Wed. Oct 28th, 2020


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Trump signs order to combat human trafficking

President Donald Trump marked the 20th anniversary of federal legislation to help combat human trafficking by signing an executive order furthering those efforts and dedicating a new White House position to the issue. (Jan. 31)

The claim: The president signed 9 executive orders to combat child trafficking

President Donald Trump’s anti-human trafficking stance has become a hallmark of his administration. Daughter and adviser Ivanka Trump has spurred the president’s investment in anti-trafficking measures since the beginning of his term. She called trafficking an “ugly stain on civilization” at the unveiling of the Trafficking in Persons report at the State Department in 2017, according to CNN.

Ivanka Trump’s work to mitigate human trafficking globally is also well-documented, from a meeting with survivors in Italy to her influence in the Oval Office.

During her speech at the Republican National Convention in August, Trump mentioned nine pieces of anti-trafficking legislation passed during the Trump administration.

“To protect the most vulnerable among us, I’ve worked alongside the president as he signed into law nine pieces of legislation to combat the evil of human trafficking,” Ivanka Trump said, according to a transcript on the transcription blog Rev.

A claim posted to Facebook days later appeared to reflect Trump’s statement, but it referenced nine executive orders instead of laws. 

“Our President has signed 9 Executive Orders to combat child trafficking!” user Doug Ellingson posted on Aug. 29. “Ask yourself why you don’t know this? Who is fighting to keep it from you? And why don’t they want you to know?”

The viral post has over 39,000 shares and over 1,900 reactions. Ellingson did not elaborate on the contents of the post in response to a request for comment from USA TODAY.

More: Fact check: No evidence child traffickers are tagging cars as potential targets with codes

More: Fact check: On a viral list of 10 Trump ‘accomplishments,’ 3 are true

More: Fact check: Over 8,000 US trafficking arrests since 2017 have not included members of Congress

Trump’s executive orders

Executive orders issued by the president are readily available to the public on The White House website. 

Trump has issued two executive orders targeting human trafficking. The first, aimed at disbanding transnational criminal organizations that traffic humans, was signed on Feb. 9, 2017.

The second order concerned online child trafficking and sexual exploitation in the United States. It was signed Jan. 31.

Trump also issued three proclamations observing human trafficking. National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month has been recognized each January since 2018.

The Facebook user who posted the claim may have confused “legislation” with “executive order” and combined human trafficking with child trafficking.

Did Trump sign ‘nine pieces of legislation’ against human trafficking?

Not quite. According to the website for Congress, before the RNC in August, Trump had signed eight bills expressly targeting human trafficking into law:

  • Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act of 2017: amends existing legislation and establishes penalties for promoting or facilitating sex trafficking online. 
  • Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Abuse and Safe Sport Authorization Act of 2017: raised the statute of limitations on human trafficking offenses to 10 years.
  • Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2017: amends several laws, authorizes funds and various federal agencies to combat human trafficking.
  • Department of Homeland Security Blue Campaign Authorization Act: coordinates DHS efforts against human trafficking. 
  • SOAR to Health and Wellness Act of 2018: A Health and Human Services program to train health care providers in recognizing and providing care to potential victims of human trafficking. 
  • Combating Human Trafficking in Commercial Vehicles Act: coordinates human trafficking prevention efforts across the Department of Transportation
  • No Human Trafficking on Our Roads Act: directs the Department of Transportation to disqualify a person from operating a commercial vehicle for life if said vehicle was used to traffic humans.
  • Abolish Human Trafficking Act of 2017: reauthorized the Domestic Trafficking Victims’ Fund through 2023 and established additional anti-human trafficking measures across federal agencies.

Budgets for anti-human trafficking programs are referenced in other pieces of legislation passed during Trump’s term. And two bills signed into law earlier this month, the Not Invisible Act of 2019 and Savanna’s Act, addressed human trafficking prevention efforts for missing and murdered American Indians.

Our rating: Partly false

We rate this claim PARTLY FALSE, based on our research. The claim mistakes nine pieces of anti-human trafficking legislation for executive orders signed by Trump to combat child trafficking. The president has only signed two executive orders, one concerning child trafficking and another to prevent international trafficking. It is true that the president has signed eight bills expressly targeting human trafficking since 2017.

Our fact-check sources:

  • The White House, Jan. 31: “Executive Order on Combating Human Trafficking and Online Child Exploitation in the United States”
  • The White House, Feb. 9, 2017: “Presidential Executive Order on Enforcing Federal Law with Respect to Transnational Criminal Organizations and Preventing International Trafficking”
  • The White House, Dec. 31, 2019: “Proclamation on National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, 2020”
  • The White House, Dec. 31, 2018: “Proclamation on National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, 2020”
  • The White House, Dec. 31, 2017: “Proclamation on National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, 2020”
  • CNN, June 27, 2017: “Ivanka Trump spotlights global human trafficking”
  • Ivanka Trump May 24, 2017 Instagram post
  • Rev, Aug. 27, 2020: “Ivanka Trump 2020 RNC Speech Transcript”
  •, accessed Oct. 14, 2020: “Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act of 2017” 
  •, accessed Oct. 14, 2020: “Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Abuse and Safe Sport Authorization Act of 2017”
  •, accessed Oct. 14, 2020: “Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2017”
  •, accessed Oct. 14, 2020: “Department of Homeland Security Blue Campaign Authorization Act”  
  •, accessed Oct. 14, 2020: “SOAR to Health and Wellness Act of 2018” 
  •, accessed Oct. 14, 2020: “Combating Human Trafficking in Commercial Vehicles Act”
  •, accessed Oct. 14, 2020: “No Human Trafficking on Our Roads Act” 
  •, accessed Oct. 14, 2020: “Abolish Human Trafficking Act of 2017”
  •, accessed Oct. 14, 2020: “Not Invisible Act of 2019”
  •, accessed Oct. 14, 2020: “Savanna’s Act”

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