Mexico -- Age of Sexual Consent

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Legislación Federal de México

Updated 07-2002:

We have always found it difficult to pinpoint Mexico's laws regarding sex.   We recently found this article which explains some of the difficulties with rape/statutory rape issues:

In Mexican villages, rape can be called a courting ritual
Mary Jordan    Tuesday, July 2, 2002

REYESHOGPAN, Mexico These gorgeous mountain slopes, blooming with black pepper plants and golden cornstalks, camouflage the sorrow of the two silent sisters. Antonia and Isabel Francisco Melendez, who were born deaf, are nine months pregnant, and, according to the doctors treating them, were raped.

The sisters cannot speak. They cried and literally folded up when asked how they became pregnant. Their babies are due at the same time, within a week or so. Do they know the man? Did it happen in the fields on their way home from school? Isabel seemed once to try to reply, to her grandmother, by pointing to a spot high on a mountainside. But tears streamed down her face, and she turned away again.

Antonia is 13 years old, Isabel 16. Perhaps if they were older, the pregnancies would have been easier to keep secret.
This is a little town 136 kilometers (85 miles) northeast of Puebla city. Fewer than 500 people live here. The church bells toll every afternoon at 5 to call everyone to say the rosary. The girls' condition is hard to hide. Their tiny frames swell more each day.   "This is a crime, and there should be an investigation," said Juana Maria Diego Victor, a community leader. "Someone should protect these girls."

Mexico is struggling to modernize its justice system, but when it comes to punishing sexual violence against women, surprisingly little has changed in a century. In many parts of the country, the sentence for stealing a cow is harsher than for rape. Although the law calls for tough penalties for rape - up to 20 years in prison - only rarely is there an investigation into even the most barbaric of sexual violence. Women's groups estimate that perhaps 1 percent of rapes are ever punished. Although the two girls' medical charts say their pregnancies were the product of rape, no police authority has looked into the case.

In recent decades, Mexico has made strides in improving women's rights and opportunities. Women still have much lower literacy rates than men, but that is slowly changing as young girls are staying in school longer. During the 1990s, laws that limited women's rights were abolished, such as those that said a married woman needed her husband's permission to hold a job outside the home.

But in the country that made the term machismo famous, where women were given the right to vote only in 1953, women's rights advocates say rape and other acts of violence against women are still not treated as serious crimes. And they say the police, prosecutors and judges often show indifference or hostility toward women who report rape. The case of Yessica Yadira Diaz Cazares is an example.

Diaz testified that three police officers raped her in 1997, when she was 16, as she was on her way home from school in the northern city of Durango. She then did a rare thing. She tried to punish her attackers.  When she went to the police station with her mother, she was jeered at and jailed overnight. The police required her, as is mandatory in Mexico, to have a vaginal exam by a government doctor. They made her submit to eight separate blood tests, telling her, falsely, that the tests would determine whether she had been raped. But no one ever told her what the laboratory results were.

When the teenager did not back off, even after her family received death threats, a prosecutor told her that to identify the officers who attacked her, she had to lay her hand on them. It was not good enough to point out her attackers. She needed to touch them, she was instructed. When she reached out and touched an officer, he taunted her and told her she was crazy. Finally she gave up. She told her sister she was tired of seeking justice. Three months later, the young girl killed herself with an overdose of prescription drugs. After her burial, the national human rights commission took up her case and helped to convict two officers of rape.

"They make the few women who dare to report rape give up," said Yessica's mother, Maria Eugenia Cazares. After her daughter's suicide, she moved her family to Canada.   "In 90 percent of the cases of rape, the Mexican police blame the women," she said. "In the few cases where they know the man is guilty, they let him 'fix' it with money."  She said she believed that a machismo culture, instilled in the home, school and church, allowed many men to "believe they are superior and dominant, and that women are an object." She said that mentality had contributed to making many men - including policemen, prosecutors, judges and others in positions of authority - believe that sexual violence against women was not important.

"The thinking is, 'She's a woman, so she deserved it,' or 'He's a man, so what do you expect?'" said Cazares.

