Commemorating the 150th Anniversary of Emancipation in September 2012, President Obama reaffirmed America’s commitment to promoting “a sense of justice that says no child should ever be exploited.” Yet around the world, we know that modern slavery victimizes so many children, whether it is a girl sold by her parents as a domestic servant, a boy forced to beg on the streets, or children prostituted in brothels. As Ambassador-at-Large to Combat Trafficking in Persons, I echo the President’s call and I urge governments to ramp up action and enhance accountability to protect children around the world from this sort of abuse.
The first U.S. Government Action Plan (PDF) on Children in Adversity provides an important framework through which to guide and galvanize U.S. government agencies to protect the world’s most vulnerable children. The Action Plan underscores the plight of children in the most dire straits: those living on the streets, participating in armed groups, and displaced by natural disasters or political unrest. We recognize that children in these situations are particularly vulnerable to one of the most far-reaching crimes against children: human trafficking.
I am enthusiastic about this Action Plan because it provides a critical roadmap to address collectively the global needs of trafficked and other vulnerable children. It is a powerful example of American leadership and commitment to protect and to ensure a brighter future for all our children.
In May 2009, Ambassador Luis CdeBaca was appointed by President Obama to coordinate U.S. government activities in the global fight against contemporary forms of slavery. He serves as Senior Advisor to the Secretary and directs the State Department’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, which assesses global trends, provides training and technical assistance, and advocates for an end to modern slavery.