Target: Attorney General of Mexico, Jesus Murillo
Goal: Compensate victims of shelter abuse and punish those responsible
Police rescued hundreds of children from a run-down group home in western Mexico where they were reportedly made to suffer daily abuses such as rape and physical assault. With so many impoverished families relying on the charity of shelters to provide children with a good life, it’s essential that laws be put in place to enforce adequate standards of living and treatment. Protect some of the world’s most vulnerable citizens, demand adequate compensation for victims, and hold staff accountable for their heinous crimes.
Forced to endure torture such as sexual assault, beatings, and starvation, the more than 600 people found in the squalid shelter were mostly held there against their will. They allegedly were made to beg for money, live in a house infested with rats, ticks, flees, and cockroaches, sleep on the floor, and consume rotten food. Many inhabitants were raped by the shelter’s employees while punishments included starvation, confinement in a tiny room, threats of violence, and beatings.
Called “The Big Family,” the facility was considered a charitable shelter until police heard horror stories about the organization’s abusive conditions. Before the raid, the home was highly regarded by the Mexican government and was even granted government funds. Former Mexican President Vicente Fox and other high-ranking officials visited the home and were friendly with the owners.
Parents of many of the abused children struggled to remove them from the home, but were faced with challenges because of the facility’s powerful governmental ties. When family members tried to bring the children home with them, their requests were denied or they were asked to pay thousands of dollars in exchange. Many of the families were impoverished and had entrusted their children to the shelter until they could afford to keep them at home. Families were only allowed to visit a few times a year.
Since the raid, more than 150 abuse complaints have been filed against the facility, but there are also many prominent figures who are speaking out in defense of the shelter, obscuring the truth and rendering obtaining real justice for the victims and their families difficult. In fact, though charges have been pressed against six of the shelter’s employees, its director is not being charged because of her allegedly poor physical and mental health.
Sign this petition to demand that all of the victims be given compensation for their suffering and trauma and that the government create and enforce laws requiring livable conditions and humane treatment at the charity homes to which so many impoverished families must turn for help.
Dear Attorney General Murillo,
I was horrified to hear of the conditions and suffering that the residents of La Gran Familia shelter were forced to endure. Please ensure that the victims of this abuse and their families are given compensation for the traumas to which they’ve been subjected and enforce laws that will protect the lives and wellbeing of Mexico’s most vulnerable citizens.
Officials have begun to confirm the horror stories told by the children who lived in La Gran Familia and their family members. Sexual and physical abuse, squalid living conditions, violent threats, street begging, inedible food, starvation — these are just a few of the unspeakable abuses that the home’s victims suffered during their time there.
All of the employees and the facility’s director are responsible and should be held accountable for these inhumane crimes. I urge you not to allow political influence to impede justice for the victims and their families. Shelters should be a place of refuge for children who have no other place to turn to. Please enact and enforce laws that will prevent similar abuse from occurring at any other homes across the country.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Steven Zwerink via Flickr