Prostitution in Cuba
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    With our children, NO!

    With our children, NO! / Yoani Sanchez
    Posted on June 16, 2013

    Just three weeks ago several of us Cuban activists visited Stockholm to
    participate in the Internet Freedom Forum. The highlights of our stay
    there were not only during the sessions of the technology event, but
    also throughout the program of parallel activities. It was extremely
    interesting to visit ECPAT, an NGO that focuses on the fight against
    pornography, prostitution and child trafficking. As often happens, the
    explanation of its work led us to reflect on the impact of such
    reprehensible incidents on the Cuban reality as well. The first thing
    that caught my eye was the absence of an entity or NGO that is dedicated
    specifically to that topic on the island, at least as far as the public
    knows, but there is no doubt that before the Universal Periodic Review
    at the United Nations some official group has designated itself advocate
    for victims of sexual predators.

    If the wall of the Malecón could speak… it would tell us of all those
    young people between 16 and 18 who offer their bodies to tourists for a
    few dollars. Although there are even more children in the meat trade, it
    is at that age that the lack of legal protection is total, because under
    the law prevailing in Cuba they are considered adults. As a result, they
    are left out of any statistics and, in consequence, of any prevention
    and protection program offered by international agencies such as UNICEF.
    Cases of forced teen sex by stepfathers, uncles, older siblings or close
    relatives abound in Cuban towns. A girl of twelve, thirteen or fourteen
    pregnant by an adult, is perceived as common especially in rural areas
    of the country. Not to mention that carnal relations between teachers
    and students in junior and senior high schools have become a normal part
    of our existence.

    Recently the Canadian James McTurk was convicted in Toronto for several
    sexual offenses against children in Cuba, including some as young as
    three. The story has not been published in the national media, but the
    predator was in our country 31 times between 2009 and 2012. It’s not
    credible that immigration authorities so skilled in detecting whether
    Cubans can enter their own country, and customs officials trained to
    find a laptop or a mobile phone on luggage, didn’t realized that
    something was wrong with that man. It is also sad that, given this is
    one of the evils that afflict our society, a group of alarmed parents is
    not even allowed to form a group of citizens to denounce pedophiles and
    to support solidarity for the victims of these criminals. Amid so many
    social issues that are touching the emerging civil society of this
    island, such as the dual currency, low wages, and the need for political
    and party reform, it is also urgent to tackle such a sensitive problem.
    We must say to all these foreign and domestic abusers, “With our
    children, NO!”

    16 June 2013

    Source: “With our children, NO! / Yoani Sanchez | Translating Cuba” –

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