Fake News

No, 1 in 3 Kids Coming Across the Southern Border Are Not Victims of Sex Trafficking

This preposterous claim is front and center in a new PragerU video.

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In a recent short video for PragerU, Anna Paulina Luna, a Republican running for Congress in Florida, suggested that one third of the immigrant kids coming over our southern border are being sex trafficked.

She said it in a kind of garbled way—conflating the fact that some kids aren't related to their smugglers, with the fact that "sex trafficking exists"—but her conclusion was clear: Separating kids from the adults bringing them over the border is for their own protection, because otherwise they are being sold into prostitution.

This notion is preposterous, says Debbie Nathan, a journalist who has covered immigration for 40 years and co-authored an article on this topic in The Appeal. In that 2019 piece, titled, "Trump Has Turned the War on Trafficking into a War on Immigrants," she explained that there has been a "rhetorical mash-up of smuggling and trafficking."

What happened, Nathan tells Reason, is that in 2018, the government started doing DNA tests on a limited group of people crossing the border who had aroused particular suspicion. "It wasn't a random sample of people coming over the border," she says.

Indeed, many of them were not related to the people they said were their relatives. But that was only a small subset of migrants, and the results were neither surprising nor damning. Unrelated groups often cross the border together, because many times the biological parent is already in the U.S. They left their child behind to be raised by an aunt or grandma until the child was old enough to come over, or the parent was well-established enough to provide them a decent home. The parent then pays for the child's passage north. Maybe the child is accompanied by an aunt, or even a neighbor who is also migrating. This person might lie about their relationship to the child, but that doesn't mean their true purpose is sex trafficking.

Some border crossers will be accompanied by smugglers. The fact that that smuggler isn't related to the child is considered proof that the child is being trafficked—which is sort of like saying that if the bus driver isn't related to the girl taking the bus, he must be planning to pimp her out.

"The word 'trafficking' is just so radioactive," says Nathan, it makes separating the child from the group, or even sending the child back to his home country, sound like the kinder option.

In the PragerU video, Luna says that she can't emphasize enough "how dangerous it is for these kids."

"These kids don't choose to be in this circumstance," she continues. "They're innocent in this. But if we're not protecting them through our legislative policies, then we're part of the problem and I will never back down from that stance."

The Appeal article put it a different way: "By characterizing the act of border crossing with children as 'trafficking,' a political idiom almost immune to challenge, [Trump] continues his war on immigrants."

In any case, the government has currently come up with a new excuse for separating children and sending them back across the border: COVID-19. The New York Times reported Wednesday that the feds are deporting hundreds of migrant kids and teens without any chance to plead their case. The government is citing a 1944 law that lists disease-prevention as a reason to bar foreigners from entering the country, but many of these kids were already here when the pandemic began.

Instead of insisting these kids are innocent trafficking victims who must be sent back, the feds are now treating them like invidious disease vectors. Both are pretexts for an unjustified policy.

NEXT: Libertarian Presidential Contender Jo Jorgensen Wants To Combine Principle With Palatable Persuasion

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  1. Just like 25% of college women get raped.

    1. I was going to mention that too, but your statistic is stale: current claims have reached ….. 1 in 3! Same as with these kids! Can’t be a coincidence. I say let’s try an experiment: deport or refuse entry to all non-citizens who self-identify as female, and in 20 years, the college rape statistic will begin a remarkably dramatic four year slide to zero.

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    2. Just like 25% of college women get raped.

      Not at all. The fees and reams of paperwork to get onto a publicly funded campus are much more onerous. Then, if your’re lucky, you get raped.

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  2. //In any case, the government has currently come up with a new excuse for separating children and sending them back across the border: COVID-19.//

    So it IS a HOAX!

  3. “No, 1 in 3 Kids Coming Across the Southern Border Are Not Victims of Sex Trafficking”
    “This notion is preposterous, says Debbie Nathan, a journalist who has covered immigration ”

    What is preposterous is how Reason continues to present all illegal border crossers as immigrants.

    1. Crossing the border is the very defining act of being both immigrant and emigrant. What do you think the definition is?

      1. “Immigrant” – An alien who has been granted the right by the USCIS to reside permanently in the United States and to work without restrictions in the United States.

