CARTAGENA, Colombia — Organizers of the Latin America Adult Business Expo (LALExpo) today released its official statement relative to the disruption by local officials at its fourth annual conference last week in Cartagena, Colombia.
LALExpo organizers said the following:
Colombia constantly struggles to prove to the world that today’s political and business climates are progressive and modern. Every opportunity we receive to showcase Colombia as a stable, nonviolent, and predictable place for tourism and business is a golden opportunity. Sadly, the events in Cartagena last week has taken the reputation of Colombian one gigantic step backwards.
LALExpo promotes an annual international event designed to educate, inform, and promote “best legal and business standards” to the adult online industry — an industry that quietly flourishes in Colombia providing 10,000s of jobs and bringing millions of dollars in revenue each year. The LALExpo event consists of tradeshow with hundreds of international companies, educational seminars taught by industry leading professionals and experts, and an award show for recognizing the most successful companies in Latin America and the Globe.
“The webcam industry provides high paying jobs and opportunities to thousands of our employees and contractors,” says Anthony AJ, president of LALExpo. “The industry does not function in a “black market” in any way. This is a very safe business and is strictly regulated. The political leaders of Colombia ought to join the modern world in realizing that fact.”
LALExpo planed this year’s event to be hosted in Cartagena, Colombia. LALExpo followed all the “best practices” in preparation for this year’s event. The legal team carefully carried out all processes to adhere to local regulations and customs. Additionally, the legal team provided clarifications made through communications department and addressed to Mayor Manuel Vicente Duque directly. It was a top priority of LALEXPO to provide information to the city in order for the attendees to receive a professional welcome and for the LALEXPO and the host city to benefit from the international exposure and recognition.
The event started flawlessly, with a stellar Welcoming Event where all the international attendees were introduced to the city. The first day’s events, similarly, went according to plan. On the second day, however, our expo had to be suspended due to the pressures and threats done to the Cartagena de Indias Convention Center and the LALExpo organization by the regional authorities. This surprise notice and threats was given despite months of advance work and communication by LALExpo and its legal team with all government agencies and law enforcement, and in advance of hundreds of international companies investing time and money into the event, and in advance of thousands of participants traveling to the event from all across the globe.
“Despite our best efforts and advance planning, the government and its leadership violated our constitutional rights as workers and citizens by ordering the Convention Center not to provide Service to LALExpo event. This act was illegal and discriminatory against our company and industry. LALExpo absorbed great financial costs to find other venues to satisfy the international and national participants already in Cartagena. The claim that “explicit pornography” was on demonstration is a complete falsehood, and is evidence by the attendance on the first day of representatives of the Attorney General's Office and public advocate of Cartagena de Indias who verified true the nature of the event. Additionally, the journalist, Emiro Jose’ Pico, writes from first-hand experience saying the event was “a quality, respectful, private and dedicated encounter to the online adult industry with no explicit porn in its schedule.”
It is worth noting that, despite the difficulties, LALExpo remained in constant communication with the participants. The internal networks of the event served to transmit information that directed the attendees that were in the official hotels to our new venues, to carry out the remaining conferences.
In order to continue with the program, the LALExpo Awards and the closing party were also held. On Saturday, July 15, the first LALExpo Workshop was held at the Torre Hotel in Cali, where there was further exposure for the sponsoring brands and Where a series of conferences were held with speakers of national and international stature, in which they imparted tools and knowledge to more than 400 participants, companies and models of this growing industry in the region, in order to close the cycle of seminars that could not culminate in Cartagena.
The reckless actions by governmental officials gave Cartagena a temporary black eye. However, LALExpo sees a silver lining - and a chance at redemption – for Cartagena. The widespread media attention around the globe on radio, television and internet has actually created greater interest in the annual exposition. LALExpo remains committed to promoting safe, legal, and successful ways to conduct web cam and adult business. So, the outlook for next year’s event projects double attendees.
“What happened to our event last week represents a loss of millions of pesos to tourism, taxi drivers, business owners, restaurants, hotels and other establishments, because the international attendees did not feel welcomed. I hope the politicians learn an important lesson and do a better job in the future,” says Anthony AJ, president of LALExpo
The LALExpo organization is a meeting point for the professional, legal and adult industry in Colombia and latam that provides tools and training to the representatives of the industry, so we will take legal actions to ensure respect for the right to work and non-discrimination of the adult industry, which is why we call for the union and support of all companies in the industry.