald

Nov. 25, 2009

Added: Nov. 27, 2009

North Carolina, USA

Officers Save Suicidal Child Sex Suspect

Henderson County - An inmate awaiting trial on charges of raping a child tried to commit suicide, but was saved by officers who took quick action, according the the sheriff.

The man, whose identity is not being released, is charged with first-degree rape of a minor child and first-degree sexual offenses against a child, tried to hang himself at the Henderson County Detention Center at about 3 a.m. last Saturday.

Security cameras showed that from the time the inmate hanged himself until officers intervened was well under a minute. The officers were able to respond to the unit, lift and hold the victims body weight, and untie the bed-sheet noose.

“If not for them, he would have died,” Henderson County Sheriff Rick Davis said...

The inmate is being held on a $301,000 dollar secured bond.

He is also under federal detainment [via] the 287(g) program pending the outcome of any possible conviction and sentencing resulting from his current charges...


Nov. 24, 2009

Added: Nov. 27, 2009

Alabama, USA

Romero Sentenced to 130 Years

Enterprise man found guilty of five sex-related charges against children was sentenced to 130 years in prison Thursday morning in Coffee County Circuit Court.

Jorge Romero was found guilty in September of two counts of sodomy first degree, two charges of sexual abuse of a child less than 12 and one charge of first degree rape in 30 minutes by an eight woman, six man jury after a two-day trial. He had remained in Coffee County Jail without bond, pending Thursday’s sentencing where he has remained since his arrest in August 2008 and after federal immigration officials placed a hold on him as an illegal alien.

Kelley sentenced Romero to 30 years each for two first degree sodomy convictions, 20 years each for two sexual abuses of a child less than 12 convictions and 30 years for the first degree rape conviction. Because the convictions involved children, Kelley told Romero that he is not eligible for parole.

During the trial the girls, now aged 8 and 7, separately testified perched upon three reams of copy paper in order to see the court. Both said they had been touched inappropriately by Romero when they were visiting his home. Using anatomically correct dolls, the girls separately showed the court what Romero had done to them...

The director of Dothan’s Women’s and Children’s Services, who is also a nurse, told the court she had examined both girls and that both showed evidence of sexual trauma...

The Enterprise Ledger

Michelle Mann

Nov. 19, 2009

Added: Nov. 27, 2009

Florida, USA

Richard Morales-Marin, and Juan Hernandez-Monzavlo

Therapy Dog Helps Young Girl Testify Against Men Who Raped Her

On October 30, illegal aliens Juan Hernandez-Monzalvo, 25, and Richard Morales-Marin, 24, were found guilty by an Orange County, FL jury of kidnapping and sexual battery, along with other charges.

On February 5, 2009, the 11-year-old girl was walking to school when she was grabbed by the two Mexican nationals, who forced her into their car at knifepoint. They drove her to an abandoned house where both men took turns raping her.

Because of the girl’s young age and the severe trauma she has suffered, prosecutors brought a therapy dog into the courtroom to help calm her frayed nerves and allow her to testify against her brutal attackers.

The little girl never looked at her assailants, but locked eyes with the gentle Golden Retriever as he lay close to her, and described the ordeal to the courtroom.

“He grabbed my neck and put a knife to my throat,” she said.

She continued: “He told me to get in the car, I was crying. He told me if I didn’t he’d kill me.”

She said that when the pair was finished with her, they ordered her to put her clothes on and get back into the car. They drove her to another area and fled...

Sickeningly, one of the men, Morales-Marin, testified that he thought the little girl was a prostitute and that she went with them willingly. He claimed that he did not realize she was only a child until after he and his cohort had both raped her, when he noticed her small backpack.

Both men face up to life in prison and will be sentenced in January.

One of the rapists, Juan Hernandez-Monzalvo, had actually been previously deported to Mexico, but easily made his way back to Florida. He has been arrested many times for driving without a license.

Both Hernandez-Monzalvo and Morales-Marin are suspected of committing other sexual assaults in the area. The Orange County Sheriff’s Office say that DNA evidence has linked Morales-Marin to a recent rape near a local mall.

Dave Gibson

The Examiner

Nov. 17, 2009

See also:

Cops: Orlando-area Rape Suspects Could Have Many More Victims

The Orlando Sentinel

Feb. 13, 2009

See also:

Two Arrested in Rape of 11-year-old


Feb. 11, 2009

Added: Nov. 27, 2009

New York State, USA

Illegal Alien Charged with Rape in Endicott

Endicott police arrested and charged an illegal alien Tuesday with several felonies related to the rape of a 21-year old female.

Arnoldo Monroy-Gonzalez, 18... was charged with first-degree rape, first-degree criminal sex act and first degree unlawful imprisonment.

Endicott police said Monroy-Gonzalez, of Guatemala, was accused of holding a female against her will for over two hours and forcing her to engage in sex acts at knife point. Police recovered the knife and other evidence during a search of his apartment.

Monroy-Gonzalez was remanded to the Broome County Jail without bail.

Police were assisted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Syracuse.

Press & Sun Bulletin

Nov. 24, 2009

Added: Nov. 27, 2009

Washington State, USA

Francisca Hernandez-Ramirez Age 14

Girl Reportedly Slain to Keep Her from Claiming Rape

The 22-year-old Outlook man suspected of slashing her throat and leaving her to bleed to death next to an irrigation canal was ordered held on $500,000 bail at his first court hearing in the case Wednesday afternoon.

Jesus Fabian Perales was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of first-degree murder in the October 2008 death of Francisca Hernandez-Ramirez.

The girl's body was discovered in February in the Yakima River near Prosser.

She had been missing since Oct. 20, 2008, and was identified in February through dental records. Her family had reported her as a runaway shortly after she disappeared.

Perales fled the Yakima Valley after Hernandez-Ramirez's death, but authorities said they learned last week that he had returned.

An arrest report by Yakima County sheriff's detectives gave the following account:

Hernandez-Ramirez, the suspect and several others had been drinking and playing cards at a home in Outlook.

One of the men at the party found Hernandez-Ramirez passed out on the bathroom floor. After he helped her up, she said she wanted to go home.

That man and the suspect then drove her toward Sunnyside. Midway through the trip, she started screaming that she had been raped by another male at the party.

The men drove around the area while deciding what to do.

They decided to drop her off in an orchard, hoping that she would forget what happened when she awoke.

The suspect told the other man, who was driving, that he would deposit the girl, then return to the vehicle.

When he came back, the driver asked if she was all right, and Perales said she was "good."

The autopsy found that her throat had been cut, severing both carotid arteries.

The next day, Perales returned and told the driver he needed to sell or destroy the car because it might contain evidence of Hernandez-Ramirez's death.

He also threatened to kill the driver or his family if he went to police...

Mark Morey

The Yakima Herald-Republic

Nov. 25, 2009

See Also:

Jesus Fabian Perales Accused of Killing 14-Year-Old Girl So She Wouldn't Report Rape

The Daily Weekly

Nov. 27, 2009

Added: Nov. 27, 2009

Minnesota, USA

Benjamin Delacruz Ajqui

Illegal Alien Sentenced in Minnesota for Raping 14-year-old Girl

A few days ago, after pleading guilty to first-degree criminal sexual conduct, Benjamin Delacruz Ajqui was sentenced to 12 years in prison for the rape of a 14-year-old girl. The attack took place this past summer, amidst a pastoral setting in central Minnesota.

On the afternoon of July 28, 2009, the teenaged victim was riding her bicycle along the Lake Wobegon Trail, when she encountered Ajqui. The Mexican national, who was also riding a bike, grabbed the girl and shoved her down into a ditch, where he raped her.

Ajqui fled the scene and was later captured in a nearby cornfield.

At the time, Stearns County Sheriff John Tanner told reporters: "The suspect responsible for this, I'm sure waited for this young girl to get into a secluded area where he couldn't see anybody else on the trail system and took advantage of that opportunity.” ...

Dave Gibson

The Examiner

Nov. 19,2009

Added: Nov. 27, 2009

California, USA

Police Detectives Shocked at Remorseless Suspects in Gang Rape of San Francisco-area Girl, 15

The shocking gang rape of a 15-year-old San Francisco-area girl was awful enough. But what has shaken even veteran cops is the complete lack of remorse shown by at least some of the suspects arrested in the case.

It’s "disgusting" and "the worst thing I’ve heard of," Richmond Detective Ken Greco, who has been on the force for 29 years, was quoted in The San Francisco Chronicle.

The victim was found semiconscious beneath a picnic table after being brutalized by up to 10 suspects for about two hours.

"She was raped, beaten, robbed and dehumanized by several suspects who were obviously okay enough with it to behave that way in each other’s presence," police Lt. Mark Gagan told the Chronicle.

"What makes it even more disturbing is the presence of others," Gagan said. "People came by, saw what was happening and failed to report it."

"This just gets worse and worse the more you dig into it," Gagan told CNN. "It was like a horror movie after looking at the evidence. I can’t believe not one person felt compelled to help her." ...
Manuel Ortega, 19, a former student at the school, was arrested soon after he ran from the scene. He faces charges of rape, robbery and kidnapping, and was held on $800,000 bail...

Also arrested Tuesday night were a 16-year-old San Pablo boy and 21-year-old Salvador Rodriguez of Richmond. On Monday, police arrested Manuel Ortega, 19, and a 15-year-old boy, a student at Richmond High who knows the rape victim...

Adam Sommers
The New York Daily News
Oct. 28th 2009

Added: Nov. 22, 2009

The United States

U.S. Border Patrol Weekly Blotter for November 19 - November 25, 2009


Nov. 23, 2009

USBP agents arrested an illegal alien from Mexico near Sonoita, Arizona. The subject had a prior conviction for rape in the State of Michigan and had been previously removed from the U.S.

Nov. 22, 2009

USBP agents arrested an illegal alien from Mexico near Casa Grande, Arizona. The subject… had a prior conviction for indecent liberty with a child and had been previously removed from the U.S.

USBP agents arrested an illegal alien from Mexico near Naco, Arizona. The subject had a prior conviction for sex with a minor and strong arm rape in the State of California. He had also been previously removed from the U.S.

USBP agents arrested an illegal alien from Mexico near Tucson, Arizona. The subject had a prior conviction for lewd and lascivious acts on a child in the State of California and had been previously removed from the U.S.

Nov. 21, 2009

USBP agents arrested an illegal alien from Mexico near Bisbee, Arizona. The subject had a prior conviction for indecent liberties in the State of Washington and had been previously removed from the U.S.

USBP agents arrested an illegal alien from Mexico near Bisbee, Arizona. The subject had a prior conviction for sexual intercourse with a minor in the State of California and had been previously removed from the U.S.

Nov. 19, 2009

USBP agents arrested an illegal alien from Mexico near Calexico, California. The subject had a prior conviction for sex with a minor and had been previously removed from the U.S.

USBP agents arrested an illegal alien from Mexico near Nogales, Arizona. The subject had a prior conviction for soliciting sex and indecency with a child, public sexual indecency, and obstructing government operations in the State of Alaska. He had also been previously removed from the U.S.

U.S. Border Patrol

Nov. 25, 2009

Added: Nov. 22, 2009

Latin America, Mexico

Reverend Steven Cass of the Breaking Chains Ministry sits with teens saved from the streets of Tijuana, Mexico.

Training school for Missionaries With the Heart to Help Children Who are Being Sexually Exploited

We are going to convert the downtown center we have a 5 story building in the center of Acapulco's oldest tourist zone into a training center for missionaries who want to be trained to go out to all of Latin America to work with these high risk children.

We were called to this massive problem and we believe the Lord provided this building for this cause. The program will be bi-cultural as all student groups will be a equal mix of Latin American students co-laboring with North American students. We will be teaching these students how we work the red light zones in a non-threatening manner. The classes will focus on how to gain trust, provide the out and also how to build the appropriate local relationships.

The school will run on a 90 day semester culminating with the graduating class being sent out to a city in Latin America to apply what they will have learned here in Acapulco both academically as well as in real life outreach.

The needs are great in this area as Latin America has actually overtaken Asia as the primary source of child exploitation [globally].

One of the roles of this school will be to reach out to the woman and children of the local community offering them vocational training as well as English classes. Where we excel as a ministry is gaining the trust of those who come in. From these people we get information that is otherwise unattainable. It is this information which leads to many of the children we actually rescue from the streets.

The needs are as follows:

1. We need approximately 50K to restore this facility and to prepare it to be able to house these class groups of 20 students.

2. We need missionaries with street level experience who are willing to join our staff for training. We are looking for 90 day commitments but will also have shorter term opportunities for specialists

3. We need teams who are willing to present this training to churches both in the US and Canada but also to the churches in Latin America.

4. We need materials and vocational programs that are proven to train the 1000's of single mothers starving in this city as well as English as a second language materials.

5. Most importantly we need your prayers that this school will come together in Gods will. It is a grand project and something we don't feel ready for but at the same time feel the Lord calling us to go now.

In Christ

Steven T Cass

Breaking Chains Ministry

Nov. 17, 2009

Added: Nov. 21, 2009


Three mothers testified in April, 2009 in Chile against the state of Mexico in regard to their daughters' murders.

(From left to right) Josefina Gonazalez,  United Nations representative Florenti Melendez,  Irma Monreal, and Benita Monarrez.

Photo by Maria Grusauskas - The Santiago Times

Fallo de CoIDH, un Hito en Lucha Contra Feminicidio

Documenta violaciones de México a Convención Belém Do Pará

México, DF.- La sentencia de la Corte Interamericana de Derechos Humanos (CoIDH) –la cual no es pública aún– que posiblemente condenará al Estado mexicano por el feminicidio de tres mujeres (de ocho) encontradas asesinadas en un campo algodonero en Ciudad Juárez, cobra especial relevancia porque para emitirla se analizó la Convención Interamericana para Prevenir, Sancionar y Erradicar la Violencia contra las Mujeres (Belem Do Pará)...

Lourdes Godínez Leal

CIMAC Noticias

News for Women

México DF

Nov. 20, 2009

See also:

State Held Responsible for Three Juárez Killings

Mexico City - The families of three young women murdered in Ciudad Juárez, in the northern Mexican state of Chihuahua on the border with the United States, had to wait eight years for justice, which they finally obtained through the inter-American system.

The Inter-American Court of Human Rights, part of the Organization of American States (OAS), found the Mexican state guilty of denial of justice to Claudia González, Esmeralda Herrera and Berenice Ramos, whose bodies were found with five others in November 2001, and to their relatives...

The trial against Mexico opened April 27 [2009] in the Court's branch in Santiago, Chile. The non-governmental National Association of Democratic Lawyers (ANAD), the Latin American and Caribbean Committee for the Defense of Women's Rights (CLADEM), the Citizen Network for Non-Violence and Human Dignity and the Centre for Women's Integral Development (CEDIMAC) provided legal support for the victims' relatives.

Eight bodies were found in a cotton field across from a "maquiladora," a factory assembling tax-free imported materials for export, on the outskirts of Ciudad Juárez. Five of them were still unidentified when the accusation was presented, so the Commission decided to exclude them from the petition...

Known as the "Juárez femicides," at least 300 women were murdered between 1993 and 2003, and most of the perpetrators have gone unpunished, according to human rights watchdog Amnesty International. The disappearances and killings of women are still continuing.

In 2003, the Mexican National Human Rights Commission published a special report on the cases of 263 murdered women and 4,587 who had disappeared since 1993. It accused state and municipal authorities of serious omissions in the investigations...

Emilio Godoy (IPS)

Nov. 20, 2009

Added: Nov. 21, 2009

Texas, USA

Neighbors: Park Where Girl Was Assaulted Could Use More Light

More details were released Wednesday about the sexual assault of girl at Dottie Jordan Park in Central East Austin...

A 12-year-old girl told police she was walking home in front of the park around 7 p.m. when a man pulled up next to her in a red extended pickup truck. She says he tried to coax her inside.

"She continued to walk away from the man. She said the man then exited the truck, pulled her into the park and sexually assaulted her," APD Corporal Scott Perry said.

The girl described her attacker as Hispanic, 30 years of age, 5'8" tall and 150 pounds. She told police he wore a red shirt, jeans, brown boots and black gloves.

"It's really sad that an innocent child at 12 sexually assaulted. That's sad especially 'cause there's a lot of children around here," Moten said.

Children don't just come here for the park. This is a route... [that] many use to walk to and from area schools. An elementary school zone ends where the park begins...

Noelle Newton


Oct. 28, 2009

Added: Nov. 21, 2009

The United States

Secretary Napolitano and ICE Assistant Secretary Morton announce that the Secure Communities Initiative identified more than 111,000 aliens charged with or convicted of crimes in its first year

Washington, D.C. - Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Assistant Secretary John Morton today announced that ICE's Secure Communities initiative-a partnership with local law enforcement agencies that uses biometrics to identify and remove criminal aliens-identified more than 111,000 aliens in local custody charged with or convicted of crimes during its first year...

The results announced today are the product of enhanced interoperability between DHS' US-VISIT and the FBI's Criminal Justice Information Services Division criminal biometrics program-technology that streamlines information sharing to enhance public safety...

Since its inception in October 2008, Secure Communities has identified more than 11,000 aliens charged or convicted with Level 1 crimes, such as murder, rape and kidnapping-1,900 of which have already been removed from the United States-and more than 100,000 aliens charged with or convicted of Level 2 and 3 crimes, including burglary and serious property crimes...


Nov.12, 2009

Added: Nov. 21, 2009

The United States

...Arrested for Raping 8-year-old Boy

On Wednesday, police in Brewster, New York arrested a 24-year-old illegal alien for molesting an 8-year-old boy.

The abuse was discovered during an October 30th medical exam by the boy’s pediatrician. The little boy told his doctor that Mendez-Depaz was responsible.

Nelson Mendez-Depaz has been charged with first-degree sexual abuse, and is being held in the Putnam County Jail without bail. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement has also placed a retainer on the suspect.

The following facts help illustrate the growing epidemic of child molestation being committed by illegal aliens:

- Deborah Schurman-Kauflin Ph.D. of the Violent Crimes Institute reports that the U.S. illegal alien population includes at least 240,000 sex offenders. Based on various studies, it is estimated that they will commit 130,909 sex crimes annually.

- 63 percent of the sex crimes committed by illegal aliens, were done so by previously deported criminals...


Nov. 14, 2009

Added: Nov. 21, 2009

The United States

Senators Press Holder on Rape Kits

Holder Pledges His Dept Will Address Backlog

Following a CBS News investigation on untested rape evidence, Senators asked Attorney General Eric Holder today if the Justice Department will do more to ensure that untested evidence in rape cases is processed and analyzed by crime labs.

Judiciary Committee Chairman Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) said he was disturbed to have recently learned that despite federal funding “substantial backlogs remain.”

Holder responded, “Mr. Chairman, I not only pledge that we should, we have to work on this. For every crime that remains unsolved, there is a rapist who is potentially still out there and ready to strike again. The Justice Department looks forward to working with this committee to come up with a way in which we do away with that backlog.” ...

The Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN) told CBS News that in response to the CBS story on rape kits online sessions with their National Sexual Assault Online Hotline increased by 53%.

"Stories on topics such as this have the potential to trigger difficult memories for those who have been affected by sexual violence, that's why it's critical that viewers are provided with information on how to get help, and what to do if they've been sexually assaulted," says Katherine Hull, spokesperson for RAINN.

Laura Strickler

CBS News

Nov. 18, 2009

See also:

California, USA

Lavinia Masters at age 13

Raped at 13, Victim Fights to Eliminate Rape Kit Backlog

...Lavinia Masters was raped by a stranger in her Texas home when she was 13.

It was a hot July night in 1985, and the Texas sixth-grader had been sexually assaulted by an unknown suspect...

DNA testing had not been available when Masters was assaulted. But in 2005, police said they discovered the DNA in her kit matched DNA samples from a man who was already serving time in prison for unrelated crimes, including sexual assault.

But the suspect could not be prosecuted in Masters' case because the statute of limitations had run out.

...Masters, now 38, decided to let her name be known to shed light on the issue of backlogged rape kits.

Government officials say many police departments and crime labs across the country are inadequately funded and overwhelmed, leaving many rape kits untested. Rape victims' advocates say leaving the kits untested suggests law enforcement agencies aren't prioritizing rape cases.

In Los Angeles, California, 7,495 untested rape kits were in the police department's system in October 2008, the department said. The rape kits may have the critical DNA that could lead to the arrest of offenders, exonerate those wrongly convicted and end the agonizing uncertainty for rape victims...

The Los Angeles Police Department drew criticism last year over its backlog. By September, the LAPD reported the backlog had dropped to 2,937 due to an influx of federal grant money and the efforts of its DNA Task Force. The tested rape kits resulted in 405 suspect hits, according to law enforcement officials...

Stephanie Chen


Oct. 15, 2009

Added: Nov. 21, 2009

The United States

Liberan a 52 Niños en Acción Contra Prostitución Infantil en EU

Washington. Al menos 52 niños fueron liberados en una acción contra la prostitución infantil en Estados Unidos, en la cual además fueron detenidas 690 personas, entre ellas 60 presuntos proxenetas, informó hoy el Buró Federal de Investigaciones (FBI) en Washington.

La acción de tres días se realizó en 36 ciudades y fue parte de una iniciativa que desde 2003 combate la prostitución infantil y el tráfico de niños en Estados Unidos.

"La prostitución infantil sigue siendo un problema grave en nuestro país", afirmó el subdirector del FBI Kevin Perkins, que aludió a la alta cifra de niños rescatados. Agregó que desde el comienzo de la iniciativa fueron rescatados unos 900 menores obligados a prostituirse. Además hubo 500 condenas.


Oct. 26, 2009

See also:

52 Children Rescued in Nationwide Sex-trafficking Raids

Federal officials arrest almost 700 people, including 60 suspected pimps, in a three-day crackdown on child prostitution. The youngest victim was 10, authorities say.

Reporting from Washington - Federal officials rescued 52 children and arrested nearly 700 people over the last three days in a nationwide crackdown on child prostitution.

Almost 1,600 agents and officers took part in the raids, which followed investigations in 36 cities, according to the FBI, local law enforcement agencies and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Included in the arrests were 60 suspected pimps, according to the FBI and local police officials.

Authorities say the youngest victim was 10...

The sweep, dubbed Operation Cross Country, is part of the Innocence Lost National Initiative, started in 2003 to address child sex trafficking in the U.S.

The initiative has rescued nearly 900 children; led to the conviction of 510 pimps, madams and their associates; and seized $3.1 million in assets, according to the FBI.

"We're having an enormous impact on this business," said Ernie Allen, president of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

Most of the recovered children have been girls, who usually become victims of traffickers around age 12, Allen said.

He estimated that 100,000 children are still involved in sex trafficking in the U.S., adding that the problem is growing partly because of the recession.

Joe Markman

The Los Angeles Times

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Oct. 27, 2009

Added: Nov. 21, 2009

California, USA

Miguel Angel Herrera

Rape Suspect Sought in Halloween Acid Attack

Los Angeles - Police are asking for the public's help in finding a man accused of pouring battery acid on his girlfriend's face before raping her on Halloween night.

Police say 30-year-old Miguel Angel Herrera restrained and tortured his girlfriend after the two got into a heated argument at his apartment around 9:00 p.m.

Captain Art Miller says Herrera told the woman he wanted to teach her a lesson.

Miller says he punched the woman, stabbed her with a knife, whipped her with an electrical cord, poured acid on her face and body and tried to make her drink the acid.

Miller says Herrera raped her before allowing her to leave.

The woman drove to her family's house.

She was taken to the Newton Division Police Station then to a local hospital where she was treated and released...

Herrera is described as Hispanic, with black hair, brown eyes and was last seen driving a Nissan, Titan pick-up truck license plate number 8-K-5-5-4-6-9.

It's believed the incident was an isolated attack, however, police are trying to find out if there were any additional victims.

Anyone with information is asked to call Southwest Detectives at (213) 485-2585.

KTLA-TV, Los Angeles

Nov. 11, 2009

Added: Nov. 21, 2009

Texas, USA

San Antonio Blogger Has Had Enough "Free South Park Mexican" Sentiment

A little over seven years ago, we wrote about the South Park Mexican trial.

[Rapper South Park Mexican - SPM], born Carlos Coy, had it all: money, his own record label, a nightclub and, most importantly, the ear of a generation. He was the voice of a new type of person: the Southern and Southwestern Mexican-American who acclimated to American life through black culture - specifically hip-hop - instead of white. As Tejano music and culture started to wither and die in the wake of the murder of Selena, SPM stepped into the breach with a new style and swagger.

As the '90s progressed, young Texas Latinos stashed their hand-tooled leather belts, ostrich-skin boots and Charro-style hats and replaced them with, as commentator Rolando Rodriguez recently put it, " 'south side fades,' fitted Astros hats, oversized t-shirts, [and] gold grills in the mouth spittin' Southern slang."

And then Coy's weakness - a predilection for sex with underage girls - came to light. In June of 2002, Coy was convicted of the aggravated sexual assault of the nine-year-old daughter of two family friends and sentenced to 45 years in prison.

Many of SPM's friends were outraged, and a measure of their scorn can be found in the comments at the end of our trial coverage.

A sampling:

Ana Sanchez from Phoenix: "How can an innocent man sit behind jails to rot without having a proper trial. I think its a bunch of **** how the prosecutors sent him to 45 years of prison without studying the evidence. The lawyers did not bring up the girls possible intentions of accusing him of rape. All those lying b*** want is the money and publicity!! All I can say is dat SPM can be doing so many things outta prison and instead he is caged like an animal. FREE SPM!!!!!!!!!!!"

And again and again, variations of "FREE SOUTH PARK MEXICAN!!!!!", a cry you can also hear in underground rap videos and see on T-shirts and in videos to this day.

Enough, writes Rolando Rodriguez, a native of Richmond, Texas, now based in San Antonio:

"In their minds and for the fans, all of this is a conspiracy by a bunch of "money hungry ****" who wanted to cash in on his earnings and fame. For the sake of the community I come from and for the inspiration he brought to Hispanics in Houston and elsewhere, I want to believe that, so bad.

"But I can't. I have an eight-year old daughter and the thought of anything like that happening to her doesn't allow me to support the "Free SPM" movement, and that should be reason enough for those who have children of their own and do follow the "Free SPM" movement, not to anymore. I'd rather be wrong about SPM's guilt and face my own community in embarrassment, than be wrong about his innocence and face my own daughter in shame." ...

"Today, we've got to find a new hero," he says. "We need to find someone who's more socially conscious, whose delivery is more positive. Why not use that power for good?"

Houston Press - Houston Music Blog

Nov. 18, 2009

Added: Nov. 21, 2009


[Voices from some of the good people working for change on the front lines of the crisis in Mexico... LL]

Rescues In the Works - We Need Prayer Coverage

Breaking Chains Ministry Update

My heart is aching lately as I feel like while we are making major strides all around us the world seems to be falling. I live in a part of the world where lawlessness and murder are daily occurrences...

There are 5 major rescues in process...2 of them are here in Acapulco. One is a group that is stealing children from the street, they use methods which include getting the children addicted then using them to deliver drugs, once they have them working the girls are sent to deliver drugs to a home where they are taken by force and moved to other parts of Mexico and at times to the US or other countries to become sex slaves. We have enough information now that we know how it is happening but still lack the solution so please pray with us that God will come through.

There is one girl who is in my sights now who has been on the streets since she was 13..she is now 17 and sadly has a 3 month old baby. She was put in my path during a recent outreach which was considered a failure by the team that was with me. For me it was a grand victory as we found Beranice even though she refused to speak with us or even let us minister to her baby. Yesterday I dropped off diapers and baby food to her at the spot she lives on the street in the middle of drug addicts. I just left the stuff and walked away as I wanted her to see there was no agenda beyond giving her and her baby help. God led me to this and I believe it was enough that today when I go for them she will receive at least my offer of a safe home. Please pray for her and the baby and that the light will shine bright enough to let her see through the dark to the opportunity the Lord is giving her and her daughter...

The last 2 cases involve dangerous situations so I cannot share details...they involve many children most of whom have yet to reach 16 and yet they are being prostituted. The clients are mostly American men and praise God we have help with the US govt. that will God willing not only get these men but also get these children to safety...

