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17.05.2013 - News

Colombia: A third foreigner sentenced for sexual exploitation

From Ecuador, Jorge Ignacio Navarrete, better known under the name of ‘Anavarrete’, was a prominent figure in Clemencia, a small town of 10,000 inhabitants in the Bolivar department. This wealthy man was out of place in the rural, extremely poor area.

Like every 16 July on the feast of the Virgen del Carmen, this man used his status to shower gifts on the poor children from the neighbourhood, so as to get to know them. He was not ungenerous with his presents – especially for Maria*, a 13-year old girl from a poverty-stricken family to whom he gave clothes and shoes. But one day, profiting from all this, he took young Maria to one of his houses outside the town, and abused her there.

A long and complicated hunt

On hearing about this, the Tdh teams immediately took the matter in hand. Initially, despite extensive evidence and accounts of the abuse, the public prosecutor in charge of the affair decided not to proceed with the arrest of ‘Anavarrete’, giving the man time to flee to Ecuador or Panama. Later he came back to the region with impunity, quite sure of not being pestered by the authorities. In view of this intolerable situation, Tdh’s lawyer in the case sent a petition to the local prosecutor to get an explanation of why the Judicial Police had not proceeded to arrest the accused.

After months of negligence and struggles to see justice done, José Ignacio Navarrete was finally taken in for questioning and later sentenced to 55 months in prison and fined 14,000 dollars compensation for Maria. Far from his palatial home life, this man is now rotting in jail.

‘Anavarrete’ is the third foreigner sentenced in Colombia for sexual exploitation due to the work of Tdh, after the Italian Paolo Paravisanni received 15 years and the Englishman Paul Brailsford got 20 years imprisonment. However, these three men are certainly not the only ones, and Tdh’s fight continues, together with all the actors connected to child protection.

*not her real name

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