Ending human trafficking requires everyone’s cooperation. It takes governments and businesses partnering to eliminate forced labor in supply chains, as well as the efforts of advocates who advance worker rights and support survivors’ recovery.

“The United States is committed to combatting human trafficking because it represents an attack on human rights and freedoms,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said while releasing the U.S. Department of State’s 2023 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report at a ceremony June 15 in Washington.

“For an issue that’s as complex and as constantly evolving as this one, we simply need all hands on deck,” he added.

Countries where governments and other partners cooperate can better counter a crime that denies the rights of over 27 million people, the report finds.

The 2023 report assesses 188 countries and territories, including the United States, on their efforts to combat human trafficking through criminal prosecutions and prevention and protection measures.

The report highlights successful efforts to prevent human trafficking, including:

  • North Macedonia’s creation of teams of social workers, psychologists, law enforcement and others who work together to identify trafficking victims and provide support.
  • Seychelles’ enhanced trainings that help police better identify trafficking and led to a record number of arrests.
  • Tech companies in the United States and the United Kingdom working to improve the United Nations’ International Organization for Migration’s global human trafficking data hub to increase usage while protecting privacy.

The State Department report also honors eight Trafficking in Persons Report Heroes from diverse communities around the world. Their tireless efforts have made a lasting impact on the fight against human trafficking.

Blinken honored the heroes during the June 15 ceremony. Many of the honorees are traveling to Boston and Miami to meet their counterparts through the State Department’s International Visitor Leadership Program.


Pureza Lopes Loyola (State Dept.)
Pureza Lopes Loyola (State Dept.)

Pureza Lopes Loyola’s search for her son sparked a national outcry against exploitation and led Brazil’s government to form the Mobile Inspection Group in 1995. The group convenes federal police and prosecutors to support victims of labor exploitation and trafficking.

Armed with a camera and audio recorder, Lopes Loyola exposed exploitative work conditions in the Amazon rainforest, including employers who controlled workers through documents, debt and threats or acts of violence.


Mech Dara (State Dept.)
Mech Dara (State Dept.)

Journalist Mech Dara continues covering politics, human trafficking and exploitation on social media even after Cambodia’s government shuttered the Voice of Democracy news outlet. His investigations into human trafficking connected to global cyber scams brought international attention and improvements in the Cambodian government’s efforts to step up its anti-trafficking response.


Iman Ali Abdulabbas Al Sailawi and Basim Al Amri (State Dept.)
Iman Ali Abdulabbas Al-Sailawi and Basim Al-Amri (State Dept.)

Iman Ali Abdulabbas Al-Sailaw and Basim al-Amri began sheltering migrant workers affected by sectarian violence in 2003.

Their organization, Fate — Masser in Arabic — now supports victims of child labor and people formerly enslaved by ISIS. They have assisted hundreds of people from dozens of countries.


R. Evon Benson-Idahosa (State Dept.)
R. Evon Benson-Idahosa (State Dept.)

R. Evon Benson-Idahosa’s Pathfinders Justice Initiative has provided protection services for more than 3,000 women and girls. An expert on human trafficking and women’s economic empowerment in sub-Saharan Africa, Benson-Idahosa advises governments and organizations and has conducted groundbreaking research on trafficking recruiters. Her work led to Nigeria’s national guidelines for police, prosecutors and judges who provide recovery services.


Zaheer Ahmed (State Dept.)
Zaheer Ahmed (State Dept.)

Zaheer Ahmed has helped Pakistan’s government modernize anti-trafficking laws and implement the National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking and Migrant Smuggling.

Ahmed has held senior roles with both Pakistan’s Police Service and Federal Investigation Agency’s (FIA) anti-human smuggling unit. Under his leadership, FIA significantly increased trafficking arrests and prosecutions.


Paola Hittscher (State Dept.)
Paola Hittscher (State Dept.)

Working in partnership with Peru’s National Police and other agencies, Paola Hittscher, of Peru’s Public Prosecutor Office, has advanced human trafficking investigations in the Loreto region. She helped implement the U.S.-Peru Child Protection Compact Partnership and improved police interview processes for victims of child trafficking.


Eumelis Moya Goitte (State Dept.)
Eumelis Moya Goitte (State Dept.)

Eumelis Moya Goitte investigates human trafficking in Venezuela’s Orinoco Mining Arc. As coordinator of the Office of Human Rights at Universidad Católica Andrés Bello (UCAV) Guayana, Moya Goitte documents abuses against Indigenous and vulnerable populations. Her work has drawn international support for anti-trafficking efforts.

“We are so grateful to you for the partnership that you’ve shown, sharing expertise, sharing ideas,” Blinken told the honorees. “The United States is committed to standing with you, and once and for all, ending human trafficking.”