MEXICO CITY, June 17 (Xinhua) -- The Mexican government will reinforce its fight against human trafficking, Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said Monday.
During a press conference, Ebrard said there had been too much tolerance of human trafficking in the previous administrations.
"In this government, that is the instruction we have been given by the president ... we should not be allowing human trafficking. Perhaps we are facing one of the most serious human trafficking in the world," Ebrard said.
He was referring to the rescue over the weekend of nearly 800 people in the eastern state of Veracruz, who were traveling hidden in eight trailers.
The rescued migrants each paid between 3,500 and 5,000 U.S. dollars in an attempt to reach the United States, according to the testimonies.
On Friday, Ebrard said that human trafficking could well represent an annual business of 6 billion U.S. dollars.
"We will not allow human trafficking, there has been a tolerance of this trafficking for many years, there could be catastrophic situations or unfortunate loss of human life, just like we've experienced in the past," he said.
Mexican authorities have found that traffickers use the cargo holds of tractor-trailers to transport migrants from the southern end of the country to the U.S.-Mexico border, a trajectory that could be as long as 1,800 km.
The Mexican government is making strides against the illegal passage of migrants. On June 7, it reached an agreement with the United States on effort on this front, which, among other things, includes the deployment of Mexican agents to the Mexico-Guatemala border.
U.S. President Donald Trump had earlier threatened to impose tariffs beginning June 10 on all imports from Mexico, if it did not stem the flow of undocumented immigrants.
Since January, some 600,000 migrants have arrived at the U.S. border after crossing Mexico. Among those, 10,000 are in Mexico awaiting a decision on their asylum requests, according to the Mexican government.