Migrant Women Are Being Raped At Border As They Wait To Enter United States: Report

The sexual attacks are often perpetrated by the human smugglers.
LA JOYA, TEXAS - NOVEMBER 17: A border patrol officer begins processing a migrant woman after she crossed the Rio Grande into the U.S. on November 17, 2021 in La Joya, Texas. The number of migrants taken into U.S. custody along the southern border decreased for a third consecutive month in October. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) recorded more than 164,000 migrant apprehensions in October. Approximately 55% of migrants encountered were expelled back to Mexico, or their homelands. U.S. President Joe Biden is set to have a meeting this Thursday with Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau where they will discuss the coronavirus pandemic, climate change, immigration and economic growth. (Photo by Brandon Bell/Getty Images)
Brandon Bell/Getty Images

Migrant women are reportedly being raped on the Mexican side of the southern border as they wait and seek to enter the U.S.

Sexual violence has ticked up in the border cities of Reynosa and Matamoros, both of which are across the border at the southern tip of Texas, Reuters reported.

Both border cities are major destinations for migrants who make the treacherous journey north in hopes of coming to America.

The two cities have seen record criminal investigations into the rape of foreign nationals this year, state data stretching back to 2014 shows. Eight sexual assault survivors and more than a dozen local aid workers also confirmed the rise in sexual violence to Reuters.

The sexual attacks are often perpetrated by human smugglers who demand cash from migrants. The details are graphic.

One woman, Carolina, said she arrived in Reynosa on a commercial bus with her 13-year-old son, but she was quickly kidnapped and brought to a house where she and other migrants were raped. At dawn one morning in late May, she was pulled out of the stash house by the men and raped on a broken-down bus.

“It’s the saddest, most horrible thing that can happen to a person,” she told Reuters.

She was released when her family paid a $3,100 ransom, and she was interviewed by Reuters after she had arrived in Chicago.


Another woman from Ecuador said she was also held hostage in Reynosa, and her captors allowed a drug dealer to rape her in exchange for a white powder he gave them, possibly cocaine. She escaped through a window one night holding her Christ child figurine as her kidnappers were sleeping.

She was interviewed by Reuters after she arrived in New Jersey and said, “I still have nightmares.”

Rape is also reportedly one of the torture tactics used by smugglers to get migrants to pay them more money.

“The inhumane way smugglers abuse, extort, and perpetrate violence against migrants for profit is criminal and morally reprehensible,” Department of Homeland Security (DHS) spokesperson Luis Miranda said of the rape reports.

The spike in sexual and other types of violence comes shortly after the Biden administration in May started requiring migrants to make an appointment on the CBP One app in order to enter the country.

The administration has touted the CBP One app, saying it helps migrants avoid relying on smugglers. However, the policy has also resulted in migrants getting stranded at the border as thousands wait to get one of just 1,450 appointments available through the app.

Meanwhile, the migrant crisis at the border has been ramping up in recent months.

In August, there were nearly 233,000 migrant encounters at the southern border, the highest August on record, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) said. That number marks a jump from under 184,000 encounters in July.

Last month’s numbers are also a significant rise from August a year ago, when there were only 204,000 migrant encounters. September’s numbers are already tens of thousands of encounters higher than last year as well.

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