Sexual violence has “become an inescapable part of the collective migrant journey” for women who cross the border—and it doesn’t end once they enter the United States, as a new report from the New York Times makes painfully clear. From smugglers who exploit women making the journey north to Customs and Border Protection agents and Border Patrol officers who then use their authority to abuse women in their custody, the threat of violence can be ever present.
The current dangers associated with the journey are largely a product of U.S. border policy, which has forced people to rely even more on human smugglers and take increasingly dangerous routes to the United States. As a team of researchers wrote in 2016, “As migrants were diverted away from relatively safe and well-trod pathways in urban areas into more remote, isolated, and environmentally hostile sectors of the border, crossings grew increasingly difficult and hazardous and the share relying on the services of a paid guide, which had always been high, steadily rose.” Our border policy, specifically the Clinton-era policy of “prevention through deterrence,” said No More Deaths’s Justine Orlovksy-Schnitzler in an earlier interview with Jezebel, is “functioning exactly as intended.” She added, “The Trump administration has emboldened both government and non-governmental actors against migrants, which often creates deadly outcomes.”
via Sexual Violence Is an ‘Inescapable Part of the Collective Migrant Journey’