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President Obama on Human Trafficking

Obama 2012

More than twenty million people around the world are victims of human trafficking.

More than twenty million people around the world are victims of human trafficking, said President Barack Obama at the Clinton Global Initiative conference in late September:

“It ought to concern every person, because it is a debasement of our common humanity. It ought to concern every community, because it tears at our social fabric. It ought to concern every business, because it distorts markets. It ought to concern every nation, because it endangers public health and fuels violence and organized crime. I’m talking about the injustice, the outrage, of human trafficking, which must be called by its true name -- modern slavery.”

The United States will continue to be a leader in the global movement to eradicate trafficking in humans, said President Obama. Yet even as we increase our efforts to stop slavery, more and more people around the world are falling prey to those who would grow rich from enslaving their fellow human beings. That is why President Obama announced a series of additional steps that the U.S. government will take to more effectively counter this scourge.

As one of the largest purchasers of goods and services in the world, the United States government will lead by example. “We’re making clear that American tax dollars must never, ever be used to support the trafficking of human beings. We will have zero tolerance. We mean what we say. We will enforce it,” said President Obama.

But “no government, no nation, can meet this challenge alone. Everybody has a responsibility. Every nation can take action. Modern anti-trafficking laws must be passed and enforced and justice systems must be strengthened. Victims must be cared for...

“As nations, let’s recommit to addressing the underlying forces that push so many into bondage in the first place. With development and economic growth that creates legitimate jobs, there’s less likelihood of indentured servitude around the globe. A sense of justice that says no child should ever be exploited, that has to be burned into the culture of every country,” said President Obama.

“Our fight against human trafficking is one of the great human rights causes of our time, and the United States will continue to lead it."