Crime Beat

A Haunting Occurrence Down South

A blip in the media occurred on July 21, 2021 as an operation conducted by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the United States Marshalls Services (USMS), and local law enforcement agencies took place in Las Cruces, NM. The operation titled Operation Rescue Me recovered 78 missing minors in Dona Ana County.

A statement from ICE states the following:

During the two-month operation, law enforcement located a minor residing in Mexico; two investigations were initiated for child sexual abuse by relatives or friends of immediate family; one investigation was initiated for human trafficking by HSI Deming.

As New Mexico routinely rounds out the upper thresholds of all statistics that cast the state in a negative light, locals are all too familiar with the reported uptick in youth suicides, which some would blame on COVID-related mental health concerns or isolation, while others would point to a multitude of atmospheric factors. The shorter point being, while we pontificate on why terrible things are happening to the youth of New Mexico, terrible things continue to happen to the youth of New Mexico.

The minors recovered as part of Operation Rescue Me all have names, dreams, desires, and ambitions. The unfortunate reality is they often become a forgotten population as we continually attempt to claim we can chew gum and walk at the same time when it comes to our political agendas. All too often we become enamored with the social justice politics that our various partisan flavor is currently fighting for and we as a collective miss the forest through the trees.

A unifying factor that we all should be able to rally behind is that these minors are in an extremely vulnerable population set, and are exceptionally susceptible to the most pernicious actions that man-kind can inflict. The grim reality is the United States in one of the largest consumers of child pornography and human trafficking in the world.

While the TIP Report ranks the U.S. as a “Tier 1” country for its efforts to fight trafficking, it also offered some pretty disappointing information about the U.S.’ consumption of those being sex trafficked. According to the report, the U.S.’ level of sex consumption is one of the primary reasons the sex trafficking market exists.

While this will always be an unpleasant topic to address, this operation should not have been a blip in the media that exists only if one searches it out.

Universally we should celebrate that these minors were recovered, hope that they are afforded the health and mental health resources they will need, and ultimately shed light on the world where those that seek to exploit minors and engage in human trafficking hide.

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