Comité Fronterizo
de Obrer@s


For the labor rights and all human rights of the maquiladora workers

Home> CFO in the Media 2002
Spanish Version



Living with Fear
A maquiladora worker speaks candidly about what it's like to work in Ciudad Juárez today

P.O.V. Interactive
August 2002

My name is Martha and I am 34 years old. I began working in the maquiladoras of Ciudad Juárez when I was 16. My current shift at the maquila is from twelve midnight to six in the morning. Because of my schedule — and because I am a widow — I have to leave my three children alone each night.

When I leave the house I am very scared that something might happen to me or one of my children, because of all of the things that have been happening to women in Juárez. Just knowing that there are people out there who are killing women in the streets makes me very nervous and wary of anybody I meet on my way to work.

To lessen the fear, I get together with other women workers who share my shift and who live in my colonia. That way we can travel together and protect each other. All of my coworkers at the maquiladora share this fear. When we can talk about the murdered workers, the women in Juárez, we talk about the injustice of the situation and we ask ourselves what is going on with the police here; we ask why there isn't more of a police presence — especially at night.

Maybe because of the fact that we are women, we don't matter to the government or the maquiladoras where we work. We have had to learn to live with this silent fear because we need the work.

The maquiladoras say they are taking preventive measures to protect us. They have given us whistles and talks on self-defense. But we don't need whistles. What we need are better salaries, guard posts, transportation to and from our houses, and public services like streetlights in the colonias.

God willing, this nightmare will end soon and that those responsible for so many crimes will be punished so that the women of Juárez can live and work in peace.


    is produced in cooperation with the
Mexico-U.S Border Program
of the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC)

Comité Fronterizo de Obrer@s (CFO)
Monterrey #1103, Col. Las Fuentes
Piedras Negras, Coahuila
C.P. 26010, México