By THÉRÈSE MARGOLIS
Apparently it’s alright in Mexico to engage in human trafficking — in this particular case, the sale of underaged girls — as long as the practice is “not the norm.”
So said Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) on Tuesday, Oct. 26, reiterating his comments in the state of Guerrero over the weekend in which he said he did not want to talk about the subject.
As a point of reference, it is worth noting that in the state of Guerrero, at least 300,000 young girls — and we are talking about some as young as nine years old — have been sold into “marriages” for money, cattle or even beer over the course of the last decade, according to the nonprofit group Yo Quiero, Yo Puedo, which is working to stop the practice.
And in Guerrero’s impoverished Montaña region, with a total population of 350,000, these forced marriages are indeed the norm.
And according to the Spanish Association of Professional Women in the Media, Guerrero is the state with the highest sales of girls nationwide.
But López Obrador can’t be bothered with the welfare of these modern-day slaves, since, he said, “the sale of girls and child prostitution in Guerrero is not the norm,” and therefore is not worth prosecuting. (Then again, bank robberies and illegal drug sales are not the norm, so by the same logic, they should not be prosecuted, right?).
AMLO even went so far as to say that for the media to cover the practice constitutes an act of “classism and racism” against Mexico’s indigenous people.
Pressed on the issue by several journalists during his daily morning press conference, AMLO said that the nation’s indigenous communities “have great social values,” and have been misrepresented negatively by the media.
“Mexico’s indigenous people have a wealth of cultural, moral and spiritual values,” he said. “These values help to strengthen the communities.”
Notwithstanding, the president did acknowledge that the sale of young girls and child prostitution are crimes and should not be encouraged.
“We must continue to denounce them,” he said. “But prostitution occurs in all levels of society, so the media should not be focusing on this practice as it occurs in indigenous communities.”