Chilpancingo, Gro.- Conchita was 12 years old when she left her town to flee from the tradition by which women are given in marriage.
At her young age, Conchita saw how her sisters, her cousins, her childhood friends lived, and she decided that she did not want to repeat those stories, so common in Santa Cruz, municipality of Copanatoyac , in the Mountain of Guerrero.
They were going to marry her off to Jorge, a man who was passing through the area, where the company he worked for was building a road.
Sale of girls in Guerrero: Evelyn Salgado calls for UN intervention
Don Jorge visited her at her house, and the mother of her youngest asked him to get ready when she was about to get dark. The man was talking to the teenager, but she was not interested. She told him that she knew the city, where women have many options of stores to buy clothes and shoes.
One day Conchita heard that her father and Jorge were fixing their marriage. She cried to her mother and asked her for help to leave town, and as she could, she left, fleeing the fate that many girls have.
She arrived in Chilpancingo and looked for work. She was hired by a market merchant who needed someone to help take care of her baby while she served customers. In the afternoons, Conchita studied her high school and then finished her degree in Nursing.
Today she visits her family, but she feels sadness because her father has not forgiven her for having embarrassed him by not fulfilling the agreement that she had assumed with Jorge.
Sale of girls in Guerrero: "We will fight her, but she is the exception, not the rule," says AMLO
Conchita's story is that of many girls from various indigenous communities in the La Montaña region.
The sale of girls is a practice that was made visible again after the media revealed that a woman lost her triplets after being attacked by a community police officer, when she brought her daughters and their mother, who had been arrested.
The arrest was at the request of Angélica's father-in-law, a 15-year-old girl who had been sold and given in marriage at the age of 13 in the community of Dos Ríos, in Cochoapa el Grande, municipality of La Montaña.
The minor's husband went to work in the United States and the girl stayed with her in-laws. However, the father-in-law tried to rape her for the fourth time and she did not allow it and escaped, so the man denounced that the minor did not obey him and that he would return her, but asked to be paid more than 200 thousand pesos for what he had given. of "dowry". The family told her that she had no money and that is why three minors and the grandmother were imprisoned.
This fact attracted the attention of the media and became known nationally.
Training courses and awareness workshops are given, according to the secretary of Indigenous and Afro-Mexican Affairs, Reyna Mejía Morales, who acknowledged that it will not be enough, "but something must be started."
After declaring "never again the sale of girls in Guerrero", Governor Evelyn Salgado Pineda announced that she will request the support of UN-Women to draw up a strategy that allows progress in the fight against this type of violence.
Last week, during a visit to Guerrero, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador minimized the problem by considering that the sale of minors is an exception because communities have many values.
"It is not a reason to question anyone," he recently declared in one of his morning sessions.
Marina Reyna Aguilar, director of the association Against violence against women, lamented that the official figures do not reflect at all the reality experienced by girls from indigenous communities who continue to be victims of human trafficking, because it is a crime and must be punished.
According to the National Public Security System, since 2016, when the first gender alert was generated, 4 investigation folders were opened in the state prosecutor's office; in 2017 there were 3, in 2018 there were 11; in 2019 there were 19; in 2020 there were 17, and so far in 2021 there are 4.
Reyna Aguilar explained that for some indigenous communities it is justifiable, as part of their uses and customs, to sell girls and women "although in reality it is a crime."
She pointed out that these facts are not reported "because it is something that the indigenous people are used to."
The activist herself maintained that in Guerrero "we know that this is real, but that it is not denounced and it means that there continues to be a constant violation of human rights."
He recalled that authorities of the 3 levels of government carry out activities and strategies under the coordination of the Secretariat for Women, the Secretariat for Indigenous and Afro-Mexican Affairs, as well as the local prosecutor's office, "but obviously there have not been the desired results and trafficking of people continues to happen”.
At least 300,000 girls have been sold and given in marriage in Guerrero, according to Martha Givaudan, president of the organization "I want, I can," with offices in Metlatónoc, another indigenous municipality in La Montaña.
She, although she accepted that there are no exact figures, because most of these marriage arrangements are not registered, especially since marriages with minors have been prohibited since 2019.
For the president of the Equality Commission of the local Congress, Gabriela Bernal Reséndiz, it is unfortunate that President López Obrador minimizes the sale of girls, and she considered that "he has not been well informed of what actually happens."
She recognized that the violation of the fundamental rights of girls from some indigenous communities in La Montaña is constant.
She acknowledged Governor Salgado Pineda's statement:
“We are pleased with this position and we will have to wait for immediate action to be taken in this regard, it is also necessary to promote from Congress laws that guarantee the protection of our girls and that those who promote human trafficking, the trafficking of girls, be punished. ”.
Bernal assured that from the local Congress the competent authorities will be required to enforce the law, "to apply it in such serious crimes as human trafficking."