Debunking the false “kids are more 67,000 times more likely to be trafficked than die of COVID” meme – a Facebook response

QAnon child abduction conspiracy meme (downloaded from Facebook)

The following is a response I sent to someone posting a meme nearly identical to the one at right on Facebook. I’ve removed the names, lightly edited it, and made the links hyperlinks. You can compare to the original here.

No. This is a bullshit QAnon conspiracy theory, and anyone who can and chooses to Google the actual numbers and do a little multiplication knows it.

As of yesterday, 49 children 14 or younger have died of COVID in the US. Multiply that by 66,668 and you get just under 3.3 million children that would have been trafficked in the US over the same period of time as COVID (say 6 months). Over a year that’s 6.5 million children in the US alone (rounded to the nearest 100k) who are allegedly trafficked if that meme is even remotely right.

The estimated number of children in the US in 2020 is 74 million. 6.5 million allegedly trafficked children divided by 74 million is 8.8%. That’s 8.8% – about 1 child out of every 11 – that the meme claims would be trafficked in just the United States. Is one out of every 11 children you see a victim of trafficking?

For context, my wife is a high school teacher at a school with 1800 students. For the meme to be right, her school alone would have 159 victims of human trafficking. It does not.

Globally, the State Department estimates the number of people (not just children) that were known to be trafficked in 2019 was approximately 119,000 (see page 43).


6.5 million children allegedly trafficked in the US alone vs. 119k humans of all ages globally.

Please stop sharing this meme as it’s wildly wrong misinformation. It’s so insanely wrong that it shouldn’t pass anyone’s sniff test, never mind need a detailed numerical debunking like this.

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