Photo: Amnesty International
At least 40 Central American migrants were abducted this week while crossing southeastern Mexico en route to the United States, Amnesty International said Friday.
The migrants were pulled off a freight train in Medias Aguas, Veracruz state, the Mexico chapter of AI said, citing accounts from witnesses.
An estimated 140,000 Central Americans undertake the hazardous journey across Mexico each year on their way to the United States, down from nearly 300,000 annually before the U.S. economic downturn of 2008.
The trek is a dangerous one, with criminals and corrupt Mexican officials preying on the migrants.
Central American migrants follow a long route that first takes them into Chiapas, which is on the border with Guatemala, walking part of the way or riding aboard freight trains, buses and cargo trucks.
“Thousands of migrants have been abducted and often murdered, victims of rape and abuses by criminal bands that operate in collusion with public authorities,” AI said.
In 2010, the Los Zetas drug cartel massacred 72 migrants who refused to work for the criminal organization.