MEXICO CITY, June 3 (UPI) -- In an effort to crack down on abductions, the Mexican government has decided to double prison sentences for those found guilty of kidnapping.
The new sentencing guidelines raise the minimum prison sentence from 20 to 40 years. If the kidnap victim is killed, the maximum prison sentence will increase from 50 to 140 years.
The Mexican government announced in January an initiative to combat kidnapping. Federal prosecutor Renato Sales, who heads the anti-kidnapping committee, said earlier this year "Mexico needs to deal quickly and efficiently with the humanitarian emergency that this crime entails."
Approximately 1,700 people are kidnapped in Mexico each year although the government suspects less than 2 percent of kidnappings are reported.