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MEXICO (Tier 2)

The Government of Mexico does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking but is making significant efforts to do so. The government demonstrated overall increasing efforts compared to the previous reporting period, considering the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on its anti-trafficking capacity; therefore Mexico remained on Tier 2. These efforts included opening more investigations and convicting more traffickers; adopting stronger victim identification SOPs for immigration officials; and enacting a new National Action Plan (NAP) for 2022-2024. Courts convicted more labor traffickers, and the government issued a resolution that established a process for prohibiting the import of goods produced with forced labor. However, the government did not meet the minimum standards in several key areas. The government reported identifying significantly fewer victims. The government failed to allocate funds to a legally required victim assistance fund; overall services for victims were inadequate compared to the scale of the problem; and services were acutely lacking for male victims, forced labor victims, and victims in rural areas. The government did not investigate, prosecute, or convict any complicit officials. Fraudulent recruitment practices for work within Mexico and abroad continued to be widespread, but the government did not take steps to hold recruiters or labor agents accountable.

  • Implement the NAP’s strategic action plan on victim services, in consultation with international organizations and NGOs, to include shelters, comprehensive services, and reintegration support for all victims, including men and boys, LGBTQI+ individuals, labor trafficking victims, and Indigenous persons, and allocate sufficient funding for implementation.
  • Develop and implement SOPs for front-line officials at state and federal levels to proactively identify victims among vulnerable groups in Mexico and overseas – including individuals in commercial sex, children apprehended for illicit gang-related activities, Cuban medical professionals, and migrants, including migrant workers – and refer them to service providers for assistance.
  • Increase efforts to investigate and prosecute trafficking crimes, including labor trafficking and those involving complicit officials, at both the federal and state levels.
  • Strengthen efforts to hold labor recruiters, including informal “enganchadores,” accountable for fraudulent recruitment practices that facilitate forced labor within Mexico and abroad.
  • Provide improved security to victims and witnesses testifying against traffickers, and ensure victims are not unlawfully detained, coerced into testifying, or otherwise re-traumatized.
  • Allocate funds to a legally required victim assistance fund to cover restitution payments convicted traffickers are unable to pay and develop a mechanism to ensure victims receive court-ordered payments.
  • Increase funding to NGOs that provide services to victims.
  • Conduct culturally relevant awareness campaigns in local languages targeted for rural, migrant, and Indigenous communities that provide information and resources to seek assistance.
  • Strengthen data collection efforts.
  • Vigorously implement new procedures for prohibiting the importation of good produced with forced labor.

The government increased law enforcement efforts, but it did not provide complete data on investigations, prosecutions, and convictions at the federal and state levels. Federal authorities reported prosecuting significantly fewer suspects. The 2012 anti-trafficking law criminalized sex trafficking and labor trafficking, prescribing penalties of five to 30 years’ imprisonment and fines for sex trafficking offenses, and five to 20 years’ imprisonment and fines for labor trafficking. These penalties were sufficiently stringent and, with respect to sex trafficking, commensurate with those prescribed for other serious crimes, such as rape. The law defined trafficking broadly to include illegal adoption without the purpose of exploitation. Federal officials had jurisdiction over all international trafficking cases, all cases that took place on federally administered territory involving organized crime, and all cases involving allegations against government officials. States investigated other internal trafficking cases. Thirty states had anti-trafficking laws. The 2012 law obligated each state to have a dedicated human trafficking prosecutor; 31 of 32 states had established specialized anti-trafficking prosecutors or units. The 2019 Asset Forfeiture Law allowed authorities to seize traffickers’ assets.

