“We call ICE, they get sent back and then they do it again,” Ballard said. “They go through all the rape and horrors they went through getting here the first time.”
Through Perez they one by one told stories that were sad and horrible, yet typical of such journeys made by desperate people. They had traveled from Oaxaca, Mexico, and were smuggled across the border in an avocado truck with a secret compartment, each forced to pay for the trip by having sex with several of the men involved. Once across in Calexico they were placed in the van, told they owed thousands of dollars more for the remaining trip, and driven north to Los Angeles. They did not know what awaited them at the address on Etiwanda in the Valley but Ballard did sexual servitude in gang-operated brothels where they would never break even and would never be missed should they stop earning and their masters decide to bury them in the desert.