Granma | 06 February, 2017
Promoting scientific debate on the causes, implications and solutions to gender violence and its associated problems was one of the key aims of the “Berta Cáceres in memoriam” Second International Symposium on Gender Violence, Human Trafficking, Prostitution, and Sex Tourism.
The Symposium, which took place in the La Pradera International Health Center, January 23-25, was organized by the National Center for Sex Education (Cenesex), in the context of activities against violence toward women and girls.
One of its main aims was to honor the memory of Honduran social activist Berta Cáceres, murdered for defending the rights of the indigenous Lenca community against transnationals, the national oligarchy, and corrupt politicians, who put money before the rights of the people.
“The issues addressed have an extremely negative impact on the processes of development and the exercise of human rights worldwide. They require immediate solutions from the international community and the creation of a theoretic-methodological consensus, enabling states and governments to make decisions to define, implement, and monitor pertinent policies,” stated president of the event, Dr. Mariela Castro Espín, director of Cenesex.
“The majority of governments have failed to construct adequate mechanisms to address these social problems, because, they would necessarily be obliged to question their patriarchal order, and change the processes of generating capital,” stated the director.
She went on to note that the vast majority of victims of human trafficking are women and young girls and boys from poor communities, while the main trafficking routes flow from poor to rich countries.
Dr. Castro Espín recalled that during the Second Congress on Human Trafficking, held in Mexico in 2010, Teresa Ulloa, regional director for the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women and Girls in Latin America and the Caribbean, reported that every year almost 100,000 women from countries across the region are taken to various nations around the world, through deception and false promises of employment.
“Without even knowing the official figures, statistical studies, or qualitative reports, which expose the phenomenon of trafficking in persons, these relations in addition to the legal vacuum and lack of a political response in many countries, have helped to make this the third most profitable organized crime business in the world, behind arms sales and drug trafficking,” stated Mariela Castro.
She also added that the United Nations, and above all the organization’s former Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, has launched campaigns aimed at ending violence against women and girls; while actions to combat human trafficking and sex tourism are being strengthened at various levels between countries.
Mariela Castro called on participants to find scientific solutions to these serious issues which constitute a violation of human rights and a pressing challenge, as well as to share research and good practice results.
Regarding his experience, Nicaragua’s Minister for Family, Adolescence and Childhood, Marcia Ramírez Mercado stated, “Our main aim is to achieve justice, with a focus on human beings.
“In Nicaragua women hold 50% of elected positions, in the National Assembly, Mayoral Offices, municipal governments, positions of ministers and deputy ministers, the Supreme Court of Justice,” reported Ramírez.
The Nicaraguan official went on to highlight that her government has made enormous efforts in regards to prevention and awareness, strengthening support systems, and joint work with different government agencies, the family and political structures.
“It is very important to learn and act to improve. We welcome anything we can learn from the practices and efforts of other countries, which we then adjust to the Nicaraguan context and continue moving forward. This is the challenge, to continue moving forward,” she stated.
“My county considers the Educate Your Child (Cuban community program which offers educational alternatives for children between birth and six years of age), to be a reference, as it includes a vast array of violence prevention measures, by teaching children another relationship model from an early age; in Nicaragua we adopted it under the name “Amor para los más chiquitos” (Love for the smallest ones),” stated Ramírez.
Meanwhile, the Cenesex director noted, “We are conscious of the fact that contradictions in our focus and approaches still exist; as well as in the ideological positions which support policies geared toward addressing these issues.
“However, over the last 30 years the international community has made important progress and developed useful references for action,” she went on to state.
“We still face challenges, and are not satisfied with the progress we have made in our country; which is why Cenesex, as the center responsible for coordinating and providing advice on actions within the National Health and Sex Education Program, believes that it has the duty to facilitate these types of encounters, to continue generating ideas to more effectively combat these problems, which are all interconnected,” concluded Mariela Castro.