Reynosa, a bustling border city in Mexico, painted a devastating scene one dawn in late May. Carolina, a Venezuelan national, was bracing herself for another ransom call to her family. Instead, she experienced a fate worse than she could have ever imagined.
"It's the saddest, most horrible thing that can happen to a person," she confessed to Reuters, describing the harrowing assault she endured on a dilapidated bus. Her story is not an isolated one.
A Disturbing Uptrend
Cities like Reynosa and its neighbor Matamoros, both situated in the state of Tamaulipas, have witnessed a spike in violent crimes against migrants, notably assaults.
These cities, acting as key transit points for those hoping to reach U.S. soil, have become dangerous hotspots. Data from the Mexican government, coupled with testimony from aid workers and assault survivors, paints a disturbing picture.
The rise in violence is evident from state records spanning from 2014 to 2023. A recent freedom of information request made by Reuters reveals that criminal investigations into the rape of foreign nationals in these two cities, with the exception of Americans, have reached an all-time high.
Voices of Outrage Humanitarian groups have long sounded the alarm on the vulnerability of migrants, emphasizing the dangers they face in their quest for a better life. And it's not just the smugglers who pose a threat. "The inhumane way smugglers abuse, extort, and perpetrate violence against migrants for profit is criminal and morally reprehensible," responded U.S.
Department of Homeland Security (DHS) spokesperson Luis Miranda, echoing the concerns of many. The U.S. State Department doesn't mince words either, labeling Tamaulipas as the most perilous state along the entire U.S.-Mexico border.
The increasing violence against non-American foreign nationals, as reflected in the current statistics, only solidifies this assertion. Carolina's story sheds light on the broader crisis. Behind the data are real lives—people with dreams, families, and a desperate yearning for safety.
As border cities like Reynosa and Matamoros grapple with this uptick in violence, it is paramount for international communities to rally together, ensuring that tales like Carolina's are neither normalized nor forgotten.