Mexico: Reports from the Underground

Watch this week as CCTV America’s John Holman reports on the underground economy of the Mexico City metro.

MEXICO-ENDFRAME640It’s the pulsating heart of Mexico City, a tableau of color transporting 5 million people a day.  Mexico City’s metro: the biggest and busiest in Latin America.

But these are controversial times for this iconic transport system. Its monumentally cheap prices have been raised, prompting a national outcry. The clearing out of informal vendors by metro police threatens to interrupt a whole subterranean economy while sex trafficking is spreading through the tunnels. Metro queue

We take you through the metro’s labyrinth tunnels in our three part special.

The subterranean Economy 

Whichever carriage they enter immediately bounces to the strains of salsa, or cumbia from the speakers they carry in specially adapted rucksacks. They are called Vagoneros- informal vendors who travel along the metro’s140 miles of track. Many sell pirate CDs, others hawk chewing gum, stress toys, screwdrivers. But this subterranean economy, a lifeline to many, is now under threat. Many passengers are tired of the constant noise, and sales pitches of the Vagoneros and the city’s police are redoubling their efforts to kick them out. The Vagoneros are defiant and the scene is set for a struggle.

The price hike

Josefina Serrano sets out on her daily ride through the metro to her job as a cleaner. She carefully counts out the coins for the daily fare. She is struggling to scrape together enough, now that the price has gone up by over 60%. The increase has provoked widespread protests and anger from the many students and working class Mexicans who rely on it to get around. We spend a day in the metro with the people like Josefina who are the most affected.

PHOTO GALLERY (click FS in lower right corner to view full, when full click SL and info to read photo captions)

Photos- Mexico: Report from the Underground

[img src=http://www.cctv-america.tv/wp-content/flagallery/photos-mexico-report-from-the-underground/thumbs/thumbs_metro-police.jpg]50321
The new police force dedicated to stopping vendors on the Mexico City underground take stock at the Balderas Station.
[img src=http://www.cctv-america.tv/wp-content/flagallery/photos-mexico-report-from-the-underground/thumbs/thumbs_metro-queue-2.jpg]40640
People waiting for a train at the Pino Suarez underground station in Mexico City.
[img src=http://www.cctv-america.tv/wp-content/flagallery/photos-mexico-report-from-the-underground/thumbs/thumbs_metro-queue.jpg]37753
People waiting for a train at the underground station Hidalgo. The Mexico City underground system is overburdened.
[img src=http://www.cctv-america.tv/wp-content/flagallery/photos-mexico-report-from-the-underground/thumbs/thumbs_metro-sellers-2.jpg]35990
A female vendor sells on the Mexico City underground network of trains.
[img src=http://www.cctv-america.tv/wp-content/flagallery/photos-mexico-report-from-the-underground/thumbs/thumbs_metro-sellers-3.jpg]34711
Vendors meet at the underground station Hidalgo in Mexico City.<br />
[img src=http://www.cctv-america.tv/wp-content/flagallery/photos-mexico-report-from-the-underground/thumbs/thumbs_metro-sellers.jpg]33531
Juan Carlos sells cds on the underground train system in Mexico City.
[img src=http://www.cctv-america.tv/wp-content/flagallery/photos-mexico-report-from-the-underground/thumbs/thumbs_price-edit.jpg]32140
Josefina Serrano travels between 1.5-2 hours a day on Mexico's public transport system to commute to job as a cleaner in Mexico City.
[img src=http://www.cctv-america.tv/wp-content/flagallery/photos-mexico-report-from-the-underground/thumbs/thumbs_prostitute-metro-2.jpg]31931
A transvestite sex-worker waits for customers on the Hidalgo underground train station platform, Mexico City.
[img src=http://www.cctv-america.tv/wp-content/flagallery/photos-mexico-report-from-the-underground/thumbs/thumbs_prostitute-metroblur.png]31052
A transvestite sex-worker waits for customers in the Hidalgo underground train station platform, Mexico City.
[img src=http://www.cctv-america.tv/wp-content/flagallery/photos-mexico-report-from-the-underground/thumbs/thumbs_prostitutes-editblur.png]30071
Our correspondent John Holman interviews a transvestite sex worker in the Hidalgo underground station.

