Welcome to Bogota’s Bronx Street: Hell in the Heart of Colombia

© AP Photo / Fernando VergaraDrug addicts and homeless gather at area known as "Bronx street" in downtown in Bogota, Colombia, Monday April 1, 2013
Drug addicts and homeless gather at area known as Bronx street in downtown in Bogota, Colombia, Monday April 1, 2013 - Sputnik International
Bogota’s Bronx Street has seen a high level of crime for many years. Today, it is one of the most marginalized areas of Colombia’s Bogota as criminals have taken over the area. The Anne Frank NGO is at the front line of the fight for human rights in the district.

“In Bogota, all criminal markets are run by drug cartels. They use drug addicts (homeless people) to ensure control of drug trafficking in the city. The place has become a major center of drug trafficking in the country,” Marcela Clavijo, the city’s councilor, told Sputnik.

"Miles de demonios y una historia detrás de todo".

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Bogota has a population of just under seven million. Four out of ten are juveniles. According to the latest population census, about half of all the homeless people live in the city center, with the remaining 30 percent living in areas adjacent to Bronx Street.

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In 2013, a non-governmental human rights organization (NGO) called Anne Frank, began dealing with cases of human trafficking in Colombia.

Since their opening, the organization began to receive applications from mothers searching for their missing daughters.

“When we began investigating, we found that the young women had been abducted on Bronx Street,” the organization’s director Claudia Quintero told Sputnik.

Anne Frank has carried out several rescue operations, and has been documenting a number of disappearances. The first victim found told the organization about all the cruelty she had to go through.

“We have classified her abduction as a crime associated with torture and human trafficking,” continued Claudia Quintero.

Further investigation revealed that children are also exploited on Bronx Street.

El Bronx — Aftermath #blackandwhite #bnw #monochrome #Bogota #colombia

Фото опубликовано ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀Juan Rivera (@aguyinjapan) Июл 15 2016 в 3:11 PDT

“Due to our persistence, the situation in the area has been made known to the general public. The majority did not believe in the existence of torture houses, mass rape, slavery, organ theft and children being exploited for drug trafficking among other things,” added Quintero.

On May 28, the police launched a crackdown on Bronx Street.

“Now, instead of one criminal area, we have a whole network of crime throughout the city. Everyone from victims to offenders was evacuated from the area. Today, they are all over Bogota,” reported Anne Frank’s officials.

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The police intervention had unimpressive results.

“Only four thousand dollars were recovered. The female victims told us that the criminal’s earnings amounted to a million dollars per day. The police found just a few weapons, while our witnesses claimed that Bronx Street is a major arms dealing center. Police arrested three criminals, but we heard that there were at least 50 members and a few former militants in the criminal gang,” announced Anne Frank’s officials.

According to the Municipal Advisor Clavijo, police intervention led to clashes between local residents and the police. Many families fled in the direction of the Tunhuelo river channel.

entre el humo y el diablo #calle del #bronx 2013

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Media reports that about 300 families fled the area. During two weeks of flood, two people went missing.

Meanwhile, the Anne Frank NGO continues to fight for the declaring an emergency status in Bogota.

“Only by declaring emergency status will it will be possible to direct all resources to resolving the problem,” said Claudia Quintero. “At the moment, this is hell.”

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