Rape is prosecuted at the state level, and state laws vary. A review of criminal laws in all 31 states showed that many required that if, for example, a 12-year-old girl accused an adult of statutory rape, she had first to prove she was "chaste and pure." Nineteen of the states required that statutory rape charges be dropped if the rapist agreed to marry his victim.

"What message is this? That the crime is not serious," said Elena Azaola, author of a book called "The Crime of Being a Woman."

For a woman to file a criminal complaint of rape, she must submit to an examination by a doctor assigned by the prosecutor's office. Patricia Duarte, president of the Mexican Association Against Violence Against Women, said these exams, routinely conducted in the prosecutor's office, are often carried out with little sensitivity or privacy.

Whatever problems women face in the cities and towns are compounded in the villages, where the only real law is customary law. Ten million Mexicans are indigenous, as are most people in these highlands of the Sierra Madre.

In many of the thousands of indigenous communities, by custom, women are essentially servants of their fathers, brothers and husbands. In many villages around Reyeshogpan, a woman is forbidden to go out after dusk without her husband or her husband's permission. After 7 p.m., streets in village after village are populated only by men, many of them drunk. Alcoholism is another problem that contributes to violence against women.

Town elders, who act as judges in local criminal matters, are invariably men. In one village in Guerrero state, elders were recently asked how they punished rape. The six men looked confused, as if they did not know what the term meant. When it was explained to them, they all laughed and said it sounded more like a courting ritual than a crime.

When they stopped laughing, they said a rapist would probably get a few hours in the local jail, or he might have to pay the victim's family a $10 or $20 fine, but that all would be forgotten if he and the victim married.

In the case of a cattle thief, they said, he would be jailed. And, unlike the rapist, a cattle thief would be brought before the elders for a lecture about the severity of the crime.

In the southern state of Oaxaca last summer, the government-funded Oaxacan Women's Institute persuaded the legislature to pass heavy criminal penalties against a practice known as "rapto." Laws in most states define rapto as a case in which a man kidnaps a woman not for ransom but with the intent of marrying her or to satisfy his "erotic sexual desire." The new law championed by the women's group established penalties of at least 10 years in prison.

But in March, the state legislature reversed itself and again made the practice a minor infraction. A key legislator - a man - argued for the reduction, calling the practice harmless and "romantic."

The attorney general's office said there had been 137 criminal complaints of rapto in the state of Puebla since January 2000. Complete statistics are impossible to find, because most cases are settled between the families involved and never reported. Because rapto implies that the girl was taken away for sex, her parents want to avoid the shame associated with making a public complaint to the police.

In some cases, the girls voluntarily go with the man as a way to elope to avoid wedding expenses. But Gabriela Gutierrez Kleman, a lawyer with the Oaxacan Women's Institute, says that in many cases the women are taken against their will.

Gutierrez said it was hard to ask girls to complain about rapto, a custom that has changed little since their great-grandmothers' time. If they complain, she said, the family or the community often "treats them as outcasts."



Update 01-2001:


MEXICO LAWS: 1. Has no sodomy laws, the age of sexual consent is 18. Imprisonment of 3 to 8 years applies to anyone "who facilitates or procures" the corruption of a minor under 18 years of age, education about sexuality or sexually transmitted diseases cannot be considered as corruption of minors.
2. Mexico City has a gay rights law that bans some anti-gay discrimination.The law prohibits provocation or incitement of hate or violence, and bans bias in employment and public accommodations and services.  The penalty for violation of the law will be one to three years in prison and/or a fine equal to 50 to 200 days’ salary and/or 25 to 100 days of community service.
3. By a decision of the city council of Aguascalientes, capital of the state of Aguascalientes, the Ojo Caliente water park prohibits access "to dogs and homosexuals,". The city's Director of Regulations Jorge Alvarez Medina said that as long as he holds his post, he "will not allow access to homosexuals."
NOTE: 1. Pedro Joaquin-Coldwell, Ambassador to Cuba, is openly bisexual.
2. Patria Jimenez (PRT), is an openly lesbian member of the Chamber of Deputies.


Mexico - Mexique - México                 Mexico City

I. Mayorías de edad
Mayoría de edad simple
Artículo 646 del Código civil : " La mayor edad comienza a los dieciocho años cumplidos ".

