QotD: “Liliana del Carmen Campos Puello accused of being top Colombian pimp”

Glamorous and flamboyant, Liliana del Carmen Campos Puello often posted snaps to her Instagram followers of racy days spent surrounded by beautiful young women in some of Colombia’s most exclusive spots.

Behind the façade, prosecutors say, lay a dark secret: last year the brash 48-year-old woman was arrested and accused of being the country’s biggest pimp. She is now in jail and on trial accused of making a fortune by catering to the dark desires of those visiting the Caribbean coastal city of Cartagena, after her arrest last year along with 17 others in a huge police sting known as Operation Vesta.

Prosecutors allege that Ms Campos Puello, nicknamed “La Madame”, forced young women to work in her international sex-trafficking ring and provided them to clients such as celebrities, policemen and politicians.

While Ms Campos Puello vehemently denies the accusations, her trial has highlighted Colombia’s insidious problem with sex tourism.

During the Eighties and Nineties Colombia was a no-go zone for travellers as a war involving left-wing guerrillas, drug traffickers and right-wing paramilitaries turned it into a near-failed state. But tourism has been booming since a peace deal in 2016 ended half a century of conflict, and Cartagena is the country’s biggest tourist trap. The beaches and colonial architecture of the Unesco World Heritage site attract millions of visitors each year.

But anyone wandering around the city’s old town will come across females, many very young, offering their services. Prostitution in Colombia is legal but it is alleged that Ms Campos Puello coerced women, often from poor backgrounds, into the trade and trafficked them overseas. Others caught in Operation Vesta were alleged to have trafficked children.

Despite admitting to having an escort agency, Ms Campos Puello claims that those involved chose to be so and were always older than 18. Mario Gómez Jiménez, the chief prosecutor, said that Ms Campos Puello had close to 400 women in the network.

“Never, never have there been minors involved,” Ms Campos Puello told local media in an interview from prison.

She has been kept in jail since her arrest last year. She has since been accused of continuing to run her agency and also threatening a journalist via her social media accounts.

Last year Néstor Humberto Martínez, Colombia’s former chief prosecutor, described the victims in the case as “true 21st-century sex slaves”.

The US-aided Operation Vesta led to 17 other people being arrested, including three Israelis who “had built a network of human trafficking, sex tourism and child exploitation that plagued Colombia for over a decade”. One navy official who has been jailed tattooed his initials on the bodies of the underage girls he raped. About 250 victims have been identified.

Mr Gómez said he hoped Operation Vesta would “open the eyes of the state, the government and society”.

Most of Cartagena is poor and the sex trade is seen as an easy way out of poverty for many young women.

“It’s very difficult to believe just one case will radically change the country. But emblematic cases such as this one give us hope,” Mr Gómez said. “We hope it could give some direction and help with the next step with many of the women who are involved in this trade. If the government could help, financially, those trapped in this trade and provide better opportunities, such as funds to set up small businesses, that would be a turning point.”

(source)

3 responses

  1. thewickedwitchofse@hotmail.com

    I’d like to know who the lying assholes were who reported this content as abusive and FB misogynist humps wouldn’t allow me to SHARE IT. F’n BS. I cut and pasted it. Hopefully it stuck to my wall!

  2. Hello,

    I have found this blog through a Reddit community. Last night, someone close to me was raped via stealthing, which is somehow not illegal in the United States. I had to help her buy Plan-B and figure out how to navigated Planned Parenthood. Another day, another woman that I love is impacted by sexual violence.

    I have always struggled with the issue of violent pornography. My mother died when I was a child. In retrospect, I experienced neglect, abuse, sexism, bullying, and an utter failure of nurturance without my biological parent to protect me. My issue with violent porn is that I discovered its existence at the age of 9 on my father’s computer. Specifically, torture porn: I even remember the name of the website and refuse to repeat it for someone will wank off to it if it still exists.

    I could not reconcile the fact that my parent who told me I could be whomever I wanted to be liked to watch hours of women being electrocuted with nipple clamps. I was nine and still can remember that issue. Predictably, I went on to struggle with sexual violence for my whole life and he went on to remarry a very abusive wife.

    I want to thank you for this blog. I read the post and al the comments on the post with a video of a woman whose contract was violated. I did not watch the video because it would trigger my C-PTSD. Throughout my life in the ‘90s and ‘00s, there was never a narrative against sexualized violence. I have read 48 pages of this blog and that post. Your comments had me cheering.

    I’m wondering if you can direct me to sources of healing from my early exposure to this menace. I have yet to find a therapist adequately suited to treat my trauma and had trauma therapists, essentially, refer me elsewhere for being ‘too fucked up.’ Intellectually, the lib fems and sex positivism have told me to shut-up and support pornography. My ACE score is off the charts. I struggle to relate to others, but do not want to be institutionalized and feel that I am not the one with the problem — the people who harmed me then were and will never get help — as they do not believe their behavior is or ever was wrong.

    Just throwing this out there because I don’t know what to do now.

    PS not sure if this comment is going through

  3. Hi Cyborginthewind,

    Thank you for your comment, and I am so sorry to hear about your experiences.

    With regards to finding therapy/healing, you will need to do a lot of hunting around to find a good therapist with a feminist approach to your situation, and I know that is not an easy task.

    Feminist therapy (and my apologies if you already know all this, the next reader may not) recognises that the individual exists in a political context, that they are not just something ‘damaged’/‘broken’ and in need of fixing in a vacuum.

    https://www.goodtherapy.org/blog/theory-and-techniques-of-feminist-therapy/
    https://www.goodtherapy.org/learn-about-therapy/types/feminist-therapy
    https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/therapy-types/feminist-therapy

    I’m sure there are on-line resources, although you will probably need to hunt around for something suitable, this is one tumblr blog I follow that may be useful:

    https://madwomenfightback.tumblr.com/

    I put “feminist therapy online help” into a search engine, and if you happen to live in Massachusetts, this result was near the top:

    http://www.feministtherapyonline.com/

    I’m sure there are others out there.

    Thinking longer-term, the writing from second-wave feminism may be useful, for understanding your situation within the context of women’s oppression. Andrea Dworkin is the best place to start:

    http://www.nostatusquo.com/ACLU/dworkin/

    I’m not sure how helpful this all is, if you would like to talk to me privately via email let me know (you can leave a comment ‘not for publication’ here).

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