Gangs operating in the Colombian city of Medellin manage an underage human trafficking syndicate where the virginity of a child is auctioned off to the highest bidder.
According to investigations conducted by a non-governmental organization, gang members recruit girls as young as ten to be a part of their organization. Although some girls are passed around by the gang members, some are offered up as virgins to international sex tourists who visit Colombia.
In an interview with Insight Crime, the researcher stated that gangs run online auctions where virgin girls are offered for sale to the highest bidder. Each online customer is issued a secret PIN number to access the site. Once logged in, the customer is able to view up to 60 girls that are available for purchase. Customers have bid up to $2,600 on the website. Once the auction is completed, the site is taken down and all pictures of the girls are destroyed.
In addition to the auctions, there has also been reports that virgin girls are offered by human traffickers to Colombian’s drug cartels and paramilitary officers. Once the head official and other officers or cartel members are done with the girl, she is sent away to become a street prostitute.
Many of the young girls who end up in these auctions disappear from society. According to the Mayor’s office, nearly 600 children have disappeared in 2013, with a majority of the children missing being girls. Data from various criminal justice departments state that the number of children missing has been increasing each year.
Source: James Bargent, “Children, Sex and Gangs in Medellin,” Insight Crime, December 16, 2013.