A joint effort by US and Colombian authorities have captured 9 people in Colombia, including Colombians and a US citizen, and 1 person in New York, charged with running a human trafficking, child prostitution and pornography operation across international borders. Multiple INTERPOL blue notices were activated against additional foreign nationals.
An INTERPOL Blue Notice is a request for foreign governments to cooperate in intelligence gathering with respect to a suspect’s identity, location, and activities in relation to a specific crime.
A two year long investigation by Colombian and US authorities led to the arrests, after significant evidence was collected, according to the Colombian Attorney General’s office, that will allow them to prosecute the defendants with over 20 years of pimping and organized prostitution activities. The criminal network, operating in Medellín and other tourist locations, exploited children and adolescents for sexually depraved foreigners.
In addition to the prostitution and trafficking charges, “Operation Breaking Chains” led to charges for illegal possession of firearms and ammunition. The Colombian government has initiated procedures to seize title to a Medellin hotel that participated in the racket and supported the operation of an illicit child pornography production company. These crimes carry potential sentences of between 14 and 25 years.
“Colombia welcomes foreigners who visit our country with open arms, but not those who come to commit crimes against our children and adolescents, who must be prosecuted with the full weight of the law. We continue to work for legal and responsible tourism,” said Colombia’s Vice Minister of Tourism, Julián Guerrero Orozco.
Cooperation by the US Embassy and the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency led to the capture of a US citizen in New York, and INTERPOL Blue Notices have been activated against three other fugitives, one a Puerto Rican.
Colombia has captured 3,617 people so far in 2019 for what it calls “crimes against childhood.”
In Colombia, prostitution by an independent adult is not a prosecutable crime, but any organization of prostitution (irrespective of age), or any commercial sexual activity involving minors is strictly forbidden and aggressively prosecuted.