New Report: U.S. State Department Releases 2012 Trafficking in Persons Report
Friday, June 29, 2012 3:20 PM

The U.S. State Department released its 2012 Trafficking in Persons Report on June 19, 2012. At the launch, Maria Otero, Under-Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy and Human Rights, reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to combating “modern day slavery.” She emphasized that human trafficking violates the fundamental rights of dignity and freedom and destroys both individuals and communities. She called for governments, civil societies, religious groups, and the private sector to work together to tackle the problem.

The report, which covers every country in the world, including the United States, highlights some important advances and identifies key challenges that remain in ending human trafficking. It pinpoints areas where trafficking has actually worsened or remains unchanged, despite efforts to reduce it. By taking positive steps to reduce trafficking, 29 countries moved from a lower tier to a higher one in this year’s report.

At the event, Secretary Clinton argued for changing the discourse from “trafficking” to one of “modern day slavery.” She called for a three-pronged approach to the issue: prevention, prosecution, and protection. The 2012 report pays special attention to protecting trafficking survivors and aims to provide governments with examples of best practices and innovative approaches to the issue. Short term and emergency measures must be coupled with mid- and long-term assistance to build an effective victim support system.

The Government also recognized ten Trafficking in Persons Heroes for their contributions to fighting trafficking all over the world; Marcelo Colombo (Argentina), Jeannette Richardson-Baars (Aruba), Anne Gallagher (Southeast Asia and Australia), Vannak Anan Prum (Southeast Asia), Raimi Vincent Paraiso (Republic of the Congo), Phil Hyldegaard (Greece), Sister Azezet Habtezghi Kidane (the Sinai), Judge Maria Grazia Giammarinaro (OSCE region), Fatimata M’Baye (Mauritania), and Gary Haugen (the founder of International Justice Mission).

Compiled from: Release of the 2012 Trafficking in Persons Report, Remarks by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Under-Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights Maria Otero, Ambassador-at-Large, Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons Luis CdeBaca, and Vincent Paraiso, U.S. Department of State (19 June 2012).