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Thursday, September 28, 2023

Iker’s death fuels speculation of child trafficking

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Iker’s death prompts protestors in Col. Mexico. Photo: Facebook

No one has claimed the body of a child street performer who was killed in Col. Mexico. But people near the intersection where a car ran him down remember him well. 

A makeshift memorial of flowers and candles expresses the heartbreak over Iker Pérez López,  a 7-year-old Chiapan boy who was performing for tips on Avenida Libano and Calle 1H when he was killed by a hit-and-run driver. 

Iker’s death shocked Mérida. Photo: Facebook

Neighbors say he has been working under the hot sun for about a year. An adult in a taxi would drop him off in the morning and pick him up at night, a shopkeeper reported. 

Another witness said that Iker was usually accompanied by two other minors, one of whom climbed on the other’s shoulders to juggle balls while Iker performed pirouettes on the asphalt. When the light would turn green, Iker’s job was to collect coins from the passing motorists. His head was barely visible over a car hood.

Iker’s death prompts protestors in Col. Mexico. Photo: Facebook

The driver who fatally struck Iker was later tracked down with the help of video surveillance. She cooperated with police and was released with a court summons, according to local media reports.

Around 50 protesters shut down the Col. Mexico intersection for about an hour last week. They expressed anger that children are put in danger every day by a network of shadowy operators.

A demonstrator implored authorities to investigate the “mafias” that exploit minors by employing them as street beggars. 

“We don’t want one more child on the street working,” she said. “This is why we are here today.”

One neighbor said that child protective services didn’t respond when she summoned them.

Children working the streets to sell fabric, candy, fruit, or toys have been visible in Mexico for decades, missing school and enduring intolerable conditions.

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