US flag Official website of the Department of Homeland Security

Border Patrol Agents Protect Two Juveniles from Human Trafficking

Release Date: 
July 2, 2018

YUMA, Ariz. – Yuma Sector Border Patrol agents assigned to the Yuma Central Processing Center identified two unaccompanied alien children believed to be victims of human trafficking.

On Sunday at approximately 9:30 a.m., a Yuma Station Border Patrol agent arrested eight subjects who surrendered after they illegally crossed into the U.S. near the San Luis Port of Entry.  All eight were determined to be Guatemalan nationals and were transported to the Yuma Central Processing Center. 

A Border Patrol agent later interviewed one of the subjects, a 16-year-old male, who claimed that both of his parents were still in Guatemala.  The juvenile gave the agent a written phone number for a person who he claimed was a relative living in the U.S.  The agent called the number and spoke to a female who claimed to be the relative.  After questioning, the agent was able to establish that the female was not in fact a relative and was impersonating one in hopes of having the juvenile released to her.  The juvenile eventually admitted that the woman was not a relative, and that his parents had arranged for him to be smuggled from Guatemala to Michigan in order to perform unspecified work for an unidentified person. 

Agents later spoke to a second Guatemalan juvenile from the original group of eight, a 17-year-old male. The second minor had an almost identical story as the 16-year-old to include the same alleged relative and phone number.  

 

Both juveniles were processed as unaccompanied alien children. 

 

Federal law allows agents to charge individuals by complaint, a method that allows the filing of criminal activity charges without inferring guilt. An individual is presumed innocent unless or until competent evidence is presented to a jury that establishes guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Yuma Sector Border Patrol agents effectively combat smuggling organizations attempting to illegally transport people and contraband through southwestern Arizona and California.  Citizens can help the Border Patrol and U.S. Customs and Border Protection by calling 1-866-999-8727 toll-free to report suspicious activity.  Callers can remain anonymous.

Last modified: 
July 2, 2018