I am pleased to celebrate and reflect upon the last decade of progress identifying and fighting the phenomenon of modern slavery. Ten years ago, the United Nations negotiated the international standards against trafficking in persons and the United States enacted the Trafficking Victims Protection Act. Since then, the international
community has witnessed tangible progress in the effort to end the scourge of trafficking in persons. More victims have been protected, more cases have been successfully prosecuted, and more instances of this human rights abuse have been prevented.
Countries that once denied the existence of human trafficking now work to identify victims and help them overcome the trauma of modern slavery, as well as hold responsible those who enslave others. Although progress has undoubtedly been made against this global phenomenon, there is more work to do. This annual assessment is an opportunity to diagnose the world’s efforts to implement the “3P” paradigm of prevention, protection, and prosecution. Based on lessons learned, we must work together with civil society, the corporate sector, and across governments through the “fourth P” – partnership – toward a world in which every man, woman, and child is safe from the hands of traffickers and can realize their God-given potential.
The 10th annual Trafficking in Persons Report outlines the continuing challenges across the globe, including in the United States. The Report, for the first time, includes a ranking of the United States based on the same standards to which we hold other countries. The United States takes its first-ever ranking not as a reprieve but as a responsibility to strengthen global efforts against modern slavery, including those within America. This human rights abuse is universal, and no one should claim immunity from its reach or from the responsibility to confront it.
This year’s report highlights several key trends, including the suffering of women and children in involuntary domestic servitude, the challenges and successes in identifying and protecting victims, and the need to include anti-trafficking policies in our response to natural disasters, as was evident in the aftermath of this year’s earthquake in Haiti.
Ending this global scourge is an important policy priority for the United States. This fluid phenomenon continues to affect cultures, communities, and countries spanning the globe. Through partnerships, we can confront it head-on and lift its victims from slavery to freedom.