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Keith Woolford

Human Trafficking, Sexual Trafficking, Sexual Abuse, and Sex Crime Prosecution

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Fired prosecutors allegedy enslaved trafficking victims

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Lola Barcal representing victims
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TWO PROSECUTORS  in  Herrera province who were dismissed on Thursday, March 8 have been denounced to the Public Ministry for alleged extortion by a  group of victims of human trafficking.

The ex-prosecutors  Enereida Barría and Dalilia Villarreal de La Fuente were fired for having been accused of opening a case of extortion against five victims and kept them in custody from  August 24, 2017 until February 9, 2018.

The attorney for the victims, Lola Barcala, said that those involved had their rights violated and claimed to have been enslaved by labor for almost six months, during which their passports and personal identity documents were taken away.

Barcala said that during the investigations the daughter of the ex-prosecutor Dalilia de La Fuente had “faked a package” against the employees, as she worked for a construction company that hired the men through a subcontractor of the government Ceiling of Hope project in the province of Herrera.

 

http://www.newsroompanama.com/news/panama/fired-prosecutors-allegedy-enslaved-trafficking-victims

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Tougher sentences for sex crimes against minors

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President, Juan Carlos Varela, signed the Law toughening  sentences for sexual crimes against minors on Tuesday, March 20

The sentence  for people who pay or encourage  minors to perform sexual acts and those who corrupt or promote the corruption of a minor of 18  making her participate or witness behaviors of sexual nature will be  8-10 years

Those who for profit facilitate any form of sexual exploitation of minors will be jailed for seven to nine years and those who promote the transfer minors inside or outside the national territory for the purpose of sexual exploitation will be punished with 10-15 years behind bars.

The making or distribution pornographic material will earn 10-15 years jail time.

The plenary session of the National Assembly approved in the third and final debate the draft Law 584 on March 6.

The sanctioning  of the law occurs in the middle of indignation over  the sentence of 10 years  for photographer Eduardo Grimaldo for the rape  and libidinous acts against a minor who was a relative

 

http://www.newsroompanama.com/news/panama/tougher-sentences-for-sex-crimes-against-minors

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“Alarming” increase in Panama child sex crime

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The increase  in sexual crime against children in Panama  is described as “alarming”,  by  the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) following figures  published by the Public Ministry  “The increase in the figures of crimes against freedom and sexual integrity reported by the MP institution for the year 2017 is alarming,” the world body said , without specifying figures.

child-1.jpgIn 2015, 4,812 crimes against sexual freedom and integrity were registered in Panama, according to a  report by the Public Ministry, 88 percent of the victims were children under 17.

The Prosecutor’s Office reported 81 cases of corruption of minors, 1,008 of child pornography and 1,814 of rape, among other crimes against sexual freedom and integrity.

In the 2017 report, the Public Ministry reported 6,621 cases of crimes against sexual freedom and integrity, of which 164 corresponded to the corruption of minors, 536 to child pornography, 25 to acts of obscene or pornographic exhibitionism with minors and 2,986 of “violation.”

Silence
 A Unicef statement on Friday. March 23  said  that sexual abuse against children “has been silent or ignored for years,” which has made it “difficult for them to file complaints and formulate evidence-based public policies.”

But it stressed that “Fortunately, the community and the authorities have begun to become aware of this crime, which is particularly serious because it is almost always perpetrated by a relative or person close to the victim.”

“Sexual abuse is just another of the multiple manifestations of violence faced by children and adolescents in Panama, especially in their immediate surroundings,” Unicef said.

It  also expressed that “a plea  for concrete measures to be taken to prevent, denounce and restitute rights in cases of sexual abuse that include the establishment of a System of Guarantees and Comprehensive Protection of the Rights of Children and Adolescents.”

And  “the strengthening of specialized services for victims, and the installation of free lines that provide advice and accompaniment in the reports of sexual abuse, child pornography and commercial sexual exploitation of children and adolescents.”

The UN body  recalled that “any case of sexual abuse” to minors “has serious and lasting repercussions on the life and development of children and adolescents.”

 

http://www.newsroompanama.com/news/panama/alarming-increase-in-panama-child-sex-crime

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Do the laws not apply to the indigenous people of Chiriqui?  It sure seems to me that every 15 year old girl is already a mother.

