FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
JULY 16, 2004
TDD (202) 514-1888
BUSH ADMINISTRATION HOSTS FIRST NATIONAL TRAINING CONFERENCE TO COMBAT HUMAN TRAFFICKING
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.”
Bilateral Safety Corridor Coalition, CA: $500,696
Safe Horizon: $500,000
(For work in the five boroughs of NYC)
New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance: $500,000
(For work in the state of NY, minus NYC’s five boroughs)
International Institute of Boston, MA: $500, 000
International Rescue Committee, NY: $499,999
(For work in the state of WA)
World Relief Corporation, Baltimore, MD $499,998
(For work in Al, FL, KY, MD, MS, NC, LA, TN, TX, SC, OK)
U.S. Conference on Catholic Bishops, Washington, DC: $413,298
(For work in MD, DE, PA and NJ)
U.S. Conference on Catholic Bishops, Washington, DC: $372,237
(For work in OR)
Refugee Women’s Network, Inc.: $311,708
(For work in GA)
These new efforts will support the Bush Administration’s ongoing initiatives to combat human trafficking and provide assistance to trafficking victims. Since 2001, President Bush has provided more than $35 million to 36 faith-based and community organizations across the country to aid victims of trafficking with services such as emergency shelter, legal, mental, and health services, as well as English-proficiency instruction. In addition, the Department of Health and Human Services has launched a referral hotline to help victims. The Administration has also worked to provide immigration relief for trafficking victims through a new class of visa (T-visas) that allows trafficking victims to remain in the U.S. for three years with work authorization and access to benefits and services. Additionally, on an international level, President Bush’s budget has provided more than $295 million to support anti -trafficking programs in more than 120 countries since 2001.
The conference was attended by trafficking response teams made up of federal, state and local law enforcement, prosecutors and victim service providers from at least twenty-one cities with known concentration of trafficking victims. Teams came from communities including Atlanta, GA; Charlotte, NC; Chicago, IL; El Paso, TX; Houston, TX; Las Vegas, NV; Long Island, NY; Los Angeles, CA; Miami, FL; Newark, NJ; New Orleans, LA; New York, NY; Metropolitan Washington, DC; Philadelphia, PA; Phoenix, AZ; Richmond, VA; San Diego, CA; San Francisco, CA; St. Louis, MO, Seattle, WA and Tampa, FL. These teams learned how to uncover and investigate cases, as well as how to provide services to trafficking victims. The conference emphasized the importance of combating trafficking using a victim-centered approach. Rescuing victims requires proactive law enforcement strategies and an understanding of the collaborative approach to human trafficking that includes community members, first responders, restorative care service providers, victim advocates, as well as state, local, and federal law enforcement.
The latest U.S. government interagency report on human trafficking, Assessment of U.S. Government Activities to Combat Trafficking in Persons can be found at www.usdoj.gov/trafficking.htm <http://www.usdoj.gov/trafficking.htm>.