Lydia Cacho is known by many as the bravest living journalist from Mexico. Over 30 years of service to her country, Cacho has relentlessly targeted the worst of the worst: child sex trafficking and government complicity.
Lydia was raised in a diverse home, and she was encouraged at a young age to explore the unknown by her parents. On numerous occasions, she has described her childhood as ‘growing up on another planet’ -- some might describe her other worldliness as courage, or a lack of fear. Throughout her career, Lydia has pursued justice for those who are not able to pursue it for themselves. She has published hundreds of articles in print media, as well as a host of nonfiction and fiction books. In “Slavery, Inc: the untold story of international sex trafficking”, Lydia travels around the world, goes under-cover and exposes the systemic players exploiting human beings for sadistic pleasure.
In 2003, Cacho wrote a series of articles on the sexual abuse of children for the newspaper Por Esto including a note on a girl abused by a local hotel owner, Jean Succar Kuri. Feeling that the local police had failed to act, Cacho published the book Los Demonios del Edén ("Demons of Eden") in which she accuses Kuri of being involved in a ring of child pornography and prostitution, based on official statements from his alleged victims and even a video of him (filmed with hidden camera). The book also mentions important politicians Emilio Gamboa Patrón and Miguel Ángel Yunes as involved, and accuses Kamel Nacif Borge, a Puebla businessman, of protecting Succar Kuri.
After the book's release, Cacho was arrested in Cancún by Puebla police and driven back to Puebla, 900 miles away. In an interview with Nine Muses, Cacho testified that for more than 20 hours in the car to Puebla she was abuses and tortured by authorities. Just days before Cacho’s ‘arrest’, several telephone conversations between Nacif Borge and Mario Marín, governor of the state of Puebla, were revealed by the Mexico City daily La Jornada, creating a media frenzy. In these conversations, Marín and Nacif Borge discussed putting Cacho in jail as a favour, and having her beaten and abused while in jail to silence her. The recording sparked widespread calls for Marín to be impeached.
Cacho became the first woman in Mexico's history to testify to the Supreme Court for her case. On 29 November 2007, the Court ruled 6 to 4 that Marín had no case to answer in Cacho's arrest, jailing and harassment, a case that the New York Times described as "a setback for journalistic freedom in Mexico" and a step forward for the culture of juridical impunity that plagues the country. The United Nations Human Rights Council (a small group of just 18 international lawyers tasked with hearing the world’s Human Rights cases) advised her to leave the country, recommended that she seek political asylum in another country, and offered her legal assistance and assistance in gaining access to international courts - no small feat. While being held, Cacho was granted the Premio Francisco Ojeda al Valor Periodístico (Francisco Ojeda Award for Journalistic Courage).In May 2008, a few days before she was scheduled to testify at Kuri's trial, Cacho was almost killed when the lugnuts on one of her car's wheels were loosened. Nothing seems to slow her down. Last year, the Muses met up with Lydia in Mexico City where she was surviving at a safe house, under-cover. She was in town to release her latest book En Busca de Kayla, a children’s book about exploitation on social media and sex trafficking. Her aim is to help children understand better the world around them and provide tools to avoid trauma. We’re honored to have Lydia on our board. She’s a treasured source of inspiration. If you’d like to reach out to her, or to us, please contact Doris Dorenbaum, Nine Muses Director of Latin American Development | Doris@nine-muses.com |