Organized crime-related disappearances in Mexico: evidence from Durango, Tamaulipas, and Coahuila

More than 77,000 people have disappeared in Mexico since the beginning of the war on drugs, but very little is known about them. After analyzing the descriptions of a non-randomized sample of disappearance registries from governmental data, we find that those events associated with organized crime are better understood by analyzing four factors: migration to the U.S. border and traveling on highways, gender differences and individual vs. multiple-victim disappearances, the forced recruitment of skilled and unskilled workers, and cooperation with the authorities. These results should be used as a starting point for pushing the government to release better data and to improve search mechanisms.

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