PRIME MINISTER GONZI: Good morning. Thank you for joining us for this press statement. Once again, Excellency, Madam Secretary of State, it’s a pleasure to have you here and to express at great (inaudible) my welcome to you for this visit to Malta. This has been an opportunity for us, once again, to reiterate the strong relationship and friendship that exists between Malta and the United States, a relationship that has grown over the years, strengthening from one circumstance to another and also finding its culmination, I must say, in the recent events that have happened in the Mediterranean region.
All of you are aware that events in the Mediterranean in these last 10 months, 11 months, have brought tremendous change, which we in Malta consider to be very good news for all of us. This is a transformation that is taking place. It is a historic event that has taken place, and history has demanded from Malta a specific role, which we have performed and tried to perform to the best of our abilities.
We see now that the phase of evacuation and violence is hopefully finished, and we see three countries – Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya – moving towards a path that hopefully will lead to a democracy, which the people of these countries with themselves, designed for themselves. And therefore, Malta will continue to provide and support in the widest manner possible.
And this was a theme which we discussed in some detail with Madam Secretary of State, and I am pleased to note that we are completely – in complete agreement on what needs to be done in the immediate circumstance, which is still a little bit of a humanitarian challenge, especially with what has been happening in Sirte and continues to happen, but also in the medium to long term and how – what contribution we can make, all of us, to see the whole scenario develop in the best interest, not only of our region, but I would say of the whole world.
We also spent some quality time discussing bilateral issues of importance. Malta is extremely grateful to the Government of the United States for the support we have received constantly on the issue of resettlement of immigrants and resettlement of these persons in the United States, and we appreciate the contribution, the help and support, the understanding that we’ve constantly received from the United States. We are also grateful that we have mentioned recent times to sign a (inaudible) agreement, a visa waiver agreement, all of which are clear indications of this strong relationship that continues to develop.
So I believe that this visit, once again, consolidates something which is already very strong, but prepares also an opportunity for us to continue to grow in the future. So thank you very much, Madam, and I leave the – it open for you.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you so much, Prime Minister. And I am pleased to be the first Secretary of State in the United States to visit Malta in more than two decades. It is, for me, the opportunity that I was seeking to thank the government and people of Malta for their extraordinary response to the events of this last year and to reaffirm the strong partnership and friendship between our two countries.
I’m also delighted to announce that President Obama has decided to nominate one of our most experienced diplomats, Gina Abercrombie-Winstanley, to be our ambassador here. We stand ready to assist in every way possible with Malta’s critical role in the events of the Arab Spring and now the fall.
In our meeting today, I thanked the prime minister for Malta’s assistance in evacuating American citizens and Embassy staff from Libya earlier this year. The prime minister, the entire government, and many private citizens went the extra mile to get our people home safely, and we are very grateful.
As you just heard from the prime minister, as someone who is on the frontlines of watching what is happening here in the Mediterranean region, he is very well acquainted with the challenges and opportunities that the people of Libya, Egypt, Tunisia, and the greater region are facing. And in fact, I think that the prime minister has been particularly helpful in meeting with and counseling representatives of the new Libya over the last several months, as they look to build a new future for their country. There’s no doubt that Malta will continue to play a critical role in helping to establish the rule of law and providing health and education services and to help create an inclusive government that will represent all Libyans from all areas of the country, and of course including the women of Libya. Malta’s unique geography, history, and expertise will make it a valued partner in this work.
The prime minister and I also discussed our shared interest in keeping the Mediterranean safe from illicit nuclear materials and enforcing international sanctions against Iran’s proliferation activities. The United States appreciates Malta’s leadership in this area, including its work with the international community to interdict prohibited Iranian cargo, to deny port access to ships that are bearing illegal cargoes, and working as a good partner in the enforcement of United Nations sanctions. I also want to recognize Malta’s efforts to stop the flow of human trafficking across the Mediterranean and to assist political refugees from conflicts in Sub-Saharan Africa as well.
All of these efforts underscore that while Malta may be a small nation in size, its contributions to regional peace and security are significant. And the United States highly values this partnership, and we look forward to working even more closely in the future.
So, again, let me thank you, Prime Minister, for your leadership. Let me thank your government, with whom we have excellent cooperative relationships, and let me thank the people of Malta for not only their hospitality to me and my delegation, but more importantly their openness and support for the aspirations of the people in this extraordinarily important region. So thank you very much.
(Remarks as delivered at the OSCE Economic and Environmental Dimension Implementation Meeting, Session 4: Field Presences)
Thank you, Mr. Coordinator.
You and your team deserve to feel a sense of satisfaction. This session is the realization of your vision to bring EEOs to Vienna and share their accomplishments and experiences, and the United States applauds your initiative and hopes to see this become a regular feature of 2nd dimension meetings.
Colleagues, we have just heard a number of very compelling statements from the OSCE’s field presences. As evidenced by their depth of knowledge, it is clear that we have a great pool of expertise and talent to draw on as the OSCE seeks to assist participating States to fulfill their commitments. The women and men who directly assist with the implementation of commitments truly are on the frontline, and we should listen carefully, as we have, particularly during this inaugural meeting, as we seek to better understand how we are performing in implementing our commitments and, more importantly, what tools and initiatives are needed to better implement those commitments.
In the time available, it is of course not possible to address all the fantastic work being done across the OSCE region, so we would like to highlight a few exemplars of their high-quality work.