Edad de consentimiento para actividad sexual
Artículo 262 del Código Penal : " Al que tenga cópula con persona mayor de doce años y menor de
dieciocho, obteniendo su consentimiento por medio de engaño, se le aplicará de tres meses a cuatro
años de prisión. "

Edad de consentimiento para contraer matrimonio
Artículo 148 del Código civil : " Para contraer matrimonio, el hombre necesita haber cumplido
dieciséis años y la mujer catorce. El jefe del departamento del distrito federal, o los delegados
segúnel caso, pueden conceder dispensas de edad por causas graves y justificadas. "

II. Violación
Art. 265 ‘relación sexual con un niño’ del Código Penal
" Al que por medio de la violencia física o moral realice cópula con persona de cualquier sexo, se
le impondrà prisión de ocho a catorce años.

Para los efectos de este articulo, se entiende por cópula, la introducción del miembro viril en el
cuerpo de la víctima por via vaginal, anal u oral, independientemente de su sexo. "

Art. 266 ‘relación con uso de violencia’ del Código Penal
" Se equipara a la violación y se sancionarà con la misma pena:

I.- AI que sin violencia malice cópula con persona menor de doce años de edad.

Il.- AI que sin violencia realice cópula con persona que no tenga la capacidad de
comprender el significado del hecho o por cualquier causa no pueda resistirla; y

III.- AI que sin violencia y con fines lascivos introduzca por vía anal o vaginal
cualquier elemento o instrumento distinto del miembro viril en una persona menor
de doce años de edad o persona que no tenga capacidad de comprender el
significado del hecho, o por cualquier causa no pueda resistirlo, sea cual fuere el
sexo de la victima. "

III. Otras formas de abuso sexual de menores
Art. 266-bis
" Las penas previstas para el abuso sexual y la violación se aumentaràn hasta en una mitad en su
mínimo y màximo, cuando:

.. .....................................

Il.- El delito fuere cometido por un ascendiente contra su descendiente, éste contra aquél, el
hermano contra su colateral, el tutor contra su pupilo, o por el padrastro o amasio de la madre
del ofendido en contra del hijastro. Ademàs de la pena de prisión, el culpable perderà la patria
potestad o la tutela en los casos en que la ejerciere sobre la víctima. "

Art. 272
" Se impondrà la pena de uno a seis años de prisión a los ascendientes que tengan relaciones
sexuales con sus descendientes.

La pena aplicable a estos ùltimos serà de seis meses a tres años de prisión. Se aplicarà esta misma
sanción en caso de incesto entre hermanos. "

Art. 259-bis
" AI que con fines lascivos asedie reiteradamente a personas de cualquier sexo, aliéndose de su
posición jeràrquica derivada de sus relaciones laborales, docentes, domésticas, o cualquiera otra
que implique subordinación, se le impondrà sanción hasta de cuarenta dias multa. Si el hostigador
fuese servidor pùblico y utilizace los medios o circunstancias que el encargo le proporcione, se le
destituirà de su cargo. "

IV. Prostitución infantil
Art. 201

" Al que procure o facilite la corrupción de un menor de dieciséis afios de edad o de quien no tenga
capacidad para comprender elsignificado del hecho, mediante actos de exhibicionismo corporal,
lascivos o sexuales, o Io induzca a la pràctica de la mendicidad, la ebriedad, al consumo de
narcóticos, a la prostituci6n, al homosexualismo, a formar parte de una asociaci6n delictuosa, o a
cometer cualquier delito, se le aplicaràn de tres a ocho ahos de prisi6n y de cincuenta a doscientos
dias multa.

Cuando de la pràctica reiterada de los actos de corrupción el menor o incapaz adquiera los
hàbitos del alcoholismo, farmaco dependencia, se dedique a la prostitución, a pràcticas sexuales,
o a formar parte de una asociación delictuosa, la pena serà de cinco a diez años de prisión y de
cien a cuatrocientos días multa.

