Trafficking in persons, also known as modern-day slavery, “tears at the very fabric of society. It rips families apart. It devastates communities. It holds people back from becoming full participants in their own political processes in their own economies. And it challenges the ability of countries to build strong justice systems and transparent governments,” said Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights Maria Otero. “That is why fighting modern slavery is a priority for the United States.”
Some 27 million men, women and children live in modern slavery. In its annual Trafficking in Persons Report, issued in mid-June, the Department of State analyzed conditions in 186 nations and territories, including the United States, and ranked their governments based on their effectiveness in fighting modern-day slavery.
“This year’s report tells us that we are making a lot of progress. Twenty-nine countries were upgraded from a lower tier to a higher one, which means that their governments are taking the right steps,” said Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Nonetheless, the report indicates that 23 countries have failed to meet minimum international standards to take action against this scourge, up from 13 in 2010. Another 41 countries were placed on a watch list, and could face sanctions in the future unless they improve their performance.
But “ultimately, this report reminds us of the human cost of this crime,” said Secretary Clinton:
“Traffickers prey on the hopes and dreams of those seeking a better life. And our goal should be to put those hopes and dreams back within reach, whether it’s getting a good job to send money home to support a family, trying to get an education for oneself or one’s children, or simply pursuing new opportunities that might lead to a better life.”
“As we recommit ourselves to end modern slavery,” said Secretary Clinton, “we should take a moment to reflect on how far we have come, here in our country and around the world, but how much farther we still have to go to find a way to free those 27 million victims and to ensure that there are no longer any victims in the future.”