In Christ

Steven T Cass

Breaking Chains Ministry

Nov. 17, 2009

Added: Nov. 21, 2009


Arrestan en México a un Estadounidense Acusado de Pornografía Infantil

Guerrero - Agentes federales capturaron en el sureño estado mexicano de Guerrero a un estadounidense acusado del delito de pornografía infantil, en la modalidad de almacenamiento, informó hoy la Procuraduría General de la República (PGR, Fiscalía).
La fuente señaló en un comunicado que se trata de John Terrence McGovern, quien fue detenido ayer cuando llegaba al aeropuerto de Zihuatanejo (Guerrero), procedente de Los Ángeles, California...

Arrested in Mexico to an American man accused of child pornography

Guerrero - The federal Attorney General's Office (PGR) has announced that federal agents in the southern Mexican state of Guerrero have arrested an American accused of the crime of possessing of child pornography.

John Terrence McGovern was arrested yesterday as he arrived at the airport in Zihuatanejo (Guerrero), from Los Angeles, California.

The investigation was headed by the Special Unit for Research into Trafficking in Minors, Undocumented Persons and Human Organs, in cooperation with U.S. authorities.

According to investigators, authorities searched McGovern's house in Michigan (USA), and found information linking emails with the generation and distribution of child pornography originating from Zihuatanejo, Guerrero.

Police also searched McGovern's home in Zihuatanejo and found eight compact disks containing sexually explicit images where those photographed appear to be under age 18.

McGovern is being held in a prison in Acapulco, in Guerrero state.


Nov. 12, 2009

Added: Nov. 21, 2009

Maryland, USA

Police: Jogger Sexually Assaulted on Trail

Takoma Park - Police are looking for a man who allegedly sexually assaulted a woman while she was jogging.
Montgomery County Police say a woman was dragged into the woods along the Sligo Creek Stream Valley Trail in Takoma Park around 5 p.m. Thursday.

Once inside the woods, the suspect sexually assaulted the woman.

Police say the suspect is a Hispanic man, age 25-35 and about 5 feet, 7 inches to 5 feet, 9 inches with short black hair. He was wearing a heavy long sleeve beige shirt and baggy pants.

Police are asking anyone who may have been in the area near the Carroll Avenue Bridge to call them at 240-773-TIPS (8477).


Nov. 20, 2009

Added: Nov. 21, 2009

California, USA

Police: Man Tries To Kidnap Girl On Her Way To School

Bakersfield - On Thursday around 7:30 a.m., an 18 year old female Bakersfield High School student reported that as she was walking in the 300 block of California Avenue, she was approached by a man who asked if she needed a ride.

Police said the girl refused the ride and walked away only to be contacted a few blocks later by the same man who grabbed her arm and told her to go with him. The girl pulled away from the suspect who then grabbed her buttocks as she ran away, police said.

The man is described as Hispanic in his mid 20s. He is said to be between 5 feet 8 inches tall and 5 feet 10 inches tall with a thin build. He has a bald or shaved head and was last seen wearing a gray sweater with lettering on the front and light blue jeans, police said.

Prior to the assault police said the man was seen standing near a lowered maroon 1990's mini truck, possibly a Chevrolet, with aftermarket rims.

Anyone with information related to this offense is encouraged to call the Bakersfield Police Department Investigations Division at 326-3846.


Nov. 20, 2009

Added: Nov. 21, 2009

Washington State, USA

Sketch of driver of minivan

Two Men Sought in Attempted Abduction in Redmond

The Times' criminal justice team looks behind the scenes and behind the headlines.

The Redmond Police Department has released these sketches of two men involved in the attempted abduction of a 14-year-old girl on Wednesday afternoon.

The girl was standing on the corner of Avondale Road and Northeast 90th Street when a light blue van with two men pulled up alongside her. The passenger said to the girl, "Come here" several times.

When the man opened his door and attempted to grab her, the teen turned and ran in the opposite direction as the van sped off. The girl worked with authorities this afternoon to create sketches of the passenger and driver.

The passenger is described as a Hispanic male in his early 40s with a heavy build, dark "tanned" skin tone, and black hair. He stands is 5-feet-6 to 5-feet-8 and has a pointed nose with a bump in the bridge of his nose.

The driver is thought to be a Hispanic male in his mid- to late-40s with a thick build, "messy" black hair, double chin, wrinkles, and dark "tanned" skin.

They were driving a light blue mid-to-late 1990s minivan.

Anyone with information on the men or their vehicle is asked to call Redmond
police at 425-556-2584.

The Seattle Times

Nov. 19, 2009

Added: Nov. 21, 2009

California, USA

Police Looking for Suspected Child Harasser

[San Diego] - East County authorities were on alert Thursday for a man who harassed a girl walking to school.

The girl told deputies she was walking near Apple Street and Paraiso Avenue shortly before 9 a.m. Wednesday when a man pulled over a late-model dark blue minivan next to her and asked if she wanted a ride to school, said San Diego County sheriff’s Deputy W. Bunk.

“I’ve been watching you and your sisters,” the man told the girl, according to Bunk. When she asked him how he knew she had sisters, he responded: “I’ve been watching you and seeing you around here.”

He then asked for the girl’s phone number; she said she didn’t have one, Bunk said.

The man then began to follow the girl as she walked on, asking her again to accept a ride, Bunk said.

The girl “became frightened and ran to the 7-Eleven store located on Jamacha Road and Grand Avenue, where she called her mother and waited until deputies arrived,” Bunk said.

Authorities described the man as Hispanic, around 40, about 6 feet, with a goatee and short unkempt hair. His minivan had dents and scratches.

San Diego News Network

Nov.19, 2009

Added: Nov. 19, 2009

Central America

Central America: Gender-based Violence, the Hidden Face of Insecurity

Managua - Gender-based violence and sexual abuse are serious public security problems in Central America, and Nicaragua is no exception, according to reports by United Nations agencies and women’s organizations.

The Central American Human Development Report 2009-2010, released on Oct. 20 by the United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) Regional Bureau for Latin America and the Caribbean, says violence against women, adolescents and children is the "hidden" and "most invisible face" of public insecurity in the region.

According to the study, entitled "Opening Spaces for Citizen Security and Human Development", two out of three women murdered in Central America are killed for gender-related reasons, a phenomenon that is known as femicide.

Gender violence, however, remains largely concealed by prevailing social attitudes that condone it and by the victims’ reluctance to report abuse...

The women who pressed charges had suffered the worst abuse, including sexual assault, bodily injuries, mutilations and torture, Granera said. More specifically, 4,129 were cases of domestic violence, 2,253 were cases of sexual assault, and 8,645 were cases of physical and psychological harm, such as threats, blackmail and verbal abuse.

"The rest of the victims kept quiet. This shows that even though it is the leading public security problem (in Nicaragua), it is the least reported crime, and, therefore, the one with the greatest impunity," Granera said.

The UNDP report, which assessed levels of public insecurity in Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama, reported that Central America has become the region with the highest levels of non-political violence worldwide.

However, the report clarifies that while the countries of Central America's so-called "northern triangle" have homicide rates five to seven times higher than the global average of nine per 100,000 people - 48 per 100,000 in Guatemala, 52 per 100,000 in El Salvador and 58 per 100,000 in Honduras - Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Panama to the south are significantly safer, with murder rates of 11 per 100,000 population, 13 per 100,000 and 19 per 100,000, respectively.

Women, adolescents and children, ethnic minorities and groups with alternative sexual orientations are the main victims of what the study refers to as the region’s "phenomenon of 'invisible' (or rather 'invisibilized') insecurities," whereby certain groups are "exposed to an exceptional disparity between the risk of violent or predatory crimes they face and the protection they receive." ...

Bautista noted that the report presents at least six atrocious forms of "invisible crimes" that plague children in Central America: murder, forced participation in criminal activities, police brutality, domestic abuse, sexual abuse and assault, and forced labor and prostitution...

In Nicaragua, one out of three women married or living with a man has been subjected to physical violence, including sexual abuse, at some point in her life. Half the victims report that they first suffered abuse before the age of 15.

"According to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), in 2008 alone there were 1,400 pregnant girls under the age of 15. Most of these pregnancies were the result of rape," Millón said, citing a study published in Managua in June by the multilateral agency.

...Violence against women - like violence against children or ethnic minorities - "is almost totally excluded from the official debate on public insecurity in the region," said Millón...

José Adán Silva

Inter Press Service

Nov. 16, 2009

Added: Nov. 19, 2009

California, USA

Sketch of suspect

Attempted Kidnapper Wanted In Encino

Police are looking for a man who tried to kidnap a teenage girl as she walked in Encino.

Police Tuesday were searching for a man who allegedly tried to kidnap a 13-year-old girl as she was walking in Encino.

The teen told investigators with the Los Angeles Police Department that a man jumped out of his parked vehicle and grabbed her at around 2:20 p.m. Nov. 11, near Magnolia Boulevard and Zelzah Avenue.

As he dragged the girl toward his car, she screamed and managed to free herself from his grasp and run away, according to authorities. The suspect immediately ran back to his car and drove off, authorities said.

The suspect was described as a Hispanic man in his 30s or 40s. He is 5 feet 6 inches tall and weighs about 200 pounds. He had a shaved head and wore a white oversized T-shirt and dark baggy shorts.

He was driving a white four-door SUV with a broken right tail light, possibly a 1995-2005 GMC Yukon, with a license number that began with "4Y."

Anyone with information about the case was urged to call LAPD Detective Larry Concepcion at (818) 374-7725, or the toll-free number (877) LAPD 24-7.


Nov. 17, 2009

Added: Nov. 19, 2009

Texas, USA

Rowlett Police Warn of Possible Child Enticement Threat

We recently got word from the RPD about a report of a possible child enticement -- an adult trying to get a child into his vehicle -- a few weeks aqo in the 9500 block of Waterview Parkway. A 10-year-old girl told police an unknown Hispanic man approached her and told her several times to get in his truck. He finally gave up and drove away southbound on Liberty Grove Road toward Merritt.

The man is 30-40 years of age with a mustache or small beard, wearing a dark blue long-sleeve shirt "with buttons." His truck is an older-model red two-door, possible a Toyota, with an open bed, a dent in the right rear passenger side, and chrome or silver rails on the bottom of the truck.

Anyone with information about this is asked to call the RPD's Investigations Division at 972-412-6220.

Richard Abshire

The Dallas Morning News

Nov. 18, 2009

Added: Nov. 19, 2009

Nevada, USA

Sketch of suspect

Police Seek Suspect in Attempted Kidnapping

Las Vegas police are searching for a man in connection with an attempted abduction of a 13-year-old girl who was walking to school Friday.

Lt. John Bradshaw said today that the attempt happened in the morning as the girl was walking to Mack Middle School.

She was walking near Vegas Valley Drive and Mountain Vista Street when a Hispanic man driving a black SUV made disparaging remarks to her and tried to lure her into his vehicle, Bradshaw said.

The girl told school authorities about the incident. She did not know the man.

Anyone who knows the man in the sketch or who has knowledge of the incident is urged to call Las Vegas police’s Sexual Assault Section at 828-3421 or Crime Stoppers at 385-5555.

Las Vegas Review-Journal

Nov. 18, 2009

Added: Nov. 19, 2009

California, USA

Woman Pushing Stroller Attacked in San Rafael

San Rafael police are investigating an assault on a woman pushing a baby stroller in the Canal area.
The attack occurred Monday on a private walking path parallel to Playa del Rey, said San Rafael police Sgt. Jim Correa. The woman told police a man approached her from behind, covered her mouth and tried to pull her backwards, but she was able to pull away.

The man then grabbed the woman's breasts and buttocks before running away toward Bellam Boulevard, Correa said. The infant in the stroller was not harmed.

The suspect was described as Hispanic, 20 to 25 years old, thin and about 6 feet tall with short black hair. He was wearing a black sweater and black pants and was carrying a cell phone...

Anyone with information can call the San Rafael Police Department at 485-3000, or place anonymous tips with Bay Area Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS, a multilingual line.

Gary Klien

Marin Independent Journal

Nov. 18, 2009

Added: Nov. 19, 2009

Texas, USA

Elementary on Alert After Reported Attack

The principal of a southeast Houston elementary school warned parents about a possible attempted abduction of a student on his way to class Tuesday.

Cornelius Elementary Principal Karen Jackson said a mustached Hispanic male wearing a black jogging suit and blue shoes grabbed a fourth-grade boy off a bike and tried to drag him up a driveway Tuesday morning. The boy escaped, ran to campus on the 7400 block of Westover and reported the attack, and the suspect remains at large.

Jackson said the school will remind students to run away in similar situations, and said Houston Independent School District police will be patrolling the area more heavily.

Houston Chronicle

Nov. 18, 2009

Added: Nov. 19, 2009

California, USA

Yuba City Police Warn of Suspicious Activity Near Bus Stop

Yuba City police today issued a warning about a man who apparently tried to pick up two children who had just been let off a school bus.

The incident occurred about 1:10 p.m. Tuesday at Whyler Road and Oji Way, said police spokeswoman Shawna Pavey.

The bus driver saw a man pull up in a white van or sport utility vehicle and talk to the children, who "looked shocked," she said.

When the bus driver investigated, the children — a boy and girl ages 10 and 12 — told her they did not know the man and that he had asked them if they wanted a ride, Pavey said.

The man was described as a Spanish-speaking Hispanic male adult. No further description of the man or his vehicle was immediately available.

Police commended the driver for being alert and getting involved.


Nov. 18, 2009

Added: Nov. 19, 2009

New Jersey, USA

Newark Police Report Child Abduction Attempt

Newark police are warning residents that a man tried to lure an 11-year-old boy into his van Tuesday afternoon.

The boy said the man drove up to him in the area of Parkshore and Edgewater drives at about 4:20 p.m. and asked him if he needed a ride, police said.

When the boy declined, the man got out of the van, opened the passenger door and asked him to get in, police said. The boy ran away.

Officers searched the area but were unable to locate the man or the vehicle.

The van is described as being green with tinted windows and may have the letters "NVE" on the license plate.

The driver is Hispanic, about 5 feet 11 inches tall and is described as having a "big stomach," police said. He was wearing a black sweatshirt, blue denim pants with holes in the knees and a blue wristband on his left wrist.

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call the Newark Police Department at (510) 578-4237.

Bay City News

Nov. 04, 2009

Added: Nov. 19, 2009

Kansas, USA

DNA points to Rape Suspect

DNA evidence pointed the finger Tuesday at a law school graduate as the man who impregnated an underage girl he is charged with sexually assaulting.

Ralf Moises Mondonedo, 41, of Bedford, Texas, is charged with one count of rape or, in the alternative, one count of aggravated incest with a relative 16 to 17; six counts of aggravated indecent liberties with a child 14 to 15; two counts of criminal sodomy with a child 14 to 15; one count of attempted criminal sodomy with a child 14 to 15; and one count of battery, according to court records. All but the battery are felonies...

Karol Elias, co-laboratory director at the Paternity Testing Corp. in Columbia, Mo., told jurors the probability that Mondonedo was the father of the victim's child was 99.99 percent...

Mondonedo and the girl last had sex around Thanksgiving Day in 2008, a time when she felt like vomiting all of the time, the victim said. The defendant told her that if they had sex, it would get rid of the baby, the girl testified.

The attacks were reported to Topeka police on Jan. 5, 2009, after the girl told her mother, and an over-the-counter test confirmed she was pregnant, the girl and her mother testified.

Mondonedo, who graduated from the Washburn University School of Law in December 2003, had worked for the Kansas Attorney General's Office for almost four years, starting in April 2004. He worked in the consumer protection division, but not as a lawyer or investigator, an office spokeswoman said soon after he was charged.

Steve Fry

The Topeka Capital-Journal

Nov. 18, 2009

Added: Nov. 15, 2009

North Carolina, USA

Caught on tape.

A hotel surveillance camera shows Shaniya Davis being carried into a room by a man believed to be Mario Andrette McNeill.

Fayetteville mother's arrest sheds light on human trafficking problem

Fayetteville - North Carolina is a prime destination for human trafficking due to its many highways and interstates, according Senator Ellie Kinnaird, D-Orange.

"It’s out there. It’s out there (and it's) scary,” she said.

Kinnaird has sponsored anti-trafficking legislation before the General Assembly. She said the weekend arrest of a Fayetteville mother on human trafficking and felony child abuse charges shows that the trafficking trade is more prevalent than most people realize.

“I think people just have a view of what our American life is, and it doesn't encompass really evil criminal acts like this,” she said.

According to Fayetteville police, Antoinette Nicole Davis, 25, offered daughter Shaniya for prostitution. The 5-year-old's body was found Monday afternoon southeast of Sanford, ending a weeklong search, police said.

Kinnaird said if Shaniya was involved in a sex trafficking plot, she is among other victims in the state.

“Many of them are Asian women and children. Many of them are Hispanic women and children. But as we saw to our horror (possibly with Shaniya), they are now homegrown, and may have been all along,” she said.

Paralegal Rachel Braver, with the statewide Task Force (RIPPLE) to address Human Trafficking, said the state's large immigrant population also plays a part in attracting human traffickers. She said it is difficult to know just how many victims are out there...

State lawmakers approved a bill in 2007 making human trafficking a felony offense and offering state assistance to victims...


Nov. 16, 2009

See also:
Tragic end to Shaniya Davis search: Body of missing 5-year-old found

Sanford, North Carolina - A missing 5-year-old whose mother was accused of offering her for sex was found dead off a heavily wooded road in a rural area Monday, ending a weeklong search, police said.

Searchers found Shaniya Davis' body early Monday afternoon about 100 feet off a wooded road southeast of Sanford, in central North Carolina, Fayetteville Police spokeswoman Theresa Chance said. She declined to comment on a cause of death or the condition of Shaniya's body.

"We've got a lot of people out at the scene right now that are torn up," Chance said. "Detectives have been running off adrenaline to find this little girl and to bring her home alive. You have a lot of people in shock right now."

Two people have been charged in her disappearance, one of them her mother, Antoinette Davis, 25. Police charged Davis with human trafficking and felony child abuse, saying Shaniya was offered for prostitution. A first court appearance for Davis was scheduled Monday afternoon, and police said she did not yet have an attorney.
Authorities also charged Mario Andrette McNeill, 29, with kidnapping after they said surveillance footage from a Sanford hotel showed him carrying Shaniya there. Authorities said McNeill admitted taking the girl, though his attorney said he will plead not guilty...

The Associated Press

Nov. 16, 2009

Added: Nov. 15, 2009


Photo: ADNMundo

Preocupación por el Crecimiento del “Turismo Sexual” Infantil

La Cámara de Diputados de México asegura que hay 20 mil menores explotados.

Un informe de la Cámara de Diputados aseguró que en México 20 mil menores de edad son explotados sexualmente. Además, informó que las bandas de tratantes de personas crecieron y que operan en 21 estados del país…

Legislators Express Concern About the Growth in Child Sex Tourism in Mexico

A report published by the federal Chamber of Deputies [the lower house of Congress] declares that 20,000 minors are being sexually exploited in Mexico. The report also notes that human trafficking gangs are on the increase, and are operating in 21 of Mexico’s [31] states.

According to a U.S. State Department report on human trafficking in 2009, Mexico had almost 20,000 children and adolescent victims of sexual exploitation, especially in tourist and business areas.

The Special Prosecutor for Crimes of Violence against Women and Trafficking in Persons (FEVIMTRA), assigned to the Attorney General's Office (PGR), reported that in 2008 it has started only 24 preliminary investigations into trafficking cases.

Only two of these cases were prosecuted. Among the victims are Mexican women, as well as foreign women from El Salvador, Korea, Argentina, China, Honduras, Peru and Guatemala.

New Alliance Party member Deputy Cora Alonso Pinedo, during the introduction of her proposed amendments to Article 6 of the Law to Prevent and Punish Trafficking in Persons, said that the original law had omitted the prosecution of offenses where there was consent by the victim.

The lawmaker explained that the current law states that if the victim consented,  no crime was committed, an approach that conflicts with the provisions of international instruments to which Mexico is has subscribed.

Alonso Pinedo said that positive change would be achieved if a greater level of legal certainty was established in these cases...

No significant judgments or penalties against traffickers have been reported during the past year, despite the fact that 24 federal preliminary investigations had been initiated.

Mexico, Country of Origin

According to the United Nations Fund for Children [UNICEF], child sex tourism has been detected in 21 of Mexico’s states.

"The Coalition Against Trafficking in Women said that Mexico is ranked fifth worldwide for these victims, and that at least 250,000 children and teenagers are in the sex trade.

Deputy Pinedo Cora Alonso stressed that child sex tourism continues to grow in [the cities of] Acapulco, Cancun, Tijuana and Ciudad Juarez.


Oct. 26, 2009

Added: Nov. 15, 2009

Texas, USA

Hundreds in Dallas County Deported Before Their Trials

Hundreds of defendants awaiting trial for violent crimes in Dallas County have been deported by federal immigration officials and then set free in their home countries.

The practice goes back to at least 1991 and includes the release of murder, kidnapping and child rape suspects. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials say they're required to deport illegal immigrants quickly but are now in talks with local agencies who are trying to resolve the problem...

One survey of prosecutors shows that since 1991 in Dallas County, nearly 1,000 illegal immigrants have not stood trial after being accused of felonies. That number also counts cases in which a wanted person fled before being arrested, but does not include all Dallas County cases – just ones that prosecutors judged to be of the highest priority.

Those who post bail and agree to then be sent home are taking advantage of the system to escape justice, said Terri Moore, top assistant to District Attorney Craig Watkins...

Officials from the DA's office, the Dallas County Sheriff's Department and ICE met this week to discuss the problem. No quick fixes were found, but they plan to meet again, officials said...

The agency's policies led to the deportation of one defendant, Jose Rico, who returned to Mexico before he could stand trial in the rape of two girls in separate incidents. DNA connected him to both sexual assaults, court records show.

Both girls, ages 12 and 14, were bound with clear duct tape. The attacker told one of the girls: "I have a gun. I will kill you."

Rico, 34, posted his $125,000 bond and was deported in August...

In Dallas County, judges this week took a step toward decreasing the chances that someone in the country illegally will post bond and be deported before trial. Judges began setting the bail at $100,000 per charge if a defendant is in the country illegally.

Under the new system, the bail for Rico, the child rape suspect, probably would have been $200,000...

Jennifer Emily

Dallas News

Nov. 14, 2009

See also:

Dallas Police Identify Suspect in 2 Child Rapes

Dallas police today released the identity of the man believed to be responsible for raping two children in northeast Dallas.

He was identified as Jose Rico, 33, an illegal immigrant, police said.

Rico was being held in the Dallas County jail on charges of aggravated sexual assault and burglary of a habitation.

He is also under an immigration hold...

In both assaults, the victims -- girls between 12 and 14 -- were home alone when a man entered through an unlocked doors. Both girls were bound before they were raped.

[During] the Oct. 16 assault the attacker... entered the home while the girl and an 11-month-old baby were alone.

The man confronted the girl as she was coming out of a bathroom, pushed her back in and turned off the lights. He threatened to hurt the baby if she screamed.

[During] the Jan. 30 attack... a man with a similar description bound and raped a girl while she was home alone.

Dan X. McGraw

The Dallas Morning News

March 26, 2009

Added: Nov. 15, 2009


Guatemala: Where Sexual Exploitation of Minors Is Not a Crime

Guatemala City - Sexual exploitation of minors is not classified as a crime in Guatemala, where activists say child sex tourism is on the rise, and the toughest penalty for "corruption of minors" and "aggravated procuring" is a 400 dollar fine.

"I had problems at home, and a girlfriend took me to work with her in a bar." That is how Alba, at the age of 14, began to be sexually exploited in a brothel on the outskirts of the Guatemalan capital. Her mother was demanding that she bring money home, and she saw it as a way to earn an income.

For Alba's family, which is poor, the 160 dollars a month that she brought home was an important source of income.

Alba was the only underage girl in the bar where she worked, which attracted a relatively upscale clientele. She was also the most popular, to the point that she was the target of envy on the part of her fellow sex workers.

But hers is not an isolated case. Although no precise figures are available, in 2002 it was estimated that 2,000 minors were sexually exploited in Guatemala City alone, according to a report by Casa Alianza (the Latin American branch of the New York-based Covenant House, a child advocacy organisation) and ECPAT (an international NGO working to end child prostitution, child pornography and the trafficking of children).

Of those 2,000 minors, 1,200 were from El Salvador, 500 from Honduras and 300 from Guatemala itself. María Eugenia Villarreal, ECPAT director for Latin America, says Central America is a hub for trafficking in minors, child pornography and sex tourism...

Villarreal told IPS that "the problem continues to grow." She put the number of victims as high as 15,000 nationwide, the majority of them girls between the ages of 15 and 17, who are mainly exploited in brothels in the capital and in border and port areas.

The Guatemalan Congress is studying a draft law that would classify sexual exploitation as a crime, which would be punishable by six to 12-year prison sentences. Guatemala is the only country in Central America that has not yet updated its laws in this area, and according to experts, the political parties are in no hurry to do so.

"I do not see any hope that Guatemala's penal code will be reformed in the short term, because that would touch the interests of people with political and economic clout," said Héctor Dionisio, coordinator of Casa Alianza's legal programme in Guatemala.

Doria Giusti, a United Nations children's fund (UNICEF) representative in Guatemala, told IPS that "children are not given high priority in Congress, and the sexual exploitation of minors is a taboo issue. Besides, most of the lawmakers are men, so a sexist viewpoint prevails." ...

Alberto Mendoza

Inter Press Service (IPS)

Oct. 13, 2009

Added: Nov. 15, 2009

Florida, USA

Juan Gomez Dominga

Man Arrested for Human Trafficking

Bonita Springs - A Bonita Springs man was arrested on human trafficking charges Wednesday.

Juan Gomez Dominga is accused of forcing a young girl to have sex for money.

Deputies say the girl went into labor with her second child Wednesday and doctors at Health Park Hospital became suspicious when she gave inconsistent stories about her living situation.

Investigators learned that she had been illegally smuggled into the United States three years ago and was taken to work at a nursery in Homestead, Florida. According to her statements, she was forced to have sex with managers there to pay back the smuggling cost.

Domingo knew the victim and her family and heard about her situation. Deputies say he offered her marriage as a way out.

Deputies say once she moved to Bonita Springs to be with Domingo, he would drop her off with different women who would in turn deliver her to various brothels in Bonita.

Domingo's brother tells WINK news the victim is only 16 years old.

Domingo's bail has been set at 1 million dollars. He is charged with human trafficking and forced labor.

Max Turnier


Nov. 14, 2009

Added: Nov. 15, 2009


Women protest the forced closing of the last two feminist radio programs in Honduras by the de facto government regime led by Roberto Micheletti. The tape on their mouths and bodies read: "Censured. We have no freedom."

Photo: Feminist's International Radio Endeavor (FIRE)

See also:

Daysi Flores (right), host of "Time to Speak" on the air.

Women's radio programs closed in latest assault
on civil liberties

Oct. 17, 2009

Report on Women's Human Rights Violations Shows Systematic Attack on Women Under Honduran Coup

On Nov. 2 representatives from Honduran women's organizations presented a grim panorama of violations of women's human rights by the de facto regime led by Roberto Micheletti before the Inter-American Human Rights Commission.

Their testimonies provided documented proof that the coup regime and its security forces have been responsible for rapes, beatings, murders and harassment of Honduran women in the resistance movement, and the dictatorial elimination of gains in gender equity. These crimes against women have been committed in the context of impunity for the perpetrators...

Honduras has a strong and organized feminist movement. This movement came together, fortified by the integration of hundreds of independent women, in the coalition Feminists in Resistance following the coup. It has seen its members beaten, its hard-fought gains rolled back, its institutions taken over and its projects for gender equity in public policy shattered over the past four months, under an illegitimate and ultraconservative regime. Despite the personal risk and the continuous setbacks, it remains strong and united and committed to restoring the rule of law necessary for peaceful advances in women's rights...

• The most prevalent forms of police and military violence against women involve insults and beatings aimed at women’s vaginas, breasts, hips and buttocks.

• Of the 240 cases registered, 23 women were victims of groping and beatings targeted to the breasts and crotch area as well as sexual insults and threats of sexual violence.

