When 17-year-old Ronal Morales and his family first embarked on the treacherous journey to the US border in July 2019, leaving the lives they had built in El Salvador behind, they never imagined that their destination might be just as unforgiving as the circumstances they had fled.
Back in El Salvador, Morales, whose last name has been changed over fears of retribution for speaking out, had been facing growing pressure to join one of the gangs that dominated his city.
For years, he had tried to avoid them, but one day, while walking home from school, he was confronted by four gang members who gave him two choices: “They told me to join them. If not...they were going to kill me.”
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