Victims of Colombian drug lords are to tell their stories in Birmingham this week in a new initiative to tackle cocaine trafficking to the West Midlands.
Five women who have suffered at the hands of the drug barons will be at an unprecedented Home Office-sponsored seminar in the city tomorrow.
The event is part of a Colombian government initiative to highlight the impact the South American country's illicit cocaine has on the world.
The seminar will focus on the cycle of violence and bloodshed endemic in Colombia because of the market for cocaine and look for solutions to the problem.
Five Colombian women who are trying to rebuild lives wrecked by drug lords will address the seminar at the Birmingham Midlands Institute.
One of the victims is Olinda Giron, aged 17, who was blinded when she stepped on an anti-personnel mine left in the fields by cocaine producers in Miraflores.
Another is Natalia Rodriguez, who was kidnapped by druglords and held hostage for more than three years, from the age of 16 to almost 21 years old.
The Birmingham Drug Action Team (DAT) has co-ordinated the event, which will assess the city's consumption of Colombian drugs.
"Birmingham is committed to supporting the fight against Colombia’s international drug trade," said Dave Reilly, strategic manager for DAT.
"We hope to be able to share our working practices to help make a difference in other parts of the world."
Drug addicts receiving treatment, medics and counsellors will also be on hand at the event.
Colombian government spokesman Ignacio Greiffenstein said: "The testimonies of the five Columbian women is living proof of how the lives of people living in Colombia are affected every time cocaine from our country is purchased for consumption.
"I hope the Birmingham event will go some way to demonstrate the damage that this drug causes, not only to those who use it, but also to the innocent people who are affected by its cultivation".
Customs officials smashed a drugs ring after traffickers tried to smuggle #250,000 of cocaine in a baby blanket through a Midland mail depot.
Officers working at Coventry International Postal Depot uncovered a package from Panama containing three kilos of the drug in six clear plastic bags wrapped up in a blue baby blanket.
The discovery prompted a swoop on the addresses of three Colombian nationals living in London.
Two men, aged 33 and 31, and one woman, aged 23, were last week sent to prison for a total of 22 years at Southwark Crown Court, for conspiracy to supply a Class A drug.