Speed Reads

human trafficking

U.S. gave at least 19 immigrant children to human traffickers

A Senate report released Thursday found that the Department of Health and Human Services placed at least a dozen immigrant children into the custody of human traffickers because it failed to conduct background checks, The New York Times reports. In one case in Marion, Ohio, last year, six children were brought to the United States from Guatemala before being handed over to traffickers who forced them to work on egg farms.

"It is intolerable that human trafficking — modern-day slavery — could occur in our own backyard. But what makes the Marion cases even more alarming is that a U.S. government agency was responsible for delivering some of the victims into the hands of their abusers," chairman of the subcommittee Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio) said.

Of approximately 90,000 children placed by the agency in the past two years, it is unknown exactly how many cases resulted in children ending up in the hands of human or sex traffickers. According to the report, at least 13 other children were known to have been trafficked, while 15 other cases "exhibited some signs" of trafficking.

"Whatever your views on immigration policy, everyone can agree that the administration has a responsibility to ensure the safety of the migrant kids that have entered government custody until their immigration court date," Portman said.