While the police investigation rescued the 23 children who had been languishing under captivity, the missing 2-year-old was not found.
Child safety is a big concern across the globe. Kids get abducted despite parents being protective and vigilant much to their dismay and heartbreak.
One such unfortunate mother, who sells produce at a buzzing market, had the shock of her life when her 2-year-old son went missing. When the mom alerted the authorities, they started investigated the matter and unearthed 23 abducted children instead. Dylan Esaú Gómez Pérez, 2, had gone missing from a public market in San Cristobal in Chiapas, Mexico, on June 30 and the police were investigating the matter, according to Fox News.
A CCTV footage showed that a young girl, around the age of 13, grabbed the little boy and took him away. Initially, Dylan was distracted by another boy, also around the age of 12 before being grabbed by the girl. The surveillance video also showed the pair of tweens were speaking to a woman, who is now a suspect in the case. An award of $13,500 was offered for any information of her location or Dylan’s.
The 23-year-old mom of the missing boy, Juana Pérez, said that her son often goes to play away from her when she's working and she's never heard of children being kidnapped from the market, reports Inside Edition. What was meant to be innocent playtime turned into horror for the little boy. Despite home raids and consistent search, they could not find him.
However, while searching for the young boy, the police found 23 other children living in squalid conditions in an unexpected house! They exhibited signs of malnutrition, and they seemed to be physically and psychologically abused as well as forced to sell handcrafted carvings and embroidered cloth in the city of San Cristobal de las Casas, authorities said, according to Fox News. The victims were between the ages of 2 and 15, and the police also discovered three babies between 3 and 20 months old during the raid. Three women were arrested and could face child-trafficking charges as well as forced labor, Chiapas state prosecutors said.
Police searching for a 2-year-old boy who went missing from a marketplace in southern Mexico led authorities to a house with 23 abducted children.— Emily Taylor (@Emily_Taylor728) July 22, 2020
The 2-year-old was not among the children rescued. 😔#SaveTheChildrenhttps://t.co/stMyRm6fFb
It is believed that the older victims were forced to lure or kidnap younger children to add to the group. The children have been rescued and are now in the custody of child welfare officials. "According to the children, many of them were forced to go out on the streets to sell things, and moreover they were forced to return with a certain minimum amount of money for the right to get food and a place to sleep at the house," said state prosecutor Jorge Llaven.
The children feared for their safety and for a roof over their head every day from a young age. Something that is likely to leave them scarred for years if not for life. The prosecutors also presented video that showed that the children were sleeping on sheets of cardboard and blankets on a cement floor and suffered from malnutrition. Even though they worked hard to earn a living, the greed of the inhuman traffickers left them hungry and cold. This video shows the devastated mother asking for help to find her beloved son.
"None of the children (rescued) is my son," Pérez's mother said in an interview with local news reporters outside of the National Palace in Mexico City. She traveled there to petition President Andrés Manuel López Obrador to help find her son. "I haven't heard anything about my son," said the heartbroken mother.
In 2019, there was a rise of 33% in human trafficking cases in Mexico, accrording to state data quoted by Thomson Reuters Foundation. As many as 515 trafficking cases were launched in 2019, up from 385 in 2018, according to new government data. More than half the cases were limited to Mexico City, Chihuahua, and the state of Mexico.
The National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) has said there could be between 50,000 and 500,000 victims, indicating that there is gross underreporting of trafficking cases. However, academics say that it's not possible to find the real number with concrete data lacking.