Mexican officials said Saturday they found at least eight Colombian women who had been reported missing in the Gulf coast state of Tabasco.
Tabasco Gov. Carlos Manuel Merino wrote on his social media accounts that the women had been found, were in good health, and had been taken to the state prosecutors’ offices. It was unclear whether they would be considered crime victims, and as such would be allowed to stay in Mexico.
The women were working as escorts for a gang that retained their passports, and were sent to an event in the Tabasco city of Cardenas but did not return.
Colombia’s Foreign Ministry issued a statement Saturday saying its consulate in Cancun had filed a missing persons report on Friday, asking Tabasco officials to help find the eight women.
The ministry said the eight were possible victims of human trafficking. However, Colombian Interior Minister Luis Fernando Velasco and Mexican sources said nine women were missing. Gov. Merino did not specify how many had been found.
Juan Carlos Castillejo, the spokesman for Tabasco state, confirmed that a missing persons report had been filed Friday, a week after the reported disappearances.
According to Imagen Television, which first reported the story, the disappearances were first reported by other women working in the same conditions in Tabasco.
One of them said the missing women were being held somewhere because of “problems between the bosses,” apparently referring to the gang, and that they may have been beaten.
Human traffickers often arrange travel for women to a foreign country and then retain the women’s passports to force them to labor as sex workers.
Source: El Universal