Maquiladoras are assembly plants located in Mexico, which are owned and operated by some of the wealthiest corporations in the world. These plants employ more than one million Mexican workers, who assemble parts (computer parts, toy parts, etc.) to be exported to the United States. More than 60% of these workers are women and girls, many of them as young as 13. Though they are paid as little as 50 cents an hour for a standard 10-hour-a-day six-day week, as a means of income they have little other choice.
Juarez lies just south of the Texas border, and is notorious as a place that draws tens of thousands of these young women from small, poor towns, looking for assembly-line jobs. And they are being murdered. By 2005, more than 300 women had been murdered in Ciudad Juarez. Bodies found in desert graves by city roadsides in 1993 were the first discovery of the killings. Since then, scores of other young women and girls - many of them sexually assaulted - have been found murdered, their bodies littering the dry desert sand.
The workers' mode of transportation to their jobs at the maquiladoras are the factory buses that collect them from a dusty roadside before the sun has even lighted the sky. They are driven back to the same area, in the same fashion, well after dark, and then face the long walk home in the ink blackness of night. Many of them vanish, with no witnesses to tell the story.
The city of Juarez, Mexico's fourth-largest city, is now notoriously referred to as "the capital of the murdered women." Arrests have been made, and human rights groups are keeping attention focused on the killings in hopes of putting a stop to the murder. But the killings continue.
Shawna - Phoenix, AZ