Si ademàs de los delitos previstos en este capítulo resultase cometido otro, se aplicaràn las reglas
de acumulación. "

Art. 205
" Al que promueva, facilite, consiga o entregue a una persona. para que ejerza la prostitución dentro
o fuera del país, se le impondrà prisión de dos a nueve años y de cien a quinientos días multa. Si se
emplease violencia o el agente se valiese de una función pùblica que tuviere, la pena se agravarà
hasta en una mitad mas. "

Art. 206
" El lenocinio se sancionarà con prisión de dos a nueve años de y de cincuenta a quinientos días
multa. "

Art. 207
" El delito de lenocinio:

I.- Toda persona que habitual o accidentalmente explote el cuerpo de otra por
medio del comercio carnal, se mantenga de este comercio u obtenga de él un lucro

Il.- AI que induzca o solicite a una persona para que con otra comercie
sexualmente con su cuerpo o le facilite los medios para que se entregue a la

III.- AI que regentee, administre o sostenga directa o indirectamente prostíbulos,
casos de cita o lugares de concurrencia expresamente dedicados a explotar la
prostitución, u obtenga cualquier beneficio con sus productos. "

Art. 208
" Cuando la persona cuyo cuerpo sea explotado por medio del comercio carnal, sea menor de
edad, se aplicarà al que encubra, concierte o permita dicho comercio, pena seis a diez años de
prisión y de diez a veinte dias multa. "

V. Pornografía infantil






Updates 07/2000:  Thank you to the two people who have supplied info on Mexico.  We appreciate all the
help we can get in confirming the legal environment for sexual ages.

Here are the real Mexico laws. These are the laws in Distrito Federal (Mexico City). Other states may have different laws, but they are probably similar.    The source is provided, and a brief interpretation. (I am not a lawyer.)
Any sexual act involving a child under 12 is punishible by 2 to 5 years in prison.
For sexual activity involving teens between 12 and 18 years, only copulation (definition follows) is punishible, and only when consent was obtained by deceit. (DECEIT - such as promise to marry, etc.)
Prosecution of the foregoing cannot proceed unless a complaint is filed by the victim or his/her representative.
Copulation is defined as the introduction of the male phallus into the body of a minor of either sex, by way of the vagina, anus, or mouth.  (THIS is interesting.   Fellatio is punishable, but cunninglingus is not). 

So I think you should list the age of consent in Mexico as 12 (with explanation), not 18.

And the second email from a different person confirms the first:

First would like to say thanks for having a good site with this kind of information.

Second the laws in mexico are like this "what ever is not said its legal" an example
would be: The law for murder says; if you kill anyone of any age using a gun with any
type of bullets or you use a rope, in any way or, a blunt object in any way, or you
use any kind of knife wether its long or small you commit the felony of murder, the
penalty for such an act is 40 years in prison and/or a fine of up to 500 minimum salaries.
Then if you kill a person using a handkerchief you would not be comitting murder.
(this was an example there is no such law like this everything is pretty much covered)

In Mexico there are no juries so the law is pretty much on what it is written.

You should also take a look at the Penal Code, Title 15 Chapter (felonys Against the
Liberty and Normal Psycosexual Development), Chapter 1 ( Sexual Herassment, Sexual Abuse
and Rape), Article 261 Which states that if you do any sexual act with any person that
has less than 12 or any person that can not have the capabilities of understanding the
act or the meaning of the act or if there was no reason that the person couldnt resist
or the person is being obilgated in any way there is punishment. On this article it
doesnt state any thing about consent from a person that has 12 years or more. It states
12 years or less.

On the Penal Code, Title 15 Chapter (felonys Against the Liberty and Normal Psycosexual
Development), Chapter 1 ( Sexual Herassment, Sexual Abuse and Rape), Article 262 It
states that if any one has "intercourse" with a person 12 to 18 years old with their
consent if deceit was used to obtain consent then you would go to jail but only if you
are deceitfull to obtain consent to have intercourse it doesnt state if you have any other
kind of sex so it is permitted on this article but if we go to article 260 in which it
states that it is a felony to have any kind of sex with a person with out theyre consent.

If we look at this three articles we can safely say that the age of consent is 12 years old.


