— It was dark in the stash house where they kept her, the windows covered so no one could see inside.At first, the smugglers had her cook for the other migrants who had recently crossed illegally into the United States.
Law enforcement officials on the border said they had made arrests in many of the cases brought to them and would pursue more if they could.
In addition, interviews with migrant women and those working with them along the border point to large numbers of cases that are either unreported or unexamined, suggesting that sexual violence has become an inescapable part of the collective migrant journey.
President Trump has used the threat faced by migrant women to make his case for a border wall.
But the majority of women who have been assaulted do not report it, often because their attackers threaten to expose their immigration status — or worse — if they do. I think that since they put me in that room, they killed me. They don’t care that you’re a mother, that you have family. And I still remember while I was with them there, it was my birthday, and I didn’t want to, not that day. And every time I closed my eyes, the men would appear.
One woman, raped repeatedly at gunpoint in a stash house in Phoenix in 2005, said her attacker threatened to sell her 3-year-old daughter if she reported him. And I remember that he grabbed me and at one point bit me, and when I arrived at the detention center, I still had the bite marks. And according to them, the rape that day was for my birthday. “They raped us so many times they didn’t see us as human beings anymore.”On America’s southern border, migrant women and girls are the victims of sexual assaults that most often go unreported, uninvestigated and unprosecuted.