To mark the return of the show that takes you behind the news, Sky’s chief correspondent Stuart Ramsay looks back on the high-risk assignment of crossing borders illegally with migrants.
It’s a cold misty morning and we are on the back of a truck with a group migrants illegally crossing from Guatemala to Mexico on a secret mountain road.
Amongst them two girls, Daniella, 16, and Karla, 14, they are heading to the United States – they hope.
Karla sings as we make our way across the mountains; she is dressed in the clothes my daughter would wear, she has her sunglasses on and her pink back pack, all she owns, lies at her feet.
The girls seem unaware of how dangerous this trip is. Young women are the most vulnerable; they risk abduction and forced sexual slavery. But everyone on the truck faces danger. Rape, robbery and murder are common but this is what thousands risk every single day.
The quest to get to the United States has become a global phenomenon and showing these dangers and investigating the methods and the gangs who move this human cargo was our assignment, and how we cover this story the subject of the Sky News programme Hotspots.
What was not previously known is just how global the movement of people by trafficking gangs has become.
Tapachula, a moody trafficking town in southern Mexico is now full of Indians, Pakistanis and Bangladeshis trying to get to America. There are five curry houses in one street.
They are mainly young men wanting to claim asylum from political persecution at home.
Whether that is true or not is difficult to prove. But what is an undoubted fact is the horror of their journeys. They all talk of migrants, unable to keep up with group, being murdered on the side of the road and bodies strewn along jungle paths.
The gangs and the cartels move people along the same routes as they move drugs.
The crime syndicates that operate this business aren’t just in Central and South America, they stretch around the world and they charge people $30,000 (£23,000) to $50,000 (£39,000) each.
One young man who started his journey in Delhi says he has been handed over dozens of times to different gangs as he travelled through Ethiopia, Peru, Brazil, Equador, Honduras, El Salvador, Panama, Guatemala and into Mexico. The level of organisation is astonishing.
We met the gang Members who move the people and the drugs on the Northern Mexican border with the US using “Coyotes” or guides who know how to cross and deliver their human cargo to America.
It’s a business worth billions of dollars and nobody seems able to stop it.
:: Hotspots airs this Sunday at 9pm on Sky Atlantic.
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