CHILD TRAFFICKING – MODERN-DAY SLAVERY
The phenomenon of child trafficking is rife in Latin America.
In Mexico and Central America, young bodies become commodities, often recruited from rural areas and ensnared into commercial sexual exploitation in cities and tourist areas. The geopolitical position of the locations in which Casa Alianza programmes work creates countries of origin, transit and destination of migrants, which exacerbates the problem of trafficking. Family instability and a culture that is itself enslaved to authoritarian and macho values means these crimes come to be normalised, when in reality they are intolerable.
Human trafficking (‘la trata’ in Spanish) doesn’t only refer to sexual exploitation for commercial purposes. It means any kind of organised criminal activity that controls and exploits people – for example, through forced labour, domestic servitude or the removal of organs.
Compass Children’s Charity supports La Alianza and Casa Alianza programmes to protect against child trafficking
Despite official estimates in Mexico and Central America, quoting victims of human trafficking in the tens of thousands, there is only a minimal amount of investigations into these crimes and very few convictions result.
In working to protect child survivors of human trafficking in the region, Casa Alianza staff are effectively fulfilling the role of the State. Yet they don’t receive a penny in state assistance.
In Mexico, Casa Alianza is at the forefront of advocating for tougher anti-trafficking penalties, and the Mexican Government’s Institute of Immigration has awarded the Casa Alianza Mexico residence the special status of ‘Migratory Station’. Children who have been illegally trafficked into Mexico are welcomed into the Casa Alianza Mexico shelter, and helped to re-establish their lives.
In Honduras, Casa Alianza cares for girls who have been the victims of trafficking within a specialist residence. The Staff also travels to the Honduran/Guatemalan border every week, to meet two busloads of child migrants apprehended in Mexico, most of whom have been abused, exploited or trafficked.
In Nicaragua, Casa Alianza organised the first ever national media conference on child trafficking, and has been honoured for its work in training police and prosecutors on the issue all over the country. It is also behind the anti-trafficking website www.noalatrata.org.ni, a public forum that allows Nicaraguans to anonymously blow the whistle on high-risk situations.
In Guatemala, La Alianza runs a specialist safe house to care for young girls who are been survivors of trafficking. Protected by high walls and 24-hour security, the girls are defended from traffickers and given the time and space to heal from their ordeal. Asociación La Alianza has also trained the Guatemalan police force, judges, teachers, community leaders, parents and children on the techniques that traffickers use, to prevent young people being raped, sold and exploited across the country.
We want to help more child victims of trafficking in Latin America, and help bring more criminal rings to justice. Please help us in the fight back by donating or joining us on the campaign trail.