Letters

Keep Pressure On

Jul 18, 2018

To the Editor:

It would surprise many Americans, although no regular reader of The SandPaper, to know that slavery still exists. In fact, right now, more than 40 million people are someone else’s property, enslaved in factories, fishing boats and brothels.

Recently, the U.S.  State Department released the 2018 Trafficking in Persons Report, which shines a spotlight on human trafficking, and ranks 188 countries on their efforts to bring an end to this crime within their borders. It is essential that this annual report tell the truth about slavery so we can effectively work toward a world where everyone is free.

The Trump administration and Congress should utilize U.S. diplomacy and foreign aid to combat slavery, specifically by protecting the integrity of the report, reauthorizing the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, appointing a new ambassador to head the Trafficking in Persons office, and fully funding U.S. efforts to bring an end to this stoppable crime.

For some time, I have been urging voters to advocate with their congressional representatives for the passage of the End Modern Slavery Initiative. Until this summer, this has been a purely Senate bill. Recently the House State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs marked up their fiscal year 2019 bill. The bill shows some very good numbers, including, for the first time, a $25 million mark for the Program to End Modern Slavery. Last year, the report only had language of support and no money. Hopefully, this House initiative indicates broader political support for the program.

In addition, also recently, the Senate marked up its FY2019 bill, which included $40 million for Trafficking in Persons, $5 million of which is dedicated to Child Protection Compacts for countries with the greatest need. The Senate numbers also include and mirror the House version, with $25 million for the Program to End Modern Slavery.

We have momentum. Please help keep the energy flowing. Please call and ask to speak directly to your senator or representative or to the aide responsible for ending human trafficking. Ask them to utilize U.S. diplomacy and foreign aid to combat slavery, specifically by protecting the integrity of the report, reauthorizing the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, appointing a new ambassador to head the Trafficking in Persons office, and fully funding U.S. efforts to bring an end to this stoppable crime.

If you use Twitter, this link gives you lots of suggestions for contacting Congress: freedomcommons.ijm.org/tipreport2018.

Gail South

Holgate

 

 

 

 

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