Regarding Glenn Kessler’s Feb. 10 Fact Checker column, “Trump’s fantastical claims about the pervasiveness of human trafficking”:
President Trump’s human trafficking claims are not only egregiously false but also dangerous and destructive. While the president is using human trafficking as a ploy to justify a border wall, overwhelming evidence shows that our immigration policies allow traffickers to prey on victims through U.S. guest worker and other visa programs.
Many foreign trafficking victims enter the United States through legal means and, once in the country, are exploited through debt bondage, threats of deportation and other forms of coercion. As the column suggested, the emphasis on creating a border wall to stop trafficking implies that victims are mostly foreign-born. However, many trafficking victims are U.S. citizens. No border wall will prevent trafficking from occurring within the United States.
In reality, the Trump administration’s inhumane immigration policies, including family separations and child detention, embolden traffickers. It is important that Congress and the American people don’t let the president’s false claims distract from the real solutions that trafficking survivors need: funding for comprehensive legal services, increased training for service providers to implement victim-centered services and an end to the criminalization of victims.
Jean Bruggeman, Arlington
The writer is executive director of Freedom Network USA.