Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Kristof praises Ambassador Miller for anti-trafficking efforts

New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof today offered high praise to Ambassador John Miller, head of the State Department's Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, for TIP's efforts to end modern day slavery. In the piece, "Bush Takes On Brothels" (premium content - subscription required), Kristof writes:
"...the heaviest lifting has been done by the State Department's tiny office on trafficking — for my money, one of the most effective units in the U.S. government. The office, led by a former Republican congressman, John Miller, is viewed with suspicion by some career diplomats..."

"Yet Mr. Miller and his office wield their spotlight shrewdly. With firm backing from the White House (Mr. Bush made Mr. Miller an ambassador partly to help him in his bureaucratic battles), the office puts out an annual report that shames and bullies foreign governments into taking action against forced labor of all kinds."

"Under pressure from the report, Cambodia prosecuted some traffickers (albeit while protecting brothels owned by government officials) and largely closed down the Svay Pak red-light district, where 10-year-olds used to be openly sold. Ecuador stepped up arrests of pimps and started a national public awareness campaign. Israel trained police to go after traffickers and worked with victims' home countries, like Belarus and Ukraine. And so on, country by country."

LCHR applauds the work of TIP, Sen. Sam Brownback, Rep. Carolyn Maloney and all others who have led the fight against trafficking. Kristof couldn't be more right when he writes that "it's difficult to think of a human rights issue that could be more important than sex trafficking and the other kinds of neo-slavery that engulf millions of people around the world, leaving many of them dead of AIDS by their early 20's."

He adds:

"Just as one of Jimmy Carter's great legacies was putting human rights squarely on the international agenda, Mr. Bush is doing the same for slave labor."

The modern day abolition movement, as Ambassador Miller calls it, continues to grow as more and more members of the human rights community unite to stamp out the horrible practice of human trafficking.


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