In just one week officials in Mexico found 370 abandoned children. These children were supposed to be guided through Mexico and smuggled into America, but instead have ended up abandoned. The traffickers, who were already paid their fees to take the children, had dumped them in various parts of Mexico instead of smuggling them to America.
Officials rescued the children in 14 different Mexican states between March 17 and March 24. The National Institute of Migration (INM) said that these children came from different Central American nations. While ages have not been specified, it was reported that the youngest child was nine-years-old. Out of the 370 abandoned children, 163 of the children under the age 18 were traveling alone.
While some families will pay traffickers to smuggle their whole family into America at one time, it is not uncommon for parents to go first. The parents travel to the United States, and then after becoming established the immigrants will pay the traffickers to bring their children to America. The fees can range from $3,000 to $5,000.
After receiving their fee, the human traffickers will sometimes choose to abandon these children, such as the 370 just found, in various parts of Mexico. The INM stated that these children who were recently found showed signs of foot injuries, dehydration, and fatigue. They also showed signs of disorientation due to them being dumped in unfamiliar, and usually dangerous, locations.
While the specific nationalities of these children have not been released, they are from different nations in Central America, which is where most immigrants traveling through Mexico to reach America come from. These immigrants face dangerous situations in Mexico, including rape, murder, kidnapping, robbery, and being forcibly recruited into gangs.
Roughly 140,000 undocumented immigrants attempt the dangerous path to travel through Mexico into the United States every year. INM says that it has seen a significant increase of children traveling alone through Mexico in the recent months.
Father Herman Vazquez, who is a director at a refuge for migrants in Huixtla, Chiapas, has also seen more children attempting the dangerous path through Mexico. Vazquez says he sees more children every day, including children and babies traveling with families, but also children traveling alone. He has also seen children as young as six making the trip with only an older sibling, who may not even be that much older than the younger child.
The traffickers, who act as guides to get these children through Mexico and into America, will often abandon them at difficult times in the trek. These guides, also called “coyotes,” will dump the children when the trek becomes dangerous, or at difficult transition points. These children are then left to wander in unfamiliar locations.
Children who are abandoned by human traffickers in Mexico typically end up dead, or in the hands of the drug cartel. The human traffickers, who have already collected their fees, move on to the next child or group they are guiding through Mexico and into the United States. Officials in Mexico have arrested nine suspected human traffickers in relation to the 370 abandoned children found in Mexico in just one week.
By Ashley Campbell