La sua storia, pubblicata dal portale messicano Periodico Central, sembra essere uscita da un film horror, mentre, invece, è la terribile realtà.
Figlia di una famiglia disfunzionale, Karla viveva nel Distretto Federale e aveva 12 anni quando si è innamorata di un uomo di 22 anni, che la portò via di casa con la promessa di amore eterno, matrimonio e una vita migliore.
“Dissi wow! Che vita mi aspetta ... non ci potevo credere”, racconterà Karla dieci anni più tardi.
Lungi dal soddisfare le sue promesse, l'uomo si trasferì nello stato di Puebla e la costrinse a fare sesso con quasi 30 persone ogni giorno, sotto costanti minacce di uccidere la sua famiglia.
Nei quattro anni è stata vittima di sfruttamento, ha dovuto abortire due gemelli, e ora è madre di una bambina.
Dal momento che l'ha avuta, Karla è stato minacciata continuamente dai suoi aguzzini di toglierle la piccola. Alla fine ha deciso di fuggire.
Decisione presa a causa di un cliente, un uomo di 60 anni, che la pagava ogni giorno solo per parlare, e che finalmente l’ha convinta a cercarsi una vita migliore.
Come lei, in Messico, ci sono migliaia di giovani che devono affrontare il grandissimo problema della tratta di donne.
Ora, Karla, si sta pian piano recuperando dallo choc subito e spera di aiutare altre vittime, insieme all'associazione Unite contro la tratta, che combatte lo sfruttamento sessuale e altre forme di traffici contro il sesso femminile in Messico. Grazie a questa partnership, la storia di Karla è stata riportata in un libro e ha avuto conferenze all'estero, ha, inoltre, potuto visitare due volte il papa in Vaticano, ha incontrato la Regina Rania di Giordania, la duchessa di Cornovaglia e il principe Carlo.
Tuttavia, il problema è ben lontano dalla risoluzione, come dimostra il nuovo caso della scomparsa della minore Abril Sánchez Contreras, 15 anni, lo scorso 20 marzo. Secondo la madre della ragazza, Angela Contreras, la figlia l’avrebbe chiamata per l’ultima volta il 22marzo e con voce fioca le avrebbe detto, “Mamma, mi portano a Monterrey”.
Il presidente dell'associazione, Rosi Orozco, riferisce che ora la situazione a Puebla sta migliorando, poiché è il terzo stato messicano con più dichiarazioni di rapimenti presentate, dopo Città del Messico e Chiapas.
I parenti degli scomparsi si lamentano che il procuratore generale minimizza ogni caso e che l' inchieste raramente hanno progressi visibili.
Secondo Unite contro la tratta, l'85% delle vittime di sfruttamento sessuale sono donne, e il 15% maschi.
L’età più frequente tra le ragazze strappate alle famiglie nella zona Puebla-Tlaxcala è tra i 12 ei 16 anni.
“Ci sono almeno 47 gruppi criminali coinvolti in questo demoniaco commercio, che dobbiamo assolutamente fermare.”, esorta Rosi Orozco.
The more women I met, the more horrific the stories I found were. I met a woman called Karla Jacinto. When we first rescued her and got her therapy, she was sixteen years old, and furious. She was forced into prostitution from the ages of 12 to 16, and in that time, more than 40,000 men raped her. When she tried to refuse, she was tortured with a hot iron and whipped with cables. She showed us her scars.
The network of men running these organizations in Mexico runs to the very top – the politicians and police. It was clearly dangerous to intrude in this world – but we could not allow this crime to continue unopposed.
At the age of 14, two female cousins walking by the side of the road when they dragged into trucks by the side of the road, and drugged. They woke up far away – to be raped. They were detained in a brothel: they saw another captive there was eight years old, and she was raped too. Their captor was a woman, who told them not to cry – I was trafficked too, she said, and far worse things happened to me.
One day, one of the cousins stole some water because she was so thirsty. The female pimp was furious and demanded to know who took it. The cousin didn’t say anything – so her fellow captive said that she had taken it, to protect her friend. The pimp started to beat the girl so severely that she died. Can you imagine the guilt?
Not long after, when the female pimp was very drunk, the girl escaped and stumbled out into the street. Through begging for help, she was finally – days later – able to stagger back into her hometown, exhausted and broken. But as soon as she got off the bus, people began to recognize her. The whole neighborhood had been looking for her when she vanished. But when they saw she was dressed as a prostitute, they began to jeer. “Do you know what you have done to your parents?” they began to yell. She was only five blocks from home – but she thought: I can’t go home. I am ruined.
