Trump’s Human Trafficking Record Is Fake News
This article was originally published by Foreign Policy, in partnership with The Fuller Project, on June 20th, 2019, by Fuller Project Correspondent Jenna Krajeski.
The U.S. government has just released a highly anticipated human rights report that whitewashes the effects of its own policies.
Since taking office in 2017, the Trump administration has claimed that its human rights agenda centers on human trafficking. “My Administration continues to work to drive out the darkness human traffickers cast upon our world,” President Donald Trump wrote in a 2017 executive order declaring January 2018 National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month. In a Washington Post op-ed, Ivanka Trump echoed her father’s claims that human trafficking was one of the government’s top priorities. “President Abraham Lincoln and the abolitionist movement gave America a unique inheritance: a principled commitment to fight slavery in all its pernicious forms,” she wrote. “This administration is continuing the fight to end modern slavery and using every tool at its disposal to achieve that critical goal.”
But when it comes to identifying the reality of trafficking inside the United States and fighting it, these claims are contradicted by many of the administration’s policies and much of its rhetoric. In many key ways, the Trump administration’s approach to trafficking in the United States has made matters worse for the most vulnerable communities. Anti-trafficking experts now worry that the government, by failing to recognize its failings, could do lasting damage to what has traditionally been considered the country’s top human rights report, the latest edition of which was released Thursday.