Is it easy to make someone vanish?

Cases have been piling up ever since the start of the so-called war on drugs

Protest against forced disappearances - File photo/EL UNIVERSAL
English 03/12/2017 08:54 Mexico City Newspaper Leader by EL UNIVERSAL Actualizada 08:54
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One of the open wounds of this country is the problem of forced disappearances. There are thousands who vanished years ago without a trace. Cases have been piling up ever since the start of the so-called war on drugs – over a decade ago.

EL UNIVERSAL publishes today a fact which adds a grim spin to this tale: in most cases, the missing people are minors.

Between 2007 and 2012, the average age range in disappearance cases was 26 to 21, in that order. Yet, starting 2013, the patterns changed. From July 2013 to July 2017, we have 4,339 reports of missing people aged 0 to 17; which is equivalent to the fourth part of all cases reported within that period. That is, on average, four minors disappear every day in our country.

Although there are no clues as to their whereabouts, experts have linked disappearances to the “need” of criminal groups of recruiting younger males they can train as “hawks” (informants), hitmen, or personnel for their underground labs. Regarding missing young women, experts on the subject consider it's highly probable they have become victims of human trafficking.

Despite we have more legal and institutional instruments to report, register, and investigate these crimes, new cases come in every day and civil groups question the lack of actions to follow-up on open cases of missing people.

When are public officials of communities, states, and the federal government, in charge of investigating and enforcing the law will put themselves in the shoes of the victims and their families to close the breach between the State and the society?

Abandonment and helplessness are the feelings of the relatives who ignore the fate of their loved ones. They have founded organizations to support one another and take actions which have already begun to bring changes in how this problem is handled.

So far, thousands of families are waiting for the results of their justified demands. Only then will we be able to stop saying the harsh but real phrase that in Mexico it's “very easy to make someone vanish.”


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