Activists and relatives of missing migrants and others on Friday began a three-day northward march from Parral, Mexico, to draw attention to the plight of “the disappeared ones.”
The march organized by the grassroots group El Barzon and backed by the Women’s Human Rights Center comes after Mexico’s National Registry of Missing Persons reported that more than 100,000 people are missing nationwide, including 3,462 in the state of Chihuahua and 911 in the city of Juarez.
“We know that the number of the missing is higher than the official figures. There is no definitive number as not all disappearances are reported because of lack of trust in the authorities and the risk that a search represents for the family members,” the Women’s Center said in a statement Friday.
The groups say participants expect to be at the state government building in Chihuahua City on Monday to demand more comprehensive searches for missing migrants, young men who may have been victims of drug gangs and young women who never came back to their homes.
March coordinator Gabino Gomez is calling on the Mexican government to share reports of missing migrants with U.S. authorities. “The search needs to take place on both sides (of the border) because we don’t know which ones went across and which ones did not,” the leader of El Barzon said on social media. “We have told (the Mexican government) that it’s not just about searching a trail. That has been done already. We don’t know if they are being held (against their will) or trafficked or what. It is a big issue.”
Gomez wants the government to delve into telephone records and the location from where the missing last made a call or sent a message. He says that’s rarely done and – when it’s done – it takes weeks for telephone companies to comply.
Among the missing is a group of 13 migrants from the Chihuahua countryside, the state of Queretaro and from Mexico City that has been missing since late September when the truck their “guides” were driving was intercepted by a group of rival smugglers, according to a boy who traveled with them and was let go.
The group’s last known location was the desert west of the Ojinaga, Mexico-Presidio, Texas, border.