• Of these 23 cases, 7 involve rapes that occurred in the cities of Tegucigalpa, San Pedro Sula, Choloma, El Progreso and Danli. These were all gang rapes carried out by police and used explicitly to “punish” women for their involvement in demonstrations. It is suspected that all were pre-meditated as the police involved used condoms. These rapes all occurred while the women victims were apprehended after peaceful demonstrations or during curfews. Of these 7 cases, only 1 woman has presented a formal case to the authorities (the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights). The other victims have presented their testimonies to women’s human rights organizations but have refused to register their cases with the Honduran government Office of Human Rights or Office of Women’s Rights.

• While it is certain these are not the only cases, all the women who are victims give three reasons why they do not register their complaints with the authorities: 1) they fear that the inevitable police investigation will involve the men who perpetrated the crime; 2) since the coup, women do not trust the judicial system to provide an effective response; and 3) where cases have been reported, the police have refused to register the complaint, as in the case of a 17-year-old raped in the company of another woman on September 22nd...

Americas Mexico Blog

Nov. 5, 2009

Added: Nov. 15, 2009


Gabriel García Márquez

A Film Adaptation Runs Into Trouble

A rights group filed a criminal complaint last week against adapting Gabriel García Márquez's "Memories of My Melancholy Whores" into a movie.

In the 2004 book, a 90-year-old falls in love with "an adolescent virgin."

Mexico City - When the Nobel Prize-winning Colombian author Gabriel García Márquez penned his most recent novel, "Memories of My Melancholy Whores," the wily old master knew he was being provocative.

The book begins with this line by an unnamed narrator: "The year I turned 90, I wanted to give myself the gift of a night of wild love with an adolescent virgin."

But there is art and there is life. And so just as an international cast and crew were about to begin filming a movie adaptation of the 2004 novella, the plug was pulled as the filmmakers and García Márquez were denounced as aiding and abetting perverts.

A human rights organization called the Regional Coalition Against Trafficking in Women and Girls in Latin America and the Caribbean [CATW-LAC] filed a criminal complaint with the Mexican attorney general last week, asserting that the filmmakers would be "responsible for acts that could be constituted as the crime of condoning child prostitution."

That is a serious assertion in Mexico, which faces challenges to control sex trafficking and child prostitution.

"We don't want them to put García Márquez in jail," coalition director Teresa Ulloa told the Associated Press. "What we want is for them not to film the movie." ...

"The question of the week is why García Márquez agreed to take to the screen 'Memories of My Melancholy Whores' at a time when the world is fighting against the growing commercial sexual exploitation of children and adolescents. The novel has a limited audience, while the film would end up on television and find a mass audience," wrote Lydia Cacho in the newspaper El Universal.

Cacho is not just a columnist but an internationally recognized crusader against the sexual abuse of women and children. She investigated a ring of pedophiles operating out of the coastal city of Cancun and then wrote a book about it, "The Demons of Eden: the Power Behind Child Pornography."

In the García Márquez novel, the protagonist is a randy old goat, a newspaper columnist as bitter as ancient almonds, without family or friends, who paid money for each of the 514 women he has slept with in his misspent existence. Before the young virgin Delgadina is presented to him, the brothel owner drugs the nervous girl with salts of bromide and the herb valerian, which puts her into a deep sleep. The narrator does not touch her that night but lies beside her, falling in love for the first time in his life...

Cacho is not having any of it. "In his novel the Gabo says the old man falls for Delgadina. This argument we heard from hundreds of pedophiles seeking virgin girls between 13 and 14 years for rape and all those who paid for the kidnapping, buying and selling of children," she said.

Guadalupe Loaeza, a public intellectual whose barbed wit is often aimed at the rich and powerful, came to the aid of García Márquez in the pages of the newspaper Reforma: "As I remember, while reading your book it never entered my mind that this was a defense of pedophilia," any more than Vladimir Nabokov's "Lolita" was...

William Booth

The Washington Post

Oct. 17, 2009

See also:

Gabriel García Márquez, the Nobel Prize Winner in Literature for 1982

Added: Nov. 15, 2009


Military Abuses Brought to Inter-American Commission

Mexico City - A case of rights abuses allegedly committed by the Mexican armed forces is coming up for a hearing at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), where it joins a long list of accusations against the army in this Latin American country.

As part of the IACHR's 137th Period of Sessions, which began in Washington Monday, a hearing will be held Thursday on "Public Security and Human Rights in Tijuana, Mexico" at which activists and victims' relatives will report human rights violations allegedly committed by Mexican soldiers.

"We want to denounce what is happening as a result of the public security model, which is generalized throughout the country but has had specific consequences in certain areas, like Tijuana," in the northwestern Mexican state of Baja California, activist Humberto Guerrero with the non-governmental Mexican Commission for the Defense and Promotion of Human Rights (CMDPDH), one of the plaintiffs in the case, told IPS.

The complaint, one of five cases against Mexico being heard Thursday, will air the case of a group of municipal police in Baja California who were detained and tortured by members of the military...

As an autonomous organ of the Organization of American States (OAS), the IACHR has a mandate under the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. Its principal function is "promoting the observance and the defense of human rights." ...

The Mexican state faces several lawsuits at the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.

Among them is the case of community leader Rosendo Radilla, kidnapped and disappeared in 1974 by soldiers in the southwestern state of Guerrero; the rape of two indigenous women by troops in the same state in 2002; and the 2001 murders of three women in Ciudad Juárez on the border with the United States, notorious as the scene of hundreds of femicides (gender related murders) in recent decades.

The hearings coincide with Attorney General Arturo Chávez's visit to the United States this week to report on the progress of the Mérida Initiative, an anti-drug plan approved by the administration of former U.S. president George W. Bush (2001-2009) which provides 1.4 billion dollars in aid for Mexico and Central America.

This year Mexico will receive 420 million dollars under the Mérida Initiative.

Emilio Godoy

Inter Press Service (IPS)

Nov 4, 2009

Added: Nov. 15, 2009


University of Pennsylvania Law School Held a Symposium on Sex Trafficking and Labor Trafficking

The Penn Law Review symposium provided a forum for scholars and practitioners on combating human trafficking on Nov. 13th and 14th, 2009.

Feminist and anti-trafficking activist Gloria Steinem kicked off the symposium with opening remarks and participated in the Labor Trafficking panel discussion.


Added: Nov. 15, 2009

New Jersey

Authorities Close 3 Brothels in Cumberland County

Bridgeton - County, federal and local law enforcement collaborated in a month-long investigation this summer that ended with the shutdown of two alleged brothels in Bridgeton and one in Vineland.

Cumberland County Prosecutor Ronald J. Casella on Friday said his worst fear is the operations involved human trafficking; that is, women forced against their will to be prostitutes.

Hispanic men were the clients. A total of seven females from New York were recruited for the brothels, which were set up in houses. The women were not indicted because prostitution is only a disorderly conduct offense...

One prostitute was an underage girl believed to be 16; she was not charged due to her age...

The alleged operator of one brothel... in Bridgeton, is registered sex crime offender Juan Marrero of Middlesex County, authorities said.

Casella said the underage girl worked at Marrero's brothel, which resulted in a second-degree charge of promoting prostitution against him and three others. The offense of second-degree promoting prostitution can carry a five-year prison term.

The other brothels were [also]... in Bridgeton. Daniel Lopez-Araiza and his girlfriend, Selene Guevara, operated them, Casella said...

Cirilo L. Sanchez, a Mexican national, had pleaded guilty earlier to a fourth-degree charge of promoting prostitution. He was given 90 days in the county jail and will be deported.

Sanchez... is listed as a customer of Marrero...

A four-count indictment was filed against Lopez-Araiza, Guevera and two other men. It lists three charges of promoting prostitution, ranging from third- to fourth-degree offenses, and resisting arrest.

A five-count indictment names Marrero and 16 other men. It lists four counts of promoting prostitution, ranging from second- to fourth-degree offense, including the use of a girl under age 18.

Joseph P. Smith

The Daily Journal

Nov. 7, 2009

Added: Nov. 15, 2009


Hartford Police Hunt Suspect in Reported Sex Assault on Minor

Hartford - Police said they are searching for a 60-year-old East Hartford man who is suspected of sexually assaulting a minor.

Detectives of the Hartford Police Department's Juvenile Investigative Division have obtained an arrest warrant charging Jorge Ortiz, also known as Jorge Astudillo, with sexual assault in the first degree and risk of injury to a minor...

Ortiz, a Colombian national, is described as a Hispanic male with black hair, medium complexion and brown eyes. He is 5-foot-6 and weighs 180 pounds.

Authorities believe he may be attempting to flee the country. Ortiz is also the subject of a pending deportation proceeding by Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Jorge Ortiz is asked to contact Detective Edward P. Foster at 860-757-4342 or call Hartford Crime Stoppers at 860-722-TIPS (8477).

The Hartford Courant

Nov. 5, 2009

Added: Nov. 15, 2009


David Sanchez

Family Friend Arrested For Raping Girl

Palm Bay - An illegal immigrant in Palm Bay faces multiple counts of sexual battery after officers say he sexually assaulted a 13-year-old girl. David Sanchez, 28, investigators say, used a family friendship to rape the child.

Sanchez is an illegal immigrant from El Salvador who has already been deported once for doing the same thing to another child in Alabama. Investigators say he returned to the U.S. in mid-2008 where he began having an unlawful sexual relationship with a then,

On Sunday detectives arrested Sanchez after the girl’s father found him having sex with his daughter in her bedroom.

“Prior to entering the home, the suspect removed the hurricane shutters from the girl’s bedroom window and she let him in through the back door,” said Detective Greg Guillette. “When dad was at the bedroom door, the suspect jumped out the window and fled.”

After the confrontation the girl told her father she’d been having a sexual relationship with Sanchez since the middle of last year when she had just turned 12 years old.

“This child was taken advantage of in the worst possible way,” Guillette said. “She was coaxed into thinking it was okay and the suspect continued to sexually abuse her until he was finally caught.”

Sanchez faces 15 counts of first-degree sexual battery on a child. He is being held in the Brevard County Detention Center without bond.


Oct. 27, 2009

Added: Nov. 15, 2009


Man Arraigned for Groping Women on Orange Line

Somerville - An Everett man has been identified as the person who groped at least four women on Boston subway cars in the past six months, Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel F. Conley said today.

Hugo Hernandez, 22, was arraigned this morning in the Boston Municipal Court on four counts of indecent assault and battery. Assistant District Attorney Patrick Devlin recommended that he be held on $25,000 cash bail; Judge Michael Coyne, noting that Hernandez is the subject of an immigration detainer, set bail at $2,000 on each count, for a total of $8,000. Coyne further ordered Hernandez to stay away from all MBTA stations and conveyances if he posts bail and to check in weekly with the Department of Probation.

 “Young or old, male or female, everyone has the right to ride the subway without being grabbed or groped,” Conley said. “If you see that behavior or if you’re subjected to it, then don’t hesitate to contact Transit Police at 617-222-1212. Time and again, victim reports have taken suspects off the streets and out of the subway.”

The charges against Hernandez arise out of an extensive, seven-month investigation by members of the MBTA Transit Police that began when two separate adult women reported that a man had groped them on an Orange Line train on April 28.

Both women were assaulted while traveling northbound on the Orange Line during the late afternoon. One of them used her cell phone camera to photograph the assailant; she later provided that photo to responding Transit Police officers.

Two other women reported similar incidents, one on the evening of Sept. 10 while traveling southbound on the Red Line and the other on the evening of Oct. 19 while traveling northbound on the Orange Line. All four provided similar descriptions of the assailant.

Wicked Local Somerville

Nov. 06, 2009

Added: Nov. 15, 2009


Jose Orlando Romero-Feliciano

Staunton Man Pleads Guilty to Molesting 8-year-old Girl

STAUNTON — A Staunton man who was on the lam for several months after being accused of molesting an 8-year-old girl in February pleaded guilty Tuesday in circuit court to a charge of forcible sodomy...

Staunton assistant prosecutor Anne Reed said Romero-Feliciano was baby-sitting the child, ill at the time, when he decided to play a game Reed said he learned in his native Puerto Rico. He blindfolded the girl and had her taste fruit and whipped cream in an attempt to identify the foods. But while the girl was still blindfolded, Reed said Romero-Feliciano orally sodomized the girl.

Reed said Romero-Feliciano told police the molestation wasn't planned. "It just hit him at that moment," she said.

Seminal fluid found on the girl's clothing matched Romero-Feliciano's DNA.

Romero-Feliciano fled Staunton after getting a ride from a friend to Washington Dulles International Airport, where he caught a flight to Seattle. Later, Reed said he took a bus to Louisiana, where he was living under an assumed name. The U.S. Marshals Service eventually apprehended Romero-Feliciano in West Monroe, La.. He was extradited to Virginia in July.

Reed said based on Virginia's recommended sentencing guidelines, Romero-Feliciano, who has a previous 2006 Staunton conviction for possession of a controlled substance and then violated probation in that case, faces anywhere from six to 20 1/2 years in prison. Reed said she will ask for a "substantial" prison sentence...

Brad Zinn


Nov. 4, 2009

Added: Nov. 15, 2009


Affidavit: Teen Says He Killed Boy Found in Dryer

Mendota - Authorities say in court documents that a California teenager charged with murder confessed to killing a 4-year-old boy because the child was going to reveal the teen molested him.

Fresno County prosecutors have charged 14-year-old Raul Castro as an adult. His arraignment hearing was postponed Wednesday.

The affidavit was filed by sheriff's Detective Sergio Toscano to get an arrest warrant.

It says Castro lured Alex Mercado into a bathroom and molested him. When Alex threatened to tell his mother, Castro said he held him under water in a bathtub until he died then hid the body in a clothes dryer, the affidavit states.

Castro is scheduled to be arraigned Wednesday on charges including murder and sodomy...

The Associated Press

Nov. 04, 2009

Added: Nov. 15, 2009


Mauricio Alberto Morales

Suspected Serial Rapist Charged with Raping 10-year-old

Nashville - A suspected serial rapist in jail on charges he raped two adult women in Nashville in separate cases in 2008 and earlier this year has been indicted for raping and fondling a 10-year-old girl.

A grand jury in Davidson County on Friday indicted Mauricio Alberto Morales on three counts of child rape, one count of aggravated sexual battery and one count of aggravated burglary after DNA evidence linked him to the girl's bedroom.

Morales, a 32-year-old El Salvadoran national, is believed to have entered the girl's room through a window in the overnight hours in late April.

The 10-year-old reported she was sexually assaulted more than once.

Morales is charged with raping a 49-year-old woman at her home on Madeline Drive in January and in June 2008, raping a 32-year-old woman and assaulting her four-year-old son at their home on Antioch Pike.

Morales was located at his sister's home in Texas on July 3 and taken into custody for both incidents.

Police said in 1998, Morales was convicted of aggravated burglary and aggravated assault in Houston.

He was behind bars for six years before being deported from the United States in 2004.


Nov. 02, 2009

Added: Nov. 03, 2009

The World, Latin America, Venezuela

Kidnapping and Human Trafficking – the Seamy Side of Globalization

Globalization has created new opportunities for the transfer of people and products across borders, and broadened the scope of many businesses around the world. But it’s not all good news of course: one of the seamier sides of growing international commerce is the abduction and trafficking of human beings.

The problem is getting worse. Just over a year since the collapse of the global market, countries around the world have reported a significant increase in cases of the exploitation of people for monetary gain. While cases of kidnapping and ransom continue to be common in African and Latin American countries, such as Nigeria and Venezuela, the majority of organized human trafficking cases are actually in Europe.

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) announced that the number of human trafficking cases has increased dramatically since 2006. In Europe alone, its report estimated there are 270,000 victims of human trafficking, but authorities fear it is only a fraction of unreported cases. The majority of these victims are women who have been forced into prostitution.

Yet the most shocking statistic released by the UN is an estimate that only around one-in-100,000 traffickers are actually convicted for human exploitation. “Perhaps police are not finding the traffickers and victims because they are not looking for them,” said the UNODC executive director Antonio Maria Costa. “Lives should not be for sale or for rent on a continent that prohibits slavery and forced labour, and prides itself on upholding human dignity.”

Even though most human trafficking cases are in Europe, human abduction and kidnapping have also become a significant problem in Latin America. Recently, Venezuela became the continent’s latest hot spot for kidnappings, with abduction rates higher than both Colombia and Mexico. The country’s most recent surge of kidnappings have been in Barinas, in west central Venezuela, where the abduction rate is 7.2 people per 100,000 inhabitants. According to the country’s interior ministry, the national average is much lower - roughly two kidnappings per 100,000 inhabitants...

Leah Germain

International News Services

Oct. 28, 2009

Added: Nov. 03, 2009



Chuck Goolsby

We say again...

Give Latin America and Especially its At-Risk Indigenous Peoples a Seat at the Table in the Global Fight Against Gender Oppression

The above article from International News Services, Kidnapping and Human Trafficking – the Seamy Side of Globalization, states that "most human trafficking cases are in Europe."

From our perspective, the idea that more human trafficking victims exist in Europe than in Latin America and Asia does not ring true. Among the experts trying to focus the spotlight of urgent action on the crisis in Latin America is Teresa Ulloa, executive director of the Latin American and Caribbean branch of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women (CATW). Ulloa estimates that in Mexico alone, 500,000 victims of trafficking exist, far beyond the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) estimate that 270,000 victims exist in Europe. Ulloa also notes that Mexico generates an estimated 17% of its gross domestic product (DGP) from prostitution.

Repeatedly, the mainstream press, experts in human trafficking and entities such as human trafficking task forces around the United States fail to take notice of the fact that Latin America is an unending source of sex trafficking victims, given that regional efforts to combat the problem are weak, unfunded and largely unsupported by national governments, civil institutions and the public.

Until the anti-trafficking movement wakes-up and discovers that modern Latin American sexual slavery and related forms of community-based sexual exploitation are absolutely pervasive in the cities and farm fields in every corner of the United States, victims will continue to suffer, anti-trafficking funds will continue to be misdirected, and multi-billion dollar trafficking mafias will continue to laugh in the face of civilized society.

That is not an acceptable scenario for the present or the future.

Although the anti-trafficking movement in western nations is made-up of a dedicated cadre of mostly white and Asian activists, Latin American, Indigenous American, African and other populations, those who are those who are most especially targeted for kidnapping, rape and sexual and labor enslavement in the Americas, deserve an equal place at the table in the anti-trafficking movement.

Their interests must be represented. That representation is not being effectively accomplished today.

Now why is that?

End impunity now!

- Chuck Goolsby


Nov. 03, 2009

See also:









Un millón de menores latinoamericanos atrapados por redes de prostitución

Former federal special prosecutor for violent crimes against women - Alicia Elena Perez Duarte:

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

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

Full story (in English)

Added: Nov. 02, 2009


Guatemaltecas Son Madres Desde los Diez Años

Incesto, violación y falta de educación sexual, las causas

Las niñas guatemal-tecas suelen tener hijos más temprano de lo que mudan dientes. Desde los diez años de edad ellas ya conocen una sala de parto y saben lo que significa recuperarse del dolor de una cesárea...

Guatemalan Girls Become Mothers From the Age of Ten

Incest, Rape and a Lack of Sex Education are the Causes

Guatemalan girls have children sooner than they loose all of their baby teeth. From the age of ten they know what a delivery room is, and they know what it means to recover from the pain of a cesarean section.

Human rights advocates see this social phenomenon as a problem that occurs behind closed doors, and involves abuse by the father, an uncle or a grandfather within the home. Prosecutors and the Public Ministry are convinced that the statistics are an indication of a high incidence of rape in this nation.

Experts on sex education perceive the problem as resulting from poor knowledge about sex and its consequences, which leads to a state of social disorder.

In this Central American country of 14 million inhabitants, with a population of five million children, girls menstruate between the ages of 10 and 13. According to the Maternal and Child Health Survey of 2006, 26 of 100 girls have their first sexual experience between the ages of 13 and 15.

These teens typically have their first relationship with a friend, a boyfriend or a partner. But in many cases their first experience is a result of rape. Two out of every ten girls have been raped before finishing elementary school. Frightened, rejected and discriminated against by their families, these girls accelerate their sexual maturation by [an average of] 5 years. By the time they reach age 20, according to the National Statistics Institute, they often have two or three children.

A study conducted in 2006 by the Guttmacher Institute, entitled "Early Childbearing: A Continuing Challenge," in Guatemala there are 114 births per thousand women, while in the rest of the region, the figure is 80 births per thousand women...

However, pregnancies in girls are not only related to a lack of sex education. According to Ana Gladys Ollas of the Prosecutors Office for Human Rights for Women, pregnancies are also the result of incest and emotional blackmail exerted by gang members and gangs of teenagers who sometimes rape girls collectively.

The official noted that the neighborhoods where poor pregnant girls live are also places where gangs abound. And the situation is repeated in prisons. Girls are brought to prisons to be raped as a result of acts of extortion committed against their families.

In this country, the poorest are also the most vulnerable citizens. With just a [pennies] to survive, a [typical] household with five children must also submit to the extortion of gangs that require them to pay fees of $50 to $ 1,000...

Spanking, scolding, beating, burning, being locked in a room and [extreme] prohibitions are the forms of violent punishment that girls suffer on a daily basis. Some 22 of every 100 Guatemalan girls have been beaten by their parents before age 15. These forms of violence drive young girls to seek affection from teens and men who end-up deceiving them.

Leonel Dubon, who heads the Foundation for the Girl, explains that families get rid of the babies of young girls through the use of clandestine abortions. According to Zenaida Escobedo, in charge of gender affairs in the judiciary, in Guatemala around 65,000 illegal abortions are performed each year.

Often, after giving birth, these girls sell their babies for up to $600 to clandestine human trafficking operations...

Mayan women are the poorest, and often have up to 10 sons and daughters, as within indigenous culture, condom use among men and contraceptive use by women is often frowned upon.

Full English Translation


Oct. 30, 2009

LibertadLatina Note:

The above story states that the rate of childbirth in Guatemala is 114 births per thousand women. In the surrounding region the birth rate is 80 births per 1,000 women.

Here are comparable rates for young women between the ages of 15 and 19 in the United States:

  • All races and origins, 42

  • Asian/Pacific Islander, 17

  • White (including Hispanic), 38

  • American Indian/Alaska Native, 55

  • Black (including Hispanic), 65

  • Hispanic, 83

Source: U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) - 2006

LibertadLatina Note:

The targeting of ten-year-old girls by teen and adult Latino gang members for rape with impunity described in the above story occurs not only in Guatemala, by across the Americas.

See also:

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


"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 letter on the subject to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children] 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.

When this sexual violence occurs within the context of a seemingly permissive public environment -- indifferent civil institutions, forced silence and complicity of families, gang culture, a society that explicitly promotes the sexualization and exploitation of children through media -- its criminal and immoral nature goes unquestioned. My question is how and where do we create the public environment that allows us to voice our disapproval and to hold the implicated adults accountable for their negligent care of our children?

...We're also looking at the rate of incidence among black and Asian girls and young women to document that this is not merely a culturally accepted behavior, but rather a complex and systemic form of violence carried out against poor girls and young women of color.

- 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.

LibertadLatina Note:

Although this serious, truthful, accurate and  poignant letter was written in 1999, from my observations, the same conditions exist today in 2009. Nothing has changed for the better, while the code of silence in the barrio and the extending tentacles of criminal networks have made the violence worse, resulting in a permissive environment in the Washington, DC, Maryland and Virginia region.

End impunity now!

- Chuck Goolsby


Nov. 03, 2009

Added: Nov. 02, 2009

Texas, USA, Mexico, Honduras

The sex trafficking routes used by the brutal enslavers described in the several cases related in this story.

Map: LibertadLatina

Special Investigation: Inside the Slave Trade

Mission, Texas - One woman was sold on an auction block. Another became an involuntary servant in the land of the free.

"Human slavery, we have it. It is in our neighborhood but a lot of people don't want to see it," says Jaime Ortiz, a coordinator for the South Texas Civil Rights Project.

"Slavery is still here in our neighborhood in the Rio Grande Valley."

During Channel 5 News' investigation into the slave trade, we met a woman in Reynosa who had escaped her life as a sex slave the night before we spoke to her. We'll call her "Carlita."

The Honduran native says her captivity began the moment she arrived by boat in Veracruz, Mexico. Her smuggler sold her to a madam and the nightmare began.

"Carlita" tells us she ended up in a nearby brothel. Forty-five days later, she was lined up again for auction in Reynosa. She was allegedly one of half a dozen women up for sale.

…A man bought her there for $1,000.

"Carlita" says she was held captive in a home for three months…

Her captors would allegedly rape her and other slaves repeatedly. "Carlita" tells us screaming and yelling only made it worse. She learned to be quiet and turn the pain inward.

Eventually, she asked a trusted friend for help and escaped.

"Carlita" tells us her buyer wanted a child. But his long-term plans were to add "Carlita" into "the pipeline." It's the dangerous underground sex slave trade in American cities.

It starts in Houston.

FBI Agent Maritza Conde-Vazquez says Latin women like "Carlita" become cantineras.

They're forced to work in dirty saloons found among a cluster of cantinas. The businesses cater to Central Americans and are often owned by people from those countries…

From Houston, slaves are taken to Atlanta and moved up the East Coast. From Washington, D.C., the pipeline continues to New York. Some women are eventually trafficked west to San Francisco...

Conde-Vazquez says the only reason traffickers force women into prostitution is to make money.

"It's a very profitable business, when you come to think about it," explains the FBI agent. "It's a human being. And it's basically a person who can provide you endless services as long as that person is alive and in fair condition. It's going to provide you services for the life of that person."

The FBI tells us victims rarely come forward and traffickers are difficult to catch...

As for "Carlita," she was headed home to Honduras. There's no word where she is tonight.

Alex Trevino


Oct. 29, 2009

Added: Nov. 02, 2009

Mexico, Latin America, The United States

Expertos: En Auge, la Trata de Personas en México

Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Chiapas - México se ha convertido en uno de los países que tienen un alto índice de trata de personas, ilícito sólo superado por el tráfico de drogas, advirtieron expertos de Centro y Sudamérica que participan en el primer Congreso internacional sobre migración, trata de personas y derechos humanos, que se inició hoy en esta entidad...

Experts: Human Trafficking is Booming in Mexico

Tuxtla Gutierrez, Chiapas state -Mexico has become one of the nations that have a high incidence of trafficking in people, [with profits] second only to illegal drug trafficking, warned Central and South American experts participating in the first International Congress on migration, human trafficking and human rights , which began today in this city.

Ana Maria Martinez, coordinator of the Violence and Trafficking Convention of Save the Children in Nicaragua; Edith Zavala, coordinator of the technical secretariat of the Regional Network of Civil Organizations for Migration of Honduras, and Rodolfo Casillas Ramirez, a researcher at the Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences Mexico (FLACSO), all indicated that in Chiapas state, human trafficking is on the increase, and declared that this criminal activity is tied to the smuggling of migrants seeking to reach the United States.

Edith Zavala stated that the problem has its origins [principally] in Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Mexico and the Dominican Republic, and that the principal destinations are the United States and Argentina.

4 Million Victims

Zavala explained that the International Labor Organization estimates that there are some 2.5 million victims of trafficking, of which 77 percent are women and 48 percent under 18, but non-governmental civil organizations indicate that people subjected to this form of slavery amount to more than 4 million people. The revenue generated is estimated at about 42 billion, 500 million dollars…

Rodolfo Casillas, a researcher at FLACSO, said the sexual and labor exploitation is present within the international and domestic migration flows because current migration policies have undesirable effects that lead to the existence, development and operation of networks of smugglers and human traffickers.

We have moved from simple smugglers to criminal networks that make this a lucrative business, and organized crime has discovered this source of profits, he concluded.

Angeles Mariscal

La Jornada

Oct. 21, 2009

Added: Nov. 02, 2009

United States, Mexico

Gustavo de la Rosa Hickerson

Mexican Official Calls U.S. Detention Unfair

Rights watchdog for Chihuahua is released by Customs and Border Protection

Human-rights official: Mexican soldiers part of drug violence

El Paso, texas - Chihuahua human-rights investigator Gustavo de la Rosa Hickerson feels betrayed and disappointed.

