Two hundred years ago, the British Parliament outlawed the trans-Atlantic slave trade, culminating a decades-long struggle led by William Wilberforce.
Trafficking in persons is a modern-day form of slavery, a new type of global slave trade. Perpetrators prey on the most weak among us, primarily women and children, for profit and gain. They lure victims into involuntary servitude and sexual slavery. Today we are again called by conscience to end the debasement of our fellow men and women. As in the 19th century, committed abolitionists around the world have come together in a global movement to confront this repulsive crime. President George W. Bush has committed the United States Government to lead in combating this serious 21st century challenge, and all nations that are resolved to end human trafficking have a strong partner in the United States.
The seventh annual Trafficking in Persons Report documents efforts by foreign governments to prevent human trafficking, prosecute criminals, and protect their victims. The report probes even the darkest places, calling to account any country, friend or foe, that is not doing enough to combat human trafficking.
The power of shame has stirred many to action and sparked unprecedented reforms; and the growing awareness has prompted important progress in combating this crime and assisting its victims wherever they are found.
Defeating human trafficking is a great moral calling of our day. Together with our allies and friends, we will continue our efforts to bring this cruel practice to an end. Thank you for joining the new abolitionist movement. Together we can make a difference, and together we can build a safer, freer, and more prosperous world for all.