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July 18, 2019

Prosecutions for child sex trafficking plummet under Trump: Maybe it's a coincidence
By Igor Derysh

Despite the recent arrest of financier Jeffrey Epstein on child sex trafficking charges, federal prosecutions of child sex traffickers have fallen by more than 26 percent under President Trump. Federal prosecutors are on pace to file 162 child sex trafficking cases this fiscal year, marking a 26.7 percent drop from last year and a 32.2 percent drop from five years ago, according to a report from Syracuse University’s Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC). “If the present pace of such prosecutions continues, the fiscal 2019 total will be 162, compared to 221 last year,” the report said, adding that 2019 marked the second year that such prosecutions have fallen in a “reversal of the growth trend during the Obama years.” Despite the drop since Trump took office, the number of federal child sex trafficking prosecutions is more than 90 percent higher than it was a decade earlier. Such prosecutions increased threefold during Obama’s presidency. The data shows that U.S. attorneys, all of whom are appointed by the president, are prosecuting far fewer cases that were referred to them by federal and state investigators. During Obama’s final year in office, federal prosecutors pursued about 49 percent of child sex trafficking cases referred to them. That number has fallen to just 39 percent this fiscal year. While the research does not dig into the root cause of the drop, it may at least partially be the result of Trump’s focus on prosecuting illegal border crossings instead of actual crimes.

Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, Syracuse University
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