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Doug, I don’t know if the laws apply to the indigenous people of Chiriqui. Perhaps it is a cultural difference in how the situation of children as mothers is viewed.

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Marcelyn said:

Doug, I don’t know if the laws apply to the indigenous people of Chiriqui. Perhaps it is a cultural difference in how the situation of children as mothers is viewed.

The laws apply to the indigenous but not well-enforced because of their status in Panama as second-rate citizens. Moreover, I have been told by long-timers and Panamanians that many if not most of the young girls are impregnated as a result of incest. This is tragic.

I recall that many years ago, when my Panamanian neighbor/friend learned that I was looking for a day-a-week housekeeper, said she would be happy to do the job if I wanted her. When I asked why shouldn't I want her, she said she didn't know if I knew that she was half indigenous. This comes from a sensitive and intelligent woman, with a lovely family to whom I was and remain close, who has a college education. It was an eye-opener for me about how the indigenous are perceived.

Edited by Bonnie
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There may be no worse thing  than being born as an indigenous female. Lower than dogs on the social ladder, they are just meat for any man in the vicinity. When I look them in the eyes, there never is any joy. I'm not sure I've ever seen a smile.

The little boys do laugh.

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Nothing will change until the indigenous women change. And that comes from them staying in school. However, it's hard to stay in school if you're pregnant. Vicious circle and 1 step backwards for every 1.5 step forward. Poco a poco. I do see more indigenous women in school than I saw 15 years ago here -- even in the universities.

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I often wondered if a rape crisis center would change anything in Boquete.  Something affiliated with the police and the government offices.  When I spoke to others about this when I was there they suggested I would be putting a target on my back.

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1 hour ago, MarieElaine said:

I often wondered if a rape crisis center would change anything in Boquete.  Something affiliated with the police and the government offices.  When I spoke to others about this when I was there they suggested I would be putting a target on my back.

If the country isn't interested in enforcing child molestation and child impregnation laws, what makes you think that it would have any interest in a rape crisis center? There is no motivation to protect indigenous women and children.

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Man detained for suspected rape of child under 11

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Alleged rapist heading to cells.
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Preventive detention has been confirmed for a  30-year-old man accused of the alleged rape of a  girl under the age of 11, in the district of El Porvenir in  Remedios, Chiriqui,

The incident occurred only days after the United Nations children;w aid organization (UNICEF) issued a report detailing the “alarming” increase in sexual crimes against minors, in Panama, leading to a call from some sectors for chemical castration of sexual predators.

Mauricio Ruiloba, Municipal Representative indicated that according to the investigations, the events occurred, when the aggressor took advantage of the fact that the minor was left alone at home  The suspect was surprised by relatives, who alerted the National Police who captured the man minutes later, reports El Siglo.

The Public Prosecutor’s Office has six months to continue with the investigation.

 

http://www.newsroompanama.com/news/panama/man-detained-for-suspected-rape-of-child-under-11

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Panama child sexual abuse cases rocket

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Cases of sexual abuse of minors are rocketing in Panama with 1,363  in the first two months of 2018, more than half the total for the whole of the previous year, while the government does not allocate funds to treat victims of the epidemic.

child-sex-abuse-300x125.jpgIn 2017 there were 2,218 cases in which minors were victims of some sexual crime, including, rape, libidinous acts, and harassment, an average of six cases a day.

Of the total, 2,092 victims were girls and 126 boys. Not included are 27 cases awaiting the report of the Institute of Legal Medicine.

The institutions responsible for serving the victims of the crimes admit that the Government does not have an exclusive budget for preventive care and eradication of sexual crimes against children says a La Prensa report

The heads of the Ministry of Social Development (Mides) and the National Secretariat for Children, Adolescents and the Family (Senniaf), confirmed to La Prensa that they currently have no resources to give integral treatment to minors who are sexually abused.

