Good afternoon ambassadors, colleagues, and friends.
It is my pleasure to join Bishop Sanchez Sorondo in welcoming you all here today to hear from Ambassador Luis CdeBaca about this year’s U.S. Department of State’s Trafficking in Persons Report. Bishop Sanchez Sorondo is a champion of the effort at combating human trafficking. Recently he has held meetings in this building and fostered the creation of the Global Freedom Network, an interfaith initiative to combat global slavery. We are so pleased that he has offered to host us today.
The issue of trafficking is, indeed, a complex one. It is an issue that transcends cultures, nationalities, societies, and economic or political structures. It leaves no corner of our world unaffected. Whether it’s child labor in Southeast Asia, organ trafficking in Central America, sex trafficking in the Middle East or Eastern Europe, child soldiers in Africa, or labor exploitation in the United States, trafficking touches virtually every part of our global community.
The U.S. Department of State’s trafficking report, which has been released over the last 14 years, is a marker of the progress of the international community in combating human trafficking. I was pleased to learn also that the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime is designating its first ever UN World Day against Trafficking in Persons tomorrow. We’re making progress in raising awareness about this crime and its worldwide effects.
That’s why today is so significant: all of you gathered here is a representation of the international concern about this issue, and it is heartening. Your presence here today demonstrates a willingness to learn more, to discuss further, and to fight harder. I want to thank each and every one of you present here today, and all of your colleagues, for dedicating a part of your lives to creating a more just world.
Ambassador CdeBaca is a Senior Advisor to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and directs the U.S. State Department’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons. He knows all too well the realities of human trafficking from his time as a federal prosecutor when he convicted dozens of abusive pimps and employers, and helped to liberate hundreds of victims from servitude.
I would now like to welcome Ambassador CdeBaca to offer his remarks and then he can take your questions. Thank You.