Human Trafficking – The Dirty Little Unexpected Consequence Of The Flood of Children Crossing Our Borders

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With the influx of unaccompanied minor children flooding across our southern border, something that has been brought up very little in the news is the possibility of these children ending up in human trafficking rings.

Between October 1 and June 15, we have seen a 92 percent increase of unaccompanied minors flooding across our borders, compared to the same time last year. Some estimates say that between 90,000 and 150,000 unaccompanied alien children (UAC’s) will enter the U.S. this year.

Approximately 52,000 of the children already here have come from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, according to ABC News. They state that a “high ranking Democratic senator” said 378 of these unaccompanied children were under the age of two, and, of those, 95 were under the age of one. Since these children cannot get here on their own, logic would dictate that someone must have “accompanied” them.

Could these infants and younger children be trafficked for sale in the illegal adoption market? Could the older children be trafficked for sex, child pornography, forced labor or worse? Many will scoff at the idea and say, “could never happen – this is the United States,” but the National Human Trafficking Hotline (NHTRC) has reported a 259% increase in calls to their center for human trafficking here, between 2008 and 2012.

According to the 2014 Trafficking in Persons Report (TIP Report) released by the U.S. State Department on June 20, 2014, “The United States is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children – both U.S. citizens and foreign nationals – subjected to sex trafficking and forced labor, including domestic servitude.” They go on to state that the top countries of original of federally identified trafficking victims in 2013 were the United States, Mexico, the Philippines, Thailand, Honduras, Guatemala, India, and El Salvador.

In Guatemala, jaladores, as they are called, often abduct newborns from hospitals by giving the mother a sleeping pill or arranging for her to be told her baby has died. They have also been known to snatch babies right from mothers’ arms in the street or trick them into giving their babies up for adoption. Guatemalan authorities say stolen children are being put up for illegal adoption – often sold into child pornography and prostitution where they are at the mercy of child trafficking rings. According to Erick Cardenas, Guatemala’s children’s prosecutor, “We’re investigating 22 cases of stolen babies this year that we believe are largely to do with illegal adoption.”

A 2010 report, by the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG), found that hospital staff conspire with criminal gangs to obtain false birth certificates for newborns put up for illegal adoption and women pose as the biological mothers of children and are given fake identity papers by corrupt notaries.

And, we have “unaccompanied” children, under the age of two, coming across the U.S. border? They obviously aren’t traveling across Mexico by themselves and making it here! Children that young are being accompanied by someone. Am I the only one who sees a problem here? Who is coming in with these little ones?

I understand when people say, this is all the more reason to help these children. Many of these countries are sources for children being put into forced labour and used in sex trafficking, which is extremely lucrative financially for the criminal organizations running them. Even more lucrative then guns and drugs. Child traffickers prey on poor families in countries where the most children live in poverty, and these families all want a better life for their children.

But, we have children – children without their parents – flooding across our borders unchecked. How many have been sold into prostitution, before even getting here, as a way to get to the U.S.? How many have not made it here, instead targeted by human traffickers, while on their journey? And, how many have been taken from their parents by these trafficking rings, with promises of a better life in the U.S., only to be forced across the border to the “other half” of the ring operating in the U.S., who are their “relatives?” These children are coming in with no papers, and many saying they have relatives they have never met, in the U.S., who they will eventually be transferred to. How on earth does the U.S. government intend to confirm that we are really releasing all these children to actual relatives?

House Judiciary Chairman Rep. Bob Goodlatte claims that more than 90 percent of them, many of whom are teens and ripe for sex traffickers, will not appear for their court dates; they will just vanish into our country.

There are laws in place, many to protect the unaccompanied alien children (UAC) from these type of horrors, however it is all to easy for traffickers to use loopholes within these laws. According to the Office of Refuge Resettlement one of the four reasons for children coming across the U.S. border is that they are brought here by human trafficking rings.

These human trafficking rings know how to take advantage of our UAC laws that enable minors to remain in the U.S. under the “least restrictive setting” necessary, and how to exploit every loophole in the legal system. They know how to get to the children once they leave the dentition centers, and realize that the flood of minors currently overwhelming the system makes it even easier.

Our southern border is a mess and we are warehousing these children in caged facilities. Many of the immigrants coming into the US are not immunized and are carrying communicable diseases. We have so far seen, among many other diseases, things such as TB, hand and foot disease, and lice so bad they can be seen crawling on the children’s faces, brought across our border. There is little information available as to how many of them will eventually be returned to their country or be allowed to stay in the U.S. with “relatives” or in foster care.

I certainly don’t blame the children for any of this. They are innocents and victims in it all. But, we have a breakdown at the border that is not showing signs of getting fixed and a President who travels to Texas, in the midst of it all, not to visit these facilities, but on a political fundraising trip for the Democratic party.

There is a serious disconnect from realty here with this administration, and I see no short or long term solutions being seriously discussed as to how we will protect the children already here from horrors that no one is even talking about, and even more importantly, how we will stop the never-ending flow of more UAC’s crossing over into circumstances that, on the front end, may seem better than what they are leaving, but on the “dirty little” back end, may not be at all.

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