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Lost opportunity: the Lydia Cacho case and child rights in Mexico

Jones, Gareth A. ORCID: 0000-0001-9844-4547 and Thomas de Benitez, Sarah (2014) Lost opportunity: the Lydia Cacho case and child rights in Mexico. International Journal of Children's Rights, 22 (2). pp. 285-312. ISSN 0927-5568

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Identification Number: 10.1163/15718182-02202002


This paper provides a close analysis of a scandal that broke in Mexico following publication of a book that accused businessmen and politicians of involvement in child trafficking and paedophilia. The book’s author, Lydia Cacho, was abducted, imprisoned, threatened with violence and charged with defamation. As further evidence of complicity in the protection of paedophile rings surfaced, a firestorm of public anger and media scrutiny focussed on the plight of Cacho and key political figures including a state governor. A rare political space was thus opened for a debate on child rights. Yet it was a space that csos and child rights networks failed to exploit. This paper examines how child rights discourse had limited salience in circumstances where csos were compromised, uncommitted and disunited. Developing the concept of a ‘rights effect’, we argue that advocacy for child rights must not assume a natural fellowship with discourses of human rights generally, or with women’s rights, press freedoms and rule of law.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2014 Martinus Nijhoff Publishers
Divisions: Geography & Environment
Social Policy
Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology
J Political Science > JL Political institutions (America except United States)
Date Deposited: 17 Mar 2014 16:35
Last Modified: 01 Jun 2024 03:33
Projects: res 148-25-0050
Funders: Economic and Social Research Council

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