Newscast Media WASHINGTON, D.C. — Survivors of human trafficking must be given the opportunity “to move past what they endured and make the most of their potential,” says Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Speaking at the State Department June 19 at an event marking the release of the department’s 2012 Trafficking in Persons Report, Clinton said: “Traffickers prey on the hopes and dreams of those seeking a better life. And our goal should be to put those hopes and dreams back within reach, whether it’s getting a good job to send money home to support a family, trying to get an education for oneself or one’s children, or simply pursuing new opportunities that might lead to a better life.”
The annual report, which tracks how human trafficking is handled in 186 countries and territories — including the United States — emphasizes proven and innovative practices for protecting victims via psychological support for victims, immigration laws to protect migrant victims and training for labor inspectors to recognize trafficking, Clinton said.
According to the State Department, there are some 27 million people around the world who are enslaved for labor or for the sex industry. Statistics provided by the United Nations’ International Labor Organization estimate that 55 percent of forced labor victims are women or girls, as are 98 percent of sex trafficking victims.
Among the recommendations the report makes:
• Provide victims with shelters but do not detain them there. Victims should have freedom of movement.
• Victims should be informed of their rights as early as possible in a language they understand.
• Victims should be given the choice of how much of their information is shared.
• Governments should offer victims permanent residency and the right to work.
Benefits — rather than forced deportation — facilitate the law enforcement process, the report says. The report also cautions governments not to confuse trafficking, in which victims are coerced, with illegal immigration.
“Authorities often fail to look beneath the surface for possible indicators of forced labor, debt bondage or sex trafficking,” the report says. It is the traffickers, not the trafficking victims, who are the criminals, the report says. You may read or download the 2012 Trafficking in Person’s Report.