In Guatemala City, a dangerous and violent place where law enforcement is stretched to the limits, child exploitation exists in epidemic proportions. The poor have no one to call on, and as a result, crimes concerning labor and sexual exploitation and abuse are rarely prosecuted.

Men like Efrain Ortiz, who not only sexually abused his daughters but was profiting from their labor, are often left unpunished. And while it is rare for justice to be served in Guatemala, organizations like International Justice Mission (IJM) are beginning to make a change. By partnering with NGOs on the ground in Guatemala and around the world, IJM helps build cases against men like Oritz and bring survivors to safety.

After months of investigative and legal work, IJM obtained enough evidence for the Guatemalan police to arrest Efrain Ortiz on charges of violence against women, and child exploitation. 

“I think it was an important day for the community,” said Pablo Villeda of IJM. “They heard, they learned, and the message that was powerfully sent today is that you don’t mess with your children.”

Poor families have to work all together. You see that all around the world...But when you exploit them, when you beat them, when you threaten them, we are in trouble.
— Pablo Villeda in Not My Life