Yazmín Cárdenas  who heads Senniaf), and said that annually they allocate $ 700,000 for projects and programs aimed at the prevention, promotion, and protection of the rights of children,

resources that come out of their $6.9 million budget, The official acknowledged that they do not have a specific line for the treatment of sexual abuse of minors.although its website  says Senniaf has, according to its website, a  program for  sexual violence against children through which they provide “comprehensive and specialized attention to both the victims and their families, with … coordination between non-government and government institutions “.

The Public Ministry MP attributes the surge in complaints at the start of the year to the awareness campaign undertaken with the entry into force of the accusatory criminal system urging the population to report illicit behavior throughout the country.

 

http://www.newsroompanama.com/news/panama/panama-child-sexual-abuse-cases-rocket

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OPINION: Institutional aggression against sex-crime victims

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The reality of the sexual abuse of children, adolescents, adults and even older adults and people with disabilities is unknown, and the Panamanian State is not organized to attend appropriately to the situation. In the case of minors, In the year 2017 alone, 2,218 cases were reported to the authorities.

The majority of victims are girls. Neither the Ministry of Social Development nor the National Secretariat of Children, Adolescents and Families have specific programs to prevent or address sexual aggression.

Panama lacks shelters and special centers of rehabilitation and therapy to attend to this population.

Victims are humiliated and treated with apathy by an  indifferent  government bureaucracy.

The judicial system revictimizes them and, even, questions the facts and incidents of those who were abused. The social and family stigma that these legal cases produce overwhelms the victims and their loved ones. The absence of a specific public policy represents another form of aggression, this time institutional. Between so much hypocrisy and double political morality, the parties of government and opposition and the officials in charge of these tasks could take the first step, implementing comprehensive sexual education as the best preventive tool LA PRENSA, Mar. 31.

 

http://www.newsroompanama.com/opinion/opinion-institutional-aggression-against-sex-crime-victims

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Posted (edited)

Probably the only form of sex education these kids are getting.

Public Prosecutor Conducts Education in the Gualaca district of Chiriqui

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As part of the prevention and awareness programs of the sexual offenses and domestic violence that the Public Prosecutor has been conducting in the Chiriqui province, through the Municipal of Gualaca held an induction addressed to teachers, students and authorities.

On this occasion the Gualaca district Personera María Eugenia Batista and the Prosecutor of the Minoskha Machado Compliance Section, were the ones responsible for the activity. In addition, accompanied by representatives of Senniaf and other institutions that provide support to children and adolescents.

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The event made it possible to expand relevant topics such as sexual offenses. It was explained to the young by history, by which cases that has been able to determine that the majority occur within the social environment of the victim in the case of minors, children show already rejected that offenders are people who want or in whom they confide.

Equally to teachers, they indicated that they are responsible for the care and education of children and girls in schools should be taken care of in order to identify through certain behaviors or signs of alarm that minors, the detection of any situation they are facing these problems.

Both officials pointed out that the Public Ministry is ready to meet any situation of this nature you are having and that affects the stability of the child. Expressed that once a situation of this nature, it is prudent to act immediately and that complaints may be made anonymously.

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freetranslation

http://ministeriopublico.gob.pa/en-chiriqui-el-ministerio-publico-realiza-induccion-en-el-distrito-de-gualaca/

Edited by Keith Woolford

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Costa Rica and Panama dismantle a Chinese migrant trafficking network

Tue, 09/04/2018 - 17:42

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After two years of investigations, the authorities of Costa Rica and Panama today arrested at least 39 people suspected of integrating a Chinese migrant trafficking network.

The Attorney General's Office, the Judicial Investigation Agency (OIJ), the Ministry of Security and the Migration Directorate of Costa Rica, today carried out an operation in coordination with the Police, the Prosecutor's Office and the National Border Service of Panama.

In Costa Rica, 40 raids are being carried out leading to the arrest of 29 people, while in Panama 12 raids and 10 detainees have been reported, the OIJ director, Walter Espiniza, told a news conference.

In Costa Rica, the authorities detained the three alleged leaders of the organization, surnamed Zeng, Chen and Lang, all of Chinese nationality, including immigration officials, a lawyer who falsified documents, and people who performed logistical tasks.

Espinoza explained that the three Chinese arrested had contacts in Asia, Europe and South America to mobilize Chinese migrants, who arrived in America by air to Bolivia, Peru, Colombia and Ecuador, from where they traveled by the same route to Costa Rica.