One day after being released by U.S. immigration authorities, Hickerson said Thursday that he felt betrayed by the Mexican government for not coming to his aid after he was taken into custody against his will last week.

And he said he was disappointed in a system in the United States that allows immigration officials to take someone into custody for his or her own safety without legal recourse.

"I was in prison five days without a legal cause to process me -- why? Because the only thing I did was to say I was afraid to be in Juárez," Hickerson said at a news conference.

On Oct. 15, de la Rosa was crossing at the Paso del Norte Bridge into El Paso when officers recognized him as a human-rights activist and questioned him, said his lawyer, Carlos Spector.

Spector said border agents asked de la Rosa whether he was afraid to be in Mexico because of his work. de la Rosa told the agents that he was afraid but that he did not want asylum.

de la Rosa said that at the moment of his detention, he expressed fear to go back to Juárez because one of his bodyguards was recently killed and he needed time to find out why. He added that the slaying was not connected in any way to him. de la Rosa receives protection from Mexican authorities.

Early in October, de la Rosa said he could document 170 cases in which Mexican soldiers extorted, kidnapped, tortured, beat or killed innocent people while deployed in the state to limit the violence that has taken hold in Chihuahua.

"I want to know who ordered my detention for being afraid. They didn't protect me; they detained me. Why did the Mexican Consulate not intervene?" asked de la Rosa, a former director of the Cereso prison in Juárez.

"The Mexican Consulate was notified of my detention immediately," he said.

"I feel betrayed by the Mexican consul; he didn't even show up to visit me once. This is not fair, not only because of who I am, but for the rest of the Mexicans," de la Rosa said.

But Mexican Consul Roberto Rodríguez said that at the beginning of de la Rosa's detention, he took immediate action by sending a letter to Ana Hinojosa, director of field operations for Customs and Border Protection, asking her to inform the consulate about de la Rosa's legal status. The letter was sent on Oct. 16, one day after de la Rosa's detention...

Aileen B. Flores

The El Paso Times

Oct. 23, 2009

Added: Nov. 02, 2009

California, USA

Manuel Ortega. Ortega, 19, is charged with rape, robbery and assault causing great bodily injury in the attack.

Richmond High School Gang Rape: Four Men Charged in Viscious Attack on 15-year-old California Girl

Richmond - Four teens could appear in court as early as Thursday after being charged in the alleged gang rape of a 15-year-old girl outside her high school homecoming dance in Northern California.

The four - ages 15, 16, 17 and 19 - were charged Wednesday with rape and enhancements that they acted in concert, which could make them eligible for life in prison.

"These are people who played a significant role in the incident," Richmond Police Lt. Mark Gagan said. "I'm confident that more arrests will be made."

Besides rape, the 19-year-old, Manuel Ortega of Richmond, was charged with robbery and assault causing great bodily injury. It was unknown if he had an attorney.

The other three face one count each of felony rape with a foreign object. They were charged as adults because of the severity of the crime, Gagan said. The 16-year-old also faces robbery charges.

All four remained in custody Wednesday. A fifth suspect arrested Tuesday, 21-year-old Salvador Rodriguez of Richmond, also remained jailed but had not been charged.

The alleged gang rape and beating Saturday night at Richmond High School have rattled the city of about 120,000 in the San Francisco Bay area.

Police believe as many as 10 people ranging in age from 15 to mid-20s attacked the girl for more than two hours in a dimly lit area. As many as two dozen people witnessed the rape without notifying police...

New York Daily News

Oct. 29, 2009

Added: Nov. 02, 2009

Nevada, USA

Police Arrest Mother of Girl, 15, in Relationship with Soccer Coach

Daughter told police her mother approved of relationship, but mother denies it

Henderson Police have arrested the mother of a 15-year-old girl who was in an ongoing sexual relationship with a soccer coach.

The private soccer club coach, 40-year-old Gabriel G. Lopez of Las Vegas, was booked Wednesday on 11 counts of statutory sexual seduction, Henderson Police said.

A Henderson police officer spotted a black Chevy Tahoe parked in a dark area of the Arroyo Grande Sports Complex parking lot about 10:30 p.m. Tuesday, police said. The officer found a man and a girl inside the vehicle and the girl said she had had sexual relations with Lopez since June.

Police said that the alleged sexual relationship is believed to be consensual, the girl had not reached the age of consent, which is 16 years under state law.

After Lopez and the girl gave police separate interviews to the police, the girl told police that her mother approved of the relationship. "Love only comes around once," she quoted her mother as saying.

The girl also told police that her mother also said, "You can't deny love. You never know who it will be," according to a police report.

The girl told police that her mother suggested Lopez provide a second cell phone to the girl, so her father would not find out about the relationship, the report said.

According to the mother's interview with police, she denied approving of her daughter's relationship with Lopez, and told her to end the affair.

The mother is facing a felony charge of child abuse, neglect or endangerment.

Mary Manning

The Nevada Sun

Oct 23, 2009

Added: Nov. 02, 2009

Texas, USA

Francisco Manuel Rodriguez

Lubbock Man Sentenced for Rape of 11-Year-Old Girl

A Lubbock man will spend up to 35 years in prison for the rape of his young neighbor.

137th District Judge Cecil Puryear sentenced Francisco Manuel Rodriguez, 36, for the July 2008 rape of an 11-year-old girl.

Rodriguez pleaded guilty Monday. He had faced up to life in prison.

His victim described the attack Tuesday morning in front of families from both sides of the case.

Rodriguez walked into the girl’s house while she was home alone and began rubbing her legs, the girl said.

It progressed to forced sex from there.

“I asked him what he was doing but he never answered me,” the girl said. “I told him to stop, but he didn’t.”

She reported the assault shortly after. Police found Rodriguez drinking beer on his couch not long after her call.

Logan G. Carver

Avalanche Journal

Oct. 27, 2009

Added: Nov. 02, 2009

Connecticut, USA

Norwalk Man Guilty of Sexually Abusing 11-Year-Old Girl

Stamford - A Norwalk man was found guilty by a Stamford Superior Court jury of sexually molesting his girlfriend's 11-year-old daughter and faces 60 years in prison when sentenced in January.

After the guilty verdict came in at noon Tuesday, Judge Richard Comerford increased Ricardo Roman's bond to $250,000, and he was taken into custody. Since his arrest on two counts of first-degree sexual assault and risk of injury to a child in January 2008, Roman had been freed on $20,000 bond.

The jury found Roman, 40, formerly of 3 Trinity Place, Norwalk, guilty on all three counts.

The verdict, after five hours of deliberation Monday and Tuesday, followed three days of testimony last week where the victim, now 18, and Roman's daughter, 19, testified against him. The victim's name is being withheld by The Advocate. Last week, Roman took the stand and denied the allegations and professed his innocence.

Supervisory Assistant State's Attorney James Bernardi, the prosecutor, said jurors made the right decision. "I think the jury carefully considered the evidence and came to the right conclusion. The victim in the case lives in South Carolina, and the victim's advocate said she was extremely gratified and emotionally overcome by the verdict," he said...

During the trial, the victim told the jury that when she was 11 and 12, Roman forced her to perform oral sex on him at the Trinity Place apartment on more than one occasion.

The woman said that even though the sexual abuse occurred much earlier, she decided to come forward with her allegations against Roman in 2007 after she gave birth to a boy -- not Roman's -- and wanted to give him a "better life."

John Nickerson
Stamford Advocate
Oct. 27, 2009

Added: Nov. 02, 2009

Texas, USA

12-year-old Sexually Assaulted in Northeast Austin

Police are investigating the sexual assault of a 12-year-old girl in NE Austin on Tuesday evening.

Police responded to the call of a sexual assault around 8:30p.m. at the Dottie Jordan Recreation Center, located at 2803 Loyola Lane, that’s near Manor Road and Northeast Drive.

Authorities tell KEYE TV a Hispanic male enticed the girl into a vehicle where he sexually assaulted her.

Police aren’t releasing any other details but say they are investigating the incident...

John Bumgardner


Oct 27, 2009 Austin




News / Noticias



Updated: Oct. 11, 2010

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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

Últimas Noticias

Latest News

Added: Oct. 11, 2010


Grant lets law school fight human trafficking in Mexico

The University of Michigan Law School is working with a law school in Mexico to take on human trafficking.

The law school has received a $300,000 grant from the U.S. Department of State to establish a human trafficking clinic at the Universidad Autónoma de Zacatecas, Unidad Académica de Derecho, a law school located in north central Mexico. The Mexican clinic is an offshoot of the human trafficking clinic that Michigan launched in 2009, which was the first of its kind in the United States.

"The part that I'm excited about is that here in the U.S., we can do a lot as far as assisting prosecutors and victims of trafficking," said Bridgette Carr, who directs the Michigan clinic. "What we can't work on as much is prevention, because we're sitting here in Ann Arbor. The goal is to not have clients."

Human trafficking involves the recruitment, transportation and harboring of people for forced labor, servitude or slavery. Agriculture, spas and massage parlors, hotels and prostitution are just a few industries that have been connected to human trafficking.

One of the goals of the Mexican clinic, which will represent a partnership between the two law schools and a local nongovernmental organization called Centro de los Derechos del Migrante (Center for Migrant Rights), is to educate people about human trafficking. Although it will officially be part of the Mexican law school, the Michigan law school will help set up the clinic.

"This is really an opportunity to see how we can most effectively advocate for these clients on a transnational basis," Carr said.

The partnership between the two clinics is a real innovation, said center founder and executive director Rachel Micah-Jones. "Students will provide quality legal representation to vulnerable migrant communities whose legal needs often cross borders," she said. "In doing so, students will develop the skills to be transnational advocates in this new economy."

In the year that the Ann Arbor-based clinic has been running, students have assisted clients who were forced to work in hair braiding salons, restaurants and in the commercial sex industry. The clinic's 15 students are part lawyer, part caseworker. They assist victims of human trafficking in criminal and immigration proceedings, but also help them obtain services such as federal money to attend college, Carr said...

The Justice Department grant will fund the project for two years.

Karen Sloan

The National Law Journal

Oct. 11, 2010

Added: Oct. 8, 2010


Insiste México en negar justicia a víctimas de violación en Atenco

Pide a la CIDH que no admita 11 casos de 26 mujeres violadas

México, DF - El gobierno mexicano pidió a la Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos (CIDH), que no admita el caso de 11 de las 26 mujeres, que fueron víctimas de violación sexual, durante los operativos del 3 y 4 de mayo de 2006 en Texcoco y San Salvador Atenco, porque las instancias nacionales "aún lo están investigando".

Además insistió en que las peticionarias han tenido diversas vías y recursos legales para acceder a la justicia. Con esta respuesta, el Estado mexicano no reconoce los hechos ocurridos hace cuatro años y tampoco acepta su responsabilidad en ellos, dijo en conferencia de prensa, Jaqueline Sáenz, abogada del Centro de Derechos Humanos Miguel Agustín Pro Juárez (Centro Prodh), asociación que lleva estros casos ante el sistema interamericano.

Aunque en febrero de 2009, la Suprema Corte de Justicia de la Nación (SCJN), reconoció que en los operativos de 2006, se cometieron graves violaciones a derechos humanos; y pese a que el 30 de junio de este año, este mismo tribunal ordenó la liberación de 12 presos políticos que participaron en esos hechos, el Estado mexicano sigue negando la justicia para 11 mujeres violadas sexualmente...

Mexico insists upon denying justice to the victims of rape at Atenco

Mexico City - The government of Mexico has asked the Inter-American Human Rights Commission (IAHRC) to reject consideration of the case of 11 women [from among a total of 26 women victims] who were raped or otherwise sexually assaulted by police officers during a law enforcement operation carried out on May 3rd and 4th of 2006 in the adjoining cities of Texcoco and San Salvador de Atenco, in the state of Mexico. The federal government of Mexico cites the fact that it is still investigating the case [4 years after the events occurred] as the justification for requesting that the IAHRC deny the petition by the victims and their attorneys.

In addition, Mexican officials insisted that the petitioners have had access to a range of legal avenues within Mexico.

According to Jaqueline Sáenz, a lawyer with the Miguel Agustín Pro Juárez Human Rights Center (ProDH), which represents the victims, the government of Mexico has, through its response to the IAHRC, refused to acknowledge or accept any responsibility for the events that occurred four years ago in Atenco.

Mexico takes this position despite the fact that the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation (SCJN) has recognized that grave human rights violations that occurred during the 2006 police operation, and has acted to free 12 political prisoners who participated in protest activities at the event. Nonetheless, Mexico's federal government continues to deny justice for the 11 women sexual assault victims who were willing to seek justice in this case.

Following public protests resulting from a local government ban on allowing flower vendors to work on city streets, a confrontation erupted between protesters and a combined force of federal and state police. The conflict resulted in 211 protesters being detained. Some 47 of those arrested were women. Twenty six women were raped or sexually abused by police officers. Of that group, 13 filed formal complaints, and 11 victims were willing to proceed with the case that is now being considered by the IAHRC.

Sáenz stated that, after seeing that the federal investigation into victim's legal complaints was not progressing, the 11 victims of sexual torture, accompanied by lawyers from ProDH and the International Center for Justice and the Rule of Law (CEJIL), decided to petition the IAHRC on April 29, 2008.

The IAHRC forwarded the petition to the government of Mexico, and allowed for a two month response period. Mexico did not respond within the time limit, and requested an extension. They finally submitted their response on July 23, 2010.

Mexico's response to the petition, which was received by the ProDH Center on September 1, 2010, stated that the investigation into the Atenco case was still open. In addition, the response completely absolved the five policemen who were accused of abuse of authority, despite the fact that the victim's petition before the IAHRC accuses the five men of torture.

Sáenz noted that, consistent with their response to the IAHRC, Mexico denies that any human rights violations occurred at Atenco in their discussions with international organizations.

Since July of 2009, when the federal Special Prosecutor's Office for Violent Crimes Against Women and Human Trafficking (FEVIMTRA), declined to investigate the case, referring it instead to the Attorney General of Mexico State [were Texcoco and Atenco are located], no follow-up action has been taken by authorities, because the preliminary investigation file was quite large, and it is still being revised.

Mexico's response to the IAHRC petition by the victims included a list upcoming investigatory activities that the Mexico State prosecutors will carry out. The list includes a plan to solicit interviews with the victims, despite the fact that the victims have been adequately interviewed in the past. State prosecutors also plan to evaluate the case in the context of the Istanbul Protocol on Torture [to evaluate whether the case meets the Istanbul standard for torture], despite the fact that this process has already been completed, and the results indicate that the case does meet the Istanbul criteria for defining acts of torture.

On October 1, 2010, Sáenz declared, the ProDH Center and CEJIL submitted a document to the IAHRC in which they provide their observations in regard to Mexico's response to the Atenco case petition. They state, among other things, that although they have not exhausted all legal avenues available within Mexico, it is also true that Mexico is not conducting a serious and impartial investigation, and that therefore, the Atenco petition should be admitted before the IAHRC.

In response to this series of events, Bárbara Italia Méndez, one of the victims and a petitioner in the case, observed that the Mexican government response to the petition was a slap in the face to the victims. In addition, she said, the response shows the lack of justice involved, given that the five accused assailants were absolved of any wrongdoing.

Italia Méndez added that she will continue participating in the case, although she knows that the road will be a long one, thanks to the fact that "the responsible authorities continue to lie," and especially the governor of Mexico State, who had ordered the police crackdown on protesters, and who, after the assaults took place, declared that he would repeat his actions if he had to do it again.

For the victims of sexual torture, the most recent ray of hope has been the Inter-American Court of Human Rights decision in favor of indigenous women Valentina Rosendo Cantú and Inés Fernández Ortega, who were raped by Mexican Army soldiers [in 2002]. That decision, she said, puts the issue of sexual violence against women back on the table.

Anayeli García Martínez

CIMAC Women's news agency

Oct. 07, 2010

See also:

Added: May 16, 2009


Mujeres de Atenco, tortura sexual e impunidad

México DF - El Estado mexicano violó sus garantías individuales. Fueron agredidas con golpes en todo el cuerpo, despojadas de su ropa, violentadas sexualmente, mordidas, pellizcadas… les cubrieron el rostro, les introdujeron dedos y objetos anal y vaginalmente, las violaron, las humillaron, las insultaron, las amenazaron de muerte y finalmente se les negó la asistencia ginecológica para que no pudieran demostrar la tortura sexual…

Women of Atenco - sexual torture and impunity

...Of the 20 accused policemen, none has been sent to prison. Only officer Doroteo Blas Marcelo, a rapist, was convicted for "libidinous acts."

His victim, Ana Maria Rodriguez Velasco, was forced to perform oral sex. She was able to recognize her torturer because when he finished, he yanked her by the hair, looked in her face, and said: “Now swallow it, bitch!”

Judge Tomás Santana Malvaez sentenced officer Blas Marcelo to pay a fine of only 1,877 Mexican pesos (US $142 dollars). The judge pardoned Blas Marcelo from paying reparations to the victim...

Full English Translation

Sanjuana Martínez

CIMAC Noticias

News for Women

Mexico City

May 12, 2009

See also:


Mexican Police Rape and Assault 47 Women at Street Protest in the city of San Salvador Atenco

Added: Oct. 7, 2010


Teresa Ulloa, director of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women and Girls for Latin America and the Caribbean

DF, a la cabeza en lucha contra trata de personas: Teresa Ulloa

El Distrito Federal va a la cabeza en la lucha contra la trata de personas en el país, pues ha dado pasos importantes como los últimos rescates de mujeres y niñas de hoteles donde eran explotadas sexualmente, reconoció Teresa Ulloa.

La directora regional de la Coalición Contra el Tráfico de Mujeres y Niñas para América Latina y el Caribe (CATWLAC, por sus siglas en inglés) afirmó en entrevista que la ciudad de México también cuenta con un plan que integra políticas públicas en la materia.

La activista, nominada al Premio de Derechos Humanos de las Naciones Unidas 2005 y al Premio de Derechos Humanos del gobierno de Suiza, indicó que en los últimos tres años la capital del país ha mostrado un esfuerzo y se ha preocupado más por atacar la trata de personas...

Mexico City's government leads the way in Mexico's fight against human trafficking

According to Teresa Ulloa, director of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women and Girls for Latin America and the Caribbean, the local government of Mexico City has taken the initiative to become the nation's leader in taking action to combat modern human slavery. In recent months, city police and prosecutors have raided a number of hotels that were fronts for sex trafficking rings that exploited women and girls.

During an interview Ulloa said that Mexico City has also developed an integrated plan of action to address the problem of trafficking. She added that during the past three years, the city's leaders have shown that they are willing to aggressively confront traffickers. City prosecutors have committed to bringing trafficking cases to court. However, [the attitudes of] judges continue to be a major obstacle to their success.

Ulloa added that Mexico City is a major transit and distribution center for trafficked women and girls. Sex tourism exists, but is completely clandestine. Sexual services are sold in 'packages' on the Internet.
The trafficking law that was passed by the Legislative Assembly of the Federal District [Mexico City] has flaws, and is not consistent with international protocols against human trafficking, especially in the area of criminal prosecution, said Ulloa. It is seen as being of limited effectiveness because of these flaws.
Ulloa declared that both Mexico City and Mexico as a whole have yet to come to understand that human trafficking involves a multi-faceted set of crimes that express themselves in diverse ways.

Ulloa noted that human trafficking networks in Mexico are moving fast to adapt to change, and are always one step ahead of society's attempts to implement policies and actions to combat them.

The Mexico City government has made tremendous efforts to fight trafficking, said Ulloa, but they have been hampered in their efforts at prosecution by inadequate laws. Nonetheless, city prosecutors has won four convictions against trafficking defendants, while the federal government has achieved only one conviction at the national level.

Mexico City's trafficking law "is not very good, it requires modification, but in general it has allowed authorities to rescue women and girls, and it is being enforced by officials who are motivated to combat trafficking" said Ulloa.

Ulloa stated that, at the federal level, a need exists to establish effective, integrated strategies in regard to prevention, victim assistance and the prosecution of traffickers. She warned that Mexico is just one step away from becoming a child sex trafficking center at the level of Thailand.

Ulloa concluded by observing that sex trafficking in Mexico has now displaced narcotrafficking in profitability for criminal organizations, and is fighting for first place with illicit arms trafficking. At the same time, she emphasized, poverty and impunity have become the best allies of traffickers in women and girls.


Oct. 03, 2010

Added: Oct. 7, 2010


Mexico City Attorney General Miguel Ángel Mancera

Detalla PGJDF acciones para combatir la trata de personas

El procurador general de justicia capitalino, Miguel Ángel Mancera, detalló frente a sus homólogos de la zona Centro del país las acciones emprendidas en la Ciudad de México contra el delito de trata de personas.

Durante la Segunda Sesión 2010 de la Conferencia de Procuradores Generales de Justicia de la Zona Centro, Mancera Espinosa señaló que el Gobierno del Distrito Federal ha impulsado una serie de acciones de prevención y persecución para erradicar este delito.

En una sesión de trabajo de esta reunión celebrada el pasado viernes en la ciudad de Puebla, el abogado de la ciudad reconoció que pese a los esfuerzos para erradicar ese acto ilícito, el crimen organizado usa otros medios delincuenciales para eludir la acción de la justicia.

Para contrarrestar las artimañas de los delincuentes, el gobierno capitalino tiene como prioridad establecer políticas públicas en la materia que permitan desactivar y desalentar las conductas delictivas de los individuos...

Mexico City prosecutor details actions to fight human trafficking

During a recent presentation before fellow local prosecutors at the Second Conference of Attorney Generals of the Central Zone of Mexico, Mexico City Attorney General Miguel Ángel Mancera presented his city's strategy and actions to fight human trafficking.

Mancera detailed to his colleagues how Mexico City has initiated a series of efforts to address prevention and prosecution of trafficking crimes. He admitted that going after trafficking networks was difficult work, given that organized crime changes its modus operandi to evade detention and prosecution.

To counteract the evasive actions of traffickers, Mexico City considers its number one priority to be the implementation of public policies that will allow prosecutors to disable and discourage the criminal behavior of individuals.

Mancera noted that, among the actions taken by Mexico City was the implementation in October of 2008 of the Law to Prevent and Eradicate Human Trafficking, Sexual Abuse and the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children.

Mancera added that the city created a specialized agency to address human trafficking crimes, and developed both a telephone hotline and a web page to assist in crime prevention and the reporting of cases by the public.

Currently, the Mexico City Attorney General's Office is in the process of formalizing a relationship with the Special Prosecutors Office for Crimes of Violence Against Women and Children, which is a division of the federal Attorney General of the Republic...

The conference was attended by the attorney generals of Hidalgo, Morelos, Tlaxcala, Puebla states, as well as by officials from Baja California, Sur, Baja California, Guerrero and Oaxaca.


Oct. 03, 2010

Added: Oct. 7, 2010

North Carolina, USA

Human trafficking alleged in Durham

Durham - A grand jury has indicted Ivan Cervantes Damian on charges he held a 15-year-old girl captive for more than 18 months and forced her to have sex.

Damian, 30, faces charges of first-degree statutory sex offense, human trafficking and forcing a child into sexual servitude.

Authorities accuse Damian of having sex with the teenage girl between December 2008 and August 2009. They also accuse him of holding the victim in servitude from December 2008 to July 2010.

"He alienated her from society," said Durham Police Cpl. Marty Walkowe.

Walkowe said the relationship began as a voluntary one while the couple was still living in Mexico. When they immigrated a couple of years ago, Walkowe said, Damian violated North Carolina's human trafficking law by bringing a minor from another nation into the state.

"Even though his girlfriend left voluntarily, because she was a minor, it's human trafficking," Walkowe said. "It sounds like a big organized thing, but it was actually just her voluntarily coming from Mexico with him to here."

Walkowe said the victim reported Damian to police after their relationship soured and she wanted to leave.

Damian is being held at the Durham County Detention Center on $250,000 bail. The federal Immigration and Customs

Jesse James Deconto

News Observer

Oct. 06, 2010

Added: Oct. 6, 2010

California, USA

Gregorio Gonzalez

Alert Driver Saves Kidnapped Girl

Fresno - An 8-year-old girl who was abducted by a stranger while playing outside a Fresno home escaped from her captor Tuesday morning after a driver recognized the suspect's vehicle and cut it off, police said.

The child was found in Fresno about 11 hours after she disappeared around 8:30 p.m. Monday, triggering a statewide Amber Alert. Police arrested Gregorio Gonzalez, 24, who they said was a member of the Bulldogs street gang.

Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer said the driver recognized the red pickup truck from media reports that showed surveillance video of the kidnapper's vehicle.

When the driver saw a girl's head in the window, he cut the truck off and forced it to stop, Dyer said. The suspect pushed the girl out of the car, and she ran to safety, he said.

The girl was taken to a hospital in good condition, but Dyer later confirmed she had been sexually assaulted. The police chief described her as "frightened, traumatized." ...

"I was at the same time happy and grateful that my daughter had been brought home," the girl's mother told a news conference. "During the night, the hours seemed very long."

Police said quick action by Fresno resident Victor Perez helped the girl escape...

The Associated Press

Olivia Mu

Oct. 05, 2010

Added: Oct. 6, 2010

Guatemala, Mexico

Another Wall Blocks Route to U.S.

Guatemala City - Travelling without documents to the United States from Latin America can turn into an odyssey, in which migrants have to elude common criminals and drug traffickers along the way, not to mention the laws on migration. But now another obstacle is emerging: a wall between Guatemala and Mexico.

According to the head of customs for Mexico's tax administration, Raúl Díaz, in order to stop boats carrying contraband, the southern Mexican state of Chiapas is building a wall along the border river Suchiate, similar to the one the United States is building along its southern border with Mexico.

"It could also prevent the free passage of illegal immigrants," admitted the Mexican official.

Smugglers use the Suchiate River to move products across an international border without paying duty taxes, but at the same time, thousands of Central and South Americans cross the river in their attempts to reach the United States in search of opportunity -- and without the required documents.

Some 500,000 migrants cross Mexican territory without permission each year, according to Mexico's National Commission on Human Rights (CNDH).

The intention to build a border wall has triggered a wave of opposition from civil society and government organizations, with charges that it is a "senseless" measure that will not succeed in preventing undocumented migrants from crossing the border on their way north...

The cruelty to which undocumented migrants are often subjected was laid bare Aug. 23, when 72 people coming from Guatemala, as well as El Salvador, Honduras, Ecuador and Brazil, were brutally murdered in San Fernando, a town in the eastern Mexican state of Tamaulipas. They were presumably killed by the Los Zetas drug cartel, which is also involved in kidnapping and exploiting migrants.

In addition, a total of 9,758 kidnappings of migrants were reported in Mexico from September 2008 to February 2009, according to the CNDH.

Putting up a wall on the Guatemala-Mexico border "is going to make the migrants' situation worse, because to meet their needs they are always going to find blind points where there are no migration or security controls, which implies greater risks," said Maldonado...

Danilo Valladares

Inter Press Service (IPS)

Sep. 15 , 2010

Added: Oct. 5, 2010

California, USA

Police search for man in California girl's abduction

Authorities early Tuesday were searching for a man they said snatched an 8-year-old girl from a central California neighborhood and took off with her in his pickup.

Police said the mother was close by and got into a car and frantically tried to chase down the truck but was not able to catch up with the man...

[The girl] was last seen wearing bluejeans and a purple sweater with "Winnie the Pooh" on the front, Fresno police said.

Police said the suspect, described as a 6-foot-tall, thin man with slicked-back hair, drove to the Fresno neighborhood in an older reddish-brown Ford truck. The man drove up to six children about 8:30 p.m. Monday.

The man spoke in Spanish and told the children that he would take them to the Dollar Store and buy them toys if they got into his car, CNN affiliate KFSN-TV in Fresno reported.

The man then pulled the victim into his car and sped away, authorities said.

Police told the TV station they had received reports earlier of a man with a similar description and vehicle exposing himself to young girls blocks away from where the abduction happened.

Fresno police said 100 officers were searching for the girl and the suspect, KFSN reported.

Scott Thompson


Oct. 05, 2010

Added: Oct. 5, 2010


Inés Fernández and Valentina Rosendo

Comunicado: Las sentencias de la CoIDH permitirán a Inés y Valentina acceder a la justicia negada en México.

