Colombian women, victims of sex trafficking in the state of Tabasco, Mexico, have been rescued. The girls had been missing for more than a week and, as it was later revealed, were part of a group of twenty-five girls of other nationalities who were involved in prostitution and were being smuggled into a sexual exploitation network.
Finally, the Governor of the State of Tabasco announced the release of the women, after the Colombian Consulate filed a missing persons report through the Attorney General’s Office. The case had been reported by other girls from the same group of escorts, who claimed that they were sent to an event in the municipality of Cardenas by a man identified as Saulo David Sanchez Zetina, alias “El Jaguar”, head of a drug trafficking cartel and who allegedly heads a human trafficking network in the state of Tabasco.
Cartels and trafficking in women
The case has served to highlight the relationship that exists in Mexico between drug cartels and the sexual exploitation of women through forced prostitution. In this particular case, the girls were allegedly held against their will at a private party organized by these drug traffickers, and had been missing for more than a week, without anyone reporting the facts out of fear.
According to Mexican television journalist Ciro Gomez Leyva, the group of prostitutes lived together in a house in Villahermosa, in the state of Tabasco, from where they were sent to a house in the municipality of Cardenas to participate in a party organized by alias “El Jaguar”.
According to them, these nine Colombian women are part of a group of between 50 and 70 girls who were brought from Colombia by a network allegedly controlled by the Jalisco Cartel – New Generation, headed by “El Jaguar”. The women allegedly arrived in Mexico with a debt of 120,000 Mexican pesos and were forced to work as escorts for the man in order to pay off their debt.
The women cannot leave without the supervision of these criminals, and to avoid escapes their passports are taken away. The trafficking network includes not only Mexicans. It is also made up of Colombian men, who are in charge of locating the women in Colombia and taking them to Mexico with false promises of job opportunities.
No one had reported the disappearance
“The Colombian women held by mafias in Mexico have been found and rescued. This time death did not triumph. Thanks to the government of Mexico for their support and to our embassy and consulates in that country,” wrote President Gustavo Petro on social networks, who also announced that “several trafficking criminals have been captured”.
During the week that the girls were missing, no one filed a complaint with the Mexican justice system. It was not until the Aztec media echoed the news, last Friday, January 12, that the Colombian consular authorities reported the disappearance of the Colombian nationals to the Prosecutor’s Office.
Immediately, orders were sent to the Tabasco police for the location and release of the women, which took place within 24 hours.
The reality of the occupation of these girls meant that their companions who had returned to Villahermosa, after participating in the Cardenas party, did not know the real names of their companions who were held by the drug traffickers.