Disappearances of minors continue in Guatemala — Check The USA

Posted on July 27, 2021

0


In 2020, more than 4,000 disappearances of minors were registered in Guatemala, a country that continues to fight to end this scourge

South Barn July 21, 2021 209

In 2020, more than 4,000 disappearances of minors were registered in Guatemala, a country that continues to fight to end this scourge. Many consider that behind them are hidden socioeconomic phenomena, the increase in crime and the lack of true control by the authorities for the defense of children.

Forced disappearances, which on many occasions are accompanied by torture, rape and murder, are an evil that  dates back to the time of the  Guatemalan civil war and which, 25 years after the signing of the peace accords, still remain a stigma. for the country.

This problem mainly affects  low-income and rural areas  in a country marked by the lack of protection for children and adolescents in a context of corruption and smuggling, to which is added the poverty in which many children are immersed. and girls and the rise of the gangs.

Pilar Ramírez, director of the International Center for Missing and Exploited Children (ICMEC), explains how the current situation has come to be. He relates that it is “a phenomenon that has always existed” but that was made more visible during the internal war. With the massacre of many communities, many children were left without parental care and “were  abducted and taken to other countries with an irregular adoption process”.

After the war, the disappearances of children are linked precisely to the emergence of this “market for irregular adoptions,” says Ramírez. There is a change in Guatemalan legislation that allows notaries to carry out adoption processes and not be prosecuted “so that the whole process would be easier.”

“Then a corruption factory started,” says the director of ICMEC, in which young and defenseless women were sought out and tricked into taking their children from them and carrying out an adoption process. “Unfortunately, this became a  circle of massive corruption , where notaries had a relationship with homes, with people who worked in the civil registry, with doctors, with the Ministry of Health, midwives …”, explains Ramírez.

“It was a whole network of organized crime that was dedicated to the trafficking of people in the form of irregular adoption. Even judges were involved ”, he sums up.

At that time, when the ‘boom’ in the disappearance of children linked to the adoption market became visible, Guatemala was  “the second place, after China, in exporting children to the United States.” , illustrates Ramírez. It was at that time that the Alba-Keneth law was created in order to respond to this situation.

Celia García is a lawyer for the Alba-Keneth Alert System Operational Unit: “We cannot afford as an alert system to reduce the importance of a disappearance phenomenon,” she says about the response given to any complaint, which puts some gears are in motion to identify whether the disappearance has been caused by a crime or not.

“Disappearances are due to family problems, robberies, human trafficking and recruitment of minors for criminal activities”

Ana Lucía Peláez, defender of the Victims of Trafficking of the Human Rights Ombudsman’s Office of Guatemala, complains that the system “does not have the trained personnel, it  does not have the resources available  to protect the integrity of children and adolescents. ”.

Thus, in 2021 chilling figures are already collected for a country of 16 million inhabitants, with an average of nine children and adolescents missing every day.

Peláez points out that although the disappearances for the most part “has been a business”, at present they occur for many reasons: “due to family problems, robberies, human trafficking and recruitment of minors for criminal activities.” Although it is true that for this last modality there is no judicial case, he details.

For his part, Ramírez points out the importance of the interlocking of all the pieces of the system because from his organization it has been verified that ” the first three hours are fundamental  to recover the child.” “If nothing is done in the first three hours, possibly we are not going to recover the child, but we are going to find him deceased,” he says.

Posted in: Uncategorized