Here's What Migrant Children Are Fleeing
John Washington tells their harrowing stories
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Aug 4, 2014 11:54 AM CDT
In this July 12, 2014, photo, migrants walk along the rail tracks after getting off a train during their journey toward the US-Mexico border in Ixtepec, Mexico.   (AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo)

(Newser) – Central American child migrants at our borders travel through a "hellish gauntlet of kidnapping, extortion, murder, and rape" in Mexico, and then arrive in the US only to face "anti-children protests," arrests, and brutal immigration policies, John Washington writes at Salon. What could prompt them to face the journey? Washington met with several people in southern Mexico who have left their homes in Central America, and they tell him their stories:

  • One migrant, who Washington calls Eduardo, is from the city with the world's highest murder rate: San Pedro Sula, Honduras. There, gang members see those they don't recognize as a threat, and they kill them, Eduardo says.
  • "Miguel," 15, was raped by his stepfather in Honduras. Discomfort around adult men has driven him to avoid the train many take through Mexico. In order to gain bus fare, he has sought work as a prostitute.
  • "Josue" left San Pedro Sula at age 20 after his ex-brother-in-law threatened to kill him. With a gun to his head, he convinced the man not to shoot. But when the brother-in-law was later killed, gangs assumed Josue was responsible and pledged to take revenge on him and his family.
  • A Salvadoran egg deliveryman, "Hector," says he's traveling to improve life for his son, whom he can't afford to send to school at home. Gangs regularly take money from locals, including 35% of Hector's paycheck.
"The first step in helping these people is to stop hurting them," Washington writes, but our politicians don't seem to understand that. Click for his full piece.