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Fake Photo: Pregnant Trafficked Children

Suzy Woltmann Suzy Woltmann
15th August 2020
Fake Photo: Pregnant Trafficked Children
While the children do have distended abdomens, they are not pregnant (Getty Images).

The Claim

The photo below depicts young human trafficking victims who are pregnant. 

Emerging story

In August 2020, Facebook users posted the picture with captions and hashtags implying that the children pictured were pregnant victims of human trafficking. Some even posted Islamophobic comments claiming that the children were also victims of female genital mutilation. 

Misbar’s Analysis

Misbar’s investigation found that the claim is false. We conducted a reverse image search of the three images separately and found that all three children were suffering from health conditions that caused their abdomens to swell. All three pictures were taken in Afghanistan. The original image of the child at the top was taken on May 27, 2003. The child pictured had heart failure, which caused her abdomen to swell with fluid. The caption reads: “This child is one of those who will be sent to the Paris Pompidou Hospital for a better treatment of her case.” The original image of the child on the bottom right was also taken on May 27, 2003. The caption shows that she had thalassemia, a blood disorder that can cause spleen enlargement.

When social media users began reposting the images with false captions in 2019, Najette tried to set the record straight. 

Further, while it is possible for girls as young as those seen in the pictures to be pregnant, it is extremely unlikely. 

Misbar’s Classification


Misbar’s Sources

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