Police hunting for a missing two-year-old boy uncovered a home where 23 abducted children were being held.
The youngsters, some as young as three months old, ranged in age up to 15 years.
Three women also found inside the house in San Cristóbal de Las Casas, in the southern Mexican state of Chiapas, were arrested on human trafficking and forced labour charges.
The children were being used to sell home-made crafts in the town, popular with tourist.
The youngsters were made to work under threat of “physical and psychological violence,” according to a statement from the state’s attorney general.
The rescue mission began after the attorney general’s office launched a search for Dylan Esaú Gómez Pérez, a toddler who went missing on Tuesday, June 30 while at a public market with his mother.
Authorities have not confirmed whether little Dylan was among the children rescued.
Chiapas sits on Mexico’s border with Guatemala and is popular with travellers for its biodiversity and a climate that ranges from fresh and cool in the highlands to humid and hot in the jungle lowlands.
It is also home to some impressive Maya archaeological sites and a large indigenous population.
It is also the most impoverished state in the country, and was hit hard by an 8.1-magnitude earthquake in 2017.