BY J. R. Huetteman
In a trip to America’s southerly neighbor, Acapulco’s “pasarela” is a gold-mine for touring pedophiles cruising to make connections with locals as young as ten years old to pay them 4 to 9 U.S. Dollars to “do it” with them. “Lucky” teens report making up to $42 a “connection,” and are usually drugged up before carrying out the requests of their connections. But for locals, it remains a dark yet open secret that la pasarela is a place for child prostitution and pedophiles. “At La Noria Street in downtown Acapulco, this is part of daily life.
It [child prostitution] is supposed to be illegal, but it’s not hard to find underage girls offering sex for money here,” a quote which is taken from the CNN report Foreign tourists seek children for sex in Acapulco. In the report, featured are people and organizations trying to make a difference from within. The stories of Rosario Santos who runs the New Hope shelter for street boys and girls who has rescued children as young as 10 and made her life’s mission protecting children from the tragedies of la pasarela; rights activist Rosa Maria Cruz Muller who tries to help as many children get off the streets as possible while pressuring officials to increase police vigilance and presence at la pasarela; and Melissa Monroy of the Acapulco’ Children’s Home, where 60 children are housed, fed and educated, most of whom have been sexually abused at la pasarela.
At the Acapulco Children’s Home, the residents are given the basic necessities as well as psychological support. College students mentor and tutor the children as well allowing most the opportunity to go to school and live somewhat normal lives.
Joining the fight against child prostitution is PROPAEESI, Guerrero’s Prevention Program and Eradication of Sexual Exploitation of Children (PROPAEESI), a program that promotes the “development of comprehensive care strategies for children and adolescents” and victims of child sexual exploitation whether through prostitution, pornography, sexual tourism and “trafficking for sexual purposes.”
But the reality of supply and demand economics keeps la pasarela, the Spanish term for “catwalk,” a runway of customers and merchandise to the point it has reached crisis levels. Acapulco’s fight against child prostitution shouldn’t be a local concern as much of the demand of the supply and demand economics is foreign found. Instead, Acapulco’s children and children throughout the world should be protected through a global initiative. Only together can we bring childhood back to children.
J. R. Huetteman is based in Los Angeles, California, United States of America, and is Anchor for Allvoices