Authorities initiated 33 federal investigations and 798 state investigations in 2022, compared with at least 35 federal investigations and 621 state investigations in 2021, and 55 federal investigations and 550 state investigations in 2020. Federal investigations included at least 23 sex trafficking cases, and state investigations included at least 734 sex trafficking cases and 30 labor trafficking cases; authorities did not specify the form of exploitation in the remaining cases. Federal authorities reported prosecuting 11 individuals in 2022, compared with federal prosecution of 76 individuals (31 new and 45 ongoing) in 2021 and federal prosecutions of 75 individuals (40 new and 35 ongoing) in 2020. The government reported prosecuting at least 63 suspects at the state level but provided data from only 10 states. In comparison, the government reported state-level prosecutions in 22 states for a total of 95 suspects prosecuted in 2021 and 14 states for a total of 51 suspects prosecuted in 2020. Authorities reported prosecuting at least 37 individuals for sex trafficking crimes, including all suspects prosecuted at the state level in Chiapas, Mexico City, and Zacatecas; the government did not report the number of individuals prosecuted for labor trafficking crimes at the state or federal level. In 2022, federal officials convicted five sex traffickers and state authorities convicted 111 traffickers – 81 for sex trafficking, 20 for labor trafficking, and 10 for unspecified forms of trafficking. Total convictions, 116, increased from 75 convictions (all state level) in 2021 and 49 convictions (state and federal) in 2020. Authorities reported double the number of labor trafficking convictions – 10 in 2021 to 20 in 2022. Nonetheless, a lack of coordination among labor inspectors, criminal justice authorities, and service providers hampered efforts to hold labor traffickers criminally accountable and provide comprehensive assistance for labor trafficking victims. In 2022, courts issued sentences for convicted traffickers ranging from 10 to 196 years and six months’ imprisonment and ordered many traffickers to pay fines and restitution. The Secretariat of Finance’s Financial Intelligence Unit (UIF) uncovered 403 suspicious financial transactions, amounting to $7.5 million, potentially linked to trafficking and referred some of these cases to relevant authorities for criminal investigation, an increase from 201 transactions uncovered in 2021. An NGO that operated the national human trafficking hotline referred 43 calls to specialized prosecutors for investigation. Mexican prosecutors collaborated on 14 investigations with authorities from Argentina, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Peru, Poland, and Venezuela. Mexican authorities apprehended and extradited two fugitives wanted for human trafficking crimes in the United States. The government lacked a coordinated system to track data on its anti-trafficking law enforcement and victim protection efforts, making it difficult for authorities to verify statistics, assess efforts, and appropriately allocate resources.

Two specialized prosecution units, the Special Prosecutor’s Office for Crimes of Violence against Women and Trafficking in Persons (FEVIMTRA) and the Specialized Unit in Investigation of Trafficking in Minors, Persons, and Organs (UEITMPO), prosecuted cases under Mexico’s federal anti-trafficking law. State-level specialized prosecution units, whose capacity levels, staffing, and funding varied widely, had the primary responsibility for enforcing anti-trafficking laws throughout the country. Although individuals in rural and Indigenous communities faced severe trafficking risks, prosecutor offices in these areas were particularly understaffed and lacked sufficient resources to effectively prosecute trafficking crimes. Coordination across state and federal levels continued to be slow. Authorities from the State of Mexico and Mexico City conducted more than half of all reported state-level investigations in 2022. The government identified the states of Guerrero, Tlaxcala, and Veracruz as having a high trafficking prevalence; for the first time in at least three years, authorities in Tlaxcala convicted two sex traffickers, but authorities in Veracruz and Guerrero did not convict any traffickers for at least a third consecutive year. Local experts reported insufficient funding for prosecutors in these states led them to charge suspects with crimes they believed easier to prove. Mexico’s National Guard trained 276 personnel to identify and investigate trafficking crimes, and UIF conducted a series of workshops for public officials from relevant sectors on financial flows and human trafficking.

Corruption and official complicity in trafficking crimes remained concerns, inhibiting law enforcement action. Some government officials facilitated or participated in trafficking crimes. The government’s new anti-trafficking NAP identified corruption and collusion with criminal groups as challenges that contribute to high levels of impunity for trafficking crimes. The government operated a hotline and website open to the public for the anonymous reporting of suspected corruption involving public officials, but it did not report receiving any trafficking-related tips. In 2022, the government did not report any new investigations, prosecutions, or convictions of officials for complicity in trafficking crimes, a decline from previous years in which authorities made arrests of allegedly complicit officials. The government did not provide updates on cases opened in previous years, including: the former governor of Puebla, arrested in February 2021 for ordering the 2005 torture and illegal arrest of a journalist who exposed the official’s alleged involvement in a child sex trafficking ring; a 2021 investigation of a public servant detained for alleged involvement in child sex trafficking crimes; or the arrests in 2021 and 2022 of a former leader and two former employees of a national political party, charged with running a sex trafficking operation with party resources.

