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Opinion: World Must Work Together To Stop Human Trafficking

“To some, human trafficking may seem like a problem limited to other parts of the world,” Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton writes in a Washington Post opinion piece, but “it occurs in every country, including the U.S., and we have a responsibility to fight it just as others do.” According to Clinton, trafficking can produce “destructive effects” on “all of us,” because it “weakens legitimate economies, breaks up families, fuels violence, threatens public health and safety, and shreds the social fabric that is necessary for progress.” She writes that the problem is “particularly urgent now, as local economies around the world reel from the global financial crisis.”

“The State Department’s annual Trafficking in Persons Report, released this week, documents the scope of this challenge in every country. The report underscores the need to address the root causes of human trafficking – including poverty, lax law enforcement and the exploitation of women – and their devastating effects on its victims and their families,” Clinton writes.

Clinton also describes some of her own experiences advocating against trafficking and the effect it has had on global health. “In Thailand, I held 12-year-olds who had been trafficked and were dying of AIDS. … The challenge of trafficking demands a comprehensive approach that both brings down criminals and cares for victims. To our strategy of prosecution, protection and prevention, it’s time to add a fourth P: partnerships,” she writes (Clinton, Washington Post, 6/17).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.