Followers of the QAnon conspiracy theory believed President Donald Trump was on a mission to take down Democrats and other American elites who were allegedly running pedophile rings (and also happen to be Satanists), but it turns out that child sex trafficking prosecutions have actually fallen under Trump.
According to the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), a nonpartisan research organization at Syracuse University, “The number of prosecutions for child sex trafficking has significantly declined during the Trump Administration, after climbing steadily during the Obama years.”
Prosecutions reached a peak of 273 and 277 in FY 2016 and FY 2017, respectively. Since then, the number of cases dipped to 221 in FY 2018, and then continued to decline to less than 200 in FYs 2019 and 2020.
Criminal referrals to U.S. Attorney offices during this entire period are substantially larger than those federal prosecutors decide to file in court. Comparing the last three presidential administrations, not only were the number of prosecutions higher during the Obama years, but the proportion of criminal referrals for child sex trafficking on which charges were brought was also higher. During the Bush Administration, 46 percent of criminal referrals were prosecuted. During the Obama Administration, that proportion increased to 49 percent. During the Trump Administration, prosecutors chose to file charges in 43 percent of cases—a notable decline from both the Obama and Bush years.