Acapulco, in Mexico, once a popular holiday resort, is today described by many as “hell on earth”. It has the highest homicide rate in the country and is the fourth most violent city in the world, according to a study by Mexico’s Citizen Council for Public Justice and Criminal Justice.
Here, Mexican federal forces and organised crime groups, narcotraficantes, do daily battle. The drug lords control much of the city and the country.
The violence makes it largely impossible for nongovernment groups to reach those most in need of help – Acapulco’s poorest children. They prove useful to the cartels, which use them as drug mules and lookouts, and force them into becoming victims of commercial child sexual exploitation.
According to Rosy Orozco, head of civil association Unidos Contra la Trata (United against Trafficking), many of these victims have suffered sexual aggression so many times that as they grow up, they become victimizers.
“Those who are passive, depressed, often take to drugging themselves until they kill themselves, or drink until they die an early death as alcoholics.”
Orozco’s research estimates that more than 2 000 children are being sexually exploited in Acapulco, mainly by Americans and Canadians travelling to the port to prey on boys and girls.
Category: Spring 2016