Ciudad Juarez registered 81 femicides so far in 2008, more than doubling the worst years of 1996 and 2001 in which the city recorded 37 women murdered. provided the following accounting of femicides since 1993, when Esther Chavez Cano, a local human rights activist, first called attention to problem:
Year & Femicides
Of the 81 cases so far this year, 55 deaths resulted from organized crime, while the Special Investigator for Deaths of Women (FEIHM) is handling the other 26 cases. Sixteen of these 26 cases remain under investigation while the other ten cases have been declared resolved. Two twelve-year-old girls are among the victims.
Femicides are reported as a special concern in Juarez. These deaths of women typically involve sexual assault and mutilation. The murders are not solved or persons who are clearly innocent are framed for the crimes. The crimes are crimes of wanton power, ruthless and apparently done in colusion with lawful authorities. Lovely young women are abducted and brought as a special prize to cartel leaders, then their naked mutilated body is found tossed somewhere--or perhaps strategically placed to embarrass a property owner.
The 2008 movie Bordertown, starring Jennifer Lopez and Antonio Bandaras, highlighted the situation. The movie production occurred largely out of town, in part due to the death threats it received. It is a place to good start if you're just learning about this situation.
This post is based on information from the Mexico Solidarity Network. They have a staffer on location in Juarez.