The field operations must of course interpret their mandates in the light of the OSCE’s core tasks, so that longer-term projects can be sustained, yet offices also need to maintain agility to respond to emerging problems. Often activities are started based on themes put forward in the Economic and Environmental Forum, but then are left without subsequent support and follow-through. This is just one of the reasons why we continue to track and support the activities of the long-standing field presences and newer institutions like the OSCE Academy in Bishkek and the Border Management Staff College in Dushanbe. With specific reference to the economic and environmental dimension, we welcome and support the growing role of the OSCE Academy in Bishkek, with its new master’s degree program focusing on economics and development. We believe programs like those at the Academy will ultimately facilitate economic activity that can not only improve licit trade within the OSCE space, but crucially also help neighboring Afghanistan to do so.
The deployment of field missions in the Balkans and other conflict areas has been among the OSCE’s greatest contributions to security and cooperation in the Euro-Atlantic region in the last two decades, and we support efforts to improve the effectiveness of OSCE’s field presence. The organization needs to develop the flexibility to transfer resources and expertise as needed to address problems and emerging crises before they erupt into conflicts. Even as we in the United States and other countries seek to right-size the Balkans missions while augmenting the resources at other field operations, we will continue to support all the OSCE field presences as they carry out their mandates.
The field presences have focused on real-world problems. Their projects are not usually large in scope, but they do have an outsize human impact. For example, when the Centre in Bishkek set up a program to help labor migrants understand their rights and learn how to avoid becoming the victim of a trafficking scenario, they had maximum impact on a very vulnerable population.
The field missions also help build capacity, and we are particularly supportive of the work that is done to promote good governance. For example, the OSCE office in Baku has helped implement effective outreach programs on combating corruption for both citizens and officials. Azerbaijan’s ratings on the World Competitiveness Index have improved, setting the groundwork for real progress in combating corruption. And, the presentation we have just heard on the Guillotine Project in Armenia provides much to consider in thinking of where else this approach could be applied.
The economic and environment officers in the field continue to serve a vital function in assisting participating States to meet their OSCE commitments. Of all the critical work areas our distinguished panelists have just presented, we would like to highlight one issue we all know has the power to overshadow all others in the second dimension. We noted yesterday that good governance is more than just anti-corruption, but without a focus on the pernicious effects of corruption on political and economic systems, all other field work is at risk of being robbed of its value. Graft, bribery, favoritism in public procurement, and other drags on the economy reduce the financial resources and political capital available to governments working with the private sector and civil society to solve problems in energy production and consumption, transportation systems, and environmental protection and restoration. To that end, we strongly support both the Lithuanian Chair’s efforts to capitalize on this year’s Forum topics of sustainable energy and transport and the incoming Irish Chair’s focus on good governance during their Chairmanship year. We look forward to continuing robust discussions on how all participating States can learn from the experiences and best practices from the field.
In closing, the role of the field missions in this area will continue to be important for years to come, and we hope to see even greater involvement and support for initiatives in the field.
Thank you, Mr. Coordinator.
(As prepared for delivery at the OSCE Human Dimension Implementation Meeting, Session 17: Humanitarian Issues; Trafficking in Human Beings)
The United States strongly supports the goals of our OSCE commitments to combat trafficking in persons through prosecution, protection and prevention. For our part, we are working to achieve the goals of the OSCE Action Plan to Combat Trafficking in Human Beings, and, we are addressing recommendations from the Alliance Against Trafficking conferences coordinated by the OSCE Special Representative and Coordinator for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings in drafting its recommendations. While the 2010 Astana Summit did not yield an Action Plan, it did establish the political will for updating commitments associated with labor trafficking and combating the demand for goods and services produced by trafficked persons at the upcoming Ministerial Council meetings.
In recent years, the OSCE has addressed the demand that drives modern slavery, as well as the unique vulnerabilities of domestic workers. This year, the Alliance against Trafficking considered the scope of trafficking for labor exploitation. The United States commends Special Representative Giammarinaro for her efforts to address emerging trends in trafficking and to identify new mechanisms for cooperation, particularly in the field of labor trafficking. In February of this year, the OSCE Special Representative launched a publication entitled: “Unprotected Work, Invisible Exploitation: Trafficking for the Purpose of Domestic Servitude,” (ref. 1) which included key recommendations on victim identification, and on improved regulation and monitoring of recruitment and placement agencies. Additionally, the Special Representative collaborated on the development of recommendations for “The Implementation and Enforcement of Codes of Conduct in the Private Sector to Reduce the Demand for the Services of or Goods Produced by People who have been Trafficked.” We strongly support these initiatives, which provide ample background to enhance efforts established by the 2007 Madrid Ministerial Decision on Combating Trafficking in Human Beings for Labor Exploitation (ref. 2). We ask participating States to join the United States in advancing a strong Declaration decision based on these recommendations for the Vilnius Ministerial Council in December.
As we move past the first decade since the adoption of the United Nations Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, much still needs to be done. We are encouraged, however, that most countries have enacted either comprehensive anti-trafficking laws or separate anti-trafficking provisions in their penal code. Now our focus must shift to implementation.
Unfortunately, some OSCE States remain far from achieving the fundamental goals set by our shared OSCE commitments, as documented in the U.S. Department of State’s 2011 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report. Azerbaijan, Russia, and Uzbekistan have demonstrated inadequate progress from previous years in combating trafficking in persons. In the Russian case, the country has remained as a source, transit, and destination country for forced labor and sex trafficking with limited government efforts to protect victims or prevent trafficking. This is all the more concerning as we approach the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, which may present a risk of the use of forced labor in construction projects. Minimal progress to address domestic forced labor during the cotton harvest remains a substantial challenge in Uzbekistan, while proactive victim identification and effective investigations and prosecutions of traffickers have not been adequately prioritized in Malta or Azerbaijan. Belarus, Cyprus and Estonia lack effective programs to investigate, prosecute, and sentence traffickers, paired with weak victim-centered approaches to assistance and protection. Estonia remains the only European Union country without a law that specifically addresses human trafficking. We urge Estonia to quickly pass its draft trafficking-specific criminal statute, provide better assistance for repatriated Estonian victims, and improve awareness of victim services. Additionally, we call on Belarus to provide greater victim assistance and protection while providing more information on, and clearly delineating their anti-trafficking efforts from their efforts on trafficking related work such as illegal migration. We urge Cyprus to actively prosecute and convict traffickers, improve front-line services to victims, strengthen NGO partnerships, and provide responder training for victim identification.
