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OF HUMAN BONDAGE
FBI Exec Testifies on the Trafficking of Persons

06/10/05

Human Trafficking graphic, courtesy of the Department of Homeland SecurityIt's sad but true: right here in this country, people are being bought, sold, and smuggled like modern-day slaves. They are trapped in lives of misery, often beaten, starved, and forced to work as prostitutes or to take grueling jobs with little or no pay.

The victims include some of the most vulnerable in society: abused children who've run away from home, women with few job skills, immigrants who fear deportation or retaliation against their families overseas if they speak up. For them, there is little hope of escape.

On 6/7, our top criminal investigative exec, Chris Swecker, testified about the problem of "human trafficking"—discussing its scope within the U.S. and, more importantly, detailing our growing efforts to help free these victims and disband the criminal enterprises behind these hateful crimes.

Who called the hearing? The Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, or the U.S. Helsinki Commission —a U.S. government agency chaired by Senator Sam Brownback that monitors human rights and other issues.

We urge you to read Mr. Swecker's full testimony and learn more about:

  • The problem of child prostitution: who the victims are and how the criminal enterprises that exploit them operate.
  • The "Innocence Lost" initiative: what it is and why it's making an important difference in finding victims of child prostitution and putting pimps and other criminals behind bars.
  • The "Stormy Nights" investigation: how it ended a ring of child prostitution at truck stops stretching from Florida to Colorado.
  • Victim Assistance efforts: how we're helping victims of child sexual trafficking begin new lives, including the challenges involved and their specific needs.
  • International human trafficking: what we're doing to combat the problem through new task forces, a new National Hispanic Sex Trafficking initiative, and support of the recently established Human Smuggling Trafficking Center.

If you're interested in learning more about the problem of human trafficking and responses to it, check out the Department of State's annual Trafficking In Persons report released earlier this month. Also see the Department of Justice Trafficking in Persons website.

Photo courtesy of the Department of Homeland Security

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