Miscellaneous Info we have gathered:

The legal working age in Mexico is 14, but children as young as 7 and 8 are
working on farms and in factories, often in place of attending school. The dependency on working
children stems from the fact that the children usually come from poor- and poorly educated- families
where the parents are often ill or deceased, which leaves the child as the primary source of income.
Because poverty is very high in Mexico, many hundreds of thousands of children are forced to drop
out of school and enter the workforce. Even those children who stay in school work part-time jobs.
The estimate of the number of child workers ranges from 400,000 (government estimate) to 2-4
million (UNICEF estimate). Mexico is the only developing country in NAFTA with an agreement
that makes failure to enforce child labor laws a punishable offense. Despite this, laws are not being
enforced because of the small amount of light that has been shed on the child laborers.






Legislation against child sex tourism

Ley Federal contra la Delincuencia Organizada (MEXPOST guía de depósito Nº EE29583453 8MX) Federal Law Against Organized Crime

First Title

Nature, Object, and Application of the Law

Article 1- The object of the law is to establish rules for the investigation, prosecution, processing, sanctioning and execution of the penalties for crimes committed by any member of organized crime. The dispositions are of public order and apply to all of the national territory.

Article 2- When three or more people agree to organize or organize to carry out, permanently or withdrawn, acts with themselves or others, with the purpose or result of committing one or more of the following crimes, they will be penalized for those which are committed, like members of organized crime.

Clause 5. Assault, listed in articles 286 and 287; kidnapping, listed in article 366; trafficking of minors, listed in article 366 third, and vehicle robbing, listed in article 381 of the Penal Code for the Federal District in Matters of Federal Jurisdiction, or in the corresponding dispositions of the states’ penal legislation.

Penal Code

For the Federal District in Community Matters, and for the Republic in Federal Matters

Title Eight- Crimes Against Public Morals and Good Customs

Chapter Two- Corruption of Minors and Incapacitated People

Article 201- Whoever procures or facilitates the corruption of a person under the age of sixteen, or who does not have the capacity to understand the significance of the act, by means of corporal exhibition acts, lascivious or sexual, or who induces the practice of begging, the inebriation by consumption of narcotics, prostitution, homosexuality, or forming part of a criminal association, or to commit whatever crime, is subject to three to eight years in prison and fifty to two hundred days fine.

When the practices of the corruption of a minor or incapacitated person cause the victim to become alcoholic, drug addicted, or dedicated to prostitution or homosexuality, or part of a criminal association, the penalty will be five to ten years imprisonment and one hundred to four hundred days fine.

If more crimes, in addition to those listed in this chapter, become committed, the rules of accumulation apply.

Article 202- It is prohibited to employ people under the age of eighteen in bars, taverns, and places of vice. The contravention of this disposition will be punished with imprisonment of three days to one year, a fine of twenty-five to fifty pesos and, moreover, closing of the establishment in the case of reoccurrence. Parents of guardians who accept that their children or minors, respectively, under their care, are employed in these establishments, will be subject to the same penalties.

For the effect of this precept, it will be considered how the minor is employed in the bar, tavern or place of vice; for a salary, only for food, commission of whatever nature, other stipend, wage or payment, or freely, giving their services to the place.

Article 203- The sanctions listed in the previous articles duplicate when the delinquent is an ascendant, paternally or maternally, of the minor, depriving the offender of all the possessions which caused offence and of the native power over all of their descendants.

Article 204- The delinquents who behave in this way remain unable to be guardians or caretakers.

Article 205- Whoever promotes, facilitates, consigns, or entreaties, a person for prostitution within or outside of the country, is subject to imprisonment of two to nine years and one hundred to five hundred days fine.

If violence is employed or the offender uses public facilities, the penalty increases by fifty percent.

Chapter Three

Trade or trafficking of persons and procuring

Article 206- Procuring is punishable by imprisonment of two to nine years and fifty to five hundred days fine.

Article 207- Committing the crime of procurement:

I. Everyone who habitually or accidentally exploits the body of another by means of carnal commerce, continues in this business or obtains from this any profit;

II. Whoever induces or solicits a person for another sexual business with their body or facilitates the means by which one surrenders to prostitution;

III. Whoever regenerates, administers, or directly or indirectly supports date houses, brothels, or places dedicated expressly to the exploitation of prostitution, or obtains any benefit from these products.

