child trafficking/prostitution-sex tourism
This is a very difficult subject, but a very important one to discuss and I would like to ask those of you who have been in Nicaragua over the last couple of years for some insight.
I was just at the "United Front for Children: Global Efforts to Combat Sexual Trafficking in Travel and Tourism" Conference http://www.hrusa.org/workshops/trafficking/ here in Minneapolis today. It was a very informative conference about the effects of sexual trafficking on children around the world.
It was sad and depressing to say the least, but it also got me to thinking that I need to do something positive for these children if I can. Part of the conference addressed the current efforts taking place in Costa Rica and this made me think about some of the forum topics I have seen on NL in the past year about this issue. I have heard from family and friends that over the past couple of years that this issue has become more and more prevalent in Nicaragua.
This all got me to thinking about what I could do to address this issue in Nicaragua before Nicaragua becomes the next Costa Rica or Thailand. Would you folks be willing to stand up for the children of Nicaragua and help them confront this issue?
I spoke to Ms. Amy O'Neill Richard, Senior Advisor to the Director Of the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons at the U.S. State Department about my concerns in Nicaragua and how things have been changing for the worst there. She told me that she had been asking the US Embassy staff for the past couple of years about child trafficking/prostitution and sex tourism in Nicaragua. She said that the US Embassy staff keep telling her that Nicaragua doesn't have a problem with this, but she says that she is pretty sure it does and would like some feed back about the issue. She asked that I contact her with examples of this issue so that she can address it at her level. There might be the opportunity to fund a project for an NGO in Nicaragua to help address this issue and help the children who are affected and their families.
So what I'm wondering is if you all could tell me if you have seen this go on in Nicaragua so that I may relate it to Ms. O'Neill Richard. This will help get the ball rolling so that we can get the support to begin to help Nicaragua address this issue. I understand and respect that the utmost privacy and care be used so as not to harm anyone who may be a victim of this issue. I would not use any of your names of course, but I would like for you to let me know of where you have seen this go on and if you've seen or heard of any businesses that might promote this sort of activity.
This isn't about ratting anyone out. You can keep things general if you prefer, but I would like to know what the prevalence of this sort of activity is so that we can try to address it accordingly.
We have the opportunity to do the right thing for Nicaragua and its children. We also have a moral duty to help these children so that they do not fall prey to the predators who take advantage of these children's innocence and Nicaragua's poverty. And for those children who already are in the clutches of these criminals we have no time to spare to help them restore as much of their childhood and innocence as possible as quickly as possible.
If you don't feel that you can put your thoughts and/or your personal observations down in this forum, please e-mail them to me privately. I will not share them with anyone else other than Ms. O'Neill Richard.
If each one of us don't do what we can to stand up for these children, who will? Thank you for helping to keep Nicaragua a safe and wonderful country for all and thank you for being the guardians of the children.