The increase in human smuggling along the U.S. southern border has left traces that are hard to erase not only on the road that undocumented immigrants travel but also in the memories of the thousands of individuals who risk their lives and bodies in the face of the possibility of being raped.
In a special coverage by El American, field correspondent Anthony Cabassa found caves that are used by smugglers, bracelets for migrants, undergarments of raped women, and even children’s clothes abandoned along the way.
According to Border Patrol officials, smugglers, better known as “coyotes”, rape along the way dozens of girls and women who pay to get to the United States, hanging their bras from tree branches as a “trophy” to remember where they were abused.
However, underwear was not the only thing Cabassa found while trying to follow the trail of the thousands of migrants who illegally enter the country in the hope of a better future.
In the early hours of Monday morning, June 28, at border crossings, Cabassa also found dozens of bracelets used by coyotes with groups of migrants to identify and number people as if they were cattle.
Added to this is the construction of improvised caves along the road that serve as shelters for migrants and human smugglers to flee from the Border Patrol. Inside the caves, food, clothing and water bottles are scattered all over the place.
Human trafficking: “A hard road”
Early Monday morning, June 28, a group of migrants from Guatemala told Cabassa that they were traveling to the United States in the hope of finding work because in their country “the situation is very difficult.”
In a video, crying migrants assure that “the road is very hard” and that after a month of having left their land they are very happy to reach American soil.
Recent data from Customs and Border Protection (CBP) show that in May more than 180,000 illegal immigrants were arrested. That figure, according to critics and former officials, represents the largest number of encounters in decades.