According to a stunning Fusion investigation, 80 percent of women and girls crossing into the U.S. by way of Mexico are raped during their journey. That’s up from a previous estimate of 60 percent, according to an Amnesty International report.

This year alone, immigration authorities expect more than 70,000 unaccompanied minors to come through the United States unlawfully, the majority of whom are from Central American countries of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. The number of unaccompanied Central American girls caught at the Southwest border has rapidly outpaced the number boys, according to a July Pew Research study.
Through May, the number of unaccompanied girls younger than 18 caught at the US-Mexico border increased by 77 percent.
But while many of these girls are fleeing their homes because of fears of being sexually assaulted, according to the UNHCR, they are still meeting that same fate on their journey to freedom.
Rape can be perpetrated by anyone along the way, including guides, fellow migrants, bandits or government officials, according to Fusion. Sometimes sex is used as a form of payment, when women and girls don’t have money to pay bribes.

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