Annual Report 2013
The state of the world's human rights

26 January 2012

Mexico: Migrants making dangerous journey through Mexico ‘desperately need socks’

Mexico: Migrants making dangerous journey through Mexico ‘desperately need socks’
Thousands of Central American migrants pass through Mexico each year, hoping to reach the US.

Thousands of Central American migrants pass through Mexico each year, hoping to reach the US.

© Amnesty International/Ricardo Ramírez Arriola


See video

A thought-provoking new campaign by Amnesty International highlights the plight of thousands of Central American migrants travelling across the region every year by calling for donations of a particular, humble item of clothing.

When Amnesty International asked migrants what one thing they would take if leaving the country, the answer was: ‘socks’.  

“Most migrants told us that they had no possessions with them at all because they expected to be attacked and robbed on the journey and that anything of value would increase their chances of kidnap,” said Rupert Knox, Mexico Researcher at Amnesty International.

“Much to our surprise, the migrants did tell us that one thing they desperately needed on their journey were socks. On journeys that can be up to hundreds of miles, untreated blisters risk lives and a fresh pair of socks can make all the difference.”

In a three-minute campaign video filmed in Mexico, members of the public are asked: “If you had to leave your country and could only take one thing, what would it be?” Residents of Mexico City gave answers ranging from ‘identity cards’ to ‘tabasco sauce’.

Their responses starkly contrasted with those given by migrants, whose request for socks has led to the launch of a website - sendsocks.org - where the public can watch the campaign video and make donations.

Driven by grinding poverty and insecurity, Central American migrants travel north to Mexico in the hope of eventually reaching the USA. Many face kidnap, rape and murder at the hands of criminal gangs, often in collusion with authorities, during their passage through Mexico.

Those responsible for the abuses are rarely held to account and many cases of abducted or murdered migrants are not adequately investigated.

“Migrants are determined to risk all in the hope of a better future, but the reality is that for many the journey through Mexico - one of the most dangerous journeys in the world - will be devastating,” said Rupert Knox.

The Mexican government has failed to live up to promises to protect migrants from widespread human rights abuses.

“Despite the Mexican government’s promise of change, laws and other official measures are having little or no impact and systematic abuses of migrants continue unabated,” said Rupert Knox.

“For the past two years we’ve been calling on Mexico’s federal authorities to develop and implement an action plan to protect migrants. We hope this new campaign will put pressure on the government to turning promises into action."

Amnesty International stands in solidarity with the many brave migrants who travel across Mexico and asks the public to donate socks via sendsocks.org.

Issue

Economic, Social and Cultural Rights 

Country

Mexico 

Region

Americas 

Campaigns

Demand Dignity 

@amnestyonline on twitter

News

21 August 2014

Children accused of being members of armed groups in the conflict in Mali are languishing in adult jails while human rights abuses continue.

Read more »
15 August 2014

The number of killings perpetrated by the police is on the rise again in the Dominican Republic whilst legislation intended to fix the problem stalls and stagnates in Congress... Read more »

29 August 2014

The execution of two men in Japan on Friday flies in the face of growing calls in the country to halt the use of capital punishment, said Amnesty International.

Read more »
29 August 2014

Russia’s official branding of a civil society organization as a “foreign agent”, an expression akin to “spying”, for speaking out on Ukraine is a sign of the country’s... Read more »

31 August 2014

Egypt is tightening its chokehold on civil society as the country’s independent NGOs face the risk of being shut down if they fail to comply with a compulsory requirement to... Read more »