Paris Hilton has called for sweeping changes to the “troubled teen” industry in the U.S.
The reality TV star first opened up about her experiences as a young woman during her documentary, This Is Paris, which was released on YouTube last year.
Hilton recalled being sent to a residential facility for children with behavioural issues by her parents after she started attending clubs as a teen. In the documentary, she accused officials at the facility, Provo Canyon School in Utah, of abuse.
In a new op-ed for the Washington Post, the Simple Life star revealed further details about her experience and called on U.S. President Joe Biden to tackle reform in the industry.
"At all four facilities I was sent to in my teens, I endured physical and psychological abuse by staff: I was choked, slapped across the face, spied on while showering and deprived of sleep,” she alleged in the piece. “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 bloodstains."
Hilton also called attention to 16-year-old Cornelius Frederick, who died last year at Lakeside Academy in Michigan. Last month, three staff members who worked at the residential facility were charged with involuntary manslaughter after Frederick’s death was ruled a homicide.
"Congress and President Biden need to enact a basic federal 'bill of rights' for youth 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," the 40-year-old continued. "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.”
Hilton concluded her call to action by turning her attention to the bipartisan nature of children’s rights.
"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,” she added.