According to the Coalition Against the Trafficking of Women and Girls in Latin American and the Caribbean, Mexico occupies third place in terms of human trafficking in this region. They also affirm that trafficking within the country is 50 times more prevalent than it is internationally, a sobering statistic considering that the U.S. Department of Justice placed Mexico as one of the two countries of origin with the highest number of victims trafficked to the U.S. The Coalition also affirms that disappearances are on the rise in the State of Mexico, where ConeXión Mosaico works. This is due to the fact that now organized crime, instead of recruiting boys, is now recruiting girls and young women. In addition, according to Mexico City’s Human Rights Commission, human trafficking is the second most profitable crime in Mexico after drug smuggling.
From June 20th to 22nd ACJU, in collaboration with a partner organization, iEmpathize, held a camp for local youth in Chimalhuacán entitled “We Are One.” iEmpathize is a Boulder, CO, based organization that works to end child sexual exploitation and trafficking. iEmpathize sent a team down to work with the ACJU staff and also brought several local volunteers from Mexico City. The goal of the camp was to encourage youth to take a stand and commit to preventing human trafficking. Over 100 youth participated in the 3-day event, including youth from the ACJU Escolar, Callejero and Deportivo projects.
The camp was a resounding success on all fronts. ConeXión Mosaico was very pleased with the results of our first collaboration with iEmpathize and we look forward to working together even more in the future. The comments from both the participant youth and their parents have also been overwhelmingly positive. After the closing ceremonies one young woman posted in her Facebook status, “Learned incredible things today in the camp. From now on I want to be EMPATHETIC and not sympathetic, much less APATHETIC. I know that if there is a change in me, I can make a change in my country. 🙂 This camp helped me out a lot, and I will always remember my friends Mike, Mary and Diego (from iEmpathize) ♥”
Many of the characteristics that place victims at a high risk of being trafficked, according to a study carried out by the Salvation Army in 2006, reads like a laundry list of the conditions facing youth in the slums of Chimalhuacán. These risk factors include poverty, young age, limited education, lack of work opportunities, lack of family support and living in vulnerable areas, such as areas with police corruption and high crime rates. However, ACJU is actively taking steps to empower these youth to confront this challenge. When you partner with ACJU, you are a part of this effort. You are helping to giving these youth a fighting chance at a safer, healthier and brighter future.