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‘Coyotes’ Feed on Migrant Workers

HUMAN SMUGGLING / 29 NOV 2010 BY INSIGHT CRIME EN

A report in the Mexican daily El Informador details the plight of Central American migrants on their way northward in pursuit of the “American dream.”  In order to cross the U.S. border, migrants from all over the region entrust their lives to ‘coyotes,’ criminals that specialize in human trafficking, many of which have ties to Mexican drug cartels. 

One migrant laborer mentioned in the story, Edwin, describes the process as a kind of kidnapping.  He and others seeking passage northward were kept in a safe house, where the coyotes told him to call up relatives of his in the United States. They wanted $10,000 to take him to the other side.  “There were six or seven who were armed, and those who couldn’t pay they seperated from us, or left on the roadside,” said Edwin.  “Who knows what happened to them.”  Edwin’s family paid for his crossing, and he was delivered in Houston, Texas.  Months later, however, U.S. immigration arrested and deported him.  Edwin’s story is quite common, and reflects the growing commercialization of the ‘coyote’ trade, as more and more organized criminal groups attempt to enter the lucrative market.

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