09:23 GMT +310 December 2019
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    Fans at the Centennial Olympic Park during the Super Bowl Experience outside the World Congress Center in Atlanta, Georgia Febuary 2, 2019. The New England Patriots will meet the Los Angeles Ram at Super Bowl LIII on February 3rd

    Human Traffickers Smuggle Women Into US for the Super Bowl - Donald Trump

    © AFP 2019 / Timothy A. Clary
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    US President Trump has repeatedly blamed illegal immigration for driving such crimes as drug smuggling, human trafficking, and sexual abuse. Fundamental disagreements between Republican and Democratic lawmakers over border security led to a 35-day long government shutdown, which ended on 25 January.

    Donald Trump jumped on what many consider his leading topic of choice, undocumented immigration, at a recent White House event. There, he pointed out that even the nation's biggest sporting event contributes to the problem.

    "Unsecure borders give traffickers free and clear passage to transport their victims into the United States. It's a tremendously big money-maker for some very, very bad people. In fiscal year 2018, ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) made more than 1,500 human trafficking arrests, with 97 percent of that for sex trafficking," Trump remarked at a Cabinet Room meeting on combating human trafficking on the US southern border.

    "And it's a big movement now because of the Super Bowl, if you can believe this. They are bringing in a lot of women through the southern border for the Super Bowl."

    His comments were echoed by Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen. "Some of the victims that we have saved, unfortunately, include underage children that had been brought in for the purposes of being sold and abused as part of Super Bowl activities," she said, adding that the her department has deployed over 600 DHS employees in Atlanta to help local officials secure the Super Bowl.

    This comes a week after Donald Trump agreed to end the longest partial shutdown of government agencies in US history, which affected nearly 800,000 federal workers. It was provoked by a funding lapse, after the Democratic representatives, who control the lower chamber of Congress, failed to give the $5.7 billion Trump requested for a physical barrier on the southern border — something he says will help tackle human trafficking, drug smuggling, and other crimes.

    The US President threatened to close the government again if he does not get a "fair deal" from Congress by 15 February, prompting accusations of "hostage-taking" from Democratic lawmakers.


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    human trafficking, wall, border, immigration, Super Bowl, ICE, Kirstjen Nielsen, Donald Trump, United States
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