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Group highlights migrant kidnappings in Mexico

MEXICO CITY – At least 11,333 migrants were kidnapped in Mexico during a six-month span of 2010, the majority of them Central Americans, Mexico’s National Human Rights Commission said Tuesday.

The governmental rights commission said Mexico’s drug cartels snatched many of the migrants, either to extort money from their relatives or to recruit them to work for the gangs.

Forty-four percent of the migrants kidnapped during the period studied – April through September – were from Honduras, 16.2 percent from El Salvador, 11.2 percent from Guatemala, and 5 percent from Cuba.

A previous study by the commission had found 9,758 migrants were kidnapped from September 2008 to February 2009, but it was not clear if seasonal variations caused the increase seen in the latest study.

The commission said the cartels usually demand families pay from $1,000 to $5,000 to win the release of a migrant.

It also said fellow migrants are sometimes used as informants by the gangs to help in kidnappings.