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Release of the Seventh Annual Trafficking in Persons Report

Secretary Condoleezza Rice
Washington, DC
June 12, 2007

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(10:07 a.m. EDT)

Secretary Rice announces the release of the seventh annual Department of State Trafficking in Persons Report in the State Department Press Briefing Room.  State Department photo by Michael Gross SECRETARY RICE: Thank you all for coming. I'd like to thank Ambassador Mark Lagon who just twelve days ago assumed his duties as director of the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons. And it's my pleasure to be here today to release that report. Human traffickers prey on the most vulnerable members of society, most often innocent women and children, exploiting and abusing them and profiting from their suffering. The President's dedication to defending human dignity and advancing human freedom worldwide is at the center of our foreign policy and as a result, we have made combating human trafficking a prominent and deeply felt commitment for the United States Government.

In my travels, I have noticed a greater desire by our partners to fight this crime and protect its victims. And across the globe, the United States is building new partnerships to rescue and shelter the victims. We are helping to lead a global movement, not just to confront this crime, but to abolish it. More and more countries are coming to see human trafficking for what it is -- a modern-day form of slavery that devastates families and communities around the world. Much of the growing desire to fight this crime is due in no small part to our annual Trafficking in Persons Report. The report's purpose is to raise awareness, to highlight best practices and to inspire governments to take action against trafficking. I am pleased that this year's report covers more countries than ever before -- 164 in total.

When we first began tackling this issue several years ago, the idea of human trafficking was akin to a global family secret. It was known, but not often discussed publicly. I am proud that our office in just a few short years has brought global attention to this problem. Millions more people know about human trafficking today than when the first report was issued in 2001 and we hope that this greater awareness translates into greater prevention.

Secretary Rice announces the release of the seventh annual Department of State Trafficking in Persons Report in the State Department Press Briefing Room.  State Department photo by Michael Gross Yet despite some successes, there have also been setbacks. You will see disturbing evidence in this report that prosecutions have leveled off everywhere. In some cases, there are countries with major human trafficking problems, but only a couple of traffickers have been brought to justice. This cannot and must not be tolerated. Despite these serious concerns, much in this year's report should give us hope. For example, Georgia, Hungary Slovenia and Israel have all made major improvements, as have Taiwan and countries like Indonesia, Brazil, Bolivia, Peru and Jamaica.

Wherever we encounter human trafficking, the United States stands ready to work with our partners around the world to right this wrong. We hope this report encourages responsible nations across the globe to stand together to speak with one voice and to say that freedom and security are non-negotiable demands of human dignity and to say as President Bush has, no one is fit to be a master and no one deserves to be a slave.

Thank you, and now I'll turn the podium over to Mark, our Ambassador at-large and the director of the Office to Monitor and Combat Human Trafficking in Persons. Mark -- and congratulations. Welcome aboard.

Remarks by Ambassador Mark P. Lagon

2007/468



Released on June 12, 2007

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