COLOMBIA: Because she is a woman!

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CPTnet
18 October 2012
COLOMBIA: Because
she is a woman!

by Ramyar Hassani

Gloria, a
leader and organizer from the Popular Women’s Organization (OFP), and I responded to an emergency
accompaniment request. Minutes before calling CPT, Gloria had
received a call from a friend at social services asking for support for a young
woman who was attempting to flee from a situation of sexual slavery.

 

Yasmin* shared
with us her story at the Prosecutor General’s office.

“I am from Medellin,
but live in Bogota. I have a child,
and no family to support me. I have a mother but…. I got an offer to work in
Barranca in a family home, but when I arrived I realized it was a brothel.” She
explained that on fleeing the brothel, she went to one of the small shops close
to the bus station where the owner, a woman, helped her get to the police
station. From there she was directed to the Prosecutor General’s Office.

After filing a
report, Yasmin decided she wanted to travel to Bucaramanga
where she would be safer. Gloria and I went with her to the bus station and she
and Gloria exchanged contact information.

As an organization,
the OFP tries to document and follow up on these cases and provide support or
accompaniment to victims who are under continued danger or threat. If the
person needs to travel to another city, they provide contacts at the
destination. Unfortunately, most victims do not have access to accompaniment from
organizations like the OFP.

After buying
her bus ticket, we returned to the shop to pick up Yasmin’s bag. “Hola amiga! que tal?” the shopkeeper’s daughter
said with a mix of concern and happiness. After hugs, Gloria thanked them for
their kindness and gave them her phone number. Shopkeepers close to the bus
station often notice these kinds of situations.

Gloria and the
bus driver exchanged phone numbers before the evening trip to keep in touch and
confirm Yasmin’s safe arrival.

Yasmin said
good-bye, her sense of happiness for her immediate safety tempered by the
constant danger she faces just because she is a woman!

*not her real name

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