As an anti-human trafficking bill makes its way through Mexico's legislature, a congresswoman has claimed that more than 800,000 people a year are trafficked for sexual exploitation.

In an effort to draw attention to the crime of human trafficking in Mexico, congresswoman Rosi Orozco (pictured) recently cited figures showing that some 800,000 adults and 20,000 children are trafficked for sexual exploitation each year in Mexico, reports EFE.

Orozco said the figure came from the National Refuge Network (RNR), an NGO that provides shelter to abused women. According to the RNR, at least 47 criminal networks control these trafficking routes that predominantly run through the Mexican states of Veracruz, Chiapas, Puebla, Oaxaca, Tlaxcala, Baja California, Chihuahua, Guerrero and·Quintana Roo.

Mexico's lower house·voted unanimously·on Thursday for a new anti-human trafficking law that would mandate sentences of between 15 and 30 years for the crimes of slavery, child pornography and the sexual exploitation of women and children. If passed into law, a maximum sentence of 40 years would also be imposed for parents who allow their children to be sexually exploited.

The bill follows two constitutional amendments made last year by President Felipe Calderon, one that requires those accused of human trafficking to be imprisoned during trials, and one that ensures the anonymity of victims.

InSight Crime Analysis

Estimates over the income generated from the global human trafficking industry vary widely with some putting the figure at close to $10 billion annually, and others over $30 billion. What is beyond doubt is that it is one of the most profitable forms of crime in the world.

Attracted by the potential profits, Mexican cartels have become increasingly involved in the trade, according to a 2011 Washington Post investigation. Because crimes related to human trafficking are rarely prosecuted, this has given criminal groups another incentive to deepen their involvement. As Orzoco told the Post, “If narcotics traffickers are caught they go to high-security prisons, but with the trafficking of women, they have found absolute impunity.”

The new law will seek to address this discrepancy in Mexico's judicial system, a problem that was recently highlighted with the release of figures by the Attorney General's Office that showed only a fraction of cases were subject to preliminary investigations over the last three years.

Investigations

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
Prev Next

Guatemala's Mafia State and the Case of Mauricio López Bonilla

Guatemala's Mafia State and the Case of Mauricio López Bonilla

Former Guatemalan Interior Minister Mauricio López Bonilla -- a decorated war hero and a longtime US ally -- finds himself treading water amidst a flurry of accusations about corruption and his connections to drug traffickers. López Bonilla is not the most well-known suspect in the cases against...

How the MS13 Got Its Foothold in Transnational Drug Trafficking

How the MS13 Got Its Foothold in Transnational Drug Trafficking

Throughout the continent, the debate on whether or not the Mara Salvatrucha (MS13) gang is working with or for drug traffickers continues. In this investigation, journalist Carlos García tells the story of how a member of the MS13 entered the methamphetamine distribution business under the powerful auspices...

The Lucky ‘Kingpin’: How ‘Chepe Diablo’ Has (So Far) Ridiculed Justice

The Lucky ‘Kingpin’: How ‘Chepe Diablo’ Has (So Far) Ridiculed Justice

José Adán Salazar Umaña is the only Salvadoran citizen currently on the US government's Kingpin List. But in his defense, Salazar Umaña claims is he is an honorable businessman who started his career by exchanging money along the borders between Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras. He does...

How the MS13 Tried (and Failed) to Create a Single Gang in the US

How the MS13 Tried (and Failed) to Create a Single Gang in the US

In July 2011, members of the Mara Salvatrucha (MS13) attended a meeting organized in California by a criminal known as "Bad Boy." Among the invitees was José Juan Rodríguez Juárez, known as "Dreamer," who had gone to the meeting hoping to better understand what was beginning to...

The MS13 Moves (Again) to Expand on US East Coast

The MS13 Moves (Again) to Expand on US East Coast

Local police and justice officials are convinced that the Mara Salvatrucha (MS13) has strengthened its presence along the East Coast of the United States. The alarm follows a recent spate of violence -- of the type not seen in a decade -- which included dismembered bodies and...

'MS13 Members Imprisoned in El Salvador Can Direct the Gang in the US'

'MS13 Members Imprisoned in El Salvador Can Direct the Gang in the US'

Special Agent David LeValley headed the criminal division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation's (FBI) Washington office until last November 8. While in office, he witnessed the rise of the MS13, the Barrio 18 (18th Street) and other smaller gangs in the District of Columbia as well...