We are particularly concerned by the Turkmenistan government’s unwillingness prosecute traffickers and disregard for the work of IOM and anti-trafficking organizations which seek to provide protection for victims. We urge Turkmenistan to implement its 2007 anti-trafficking law and Article 129(1) of its criminal code and develop a reliable victim identification and referral mechanism. Forced labor, including forced child labor, in Central Asia remains a challenge that must be addressed, particularly for cotton cultivation in Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan. The citizens of the OSCE region deserve a future free from exploitation. The United States urges Uzbekistan to stop the practice of using forced labor to pick cotton, and urges Tajikistan and Kazakhstan to continue efforts to eliminate the use of forced labor in the cotton harvests.
Additionally, the U.S. Department of State’s 2011 TIP Report for the second time features a full tier-ranking and country narrative for the United States, so that our initiatives can be openly compared to other States. Government self-reporting can be a useful tool, but is only meaningful when a vigorous civil society can also independently and safely voice its views—as exemplified in the U.S. narrative. The 2011 report on the United States is a reminder of how much further our government still has to go in the fight against modern day slavery.
The OSCE Parliamentary Assembly (OSCE PA) has been active in promoting new avenues for our efforts to combat human trafficking throughout the OSCE region. The recent Belgrade Declaration of the OSCE PA included proposals to enhance implementation of United Nations protocols on trafficking and specific efforts to combat trafficking for labor exploitation. This resolution also unanimously called on participating States to adopt a ministerial decision or declaration on labor trafficking, demonstrating the broad political will for such an action. As we update the Madrid Ministerial Decision we must consider more specific regulation for recruitment agencies, appropriate oversight of supply chains to prevent exploitation, measures to prevent abuses of domestic workers—including by diplomatic personnel—measures to encourage corporate codes of conduct, and to promote consumer awareness. We ask participating States to consider these recommendations as we negotiate updates to our OSCE commitments in the coming weeks.
(ref. 1) – http://www.osce.org/cthb/75804
(ref. 2) – MC.DEC 8/07 http://www.osce.org/mc/29464
USAID, OSCE Team Up to Help Azerbaijan Combat Human Trafficking and Promote Access to the Justice System
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), Office in Baku on September 29th signed a grant agreement to collaborate on combating trafficking in persons and improving access to the justice system in Azerbaijan. Michael Greene, USAID Azerbaijan Mission Director, and Ambassador Koray Targay, Head of OSCE Office in Baku, signed the agreement.
Under the grant, USAID will support the OSCE’s efforts in the security and justice sectors. This will improve coordination and capacity among government and non-governmental officials in assisting victims of trafficking and forced labor, and train media to report on this topic. The grant will also fund legal resource centers in Sheki and Lankaran in providing free legal assistance and information to the public. The grant agreement will finance these activities from October 2011 to September 2013.
U.S Ambassador Matthew Bryza and Azerbaijan Chief of the Office on Struggle Against Human Trafficking Shikhaliyev Javad Suleyman attended the ceremony. Ambassador Bryza told attendees that the grant shows that, “The United States, in cooperation with the OSCE, is committed to helping our Azerbaijani partners combat this modern-day form of slavery.” He added that the OSCE Office in Baku will implement the cooperation with the Government of Azerbaijan and civil society, which will contribute significantly to combating trafficking in persons in Azerbaijan.
“USAID’s support for these two projects will enable the Government of Azerbaijan to improve its compliance with OSCE commitments,” said Ambassador Koray Targay. “Advancement in the security and justice sectors can help Azerbaijan build on the success of its recent development in the energy sector to create a hospitable environment for pluralistic democracy, human rights and economic prosperity for many years to come.”
UNDER SECRETARY OTERO: What a great room. Wonderful. Good afternoon, welcome, and thank you all for being here. My name is Maria Otero, and I am the Under Secretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs. My role at the State Department is to oversee our foreign policy on a wide array of transnational issues, including protection of human rights, the promotion of democratic principles, and of course, our efforts to combat trafficking in persons.
The progress that we have made in the last decade in the fight against modern slavery is chronicled in this report, which I can barely hold. (Laughter.) Many of you in this room have played a role in all of the accomplishments that we are able to talk about today, whether you come from an NGO that is helping restore survivors who have been victims, or whether you are a U.S. Government official who is helping a country pass an anti-trafficking law, or if you’re opening new shelters. It doesn’t matter whether you are one of these or if you are one of our TIP heroes who are here, but you are showing a real difference in the commitments that can be made, the individuals that can make a difference. Each of you every day, here today, is helping us sustain this drive and this movement forward.
In a moment, we’re going to honor those heroes that are seated here to my right, but I’d like to just take a moment to acknowledge the two heroes that are standing here to my left. We have today, marking the 11th annual TIP Report, because over 10 years ago then First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton provided the instrumental leadership to help garner the support we needed to pass the Trafficking Victims Protection Act. It’s this congressional mandate that is giving us the drive for our diplomatic efforts today, but it was her leadership a decade ago that moved the United States to renew its commitment to fight slavery and to deliver the promise of freedom. Now, her leadership as Secretary of State has made this a priority issue in our foreign policy today. And it’s her leadership that will continue to guide as we enter what in this report we are calling the decade of delivery in our fights against modern slavery.
