Samantha Inesta-Executive Director-BeaSister2aSister
The separation of children from their parents at the border is still a disease that is plaguing the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Health & Human Services (HHS), the US government and everyone who wants them reunited. Hiding the gender segregation of the children should’ve been a pretty big red flag. Separating the boys from the girls suggests there is some sort of plan in place that is not designed to keep them safe but subservient. For the longest time no one knew what was happening in those detention centers, not the parents, not the people in congress against this decision-nobody. Until now. ...read more...
Recently, detention centers that hold large groups of children ranging from toddlers to teenagers have come under fire for abuse and torture of these kids. Verbal, physical and psychological attacks flooded the media when distant incoherent children began being reunited with their parents. One little girl, being returned to her mother, was found covered in lice and suffered from neglect. A little boy meeting his father in the airport after months of detention, was so traumatized that he couldn’t bring himself to hug his dad much less smile when he saw him. There are more cases re-surfacing of children being threatened, denied food and basic necessities. But things have gotten much worse. A facility in Arizona has been the subject of sexual abuse of children being held in their center. A 6-year old girl has endured unwanted physical contact and was forced to sign a document she had no comprehension of. Then she was told it was her responsibility to stay away from her abuser as of it was her fault all along. A 14-year old girl was molested and sexually abused by an employee in the Arizona facility. He has since been arrested. A 15-year old Honduran boy was being molested by a 46-year old youth care worker who had unlimited access to him. ProPublica has obtained police reports and call logs from more than two-thirds of youth immigrant centers run and/or contracted by the U.S. Health and Human Services Department’s Office of Refugee Resettlement describing rampant abuse. This is according to ThinkProgress.
Even though the practice of separating children from their families at the border has ended, there is still a crisis going on. There was no plan as to how children would be handled after invoking the separation policy. Contracted workers that were obviously not screened are easily employed and given the responsibility to make sure the kids are safe and well adjusted. But this is not what’s happening. A child psychiatric expert called these facilities a “gold mine” for predators, and they are. What’s more troubling is that there are still a large number of children who have not yet seen their parents and probably don’t even know they have been deported. The Trump administration justifies the separation by saying that these children were being smuggled, trafficked and how the US was saving them. Putting them in detention facilities where they are subject to sexual abuse is not saving them. The tactics employed include a breakdown process consisting of psychological, physical and sexual torture that makes the US look like the trafficker and not the savior.
The hundreds of children who are now safely in the arms of their parents will still struggle with the trauma they have endured. The children who continue to be held with no knowledge of what the future holds are suffering continually and they don’t have a voice. I’m writing because I want to be their voice and you should too. You don’t have to be a parent, we were all children once. Think of a time when you lost your mom or dad in a crowded public space, it’s terrifying, especially when a stranger starts to talk you, you’re scared and helpless. Now multiply that by 1000 and you will have some sense of the fear these kids are feeling. This goes way beyond monsters under the bed, the monsters in this scenario are real.
Let us keep this conversation going and continue to shine the spotlight on these abuses. Don’t let it get lost in the fray that is this administration. These children have no one they can turn to, they need us.
Thanks so much for taking the time to read this blog! BeaSister2aSister is a 501(c)3 non profit that helps survivors of human trafficking, domestic violence, abuse and exploitation to gain the skills and tools to become self sustainable again and break away from interdependence. We are based in Brooklyn, NY with programs in several countries.
If you would like to help us bring survivors out of dependence and into self sustainability, please visit our website @ http://www.beasister2asister.org & click on give today. You can make a one time donation or be a sustainable re-occurring donor. Thanks for supporting!