WASHINGTON – The National Organization for Women (NOW) strongly condemns the Trump administration for their inhumane immigration and detention policies that have allowed thousands of migrant children to suffer from sexual abuse. Detaining children and separating them from their families is already traumatic enough, but the extent of these numerous sexual abuse allegations is terrifying, immoral and unconscionable.
Media has reported that from October 2014 to July 2018, the HHS Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) received 4,556 complaints, and the Department of Justice received 1,303 complaints, including 178 allegations of sexual abuse by adult staff of the facilities.
These numbers are a heinous fact, but Donald Trump would probably call them “fake news.” His administration has even responded by saying the majority of allegations weren’t substantiated. This is the same excuse sexual abusers and their enablers use to dismiss #MeToo survivors. They say if no one saw it happen, it must not have happened.
But survivors everywhere know better. And we know that sexual assault in immigration detention centers is real—and it must be stopped, with abusers held accountable.
NOW calls on the Trump administration to ensure that the legal protections to which migrant children are entitled are explained and made available. Procedures and rules must be put into place to prevent abuse, and there must be immediate investigation and safety measures enacted in response to these complaints. Survivors must also be provided with health and support services to help them heal. The U.S. government must make every effort to ensure the safety and health of the thousands of migrant children in their custody.