Partner Spotlight: CATW-LAC's Red Alert System

CATW International October 20, 2014 Mexico

The Red Alert System provides more than services for trafficked women: it is a bedrock of hope

Imagine your 24-year old daughter leaving home for the gym one morning, an ordinary act on an ordinary day. Only that day, she does not come back home. 


Despite your frantic attempts at finding her, an entire year passes. You receive a call that the man you believe was involved in the disappearance of your daughter was arrested and is in federal jail. Without blinking, you board the next bus from Guerrero to Mexico City at two o'clock in the morning. When you arrive, you are informed that the man was released from jail due to insufficient evidence. Not only are you no closer to any information about your daughter, but now the main suspect knows you are after him. 

I met Brenda* that morning when CATW-LAC's legal team joined her in an attempt to issue an apprehension against the suspect at the General Prosecutor's office. Brenda says her daughter knew the suspected trafficker. Brenda is living a parent's nightmare in the uncertainty of not knowing whether your child is alive, possibly enduring daily agony, or dead. The only glimmer of hope Brenda has is knowing that CATW-LAC's director, Teresa Ulloa, her team, and the Red Alert System (RAS) are invested in finding the truth and justice about her daughter. RAS funded Brenda's trip to Mexico City and provided safe accommodations at a CATW-LAC shelter as she pleads her case to the Federal Public Prosecutor. In Teresa and her team, Brenda finds compassion, comfort and strength to continue her search. 

The breadth of the services offered through the RAS ensures that the full spectrum of basic needs are met. This includes food, shelter, medical attention, and counseling. While 1104 of the 1308 rescued victims have been reunited with their families, not all survivors have that option. In those cases, CATW-LAC provides additional services such as transitional home placement, educational support, vocational training and alternative therapies. 

The RAS is currently responding to 59 new cases, but the need is far greater as scores of women and families come to CATW-LAC's doors every year. CATW-LAC and the Red Alert System need our support to keep ensuring that these missing women and children are rescued, reunited with family and provided the necessary tools for the transition from victims into survivors. 

*Name has been changed to protect identity