U.S. State Department Releases 2010 Report On Human Trafficking

The U.S. State Department on Monday released its 2010 report on human trafficking, which “grades 175 nations on their efforts to fight this modern form of slavery,” Bloomberg Businessweek reports (Kate/Gaouette, 6/15).

“Worldwide, the State Department estimated there are 12.3 million adults and children in modern-day slavery – including forced labour, bonded labour and forced prostitution,” Inter Press Service reports. “That means just under two people in a thousand are victims of human trafficking. In Asia and the Pacific, that percentage rises to three out of every thousand people. … Yet, says the State Department, there were only 4,166 successful prosecutions of traffickers in 2009” (Berger, 6/14).

“Behind these statistics on the pages are the struggles of real human beings, the tears of families who may never see their children, the despair and indignity of those suffering under the worst forms of exploitation,” Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said during an event marking the release of the report, Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty reports (Solash, 6/14).

“As many of you know, human trafficking is a byproduct of conflict. It is a threat to national security, public health, and democracy,” Under Secretary for Democracy and Global Affairs Maria Otero said in remarks made during the release of the report, according to a U.S. Department of State transcript.  Clinton also said that “human trafficking not only exploits and victimizes women and girls; it also fuels the epidemic of gender-based violence around the world” (6/14).

According to the report, the “U.S. is a source as well as a transit and destination country for people forced into labor, debt bondage and prostitution,”  Bloomberg Businessweek writes (6/15). “This report sends a clear message to all of our countrymen and women: human trafficking is not someone else’s problem,” Clinton said, Reuters reports. “Involuntary servitude is not something we can ignore or hope doesn’t exist in our own community,” she added.

The report acknowledged the U.S. “could improve by collecting better data on cases and by forming task forces like those that combat narcotics. … It also recommended better training of U.S. federal agents and prosecutors in victim protection as well as in identifying, investigating and prosecuting human trafficking cases,” according to the news service (6/14).

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