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The terrible death of Fatima - the seven-year-old girl tortured and murdered on February 20, 2020 - has put on the table the situation in which the smallest in Mexico live. The media coverage of his murder has placed in the world the reality that Mexican families and children face: in Mexico there is no safety for children.The staggering numbers of disappeared and deceased per year show the worrying situation, much more due to the impunity that exists in the face of violence against children.
I have been living in Mexico for years and I have seen how more and more mothers and fathers know that they cannot expect much from the authorities, so they live worried about their sons and daughters, taking care that they do not go out alone or picking them up, if they can, at the door of their school classroom.
Children learn to live in fear very early, at a very young age they are already aware that they are in danger outside their home. From what I have observed, in most states and cities of Mexico there are hardly any public spaces for the little ones, and if there are, they are fenced and there is usually some kind of security personnel, because no one, not myself, would dare to let their children play in an open park.
Every time I see more children on a 'leash' on the street and in shopping malls, because if their children are unruly and run everywhere (as any child would do), all parents are afraid that they will steal our children from us. 'My child, you always in front of us', we always say to our children. A normal security measure at first glance, but one that contains a deep fear of losing them.
The less fortunate have no choice but to let their children go to school alone or send their children to work because their salary is barely enough for tortillas and beans. Let's not forget that in Mexico it is estimated that there are a total of 3,720,000 girls, boys and adolescents living in extreme poverty. And while their daughters and sons are on the street, perhaps they pray to the Guadalupana in the hope that nothing happens to their children. Yes, this is how Mexican families live, this is how boys and girls live in Mexico, because the country feels and lives with less and less security.
According to the 2019 Annual Balance of the Network for the Rights of the Child in Mexico (REDIM) in the country, three murdered children die every day. And this situation has been going on since 2000, with an estimated 3.6 murders per day. Between January 2015 and July 2019, 3,297 femicides were registered throughout the country, of which 317 were perpetrated among the population aged 0 to 17, that is, one in ten femicides in Mexico affects girls and adolescents.
According to REDIM, the first half of 2019 represented the most violent period for the crime of feminicide against girls and adolescents in the history of Mexico, with a growth of 13.5% compared to the same period in 2018. This means that in Mexico there are 8 Femicides against underage women per week. The most dangerous states for girls and adolescents are the State of Mexico, Veracruz, Jalisco and Chiapas, in which there were 55, 33, 23 and 21 victims of femicides under 18 years of age in 2019.
The figures get even worse when it comes to missing persons. The same report considers that we are facing an epidemic of #disappeared children in Mexico. Despite the advances in legal matters in this regard, REDIM denounces that there are currently more than 7000 open cases of disappearance of girls, children and adolescents. Furthermore, the forced recruitment of Mexican children by criminal groups continues to increase. According to the report, 30,000 children and adolescents have been recruited for this purpose.
The little ones are not spared the trafficking market either. Between 2015 and June 2019, 3,320 victims of trafficking were registered, of which 805 were girls, boys and adolescents, that is, 1 in 4 cases of trafficking are minors. Furthermore, trafficking affects women more, also in the field of children, since 7 out of 10 victims of child trafficking are women. The states where the most adolescent girls and women were victims of trafficking in 2019 were Chiapas (79 victims), Chihuahua (58) and Baja California (48).
The situation of extreme violence against children continues to worsen day by day, since according to the data they have not improved with the beginning of the year. The population is outraged, but at the same time paralyzed. Never before has there been such a vulnerable moment for childhood in the history of Mexico.
At the local level, Mexico is not complying with international recommendations to end violence against children at all levels. Although there is a set of laws and regulations to protect the Human Rights of children, the country is not complying with them, since it does not allocate sufficient funds to carry them out, so ultimately its laws become 'empty laws '.
In fact, the budget cuts that the country has faced with the entry of the new government have also greatly affected the general authorities in charge of the protection and safety of children. So, Citizens are waiting to see if the government decides to take real action to change the situation of Mexican children.
However, in my opinion, there is an issue that seems never to be touched upon, and it is the international responsibility in this regard, not only because as human beings we should be concerned about all the children on the planet, but also because of the direct responsibility that Countries around the world have with respect to drug and human consumption, closely linked to drug trafficking.
There is an overwhelming reality that sometimes we do not want to see, and that is the fun of some means the destruction of others. As long as there is consumption, organized crime will continue to perpetuate crimes against children. And while this happens, girls and boys will continue to be killed, raped, beaten, drugged and mistreated.
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