        Illegally crossing the border makes one an “undocumented alien.”

        https://www.irs.gov/individuals/international-taxpayers/immigration-terms-and-definitions-involving-aliens

        1. Forget the regular dictionary. The IRS is the proper authority.

          1. And forget English, and context, and laws, and terms of art. Words can mean anything we want them to mean. Consistency in usage and semantics is unnecessary. Because, at the bread of the clay, boats do not stipend on leanings, and neither bus fear accumulation.

            1. a person who comes to live permanently in a foreign country.

              https://www.google.com/search?client=firefox-b-1-d&q=immigrant

              You’re the one trying to change the definition of immigrant.

              Now, you can modify ‘immigrant’ with an adjective – such as ‘illegal’. Because that’s how English works.

              1. If you are not willing to acknowledge legal definitions in this country when talking about legal problems in this country, there’s is no point discussing anything.

              2. “Tresspasser” would suffice just as well.

                Whatever word you choose, you cannot deny that left-wing rhetoric has attempted to conflate any disagreement with people illegally here with being “anti-immigrant”. In fact, this has led many legal immigrants to being labeled as “anti-immigrant” as they get angry at “Line Jumpers”.

              3. The proper word you are describing is MIGRANT. There are many variations of migrants – immigrant/emmigrant, colonists, settler, invader, explorer, missionary…

                They all have distinct definitions. Immigrant and emmigrant are specifically related to the jurisdiction of a country’s governance.

        2. ““Immigrant” – An alien who has been granted the right by the USCIS to reside permanently in the United States and to work without restrictions in the United States.”

          Kind of tough to discuss European immigration issues using that definition.

          1. If you are not willing to acknowledge legal definitions in this country when talking about legal problem in this country, there’s is no point discussing anything.

            1. When you start getting into the economic effects of immigration (authorized or otherwise), you are no longer talking about a “legal” problem.

    2. The vast majority of illegal border crossers are immigrants. Immigrating illegally but they’re still immigrants. Very few of them are crossing the border to illegally (or legally) emmigrate and some percentage are doing so for a specific task and are not immigrating/emigrating.

      But if you cross a border with the intention of living on the other side then you’re immigrating. That you might be doing so illegally does not change that.

      1. Or invading.
        The way you’re using it, they’re synonymous

  4. Are we still ignoring the bad parts of illegal immigration?

    https://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/us_5806972

    1. Ah HA! You admit there are good parts.

      1. The negatives for outweigh the bad.

        I’ve always said I have no problem with borderless migration after the elimination of a welfare state.

        Sorry I dont live up to your presumptions.

        I’m just a realist who understands the negative marriage of welfare states and unchecked migration.

        1. Lots of examples below, great, but they pretend only illegal immigrants are externalities. If you want to make a case against illegal immigrants, you’ll need to show externalities unique to them.

          1. Not speaking English or giving a shit about the constitution. Negative?

            1. So when do we start deporting Americans who don’t give a shit about the constitution?

              1. And the way to remedy people not giving a shit about the constitution, is to import more people … that care even less? Is that the governing principle? If something is a problem, we need to amplify it. Right?

              2. I’m open to ideas.

        2. I’ve always said I have no problem with borderless migration after the elimination of a welfare state.

          I’d even settle for a planned and executed staggered curtailing. Unfortunately, the only draw down of such spending we’re likely to see will be COVID-induced and maybe not even then.

          1. Borderless, anarchist and at war are synonyms.

    2. But the northeast needs their cheap labor. Who cares about the costs to border states.

      http://www.city-data.com/forum/illegal-immigration/1345166-bankrupting-hospitals.html

      1. Poor citizens can’t be denied ER care either. It’s not immigrants only, legal or not.

        1. This is not so obvious. I know poor people who can’t seem to accrue those benefits. Saying “I’m unable to pay” gets bills shipped to their homes.

      2. Hmm, maybe you should attack the laws that have created the incentives that drive illegal immigration.

        Like minimum wage laws.

        Legislatures make stupid laws. Then people work their arses off to protect legislatures from the consequences of their stupid laws. Then legislatures make more stupid laws.