As a prosecutor of the Justice Department, Luis CdeBaca spent years putting traffickers in prison. He was there at the earliest moments in this effort, helping to shape the laws, helping to develop the tools, helping to take the work that was needed to tackle this enormous challenge. He now applies that expertise on the world stage with passion, with determination, and he is our ambassador-at-large, directing the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, and it’s an honor for me to be able to work with him. So it’s my pleasure to introduce Ambassador Lou CdeBaca. (Applause.)
AMBASSADOR CDEBACA: Thank you, Madam Under Secretary, and thank everyone for being here with us today. This 11th Trafficking in Persons Report is a snapshot, it’s a diagnosis. But we’re not just looking at a government report. We’re looking at a history book, one that starts much longer than 11 years ago.
Yesterday, The New York Times reprinted a story from June 27th 1861 about escaped slaves seen walking openly in the daylight in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. “It seems that less than three months into the Civil War the Underground Railroad was emerging, if not into broad daylight,” the article read, “at least into the pale summer dusk.” The three men trudged along with their heavy bundles, unmolested by the slave catchers, for that era, truly newsworthy. Legally, emancipation wouldn’t come for another 18 months, but on their walk to freedom they made their own dream come true.
Today, 150 years later to the day, we deliver just a little bit more on the promise of freedom that motivated those men to walk North, the promise articulated by the Emancipation Proclamation and the 13th Amendment, written in blood and tears, enshrined in our values and in such symbols as the Lincoln Memorial and the Statue of Liberty. As I look at this report, which calls for a decade of delivery, I can’t help but think how far we have come in this modern chapter of our abolitionist fight.
But it also makes me think of the people. I think of a 16-year-old boy begging for change on a New York City subway. Jose wasn’t begging because he was trying to get something to eat. He was begging because he was a slave, and the price for not meeting his quota was a beating or a chaining or the stun gun. Exploited, isolated, he couldn’t cry out for help. He couldn’t even know if someone else on the subway platform was offering to help him because he was deaf and far from home. He didn’t even speak American Sign Language. He didn’t even know what to do or what would happen to him, and, like most trafficking victims, whether male, female, young, or old, the last thing he wanted was for anyone to know how scared he was.
When I met him, I was a young prosecutor, and like Jose, the last thing I wanted anyone to know was how scared I was. I didn’t know how to take care of 56 deaf Mexicans. I didn’t know where they’d sleep or how we’d feed them. I didn’t know how to get them the services they needed or even how to talk to them. Frankly, I didn’t know whether or not justice would prevail, because at that time,we didn’t have a 3P Paradigm, we didn’t have a comprehensive law. We had a set of old laws, good people, and a shared conviction that slavery was as worth fighting then as it was in 1861. Mayors, judges, motel owners, subway riders, immigration and FBI agents, and NGO social workers, an entire city that had missed the slavery right underneath their noses every day for two years came together to try to make it right. Together, by hook and by crook, we got housing and schooling, language training, immigration services for Jose and his friends, and we got prison for his traffickers.
The traffickers lured their victims to the United States by going to deaf schools in Mexico with photographs of a better life, photographs of landmarks like the Statue of Liberty. Think about it. They used our very own symbols of freedom to lure their victims into servitude. But freedom, when given a chance, whether it’s a walk north 150 years ago or now, can prevail. Somehow, after months of secretly and painstakingly writing a note, Jose and his friends made it out, got that note to a police station, and made their dream come true. Like those men in Harrisburg, they made their walk. It was up to us then to honor their bravery through our response.
In that case and other cases in the 1990s, we reacted as best we could. We cobbled together a victim-centered approach of goodwill and common values and a lot of hard work to vindicate this critical civil right. And yet we knew that America owed victims of modern slavery much better than an ad hoc, modern underground railroad. Luckily for us, so did the White House. Coming out of Beijing and through the President’s Interagency Council on Women, a bipartisan consensus and an international paradigm emerged, the famous Ps – prevention, prosecution, protection, and now partnerships – as Secretary Clinton said last year, “a fundamental governmental responsibility to act.” A lot has changed in the last decade. The fight against trafficking has become a social and a cultural imperative.
If you go to the Underground Railroad Freedom Center today, you’ll see an exhibit on modern slavery and how it affects you because they realize that the walk to freedom didn’t end 150 years ago; it’s a journey that someone is having to take every day. And just like the editor of that Harrisburg newspaper, the folks at CNN know that this fight is newsworthy, having aired dozens of stories in the last few months through their innovative Freedom Project. The fight has changed governments with almost 150 signatories to the UN Protocol and over 130 countries with comprehensive laws. At the United Nations with Goodwill Ambassadors like Mira Sorvino, who joins us today, and others, the work is happening in a multilateral fashion.
And in New York, things have changed as well. Most of the deaf Mexicans chose to stay in the United States and have good jobs. There’s now not just federal laws in New York, but a cutting-edge state statute and local task forces and victim protections. And that scared boy, Jose, is now grown up. Last year, he was named employee of the year by the folks that he works for as a janitor. His responsibility every day is to take the ferry across, put on his uniform, and clean the Statue of Liberty. (Applause.)
We know that around the world, there are still tired, huddled masses yearning to breathe free, to take that walk, 27 million of them. That’s the story of this report. The rankings are critically important, but it is the truths in these country narratives that drive us to action, to seize the opportunity of the moment, to finally make good on the promises so dearly won.
Just like the walk north to freedom so many years ago took leaders and guides, fighting modern slavery does not happen by accident. It too takes leaders like Richard Holbrooke, to whom this year’s report is dedicated, who always reminded us of the fact reflected on page 3 of the report that slaves are first and foremost people, people just like us; leaders like a first lady who ignited a global understanding that this scourge still persists in the modern era, that every survivor deserves a recovery and rehabilitation, and that every trafficker deserves free room and board courtesy of the government for a very long time. (Laughter.) Leaders like a senator from New York, who supported this cause through the last decade of development, and now, as Secretary of State, leads us into the decade of delivery, a promise fulfilled so that that statue in the harbor, a beacon of freedom for Jose and so many others, stands not just for what we aspire to be, but who we actually are.
