Sen. Ted Cruz claimed to have evidence of a “narco slave trade” taking place at the southern border in a graphic video he posted Monday night, alleging that thousands of migrant children are working in gangs or being trafficked into sex slavery across the US.
“These children come in, in debt to vicious cartels, thousands and thousands of dollars,” Cruz (R-Texas) is heard saying as the video features various clips of migrants — children and adults — after crossing the border.
“The teenage boys work for the gangs in every city in America, and the teenage girls experience a hell worse than that, with far too many of them human-trafficked into sex slavery,” the Texas Republican said.
He went on to accuse President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris — whom Biden tapped to handle the border crisis — of being responsible for “the worst plague of slavery in America since the Civil War.”
“This is not compassionate. This is not humane. This is barbaric,” Cruz continued, as the 68-second video featured photos of migrants who appeared to have died during the perilous journey to the US.
“President Biden doesn’t want Americans to know that he has been ignoring the narco slave trade taking place along our southern border,” Cruz wrote in a tweet sharing the video.
It was not immediately clear what Cruz’s sourcing was behind these claims or when and where the footage was taken.
Cruz’s office did not immediately respond to The Post’s request for comment.
Border officials have stopped hundreds of migrants as part of human smuggling operations along the southern border in recent months, though the government has yet to release data from FY 2022 on how many foreign national children and foreign national adults were identified as sex-trafficking or labor-trafficking victims.
In FY 2021, however, the Department of Health and Human Services issued 527 certification letters to foreign national adult victims of severe forms of trafficking, up from 508 in FY 2020, according to the State Department’s 2022 Trafficking In Persons Report released this month.
Of that amount, 14% of the foreign national adult victims were identified as sex-trafficking victims, 68% were labor-trafficking victims, 16% were victims of both trafficking forms, and 2% were victims of an unknown severe form of trafficking.
Meanwhile, the number of eligibility letters given to foreign national children known or suspected to be a victim of a severe form of trafficking was 1,200 — a massive jump from 673 the previous year. Out of 1,142 foreign children identified, 25% were sex-trafficking victims, 68% were labor-trafficking victims, 6% were victims of both trafficking forms, while 1% were victims of a severe form of trafficking unknown to the department.
Since the start of the Biden administration, thousands of migrants stranded in Mexico seeking asylum, as well as those returned to the country under the “Remain in Mexico” policy, have been subject to kidnappings or related abuses.
As of mid-March of this year, the Human Rights First Tracker reported that 9,886 migrants and asylum seekers had been subject to such attacks.
In 2003, the State Department estimated that approximately 18,000 to 20,000 people were trafficked into the US each year. Given this year’s total of border encounters (over 2 million in FY 22 so far) is a massive increase from 2003 (a total of 931,557), that number is likely much higher.
Within the US, thousands of sex- and labor-trafficking victims are identified every year.
A 2020 analysis done by Polaris reported 16,658 victims nationwide — 10,836 of whom were sex-trafficking victims. Another 3,583 were labor-trafficking victims while 631 were victims of both forms of trafficking. Approximately 1,634 were victims of other and unknown forms of trafficking.
Reports over the years have estimated that the majority of trafficking victims in the US are immigrants.
Cruz’s claim of the “narco slave trade” is only the latest attack against the Biden administration for the ongoing border crisis as immigrants have continued to cross the border in record numbers.
June — which recorded 207,416 migrant encounters — was the fourth month in a row that has had more than 200,000 migrant stops along the southern border alone.