Ambassador-at-Large Luis CdeBaca, Department of State. (Official Photo)

Earlier today, I had the privilege of joining USAID Administrator Raj Shah at the White House to announce the Agency for International Development’s new counter-trafficking in persons (C-TIP) initiative. As the Ambassador who spearheads the United States’ diplomatic efforts on this issue, I’m always happy to see our partners across government strengthening their efforts to combat modern slavery. USAID’s work against trafficking is critical to this struggle, and this new policy shows what a priority it is for the Agency’s top leadership. I’m particularly optimistic about some of the new tools and techniques that this new C-TIP policy will help develop and promote.

Both at the State Department and at USAID, we are supporting programs around the world that fight human trafficking using the 3P Paradigm—preventing trafficking, protecting survivors, and prosecuting those responsible for exploitation. Through rigorous monitoring and evaluation, we know which practices are working, and we’ll continue to support those things that are doing the most good. But the reality remains—every year there are about 4,000 trafficking prosecutions in response to a crime that victimizes as many as 27 million men, women, and children around the world.

That’s why the new C-TIP policy’s focus on innovation is so important. As we move forward with this struggle, we’re going to need to change the way we fight this crime. Whether through new applications of empirical research, harnessing modern technology and social networks, or integrating anti-trafficking initiatives into other development efforts, we need to explore new approaches and cultivate new ideas as we work to eradicate this crime once and for all.

But USAID’s new policy shows a true understanding that before we can make real progress against this crime on a global scale, we need to get our own house in order. In the Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR), Secretary Clinton made clear that the State Department and USAID would be tasked with stepping up their own internal anti-trafficking efforts. The new C-TIP initiative answers that call, building on the Agency’s Counter-Trafficking Code of Conduct that holds USAID employees and partners to the highest standards of behavior.

As USAID works to implement this new policy, I look forward to collaborating with Administrator Shah and his team as we make new inroads in the fight against modern slavery. Together, we will work to carry out the Obama Administration’s commitment to deliver once and for all on the American promise of freedom.