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Douglas Capraro Douglas Capraro

Graphic: Where Tens of Thousands of People Are “Disappearing” in Mexico


Thousands of people go missing in Mexico each year as the Drug War rages on. These graphics attempt to illustrate the horrific scale of the problem.

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Forty-three students who went missing from the town of Iguala, Mexico in September have grabbed the world’s attention and sparked national protests. But huge numbers of people have been going missing in the country for years. Approximately 22,610 people have “disappeared” since 2007, since Mexico began ramping up its War on Drugs. These graphics, created by the Daily Telegraph using government data, attempt to illustrate the scale of these disappearances.

Though the murder rate has dropped under current President Enrique Nieta, the number of kidnappings has significantly increased each year, ever since former President Felipe Calderon waged war on Mexico’s drug cartels in 2006. Approximately eight people go missing each day, about 54 a week and 2,826 each year. Just this past year, an additional 5,098 people have gone missing—the largest number ever.

And shockingly, these staggering numbers may be an underestimate, since many cases go unreported. There is also evidence to suggest that Mexican officials often undercount the number of disappearances to soften statistics, or due to internal corruption.