2012 Trafficking in Persons Report Heroes
Marcelo Colombo, Argentina
As a prosecutor and head of the Specialized Office for Investigation of Kidnapping and Trafficking in Persons’ cases (UFASE), Marcelo Colombo has worked to improve investigations of human trafficking cases. His contributions include the first human trafficking conviction and the draft bill to amend the anti-trafficking law approved by the Senate in 2011. Last year, Mr. Colombo took a public stand against official complicity in human trafficking, charging 75 federal police officers with the crime.
Jeannette Richardson-Baars, Aruba
Despite work as deputy police commissioner, Jeannette Richardson-Baars devotes countless extra hours to combating human trafficking in Aruba. Mrs. Richardson-Baars personally launched an awareness campaign that resulted in reports of possible trafficking by the public. She sought creative solutions to help victims on this small island by utilizing a Kingdom of the Netherlandswide Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to shelter victims of trafficking elsewhere. Under her leadership, Aruba’s interagency committee has shown serious commitment and political will to address this issue.
Anne Gallagher, Australia
Considered the leading global expert on the international law on human trafficking, Dr. Anne Gallagher has greatly influenced the development of international law and policy on trafficking. She has served as Adviser on Trafficking to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, represented the High Commissioner at negotiations on the Trafficking Protocol, and guided the development of the UN Principles and Guidelines on Human Rights and Human Trafficking. Since 2003, Dr. Gallagher has led an initiative to strengthen legislative and criminal justice responses to trafficking in Southeast Asia.
Vannak Anan Prum, Cambodia
Vannak Anan Prum was lured to Thailand by the promise of a lucrative job, but instead was forced to work on a Thai fishing boat in slave-like conditions. During this time he was mistreated, starved, and tortured. Mr. Prum escaped by jumping off the boat and swimming four kilometers to shore. After a lengthy struggle, he received repatriation assistance through human rights NGOs, and is committed to ending human trafficking and works to raise public awareness about labor trafficking in the Thai fishing industry by sharing his experiences through art.
Raimi Vincent Paraiso, Republic of Congo
Raimi Vincent Paraiso, coordinator of the NGO ALTO, has worked tirelessly to improve the lives of child trafficking and forced labor victims. Despite violence and threats, Mr. Paraiso continues to identify and support trafficking victims. In 2011, in partnership with the Congolese government and ALTO, Mr. Paraiso identified and coordinated protection for 57 trafficking victims, and joined the Government of the Republic of Congo delegation to develop an action plan for the 2011 Republic of Congo-Benin anti-trafficking cooperation agreement.
Philip Hyldgard Greece
Philip Hyldgaard is one of the most prominent anti-human trafficking NGO leaders in Greece. As European Operations Manager for The A21 Campaign, an NGO dedicated to fighting human trafficking, Mr. Hyldgaard facilitated the opening of The A21 Campaign’s first shelter for trafficking victims. Because of his dedication to victim protection and support, The A21 Campaign was able to offer shelter, vocational training, counseling and access to legal assistance to 21 sex trafficking victims in 2011 .
Azezet Habtezghi Kidane, Israel
Azezet Habtezghi Kidane, known as Sister Aziza, is an Eritrean nun who volunteers as a nurse for the NGO Physicians for Human Rights-Israel (PHR-I) and has led PHR-I’s efforts to call widespread international attention to human trafficking in the Sinai, Egypt. PHR-I developed a groundbreaking project involving interviews with hundreds of victims. This painstaking work by Sister Aziza helped identify victims who had been kidnapped, raped, or subjected to forced labor and sexual servitude, in addition to being tortured.
Maria Grazia Giammarinaro, Italy
Since January 2010, Maria Grazia Giammarinaro has served as the OSCE Special Representative and Coordinator for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings. Before joining the OSCE, she was instrumental in developing Italian legislation against trafficking in persons, the 2005 Council of Europe Convention, and the 2011 EU Directive on trafficking. Her leadership has transformed the OSCE’s anti-human trafficking efforts and has strengthened the OSCE’s partnership through the Alliance against Trafficking in Persons.
Fatimata M’Baye, Mauritania
As the first female attorney in Mauritania and the co-founder of the NGO Association Mauritanienne des Droits de l’Homme (AMDH), Fatimata M’Baye has made critical anti-human trafficking contributions in Mauritania. She was a key drafter of the law criminalizing human trafficking and is at the forefront of a campaign to ensure enforcement of the law. Ms. M’Baye’s efforts have resulted in a series of firsts in Mauritania: the first conviction for child exploitation; the first indictment for slavery practices; and the first prison sentence under the anti-slavery law.
Gary Haugen, United States
As President, CEO, and founder of the human rights organization International Justice Mission (IJM), Gary Haugen has built a global team of hundreds of lawyers, investigators, and social workers that coordinate efforts with local governments to rescue and provide aftercare for victims and hold traffickers accountable under local law. Since 2006, IJM has assisted nearly 4,000 victims of sex trafficking and forced labor, leading to more than 220 criminal convictions and hundreds of ongoing trials.