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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - December 16, 1919, Lethbridge, Alberta Horrocr Exsggaru, in Mexico Stealing Children as a Business, and Frightful Mutilation as a Means of Inspiring Pity for the Victims Sent Out to Revelations of the -American Humane Assn. By Clive Marshall WITHIN a few weeks after the beginning of the great world.war reports were le- 'rtived in'this country of the most shock- ine alrcclties committed upon helpless Belgian End French children by the invading Germans. This was war and, as later established, a detail of a campaign of frightfulness designed to maVe the cr.epy submit through terror. Before the war and even today in another part of Ihc world, at America's very door, in fact, helpless children in Mexico are beins stolen snd made tha c.f frightful crimes, tut ioj a very different to increase their value as beggars, according to information se- cured hy American investigators. i Evidence gathered by experienced investi- gators of the American Hnmane Association, and published in the National Humane Review, the official organ of this association, reveals the fact that Mexican children are being stolen, muti- lated, blinded and exploited as beggars and kept barely alive under the moat brutal These American investigators who are thoroughly familiar with nH the problems of child protection report that their evidence was secured at great personal risk. Photographs had to be taken se- cretly and smuggled out of Mexico, they say, and an agitation to stop the exploitation of child- etealing and maiming evoked threets of violencs and even death. In the opinion of these American humane in- vestigators the atrocities indicted upon HtUb Mexican children by brutal professional beggars not only equal, but actually exceed that Germany ever did in Belgium and France. Not only have Amerftari investigators in Mex- ico directly secured ample evidence of the horrors that surround the child beggars of that revolu- tion-torn country, but Mexican investigators as well have made many startling revelations con- cerning the condition of poor children in Mexico. These revelation? are characterized as being of EKch a nature as lo be unbelievable, even Ly the Peon Child of the Country Districts. humnniterian-workers-.who arc peifonaiiy.famil- iar with the most sordid conditions in other war- iVTcckcd countries- Bat they have been seen and verified by and even by native contributors to the Mexican press, as the fol- lowing instance vividly shows: Under the title, "The Business of El Universal, a leading daily newspaper of the City of Mexico, published an account of the horri- ble conditions surrounding the child beggars of Mexico.- This article from which are taken the following paragraphs describing how little chil- dren, stolen and rented to professional beggars, are mutilated to excite sympathy, was written by Dr. S. V. Efey, a prominent physician of the Mexi- can czpital: "Nothing so excites sympathy as the child cnce of being weakened, anaemic and in '.a con- stant stupor produced by lack of food, which con- dition, an investigation- disclosed, was brought .about hy keeping tha baby under Ihe influence of morphine. "Instead of decreu- .the uso of maimed children for purpose of" exciting; public char- ily is Ing. The children beggars are educated-: in the business ;rbf their Above, a Typical Ulexican "Little Mother" with Her Constant Charge. On the Left, One of the Many Miserably Clad Children Senl Out lo Hog. tcggars of tender yeara compelled to ask alms perhaps brutality of their parents or their masters. I1 or even many of these unhappy creat- ures born without the sanction of marriage have been ilolen, or what is more horrible mutilated and actually rented for the purposes of begging. "The heggar in all times has studied Ihe hu- man heart to. devise the most effective means of arousing sympathy to his benefit Knowing that nothing so moves lo compassion, even the hardest of hearts, as the sight of a helpless child, the beggar surrounds himself with children. When he has none of his own, he steals them, buys them or even rents them. Mow Children Are Mutilated "An infamous desire for gain leads thcjo brutal beggars to Iho height cruelty. With hearts more cruel than those of wild beasts these master beggars torture tho children In coa- Eesston by cutting ofT their arms and legs, leav- ing their little bodies crippled, paralyzed and twisted. Corrosive nnd liquids arc ap- plied to the bodies of these children to produce ViirlanMi arul miro IVipm ell fVia I begg beggar wno lor a long tune nas Men going through the slrccts demanding charily and car- tying in her arms a baby that lias the appear- Boys Who Have Gathering Food, Some of II Picked from Garbage Cans, parents and they have a rclil profession from generation to generation, which will continue til the authorities act and find a remedy." The Spanish term, "roba-chicon" (child-steal- is frequently fouiiu the Mexican press, especially, investigators s.iy, when children BTO reported as having been stolen. Recently one of the Mexican newspapers reported that the child- Blealcrs, who teem to have become notoriously infamous as exploiters of child beggars, hire their headquarters, known as "El MeVcado do Itoba-Chicos" (Market for Stolen Children) in Farias street In Guadalajara. Mexico's second largest city. How this band of child- stcalers operates it described as follows: After passing through the hands of this fang (ho innocent victim of this barbaric eyalem Is generally unrecognizable. The maimed, blinded or drugged child is carried or hauled around with its poor little hands outstretched (or coins to sup- port its fiendish master. It is given only suf- ficient nourishment hsrely lo keep it alive. Such chlldreii, the report goes on to aay, cm be seen any hour of the day or night in the City of Mexico, hovering ground the Joora of thea- tres, sitting in the streets and often among; the beggars that constantly lino (lie entrance to the cathedrals and churches, of whicii there arc many ht every bond. Investigators say that the beg- gars find the churches their best paying location, as they Wrfu full advantage of the thai tho church ha] to long and emphatically fostered I'tfttcre SrrriM, 1911, giving to circumstance that the pro- fessional beggar in Mexico never neglects to per- and work for all there is in him. Thus the communicanl who, almost by Bccond na- ture, as begging in Mexico ia accepted as a "SpaiP ish in answer to the plaintive nppt-l for "carulau" drops coins into the lit- lle outstretched hands and fails lo realize how much ho is helping to make highly profitable n fiendish industry that flourishes onlybccausc of the tortures of mulilatcd, maimed and blinded children starved nnd drugged almost into en- consciousness nnd forced to stagger through tho streets hent under the weight of nn unwashed, practically naked and often diseased baby. "Mexico is bleeding to says Sydney II. Coloman, field secretary of the American Humane Association. "Her strength ebbing away through the neglect of her childhood on .which all c( her hopes for fuluro greatness must rest. Schools hnvc been closed. Merc boys arc recruit- ing the strength of the bandit chiefs. Children arc openly stolen a-m vjjj tut begging or for more unspeakable purposes. Pillage a3 Patriotic WarfHre "There arc no secrets for children of the peon class over 8 years of age. Few of them over 16 arc said to be without relations sanctioned only by marriage. I'illigo ii dignified as patriotic warfare. The passions of lust, rapine and mur- der bum early within their childish breasts. "The Mexican government is Ignorant of these conditions apparent lo even a casual observer. That it knowingly tolerates them is shown by the fact that Investigators of the American Humane Association nnd others have been searched for photographs or documents- dealing wilh the condition of the children. Ar- rest will follow tho photographing of a street A Btgging "Little Brother" withy Stolen Baby on His Hack. waif, though the officer who does so will do noth- ing to relieve the pitiful plight of the child. American Humans Association, with headquarters at Albany. V., is striving to pave Mexico for hcrs'_.'E by creating- in the strong Mexicans v.ho fed the humiliation that has come to their country, n sense of the obliga- tion to the children that will result in. reform by an educational campaign to misc anil maintom greater.opportunities Mexican boys and girls." Miss Agnes C. who is the author of boolis on travel ar.d history of North; America and who is cniircly with Mexican condi- tions, havinj visited Mexico .15 late us last March, says that in spite of the ccmaoi'fhip of the Car- ranai government the press continues to publish the most appalling accounts about the wretched life of poor children of Mexico. Some insight into the unbelievable conditions is gained from the fact, presented hy investigator! that in one cemetery alone, f.nd thovc many in the City of Mexico, 1053 iioor children were buried during Augu-t, nearly all of them being victims of rrifilnutrilion or no nutrition. Little Girls Given to lianuils A', the time of her visit to the City ol Mexico Miss Laut that Ihc Mexican capital was crowded with on excess population of lo people driven in from the country by bandit raiders for protection of their lives within the city limits. "Owing to the fact that their salaries were not said Miss "more than 2500 school teacher.! had to go on n Plrikc, and during May every school in the City of Mex- ico was closed. Kvon when the schools arc open more than children between Ihc ages of 5 and M roam the streets, never going to school, living how and where they can, sleeping in the tlrccU with a newspaper for Mtinfcct, eating off a garbage pile or begging by day. Many of these children have been orphaned by Ihe nine years of revolutions." What becomes of many of these children? This is I'.ow Miss Unit roplainK their fate: "When Villa broke again last May, of the troops rushed riorlli by to fighl him more than tiVo-Uiiids hnd lo he rejected na 'un- loo young or loo underfill. Of tho'C'arrar.zu troops Hghting Ihc baralils In the oil country Ho ogcs of two-thirds run from 13 lo J9. Nol Jong ngo I saw a photograph of n little Mexican hoy of 11 with hh leg shot off, receiving his com- mission as honorary olticer from C'arr.inzn him- self. The picture was issiic-d lo show Iho lJiK rf hcrfilsni among 'patriots.' Tlic liltlc follow was a patriot all right, but how about a sysloi.i Chat permits a boy of 11 lo have his leg shot ofT fight- ing bandits? "Whllo these lilllc Jlcxicnn hoys can enter An army, that Is nlso a refuge for criminals whrvt becomes of the liltln girls? I know Of capo after case where they havo been kid- napped nnd sold at ?5 cnch to army nnd bandit bands, but Hint is not Ihc end. The end is (o bo found In the hospital wnrda or in the terrible, hordes of diseased nnd blind beggars Ihnl infest Mexico from border lo border. Their blindness Is S preventable blindness. More need not bo ;