Border security is about so much more than politics. For many years, it was a bipartisan issue supported by people like Hillary Clinton, President Barack Obama, and Senator Chuck Schumer.
As we proceed through the third week of the government shutdown, the debate surrounding securing our border remains heated. Moreover, while we have heard much about the economic impact a border wall would have on our country, we have heard little about the lives it could potentially save.
Emotional associations can blind us from thinking accurately about a subject. When many people think about border security and building a “wall,” they immediately think of President Trump and are then repulsed by the idea. It seems like whatever one political side advocates for, the other must automatically reject, even if it means going against what they themselves have said in the past.
It’s time we take a step back and put party politics aside. Let's examine some of the worst atrocities that are taking place at the US/Mexico border, and identify, beyond the obvious, what good can come from building a wall, whom we can protect with a wall, and why we can’t let political rhetoric get in the way of saving lives.
In total, 800,000 people are trafficked across international borders each year.
80% of these victims are women and girls. 50% of these victims are children. A staggering 2,000,000 children are subjected to prostitution in the global commercial sex trade (UNICEF). Yes, you read that right — two million children. While detailed statistics on this issue are somewhat scarce because of the secret and illegal nature of the $150 billion international criminal industry, the Department of State estimates that between 45,000 and 50,000 people are trafficked into the United States every single year, with Mexico being the primary country of origin of these victims. An estimated 20,000 women and children are trafficked across the border between the United States and Mexico annually.
These women (and most horrifyingly children) are forced into slavery of the arguably worst kind. Many are forced to have sex with dozens of men every single day. They are exposed to repeated brutality and never treated for injuries or sexually transmitted diseases. Their reality is a living nightmare that many of us could never imagine, a nightmare that lasts months, years, and sometimes, their entire lives.
Along the border between the United States and Mexico, UNICEF estimates 16,000 children to be the victims of sex trafficking. Many of these children are kidnapped, while others run away from abusive homes only to be met with a worse reality at the hands of sex traffickers and cartels. Some children were made promises of grandeur and a new life in the United States, only to be brought across the US/Mexico border and subjected to a life of violence, poverty, and sex slavery at the hands of pedophiles. Children who have reached puberty are often sent across the border with rape kits in their back-packs that include abortion pills to prevent pregnancy.
Child victims of sexual exploitation face many long-term, disastrous physical and psychological health problems:
HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases
Sleeping and eating disorders
Chronic depression and extreme anxiety
Posttraumatic Stress Disorder
Traumatic bonding with the trafficker
How sex traffickers are enabled
The continued push for globalization and open borders has made it even easier for cartels and sex traffickers to continue to kidnap, rape, drug, and sell innocent women and children. By building a wall on our southern border, we could largely stop the movement of victims and traffickers into the United States that have been crossing the unsecured border for years.
At the very least, building a wall or barrier on the southern border would make it much more difficult for traffickers to cross into the United States with their victims. It would also give the United States Border Patrol agents a greater ability to identify and save sex trafficking victims as well as apprehend their traffickers at the border.
Without a border wall and increased security, we will continue to enable and embolden these horrendous criminals who illegally sell the bodies of women and children over and over again for financial profit. These victims need our help, and a wall or barrier on our southern border is just one step we can take in the fight to save innocent lives.
Border security is not a Republican or Democratic issue. Neither is locking your doors at night. A properly secured US/Mexico border can help save thousands of women and children from being sold into a life of sex slavery in the United States. Remember, we don't put up walls because we hate the people they keep out. We put up walls because we love the people they protect.
We don't put up walls because we hate the people they keep out. We put up walls because we love the people they protect.