“Human trafficking is the worse than it’s ever been in the history of the world,” according to President Donald Trump.
Trump’s comments came during a visit to the Joint Interagency Task Force in Key West, Fla. on Thursday where he advocated for building his coveted border wall between the U.S. and Mexico, according to HuffPost. Much like his previous remarks on the campaign trail, Trump utilized fear-mongering rhetoric about “dangerous” immigrants justify the need for a border wall.
“We need border protection. We need the wall,” he told reporters. “We have to have the wall. The Democrats don’t want to approve the wall because they think it’s good politically, but it’s not.”
“… If you look at what’s happening in California with sanctuary cities — people are really going the opposite way,” the president continued. “They don’t want sanctuary cities. There is a little bit of a revolution going on in California. Human trafficking is worse than it’s ever been.”
While human trafficking is indeed a critical issue, the bulk of the estimated 24.9 million people trapped in modern-day slavery worldwide occur in the Asian and Pacific regions, according to International Labor Organization Data. Human trafficking in the Americas accounts for about 1 percent of forced labor and 4 percent of sexual exploitation in the world.
It’s unclear whether Trump was actually referring to human smuggling rather that trafficking, the former of which saw an increase in border states this year, according to CNN.
“…Human traffickers. This is a term that’s been going on from the beginning of time, and they say it’s worse now than it ever was,” the president said in Long Island on Friday. “You go back 1,000 years, where you think of human trafficking, you go back 500 years, 200 years, 100 years, human trafficking, they say ― think of it, what they do ― human trafficking is worse now, maybe, than it’s ever been in the history of this world.”
In his comments, Trump failed to mention the most glaring historical example of human trafficking, however: the Trans-Atlantic slave trade. And estimated 10.7 million Africans were forcibly removed from their native lands and shipped to work as slaves in the New World.
Compared to that, the National Human Trafficking Hotline reported that there were more than 8,500 U.S. cases of human trafficking reported under the Trump administration in 2017 — up from about 7,500 cases the previous year.