June 19, 2012
Trafficking in Persons Report 2012 - Department of State
"The year 2012 will mark the 150th anniversary of the date Abraham Lincoln gave notice of the Emancipation Proclamation. That document and the 13th Amendment to the United States Constitution, following three years later, represent more than policies written on paper. They represent the promise of freedom. The U.S. Congress subsequently passed laws and federal authorities prosecuted cases in the wake of the Civil War to make clear that this promise of freedom extended to all, from the Hispanic community in the Southwest, to immigrants arriving from Europe, to Chinese workers who built the western railroads, to Native Americans in the Alaska territory. A century and a half later, slavery persists in the United States and around the globe, and many victims’ stories remain sadly similar to those of the past. It is estimated that as many as 27 million men, women, and children around the world are victims of what is now often described with the umbrella term “human trafficking.” The work that remains in combating this crime is the work of fulfilling the promise of freedom—freedom from slavery for those exploited and the freedom for survivors to carry on with their lives. The promise of freedom is not unique to the United States, but has become an international promise through Article 4 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Palermo Protocol to the Transnational Organized Crime Convention. The challenge facing all who work to end modern slavery is not just that of punishing traffickers and protecting those who are victimized by this crime, but of putting safeguards in place to ensure the freedom of future generations."