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White House Forum To Combat Human Trafficking

It is difficult know how many people have been victimized by traffickers.

New federal strategic action plan on services for victims in the United States developed.

Building on President Barack Obama’s commitments to combat trafficking in persons at home and abroad, announced last September, the White House recently hosted a forum to discuss what has been achieved since then, and to announce the next steps the United States will take to combat modern-day slavery.

Due to the nature of this crime, it is difficult to know how many people have been victimized by traffickers, but some have estimated there are as many as 27 million victims globally. And because the United States is one of the top destination countries for human trafficking, as well as for goods produced using slave labor, we realize that to effectively combat the problem globally, we must first address trafficking in persons and involuntary servitude in our own back yard.

Last September, President Obama announced several federal efforts to combat this scourge. One aspect is to raise awareness among populations most likely to be victimized, and to educate the public.

Second, President Obama proposed to prosecute traffickers through strengthened investigations and enforcement tools.

Next, survivors are to be protected through comprehensive social services, family reintegration, and immigration services.

Finally, he called for forming partnerships with civil society, state and local government, the private sector, and faith-based organizations, thus maximizing resources and outcomes.

At the White House Forum to Combat Human Trafficking, a new federal strategic action plan on services for victims in the United States was developed that will take anti-trafficking efforts to new levels. It will expand victim services programs, including those offering legal help. New public-private partnerships will provide cutting-edge technology to aid law enforcement’s efforts to bring traffickers to justice, as well as new online applications to help link victims with much-needed services. And it will better coordinate the efforts of U.S. federal agencies in dealing with this crime. The plan also calls for all partners to move quickly to identify traffickers and to provide help to victims.

“Only by working together will we be able to successfully implement and strengthen our new strategic action plan,” said Attorney General Eric Holder. “Only by working together will we be able to lead the global fight against human trafficking, restore the dignity and reaffirm the humanity of those who have been victimized, and hold the perpetrators of these heinous crimes accountable.”