The Mexican town where human trafficking and forced prostitution go unpunished

After decades of abuse, forced prostitution, and slavery, it’s time for Mexican authorities to eradicate these heinous crimes

The Mexican town where human trafficking and forced prostitution go unpunished
In Tlaxcala, teenagers and adult women are forced into prostitution by criminals who are protected by local authorities - Photo: File Photo/EL UNIVERSAL
English 05/02/2020 09:27 Mexico City Editorial Actualizada 09:32
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EL UNIVERSAL, in collaboration with Grupo Fórmula, launched an investigation at the epicenter of human trafficking and sexual exploitation in Mexico: Tenancingo, Tlaxcala. This small town is full of lavish homes and luxury cars. This is the same place where U.S. reporter Lara Logan, from Fox News, was intimidated by local police and was forbidden from investigating human trafficking in the town. Furthermore, local police pressured the journalist to leave the town and told her that a few weeks ago, two people were lynched for asking about Tenancingo, Tlaxcala.

Besides the protection of local police, sexual slavery is also ignored and dismissed by local authorities. For example, from over 200 lawsuits filed between 2011 and 2017, only 9 were solved and received a jail sentence.

Recommended: Forced prostitution and human trafficking in Mexico

The figure of the Mexican pimp originated in Tlaxcala. He is a man who uses his charisma to convince women to leave their families and their lives behind with the promise of a better life but then isolates them and takes them to major cities in Mexico or the U.S., where they are exploited and forced into prostitution.

Their modus operandi, in contrast with other types of organized crime, is perpetrated through a “family business” where men are in charge of recruiting women with the support of relatives, who are often female and who are in charge of monitoring them, keeping them on secluded places, and transporting them.

Recommended: Mexico to propose new human trafficking law

Once the exploited women arrive in major cities, the teenagers are forced into prostitution and at the same time, they are forced to recruit more women. This crime is perpetrated in at least 23 of the 60 municipalities in Tlaxcala.

Therefore, in order to eradicate sexual exploitation, the government has to dismantle the networks, often formed by local police, that protect human traffickers and to launch a campaign so that teenagers are aware of these crimes and are not easily recruited by criminals.

After decades of abuse, forced prostitution, and slavery, it’s time for Mexican authorities to eradicate these heinous crimse.

Recommended: Mexico City to decriminalize sex work

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