Elena Pérez Duarte, the federal Attorney General’s special prosecutor for “Attention to Crimes of Violence Against Women” described the nature of child sex trafficking networks in Mexico during an interview conducted with La Jornada newspaper.
According to prosecutor Pérez Duarte, Jean Succar Kuri is just the tip of the iceberg of a vast network of pedophile networks, sex tourism networks and women trafficking activity that operates in Mexico City and in the states of Baja California, Puebla, Chiapas and Veracruz.
Prosecutor Elena Pérez Duarte…
“These are not Mexican net-works supplying Mexican [male] consumers.” We have detected “many inter-national connections.”
Pérez Duarte revealed during her interview that journalist Lydia Cacho “never imagined the vast size of this network.”
She added that with the detention of [alleged ringleader] Jean Succar Kuri [in Arizona], “we can’t sing a victory song just yet, and say that we have dismantled everything.” We have to understand the possibility that some of these trafficked women were taken to Taiwan or Singapore as prostitutes, after being tricked by offering them legitimate work as fashion models.
The special prosecutor confirm-ed that in the case of Succar Kuri, there has been some mention that the Executive Secretary for National Security, Migual Angel Yunes Linares, is involved.
La Jornada – Can you tell us what one of your primary objectives is?
Pérez Duarte – To retake Juarez City. In spite of the final report of the special prosecutor for Juarez there are pending issues to be investigated. We don’t want similar situations to come about in other parts of the country. There are municip-alities in the Republic today that have a greater level of violence against the women than Juarez City.
We have to take care of the other hot spots, since in many of them the problem of pedophilia is not easily observed as a whole. I am sure that many of these pedophile networks would have been discovered earlier if we had analyzed to cases of statutory rape committed by 40-year-old men with girls of 13 or 14. These cases don’t result in convictions because the judges in these cases give credence to the concept that rape had not been committed, because the girls involved were not virgins.
We must connect these type of cases with the larger scheme of the organized networks that are involved.
La Jornada – These sex trafficking networks are linked to cases of statutory rape?
Pérez Duarte – They are related. From the time when I was technical secretary for the Senate for issues related to the Juarez femicide, I worked to raise awareness in regard to these types of cases.
We have a number of examples where we understand the details in depth, such as in the case of fugitive Hector Armando Lastra Muñoz, a former assistant prosecutor the Attorney General of Chihuahua state. Lastra Muñoz was supposedly involved in a network that prostituted underage girls.
They let him go because the he was charged with statutory rape. Because his lawyers argued that the girl victim was not a virgin, no charges were brought by the prosecutors. However, we never learned how many statutory rapes were involved. Now we are paying more attention to these types of cases. The rest of the country needs to follow that lead.
La Jornada – Is it one giant network of pedophiles that exists in the country?
Pérez Duarte – It is more accurately a series of networks. One huge network has already been discovered. It begins in Cancun, or actually in Tapachula [capitol of heavily Mayan Chiapas state]. The network traffics children to Cancun, and prostitutes them there. But people from all over the world come to Cancun, and there are apparently global links.
La Jornada – These links include the the cities of Tijuana and Veracruz?
Pérez Duarte – Exactly. There is another link in downtown Mexico City, in the heart of the nation.
La Jornada – And in Puebla?
Pérez Duarte – We won’t elaborate on Puebla, as we are conducting ongoing investigations there.
We want to have three regional offices, because we are not investigating a single network.
La Jornada – Are these networks interacting?
Pérez Duarte – Probably. Not just on a national scale but internationally as well.
La Jornada – Is Jean Succar Kuri, who journalist Lydia Cacho has investigated, tied into all of this?
Pérez Duarte – Of course. His is one of the major networks that has been well documented by the Attorney General (PGR). In the case of Jean Succar Kuri, specifically, we have discovered many international connections, more that we anticipated.
Lydia Cacho never imagined that she was protecting the girls who came seeking help at her women’s shelter from such a vast criminal network.
La Jornada – Are the cities of Tijuana, Veracruz, Juarez City and Cancun all parts of Succar Kuri’s network?
Pérez Duarte – Correct. That is, it is a network of networks. We can’t be certain that it is a single network with one head.
La Jornada – Are there links with politicians and businessmen? Are we talking about the interaction between economic and political power?
Pérez Duarte – This is exactly what I am referring to. Very ‘honorable’ businessmen consider it to be ‘normal’ that they are offered sexual services, in hotels, and they do indeed use them.
La Jornada – Do you have information linking the Cancun network with Juarez City?
Pérez Duarte – More than linking directly to Succar Kuri, we can link the patterns involved. That is, the manner in which young girls are drawn in, how they are tricked with promises of becoming models or executive assistants. We believe that in these networks we can find those who assassinated these girls. So we have circumstantial evidence. The patterns are very similar in Mexico state (including Mexico City), in Juarez City, in Cancun and in Tapachula.
-Gustavo Castillo Garcia La Jornada
March 3, 2006