News / USA

Obama Calls Human Trafficking 'Slavery,' Announces New Measures

U.S. President Barack Obama speaks during the final day of the Clinton Global Initiative 2012 (CGI) in New York, September 25, 2012.U.S. President Barack Obama speaks during the final day of the Clinton Global Initiative 2012 (CGI) in New York, September 25, 2012.
x
U.S. President Barack Obama speaks during the final day of the Clinton Global Initiative 2012 (CGI) in New York, September 25, 2012.
U.S. President Barack Obama speaks during the final day of the Clinton Global Initiative 2012 (CGI) in New York, September 25, 2012.
After his speech to the United Nations General Assembly Tuesday, U.S. President Barack Obama used an appearance at the Clinton Global Initiative to announce new efforts to help crack down on human trafficking.

Calling the fight against human trafficking "one of the great human rights causes of our time," Obama announced new steps to deal with a problem he called "barbaric and evil" with no place in a civilized world.

"It is a debasement of our common humanity. It ought to concern every community, because it tears at our social fabric," said Obama. "It ought to concern every business, because it distorts markets. It ought to concern every nation, because it endangers public health and fuels violence and organized crime. I’m talking about the injustice, the outrage of human trafficking, which must be called by its true name - modern slavery.”

Obama issued an executive order to strengthen what he said is already a strict policy ensuring that government contractors do not engage in forced labor.

"In short, we're making clear that American tax dollars should never, ever, be used to support the trafficking of human beings. We will have zero tolerance; we mean what we say, we will enforce it."

Robinson audio report


Other steps include expanded resources and training for government, state and local law enforcement officials to detect trafficking, and more help for victims who, the president said, "should be treated as victims, not criminals."

A presidential task force will develop a strategic action plan to strengthen services for trafficking victims, with stepped up efforts to monitor trafficking trends in the United States.

In describing the new initiatives, Obama recalled his recent Oval Office meeting with Burmese democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who he noted has been a fierce opponent of forced labor and child soldiers.

"As part of our engagement [with Burma] we will encourage Burma to keep taking steps to reform, because nations must speak with one voice: 'Our people and our children are not for sale.'"

In pledging that the United States will continue to be a leader against human trafficking, Obama made a point of recognizing three women from Congo, Indonesia and the United States who became anti-trafficking advocates.

He also drew a link between the Emancipation Proclamation, the 150-year-old document that proclaimed the freedom of slaves during the U.S. Civil War, two years before slavery was formally outlawed, and the present-day fight against human trafficking.

"The change we seek will not come easy, but we can draw strength from the movements of the past. For we know that every life saved - in the words of that great Proclamation - is "an act of justice," worthy of "the considerate judgment of mankind, and the gracious favor of Almighty God," he said.

Obama said, "there’s no denying the awful reality" that millions of people around the world exist in slavery. To the millions of trafficking victims, he sent this message: "We see you. We hear you. We insist on your dignity."

You May Like

Israelis Quietly Expand Enclave in Palestinian District of Jerusalem

Estimated 500 settlers, armed or protected by paramilitary police, live in Silwan among 50,000 Palestinians More

Video US, Iran Face Similar Challenges in Syrian Fight Against IS

Both Washington, Tehran back fighters battling Islamic State militants in Iraq -- but in Syria they support opposing sides in country’s civil war More

China Boosts Efforts to Help Afghan, Regional Stability

Observers say China’s increased regional involvement are due to concerns that Afghan instability and the presence of anti-China militants in Pakistani border areas could fuel Xinjiang troubles More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Lauren from: Taylor
September 25, 2012 11:42 PM
It was very exciting to hear President Obama speak about the important role of college students. Take a look at The FREE Project, a growing network of college students fighting to end slavery worldwide: TFP is a program of End Slavery Now, which also hosts the New Underground Railroad, connecting activists and NGOs around the world. http://www.endslaverynow.com

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid