Among the shocking details of sexual exploitation of minors that were revealed in a leaked audio recording from within a migrant shelter in Texas, United States of America, are the activities of the staff members. Reports indicate that during the most recent border crisis, Fort Bliss in Texas housed 5000 children at its peak. Overcrowded border patrol stations forced the Department of Health and Health Services to move the minor children to this facility. As of May this year, the home had 3000 minors. During a training session with staff inside the shelter home in Fort Bliss, Texas, a federal contractor claimed, ‘We have already caught staff members abusing minors. Is that okay with you?’
The contractor added, ‘If you catch them, especially if they are employees, you separate the minor from them right away’. However, the contractor did not ask the staff to notify the supervisors of incidents such as this. According to her, minor children had complained about staff members bouncing on their beds to wake them up in the morning. The leaked audio tapes from May also revealed this. The contractor said, ‘I know there have been complaints from minors about staff waking them up in the morning’.
‘We have some staff members picking up and shaking the bed to wake up the minor. Alternatively, they are bouncing them on their beds. Playing with children while abusing them is not considered playful. I want you to know that,’ the contractor said. On another occasion, a U.S. doctor came into contact with the U.S. Although he did not specifically address the involvement of employees, the Public Health Service acknowledged allegations of sexual misconduct at the facility. According to a staff member, the minor children were having sex with each other and there were possible cases of sexual abuse.
‘Children may have sexual interaction with each other and there is a concern about potential sexual assault. What are your thoughts? We have been monitoring that from the beginning. You will always be dealing with that situation. It is possible to report a complaint, to intervene, to conduct an investigation. Separating the sexes has been great, hasn’t it? The first week was a bit better because we had both girls and boys for the first week but now there is a barrier between the two. Imagine that,’ the employee said.
Xavier Becerra, Secretary of Health and Human Services, apologized for the wrongdoings revealed following the revelations. ‘Every emergency intake site we have launched, we started from scratch. We constantly work to improve the conditions and services required to care for children in these challenging shelter settings,’ Becerra added. Allegations by whistleblowers about the lack of transparency in the government-owned facility have been confirmed by the revelations. There are growing concerns about the safety of children at the facility, which has led to a decrease in minor migrants.