All Hands on Deck: Renewing the Call to Combat Human Trafficking

One year ago today, President Obama announced the Administration’s commitment to lead the fight against human trafficking during a seminal speech at the Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting. During his remarks, the President announced new initiatives from across the Administration to help redouble our efforts to combat trafficking both at home and abroad.   

Over the past year, we’ve made great strides and increased our efforts in order to realize the President’s vision. However, we still have so much more to do.

The President said in his remarks one year ago, “It ought to concern every person, because it is a debasement of our common humanity. It ought to concern every community, because it tears at our social fabric. It ought to concern every business, because it distorts markets. It ought to concern every nation, because it endangers public health and fuels violence and organized crime. I’m talking about the injustice, the outrage, of human trafficking, which must be called by its true name – modern slavery.”

In an effort to build on the work the Administration has done over the past year, and to renew the President’s call to action, today we are participating in a discussion at the Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting on this issue and the Administration is announcing a series of new commitments to combat trafficking. Some of these new initiatives include:

  • The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services today is launching a national initiative to strengthen screening, increase training, and develop data-driven solutions for health care workers to better identify trafficking victims and provide appropriate assistance;
  • The Institute of Medicine and the National Research Council today are releasing a report  that summarizes existing research and evidence on the topic of child sex trafficking and recommends approaches for addressing these issues and guiding future studies in this field; 
  • The U.S. Department of State is hosting today in Cambodia the first in a series of anti-trafficking “TechCamps” to take place in locations around the world and designed to bring together expert technologists and civil society organizations that are working with victims on the ground to design low-cost, easy-to-implement tools to combat trafficking; and
  • Training programs are being introduced or expanded to strengthen awareness and response among law enforcement, industries including the travel industry and the global payment services industry, and government employees across various Federal agencies.

These are just a few of the examples of our efforts to continue the fight against trafficking. We know there is much work to be done, and bringing more groups and individuals into the fight is critical to our future success.  

Whether you are a technologist developing cutting-edge tools to assist victims, or a hotel executive who ensures that your staff is trained to recognize the indicators of trafficking and how to appropriately report it, or a citizen insisting that the clothes we wear, the food we eat, and the products we buy are made free of forced labor – no matter who you are, you have a contribution to make in the fight against modern day slavery.

Today we reaffirm our commitment to building a world free from slavery and renew the President’s call to action.  We can end the evil of human trafficking. We must. And together, we will.

View our progress report on Administration efforts to combat trafficking here.

Todd Park is Assistant to the President  and the U.S. Chief Technology Officer and Vivian Graubard is Advisor to the U.S. Chief Technology Officer

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