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Fri Feb 8, 2019, 02:24 PM

Fact Checker: President Trump's fantastical human-trafficking claims

By Glenn Kessler
February 7

“Human trafficking by airplane is almost impossible. Human trafficking by van and truck, in the back seat of a car, and going through a border where there’s nobody for miles and miles, and there’s no wall to protect — it’s very easy. They make a right, then they make a left. They come into our country. And they sell people.”

— President Trump, remarks at an event on human trafficking, Feb. 1, 2019

“This really is an invasion of our country by human traffickers. These are people that are horrible people bringing in women mostly, but bringing in women and children into our country.”

— Trump, interview on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” Feb. 3

“Human traffickers and sex traffickers take advantage of the wide-open areas between our ports of entry to smuggle thousands of young girls and women into the United States and to sell them into prostitution and modern-day slavery.”

— Trump, in his State of the Union address, Feb. 5


The Facts

Let’s start with the government’s own data. In fiscal 2018, the Justice Department initiated 230 human trafficking prosecutions. That’s an 18 percent decline from the year before, when 282 cases were brought.

The Justice Department regularly posts news releases about its human trafficking cases, and you have to dig far to find many that involve the southern border. Most of the cases involve U.S. citizens. The foreign national cases, contrary to Trump’s claims, generally used legal border crossings, visa fraud and airplanes.


The Human Trafficking Legal Center, which assists victims, maintains a database of 1,435 federal court cases dating to 2009 and current as of six weeks ago. Martina Vandenberg, president of the organization, said that a search of the database found only 26 cases that included kidnapping charges and 29 that involved smuggling. There was only one case, in 2012, that mentioned “duct tape” — but that took place in Atlanta and involved a victim being required to wear duct tape during sex.

Many of the cases involved just a single case of trafficking, such as the woman who smuggled another woman into the United States from Mexico to serve as a pregnancy surrogate but instead forced her to engage in domestic labor. Or there are cases involving U.S. citizens trafficking other U.S. citizens, such as the “Horse Block Pimpin’ ” prosecution, in which defendants trafficked 55 women mostly across the Mid-Atlantic region.


The Pinocchio Test

On just about every level, the president’s rhetoric on human trafficking far exceeds the available data, either from within the government or from outside sources. He earns Four Pinocchios.

Four Pinocchios

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Reply Fact Checker: President Trump's fantastical human-trafficking claims (Original post)
DonViejo Feb 8 OP
atreides1 Feb 8 #1
gratuitous Feb 8 #2
unitedwethrive Feb 8 #3

Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Fri Feb 8, 2019, 02:29 PM

1. Does Trump visit his friend Tim Nolan?

Maybe that's where Don the Con is getting his education on human trafficking from! Seems former judge Nolan is serving a 20 year sentence for 19 counts of child sex trafficking and human trafficking!

Look him up:


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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Fri Feb 8, 2019, 02:31 PM

2. Nicely debunked; now, please tell me

Please tell me that the next time Trump shoots his mouth off with this palaver, someone in the room will say, "That's not true. None of it is true."

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Fri Feb 8, 2019, 02:36 PM

3. The Asterisks president seems to think this is a movie plot...that these are kidnap victims.

I have worked, in a medical capacity, for agencies that deal with women and girls who have been freed from human trafficking. The vast majority come here having been promised a better life. They are told that they will work as housekeepers, nannies or in food service, and that they will be able to make money to send back to their families. They come willingly, usually on a tourist visa, but sometimes without proper authority.

Once in the country, the people they have trusted turn against them - withholding money and using scare tactics including making the victim fearful of legal law enforcement.

Not once has any victim mention the use of duct tape.

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