Highlighted as an anti-trafficking leader in President's Remarks, IJM celebrates new Executive Order and calls for next steps to be taken
NEW YORK, Sept. 25, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Human rights organization International Justice Mission today welcomed President Obama's first major address on human trafficking and celebrated the announcement of an Executive Order to end labor trafficking in U.S. Government overseas contracts. "I've signed a new Executive Order that raises the bar," President Obama announced, because "American tax dollars must never, ever be used to support the trafficking of human beings."
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In June, IJM delivered a letter to the White House signed by more than 73,000 Americans calling upon the President to take four key steps to combat slavery – one of which was instituting a new requirement that "all U.S. government contracts include supply chain transparency requirements." IJM CEO Gary Haugen, who met with President Obama shortly before his speech, stated: "The students, parents and families who signed this letter to the President are eager to see our nation right a terrible wrong: the virtual enslavement of countless men and women recruited by unscrupulous labor contractors to work at U.S. Embassies and military bases overseas. We are thrilled to learn that their voices were heard."
The ramifications of the order are broad. "This is a critical step to take – in highlighting the conditions that foreign workers on U.S. government contracts can face overseas, this Executive Order has the potential to bring freedom to victims of modern slavery. The order also helps build a crucial foundation of credibility: As the U.S. seeks to come alongside other nations and help them address trafficking within their own borders, we're demonstrating our commitment to addressing it ourselves as well," IJM Vice President of Government Relations Holly Burkhalter stated.
During his remarks, President Obama highlighted IJM as a leader in the anti-trafficking movement – a group that "like the great abolitionists before them" is "truly doing the Lord's work." IJM provides legal and social services to victims of forced labor slavery and sex trafficking, in addition to other violent crimes, and works with local authorities to prosecute perpetrators in local courts and deter violent crime against the vulnerable poor.
While the Executive Order is very significant, IJM was quick to caution that further steps must be taken in order to fully address the issue of modern slavery within U.S. contracting supply chains. A bipartisan majority in the House of Representatives has passed legislation similar to the Executive Order; however, the legislation still awaits passage in the Senate. Haugen stated: "The Executive Order is strong and binding, but it cannot provide for criminal sanctions for those whose exploitive recruitment practices amount to enslavement. I urge the U.S. Senate to finish the job by passing the End Trafficking in Government Contracting Act."
Before President Obama's remarks at the Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting on Tuesday, IJM's Haugen spoke at CGI on Sunday, providing an update on IJM's groundbreaking project to measurably reduce the trafficking of children by 40% in Pampanga, the Philippines. Haugen demonstrated how this change is possible, based on the stunning 79% decrease in the availability of children for sex found by external researchers after four years of IJM partnership in Cebu, the Philippines. (For more information, see IJM.org/projectlantern.)
About International Justice Mission
International Justice Mission is a human rights agency that brings rescue to victims of slavery, sexual exploitation and other forms of violent oppression. IJM lawyers, investigators and aftercare professionals work in 15 communities in developing countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America with local officials to secure immediate victim rescue and aftercare, to prosecute perpetrators and to ensure that public justice systems - police, courts and laws - effectively protect the poor.
About the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI)
Established in 2005 by President Bill Clinton, the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) convenes global leaders to create and implement innovative solutions to the world's most pressing challenges. CGI Annual Meetings have brought together more than 150 heads of state, 20 Nobel Prize laureates, and hundreds of leading CEOs, heads of foundations and NGOs, major philanthropists, and members of the media. To date CGI members have made more than 2,100 commitments, which are already improving the lives of nearly 400 million people in more than 180 countries. When fully funded and implemented, these commitments will be valued at $69.2 billion.
CGI also convenes CGI America, a meeting focused on collaborative solutions to economic recovery in the United States, and CGI University (CGI U), which brings together undergraduate and graduate students to address pressing challenges in their community or around the world. For more information, visit clintonglobalinitiative.org and follow on Twitter @ClintonGlobal and Facebook at facebook.com/clintonglobalinitiative.
CONTACT: Kay Anuluoha
SOURCE International Justice Mission