Mexico freezes trafficker bank accounts


The Mexican Finance Ministry has blocked the bank accounts of 26 people for their alleged involvement in human trafficking, as Mexico broadens its migration clampdown under intense pressure from US President Donald Trump.

The ministry's Financial Intelligence Unit said in a statement it froze the accounts due to "probable links with human trafficking and illegal aid to migrant caravans."

The FIU added that it would present the cases to the Attorney General's office.

The United States is looking for Mexico to target people-smuggling organisations as part of a package of actions on immigration to stave off punitive tariffs threatened by Trump.

The move comes a day after the government sent soldiers and armed police to block a large group of migrants crossing into Mexico from Guatemala, detaining at least 350, and arrested two prominent migrant rights activists in Mexico City.

The government's crackdown on different aspects of migration coincides with meetings this week between Mexican and US officials in Washington to thrash out a deal to avoid the tariffs kicking in on Monday.

Trump last week said Mexico must take a harder line on migrants or face 5.0 per cent tariffs on all its exports to the United States from June 10, rising to as much as 25 peer cent later this year.

Since April 2018, Trump has lashed out at caravans of Central Americans wending their way to the United States, raising their profile for migrants while blaming Mexico for failing to stop their movement to the U.S. border.

The caravans are groups of hundreds of mainly Central Americans, many fleeing poverty and violence, who travel together for protection on a 2000-mile (3218km) trail otherwise ridden with criminals and corrupt officials who prey on lone travellers through kidnapping, extortion and other forms of assault.

© RAW 2019