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“I was taken away in a black car, the car that was supposed to run me over. We got to a house in Don Torcuato [a Buenos Aires suburb], and there they started to hit me. I told them that it really hurt, so they gave me a rag to stuff in my mouth. Afterward they gave me an injection. They broke my right leg with two planks and an iron bar.

The bone broke through the skin. They wanted to break my arm, too, but I shouted no. I don’t know how I didn’t die from all the pain. Afterward, the driver took me to the car, left me in Beccar [a town north of Buenos Aires] around 7 P.M., and told me to lie down in the road. They told me that they had an arrangement with the local police, and that I had to scream in order to fake the accident. They also instructed me about what to say to the police: that I came out of work and then the accident happened. The police came, and an ambulance, and I was taken to a hospital. I was laid up for a month.”

Olga Ferreyra, 63, a mother of seven from a slum neighborhood in the city of Merlo, southwest of the Argentine capital, remembers vividly the day in 2007 when a neighbor approached her with an offer: a broken leg in exchange for generous financial compensation. “I did it for my disabled son,” Ferreyra told the court in the Buenos Aires suburb of San Isidro last December, after barely being able to hobble to the witness stand. “The neighbor said: ‘Do it, Olga, I got paid [for it].’” Read more

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