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While the U.S. government helped to write sections of the CRC, the U.S. Senate has still not completely ratified the international treaty on the Rights of the Child because of ongoing contentions concerning sections of the Convention which prevent jurisprudence and sentencing against children under the age of 18. Currently inside the United States, numerous separate states continue today to charge and sentence children under the age of 18, which clearly goes against tenants of the treaty itself, leaving the U.S. laws far behind and outside the guidelines and jurisdictions of the CRC.
The Colombian government, in contrast, seems publicly to realize a greater need for the guidelines provided by the CRC. National Police have rounded up child prostitutes on several occasions and brought them to the Renacer Institute, a nonprofit organization which offers child prostitutes room, board, and education in exchange for a promise to stop working. Established as a nonprofit in 1994, the foundation has two houses that can support around 60 children. The Colombia Journal cites the example of Carolina and her sister, who ran away from their impoverished Bogota neighborhood in their mid-teens in order to escape familial abuse. It wasn’t long before the two girls were working the streets of Bogota, making an income as prostitutes. Several months later, they were rounded up by police and taken to Renacer. The National Police also run “Colombia Without Prostitution,” a prevention program aimed at preventing child prostitution through community and family education. The government has also collaborated with various NGOs to create a Plan of Action on Child Sexual Abuse in relation to its signing of the Convention of the Rights of the Child. (gvnet.com)
That said, the government’s role though has been unpredictable, fluctuating between support of the children, neutrality, and enmity. According to Human Rights Watch, police have periodically been suspected of waging war on street children rather than helping them, sometimes even shooting them on the streets. The government is also a major donor to Renacer, but has significantly cut funds in the past.
Despite difficulties, Renacer continues to be devoted to the cause of getting child prostitutes off the streets. Stella Cardenas Ovalle, Founding Member and Director of the Renacer Foundation, has, since 2001, been working hard to influence government policy and to steady law enforcement policies. Ovalle is building a long-term alliance of child protection organizations, like Renacer, that are only now beginning to network together. Using the power of numbers and statistics, the network will keep legal policy informed and work steadily to stimulate public awareness. The alliance will, if Ovalle’s projections prove correct, be today’s “most powerful catalyzing agent in the fight against commercial exploitation of children.” (Ashoka.)
So far, the Fundacion Renacer has worked with ECPAT International (End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes), the Bogota District Council for the Comprehensive Care of Child Victims of Abuse and Sexual Exploitation, UNICEF, and many other organizations. Internally, together, they protect child prostitutes through programs ranging from vocational education to psychotherapy, with the ultimate goal of helping them lead relatively settled lives in society.
Still, there remains much work to be done, especially in light of the complexity of the situation.
Sources for this article include the BBC News, the New York Times, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Emory Law – U.S. 2006 Spring Symposium, the UN Special Report on Violence Against Women (1997), the Houston Chronicle, Human Rights Watch, The Colombia Journal, the Associated Press, YouTube, Ashoka, and the World Tourism Organization.
©2007 WNN – Women News Network.
“A Child in Danger is a Child that Cannot Wait” – Colombia and Child Prostitution in Today’s World added by WNN Editors Team on September 16, 2007.
& Carribean General Links.
Colombian escort agency with branches in Bogota, Cali and Medellin. Their escort page shows about a dozen busty women that look like hot Latina models. Most of them are shown with blurred faces.
Bogota escort ads. Not very informative at first sight and pretty slow loading escort page, but they offer promotional rates for internet customers. If I calculate it correctly it’s around 20% off of their regular fees. They say all images are real photos of the girls on offer.
Pretty cool pinboard style escort ads for punters in Bogota and other parts of Colombia. Each pin leads to an individual page with many more images, service rates in Colombian currency and a more or less detailed text description. Most providers have Facebook pages and phone numbers to get in touch with.
Warning to single men traveling to Cartagena.
Warning about street hustlers.
There are a lot of street hustlers hanging around in the tourist areas of Cartagena. Especially in Bocagrande and Laguito. These people are professional scam artists. They are very very good about building your trust and friendship.
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