Inside the Brutal World of America’s Kidnapping Capital

From The Village Voice:

The pollos had come from poverty-stricken towns in Mexico and Guatemala in search of a better existence. Maria says that she and her husband had hoped to find work; back home in Mexico, jobs were scarce, and the lucky few who found them earned a meager 100 pesos for a full day’s work—less than $7.80 a day.

The promise of making living wages is what drove Maria and the others to walk through the desert for eight days, crawl through tunnels, and move from camp to camp, car to car, and from one band of coyotes to another within the same smuggling operation. Money was also the motivation behind the kidnappers’ demands that Maria, her husband, and the other victims come up with large ransoms for their release.

The captives called their families back home, or relatives in Arizona, to plead for money they knew the families probably didn’t have. Days went by as Maria’s family worked to come up with more cash. The impatient guards threatened to beat their captives and dump their dead bodies in the desert if the money didn’t show up.

Terrified and confused, Maria was allowed to leave the room only when it was her turn to help cook for the guards or to clean the house. One of the other women told Maria that they had been in the house for more than a month. The women talked quietly while they prepared meals for the hostages—a bean burrito, a few Ramen noodles, or a boiled egg split among four people. The immigrants weren’t given anything to drink; they slurped water from a bathroom sink.

6 Comments

    1. Right, because if you break any laws at all, you deserve to be held hostage, burned with a blowtorch, and have a broomstick rammed up your ass.

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