Missing women in Mexico reported on tortilla wrappers, not milk cartons

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JUAREZ, Mexico -- The U.S. has used milk cartons to spotlight the cases of missing children, but Mexico is turning to another product to enlist the public’s help in reporting abductions in Ciudad Juarez.

The tattered images of missing young women plastered in public places are testament to the long standing tragedy.

Now, a new campaign by the Chihuahua Institute for Women is using tortilla wrappers with a printed phone number and instructions on how to activate the Protocolo Alba -- which is similar to the Amber Alert in the U.S. -- but is for both children and women.

“Anyone can call and say ‘I saw abduction.’ Call and it’s activated immediately,” said Raul Ronquillo Hermosillo, manager the Chihuahua Women’s Institute’s federally funded programs.

Mexico’s federal government paid to print the 220,000 tortilla wrappers.

“We had some disappearances here in the Colonia Hidalgo,” said Rosa Barraza whose tortilla shop is in one of the 20 high-risk neighborhoods targeted by the program.

A group of mothers of Juarez missing women walked from the border city to Chihuahua City to demand the government do more to solve cases of missing women and murdered women. They’re demanding authorities speed up the process of identifying the remains of victims.

In March of last year, the state of Chihuahua created a special prosecutor’s office to investigate crimes against women in a city where hundreds have been reported missing.

A spokesperson with the prosecutor’s office said they are working to train police, investigators, and others who handle cases and track down missing women. Some have been found alive in other states.

Juarez residents are hopeful the tortilla wrappers will encourage more witnesses to make a call in the crucial moments after a woman or child is abducted.

“We need to report more of these crimes, but often we’re too afraid,” said a woman who would only identify herself as Susana as she walked out of the tortilla shop with her young son.