News400 migrants, including children, assaulted on US migration route

400 migrants, including children, assaulted on US migration route

Migrants cross the Darien Gap on their way from South America to the United States.
Migrants cross the Darien Gap on their way from South America to the United States.
Images source: © East News | LUIS ACOSTA
ed. PJM

12:04 PM EST, November 27, 2023

Hundreds of migrants have reportedly been assaulted while migrating from South America to the United States. This year, around 400 victims of sexual assault, including children, have required medical attention from the organization known as "Doctors Without Borders".

The non-profit organization, "Doctors Without Borders", has released a report indicating that approximately 400 individuals, including children, sought medical assistance following sexual assaults in the vicinity of the Darien Gap, according to the "New York Post". This 100-mile stretch, separating the Panamanian province of Darien from Colombia, forms part of the treacherous route many South American migrants endure, aiming for the United States.

The report emphasizes the major threat posed by groups of bandits who kidnap, rape, and rob the migrants attempting to traverse the Darien Gap. Drug dealers also operate along this path. Furthermore, armed criminal groups monitor the jungle borders, demanding payment to grant passage. Migrants who cannot pay are subjected to beatings and rape.

"Those who lacked money were beaten. I received lashes on my legs with sticks," recounted one of the Venezuelan victims as quoted by the "New York Post". Another spoke of incidents where individuals who denied possessing money were strip-searched. If found dishonest, these victims faced even more brutal violence. Disturbingly, witness testimonies suggest that payment does not necessarily safeguard one from violence or rape. "They claim that this is their land and demand respect. Anyone passing through here is required to pay. Regardless of whether you pay, they commit these atrocities. They target whoever they fancy, regardless of gender," another Venezuelan victim added. Witnesses have also reported the use of so-called "rape tents", which are erected by the bandits specifically for these horrific acts.

The organization "Doctors Without Borders" is urgently appealing to regional authorities to enhance the law enforcement presence in order to curb the sexual violence against migrants. Just in October, the group assisted 107 victims of sexual assault, including 59 in a single week. "Sexual violence bears repercussions on physical and mental health," stated Carmenza Gálvez, the medical coordinator for "Doctors Without Borders".

Alarming reports have also highlighted the sexual violence endured by children. The organization stated that it recently helped three child rape victims aged just 11, 12, and 16. Many such crimes frequently go unreported as the migratory journey to the United States is of paramount importance to these migrants. Alongside this, there are pervasive fears of authorities and police officers.

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