The government decreased protection efforts, identifying fewer victims and providing inadequate services. The government reported identifying 440 victims in 2022, although not all states provided data. This was a significant decrease from 744 victims identified in 2021 and 673 victims identified in 2020. At the federal level, FEVIMTRA and National Institute of Migration (INM) officers identified 31 sex trafficking victims and nine forced labor victims. State officials identified 231 sex trafficking victims in 17 states, 112 forced labor victims in nine states, and 57 victims of unspecified forms of trafficking in four states. The government provided only partial disaggregated data on the identified victims: sex trafficking victims included at least 16 girls, 75 women, and three men; and forced labor victims included at least seven girls, three women, and five men. The government identified at least 20 victims from other countries, including one LGBTQI+ individual. Eleven sex trafficking victims INM identified were from Argentina, Colombia, Guatemala, Peru, and Venezuela, and four forced labor victims were from Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. Officials in Baja California identified five additional foreign national victims. An international organization identified 21 additional victims, all foreign nationals. The government did not report the number of Mexican victims of trafficking authorities identified or assisted in other countries. In comparison, Mexican consular officials abroad identified and assisted 86 victims of forced labor in 2021.

Most government officials lacked SOPs to proactively identify potential victims of trafficking within vulnerable groups and systematically refer them to service providers, and the government lacked a National Referral Mechanism (NRM) to provide a consistent standard of referral to victims. In December 2022, with support from an international organization and a foreign donor the government completed updates to its formal SOPs for immigration officials to screen for, identify, and assist potential trafficking victims during initial immigration verification.

Authorities did not screen Cuban nationals working in Mexico, including as medical professionals, for indicators of force, fraud, or coercion, despite evidence the Cuban government may have forced some of them to work. Consular officials followed a protocol for identifying and providing assistance to Mexican victims abroad, and some other agencies followed informal victim referral procedures. Labor inspectors had a protocol for identifying suspected forced labor victims during routine inspections of formally-registered businesses and farms and could respond to complaints alleging forced labor, but local observers reported a lack of coordination with other secretariats to facilitate criminal investigations and victim assistance. Across the government, victim referral from first responders was largely ad hoc and procedures varied from state to state, with most shelters relying on prosecutors to identify and refer adult victims and Department of Family Development (DIF) officers to refer children. NGOs reported authorities at all levels of government lacked sufficient understanding of trafficking laws and failed to effectively identify and refer potential victims. The government trained employees at bus stations to identify possible trafficking victims and, with donor support, the government trained immigration officials in a certificate program on the identification of possible trafficking victims. During unannounced monitoring visits to institutions serving migrants and crime victims, the National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) provided training to staff on identifying and assisting trafficking victims within these vulnerable populations.

The government did not provide complete data on victim services. Federal and state officials reported 79 victims, including 60 exploited in sex trafficking and 19 in labor trafficking, received government or government-supported services. Authorities reported referring at least 50 victims, including 34 exploited in sex trafficking and 16 in labor trafficking, to service providers. The government did not clarify the extent to which these figures overlapped or provide detail on the type and duration of services provided. Not all states reported data. An international organization reported referring 25 victims to services; these victims included five women exploited in sex trafficking, seven women and 10 men exploited in labor trafficking, and one woman and two men in unspecified forms of trafficking. Federal and state agencies generally offered victims short-term, emergency assistance such as medical care, food, and housing in temporary or transitional spaces. The government provided some victims additional services such as psychological care, legal assistance, and access to education or employment opportunities, often in partnership with NGOs. However, victim services varied throughout the country; were unavailable in many regions; and were particularly inadequate for male victims, forced labor victims, and victims in rural areas. NGOs provided the majority of longer-term support for victims. NGOs reported the government provided insufficient funding for critical victim services and victims in most states did not receive sufficient government assistance. Medical and psychological support often did not extend beyond cursory evaluations; shelters at both the state and local levels typically housed victims only for the duration of a criminal trial; and long-term reintegration services were very limited, leaving victims highly vulnerable to re-exploitation.

