Trafficking in Persons continues to be a major threat to Human Rights, according to the annual report published by the US Department of State. Last year, there were 6609 convictions for trafficking in persons, whereas the report estimates that there are 20 million victims of this crime.
Human trafficking encompasses a wide range of illegal activities, such as sex trafficking, forced labor and unlawful recruitment and child soldiers. The report, presented by Secretary of State John Kerry, aims to raise awareness of practices.
US Secretary of State
"When we talk about human trafficking, we're talking about slavery. Modern day slavery, that still today claims more than 20 million victims, on any given time."
The report also divides countries into three tiers according to the extent of these practices within its borders, and what their governments are doing to prevent them.
Susan Coppedge, Ambassador-at-Large to Combat and Monitor Trafficking in Persons, who has championed the report, praised the work that was done in the Vatican Summit for Human Trafficking in the month of June.
US Ambassador-at-Large to Combat and Monitor Trafficking in Persons
"The summit explored the need for victim supported services, instead of punishments for crimes committed under duress. While Pope Francis has a unique ability to gather and rally diverse groups, leaders across communities, businesses, governments, and NGO's can likewise demonstrate the power of collaboration in fighting the scourge of modern slavery.”
The summit was attended by high-ranking officials from the United States, Sweden, the Netherlands, and Great Britain. Mexican and Italian prosecutors also participated.
The report also recognized the work of several organizations, including the Santa Marta Group, named after the Pope's residence. The group was formed in Rome during April 2014, when police chiefs and religious leaders came together, in the presence of Pope Francis, to sign a declaration committing themselves to a partnership to eliminate human trafficking in all its forms.
US DEPT of State