Mexico Trip-President Calderon Cracks Down on Human Trafficking
Mexico has dominated the news in recent years for drug trafficking, crime, human trafficking and illegal and deadly border crossings. But what I saw on my recent trip to Mexico City may surprise you.
Pamala Kennedy Chestnut 6/05/11
From recent trip to Mexico City
On May 25-26 at the request of President Felipe Calderon of Mexico I was honored to be a part of a Human Trafficking delegation in Mexico City. I learned that President Calderon had invited CEO’s of companies, International rescue organization leaders, Major business owners and educators—I felt like I was there on assignment. I may elaborate on this more as there is certainly a story to tell so you will know why I was there—but that’s for another blog post.
The amazing thing I realized once we were all together is—these individuals were all on assignment—to end human trafficking! President Calderon’s purpose was to showcase what his country is doing to crack down on human trafficking and to keep the momentum moving in that direction by reaching out to various leaders of different organizations and agencies. He also told us about the changes he has made since taking office in Mexico and how his administration is cracking down on human trafficking and crime and wanting to make serious, long-term changes.
The President shared with our group that since taking office in Mexico:
- Crime, (21 homicides per 10,000; in USA he named 15 cities where that ratio is 40 per 10,000)
- Of the 38 most wanted cartel leaders 20 have been executed, and the other 18 are being targeted.
- He has built 100′s of new educational facilities.
- Added the LaRed values and principles mandatory for all federal police weekly.
- 100′s of New hospitals, search and rescue teams for human traffic victims.
- Raised the standards for the entire justice system employment.
His speech to us was informal and off the record…so I can’t tell you most of what he said, but he asked for our suggestions in each of our areas of expertise, if we had anything to add.
Was able to speak to the President about the respect issue that I blogged about prior to my trip: new blog: “Domestic Violence/Human Trafficking-Change Only Comes by Respect”which is what I shared with President Calderon. He listened and agreed heartily! One of his cabinet members requested that More Than Rice be translated into Spanish for distribution in bookstores and high schools. We will keep you posted on this. Please pray about this request.
I also got to speak several times with Margarita, his wife. She is sweet and humble, and pictures do not do her justice, she is beautiful! She did take a photo with me, by her request, since there were supposed to be NO pictures of she nor the President that day. She told her staff she wanted one for me; you will see it attached. She signed my name tag, it reads: “Pamala, Thank you for your job and for your love to Mexico.” Margarita Vazala…(I will also frame this)
However the most moving time for me was when I got to meet about 16 young girls who were rescued from human traffickers and were living in a halfway house that a congress woman has established. They stole my heart, especially one. She was about 11, and breathtakingly beautiful! She hugged me tightly with tears running down her little brown face and said, “I will miss you!” Of course I cried and cried for her later! These were not teenagers, but children ages 7-12! How can we sleep at night knowing about this horror? I want to do more, pray that I will know how to!
Mexican Children Perform Skit to Show the Tragedy of Human Trafficking:
Now for the not so spiritual stuff: The Presidential lunch itself! It was FABULOUS! I did save the small descriptive menu that was beside my plate to frame. I will give highlights. Everything was served on silver and fine china, flowers from all over Mexico decked out the white canopy covered tables, nestled in the gardens near Los Pinos residence.
More could be said, but enough for now. Thank you so much again…It was an experience I will treasure for all of my life.
Customs was a breeze, I always felt safe.
Together, we CAN make a difference, Pamala
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