In the lead-up to the release of the 10th annual Trafficking in Persons Report, we've been celebrating the courageous efforts of the women and men all over the world who work to eliminate this form of modern-day slavery. We recognize these individuals for their tireless efforts -- despite resistance, opposition, and threats to their lives -- to protect victims, punish offenders, and raise awareness of ongoing criminal practices in their countries and abroad. This year's “Trafficking in Persons Heroes” include:
Christine Sabiyumva, one of the first women in Burundi to become an army officer. As commander of the National Police's Women and Children's Brigade, she personally searches for human traffickers and children in prostitution and has taken the lead role in reducing trafficking in Bujumbura through investigations, protection, and public awareness campaigns.
Mint Moctar, who heads the Association Femmes Chefs de Familles in Mauritania, which is an organization she founded to provide assistance to victims of domestic violence, rape, and trafficking. In 2009, she spearheaded public campaigns to denounce trafficking of young Mauritanian girls to Gulf States as well as the exploitation of Mauritanian and West African women living in domestic servitude.
Sattaru Umapathi, who serves as the anti-human trafficking officer of the Crime Investigation Department for the state of Andhra Pradesh, and has led numerous interstate and intrastate rescue operations across India. He's played a key role in rescuing victims and arresting traffickers, helping to secure multiple convictions and sentences ranging from four to 14 years' imprisonment.
Ganbayasgakh Geleg, who founded the Gender Equality Center in 2002 to provide shelter, psychological and legal counseling, rehabilitation, and advocacy for victims of sex and labor trafficking in Mongolia. The organization has assisted nearly 300 trafficking victims to date, and its hotline is the primary means for domestic and overseas victims to report their situations and seek counseling in Mongolian.
Natalia Abdullayeva, who has worked to combat human trafficking in northwestern Uzbekistan since 2003, focusing her efforts on prevention. She targets her anti-trafficking advertisements to the markets and buses heading for Kazakhstan, a primary destination point, and partners with the local cellular phone company to disseminate free text messages with anti-trafficking information and a hotline number.
Iren Adamne Dunai, the deputy head of the Department for Gender Equality at the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor in Hungary. In 2005, she negotiated an agreement between ministries to provide a 50-bed facility and fund the first shelter for victims of sex trafficking in Hungary, and, in 2009, secured funding for a second shelter. She also helped establish a crisis hotline.
Brother Xavier Plassat, a French Dominican friar in Brazil, who coordinates that country's Pastoral Land Commission's National Campaign Against Slave Labor. He leads an extensive network of volunteers who provide rehabilitation services to victims of forced labor and advocate for legal enforcement of, and consistency in, public policies against modern slavery.
Laura Germino, who coordinates the Anti-Slavery Campaign for the Florida-based Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW), a community organization of more than 4,000 migrant farm workers. Since the early 1990s, she and her co-workers have investigated slavery operations in the agricultural industry in the southeastern United States. She is the first-ever Trafficking in Persons Hero from the United States.
Watch video of the Report's release with Secretary Clinton, Under Secretary Otero, and Ambassador-at-Large CdeBaca here.
Read the 2010 Trafficking in Persons Report here.