Sat. May 25th, 2024

Guatemalan authorities conducted a raid on Thursday at the offices of Save the Children in Guatemala City, as part of an ongoing investigation into alleged abuse and trafficking of minors. The raid was organized by the special prosecutor’s office against impunity, led by Rafael Curruchiche, who is known for his close ties to the controversial Attorney General, Consuelo Porras.

The raid followed reports in local media suggesting that Guatemalan prosecutors had sought assistance from the Texas Attorney General’s office to investigate allegations of child trafficking at the southern U.S. border involving Guatemalan children. Curruchiche stated that the operation was part of a transnational probe into activities that might be linked to violations and abuses against Guatemalan children. The prosecutor’s office conducted an inspection, search, and seizure of evidence at the Save the Children offices.

Save the Children, an international organization focused on children’s rights and welfare, expressed shock and confusion at the sudden raid. In a statement released Thursday, the organization mentioned that they had not been informed of any specific allegations and that there was no evidence to suggest misconduct. “We have protected children from any abuse of their rights. We do not—and we have never—facilitated the movement of children out of Guatemala,” the statement read.

Curruchiche, in his video statement, confirmed that Guatemalan authorities had sought assistance from the Texas Attorney General’s office. He mentioned that the investigation was part of a broader effort to address potential abuses against Guatemalan minors, though he did not provide further details. AFP reporters at the scene observed prosecutors entering Save the Children’s offices, which has been operating in Guatemala since 1983.

Save the Children reiterated its commitment to child protection, denying any involvement in child trafficking. The organization stated that it adheres to strict standards of safeguarding and has mechanisms to investigate any allegations of misconduct. It emphasized that there is no evidence to support the claims that prompted the raid, and expressed concern about the implications of such actions on humanitarian aid to migrant children and their families.

The raid comes amid a turbulent political climate in Guatemala, with Consuelo Porras, the Attorney General, facing accusations of corruption and plotting to oust President Bernardo Arevalo, who has expressed intentions to dismiss her from office. Save the Children has been a vital presence in Guatemala since a devastating earthquake in 1976, providing education, health services, child protection, and humanitarian aid. The organization has pledged full cooperation with authorities and continues to operate under strict guidelines to ensure child safety.

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