Enticed by the promise that their children could go to school in America, numerous Guatemalan parents paid to have their children smuggled into the U.S. No one knows how many made it across the border, but some of the children were detained by immigration official and transferred to the custody of Health and Human Services (HHS).
Once in the hands of the federal government, the children should have been safe. Instead, the HHS gave at least a dozen children over to human traffickers.
One group of children was sent to Marion, Ohio where they were forced to work at egg farms for six or seven days a week, twelve hours per day. According to a U.S. Senate report, the children were forced to undertake such tasks as de-beaking chickens and cleaning chicken coops.
The minor victims were also forced to live in trailers owned by the traffickers. Some of the housing was found to be “unsanitary and unsafe, with no bed, no heat, no hot water, no working toilets, and vermin.” If the kids didn’t work hard enough, the traffickers would threaten the victims and their family members with physical harm, and even death. One of the traffickers assaulted a boy and then called the victim’s father and threatened to shoot the father in the head if the minor victim did not work.