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Cartels earn up to 1 million dollars per trailer with migrants

Miami.— The transfer of migrants in trailers towards USA It is a practice that is decades old, but the risks, costs and hierarchies have changed.

A migrant who traveled by trailer, but refused to give his name, said that the transfer by that means costs between four and 5 thousand dollars (between 80 thousand 492 and 100 thousand 615 pesos).

However, everything depends on where the transfer starts from, whether from Central America, southern Mexico or near the border, says Abigaíl, a cousin of a human traffickeror pollero, and who requested anonymity.

“It also depends on what route they want and if it is going to be, for example, just crossing the Bravo River“, He says. Before, the coyotes were the ones who controlled the business, but with the advance of drug trafficking, that has also changed. According to records from authorities on both sides of the border, the drug cartels most involved in the human trafficking business are the remnants of Los Zetas and the Gulf Cartel.

“Those batos are in everything, they don’t miss one thing and there is no other way than to pay them what they ask for or give them a percentage. Sometimes they put their men as smugglers, but here it is their law and there is no way to do it. The government —federal and state— is pure bullshit, they are not good for mothers,” describes Abigaíl.

According to the Current Population Survey, carried out by the United States Census Bureau, in 1992 a crossing from Mexico to the neighboring country, by trailer, crossing the Rio Grande or by other means, cost an average of 300 dollars (6 thousand 37 pesos, at today’s exchange rate). Twenty years later, in 2012, the same type of crossing cost between 2,000 and 3,000 dollars (between 40,246 and 60,369 pesos). Today, depending on the type of crossing, it costs between 5,000 and 15,000 dollars (up to 301,846 pesos).

Seen this way, the trailer where 53 migrants died, 27 of them Mexicans, was a business of around one million dollars (20 million 130 thousand pesos).

Many factors influence the price change, from the increasing difficulty for migrant crossingthe strengthening of border security in the United States, even those who control the illicit business of human smuggling.

According to the migrant who traveled by trailer, the price also varies depending on the nationality of the person who is going to be transferred. Still Mexican they charge less, for example, than a Central American.

Read also: Migrants die from accidents and violence

Despite the high cost, migrants are willing to make any sacrifice, to go into debt for decades, in order to achieve the American dream. Because if before with 15 thousand dollars they could start a business in their countries of origin, today they cannot do it. “Whatever you put in, now you have to pay for a flat and pay for security and even so, be on the lookout so that they don’t kidnap or rob you or one of your family. Today it is more business to risk it to get to the gabacho”, Lidia and Jorge, a married couple from El Salvador, tell this newspaper.

Neither risks nor tragic cases like Monday’s will stop those who want to reach the United States.

“These people – the migrants – are desperate. It is very easy to say ‘don’t cross, hold on’, but if they don’t cross they are going to die of hunger or violence,” laments Enrique Morones, director of Gente Unida and founder emeritus of Angeles de la Frontera. He acknowledges that the way migrants traveling in trailers are treated is getting worse.

“They treat them worse than animals, they don’t take precautions.” Putting steak seasoning on them to disguise their smell is new, but he’s not surprised. Traffickers will do anything, she says, to “seal the deal.” On top of everything, “now it is much more expensive to hire a crossing like this, and nothing is safe”.

But in their places of origin their lives are also at risk, he explains. At least by traveling they hope to achieve a better quality of life.

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