I come across this image below circulation on the internet.

Count of Human trafficing (sic) arrests: Trump vs Obama 2010-2017

The image is comparing the human trafficking arrests during Trump's and Obama's administrations. Are these figures true?

  • 17
    In any case, it's easy to arrest people. Another question is whether these arrest were justified. Plus, you might somehow question that the Trump administration can claim all these arrest: "Europe accounts for the major share of arrests [..]"
    – Klaws
    Commented Nov 28, 2017 at 12:52
  • 2
    Please replace the image by one where we can actually read the numbers. At the moment, I can't be sure whether the number for 2017 is 6155, 6355 or 6455 by the picture alone.
    – Mast
    Commented Nov 28, 2017 at 12:57
  • @Mast this image was the original, but it was swapped out. There is currently an edit pending to link to that, but it still needs one more vote for approval. The number is 6355.
    – tim
    Commented Nov 28, 2017 at 15:35
  • 2
    "I come across this image below circulation on the internet." Any particular place this image was circulating on the internet when you came across it? Commented Nov 30, 2017 at 12:43
  • Why do Trump's supporters produce charts where time flows leftwards ? Is it to emphasize on 'again" in MAGA ? Is it to make sure no one will mistake them for progressives ?
    – Evargalo
    Commented Jun 1, 2018 at 7:53

4 Answers 4


The earliest mention online - and thus likely the source for this - seems to be maga1776.com.

The numbers for 2010 to 2016 are official statistics - the 2016 numbers are directly from ICE, the earlier numbers are not from a reliable source (washington examiner), but I don't think that they are in doubt. Note that these numbers are specifically about arrests made by ICE - or more specifically the Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) created under Obama in 2010 - , not all arrests related to trafficking.

The numbers for 2017 are not from ICE, but collected by maga1776.com from various news articles. Just looking at the links with the highest cases, we can see that they are fake or misleading.

The 900 cases for example link to RT (not a reliable source). They were in fact 870 arrests, not 900, and they were world wide and not related to ICE arrests (which is what the Obama stats are about).

The 1035 arrests are sourced to daytondailynews.com, but again not ICE arrests but arrests made by the police. The second 1012 arrests are sourced to theconservativetreehouse.com, but again they were not arrests made by ICE, but by the DOJ. According to the source, they are also not about human trafficking, but sexual assault of children. The 350 number is sourced to breaking911.com and is about documentation of rape of children, which is not directly related to human trafficking. The arrests were also not made by ICE.

As mentioned in the comments, the real numbers for 2017 are not out yet, so we cannot say how many human trafficking arrests ICE has made. What we can say is that the 6355 number is made up.

  • 9
    I wouldn't say the 6355 number is made up, but that it is overinflated. The numbers being pulled for the Obama years include only specific cases of human trafficking, but the Trump number includes any sort of sexual solicitation. A person arrested for attempting to solicit a prostitute is counted for Trump, but not for Obama.
    – DenisS
    Commented Nov 28, 2017 at 5:08
  • 90
    @DenisStallings Right, but I would consider that made up. It's just a collection of random numbers with no real meaning. With that approach, I can get arbitrary numbers. If I wanted to, I could show that Obama made 10x the arrests of Trump, or that Bush made even more arrests (even though the program in question didn't actually exist back then).
    – tim
    Commented Nov 28, 2017 at 8:40
  • 24
    @DKrueger I don't have to trust it. Because even if we were to trust the unreliable sources, we can see that the number is made up, as those are the only sources that are supposed to support the graphic (which they actually don't). The cases the sources describe could very well be completely made up as well, but it just doesn't matter, because the cases they describe do not actually match the info graphic.
    – tim
    Commented Nov 28, 2017 at 9:53
  • 37
    Source trust or not, since none of the numbers are actually specifically for Human Trafficking, as the graphic claims, the entire thing is completely bogus.
    – T.E.D.
    Commented Nov 28, 2017 at 14:00
  • 11
    @Physics-Compute I certainly don't know that. These numbers are not the next best numbers, they are just random numbers from random articles coming from random websites which are loosely related to crimes concerning some sort of sexual context. The numbers are 100% meaningless and there is no way to "refine" them to make them meaningful. This isn't how facts work. If there are no numbers, the reasonable thing to do is to wait until they come out or to try to get preliminary numbers from ICE, not to invent numbers.
    – tim
    Commented Nov 29, 2017 at 16:21

A reddit thread has attributed as a source for this graphic to this link.

The numbers for Trump are sourced from individual news stories, the numbers for Obama are sourced from composite numbers released for entire years, one year reported by ICE (2016), the rest directly from the Washington Examiner stories (some or all of which are currently unavailable).

Looking through a few of the sourced news links, I believe what the people behind the graphic have done is change the definition of "human trafficking" to include any arrest for soliciting prostitution / running a brothel under Trump (e.g. these 10 arrests in NC and these 2 arrests of women, aged 61 and 52 in OH). I say I believe because I cannot find any data from the ICE source for Obama's 2016 numbers to determine if those also include arrests for ("willful") prostitution.

