Covenant House is called "La Alianza" in Guatemala, and in 1981 was the first Covenant House site to be established in Latin America. We originally opened our doors to respond to the need for housing and protection for the thousands of Guatemalan children left homeless and abandoned during the years of repression, war and civil strife that marked that dark phase of Guatemalan history. Today, we respond to the needs of young girls and their babies at high risk.
Carolina Escobar Sarti has been the national director of La Alianza since 2010. Escobar Sarti is one of Guatemala's most recognized poets, authors and national newspaper columnists, who writes regularly on issues concerning human rights. She was named Ambassador for Peace by the Guatemalan president in 2011 and the Weaver of Peace by the Demos Institute in 2016.
Programs unique to La Alianza
For victims of sexual exploitation and human trafficking (girls only) and located in Guatemala City, the residential center of La Alianza Guatemala was inaugurated in December 2010 and admitted its first resident in March 2011 – a 12-year-old girl who was eight months pregnant as a result of sexual abuse. During 2012-2015, the average number of residents has been 60-65 girls and, when applicable, their babies.
All of the residents at the Crisis Care residential center of La Alianza Guatemala are victims of sexual abuse, exploitation and/or human trafficking – and most have been referred to us by government officials including judges, police and government ministry personnel. Our residence is the largest 24-hour shelter of its kind in Guatemala dedicated to trafficked and exploited girls.
The La Alianza Guatemala residence includes a shelter dedicated to teen moms who have been trafficked or exploited, and their babies. The program includes prenatal and postnatal care, infant and child parenting classes and a range of multidisciplinary services.
Anti-trafficking awareness and education
The first phase of La Alianza's work after reopening in the fall of 2010 was to launch an anti-trafficking awareness and education program. Since that time, our Public Education Team has trained thousands of citizens, local authorities, community leaders, public servants and educational communities. In addition, we've trained members of the National Police on the Guatemalan anti-trafficking law and how to enforce it.
In early 2014, La Alianza offered the first online anti-trafficking course in the country for judges, lawyers, state actors and NGOs, which includes an in-depth treatment of the anti-trafficking legal framework under Guatemalan and international law.
Strategic litigation and legal support for trafficking survivors
The program includes legal support to girls who are victims of human trafficking and other violations of their human rights – ensuring support and monitoring of cases throughout all judicial processes and preparing them to be witnesses when necessary in cases against traffickers.