Press Release: Inter-American Court of Human RIghts Decision Allows Inés and Valentina Access to Justice in Mexico

• Valentina Rosendo Cantú narró lo que el fallo del Tribunal significa para ella, su familia y su comunidad.

• Cejil y Tlachinollan explicaron los alcances y el impacto de estas sentencias; Emilio Álvarez Icaza abundó en la relevancia que tienen para el momento actual.

• Valentina y sus representantes reiteran su exigencia de seguridad para Inés y Valentina

México, D.F., a 4 de octubre de 2010.- Valentina Rosendo Cantú y sus representantes -las organizaciones civiles CEJIL y Tlachinollan- detallaron en conferencia de prensa los contenidos y alcances de las sentencias de los casos de las indígenas me´phaa Inés Fernández Ortega y Valentina Rosendo Cantú que fueron notificadas por la Corte Interamericana de Derechos Humanos (CoIDH) el pasado viernes 1 de octubre. Esta mañana, en la conferencia, estuvo presente también el ex ombudsman capitalino, Emilio Álvarez Icaza y el abogado Mario Patrón.

Valentina Rosendo Cantú explicó su sentir en este momento en que después de más de ocho años de búsqueda de justicia, vividos en condiciones de adversidad y de riesgo, finalmente la CoIDH le ha dado la razón, estableciendo como un hecho incontrovertible que fue violada sexualmente y torturada por soldados mexicanos. “Por fin se reconoció que siempre dijimos la verdad”, dijo la mujer Me’phaa. Rosendo Cantú también externó algunas de sus más sentidas preocupaciones, compartidas tanto por ella como por Inés Fernández Ortega, y señaló: “Ya que por fin se demostró que siempre dijimos la verdad porque no sabemos mentir, para nosotras y nuestras familias lo más importante ahorita es que nos dejen vivir en paz, con tranquilidad”...

Valentina Rosendo Cantú and her representatives - the organizations CEJIL and the Tlachinollan Human Rights Center, explained during a press conference the details of the October 1, 2010 decision by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR) in the cases of Rosendo Cantu and Inés Fernández Ortega. Emilio Álvarez Icaza, former director of the Human Rights Commission for Mexico City, and lawyer Mario Patrón were present at the event.

Valentina Rosendo Cantú said that, after 8 years of seeking justice in her case [in which Mexican soldiers raped her], years that involved adversity and risks [due to repeated death threats and acts of retaliation against the victims and their families], the IACHR has finally vindicated us.

Justice for Inés and Valentina

Oct. 04, 2010

See also:

Added: Oct. 5, 2010


Abel Barrera, director of the Tlachinollan Center (left) joins  Alejandra Nuño, Central American director for CEJIL; Valentina Rosendo Cantú, and Emilio Álvarez Icaza, former president of theMexico City Human Rights Commission - at press conference. The banner says: "Break Through the Walls of Impunity."

Human Rights Court: Mexico responsible for rapes

Mexico City - The Inter-American Court of Human Rights condemned Mexico on Monday for failing to protect the rights of two indigenous women who were raped by soldiers in 2002.

In two separate rulings, the Costa Rica-based court said Mexico failed to guarantee the rights to personal integrity, dignity and legal protection of Valentina Rosendo and Ines Fernandez, both of southern Guerrero state.

Mexico must publicly acknowledge its responsibility and called for a civilian investigation into the crimes, rather than the military one, which resulted in no charges, according to the ruling. The government also must compensate both women and publish the court rulings in Spanish and the women's indigenous language, Me'phaa.

The government said will follow the rulings, the Interior Department said in a statement.

"The government of Mexico reiterates its full commitment to the promotion and protection of human rights, in particular to combat violence against women and girls," the statement said.

It was the fourth condemnation of Mexico from the court, which previously issued rulings against the government for the unsolved killings of women in the border city of Cuidad Juarez in the 1990s and for the country's "dirty war" in the 1970s.

Rosendo called on the government to publicly recognize that it wrongly accused her of lying about being assaulted.

"If the government has a little bit of dignity, it should accept they were mistaken so I can go on with my life," she said tearfully at a news conference. "They didn't want to hear me in my own country."

Rosendo, then 17, was washing clothes in a river in February of 2002 when eight soldiers came up and asked her about the whereabouts of a masked suspect. When she said she didn't know anything, she was beaten and raped.

A month later, in another indigenous community in Guerrero, at least 11 soldiers approached Fernandez in her house and asked for her husband. She didn't respond because she didn't speak Spanish, and the soldiers raped her.

No one was punished in either case.

E. Eduardo Castillo

The Associated Press

Oct. 04, 2010

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Added: Oct. 5, 2010


Valentina Rosendo Cantú at the Inter-American Court session where she presented of her case on May 28, 2010

Mexico Ordered to Pay Damages to Women Raped by Soldiers

San Jose - The Inter-American Court of Human Rights ordered the Mexican government to pay damages to two indigenous women raped by soldiers in 2002.

The Costa Rica-based court, a body of the Organization of American States, on Monday published on its Web page rulings against Mexico for the rapes of the Indian women Me’phaa Valentina Rosendo Cantu and Ines Fernandez Ortega, as well as for the lack of investigation by the authorities in both cases.

The court’s rulings are binding on OAS members.

Mexico was found to have violated the rights and personal integrity, dignity and autonomy of the two indigenous women, who lived in the municipality of Ayutla de Los Libres, in the southern state of Guerrero.

In both cases, the Court ordered Mexico to guarantee that the investigations would be conducted “with the knowledge of the civil jurisdiction” and “under no circumstances under military jurisdiction,” and that those found to be responsible would be punished.

In the case of Rosendo Cantu, the Court set at a total of $100,500 the indemnity to which she would be entitled for material damages, immaterial damages and trial costs, while the figure established was $128,000 in the case of Fernandez Ortega.

The Court also ordered Mexico “to modernize its legislation” so that human rights violations will not fall under military jurisdiction and so that “people affected by the intervention of military jurisdiction may have effective recourse to challenge it.”

The state also must take public action to acknowledge its international responsibility, authorize study scholarships for the victims and their children, and ensure that services to care for female victims of sexual violence “are provided by the designated institutions,” among other things...


Oct. 04, 2010

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Added: Oct. 5, 2010


Mexico Ordered To Pay Damages To Two Indigenous Women Raped By Soldiers

In two separate rulings, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights condemned the Mexican government and ordered it to pay damages to two indigenous women who were raped in 2002 by soldiers.

The court said that Mexico failed to guarantee the rights to personal integrity, dignity and legal protection of Ines Fernandez and Valentina Rosendo, both from the southern Mexican state of Guerrero.

Mexico, which has to publicly acknowledge its responsibility, must also compensate both women and publish the court rulings in Spanish and the women’s indigenous language, Me’phaa. The Mexican government promised to fulfill the demands of the court ruling.

“The government of Mexico reiterates its full commitment to the promotion and protection of human rights, in particular to combat violence against women and girls,” according to a statement released by Mexico’s Interior Department, the Associated Press reports...

Latin America News Dispatch

Oct. 05, 2010

See also:

Added: Dec. 4, 2010

Mexico / The United States

Indigenous human rights activist Abel Barrera Hernandez, the founder and director of the Tlachinollan Human Rights Centre

Mexican Activist Wins Prestigious Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award

Washington, DC / Mexico City - An anthropologist and human rights defender who has worked for years with the indigenous people in one of Mexico's poorest and most marginalized regions has been awarded one of the world's most important human rights prizes.

Abel Barrera Hernandez, the founder and director of the Tlachinollan Human Rights Centre of the Montana in the state of Guerrero, will receive this year's Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award in recognition of his efforts to end abuses committed by the military and police against the local population, the RFK Center for Justice and Human Rights announced here Thursday.

"Our friends at the Tlachinollah Centre represent true courage in their struggle to expose and confront ongoing human rights abuses," said Claudio Grossman, the dean of the Washington College of Law at American University and a member of the five-person jury that decided on this year's winner.

"By standing with the most vulnerable communities, Abel Barrera Hernandez and his colleagues are at great personal risk, and we are proud to recognize their work with this prestigious award," added Grossman, who also served as a member of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) from 1993 to 2001.

The prize, which will be presented here in November, was praised by a number of rights activists who noted that the RFK Center has a well-established reputation for maintaining material and political support for its awardees for many years after the honor is received.

"I think that this prize comes at an especially important moment because of the tremendous increase in human rights violations in the context of the drug war," said Laura Carlsen, the Mexico-based director of the Americas Program of the Center for International Policy.

"Last year, human rights groups reported a six-fold rise in complaints against the army, and the indigenous populations are suffering the most. They require the most vigilance from civil society," she added.

"The centre works in a very difficult and dangerous situation at the heart of one of the most marginalized communities in the country," said Maureen Meyer, a Mexico specialist at the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA), which gave the centre its annual human rights award last year...

In 2002, the centre brought the case of Inés Fernández and Valentina Rosendo, two indigenous women allegedly raped by soldiers in Guerrero in 2002, to the IACHR, which referred it to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, which is set to hand down a sentence.

In 2005, it defended the right to education for people of two towns that had been abandoned by their overworked teaching staff for an entire year. After filing complaints with the Department of Education, lobbying state representatives, and gaining the attention of national and international media, the Centre succeeded in obtaining 14 state-appointed teachers and four additional classrooms.

In the same year, it launched a successful campaign to formally criminalize forced disappearances in Guerrero while carrying out numerous investigations that exposed military abuses, including torture, disappearance, rape of indigenous women, arbitrary detentions and interrogations, intimidation, and dispossession of lands.

It has also taken up the cases of two human rights defenders from the Organization of the Future of the Mixtec People who had been arrested and later found dead with signs of torture in February 2009. Those cases resulted in a new round of threats to centre staff which, in turn, spurred the IACHR to issue new protective orders.

The IACHR has issued more than 100 orders to protect human rights defenders in Guerrero.

The award "represents a shield, from an organization with great prestige, for a region that is terribly vulnerable and unprotected, and where human rights are a dead letter," Barrera told IPS. "It brings visibility to what the authorities wish would remain invisible. They don't want to see the tragedy, the poverty, the hunger."

"May justice flourish in the mountain, where it has been suffocated by impunity, by corruption, by endemic violence, and by the age-old neglect of the local peoples," he said...

Barrera: "We see the war on drugs in our state as a war against the poor; there is cruelty against the indigenous peoples that have been driven to plant poppies in ravines as a last measure to ensure their survival," he said.

Jim Lobe and Emilio Godoy

Inter Press Service (IPS)

Sep. 23, 2010

See also:

Added: Dec. 4, 2010

Mexico / The United States

Abel Barrera Hernandez speaks about his role in founding the Tlachinollan Human Rights Centre of the Montana in the state of Guerrero.

(In Spanish with English subtitles)

On YouTube,com

Sep. 23, 2010

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Added: Dec. 4, 2010

Mexico / The United States

Mexico has failed to prosecute violations, reduce torture

The US government significantly strengthened its partnership with Mexico in combating organized crime in 2007 when it announced the Merida Initiative, a multi-year US security assistance package for Mexico. To date, the US government has allocated roughly $1.5 billion in Merida funding to Mexico. From the outset, the US Congress recognized the importance of ensuring that the Mexican government respect human rights in its public security efforts, mandating by law that 15 percent of select Merida funds be withheld until the State Department issued a report to the US Congress which showed that Mexico had demonstrated it was meeting four human rights requirements.

On September 2, 2010, the State Department issued its second report to Congress concluding that Mexico is meeting the Merida Initiative's human rights requirements, and it stated its intention to obligate roughly $36 million in security assistance that had been withheld from the 2009 supplemental and the 2010 omnibus budgets.

However, research conducted by our respective organizations, Mexico's National Human Rights Commission, and even the State Department's own reports, demonstrates conclusively that Mexico has failed to meet the four human rights requirements set out by law. As a result, Congress should not release these select Merida funds. Releasing these funds would send the message that the United States condones the grave human rights violations committed in Mexico, including torture, rape, killings, and enforced disappearances.

We recognize that Mexico is facing a severe public security crisis, and that the United States can play a constructive role in strengthening Mexico's ability to confront organized crime in an effective manner. However, human rights violations committed by Mexican security forces are not only deplorable in their own right, but also significantly undermine the effectiveness of Mexico's public security efforts...

Human Rights Watch

Sep. 14, 2010

See also:

Added: Dec. 4, 2010


Time to Speak up on Military Abuse in Mexico

José Miguel Vivanco, Director - Americas Division - HRW

Human Rights Watch

May 17, 2010

Added: Dec. 4, 2010

Alabama, USA

North Alabama man convicted in sex trafficking of an underage girl

A 31-year-old Florence man was convicted today of sex trafficking involving an underage girl.

Manuel Enrique Zelaya-Rodriguez was also convicted in the trial in Huntsville of coercing a minor to engage in prostitution, harboring an illegal alien, and failing to file a report with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement about an illegal alien in his employment.

Zelaya--Rodriguez will be sentenced by U.S. District Judge C. Lynwood Smith in a Jan. 19 hearing in Huntsville. He could face a sentence of up to life in prison.

The case against Zelaya-Rodriguez began Sept. 8, 2009 when he was driving a car that was stopped by Florence police at a trailer park, according to court documents. An officer was responding to complaints about prostitution when he stopped the car.

Inside the car was a 15-year-old girl who told police that Zelaya-Rodriguez was prostituting her, according to court documents. Condoms and business cards were found inside the car.

The unidentified girl was born in Veracruz, Mexico, in September 1993, according to a trial memorandum from prosecutors. The girl became pregnant when she was 13 years old and later crossed the border into the U.S. "so that she could work and send money back to her mother to care for the victim's baby," according to the document.

The girl started work in Atlanta as a prostitute, but fled there after pimps became violent with her, according to the court document. The girl got the name of Zelaya-Rodriguez from another prostitute, according to the court document filed before the trial.

"The victim had been with the defendant for approximately two weeks, and during that time the victim had engaged in commercial sex acts with approximately forty and fifty men," according to the trial memorandum.

"We have shut down this particular trafficker and, hopefully, given pause to others who would commit the same morally reprehensible crime," U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance said in a press statement after the jury returned its verdict Wednesday.

"Human trafficking for purposes of sexual exploitation and forced labor is a growing problem in North Alabama and across the country and is a grave concern of the Department of Justice," she said. "We want a zero-tolerance policy on this crime."

Florence police, the FBI, and ICE investigated the case.

"The FBI is committed to working with ICE and our other law enforcement partners to combat human trafficking, which is modern day slavery, and bring to justice those who would deny individuals of their fundamental right to freedom," Patrick Maley, special agent in charge of the FBI's Birmingham office, said in the prepared statement.


Sep. 22, 2010

Added: Dec. 4, 2010

California, USA

Man arrested in sex case involving Encinitas teen

Girl had made up story she was gang-raped; authorities say she had sex with 20-year-old she met on Internet

Encinitas - Sheriff’s detectives have arrested a 20-year-old Vista man who they say had sex with a 15-year-old Encinitas girl, authorities said Wednesday.

The teen initially told authorities she was raped by three men rather than admit to her mother she had gone off with a man she met on the Internet.

Jose Adrian Cano was arrested Tuesday night and booked on suspicion of unlawful intercourse with a minor, lewd acts with a 15-year-old, and contacting a minor online with intent to commit a sex crime.

Investigators say they have evidence of three more under-age victims and want any others to come forward to report contact with Cano.

He is being held in the Vista jail without bail because federal immigration authorities have put a hold on him. Lauren Mack, Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokeswoman, said Cano is listed in the agency’s records as Cano-Cid and is suspected of being in the United States illegally.

Mack said Cano was arrested earlier this year by a police agency in San Diego County and federal officials returned him to Mexico without a deportation hearing.

Pauline Repard

The San Diego Union-Tribune

Sep. 29, 2010


Added: Dec. 4, 2010

California, USA

Man Tries to Kidnap Teen Girl Walking to School

San Jacinto - Police in Riverside County are searching for a man who tried to kidnap a 15-year-old girl as she was walking to school.

The attempted kidnapping happened just after 6 a.m. Thursday on Lyon Avenue, south of Merlot Place, in San Jacinto.

Police say the suspect approached the girl from behind and grabbed her arm, but she was able to fight him off.

A passing driver saw the struggle and called 911, and the suspect ran from the area.

The suspect is described as a Hispanic man, about 19- or 20-years-old, and 5'9" tall. He has a thin build, short "spiked" brown hair and brown eyes. The man was last seen wearing blue jeans and a white t-shirt.

Anyone with information about the suspect is asked to call San Jacinto Police at 951-487-7368.


Oct. 1, 2010

Added: Oct. 1, 2010


Outgoing director of Mexico's National Institute for Migration Cecilia Romero

Cecilia Romero sale de Migración

La funcionaria fue notificada que sería removida, por lo que elaboró una carta de despedida para sus colaboradores; en el último mes su posición en el cargo se vio debilitada por la masacre de 72 migrantes en Tamaulipas

El gobierno federal confirmó que Cecilia Romero dejó a partir de hoy el cargo como comisionada del Instituto Nacional de Migración (INM) luego de la matanza de 72 migrantes de distintas nacionalidades en el estado de Tamaulipas.

De acuerdo con fuentes gubernamentales, Romero fue notificada este lunes que sería removida de esa posición, por lo que la funcionaria elaboró una carta de despedida que circuló de manera interna en el INM por el sistema de intranet.

En el texto, Romero agradeció el "trabajo, saludo, apoyo y sonrisa" de sus colaboradores, con quienes se reunió por la mañana para revisar temas pendientes de la agenda migratoria y los exhortó a seguir adelante porque dicha labor no es una moda y parte de una época, sino de una institución, las cuales perduran por encima de las personas.

En agosto pasado un inmigrante de origen ecuatoriano acudió a una caseta naval para denunciar la ejecución de personas en un rancho ubicado en el estado de Tamaulipas, hecho que permitió conocer la noticia de 72 víctimas que habrían caído abatidas presuntamente a manos de los Zetas.

Funcionarios federales definirán en las próximas horas la vía institucional para dar a conocer el cambio de Romero, el cual puede formalizarse en Los Pinos o la Secretaría de Gobernación (Segob).

José Gerardo Mejía

El Universal

Sep. 14, 2010

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Added: Oct. 1, 2010


Migration-Mexico: Crisis Sparked by Massacre Spurs Demands for In-depth Changes

Organizations working for the rights of undocumented immigrants are using the crisis triggered by the massacre of 72 migrants a few weeks ago near the U.S. border to press for in-depth changes in Mexico.

'The migration authorities do not have a human rights perspective, and their position is inconsistent with the reality of migration in this country,' Diana Martínez, assistant coordinator of advocacy at Sin Fronteras, a non-governmental organization (NGO) that promotes the rights of migrants and provides them with legal advice, told IPS.

The killing of the undocumented migrants from several Latin American countries, whose bound, blindfolded bodies were found Aug. 24 on a remote ranch in San Fernando, in the northeastern Mexican state of Tamaulipas, unleashed the worst ever migration-related crisis in this country.

The mass murder, which was survived by at least one man from Ecuador, one from Honduras and one from El Salvador, brought down National Migration Institute (INM) Commissioner Cecilia Romero, who resigned Tuesday Sept. 14.

Romero, a former senator for the governing National Action Party (PAN), had ridden out earlier rumors that she would leave the top job at the INM, which she held since December 2006. But the heat and pressure generated by the shocking event made her position untenable...

An estimated 500,000 Latin Americans a year cross Mexico heading for the United States, according to experts and NGOs. Along the way they face arbitrary arrest, extortion, robbery, rape and kidnapping, especially at the hands of Los Zetas, a criminal organization that dominates the kidnapping of undocumented migrants racket.

'The Mexican state must design a truly comprehensive state policy on migration that is not limited to managing migratory flows, but is centrally focused on the human rights of migrants,' said Martínez of Sin Fronteras...

Migrant protection organizations have urged the Mexican state to issue an official invitation to Felipe González, rapporteur on the rights of migrant workers and their families for the Washington-based Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), part of the Organisation of American States (OAS) human rights system.

In his March 2009 report, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, Jorge Bustamante, recommended legislative reforms to combat the impunity surrounding human rights abuses in this country...

Emilio Godoy

Inter Press Service

Sep. 16, 2010

See also:

Added: Oct. 1, 2010


Mexican immigration official quits after massacre

Mexico - Mexico's top immigration official resigned Monday in the wake of a massacre of 72 migrants that exposed how brutally drug cartels have come to control human smuggling routes in the country.

Cecilia Romero stepped down as head of the National Institute of Migration, a post she had held since the beginning of President Felipe Calderon's term in December 2006, the Interior Department said in a statement.

The statement gave no reason for her resignation, only praising Romero's efforts to modernize the Mexico's immigration system and improve the treatment of migrants. It did not name her replacement.

A government official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly about the issue, said the government was looking for someone with more experience in security to head the institute.

The official said the massacre three weeks ago highlighted how intertwined drug trafficking and illegal immigration have become in Mexico.

"She's revamped the institute and made it a more human and respectful place," the official said. "Given that organized crime has gotten into the business, we need a different type of head with a different type of background."

The bodies of the 72 Central and South American migrants were found Aug. 24 at a ranch about 100 miles (80 kilometers) south of Brownsville, Texas...

Drug cartels have long controlled migration corridors in Mexico, demanding that migrants pay for passage through their territory. Now, Mexican authorities say drug cartels are increasingly trying to recruit vulnerable migrants to smuggle drugs.

Romero, a former congresswoman who steadily rose up in Calderon's National Action Party, revamped migrant holding centers across the country and ensured that immigration agents were trained in human rights, the Interior Department said in its statement.

...The government has come under intense criticism for continuing abuses against migrants, who are constantly kidnapped and assaulted as they pass through Mexico — often with the collusion of corrupt police or immigration agents.

Hours before Romero's resignation was announced, Mexico's Congress summoned her to a hearing to explain what the government was doing to protect migrants.

Opposition legislators warned Mexico was losing its moral right to demand better treatment for immigrants in the United States.

The massacre "is the tip of the iceberg that revealed the neglect of Mexican authorities, who are incapable of meeting its responsibilities in human rights," said Sen. Ricardo Monreal Avila of the Workers' Party.

Alexandra Olson

The Associated Press

Sep. 14, 2010

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Added: Oct. 1, 2010


Romero leaves the INM

Mexico City – For reasons unknown, Cecilia Romero, commissioner of the National Migration Institute (INM), announced on Tuesday that she is leaving her job.

“Today is my last day as commissioner of the INM. I thank each and every one of you for your work, effort and participation during the transformation of the INM,” Romero said to INM members during her farewell message. She did not say whether she quit or was fired and did not give any reasons for leaving her position.

Her departure is taking place three weeks after the Navy found the bodies of 72 illegal immigrants in the state of Tamaulipas in northeastern Mexico. Romero recently said it was “natural” that there were several rumors of her leaving after the tragedy in Tamaulipas. “I think it is only natural that there are rumors like this when there is a crisis as big as this one, of national security and of organized crime,” she said...

The News

Sep. 15, 2010

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Added: Oct. 1, 2010


Evalúa Segob trabajo de Romero en Migración

Mexico's Interior Department to investigate the work of National Institute for Migration director Cecilia Romero

La lupa está sobre migración despues de la masacre de 72 migrantes en Tamaulipas

El secretario de Gobernación, José Francisco Blake Mora, reveló que al interior de su dependencia están evaluando el trabajo de la titular de migración, Cecilia Romero.

Ante las versiones de que habría renunciado el encargado de la política interior del país, dijo que sólo están revisando como en todas las acciones del gobierno su actuación y en su momento vendrán definiciones

Entrevistado al participar en el IV Informe de Gobierno de Felipe Calderón, Blake Mora, dijo que se enfocará en la evaluación al trabajo de Cecilia Romero después de la masacre de 72 migrantes en Tamaulipas, hace unos días.

¿Se queda la titular de migración en su cargo?, se le preguntó

- Estamos revisando, estamos evaluando como en todas las acciones del gobierno que tienen que ser evaluadas, ya en su oportunidad tomaremos definiciones.

¿Para cuándo las conclusiones?

-Voy a trabajar y cuando las tenga seguramente se las informo.

El Universal

Sep. 02, 2010

See also:

Added: June 28, 2009


Cecilia Romero, head of Mexico's national immigration service, says that sex tourism and pedophile networks are "inevitable."

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

Photo: El Universal

LibertadLatina Commentary

President Calderón, the Human Rights Crisis at Mexico's Southern Border is Unacceptable

Our current series of articles covering the human rights emergency facing women and girl migrants at Mexico's southern border responds directly to the recent comments of Cecilia Romero, head of Mexico's national immigration service (the National Institute for Migration - INM).

Director Romero stated in a press interview with El Universal, a major Mexico City daily paper, that human trafficking is "inevitable", and that, "the existence of the smuggling of migrants, human trafficking, pedophile networks, and the kidnappings and the violence that affect thousands of migrants are only "evils of mankind" that Mexico cannot eradicate.

We strongly disagree with Director Romero and others in the leadership of Mexico's National Action Party, who habitually dismiss critical women's rights issues, including the femicide murders in Ciudad Juarez, as being the inevitable, and 'normal' results of male human behavior.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

The citizens of Mexico, Mexico's Congress and the international community need to hold the government of President Felipe Calderón accountable for the fact that he is allowing a steady stream of  unending mass gender atrocities to occur on Mexico's southern border with Guatemala and Belize.

In that hell-on-earth, an estimated 450 to 600 migrant women and girls are sexually assaulted each day, according to the International Organization for Migration. Police response is almost non-existent. At times police officers are complicit in this criminal violence.

Mexico's southern border is also the largest zone on earth for the commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC), according to Save the Children.

As Father Luis Nieto states in an article about Salvadoran mothers who must come to Mexico's border to grieve for their raped and murdered daughters, "We cannot keep quiet, we cannot be complicit in this."

We strongly agree with that sentiment. Silence is also violence.

The federal government of Mexico is not ignorant in regard to this ongoing human catastrophe. The United Nations, the International Organization for Migration, Save the Children, elements of the Catholic Church, the National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) and many members of Congress have, for the past several years, demanded action to end these atrocities.

Although INM director Cecilia Romero promised in February of 2007 that she would "entirely eliminate this terrible situation," no visible action has been taken to do so as of June of 2009, 16 months after she made that promise.

With the current economic slowdown and the expansion of global criminal sex trafficking operations, the rapes, kidnappings and brutal sexual enslavement of innocent migrants on that border is increasing with no end in sight.

As the United States Congress prepares to send over $400 million dollars in largely military aid to Mexico as part of the Merida Initiative to combat the drug cartels, we insist that human rights conditions be placed on those and other U.S. foreign aid funds that are headed to Mexico.

Mexico must close down the mass rape,  kidnapping, murder and child sex trafficking gauntlet that exists with total impunity on its southern border.

We also want to see the estimated 4,000 mostly Mayan indigenous children who were kidnapped by the Yakuza mafias from this region and sold to brothels in Tokyo, and also the uncounted thousands of other indigenous child victims who have been sold to brothels in New York and Madrid rescued, repatriated and then truly cared for.

Do you need money, President Calderón, to get these things done? Or is a misogynist, 'socially conservative' ideology that is resurgent in Mexico, and that has as its strongest voice the PAN political party, the real problem here?

¡Esta barbarie no será perdonado por Dios!

This barbarity will not be pardoned by God!

If Mexico does not have control over this part of its own territory, or if, as actually appears to  be the case, the PAN's socially conservative agenda won't allow it to defend innocent and vulnerable women and children in crisis, consistent with their apathetic reaction to the femicide murders in Ciudad Juarez, then perhaps an international force organized by the Organization of American States, or by the United Nations needs to step up to the plate, offer to help Mexico, and take control of the situation.

This crisis in Mexico is the best example in the Americas of why a new Global Plan of Action, as proposed by Ecuadorian Minister of Justice and Human Rights (Attorney General) Néstor Arbito Chica and diplomats gathered at the United Nations on May 13, 2009, is needed to get around this impasse.

