Kelly Johana Suárez is a former beauty queen and model who was arrested in 2014 for allegedly running a child trafficking ring in Colombia. She is accused of recruiting minors from poor neighborhoods and selling them to foreign sex tourists.
She is currently in jail, awaiting trial, and her case has inspired the film “Sound of Freedom”, starring Jim Caviezel as a former agent who rescues children from trafficking.
Who is Kelly Johana Suárez?
Kelly Johana Suárez was born in Obrero, a poor neighborhood in the south of Cartagena, Colombia. She had a difficult childhood and struggled to overcome her limited means. She enrolled at the Colegio Mayor de Bolívar as a social work student, claiming that she wanted to help at-risk youth in her community. She also participated in the Miss Cartagena beauty pageant in 2013 and entered the modeling industry, gaining popularity for her confidence and beauty. She appeared alongside Latin musician Juanes in his music video “La Luz” and opened her own modeling agency, Stage Models Caribe, with Samuel David Olava Martínez.
Kelly was seen as a leader and a role model in her community, and many parents trusted her to work for their children’s betterment. She used her influence and reputation to recruit young boys and girls with the promise of getting them modeling jobs, but instead, she trafficked them to parties with foreign sex tourists, where they were drugged and exploited.
Kelly Johana Suárez’s Arrest and Charges
On October 11, 2014, the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations Attaché Office in Colombia and the Colombian Attorney General’s Technical Investigative Corps Transnational Criminal Investigative Unit arrested Kelly Johana Suárez and 11 others for human trafficking. The operation took place in Cartagena, Medellin, and Armenia. mission Underground Railroad, formed by former Homeland Security agent Tim Ballard, and Breaking Chains sponsored the mission.
Kelly and around 25 kids attended a Caribbean Islas de Rosario beach party. Possibly loaded with ecstasy and cocaine, they were brought there to sell to visitors. Kelly and others were charged with child trafficking, pimping, and pandering. Investigations show Kelly charged $600–$1,000 for every kid she brought to parties.
Where is Kelly Johana Suárez Now?
Kelly Johana Suárez was arrested and incarcerated at the San Diego women’s jail in the Bolívar district. She denied any involvement in the alleged actions. She and her co-defendants await trial. Her case has garnered worldwide attention and inspired the film “Sound of Freedom,” about Tim Ballard’s rescue of Colombian children from trafficking. Jim Caviezel plays Ballard and Mira Sorvino his wife. Giselle, a former beauty queen who traffics children, is partially based on Kelly. The 2020 film is hard to obtain because of its sensitive subject matter.