We are here today in fulfillment of a promise I made two months ago. I promised that the United States would use every available law enforcement resource to assist the Romanian government in ending the scourge of human trafficking. I made this promise to the Romanian people and to the government of Romania. Now, let me make another promise, this is only the beginning. As I said, there will be no sanctuary for those who trade in human misery and traffic the vulnerable and the needy. You are criminals. You are cowards and we will pursue you in Romania, in the United States, outside of our borders, and anywhere you seek to hide. President Trump and I have committed to use all available law enforcement agencies and tools available to combat human trafficking and organized crime.
I must wholeheartedly thank Interior Minister Vela, Justice Minister Predoiu, and General Prosecutor Scutea for their unflagging efforts which culminated in today’s extradition. You all kept your promises to fight human trafficking. You kept your promises to the Romanian people.
Secretary Pompeo recently described human trafficking as a “truly wicked act.” It is. And all it takes for this evil to flourish is, in the words of Edmund Burke, “for good men to do nothing.” Today is a watershed moment, the man being extradited stands accused of profound involvement in human trafficking…modern day slavery. He will face trial in the United States and if found guilty he will be held accountable for the crimes he committed against his own countrymen and women.
We are all in this fight together. We have to be. The existence of every person here today and every goodhearted person alive is lessened by the scourge of human trafficking. Nothing better underscores this common fight than the amazing collaboration our own Diplomatic Security Service has with their Romanian law enforcement colleagues which culminated in today’s extradition. From the police in Craiova and the Romanian National Police to our governmental partners, I thank you for getting us here today. You have rendered a fantastic service to both of our nations and the Romanian people. I also want to thank the FBI, DOJ, Diplomatic Security, and the entirety of both our nations’ law enforcement professionals.
We will rid Romania of this heinous crime of human trafficking. We will aggressively pursue all perpetrators and we will hold them accountable. This is only the opening salvo in this just war against modern day slavery that sexually exploits the vulnerable while forcing others into slave labor.
It is also imperative that we focus on the victims of human trafficking. The trafficked have experienced untold horrors and they desperately need our help. They need tangible support—a home or shelter, passage back to their homelands and continuing support so they can return to their lives and never again fall prey to the lowly and despicable people who would exploit them. They also need the professional services that are essential…be they medical, physical, psychological, or spiritual.
I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge the incredible work of Minister of Labor and Social Protection Violeta Alexandru. Minister Alexandru, your efforts on behalf of trafficking victims are real and they are making a difference. The victims—and indeed all of us—are in your debt for what you have done. My discussion with Minister Alexandru has made it clear that new facilities having professionally trained staff that are skilled in providing victim services are necessary. Minister Alexandru and I have agreed to pursue a plan to make sure that all facilities, new and old, provide the best possible services to the victims, by skilled, trained professionals. We will also work together on building new facilities for trafficking victims.
On June 26th I spoke about the Trafficking in Persons Report for 2019 issued by the United States. The report recognized that the human trafficking problem in Romania was due to the backsliding in the rule of law by the prior government. I called for the Parliament to act and address this issue. It is very disappointing that PSD leader Ciolacu responded by saying that the current Romanian laws on human trafficking and the rule of law are sufficient. They are not.
I again call on the Romanian parliament, as I did on June twenty-sixth, to pass the tough legislation necessary to eliminate human trafficking and organized crime. Strong legislation depriving convicted criminals of the ill-gotten profits of their crimes is immediately necessary. So are laws that provide for speedy trials and speedy resolution of criminal complaints are desperately needed.
The current efforts by the Orban government to enforce the rule of law, stop human trafficking and stop organized crime are remarkable. Of special mention are the efforts of Ministers Alexandru, Predoiu, Vela, Prosecutor General Scutea and state secretary Despescu. I commend their hard work and dedication to protecting the people of Romania and the world.
Our two nations are stronger when we stand together to fight crime and hold accountable those who prey on our societies. Our efforts will not be limited only to combatting trafficking. So, to traffickers and other criminals, I say our nations’ law enforcement professionals are looking for you, and our courts are waiting for you. You cannot hide! We will find you, we will arrest you, and we will prosecute you to the fullest extent of the law.
On behalf of President Trump and myself, I thank you and wish you all a good day.
May God bless the people of Romania and of the United States.
U.S. Ambassador to Romania, Adrian Zuckerman