Levian Pacheco of Casa Kokopelli – one of eight federally funded private shelters Southwest Key operates in Arizona – has been accused of sexually molesting at least 8 migrant boys between the ages of 15 and 17 at that facility .
Fernando Negrete, also employed by Southwest Key, has meanwhile been charged with groping a 14 year old migrant girl .
The Arizona Dept. of Health has cited Casa Kokopelli for failure to complete background checks on employees. Yet, Southwest Key has received over $1 billion in funds for its shelters.
Police nationwide have responded to hundreds of calls reporting sex crimes against immigrant children held by the government at shelters.
Tragically, this is not the only situation in which illegal immigrants are vulnerable to exploitation. Fleeing poverty and violence, an estimated 17,000 to 19,000 immigrants are trafficked into the United States each year .
Traffickers utilize a combination of fraud, threats, and violence. Victims are promised good jobs and improved lives. Instead, they are lured into prostitution, coerced into the drug trade, or made to work under brutal conditions in agriculture, sweatshops, and domestic service. Repeated rape is not uncommon .
This is all the “shelter” illegal immigrants can find. But they have not been abandoned by God. In their grief and trials, He is with them.
Those of us who can empathize with their pain have the opportunity to stand with them, as well. We can pray. We can donate. We can volunteer. We can protest. We can lobby. We can vote.
The only question is will we?
“For You have been a shelter for me,
A strong tower from the enemy.
I will abide in Your tabernacle forever;
I will trust in the shelter of Your wings” (Ps. 61: 3-4).
 ProPublica, “Worker Charged with Sexually Molesting Eight Children at Immigrant Shelter” by Topher Sanders and Michael Grabell, 8/2/18, https://www.propublica.org/article/worker-charged-with-sexually-molesting-eight-children-at-immigrant-shelter.
 Fox 10 News, “Southwest Key employee accused of sexually abusing 14 year old”, 8/1/18, http://www.fox10phoenix.com/news/arizona-news/southwest-key-employee-accused-of-sexually-abusing-14-year-old.
 Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), “Human Trafficking – Exploitation of Illegal Aliens”, 8/16, https://www.fairus.org/issue/illegal-immigration/human-trafficking-exploitation-illegal-aliens.
 UN Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner, “Escaping the bonds of human trafficking: Pamela’s Story”, 7/28/17, https://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/EscapingBondsOfHumanTrafficking.aspx.
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