<p>Mary Alice Reporting:

(Monday, May 14th) Ohio – A United State Senator is voicing his opinion on how two U.S. Departments should increase efforts to protect unaccompanied minors from abuse and human trafficking.

Trafficking can be anything from forced labor to sexual exploitation.

At a hearing, Rob Portman remarked to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) about the lack of protection children or unaccompanied minors have when crossing the border.

This was highlighted when eight minors crossed our southern border when DHS picked them up and transferred them to HHS.

“HHS then was supposed to place these children with sponsors who would keep them safe until they could go through the appropriate immigration legal proceedings. That didn’t happen. What did happen:  HHS released these children back into the custody of those human traffickers without vetting them.”

HHS then placed these eight children back with the traffickers who then took them to an egg farm in Marion, Ohio.

Where the children lived in squalid conditions and were forced to work 12 hours a day, six-seven days a week, for more than a year. The traffickers threatened the children and their families with physical harm, and even death, if the children didn’t perform these long hours.”

Senator Portman emphasized the lack of cooperation from the DHS and HHS since both groups failed to a detailed “Joint Concept of Operations” (JCO) which would list ways the agencies could fix the problems.

He notes they care about the JCO because it’s a plan that should be in place to protect these children.

“We care because the agencies themselves thought it was important enough to set a deadline for the JCO. We care because these kids, regardless of their immigration status, deserve to be treated properly, not abused or trafficked.”

He focused on two issues, the first being human decency and the duty to ensure unaccompanied children are not abused. The second relates to the rule of law and how the immigration system needs to be fixed.

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