Evangelical pastors secretly play a huge role in human trafficking. And they also make a hefty profit from it, according to a report from the Guardian.
Don’t mistake these reports as “pastors assist asylum seekers”… No, these pastors are flat-out sneaking people past the U.S. border from places like Guatemala, offering little more than prayers for a safe journey, and making a tidy profit for every body they get through!
Its another religious con game; the pastors’ presence is what helps justify the trip and taking the risks for some people.
It turns out that Guatemala is one of the largest sources of migrants to the US, and churches and clergymen also play a role in the business of people-smuggling in that country as well.
As trusted individuals in a deeply religious society, these pastors and priests offer comfort and a prayer for the safety of those undertaking the dangerous trip… Then they take a cut of the profits.
“The church is an invisible actor in migration,” said Francisco Simón, a researcher on migration and smuggling at the University of San Carlos in Guatemala. “Using the image of the pastor is just one of the many ways coyotes [people smugglers] recruit clients. He has credibility and the trust of the people.”
The people see a priest, so they assume he is trustworthy. But despite lies made by these preaching traffickers, the trip is NOT safe. Beyond the thousands of dollars some people pay to cross the border, they also are putting their lives at risk — and the pastors are happy to facilitate the trek since they get paid for each person.
“Pastors can act as a bridge between people who want to migrate and people who can take them,” [Pedro, a recruiter,] explained. “They know the community.”
At one church, three of the pastor’s brothers are smugglers, according to Pedro and members of the congregation. “For each customer he recruits, the pastor makes $250; he earns another $150 for praying with a group before they set out.”
Part of the problem is that pastors are more concerned about cash than the safety of the people they’re sending to the US. They also only help on the first leg of the journey, leaving people in a dangerous situation without any help. You could argue that those seeking to get into the U.S. are just as guilty but they’re trusting their religious leaders and being steered most of the time.
Unfortunately, with money on the line, pastors will tell them basically anything they have to in order to make a profit.