Join the fight.

Senator Orrin Hatch
2017-07-10 14:43:21
Dear Friend, Last week, we joined together as a nation to celebrate our freedom. The blessings of liberty are the birthright of every American, and the Framers ordained our Constitution to protect these rights. To deny any person these basic freedoms would seem almost unthinkable today, so the fact that—even at this moment—there are thousands of individuals living as slaves in our very own country is all the more unthinkable.                                                                           But it’s true. In this country, right now, there are thousands of human beings living as slaves—men, women, and children stolen from their homes, stripped of their God-given rights, and robbed of their human dignity. These individuals live among us. They are the victims of human trafficking, a heinous and abominable crime that we should call by its real name: modern-day slavery.

Dear Friend,

Last week, we joined together as a nation to celebrate our freedom. The blessings of liberty are the birthright of every American, and the Framers ordained our Constitution to protect these rights. To deny any person these basic freedoms would seem almost unthinkable today, so the fact that—even at this moment—there are thousands of individuals living as slaves in our very own country is all the more unthinkable.                                                                        

But it’s true.

In this country, right now, there are thousands of human beings living as slaves—men, women, and children stolen from their homes, stripped of their God-given rights, and robbed of their human dignity. These individuals live among us. They are the victims of human trafficking, a heinous and abominable crime that we should call by its real name: modern-day slavery.

I had a busy recess last week in Utah-- Check out some of the highlights!  

I am committed to ending this evil practice once and for all, which is why I introduced legislation to form a special advisory council that will be key to dismantling the global slave trade. I encourage you to learn more about my efforts to fight the scourge of human trafficking by reading the op-ed below, which I co-authored with Tim Ballard of O.U.R.—a Utah-based non-profit dedicated to eradicating child sex trafficking.

Our op-ed is a call to action—an invitation to join the ranks of abolitionists around the world campaigning to end modern-day slavery. I hope you will join us in this important cause.

Sincerely,

 

Orrin

 

 

OP-ED: Ending the Modern-day Slave Trade 

By Senator Orrin G. Hatch and Tim Ballard

June 27, 2017

 

We often think of slavery as a relic of the past—but it’s alive and well today.

Although hard to believe, there are thousands of human beings in this country living as slaves—men, women, and children stolen from their homes, stripped of their God-given rights, and robbed of their human dignity. These individuals live among us. They live in our neighborhoods and our suburbs, our biggest cities and our smallest towns. They live in a world of silence, fear, hopelessness, and unspeakable suffering.

These are the victims of human trafficking—a heinous and abominable crime that we should call by its real name: modern-day slavery. The State Department estimates that up to 17,500 individuals are trafficked to the United States every year, and the majority are women and children. Some of them are forced into a life of unpaid servitude, many others into sex work.

Sadly, the problem is even worse overseas. Worldwide, the International Labor Organization estimates that there are more than 20 million people in captivity. These numbers are staggering, but the suffering of each individual victim should not be lost in a sea of statistics. Their personal stories deserve to be heard.

Consider the case of Holly Smith. When Holly was just 14 years old, she met a man at a local shopping mall in New Jersey. With all the innocence of youth, she confided in him her deepest fears and anxieties, telling the man how nervous she was to begin high school. Holly could never have guessed that the man she had just met was a human trafficker trained to emotionally manipulate young girls to lure them into sexual exploitation. This trafficker promised Holly a life of glamor and excitement if she agreed to run away with him.

Holly took the bait. She ran away with the man who would later abuse and intimidate her into sex-trafficking. She was one of many victims of child sex trafficking. Holly eventually escaped this nightmare and even had the courage to tell her story at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on human trafficking. But many are not so lucky.  

We must do more to help victims like Holly. And we must do more to combat the evils of human trafficking—both here in the United States and across the world.

Putting an end to this barbaric practice will require the combined efforts of government agencies and non-governmental organizations alike. That’s why we’ve teamed up to create a public-private partnership that will bring all resources to bear in the battle against human trafficking.

Together, we share decades of experience in fighting child exploitation, sex slavery, and forced labor. One of us is a United States Senator who has long been at the vanguard of legislative efforts to help victims of human trafficking and bring to justice the perpetrators of this monstrous crime. The other is a 12-year veteran of the Department of Homeland Security and the founder of Operation Underground Railroad (O.U.R.)—a global non-profit that is paving the way for the permanent eradication of child sex trafficking. 

We first met more than three years ago to discuss how federal agencies and non-governmental organizations could better work together to liberate the millions of men, women, and children across the globe who suffer under the yoke of modern-day slavery. This week, we celebrate a significant victory in the effort to free these innocent individuals from the hell they were lured into by evil and designing men. 

On Thursday, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved our proposal to form a special advisory council that will be key to dismantling the global slave trade.  This panel of experts will include representatives from NGOs and nonprofits who will serve as a point of contact for federal agencies enlisted in the fight against human trafficking. This historic public-private partnership will enable law enforcement to draw from the unique knowledge and expertise of groups such as O.U.R., allowing us to leverage all our capabilities in the campaign to abolish slavery in all its forms.

Our bill may not solve the problem of human trafficking overnight. But it will lay the groundwork for a new era of collaboration between public and private organizations, unlocking the resources we need to eliminate this evil once and for all.

 

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Senator Orrin Hatch
104 Hart Office Building Washington, DC 20510
Phone: (202) 224-5251
Fax: (202) 224-6331