Much like the large drug trafficking enterprises, sex trafficking cartels, like Los Lenones, represent a billion-dollar industry that caters to specific orders from American perverts with money to burn. Gangsters prey on girls who dream of going to El Norte. After a gang member cajoles the girl a bit, he gets her alone and then beats, drugs, and kidnaps her. Most of the women sold are Mexican, though hooligans smuggle women from all corners of the globe into the U.S. via Mexico because the border is wide open, the easiest route into the affluent gringo market (1).
It happens on a regular basis. Take the Los Angeles Times story of October 27, 2009. Federal officials arrested almost 700 people, including 60 suspected pimps, in a three-day crackdown on child prostitution. The youngest victim was a 10 years old Mexican girl, authorities say.
Like the drugs Mexican Mafiosos sell to their gringo neighbors, so too, the sex trade signals how impoverished Mexico's middle class has become, if there ever was one to begin with. Kids don't become mobsters for the love of a criminal career. Ask most any gangster why they commit horrible crimes, they'll tell you they join a gang because it's the family they never had. They live outside the law for the money that gives them some sense of dignity and respect. Almost all have no education, but even if they did, the Mexican economy has always been in such shambles that schooling would not necessarily improve their lot. The most seemingly logical solutions to the poverty of many are the drug and sex trades.
"Slaves had the royal brand as well as their successive owners' initials seared into their faces."--Mexico Unconquered by John Gibler
Out of desperation large parts of the Mexican population have turned to destructive and illegal business operations in order to piece together a viable living in a brutal culture of presidential sell-outs to the wealthy and economic policies favoring the feudal lords.
Why is Mexico so different from its northern neighbor? This is the question that essayist Octavio Paz attempted to answer decades ago. Since Paz's insights, many developments have widened the gap between Mexico and the U.S. Paz probably never imagined that large organized crime syndicates would generate one of the largest parts of Mexico's economy by exporting drugs and sex slaves to gringoland's lucrative buyers who crave exotic experiences to escape the dog-eat-dog reality they inhabit. Yet, the more we look into the apparent chasm between the two countries, the more we find similarities.
Fifty years after Paz's observations, Mexico is still under the yoke of the Catholic Church. It is still not free of economic imperialism and hardly has any heavy industry. Its economy reflects only increases in monopolized industries. Mexico's authoritarian theocracy has not evolved much since the Spanish conquistadors converted the Indians to Christianity at the point of a sword and established a feudal society despite a revolution or two.
Meanwhile Americans' obsession with religious fervor often pulls the U.S. into the same elitist cesspool, as most obviously demonstrated during W's administration when the neoconservatives had their decade of neoliberal economic policies--liberal only in the sense that a few corporations enjoy unleashed, laissez-faire freedom to dominate our society and to overrun democratic processes. This is what drove the U.S. into its current financial disaster. This is only one of many things that the U.S. shares with its southern third-world neighbor.
The U.S.'s penchant for a theocratic, authoritarian regime resembles the on-off cravings of a cocaine addiction, a hate-love thirst for a self-destructive escape from the real world. Another point that America holds in common with its southern neighbor is the perverse love affaire with neoliberal-style economics shared by its two political parties--the Democrats and Republicans. This has become especially flagrant now that Barack Obama and the Democrat-majority Senate and Congress have not found the will to impose a healthcare bill that meets the standards of other industrialized countries, including Japan and all of Europe. Compared to Europeans, Americans pay double for a less effective healthcare system. Some fifty-thousand Americans die every year because they have no access to healthcare. That's many times more American casualties than in ten years of the so-called war against terrorism.
Nor has our two-party system been able to solve the financial meltdown. The banks do not want regulation and our government bows in submission to their request. Our government obeys the dictates of the large corporations by not reforming and regulating the financial system that remains in its current status quo of a cannibal capitalism, characteristic of both Mexico and the U.S. Millions of Americans have lost their homes and their jobs. Meanwhile, we do not want "socialism," cry out the neoliberalists in their billion dollar propaganda machines, so to hell with consumer protections and any other kind of government oversight:
Elected in the midst of a crushing economic crisis brought on by a decade of orgiastic deregulation and unchecked greed, Obama had a clear mandate to rein in Wall Street and remake the entire structure of the American economy. What he did instead was ship even his most marginally progressive campaign adviser off to various bureaucratic Siberias, while packing the key economic positions in his White House with the very people caused the crisis in the first place. The new team of bubble-fattened ex-bankers and laissez-faire intellectuals then proceeded to sell us all out, instituting a massive, trickle up bailout and systematically gutting regulatory reform from the inside.--Rolling Stone magazine, December 10, 2009, Obama's Big Sellout, Matt Taibbi.
Obama can now be saute'ed in a skillet over hell's stove as it is ironic that our two-party system resembles the one party system in communist China while we, as voters, have a choice between neoliberal economic policies or neoliberal economic policies. Obama and other Democrat politicians campaigned to offer new alternatives to Milton Freidman's version of the world. Once in office, though, the promise of "change you can believe in" falls into the shadows as the dominant corporations flash wads of campaign contributions to our political leaders.
Just as in Mexico, where the leaders of as many as three or four political parties are enthralled with neoliberal economics, so too, in the U.S. the leaders of the Democrat and Republican parties act as twins in their lust for the same policies that allow corporations to take over the role of government and that make politicians and the captains of industry richer at the expense of the middle class. Politicians in both Mexico and the U.S. are happy to placate the common, bovine populace with varying forms of comfortable religious spin about their moral foundations.