Colombian Street Gangs Kidnap Girls and Auction Off Their Virginity
Medellin, Colombia: a city that once listed murders, drug trafficking and kidnappings as its main attractions, somehow managed to reinvent its public image. New transit systems, shopping malls and tourism have become mainstay in Medellin -- yet some of the lurid and salacious elements still remain, like the prostitution of underage girls.
In the hillside slums, where street gangs run rabid and the flesh trade is lucrative, Medellin's street gangs lure and entrap girls as young as 10, and they auction them off like cattle or slaves to the highest bidder. The value of the girls lies in the fact that their virginity is being sold. The customers who are usually looking to buy these young women are usually foreign sex tourists or drug tycoons. These women are offered to drug lords and mafia kingpins for orgies, which was an enterprise started by Pablo Escobar.
The gangs that capture these girls usually win them over with material promises that involve high-end restaurants, clothing with expensive labels, cocaine and alcohol, before becoming powerless workers for the gangs. The girls' families are unable to rescue them. The families can either agree to the exchange, move, or wait to be executed by the same vicious hands that stole their child. Because of potential risks, these crimes often go unreported.
The sex trade is legal for women who are 18 and over, which is perhaps how the industry of youth workers has been overlooked by the police. The sale of these young women has become more popular as the city has become more tourist-friendly, which is another possible reason why these transactions are being overlooked, because it is bringing the city more money.
The Medellin gangs are overseers and hustlers, with their hands in everything. They control the movement of drugs in the city, they tax citizens, they resolve disputes and they essentially do whatever they please, because no one challenges them, not even the authorities.