Somehow, the fact that the government of Mexico is a signatory to the Palermo Protocol, and the fact that Mexico passed its 2009 U.S. Department of State Trafficking in Persons Report evaluation with a relatively positive Level 2 Rating (as we also acknowledge State's strong critique of corruption in Mexico), misses the point.

New and out-of-the box strategies are needed to oblige Mexico to fulfill its international obligations to end this ongoing mass gender atrocity once and for all.

It is not an impossible task.

The status quo today is... unacceptable!

End impunity now!

Chuck Goolsby


June 28, 2009

Updated Oct. 2, 2010

See also:


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

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

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

- Chuck Goolsby


Added: Oct. 1, 2010


La trata de personas no se persigue en el país. Apenas seis entidades

Gobiernos soslayan la trata de personas

...La trata de personas no se persigue en el país. Apenas seis entidades —Chiapas, Distrito Federal, Nuevo León, Tabasco y Tlaxcala, además de Hidalgo que ayer la aprobó—, tienen legislación sobre la materia. El resto a excepción de Campeche y Tamaulipas tipificaron el delito en sus códigos penales. Sin embargo, sólo 12 estados cuentan con una legislación armonizada con el Protocolo de Palermo.

Organismos civiles ubican a Puebla y Tlaxcala dentro de los cinco principales “corredores” de traslado de personas que son explotadas sexual y laboralmente. Se estima que de 60 municipios que integran el estado de Tlaxcala en al menos 26 se han establecido redes de tratantes.

Government overlooks modern slavery

Human trafficking is not being fought in Mexico

Tenancingo [a major city in Tlaxcala state] - The streets here are different from those in any other region of rural Tlaxcala state. The city's population does not live by farming, nor do they live in humble dwellings. From the time you enter the city, the air is tense. The ostentatious two-to-four floor houses become immediately visible.

Luxury Mustangs, Corvettes and Dodge trucks with tinted windows line the cobblestone streets. Chatting with people is almost impossible for outsiders. Locals immediately know who is a stranger. They seem to alert everyone about the presence of outsiders. The Lenones [family based sex trafficking mafias] are there. At Noon they stop to eat pork quesadillas. It's their territory.

About 30 miles south of Tlaxcala, in the city of Puebla, two men descend from a fancy Mustang blaring reggaeton music. Their imposing presence makes it hard to look at them face-to-face. Each of them is wearing three gold chains and sportswear made by international companies.

The municipal police look at them with the familiarity that is just part of the daily rhythm of life. The same is true of the mothers of children returning to school. The locals are watched and subdued. Within minutes, a group of students questions the reason for my visit. They say that it would be better for me to leave their neighborhood in the company of the Mexican Army troops stationed nearby.

On Wednesday night, federal forces besieged a residential street in the City, presumably in search of a sexual exploitation network. The outcome of their effort is unknown. There were no arrests. Seven soldiers without identifying clothing remain on guard outside the house. They call upon the reporters present to leave. They claim that "no operation ever took place," and say that in Tenancingo, "everything is normal," although the place is known internationally as a center for sex trafficking.

Human trafficking is not being pursued in this country. Only the Federal District [Mexico City] and six states, Chiapas,  Nuevo León, Tabasco, Tlaxcala and Hidalgo have passed legislation to govern human trafficking. The remaining states, with the exception of Campeche and Tamaulipas, have specified the crime in their penal codes. However, only 12 states have harmonized their state legislation with the Palermo Protocol.

Non-governmental organizations located in Puebla and Tlaxcala call the region one of the top five "corridors" in Mexico for trafficking in persons who are exploited for sex and labor. It is estimated that human trafficking networks operate in at least 26 of the 60 municipalities in the state of Tlaxcala....

Tlaxcala ranks sixth nationally in human trafficking as a result of its environment of violence, a lax criminal justice system and poor security. Puebla state holds 5th place...

El Universal

Sep. 24, 2010

Added: Sep. 29, 2010


Officials from Mexico's Chiapas state, together with the IOM, launch a major media campaign against human trafficking

Emprenden Gobierno de Chiapas y OIM campaña contra la trata de personas

Con el objetivo de proteger a los grupos más vulnerables, el gobierno de Chiapas, a través de la Secretaría para el Desarrollo de la Frontera Sur y Enlace para la Cooperación Internacional, une esfuerzos a la Organización Internacional para las Migraciones para combatir la trata de personas mediante una amplia campaña mediática.

Siendo Chiapas un estado de tránsito de migrantes, es prioritario que ellos sepan que hacerlo indocumentadamente no es sinónimo de indefensión, sino por el contrario, en Chiapas se comprende el sentido de su viaje en búsqueda de una mejora calidad de vida y la vulnerabilidad con la que lo efectúan. Es por eso que el gobierno de Chiapas, encabezado por Juan Sabines Guerrero, trabaja en transformar la frontera sur de México en una frontera amiga y de oportunidades y que no escatima esfuerzos en llevarlo a cabo.

Bajo el slogan “No permitas que destruyan tu vida”, se lanza el día de hoy una ambiciosa campaña en medios masivos como la televisión y radio, así como espectaculares, pantallas de proyección, material impreso e internet, con lo que se pretende concientizar a la ciudadanía de que la trata de personas es evitable y se combate con la denuncia; además de que tengan la seguridad de que recibirán todo el apoyo, asistencia y protección en caso de ser víctimas de este flagelo. Es importante destacar que la parte medular de la campaña se concentra en la posibilidad de hacer una denuncia anónima y sin costo al 018007152000...

The state government of Chiapas and the International Organization for Migration launch media campaign against human trafficking

Seeking to protect the most vulnerable groups in society, the government of the southern Mexican state of Chiapas, through its Secretary for the Development of the Southern Frontier and its Network for International Cooperation, has joined forces with the [United Nations affiliated] International Organization for Migration to present a new and large scale media campaign to educate the public about the dangers of human trafficking.

Given that Chiapas state is a [major] transit point for migrants [it is the bottleneck point for almost all Central and South American migration to the U.S.], the campaign's priority to let migrants know that their state of being undocumented does not mean that they are defenseless. To the contrary, the campaign stated, Chiapas understands the motives that cause people to migrate in search of a better life, as well as the vulnerabilities that go along with migration. For these reasons, the government of Chiapas state, headed by governor Juan Sabines Guerrero, is dedicating significant resources to achieve the goal of transforming the southern border of Mexico into a friendly frontier of opportunities.

Using the slogan "Don't Allow Them to Destroy Your Life," the ambitious media campaign is being launched today through public service advertising on television, radio, and through materials presented at major public events and on the Internet. The campaign will raise public awareness about human trafficking, and will drive home the point that becoming a victim of trafficking is avoidable. The campaign emphasizes that victims will receive every form of assistance and protection. An anonymous hotline, at telephone number 018007152000, has also been opened...

Diario Chiapas Hoy

Sep. 27, 2010

Added: Sep. 29, 2010


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


Sep. 30/Oct. 02, 2010

Added: Sep. 29, 2010

Oregon, USA

Police warn of man exposing himself near Portland school

Portland - A man was spotted exposing himself near a Southeast Portland school Monday morning and now police are warning people to beware of the lurking sex offender.

“A subject was observed openly masturbating in his vehicle parked near Southeast 26th Avenue and Grant Street in view of the public. Four female students from Hosford Middle School walked past his vehicle on their way to school and he soon started his car, followed them for about a block and pulled over next to them as if to make contact with them while still masturbating,” said Lt. Kelli Sheffer with the Portland Police Bureau.

Then, just a few minutes later, Sheffer said the suspect contacted a different female student in the same area, telling her he liked her shirt.

At one point, the man got out of the car and walked after a student, police said.

The suspect was described as a Hispanic man in his 20's to late 30's, about 5'2 and 150 pounds, with very short dark hair, wearing a light-colored shirt and dark pants or jeans. Police said his head was almost shaved and he had a mustache and a goatee.

His vehicle was described as an older model, white 4-door smaller car, possibly a Pontiac, with a dent on one of the front fenders, possibly black wheels and black bumpers, with black scratches on the rear passenger side fender.

Anyone with information about the suspect was urged to call 9-1-1.

Teresa Blackman


Sep. 28, 2010

Added: Sep. 29, 2010

California, USA

Man Arrested for Peeping in School Bathroom

Covina - Police have arrested a suspect accused of peeping at a student in a bathroom stall at Las Palmas Middle School in Covina.

The suspect, who told police his name was Cristian Estrada Diaz, was arrested Tuesday morning. His fingerprints, however, identified him as Juan Hernandez, 31, according to Covina Sgt. Dave Foster. Detectives are trying to determine his true identity.

Foster says the man is a Covina resident. He does not speak English and had no identification on him, according to Foster.

The man was arrested on suspicion of making contact with a minor with intent to commit a sexual act.

The suspect is accused of entering the girls' bathroom on Friday and crawling on his knees under a bathroom stall to spy on a girl. He ran when another student walked in and noticed him. He fled on a blue bike...

Detectives are trying to figure out if the man is responsible for other similar cases in the area.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Covina Police Department at (626) 384-5808.


Sep. 28, 2010

We present full bilingual coverage of the Second Latin American Congress on Human Trafficking

Added: Sep. 28, 2010


Buscaremos romper el cerco de los “guardianes del patriarcado”

El delito de trata de personas es tan complejo, que el discutir próximamente sobre el acceso a la justicia y restitución de derechos para las víctimas, permitirá a quienes estamos luchando contra éste, homogeneizar criterios y exigir con mejores herramientas a las autoridades judiciales de Latinoamericana, que cumplan con la ley.

La directora Regional de la Coalición contra la Trata y Tráfico de Mujeres y Niñas en América Latina y el Caribe, Asociación Civil (CATW-LAC), Teresa Ulloa Ziaurriz, dijo a Cimacnoticias que la complejidad del delito de trata, ha impedido su tipificación, y por ende demostrarlo, para lograr sentenciar a los proxenetas.

Al cierre del II Congreso Latinoamericano contra la Trata y Tráfico de Personas: Migración, Género y Derechos Humanos que se realizó en esta ciudad, dijo que una vez que ya se conoce la agenda del próximo Congreso a efectuarse en Perú en 2012; el intercambio de ideas entre la academia, organizaciones de la sociedad civil e incluso con autoridades, generará ideas más claras sobre cómo resolver la problemática.

Reconoció que en América Latina se ha avanzado en la elaboración de leyes, pero no se ha logrado que sean efectivas, que haya sentencias, “ y yo coincido con lo que dicen las españolas que los jueces son los guardianes más celosos del patriarcado y eso es lo que tenemos que romper”, aseguró...

We Seek to Break the Ring of the Guardians of Patriarchy

The crime of human trafficking is hugely complex. Therefore, during the next Congress on Human Trafficking in Latin America, to be held in Lima, Peru in 2012, the event will focus its attentions on developing strategies to resolve one of the largest problems that we face, gaining access to equal justice and restitution for victims. The 2012 Congress will allow those who are fighting against modern human slavery to collaborate to create a common legal framework to address human trafficking and  to demand improved legal tools from Latin America's judicial institutions. The Congress will also insist that the region's governments must comply with the laws governing these crimes.

Teresa Ulloa Ziaurriz, director of the Coalition Against Trafficking of Women and Girls for Latin America and the Caribbean (CATW-LAC) [and a veteran women's rights lawyer in Mexico], told the CIMAC News that the complexity of this crime has impeded its classification [in the criminal code] and use in sentencing traffickers and pimps.

At the close of the Second Congress on Human Trafficking, Migration, Gender and Human Rights, held from Sep. 21 to 24, 2010 in Puebla, Mexico, Ulloa declared that once the agenda for the 2012 Congress is determined, the mechanisms will be in place that will allow for an exchange of ideas between academics, civil society and government officials, to generate clear strategies in regard to what needs to be done to effectively address this problem.

Ulloa recognized that laws have advanced across Latin America. However those laws are not enforced, resulting in a lack of the actual sentencing of convicted traffickers. Ulloa, "I agree with the what people say in Spain, that judges are the most jealous guardians of patriarchy. That [ring of power - old boy's club] is what we have to break through..."

Elizabeth Muñoz Vásquez

CIMAC Women's News Service

Sep. 27, 2010

Added: Sep. 26, 2010


Dr. Raquel Pastor, the Academic Secretary of the Second Latin American Congress on Human Trafficking, in a photo from an earlier anti-trafficking press conference

Condena unánime contra migración forzada y aumento de trata en AL

Pronunciamiento del II Congreso Latinoamericano sobre trata

Puebla, Puebla - Con una condena a las autoridades de Puebla, México y Latinoamérica, que han reprimido a aquellas personas que se atreven a denunciar y combatir el delito de trata, y a la masacre de los migrantes centroamericanos ejecutados hace unas semanas en San Fernando, Tamaulipas, concluyó aquí el II Congreso Latinoamericano sobre Trata y Tráfico de Personas: Migración, Género y Derechos Humanos.

Raquel Pastor, Secretaria Académica del Segundo Congreso y representante del Centro de Estudios Sociales y Culturales Antonio Montesinos AC de México, al dar lectura al pronunciamiento precisó que las y los integrantes al evento condenan “los hechos que violentan los derechos humanos, la migración forzada, el aumento de casos de trata en la región”.

Demandamos, dijo, las investigaciones correspondientes exhaustivas para que los crímenes de Tamaulipas, no queden en la impunidad y sean restituidos los derechos de las familias de las víctimas.

De igual manera dijo, “condenamos también los actos represivos y de persecución en contra de aquellas personas que se atreven a denunciar, como los que llevan a cabo algunos gobernantes en Puebla, México y Latinoamérica para acallar y encubrir la vulneración de los derechos de las niñas víctimas de explotación sexual...

Second Latin American Congress on Human Trafficking concludes with a unanimous condemnation of forced migration and slavery in Latin America

Puebla city in Puebla state – The Second Latin American Congress on Human Trafficking ended four days of events today by condemning government authorities in Puebla State [Mexico], in Mexico itself as well as among governments across Latin America for repressing those persons who have dared to speak up about, combat and report cases of human trafficking. In addition, the Congress also deplored the recent massacre of 72 Central and South American migrants in the Mexican state of Tamaulipas.

Dr. Raquel Pastor, the Academic Secretary of the Second Congress and a representative of the Antonio Montesinos Center for Social and Cultural Studies of Mexico, declared that the participants in the Congress “denounce ongoing events that violently deny human rights, including forced migration and the increase in human trafficking cases in the region.”

We demand, she said, exhaustive investigations into the massacre in Tamaulipas, so that this crime does not remain unchallenged, and so that the rights of the victim’s families are restored.

Equally, Dr. Pastor stated, “we also condemn the acts of repression and persecution that have been taken against those persons who have dared to report trafficking cases, such as those that have been perpetrated by government officials across Latin America, including in Puebla state, Mexico [see the Lydia Cacho case], in their efforts to cover-up and silence the sexual exploitation of girl [and women] victims.

Dr. Pastor underlined the fact that the participants in the Congress are speaking-up to pressure the nations of Latin America to reform and modernize their criminal justice systems, so that the definition-of and persecution-of trafficking crimes become focused on protecting the dignity of girls, boys, adolescents and women.

Dr. Pastor asked that academic investigations be undertaken with the participation of civil society and government entities to allow for the development of a body of knowledge about trafficking, as well as to support the development of public policies and protocols that will result in actions and criminal investigations that focus on those who suffer as victims of these crimes.

Dr. Pastor stated - 'We demand these nations address the proposals and the body of experience that non-governmental organizations bring to the table, and that they adopt the best practices that NGOs have developed in the fields of preventing trafficking, and attending to the needs of victims. We especially call-upon Chile and Paraguay to pass laws against human trafficking, given that they are the only nations in Latin America not to have done so.'

The Congress also expressed its support for organizations in Puebla and Tlaxcala states, who have developed the Agenda for the Protection of Women and Girls Against Human Trafficking, and who are demanding punishment for elected and other officials at all levels of government who have benefited from human trafficking activities.

The creation of a Latin American 'Observatory' [think tank] for Human Trafficking was announced, with the goal of creating a center that will allow for the analysis of anti-trafficking efforts being carried out across the nations of the region.

The Congress will also create a web site, a system of statistical indicators, and will create spaces to allow for dialog and reflection among participants before and after each Congress.

The Third Latin American Congress on Human Trafficking will take place in Lima, Peru in 2012. The themes will be: “Access to Justice and the Restitution of Rights.”

Oscar Castro Soto, director of the Ignacio Ellacuria Human Rights Institute at the Ibero-American University in Puebla, stated that some 600 persons attended the Second Congress. Two hundred fifty presentations were make by subject matter experts, and 7 sessions by keynote speakers were presented.

Elizabeth Muñoz Vasquez

CIMAC Women's News Agency

Sep. 24, 201-

Added: Sep. 26, 2010


Haitian Women at Increased Risk of Trafficking

Puebla, Mexico - The January earthquake that devastated Haiti put women and girls in the poorest country in the hemisphere at an increased risk of falling prey to people trafficking, activists and experts warn.

"The phenomenon has become much more visible since the earthquake, with the increase in the forced displacement of persons," said Bridget Wooding, a researcher who specializes in immigration at the Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences (FLACSO) in the Dominican Republic, which shares the island of Hispaniola with Haiti.

"There is huge vulnerability to a rise in human trafficking and smuggling," she told IPS.

The Dominican Republic and the United States are the main destinations for Haitian migrants. The figures vary, but there are between 500,000 and 800,000 Haitians and people of Haitian descent in the U.S. and between one and two million in the Dominican Republic.

Women in Haiti "are exposed to forced prostitution, rape, abandonment and pornography," Mesadieu Guylande, a Haitian expert with the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women-Latin America and the Caribbean (CATW-LAC), told IPS.

The situation in Haiti was one of the issues discussed by representatives of NGOs, experts and academics from throughout the region at the Second Latin American Conference on Human Smuggling and Trafficking, which ran Tuesday through Friday in Puebla, 130 km south of Mexico City.

The 7.0-magnitude quake that hit the Haitian capital on Jan. 12 and left a death toll of at least 220,000 forced tens of thousands of people to live in camps...

"We have evidence of a growth in trafficking and smuggling of persons, which is reflected in the increase in the number of children panhandling in the streets of Santo Domingo, for example," said Wooding, co-author of the 2004 book "Needed but Not Wanted", on Haitian immigration in the Dominican Republic.

The author was in Port-au-Prince when the quake hit.

Even before the disaster, some 500,000 children were not attending school in Haiti, a country of around 9.5 million people, Guylande said.

Since 2007, there have been no convictions in the Dominican Republic under Law 137-03 against trafficking and smuggling, passed in 2003, according to the U.S. State Department Trafficking in Persons Report 2009.

As a result, the State Department reported that the government of the Dominican Republic "does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking" and put the country on its Tier 2 Watch List.

In Haiti, things are no different. Although the government ratified the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children, supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, in force since Sept. 29, 2003, it has failed to implement its provisions in national laws.

"The penal system is fragile and the judiciary is neither independent nor trustworthy, a situation that works in favor of traffickers," Guylande said...

Emilio Godoy

Inter-Press Service (IPS)

Sep. 24, 2010

Added: Sep. 26, 2010


Puebla, entre los estados que más producen pornografía infantil, informa una ONG

México ocupa el primer lugar de América Latina en la producción y distribución de pornografía infantil, principalmente hacia Estados Unidos, España y países de Oriente Medio, señaló ayer Mayra Rojas Rosas, representante de la Organización Infancia Común, durante el Segundo Congreso Latinoamericano sobre Trata y Tráfico de Personas que se realiza en la Universidad Iberoamericana.

Los estados con más casos de trata infantil, puntualizó, son: Baja California, Sonora, Chihuahua, Nuevo León, Guerrero, Quintana Roo, Veracruz, Distrito Federal, Tlaxcala y Puebla. “La gente cree que sólo son fotos o que sólo es un video, pero eso daña y los daña para siempre porque a veces son relaciones reales y otras simuladas, pero esos niños están siendo trastocados en su integridad y están siendo sometidos a una serie de experiencias que no tiene que sufrir un niño o un adolescente”, declaró.

Puebla – among the states with the highest rate of producing child pornography – NGO

Mayra Rojas Rosas, director of the non-governmental organization Common Infancy, declared at the Second Latin American Congress on Human Trafficking that Mexico occupies first place among Latin American nations in the production and distribution of child pornography. She noted that most of these illicit materials are destined to be sold in the United States, Spain and in Middle Eastern nations.

Rojas Rosas added that the states with the highest levels of the production of child pornography are Baja California, Sonora, Chihuahua, Nuevo Leon, Guerrero, Quintana Roo, Veracruz, the Federal District [Mexico City], Tlaxala and Puebla. “People think that it is only a video, but participating in child pornography damages the lives of the victims forever. Some of the scenes are simulated, and some are real, but the integrity of these children is being disrupted. They are being subjected to a series of experiences that no child or adolescent should have to suffer through.

During a press conference on the subject, Rojas Rosas lamented the fact that human trafficking is being transformed into a business that is larger and more easily sold than narcotics. In response, she said, the only way to fight this crime is through cooperation and a demand that the problem be made ‘visible.’

“We are not talking about a problem of persecution here. We are talking about the need to engage in construction. We must change legislation and generate spaces to provide for an integral attention to the victims of trafficking, so that they are given a chance to develop a different type of life. The state must assume part of the responsibility, because at times, due to presumed acts of complicity and omission, we have had problems,” said Rojas Rosas.

In a separate press conference, Helen Le Goff, a representative of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Mexico, called upon authorities to investigate and castigate trafficking cases based upon their own sources of information, without waiting for a formal complaint to be filed by a victim (victim complaint initiation is generally required by Mexican law before a police investigation may be carried out).

During her presentation at the Congress, Le Goff mentioned that studies conducted by Mexico’s National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) estimate that each year, 20,000 persons are victims of human trafficking, principally in tourist cities and in frontier regions. Most victims are illegal immigrants, who have migrated from some 13 nations, including Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.

Le Goff, “In addition to the 60% of victims who experience labor trafficking, an additional 40% were victims of sex trafficking.”

Le Goff concluded by stating that the the IOM is launching a campaign called “No más trata de personas” [No more Human Trafficking] in the cities of Ciudad Juarez and Tapachula. The project is being developed in collaboration with the the CNDH. The project’s goal is to educate the public about the risks of irregular migration and human trafficking.

Arturo Alfaro Galán

La Jornada de Oriente

Sep. 24, 2010

Added: Sep. 26, 2010


Giovanni, a nine-year-old girl who lives in the violent Mexico City neighborhood of Penitenciaria

Photo:Daniela Pastrana / IPS

Gender Violence Hits Behind the News

Mexico City - Amalia is an indigenous Maya girl from a rural community in southern Quintana Roo, on Mexico's Caribbean coast. She is 11 years old, and in August became the youngest mother in the country when she gave birth to a baby girl, 51 cm long and just under three kg.

Amalia was raped when she was 10, allegedly by her stepfather. She did not have the option of terminating the pregnancy because by the time it emerged that she was pregnant it was too late for a legal abortion.

Her case highlights the government's failures in dealing with violence against girls, a phenomenon that is overlooked due to the many other types of violence plaguing Mexico, such as the epidemic of drug-related murders, and the human rights violations attributed to the military and police.

Amalia "represents an accumulation of social exclusions: she is female, a child, indigenous and poor," Juan Martín Pérez, executive director of the Network for Children's Rights in Mexico, which brings together more than 50 pro-child organizations, told TerraViva.

"It took more than 20 years for me to admit what had happened. It's something that you never forgive; you just learn to live with it," a 35-year-old professional from Mexico City told TerraViva. She was sexually abused by an uncle when she was Amalia's age.

In this Latin American country of 108 million people, there are 18.4 million boys and 17.9 million girls under 18. Violence against children occurs in one-third of households, despite the many institutions across the country entrusted with protecting their well-being.

A UNICEF (United Nations Children's Fund) study ranked Mexico second for mistreatment of children, after Portugal, among the 33 member countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). The mortality rate attributed to this phenomenon is 30 deaths for every million minors.

According to UNICEF, a large portion of this physical, sexual and psychological violence and neglect remains hidden, and is sometimes socially accepted.

And while this crime is underreported, there is even less information about the differences in mistreatment based on gender. "There is a statistical invisibility that prevents us from getting a clear picture of the problem," said Pérez.

Several recent studies provide isolated data for an incomplete puzzle. For example, the latest National Survey on Health and Nutrition reports six pregnancies for every 1,000 girls ages 12 to 15, and 101 per 1,000 for ages 16 to 17.

In Quintana Roo, the state's secretary of health, Juan Carlos Azueta, said that in 2009 5,500 adolescent pregnancies were reported, 16 percent of which were the result of rape -- a proportion in line with the national average.

"I love my daughter, but I've never known how to deal with her. She exasperates me, and I'm often unfair to her," admitted Gloria, a mother of three girls, whose eldest was born after she was raped at the age of 15 by a married man.

"There is something in her that reminds me of how I got pregnant, and nobody taught me how to be a mother or how to deal with this memory inside," said the abusive mother, who lives in Atizapán, on the outskirts of Mexico City.

"La infancia cuenta" (Childhood Counts / 2009), a web-based monitoring tool and publication by the Network for Children's Rights in Mexico dedicated to girls, states "there are specific groups of females who are marginalized from the educational system," such as adolescent mothers or disabled or indigenous girls and adolescents.

According to Mexico's National Institute on Statistics and Geography, 180,500 adolescent mothers, ages 12 to 18, have not completed their basic education. Girls have higher school attendance rates than boys until age 16, when the balance starts to tip, in part due to early pregnancy.

"At 15, I ran away from home with the man who is now the father of my children, but things went even worse for me," Citatli, now 45 and a grandmother, told TerraViva. She lives in a low-income neighborhood in the eastern part of the Mexico City metropolitan area.

She had two children by the time she was 17, "and the younger one was born prematurely after I was beaten," she said. "I have always been surrounded by violence. From my mother, my brothers, my first husband, and now from my children." Her only hope is that her five grandchildren "don't turn out like that."

In Mexico, violent acts against girls, adolescents and women are based on a social construction that assumes males are superior, several sources consulted by TerraViva agreed.

"We've made some limited progress, with a federal law (against gender violence) and local laws in all states, but we haven't seen fundamental changes," said Axela Romero, director of Integral Health for Women. "A culture in which masculine is put above feminine prevails."

Giovanni, a nine-year-old girl who lives in the violent Mexico City neighborhood of Penitenciaria, knows all about that. She has what is traditionally a boy's name because when her mother was about to give birth to her firstborn son, she lost the pregnancy due to "a fright" when the father got involved in a fight. So the name went to the little girl, when she was born.

"I hate violence, and I hate it even more when the men drink," Giovanni told TerraViva.

Years of gruesome unsolved murders of women -- known as "femicides" -- put Ciudad Juárez, on Mexico's northern border, on the global map. At least 800 women have been tortured and murdered in the last 16 years, according to incomplete official data.

Meanwhile, in some Mexican states, the laws are tougher on women who undergo abortions than on the rapists who impregnated them.

According to government surveys, more than 60 percent of male adolescents believe it is solely the responsibility of the woman to take precautions against pregnancy, and at least one-fifth of students have witnessed incidents at their schools, off in a corner, where one or more boys inappropriately touched a girl without her consent.

But those incidents, like other forms of aggression against girls, are likewise abandoned in a corner.

*This story was originally published by IPS TerraViva with the support of UNIFEM and the Dutch MDG3 Fund.

Daniela Pastrana

Inter Press Service (IPS) / TerraViva

Sep. 21, 2010

Added: Sep. 26, 2010


Bicentennial Nothing to Celebrate, Say Indigenous Peoples

Mexico City - "I don't understand why we should celebrate [Independence]. There will be no freedom in Mexico until repression against indigenous peoples is eliminated," says Sadhana, whose name means "moon" in the indigenous Mazahua language.

Over the course of the year, the Mexican government has organized a series of lavish celebrations to mark the 200th anniversary of the start of the war of independence against the Spanish Empire, Sep. 16, 1810. The main events, held Sep. 15, included a military parade with soldiers from several other countries and a fireworks display.

But to many of Mexico's indigenous peoples, the festivities are an alien concept.

