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Mexican Army rescues hundreds from house of horrors

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
June 7th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Soldiers of the Mexican Army have rescued 165 migrants from kidnappers who were being held in squalid conditions just south of the U.S. border. The victims had been held for weeks while kidnapper extorted their families for ransom payments.

MEXICO CITY, MEXICO (Catholic Online) - The Mexican government is announcing the rescue of 165 migrants who were kidnapped while trying to cross into the United States. The Interior Ministry told reporters on Thursday that kidnappers held victims for weeks in a house in the border state of Tamaulipas.

Authorities reported finding the people living in cramped conditions and using buckets for sanitation.

According to reports, the group consists of 77 El Salvadorians, 50 Guatemalans, and 23 Hondurans, and one Indian. The remaining were Mexican nationals. Two of the women were pregnant. Twenty of the captives were children.

Each year, human traffickers ensnare thousands of people seeking a way into the United States. Thousands end up being sold to kidnappers who detain them in homes near the border and demand ransoms. Eventually the ransoms are paid and the victims are released. Otherwise, they may be killed. In 2010, at least 11,333 migrants were reported kidnapped by Mexico's National Commission for Human Rights.

At the same time, authorities found the bodies of 72 people who had been murdered by kidnappers.

Officials became aware of the situation after an anonymous tip reported men with guns at the house. The army was sent to investigate and immediately spotted one armed man who fled, but was later captured. That suspect has been identified as Juan Cortez Arrez, 20, and he has been arrested.

The surge of kidnappings in Mexico comes as drug cartels wage wars within the country for control of lucrative drug smuggling and drug trafficking routes into the United States. Fueled by an insatiable greed for drugs and prostitutes, the trade sends people and dope north, while receiving cash and weapons in return.

Almost 30,000 people have been kidnapped and remain missing over the past six years. Until American demand for drugs, prostitutes, and sweatshop labor abates in the U.S., the violence is likely to continue.

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