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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

2/18/2012 (3 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Disappearance of daughter prompted woman into activism

Tragedy can prompt people to do great things far beyond their limited sphere. A foremost example: Argentinean mother Susana Trimarco began a ceaseless search to find her daughter. In the process, she discovered how human trafficking rings operate, how they enjoy the apparent protection of the police -- and along the way, managed to help rescue 129 victims of forced prostitution.

Argentinean mother Susana Trimarco began a ceaseless search to find her daughter. In the process, she discovered how human trafficking rings operate, how they enjoy the apparent protection of the police -- and along the way, managed to help rescue 129 victims of forced prostitution.

Argentinean mother Susana Trimarco began a ceaseless search to find her daughter. In the process, she discovered how human trafficking rings operate, how they enjoy the apparent protection of the police -- and along the way, managed to help rescue 129 victims of forced prostitution.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

2/18/2012 (3 years ago)

Published in Americas

Keywords: Argentina, prostitution, human trafficking, missing girl


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Trimarco was granted the International Women of Courage Award by the U.S. State Department in 2007. In honor of her daughter, Trimarco later set up the María de Los Angeles Foundation to Combat Human Trafficking.

Ten long years after her disappearance, trial is set for the suspects in María de los Ángeles, "Marita" Verón got underway this month.

Seven men and six women are accused of having had contact with Verón in different brothels, based on the testimony of women rescued from the sex rings. All are charged with deprivation of liberty and promotion of prostitution.

It is hoped that clues will emerge in court about what ultimately happened to Verón.

The lawsuit filed by Trimarco helped press Congress to pass a law on prevention and punishment of trafficking in 2008, and boosted the creation of a national program to prevent and eradicate trafficking and provide support to victims.

"The only thing I want is to find Marita. My terrible suffering started for me when she disappeared," Trimarco testified in court this week.

Trimarco, accompanied by her 13-year-old granddaughter, Verón's daughter, discovered that Marita was sold to a brothel in the northwest province of La Rioja, and went there to try to find her in 2003.

Posing as a former prostitute seeking to recruit young women for a brothel, Trimarco visited houses of prostitution in La Rioja and other provinces in the northwest.

While prostitution is legal in this South American country, organized prostitution involving brothels, prostitution rings, or pimping remains illegal.

Along with her husband Daniel Verón, who died of a heart attack in 2010, Trimarco helped rescue a number of young women from Argentina and other countries that had been stripped of their legal documents, held against their will, forced into prostitution and cut off from their families.

She never found her daughter. Some of the young women who were rescued said they had seen Verón, drugged and haggard, holding a baby boy who was apparently fathered by a pimp. The witnesses also said they later heard that she was in Spain.

"Cases like that of Marita Verón have an impact and give visibility to the problem of trafficking because they are extreme cases involving middle-class women who did not form part of any prostitution ring. But all cases of exploitation must be condemned," activist Liliana Azaraf said.

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