Later this year, we will mark the 150th anniversary of the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, and as we remember the sad history of slavery in the United States and honor those who fought to end it, we must also recommit ourselves to delivering on the promise of freedom. Because around the world today, 27 million people are living in modern slavery, or what we call trafficking in persons.
That’s why this Administration has made the effort to combat modern slavery a top priority. Here at home, agencies across government are working together to prosecute traffickers, and to bring needed assistance to survivors. Around the world, we are working with governments to improve their response to this crime, and we are supporting anti-trafficking programs in 37 countries with foreign assistance. Our annual Trafficking in Persons Report is the most comprehensive assessment of what governments are doing to stop this crime, and I’m glad you’ve had the chance to hear from Lou de Baca about everything the State Department is doing to move this struggle forward.
Now, when I was a law student in these same classrooms and hallways, I had the opportunity to learn from brilliant scholars and legal minds, and to study cutting-edge ideas about civil rights and children’s issues. So it doesn’t surprise me that that Yale Law School is again leading the way as we develop new innovations and practices to help us fight this horrible crime.
I hope this conference has been an opportunity for all of you to share ideas and build partnerships that will strengthen our efforts to combat modern slavery. Thank you all for your tireless work to stop this crime.