NEW YORK, Sept. 25 (UPI) -- The United States must fight human trafficking at home as well as overseas, President Obama said Tuesday in a speech to the Clinton Global Initiative.
Speaking in New York, the president outlined a series of new steps. The White House also released an executive order Obama signed to ensure the government does not buy goods or services where forced labor is involved.
In his speech, Obama described the victims of global trafficking, from teenage girls forced into prostitution to child soldiers and people working at forced labor. He said the country has done much already to help trafficking victims and stop the trade in human beings.
"But for all the progress that we've made, the bitter truth is that trafficking also goes on right here, in the United States," he said. "It's the migrant worker unable to pay off the debt to his trafficker. The man, lured here with the promise of a job, his documents then taken, and forced to work endless hours in a kitchen. The teenage girl, beaten, forced to walk the streets. This should not be happening in the United States of America."
The steps Obama outlined include assessing the scope of trafficking in the United States and training law enforcement agents to deal with it and not to treat victims as criminals. He also said the administration will work with people such as Amtrak conductors and bus company employees who are in a position to spot possible trafficking victims.
Obama said the government will also do more to help victims, including making it easier for trafficking victims to get visas to remain in the country so they can help catch and prosecute the traffickers.
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