A 6-year old girl separated from her mom under Trump's "zero tolerance" policy was sexually abused inside a Southwest Key shelter in Arizona, reports The Nation.
“The child was then made to sign a form acknowledging that she was told to maintain her distance from her alleged abuser, who is an older child being held at the same detention facility.”
IMAGES: Google Street View of the Southwest Key facility in Glendale, Arizona [LINK].
This is horrible, and it is real, and it is happening right now.
From The Nation,
When D.L.’s mother learned about the incident, she was still being detained in Texas and felt devastated. “I felt really horrible. I couldn’t do anything for her because we were separated,” she said through a translator in an interview with The Nation. “It was a nightmare. When my husband told me what happened, I felt helpless. She was so little, she was probably so scared, probably afraid to say anything to anyone. It was a total nightmare for me.”
But the nightmare wasn’t over. On June 22, Southwest Key again contacted D.L.’s father and informed him that the same boy initially cited for abuse had hit and fondled D.L. again. According to Lane, D.L.’s father asked how the facility could allow this to happen, and the woman on the phone responded that she was only calling him to advise him that it had happened, that she didn’t have permission to say anything else, and he would have to speak with the director.
Southwest Key, a nonprofit based in Austin, Texas, is contracted by the federal government to house immigrant minors in 26 facilities across the United States, according to a report in Texas Monthly. The company’s shelters have come under increased scrutiny since the Trump administration began forcibly separating children from immigrant parents seeking asylum. In Texas, where the nonprofit operates a number of children’s shelters, facilities have been cited for hundreds of violations over the past three years. Southwest Key is expected to be paid $458 million by the federal government this year.
The story documents the trauma inflicted on the child and her family by the forced separation and detention. The details are sickening.
According to D.L.’s mother, when the family came together again, the young girl was confused. “I hugged her, I was crying. She didn’t recognize me,” the mother said. “She told me that she thought I was never going to be with her again and that she was going to have to live with another lady. She behaved like she was still in detention. She wouldn’t touch me, hug me or kiss me.”
“It lasted for a couple of days,” said D.L’s mother. “She didn’t know I was her mom. She thought I was another social worker.”
D.L.’s mother reports that her girl is getting better everyday, but the trauma of the ordeal lingers. “She is still behaving following the rules of the detention center,” said the mother. “She doesn’t let them touch her, she doesn’t touch them. She wakes up at 6, and bathes and eats. She behaves like she is programmed.”