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. 

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

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.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

COLOMBIA / 6 DEC 2021

A series of arrests have revealed that one of Colombia's dominant criminal groups has a strong foothold in Panama, including…

COLOMBIA / 28 SEP 2021

The recent dismantling of a migrant smuggling ring in Colombia has revealed the routes, corruption networks and modus operandi used…

COLOMBIA / 26 OCT 2022

The ELN plays a continuing role in facilitating large-scale cattle smuggling between Colombia and Venezuela.

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Join Us This #GivingTuesday in Exposing Organized Crime

24 NOV 2022

For over twelve years, InSight Crime has contributed to the global dialogue on organized crime and corruption. Our work has provided policymakers, analysts, academics, journalists, and the general public with…

THE ORGANIZATION

Like Crime, Our Coverage Knows No Borders

18 NOV 2022

The nature of global organized crime means that while InSight Crime focuses on Latin America, we also follow criminal dynamics worldwide. InSight Crime investigator Alessandro Ford covers the connections between Latin American and European…

THE ORGANIZATION

Using Data to Expose Crime

11 NOV 2022

Co-director Jeremy McDermott made a virtual presentation at a conference hosted by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). The ‘Sixth International Conference on Governance, Crime, and Justice…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime ON AIR

4 NOV 2022

InSight Crime Co-director Steven Dudley was interviewed for the podcast The Rosenberg Case: A Tale of Murder, Corruption, and Conspiracy in Guatemala, which explores the potential involvement of then president, Álvaro Colom,…

WORK WITH US

Work With Us: Research Internship and Editorial Internship

31 OCT 2022

InSight Crime, a think tank dedicated to the study of organized crime and citizen security in the Americas, is seeking interns and investigators to join its dynamic, multinational team.