It is my honor to introduce that leader, our own Lady Liberty, the Secretary of State. (Applause.)
*Awards are presented to the TIP heroes.
*Sheila Roseau gives remarks on behalf of the TIP heroes.
UNDER SECRETARY OTERO: Well, I want to thank Shelia for sharing not only her remarkable story but certainly for sharing with us some of the things that are being done. And I want to thank all of you for being here today.
Even though Shelia was trying to give credit to a lot of people and say that these heroes were not really the ones that make things happen, in fact, I think these TIP heroes are shining examples of what a single person can do and the tremendous impact that they can have. And as we look to the future of this struggle, which will continue to have many challenges for us, this idea is one that helps us carry forward. It’s going to be critical for governments to enforce laws. It’s going to be critical for us to be able to have more structural changes, strong partnerships that are going to change the way in which human trafficking is taking place. We’re going to need more collaboration with the government, with civil society, with the private sector. Everyone will need to join forces. We’re going to need to be more innovative in order to bring solutions to this fight.
But in addition to that, all of us are going to have to hold ourselves accountable to this, because in some ways, each of us contribute to it. If you stop and think a little bit about whether the shrimp that you ordered for dinner was cleaned by an enslaved child in some processing plant or the coffee that you drank was picked by a woman whose boss has confiscated her passport and has withheld her wages, it becomes clear that modern slavery is not something that is distant and remote and far away from us, but it is something that knocks at our very doorstep.
So part of our responsibility is also to spread the knowledge, to spread this acting with responsibility. It’s something that will ensure that we will make progress, that we will not lose the momentum that we have as we are entering a decade of delivery, and that we won’t be slowed in the work that we are doing. So for the millions of the victims who live as victims, all of what we are doing will make a difference.
So again, I want to thank all of you for being here, for advancing freedom, for advancing dignity, and for helping remove modern slavery from the face of the earth. Thank you very much. (Applause.)
(Applause.) Thank you. Thank you all very much. Thank you. Thank you all, and good afternoon and welcome to the State Department. It is truly wonderful to see the Ben Franklin Room packed as it is today. I especially want to welcome all the ambassadors who are here. I know many of you and I’m delighted that you could join us for this important event.
I want to thank Under Secretary Maria Otero for her leadership on this and so many of the global, transnational, cross-cutting issues that she is responsible for. And I think you certainly got a small taste of the passion and conviction that Ambassador Lou CdeBaca brings to this work. He is tireless and he, with his wonderful team, are working around the clock and around the world to heal wounds and to save lives, and I’m very grateful to Lou for his leadership and deep, deep commitment.
And because human trafficking unfortunately hurts women and girls disproportionately, Lou has worked closely for over a decade with Melanne Verveer, our Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues. This is a natural partnership because trafficking isn’t just a problem of human bondage; it fuels the epidemic of gender-based violence in so many places – here in our country and around the world. So I thank our team at the State Department that has done so much to continue this work, and to make sure that we not only issue a report, which as Lou said, is just one part of the work. The report itself is a tool, and what we’re most interested in is working with countries around the world and working across our own government to get results. The decade of delivery is upon us.
And I know it’s not just our State Department and not just our Congress, but many of you in this room, many of you from other governments who have taken on this issue, many of you from the NGO community that have been on the frontlines standing up for millions of victims. Last year, I visited in Cambodia a place of healing and support, a shelter for survivors. I met with dozens of girls, most of them very young, who had been sexually exploited and abused. They had been given refuge at the shelter and they were learning valuable skills to help them reenter society. These girls wanted the same thing that every child wants – the opportunity to live, to learn, a safe place, people who cared about them. And not too long ago, a shelter like this would not have been available. The idea of trafficking in persons was as old as time. And it wasn’t particularly high on the list of important international issues. And certainly, speaking for my country until relatively recently, we were not investing the resources or raising the visibility of these issues, of these stories, of these young girls. There were so many attractive children at that shelter; lots of liveliness. There were some very withdrawn and set apart from the others.
And there was one little girl who had the biggest grin on her face, and then when I looked into that face, I saw that one of her eyes was badly disfigured. She had glasses on. And I asked one of the women running the shelters, I said, “What happened to her?” And she said, “Well, when she was sold into a brothel, she was even younger than she is now, and she basically fought back to protect herself against what was expected. So the brothel owner stabbed her in the eye with a large nail.” And there was this child whose spirit did not look as though it had been broken, who was determined to interact with people, but whose life had only been saved because of a concerted effort to rescue girls like her from the slavery they were experiencing.
The world began to change a little over 10 years ago, and certainly, I’m grateful for the work that my country has done, but I’m also very grateful for the work that so many of our partners have done as well. When my husband signed the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, we did have tools – we had tools to bring traffickers to justice and tools to provide victims with legal services and other support. Today, police officers, activists, and governments are coordinating their efforts so much more effectively. Thousands of victims have been liberated around the world, and thanks to special temporary visas, many of them are able to come to our country to have protection to testify against their perpetrators.
Every year, we come together to release this report, to take stock of our progress, to make suggestions, and to refine our methods. Today, we are releasing a new report that ranks 184 countries, including our own. One of the innovations when I became Secretary was we were going to also analyze and rank ourselves, because I don’t think it’s fair for us to rank others if we don’t look hard at who we are and what we’re doing. This report is the product of a collaborative process that involves ambassadors and embassies and NGOs as well as our team here in Washington. And it really does give us a snapshot about what’s happening. It shows us where political will and political leadership are making a difference.
