Two Migrants Sexually Assaulted Before Crossing into Texas

Rape Tree in Brooks County - AP Photo Eric Gay
AP File Photo/Eric Gay
Edinburg, TX

A mother and her juvenile daughter told Border Patrol agents they were sexually assaulted before crossing illegally into the United States from Mexico. The woman and her child managed to escape and joined up with another group as they prepared to cross the Rio Grande.

Border Patrol agents in the Rio Grande Valley Sector came upon a group of 18 migrants shortly after they crossed the Mexican border near Hidalgo, Texas. During processing, one of the women in the group made a statement that she and her underage daughter were sexually assaulted by their cartel-connected smugglers. She said they managed to escape from the two men involved in the attack, according to information provided to Breitbart Texas by U.S. Border Patrol officials.

The incident occurred as the mother and daughter, both Honduran nationals, were waiting to board a raft to cross the border into Texas. She told the agents that two of the smugglers pulled her and her daughter off the raft and dragged them to separate locations.

The mother stated the man who dragged her away attempted to undress her and force himself on top of her. She said she resisted and managed to escape.

After escaping, the mother went in search of her daughter. She said she found her daughter laying on the ground, partially undressed. She said the second smuggler stood over her daughter. The mother and her daughter fought the man off and ran to a second group of illegal immigrants. They joined up with that group and made the trip across the river where Border Patrol agents apprehended them.

The agents transported the woman and her daughter to a hospital for medical evaluation and treatment for injuries they suffered during the assaults.

“You need to be very careful,” said the mother. “You do not know what dangers await you at the border. You don’t know who is going to help you or is going to hurt you. They don’t tell you about all the things that happen along the way.”

The rape of migrant women during the smuggling process is not an uncommon occurrence.

In April 2016, Breitbart Texas reported on the dangers faced by illegal immigrants at the hands of their often violent, cartel-connected human smugglers. Rape and other forms of sexual assault are frequent dangers to these women and girls:

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.”

Bob Price serves as associate editor and senior political news contributor for Breitbart Texas. He is a founding member of the Breitbart Texas team. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTXGab, and Facebook.