Many of the women locked up in family detention centers speak only indigenous languages.

When a 32-year-old Guatemalan street vendor’s abusive husband abandoned her for another woman, she got relief from the routine beatings she’d suffered for over a decade. But now she also had to support their three children. To come up with extra money, she turned to off-market moneylenders, an enterprise associated with Guatemala’ violent street gangs. Unable to pay off her high-interest debt, they threatened to kill her and her three children, she says.

The woman, who declined to be identified for fear of jeopardizing her asylum case, fled the country, taking her 7-year-old son with her and leaving behind her other children with her sister. The woman and her son traveled over land to Tijuana, Mexico, where they crossed into California in June 2015.

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Webinar Video Below: Advocates’ Introduction to Gender-Based Asylum

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