Child-Exploitation Crisis at Our Southern Border
Analysis. Last week Title 42, a Trump-era health regulation widely used to turn migrants back at the U.S. border, expired. This caused an unprecedented rush of migrants set to cross into the U.S., overwhelming border authorities and generating the threat of a crisis of massive proportions.
Hidden beneath that imminent disaster lies another crisis that should deeply concern us. This year alone, some 70,000 unaccompanied children have crossed the border. Last year, the Customs and Border Patrol estimated that number at 152,000. Those children are transferred to the custody of the Department of Health and Human Services, which unites them with a sponsor – usually a family member already in the U.S. At least, that is what is supposed to happen.
However, according to three whistleblowers who testified before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration Integrity, Security, and Enforcement a few weeks ago, officials have been unable to make contact with some 85,000 child migrants. According to the whistleblowers, those children are routinely sold to work in slaughterhouses, factories, restaurants, and the sex industries. You can read their testimony verbatim here.
HHS whistleblower Tara Lee Rodas testified: “I thought I was going to help place children in loving homes. Instead, I discovered that children are being trafficked through a sophisticated network that begins with being recruited in home country, smuggled to the U.S. border, and ends when ORR [Office of Refugee Resettlement] delivers a child to a Sponsor — some sponsors are criminals and traffickers and members of Transnational Criminal Organizations. Some sponsors view children as commodities and assets to be used for earning income — this is why we are witnessing an explosion of labor trafficking. Whether intentional or not, it can be argued that the U.S. Government has become the middleman in a large scale, multi-billion-dollar, child trafficking operation run by bad actors seeking to profit off the lives of children.”
Let that sink in for a moment. Eighty-five-thousand children are unaccounted for, most likely trafficked and sold into horrific suffering. The bilingual news agency AND America gives an example of their fate in an article published in February last year: Michael. P. Conlon, assistant special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) New York, reported that his office has prosecuted cases of girls as young as 14 [who] have been … forced into prostitution. “They are held in apartments in Queens against their will and driven from appointment to appointment to have sex with men,” said Conlon. “They see 15, 20 men in an evening and all money is handed over to the trafficker.”
In the same article, Teresa Ulloa Ziaurriz, director of the Latin American branch of the Coalition Against Trafficking International, is quoted as saying that she believes an estimated 60% of Latin American children smuggled across the U.S. border “have been caught by the cartels and are being abused in child pornography or for drug trafficking.”
This is a humanitarian crisis within a crisis. One that must grieve God deeply. After all, He is a God of justice and near the innocent and oppressed, especially children.
Law enforcement and social services are overwhelmed and simply don’t have the resources in place to prevent this from happening. In her testimony, Ms. Rodas rattled off a list of things the government should do to address this crisis. It included a greater commitment to oversight and accountability, better vetting of sponsors, provision of more tools to rescue children and prosecute traffickers, and putting a stop to retaliation against whistleblowers.
But human means only go so far. God’s people look at this from a divine perspective, and we see a challenge to the Church of its true religion. James 1:27 says: “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction.” Hearts filled with the kindness and compassion that are the fruit of the Spirit should compel God’s people to go to these children in need and do what they can to help them. After all, we can do in Christ what government agencies cannot. We can bring the presence and power of God into their lives through prayer and loving care. And we have the resources. The U.S. counts over 80 million people who identify as evangelical, Bible-believing Christians, worshipping together in over 380,000 churches. So we have the manpower to form ministries that can come alongside the government and help provide humanitarian aid. Fortunately, a growing number of churches are stepping up to the plate, with the Catholic Church leading the way.
This is a matter of urgent prayer along two lines:
- Pray for divine intervention in this evil practice.
– Pray that traffickers are exposed and caught and children rescued.
– Pray that the government will increase its resources devoted to finding and rescuing the 85,000
children that are unaccounted for.
- Pray for the Church to step in and provide multi-faceted ministry to unaccompanied children.
– Pray for manpower and resources
– Pray that children will be found in time and brought to ministry centers.
– Pray for those children to find refuge in Christ and be led on a path to a better life.
For more prayer points on child trafficking, consult this IFA article: Who Are The Targets Of Human Trafficking?
For more in-depth analysis and guidance on how to pray, download these Special Reports:
“Almighty God, we intercede today for the tens of thousands of children that have been sent across our southern border unaccompanied, many of whom have fallen into the hands of human traffickers. Command your angels on their behalf so that they will be found, rescued, and received into loving, caring, faith-based care. May your right hand of justice come against the traffickers. Empower government agencies like the Border Patrol and the Department of HHS with wisdom, manpower, and openness to partner with the Church to improve the detection and care of these children. We pray that the dark and dangerous valley of illegal border crossings will lead them straight into the arms of Christ. In Jesus’ Name we pray, Amen.”
How are you praying over the situation at the border? Share this article to encourage others to pray!
Remco Brommet is a pastor, spiritual-growth teacher, and prayer leader with over 40 years of experience in Europe, Southeast Asia, Africa, and the U.S. He was born and raised in the Netherlands and pastored his first church in Amsterdam. He moved to the U.S. in 1986. He and his wife, Jennifer, live north of Atlanta. When not writing books, he blogs at www.deeperlifeblog.com and assists his wife as a content developer and prayer coordinator for True Identity Ministries. Jennifer and Remco are passionate about bringing people into a deeper relationship with Christ. Photo Credit: Aedrian on Unsplash.
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