Remarks by Charge D’Affaires Mark Johnson at the “Corazón Azul” Campaign Launch

Charge D’Affaires Mark Johnson
Wednesday, October 11, 7:00 PM, CIFCO


** This translation is provided as a courtesy. Only the original Spanish copy should be considered authoritative.

Tonight I want to talk to you about a young woman who came to San Salvador from Sonsonate five years ago. Her brother had promised her that she would go to work as a babysitter. Instead, he left her at a brothel, where she was sexually exploited for a year.

This is not just a stroy. This is the reality of million of women in the world. It is the reality of hundreds of victims in El Salvador.

Human trafficking is present even in places where we do not believe it exists. Not only in the sexual exploitation of women, most of them being minors, but also in forced unions, in fraudulent adoptions, in the trade of pornographic material. 

This is a crime that affects the most vulnerable people in our societies, taking advantage of the extreme conditions of poverty and insecurity in which they live.

El Salvador has made significant progress in combating this crime, such as establishing the  Special Law against Trafficking in Persons and the National Directorate for Victim Assistance, as well as specialized units in the PNC and in the Office of the Attorney General Republic. These are significant steps not only towards the capture of perpetrators, but also for the recovery and support of victims.

Let me continue the story of the young woman. She was rescued, and it is thanks to the work of different institutions and her own determination, she now has the opportunity to have a different, much brighter,  future.

Her will to move forward, her courage to start a new life, reminds us that this cycle can be broken, and it is to these people to whom we owe our best efforts as governments; as allies in this struggle. Because, in addition to helping the victims of these atrocities, we need to work together to prevent such situations from happening in the first place.

Blue Heart is part of these efforts, it is a way of telling all these people who suffer because of this crime, that they are not alone. To the children in forced to beg, to the girls being sold like  livestock, to the victims of forced marriages, we say: we see you, we hear you and we will support you. We all have a responsibility to do even more to change the situation of all these people. That is why we are here tonight, members of the diplomatic corps, the government of El Salvador and the private sector.

Every citizen can act and — more importantly — must act. You must learn to recognize the signs of possible victims and perpetrators. As consumers you must insist that  businesses are free of forced labor. As men and women, we must stand together to oppose gender violence. 

Real transformation occurs when all sectors take responsibility and get involved, when all citizens take a leading role in the defense of human rights.

And the question we have to ask ourselves is: what are we doing now to change the reality of these victims?

Many thanks.

** This translation is provided as a courtesy. Only the original Spanish copy should be considered authoritative.