Victims had uneven access to shelters across the country. An international organization reported there were 29 shelters in Mexico that could assist trafficking victims, including 13 specialized trafficking shelters, 11 for victims of gender-based violence, and five that each served a specialized population such as Indigenous women, children and adolescents, or migrants. NGOs operated the majority of shelters that served trafficking victims. The government provided services such as security, transportation, and medical assistance to victims in some NGO shelters. FEVIMTRA continued to operate a high-security shelter in Mexico City that could accommodate 50 female victims and their children for up to three months while victims participated in legal processes. NGOs expressed concerns the high security measures, including victims’ inability to leave the shelter unaccompanied, may have re-traumatized some victims. The states of Mexico, Chiapas, and Mexico City continued operating six government-funded trafficking shelters. In total, five states had specialized government or NGO shelters for trafficking victims. In August 2022, the Government of Tlaxcala entered into an agreement with an NGO shelter in a neighboring state, allowing officials to refer victims to that shelter. Four other states had similar agreements in place with out of state trafficking shelters, but state governments did not always provide funding or other support as part of these arrangements. There were no government or NGO trafficking shelters that accepted men or boys older than 13, limiting access to specialized services for both male victims and victims with teenage sons in their care. With support from an international organization, the government developed and began implementing an operational manual for standards of care in government and NGO shelters that serve trafficking victims.

The law provided victims with protection from punishment for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of being trafficked. However, the government lacked formal procedures to identify victims among vulnerable groups, including children apprehended for alleged gang-related criminal activity and migrants in detention facilities. NGOs reported authorities sometimes wrongfully detained victims on trafficking charges and some officials utilized shelters as detention facilities for victims until their cases were completed. Trafficking victims among migrants and asylum-seekers were often fearful of reporting abuses due to a mistrust of authorities and fears of punishment, deportation, or other repercussions. The government did not report whether it complied with a CNDH recommendation, issued in December 2020, to provide compensation to a sex trafficking victim whose human rights were violated when authorities detained her in a migrant detention center in 2018. The government provided five humanitarian visas to victims of trafficking in 2022. In comparison, it provided humanitarian visas to 13 trafficking victims in 2021. Humanitarian visas enabled foreign trafficking victims to legally remain and work in the country up to one year, and could be extended; this benefit was not dependent on a victim’s willingness to participate in a criminal trial. Government officials and NGOs acknowledged barriers to victims receiving humanitarian visas, including authorities’ failure to identify eligible foreign trafficking victims, insufficient efforts to make victims aware of the process for obtaining such relief, and the lengthy wait times for processing requests.

The anti-trafficking law stipulated authorities must apply the principle of “maximum protection” to guarantee the safety, wellbeing, and privacy of victims and witnesses, including protecting individuals’ identities and providing name and residence changes to victims affected by organized crime. Courts permitted some victims to provide testimony via closed circuit television. Nonetheless, identifying information sometimes became publicly available in high-profile cases, and NGOs reported officials often re-traumatized victims through a lack of sensitivity, victim shaming, and inadequate protections for victims during criminal proceedings. Experts expressed concern prosecutors coerced some victims to testify during judicial proceedings. Authorities’ failure to employ victim-centered procedures, combined with an overall lack of specialized services and security, disincentivized victims from filing complaints or participating in investigations and prosecutions. Women, indigenous persons, LGBTQI+ individuals, and migrants experienced structural discrimination that led to inequality in assistance and limited their access to justice.

The Secretariat of the Interior (SEGOB) had a unit responsible for supporting access to justice and compensation for victims of federal crimes, but the government did not provide it with sufficient funding and trained personnel, limiting its ability to provide this support to trafficking victims. The national anti-trafficking law required judges in criminal cases at both the state and federal levels to order traffickers to pay restitution to victims. The law also held the government responsible to cover payments traffickers were unable to pay. The government did not provide information on the amounts judges ordered convicted traffickers to pay or the number of victims who received restitution payments. Civil society organizations reported victims in Mexico City and in the states of Mexico, Nuevo Leon, Puebla, and Veracruz received restitution. However, the majority of victims awarded restitution did not receive these funds, and the government did not create a legally-required fund to cover restitution payments perpetrators could not pay.

The government increased prevention efforts. The anti-trafficking commission, led by SEGOB, coordinated efforts among government agencies and civil society organizations. In December 2022, the government published a new NAP, the National Program to Prevent, Punish, and Eradicate Human Trafficking Crimes and for the Protection and Assistance to Victims of these Crimes (2022-2024). Coordination challenges among federal, state, and local authorities and the absence of data collection and monitoring tools to track progress on policy implementation limited the government’s progress. However, local experts reported the commission improved coordination during the year and commended the inclusion of indicators to track progress on implementation of the new NAP.

