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Human Market Hardships at the U.S.-Mexico Border

*A note to our readers: The Border Crisis has resulted in some very dark dealings. We regret to trespass on the feelings of our audience: Therefore, please note that some of our readers may find elements of the following story disturbing:

CDLLife connected with an agent that recently finished a tour serving on the U.S.-Mexico border. This U.S. agent was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity. 

The U.S. agent shared some of the horrors that they and their fellow agents encountered along the border. The agent remembers that: 

At one point the team spotted a man that was continually crossing the border with very young children. It seemed there was no probable explanation for why he would be traveling with them.

Human smuggling is very common right now at the border. And this time he was crossing with a six month old baby; so, the team stopped him for questioning.

As the team interrogated him, he admitted that he had been transporting these children, not to use in the human trafficking trade, but for organ harvesting. 

The trafficker wasn’t sure what they were going to do with the organs, but the agents were fairly sure they were being sold on the Black Market.

And CDLLife followed up with a source in Mexico identified only as Guilhem. This local source runs with Coyotes and Human Smugglers, and he agreed that the children’s organs were likely being sold on the Black Market. 

According to Medical Futurist, livers are worth about $557,000 and kidneys cost about $262,000 each. “Not to speak about human skin ($10/inch), stomach ($500) and eyeballs ($1,500 each).”

These children were worth more dead than alive to the Cartels dealing in Human Trade. And they aren’t alone in the brutal treatment that they receive at their hands.

One teenage girl recounted to agents that she was raped by her uncle on her entire journey from Guatemala to the United States. Agents estimate from her acount that she endured rape between 70-80 times.

“The hardest part is that most of them just accept that it’s part of the trip.”

In the town of Altar, Mexico, immigrants pass through as a final “Oasis” before the United States. Just at this hub, it’s estimated that eighty percent of the women that travel through are raped. One Immigration Studies Representative, Art Arthur remarked that women are used like meat.

The U.S. agent told CDLLife that they were specifically assigned the care of another teenage girl that had been trafficked into the United States. They found out that the girl had endured horrific treatment during the journey up through Mexico and was repeatedly raped at the hands of the Cartel and smugglers. 

It’s very common for the Cartel to use family members as leverage in their operations. In this case, the Coyote in charge of her said they would prostitute her nine year old brother if she didn’t do what she was told. So, she chose herself over her little brother.

The agent was proud to say that this victim had achieved some justice for what she endured: She was able to identify the house where she had been kept in the United States. Her information led to the house where she was stashed. Agents eventually captured and prosecuted her traffickers.

One Venezuelan immigrant agents helped watched her family get gunned down in the street. The gang told her to get out of town or she would be the next one to be murdered. 

“They can’t trust their governments or the police. The best way they can escape (the gang violence) is to come here.”

Unfortunately, these crimes are often facilitated with the use of trucks. One representative from Immigration Studies told CDLLife that, “Migrants are kept in horrible conditions and subjected to significant peril.”

In particular he noted one case in the back of a trailer– police opened up the doors to find a deceased father holding his son who had passed away in his arms. Art Arthur of Immigration Studies said, “I’m father, and I just can’t imagine.”

There have been other terrible migrant deaths in Texas since then. Arthur says it’s never worth it: One driver is facing the death penalty for the loss of life of people he smuggled.

But truckers have a truly unique position in battling these migrant outcomes: Because drivers are the eyes and ears of the road they are often the individuals most likely to bring human traffickers to justice. Drivers can truly be proud of their status as “Guardians of the Highway.” 

CDLLife sat down with Susan Dold, with Truckers Against Trafficking: They have trained more than a million people to be aware of their situations, to look for the signs of criminal behavior and to act. 

As a result of their training, hundreds upon hundreds of people have been rescued. Tips from drivers have also led to the broad break up of organized prostitution rings. 

What to look for:

  • Lack of knowledge of their whereabouts; not in control of ID/passport
  • Restricted or controlled communication – not allowed to speak for self
  • CB chatter about “commercial company” or flashing lights signaling “buyer” location
  • Acknowledgment of a pimp and making a quota
  • A van or RV that seems out of place out by trucks; a vehicle dropping someone off at a truck and picking them up 15-20 minutes later

And sex trafficking is not the only motive for human smuggling. Human traffickers smuggle more human beings for labor than prostitution. 

The Attorney General of Texas, Ken Paxton is on a crusade to battle the inhumanities of trafficking in all its forms. He lists the following red flags for to watch for in labor trafficking:

Red Flags for Labor Trafficking

Texas Attorney General’s Human Trafficking Red Flags
There are 234,000 Victims of labor trafficking in Texas alone at any given time

There are several red flags that someone is being forced into labor trafficking, including:

  • Third-party control of schedule and social interaction
  • Evidence of violence: bruises, swelling, scarring, etc.
  • Works excessively long or unusual hours
  • Living where the individual works
  • Living in an area that is not zoned for residential
  • Transported to and from work by employer
  •  Housing, food, and hygiene products all being supplied by the employer
  • Not being paid on a regular schedule
  • Recruited through false promises related to citizenship or working conditions
  • Inability to speak English
  • Identification documents or money are being held by a third-party
  • Malnutrition, dehydration, exhaustion
  • Untreated disease or dental and/or vision problems
  • Chronic pain — e.g., back pain, muscle strains, respiratory issues, etc.

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