Mexican authorities are warning refugee mothers about men seeking to buy migrant children to improve their chances of asylum at the United States border.
Officials have grown concerned after men from 'Central America or Haiti' were seen approaching mothers - especially those deemed vulnerable - at the Iglesia Evangelica Embajadores de Jesus shelter in Tijuana offering them $350 to purchase a child to cross into the U.S.
It's unknown if the men were seeking to purchase the children for their own causes or if they were acting as intermediaries for other migrants searching for any possible way to circumvent their asylum requests with U.S. immigration officials.
According to a San Diego Union-Tribune Report, a 44-year-old Honduran mom has decided to keep her sons by her side after she saw men looking to buy children from mothers at the shelter.
'I can't go to work because I can't take my eyes off my boys,' Antonia Portillo Cruz said.
Groups of men have shown up at the Iglesia Evangelica Embajadores de Jesus (pictured) in Tijuana, Mexico, seeking to purchase children for $350 that would be used as props to seek asylum at the United States border
A child stands next to the border fence separates Mexico from the United States
Portillo Cruz, whose sons are aged eight and 10, said that no offers were made to her but she fears the requests could very possibly turn into kidnappings if the mothers don't accept the terms.
'They want to rob our kids so they can cross into the United States,' she added.
News of such tactic being employed by human traffickers in the vicinity of the shelter prompted pastor Gustavo Banda to beef up the security measures and chain down the entrance gate to the church.
'These are cases of desperation,' Banda said.
'Of course, the women have not accepted any of these offers, but clearly this is a huge concern because of the danger to the children.'
A 15-year-old migrant