- See more at: http://blogtimenow.com/blogging/automatically-redirect-blogger-blog-another-blog-website/#sthash.fBBcEurs.dpuf Casa de Sion: October 2012

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Sex Tourism in Guatemala

Edy Tum is one of the most knowledgeable social workers in Guatemala. Since I am doing work with sex trafficking here in the USA, I started feeling guilty about not doing anything in Guate. So I have started my research to see if it is even a problem. Hence the preceding article. I wrote to Edy after reading the preceding article and asked him was it a problem and if so where and what was being done about it. The following is his answer. Keep in mind, I write in English, he google translates into Spanish. Then I google translate from Spanish into English. So here is the google translated answer he gave me.

" It is a big problem in Guatemala. The areas it is worse are Puerto Barrios, Guatemala City, Antigua and Lake Atitlan. We have laws against, but noe one is being prosecuted because big people are running it."

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Sex Trafficing in Guatemala

We thought this article was very interesting and very relevant to the overall purpose of Safe Homes for Children.  Our goal is that any child who crosses our path will never find themselves in the situation of the little girl mentioned below.  We aim to arm them with knowledge, health and power to keep themselves protected and in turn protect their future children.

Protecting girls from sexual exploitation in Guatemala

By Thomas Nybo
GUATEMALA CITY, Guatemala, 25 November 2008 – On the dark streets of the capital city of Guatemala, away from the main thoroughfares, young girls as sell their bodies for money. In hundreds of bars, brothels and hotels across the city, an estimated 2,000 children are being sexually exploited and the law has been doing little to protect them.
Many of the girls were sold into the sex trade by family members. Others became desperate after being kicked out of their homes at a young age. Children are vulnerable to sex traffickers who often lure them with the promise conventional jobs that never materialize.
Once they have entered the sex trade, it is difficult for children to escape. A formidable combination of poverty, substance abuse and accumulated debt often leaves them feeling trapped and with few alternatives.
‘That’s how it started’
Ana María (not her real name) was abandoned by her mother at the age of six. She lived for years on the street, struggling with drug and alcohol addiction. Feeling hopeless, she took a job as a sex worker in a night club.
“I met a man when I was nine-and-a-half years old,” says Ana Maria, who is now 17. “He worked at a night club and he took me with him – that's how it started.”
Ana María was forced to work in a filthy brothel, where the woman in charge deducted inflated expenses to supposedly cover room and board. By the end of the month, after expenses, she had little to show for her work. Eventually, Ana María returned to the street.
Legislation to protect children
Her situation is all too common in Guatemala, a country with no serious laws against the sexual exploitation of children.
“Globally, children's sexual exploitation is considered a serious crime, condemned beyond national borders. Nevertheless, in Guatemala it is not considered a crime. The traffickers are sanctioned with a small fine” says UNICEF Representative Adriano González-Regueral.
Too often, the child victims of sex crimes here are labeled by society as the criminals, while the adult perpetrators walk free.  UNICEF is working to get legislation enacted – and enforced - that will finally offer protection to girls like Ana María. But the legislative gears grind slowly in Guatemala. The most serious and complete of the proposed laws was presented to congress in August: 'The Law Against Sexual Violence, Exploitation and Trafficking'.
“UNICEF is working with the tourism industry, with academics, with the government and with civil society to build awareness about what constitutes sexual exploitation, where it can be found and what can be done to stop it,” says UNICEF Guatemala Child Protection Specialist Justo Solorzano.
A long way to go
For the past five months, Ana Maria has been under the care of Casa Alianza Guatemala, a UNICEF supported organization that protects children in need, especially those who have suffered physical and psychological abuse. The goal is to integrate the children back into mainstream society, preferably with their families whenever possible.
“Casa Alianza started working in Guatemala 27 years ago,” said Executive Director of Casa Alianza Guatemala Claudia Rivera. “We have several programs to work in prevention, to work at the streets directly. And we also have a program that looks for justice at the court for the children.”
The road ahead for girls like Ana Maria is difficult. She's been free of drugs and alcohol for many months, and she's already received basic vocational training. But she feels she still has a long way to go.
“I don't think I'll return to the sex trade,” she says, now hopeful for her future. “I want to give my daughters a good example. I feel strongly that I don't want my girls to go the same direction that I did.”

Monday, October 01, 2012

Update on Lucia

Lucia is a little girl we have written about before.  She was found back in the Spring when Kellen Hansen brought down a medical group.  While the group was in Maria del Carmen we bussed in some of the kids from Nueva Victoria.  Dr. Kim had the children sit in a circle while she did a quick heart, ear, eyes and throat check on them.  When she got to Lucia she realized that something was wrong.  Her heart didn't sound good and her eyes were glazed.  Her heart was not working right and she was having a hard time breathing, her life was very scary.


After following up with Dr. Peter she was sent into the city to insert a catheter in her heart.  When she arrived they found that her teeth were rotted and she had an infection.  The hospital filled out a prescription and sent her home.  A couple weeks after being home we checked on her progress and found that the prescription had not been bought because the family did not have the money.  We bought the prescription for her and her parents promised she would take it.

On her second trip to the city the doctors were able to put in the catheter and determined that she could indeed have the open heart surgery that she needed.

 When it was time for her surgery, Lucia and her parents were ready...but the hospital was not.  It rained quiet a bit the night before her surgery and the operating room flooded!  The surgery had to be postponed.  There were some great people there encouraging her parents to stay as they were nervous and getting inpatient.

Finally Lucia had open heart surgery and it went well and she was on her way to recovery.  More money had to be sent to pay for her family's food, water and Lucia's medicine.

When it was time to come home we sent Mario in the van to get her.

She was put to bed to continue to recover.  The outlook is good for Lucia.

While the actual medical care was covered by a medical partner group, they don't/can't cover basic living expenses.  So to have this open heart surgery Lucia needed everything else paid for--from transportation to the city, to food and water and any medicine.  There were a few special women from the medical team that found her that put a lot of time and energy into raising this money to help Lucia live a long and fruitful life.  If it weren't for them then Lucia would still be living in fear...or worse.

We have saved the life and the quality of life of many children this way.  When medical groups visit we have discovered the children that have either been hidden away or their medical condition has not been diagnosed.  Dr. Peter is ready and willing to help us follow up on those children when the medical team leaves, so that we know how to proceed to improve their life.  When they need to go to the city for care we depend on donors to help the family get there.  Sadly many of the children that need help do not get it simply because their family can not afford the gas, food and/or medicine.  If you would like to help a child like Lucia please email (erin.casadesion@gmail.com) me so I can put you on a list of people to contact when the need arises OR donate now and indicate that you would like the money to be held in reserve for medical emergencies.

And if you are a nurse/doctor/dentist wanting to visit please contact me to schedule a trip.