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  /  News   /  Government complicit in migrant child trafficking: Whistleblower

Government complicit in migrant child trafficking: Whistleblower

(NewsNation) — In a Tuesday roundtable on Capitol Hill, three Republican U.S. senators and federal whistleblowers raised alarm over the government’s alleged complicity in human trafficking at the nation’s southern border.

Led by Sen. Chuck Grassley, Sen. Bill Cassidy and Sen. Ron Johnson, the group accused Biden’s “open border policy” — now defunct — of allowing drug, child and human traffickers to operate freely.

“I hope the American people are listening, and I hope @POTUS and Democrats start doing something about it before another child is raped, trafficked, or murdered,” Johnson shared on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Johnson also referenced reporting from The New York Times claiming Health and Human Services could not reach more than 85,000 children between 2021 and 2023, adding that DHS and HHS leaders refused to attend the roundtable.

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Deborah White, who worked in Health and Human Services’ Unaccompanied Child Program, joined those senators in calling for justice mere hours before she shared her experience with “NewsNation Now.”

“Make no mistake, children were not going to their parents. They were being trafficked with billions of taxpayer dollars by a contractor failing to vet sponsors and process children safely, with government officials complicit in it,” White said at the roundtable.

White began working at HHS’ Pomona, California, Office of Refugee Resettlement site in the summer of 2021, where she said she saw hundreds of children sent to unknown fates.

“What I found there was horrifying and shocking, as I made [the] initial discovery at the site that children were actually being trafficked,” White told NewsNation.

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Allegedly, more than 320 children were sent to live in two garden apartments in Texas, with the “sheer number” of children leaving the site raising red flags for the federal employee.

Another moment of concern for White was when a child was sent to Florida to live with a family sponsor, only for her to find out “it was not a family relation.”

“Come to find out, that particular person had actually requested about 12 children from 10 different sites,” White added.

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White tells NewsNation that whistleblowers tried to alert higher-ups multiple times but were “accused of having cultural bias” by the federal field specialist on site. She did not elaborate on what that accusation meant specifically.

“We don’t know what happens to them afterwards, right? We never hear from them again,” White said. “Once they leave HHS or our custody, they wipe their hands of it. They’re not concerned with what’s happening to them once they leave.”

According to White, it’s an ongoing problem: “It’s their operating model. They’re supposed to do 30-day wellness calls, but … when they did 30-day wellness calls, the case managers were finding that the children were not anywhere to be found in most cases.”

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The last time HHS published a report on sexual abuse and sexual harassment among unaccompanied minors was in 2017.