Human trafficking is modern-day slavery that uses kidnapping, fraud, psychological and physical abuse to force men, women and children into labor and sexual exploitation. It is estimated that eight-hundred thousand people are trafficked across international borders each year.
In China, as in many other Asian countries, Chinese women and girls fall victim to traffickers who transport them abroad for sexual exploitation. Chinese of both sexes migrate all over the world for low-skilled labor and a significant number of them fall victim to enforced servitude. There are also reports of forced labor among migrant workers moving internally within China.
Although the Chinese government says it is strongly opposed to human trafficking and has made it illegal, much more needs to be done to prevent trafficking and protect its victims. Vulnerable people in China, especially women and children, should be educated that promises of work abroad can be traps.
The U.S. has urged the Chinese government to increase efforts to disseminate information on the dangers of human trafficking to its most vulnerable populations. The U.S. has also repeatedly urged the Chinese government to respect the free flow of information as a means to educate its citizens about the dangers of human trafficking.
The Chinese government in partnership with the International Labor Organization has taken some steps to prevent forced labor in nine Chinese provinces. The Chinese government has also conducted some anti-trafficking training for law enforcement officials. But much more remains to be done.
The United States is committed to helping all countries eradicate human trafficking. Since 2001, the U.S. has contributed some three-hundred seventy-five million dollars toward anti-trafficking programs. These efforts are producing results. In 2004, there were three-thousand convictions of traffickers worldwide and thirty-nine countries amended or passed new anti-trafficking in persons laws.
President George W. Bush put it best when he said, "We are called by conscience and compassion to bring this cruel practice to an end."
The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.