Department of Justice Seal Department of Justice
JULY 16, 2004
TDD (202) 514-1888


President George W. Bush And Attorney General John Ashcroft Address Conference

TAMPA - Today, President Bush joined Attorney General Ashcroft and other senior Bush Administration officials at the first-ever national training conference on human trafficking: Human Trafficking into the United States: Rescuing Women and Children from Slavery. Hosted by the Justice Department, the conference brought together over 500 attendees, comprised of the hundreds of state, local and federal officials who work together to combat human trafficking in communities across America. Trafficking in persons, a modern day form of slavery, is a serious problem in the United States and throughout the world. Each year, an estimated 600,000-800,000 men, women, and children are trafficked against their will across international borders. Of those, 14,500-17,500 are trafficked into America. Victims are forced into prostitution, or to work in sweatshops, quarries, as domestic labor, or child soldiers, and in many forms of involuntary servitude.

Throughout the past three years, the Bush Administration has taken strong steps to combat trafficking at home and abroad. Today at the conference, the Bush Administration announced new steps and resources to combat human trafficking. These initiatives include $14 million to law enforcement to help human trafficking victims, $4.5 million for organizations to assist victims, new interagency cooperation to ensure the timely delivery of benefits and services to victims, a model state law criminalizing human trafficking, new training resources, new task forces, as well as greatly increased investigations and prosecutions of human trafficking.

“From the very beginning of his Administration, President Bush has spoken forcefully and eloquently about the brutal crime of human trafficking,” said Attorney General John Ashcroft. “We will protect the victims, prosecute the perpetrators, and build partnerships to address, attack and prevent human trafficking. These steps send a clear message that America will repel aggressively assaults on our core values of freedom and respect for human dignity. We have had success in the past three years, but we understand that these efforts are only the beginning. It is critical that we work together to track down those who hide their barbaric businesses in the shadows, and to help their victims.”