The search for a missing 2-year-old led Mexican authorities to 23 other abducted children being held captive to perform forced labor, prosecutors in Chiapas announced Tuesday. The toddler boy, Dylan Esaú Gómez Pérez, had been led away from a market in the tourist town of San Cristobal de las Casas three weeks ago, police said. While he has not been confirmed found, police discovered the other nearly two dozen children being kept in one house. Most of them were between the ages of 2 and 15, but three babies younger than 20 months old were also discovered. Their captors forced them to sell trinkets on the street, and surveillance footage suggested that some children were forced to aid in the abduction of others. The prosecutors said the children “were forced through physical and psychological violence to sell handicrafts in the center of the city” and suffered from malnutrition. From speaking with the children, investigators determined that if a child did not return with a minimum amount of money, the captors would not allow them food or space to sleep in the house. Three women have been detained in connection with the case.
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