Mexico’s foremost human rights group has released a new report on human trafficking, naming close to half of the states and a handful of major cities as trouble spots for the criminal activity.
As El Universal reports, the National Commission on Human Rights identified 15 of 31 states — 32 if you include the federal entity of Mexico City — as centers of human smuggling.
The report defines “human smuggling” as the movement of victim who are trafficked against their will and under false pretenses, and does not refer to willing migrants who pursue migration through illegal channels.
The report also names 11 cities as primary zones of operation for human traffickers. While many of them are concentrated in the northern of the country, close to the border with the U.S., many tourist destinations and cities in the geographic center of the country are also included on the list. In addition to border towns like Juarez and Tijuana, beach cities Cancun, Acapulco, and Puerto Vallarta all appear, alongside major urban centers like Guadalajara.
What this demonstrates is that the problem goes well beyond simply vaulting people across the border — it is a well developed and operationally sophisticated industry.
The document also says that human trafficking is also closely linked to illegal immigration flows. Organized crime groups have taken on an increased role in both phenomena, as a recent report by the Washington Post indicated.