Eleven Thousand Migrants Were Kidnapped in Mexico Last Year

Actually, that's just the numbers for April through September

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Between April and September of last year, more than 11,000 migrants were abducted in Mexico. This figure comes from Mexico's National Human Rights Commission, CNDH, which also reports that most of the missing migrants were from Central America, passing through Mexico to try to get to the United States. Many of them were kidnapped by criminal organizations looking for recruits, informants, or victims to hold for ransom. According to the CNDH, 44 percent of the abducted migrants were from Honduras, 16.2 percent from El Salvador, 11.2 percent from Guatemala, 5 percent from Cuba, and 4.4 percent from Nicaragua. Ten percent of those kidnapped were Mexican nationals.

As reported by BBC News and the Associated Press, the details of these abductions are fairly horrifying. The BBC says that victims are subjected to "kidnapping, extortion, discrimination, exploitation, as well as physical and sexual abuse." One man recalls that his abductors "raped two of the women every day. They looked like rags, those women." CNDH president Raul Plascencia said that "the nature of the crime and the vulnerability of the immigrants does not allow us to know the total number of abductions"--meaning the number could in fact be higher than the 11,333 involved in documented cases.

Plascencia is putting pressure on Mexican law enforcement to do more to prevent the abductions, but it's unclear whether any such actions are forthcoming. Alvaro Colom, the president of Guatemala, has called upon Mexican authorities to grant Central Americans temporary immigrant permits, thus affording them better legal protection if they're traveling through Mexico to get to the U.S. But Colom's proposal doesn't seem to have gained much traction. Meanwhile, the Associated Press reports on a bill currently under consideration in the Mexican senate, one that "would guarantee rights like education, health care and equal treatment for migrants, but would also allow federal police to detain migrants without proper documents... [and] would also impose fines on those who hire undocumented migrants."

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.