Counselors weigh in on mental state of unaccompanied migrant children in Erie

Local News

There are 146 underage migrant girls taking refuge in Erie County. It’s been seen nationally as thousands of migrant children are coming thousands of miles away from different parts of Latin America to the United States.

Tonight, we’re taking a look at how their journey is taking a toll on their mental health. Counselors say the unknown can bring so much fear to these children.

“There’s a reason that these children are traveling here by themselves.” said Trish Danner.

146 migrant girls under the age of 12 traveled thousands of miles from different parts of Latin America to the U.S. and Mexico Border. Now, they are safe in Erie.

“They’re fleeing in terrible conditions and put into terrible circumstances. Unfortunately, human trafficking can easily be one of those circumstances that they’re fleeing.” Danner said.

Danner says these children could’ve walked thousands of miles to flee their country. She says their journey, for us, is hard to imagine.

“Imagine being a parent and trusting and sending your children off by themselves just to protect them from being raped or being put into gangs.” Danner said.

Danner says human and labor trafficking are much more prevalent globally. It’s under reported, meaning many are not aware that it exists.

Counselors say stability is what these children can count on than compared to what they had before coming to Erie.

“One of the key things in helping kids heal from trauma is having a safe space that they can be themselves and can express their feelings.” said Miriam Brisley.

Brisley says the girls may have fear that can show up in so many different ways. She says children are resilient and will improve with safe space and trauma therapy.

We’re told the children are still in the process of getting medically checked and we’re told more children may be coming. They are also making sure that the kids are feeling safe.

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