'Rape tree': GOP senators decry human smuggling cartels' shocking sexual abuse of migrant women

According to an Amnesty International report, about 60% of the women and girls who make the trek to the U.S.-Mexico border are raped.

Updated: July 18, 2022 - 8:40am

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Mexican cartels are moving millions of people into the U.S. over the border, and "rape trees" are a reminder that the Biden administration isn't doing enough to stop them, Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz said during a news conference with a group of Republican senators who visited the U.S.-Mexico border.

"We heard multiple reports of something, I'll be candid, I had never heard of before until today — something called a rape tree, which are trees where the traffickers would violently rape young women and then hang their undergarments in the tree as a trophy," Cruz said on Friday.

According to Amnesty International, about 60% of the women and girls who make the trek to the U.S.-Mexico border are raped.

Cartels reportedly charge thousands of dollars to bring someone through Mexico to the U.S. illegally. Republican senators have noted that migrants who cannot afford to pay the fee end up working for the cartel to repay the debt once they enter the U.S.

"How do you think the young women pay off their 5, 6, 7, 8 thousand dollar human trafficking fee?" asked Wisconsin Republican Sen. Ron Johnson. "I think we all know," he said, referring to the "rape tree."

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