The Department of Justice (DOJ) has quietly taken down a series of sections from its website related to both domestic and international child sex trafficking, including a portion that offers information about U.S. minors being “recruited and exploited” into the commercial sex industry.
According to an archived version of the website, the agency previously provided detailed information about “International Sex Trafficking of Minors,” “Domestic Sex Trafficking of Minors,” and “Child Victims of Prostitution.”
The updated version of the webpage completely erased all three sections, which were added during President Donald Trump’s tenure on May 28, 2020, to counsel Americans about tactics that are being used by pimps and human traffickers targetting vulnerable children and luring them into prostitution and other forms of sexual exploitation using psychological manipulation.
In the top section under “Child Sex Trafficking”—which is still in the updated version of the website—the DOJ also erased the following paragraph.
“After cultivating a relationship with the child and engendering a false sense of trust, the trafficker will begin engaging the child in prostitution, and use physical, emotional, and psychological abuse to keep the child trapped in a life of prostitution. It is common for traffickers to isolate victims by moving them far away from friends and family, altering their physical appearances, or continuously moving them to new locations. Victims are heavily conditioned to remain loyal to the trafficker and to distrust law enforcement.”
The new version shows at the bottom of the website that the DOJ updated it in mid-May, roughly three years after the Trump administration added additional information highlighting how child sex trafficking is a major issue in the United States.
During his time in office, Mr. Trump made fighting human trafficking a key goal of his administration and often spoke publicly about the issue. He signed an executive order in January 2020 aimed to eliminate human trafficking and online child exploitation in the United States, which required resources to be directed into areas that would result in the prosecution of offenders, assist victims, and expand prevention education programs about the issue.
While it is unclear what could have led to the website’s revision, the vice president of an American think tank foundation called the move typical of Democrat-led administrations.
“For some reason, people on the Left get really uncomfortable and defensive talking about child sexual exploitation,” said Roger Severino, the Heritage Foundation’s Vice President of Domestic Policy, the Washington Examiner reported.
“Republican administrations direct more resources to child and human sex trafficking, and then Democratic administrations pull that back,” Mr. Severino continued. “They treat it almost as a distraction from some things they consider to be more important.”
Mr. Severino also said that the process to change information on the DOJ’s website is a strenuous effort, noting it “clearly had to go through several layers of review” prior to being modified.
In a statement on July 11, Rep. Anna Paulina Luna (R-Fla.) linked the DOJ’s move to a New York Times report suggesting the Department of Health and Human Services lost contact with thousands of unaccompanied alien children (UAC) who have been caught up in child smuggling and child labor operations.
— Rep. Anna Paulina Luna (@RepLuna) July 11, 2023
“The DOJ specifically deleted a section that implicated the Biden Administration’s open-border policies in correlation to the sex trafficking of children,” Ms. Luna said. The deleted portion read, “One form of sex trafficking involved the cross-border transportation of children. In these situations, traffickers recruit and transfer children across international borders in order to sexually exploit them in another country.”
“DOJ’s blatant move to distance Joe Biden’s harmful policies from the global crime of sex trafficking should be no surprise to any of us who have seen the blatant sexualization and abuse of children this administration is comfortable with promoting,” she added.
Data from Customs and Border Protection shows that around 345,000 minors have come across the U.S. border unaccompanied since early 2021 when President Joe Biden took office.
Ms. Luna noted that the development also coincides with the release of the anti-child trafficking film “Sound of Freedom,” a movie some legacy media outlets have painted in a negative light by trying to link it to QAnon conspiracy theories.
“This also prefaced the Sound of Freedom release, a film that has underscored the horrific violation of human dignity by the international sex trade and the perpetrators of it,” she said.
Despite the attacks, the Jim Caviezel film continues to top the box office and has made more than $45 million at the box office since its July 4 release. The movie largely revolves around Homeland Security agent Tim “Timoteo” Ballard’s relentless pursuit of a child who was trafficked in Colombia.