Reports of Sexual Assault Against Migrant Children

Trigger warning: The following article includes details about sexual violence against children. 

On February 25th, federal records and data from the Department of Health and Human Services were publicized by Representative Ted Deutch. These were presented during the congressional hearing for the Trump administration's policy on separating migrant children from their families. These files revealed thousands of allegations of acts of sexual abuse against minors while they were in the care of the Department of Health and Human Services. Some of the incidents were even reported to the Department of Justice. These cases all report indecent sexual interactions between youth care staff and minors which  included touching genetilia and showing pornographic material. 

These documents were all presented at the hearing to fight the policy of separting children from families. Deutch said, “these documents detail an environment of systemic sexual assaults by staff on unaccompanied children,” (The Hill). Tearing apart families has been creating a breeding ground for sexual assaults as the migrant children are left defenseless without their parents. These allegations date back to 2015 while under the Obama administration and have continued under the Trump administration as well.

It is a terrifying reality for the children that are crossing over the border alone or the ones being taken away from their parents. The Health and Human Services watches over tens of thousands of children who mgirate to the United States and the children can remain in their care for up to three months, during which a lot of damage can be done. Although a number of these have been sent to the FBI, the cases have proved to be unfounded without concrete evidence beyond statements from the children. Keeping families together will prevent further emotional and physical trauma for children and parents involved. Representative Douglas A. Collins expressed, "that it is 'clear the system was not ready to handle the large number of children arriving at the border and separated from their parents.'" 

This policy was put in place to regulate the immigration of Central Americans crossing the border with children and using them as a method to obtain asylum. The intention of the policy has been lost in abhorrent xenophobia and is now the cause of immense pain and sexual trauma that no child seeking a better life should be subjected to. House Democrats are currently issuing subpeonas on the separation of families under the Trump administration and continuing their investigation into these allegations.