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The disappearance of 8 thousand children is linked to forced co-option


The disappearance and non-location of eight thousand minors in the last 14 years could be linked, to a great extent, to organized crime, denounced Juan Martín Pérez, executive director of the Network for the Rights of the Child in Mexico (Redim).

From 2006 – when the federal government declared war on organized crime – until November 13, 2020, the National Search Commission (CNB) of the Ministry of the Interior (Segob) registered 10,690 minors from 0 to 17 years old in quality of missing and not located.

However, it is from the ages of 12 to 17 that the figure begins to rise, since from 2006 to that date about 8,169 minors may have been recruited by organized crime, of which 3,484 are men and 4,685 are women.

Only from December 2019 to this month, a thousand 12 minors disappeared (574 women and 435 men).


The states with the most missing and non-located minors are Tamaulipas, with 1,429, followed by the State of Mexico, with 1,428; Jalisco (798), Nuevo León (793), Puebla (728), Sonora (534), Mexico City (516), Chihuahua (464), Veracruz (440) and Sinaloa (439), while the least registered in Tlaxcala (11), Baja California Sur (12), Campeche (17) and Tabasco (38) have this condition, according to a query made to the CNB registry.

Juan Martín explained that there are different types of forced recruitment, most of the co-opted minors, between 14 and 17 years old, are used as informants or hawks, some others, depending on their physical constitution, can be used for the hitmen and those of Minors are exploited, for example, in drug crops and, in the case of women, as sex slaves or to infiltrate opposing gangs.

He explained that in the case of children they can be used as workers.

This has been documented in the periods when marijuana is harvested in part of the Golden Triangle, Durango and Sinaloa, they are raised and recruited for the harvest or, for example, in Tamaulipas and Sinaloa they are put into drug laboratories. In Guerrero, children between eight and 10 years old are used to scratch the poppy flower, because their hands are more fragile and they break them, ”said the executive director of Redim.

On the issue of hit men, he explained that not all adolescents are included because they are more volatile and, being armed, represent a risk for criminal groups, “or unless they want to use them as distractions to kill them.”

According to Redim figures, from January to September of this year, 1,777 girls, boys and adolescents were victims of homicide.

Many times they are sent to the front to stop the security forces a bit while the adults escape.

Juan Martín regretted the situation, since the minors in the hands of the crime are exposed to all kinds of serious abuses, such as torture, rape, physical damage and death.

In the case of women between the ages of 15 and 17, they are turned into sex slaves, or cases have been documented in which they were used to infiltrate them into antagonistic cartels and many of them were murdered.

For his part, the criminologist and doctor at the Institute of Forensic Sciences (Incifo), Jorge Olivares, stressed that each minor recruited by organized crime must meet a certain profile and when they do not meet the profile for which they were co-opted, they are murdered .

He stressed that organized crime has laid its claws on minors because, for example, if they are detained at most they can stay up to five years in detention centers for adolescents.


The criminologist regretted that a large part of the minors recruited for the crime do not have a father figure or do have one, “but he is the typical irresponsible, addicted subject, violent against his environment and, specifically, against women, or is linked to the delinquency.

(The children of this type of people) have no aspirations, like studying, and since their family obtains resources by committing crimes, they grow up distorted. In social networks, minors can be seen alluding to luxuries or carrying weapons ”.

He also exemplified that many times parents work and adolescents have “friends” that start to lead them to addictions. “First it’s tobacco, then marijuana and cocaine and somehow they get hooked and they have to get resources at all costs for their drugs,” said Olivares.

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