Hello, I am Lou deBaca. I am the Ambassador charged with directing the U.S. Department of State’s efforts to combat human trafficking and coordinating the Obama Administration’s interagency response to this global phenomenon.
This year, we celebrate the 10-year anniversary of two landmark efforts to combat modern slavery. Ten years ago, President Clinton signed the Trafficking Victims Protection Act into law. And, that same year, the world came together at the United Nations and set international standards with the negotiation of the Palermo Protocol.
And since then, thousands of victims have been helped; thousands of traffickers have been arrested and prosecuted.
The Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons is working hard to ensure that the policy and legal achievements of the last decade are turned into actual results. We must be free more people from the shackles of modern slavery and prevent this human rights crime in the first place.
And to that end, we are mobilizing American diplomats across the world to assess the problem, develop solutions, and partner with governments. We believe that people everywhere, no matter how rich or poor, how powerful or outcast must be guaranteed the greatest right of all: freedom.
And that right is most precious right here in America. This year, under the leadership of Secretary Clinton, the annual Trafficking in Persons Report will rank the United States for the first time. As the Secretary said recently, “Human rights are universal, but their experience is local. This is why we are committed to holding everyone to the same standard, including ourselves.”
So this year the United States will be held to the same minimum standards that we apply to other countries as outlined under the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000. But, these standards are just the minimum: every country in the world must do more and can do more.
As the President said in Tokyo, “we still have to work so that a young girl can be valued not for her body but for her mind; and so that young people everywhere can go as far as their talent and their drive and choices will take them.”
So please, join us today and become part of the global movement to end modern slavery once and for all. Go to state.gov/g/tip to get involved. Thank you.