GUATEMALA CITY, GUATEMALA – A man who kidnapped and raped a 12-year-old girl was sentenced to 35 years in prison last month in Guatemala. The conviction secures justice for Beatriz,* who is now 13 years old and living in a safe and loving children's home.
At 12 years old, Beatriz was offered a job in the city as a domestic helper last year. She was eager for an opportunity to escape that poverty that had defined her young life, and she moved into the home of a woman who needed help caring for her baby in Guatemala City.
A few weeks after she arrived, her new employer's boyfriend called Beatriz and asked her to meet him so they could visit her employer together. But it was a trap. The man kidnapped Beatriz and took her to a local hotel where he raped the terrified girl. He then called his girlfriend and demanded a ransom for Beatriz.
Guatemalan police tracked down the man the very next day and followed him to the hotel – where they heard Beatriz screaming for help from the room where she had been assaulted. The man was arrested and Beatriz was rescued from the nightmare.
IJM lawyers represented Beatriz in the trial against the perpetrator and celebrated the victory in court on February 15, 2012. "I am very satisfied to have seen justice in this case," says an IJM social worker. "If IJM hadn't participated, I'm not sure it would have been possible.
Today, Beatriz receives counseling and therapy at a children's home. Her mother visits her regularly and is supportive of the care and educational opportunities Beatriz is receiving at the children's home. IJM social workers will continue to support Beatriz and her family.
*A pseudonym has been used for the protection of this IJM client.