HomeNewsBriefMexico Human Trafficking Web Exposes Changing Role of Cartels
BRIEF

Mexico Human Trafficking Web Exposes Changing Role of Cartels

HUMAN TRAFFICKING / 31 JUL 2014 BY KYRA GURNEY EN

Authorities in Mexico have uncovered a web of human trafficking alliances stretching across 17 states and involving groups from the biggest cartels down to family-run crime clans, in an illustration of the scale of the trade and the pressure on major criminal organizations to move into new businesses.

Based on testimony from victims, the Attorney General's organized crime unit (SEIDO) linked crime families in the small central state of Tlaxcala to drug cartels including the Zetas, the Familia Michoacana, the Knights Templar and the Gulf Cartel, reported Excelsior.

One of the routes used by the networks is to bring minors from the southeast states of Oaxaca, Veracruz, Hidalgo and Chiapas and transport them by truck to safe houses in Tlaxcala, from where victims are either moved to Tijuana near the US border or to Mexico City.

The tactics used to obtain victims have reportedly developed over time, with criminal groups now often using social networking sites rather than kidnapping to recruit victims, found SEIDO.

According to Excelsior, 70,000 people become victims of human trafficking every year in Mexico. The crime earns criminal groups an estimated $42 million annually -- which amounts to about $600 per victim -- and 47 criminal organizations are involved.

InSight Crime Analysis

In 2010, the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women and Girls in Latin America and the Caribbean (CATW-LAC) reported that an estimated 1.2 million people in Mexico were victims of human trafficking. The National Refuge Network has reported that 800,000 adults and 20,000 children are trafficked for sexual exploitation in the country each year.

SEE ALSO: Slavery in Latin America

As highlighted by Excelsior, the human trafficking business model is sophisticated, with the work divided between a range of criminal groups responsible for different aspects of the trade, such as recruitment or transport.

Human trafficking in the country used to be dominated by small, independent networks, but drug cartels have taken an increasingly important role in the crime as they seek to diversify their revenue streams in the face of pressure on the drug business. In 2013, the regional head of CATW-LAC stated that 70 percent of sex trafficking cases reported to the organization involved drug gangs.

The importance of Tlaxcala in the human trafficking networks may be due to the state's central location and proximity to Mexico City. Between January 2010 and July 2013, Tlaxcala saw the greatest number of convictions for human trafficking and tied with Baja California for the largest number of cases opened for this crime. The state was also the site of a major sex trafficking network dismantled in 2011.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

HUMAN SMUGGLING / 21 MAR 2014

US authorities have discovered a home in Texas where human smugglers were keeping over 100 undocumented migrants against their will,…

KNIGHTS TEMPLAR / 21 MAY 2013

A Mexican vigilante group reportedly forced eight teenagers to sweep a town plaza in punishment for working for criminal organization…

BELTRAN LEYVA ORG / 3 FEB 2013

Two large Mexican drug cartels -- once thought to be reeling due to infighting, pressure from authorities, and constant assaults…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Tackles Illegal Fishing

15 OCT 2021

In October, InSight Crime and American University’s Center for Latin American and Latino Studies (CLALS) began a year-long project on illegal, unreported, unregulated (IUU) fishing in…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Featured in Handbook for Reporting on Organized Crime

8 OCT 2021

In late September, the Global Investigative Journalism Network (GIJN) published an excerpt of its forthcoming guide on reporting organized crime in Indonesia.

THE ORGANIZATION

Probing Organized Crime in Haiti

1 OCT 2021

InSight Crime has made it a priority to investigate organized crime in Haiti, where an impotent state is reeling after the July assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, coupled with an…

THE ORGANIZATION

Emergency First Aid in Hostile Environments

24 SEP 2021

At InSight Crime's annual treat, we ramped up hostile environment and emergency first aid training for our 40-member staff, many of whom conduct on-the-ground investigations in dangerous corners of the region.

THE ORGANIZATION

Series on Environmental Crime in the Amazon Generates Headlines

17 SEP 2021

InSight Crime and the Igarapé Institute have been delighted at the response to our joint investigation into environmental crimes in the Colombian Amazon. Coverage of our chapters dedicated to illegal mining…