Latin America and the Caribbean

CATW January 1, 2010 Latin America and the Caribbean

The Center for Public Leadership at Harvard Kennedy School awarded human rights activist Teresa Ulloa Ziaurriz, Regional Director of CATW-Latin America and the Caribbean (CATW-LAC) as the 2011 recipient of the Gleitsman International Activist Award. Teresa was honored for her work fighting human trafficking and violence against women for over 40 years. The award is bestowed annually to a leader who has improved the quality of life in countries and inspired others to do the same.

To locate and rescue women and children reported missing as a result of organized crime, trafficking, or the threat of trafficking CATW-LAC founded and operates the Red Alert System in Mexico. The Red Alert System provides evidence of the disappearances of women and children into trafficking networks, which remains largely undocumented and invisible. It consolidates the efforts of government agencies, Migration Authorities, the Office of Passports of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the attorneys general, prosecutors offices and police departments at local and federal levels to rescue trafficking victims. In its five years of operation over 1,000 women and children have been rescued.

CATW-LAC educates law enforcement and government officials about the international and domestic legal tools to combat trafficking. This created the first victim centered protection protocol and code of conduct for law enforcement. CATW-LAC developed an online Postgraduate Diploma on Access to Justice and Trafficking in Persons for the Purpose of Sexual Exploitation. Designed for law enforcement officials, this course provides information on the international and domestic legal tools available to combat human trafficking. This course also addresses victims and their needs while analyzing the demand for prostitution that fuels trafficking. Since 2008, CATW-LAC has trained 18,400 law enforcement authorities.

CATW-LAC implements an innovative training model designed to combat the demand for commercial sexual exploitation tailored to young men and boys in school systems and community organizations. These trainings challenge the construction of traditional masculinity and male sexuality centered on violence against women and the consumption of all forms of commercial sexual exploitation, which is a major cause for trafficking in persons. In Argentina, Panama, Peru, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Chile, Columbia and the Dominican Republic, CATW-LAC trained a total of 2431 young men in the CATW-LAC model, about the harms of commercial sexual exploitation and how they can be a part of ending the demand for commercial sexual exploitation that fuels sex trafficking. In many of these countries, networks of empowered male youth have formed such as the CASCOS ROSA (Pink Helmets) Network, Youth United Against Machismo in Ecuador. This Network of young men have been recognized for their work by UN Women. CATW-LAC is expanding this work and carrying out a more concentrated End Demand effort in Ecuador to educate an even greater amount of male youth in the model against the demand.

In 2011, in Argentina a Presidential Decree was passed that forbids Sex Advertisements in the mass media.

In Mexico in 2011, CATW-LAC succeeded in getting one of the nations’ most well known newspapers “El Universal,” to remove the publication of sex ads. The newspaper is considered the journal of Mexico's Life and distributed nationwide. By no longer hosting advertisements for sexual services this newspaper has taken a stance to not promote trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation. It has been reported they profited over 9 million pesos from these ads.

In the aftermath of the devastating 2010 earthquake in Haiti, CATW-LAC’s Haitian partner, Guylande Mesadieu organized a team of volunteers in Haiti to document the names of women and orphaned children in her village and the surrounding areas to determine their immediate needs. She continues to work to protect women and children who are highly vulnerable to victimization by traffickers and pimps in Haiti.

In 2010, Guatemala and El Salvador passed laws that criminalize the demand, both of which participated in the Second Latin American Congress on Trafficking in Persons: Migration, Gender and Human Rights.

In 2009 CATW-LAC organized the conference in Mexico Best Practices against the Demand and Legalization of Prostitution: in the 21st Century.” This was the first meeting to bring together abolitionist leaders working to end commercial sexual exploitation in 19 Latin American and Caribbean countries, Spain and the United States. The conference afforded abolitionist leaders the opportunity to share and exchange ideas and strategies for ending commercial sexual exploitation which resulted in a political and highly transferrable Final Declaration. This declaration will improve cooperation and coordination in our efforts to end the demand for and the legalization/regulation of prostitution.

Since 2008, CATW-LAC trained 28,400 teachers and parents and 8,000 young males in the LAC Region in 28 courses and workshops on law enforcement and trafficking for purposes of commercial sexual exploitation, masculinity, sexual initiation, and the consumption of prostitution.