Along with many other people, I grieve over families being separated at the border. I know if I was in Mexico, living in fear of cartels, wanting a better life for my children, I’d be swimming with them across the Rio Grande or pushing them up over the walls. We all long for freedom, security, opportunities to prosper.
The U.S. takes in over 1 million people a year, legally (green cards) from around the world. Forty percent of the “illegal immigrants” came into the U.S. legally, but stayed after their visas expired. The immigration rate (legal and illegal) is higher in the United States than our birth rate (according to U.N. sources).
While politicians may have less than merciful reasons for separating families, those fighting human trafficking know children are used by Mexican cartels to smuggle people into the U.S. Why use children? They are most often released, sent back, and then used by their handlers again – and again. Some “polleritos” do it voluntarily, most do not. These children risk their lives crossing deserts to enrich their owners.
Families are often lured to the U.S. with promises of school, work, money to send back to their families. Many are unwittingly being trafficked into the U.S. (boys and girls, 1 – 18 years of age) for labor, sex or even organ harvesting. Children are especially vulnerable to kidnappers, pimps and professional brokers. Some children are even sold by their families who may or may not know what might happen to their children once inside the U.S.A.
The 2012 stats from the United Nations office on Drugs and Crime reported 600,000-800,000 men, women and children cross international borders and are exploited each year. Internal trafficking brings those numbers up to 2-4 million each year. Fifty percent are children. There are 20.9 million victims worldwide. UNICEF reported 2 million children subjected to prostitution in the global commercial sex trade. Numbers are not decreasing.
The truth is human trafficking has surpassed arms and drug sales. It is a $32 billion a year business and in all fifty states.
It still grieves me that adults and children are separated at the border. But now, I’m aware it can mean children will be separated from adults who plan to sell or enslave them.
The policy of separating adults and children will end. Unfortunately, human trafficking will not.