A young immigrant girl will soon be reunited with her family. The child, known only as “Rosita,” was found in Phoenix, Arizona by the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office on June 15 with a group of 16 fellow individuals without U.S. citizenship, according to EFE. Since the five-year-old girl was discovered on the same day that President Obama announced that undocumented immigrants brought to the country before the age of 16 would no longer be subjected to deportation, many were wondering if he would fulfil his promise following her arrest.
According to the news source, authorities began searching for the young girl’s family once they realized she was brought to the country under the supervision of human traffickers. Each member of the group is estimated to have paid $300 to $3,500 to the human traffickers to smuggle them across the border, a journey that can be especially dangerous for youth, according to experts.
The United Nations Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking estimates that 1.2 million children are trafficked each year – 43 percent of victims are used for forced commercial sexual exploitation and 32 percent of victims are used for forced economic exploitation. The El Salvador consul in Arizona, Jose Joaquin Chacon, told EFE that he was determined to find her legal guardians.
“Minors are the most vulnerable, there’s nothing in the world worth putting a child at risk,” he said. “We’ve had some very serious cases of kids who die or are abused in the desert.”
Authorities located the girl’s family and are working toward reconnecting her with them. One she is reunited with her appropriate guardians, immigration officials will decide whether or not she will be able to stay in the country. Although the process may take up to a week, Chacon said he is happy that she is safe and will be able to be with loved ones again.
“We can say that the girl is very lucky, because soon she’ll be back with her family,” he said.