According to indigenous organizations, at least a third of Mexico's 108 million people are of native descent. But the government's National Council on Population says the majority of Mexicans are mestizo (of mixed European and indigenous ancestry), while 14 million belong to one of the country's 62 native groups.

"There is no birth certificate or other official document that says we are indigenous. The official calculations are based on the census that asks just one question about this: if you speak an indigenous language. That is the only element they use to define who is indigenous," said Julio Atenco Vidal, of the Regional Coordinator of Sierra de Zongolica Indigenous Organisations, in the southeastern state of Veracruz.

"Furthermore, there are many who say they are not indigenous, because it is associated with backwardness," he told IPS.

Registered by her Mazahua parents with the name "Daleth Ignacio Esquivel," Sadhana, 14, participates in a dance group of Mexica origin. They promote the recovery of their ancestral language among youths in San Miguel, a town in the central state of Mexico.

In the latest census of population and housing, conducted in May and June, the question about personal ethnic identification was added...

Of all the segments of the population, indigenous women have the worst living conditions, according to the National Commission for the Development of Indigenous Peoples. These women suffer serious health problems resulting from nutritional deficiencies and high birth rates.

From childhood, indigenous girls are obligated to help their mothers. They tend to marry between ages 13 and 16. And their "normal" workday can last 18 hours daily.

Meanwhile, illiteracy among indigenous children is five times greater than among mestizo children.

An extreme case of indigenous exclusion is found in San Juan Copala, in the southern state of Oaxaca, home of the Triqui community, which declared itself "autonomous" in 2007. The Triqui people have been under siege since January by illegal armed groups that block the entry of food and medicine, and teachers. Governmental authorities have yet to intervene.

The ongoing harassment has led to at least a dozen deaths since 2007 and earned a denunciation from the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights. In April, the armed groups ambushed an international humanitarian convoy that was attempting to bring supplies to the Triqui village.

"We are celebrating the construction of a type of stratified and racist state, which is what has been created in Mexico, often based on liberal ideas," said Rodolfo Stavenhagen, a researcher at the Colegio de México and former UN special rapporteur on the situation of the human rights and fundamental freedoms of indigenous peoples.

"Now is a good time to reform the concept of 'nation'. We must take steps in building an indigenous citizenry and indigenous spaces that have never before appeared in Mexico's institutional fabric," Stavenhagen told IPS.

Along similar lines, 177 organizations from 15 states are working to breathe new life into the indigenous movement. It has been largely stagnant since 2001, when the government quashed the efforts towards autonomy by the indigenous Zapatista National Liberation Army, which took up arms in January 1994 in the southern state of Chiapas.

Now, in a new national and international context, the organizations are pursuing a model of a "plurinational" and "pluricultural" state, one that includes Mexico's array of indigenous ethnicities "without adulteration or compromise."

"We don't have anything to celebrate," reads a declaration from the National Indigenous Movement, which met in the capital on Sep. 15 while the rest of the country commemorated 200 years of the Mexican republic.

The movement questioned "the irrational festive nature of the great national celebration," on which the government spent 200 million dollars, "while our peoples are fighting hunger and desperation."

Daniela Pastrana

Inter-Press Service (IPS)

Sep. 24, 2010

Added: Sep. 26, 2010


IOM - Co-organizer and Participant in the Second Latin-American Congress on Migrant Smuggling and Human Trafficking

The [United Nations affiliated] International Organization for Migration (IOM) is participating in the second Latin American Congress on Migrant Smuggling and Human Trafficking, taking place this week in Puebla, Mexico.

The four-day event co-organized by IOM which ends today, brings together hundreds of government officials, experts from international organizations, researchers, civil society and students, as well as the general public, to discuss issues of common concern related to migrant smuggling and human trafficking in Latin-America.

More than 250 international experts are presenting their counter-trafficking work and shared experiences, with the more than 350 participants from every country in the hemisphere.

The main objective of the Congress is to promote active discussion amongst key actors combating human trafficking in Latin America, in order to encourage the development of public policies and legislation against trafficking in the region.

IOM Mexico, as a member of the Latin-American Committee of the Congress, has been coordinating as well as organizing the event. IOM experts from Mexico, Costa Rica and Nicaragua have participated in different panels, presenting IOM activities in the region as well as discussing the link between migration and human trafficking and the need for protection of the human rights of all migrants.

In Latin America, human trafficking for sexual and labor exploitation has reached alarming proportions in recent years. Since 2000, when the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons was approved, many Latin American countries have updated or drafted anti human trafficking laws and have put in place public policies aimed at combating the crime and providing vital protection to the victims.

Organized criminal networks earn billions of dollars each year from the traffic and exploitation of persons who suffer severe violations of their human rights. Common abuses experienced by trafficking victims include rape, torture, debt bondage, unlawful confinement, and threats against their family or other persons close to them, as well as other forms of physical, sexual and psychological violence.

According to Mexico’s National Human Rights Commission (CNDH by its Spanish acronym), with whom IOM Mexico has recently signed a cooperation agreement, each year more than 20,000 persons fall victim to human trafficking in Mexico, mainly in border areas and in tourist destinations.

"Data on human trafficking in Mexico is rare and there are only estimations on this serious problem," said Thomas Lothar Weiss, IOM Chief of Mission in Mexico.

"What we know is that Chiapas and Chihuahua, where IOM has sub-offices, are two of the main states of origin and destination of trafficking in Mexico. One of the worst forms of trafficking detected recently in Mexico is linked with the kidnapping of people for recruitment in the organized criminal groups," Weiss added...

Hélène Le Goff

International Organization for Migration (IOM)  México

Sep. 24, 2010

Added: Sep. 26, 2010

Texas, USA

Chase leads deputies to possible human trafficking ring

San Antonio - A chase led Bexar County deputies to a home they say may be part of human trafficking ring.

Deputies chased a stolen truck to a home in the 11,000 block of Jarrett Road in Far Southwest Bexar County around 11:00 a.m. Friday. The deputies found 17 illegal immigrants living inside the home in horrible conditions. Investigators believe the illegal immigrants were smuggled here and stayed cramped up inside the small home, sleeping wherever they could find space.

"The living conditions are pretty bad," said Sgt. R. Fletcher of the Bexar County Sheriff's Department. "And we're talking about 15 to 17 people in a 3 bedroom home..."


Sep. 24, 2010

Added: Sep. 26, 2010


Woman faces first such Manitoba charge; Victim forced into prostitution, police say

Manitoba's first-ever human trafficking charge has been laid after an older woman befriended a 21-year-old woman from northern Manitoba, then allegedly forced her into the sex trade.

The 38-year-old is accused of taking the victim's identification and clothing, punching her in a fight and stopping her twice as she attempted to run away, Winnipeg police said Thursday.

The pair lived in a home in the 300 block of Aikens Street. The older woman forced the girl to turn over the cash she made to pay for food and a roof over her head, investigators believe.

The Winnipeg Police Service vice unit began probing the case after officers were initially called to the home on a complaint of a fight Monday.

The woman was arrested Wednesday.

"The best way to describe it is we have an individual whose human rights have been violated to an extreme," said WPS spokesman Const. Jason Michalyshen, noting investigators believe the abuse started earlier this month.

"It's certainly not something we come across on a regular basis."

The Criminal Code added a specific section against human trafficking in 2005.

The Criminal Code describes a trafficker in human beings as "a person (who) exploits another person if they cause the victim to provide labour or service for fear of their safety or the safety of someone known to them."

...A source said the victim is from a remote First Nations [indigenous] community and lived in two city shelters before moving in with the older woman...

Theresa Peebles is charged with forcible confinement, assault and three counts of trafficking. All charges date from Sept. 5 to Sept. 20 this year...

"These types of charges are difficult to lay. There's a lot of criteria that need to be established, and because it is fairly new legislation, fairly new law, members of the policing community are still learning and being educated about it," Michalyshen said.

Gabrielle Giroday

The Winnipeg Free Press

Sep. 24, 2010

Added: Sep. 24, 2010

Mexico, Latin America

Marcela Lagarde y de los Ríos - president of Mexico's Network for Women’s Life and Liberty, speaks at the Second Latin American Congress on Human Trafficking

Mujeres con derechos y ciudadanía, debe exigir la sociedad

Plantea Marcela Lagarde en Congreso sobre Trata y Tráfico

El delito de trata de personas no sólo debe ser visto como un hecho del crimen organizado, sino como resultado de una complejidad social apabullante, que abarca a la sociedad y al Estado, y que éste último no se ha reformado para hacer frente a sus obligaciones legales, afirmó aquí la feminista Marcela Lagarde y de los Ríos.

Ante los comités de organización y académico del II Congreso Latinoamericano sobre Trata y Tráfico de Personas: Migración, Género y Derechos Humanos, se pronunció por recurrir a los aportes teóricos de la investigación de la perspectiva de género, para definir y diferenciar los límites precisos sobre los riesgos de ser objeto de trata, que corren las mujeres y las niñas, por edad, clase social, etnicidad, condiciones de migración, de legalidad e ilegalidad...

Women, with our rights of citizenship, must make demands upon society

Feminist activist Marcela Lagarde addresses the Second Latin American Congress on Human Trafficking

In her presentation before the Second Latin American Congress on Human Trafficking, feminist activist Marcela Lagarde y de los Ríos stated that human trafficking should not be seen only as an act perpetrated by organized crime, but also as a overwhelmingly powerful social complex that envelops our society and the state. In response, she said, government has not reformed itself to accept its legal obligations in this area.

During her presentation: Human Rights Synergies for Women in Response to Human Trafficking, Lagarde, who is the president of the Network for Women’s Life and Liberty (in Mexico), went on to discuss the fact that investigating human trafficking from a gender perspective requires that we understand the risks that women and girls face upon becoming victims of trafficking, because of their gender, social class, ethnicity and their legal or illegal condition of migration.

Lagarde explained that when, for example, the topic of immigrants is discussed, the term “inmigrantes”

 (immigrants), not “las migrantes” (women immigrants) is used.

Linguistically, Lagarde declared, this imposes a brutal form of discrimination  when the topic of human trafficking is discussed. When the term “personas” (persons) is used in the context of our patriarchal discourse, the term means, specifically, men.

Thus, the term ‘trafficking in persons’ is never translated to mean that the human slavery of women and girls exists. Female victims are almost never mentioned in the context of human trafficking [in Mexico]. This omission contributes to their invisibility.

Lagarde went on to say that, if we approach the problem of human trafficking without using a gender-based perspective, we cannot arrive at a point where we understand that this problem “is closely associated with the [intentional] domination and dehumanization of women.”

These factors cause society to focus its solutions to trafficking on targeting organized crime, while at the same time failing to work toward equality between men and women and a respect for the sexual and reproductive rights of girls and adolescents, said Lagarde...

Elizabeth Muñoz Vásquez

The CIMAC Women's News Agency

Sep. 22, 2010

Added: Sep. 24, 2010

Mexico, Latin America

Ibero-American University rector David Fernández Dávalos, shown at another university event - spoke at the opening ceremonies of the Second Latin American Congress on Human Trafficking

Erradicar la trata no “le importa a nadie”: Fernández Dávalos

Encuentro Latinoamericano sobre Trata y Tráfico de Personas

Cada año, cerca de 100 mil mujeres provenientes de países de América Latina y el Caribe, son llevadas con engaños y falsas promesas de empleo, a diversas naciones del mundo, sin que se conozcan las cifras nacionales oficiales, estudios, las estadísticas, ni los informes cuantitativos que permitan evidenciar el fenómeno de la trata de personas.

Al inaugurar aquí el Segundo Encuentro Latinoamericano sobre Trata y Tráfico de Personas: Migración, Género y Derechos Humanos, el rector de la Universidad Iberoamericana, Puebla, David Fernández Dávalos, lamentó que este problema no le importe a nadie, “ni a la academia, ni a los gobernantes, ni a gran parte de la sociedad civil”.

En el mundo, dijo, más de 4 millones de personas son víctimas del delito de trata y de esa cifra, el 80 por ciento es sufrida por mujeres, niños y niñas en sus diversas formas de explotación sexual.

Desafortunadamente, continuó, a la trata con fines de explotación sexual y laboral, la adopción ilegal, el comercio de órganos y el tráfico de droga, se suma la venta de niñas y adolescentes en comunidades indígenas de México, los abusos en el servicio doméstico, los matrimonios serviles y la violencia familiar, son validadas por sistemas patriarcales, machistas y conservadores, que limitan la problemática y la reducen...

Ibero-American University rector David Fernández Dávalos: "Nobody cares about  eradicating human trafficking"

Each year, close to 100,000 Latin American and Caribbean women are taken, through the use of offers of work and other false promises, to nations around the world. We do not know the real numbers of victims. Neither official national estimates nor quantitative studies can really tell us the true scope of human trafficking.

During the opening ceremonies of the Second Latin American Congress on Human Trafficking, which is being held on the campus of the Ibero-American University in the city of Puebla, in Puebla state, university rector David Fernández Dávalos lamented that nobody cares about human trafficking, "neither academia, nor those in government, nor the great majority of civil society."

Fernández Dávalos noted that globally, some 4 million persons are victims of human trafficking. Of these, 80% are women and children who suffer through diverse forms of sexual exploitation.

Unfortunately, added Fernández Dávalos, in addition to the traditional categories of sex and labor trafficking, illegal adoptions, organ trafficking and drug trafficking, we must also add the sale of children and youth in the indigenous communities of Mexico [they are 30% of the national population], abuses found in domestic service, servile marriages and family violence. These problems are all validated by [our] conservative and machista [machismo-based] patriarchal  systems, which work to diminish action to respond to the problem.

Fernández Dávalos presented figures compiled by the Civil Guard of Spain which indicate that 70% of the female victims of human trafficking in that nation come originally from Latin America, while in Japan, an estimated 1,700 Latin America women are held as sex slaves.

Fernández Dávalos declared that public strategies must be created to address human trafficking in each region of Latin America. Today efforts at prevention, protection and prosecution are inadequate.

Oscar Arturo Castro, who is the director of the Ignacio Ellacuria Human Rights Center at the university as well as member of the organizing committee of the Congress, argued that the dynamics of migration must be studied as part of the problem of human slavery. Castro, "because organized crime is taking advantage of human mobility."

Castro, "[Organized crime] exploits migration driven by greed, and disregards human dignity, a reality that we can observe in the example of the recent massacre of 72 Central American migrants in Tamaulipas, as well as in the cases of the thousands of Central [and South] American migrants who are kidnapped by drug trafficking gangs across the entire territory of Mexico."

The opening ceremonies of the Congress were also attended by José Manuel Grima, president of the Congress and Teresa Ulloa Ziaurríz, director of the Coalition Against the Trafficking Women and Girls - Latin American and Caribbean branch. Some 300 presenters are expected during the 4 days of planned conference sessions.

Elizabeth Muñoz Vásquez

The CIMAC Women's News Agency

Sep. 21, 2010

Added: Sep. 26, 2010

Latin America

América Latina ineficaz en combate a trata de personas

Puebla city in Puebla state, Mexico - El combate a la trata de personas ha sido ineficaz y ha derivado en la creación de mercados intrarregionales, según especialistas y activistas de América Latina reunidos desde este martes en esta ciudad mexicana.

"El combate ha terminado en respuestas más formales que reales, como los cambios legales. No hay interés de los estados, no es una prioridad", criticó a IPS Ana Hidalgo, de la oficina en Costa Rica de la Organización Internacional para las Migraciones (OIM), la institución intergubernamental que promueve una migración ordenada y justa.

Hidalgo forma parte de los 450 académicos y activistas que participan en Puebla, a 129 kilómetros al sur de Ciudad de México, en el Segundo Congreso Latinoamericano sobre Trata y Tráfico de Personas, inaugurado este martes y que concluirá este viernes 24.

"Se atiende a una víctima y se inicia un proceso penal, pero no hay sentencia porque hay impunidad. El consumidor, léase el prostituyente o el violador, no está captado en la fórmula", señaló la abogada Ana Chávez, del Servicio Paz y Justicia de Argentina.

En México cada año unas 20.000 personas serían víctimas de la trata, según el no gubernamental Centro de Estudios e Investigación en Desarrollo y Asistencia Social (CEIDAS), uno de cuyos ejes es el estudio de ese fenómeno.

En América Latina esa cifra es de 250.000 personas, con una ganancia de 1.350 millones de dólares para las bandas, según estadísticas de la mexicana Secretaría (ministerio) de Seguridad Pública. Pero los datos sobre el fenómeno son variables, si bien las Naciones Unidas subraya que el delito se ha exacerbado en el comienzo del siglo...

Inter Press Service (IPS) / TerraViva

Sep. 21, 2010

English Language Version:

Added: Sep. 24, 2010

Latin America: Five Million Women Have Fallen Prey to Trafficking Networks

The fight against human trafficking in Latin America is ineffective and has led to the emergence of intra-regional markets for the trade, according to experts and activists meeting this week in this Mexican city.

'Responses to the trade in human beings have been more formal than real, as have the changes in legislation. Governments are not interested: it is not their priority,' Ana Hidalgo, from the Costa Rican office of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), told IPS.

Hidalgo is one of the 450 academics and activists taking part in the Second Latin American Conference on Smuggling and Trafficking of Human Beings, under the theme 'Migrations, Gender and Human Rights', Sept. 21-24 in Puebla, 129 kilometers south of Mexico City.

Ana Chávez, a lawyer with Argentina's Peace and Justice Service (SERPAJ) said, 'Victims are listened to, and criminal prosecutions are initiated, but no one is sentenced because of impunity. The consumers, that is, the pimps, clients or rapists, do not come into the equation.'

In Mexico some 20,000 people a year fall victim to the modern-day slave trade, according to the Centre for Studies and Research on Social Development and Assistance (CEIDAS), which monitors the issue.

The total number of victims in Latin America amounts to 250,000 a year, yielding a profit of 1.35 billion dollars for the traffickers, according to statistics from the Mexican Ministry of Public Security. But the data vary widely. Whatever the case, the United Nations warns that human trafficking has steadily grown over the past decade.

Organizations like the Coalition Against Trafficking of Women and Girls in Latin America and the Caribbean (CATW-LAC) estimate that over five million girls and women have been trapped by these criminal networks in the region, and another 10 million are in danger of falling into their hands...

Latin America is a source and destination region for human trafficking, a crime that especially affects the Dominican Republic, Brazil and Colombia.

The conference host, David Fernández Dávalos, president of the Ibero-American University of Puebla (UIA-Puebla), said in his inaugural speech that human trafficking is a modern and particularly malignant version of slavery, only under better cover and disguises.

On Aug. 31, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged member states to implement a Global Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Persons, because it is 'among the worst human rights violations,' constituting 'slavery in the modern age,' and preying mostly on 'women and children.'

The congress coincides with the International Day Against the Sexual Exploitation and Trafficking of Women and Children on Thursday, instituted in 1999 by the World Conference of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women (CATW).

Government authorities and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Mexico concur that criminal mafias in this country have been proved to combine trafficking in persons with drug trafficking, along both the northern and southern land borders (with the United States and with Guatemala, respectively)...

In Mexico, a federal Law to Prevent and Punish Trafficking in Persons has been on the books since 2007, but the government has yet to create a national program to implement it, although this is stipulated in the law itself.

The Puebla Congress, which follows the first such conference held in Buenos Aires in 2008, is meeting one month after the massacre of 72 undocumented migrants in the northeastern state of Tamaulipas, which exemplified the connection between drug trafficking and trafficking in persons, and drew International attention to the dangers faced by migrants in Mexico.

Miguel Ortega, a member of the Democratic Alliance of Civil Society Organizations, a Mexican umbrella group representing 50 NGOs, told IPS: 'In first place, the problem is invisible, and until the state makes appropriate changes to the laws, there will be no progress. We want to see prompt and decisive action.'

IOM's Hidalgo said, 'our investigations and research have found that Nicaraguan women are trafficked into Guatemala and Costa Rica, and Honduran women are trafficked into Guatemala and Mexico.'

Women from Colombia and Peru have been forced into prostitution in the southern Ecuadorean province of El Oro, according to a two-year investigation by Martha Ruiz, a consultant responsible for updating and redrafting Ecuador's National Plan against Human Trafficking.

SERPAJ's Chávez said, 'We have not been able to get governments to take responsibility for investigating these crimes. The states themselves are a factor in generating these crimes.'

Out of the 32 Mexican states, eight make no reference to human trafficking in their state laws. Mario Fuentes, head of CEIDAS, wrote this week in the newspaper Excélsior that the country is laboring under 'severe backwardness and challenges in this field, because it lacks a national program to deal with the problem, as well as a system of statistics.'

Emilio Godoy

Inter Press Service (IPS)

Sep. 22, 2010

Added: Sep. 21, 2010


Democratic U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont has insisted upon linking U.S. aid to human rights improvements in Mexico

Rights groups against giving US anti-drug aid to Mexico

Human rights groups Tuesday urged US lawmakers not to authorize 36 million dollars in anti-drug trafficking aid to Mexico because of human rights violations by its security forces.

Mexico City - Human rights groups Tuesday urged US lawmakers not to authorize 36 million dollars in anti-drug trafficking aid to Mexico because of human rights violations by its security forces.

"Releasing these funds would send the message that the United States condones the grave human rights violations committed in Mexico, including torture, rape, killings, and enforced disappearances," they said in a letter to the Senate.

Seven human rights groups signed the petition including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the Washington Office on Latin America and Mexico's Association for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights.

An annual US State Department report on September 2 gave the Senate its assessment of the state of human rights in Mexico, required before the disbursement of additional aid in the Plan Merida drug interdiction program, under which Mexico got 36 million dollars last year.

Mexico is facing spiraling drug-related violence that has cost the lives of more than 28,000 murders since 2006, despite a major police-military crackdown on crime by President Felipe Calderon.

The rights groups recognized that Mexico was facing "a severe public security crisis.

"However, human rights violations committed by Mexican security forces are not only deplorable in their own right, but also significantly undermine the effectiveness of Mexico's public security efforts."

Agence France-Presse (AFP)

Sep. 15, 2010

See also:

The CIMAC women’s news agency’s collection of more than 370 factual articles on cases of the rape of civilian women in Mexico by military service members.

(In Spanish)

Added: Sep. 19, 2010


Mexican journalist, author and anti-trafficking activist Lydia Cacho Ribeiro

Photo: CIMAC Women's News Agency - Mexico

Premio Internacional al Escritor Valiente para Lydia Cacho

Por investigación y denuncia de red de pederastia en México

La periodista Lydia Cacho Ribeiro recibirá el próximo 20 de octubre el Premio Internacional al Escritor Valiente, que otorga la Asociación de Escritores PEN Internacional, distinción que se confiere a quienes escriben y sufren persecución por sus creencias.

En un comunicado, la Asociación sin fines de lucro informó que otorgará a Cacho el reconocimiento por su investigación y denuncia de una red de pederastia, y sus presuntos vínculos con autoridades y empresarios en México...

Lydia Cacho receives award for valiant journalism

This coming 20th of October, 2010, journalist and author Lydia Cacho Ribeiro will receive International Writer of Courage Prize from the PEN international writer’s association. The prize is awarded to writers who face persecution for their beliefs.

In a press release, the non-profit association declared that Cacho had been chosen in recognition of her investigation and denunciation of a child sex trafficking network that is presumed to have had ties with Mexican business leaders and authorities.

The PEN press release mentioned that, after the release of her 2005 book about the case, the “Demons of Eden, The Powers Behind Pornography,” Cacho was arrested, accused of defamation and became the subject of death threats.

Cacho is a member of the editorial board of the CIMAC women’s news agency, for which she serves as its correspondent in the city of Cancun. She is also a co-founder of the Journalists Network of Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean. Since the year 2000, Cacho has been a special consultant on human rights and women’s health issues for the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM).

In her most recent book, “Slaves of Power, A Journey to the Heart of the Sex Trafficking of Women and Girls Across the World,” Cacho reveals that between 20,00 and half a million victims of trafficking exist [in Mexico]. The great majority exist to make profits for the prostitution mafias.

Cacho spent 5 years researching the operations of large and small international sex trafficking organizations. She conducted interviews with a large number of victims as well as actual members of the trafficking mafias. See the CIMAC article on Cacho’s work at this link.

Cacho’s efforts have been recognized in awards from: Human Rights Watch; Mexico’s National Journalism Prize; the Amnesty Award of 2007, the Oxfam Award of 2007; the 2009 Hermila Galindo prize for her distinguished work in defense and promotion of human rights for women.

IN April of 2010, Cacho was selected as the World Hero for Press Freedom by the International Press Institute. Cacho was also one of 60 journalists honored during the World Congress, celebrated in Vienna, Austria.

During September, 2010, Cacho received the Manuel Leguineche International Journalism Prize, which was awarded to her by the Spanish Federation of Journalism Associations (FAPE). That prize was dedicated by FAPE to the many journalists who have been murdered in Mexico.

By the Editors

CIMAC Women's News Agency

Sep. 17, 2010

See also:

Mexican journalist Lydia Cacho receives PEN prize

London - A Mexican journalist who was arrested and threatened after exposing a pedophile ring is to receive a major writing prize.

Writers' charity PEN says Lydia Cacho is the recipient of its International Writer of Courage Prize, which goes to writers persecuted for their beliefs.

Cacho was arrested, charged with libel and received death threats after publishing a book about a child sex abuse ring involving business figures in Cancun in 2005...

The awards will be presented in London on Oct. 20.

The Associated Press

Sep. 16, 2010

See also:

Journalist / Activist   Lydia Cacho is    Railroaded by the Legal Process in Mexico for Having Exposing Child Sex Networks In Mexico

Added: Sep. 19, 2010

The World, Chile

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (right) with former Chilean president Michelle Bachelet, on 14 September 2010

Bachelet: ONU Mujeres Será un Enorme Desafío

La ex presidenta de Chile, Michelle Bachelet describió su nombramiento al frente de ONU Mujeres como un enorme desafío que acoge con beneplácito.

En una entrevista exclusiva con la Radio de la ONU, Bachelet indicó que su designación representa un reconocimiento a los logros de su gobierno y a los avances de su país en políticas destinadas al adelanto de la mujer.

Consideró que su experiencia como mandataria y su relación con otros jefes de Estado contribuirán a avanzar en el objetivo de la igualdad de los géneros.

“Mi experiencia también en todo lo vinculado al trabajo de igualdad de las mujeres, igualdad de derechos, a luchar contra la violencia, a luchar contra la discriminación, esta ha sido la historia de mi vida. No sólo con respecto a las mujeres, sino de los hombres, mujeres, niños, ancianos. Toda esta experiencia la quiero entregar en esta tarea que es la dirección de esta nueva estructura de Naciones Unidas”.

La nueva Entidad para la Igualdad entre los Géneros, “ONU Mujeres”, fue creada por la Asamblea General el pasado 2 de julio, y fusiona cuatro organismos de la ONU que se ocupaban del tema. Comenzará a operar en enero de 2011.

Radio ONU - UN Radio

Sep. 15, 2010

See also:

Former Chilean president to head new high-profile UN women’s agency

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (right) with Michelle Bachelet

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today named former Chilean president Michelle Bachelet to head United Nations Women (UN Women), a newly created entity to oversee all of the world body’s programmes aimed at promoting women’s rights and full participation in global affairs.

The new body – which will receive a large boost in funding and become operational in January – merges four UN agencies and offices: the UN Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), the Division for the Advancement of Women (DAW), the Office of the Special Adviser on Gender Issues, and the UN International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women (UN-INSTRAW).

“UN Women will promote the interests of women and girls across the globe,” Mr. Ban told reporters in announcing the appointment. “Ms. Bachelet brings to this critical position a history of dynamic global leadership, highly honed political skills and uncommon ability to create consensus and focus among UN agencies and many partners in both the public and private sector.”

“I’m confident that under her strong leadership we can improve the lives of millions of women and girls throughout the world.”

Ms. Bachelet, Chile’s first female president who prioritized women’s issues throughout her tenure and since leaving office has been working with UNIFEM to advocate for the needs of Haitian women following January’s devastating earthquake, was chosen over two other candidates.

The new entity is set to have an annual budget of at least $500 million, double the current combined resources of the four agencies it comprises.

