For QAnon conspiracy theorists, the use of migrant children in their propaganda conveniently conflates voluntarily traveling to the border for asylum with trafficking, which involves forced labor or sexual exploitation. The fantasy effectively energizes support for draconian border policies known to endanger migrants, such as the Trump administration’s so-called Remain in Mexico policy, which has resulted in migrant kidnappings and killings.
According to Kids in Need of Defense, a nonprofit agency focused on protecting migrant children, most foreign trafficking victims actually arrive at ports of entry, including airports. Half of all trafficking victims in this country are U.S. citizens or permanent residents, often enslaved by people they know. While QAnon casts Trump as a hero, child sex trafficking prosecutions declined under his administration.