Colombia’s constitutional court on Wednesday granted compensation to a woman who was imprisoned in the home of a former military official for 12 years working as a domestic slave.
The woman, referred to as “Amalia” by the court, was taken from her family in 1963 at the age of six by an uncle and brought to the home of a military mayor in the town of Anzoategui in the central Tolima department. The uncle supposedly left her in the care of the military official because her parents could not care for the girl. She was subsequently enslaved, humiliated and assaulted for 12 years while in the custody of the retired military official. Newspaper El Colombiano reported that the woman was also sexually abused during her captivity.
In 1975, after the family of the military official had moved to Colombia’s capital Bogota, Amalia managed to escape with the help of a neighbor and the driver of her captor.
The Constitutional Court on Wednesday granted Amalia compensation for physical and psychological damage she received while in captivity, that is to be paid for by the family who held her captive.
The Court also denounced that such practices still exist in Colombia. “Studies show that forced labor and domestic servitude of minors under 18, in particular women, is the second form of trafficking most reported. However, for cultural factors, they still aren’t recognized as crimes by entities like the Ministry of Interior which continues with this precarious vision of the problem.”