In the last two weeks, the administration and Congress have been united in their efforts to combat human trafficking. First, the Attorney General authorized raids on Backpage.com, a horrific website which facilitated sexual trafficking of both minors and adults. As a result, for the first time in history, Backpage.com was shut down. Then, we saw a huge bipartisan effort in Congress to pass tough human trafficking legislation, known as FOSTA. The Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA) was signed into law by the President and nearly every member of the House and Senate supported this legislation which empowers prosecutors to go after websites that exploit loopholes and sexually traffic women and children, some as young as 14 years old.
Americans across the political spectrum, from the most conservative to the most liberal, are united in their passion for bringing an end to modern slavery that victimizes millions of children and adults every day, in every country, including our own. Perhaps it is our own history of slavery that has contributed to our national consensus that slavery belongs in the dustbin of history. We must remain vigilant in how we address this complex crime in our communities and across the world. Fortunately, the United States has considerable assets to bring to the fight.
The jewel among them is the State Department’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (TIP Office.) The TIP Office leads the U.S. Government’s engagement on combating trafficking in persons and modern slavery through the publication of the definitive annual Trafficking in Persons Report and providing foreign aid to help rescue those enslaved and prosecute traffickers all across the world. U.S. leadership on the promotion of human rights is stronger because of the TIP Office. A strong leader at the helm is essential to ensure that the annual TIP Report is an honest and accurate assessment of each country’s efforts to combat modern slavery in all its forms and that U.S. investments in this area are most effective by providing freedom for those who need it most.
As we will likely see the confirmation of CIA Director Mike PompeoMike PompeoRussia suggests military deployments to Cuba, Venezuela an option The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Altria - Winter is here for Democrats Overnight Defense & National Security — Nuclear states say no winners in global war MORE as secretary of State, we have an opportunity to appoint an ambassador to the TIP Office so that we can continue to lead in the fight against one of the greatest human rights abuses of our time. We three former members of Congress, two Republicans and one Democrat, were involved in the creation of the TIP Office in 2000. With colleagues on both sides of the aisle and both Chambers on Capitol Hill, we passed the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000, which made combating trafficking in persons a priority in U.S. foreign policy through the creation of the TIP Office led by an Ambassador-at-Large. Its passage and subsequent reauthorizations demonstrate the bipartisan demand for strong U.S. leadership on this human rights abuse that has existed for nearly two decades.
The 2017 Global Slavery Index estimates there are 40 million slaves in the world, so the need is urgent. At a time when our political parties disagree on nearly everything, combating modern slavery is an issue Congress and the American public have consistently agreed upon and prioritized. If Pompeo is confirmed as the next U.S. Secretary of State, our advice to him would be to nominate a strong, qualified leader to this post so that we can continue to build on recent momentum and further unite people in the fight against modern day slavery.
This issue unites us all and we look forward to America coming together to raise awareness, advocate for the enslaved, rescue victims and bring hope to those trapped in one of our times greatest evils, so that they know, without a doubt, we stand with them and are working to end this darkness throughout the world.
Hall, Pitts and Wolf are known for their bipartisan collaboration when they served together in the House and made human rights issues a priority. Hall is represented Ohio’s 3rd District and served as the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Agencies for Food and Agriculture. Pitts represented Pennsylvania’s 16th District and Asbury University has recently established the Joe PittsJoseph (Joe) R. PittsBottom Line Progress in the fight against human trafficking Pitts op-ed misses mark on Democrat 'betrayals' over ObamaCare MORE Center for Public Policy. Wolf represented Virginia’s 10th District and serves as a Distinguished Senior Fellow for 21Wilberforce.