Even birds that are free to fly, cage them and they shall cry.
70% of all slavery exists in only 12 countries because laws are not enforced and traffickers operate with impunity. Now we have the political will to fight it. A global disciplined slavery fund and shared effort to end human trafficking with the global model of fighting AIDS is on the table. Ending slavery is a victory that is actually possible in our generation.
National Center for Missing and Exploited Children; International Justice Mission; Thorn: Tech Innovation to Fight Child Sexual Exploitation were in attendance to advise the President, and it is good to see Human Trafficking as a first 100 days priority of this administration.
Slave owners prey on poor families seeking a better life
Gowri and her husband wanted to support their children and pay for their medical bills, so they took out a loan from a factory owner.
This turned out to be a trick, and the owner continually increased the loan, violently forcing the family to continue working long hours for him. This abuse continued for nearly 10 years, until IJM was able to send rescue. Today, the slave owner is standing trial, and the family is safe.
Gideon’s grandparents sent him to a man who promised to take care of him and help him go to school. Instead, the man enslaved Gideon* in a fishing boat on Lake Volta in Ghana.
Gideon’s grandfather was not wealthy enough to file charges against the slave owner, but early last year we were able to rescue Gideon and bring him home.
When Elsa* was 12 years old her father died, and her mother left. Elsa was determined to find work, save some money and support her brother.
A bar owner offered her a job that promised good pay. But it was a trap. The bar owner forced her into prostitution, and for years she faced violent abuse and sexual exploitation every single day. But now, Elsa is safe. She is a brave survivor of sex trafficking and describes herself as strong.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you, everybody, very nice. Nice to see you. Well, I want to thank Dina and Ivanka and everybody for working so hard to set this up. It’s been so important to them, and I want to make it clear today that my administration will focus on ending the absolutely horrific practice of human trafficking. And I am prepared to bring the full force and weight of our government to the federal and at the federal level, and the other highest levels, whatever we can do, in order to solve this horrific problem. It’s getting worse and it’s happening in the United States in addition to the rest of the world, but it’s happening in the United States, which is terrible.
Human trafficking is a dire problem, both domestically and internationally, and is one that’s made really a challenge. And it’s really made possible to a large extent, more of a modern phenomenon, by what’s taking place on the Internet, as you probably know. Solving the human trafficking epidemic, which is what it is, is a priority for my administration. We’re going to help out a lot. “Solve” is a wonderful word, a beautiful word, but I can tell you, we’re going to help a lot.
I’ll direct the Department of Justice, the Department of Homeland Security and other federal agencies that have a role in preventing human trafficking to take a hard look at the resources and personnel that they’re currently devoting to this fight. Now, they are devoting a lot, but we’re going to be devoting more.
Dedicated men and women across the federal government have focused on this for some time, as you know. A lot of you have been dealing with the federal government and it’s been much more focused over the last four weeks — I can tell you that. I cannot thank each of you enough, and the dedicated men and women who run my staff and your staffs in getting everybody together was terrific. I was so glad I was able to be here.
You start with really a tremendous amount of energy and blood, sweat and tears. Government can be helpful, but without you, nothing would happen. So, again, I want to thank everybody in this room. It’s a very, very terrible problem. It’s not talked about enough. People don’t know enough about it. And we’re going to talk about it, and we’re going to bring it out into the open and hopefully we’re going to do a great deal to help prevent some of the horrific — really horrific — crimes that are taking place.
And I can see — I really can say, in this country, people don’t realize how bad it is in this country, but in this country and all over the world. So thank you all for being here.
Thank you very much.