Human and Immigration Rights groups are drawing attention to the recent rescue of 108 people who were being held in a small stash house. After receiving a tip from someone, police went to a house and found the people living in horrible conditions and called immigration authorities for help in rescuing the individuals. This raises concerns over the vulnerability of immigrants nationwide and how easy it is to exploit them because they do not have documents.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is calling this one of the largest human-trafficking discoveries in the past five years. Of the 108 people rescued, there were 93 males, 15 females and 17 children coming from various countries. The house they were held in had one bathroom, no hot water and little food.
There are five men who have already been arrested under the suspicion of running this smuggling ring although the case is still pending. Police initially began observing the house after receiving a frantic 911 call from a mother who was contacted by kidnappers demanding a ransom for her daughter and grandchildren who were being held in this house. After the deal fell through, she contacted authorities for help in locating her family. Police Spokesperson John Cannon stated, “They[police] saw dozens and dozens of people in a very tight residence, cramped in like you would normally see animals. They were hungry and tired.”
After rescuing the individuals from the house, they were medically examined, interviewed, fed and fingerprinted before being sent to an immigration detention facility. It is yet unknown how long the immigrants will spend in the facility since this is an ongoing case and authorities want to interview the individuals to determine how this smuggling rink could have happened and sentence the men involved.
These immigrants may still face deportation, but immigration rights activists point out the abuses that occur daily against undocumented immigrants. ICE warns immigrants to ensure they are dealing with trusted individuals such as certified immigration attorneys or law enforcement agents in regards to immigration matters. Many times immigrants are exploited by individuals who know they are undocumented and prey on those who do not do their research.
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