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His name is Juan García Aguilar. He is 38. The girl's name is Yolanda Méndez Torres. She is 11. It is the summer of 1998. Over the next six years, he will take her over 5,000 miles, from the tropical scrub brush hills of Oaxaca into the Sonoran Desert and to the United States. She will be a child laborer in North Carolina. In Georgia and Tennessee, she will live trapped in motel rooms while Juan works. And in Dallas, she will sleep in a closet and decide whether to murder him or escape.

This short account, which first appeared as an award-winning series of articles in The Dallas Morning News in 2006, chronicles Yolanda's crossing to a new life of hope.

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