Lydia Cacho (born 1963) is a Mexican journalist, author and a feminist activist against violence.
In 2000 Ms. Cacho founded and directed a high security shelter for battered and sexually exploited women and children in Cancun, Mexico. She was the first woman in Mexican history to take to trial an organized crime ring involved with child pornography, sexual tourism and trafficking of women. She filed a successful counter-suit for corruption and for violation of human rights. In this regard, Ms. Cacho was the first woman in Mexico to file a federal suit against a Governor, a District Attorney, and a judge for corruption and for attempted rape in prison. Ms. Cacho herself has been imprisoned for her work and has put her life on the line on behalf of women and children in Mexico. As a consequence of her unwavering defense of human rights and journalistic freedom, her own life has been repeatedly threatened. Despite these dangers, she continues to champion the advancement of human rights for all women and children because she believes that every single person deserves to live a life of dignity.
With more than twenty years of experience as a workshop teacher and keynote speaker, Ms. Cacho has toured the globe with her inspirational conferences on peace education, freedom of expression, and ethical commitment to changing the world. She has spoken at the United Nations General Assembly, UNESCO, and the European Union. She was recently appointed by the UNODC and the Spanish Government as Ambassador for the Blue Heart Campaign against sex trafficking.
Ms. Cacho has published seven books, one of them is the award-wining Manual to prevent, detect and heal child sexual abuse (Con mi hijo no). Currently, Ms. Cacho is a columnist with El Universal, the main daily newspaper in Mexico, and a workshop teacher on successful approaches to help trafficking victims and on Community Schools for Peace: a holistic approach to negotiate conflicts. Her new book, Slaves of power: a journey into sex trafficking around the world, will be released in many countries around the world during 2010-2012.
A sampling of Ms. Cacho’s awards include: Human Rights Watch Premio Nacional de Periodismo Ginetta Sagan Amnesty Award 2007; OXFAM award 2007; IWMF award; CNN Hero; UNESCO- Guillermo Cano freedom of expression award; The Wallemberg Medal; The Tucholsky Award; PEN Canada Award; UNANIMA World Press International Hero 2010 (for the International Press Institute in Vienna).