WASHINGTON, Nov. 9 (UPI) -- U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in an opinion piece in various newspapers, said Tuesday a global effort is needed to combat human trafficking.
"Elementary students across America are taught that slavery ended in the 19th century," Clinton said. "But, sadly, nearly 150 years later, the fight to end this global scourge is far from over. ... The estimates vary widely, but it is likely that somewhere between 12 million and 27 million human beings are suffering in bondage around the world.
"For decades, the problem went largely unnoticed," Clinton said. "But 10 years ago this week, President (Bill) Clinton signed the Trafficking Victims' Protection Act, which gave us more tools to bring traffickers to justice and to provide victims with legal services and other support. Today, police officers, activists, and governments are coordinating their efforts more effectively. Thousands of victims have been liberated around the world and many remain in America with legal status and work permits. Some have even become U.S. citizens and taken up the cause of preventing traffickers from destroying more lives."
Clinton said the modern anti-trafficking movement is not limited to the United States. "Almost 150 countries have joined the United Nations' Trafficking Protocol to protect victims and promote cooperation among countries. More than 116 countries have outlawed human trafficking, and the number of victims identified and traffickers imprisoned is increasing each year.
"But we still have a long way to go," she said.
"Citizens can help too, by advocating for laws that ban all forms of exploitation and give victims the support they need to recover," the secretary said. "They can also volunteer at a local shelter and encourage companies to root out forced labor throughout their supply chains by visiting www.chainstorereaction.com."