The fishy claim that ‘100,000 children’ in the United States are in the sex trade

Apr 4, 2017 | Feature | 0 comments

“At least 100,000 children in the U.S. are commercially sexually exploited.”

Web site of ECPAT-USA, which says it is the leading anti-trafficking policy organization in the United States

This is a commonly cited statistic in the media and among politicians when discussing the sex trade involving children under the age of 18. Frequently, it is provided without any source, though ECPAT’s Web site attributed it to 2010 congressional testimony by Ernie Allen, at the time president of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC).

At The Fact Checker, we are wary of round numbers, particularly involving an underground business such as the sex trade. So, as part of our continuing series examining the background of commonly-cited statistics, we investigated how this figure was calculat

Allen says he came up with the figure about a decade ago because of a pressing need: “With any social issue, if you can’t quantify it, it must not be a problem in the view of policymakers.”

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