        1. Maybe that bitch shouldn’t have dressed so provocatively.

    3. Then the massively increased costs for ESL students straining local school budgets.

      https://www.newsmax.com/t/newsmax/article/630333?section=JamesWalsh&keywords=Barack-Obama-ESOL-Fairfax-County-Immigration&year=2015&month=03&date=16&id=630333

      We are not allowed to talk about negative externalities in idealistic Libertopia.

      1. How about all the illiterate citizen children who also mess with school budgets and go on to college to mess with their budgets too?

        1. Good point and I agree. We should abolish public schools. Thanks for putting that so eloquently.

      2. Are you saying that the country as it is today is a libertopia?

        Because we absolutely are able to talk about negative externalities in libertopia. And how to manage them. One of which would you not bearing the costs of ESL because there’s no public schooling.

        But all your complaints seem to come down to ‘we give away too much free shit – therefore we must lock the doors’. You only give lip-service in passing to ‘hey, let’s stop giving away free shit and then we don’t need to lock the doors anymore’.

        Neither is more unachievable than the other.

        1. Shouldn’t a country be able to choose to give away free shit to citizens, and exclude others?

          1. Shouldn’t a man be able to choose to eat rat poison? A country can choose to give away free stuff to anyone it likes, citizens or otherwise. That never makes it a healthy idea.

            1. //Shouldn’t a man be able to choose to eat rat poison?//

              Sure. Suicide is a choice.

              //A country can choose to give away free stuff to anyone it likes, citizens or otherwise. That never makes it a healthy idea.//

              Agreed. So why support endless and unfettered migration of people from other parts of the world, while knowing full well that the prospect of eliminating the welfare state is next to nil?

        2. “But all your complaints seem to come down to ‘we give away too much free shit – therefore we must lock the doors’. You only give lip-service in passing to ‘hey, let’s stop giving away free shit and then we don’t need to lock the doors anymore’.”

          And your argument comes down to ‘hey since we give away free shit to citizens, we shouldn’t lock the doors’

    4. Is it like the bad parts of any other prohibition? That it leads to black markets and violence?

  5. Wait? PragerU has videos? I thought their whole schtick was that YouTube banned their videos? All thse videos about how they’re not allowed to have videos.

  6. She meant 1 in 3 of the kids SHE’S importing. The other 2 in 3 she’s using to make knock off Marlins and Dolphins merch.

  7. I just watched the PRager U vid – It DID NOT claim that 1 in 3 Children crossing the border are being trafficed sex.

    It claimed 1 in 3 children crossing the border are not biologically related to their apperant custodians. This is a factual claim.
    It went on to say, that this is a horrific thought considering the realiy that sex trafficing of children does exist. Some opinon here followed by a factual claim.

    It then concludes that in the face of these facts it is therefore prudent to verify the relationship of the children to their custodians.

    Why the alarm of these REASONable claims and the conclusion?

    1. Reason writers lie in order to keep the open borders dream alive, because that is only part of Cato libertarianism that they like.

      Ron Bailey lied when he said that no refugee had ever committed terrorism in the US. He got called out on his lie in the comments, and then doubled down. He is execrable.

    2. But the only fact claimed there is that 1-in-3 children is not accompanied by a parent.

      That, would presuppose that we’ve already verified that relationship. Otherwise how would we know that 1-in-3 are not related. So, problem solved then, right? We’re already verifying those relationships.

      1. And the 1 in 3 claim was made from groups of people who already seemed unrelated. Hardly a representative sample of everyone crossing the border.

  8. “Trafficking” in beer was radioactive enough fightin’ words to lend 1.4% of the voters clout enough to have Americans gunned down for 14 years under Prohibition. “Auction Sale” was the politer expression in the Spokane Daily Chronicle describing how the Christian Endeavor Society of the Third United Presbyterian Church dressed girls up in sheets and auctioned them off to the highest bidder. This was in the Spokane Daily Chronicle, October 30, 1909, viewable on Google News Archives.

  9. I like Dennis Prager. He seems insightful, intelligent, and thoughtful. But good god, the commentators on his page are some of the most dimwitted nutcase fanatics on the planet.

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