For more than a decade, the cities of Chihuahua and Juarez, near the US-Mexico border, have been killing fields for young women. More than 400 women have been murdered and another 4000 more have gone missing since 1993.
A significant number of these women worked in the maquiladora sector – “sweatshops that produce for export, with 90% destined for the United States.”
the Juarez Project website explains, “The maquiladoras employ mainly young women, at poverty level wages. In combination with lax environmental regulations and low tariffs under the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the maquiladoras are amassing tremendous wealth. Yet despite the crime wave, they offer almost no protection for their workers. High profile government campaigns such as Ponte Vista (Be Aware), a self defense program, and supplying women with whistles have been ineffective and are carried out mainly for public relations purposes.”
There are many different theories about why all these women are being murdered, and just who exactly is behind it.
The sad and painful truth is that many people are involved this ongoing femnicide. There is even strong evidence government officials are involved, which if anything explains the startling indifference of authorities at all levels – that the criminals are allowed to continue murdering and violating women with impunity.
In her book Harvest of Women, Diana Washington Valdez, who’s story was made into the Hollywood film Bordertown, adds in the horrifying prospect that it’s all these women are being killed in the name of sport. This cannot be discounted.
The documentary film, On The Edgeby Panleft Productions, steps out beyond the theories an beliefs that we’re talking about a simple murder-mystery–choosing instead to examine the social, cultural, and economic factors that have created this situation – and which allow it to continue unhinged.
It also situates the Juarez killings in more global context–showing us how this is simply not an isolated phenomenon in some far-off place, but a glimpse into a nightmarish future for women around the world.
On The Edge is available online at panleft.net.