tv [untitled] CSPAN June 16, 2009 11:00pm-11:30pm EDT
as a critical part of our foreign policy agenda. the united states currently funds 140 anti trafficking programs in nearly 70 countries as well as 42 domestic task forces to address the challenge here. we're proud of the work we do, but we know we have much more ahead of us. it makes more people susceptible to the false promises of
traffickers. today, the state department releases our annual report on trafficking persons. it underscores the need to address the root causes of trafficking including poverty, lacks law-enforcement, and the exploitation of women. the trafficking report is not an indictment of past failures, but a guide for future progress. it includes examples taken -- examples of steps taken to address trafficking worldwide. in the condo, an army officer forced children to serve as soldiers. and columbia, there is a comprehensive center that tasks agents to investigate trafficking allegations to ensure that victims receive rehabilitative services. or in jordan, where the ministry of labor has established a fund to provide trafficking victims for food, housing, and legal aid. with this report, we hope to
shine the light brightly on the scope and scale of modern slavery. this way, all governments can see where progress is made. trafficking thrives in the shadows. it can be easy to dismiss it as something that happens to someone else somewhere else. that is not the case. trafficking is a crime that involves every nation on earth. that includes our own. trafficking in forced labor -- and forced labor are grave problems in the united states. authorities uncovered a scheme to enslave foreign workers as laborers for hotels and construction sites in 14 midwestern states. to coincide with this year's global trafficking and persons report, the department of justice is releasing its own report that describes the problem of human trafficking in the united states and offers recommendations to how we can do
a better job of fighting it. we're grateful for the doj work. it will help us advance our struggle against trafficking in our own country. we're committed to working with all nations collaborative lead. in recent years, we have pursued a comprehensive approach affected by prosecution, protection, and prevention. it is time to add partnership. the criminal network that enslaves millions of people, crosses borders, and spans continents. our responses must do the same. we're committed to new partnerships around the world. the repercussions of trafficking affect us all. i know that there are many of you in this room this morning that have been stalwart advocates in the fight against trafficking. chris smith, you have a copy of the report here. this is a really wonderful piece of work. beautifully presented, i
especially want to thank everyone in the state department, certain -- and certainly the tips office. i hope it is read and studied for the guidance it provides so that we, together, and partnership, can continue to make progress against this terrible scourged. >> thank you, madam secretary. i think there are a few things i might have asked congressman smith to put in if i had known at that years later, i would be here. nine years ago, the trafficking reports started as a modest salary -- a summary of 82 countries. this year, it ranks 175 countries. more importantly, it has become a diagnostic tool that guides our efforts as we seek to build a global partnership to combat modern slavery. the successes are clear. some former watch list countries are now tear one.
-- tier one. i am particularly heartened to see how nigeria started a dedicated counter trafficking police and prosecution unit. we can all learn from their growing success in working with non-government organizations and victims. such and trafficking in this work best when a corporate survivors as part of the team. i'm glad we're joined today by a number of people from the non- governmental community, and by members of the prosecution's unit and by the deputy sheriff from san antonio who is helping form such units across the state of texas. huge challenges remain for us all. some governments have yet to respond for the call for effective law enforcement efforts. two out of every five countries have yet to achieve a single conviction of a human
trafficker. our own report data showed for a second year that less than 10% of all convictions are for labor trafficking worldwide. labor trafficking is the largest form of trafficking in the world. all countries can do a better job and must do a better job of addressing forced labor also remaining vigilant against the scourge of the sec's traffickers. prosecution can be hit -- of the sex traffickers. abusers factor in fines as a cost of doing business. abuse workers are easily disposed of. instead of incorporating the effect of abuse and coercion, they often result in light sentences or incarceration of the victims. risks that the traffickers are willing to take. one important point in this year pose a report in a time of crisis, foreign workers are too
often -- in this year's report any time of economic crisis, last year, congress -- the traffickers had a starkly use them to exploit people as waitresses and enforced prostitution. congress also gave us welcome criminal tools to ensure that promises do not expose workers to servitude and mandated that these the recipients receive information about their rights before they traveled to the united states. we welcome those tools, and we will use them. to echoe \ secretary clinton's call, -- to echo secretary clinton's call, we must build on our common interests and to attack this phenomenon. a number of partners have been featured as heroes. we are joined by some of them who the secretary will introduce, but several of them
were unable to be there with us -- be here with us today. a greek police commander has dedicated his life to breaking up the trafficking rings that so often plagues southeastern europe. the trafficking survivor abdicates fiercely deliberate indonesian contracts labor is in the middle east. when over a bar patron boasting about a high and prostitution ring, in mozambiquean lawyer did not just walk away. he posed as a jaunt to infiltrate the organization so he could take the evidence to the police. those men are now standing trial in south africa. [applause] our canadian hero, prof.
