Human Rights First Celebrates 150th Anniversary of the Ratification of the 13th Amendment

Washington, D.C. – Human Rights First today celebrates the 150th anniversary of the ratification of the 13th Amendment, legally abolishing slavery and ending a dark chapter of our nation’s history. The organization urges the U.S. government to honor this historic day by restoring it’s commitment to end modern slavery and bring the criminals who profit from this horrific human rights problem to justice.


“Today we celebrate a proud moment when our nation officially abolished the practice of slavery, and we honor those brave men and women who tirelessly worked to secure the right to freedom for all,” said Human Rights First’s Amy Sobel. “Yet we know that there are more than 20 million men, women, and children in the world today who remain trapped and exploited through human trafficking. Eradicating modern slavery, which is the fastest growing criminal enterprise in the world, will require the full cooperation of business, government, and law enforcement along with an increase in resources available to combat this crime.”


A new video released today by Human Rights First, “How to Bankrupt Slavery” breaks down the $150 billion criminal enterprise and how government, business, and law enforcement can work together to end modern slavery. Human Rights First’s policy blueprint titled, “How to Dismantle the Business of Human Trafficking” outlines key steps the U.S. government can take to weaken every link of the human trafficking supply chain and put traffickers out of business, including:

  • Develop a system to produce an authoritative accounting of the number of victims of human trafficking (in both sex and labor exploitation) in the United States using a peer reviewed and transparent methodology;
  • Increase the number and success of prosecutions aimed at every part of the network that enables trafficking;
  • Conduct financial investigations, following the money to attack the profits of this criminal enterprise;
  • Implement measures to prevent or disrupt the criminal enterprise of human trafficking by focusing on labor recruitment and procurement, and establishing guiding principles for companies to ensure they aren’t unintentionally contributing to the human trafficking problem globally;
  • Pass legislation requiring transparency in business supply chains;
  • Along with business leaders, encourage self-regulation of industries to eradicate exploitation in their operations; and
  • Ensure adequate resourcing for anti-trafficking policies.

Published on December 6, 2015


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