Mexican authorities have rescued 22 undocumented immigrants, including eight children, six women and eight men, in the southern state of Chiapas, according to the Interior Ministry (Secretaria de Gobernacion).
The undocumented immigrants, who are Honduran, Guatemalan, Salvadoran and Ecuadorean nationals, were kidnapped by human traffickers. The group was held in the Chamula Municipality in the southern Mexican state, Chiapas. The would-be migrants displayed signs of malnutrition.
The rescue mission was a joint operation between the Mexican Federal Police, the Chiapas General Prosecutor's Office and the Secretary of Security and Citizen Protection and carried out in the Saclamaton and the Santiago del Pinar communities, where, in addition, 400 kilograms of cocaine were seized.
Officials were tipped off after one of the victims managed to escape from the captors. This launched the operation to rescue the others from the house where they were being held. Two of the perpetrators were apprehended by the authorities.
The undocumented immigrants were kidnapped after contacting human traffickers to help with border-crossing to the United States, but they were instead held for ransom demanded from family members in their respective countries of origin.
The Ecuadorean Foreign Affairs Ministry released a statement confirming the rescue of their nationals, among the 22 kidnapped. The government is asking for an exhaustive investigation into this case, through its embassy in Mexico.
Thousands of undocumented immigrants regularly attempt the dangerous journey across Mexico to the United States. The travelers are often subjected to robberies, extortions, kidnappings and even murders by criminal gangs or abused by border authorities.