Every year, about 400,000 migrants ride La Bestia, a freight train, through Mexico with hopes of eventually crossing into the US. Drug cartels and gangs have taken control of the route, making the journey a nightmare. Kidnapping, rape and extortion are common. That’s forcing migrants–especially women and children- to look for alternative ways of travel.
Jasmine Garsd traveled to Southern Mexico to talk to migrants making the journey by bus from Central America to the USA.
One of the travelers Garsd spoke to, Maria Gomez, was seven months pregnant. She said she was afraid of riding the train. “Anything can happen on that train. I could fall. That scares me. It’s dangerous. I’ve seen the news, bad things happen,” Gomez said.
Marta Sanchez works at the Mesoamerican Migrants movement, an organization which tries to locate Central Americans who have disappeared while travelling through Mexico. Sanchez said she has watched the immigration experience change and get more dangerous.
“The people who are coming are truly desperate and willing to do absolutely anything,” Sanchez said. “This is not migration, this is forced expulsion.”
Photos courtesy of Encarni Pindado
Jasmine Garsd was born in Argentina and hosts NPR’s Alt.Latino podcast. As a journalist she’s worked on the NPR programs Morning Edition, Talk of the Nation and Tell Me More. She has covered a wide variety of topics for radio including immigration issues.