Σάββατο, 14 Ιανουαρίου 2017

Susana Trimarco - Fundacíon María de los Ángeles

After her 23-year-old daughter disappeared 14 years ago, the likely victim of sex traffickers, Susana Trimarco began an unrelenting fight for justice -- one that continues to this day and has helped free over 2,500 trafficking victims. Her daughter, María de los Ángeles Verón, disappeared on her way to a doctor’s appointment in their northern Argentina city and never returned home. Frustrated by the police's feeble investigation, Trimarco started searching for María on her own; she tracked down the names of known pimps and sex traffickers in the area and gained entry to brothels by posing as a madam seeking to buy girls and women. While she encountered women who had seen her daughter, María was never found. Transformed by this harrowing experience, Trimarco's life was forever changed -- she became one of the country's leading human rights activists and her tireless campaigning helped make sex trafficking part of Argentina's national agenda. “The desperation of a mother blinds you,” she says. “It makes you fearless.”
During her initial investigation into her daughter’s disappearance, Trimarco first learned about the widespread problem of sex trafficking and the corruption within the police and judiciary that were helping keep women trapped in forced prostitution. “The police would hand [the trafficked women] back to the criminals,” she recalls. “They used to say: ‘Don’t leave me. Take me with you.’” Trimarco ended up becoming the personal guardian to 129 survivors of sex trafficking, sheltering them in her home and helping them reunite with their families. Her work also helped led to the first law, passed in 2008, making human trafficking a federal crime; the subsequent reforms have led to thousands of people being rescued from sex traffickers. These successes, however, have come with a high personal cost to Trimarco: she has suffered many reprisals over the years including countless death threats, having her house set on fire, and several attempts to run her over in the street.
As more trafficking survivors and families of trafficking victims reached out to her for help, Trimarco says,"It came to a point where I just did not have the capacity to help them all. That is when I decided to open a foundation." She founded Fundacíon María de los Ángeles in 2007; a non-governmental organization focused on helping people escape from trafficking and lobbying for legislation to prevent it. Her efforts focused on her daughter’s disappearance eventually resulted in trials for 13 people, including several police officers, in 2012; all 13 were acquitted, a ruling that prompted outrage by many and led to impeachment proceedings against three judges. A retrial in December 2013 convicted ten people for their involvement in María's disappearance. But despite it all, Trimarco still hasn’t found out what she wants to know most: what happened to her daughter. Some witnesses say she was murdered -- although her body has never been found -- and others say she was taken overseas. Today, along with her staff filled with lawyers, social workers, and psychologists, Trimarco continues her fight against sex trafficking for her daughter and for all survivors: "Every woman I help somehow helps María. They represent hope in this new life of mine." #HumanTraffickingAwarenessDay
To learn more or help support Susana Trimarco's anti-trafficking efforts, visit her website, Fundación María de los Ángeles, at http://bit.ly/RHzc7c -- you can also read an in-depth NY Times profile on her at http://nyti.ms/SF8X2g
For an excellent though challenging novel about one Nepalese girl's experience being trafficked into prostitution, we highly recommend "Sold" for readers 14 and up at http://www.amightygirl.com/sold
For a gripping memoir by a woman dedicated to ending the trafficking of girls in the U.S. as the founder of Girls Are Not For Sale, who herself is a survivor, check out “Girls Like Us: Fighting for a World Where Girls Are Not for Sale” at http://amzn.to/1X2brW7
The powerful young adult novel, "Dime," also tells the story of a young American teen who is trafficked into the sex trade, for ages 14 and up, at http://www.amightygirl.com/dime
To learn more about human trafficking, as well as about the exploitation of girls and women in general, we highly recommend "Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide" at http://www.amightygirl.com/half-the-sky and the accompanying documentary, for ages 13 and up, at http://www.amightygirl.com/half-the-sky-documentary
Many girls and women are vulnerable to trafficking due to poverty; for a fantastic book full of ideas on how you can help empower girls and women around the world, check out the "100 Under $100: One Hundred Tools for Empowering Global Women" at http://amzn.to/1H9CoRl

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