From The Guardian: Central American migrants desperate to reach US risk new dangers at sea

Written by Nina Lakhani:

“As US-driven immigration crackdown forces many to find alternative routes through Mexico, activists fear an increase in trafficking and drownings.”

Fishermen in Paredón say the village is used by smugglers to transport migrants by sea. The boats come from Central America and stop here to refill petrol tanks. Photograph: Encarni Pindado for The Guardian

Fishermen in Paredón say the village is used by smugglers to transport migrants by sea. The boats come from Central America and stop here to refill petrol tanks. Photograph: Encarni Pindado for The Guardian

The highway from Mexico’s southern state of Chiapas into the neighbouring region of Oaxaca hugs the Pacific coast, cutting through dusty towns and densely forested mountains. It only takes a few hours to drive, but for migrants trying to reach the United States, it is one of the most perilous sections of the overland route. 

Undocumented travelers who take a bus or hop a freight train will almost certainly be detained by immigration agents. Those who choose to walk face a gruelling two-day journey through remote forests – and risk robbery, rape and even death at the hands of armed robbers who prey on the men, women and children heading north.

Yet, a rising number of Central American migrants are heading out to sea in small open boats to evade the immigration officials and bandits who have proliferated along Mexico’s southern border. Continue reading