Paris Hilton has become an advocate for teens placed in congregate-care facilities by their parents. She shared her own story of abuse and trauma as a rebellious teen in the documentary, This Is Paris.
In a Washington Post op-ed, she pushed President Joe Biden and Congress to take action. "When I was 16 years old, I was awakened one night by two men with handcuffs. They asked if I wanted to go ‘the easy way or the hard way’ before carrying me from my home as I screamed for help," she began. "I had no idea why or where I was being taken against my will. I soon learned I was being sent to hell."
The 40-year-old revealed she was subjected to a "parent-approved kidnapping" and noted that it is a widespread practice across the United States. Hilton said her parents "fell for the misleading marketing of the ‘troubled teen industry’" while they were searching for solutions to her "rebellious behavior."
"I was choked, slapped across the face, spied on while showering and deprived of sleep," she alleged. "I was called vulgar names and forced to take medication without a diagnosis. At one Utah facility, I was locked in solitary confinement in a room where the walls were covered in scratch marks and blood stains."
She continued: "The last time the federal government looked seriously at problems with congregate care was the 2008 Government Accountability Office report ‘Residential Programs: Selected Cases of Death, Abuse, and Deceptive Marketing.’ Despite its finding that ‘ineffective management and operating practices, in addition to untrained staff, contributed to the death and abuse of youth,’ there are still no federal reporting requirements governing congregate-care facilities in non-Medicaid-funded psychiatric residential treatment facilities."
Hilton mentioned the death of Cornelius Frederick, 16, in a Michigan facility, in what was deemed a homicide.
"Congress and President Biden need to enact a basic federal ‘bill of rights’ for youths in congregate care. Every child placed in these facilities should have a right to a safe, humane environment, free from threats and practices of solitary confinement, and physical or chemical restraint at the whim of staff," she wrote. "Had such rights existed and been enforced, I and countless other survivors could have been spared the abuse and trauma that have haunted us into adulthood."
"Ensuring that children, including at-risk children, are safe from institutional abuse, neglect and coercion isn’t a Republican or Democratic issue — it’s a basic human rights issue that requires immediate action. Those in power have an obligation to protect the powerless," Hilton wrote.