Release of the 2012 Trafficking in Persons Report
Secretary of State
Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights
Ambassador-at-Large, Office To Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons
UNDER SECRETARY OTERO:Good afternoon, everyone. And welcome to the Department of State. It’s wonderful to have you all here. I want to especially welcome Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith for being here with us. Thank you for being here. (Applause.)
Every year, this event brings together committed leaders and activists from across the anti-trafficking movement, and the enthusiasm that’s surrounding this rollout shows us the momentum that we have built in the struggle against modern slavery.
I am Maria Otero. I am the Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights. My office oversees the bureaus that help countries and governments create just societies, societies that are grounded in democratic principles that guarantee respect for human rights and that apply the rule of law. Whether we’re helping strengthen judicial systems or we’re denouncing human rights abuses or helping build strong law enforcement capacities or combating trafficking in persons, we’re aiming to help countries protect the individual citizens in their countries.
Trafficking challenges are one of the problems that we have. And it is also the one area that deals with one of our most fundamental values. That is the basic freedom and dignity of every individual. Trafficking also tears at the very fabric of society. It rips families apart. It devastates communities. It holds people back from becoming full participants in their own political processes in their own economies. And it challenges the ability of countries to build strong justice systems and transparent governments. That’s why fighting modern slavery is a priority for the United States. In that fight, we partner with governments around the world to improve and increase the prosecution of this crime, to prevent the crime from spreading, and to protect those individuals who are victimized by it.
While governments bear this responsibility of protecting their individual citizens, this fight depends on a broader partnership as well. Without the efforts of civil society, the faith community, the private sector, we would not be able to advance and we would not be able to see the advances that the report highlights. The report that we are issuing today guides our work. It represents the very best knowledge and information on the state of modern slavery in the world today. It shows the fruit of partnerships around the world. It shows the strides that we’ve made in protecting individuals, and it shows how far we yet still have to go to assure the basic human rights.
I want to thank everyone who has worked this last year to compile these reports, from the NGOs that submit this information to the governments that provide us with data, from the diplomats in our overseas missions, to the staff of the Office of Monitor and Combating Trafficking in Persons who are here today. And today really is the culmination of tireless work over many months that they have taken on. And for that reason, it is really my pleasure and my privilege to be able to introduce my colleague who runs that office and who has shepherded and given leadership to this process, our Ambassador-at-Large to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons Luis CdeBaca. Read More