Garden House, Mexico

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Garden House, Mexico

La Casa del Jardin – The Garden House – a group home for victims of child sex-trafficking in Mexico.


La Casa del Jardin is one of three such homes in the country, and the only one that exists along the border between Mexico and the United States, where the need is high and growing.

Website: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/mexicos-victims-of-sex-trafficking-find-sanctuary-in-garden-house/article22169001/
Location: Mexico
Members: 1
Latest Activity: Dec 23, 2014

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Comment by ROSE on December 23, 2014 at 11:11am

Mexico’s victims of sex-trafficking find sanctuary in Garden House
by BROOKE BINKOWSKI
TIJUANA — Special to The Globe and Mail, Dec. 19 2014

It was a dusty, sunny day on the outskirts of Tijuana. While much of Mexico roiled in civil unrest last month, the upscale neighbourhood overlooking the Pacific Ocean was an oasis of calm. Inside a sprawling two-storey home, a group of girls sang a traditional birthday song to a slim young woman dressed in scrubs as she laughed and wiped away tears.

“I’m making a wish!” said Hilda, squeezing her eyes closed. She stooped and blew out the candles on her cake to claps and cheers. The girls swarmed to hug her. This was a goodbye party as well as a birthday celebration, because Hilda, now 18, is the first woman to graduate from La Casa del Jardin – The Garden House – a group home for victims of child sex-trafficking in Mexico.

La Casa del Jardin is one of three such homes in the country, and the only one that exists along the border between Mexico and the United States, where the need is high and growing.

Hilda was one of the first girls turned over to the home by Mexican authorities after they discovered she had been sexually abused and, like many trafficking victims, sold into prostitution by her family. Over the past months, she has emerged from a self-imposed cocoon of silence; she now works with children at a health centre and has just found an apartment of her own, a few kilometres away from the group home.

“She’s been sharing with me that she feels ready [to go],” said Alma Tucker, who opened La Casa del Jardin a year and a half ago. “We see her happiness every day. Now she’s in the process to be independent, and that’s our goal.”

There are now eleven girls like her living there, between nine and 17 years old, and each with a story like Hilda’s. The home provides them with a team of teachers, therapists and cooks. Ms. Tucker, an American citizen born in Mexico, crosses the border daily to oversee the Casa’s workings.

Former Mexican president Felipe Calderon’s 2006 tougher drug-law reforms, combined with ever-tightening U.S. border security, have made the trafficking of women and girls exponentially more profitable, dramatically increasing the need for programs such as Ms. Tucker’s Garden House.

At least 20,000 people are trafficked through Mexico every year, and the vast majority of them are women and girls, said Rosi Orozco, a former member of Mexico’s Congress, who opened a similar shelter in Mexico City. She said some girls are sold to the cartels by their families, often for drug money, while others are kidnapped and prostituted by cartels – one of the many reasons the exact location of La Casa del Jardin is kept a strict secret.

Ms. Orozco, a public figure, said she faces daily death threats despite employing heavy security, another aspect of the culture of impunity that means few people are apprehended by police or charged.

The shift from drugs to women and girls is a matter of simple economics, said Mary-Ellen Barrett, a deputy district attorney in California who deals with cross-border trafficking. “With a pound of cocaine, if you sell it, you have to go get some more. But with a woman, you can sell her several times a night, seven days a week.”
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http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/mexicos-victims-of-sex-tr...

 

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