Already this year almost 100 children have been killed.
Some 913 children were killed in Mexico since December 2006 as part of the fight against drug trafficking, according to an NGO report released Monday. In comparison, from 2000 to 2006, 503 children were killed.
In addition Juan Martin Perez Garcia, the director of the NGO Network for the Rights of Children in Mexico, warned that the number of children that are being incorporated into drug trafficking groups "for lack of alternative livelihoods is outrageous."
No official data exist on the subject "studies indicate that about three thousand children are cooperating with criminal groups and participating in the armed conflict" he said.
The NGO reports that the homicide rate has increased especially for children between 15 and 17 years living in the states bordering the U.S.
“It is an epidemic due to the increase in the number of children murdered in the northern states” warned Perez Garcia.
The report warns that the category of children most affected by the increase in the homicide rate are teenagers from 15 to 17 years of age. From 2007 to 2008, in a single year, the rate of killings in Baja California rose from 8.33 up to 24.3 per 100 thousand inhabitants in the 15 to 17 age range, which represents an increase of 291.7 percent. In Chihuahua, it increased from 12.6 to 45.95 per 100 thousand inhabitants, equivalent to an increase of 364 percent.
Something more impressive, the report said, is the increase in this rate in the state of Sinaloa, where it rose from 3.13 to 17.01 per 100 thousand inhabitants, thus producing an increase of 543 percent.
At the national level the homicide rate for this age bracket increased from 6.44 in 2006 to 7.95 in 2008.
Perez Garcia demanded that the federal government to stop stigmatizing children who die in the war on drugs and to investigate the murder of each child, since the deaths that have occurred so far have gone unpunished.
More than 22,800 people have died in the last three and a half years in Mexico because of the disputes between cartels and between them and security forces, including about 5000 soldiers and police.
In Ciudad Juarez the murder rate has now risen to 191 per 100 thousand inhabitants for all age groups, making it the most violent city in the world.