At Ciudad Juárez, Mexico's assembly and garment factories, known locally as maquiladoras, murders, rapes, and kidnappings have long plagued the factories' thousands of female workers. In 2011 the New Statesmen reported that local Juárez paper El Diario put the total number of murdered women at 878, but residents say the actual number is in the thousands. Now a woman calling herself the "Huntress of Bus Drivers" is out to do her part to curb the violence.
At least some of the maquiladora women killed over the years have been murdered by their bus drivers, the men they rely on to take them from home to work and vice versa, frequently under cover of night. Last week, after two bus drivers were found dead in Ciudad Juárez, authorities received an email, signed by a "Diana," which said that the days of bus drivers preying on their passengers without retribution have come to an end.
"You think because we are women we are weak, and maybe we are," the message says. "But only to a certain point.... We can no longer remain quiet over these acts that fill us with rage.
"And so, I am an instrument who will take vengeance."
Signed: Diana, Huntress of Bus Drivers.
Authorities have not been able to authenticate the message, but the murders themselves suggest a single killer. The two bus drivers were killed on consecutive days, Wednesday and Thursday, while following the same route. Witnesses say that in both killings a blonde woman in all black clothing boarded the bus and killed the drivers the same way—two shots from a pistol to the head—before fleeing.
Police have now begun putting undercover officers on Juárez buses to try and apprehend the Huntress. Local women's rights activists say that's fine, but they also suggest that a lack of police attention to the maquiladora killings has made vigilanteism inevitable. "I have no way of knowing if this is true," Imelda Marrufo, who works for women’s organizations in Juárez, told the LA Times. "But if it is confirmed, remember, we are talking about a victim, someone who was raped and has probably lived with such a lack of justice that she has no hope that whoever did that to her will ever pay for the crime."
[Image via AP]