The stories are hauntingly similar. Single mothers and their young children enduring unthinkable violence and trauma, from sexual assault by abusive partners, to the murder of relatives, to gun fights outside their homes.
In these grim situations, many families see only one way out of the incredible despair — fleeing to the United States to seek asylum.
For Alba Veronica Cruz Montano and her 4-year-old daughter, that was the difficult choice she made as she fought for survival by fleeing El Salvador, a country with one of the highest murder rates for women.
“I knew about the dangers, but I was in despair and I asked God to get me to a place where I could be safe with my daughter and where no one would take her from me,” said Cruz Montano in a video posted by the United Nations about her struggle. “That’s why I took the risk.”