Federal probe into allegations of teen labor trafficking in Enterprise finds no evidence

State / Regional

ENTERPRISE, Ala. (WDHN) — Recently, a national publication reported on a federal probe of the trafficking of teen migrants to work at poultry plants.

In a Bloomberg report from Tuesday, a source indicated Enterprise and Woodburn, Oregon as two areas of investigation.

Last summer, a team of federal representatives with theU.S. Justice Department, Health and Human Services, and Homeland Security looked into allegations of adult sponsors taking unaccompanied teens and minors crossing the southern border, and bringing them to work at large poultry plants outside of Enterprise.

Enterprise Police Chief Michael Moore says his department provided the federal reps. assistance, but after a few weeks in south Alabama, there were no examples of illegal trafficking of minors.

“And I assure the citizens and assure the state that we’re going to treat every human being as a human being,” Chief Moore said. “And if they need assistance, they know they can come to the police department. We’ll treat everyone the same and investigate the crime.”

Enterprise Mayor William Cooper says there was no foundation and no proof that there ever was teen trafficking in his city. The mayor says it was his understanding that a source told Bloomberg that Enterprise and Woodburn, Oregon were places where many children, ages 13-to-17 were potentially exploited by traffickers.

As far as Enterprise is concerned, the mayor says no examples were found of exploitation of minors.

“We would like to set the record straight that something like this is not going on in our city,” Mayor Cooper said. “And to let our citizens know we stand behind what we’re saying. We’ll work hard to prevent something like this from coming about.”

At least three government agencies couldn’t substantiate claims of trafficking unaccompanied migrant children, but they did find many children released to sponsors in Enterprise couldn’t be accounted for.

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