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HomeAt Home & BeyondStatewide Grand Jury lists findings on trafficking, missing unaccompanied alien children

Statewide Grand Jury lists findings on trafficking, missing unaccompanied alien children

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Unaccompanied Alien Children (UAC) have been subject to human trafficking, release to “sponsors” who have criminal backgrounds and have sometimes been lost while being resettled into the state, according to a report released last month by the Statewide Grand Jury on UACs in Florida and elsewhere.

“I am outraged at how the Biden administration and others in authority have encouraged this nightmare through policy and are neglecting hundreds of thousands of children, subjecting them to abuse and sexual assault even after they cross the border,” said Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody in a March 30 written statement. “The federal government is knowingly aiding and abetting trafficking organizations and allowing horrific harm to happen to these children.”

Last June, Gov. Ron DeSantis filed a petition asking the Florida Supreme Court to impanel a statewide grand jury to identify and investigate individuals and international human smuggling networks that move illegal aliens, particularly children, across the southwest border to more desirable states such as Florida.

The court subsequently approved the petition. Moody serves as the jury’s legal advisor. As a result, the Statewide Grand Jury is investigating the impact of international human-smuggling networks on the state of Florida and any violation of state laws when it comes to how children are transported and placed with sponsors.

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According to Moody, Jurors spent months investigating the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) and the organizations it contracts with to find sponsors for unaccompanied minors.

According to the panel’s Third Presentment, “ORR is facilitating the forced migration, sale, and abuse of foreign children,” exposing them to “ horrifying health conditions, constant criminal threat, labor and sex trafficking, robbery, rape, and other experiences not done justice by mere words.”

The jurors also found that of the more than 250,000 unaccompanied minors that entered the U.S. since Joe Biden became president, the ORR lost contact with nearly 20,000 of them during a 10-month period in 2021.

During interviews, they also were told that the federal Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) received thousands of allegations of sexual abuse, including an allegation that a minor was “pimped out” by a so-called “aunt” and sold for sex; the ORR discouraged thoroughly checking the addresses of sponsors including those in Jacksonville who used the address of a strip club, and empty lots that were surrounded by stacked shipping containers and open fields.

In addition, case managers are only performing home studies on approximately 4.5 percent of cases and are conducting discretional home studies in less than 1 percent of cases.

According to the report, one case manager told the jury about several alleged incidents involving the release of a teenage girl to a male sponsor who was living with multiple other unknown males.

Jurors were also told that criminal history, lack of citizen status, and total refusal to submit to a background check do not disqualify sponsors from receiving a UAC. “One sponsor was given custody despite having been to Florida prison before for battery on a child,” Moody’s statement said.

Also, according to Moody, neither the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) nor HHS actively coordinates or consults with the state on the UACs resettled in Florida and does not provide meaningful notice when UAC are transported here.

Finally, Florida receives no information on the background, criminal history, or immigration status of the UAC brought here, nor does the state have any assurance the UAC are, in fact, minors.

Based on the current findings, Moody wants a federal probe.
“I am calling upon Congress to investigate and consider federal law to stop these misguided programs,” she said.
The statewide grand jury remains in session, and its proceedings remain confidential under Florida statute.

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