The government provided funding to an NGO to manage and operate the national human trafficking hotline, which offered 24-hour assistance to callers in Spanish, English, and Indigenous languages. The hotline received 2,549 trafficking-related calls, with the majority of callers determined to be at risk of trafficking. The government conducted a variety of anti-trafficking training and awareness programs for government officials and members of the public. The anti-trafficking commission held webinars on the use of technology in recruiting victims, conducted workshops for Secretariat of Welfare Staff, and partnered with a locally-based international airline to show an awareness video on flights. The specialized anti-trafficking prosecutor offices trained more than 6,000 officials in trafficking prevention, victim identification, human rights, and rule of law. The Mexico City government conducted 19 workshops in 14 states on prevention of all forms of violence against children, including trafficking. Nonetheless, awareness and understanding of trafficking, particularly forced labor, remained low among the public. Experts noted prevention campaigns insufficiently reached high-risk groups such as children, rural and Indigenous communities, and non-Spanish speakers. Mexican officials contracted Cuban medical professionals during the year, but did not report efforts to prevent forced labor among these workers, despite ongoing concerns by international experts that the Government of Cuba may have compelled some of them to work. Media reports indicated Mexican authorities paid Cuban medical professionals’ salaries to the Cuban government, rather than the workers, which increased risks of forced labor. In 2022, an NGO reported the Government of Mexico paid the Cuban government approximately $3,500 a month per worker, and in turn, the Cuban government paid each worker $200 a month, leaving workers with only 6 percent of their salaries.

The Secretariat of Labor and Social Welfare (STPS) did not have a sufficient number of labor inspectors, hampering robust and consistent enforcement of labor laws. Furthermore, labor inspectors had a limited mandate for conducting oversight of working conditions in informal businesses and farms – which employed more than half of Mexican workers – and a 24-hour advance notice requirement for routine inspections hampered their effectiveness when they did occur. Authorities conducted very few inspections in major farming states where abuses allegedly were rife, investigated few complaints, and lacked effective coordination mechanisms to provide identified victims with appropriate services and access to criminal justice. Federal Labor Law required employment agencies and labor recruiters to seek authorization from and register with STPS to operate legally, and the law prescribed fines for noncompliance. The law also prohibited recruiters and labor agents from charging fees to workers and employers from passing agency fees to workers in the form of wage deductions. However, the government did not report fining any employment agencies for violations, and many informal labor recruiters – known as “enganchadores” – evaded government oversight and committed exploitative practices with impunity. The labor law required employers to pay wages weekly; employers who withheld wages to keep an employee in compelled servitude could also be charged under the anti-trafficking law. However, the government did not effectively enforce its laws against employers who withheld wages to compel workers to meet certain quotas or continue working for a certain length of time. The government signed an MOU with the Government of the United States to increase coordination on labor mobility and the protection of participants in temporary foreign worker programs.

In February 2023, STPS and the Secretariat of Economy published a decree setting the guidelines to prohibit the importation of goods produced by forced labor. A 2021 reform to the Migration and Refugee Law required authorities to issue temporary documents to undocumented migrant children and their adult caregivers, granting legal presence in Mexico while the government conducted a best interest determination for the child. Local observers expressed concerns the law did not protect unaccompanied children from exploitation, as it did not require adults to prove their relationship to the child. The Secretariat of Tourism collaborated with an NGO to hold virtual and in-person trainings on a voluntary public-private code of conduct on the protection of children in the tourism sector, reaching 14,000 hotel employees nationwide. During the year, 345 businesses joined the code of conduct, but NGOs reported the government’s lack of follow-up and enforcement efforts limited its effectiveness. The government participated in a program with authorities in the United States to limit the entry into Mexico of sex offenders convicted in the United States, and in 2022 Mexican authorities denied entry to 763 sex offenders. The government did not investigate or prosecute any suspected child sex tourists. The States of Colima and Quintana Roo passed protocols permitting the use of undercover investigation techniques in online sexual exploitation cases, and authorities in these states began proactive investigations into these types of crimes. The government made efforts to reduce the demand for commercial sex acts by prosecuting and convicting 12 individuals who purchased commercial sex acts from child trafficking victims.

