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Rice - Sixth Annual Trafficking in Persons Report

Release of the Sixth Annual Trafficking in Persons Report

Secretary Condoleezza Rice
Washington, DC
June 5, 2006

SECRETARY RICE: Good afternoon. I am pleased to be here today to release the State Department's Annual Trafficking in Human Persons Report. I'd like to thank Under Secretary for Democracy and Global Affairs Paula Dobriansky and Director of the Office for Monitoring and Combating Trafficking in Persons Ambassador John Miller for their hard work.

Today with the release of this congressionally mandated report, we reaffirm America's unwavering commitment to eradicating this modern day form of slavery. Human trafficking is an illicit industry of coercion, subjugating and exploiting the world's most vulnerable people for profit and personal gain. We estimate that up to 800,000 people, primarily women and children, are victimized each year, forced into lives of cruel and punishing degradation.

The harsh reality of human trafficking stuns even the hardest of hearts, stories of the sexual exploitation of young girls, stories of men and women toiling as slave labor in sweatshops, stories of children forced to kill as rebel soldiers.

Secretary Rice announces release of 6th Annual Trafficking in Persons Report. State Department photo by Michael Gross. Defeating human trafficking is a great moral calling of our time and under President Bush's leadership the United States is leading a new abolitionist movement to end the sordid trade in human beings.

As the President has said, we are called by conscience and compassion to bring this cruel practice to an end. To date, the United States Government has provided almost $400 million to support global anti-trafficking efforts. We are getting results and we are seeing progress and this report is playing a crucial role. By calling to account any nation, friend or foe, that can and should do more to confront human trafficking, we are pressing countries into action. With each year, more and more governments are increasing public awareness of the crime, targeting and prosecuting the perpetrators and helping victims to rebuild their lives.

Protecting the non-negotiable demands of human dignity is the equal calling of every country and everyone must be held to the same high standards of moral conduct, including the United States. We in America recognize that we, too, are a destination for the victims of human traffickers and we are taking measures to hasten the coming of the day when no man, woman or child is denied their rights and their common humanity on American soil.

The protection and promotion of human dignity is the beginning of justice in America, and today under President Bush's leadership this vision leads us into the world to help people everywhere secure greater peace, freedom and justice for themselves. All nations that are resolute in the fight to end human trafficking have a partner in the United States. Together we will continue to affirm that no human life can be devalued or discounted. Together we will stop at nothing to end the debasement of our fellow men and women. And together we will bring forth a world of fuller hope, a world where people enjoy the full blessings of their God-given liberty.

Thank you, and I'd now like to turn it over to Ambassador Miller, who will take you through the report. Thank you.

Released on June 5, 2006

ENDS


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