J. Malcolm Garcia is a freelance writer and author of The Khaarijee: A Chronicle of Friendship and War in Kabul and What Wars Leave Behind: The Faceless and the Forgotten. He is a recipient of the Studs Terkel Prize for writing about the working classes and the Sigma Delta Chi Award for excellence in journalism.
Along Midwestern highways and interstates, with their hundreds of truck stops and rest stops, hubs for sex trafficking thrive. Sisters throughout the region are educating people to recognize the signs of victimization and are helping survivors recover.
Sr. Magdalena Pascual is one of six Oblate Sisters of the Most Holy Redeemer who does outreach work on La Línea, "The Line," Guatemala City's well-known, notorious red-light district. Seven days a week, nearly 24 hours a day, as many as 250 women or more ranging in age from their early 20s to mid-60s work as prostitutes on a barren, two-block stretch of grim row houses where a weed-covered train track divides the bleak street in half.
In the neighboring Central American countries of Guatemala and Honduras, an estimated 3,000 children under the age of 14 are living with HIV. Two orphanages, Hogar Madre Anna Vitiello in Sumpango, Guatemala, and Hogar Casa Corazón de la Misericordia in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, offer shelter, educational support and a sense of belonging to up to 125 children at a time.
The San Martin mine in the Valle de Siria region of south central Honduras, 90 miles north of the capital city of Tegucigalpa, has been closed since 2009. But its impact on local communities, people living in the area say, continues to this day. "The San Martin mine is a clear example of the environmental damage and the consequences for human health from mining," said anti-mining activist Pedro Landa.