Release of the 5th Trafficking in Persons Report
Release of the Fifth Annual Department of State Trafficking in Persons Report
Secretary Condoleezza Rice
June 3, 2005
(12:00 p.m. EDT)
SECRETARY RICE: Good afternoon. I'm pleased to join Under Secretary for Global Affairs, Paula Dobriansky, and the Director of the Office for Monitoring and Combating Trafficking in Persons, Ambassador John Miller, for the release today of the Department of State's annual Trafficking in Persons Report. This Congressionally mandated report represents the United States' deep commitment to stop the brutal crime of human trafficking.
Trafficking in human beings is nothing less than a modern form of slavery. And President Bush has called upon all countries to confront this evil. As the President has said, "human life is the gift of our Creator and it should never be for sale." The United States has a particular duty to fight this scourge because trafficking in persons is an affront to the principles of human dignity and liberty, upon which this nation was founded.
We estimate that up to 800,000 people are trafficked across international borders every year. And millions more are trafficked internally. Victims of trafficking, most of them women and children, are forced, defrauded or coerced into inhumane conditions. They are made to toil on farms and in work camps, in brothels and in sweatshops. Children are even forced to become soldiers. Whatever cruel form of servitude they may take, trafficking victims live in fear and misery. And wherever the trafficking trade flourishes, the rule of law erodes, corruption thrives, public health suffers and organized crime threatens the security of entire communities.
To confront the abomination of human trafficking, a modern day abolitionist movement has emerged. Concerned citizens, students, faith-based organizations, feminists and other nongovernmental groups are doing courageous and compassionate work to end this trade in human degradation.
The United States Government is proud to stand with them at the forefront of this international anti-trafficking campaign. We provided more than $96 million in foreign aid last year to help other countries strengthen their anti-trafficking efforts. We are helping them develop legislation to combat abuse, create special law enforcement units to investigate trafficking cases and rescue victims, build emergency shelters and develop long-term rehabilitation and vocational training programs. We trust that this year's report will raise international awareness of the crime of trafficking and spur governments across the globe to take determined actions against it.
All states must work together to close down trafficking routes, prosecute and convict traffickers, and protect and reintegrate victims into society. The responsibility does not rest only with developing countries, whose citizens are vulnerable to trafficking because of poverty or corruption or lack of education. Destination or demand countries, like the United States and other prosperous nations, whose citizens create the marketplace for trafficking, also bear a heavy responsibility.
As President Bush has said, "nearly two centuries after the abolition of the transatlantic slave trade and more than a century after slavery was officially ended in its last strongholds, the trade in human beings for any purpose must not be allowed to thrive in our times. We must all work to end this terrible tragedy."
Now, my senior advisor on trafficking in persons, Ambassador John Miller, will give a brief presentation on the report and he will answer your questions.
QUESTION: May we ask you a question, Madame Secretary?
SECRETARY RICE: Ambassador Miller is going to do the report and he'll answer your questions. 2005/583
Released on June 3, 2005