"Human trafficking erodes personal dignity and destroys the moral fabric of society. It is an affront to humanity that tragically reaches all parts of the world, including communities across our Nation. Each day, in cities, suburbs, rural areas, and tribal lands, people of every age, gender, race, religion, and nationality are devastated by this grave offense. During National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, we reaffirm our unwavering commitment to eradicate this horrific injustice.
Trafficking crimes are perpetrated by transnational criminal enterprises, gangs, and cruel individuals. Through force, fraud, coercion, and sexual exploitation of minors, traffickers rob countless individuals of their dignity and freedom, splinter families, and threaten the safety of our communities. In all its forms, human trafficking is an intolerable blight on any society dedicated to freedom, individual rights, and the rule of law.
Human trafficking is often a hidden crime that knows no boundaries. By some estimates, as many as 24.9 million people ‑- adults and children — are trapped in a form of modern slavery around the world, including in the United States. Human traffickers exploit others through forced labor or commercial sex, and traffickers profit from their victims’ horrific suffering. The evil of human trafficking must be defeated. We remain relentless in our resolve to bring perpetrators to justice, to protect survivors and help them heal, and to prevent further victimization and destruction of innocent lives.
This year marks nearly 20 years since our Nation took decisive steps in the global fight against human trafficking by enacting the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (TVPA) and nearly 15 years since the United States ratified the United Nations’ Palermo Protocol to Prevent, Suppress, and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children (Palermo Protocol). Both the TVPA and the Palermo Protocol established a comprehensive framework for combating human trafficking by establishing prevention programs, creating victim protections, and advancing prosecutions under expanded criminal statutes to usher in the modern anti-trafficking movement domestically and globally. These two measures illustrate a global consensus on the issue, and yet as a Nation we must continue to work proactively to foster a culture of justice and accountability for this horrific crime."