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Ciudad Juarez: Heaven for Femicides


Ciudad Juarez is the Mexican border city connected to its twin city El Paso, Texas
in the US. Its population is estimated between 1.2 and 2 million inhabitants, yet this
number is hard to define as the city’s slums are not mapped. The city is rapidly growing,
particularly since the implementation of the 1994 NAFTA agreement. This agreement
has encouraged many international companies to set up shop within the city’s borders in
their quest for cheap labor at the footsteps of the lucrative US market.
Unfortunately, the city is also known for its sad record of disappeared and
murdered women. According to Diana Washington Valdez, a well known reporter
pertaining to her investigations on murdered women in Ciudad Juarez, from 1993 to
2009 more than 600 women have been tortured, sexually abused and then killed in
Ciudad Juarez(1). Most of these cases are categorized as femicides. The term
“femicide” was first introduced by Diana Russel while testifying at the International
Tribunal on Crimes against Women in Brussels in 1976, but without giving a formal
definition for the term (2). Then in 2001, Russel defined femicide as “the killing of
females by males because they are females.” (2). Sadly, Ciudad Juarez seems to be the
worst city in the world in term of femicide cases: A total of 494 girls and women have
been killed in Ciudad Juarez between 1993 and 2007, representing a serious gender
violence phenomenon: these individuals were murdered only because they were
females (2).
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