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December 16, 2016

How to Dismantle the Business of Human Trafficking

The United States abolished slavery with the ratification of the 13th Amendment over 150 years ago. Yet according to the International Labor Organization, there are still more than 20 million slaves around the world today—about double the number of people in bondage during the transatlantic slave trade.

The United States continues to be both a source and destination country for human trafficking victims. Traffickers earn an estimated $150 billion annually in illicit profits, while NGOs and governments worldwide spend about $124 million annually to combat this crime. Meanwhile, American workers are forced to compete against free labor, as companies take advantage of the global failure to enforce anti-slavery laws.

To thwart the national security threats posed by human trafficking, the Bush and Obama Administrations supported anti-trafficking legislation, increased funding for anti-trafficking programs, and focused on addressing slavery both here at home and around the world.

Increasingly, organized crime rings and international terror organizations traffic in human beings to accumulate wealth and power. Trafficking is a lucrative crime that undermines government rule of law. A continued commitment to addressing slavery will help eliminate the national security risks associated with corruption, terrorism, and organized crime.

Traffickers utilize modern day slavery to exploit global markets and undermine the stability of free markets. As the largest single purchaser of goods and services in the world, the U.S. government is in the position to protect world markets and can do extensive work to stop enabling slavery.

The United States has a zero-tolerance policy regarding trafficking and government employees and contractors engaging in any form of it. This policy sets the stage to continue strengthening protections for trafficked persons and continue ensuring American tax dollars are not given to federal contractors that enslave people. Keeping slavery out of the supply chains of companies that sell goods in the United States helps us to protect vulnerable individuals and protect the integrity of workers, businesses, and international markets

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