As reported over the past five years, human traffickers exploit domestic and foreign victims in Mexico, and traffickers exploit victims from Mexico abroad. Groups considered most at risk for trafficking in Mexico include unaccompanied children, Indigenous persons, persons with mental and physical disabilities, asylum seekers and migrants, IDPs, LGBTQI+ individuals, informal sector workers, and children in gang-controlled territories. These groups commonly experienced risk factors including marginalization, intra-family and social violence, crime, and a need to migrate within the country or abroad to find employment. Traffickers recruit and exploit Mexican women and children, and to a lesser extent men, in sex trafficking in Mexico and the United States through false promises of employment, deceptive romantic relationships, or extortion. The majority of trafficking cases occur among family, intimate partners, acquaintances on social media, or through employment-related traps. Local experts report an especially high prevalence of child sex trafficking in Tlaxcala, where parents or other family members are often complicit in facilitating these crimes. Powerful family-run networks target and seduce girls in the community, then exploit them in sex trafficking in Mexico or the United States. The online sexual exploitation of children continued to increase during the year. Transgender persons are particularly vulnerable to sex trafficking. Traffickers increasingly use the internet, particularly social media, to target and recruit potential victims; an NGO reported more than 60 percent of victims who called the anti-trafficking hotline were initially recruited through websites or social media. The same NGO reported an increase in reports of traffickers recruiting children through video games. Traffickers exploit Mexican adults and children in forced labor in both the formal and informal economies in Mexico and the United States; they subject victims to forced labor in sectors including agriculture, domestic service, child care, manufacturing, mining, food processing, construction, tourism, begging, and street vending. Traffickers commonly exploit day laborers and their children in forced labor in Mexico’s agricultural sector, with most victims coming from economically vulnerable and indigenous populations. Individuals and families migrate from the poorest states to the agricultural regions to harvest vegetables, coffee, sugar, and tobacco; many receive little or no pay or time off; endure inhumane housing conditions without access to adequate food, clean water, or medical care; and are denied education for children. Some employers illegally withhold weekly wages to compel agricultural workers to meet certain harvest quotas or continue working until the end of the harvest. “Enganchadores” frequently employ deceptive recruitment practices and charge unlawful fees to place agricultural workers in Mexico and the United States; many workers are promised decent wages and a good standard of living, then subsequently compelled into forced labor through debt bondage, threats of violence, and non-payment of wages. NGOs estimated traffickers increasingly exploited individuals in forced labor in Mexico. The vast majority of foreign victims of forced labor and sex trafficking in Mexico are from Central and South America, particularly El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Venezuela – with Venezuelan victims increasing in recent years; traffickers exploited some of these victims along Mexico’s southern border. NGOs and the media report victims from the Caribbean, Eastern Europe, Asia, and Africa have also been identified in Mexico, some en route to the United States. Cuban nationals working in Mexico, including medical professionals contracted by the Mexican government, may have been forced to work by the Cuban government.

Organized criminal groups profit from sex trafficking and force Mexican and foreign adults and children to engage in illicit activities, including as assassins, lookouts, and in the production, transportation, and sale of drugs. Experts expressed particular concern over the forced recruitment of Indigenous children by organized criminal groups, who use torture and credible threats of murder to exploit these children in forced criminality. Criminal groups exploit thousands of children in Mexico to serve as lookouts, carry out attacks on authorities and rival groups, perform fuel theft, or work in poppy fields. Observers also expressed concern over recruitment of recently deported Mexican nationals and foreign migrants by organized criminal groups for the purpose of forced criminality. Migrants and asylum seekers in or transiting Mexico are vulnerable to sex trafficking and forced labor, including by organized criminal groups both large and small. Traffickers frequently target the most vulnerable migrants and asylum seekers who are often fearful to report abuses, including members of marginalized populations that frequently experience discrimination from authorities. Migrants who rely on migrant smugglers are at particularly high risk of exploitation as many of them assume debts to pay smugglers. Observers, including Mexican legislators, noted links between violence against women and girls and between women’s disappearances, murders, and trafficking by organized criminal groups.

Observers reported potential trafficking cases in substance abuse rehabilitation centers, women’s shelters, and government institutions for people with disabilities, including by organized criminal groups and facility employees. Trafficking-related corruption remains a concern. Some government officials collude with traffickers or participate in trafficking crimes. Corrupt officials reportedly participate in sex trafficking, including running sex trafficking operations. Some immigration officials allegedly accept payment from traffickers to facilitate the irregular entry of foreign trafficking victims into Mexico. The government reported child sex tourism is increasing, especially in tourist areas and in northern border cities. Parents are sometimes complicit in exploiting their children in child sex tourism, and children experiencing homelessness are also believed to be at high risk. Many child sex tourists are from the United States, Canada, and Western Europe; Mexican men also purchase sex from child trafficking victims. Authorities reported trafficking networks increasingly used cryptocurrencies to launder proceeds from their crimes.

U.S. Department of State

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