[m2c] 16,000 Victims of Child Sexual Exploitation in Mexico
sandinista at shaw.ca
Mon Aug 20 23:53:22 MDT 2007
16,000 Victims of Child Sexual Exploitation
by Emilio Godoy
Aug 13, 2007
MEXICO CITY, Aug 13 (IPS) - The child pornography and commercial
sexual exploitation industry enjoys total impunity in the Mexican
capital, according to a report by the Mexico City Human Rights
The "special report on commercial sexual exploitation of children in
the Federal District" confirms that there are at least 20 spots in
Mexico City where these illegal activities flourish, under the
protection of corrupt elements in the police force.
Although there are no figures on the extent of the phenomenon in the
capital, an estimated 16,000 girls and boys are victims of sexual
exploitation in this country of 108 million people.
Emilio Álvarez Icaza, head of the local Human Rights Commission,
complained about the lack of strategies to clamp down on the problem.
"The state is largely absent in the question of commercial sexual
exploitation of children," Álvarez Icaza recently told the press. "We
have compiled all of the reports that we requested, and in essence
what we found is that there are no specific programmes or actions at
the local level."
International organisations fighting child sex tourism say Mexico is
one of the leading hotspots of child sexual exploitation, along with
Thailand, Cambodia, India, and Brazil.
The global child sex trade, including prostitution, pornography and
trafficking for sexual purposes, is a multi-billion dollar business.
According to the Federal Preventive Police, it takes a pedophile an
average of 15 days to have sexual relations with a minor after
"meeting" the adolescent or child over the Internet.
Another chilling statistic is that 95 percent of Mexico City?s 13,000
street children have already had at least one sexual encounter with
Many girls and boys are lured to Mexico City from small towns or
rural areas by criminal networks, through false promises of domestic
work or other jobs.
The number of child porn web sites climbed from 72,000 in January
2004 to an estimated 100,000 in 2006.
The Commission?s report is "a powerful wake-up call to establish
local public policies on the matter," wrote Miguel Ángel Granados, a
columnist with the local newspaper Reforma.
"A reading of the passages that describe the main zones in the
Federal District (of Mexico City, where child prostitution,
pornography, sex tourism and trafficking are found) and their
characteristics makes you shudder, especially the accounts of the
degradation to which thousands of defenceless people are subjected,
because they are children," he wrote.
In its Global Monitoring Report on the Status of Action against the
Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children, the international network
ECPAT (End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and Trafficking of
Children for Sexual Purposes) warns that child sex tourists are
increasingly visiting Mexico.
Drawn by web sites, many come from countries like the United States,
Germany and the Netherlands.
But the problem is not limited to Mexico City. Commercial child
sexual exploitation is also found in tourist resorts like Acapulco on
the Pacific and Cancún on the Caribbean, as well as in cities and
towns on the borders with the United States and Guatemala.
In the impoverished southern state of Chiapas, children are sold for
as little as 100 to 200 dollars, according to human rights groups.
That area is considered one of the worst places in the world in terms
of child prostitution.
Mexico committed itself to combating the phenomenon when it backed
the final declaration of the First World Congress against Commercial
Sexual Exploitation of Children, held in Stockholm in 1996.
In Latin America, only Mexico, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Colombia,
Argentina, Brazil and Chile have national action plans to fight
commercial sexual exploitation of children.
The Mexico City legislature is preparing to approve reforms to the
local penal code in order to crack down on child pornography, sex
tourism, labour exploitation and trafficking.
In February, the Senate passed reforms to the law against organised
crime and the penal code, in order to make child sexual exploitation,
sex tourism and pornography specific crimes.
Mexican society cannot claim to be ignorant of how widespread is the
sexual exploitation of children and adolescents, and how fast the
phenomenon is growing, argued Granados.
Journalist Lydia Cacho exposed a child sex ring in her 2005 book
"Demons of Eden", which contains testimony from minors in Cancún who
were sexually abused by adults who also photographed and videotaped
them engaging in sexual acts and sold the images over the Internet.
Cacho was arrested and charged with criminal libel. The charges were
brought by a textile magnate mentioned by minors and other sources
interviewed for Cacho's book.
UNICEF, the U.N. children?s agency, estimates that around two million
children around the world are sexually exploited through prostitution
and pornography, which is the third most lucrative illegal industry
in the world after drug trafficking and weapons dealing. (END/2007)
"Until all of us are free, the few who think they are remain tainted
with enslavement." Lee Maracle
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