The power of the illegal drug market has not only torn the lives of these families apart, it also corrupts the very institutions meant to protect them.
Families are left alone and they receive very little help or support from the authorities. It takes courage to speak out. This is a rare opportunity to hear the casualties of the drug war in Mexico talk about the corruption they have encountered.
The death of Araceli's son has yet to be investigated. Luis Ángel is a federal police officer who went missing in 2009 along with 6 other police officers and one civilian while on duty in one of the most violent states in Mexico. Under prohibition, violent criminal gangs inflict fear and terror upon the entire country every day. The cartels have the upperhand, even over the police.
Fighting the drug war has seen the severity of punishments for drug-trafficking increase massively in Mexico since 2006. The more severe the punishment, and the more the government does to enforce it, the greater the incentives for criminal gangs to go to any means necessary to protect themselves. They bribe state officials who then become complicit in their crimes, and invest in private armies to use extreme violence to intimidate the public, and defeat the state - and other cartels.
The disappearance of Luis Ángel occurred within a context of extreme violence at the hands of both organised criminal gangs and the federal police in Michoacán. If you can't turn to the police for help, who can you turn to? In the search for justice, families are taking matters into their own hands.
The stories of María and her son Juan Carlos highlight the extent of corruption and the strength and determination of families to lead searches for the missing in the absence of government responses.
In 2008, two of Juan Carlos's brothers were forcibly disappeared. According to the authorities they were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.
The family were forced to investigate the disappearances on their own, as the authorities failed to help. In doing so they discovered that the drug-traffickers and government had collaborated in the kidnapping.
But identifying these links put the lives of the family at increasing risk. These investigations also pushed Juan Carlos’s family into poverty.
In 2010, two of his brothers decided to return to work, this time in Veracruz. On their way the police allegedly stopped them and handed them over to the Zeta Cartel.
Take the pledge now and join our growing movement for change. In doing so, you are making a personal commitment to spread the word about howcurrent drug laws are causing unnecessary harm across the world to families and young people.
We are planning a series of campaigning activities both in Mexico, the UK and internationally. We will be in touch to keep you informed and tell you how you can get involved!
Drug policy reform will only happen if we keep talking about it, sharing the evidence with our friends and letting policy makers know how we feel. Get involved in the conversation!
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Please come back on a larger screen to watch Anyones Child: Mexico.
In the meantime, visit our blog at www.anyoneschild.org/mexico