When they arrived in Costa Rica, immigration officials allowed them to enter irregularly or with altered or false documents.

In Costa Rica, some of the migrants were transferred to commercial premises where they were exploited, and others were moved to Panama, where they were also employed or taken to the United States and Canada.

"This is a case with international scope and has allowed not only to identify the members but to totally dismantle the group, this case is very important for the crimes of migrant trafficking, and also for corruption," said Espinoza.

Costa Rican attorney general, Emilia Navas, explained at the press conference that this network trafficked at least 110 migrants and each one charged at least $ 22,000.

In the raids agents seized money, weapons, documentation, technological equipment and vehicles linked to the criminal group.

Navas said that in today's operation found two trafficking victims were found and are in the custody of the respective authorities and receiving attention and support.

The prosecutor explained that migrants brought by the criminal organization that remained in Costa Rica faced "forced labor and restricted freedom in shops and restaurants of Chinese people."

In the coming hours, the Costa Rican Prosecutor's Office will determine what precautionary measures will be requested against the detainees.

 

https://www.panamatoday.com/panama/costa-rica-and-panama-dismantle-chinese-migrant-trafficking-network-7762

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18 human trafficking gangs busted

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Rescued victims
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The Panamanian authorities have dismantled 18 criminal networks dedicated to human trafficking. Over  200 victims of human trafficking  have  been rescued and 92 operators jailed for up to 20 years in the last 52 months

The Office of the Prosecutor against Organized Crime reports that so far in 2018 30 victims of human trafficking have been rescued.

The deputy prosecutor, Iris Lara, said that this year   25  women were rescued from women for sexual exploitation and 5 men from labor trafficking.

During the conference, organized by the Trafficking in Persons Commission, the

Lara said that human trafficking is a transnational crime, where victims are deceived with job offers and when they arrive in the destination country they realize they have to pay off the traffickers.

Most sex exploitation victims arriving in Panama are from Colombia and labor victims from Nicaragua.

 

https://www.newsroompanama.com/news/panama/18-human-trafficking-hangs-busted

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10 Chinese and Panamanians acused of human trafficking in Panama

Fri, 09/07/2018 - 17:01

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A Panamanian judge charged a dozen Chinese and Panamanian citizens involved in a human trafficking network, the Judicial Branch reported today.

"The Judge accused 10 Chinese and Panamanian citizens of the crime against humanity, typified as the smuggling of migrants, as authors," reported the Judicial Branch through its Twitter account.

He added that the hearing against these people will continue this Friday "with the debate on precautionary measures."

In a communiqué, the Judicial Branch specified that the decision was taken by the judge of the First Judicial Circuit of Panama, Sandra Castillo, and that the victims identified are 10 people of Chinese nationality.

Prosecutors Miguel Tuñón and Paula Garcés Jimenez asked the judge to legalize the arrest of the 10 indictees, and the imputation for the crime against humanity, typified as the illicit trafficking of migrants, as authors, the statement said.

He added that the defense lawyers did not object to the legalization of the arrest, but the formulation of the imputation referring to the denomination as authors.

Panamanian authorities reported on Tuesday the arrest of at least eight people suspected of belonging to an international, illegal trafficking network of Chinese migrants in a coordinated operation with Costa Rica.

On Tuesday, the Costa Rican authorities reported that in 40 raids that day they detained 29 people, while in Panama there were 12 inspections and 10 detainees.

The director of the Judicial Investigation Agency of Costa Rica, Walter Espiniza, said that among the detainees in his country were the
three alleged leaders of the criminal organization, with surnames Zeng, Chen and Lang, all of Chinese nationality; in addition to immigration officials, a lawyer who falsified documents, and people who performed logistical tasks.

Espinoza explained that the three Chinese citizens had contacts in
Asia, Europe and South America to mobilize Chinese migrants, who arrived in America by air to Bolivia, Peru, Colombia and Ecuador, from where they traveled by the same route to Costa Rica.

When they arrived in Costa Rica, immigration officials allowed them to enter irregularly or with altered or false documents.

