President Obama Makes Historic Commitment to Fight Human Trafficking
New White House Initiatives Will Increase Support for Human Trafficking Survivors, Prohibit Forced Labor by Government Contractors
Washington, D.C. (September 25, 2012) – The following is a statement by Polaris Project Executive Director Bradley Myles following President Obama’s remarks on human trafficking in New York today:
“Today, President Obama rightly declared that fighting modern slavery is one of the great human rights battles of our era in a speech detailing a number of concrete measures to help identify victims of human trafficking and reduce this crime and human rights abuse throughout the United States and globally.
“Importantly the President’s words help to shift the paradigm from treating trafficked persons as criminals to seeing them as crime victims to be protected. This is a core belief here at Polaris Project and we welcome all efforts to ensure that victims of human trafficking are treated with dignity and respect and are provided with comprehensive social services.
“We support the President’s plan to ensure that government contractors do not engage in human trafficking and forced labor, to increase training and tools for law enforcement and prosecutors, and to promote greater collaboration among federal agencies. These initiatives will have a significant impact. Additionally we echo President Obama’s call to pass the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA) and urge Congress to move forward quickly to approve this measure which has previously been reauthorized three times by bipartisan majorities. The current Senate bill, S. 1301, has 52 cosponsors.
“We know first-hand that victims all over the United States need support to leave their trafficking situation and rebuild their lives. Thousands of victims have called the National Human Trafficking Resource Center hotline on their own behalf to request help. This national hotline is one of our country’s best tools to identify and reach victims and connect them to the services they need.
“President Obama has made it clear that his Administration wants to make these survivors a top priority. His speech and policy announcements represent a turning point in the fight against human trafficking which clearly signal that this is a real problem here in our country. We do not face an insurmountable challenge, but we must heed this call and redouble our efforts to create a world without modern slavery. With the help of business leaders, community members, law enforcement, and federal and state officials, we can come together to support victims of trafficking and eradicate this crime from our communities.”
via Polaris Project