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Authorities Launch Campaign to Find 118 Missing Juarez Women

Lorena Figueroa - El Paso Times
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November 8, 2012



Juarez Mothers Fight Femicide is about the mothers of the "Women of Juarez." The video does not try to pound you over the head with more information. It basically looks at the opinions of the mothers in regards to what was the final story with each case. Interviewed are mothers from all social strata but this film points out that the pain is equal and all valid emotions. The fact that the "women are poor" is pointed out by Marisela Ortiz from Nuestras Hijas de Regreso a Casa as a reason why nobody does anything about these murders. (zaguiar)

JUAREZ - Chihuahua authorities last week launched a statewide campaign to locate 118 women from Juárez who have disappeared since 1995.

The campaign offers an $8,000 reward to anyone whose information helps find the women, dead or alive, said officials with the Chihuahua Attorney General's Office.

Silvia Nájera, spokeswoman for the state's Special Prosecution Office for Crimes Against Women, said the strategy attempts to get the public involved in solving some of these cases.

Since the early 1990s, hundreds of women, mostly teenage girls - some as young as 13 - from poor and middle-class families, have disappeared in Juárez. Many have been found dead.

Nájera said that the special prosecution office lists 118 cases involving women who disappeared from 1995 to the present. The agency was established in 1995.

"This doesn't mean that we won't be taking any leads on older cases. If we receive information, we will investigate," she said.

The campaign began Tuesday with the publication in various print media outlets in Juárez of the photographs and biographies of six women who were reported missing between 1995 and 1998.

One picture is of Heidi Slauquet Armengol, an artist who disappeared in November 1995 at age 54. She was kidnapped from a Juárez taxi on her way to the airport. Her case was highly publicized in México.

In the first part of the campaign, authorities will focus on 60 cases. People are asked to call a toll-free number to provide information anonymously.

The number is 01-800-838-6066 in México.

If the information leads to one of the missing women, the caller will receive the cash reward, which is funded with taxpayers' money, Nájera said.

Activist Francisca Galván, one of about 40 members of the Mothers and Family Members of Disappeared Women Committee, said the reward is insufficient.

"I don't think it will be attractive enough for criminals to call and reveal what happened to the girls and to say where they are now," she said.

Galván said that the same strategy was used in the past by the group Nuestras hijas de Regreso a Casa, which offered cash rewards of up to three times as much with no success.

Ricardo Alanís, father of Mónica Janeth Alanís, who disappeared at 18 years old in March 2009, said the success of the new campaign will rely on the way authorities share information with the public and not on the reward amount.

"The campaign's logistics are wrong. The state prosecutors should inform about all of the 118 cases altogether and at once - not only six faces posted in newspapers this week - because they have all the same priority", he said.

Alanís also said that the special prosecution office should hire more investigators and offer updates on all the cases.

Alanís' daughter disappeared outside of the Autonomous University of Ciudad Juárez, where she was taking a business administration class. There haven't been any new developments in her case, he said.

Galván said she hopes the special prosecution office's campaign will help solve at least one of the cases.

She said that the committee will evaluate the results of the campaign, including the number of tips received, in the next three months.

If the results are not satisfactory, the office will push for a change in strategy.

Lorena Figueroa may be reached at lfigueroa@elpasotimes.com

 

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