Approximately 26,000 people have been reported since Mexico's federal government launched an offensive against drug cartels in 2006. Amnesty International has cited these kidnappings as a "systematic failure" by police and prosecutors to investigate cases. Amnesty's Mexico Investigator Rupert Knox said this lack of police work places the burden of searching for missing loved ones on relatives.
If that's not heartbreaking enough, police and prosecutors many times don't even bother to use the information the family has tracked down. Rupert said police assume that those missing are actually caught up in Mexico's drug cartel conflicts.
"They are stigmatized, they are treated with disdain, and the typical thing is to say the victims were members of criminal gangs," Rupert said. "That is a demonstration of the negligence that has allowed this problem to grow into a national scandal and a human rights crisis."
Last week, Mexico's government announced it would be creating a special unit to search for missing. This unit currently has 12 federal investigators and a group of federal police agents to cover every single case.