Mexico City: More than 1,000 people were arrested and 20 young women rescued in a sweeping two-day operation in an investigation on missing persons in northern Ciudad Juarez, officials has said.

"There were 20 minors rescued, they were women. There were also 500 men and 530 women allegedly linked to (human) trafficking and sexual exploitation," federal police said in a statement on Sunday. The ages of those rescued were not immediately known.

The operation took place on Friday and Saturday in downtown Ciudad Juarez, where human rights groups have long attempted to bring attention to multiple disappearances of young women.

A total of 59 women and girls disappeared last year in the violence-scarred northern border city, and 48 more in the state of Chihuahua, according to reports.

Violence around the lucrative trade in drugs and humans has exploded in northern Mexico in recent, with more than 41,000 people dead linked to Mexico's organised crime gangs since President Felipe Calderon launched a military crackdown on them in late 2006, according to media counts and official figures.

(Agencies)