At least eight times over 12 days this month, the president has argued for his proposed wall on the southern border by claiming that traffickers tie up and silence women with tape before illegally driving them through the desert from Mexico to the U.S., reports the Washington Post. In Trump’s telling, the adhesive is sometimes blue tape. Other times it is electrical tape or duct tape. “Human trafficking — grabbing women … taping them up, wrapping tape around their mouths so they can’t shout or scream, tying up their hands behind their back and even their legs and putting them in a back seat of a car or a van…” Trump said on Jan. 11. Human-trafficking experts have no idea what he is talking about.
“I think his statements are completely divorced from reality,” said Ashley Huebner of the National Immigrant Justice Center. “That’s not a fact pattern that we see.” Nine aid workers and academics who have worked on the border or have knowledge of trafficking there said the president’s tape anecdote did not mirror what they have seen or heard. The Toronto Star cited other experts who said Trump’s lurid narrative — migrant women bound, gagged and driven across the border — does not align with their known reality. “I have no idea the roots of it,” said Edna Yang of American Gateways, a Texas-based immigration legal services and advocacy nonprofit. “I haven’t seen a case like that.” Anne Chandler of the Tahirih Justice Center in Houston said, “I’ve never had that.” Evangeline Chan of Safe Horizon, a victim assistance group, said, “His representation of how traffickers get their victims into the country just isn’t what we’re seeing. It is very, very different.”