President’s Interagency Task Force Paves New Path of Engagement Against Trafficking in Persons

Posted by Luis CdeBaca
February 3, 2010

About the Author: Ambassador Luis CdeBaca is a Senior Advisor to the Secretary of State and serves as the director of the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, which assesses global trends, provides training and technical assistance, and advocates for an end to modern slavery.

Today, Secretary Clinton chaired the President's Interagency Task Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons at the Department of State. Although there have been yearly meetings of this entity that includes other members of the Cabinet, this is the first gathering under the Obama Administration.

She was joined by the Attorney General, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, the Secretary of Labor, the Director of National Intelligence, and the USAID Administrator. Representatives from the White House, the Department of Defense, the Department of Education, the Department of Agriculture, and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission also participated in the discussion.

Secretary Clinton, who has been engaged on this human security issue since the 1990s, has played a key role in bringing human trafficking to the forefront of United States policy. As First Lady, she was instrumental in the development of the three "P" approach -- prevention, protection, and prosecution -- to combat this scourge. In the Senate, she fought to get resources for the fight against modern slavery. As Secretary of State, she is paving a new path of engagement on this issue to ensure that every person realizes the Constitution's promise of freedom.

To put this issue into broader context, human trafficking has cross-cutting implications throughout U.S. Government policy. In order to ensure the Obama Administration's response and vision is realized, there is a great need for interagency cooperation. For example, the Department of Justice investigates, arrests, and prosecutes traffickers, working with the FBI and Department of Homeland Security to dismantle trafficking rings. The Department of Health and Human Services provides much-needed victim services. The United States Department of Agriculture and Department of Labor work to achieve slavery-free supply chains. This is an interactive web of ongoing work and today's meeting was an important way to coordinate the collective United States Government's effort against trafficking.

Combating trafficking has not only policy implications, but most importantly, real life ones. As the President said in Tokyo, a young girl should be respected not for her body, but for her ideas. And, men, women, and children alike should be respected for their ideas and contributions to society that freely allows them to pursue their hopes and dreams. The United States commits to building on global partnerships and to working across borders and barriers to confront the traffickers. Strengthening our partnerships within the United States and throughout the world is integral to making progress against modern slavery and today's discussion signified another step forward in our efforts to eradicate it once and for all.

Related Content:Preview to Annual Meeting of the President's Interagency Taskforce to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons



New York, USA
February 3, 2010

Ron in New York writes:

Human Trafficking..A Cross-Cutting Issue...

Secretary Clinton is wise to join form an inter-agency Task Force on Human Trafficking(HT)...The growth of HT is a function of globalization and privatization and accelerates when there are natural or man-made disasters....The Justice Dept. and Transportation agencies should also have a seat on the Task Force.

New Mexico, USA
February 4, 2010

Eric in New Mexico writes:

I think the most strait forward way to make sure no American is involved in the criminal enterprise is for anyone thinking of adopting a child from overseas, or any org/ngo running an orphanage licenced in and physicly located on US soil, state or territory must register with the Dept of State 6 weeks prior to any filing of papers to allow time for a background check to be done, interviews conducted by a consular officer and recomendation made on suitability.

If that were in place you might actually have as well a pool of pre-screened foster parents that State could contact if need arises as it has in Haiti.

In a situation where kids are separated from parents and the circumstance so dire that it calls for getting those that can't really fend for themselves out of harm's way then that pool becomes a static asset in place anytime disaster strikes, anywhere.

( inspired by the notion of a civilian response corps that never leaves home, but is always on call.)

A refuge of last resort perhaps when no better option exists, but at least it would be there when you really needed it.

State already has placement assistance for refugees in the US, and I'm thinking along those lines as to it's compatability with policy and procedure.

A million folks, maybe two living in tents and hurricane season is only a few months off...

We may have to move a lot of folks very quickly to safety before this is over and to where?

Up to this point, Gitmo has been a source of problematic press and and the intent is to close it down.

I suggest we give the Haitian government a 99 year lease on the place at 1 dollar per year US, and build on site to suit.

Add a trade school to train folks to rebuild their country.

Frankly I can't think of a better way to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear, but it's the closest piece of real estate we could possibly donate as temp shelter.

I think it may be key to quicker recovery to take some strain off the crumbled infrastructure by moving the population that hasn't already been able to find secure shelter with family or friends outside the worst hit areas.

Those not immediately involved in aid and recovery should not be there any longer than possible as it begs a disease outbreak to have it otherwise for any length of time, and since folks are well aware of this most that could leave have left on thir own, but to inadequate shelter.

What we have is a case where you have to do both, deliver aid to the people and get people to shelter and medical facilities on an industrial scale.

So far it's been a pretty good effort despite some hang-ups and hat's off to all involved.

Wish I had a better idea to offer up, but as of now, I'm fresh out.

California, USA
February 5, 2010

OysterCracker in California writes:

If children were given 'national treasure' status and given priority aid status in any conflict, disaster etc. it would help to protect them.

Robert H.
Missouri, USA
February 12, 2010

Robert in Missouri writes:

Please allow the Haitian authorities to handle the American Baptist missionaries in their own way. Intervening on their behalf contradicts the progress being made on human trafficking.


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