"Human trafficking has become big business – generating billions of dollars each year through the entrapment and exploitation of millions," said U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder on May 3rd, at the National Conference on Human Trafficking. "Almost every country in the world is affected, either as a source or destination for victims."
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, human trafficking is the fastest-growing crime in the world, and is second in financial scope only to the sale of illegal drugs. It occurs in every state in the U.S. and every country in the world. It is a global problem, and as such, it demands a global solution.
That is why the U.S. is "partnering with authorities in other countries to extradite fugitive defendants, protect victims' families, obtain evidence of criminal activity, and combat trafficking networks that operate across international lines," said Attorney General Holder.
"By working with our foreign allies, we've succeeded in liberating Jamaican tree-cutters from shacks in New Hampshire; Filipino workers from chain motels in South Dakota; Eastern European women from strip clubs in Detroit; Vietnamese garment workers from American Samoa; Peruvian factory workers – including children – from traffickers on Long Island; and young girls from Togo and Ghana from toiling around the clock without pay in hair salons in New Jersey," said Attorney General Holder.
" We . . . . know that modern slavery exists in communities and cultures spanning the globe," said Ambassador-at-large Luis CdeBaca director of the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons. "It is a fluid phenomenon, responding to market demands, vulnerabilities in laws, weak penalties, natural disasters, and economic instability.
"No country, including the United States, has attained a sophisticated or truly comprehensive response to this massive, ever-increasing, ever-changing crime. . . . Every country is still learning what trafficking is and what works in response to it . . . . The vast majority of people enslaved today around the world have yet to see any progress.
"We must devote ourselves to never again letting a generation go by without forward progress," said Ambassador CdeBaca. "Working toward a world without modern slavery is no doubt a bold proposition, but it is one that we must work toward."