Biden’s Border Policies Causing Spike in Human Trafficking, Ex-DHS Officials Warn
More coordination between agencies needed
Former Homeland Security officials have warned that Joe Biden's border crisis is exacerbating criminal activity like human trafficking.
The Biden administration updated the plan to combat human trafficking in November.
Last week, Biden issued a presidential proclamation for Human Trafficking Prevention Month, which is marked in January.
"Human trafficking — whether in the form of forced labor, sex trafficking, or other offenses — is an abhorrent abuse of power and a profoundly immoral crime that strikes at the safety, health, and dignity of millions of people worldwide," Biden said.
"During National Human Trafficking Prevention Month, we reaffirm our commitment to protect and empower survivors of all forms of human trafficking, to prosecute traffickers, and to bring an end to human trafficking in the United States and around the world," he said.
Meanwhile, former DHS officials said the migrant crisis at the border should be the top priority to stop human trafficking.
"When you don't take immigration enforcement on the border seriously, and you don't take immigration enforcement seriously in the interior, human trafficking is going to expand, and a lot of people are going to get away with it because there isn’t a focus on it," former acting Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) director Thomas Homan.
"When you increase the number of people being smuggled, the increase in trafficking goes along with that, so if they're really, really serious not just about addressing and reacting to trafficking if they're really serious about trying to prevent it, they’d secure our borders," former acting Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Commissioner Mark Morgan said in an interview Wednesday.
The former agency official said there needs to be more coordination between agencies.
"A traffic victim can be smuggled, and a smugglee can turn into a trafficking victim so we need to be more coordinated on how we do this," he said.
"You have victims out there that are not being rescued because we’re not even focusing on immigration."
The White House’s national plan says human trafficking does not require a border, but also that "individuals who are smuggled are vulnerable to becoming victims of human trafficking and other serious crime."
As Fox News reported:
The report also says that Mexico is the top origin country in human trafficking cases involving foreign national victims in which the United States is the destination. It cites recent cases in which young victims were trafficked by enterprises linked to a region in Central Mexico, and then smuggled into the U.S. and forced into sex acts in New York, Atlanta, and elsewhere in the U.S.
The Biden administration has been rocked by the crisis at the border, which has seen more than 100,000 migrant encounters, and sometimes more than double that, each month. There has been a focus on quickly processing migrants into the interior rather than keeping them in border facilities.
The former DHS officials said the crisis is leading to more victims being trafficked.
They added that agents having less time to speak to victims is making it more difficult for them to identify them.
"A lot of people being smuggled, they are being trafficked at the same time, they just don’t know it until it’s too late," Morgan said.
"What I can tell you is the border being out of control like it is, we don't know how many potential trafficking victims we have coming in," the former ICE official said.
"I can’t give you specifics, but I can tell you we’ve identified individuals who have come in, become victims of trafficking, or were victims of human trafficking when they crossed the southwest border.
"The fact that the administration has been doing catch and release like they have has increased the potential to get trafficking victims into the United States."
"Human trafficking isn’t just about sex trafficking, it’s about forced labor and other things too, and many times at ICE we would uncover forced labor trafficking situations by conducting worksite enforcement operations, and worksite enforcement investigations, but [DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas] has pretty much told ICE ‘you will not conduct worksite enforcement investigations.’"