Paris Hilton Advocates for Abused Teens in Jamaica

Paris Hilton, the renowned American media personality and businesswoman, took a strong stance against institutional child abuse on Wednesday during her visit to Jamaica. Hilton’s involvement comes in the wake of disturbing allegations of abuse at the Atlantis Leadership Academy, a faith-based school in St. Elizabeth known for aiding teens with substance abuse, anxiety disorders, and defiant behaviour.

The Child Protection and Family Services Agency (CPFSA) uncovered signs of abuse and neglect during an unannounced visit in February, leading to the immediate evacuation of eight American boys from the facility. These teens, now under the care of CPFSA, were allegedly subjected to severe mistreatment, including being stripped, beaten, and waterboarded.

Hilton, who has previously endured similar abuses within the troubled teen industry, expressed her horror and empathy towards the boys during a press conference at Jack Sprat restaurant in Treasure Beach. As a survivor and advocate, she emphasized the need for urgent action and highlighted the risks of sending children to foreign institutions for rehabilitation.

Image via radiojamaicanewsonline.com

In support of the boys, Hilton, along with her husband and an advocate who is a former resident of a similar institution in St. Elizabeth, arrived by helicopter to engage with the teens and participate in legal proceedings at the Children’s Court in Santa Cruz. Their involvement follows widespread media attention and Hilton’s own public declarations of solidarity and commitment to aiding the boys on social media platforms.

The Atlantis Leadership Academy’s advertised mission is to guide young men who have veered off course, yet the allegations suggest a stark deviation from this goal. In light of the events, efforts are underway, led by New York City-based child welfare attorney Dawn Post, to find safe and appropriate placements for the teens, some of whom have been disowned by their adoptive parents.

Post also defended the CPFSA’s handling of the situation, stressing the complexity and necessity of ensuring the boys’ transfer to secure environments, akin to interstate child transfers in the U.S., where thorough assessments are conducted to guarantee child safety. She also pointed out that there is another facility like Atlantis Academy in Jamaica with over 100 American youths that’s under her microscope.

Hilton’s visit and advocacy underscore the global challenge of protecting children in institutional settings and the collective responsibility to respond decisively to allegations of abuse and neglect.

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