benjamin peron also secured a trafficking ring as an advocate. he has rescued thousands of children and women from exploitation, and provides welcome opportunities to reclaim their lives. a jordanian anti trafficking activist is a fierce advocate for the rights of foreign, and domestic workers as they labor behind closed doors. in malaysia, one man works tirelessly to urge government officials to identify and protect refugees and migrant workers who are victimized by traffickers. this year's report also outlines a woman who passed away from cancer. she was active participant in the first ngo as groups -- and focus groups -- focus groups.
it has become the global standard today, and norman never stopped working for a world free from exploitation. we are humbled by their heroism, and we're honored to be joined with them today. madam secretary. [applause] >> thank you very much, lu. on behalf of the entire state department, we want to extend our appreciation and admiration to all of this year's heroes who cannot join us today. several years ago, vera lesco started working -- asking about the large number as of albanian girls that were disappearing from their homes. the more she learned about sex trafficking, the more determined she became to help stop it.
she found it and an anti trafficking organization called with a hearth -- called the hearth. she offered not only a place to stay, but comprehensive services like legal and medical help, job training, education, and family support. her commitment has come with costs and the dangers. she has been attacked and beaten several times by those people who benefit from the illegal trade of women and girls. she even had to send her daughter to live abroad for her safety. nothing has stopped of europe from continuing to advocate -- stopped vera and continuing to advocate for peace and safety. thank you so much. [applause]
just as she was beginning her work in albanian, another woman was starting down the same path on the other side of the world. she created her anti trafficking organization in coast to reach out more than a decade ago. her goal was to help trafficking victims and their families put their ordeal behind them and start new lives. the foundation provides counseling, education, and job training. it stops trafficking before it starts by training government leaders, tourism workers in how to identify and investigate and successfully intervened in trafficking occurs. her commitment and that a first
half and held so many girls and families throughout coast rica. i would like to invite her to say a few words on behalf of all of this year's courageous leaders in the fight against traffic. thank you. [applause] >> [speaking spanish] >> thank you so much madam secretary for this award. i am deeply honored to be here. and she is a fellow anti trafficking hero like myself.
these are heroes who have been recognized in this year's report from across the globe. although we fight against human trafficking in different ways, we have the same goal. to defeat this crime, we trust in god's grace that he will help us achieve it. we want to return dignity to human beings. i am the voice of many women, children, and men who are victims of trafficking.
i am also the voice of many ngo's work. and i am very grateful to god for this opportunity to be able to shed light on the work that workngo's heroes do for the work they do without any resources. being here, i like to call upon all governments to designate more resources so that we can make progress on this fight against trafficking.
we can form an ideal partnership because governments have the resources well we have the passions, the will to work, and the will to work 24 hours a day. first of all, i would like to thank god for this award. to my great team in san jose, because without them, it would not be possible for me to be here. and to my family for putting up with a mother who has to spend her evenings and nights in the streets. and my husband who is around here somewhere who has taken on the financial burden of allowing me to do this. [laughter] where are you, thomas?
-- [applause] >> thank you so much, and thanks to your husband as well. a good partnership. thanks to all of you for joining us. this is a wonderful event every year. it reminds us of how much work we have ahead of us. this morning, i sent a cable communicating to the staff of the state department here and around the world how critical this issue is to the foreign policy priorities of the obama administration and the state department. human trafficking demands attention, commitment, and passion from all of us. we're determined to build our advance progress in the weeks, months, and years ahead. i asked you to do one thing for us. that is, become advocates for both of these reports. [applause]
make sure that you read the department of justice report. we are including more information about the united states in our report. i believe when you shine a bright light, you need to shine it on everyone. we will rank ourselves. we believe we are tier one, but we will make -- but we will rank ourselves in the report next year. please read this. those of you working in the state department, usaid, our missions around the world, please take this and talk with your counterparts in governments, and countries that are willing to partner with us to make the changes that are outlined in this report. there are some many good ideas. yes, it does cost some resources, but the consequences for trafficking in any society
are so much more expensive and a devastating. thank you all very much. [applause] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2009] >> good afternoon, everyone. it is a pleasure to have dr. luis de baca here. he will make some remarks and to take your questions. without further ado, i will turn it over to ambassador de baca. >> this morning, the secretary unveiled the annual trafficking persons report, which is for the secretary to report and rank on the progress the countries are
making to fight human trafficking around the world. human trafficking to find an american law and international agreements -- is defined as taking labor or persons through force or coercion. in effect, modern slavery. this looks at the effect of the global economic crisis on the human trafficking issue. the report says that at a time of economic crisis, the terms are more vulnerable. affected communities are more vulnerable, and persons who are under economic stress are more likely to fall prey to the wiles of the traffickers. they get their victims -- and they give their victims promises of a better life, the ability to earn money if they are to travel abroad for work. often what we see is reflected in your report this year.