She was torn – but she decided to go home. Her parents loved her and were so happy to see her. They supported her. The difference, I believe, between this girl becoming like the pimp-woman who tortured her, and recovering, was that love. Now that girl has successfully testified against many of the men who abused her, and another trial is coming later this year. She has won. Her abusers are in prison.
Karla, who at first was lost in rage and madness, has traveled all over the world testifying to her experiences. The NGOs we were involved in setting up help hundreds more women. I saw Karla talk at a conference in front of leading religious figures from all over the world – and at the end, on her own initiative, she led them in prayer. She felt no shame and no self-consciousness. She knew she is as good as anyone.
I have been involved in One Billion Rising – the movement for all the one billion women who have been abused to rise up as one each February 14th – since it began. I have seen in my own country and my own life what happens when the women who are regarded as marginal and worthless rise up. They transform themselves and they transform their countries.
In Mexico, a few thousand abused women rose up, and we have prevented a huge amount of trafficking. If one billion women rise, is there anything we would not be able to achieve?
La escalofriante historia de la joven que fue obligada a tener sexo con 43 mil hombres 22 DE ABRIL 2015
Former Mexican president Felipe Calderon’s 2006 tougher drug-law reforms, combined with ever-tightening U.S. border security, have made the trafficking of women and girls exponentially more profitable, dramatically increasing the need for programs such as Ms. Tucker’s Garden House.
At least 20,000 people are trafficked through Mexico every year, and the vast majority of them are women and girls, said Rosi Orozco, a former member of Mexico’s Congress, who opened a similar shelter in Mexico City. She said some girls are sold to the cartels by their families, often for drug money, while others are kidnapped and prostituted by cartels – one of the many reasons the exact location of La Casa del Jardin is kept a strict secret.
Ms. Orozco, a public figure, said she faces daily death threats despite employing heavy security, another aspect of the culture of impunity that means few people are apprehended by police or charged.
The shift from drugs to women and girls is a matter of simple economics, said Mary-Ellen Barrett, a deputy district attorney in California who deals with cross-border trafficking. “With a pound of cocaine, if you sell it, you have to go get some more. But with a woman, you can sell her several times a night, seven days a week.”
Human smugglers who, not long ago had a lucrative underground industry helping Mexicans and Central and South Americans slip across the border to find work in the United States, are now expanding into trafficking women and girls for sex as well.
Ms. Tucker first became aware of the enormity of the problem more than a decade ago when working with migrants through the Mexican consulate in San Diego.
“One case in particular really touched my heart,” she said. “They called me to visit a patient, and when I arrived, I found a 14-year-old girl. She didn’t speak any English and was crying for her mom.”
As it turned out, the girl had not only been raped by the man her parents had paid to smuggle her into the United States, but was also sold for sex by him before she was able to flee. Ms. Tucker eventually was able to reunite the girl with her family, but was haunted by her story.
When she retired, she decided to dedicate herself to offering a second chance to young girls who had been trafficked. By opening La Casa del Jardin she hoped to help victims who have been largely ignored by the state.
Mexico is classified as a Tier 2 country by the U.S. Department of State, which puts out yearly trafficking reports. That means it does not fully comply with minimal anti-trafficking efforts, although it is taking steps to do so. This includes writing new laws to make human trafficking a “grave offence,” punishable by 18 years in prison.
Still, social services that could offer help to victims aren’t seen as a priority in Mexico. In a country where machismo dominates, politics is seen largely as the domain of men whereas social welfare is treated as women’s work. Desarrollo Integral de la Familia, the government agency that administers programs for underprivileged children and adults, including victims of trafficking, is considered to be something of a token agency, generally headed by elected officials’ wives.
When Ms. Orozco opened her Mexico City group home in 2007, she said nobody was doing anything about the problem. “There was nothing, no authority who wanted to do something.”
In fact, the weak state, combined with the strength of Mexico’s notorious cartels, creates the perfect conditions for human trafficking, said Everard Meade, director of Trans-Border Institute, a San Diego-based think tank. Mr. Meade said there is tremendous power in community-based projects such as The Garden House.
“I think there is political will to look at things that we know work on the local level and scale them up,” he said.
Meanwhile, Ms. Tucker is ramping up her own project to keep up with demand. She recently moved the Casa del Jardin to a larger building so they can also offer a safe place for adult victims of abuse and trafficking.
“We call it The Garden House, not because we have a huge garden, but because each of the girls represents a flower,” Ms. Tucker said. “We have to take care of them just like a flower, create for them a healthy ambience, nourish them with education, give them a lot of love and that way they will grow.”
Hilda says she is blooming. Now that she’s 18 and officially an adult, she has a job and a place of her own. She is both reluctant and eager to be leaving The Garden House.