Article 208- When a person whose body has been exploited for a carnal business is a minor, whoever covers up, incites, or permits said business, is subject to imprisonment of six to ten years and ten to twenty days fine.

Title Fifteen -- Crimes against the liberty and normal psychosexual development

Chapter 1 -- Sexual harassment, sexual abuse, rape, and violation

Article 261- Whoever commits, without the intention of copulation, a sexual act on a person under twelve years of age or who does not have the capacity to understand the significance of the act or for whatever cause is not able to resist, or is obliged to perform the act, is subject to imprisonment for six months to three years or treatment in liberty or semi-liberty for the same time.

If the offender uses physical or moral violence, the penalty will be two to six years in prison.

Article 262- Whoever fornicates with a person over twelve and under eighteen years of age, and has obtained their consent by means of deception, is subject to three months to four years in prison.

Article 263- In the case of the previous article, it is not possible to proceed against the active subject without the complaint of the offended or their representatives.

It is also important to cite the international limit of dispositions applicable to this theme.

In the International Pact of Civil Rights and Excellent Politics by the Senate on December 18, 1980 and published in the Official Diary of the Federation on May 20, 1981, article 24 was established, point one is the following:

"All children have the right, without discrimination based on race, color, sex, language, religion, national or social origin, birth or economic position, to the measures of protection that their age requires, as much for part of their family as society and the State."

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, which was ratified in Mexico on September 21, 1991 and published in the Official Diary of the Federation on January 25, 1991, established:

Article 17

State Parties recognize the important function performed by the mass media and shall ensure that the child has access to information and material from a diversity of national and international sources, especially those aimed at the promotion of his or her social, spiritual and moral well-being and physical and mental health. To this end, States Parties shall:

encourage the mass media to disseminate information and material of social and cultural benefit to the child and in accordance with the spirit of Article 29;

encourage international co-operation in the production, exchange and dissemination of such information and material from a diversity of cultural, national and international sources;

encourage the production and dissemination of children’s books;

encourage the mass media to have particular regard to the linguistic needs of the child who belongs to a minority group or who is indigenous;

encourage the development of appropriate guidelines for the protection of the child from information and material injurious to his or her well-being, bearing in mind the provisions of Articles 13 and 18.

Article 38

States Parties undertake to respect and to ensure respect for rules of international humanitarian law applicable to them in armed conflicts which are relevant to the child.

States Parties shall take all feasible measures to ensure that persons who have not attained the age of fifteen years do not take a direct part in hostilities.

States Parties shall refrain from recruiting any person who has not attained the age of fifteen years into their armed forces. In recruiting among those persons who have attained the age of fifteen years but who have not attained the age of eighteen years, States Parties shall endeavour to give priority to those who are oldest.

In accordance with their obligations under international humanitarian law to protect the civilian population in armed conflicts, States Parties shall take all feasible measures to ensure protection and care of children who are affected by an armed conflict.

Article 35

States Parties shall take all appropriate national, bilateral and multilateral measures to prevent the abduction of, the sale of or traffic in children for any purpose or in any form.

"Lastly, it is important to mention that in our country, not only has legislation and programs been implemented that protect minors from the sexual exploitation industry through the penalization of delinquents who are involved in this action, but moreover, personal services have also been established to support minor victims. The program, "Nacional Acción en Favor de la Infancia 1995-2000" , establishes, under the title Minors in Especially Difficult Circumstances, a remote place for mistreated minors and victims of abuse.

Access to and provision of the services of health, education, recreation, and a good environment to minors in danger of sexual exploitation, including the minors of and in the street, immigrants, and those without a birth certificate, have been established through this Program, maximizing education on the rights of children and incorporating the Convention on the Rights of the Child into the formal and informal education.

This program defines the mistreated minor as whoever is the object of physical or emotional violence and sexual abuse, because of the action or intentional omission by the parents or guardians of the child, the production of physical or mental scars, death or whatever other personal harm causing the loss of life before the child reaches eighteen.

The mistreatment of minors is one of the gravest social problems in all of the countries of the world that is observed in every social, cultural, and economic class. Still, realizing that this is a problem that occurs very frequently, it is not possible to establish exact devices to combat it and there are many cases that remain anonymous or are not denounced."

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