During their journey to the United States, sweltering heat and tough terrain isn’t the only danger that undocumented immigrants face when crossing over.
“He grabbed me and grabbed my sweater and ripped it,” one immigrant from Honduras recalls with tears in her eyes.
A mother from El Salvador was traveling with her two children when she told Border Patrol agents she was attacked by her smuggler.
“He said, ‘give us money and if not, this girl is going to pay me, referring to my daughter, when he got my daughter out of the raft, two men got her and ripped open her blouse.”
Border Patrol tells CBS 4, violence against immigrants is common, especially towards women.
“The trek into the United States is very dangerous, we’ve encountered women who have reported to us being physically abused, extorted by their smugglers,” said Supervisory U.S. Border Patrol Agent, Marcelino Medina.
Like Katerina Vallez, a 15-year-old from Nicaragua.
“They tried to take me,” referring to her kidnappers she said holding back tears, “But to another cousin of mine, they took him, up to this day, we never heard from him.”
Another woman from Nicaragua remembers hearing stories of rape all throughout the journey.
“They say they had just raped two girls on the border before entering Mexico, then she said they raped another one in Mexico afterwards, they just left her there thrown on the floor to die,” said Belqy Saenz, a recently released undocumented immigrant.
Saenz said she took contraceptives to ensure if the same fate met her, she wouldn’t get pregnant.
“You take a pill because you already come with the mentality that they’re going to rape you, it’s traumatizing for the women,” said Saenz.
According to Doctors without Borders, during a study they conducted of over two years, 68 percent of migrants reported being victims of violence during their journey to the U.S.
Another 31 percent reported being raped.
“People say how can we put our lives at risk that much, but we do it for the American dream,” she said.