“I’m happy and kind of sad, but it’s okay. I’m okay,” she said.
Tenancingo, en el estado central de Tlaxcala, México, se ha convertido en la capital de los proxenetas, donde opera una poderosa mafia de traficantes de mujeres.
Las mujeres bajo control de las bandas asentadas en esta localidad son enviadas a burdeles de todo México y Estados Unidos como esclavas sexuales.
Se trata de un municipio de 10 mil habitantes, esencialmente rural, dedicado a la agricultura y la ganadería, con pocas industrias y comercios, donde el promedio de sus habitantes gana de uno a cinco salarios mínimos. Sin embargo, su paisaje está dominado por mansiones de colores extravagantes.
El Departamento de Seguridad Interna de Estados Unidos ha identificado a las familias mafiosas que manejan el negocio en Tenancingo y a pandillas locales conocidas como "Los Negros", "Los Romanes" y "Los Gueros".
Aunque es difícil medir el negocio de la esclavitud sexual forzada a partir de este poblado, el Banco Central de México reveló que Tlaxcala, a pesar de ser un estado con una población de apenas 1,2 millones de habitantes y con apenas unos 40 mil personas residiendo en Estados Unidos, recibe más dinero en remesas que el estado norteño de Coahuila, con tres veces más residentes.
La Organización de las Naciones Unidas considera que Tenancingo es "un punto crítico para la lucha contra la esclavitud sexual en todo el continente".
Sex traffickers in Mexico have reportedly begun using underage girls to recruit other minors for sexual exploitation, reflecting a broader trend of the increasing use of children by organized crime.
Men running sex trafficking rings are forcing their victims to gain the trust of other girls in order to imprison them, reported El Universal. In one case cited, the "padrote" (pimp) brought the chosen victim with him to various parts of the country, luring vulnerable young women into working with him in the capital and other Mexican cities with promises of a better life.
The victims not only act as recruiters -- they also have to train the new recruits before they are brought back to the capital, teaching them sex positions, how much to charge clients, and how to convince police they are working of their own volition. They also take the blame if a girl escapes.
According to Rosi Orozco, a former congresswoman and head of the United Anti-Trafficking Commission, the recruiters are motivated by fear and threats. Orozco gave the example of one 16 year old who recruited a girl two years younger than herself because her baby was being held by the traffickers.
Recruitment is just the first stage in the chain of human trafficking for sexual exploitation. Girls are later prepared for sale, and then usually picked up from the recruiters by "brokers" and distributed to escort agencies, brothels, pimps and sex trade rings either domestically or internationally.
Sex trafficking is a major problem in Mexico -- Orozco said in 2012 that the country saw some 820,000 adults and children trafficked for sexual exploitation each year.
According to one regional NGO, 70 percent of cases the organization sees in Mexico are linked to drug gangs, which made $10 billion off the trade in 2012.
Luring young women and other vulnerable sectors of the population with false promises of wealth and other luxuries is a common tactic for human traffickers throughout the region.
As victims of sex traffickers in Mexico continue to get younger, and drug trafficking groups get more deeply involved in the trade, it is not surprising that the girls are being forced to help with this process.
As noted by Orozco, drug traffickers and arms traffickers also commonly use victims, and particularly young children, for illegal acts. They are often less likely to be apprehended by police and if they are, they will be tried as minors and not face the same penalties.
In the case of sex trafficking, they are also more likely to gain the trust of other potential victims -- a critical aspect of the recruitment process.
The fight against this trafficking is complicated by the deep involvement of the country’s notorious drug cartels in the business. Narco gangs like the Zetas — a criminal army founded by defectors from the Mexican military — have diversified their portfolio to include kidnapping, extortion, theft of crude oil, gun running and lucrative human-trafficking networks.
It’s impossible to know the exact value of Mexico’s human-trafficking trade, though the U.N. estimates the global industry to be worth $32 billion a year. “As the drug war has become more intense, the networks that traffic women have made their pacts with cartels,” says Jaime Montejo, a spokesman for Brigada Callejera, a sex-worker support group in Mexico City. “Those that don’t cannot survive.”
In addition to selling women for sex, Mexican cartels also have been known to kidnap women and girls and use them as their personal sex slaves. “Human-trafficking crimes have a devastating effect on victims and their families,” says Rosi Orozco, who served as a Mexican federal deputy, drafting the new law, and now works closely with prosecutors. “There are parents who are searching and searching for their children and can’t sleep because of this nightmare.”
