Eight Employees of Call Centers Missing in Mexico
The Latest Case in a Series of Disappearances
Eight young employees of two call centers in Zapopan, Jalisco disappeared in mid-May, and three weeks later, some bags with human remains were discovered in a difficult-to-access ravine. The worst assumptions were confirmed when the authorities identified the remains as that of the missing workers. Unfortunately, this is not the first case. Activists have been documenting and denouncing the disappearance of workers from call centers in Mexico since 2017. According to Héctor Flores, co-founder of the Luz de Esperanza search collective, no significant action has been taken by authorities to solve these cases.
The Culprits Behind the Disappearance
The Jalisco Nueva Generación Cartel has been operating in call centers for years, from deceiving American victims for timeshare fraud to killing employees who attempt to resign from their positions. Flores believes that the failure of authorities to investigate previous disappearances helped pave the way for the recent kidnapping and murder. Flores further claims that the last three episodes have many similarities with each other, as the people who disappeared were engaged in the same line of business, selling time-shares.
The Consequence of Impunity
The lack of investigation and trials in previous cases, according to Flores, has opened the way for the recent killings. Flores further contended that proper investigation and action from authorities could have prevented the tragedies. The authorities have confirmed that the operational centers were engaged in illegal activities, and there are suspicions of other illicit engagements yet to be revealed.
Unwritten Rules of the Narco-Operated Call Centers
Call Centers Recruitment and Criminal Operations
The Jalisco cartel operates call centers as a front to defraud Americans and Canadians through fake offers to buy timeshares. The governor of Jalisco, Enrique Alfaro, confirmed that the illegal operations conducted in the centers warranted investigation. Based on previous incidents, the only way to leave the group for those who have worked for the criminal organization is through death or imprisonment.
Source of Employment for Young People and Bilingual Migrants
Call centers provide a significant source of employment for young people and migrants who have learned English in the United States and returned to Mexico. The timeshare fraud operations carried out by criminal cartels have targeted American elderly citizens and drained victims of a lifetime of savings.
The Unfolding of the Recent Kidnappings
Missing Workers Identified
Six men and two women who work in call centers were reported missing on May 20 to 22 in Jalisco. Dismembered remains were found in plastic bags, and authorities confirmed that they worked in a cartel-operated call center and that their death occurred when they tried to resign. The US official suspects that this is not the first time the cartel has resorted to murders in similar circumstances.
Their Immediate Families’ Plight
Family members of the victims in the most recent case claimed that the authorities were investigating the missing young people as accomplices instead of victims. They further alleged that the investigation focused on telephone fraud. A total of eight people were reported missing, but the confirmation of their identities remains unclear, and only six of them were under the age of 30.