The Obama administration handed more than a dozen immigrant children to human traffickers as it failed to conduct proper background checks of caregivers, according to the report of a bipartisan U.S. Senate investigation.
The Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations has found that the Department of Health and Human Services did not follow proper procedures to protect undocumented children entering the United States without an accompanying adult.
At least 19 children under HHS custody ended up in a human trafficking ring – six in Marion, Ohio, and 13 in other locations – the report says.
Every year, tens of thousands of children enter the country without their parents or relatives. If taken into U.S. custody, those children are designated “unaccompanied alien children,” or UACs. The Office of Refugee Resettlement under the HHS is responsible for finding appropriate, temporary homes for them until the resolution of immigration proceedings. In carrying out this responsibility, federal law requires HHS to ensure that the children are protected from human trafficking and other forms of abuse.
“Over a period of four months in 2014, however, HHS allegedly placed a number of UACs in the hands of a ring of human traffickers who forced them to work on egg farms in and around Marion, Ohio, leading to a federal criminal indictment,” the report points out.