Gangs like the Zetas are involved in human trafficking at many links on the chain. Cartels control most of Mexico’s smuggling networks through which victims are moved, while they also take money from pimps and brothels operating in their territories. Prosecution documents show numerous cases in which cartel members have confessed to murdering pimps who crossed them or burning down establishments that refused to pay their “quota.” Mexican marines arrested the Zetas’ leader, Miguel Angel Treviño Morales, this month and prosecutors say that human trafficking will be among the long list of charges leveled against him. “The cartels know that drugs can only be sold once, but women can be sold again and again and again,” says Teresa Ulloa, director of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women and Girls in Latin America and the Caribbean. Ulloa, who has helped hundreds of victims of sex trafficking in Mexico, says organized crime is involved in 70% of cases.
The new human-trafficking law takes into account cases of women forced to work directly for cartels, punishing anyone who helps bring women to them. Some recent testimonies made to journalists and activists cast light on the horrifying ordeals of women held in servitude for long periods by the gangsters. In one account taken by the former deputy Orozco, a woman from El Salvador described how she was kidnapped by the Zetas in Mexico, repeatedly raped and then also forced to cook and wash bloody clothes and machetes. While she was finally freed by one of her captors, other women are believed to experience similar brutal treatment before ultimately being murdered. This month, a mother located the body of her daughter in Oaxaca state after a two-year-long search; she discovered that her daughter had been held by a gang of Zetas and was repeatedly raped before being decapitated.
In western Michoacán state, the brutal Knights Templar cartel is alleged to have kidnapped large numbers of girls and held them for sex. Jose Manuel Mireles, a doctor who has become the leader of an armed vigilante group fighting the cartel in the village of Tepalcatepec, said the cartel’s systematic use of rape as a tool of terror was the final spark that made residents take up guns this year. “They arrived at people’s houses and said, ‘Bathe your daughter, she is going to stay with me for some time,’ and they wouldn’t return her until she was pregnant,” Mireles said in a video testimony posted on the Internet.
The vigilante militias, like the one headed by Mireles, have sprung up in a string of western Mexican towns in recent months, setting up checkpoints and rooting out alleged cartel members. The government has taken a rather ambiguous stance on these militias: President Enrique Peña Nieto condemned vigilantism, but local police have arrested only a few vigilantes. In recent weeks, the government has also sent in thousands of extra federal police, soldiers and marines into Michoacán to combat the cartels. In response, the Knights Templar gunmen carried out a series of attacks both on the vigilante militias and the federal forces. On Sunday, alleged gunmen from the Knights Templar killed a vice admiral in the Mexican navy and his bodyguard on a Michoacán road.
Back in the Merced neighborhood, many sex workers continue plying their trade independently in the shadow of Mexico’s bloody drug war and the predations of human traffickers. Patricia, who has been a sex worker in the Merced for 30 years, says she believes the majority of Mexican prostitutes are not coerced, though they face few options in life. “I have no problem with my clients. Many are good people,” Patricia says. “One even brought me medicine when I was sick.” However, Marcela, who was forced into sex work as a teenager, says there are often coercive pressures that cannot be seen, like threats against the sex worker or her family. “There might be some women who do it out of choice, but many are forced,” Marcela says. “Nobody, when they are a young girl, says, ‘I want to be a prostitute.’”
Mexico has the highest circulation of pornography depicting minors and the second in online production of this material, with about 85,000 exploited minors, revealed a study ordered by the Mexican Senate.
During the "Battling Children and Teenager Pornography" forum, the Mexican Senate revealed that sexual exploitation of minors generates $2 billion worldwide, a figure that overshadows the profits produced by drug and weapons trafficking, according to Mexican newspaper Milenio.
The poorest Mexican states like Oaxaca, Chiapas, Guerrero, Puebla, Veracruz, Tabasco and San Luis Potosí are the regions where children are the most vulnerable, declared Rosi Orozco, president of the United Against Human Trafficking Commission, where "traffickers kidnap them to film them, photograph them and expose them online."
The problem is made worse since Mexican cybercrime legislation does not force internet service providers to provide information on users committing these crimes, said Jacobo Bello and José Héctor Cortés, experts on cybercrime of the Attorney General of the Mexican Republic.
Quoted by newspaper El Economista, experts pointed out that this gap in legislation hinders investigations, which many times take years to find criminals.
The same newspaper informs that Senator Gabriela Cuevas, in her participation in the forum, warned that over two million children are treated as merchandise around the world, with profits that reach $2,000 million worldwide. In Mexico, 85,000 children are used to produce pornographic content.
Mexico occupied the third place in cybercrimes related to child pornography in 2011, which is why the figures presented at the forum raise alarms on these types of crimes in Mexico.
Mexico is Main Distributor of Child Pornography in the World, Second in Online Porn Production - Study Sep 27, 2013