I remember Donald Trump stating that 80% of illegal immigrants coming from Mexico and crossing illegally into the U.S. were raped/sexually abused. I have been trying to find some credible scholarly articles regarding the matter in order to obtain a clearer understanding of the issue, or if any issue exists.

EDIT: prefer open access if possible

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    Can you please link to that Trump quote? I dont remember him every saying that Apr 13, 2017 at 2:02
  • mediaite.com/online/… - the link to the article is now invalid @DavidGrinberg
    – Eric L
    Apr 13, 2017 at 2:07
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    The title should read.... The Illegal Mexican Immigrant Rapists... or better yet, The Spooky Illegal Mexican Immigrant Rapists... Don't forget Donald Trump also loves the "poorly educated", he just loves'em! Apr 13, 2017 at 3:04
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    I'm pretty sure you have the Trump quote backwards. I believe he said that 80% were rapists, not raped.
    – Bobson
    Apr 13, 2017 at 3:42
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    @Bobson No, it seems to be correct: "About 80% of the women coming in", he then gets a bit off-topic, but the implication is that the sentence should have ended in "are raped". His broader point is about criminals coming in though: "Well, somebody’s doing the raping, Don! I mean somebody’s doing it! [...] Who’s doing the raping?"
    – tim
    Apr 13, 2017 at 7:23

1 Answer 1


Trump actually names the source for this statistic:

If you go to Fusion, you will see a story: About 80% of the women coming in, you know who owns Fusion? Univision! Go to Fusion and pick up the stories on rape.

The Fusion article is available online and explains where the number comes from:

A staggering 80 percent of Central American girls and women crossing Mexico en route to the United States are raped along the way, according to directors of migrant shelters interviewed by Fusion.

This does not seem like a reliable approach to getting correct numbers. Fusion actually also names an Amnesty International report which puts the number at 60%, but also names a study - with a small sample size - that puts the number even lower:

Women and girl migrants, especially those without legal status travelling in remote areas or on trains, are at heightened risk of sexual violence at the hands of criminal gangs, people traffickers, other migrants or corrupt officials. Sexual violence, or the threat of sexual violence, is often used as a means of terrorizing women and their relatives. Many criminal gangs appear to use sexual violence as part of the “price” demanded of migrants. According to some experts, the prevalence of rape is such that people smugglers may require women to have a contraceptive injection prior to the journey as a precaution against pregnancy resulting from rape.

It is a widely held view – shared by local and international NGOs and health professionals working with migrant women – that as many as six in 10 migrant women and girls are raped. [21] A study in 2006 interviewed 90 migrant women held in Iztapalapa Migrants’ Detention Centre, of whom just over half were from Central America. Twenty-three women reported experiencing some kind of violence, including sexual violence. Of these, 13 stated the person responsible was a state official. [22] Researchers carrying out the study believed the figures may significantly understate the problem because of the reluctance of women to discuss sexual violence, particularly when they are in detention.

At least the first cited report is available online, but not in English.

The implication Trump is trying to make - that most/many undocumented immigrants are criminals and/or rapists is not supported by this number though. The answer to the question "Who’s doing the raping?" is not "80% of illegal immigrants", but "criminal gangs, people traffickers, other migrants or corrupt officials".

  • Thank you for being a seemingly decent unbiased perspective. I was not sure what he was referencing to when he said fusion, didn't realize that was the journal name and confused me since the clip seemed out of context and the initial link within the article (first hyperlink) gave me an error.
    – Eric L
    Apr 13, 2017 at 7:54
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    @dannyf You didn't hear him saying that because he never said anything like it, because that's not his point. His point is that most undocumented immigrants are criminals. That's why he is saying "Somebody is doing the raping". Trumps campaign wasn't build on trying to combat rape, but on spreading fear of immigrants. The context where this discussion is taking place is this: "They're sending people that have lots of problems, and they're bringing those problems with us. They're bringing drugs. They're bringing crime. They're rapists."
    – tim
    Apr 13, 2017 at 12:12
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    @dannyf But yes, Trump is indeed saying that those 80% are victims of crimes. But not out of concern for them, but to make a point about the dangers of letting immigrants in. Here is the interview. Note that it is a direct reaction to the Trump quote in my previous comment.
    – tim
    Apr 13, 2017 at 12:13
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    @dannyf You were the one trying to read his mind, speculating on what he may have meant, without any indication that this may actually be the case. I was providing the context of what he actually said. And that context is not rape prevention, but Trumps statement that Mexico is sending it's people to the US, and that those people are rapists.
    – tim
    Apr 13, 2017 at 13:17
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    The staggering amount of hoops @dannyf constantly jumps through to twist what Trump says into some sort of defensible 'misunderstanding' is truly impressive.
    – user1530
    Apr 13, 2017 at 17:45

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