WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), a senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, released the following statement to commemorate the UN World Day against Trafficking in Persons, observed on July 30, 2020.
“As we mark World Day against Trafficking in Persons, I stand with the victims of trafficking, as well as those who work around the globe to end this scourge and to support survivors. Even during COVID-19, those on the front lines continue to fight for the rights of all people to live freely and with dignity. I am also proud of the steps Congress has taken to protect those rights, such as enabling the use of Global Magnitsky sanctions to hold traffickers accountable for their crimes.
“Unfortunately, the fight is far from over. It is estimated that as many as 25 million people are trafficked globally each year. That number will only grow as the global health crisis exacerbates factors like poverty, housing insecurity and educational barriers that make people more vulnerable to trafficking.
“For anyone who thinks this is a far-away problem, think again – the number of cases reported to the U.S. National Human Trafficking Hotline has consistently risen, reaching more than 11,500 in 2019. Meanwhile, the Trump Administration continues to implement policies that put marginalized populations, especially immigrants, in danger of being trafficked.
“The United States has the privilege and responsibility of defending human rights across the globe – that must include the rights of liberty and autonomy denied under the enterprise of human trafficking. We must work together, urgently, to protect vulnerable groups, support survivors, and root out trafficking wherever it hides.”