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“Give A Voice To Victims Of Trafficking” Panel Discussion
June 3, 2010

Statement by the Delegation of the United States of America

Delivered by Melanie J. Khanna

Human Rights Council 14th Session

Geneva, June 2, 2010

Thank you, Mr. President. On behalf of my government, I would like to express our gratitude to the distinguished panelists for their courage in bringing their horrific experiences to light. Our ambassador wishes she could be here for this important event, and was pleased to meet with the panelists this morning. This is a special opportunity for direct engagement with those who have suffered human rights abuses. We strongly support the Council’s effort to reinforce the importance of a victim-centered approach by bringing survivors of trafficking into our dialogue.

As the experiences of our panelists clearly show, human traffickers know no boundaries; their violence and greed span the world. The human trafficking phenomenon affects virtually every country in the world, including the United States. Over the last several years, awareness about human trafficking has led to greater action by member states, international organizations, civil society and concerned citizens. Yet, despite greater international attention, our national and collective efforts are inadequate. It is an outrage that lives are bought and sold into prostitution, indentured or domestic servitude, farm labor, and unlawful child soldiering. It is urgent that we severely punish the traffickers and that we prevent such exploitation from happening.

The United States is highly committed to combating trafficking in persons and works to support the rights of trafficking victims around the world. As Secretary Clinton said: “Bringing an end to the global trade of people is a priority for the United States in keeping with American values that place a premium on human rights, democracy, and the rule of law.” We have a strong legal framework to address trafficking. The U.S. Congress passed the Trafficking Victims Protection Act in 2000 and has strengthened the law three times through subsequent Reauthorizations.

The United States is committed to effective multilateral cooperation and in this regard, we note with appreciation the report of Special Rapporteur Ngozi and we reviewed with much interest her recommendations. We support the Special Rapporteur’s view that regional and sub-regional organizations “provide a better setting for closer cooperation.” We would also like to highlight the importance of collaboration and partnership between civil society and law enforcement to help ensure that those who enslave human beings are brought to justice.”

We would be interested in hearing the views of the Panel on how to channel the voice of survivors of trafficking into regional cooperation mechanisms in an effort to develop more effective prevention and response systems that address their needs, while enhancing victims’ protection, assistance and recovery, including their rights to access legal remedies.

Thank you, Mr. President