Working in the spaces of the taboo : civil society and the fight against commercial sexual exploitation of children in Mexico City
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The rise of commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC) over the past several decades has caught the attention of activists and advocates around the world. Their work has contributed to a host of policies, initiatives, and legal doctrine that continues to shape public discussions of the issue as well policy responses to the problem at the international, national, and local level. According to a number of international monitoring organizations, Mexico stands as the prime destination for trafficked children and the country in the Western Hemisphere with the highest degree of CSEC. Based on ethnographic fieldwork conducted over the summer of 2010 in Mexico City, I explore the relationship between the work of civil society advocates campaigning against CSEC and the struggles, successes, and issues they face working in the context of Mexico City. My findings reveal important developments in the work of advocates as well as the revelation of critical areas in their work that deserve further investigation and research. At the same time, my research gives some insight into the way advocacy groups carry out their agendas in the face of a weak Mexican state, intensifying violence related to escalated war on drugs, and the inherent difficulties associated with working at the level of civil society.