Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) has lit a minor firestorm with a July 25th tweet and subsequent appearances regarding its content on news programs. Cruz’s tweet demonstrates how Biden Administration’s inability to enforce border security directly responsible for Mexican cartels trafficking drugs into the United States and sexual trade victims.
President Biden does not want Americans to realize that he is ignoring the illegal slave trade along our southern border. pic.twitter.com/OXtOYADamj
— Senator Ted Cruz (@SenTedCruz) July 26, 2022
It is not secret that the cartels use teenage girls and young ladies for sex trading. On July 15th, Cruz commented:
“We heard multiple reports of something, I’ll be candid, I had never heard of before until today — something called a rape tree, which are trees where the traffickers would violently rape young women and then hang their undergarments in the tree as a trophy,” Cruz said on Friday.
According to Amnesty International, about 60% of the women and girls who make the trek to the U.S.-Mexico border are raped.
As a Border Patrol agent wrote in 2019:
I climbed to the summit at noon and wandered aimlessly through the shadows of granite domes, which ran along the ridgeline as a spine for a sleeping monster. The turkey vulture, hovering on thermals and moving in and out Mexico seemed to have no regard for international borders. The rubbish left behind by border crossings, such as Red Bull energy cans or Pedialyte bottles and children’s backpacks or Mexican water jugs, lit up the mountainside. Others were displayed among the discarded items. On patrol more than once, I found desert altars filled with votive candles and rosary beads. Also, prayer cards to Juan Soldado (patrons saint for undocumented immigrants) and Jesus Malverde (patrons saint for drug smugglers).
I stumbled upon a velvet mesquite and its branches covered in women’s clothing. The twisted limbs were covered in soiled bras and lacy black pants. These “rape trees” are what the Border Patrol refers to. It is not clear if these display are symbolic of women’s vulnerability or trophies for sexual violence. Women who are aware of the dangers in this desert may take morning-after pills to help them cross.
The Trump Administration has made human trafficking prevention a top priority. Even in attempting to downplay Trump’s efforts, mainstream media begrudgingly credited Trump with taking direct action.
President Donald Trump’s anti-human trafficking stance has become a hallmark of his administration. Ivanka Trump, the daughter and advisor of the President has encouraged him to invest in anti-trafficking strategies since his first term. She called trafficking an “ugly stain on civilization” at the unveiling of the Trafficking in Persons report at the State Department in 2017, according to CNN.
Ivanka Trump’s work to mitigate human trafficking globally is also well-documented, from a meeting with survivors in Italy to her influence in the Oval Office.
What has the Biden Administration done about this matter? Chad Wolf and Bill Woolf from the conservative think tank America First Policy Institute stated in January 2022 that the current administration is MIA on the matter.
The southwest border has essentially become a “feeding zone” for traffickers, and the Biden Administration has only made it easier for them to gain access to these children. Effective border security measures have been eliminated during the Biden Administration’s early years. This has allowed smugglers to convince migrant parents and children that there is a greater chance they will be allowed to remain in the U.S. than President Trump.
There are legal avenues available for illegal immigrants forced into the sex trade to seek freedom, as a Harvard Law writer noted in 2018.
The T visa, a special visa to protect victims of trafficking was created in October 2000 with the passing of the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act. There are 5,000 of these visas available on an annual basis. Although this sounds promising, it’s a very underutilized process. According to the United States Citizenship and Immigration statistics, only around 500 – 600 of these visas are granted each year. The burden of proof may fall on the victim of trafficking and there are many requirements for qualifying. These victims often have to testify against the trafficker. This can prove terrifying.
T Visas can also be temporary and only last for 4 years. Individuals can still apply for green cards after three years, but this process is slow and underutilized.
It’s difficult to determine which is worse: cartels that illegally bring teenage girls or young women to the United States and are sexually assaulted, or men who abuse them. Trump suggested that drug dealers should be punished with the death penalty. It is possible that the death penalty could be used for sex dealers, though public castration for any person found with trafficking victims and paying for their sex seems to have a pleasant ring.