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Lydia Cacho Ribeiro

Mexico , Class of 2007

Lydia Cacho Ribeiro

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A journalist in Mexico, Ms. Ribeiro first became involved with anti-trafficking work in 2000, when she opened a high security shelter for women and children.

Following a sexual assault in 1999 in retaliation for her fearless reporting on violence against women, she became even more vocal about the issue, opening her shelter in 2000. The shelter is called Centro Integral de Atencion a la Mujer (the Integrated Service Center for Women), and is based in Cancun. The shelter has provided support and services for victims of trafficking, domestic violence, and other forms of abuse or exploitation. She has remained a vocal opponent of violence against women in Mexico. After founding the shelter, she investigated child pornography and sex trafficking rings in Mexico, and published her findings in a 2005 book titled The Demons of Eden: The Power Behind Pornography. The book became famous fairly quickly, and resulted in her arrest. After a harrowing ordeal, she was saved by her reputation. It was only a year later, however, that it came out that the arrest was orchestrated by some of the powerful men in Mexico that she had named in conjunction with child pornography and sex trafficking in her book.

She was originally charged with libel and defamation, charges that were dropped in 2007. At the same time, the Supreme Court took her case, allowing her to be the first women to testify before them, against the powerful men who had orchestrated her arrest, including a government official. However, the Supreme Court ended up ruling against her, a decision which prompted the federal prosecutor for crimes against women to resign. Lydia Cacho Ribeiro has since published Memoirs of a Scandal, the story of how the arrests against her were orchestrated, and published in 2011, although it was translated into English only in this year, a book called Sex Trafficking, Inc.: The Untold Story of International Sex Trafficking.

In the 2014 TIP Report, Mexico was listed as Tier 2 country. It is a source, destination, and transit country for both forced labor and sex trafficking. Organized crime, and the complicity of some government officials, continue to be an ongoing problem.

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