Government-sponsored trafficking is “a perversion of any government’s reason for existence”, which is “to protect rights, not crush them”, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said during the release of the 20th annual Trafficking in Persons Report.
“The United States will not stand by as any government with a policy or pattern of human trafficking subjects its own citizens to this kind of oppression,” Pompeo said. “We will work tirelessly in the United States to free those who are still enslaved.”
Pompeo was joined for the release of the TIP Report, as it is called, by US Rep. Chris Smith, R-New Jersey, who 20 years ago was the author of the historic Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000, the law which mandated the report and which has been reauthorised many times.
Also in attendance were Ambassador John Richmond, who serves in the Trafficking in Persons Office at the State Department, and White House adviser Ivanka Trump, the daughter of President Donald Trump, who has made human trafficking one of her signature issues.
The TIP Report “is the gold standard, exposing problems and motivating countries to reform,” said Smith.
“The TIP Report is a key component of our nation’s robust efforts to combat human trafficking which ruins childhoods, leaves victims scarred for a lifetime and enriches human traffickers,” added Smith, author of five human trafficking laws. “The annual report catalogs and reviews what countries are doing to track down and prosecute the perpetrators and how they are working to rescue and help the victims.”
There are an estimated 24.9 million adult and child trafficking victims worldwide. Human trafficking involves sex trafficking and forced labour.
Picture: A man in Athens, Greece, has a chain wrapped around his wrists in this photo illustration. (CNS photo/Alkis Konstantinidis, Reuters).