MODERN DAY SLAVERY & HOW THE U.S. IS FIGHTING AGAINST IT
Two battles brought me to Washington, D.C. two decades ago. The struggle for a culture of life was one. The other was the fight against human trafficking.
Human trafficking is modern day slavery. It is disgusting. It is depraved. And it is evil.
Today there are 25 million victims of trafficking around the world — often women and children. Criminal organizations prey on the vulnerable, capture them, and then coerce them to sell their bodies in forced labor or prostitution. Traffickers use physical abuse, threats of deportation, psychological manipulation, and other cruel tools to keep their slaves shackled and profitable.
It’s difficult to think of a more heinous affront to the intrinsic dignity of a human being made in the image of God. President Donald Trump had good reason to call traffickers “monsters” when he signed an executive order in January to beef up efforts against their illicit trade.
This week the Trump administration took another step to combat human trafficking with the State Department’s release of the 2020 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report. The report has been an annual accountability tool for 20 years since champions like former Sen. Sam Brownback and Rep. Chris Smith ushered the original Trafficking Victims Protection Act into law.
The TIP report aims to help the U.S. and other governments succeed in the 3P’s strategy against trafficking: protection, prosecution, and prevention. Its 3-tier rating system allows the U.S. to engage other countries diplomatically in hopes that they will productively join the fight.
The report has real consequences. Some countries (like Namibia this year) work hard to elevate their efforts and join the ranks of Tier 1 champions. For 2020, 22 countries raised their tier status.
On the flip side, for those nations in the worst Tier 3 cohort — nations without appropriate rules or an apparent will to combat trafficking — there can be economic penalties. In fact, President Trump has already signaled restrictions on certain foreign assistance funds based on Tier 3 designations. Among those in this troubling category are China, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Russia, Syria, and Venezuela.
As he introduced this year’s report, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo expressed particular urgency in the face of COVID-19. He said the pandemic “magnified the need for all stakeholders to work together.”
“We know that human traffickers prey upon the most vulnerable and look for opportunities to exploit them,” Pompeo declared. “Instability and lack of access to critical services caused by the pandemic mean that the number of people vulnerable to exploitation by traffickers is rapidly growing.”
For its part, the Trump administration has made clear that the U.S. will remain fully engaged in this fight. While at the State Department for the TIP report release, Ivanka Trump announced that Heather Fischer, a longtime anti-trafficking expert and Liberty University alumnus, will be a leader in in this quest as she fills a newly created seat on the powerful White House Domestic Policy Council.
Ms. Trump — a spearhead against trafficking herself — also told FOX News the administration is “deeply committed to continuing the U.S. Government’s work to end human trafficking in all of its evil forms.”
Human trafficking is indeed an evil scourge. Let’s pray that the United States and all who value human life and human dignity will find victory in squashing trafficking rings, restoring victims, and wiping out this wickedness.
Aaron Mercer is a Contributing Writer with two decades of experience in Washington, D.C.’s public policy arena and Christian associations. A seasoned strategist, he aids organizations with research, analysis, and writing services, and he reflects on faith, technology, and the public square at FTPolicy.com.
Partner with Us
Intercessors for America is the trusted resource for millions of people across the United States committed to praying for our nation. If you have benefited from IFA's resources and community, please consider joining us as a monthly support partner. As a 501(c)3 organization, it's through your support that all this possible.