Take the case of Bangladesh, for example: The minister of home affairs and joint secretary have drafted progressive legislation that promises to confront the traffickers behind thousands of Bangladeshi migrants to the Middle East and North Africa. Or the United Arab Emirates, where leaders are advancing initiatives to improve protections for migrant workers in the Gulf region. Or the case of Taiwan, where the director of immigration has taken steps to ensure that victims of trafficking are identified, provided immigration relief and work permits, and have the opportunity to recover from their ordeals.
Now, these achievements and so many more, which we highlight in the report, are certainly worthy of the recognition that they are given, but we all have to do more. Unfortunately, because of the ease of transportation and the global communications that can reach deep into villages with promises and pictures of what a better life might be, we now see that more human beings are exploited than before. There are as many as 27 million men, women, and children.
And governments have taken important steps, but we have to really mix the commitments with actions in order to get results. For example, the number of prosecutions worldwide has remained relatively static. And so the measure of success can no longer be whether a country has passed laws, because so many have in the last decade; now we have to make sure that laws are implemented and that countries are using the tools that have been created for that. And governments should work more closely with the private sector and use new supply chain monitoring techniques to let consumers know if their goods and services come from slavery-free, responsible sources. In partnership with the NGO community, we have to develop new mechanisms for shielding potential victims and bringing more perpetrators to justice.
Now it’s only fair that countries know why they have a certain ranking, and that we, then, take on the responsibility of working with countries to respond. So we are issuing concrete recommendations and providing technical assistance. This week, U.S. diplomats around the world will be meeting with their host country governments to review action plans and provide recommendations when needed. And I’m instructing our embassies and the trafficking office to intensify partnerships in the coming months so that every country that wishes to can improve its standing.
So while this report is encouraging more countries to come to the table, none of us can afford to be satisfied. Just because a so-called developed country has well-established rules, laws, and a strong criminal justice system, does not mean that any of us are doing everything we can. Even in these tight economic times, we need to look for creative ways to do better. And this goes for the United States, because we are shining a light on ourselves and we intend to do more in order to make our own situation better and help those who are interested in doing the same.
Our TIP – our TIP heroes today show us that individual action can lead to some astounding results. For example, in Singapore, Bridget Lew Tan has dedicated her life to protecting migrant workers. And Singapore, albeit a small country, has more than 800,000 immigrants. And she has been volunteering with a local archdiocese. And while there, she met 30 Bangladeshi men assembled behind a coffee shop in the middle of the night, and she helped to set up shelters – one for men and one for women – to provide refuge to migrant workers who had been abused.
Or take Mexico, where Mexico City Attorney General’s Office Deputy Prosecutor Dilcya Garcia tried a case in 2009 that resulted in the first trafficking sentence in Mexico. Since then, she has developed indictments against more than 100 alleged traffickers, and forged partnerships to provide comprehensive victim protection services.
Stories like these and the others you will hear about our TIP heroes give us hope, because they inspire us, but also tell us very practically what we can do to make a difference. And the story of all the victims really is one that should motivate all of us. And when we hear the stories of the TIP heroes, we know that it’s not hopeless, we know that it is not overwhelming, we know that person by person, we can make a difference.
I think a lot about that little girl that I met who finally was rescued. I don’t know what will happen in her life in the future. But many of the adult women who were working there themselves had been rescued, and now they were passing on to the next generation the support that they themselves had received. And the children that I met with, when I asked them, “What do you want to do when you grow up,” they wanted to do what children everywhere want to do – they wanted to be a teacher, they wanted to be mothers, they wanted to be the best that they could be. And that’s what we want for all of the world’s children.
So I am honored to be here with you. I thank all the countries who are here today. I thank all the leaders around the world who recognize that we can make progress by working together to end modern day slavery. And I particularly thank our heroes who have showed us it is possible despite the odds.
Thank you all very much. (Applause.)
OPERATOR: Welcome, and thank you for standing by. All participants will be in a listen-only mode until the question-and-answer portion. To ask a question at that time, please press * then 1. Today’s conference is being recorded. If you have any objections, you may disconnect at this time. And now I’d like to turn the meeting over to Ms. Heide Fulton.
MS. FULTON: Yes. Hello, everybody, and thank you for joining us today. We’re very pleased to have with us today Ambassador Luis CdeBaca, who is the director of the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, who will give for you an on-the-record conference call briefing to preview the 2011 Global Trafficking in Persons Report.
However, I need to make clear that this report is going to be released publicly June 27th (inaudible). Sorry, we’re getting a little bit of feedback. If – I just want to point out that this report is embargoed – excuse me, this report – well, it is embargoed, but it’s being released to the public on Monday, June 27th, at 2:00 p.m. So this conference call, while it is on the record, the information is embargoed until 2:00 p.m. on Monday. So we’re glad to have the opportunity to speak with folks to prepare for – prepare you for your reporting on this, but I just need to stress that it’s embargoed until Monday.
So at this time, I’m going to turn it over to Ambassador CdeBaca to make some remarks, and then we’ll follow that with a question-and-answer period. Ambassador, over to you.
AMBASSADOR CDEBACA: Thank you. Well, welcome, everyone. We look forward on Monday to releasing the annual Trafficking in Persons Report with Secretary Clinton. The Trafficking in Persons Report is in its 11th incarnation now. It’s created by the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000, which was the modern updating of our post-civil war antislavery statutes that happened in the fall of 2000 under the leadership of then-First Lady Hillary Clinton, the Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, and the Attorney General Janet Reno as part of the President’s Interagency Council on Women and with the bipartisan support up on Capitol Hill.
