US Committed to End ‘Intolerable Yoke of Modern Slavery’

Ambassador-at-Large Luis CdeBaca today said the Obama administration are heeding the call to fight what the President calls “the intolerable yoke of modern slavery.”

In his remarks at President Lincoln’s Cottage, Mr. CdeBaca reported that there are estimated to be 27 million men, women and children around the world living in slavery today.

He cites that the polite term now commonly used to addressed slavery is “trafficking in persons.”

“Trafficking” evokes movement, but at its core this is a crime of exploitation.” – Mr. CdeBaca

He notes that the U.S. government broadly considers trafficking in persons to be all of the conduct involved in reducing a person to or maintaining a person in a state of compelled service for labor or commercial sexual exploitation. In a nutshell, slavery.

Photographed in 1863 Peter, a man who was enslaved in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, whose scars are a result of a whipping by his overseer, was subsequently discharged by Peter’s owner. The pattern of scarring seen here is highly suggestive of keloid formation and not necessarily due to a particularly brutal flogging.

He explains that “trafficking in persons” takes many forms. It occurs in every country.

“And although the policy attention to “trafficking in persons” as a concept is relatively new, at the end of the day this phenomenon is nothing more than the newest manifestation of an ancient crime. As Secretary Clinton says, “Let’s just call it what it is it’s modern slavery.” -Mr. Cdebaca

To tackle the porblem of the prevailing problem of trafficking in persons, ten years ago, led by then-First Lady Hillary Clinton, the international community came together to address this problem, and here at home we updated our own laws.

He notes that nearly 150 countries today are parties to the Palermo Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, which established what is called the 3P Paradigm- prevention, protection, and prosecution-as a guideline for fighting human trafficking.

The United States under the leadership of President Clinton also issued the first Executive Order on this issue since President Lincoln, and signed into law the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, which focused our anti-slavery laws on these new types of exploitation and established by the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, within the State Department to spearhead our efforts to combat trafficking abroad.

Under the Obama administration, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons are responsible for diplomacy and foreign assistance to root out modern slavery around the globe.

“We produce the annual “Trafficking in Persons Report” to assess nearly every government, including our own, on their efforts to stop trafficking.” -Mr. CdeBaca

He underlines that in fulfilling these responsibilities, the Office spend a lot of time engaging with others who are part of the fight against modern slavery whether U.S. foreign government counterparts, or leaders in the NGO community, or academics, or business leaders.

“One of the things we try to make clear is the reason why the United States government considers this effort a priority.” -Mr. CdeBaca

He stresses that the meeting is geared toward those concerned with laws or development issues or a gamut of other policy concerns, and U.S. rationale for fighting this crime often fits with those concerns.

He notes that trafficking in persons undermines the rule of law. It threatens our security. It devastates communities and hurts families.

“These are all very good and sound reasons for pressing full steam ahead in our battle against trafficking in persons; it is “fitting and proper that we should do this.” -Mr Cdebaca

He stresses the policy reasons for fighting slavery might be, fighting slavery is also simply part of who is AMERICA as a nation.

“It’s part of delivering on the promise of freedom. It’s part of building on the legacy sprung from this very house, 150 years ago.” -Mr. Cdebaca

Anywhere from 12 to 27 million people are currently held in forced labor, bonded labor, or forced prostitution. That’s equivalent to all the people who live in London at the low end and the combined populations of New York City, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C. at the high end.

The victims range from the men and women enslaved in fields, factories, and brothels to the girls and boys whose childhoods have been shattered and stolen, to the parents whose children have vanished.

Mina Fabulous follows the news, especially what is going on in the US State Department. Mina turns State Department waffle into plain English. Mina Fabulous is the pen name of Carmen Avalino, the NewsBlaze production editor. When she isn’t preparing stories for NewsBlaze writers, she writes stories, but to separate her editing and writing identities, she uses the name given by her family and friends.