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Report cites 1000s of claims of sexual abuse of migrant kids in US custody

More than 2,600 minors were separated last year from their parents under the Trump administration's "zero tolerance" policy, which required the prosecution all adult migrants detained after trying to cross the border into the US illegally. EFE-EPA/File

More than 2,600 minors were separated last year from their parents under the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy, which required the prosecution all adult migrants detained after trying to cross the border into the US illegally. EFE-EPA/File

EFE

US Rep. Ted Deutch (D-Fla.) said Tuesday there have been thousands of allegations of unaccompanied minors being sexually abused by staff of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

During a hearing of the House Judiciary Committee, Deutch presented several reports by the HHS itself saying the department received more than 4,500 complaints of unaccompanied minors being sexually abused in its custody between 2014 and 2018.

In addition, 1,303 complaints of this kind were reported to the US Justice Department during the same period.

“These documents detail an environment of systemic sexual assaults by staff on unaccompanied children,” said Deutch, who represents District 22 of Florida.

“Over the past three years, there have been 154 staff-on-unaccompanied minor, let me repeat that, staff-on-unaccompanied minor allegations of sexual assault. This works out on average to one sexual assault by HHS staff on unaccompanied minor per week.”

According to the Axios online news site, some of the incidents reported to the Justice Department include reports that members of the staff had sexual relations with minors, forcibly touched them sexually and made children and teens watch pornographic videos.

This accusation coincides with the subpoena of three high officials of President Donald Trump ‘s government to declare before Congress about the “zero tolerance” policy implemented last year, which caused thousands of migrant families to be separated at the border with Mexico.

The US House Oversight Committee voted to subpoena US Attorney General William Barr, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, and Health Department Secretary Alex Azar to provide documentation and records related to the family separation policy.

More than 2,600 minors were separated last year from their parents under the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy, which required the prosecution all adult migrants detained after trying to cross the border into the US illegally.

The policy promoted by then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions created much bad feeling in US society, which led Trump to cancel it three months after it was enacted.


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