That bipartisan support and that interagency commitment is mirrored in what we’re doing in the Obama Administration on this problem of modern slavery. What we’ve seen in the last 10 years since the passage of our domestic legislation, the Trafficking Victims Protection Act in October of 2000, and the foreign – the international law standards, the Palermo Protocol at the UN, which came out in December of 2000, is a decade of progress in developing the tools that have been prescribed by what we call the three-P paradigm – the three Ps of prevention, protection, and prosecution. In the last decade, we’ve seen 148 countries are now parties to that protocol, which is blindingly fast for most international conventions, and that almost 130 countries have enacted legislation prohibiting all forms of human trafficking.
Just a very quick definitional note: Human trafficking is an umbrella term that has become used over the last 10 years or so to describe all of the activities involved in holding someone in involuntary servitude, whether that slavery is for the purposes of sex; whether that purpose is for labor; whether the person is a man, woman, or child; whether they’ve been moved across the – around the world or across an international border; or whether they are enslaved in the town or village that their families have lived in for years. Trafficking in persons is, as Secretary Clinton says, plain and simply, modern slavery.
So this is one of the things that’s important when thinking about human trafficking and thinking about the report this year, is that this is not a report on alien smuggling. This is not a report on migration trends, although many of the victims of this crime around the world are, in fact, migrants. At the end of the day, this is a report that looks at how vulnerable people are being abused within different sectors of the economy by unscrupulous bosses who are holding them for profit. The estimates are up to 27 million people who are laboring in bondage around the world. And here in the United States, a good chunk of people as well, with estimates as high as a hundred thousand, once one factors in the children in prostitution.
That raises another definitional issue, which is that children in prostitution are considered to be trafficking victims because, much like statutory rape, a child is not presumed to be legally able to consent to commercial sexual activity. And so whereas for an adult you would have to show force, fraud, and coercion to say that the person is a trafficking victim, for a child, you would simply have to show that they were being used in commercial sex.
The report this year has a theme of a decade of delivery. Just as this last decade has been a decade of development – developing the tools, developing victim protections, developing structures around the world and developing our ability as the United States to report and analyze on this, including by putting ourselves in the report for the first time last year – now we turn to a decade of delivery. There’s been a lot of advances in the last few years, but we are concerned that the number of victims identified and the number of traffickers being prosecuted has flattened out around the world. And that trend needs to go back into an increase. Some of that could be because of the global economic crisis, because of security concerns where hardening attitudes to migrants and diminished resources are committed to assisting victims. But at the end of the day, those are things that can be overcome by political will.
The Trafficking in Persons Report this year looks at about 180 countries and is the most number of countries that we have seen in the report this year. A couple of years ago, Congress, in the 2008 reauthorization, took away the numeric limitations on how many trafficking victims needed to be in a country for them to be included in the report. And as such, over the last couple of years, we’ve seen many of the smaller nations have acceded into the report. And so we’ve seen, for instance, this year, the new countries and territories that are on the report are small, typically island countries, such as the Solomons, Tonga, Aruba, St. Lucia, et cetera.
But what we’ve seen is that even a little country like Tonga or a little territory like Aruba, as one of the Aruban prosecutors has said in public, if you put these structures into place, all of the things that you thought about there not being any trafficking victims in your country will go away, because with the structures, you’ll actually find the victims. And so we’ve seen successes in countries like Aruba and Tonga with their first prosecutions, their first successful convictions of trafficking. And I think that they show that it doesn’t – you don’t have to be a member of the G-8, you don’t have to be a large-risk Western country to be able to fight human trafficking. Even a country that’s smaller than Washington, D.C., with less people, if they’ve got the political will, they can catch these bad guys.
At the end of the day, this is a crime problem, but it’s a unique crime problem in that it is a human rights crime problem. The crime that needs to be punished is not simply a commodity crime or an economic crime. It is the crime of denying someone of their most basic of human rights, the right to freedom. And what we have seen around the world this year is an increasing ability of countries to do that as they professionalize their approach. But again, it takes political will, it takes not just one case or two cases, but it takes affirmatively going out and finding the victims and bringing the traffickers to justice.
So that’s, I think, just a very quick overview of kind of the concepts that are reflected in this year’s report. The call that the Secretary will make for a decade of delivery, I think, very much in keeping with the pillars of foreign policy in this Administration – for instance, the Asian foreign policy pillars, you’ll recall of the five one of them was the notion of results-based cooperation. We are not here to have relationships with countries simply to have relationships with them. We’re here to have bilateral relationships with countries so that we can try to achieve change, change for the better, and better outcomes for these trafficking victims. And so that notion of results-based cooperation that the Secretary has talked about in other settings is very much in evidence here.
So that, I think, is just kind of the overview. I’d be happy to take any particular questions that might jump out at you as you look at it. I do want to say one last thing, however, and that this report is unique in that it is actually dedicated to a person. That has not been the case in the past. And that person is Richard Holbrooke. The leadership that he showed on this issue, without necessarily getting the kind of press that he did for the many other things that he did in his career, is something that internally was very helpful to this issue. And in recognition of what he had done, we’re dedicating this particular episode of the TIP Report to his memory, and we just wanted to make sure that people knew that.
MS. FULTON: All right. Ambassador, thank you so much.
QUESTION: Protection, partnership, all of those things are really important, but Hillary Clinton, you bring action to this. How and what – how do you get others to share?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Jim, I have been caring about and working on this now for longer than a decade, and the passion is there because it’s such a violation of human rights and human dignity. To see men, women, and children forced into bondage, slavery, in the 21st century is just absolutely unforgettable and unforgivable. So we do take seriously the mission that the United States, along with many international partners, has undertaken, which is to prevent and to prosecute and to do everything we can in our efforts to stop modern-day slavery. And that means we have to have partnerships, which is very important, and we have to protect those who are at risk and those who are put into it. So we went from three Ps to four Ps, but passion underlies all of them.
