Partnerships To Combat Modern Slavery

U.S. Department of State- Washington, D.C.

Yesterday, the White House hosted a Forum to Combat Human Trafficking to highlight the Obama Administration’s accomplishments in the fight against modern slavery, demonstrate its ongoing and steadfast to highlight the Obama Administration’s accomplishments in the fight against commitment,to this issue, and engage the stakeholder community. Director of the Domestic Policy Council Cecilia Muñoz; Senior Advisor to the President Valerie Jarrett; and Assistant to the President, Chief of Staff to the First Lady, and Executive Director of the Council on Women and Girls Tina Tchen spoke to partners from non-governmental organizations (NGOs), the faith community, and the private sector to underscore the President’s commitment to this effort at home and abroad. Attorney General Eric Holder and Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano also spoke at the forum to emphasize the work going on across government to put a stop to this crime. Additionally, a new Federal Strategic Action Plan on Services for Victims of Human Trafficking in the United States wasreleased for public comment yesterday.

Secretary Kerry joined by video to introduce the first-ever Presidential Award for Extraordinary Efforts to Combat Trafficking in Persons. Director Muñoz announced the recipients of the award: advocate Florrie Burke, for her work to develop comprehensive services for survivors and promote the victim-centered approach; and global hospitality and travel company Carlson, for adopting and promoting business practices that seek to protect victims of human trafficking.

Health and Human Services Deputy Secretary Bill Corr moderated a panel on the victim-centered approach to combating trafficking, which included a survivor and advocate, a member of the President’s Advisory Council on Faith-based and Community Partnerships, and myself. In my remarks, I discussed the importance of engagement and collaboration among stakeholders in the fight against slavery. By combining resources, expertise, unique insights, and technology, partnerships maximize our individual and collective efforts to protect victims of trafficking and bring their abusers to justice, while working to prevent further exploitation. The Strategic Action Plan embraces this strategy of collaboration by calling for stronger partnerships, while strengthening interagency coordination. The Forum concluded with demonstrations focused on technology-based solutions, and another panel on private-sector innovation supporting law enforcement efforts to combat child sex trafficking.

At the forum, we announced the State Department’s new public-private partnership with New Perimeter, LLC, a non-profit organization established by the global law firm DLA Piper. We developed this partnership to increase the availability of pro bono legal services for trafficking victims and training for legal professionals to ensure they have the tools they need to deal with this crime. We know where the gaps are, and we need to take steps to close them. That may mean connecting lawyers in small communities with other service providers, and training them to provide a range of legal services to victims and to the organizations that assist them. It also means training judges and prosecutors about the needs of victims and the complexities of trafficking cases.

By linking the expertise of our diplomats and the global reach of DPA Piper (which employs more than 4,000 lawyers in more than 30 countries), I am confident we can make a real difference improving victims’ access to justice. Similarly, the new Federal Strategic Action Plan will help ensure that victims in the United States get the support and services they need to move forward. A steadily growing number of partnerships across domestic and international communities means a more robust, comprehensive approach to attacking this problem and to walking with survivors on their road freedom.

Cross posted at Diptnote- the official blog for the U.S. Department of State.

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