Omnibus Package Includes Funding to Combat Human Trafficking
Washington, D.C. – Human Rights First today applauded the inclusion of $25 million to fund the first year of the End Modern Slavery Initiative in the omnibus spending package. This important initiative would create a $1.5 billion fund to bolster law enforcement in targeted geographic areas with the goal of reducing the incidence of modern slavery.
“Resources currently at work to combat modern slavery are alarmingly low,” said Human Rights First’s Annick Febrey. “The inclusion of this funding in the omnibus package is an important first step toward providing adequate global resources to combat this human rights problem.”
The End Modern Slavery Initiative would set up a non-profit organization to pool government and private funding to combat trafficking and slavery worldwide. The $1.5 billion fund would start with a commitment of $250 million from the U.S. government, contingent on raising the remaining funding from foreign governments and private entities over a seven-year period. This fund would bolster law enforcement in select geographic areas with a goal of reducing the incidence of slavery by at least 50% during the duration of the project. This concentrated investment in key geographic areas is crucial to identifying those successful methods of increasing the risk to traffickers that can be scaled up and replicated across the globe. After five years, the board of the End Modern Slavery Initiative is required to present a plan for eradicating slavery once and for all, based on the results of the projects monitored by the fund.
Human trafficking is a profit-driven enterprise in which perpetrators operate with relative impunity. While the International Labour Organization estimates that nearly 21 million people are enslaved globally, the State Department’s most recent annual Trafficking in Persons report states that only 10,051 human trafficking cases were prosecuted worldwide in 2014, resulting in less than 4,500 reported convictions. Human Rights First believes increased resources to develop and implement successful strategies to increase the risks for perpetrators and enablers, and decrease the profitability of this horrific crime is key to ending slavery globally.