Many of the most caring people in the U.S. think they are helping the poor from Latin America by leaving our Southwest border wide open between ports-of-entry, but they are not. Several of the transnational criminal organizations (cartels) operating in Central America and Mexico make an estimated one-third or more of their profits from illegal immigration. Specifically, two groups below Texas, the Gulf and Los Zetas cartels, are largely fueled by the trafficking and smuggling of human beings.
The brutality of these criminal groups, from incinerating innocents in a network of ovens to their near complete control of state and local governments, is largely paid for by funds generated from illegal immigration–a shadowy economic engine that is only possible because we refuse to properly secure our border with Mexico.
Women and young girls from Central America are routinely given birth control or morning after pills by their mothers in anticipation of the likely sexual assaults that will occur on their illicit journey to the United States.
These females are often raped immediately upon making it to their first stop once they arrive in a Mexican stash house from Guatemala. They then are shipped to the U.S.-Mexico border, usually to Reynosa, Mexico, immediately south of McAllen, Texas. In the process of making it from the first stash house to the second, the women and young girls are often sexually assaulted or raped again by the smuggler–or group of smugglers–taking them between the two locations. The sexual assaults and rapes then often happen again in the second Mexican stash house of their journey.
They are then trickled into the U.S. across the porous border and brought to a third stash house in a U.S. border town, usually in or near McAllen, Texas. They are often sexually assaulted or raped again by the operator of the stash house, if they are deemed attractive by the criminals operating the clandestine facility. They are stockpiled until the cartel wants to send a large load of narcotics across the Rio Grande. The cartel then sends a large load of humans across in one area and then a drug load across in another.
Once the human beings are in Texas, another smuggler then picks up the women and young girls and drives them with a coyote to a point along Highway 281 just before the Border patrol checkpoint immediately south of Falfurrias, Texas. The checkpoint is approximately 85 miles north of the U.S.-Mexico border.
The women and young girls exit the vehicle with their coyote and attempt to make their way around the checkpoint. Most of the apprehended illegal migrants say they were told it would be a 30-minute hike and that they were given a gallon of water for their trip. The reality is that the hike usually takes 3-4 days. It is common for the coyote to sexually assault or rape the females on this stretch of the journey as well. These coyotes usually remove an article of clothing from the female they rape and they tie it tightly to a tree—a rape tree.
“The rape trees are a common practice in this area,” said Daniel Walden, a human trafficking investigator and instructor who founded a team of volunteer police officers who donate their time to help patrol in Brooks County, which is among Texas’ poorest counties. “The women are warned in Mexico that they likely will be raped and assaulted during the trafficking process. It is common for mothers to put their young daughters on the pill or some other form of contraception before sending them north.”
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