“As you know the creation of UN Women is the culmination of almost four years’ effort and today’s announcement has been made possible thanks to the hard work of the Member States and the many partners who share our commitment to this agenda, and this has been a top and very personal priority of mine,” Mr. Ban said.

He stressed that at next week’s UN Summit on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) women and children will be “at the very core of our final push” to realize the ambitious targets for slashing extreme poverty and hunger, maternal and infant mortality, rampant diseases, and lack of access to education and health services, all by the deadline of 2015...

The United Nations

Sep. 14, 2010

See also:

Bachelet Named Head of UN Agency for Women

Former Chilean President Michelle Bachelet became the head of UN Women, a new agency that merges four UN agencies devoted to women’s and gender issues. In his announcement of the position, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said “Ms. Bachelet brings to this critical position a history of dynamic global leadership.”

Americas Quarterly - Weekly Update

Sep. 16, 2010


Added: Sep. 19, 2010


Ecuador Closes Open-Door Policy

Authorities announced that Ecuador will begin requiring entry visas for visitors from nine Asian and African countries, ending the country’s policy of universal free entry. The government says it added the exceptions to its visa laws in an effort to stop the use of Ecuador as a base for human trafficking, reports IPS News.

Americas Quarterly - Weekly Update

Sep. 16, 2010

Added: Sep. 19, 2010

The World

Governments seek coordination to fight sex trafficking

Child trafficking is one of the fastest growing crimes in the world - an underground business, often conducted on the internet, and driven by enormous profits. According to UNICEF, an estimated 2.5 million children, the majority of them girls, are sexually exploited in the multibillion-dollar commercial sex industry.

While the problem is usually associated with countries with unstable economic and political systems, today it is the biggest in Europe, the United States, Russia and Africa.

[We disagree with the conclusion that . Mexico alone has many more victims of child sex trafficking than the United States. The Dominican Republic, Colombia, Peru,  Brazil and Argentina each have more child victims than the U.S. has at any given time. It is unacceptable that the Latin American sex trafficking problem remains 'invisible' to large segments of journalists, researchers and decision makers. Human smuggling and trafficking in Mexico amounts to a $15 to $20 billion per year criminal industry. The UN's International Organization for Migration has noted that sex trafficking across Latin America totals an estimated $16 billion in annual revenues. That amount in half of the commonly used global number for all human trafficking profits - $32 billion. - LL]

"Last year we identified 56 cases of young people who have experienced sexual exploitation just in the Washington D.C. area," Andrea Powell, executive director of FAIR Fund stated. Powell co-founded the organization eight years ago to stop the trafficking of youth worldwide. It has assisted thousands of teen-aged girls and boys so far in the United States, Bosnia, Serbia, Russia and Uganda.

"Asia" is one of her group's success stories: Lured into prostitution, she often worked 15-hour days in the sex trade…"It was just gross. I separated myself, my mind; I was in another place when it happened," she recalls, "It was like it was not me."

...FAIR Fund helped her turn her life around.

"To put it in a nutshell, they have helped me transform to who I am now," Asia says, "I am not the same person. "But for every "Asia" there are many more who are not so fortunate.

U.S. Congressman Chris Smith is one of the strongest advocates for rights of victims of human trafficking.

"At least a 100,000 American girls, mostly runaways, average age of 13, are on the streets. And within 48 hours, if they are not brought back home or to some shelter, through the use of drugs, crack cocaine, or some other harmful drugs, the pimps are able to turn those girls into forced prostitutes," Smith said. "They abuse them, they rape them. They get STDs, including HIV and AIDS."

Many children are brought to the U.S. from other countries, mostly Latin America, Southeast Asia, south and eastern Europe. Roma children are often brought from Bosnia or Serbia to steal or clean houses. Children from East Africa are brought to work as domestic servants or farm labor, while children from India are forced to work in the garment business. Their families often do not have any idea what has become of them. In many countries, including the US, even police officers who come to brothels or strip clubs buy sex from the victims instead of helping them...

Amra Alirejsovic writes for Voice of America.

Amra Alirejsovic

Energy Publisher

Sep. 13, 2010

Added: Sep. 19, 2010

Illinois, USA

West Chicago man gets 30 years for molesting girls

After the West Chicago woman returned home from her daughters' school event, the two girls told her a secret they shared about her live-in boyfriend.

"I had no idea what I was about to hear," the mother wrote in a victim-impact statement. "Both my daughters then said that he had sexually molested them. I am so angry because this man has taken something so sacred. They are going to have to live with the pain and memories of his actions for the rest of their lives."

Francisco Moyotl was sentenced Thursday to 30 years in prison after he pleaded guilty to committing predatory criminal sexual assault of a child and aggravated criminal sexual abuse.

The 42-year-old West Chicago man must serve 85 percent of the prison term before being eligible for parole. He also likely will face deportation because he is not a U.S. citizen...

Christy Gutowski

The Daily Herald

Sep. 16, 2010

Added: Sep. 19, 2010

New York, USA

32-year-old sex offender arrested for rape of 75-year-old woman in Bronx

A hulking sex offender raped a 75-year-old Bronx woman who employed his mother as a caretaker, police said Monday.

Marcos Cuevas sneaked into a private senior citizens residence on Sunday and had wormed his way into the apartment of another woman - a neighbor of the victim - when she happened to come by for a visit, police said.

"I'm looking for my mother," the brawny pervert told her.

"She's not here," the elderly victim replied. "She's off on weekends."

So Cuevas, 32, tied the wrists of the victim and her 76-year-old pal behind their backs - and then raped the younger woman, police said.

The tattooed terror, who stands 6-foot-2 and weighs 295 pounds, also robbed the 76-year-old of $10 before fleeing the Bronx building, cops said.

When detectives arrived, the rape victim had no problem identifying her attacker because his mom, Iris, works as a home care attendant for her 95-year-old mother, police said.

A Level 3, or high risk, sex offender, Cuevas was caught later on E. 141st St. in Manhattan.

Cuevas was charged with rape, robbery, sex abuse and unlawful imprisonment. His alleged victim was in stable condition at Lincoln Hospital.

Ivonne Suarez, who said she is Cuevas' wife, defended her "Gentle Giant" and insisted the rape accusation was dreamed up by a "crazy woman."

"He would never do this after spending that time in jail," said Suarez, 40. "The woman is senile. She made up this story. My husband wouldn't lay a hand on her."

...Cuevas spent nearly a decade behind bars for raping two Manhattan women - one of them at knifepoint in Harlem - in 1996.

Sentenced to seven to 14 years in prison, Cuevas was twice denied parole by boards that deemed him a danger to society. He won a conditional release in November 2005, but a year later he was back in jail after violating his parole in August 2006.

He wasn't released again until November 2009, according to records.

Rocco Parascandola, Kevin Deutsch and Corky Siemaszko

The New York Daily News

Sep.13, 2010

Added: Sep. 19, 2010

California, USA

San Bernardino County Priest Accused of Sexually Abusing 2 Boys

Reverend Alex Castillo maintains his innocence.

Ontario - A Catholic priest in San Bernardino County is accused of sexually abusing two boys within the last two years.

Rev. Alex Castillo was removed from duty as an active priest in June.

He served at four churches within the Diocese of San Bernardino, including Our Lady of Guadelupe in Ontario.

The parents of two adolescent boys, who are brothers, claim Castillo sexually abused their sons. Castillo maintains his innocence.

The accusations were revealed in a letter read in church over the weekend.

Parishioners say the man they call "Reverend Alex" is strict and spiritual.

"It's a good person. It's a good father. He's been here for quite a few years," parishioner Benjamin Rosas told KTLA.

Church members say they were told Castillo was sick when he left back in June.

The diocese will only say he's in a place where he no longer has any contact with parishioners. They won't say where.

Police will not comment on the allegations.

The San Bernardino Diocese is asking any potential victims to come forward.

Eric Spillman


Sep. 14, 2010

Added: Sep. 19, 2010

Ohio, USA

Teen girl says she was raped

Dayton - Police are looking for a man, possibly Hispanic in connection with the sexual assault of a 15-year-old girl.

Officers say the girl was walking home from school near Bolton Avenue when a man started following her. He then jumped out , grabbed the girl, threw her over his shoulders, and took her into a vacant house where she was assaulted.

Police say the man is between the ages of 18 and 20 and weighs about 140 pounds. He has a teardrop tattoo under one of his eyes, and he is dressed in black.

If you have any information about this crime, please call 333-COPS.

Charlie Van Sant


Sep. 17, 2010

Added: Sep. 14, 2010


The wrong solution in Mexico

The Obama administration is right to consider boosting funding, but increased militarization to combat drug cartels is misguided. The U.S. would be wiser to address rampant corruption.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton made a dangerous mistake Wednesday when she spoke of Mexico's drug cartels as "insurgents" and suggested reviving President Clinton's Plan Colombia to address the issue. That program set up U.S. military bases in Colombia and funneled billions of dollars in military aid to fight the country's drug-trafficking left-wing insurgency. The last thing the United States needs today is a new quagmire south of the Rio Grande.

Mexico is different from Colombia. Colombia was up against a rebel organization bent on taking over the government. In contrast, Mexican drug traffickers are businessmen who we can assume are principally concerned with increasing their profits. In the end, they prefer to use "silver," or bribes, over "lead," or bullets. Although they are quick to kill or decapitate members of rival gangs, they much prefer a pliant police officer, soldier or mayor to a dead one. This is why government officials make up such a small percentage of the dead — only about 3,000 out of 28,000, according to official statistics...

Plan Colombia was highly problematic. More than $4 billion of military aid and the construction of U.S. military bases did reduce the violence. Nevertheless, Colombian cocaine still flows freely into the U.S. market and is one of the most important sources of income for the Mexican cartels.

U.S. military support in Colombia also led to skyrocketing human rights abuses and numerous "disappeared" citizens, at a considerable cost to the country's social fabric. Nongovernmental organization and media reports have found that much of the aid was channeled to [ultra-conservative] paramilitary groups and that the U.S. presence emboldened the Colombian military to act with impunity...

[One] strategic move would be to aggressively fund and support independent investigative journalism and alternative media outlets, which have played a major role in holding government accountable. Journalism has become a high-risk profession in Mexico. Both cartels and the government have done their best to suppress the truth about corruption.

Unfortunately, neither strong anti-corruption agencies nor support for journalists have formed a part of the new focus on social programs, which months ago the Obama administration suggested as a possible focus for future funding to Mexico. Under the influence of the Calderon government, most of the talk has been about much "softer" initiatives, such as drug education, urban renewal, scholarships and community development programs. All of this is fine, but none of it will attack the roots of the present failure to rein in the drug cartels in Mexico.

It is time to turn the corner in U.S. policy toward Mexico. Instead of sending more money [for] attack helicopters, military bases or social development programs, the U.S. could make a significant contribution to peace in North America by helping to aggressively combat corruption and supporting freedom of expression.

John M. Ackerman is a professor at the Institute for Legal Research at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, editor-in-chief of the Mexican Law Review and a columnist for La Jornada newspaper and Proceso magazine.

John M. Ackerman

Sep. 10, 2010

Added: Sep. 11, 2010

New Mexico, USA

New Mexico receives $1.6 million from Justice Department

The U.S. Department of Justice has awarded the state of New Mexico $1.64 million in grants for public safety initiatives.

[The grants included ...$215,000] to create a special agent position assigned to the [state attorney general's office's] Border Violence Division to investigate human trafficking cases.

The grants were announced by Democratic U.S. Sen. Jeff Bingaman.

The Associated Press

Sep. 11, 2010

Added: Sep. 10, 2010

Mexico, The United States

Los Angeles Times metro columnist Hector Tobar is a former Mexico City bureau chief for the newspaper.

Photo: L.A. Times

Where's the outrage over immigrant slayings in Mexico?

...For those of us who remember the tragedy of Latin America's recent past, seeing the images of last month's massacre of 72 immigrants in northern Mexico is like reentering an old and very familiar nightmare.

Not long ago, dictators ruled most of Latin America. They had large groups of people kidnapped, tortured and executed in secret. Their crimes against humanity hit nearly every corner of the region, from cosmopolitan Buenos Aires to provincial Guatemala City.

But this new act of mass murder was not the work of a military junta run by generals. It didn't take place in a tiny banana republic without a judicial system worthy of the name.

It happened in the proud, multiparty democracy called Mexico, a country with ample social freedoms, including a vibrant free press. And it wasn't an isolated occurrence. A report last year by Mexico's human rights ombudsman said at least 400 mass kidnappings are reported in Mexico every year, many involving the rape and murder of hostages.

Modern death squads are operating freely in northern Mexico, extorting those who wish to come here, where relatives and jobs await. The kidnappings and murders of immigrants carried out by these groups are a stain on Mexican democracy, and many commentators there recognize this.

"The abuse against migrants is an everyday embarrassment we don't want to talk about because it would rob us of all our moral authority before our neighbors to the north," columnist Alfonso Zarate wrote in response to the massacre in the newspaper El Universal.

"Mexico demands respect for the human rights of 'illegal' workers in the U.S.," Zarate continued, " … but is now itself under the microscope of the international community, which is rightly scandalized and indignant."

...As with the many killings of police officers and officials in Mexico, the San Fernando massacre was an act of psychological warfare. Such extreme violence is meant to spread fear and thus make it easier for the killers to impose their will on the living.

If we stay silent about their crime, if we treat it as just another episode in Mexico's unwinnable drug wars, then we'll allows the killers to win.

And yet, here in the United States, the expressions of outrage from the immigrant rights movement have been muted. You could say they are a mere whisper compared with the very loud campaign against Arizona's SB 1070, a law whose most controversial provisions will probably never go into effect.

We should see the killings as a blunt reminder of the reasons why people so desperately want to come here. And we should speak of San Fernando with the same horror as we do El Mozote and the Naval Mechanics School of Buenos Aires — sites of the most heinous crimes committed by the militaries of El Salvador and Argentina in the 1970s and '80s.

It's not just the killers who deserve our moral outrage, it's the failed judicial systems that allow them to thrive without fear of punishment.

In Latin America, the massacre has already provoked much reflection and protest. The government of Honduras, home to the largest number of its victims, announced it would take new steps to try to discourage illegal immigration to the U.S.

In Mexico, the northern city of Saltillo witnessed a rare event just days after the Aug. 23 massacre: a march by 200 undocumented immigrants, carrying the flags of El Salvador, Guatemala and other Central American countries.

"Our countries deny us the opportunity for economic development," the demonstrators said in a written statement, after marching through the city with covered faces. "But Mexico denies us the opportunity to live."

To stop SB 1070, we've seen Angelenos drive across the desert to Phoenix to march, to denounce both the governor of Arizona and the mad sheriff of Maricopa County, Joe Arpaio.

But I've yet to hear of any rallies at the Mexican consulate or anywhere else here in Los Angeles, demanding that the Mexican government prosecute those guilty of so many migrant killings and disappearances.

Most of the country's leading immigrant rights groups haven't even bothered to issue a news release.

That doesn't surprise me. Generally speaking, the U.S. immigrant rights movement doesn't have much to say about the social and political conditions that lead so many to leave their native countries and place themselves at the mercy of an increasingly violent smuggling industry.

This is wrong. We can't turn a blind eye to the deeper, seemingly intractable injustices that are the obvious root cause of the problem.

Simply put: It's wrong that people have to undertake the journey to the U.S. in the first place. People shouldn't have to leave the land of their ancestors, their extended families, their barrios and their farms.

They leave because the promise of democracy in Mexico and Central America remains unfulfilled.

The Tamaulipas murders are really just the most sickening expression of a vast system of inequality and corruption that still defines life for millions of people.

U.S. immigration reform, unfortunately, won't do anything to strengthen the rule of law in those countries that supply the greatest number of migrants. It won't stop the power of the criminal groups that infiltrate government and intimidate officials, not just in certain regions of Mexico but in much of Central America.

There's a movement for democracy and government accountability in those places. But it's often under threat...

...Many more of us need to stand with those who work to keep the promise of democracy and justice alive in northern Mexico, Guatemala and other places.

It matters not just to them but to us.

And now, as in the age of the dictators, it's a matter of life and death.

Hector Tobar

The Los Angeles Times

Sep. 9, 2010

See also:

LibertadLatina Commentary

Chuck Goolsby

Clarifying the Issues in an Age of Impunity

The September 9th, 2010 article by Los Angeles Times columnist Hector Tobar: Where's the outrage over immigrant slayings in Mexico?, speaks volumes of truth in regard to the world's lack of response to the human rights crises that terrorize the daily lives of the people of Mexico and the rest of Latin America. While much attention is paid to the injustices that immigrants, including the undocumented, face in the United States, few U.S. human rights organizations, including those that exist within the Latino community, dare to address the root causes of the oppression that drives millions to flee to the U.S. in response.

We go beyond Mr. Tobar's analysis to state that the same problem, that of an imbalanced attention to human rights tragedies, also exists in regard to the mass gender atrocities that are today a constant in Mexico and elsewhere in Latin America. Our project, LibertadLatina, exists to counter that lack of awareness and action by focusing the world's attention on the problems of criminal impunity and state corruption and complacency. These dynamics have created conditions in Mexico that have resulted in conditions where rule of law is weak, and where both criminal networks and corrupt law enforcement and military forces compete to see how many Central and South American migrants they can kidnap, rob, rape and, in many cases, sell into slavery.

It is clear to us that the criminal impunity that dominates in Mexico has spread its influence across the United States. The fact that Latin American victims of human slavery account for approximately 60% of the U.S. total of enslaved persons is one indicator of that reality. The related fact that Mexico's human smuggling networks now earn between $15 and 20 billion annually by smuggling immigrants to the U.S. under often inhuman conditions, according to a recent CNN report, is another red flag that should start the alarm bells ringing in Washington.

Mexico's governmental and social institutions are not capable of addressing criminal impunity, and especially its human trafficking component, without being pushed hard to do so. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's recent statement indicating that Mexico's drug cartels are mounting an 'insurgency-like' campaign against Mexican governmental rule, should give pause to anyone who thinks that bringing human slavery under control in that nation will happen anytime soon.

Both the global human rights community and the U.S. federal government must shift focus and begin to address this crisis as the emergency that it truly is. There is no hope for ending human trafficking in Latin America, nor in the United States, while criminal impunity and state inaction continue to reign in Mexico.

End impunity now!

Chuck Goolsby


Sep. 10/14, 2009

Also mentioned in Hector Tobar's September 9, 2010 Los Angeles Times article was the El Mozote massacre:

No Rescue From Atlacatl Battalion

The U.S.-trained Atlacatl Battallion massacred hundreds of unarmed villagers in the town of El Mozote

About the El Mozote Massacre in El Salvador, perpetrated on December 10, 1981

A case of anti-indigenous repression through state sanctioned rape and mass-murder

...The women were disposed of next. "First they picked out the young girls and took them away to the hills," where they were raped before being killed, Amaya reported. "Then they picked out the old women and took them to Israel Marquez's house on the square.
We heard the shots there."

The children died last. "An order arrived from a Lieutenant Caceres to Lieutenant Ortega to go ahead and kill the children too," Amaya observed. "A soldier said 'Lieutenant, somebody here says he won't kill children.' 'Who's the sonofabitch who said that?' the lieutenant answered. 'I am going to kill him.' I could hear them shouting from where I was crouching in the tree."

A boy named Chepe, age 7, was the only child to survive the siege. He later described the terrors he witnessed:

"They slit some of the kids' throats, and many they hanged from the tree ... The soldiers kept telling us, 'You are guerrillas and this is justice. This is justice.' Finally, there were only three of us left. I watched them hang my brother. He was two years old. I could see that I was going to be killed soon, and I thought it would be better to die running, so I ran. I slipped through the soldiers and dove into the bushes. They fired into the bushes, but none of their bullets hit me."


Added: Sep. 10, 2010


37 suspected illegal immigrants found captive in Riverside

The group, which included juveniles, was being held in a 10-by-12-foot room that was locked from the outside and had boarded-up windows.

Federal agents found 37 suspected illegal immigrants, smuggled into the United States from six countries, crammed into a small house in Riverside where some had been held captive for weeks, authorities said Wednesday.

Immigration agents raided the "drop house" after a relative of one of the captives called the Los Angeles Police Department. The caller told police the smugglers had threatened to kill his relative because the family failed to come up with enough money to pay for his release, according to Virginia Kice, spokeswoman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Los Angeles.

Agents found the immigrants — including two toddlers and a baby — in a small bedroom, measuring about 10 by 12 feet. The room was locked from the outside and the windows were boarded up. The home is in one of the city's older neighborhoods along Martin Luther King Boulevard, about a mile east of the 91 Freeway.

"As far as we know, they were all in pretty good physical condition, though some reported that they had not eaten for days," said Claude Arnold, special agent in charge for ICE in Los Angeles.

Six suspected smugglers have been detained and are being questioned, but no arrests have been made, Arnold said.

"We're still in the process of interviewing everyone," Arnold said. "In these circumstances, it does take some time to sort this out."

Agents took an additional seven immigrants linked to the same smuggling scheme into custody earlier in the day as they were being taken to other destinations in the Los Angeles area.

The 44 smuggled immigrants are from Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Mexico, Ecuador and the Dominican Republic. The group included 34 men, four women and six juveniles.

Those smuggled into the country illegally will eventually go though deportation proceedings. However, any immigrants who were assaulted by a smuggler or were victims of another crime will be treated as victims and could be eligible for a victims' visa, he said.

Two weeks ago, federal immigration agents found a drop house in Baldwin Park with 35 smuggled illegal immigrants from Central and South America.

Phil Willon

The Los Angeles Times

Sep. 9, 2010

Added: Sep. 10, 2010

Spain, Brazil

Spain Breaks Up a Trafficking Ring for Male Prostitution

Madrid - The Spanish police said Tuesday that it had dismantled for the first time a human trafficking network bringing men rather than women into the country to work as prostitutes.

The police said 14 people, almost all of them Brazilian, were arrested over recent weeks as part of an inquiry into the network’s activities begun in February.

The sex workers were recruited in Brazil, with their travel costs to Spain initially covered by the trafficking network’ organizers in return for a pledge to work subsequently for them, according to a police statement. Most of the recruits, however, expected to work as models or nightclub dancers, although some allegedly knew that they were coming to Spain to offer sex.

The police estimated that between 60 and 80 men were brought to Spain by the network, most of them in their 20s and originating from Brazil’s northern state of Maranhão. They reached Spain by passing through third countries.

The bulk of the arrests occurred on the island of Majorca, including that of the Brazilian accused of being the ringleader, whose identity was not disclosed by the police. The prostitutes ended up owing the network as much as €4,000 each and were sometimes threatened with death if they refused to pay the debt, according to the Spanish police.

Although it is the first time that police officers have broken up a professional male prostitution trafficking network, five people were arrested in 2006 in Spain’s western region of Extremadura for their involvement in an illegal Brazilian prostitution business. More recently, the police have dismantled several gangs exploiting female sex workers, generally from Eastern Europe or Africa. In July, 105 people were arrested for their involvement in a dozen prostitution centers around Madrid in one of the largest clampdowns to date.

A police spokeswoman who asked not to be identified said that Brazilian officials had been involved. Some of the prostitutes were also placed in custody for working illegally in Spain.

Raphael Minder

The New York Times

Aug. 31, 2010

Added: Sep. 9, 2010


The Ibero-American University in Puebla opens the Ignacio Ellacuría Human Rights Institute in March of 2010

Acciones vs trata de personas en México son insuficientes: UIA

Cada minuto y medio se comete un delito de trata de personas en el mundo, y en México, aún sabiendo los lugares y rutas donde operan las redes, las acciones que se realizan para evitarlo son insuficientes, señalaron especialistas.

Oscar Castro Soto, director del Instituto de Derechos Humanos “Ignacio Ellacurría” de la Universidad Iberoamericana (UIA), indicó que cada año 400,000 personas son víctimas de dicho delito en el mundo.

En la presentación de la agenda del “II Congreso latinoamericano de trata y tráfico de personas”, el director explicó que 80% de las victimas son niños y mujeres utilizados para explotación sexual y trabajos domésticos, ya sea de forma conciente o en contra de su voluntad.

Las rutas identificadas son: Paraguay, Bolivia, Chile y Argentina; Brasil y España; Panamá, Nicaragua y Costa Rica; y El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, México y Estados Unidos, expresaron académicos de la UIA.

Las redes de trata y de pornografía infantil en México que están vinculadas al narcotráfico, se encuentran en regiones de Tapachula, Cancún, Acapulco, Veracruz, Tijuana, Tlaxcala, Puebla, Ciudad Juárez y La Merced, en el Distrito Federal, indicaron expertos.

Las instituciones federales y estatales de México, con excepción del Instituto de Mujeres del Distrito Federal, no se sumaron a la convocatoria del evento internacional a realizarse del 20 al 24 de septiembre en la UIA de Puebla en la que participaran funcionarios de varios países, lo que ocasionó la sorpresa de varios especialistas.

Raquel Pastor, integrante del Comité Académico del Congreso, señaló en un comunicado, el apoyo del foro para ayudar a quienes trabajan en la persecución del delito de trata, ya que en México no existen instituciones especializadas que atiendan a las víctimas de dicho delito.

Mexico's actions against human trafficking are insufficient: Ibero-American University

According to Oscar Castro Soto, director of the Ignacio Ellacurría Institute for Human Rights at Mexico's Ibero-American University (UIA) in Puebla state, every minute and a half a human trafficking crime is committed somewhere in the world. In Mexico, despite the fact that trafficking locations and routes are known, [state] actions to prevent such crimes are inadequate. According to Castro Soto, 400,000 persons become victims of trafficking each year globally.

Castro Soto presented his observations in the just-released agenda for the upcoming Second Latin American Congress on Human Trafficking, which will be held at the UIA campus in Puebla between September 20th and 24th, 2010. He explained that 80% of the victims of human trafficking are children and women, who either consciously or against their will are utilized for sexual exploitation or domestic servitude.

Known [Latin American] trafficking routes exist in Paraguay, Bolivia, Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Panama, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, Mexico, the United States and Spain, stated Castro Soto [Soto-Castro's statement omits important human trafficking routes that involve the Dominican Republic and Colombia, the two largest sources of sex trafficking victims in Latin America - LL].

Castro Soto's statement noted that within Mexico, human trafficking and child pornography networks are tied to narco-trafficking organizations. These criminal groups may be found in Tapachula, Cancún, Acapulco, Veracruz, Tijuana, Tlaxcala, Puebla, Ciudad Juárez and the La Merced sector of Mexico City.

With the exception of the National Women's Institute, Mexican federal agencies chose not to participate in the conference. This decision brought expressions of surprise from some of the specialists involved with the event. Government officials of several other nations plan to attend.

Raquel Pastor, who is a member of the academic committee of the Congress, stated in a press release that the goal of the Congress was to assist those in government who seek to prosecute human trafficking crimes, given the fact the Mexico currently does not have institutions set-up to assist victims.

El Semanario - Mexico

Sep. 07, 2010

See also:

From the CATW-LAC flyer for their third annual awards ceremony

La Coalición Regional Contra El Tráfico De Mujeres Y Niñas En América Latina Y El Caribe presentará su "Tercer Premio Latino-americano por La Vida y la Seguridad de las Mujeres y Niñas en America Latina y el Caribe

During the upcoming Secnd Latin American Congress on Human Trafficking, which will be held at the UIA campus in Puebla, Mexico, between September 20th through 24th, 2010, the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women - Latin American and Caribbean branch (CATW-LAC), will present its Third Award for the Defense of Life and Security for Women and Girls in Latin America.

(In Spanish)


Sep., 2010

See also:

En la UIA Puebla se inaugurará el Instituto de Derechos Humanos Ignacio Ellacuría |22 de Marzo de 2010|

The UIA in Puebla opens the Ignacio Ellacuría Human Rights Institute on March 22nd, 2010.

(In Spanish)


March 22, 2010

Other important news stories from 2009 and 2010

Added: Jul. 21, 2010

New York, USA

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

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

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

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

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

Read the transcript

The Huffington Post

July 15, 2010

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina Note:

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

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

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

End impunity now!

Chuck Goolsby


July 21, 2010

Added: March 1, 2010


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


March 1, 2010

See Also:


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, 200

[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]

Added: Dec. 03, 2009


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 Associat