In the Mountain of Guerrero, the girls have a price in a kind of slavery in the middle of the 21st century.
They pay for girls from the age of 9 from 40,000 to 200,000 pesos or even pay with cattle or beer, a practice attributed to the “uses and customs” of the communities against which the authorities remain apathetic.
Grupo REFORMA interviewed various indigenous women, who corroborated the use of this practice through their own experience.
“They put a price on you and that’s how they sell you without asking, without warning,” said Julia, an indigenous woman who was sold by her grandfather when she was 13 years old. “You have no option to say no.”
It is estimated that 300,000 girls have been sold for marriage in Guerrero, but there are no exact figures since most of these unions are not registered, said Martha Givaudan, president of the non-governmental organization “Yo Quiero Yo Puedo“, which works in the municipality of Metlatónoc.
The government of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who claims to support the indigenous people, has not taken measures to stop this practice, despite the fact that it violates federal law.
“Nobody in the town helps us, not the municipality, not the state, not the federal government,” said Julia, who managed to escape after her husband beat her for years.
“It is said that the uses and customs protect, but in reality, they allow the abuse of girls and women.”
Mariana was also sold as a child and told a similar story.
“Social programs do not reach our towns,” he said, “and even less to help women.
” In fact, before the ‘Prospera’ program helped something, but in recent years no resources or programs have arrived for this, “he continued “Many girls are suffering.”
Mariana questioned why the authorities allow these abuses.
“There is drug and arms trafficking in the towns, although this is not part of indigenous customs and uses.
“Why do the authorities allow the sale of girls to continue as if they were animals, relying on customs and traditions?” He said. “Do drugs enter and not basic human rights?”
Another victim of this practice, Ana, also claimed the role of the military in her communities.
“The military that comes to town, why don’t they defend us?” Ana said. “On the contrary, they take advantage of us too and hurt us.”
In addition to being sold, the girls often have to work for the family that paid for them, to “recover” the debt from their sale, which makes it “a double bondage,” Givaudan said.
“It may be that a man decides to buy a girl or that he acquires her for his son, it is so that someone has a wife,” he described.
“Here, in addition to the sexual exploitation that this implies, it also has to do with the woman going to work at home, making tortillas, food, and going out to plant, have children,” the president added. of the NGO.
“All the traditional role is being imposed on a girl when she should be in school.”
Givaudan also related the serious problem of the pregnancy of the purchased girls.
“The problems associated with pregnancy occur not even in adolescence, but in puberty,” he explained, “with the health consequences that this has, to the extent that the lives of girls are put at risk, who become Premature mothers with high-risk babies:
“This is how this cycle of violence and poverty is perpetuated.”
The State of Guerrero ranks second in teenage pregnancies. In this entity, there are two out of every 10 births of babies whose mothers are under 19 years of age.
“It is not only a problem of gender but of rights, poverty, health, which implies a series of actions that have to be countered,” said Givaudan.