Defending Human Rights: The Amazing Journey of a Mexican Journalist
Award-winning journalist and human rights advocate Lydia Cacho will visit the UO to deliver the 2014 “Bartolomé de las Casas Lecture in Latin American Studies”
Unfortunately, this talk has been cancelled.
Born in Cancún, Mexico, in 1963, Lydia Cacho is widely recognized as one of the most courageous journalists in the world for her reports on domestic violence, child prostitution, organized crime, and political corruption.
She began her career as a journalist in the mid-1980s, working for the newspaper Novedades de Cancún, in Mexico’s eastern state of Quintana Roo, on the Yucatán Peninsula. In the 1990s Cacho wrote a series of articles about the prostitution of Cuban and Argentine girls in the city of Cancún. In 2003, Cacho published another series on the sexual abuse of minors for the newspaper Por Esto, including a report on a girl abused by a local hotel owner.
In 2005 Cacho published her book Los Demonios del Edén: El Poder Que Protege a la Pornografía Infantil (“The Demons of Eden: The Power That Protects Child Pornography”), in which she accused powerful businessmen and politicians of being involved in a child pornography ring operating in Cancún and the United States. In retaliation, she was sent to prison and subjected to violence and attempted rape and received numerous death threats. She has confronted her attackers in court and has refused to leave Mexico despite the multiple threats she has received and the offers of asylum made by foreign countries. In 2009, the Inter-American Human Rights Commission ordered the Mexican government to implement protection measures for her, and in 2012 Amnesty International mobilized its members worldwide in a campaign to demand protection for her given the death threats she continued to receive.
Her most recent book, Slavery Inc. The Untold Story of International Sex Trafficking (2012), follows the trail of the traffickers and their victims from Mexico to Turkey, Thailand to Iraq, Georgia to the UK, to expose the trade’s hidden links with the tourist industry, internet pornography, drugs and arms smuggling, the selling of body organs, money laundering, and even terrorism.
Talking to the IFEX Global Forum on Freedom of Expression in June 2009 in Oslo, Norway, Cacho said: “When I was tortured and imprisoned for publishing a story about a network of politicians, organized crime, child pornography and sex tourism, I was confronted with the dilemma: ‘Should I keep going? Should I continue to practice journalism in a country controlled by only 300 powerful men, corrupted and rich? Was there any point in demanding justice or freedom in a country where nine out of 10 crimes are never investigated? Was it worth risking my life and my freedom?’ Of course the answer was ‘Yes!’”
Ms. Cacho is also the founder and Director of the “Centro Integral de Atención a las Mujeres” in Cancún, an NGO that provides support to victims of domestic and sexual violence and sex trafficking.
She is the recipient of numerous awards, including the International Press Institute’s World Press Freedom Hero Award; the Amnesty International Ginetta Sagan Award for Women’s and Children’s Rights; the International Women’s Media Foundation Courage in Journalism Award; the Oxfam Novib/PEN Award; the UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize; the Wallenberg Medal from the University of Michigan; the PEN/Pinter Prize as an International Writer of Courage; the International Hrant Dink Award; the Civil Courage Prize of The Train Foundation; and the Olof Palme Prize (shared with Italian journalist Roberto Saviano).
Lydia Cacho’s visit to deliver the 2014 Las Casas Lecture is made possible thanks to the co-sponsorship and financial support of the Oregon Humanities Center and its 2013-2014 “Vulnerable” Theme; the School of Journalism and Communication; the Department of Romance Languages; the Office of International Affairs and its Global Studies Institute; the Center for Latino/a and Latin American Studies; the Wayne Morse Center for Law and Politics; and the Center for the Study of Women in Society and the 2014 Lorwin Lectureship on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (funded by a gift from Val and Madge Lorwin to the University of Oregon College of Arts and Sciences and School of Law).
For further information please contact Carlos Aguirre at firstname.lastname@example.org or 541-346-5905.