It should also be noted that, according to the source, just about half of the arrests under the Trump administration was the result of 4 operations conducted by the DoJ, one of them in conjunction with Europol and two of them resulting in over 2,000 individuals arrested combined. One of those operations was conducted late January 2017 that resulted in almost 500 arrests, and it is arguable that it was likely planned/coordinated under the Obama administration rather than Trump.

As far as the underlying message of the graphic, I can find it easy to attribute to Trump an increase in attention to these numbers due to his administration's increased attention to immigration enforcement. I also find it easy to believe that what the graphic is portraying is an apples to oranges comparison to paint Trump more favorably than Obama.

  • 4
    "...I can find it easy to attribute to Trump an increase in these numbers due to his administration's increased attention to immigration enforcement. I also find it easy to believe that what the graphic is portraying is an apples to oranges comparison to paint Trump more favorably than Obama." As a comment that's nice, but as an answer there is probably about zero value in what you find easy to believe. The last paragraph should rather be a comment. Commented Nov 30, 2017 at 12:46
  • 2
    @Trilarion Since we cannot at this stage really prove anything either way, I think it helps summarize what evidence there is available. If it rubs you the wrong way, feel free to downvote. Commented Nov 30, 2017 at 13:52
  • 2
    it doesn't help summarize, it's just you editorializing.
    – worc
    Commented Nov 30, 2017 at 23:02
  • 2
    @worc This question is about that graphic. If I were looking at a graphic that showed Trump with only slightly higher numbers, I wouldn't really be all that skeptical about it, but these numbers are so overblown it is quite ludicrous. That last paragraph is the conclusion that I draw that attempts to directly answer what I believe the question is; how skeptical should we be of this graphic? If you want a smaller tldr at the bottom I'll append you should be very skeptical of this graphic but I believe the conclusion I provide is reasonable. Commented Dec 1, 2017 at 1:26
  • 2
    @Caterpillaraoz I have no desire to elevate that man in any way, but I think mindless Trump bashing is one of the reasons we wound up with him as president. Commented Dec 1, 2017 at 11:06

NO. Arrests statistics were lower in 2017 than 2016.

As has been pointed out the 2017 numbers shown in the chart are for all arrests by every agency - state, local and federal - made worldwide. The previous years' numbers in the chart are only for ICE/HSI arrests.

The White House released the 2017 ICE/HSI statistics in March, 2018. We can now compare apples to apples.

2017: 833 human trafficking cases; 1602 arrests; 578 convictions and 518 victims identified.

compared to

2016: 1029 human trafficking cases; 1952 arrests; 631 convictions and 435 victims identified.

  • 2
    It's not only from every agency in the US, but world wide (see eg the RT link in my answer), and not only human trafficking either, but any crime related to sexual exploitation (it's of course not all crimes, but just a random subset of those). Anyways, +1 and I added a source for the numbers.
    – tim
    Commented May 31, 2018 at 20:36

This graph is a false comparison, as has been stated earlier. We now have the 2017 and 2018 ICE numbers, and they show that Trump had fewer yearly arrests than Obama.

Earlier in the thread, some people said they could only find the 2016 numbers, and that they were from the Washington Examiner. That is not accurate, the ICE data is publicly available. Here are the numbers, and direct links to the official 2013-2018 releases.

2018 - 1588 - https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/president-donald-j-trump-fighting-eradicate-human-trafficking/

2017 - 1602 - https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/president-donald-j-trump-working-end-human-trafficking/

2016 - 1952 - https://www.ice.gov/news/releases/ice-arrests-nearly-2000-human-traffickers-2016-identifies-over-400-victims-across-us

2015 - 1437 - https://www.ice.gov/news/releases/ice-arrests-more-1400-human-traffickers-2015-identifies-nearly-400-victims-across-us

2014 - 1770 - https://www.ice.gov/news/releases/ice-remains-committed-ending-human-trafficking

2013 - 1877 - https://www.justice.gov/archive/ag/annualreports/agreporthumantrafficking2013.pdf

Corrected graph:

enter image description here

  • 1
    Your answer would be well served by actually including the numbers in your answer, instead of just posting links that forces people to read multiple different links.
    – DenisS
    Commented Mar 28, 2019 at 16:10
  • @DenisS Thanks, I edited the numbers in, as well as a corrected graph.
    – wmerthon
    Commented Mar 28, 2019 at 16:47
  • Those URLs are sad reading: 2013-2016 are focussed on the agency responsible and only one chest thumps ("ice-remains-committed-ending-human-trafficking"). Then comes "president-donald-j-trump-working-end-human-trafficking/" and "president-donald-j-trump-fighting-eradicate-human-trafficking/". Didn't expect such a cult of personality take root in the USA, where even the URLs have to pay homage to the Great Leader. Commented Mar 29, 2019 at 7:53

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .