From going undercover dressed as a nun or pole dancer to speaking directly to child victims as young as four, Lydia Cacho has doggedly collected evidence of a rampant sex slave trade in Mexico. Its tentacles stretch from the mafia all the way up to some very high-ranking government officials. It's a quest that's seen her kidnapped, then imprisoned for her trouble...and still facing constant death threats.
Cacho's journey into this murky world started when she founded a high security shelter for battered and sexually-exploited women and children in the resort town of Cancun, where she lives.
Following in her mother's activist footsteps, her first attempts to raise the issue of violence against women were on a local radio show. After being visited by a group of women who begged for protection against their violent husbands, she went about finding a safe place for them. The Cancun shelter has now been running for 10 years.
Since then, Cacho has become a humanitarian "force of nature," regularly putting her life on the line in the name of social change. Her tales of adventure are grim and extreme, as she recounts surviving abduction, jail and torture by state agents, before garnering protection from the likes of Amnesty International and the authors group PEN.
In this riveting session from the Sydney Writers Festival, Cacho says taking on the sex traffickers of Mexico wasn't something she chose, it happened more accidentally.
Lydia Cacho is in conversation with Sydney-based journalist Mara Moustafine.
Lydia Cacho is a journalist, author and feminist activist against violence. She founded a high-security shelter for battered and sexually exploited women and children.
Cacho is the first woman in Mexican history to have taken to trial an organized crime ring of child pornography, sexual tourism and women's trafficking.
Currently she is a columnist on "El Universal," and a workshop teacher on successful approaches to help trafficking victims. Her new book is Slaves of Power: A World Map of Sex Traffickers.
Mara Moustafine is a writer, historian and tribunal member. She has previously worked as an Australian diplomat and national director of Amnesty International Australia and been president of Sydney PEN.
Her award-winning book, Secrets and Spies: The Harbin Files, which draws on Soviet secret police files to expose the fate of family caught in Stalin's purges, was recently published in China.
Crime committed on a national or international scale by a criminal association; also, the associations themselves. Such associations engage in offenses such as cargo theft, fraud, robbery, kidnapping for ransom, and the demanding of protection payments. Their principal source of income derives from the supply of illegal goods and services for which there is continuous public demand, such as drugs, prostitution, loan-sharking (i.e., the lending of money at extremely high interest rates), and gambling. They are characterized by a hierarchy of ranks with assigned responsibilities; the coordination of activities among subgroups; the division of geographic territory among different associations; a commitment to total secrecy; efforts to corrupt law-enforcement authorities; and the use of extreme violence, including murder, against rival associations, informers, and other enemies. International rings of smugglers, jewel thieves, and drug traffickers have existed throughout Europe and Asia, and Sicily and Japan have centuries-old criminal organizations. In the U.S., organized crime flourished in the 20th century, especially during the Prohibition era. In the late 20th and early 21st centuries, it became immensely powerful in Russia, taking advantage of a weak and impoverished government and widespread official corruption. See alsoMafia; yakuza.
Practice of engaging in sexual activity, usually with individuals other than a spouse or friend, in exchange for immediate payment in money or other valuables. Prostitutes may be of either sex and may engage in either heterosexual or homosexual activity, but historically most prostitution has been by females with males as clients. Prostitution is a very old and universal phenomenon; also universal is condemnation of the prostitute but relative indifference toward the client. Prostitutes are often set apart in some way. In ancient Rome they were required to wear distinctive dress; under Hebrew law only foreign women could be prostitutes; in prewar Japan they were required to live in special sections of the city. In medieval Europe prostitution was licensed and regulated by law, but by the 16th century an epidemic of venereal disease and post-Reformation morality led to the closure of brothels. International cooperation to end the traffic in women for the purpose of prostitution began in 1899. In 1921 the League of Nations established the Committee on the Traffic in Women and Children, and in 1949 the UN General Assembly adopted a convention for the suppression of prostitution. In the U.S. prostitution was first curtailed by the Mann Act (1910), and by 1915 most states had banned brothels (Nevada being a notable exception). Prostitution is nevertheless tolerated in most U.S. and European cities. In The Netherlands many prostitutes have become members of a professional service union, and in Scandinavia government regulations emphasize hygienic aspects, requiring frequent medical examination and providing free mandatory hospitalization for anyone found to be infected with venereal disease. Prostitutes are very often poor and lack skills to support themselves; in many traditional societies there are few other available money-earning occupations for women without family support. In developing African and Asian countries, prostitution has been largely responsible for the spread of AIDS and the orphaning of hundreds of thousands of children.
KEEP WATCHING - once you get past Mara's remarkably monotone and arrogantly long introduction Lydia truly is a fascinating and wonderful woman doing incredibly important work.
Amazing. Words fail me to describe such an amazing human being! Let the Life Force and all good people protect and bless her always!
From the churlish realms of corruption in world governments we find the makings for the illegal order , the trumped up false dossier given to legal law enforcement and security. And reporter Lydia Cacho has taken on the offenses of a crude and harsh system, looking only for the good in the system, and she is championing genuine world freedoms for girls and children. God is using her as the people of the world change for the good.