Quintina Valero

Photographer
     
Caravan of Mother - Mexico Migration
Location: Madrid
Nationality: Spanish
Biography: Quintina Valero is an award-winning photojournalist currently based in Spain. After a career in finance, in 2001 she moved to London (UK) to study photojournalism at the University of the Arts. Since then, Quintina has worked as a press... MORE
Public Story
Caravan of Mother - Mexico Migration
Copyright Quintina Valero 2023
Updated Nov 2020
Location Mexico
Topics Activism, Borders, Children, Civil Rights, Corruption, Crime, Discrimination, Documentary, Editorial, Emotion, Family, Gangs, Hope, Human Rights, Illegal Trafficking, Immigration, Latin America, Love, Mexico, Migration, Missing people, Motherhood, Motherse, NGO, Parenting & Family, Photography, Photojournalism, Politics, Poverty, Prison, Protests, Relationships, Teens, Violence, Women, Womens Rights

Caravan of hope is the story of a group of mothers from Central America united by grief and anxiety. They travel together across Mexico in a desperate search for their missing children who was never heard from again.


Poverty and violence forced these missing people to leave their home in Central America heading to the EEUU for a better life. Many experienced extortion, torture and kidnapping risking their lives in their journey - thousands of them never in fact made it to the US


According to a report by The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), more than 500,000 migrants arrive in Mexico every year coming mainly from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala. As America and Mexico tighten their borders, migrants face more detentions and imprisonment by the Mexican authorities. Many also face kidnapping, torture and even death at the hands of Mexiconotorious narcotic gangs, The Zetas. Between 70,000 and 100,000 migrants have gone missing since 2006.


The caravan is organised by the Mesoamerican Migrant Movement (MMM) which helps the mothers of missing migrants to find information. Sometimes it is also successful at reuniting them with their families. In the last thirteen years they have found 277 migrants who were still alive. They have challenged the Mexican Government about its unwillingness to protect migrants and its responsibility to investigate those who disappeared or were murdered.


In December 2017 I embedded myself inside the caravan for two weeks, witnessing the tragedy and joy of the women and their bonding during their time on the road. 


The mothers pin up photographs of missing migrants in the main squares across Mexico. They also visit prisons and brothels in the hope that somebody might recognise their loved ones. Women and young children are much more vulnerable to sexual assault and human trafficking. 


Sometimes found relatives do not wish to be reconnected with their family because they are ashamed of their past or embarrassed that they havent been able to send money home.  These cases are the most tragic because the families must come to the terms that a beloved son or daughter is alive but donwish to see them again.


The psychological trauma caused by loss and separation is a very different to that of bereavement. Many of the mothers and relatives spend their lives searching for answers.


Through the caravan women feel empowered and transform their grief and pain into hope and strength. The become fighters.


The search for missing children continues.

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