QUESTION: When the United States took it upon itself through the Trafficking Victims Protection Act to do a report like this, when it also set itself up for criticism by those who would say, “This is politicized,” how tough do you see this year’s report in comparison to others?
SECRETARY CLINTON: It’s both tough and it’s encouraging, because on the one hand, when we started, we couldn’t even get this issue on agendas with other countries. I remember back in the late 90s, as First Lady, raising this issue in a number of countries, and I was really just politely dismissed. It was not something they wanted to talk about; they weren’t going to do anything about it; they viewed it as cultural, not criminal. And it only has been in the last several years that we have seen in – I would argue, in some measure, because of the U.S. report – that countries take it seriously, and that we have made common cause with activists at the grassroots level in so many countries who use this report to push their own governments for greater commitment.
QUESTION: Some governments like Saudi Arabia remain right on the bottom. Kuwait this year went down to Tier 3. When you look at that – how do you engage diplomatically to tell people who won’t even recognize that they have a problem, how do you engage them to make a change, a real change, not just passing a law?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I think we have to look at the progress that we’ve made. Yes, there are countries that have not done, by any means, enough to even be taken seriously in addressing this. But there are many others who not only did pass laws, but have begun to put resources behind the implementation of those laws. So what we have is an international snapshot. There are some countries that are going up because what they have done is worthy of that, and there are some countries that are going down because they have backslid and maybe they’ve had a change in administration or they’ve just decided it’s not a priority for them. And then there are countries that are not making progress one way or the other.
We try to use this report to encourage change. I mean, the report in and of itself is a tool. It’s not an end in itself. It’s not some kind of giant report card and then we put it away and then dust it off and upgrade it the next year. All through the year, what we’re trying to do is to work with countries that are willing to take some action. We’re trying to work with advocates so that they know they’re not alone. And we’re trying to shine a very bright light on people everywhere who are still unwilling to admit that 27 million enslaved people is a rebuke to everyone everywhere; it’s not just a Western phenomena. I think human rights are universal rights, and therefore, we have to keep working with these countries and encouraging them, and frankly, naming and shaming to some extent to get them to change.
QUESTION: Does naming and shaming – do you think it works?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Yes. It does work. I mean, there –
QUESTION: But some countries are down on the bottom, Tier 3, every year.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, we can look at the glass as half empty or half full, and that’s true that some countries are on the bottom, but other –
QUESTION: Are we pushing them hard enough or is this something where, “They’re our friends, we don’t want to push too hard?”
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, we push pretty hard. I mean, it’s pretty hard to turn your eyes away from a report that is on the internet and that everybody can access. But I also like to look at the countries that have made a lot of progress. Look at what the Philippines have done in a change of administration. The Philippines probably export more people of their citizenry than nearly any other country in the world. They go all over the world to work in many different settings. And until the new administration of President Aquino, we didn’t really have the level of commitment we were seeking. We do now, and we see a sea change of difference.
So what we are looking at is, yes, those countries that are not moving, we’re going to keep pushing, we’re going to offer technical assistance, we’re going to keep raising it, it’s not going away, they can’t ignore it and thereby be left alone. And then we’re going to keep working with countries that are showing that they want to make a difference and do better.
QUESTION: One thing that has changed is that the U.S. is coming under a spotlight. The U.S. has said if: We have a problem, we admit it. But when you look at the War on Drugs or the War on Terror, there is no commensurate war on human trafficking in this country, a country with a hundred thousand young girls out on the streets, could become victims of human traffickers right here in this country – the funding isn’t there.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Jim, I don’t accept the premise of that. I think that part of the reason why I wanted to include ourselves in this report is that, I think, we’re stronger diplomatically if we can say to countries, look, we’re taking a hard look at ourselves. Now, we have done so much in the last 10-plus years, and a lot of what we do is at the local and state level, not just at the federal level. So if you look at all of the resources, from DA offices and police stations to judges who have been trained and really sensitized, all the way across our country we are making enormous progress off a very high base to begin with.
One of the first things I ever did that had anything to do with politics was as a young intern when I was in law school working on forced labor in our migratory labor in fields in our country, where people were basically enslaved. They were given contracts that they would never be able to fulfill and they were kept in, really, substandard housing, denied all kinds of services, and this was nearly 40 years ago. And there’s just no difference; it’s night and day. Our country has done so much. It is a national priority.
Once a year, I hold a meeting where our entire government comes together, from the Defense Department to the Justice Department to the Labor Department, and we do a tough review on what we’ve done and what we can do better. But what we have accomplished is really extraordinary. Is it a problem that we have overcome? No, but nowhere in the world has, but we set a very high standard and I’m proud of the work that our country is doing.
QUESTION: I want to shift gears and just ask you a question about Libya, Muammar Qadhafi, and the International Criminal Court: Is it such a good idea to have a public indictment of a man that you’re trying to force from power, or is it only going to make him dig in his heels even more – to fight his own people, to take their lives to an even greater degree?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Jim, that’s a judgment call. The international community at the United Nations included a referral to the International Criminal Court because of the credible evidence of behaviors that were deeply disturbing. He’s dug in pretty hard, and we, along with our international partners have made it very clear that he needs to leave power, and he also needs to stop the assault on his own people. But part of what the International Criminal Court has done is to take credible evidence and pull it all together. And it tells a fairly horrifying story about what he and his close associates, including family members, have been willing to do to stay in power, someone who’s been in power for more than 40 years, who cannot give it up, and who has so undermined the institutions of a country that has so much potential. So you can argue it round, you can argue square, you can say maybe we should have or maybe we shouldn’t have. But it was included in part of the international response to what we saw as a very direct threat to the lives of civilians in Libya.
QUESTION: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, thank you very much for giving us the time.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you.