On the slope of a hill between a hole in the ground and an old barn resides a Temeskal, a sweat lodge of sorts. The blue blanket steams into the freezing wind as pigs wander through. The cold air comes roaring through as Veronica takes off her belt and red top. The bewildering look on her face while she barely slips under the blanket made it known that the cold air didn’t phase her. All the while, back in the kitchen, a young lady is cooking on a tiny fire. Daylight can be seen pouring in from above through the wooden planks of what is to resemble a roof. The wind continues to howl through as there is no distinction between where the indoor space ends and the outdoor space begins. There is unseen movement under the covers of a straw mattress that laid on the floor. “Watch for baby” says a young kid walking into the kitchen to ensure the baby’s presence was noticed.
At the age of 14 and for 50,000 pesos, Veronica was sold at the hands of her father to marry a man she had never met and into a family she had never encountered. This is not uncommon here as a lot of young ladies of Cochoapa-la-Grande in Guerrero, Mexico are sold for marriage by their parents. This remote municipality is mostly populated by poppy farmers and is also the second poorest of the country. 99% of the population is in extreme poverty and 93% of the original plants to produce the heroin sold in the USA are cultivated in this region. Migration is the main reason that families forgo their traditional values, turning dowry to human trafficking.
And with the support of local authorities who validate the practice: «they do not sell the girl as an animal, it makes sense they receive compensation because they have made a big investment in raising this child.»
This is the story of this remote mountain, by the tu'un savi speaking indigenous community, an outlaw society in Guerrero, Mexico’s most dangerous state, which tells the very secret life of this girl they sold and those who bought her.