HomeNewsBriefColombia Dismantles Child Sex Ring Allegedly Tied to Beauty Queen
BRIEF

Colombia Dismantles Child Sex Ring Allegedly Tied to Beauty Queen

COLOMBIA / 15 OCT 2014 BY KYRA GURNEY EN

Authorities in Colombia have dismantled three child prostitution rings — including one allegedly involving a beauty queen — highlighting a widespread problem with child sex tourism and the links between the networks involved.

In simultaneous operations on October 12, US and Colombian authorities dismantled child prostitution networks in the cities of Cartagena, Medellin, and Armenia, reported El Tiempo.

According to Semana, five alleged members of the Cartagena ring — including local beauty queen and model Kelly Johana Suarez Moya — were captured while they hosted a party for sex tourists on an island near the city. The victims included 25 minors between the ages of 13 and 17, who told authorities they had been tricked into attending the party. Suarez is accused of recruiting the minors through social media under the guise of a modeling agency.

In Medellin, four individuals were arrested when they attempted to offer child prostitutes to undercover US Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents posing as sex tourists. According to El Tiempo, many of the victims of the ring were reportedly drugged with the synthetic drug 2CB.

Investigations revealed ties between prostitution networks in Cartagena and other parts of the country, reported El Heraldo. According to El Tiempo, the prostitution ring dismantled in Armenia was linked to networks that trafficked children from the coffee region (where Armenia is located) to cities on the Atlantic Coast.

InSight Crime Analysis

In addition to illustrating the tactics employed by child prostitution rings, the recent captures indicate how networks in different regions of Colombia can be interconnected. As illustrated by the case in Medellin, in which a taxi driver helped recruit girls, these rings are often shielded and facilitated by legitimate businesses linked to tourism. Hotels are another major culprit in this regard. 

SEE ALSO: Colombia News and Profiles

Child prostitution is a major problem in Colombia, where, according to 2011 estimates, some 35,000 minors are victims of sexual exploitation. The problem is fueled by sex tourism, especially in tourist hubs like Cartagena where a large number of impoverished children are coerced or forced into prostitution.

Medellin is another child prostitution hub, with young girls in some cases exploited by gangs and sold into the sex trade. Some of these girls are even auctioned off to sex tourists who bid on their virginity. 

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Related Content

EL CHAPO / 20 MAY 2011

U.S. authorities announced the break up of an Arizona gang said to be working for Mexico’s Sinaloa Cartel,…

COLOMBIA / 10 SEP 2013

A former top army commander in Colombia has been sentenced to 19 years and six months in prison for ties…

COLOMBIA / 31 JUL 2018

Colombia's former President Álvaro Uribe is facing an uncertain future after announcing his resignation from the Senate. Now his lawyers are…

Institutional Content

THE ORGANIZATION

Strategic Communications Manager Job Description

12 FEB 2021

InSight Crime is looking for a full-time strategic communications manager. This person needs to be able to work in a fast-paced world of daily news, high-profile investigations, national and international…

THE ORGANIZATION

We Have Updated Our Website

4 FEB 2021

Welcome to our new home page. We have revamped the site to create a better display and reader experience.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Events – Border Crime: The Northern Triangle and Tri-Border Area

ARGENTINA / 25 JAN 2021

Through several rounds of extensive field investigations, our researchers have analyzed and mapped out the main illicit economies and criminal groups present in 39 border departments spread across the six countries of study – the Northern Triangle trio of Guatemala, Honduras, and El…

BRIEF

InSight Crime’s ‘Memo Fantasma’ Investigation Wins Simón Bolívar National Journalism Prize

COLOMBIA / 20 NOV 2020

The staff at InSight Crime was awarded the prestigious Simón Bolívar national journalism prize in Colombia for its two-year investigation into the drug trafficker known as “Memo Fantasma,” which was…

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – From Uncovering Organized Crime to Finding What Works

COLOMBIA / 12 NOV 2020

This project began 10 years ago as an effort to address a problem: the lack of daily coverage, investigative stories and analysis of organized crime in the Americas. …