it is the notion of large, up- front payments, recruiting fees, that's that are taken out either to the recruiters themselves or to loan sharks and the home country so that by the time workers get to their destination, they are already held in bondage. unscrupulous employers can often build upon that, will a complacent and compliant labor force to the threat of force and coercion, through the threat of bankruptcy. this is something the united states has been leading on in the last 10 years. when the trafficking report first began, it was a relatively modest undertaking with 82 countries. the report is now up to 175 nations and is truly becoming
the global snapshot of the modern slavery problem. one issue as far as trafficking is concerned, despite the name, the use of the word trafficking seems to have the notion of movement built into it. under u.s. law at the united nations protocol, movement is not required. we're really dealing with is the notion of global forced labor, global enslavement. the national labor organization issued a report, "the cost of coercion," about a month ago. in that report, estimated about 12.3 million people be held in bondage worldwide. they estimated about 1.5 million are for sexual slavery and servitude, which is perhaps a little bit counterintuitive to what people have seen the human trafficking problem as historic leap.
certainly press accounts that we see in movies, what you see in mass culture tends to define this as a problem of people being moved for prostitution. people perhaps being kidnapped into prostitution. what we see and what they have reported on an air traffic in report earlier this year is the notion that people are being enslaved weather is for prostitution, domestic service. they're often entering into the agreement voluntarily and becoming enslaved within that period of course, the notion -- enslaved within that perio. it makes sense, because you have situations where personal have agreed to work as a maid.
it is only after she is in the city, after she is behind closed doors when the abuse starts when she truly is being held captive. it is not necessarily trickery, but trickery is something that is often built into the situation. the tip report itself this year, i hope you have had a chance to see the copies that were distributed. there are other copies that will be available as well. the report is notable for the notion that there are some -- as there always are, some sign it -- some countries that have shown improvement. there are also countries that have either gone backwards or have failed to improve. since one of the things that we look at as far as the trafficking report is concerned, it is whether countries are showing continued and sustained efforts in this field. it is an off -- it is not enough
for a country to simply have a traffic report. we spend a year of working -- looking to see if they're using the trafficking law. not only are they looking at victims, but are the prosecuting cases? if they are prosecuting cases, are they prosecuting both sex trafficking and labor trafficking cases? one data trafficking that is reported in the report is that of the 2983 convictions that were reported last year, a notoriously and precise number given that country's do not necessarily do that good of the job of keeping track of him in trafficking prosecution's, but of the 2983 that we were able to confirm as far as the convictions were concerned, only 104 of them were for trafficking in the labour sector. that is hard to square withb the numbers in which there are
around 11 million more people being held in bondage in what we would consider ballot forms of labor. -- in ballot forms of labor -- in valivalid forms of labor. those of you that's all the feed when the secretary and i unveiled the report this morning, you heard me talk about nigeria. i can't talk about nigeria factually. i think you have a country here who within five years has gone from tier 2 watch list, on the cusp of tier 3, and because of political will and because of talented detectives, because of a willingness to work with ngo 's has seen an upward trend in their prosecutions. it has seen an improvement on how to treat victims. as a result, they're welcome addition to the list of lier -- tier one countries.
one of the things we find very important, and certainly can't stress this enough, the fight against human trafficking is something that was established in the clinton administration to the passage of the trafficking victims protection act which is something that first lady hillary clinton worked really hard on. it was a bipartisan law with bipartisan facts. it was something that the bush administration was very committed to working on when they came in. the same is true of the obama administration. the cable that the secretary ascending to diplomatic corps is here in the united states, it is a marker as not just a continuation of the commitment of the bush administration to fighting in the trafficking in
modern slavery, but in anticipation -- but an intensification of the obama administration. i think it's something that those of us who work in the field whether it is here in the state department, people like myself web and federal prosecutors and investigators working with the ngo's, that is something we're seeing a positive response to. as far as the counter trafficking response, i would like to leave you with two things. one of which is the notion that because we are in a time of economic crisis, guest workers are particularly vulnerable because of the way in which recruitment is often done. we see a problem in the worker programs
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