Migrants are being raped at Mexico border as they await entry to US

September 30, 2023 11:35 am

[Source: Reuters]

When Carolina’s captors arrived at dawn to pull her out of the stash house in the Mexican border city of Reynosa in late May, she thought they were going to force her to call her family in Venezuela again to beg them to pay $2,000 ransom.

Instead, one of the men shoved her onto a broken-down bus parked outside and raped her, she told Reuters. “It’s the saddest, most horrible thing that can happen to a person,” Carolina said.

A migrant advocate who assisted Carolina after the kidnapping, who spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity due to security concerns, confirmed all the details of her account.

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The attack came amid an increase in sexual violence against migrants in the border cities of Reynosa and Matamoros, both major transit routes for immigrants seeking to enter the U.S., according to data from the Mexican government and humanitarian groups, as well as interviews with eight sexual assault survivors and more than a dozen local aid workers.

“The inhumane way smugglers abuse, extort, and perpetrate violence against migrants for profit is criminal and morally reprehensible,” U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) spokesperson Luis Miranda said in response to questions about the rise in reported rapes.

Criminal investigations into the rape of foreign nationals, excluding Americans, were the highest on record in the two cities this year, according to state data from 2014 to 2023 obtained by Reuters through freedom of information requests.

The U.S. State Department considers Tamaulipas, where the two cities are located, to be the most dangerous state along the U.S.-Mexico border.