Monday, April 30, 2012

Traveling to Argentina: Women Raped in Cafayate, Salta

Kena Lopez Moreno was raped in Cafayate last month.

Yesterday, twenty one year old Swiss volunteer, Jael Krummernacher, was raped in the city of Salta. Krummernacher had traveled to Salta doing evangelical mission work with the Anglican Church.
Last month Kena López Moreno from Mexico was raped in Cafayate.
On July 29th  last year, two French tourists Cassandre Bouvier and Houria Moumnihad been brutally raped and murdered.
On February 11th 2012, Meriem Hammontene and Melina Cognac, also French, had been mugged and sexually abused in Salta capital city. Sixteen days later, American student Small Lauren Frances was raped in her motel and just a few hours after that 23 year old Japanese tourist Ushiki Risako was raped in Cafayate by a local tourist guide.

Adding insult, the Security Minister of Salta Maximiliano Troyano blamed the victims by saying and I quote “people have a bit of excessive trust when visiting foreign countries”.

I’ve posted more than enough about the topic of relocating to isolated parts of South America. People, wherever it is you decide to go if you ever relocate, do your research well. look up both good and BAD aspects of the potential location.
For some reason I also get a significant amount of email from people that are either visiting Argentina or have loved ones traveling that way. A couple of pointers here: No, Argentina is NOT as safe as the first world country you probably come from. Don’t ever forget that. As long as you stay in the well-known locations, surrounded by lots of tourists like yourself, chances are you’ll be ok. Play Indiana Jones or even more to the point, Lara Croft, and those chances decrease significantly. If you’re feeling adventurous, try backpacking across Europe first. Europe is safe in comparison. South America isn’t. Women backpacking across Argentina and Latin America in general often fail to understand how different these places can be. Maybe influenced by movies, or after reading about how wonderful this or that place is, they fail to see the danger in lawless, isolated parts of the world. What one young woman may see as spiritual and worldly adventure, in the mind of an unscrupulous local she is just another dumb white woman he can have his way with. Local women in these northern provinces get raped all the time, they even get kidnapped and turned into sex slaves, sent to brothels all across the country. A naïve young woman with a life experience limited to safe environments is in an even greater disadvantage.  Even for seasoned and experienced female backpackers, its simply not safe.

Some parents have emailed me about their children going to Argentina on mission work with their church. If you’ve already made up your mind, then good luck and have a nice trp. Now if you ask me, I can only say that I wouldn’t do it, I wouldn’t send my own son or daughter. Even with a group, its simply not safe enough, especially when you consider that missionary work is usually performed precisely in the kind of places you should avoid from a safety perspective.
This may seem a bit off topic, but it is about safety and I get too much email asking about this to ignore it.
Stay safe,
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