Human Trafficking: A Major Threat to Migrants
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Human Trafficking: A Major Threat to Migrants

Photo by:   Nadine Shaabana
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Paloma Duran By Paloma Duran | Journalist and Industry Analyst - Wed, 02/01/2023 - 10:34

From January 2016 to November 2021, 5,638 crimes against migrants were reported in Mexico. Experts highlighted that migrants have become more vulnerable due to the government’s lack of organization regarding migration issues as well as the lack of information on such crimes.

The Head of the Migration Policy, Registration and Identity of Persons Unit (UPMRIP), Rocío González Higuera, highlighted that 34% of crimes committed against migrants are incidents of human trafficking. Of these violations, 30% are targeted at children and adolescents. “We are certain that disclosing this information and understanding the characteristics of the problem will help reinforce the actions carried out jointly to combat this crime,” Gonzalez emphasized.

Dana Graber Ladek, Chief of Mission, the International Organization for Migration (IOM), noted that a key problem in tackling human trafficking is that traffickers are constantly changing their routes to avoid capture. After the release of documents such as Rapid Assessment of the Impact of COVID-19 on Migrant Smuggling Networks in Mexico that revealed traditional routes, traffickers changed their approach.

Claudia Esperanza Franco, Head, the First Inspector General's Office of the National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) said that migrants have become more vulnerable because they are unaware of these criminal groups, most of which initially act as if they will help. The Coordinator of the Human Trafficking Area of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime Mario Cordero Véjar pointed out that the actual number of victims may be much higher because trafficking cases remain underreported.

Previously, the Search for Missing Migrants Program of the Jesuit Migrant Service (SJM) warned that the number of missing migrants in Mexican territory tripled. In 2020, 89 cases of missing migrants were reported in Mexico. Cases skyrocketed in 2021 with 349, an increase of 292 percent. According to the SJM report, most of the victims come from Cuba, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Venezuela. Nevertheless, traffickers also target Mexicans. 

In 2021, the US and Mexican governments broke records for migrant arrivals and refugee applications. This year, the trend is expected to continue. Experts say that neither Mexico nor the US possesses the facilities or staff required to tend to the influx of migration. Therefore, what is already considered to be a humanitarian crisis may be exacerbated.

Photo by:   Nadine Shaabana

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