Guatemala’s Congress has passed a law requiring authorities to begin searching immediately for women who are reported missing.
“It’s the creation of (a law for the) coordination of institutions ensuring the swift search for missing women,” Congresswoman Sandra Moran said.
Moran added that when family members report disappearances of female relatives, police often just assume they ran away with their boyfriends and don’t act immediately.
The bill takes aim at the practice of abducting women into servitude as domestic workers or for forced prostitution.
The bill passed Thursday also orders different government agencies to cooperate in searches, and for authorities to create a DNA database of cases and registries of convicted offenders.
At least 4,500 women were reported as disappeared in the last two years, according to Guatemalan government statistics.
The new bill was voted in after the obtention of 89 votes from the 158 Congress deputies.