Mexico’s Cautionary Tale Against Impunity

July 31, 2020

Imagine that after months of tirelessly looking for work, you are finally offered a job. The offer even comes with free transportation. Someone has picked you up as promised and you are on your way to work. Only, you realize too late that this ride is not what it seems.

You do not arrive at your intended destination. Instead, you are brought to an unknown place in the middle of nowhere and suddenly forced to take part in a network of slave labor. The worst part: the authorities, even your government, refuse to investigate and even imply that you have criminal connections, leaving you kidnapped and waiting for someone to find you. Your family doesn’t know where you are or what has happened.

Since 2009, over 61,000 people have disappeared in Mexico with little to no investigation into what happened. The unsupported explanation that the Mexican government spun instead was that these disappearances were solely connected to fights between drug cartels. However, many families of the disappeared would argue that something more sinister occured.

To support the victims and their families and to uncover the truth, many people and organizations dedicated to human rights have spent years unveiling the true narrative. One such person is University of Minnesota Human Rights Program Director Barbara Frey, and her work, along with the work of her colleagues, is helping reveal what really happened to these disappeared people.


Family members of the disappeared hold a sign