Human trafficking is a stain on all of humanity, said Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
As the U.S. Department of State released its 2019 Trafficking in Persons Report on June 20, Pompeo and presidential adviser Ivanka Trump paid tribute to eight individuals working to combat trafficking around the globe.
“One of the biggest misperceptions about human trafficking is [that] it’s always transnational,” but that’s often not the case, Pompeo said. In reality, “traffickers exploit an estimated 77 percent of victims in their own home country.”
Right now, traffickers are robbing some 24.9 million people of their freedom and basic human dignity, so “we must remain steadfast in our twin goals of freedom for every victim and justice for every trafficker,” Pompeo said.
Here are this year’s anti-trafficking heroes honored at the State Department:
Adélaïde Sawadogo, of Burkina Faso, has worked for decades to combat human trafficking and has directly helped more than 1,500 human trafficking survivors.
Daniel Rueda and Veronica Supliguicha, of Ecuador, co-founded an organization to care for trafficking survivors. They operate a shelter and work with the Ecuadoran government to prevent trafficking.
Agnes De Coll, of Hungary, leads the anti-trafficking unit of one of Hungary’s premier civil-society organizations, which provides survivors with support and guidance.
Sister Gabriella Bottani, of Italy, leads an extensive international network of Catholic sisters committed to preventing human trafficking and connecting survivors to critical services.
Roseline Eguabor, of Italy, is a trafficking survivor who works to help other survivors get the support they need and reintegrate into society.
Raoudha Laabidi, of Tunisia, is a judge who has been the driving force behind Tunisia’s efforts to implement a new human trafficking law and a comprehensive anti-trafficking strategy.
Camilious Machingura, of Zimbabwe, works with human trafficking survivors in rural communities across Zimbabwe and has helped elevate the issue of human trafficking as a policy priority for Zimbabwe’s government.
A top U.S. priority
At the State Department, “we engage in year-round activity with our partners in more than 80 countries to support anti-trafficking programs all over the world,” Pompeo said. The message “is very clear: If you don’t stand up to trafficking, America will stand up to you.”
The 2019 #TIPReport demonstrates that when governments enforce strong, comprehensive anti-trafficking laws, they ensure protections for all victims, including of internal trafficking in persons. Together let’s tell criminals: We will not tolerate this, and you will be punished. https://t.co/LvvMHBw5mT
— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) June 20, 2019