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Anti-trafficking coalition delivers Administration action plan to end human trafficking and modern slavery

  • “Path to Freedom” aims to help Obama Administration make good on promises to eliminate human trafficking

Media contacts:

Ann Brown

Holly Frew
World Vision Media Relations Manager

Washington, DC (December 12, 2012) The Alliance to End Slavery and Trafficking (ATEST) released a roadmap today for the second-term Obama
Administration to follow as it works to fulfill its commitment to eliminate modern-day slavery.

At the Clinton Global Initiative in September, President Obama pledged to step-up efforts to abolish human trafficking. In addition to announcing an executive order strengthening protections against trafficking in federal contracts, President Obama promised to provide necessary tools and training for relevant officials and agencies, expand resources and services for victims, and develop a long-term plan to combat trafficking. Child prostitution, forced labor, sex trafficking, domestic servitude and other forms of modern-day slavery affect an estimated 27 million people and comprise a $32 billion industry worldwide — second only to drug smuggling in organized crime activity.

ATEST’s “Path to Freedom” puts forth 84 detailed recommendations the Administration should follow in order to ensure President Obama’s pledge is successfully realized. Key recommendations include:

  1. Begin immediately to work with Republicans and Democrats in Congress to reauthorize the lapsed Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA), which provides critical resources and new tools in the fight against human trafficking and modern-day slavery;
  2. Develop a National Action Plan based on a “whole of government approach” that coordinates all available resources and tools instead of providing piecemeal solutions;
  3. Back up its commitment to fighting human trafficking and modern-day slavery with an FY14 budget request that fully funds critical initiatives; and
  4. Partner with willing countries to create innovative, focused and comprehensive approaches to combat human trafficking, forced labor, and other forms of modern-day slavery around the world.

Download The Path to Freedom: A Presidential Agenda for Abolishing Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking (PDF)

“President Obama took a highly public stand against human trafficking, rightly labeling it ‘modern slavery.’ ATEST calls on the President and his administration to make real and meaningful progress toward eradicating these affronts to our collective humanity, and offers ‘The Path to Freedom’ as a step-by-step guide for Administration action that will increase protection for human trafficking victims, put more offenders behind bars and improve awareness and prevention efforts.”

- David Abramowitz, Vice President for Policy & Government Relations,
Humanity United and ATEST Spokesperson

"In September of 2012, President Obama laid out an inspiring vision of the role of the U.S. in ending modern day slavery, and the Administration enters the second term at a crossroads. They can continue to be a global leader in combatting human trafficking through innovative partnerships with focus countries or they can sit on the sidelines and let this moment pass us by. Our hope is that they can use this report and its recommendations to build upon the gains made in the past four years."

- Jesse Eaves, Senior Policy Advisor,
World Vision

“Modern slavery is one of the greatest human rights challenges of our time. Perhaps most tragic is that it is within our means to stop it. The human trafficking victims that Safe Horizon supports are remarkable in their resilience and determination to find living work opportunities, reunite with their families and help law enforcement prosecute traffickers. We must honor this resilience by showing the same determination to eliminate human trafficking so that people will no longer have to suffer. We must also begin to work with Republicans and Democrats in Congress immediately to reauthorize the lapsed Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) to provide critical resources and new tools in the fight against human trafficking.”

- Avaloy Lanning, Senior Director, Anti-Trafficking Program,
Safe Horizon

“CAST hopes the administration will continue its agency-wide commitment to increase support for survivors of human trafficking announced at the Clinton Global Initiative earlier this year. By providing direct human services to survivors for more than 15 years, CAST knows first-hand how critical this support is to effectively empower and help survivors rebuild their lives. By taking tangible steps this year to enact a national action plan, CAST believes that this ongoing commitment by the White House will help us end modern-day slavery in the United States in our generation.”

- Kay Buck, Executive Director,
Coalition to Abolish Slavery & Trafficking (CAST)

"The U.S. has been a global leader in fighting trafficking, but the number of people in slavery worldwide is the highest it’s ever been. What’s needed is a truly historic effort to end slavery once and for all. ‘The Path to Freedom’ lays out how the Obama Administration can shape history by turning the tide on slavery in the next four years. We hope they’ll answer the call. We’re ready to help. An important recommendation we've made, especially in the current economic climate, is that funds we are already spending on international development be leveraged to fight slavery and poverty at the same time -- many of the same countries are highly vulnerable to both."

- Karen Stauss, Director of Programs,
Free the Slaves

“We thank President Obama for shining a spotlight on these crimes last fall, and for committing the U.S. government to leadership in the global movement to end slavery. ATEST urges the Administration adopt a new, innovative approach to fighting slavery and human trafficking abroad by equipping designated focus countries to locate and restore children, men and women in slavery and deter the crime through appropriate enforcement of the law.”

- Holly Burkhalter, Vice President, Government Relations,
International Justice Mission (IJM)

- END -

The Alliance to End Slavery and Trafficking (ATEST) is a coalition of U.S.-based human rights organizations working to end modern-day slavery and human trafficking in the United States and around the world. ATEST advocates for lasting solutions to prevent labor and sex trafficking, hold perpetrators accountable, ensure justice for victims and provide survivors with tools for recovery.

ATEST member organizations include Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW), Coalition to Abolish Slavery & Trafficking (CAST), End Child Prostitution and Trafficking - USA (ECPAT-USA), Free the Slaves, International Justice Mission (IJM), Not For Sale, Polaris Project, Safe Horizon, Solidarity Center, Verité, Vital Voices Global Partnership, and World Vision. To learn more about ATEST, visit www.endslaveryandtrafficking.org.

About World Vision
World Vision is a Christian relief, development, and advocacy organization dedicated to working with children, families, and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. For more information on their efforts, visit WorldVision.org/press or follow them on Twitter at @WorldVisionNews