A 15-year-old girl sold into marriage at the age of 11 was jailed for 10 days in the Montaña region of Guerrero after she fled the home of her father-in-law, who allegedly attempted to rape her.
Angélica, who was sold for 120,000 pesos (US $5,800) in accordance with traditional customs in the municipality of Cochoapa el Grande, went to live with her in-laws after her husband emigrated to the United States in search of work.
Her father-in-law, who claimed to be the girl’s “owner” because he bought her for his son, allegedly tried to rape Angélica on four separate occasions, prompting her to flee his home late last month.
The teenager took shelter with her grandmother, according to the newspaper Reforma, but after her father-in-law demanded her arrest, community police officers from the village of Dos Ríos arrived at the house and detained her.
The authorities also arrested the girl’s grandmother because she refused to pay 210,000 pesos demanded by the father-in-law. In addition, they detained Angélica’s three little sisters — an eight-year-old and six-year-old twins.
Angélica, her sisters and their grandmother were held for 10 days in a police lockup until they were released last weekend.
The newspaper El Universal reported that their arrest didn’t come to light until the girls’ mother reported it while receiving medical treatment last Saturday at a hospital in Ometepec, a municipality about 100 kilometers from Cochoapa el Grande.
Pregnant with triplets, Concepción Ventura got into an argument with police after arriving at the lockup with food for her four daughters. During the disagreement, one of the officers reportedly punched Ventura, causing her to have a miscarriage.
After officials with the Guerrero Human Rights Commission and the Ministry of Indigenous and Afro-Mexican Affairs heard about the girls’ arrest, they traveled to Dos Ríos to demand their release.
The former body announced Sunday that the girls had been freed. Human rights and women’s rights organizations have denounced what happened to Angélica, her sisters, her mother and her grandmother.
It is unclear what consequences the police will face for their actions and whether the girl’s father-in-law will face charges related to his alleged sexual assault.
The sale of adolescent girls for marriage is a common practice in Guerrero’s Montaña region, and many young girls have suffered abuses at the hands of their husbands.
“It’s an old practice that we can’t eradicate even though the law says that the practice is a crime — human trafficking, specifically,” Serafín Nava Ortiz, a local lawyer and municipal official, said in 2017.