In Costa Rica, some of the migrants were transferred to commercial premises where they were exploited, and others were moved to Panama, where they were also employed or taken to the United States and Canada.

The Costa Rican attorney general, Emilia Navas, detailed that this network trafficed at least 110 migrants and each one was charged at least $ 22,000.

 

https://www.panamatoday.com/panama/10-chinese-and-panamanians-acused-human-trafficking-panama-7795

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Surge in sex crimes against minors

Posted on November 4, 2018 in Panama

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Panama is experiencing a surge of  sexual crimes  against minors with  2,218 reported in the first nine months on path to  exceed 3,000 for the year according to the Public  Ministry.

The most common are rape and consensual sexual relations. Prosecutor Maruquel Castroverde told La Prensa that cases of rape of minors have registered a constant increase. In 2015 there were 1. 814 cases, in 2016 thousand 1,882 and in 2017 there were  2 986 cases.

A  bill to create a pedophile registry rests in the National Assembly and there is little funding for education initiatives.

Castroverde , says  that most cases of sexual abuse are committed against  girls leading to pregnancies, forced marriage and  school desertion, in addition to the psychological damage to the victim.

Forensic psychiatrist Alejandro Pérez , at the Institute of Forensic Medicine and Sciences (Imelfc), says that generally individuals who commit sex offenses have disorders originating in childhood and related to sexuality.  In the case of child abuse, Pérez points out that there are usually two large groups of victims of sexual crimes: “children under 10, in which the aggressor is generally an acquaintance and, in addition, represents an authority figure. Therefore, the victim does not speak, because they threaten her or convince her of the action

The other group is adolescents, in which there is usually penetration by   the “boyfriend” or an unknown person.

“One of the most common mistakes –  is that people tell the children: ‘do not let anyone touch you’, so that when the child is touched he experiences a feeling of guilt for having allowed this to happen, keeps silent.

“What you have to tell the children is that nobody has the right to touch their body, and if someone does, they should inform their parents,” says. Pérez. He, suggests sex education programs so that children learn to defend themselves against aggression when it is committed by an acquaintance or an authority figure.

No funds
Yazmín Cárdenas , director of Senniaf, (Family and Chilren Secretariat) says that in 2018 a four-year plan was launched to combat all types of violence against the population under 17 years of age.  She says  that currently neither the Senniaf nor the Ministry of Social Development (Mides) have specific economic resources to provide comprehensive treatment to minors who are sexually abused.

In  March deputy Adolfo Valderrama presented  a bill for the creation of a pedophile registry.An initiative to establish a registry of people convicted of crimes against sexual freedom and integrity had already been presented by two other  deputies .

The projects were merged into the Government Commission of the National Assembly and in October the initiative was approved in first debate. Castroverde points out that this initiative would be viable when there is a final and enforceable judgment with which that base can be fed.

https://www.newsroompanama.com/news/panama/surge-in-sex-crimes-against-minors

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Sex trafficking “madam” gets 15 years

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Victims rescued in police raid
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Colombian citizen Melaines Hernández who headed a network on Avenida 12 de October dedicated to trafficking women for sexual exploitation has been sentenced to 15 years in prison.

The sentence was imposed by Judge Vilma Urieta in the 15th Criminal Court.

In a ruling dated October 5, Judge Urieta acquitted Hernandez’s nephew, Jhon Freider Lemus, and ordered his release.

The judge made the decision after analyzing the evidence presented by the Public Ministry, which showed that Hernandez contacted Venezuelans, Colombians, Cubans, and Panamanians, whom she later hired as “escort ladies”.

According to the investigation, initiated in 2015 by the Prosecutor against Organized Crime, the network contacted its victims through advertisements in newspapers, then did not let them leave the apartment and forced them to have sex with five clients, daily charging $50. for each, of which $20 was for them.

The investigation found a list of conditions that the victims had to comply with, such as informing their location at all times, getting up at 7:00 am and arranging the apartment to be available for clients.

Sanctions were imposed on those who violated rules:  a $20 fine and prohibition of exits.

The network advertised its services in social networks, in which each of the girls had to publish a profile with details of their services and the address where they could be contacted.

 

https://www.newsroompanama.com/news/panama/sex-trafficking-madam-gets-15-years

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