Abby Weil

Abby Weil (ADIVIMA): Abby completed her undergraduate degree in anthropology at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville where she had the opportunity to serve as a tutor in Lima, Peru. At the time of her fellowship she was pursuing a master of arts in public anthropology at American University in Washington, DC. Abby also interned for the Guatemala Human Rights Commission-USA, promoting human rights in Guatemala through research, educational outreach and advocacy.

Would You Like to Buy a Human Being?

02 Jul

Yesterday, at the Parque Central in Rabinal, I was approached by a man who was obviously very drunk. I was in the park with another volunteer from the United States discussing our work when it happened.

The man asked us if we would like to buy a child. If we would like to buy the life of another person.. As we sat there in shock, he continued to explain that I could buy my very own human being, and a baby at that, for only eighty US dollars.

The other volunteer began to respond that we were not interested and that trafficking in children is illegal and the man became frightened and quickly dissappeared into the crowd. I knew that illegal adoptions and trafficking were common in Guatemala, but I never expected to be approached personally by somone wanting to sell a child. It made my stomach turn and my eyes tear up as I thought about the modern day selling of human beings that is so rampant in the world.

Guatemala`s adoption process is atrocious and every day in the newspaper there are more reports of children that have been illegally adopted, or literally stolen from their families. They are trying to start reforming the process, but as of today, it has not been changed. The man must have suspected that we would want a child because we looked like we were from the United States, and that is the destination of many illegal adoptions.

I was in such shock when it happened that looking back I wonder if I should have done more. If we should have tried to stall the man and tried to contact the police (however corrupt they are). The thought that he is still walking around here in Rabinal makes me feel both guilty and furious. Perhaps I will see him again some day while I am here and be able to do more. Perhaps not, and this will always be on my conscience.

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Posted By Abby Weil

Posted Jul 2nd, 2007


  • Katie

    July 3, 2007


    Abby, that sounds horrible. Unfortunately though, it is better that you did not jeopardize your situation in Guatemala by reporting the man. Realistically, from everything that I have heard and read, trafficking fits the “private sphere” crimes; the law enforcement would not take well to being confronted by a United States’ woman who has problems with private sphere issues in Guatemala.

  • Holly Dranginis

    July 5, 2007


    Hi Abby,

    I’ve been doing research (also on a fellowship) on transitional justice in the capital (Guate) for the past few months. I’m actually changing gears to focus more on the local level and doing work with ADIVIMA as of late, so I wanted to contact you. I don’t want to take too much space on the blog (great blog by the way!)…but I was hoping we could exchange email addresses…mine is I’ll be back in Rabinal by the end of July if not sooner.

  • Holly Dranginis

    July 6, 2007


    Hi Abby,

    Just wanted to get in touch–I’ve been in Guate doing research on transitional justice and just started working in Rabinal (with ADIVIMA)–I’ll be there more permanently for the month of August. I’d love to chat–my email is Hope things are going well, great job on the blog!

  • Abby

    July 9, 2007


    Hey Holly,

    It is so great to here from you! I replied to your personal email address so hopefully I will be hearing from you soon!


  • Carsten

    July 23, 2007


    Hey Abby!
    I am very surprised, when I heard that you were doing research in Guatemala. I read some of your blogs and have to say, that you are doing great things when you going public with these problems.
    I hope you are able to change things in a good way. And be careful and safe, don’t jeperdize your situatiuon.

    Best CAR (The German)

  • Abby

    July 25, 2007


    Hey Carsten!

    It is so good to hear from you! My mom said that she received an email from you the other day and things are going well for you. Please email my mom and she can give you my new email address so we can keep in touch. Thanks for reading my blog!


  • Sarah

    July 31, 2007


    That is awful what is occuring in Guatemala. It seems so surreal that it is going on. I think I would have reacted in the same way as you did.

  • CWA

    August 12, 2007


    It is truly atrocious that humans are still being sold throughout the world. A human life should never have a price put on it in terms of money or anything. Whoever deals in this human market is truly evil.

  • Han Jun

    August 16, 2007


    I can’t believe something like that is still going on today. It makes me sick to hear that people like that still exist. I hope their government is straightened out and this trafficking of human beings disappear soon.

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