Jewish woman who helped take down sex-trafficking ring in 1930s honoured

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Jewish woman who helped take down sex-trafficking ring in 1930s honoured

Raquel Liberman gets public recognition for gelling to destroy the ring in Buenos Aires, a city in which she became a symbol of feminist resistance

A view of the Raquel Liberman tile in Buenos Aires. (Screenshot from YouTube)
A view of the Raquel Liberman tile in Buenos Aires. (Screenshot from YouTube)

Raquel Liberman, a former prostitute who escaped from and helped destroy a sex-trafficking ring, is getting public recognition in Buenos Aires, the city where she became known as a symbol of feminist resistance.

On Wednesday, city representatives installed a tile with Liberman’s name on the street close to where a brothel she worked in was located, in the Jewish neighbourhood of Once.

Liberman grew up in Warsaw, Poland, and moved to Argentina in 1922 with her husband and two sons. After her husband died, she left her children with a foster family and entered a prostitution network managed by Jewish immigrants. She saved money and escaped the network, called Zwi Migdal, but eventually was forced to return.

She escaped for a second time in December 1929, then went to the police. Her court testimony began a process that ended up breaking down the Zwi Migdal.

Liberman applied for a visa to return to Poland in 1934 but died the following year of thyroid cancer.

The text on the tile reads “Here Raquel Liberman was exploited 1900-1935. Her fight continues.”

Last year, the city’s government voted to rename a subway station after Liberman. Government officials have no timeline yet for the project.

“Our zone is the area of the Raquel Liberman story — the brothel, the Zwi Migdal and also the police station,” Silvia Collin, a district president in Buenos Aires, told the state-run media outlet Telam.

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