STATISTICS ON MEXICO CITY’S METRO

  • Mexico City’s metro is the biggest in Latin America and the 4th biggest in the world.
  • It transports 5.3 million people per day.
  • The metro’s tracks extend across 201.388 Kilometers
  • In 2012 it transported over 1.5 billion pasengers.
  • In Mexico City underground there are approximately 6,000 people selling goods on the lines, called Vagoneros.

Statistics 1-4 Mexico City metro authorities
#5 Vagoneros Union

The hidden trade: sex trafficking in the metro

She is waiting for some one, but she doesn’t yet know who he is. As a man approaches she murmurs “150 pesos (10USD) for anything you want.” She is one of the fast growing number of sex workers in Mexico City metro. More and more are working down in the tunnels in an influx that has been little reported. But they haven’t been able to shake off the pimps who make them little more than slaves, as we discover in our investigative report.

PHOTO GALLERY (click FS in lower right corner to view full, when full click SL and info to read photo captions)

Photos- Mexico: Report from the Underground

[img src=http://www.cctv-america.tv/wp-content/flagallery/photos-mexico-report-from-the-underground/thumbs/thumbs_metro-police.jpg]50321
The new police force dedicated to stopping vendors on the Mexico City underground take stock at the Balderas Station.
[img src=http://www.cctv-america.tv/wp-content/flagallery/photos-mexico-report-from-the-underground/thumbs/thumbs_metro-queue-2.jpg]40640
People waiting for a train at the Pino Suarez underground station in Mexico City.
[img src=http://www.cctv-america.tv/wp-content/flagallery/photos-mexico-report-from-the-underground/thumbs/thumbs_metro-queue.jpg]37753
People waiting for a train at the underground station Hidalgo. The Mexico City underground system is overburdened.
[img src=http://www.cctv-america.tv/wp-content/flagallery/photos-mexico-report-from-the-underground/thumbs/thumbs_metro-sellers-2.jpg]35990
A female vendor sells on the Mexico City underground network of trains.
[img src=http://www.cctv-america.tv/wp-content/flagallery/photos-mexico-report-from-the-underground/thumbs/thumbs_metro-sellers-3.jpg]34711
Vendors meet at the underground station Hidalgo in Mexico City.<br />
[img src=http://www.cctv-america.tv/wp-content/flagallery/photos-mexico-report-from-the-underground/thumbs/thumbs_metro-sellers.jpg]33531
Juan Carlos sells cds on the underground train system in Mexico City.
[img src=http://www.cctv-america.tv/wp-content/flagallery/photos-mexico-report-from-the-underground/thumbs/thumbs_price-edit.jpg]32140
Josefina Serrano travels between 1.5-2 hours a day on Mexico's public transport system to commute to job as a cleaner in Mexico City.
[img src=http://www.cctv-america.tv/wp-content/flagallery/photos-mexico-report-from-the-underground/thumbs/thumbs_prostitute-metro-2.jpg]31931
A transvestite sex-worker waits for customers on the Hidalgo underground train station platform, Mexico City.
[img src=http://www.cctv-america.tv/wp-content/flagallery/photos-mexico-report-from-the-underground/thumbs/thumbs_prostitute-metroblur.png]31052
A transvestite sex-worker waits for customers in the Hidalgo underground train station platform, Mexico City.
[img src=http://www.cctv-america.tv/wp-content/flagallery/photos-mexico-report-from-the-underground/thumbs/thumbs_prostitutes-editblur.png]30071
Our correspondent John Holman interviews a transvestite sex worker in the Hidalgo underground station.