Message From the Secretary of State
Human trafficking deprives millions worldwide of their dignity and freedom. It undermines national security, distorts markets, and enriches transnational criminals and terrorists, and is an affront to the universal values we as Americans hold dear. The use of human trafficking by terrorist groups, such as ISIS and Boko Haram, not only reflects the brutality of these groups, but also acts as a means by which terrorist organizations recruit adherents and finance their operations. Combating human trafficking is not merely a moral issue or one that affects the interests of the American people; it is also an issue that threatens international peace and security.
The United States remains a committed leader in combating this global threat. President Trump has made ending human trafficking a top priority for the Administration and dedicated the government’s full resources to fighting this crime. I am proud to lead the Department’s dedicated efforts to rid the world of modern slavery. I will continue to strengthen our partnership with Congress, faith-based organizations, the private sector, advocates, and human trafficking survivors, whose voices are critical to developing effective anti-trafficking strategies and public policies. As I have throughout my career, I remain committed to advancing civilian security and preserving human life and dignity.
The 2018 Trafficking in Persons Report is an essential State Department tool used to shed light on the darkness where modern slavery thrives and to highlight specific steps each government can take to protect victims of human trafficking, prevent trafficking crimes, and prosecute traffickers in the United States and around the world. The findings in this report help inform policymakers, law enforcement, and civil society on gaps and areas of concern, as well as serve as a roadmap forward to end the scourge.
This year’s report focuses on effective ways local communities can address human trafficking proactively and on how national governments can support and empower them. Local communities are the most affected by this abhorrent crime and are also the first line of defense against human trafficking. By engaging and training law enforcement, religious leaders, teachers, tribal elders, business executives, and communities, we become more vigilant and learn to identify and address vulnerabilities swiftly. Proactive community-driven measures strengthen our ability to protect our most vulnerable and weaken a criminal’s ability to infiltrate, recruit, and exploit. I have experienced firsthand that individuals closest to a problem are often the best resource to solving it, which is why the Department prioritizes equipping and empowering front-line civil society leaders.
Modern slavery has no place in the world, and I intend to ensure, through diplomatic engagement and increased action, that the United States government’s leadership in combating this global threat is sustained in the years to come.
Michael R. Pompeo