State Department’s New Human Trafficking Report Inadvertently Criticizes Family Separation

Last weekend, thousands took to the streets to demonstrate against the Trump administration’s family separation policy at Families Belong Together marches across the country. Though Trump has signed an executive order offering a temporary moratorium on this practice, not everyone is satisfied — and for good reason.

Surprisingly, opponents of family separation may have found an unlikely ally: The U.S. State Department.

Every year, the State Department releases a report on the state of human trafficking around the world. This time, however, the report — clearly authored by people who are either unaware of or unconcerned by President Trump’s policies — offers assessments that directly contradict the White House.

A section of the report entitled “Child Institutionalization and Human Trafficking” explains that the act of separating migrant children from their parents can have incredibly devastating effects on young, developing minds. Even in the best of facilities, a minor living in a situation with no opportunity to bond with a parent or guardian can lead to life-long personality and mental disorders — and can even stunt cognitive development.

Worse yet, human traffickers are likely to prey upon youth who have bounced back and forth between child detention centers.  Their vulnerability and desperation make them ideal targets for exploitation.

The solution, according to the U.S. State Department? If migrant children must be detained, every effort should be put towards making sure they remain with parents and family whenever possible.

More importantly, the report concludes, nations should make careful consideration of how their immigration policies may influence people to seek lawful entry. Strict, difficult-to-navigate systems will often compel people to enter illegally or to seek out a smuggler or human trafficker.

Does any of this sound familiar yet?

The report conveniently does not address the United States’ own policies that may enable human trafficking-enabling policies, and it’s an incredible display of an utter lack of self-awareness.

More importantly, it reveals the deeply political — and cruel — impetus behind separating families at the border. Regardless of what Trump and his sycophants might say, this practice cannot be entirely pinned on Obama or the Democrats. The fact that the party of fiscal responsibility went through with this practice — despite it being more costly than keeping families together — underscores this reality.

Perhaps the State Department should send a copy of this report to Attorney General Jeff Sessions or Department of Homeland Security Administrator Kirstjen Nielsen.

Photo Credit: kelly bell photography/Flickr


Marie W
Marie W2 months ago

Thank you for sharing

Shelley w
Shelley w7 months ago

I would not choose to cross the border of a country illegally especially with a child when the legal entry point is a Port of Entry. Also, many children are showing up at the border not accompanied by a family member because their parent has paid a human trafficker to drop them off at the border. This is family separation created by a parent.

Kathy G
Kathy G8 months ago

Thank you

Patty L
Patty Langford8 months ago


silja salonen
silja salonen8 months ago

this is one huge debacle; being the WH house and the administration

Cindy S
Cindy Smith8 months ago


Rhoberta E
Rhoberta E8 months ago

brian f
Thanks for the green star for my comment.
The false equivalency comes from someone who compares these children seeking asylum with their parents and US citizens which is exactly what the member did who wanted to compare these CHILDREN parents of felons

Brian F
Brian F8 months ago

Rhoberta E Think about this. These children are not US citizens and have no right to be in this country. So your giving a false comparison.

John W
John W8 months ago


Sue L
Sue L8 months ago

Unfortunately, Trump, Sessions, and Nielsen have made it abundantly clear that they don't give a damn about these children and families.