Khan ran to his two gay friends, the only people he trusted. They told him that Ghana was no longer safe for him — that he should flee the country — and they scraped together money for him to buy a ticket to Ecuador, which did not require a tourist visa. On Nov. 6, 2014, Khan stepped off the plane in Quito, Ecuador’s capital.
A decade ago, Alexander, North Dakota was a sleepy town of weatherworn ranch houses and dusty red roads nestled between the wheat, corn, and soybean fields of northwestern North Dakota. But in 2007, when engineers unlocked the vast oil reserves hidden beneath the Bakken shale formation, Alexander was transformed into a frontier boomtown. Some 12,000 oil trucks and cars rattled through town each day.