So you care about ending human trafficking in our lifetime? Ending child slavery? How has Obama done in the last 4 years? Recently, this September, Obama gave a speech on ending human trafficking at the Clinton Global Initiative:
“It ought to concern every person, because it’s a debasement of our common humanity. It ought to concern every community, because it tears at the social fabric. It ought to concern every business, because it distorts markets. It ought to concern every nation, because it endangers public health and fuels violence and organized crime. I’m talking about the injustice, the outrage, of human trafficking, which must be called by its true name—modern slavery.”
“Our fight against human trafficking is one of the great human rights causes of our time, and the United States will continue to lead it…”
–President Barack Obama, September 25, 2011
What has Obama’s administration done to make a tangible difference in the fight against human trafficking?
- US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton addressed an OSCE conference on preventing human trafficking held in Vienna, Austria, on 14-15 September 2009.
- Secretary of State Hillary Clinton wrote an op-ed published in newspapers around the country calling for an end to human trafficking in November 9, 2010.
- In December 2011, President Obama declared January to be National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month.
- In March 2012, President Obama directed his administration to double efforts to end human trafficking and created the Interagency Task Force to Monitor and Combat Human Trafficking in Persons. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton headed this Task Force.
- On September 24, 2012, Obama announced several initiatives based on the recommendations of this task force.
- At that time, Obama issued an Executive Order that requires compliance with the existing zero-tolerance policy on human trafficking in government contracting and more importantly, provides agencies with tools to ensure compliance. In the past, government contractors and subcontractors have charged workers fees that they have to pay off, essentially creating indentured slaves.
- The administration is providing tools and training for local law enforcement to identify and help trafficking victims within their communities.
- The administration has partnered with Goldman Sachs Foundation to provide 6 million dollars in assistance to communities who are forming comprehensive plans to help victims of trafficking.
- Obama is streamlining the current procedures for T-Visas, which are the visas available to victims of trafficking so that they can stay in America and help prosecute the traffickers.
- Obama has called on countries worldwide to enact and enforce laws preventing and punishing human trafficking.
What still needs to be done?
- The criminal code needs to be strengthened so that those government contractors who break the law will have their contracts revoked and face jail time.
- The anti-human trafficking bill that is stalling in committee and contains these changes to the criminal code needs to be passed.
- We need to enforce punitive measures against countries which don’t comply with international laws against human trafficking.
What would Romney do?
Romney has not discussed ending human trafficking as one of his objectives while in office. In fact, at the same Clinton Global Initiative where Obama talked about human trafficking, Romney talked about linking foreign aid to the expansion of free enterprise. Go ahead, listen to him. Not quite the same as Obama. He is very pro-business and not very pro-poor. With all the ways he wants to cut help to America’s poor, it’s unlikely he’s going to want to give any funding to help the victims of trafficking in America and around the world. So, my guess is that the abuse of the poorest segment of our international population is not going to be a huge priority. What do you think?
Tomorrow, please, go out and vote. Vote from your heart.