Send This Post To The Next Person Who Says Trump Is 'Doing Something' About Child Sex Trafficking
According to many of Donald Trump's supporters, he has long been engaged — since even before he became president, possibly — in a battle to root out and destroy child sex trafficking cannibal pedophiles in the Deep State, Congress, and Hollywood. Heck, the idea that unlike all previous presidents, at least he's doing something about child sex trafficking has even become pervasive among people who aren't Republicans and couldn't tell you what "Q" was if their life depended on it. It's become a meme, repeated over and over again, until it becomes just another thing people say because they think it sounds reasonable. Because they've heard other people saying it and it sounds reasonable coming out of their mouths. People who repeat things like that, however, are rarely the kind to check and see whether or not they are even correct.
In this case, they absolutely are not correct.
You see, prosecutions for child sex trafficking have actually gone down during his administration. And no, it's not because he put all of the Hollywood celebrities plus Hillary Clinton on super secret house arrest and is going to try them in military tribunals.
Here is a graph. You may want to take a screenshot of this graph so that you can have it on hand when your weird aunt or uncle or friend from high school says something like, "Well Trump has his faults, but at least he is doing something about child sex trafficking!"
It sure looks like there were way, way more prosecutions for child sex trafficking in the last four years of the Obama administration.
In fact, if we go by the percentage of cases referred for child sex trafficking that are actually prosecuted, Trump is doing even worse than Bush II.
Criminal referrals to U.S. Attorney offices during this entire period are substantially larger than those federal prosecutors decide to file in court. Comparing the last three presidential administrations, not only were the number of prosecutions higher during the Obama years, but the proportion of criminal referrals for child sex trafficking on which charges were brought was also higher. During the Bush Administration, 46 percent of criminal referrals were prosecuted. During the Obama Administration, that proportion increased to 49 percent. During the Trump Administration, prosecutors chose to file charges in 43 percent of cases—a notable decline from both the Obama and Bush years.
Yeah, he's not doing a very good job of that.
As the New York Times reported in February, actual anti-child-sex-trafficking advocates have accused Trump of only posturing as someone who is doing something about this issue, while actually making things worse for survivors.
"Over the last three years we have watched with horror as the administration has dismantled protections for trafficking survivors," said Martina Vandenberg, the president of the Human Trafficking Legal Center in Washington, who stayed away.
"Using human trafficking for pernicious political purposes is new," she added. "It is a Trump administration invention."
The Human Trafficking Legal Center reports only 146 federal trafficking indictments in 2019, down from 204 in the last year of the Obama administration.
A whistle-blower complaint alleges the administration diverted antitrafficking money from well-respected nonprofits to less-effective organizations like "Hookers for Jesus."
On some level, it is completely understandable that people have fallen for this. Donald Trump is an abhorrent person. He is mean, he's a bully, he says disgusting things about women, he says and does incredibly racist things, he lies, he cheats, he does everything people generally acknowledge as "things a bad person would do."
People didn't have good enough arguments to vote for Trump over Clinton in 2016, so they decided to believe in Pizzagate. People didn't like other people saying, "If you vote for Donald Trump, a person who regularly says very racist and sexist things, we are going to think that you are a sexist or a racist," and decided that a good retort would be "Well then if you don't like Donald Trump, you are a pedophile." They think it's a contest of who can accuse the opposition of the worst thing, rather than criticism of their actual behavior.
There really isn't anything worse you can accuse someone of being, and thus, conversely, saying that someone is responsible for stopping people from sexually abusing children is an extremely effective way to persuade people to believe that actually, in spite of appearances, they are a really good person.
Creating this myth around him allows for a certain amount of relief from the cognitive dissonance incurred by supporting him or even recognizing him as the president, particularly for women — who make up a rather large percentage of Q followers and #SaveTheChildren loons. Making up a fantasy about how, sure, he seems like a totally amoral asshole but actually he is fighting all of the child sex traffickers and is therefore actually the most moral person ever gives people a thing to say when others point out all of the horrible things he has said and done.
He is, however, not doing that.
Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. In addition to her work at Wonkette, she also has a biweekly column at Dame. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse