Report Hightlights Immigrant Kidnapping

Mexico’s National Human Rights Commission estimates that nearly 10,000 migrants, mostly from Central America, were kidnapped between September and February in a growing trend that has Church officials concerned.

The just-released report says 9,758 migrants were kidnapped as they made their way north through Mexico to the United States. Most were abducted by organized gangs and ransomed for an average of $2,500. All told, the report estimates that ransoms over the six-month period, which were paid by relatives in Central America and in the United States, totaled about $25 million.

“This is just another example of the way migrants are treated as merchandise,” said Sister Leticia Gutierrez, head of the Mexican bishops’ human mobility ministry, during an interview at her Mexico City office last week.

Gutierrez said the report stemmed in part from the growing number of kidnapping reports she received from Church-run migrant shelters throughout Mexico. She said abducted migrants are often tortured and released for ransom. Research and testimonies with migrants at many of the shelters contributed to the report, which was released on June 15.

The report underscores the changing landscape of the myriad dangers migrants face as they make their way through Mexico. For years, migrants have been targeted by corrupt public officials and bandits who steal their belongings, take their documents, and demand bribes.

“Today, it’s not just the authorities they have to worry about. The situation has changed, it’s also organized crime and gangs that are taking advantage of the infrastructure,” explained Sister Gutierrez. “Before a woman coming into Mexico had to worry about being raped. Now she has to worry that she will also be kidnapped. It it just another layer of violence, injustic, and abuse.”

Gutierrez said she is still receiving reports that the kidnappings continue.

Robyn Fieser, CRS regional information officer, Latin America

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One Response to “Report Hightlights Immigrant Kidnapping”

  1. Posts about Mexico Violence as of July 2, 2009 | EL CHUCO TIMES Says:

    […] 159% since 1999 in the number of women charged with violence against their male partners. Abused Report Hightlights Immigrant Kidnapping – 07/02/2009 Mexico’s National Human Rights Commission estimates that nearly […]

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