Google+ Hangout: Human Trafficking--How Can We End Modern Slavery?

Luis CdeBaca
Ambassador-at-Large, Office To Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons
Washington, DC
July 18, 2013

MR. CLANCY: Hello, everyone. I welcome you to this U.S. State Department Google Hangout, as we talk about human trafficking and ask the question, can we end modern-day slavery? It’s a topic that affects all of us. It affects our families, it affects our states, affects our cities, our communities. And it’s a problem that some people have been working on for years, and we’re proud to have him with us today. (Inaudible) hosted Ambassador Luis CdeBaca, who since May of 2009 has coordinated really U.S. Government – all of its activities that are aimed at combating human trafficking around the globe. He’s a senior advisor to the Secretary of State, of course, and he tries to monitor, to combat trafficking in persons, to measure what’s happening on that front all around the world every year.

And some of the people that are joining us on the panel, I’ll introduce them to you momentarily. Some of the people are considered real heroes in the fight against modern slavery.

Ambassador Luis CdeBaca, if you would, start us off and share your thoughts today.

AMBASSADOR CDEBACA: Well, thanks, Jim, and it’s great to be here. Sorry that we had some technical issues for the first 20 minutes of when we were hoping to do this.

But I think that one of the things that’s so important about today’s conversation and that’s so important about this fight against modern slavery is that notion that everybody can be a TIP hero. We’ve got these folks, the Trafficking in Persons heroes, that we name every year, when we do the rollout of the TIP report. And you’re going to hear from some of them today.

But the reality is, is that everybody that’s watching this can be a TIP hero, whatever you do. If you’re a lawyer, you can volunteer your legal services. If you’re a banker in the financial services industry, people need help knowing what they can do to put their lives back together. Social workers, doctors, everybody has a place in this fight.

And so I think that rather than going into a long thing about what we’re doing here in the United States Government, let me simply say that the President, when he gave his breakthrough speech at the United Nations Week last year in New York, he said to the trafficking victims around the world, the 27 million people enslaved around the world, that we see you, we hear you, and we’re going to walk with you. And I want to invite everybody on the Hangout today to walk with us as we walk on that journey to freedom.

MR. CLANCY: Good. Don’t go anywhere, but I want to introduce the young lady who’s sitting next to you, or she appears next to you in this Google Hangout. She’s with us. It’s 1 o’clock in the morning now in the Philippines. She’s about 30 minutes outside of Manila. Susan Ople: She’s the founder and she’s the president of the Blas F. Ople Policy Center and Training Institute. Now, that’s a nonprofit organization, as you can imagine, that’s dedicated in her case to helping the vast number – and there’s like 5 million of them – of overseas Filipino workers with their labor, with their migration issues. She furnishes – helps to furnish the legal advice to them on one hand, and then helps to reintegrate them back in their community, back into the labor force, if they come back into the Philippines.

A very important point – and Susan, I want to start – it’s very sad, but some of the victims of human trafficking, they’re the ones who face arrest and imprisonment, the victims rather than the perpetrators of human trafficking. Can you describe that problem to us today, as you see it?

MS. OPLE: Yes, it’s very sad, and it’s a very sad and real problem, especially with the Filipino migrant workers that we see, the domestic workers. We have around 3,000 of them in Syria despite the conflict that’s going on there. And some of them would like to go home but are prevented from doing so by their employers. Some are able, but the more fortunate ones are now back with their families. But the thing is once you cross the borders, the laws of the other country applies. And especially if you are a domestic worker living and working abroad, (inaudible) of your employer and the laws of that country. And we have had cases wherein (inaudible) a domestic worker will be charged in court or charged by the police for absconding, for beating their employers even if they were victims of abuse, sexual harassment. And of course we were --

MR. CLANCY: Susan Ople is one of the TIP heroes, the Trafficking in Person heroes. When the U.S. State Department puts out its list of the countries, goes country by country and tries to categorize them, how they’re facing, confronting the problem and meeting the challenges, they name a handful of heroes. Susan is one of them.

So, too, is the man next to her. Paul Holmes, really an internationally renowned expert on investigating human trafficking. It’s founded on a long career. He was an operational officer, a criminal investigator with none other than New Scotland Yard. And for the past 10 years, he’s been really providing help and training to people who want to be investigators of human trafficking, and then also helping to advise governments as they try to set up their own programs that would combat human trafficking. He, too, as I say, is a 2013 TIP hero.

Paul, we seem to have the problem we can’t see the victims. There’s an estimated 30 million victims of human trafficking around the world, and yet we’ve only identified something like 80,000 of them, or even less. What’s going on?

MR. HOLMES: Hi, Jim, and just thanks to the Ambassador and yourselves for the invitation to the Hangout. I’m obviously speaking from a criminal justice background here, from the (inaudible). And it’s always been one of my greatest frustrations that police (inaudible) in particular describe this as an invisible crime. And I contest that, what I believe a misconception, very, very vigorously, because I don’t expect that you can hide human beings if you want to exploit. You can certainly – we know this is a fact – you can hide human beings for ransom, hostage, kidnap, et cetera. The way you want to hide human beings in order to exploit their body or their labor to profit, that equation changes. Now, I’m simplifying here, and it requires a lot of technical expertise and political will and training, but my position has always been, with the exception of the exploitation of single domestic workers in private homes, that trafficking in persons is a crime that is visible, not invisible. It’s visible. What’s missing is the commitment and the expertise and the partnership with NGOs and other partners to go out and actually identify who the victims are.

MR. CLANCY: Let me move right along. Thanks for that. And we’re going to get back to Paul. But Luke Blocher, who is Director of the National Strategic Initiatives at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center – and with that in mind, he recently produced a documentary film called Journey to Freedom. He’s a 2013 TIP hero. But I really want to hear a little bit about how you look at modern-day slavery. And in Journey to Freedom, you contrast it, compare it, to Civil War-era slavery in the United States. Why?

MR. BLOCHER: Well, thanks, Jim. And I should say, I wish I – I would be honored by – to be mentioned with the 2013 TIP heroes, but I was not actually one of them, although we have spent much time with them and are honored to be in their presence whenever we are, as also with Ambassador CdeBaca.

We produced Journey to Freedom with the State Department with this idea that there is something about what’s happening today that can be informed by our history in this country. And I think there’s really two really important, critical lessons here that we tried to portray and I think are succeeding in doing that. And the first is that there’s this thing of slavery that isn’t something new that popped up 10 or 15 years ago, the idea that people were being held and exploited for other people’s profit. It’s taken different forms, and there’s very important differences, but in the end there’s something very distinct that has continued for thousands of years. And understanding that, and understanding that being the depth of the problem is important when you think about what it’s going to take to attack it.

But the much more optimistic and exciting vision of the film and of a lot of our work is the idea that abolitionists, the people who come together to end slavery, the enslaved who fight for their own freedom, those stories repeat. And we have wonderful success stories throughout history where people have come together to help people escape from such systems of slavery. And I think the most important message really is to say if you look to U.S. history in the 1820s or 1830s, the people that we call the abolitionists today, who we lionize and venerate for their success, really had no reason to believe they could’ve been successful. What they were looking at was really, if they were being honest, was a pretty pessimistic situation. But they stuck with it, and everyday people came together in the ways the Ambassador described. Everyday people came together to lend their hands to this, and eventually they ended legal slavery in the United States.

And that, I think, is something that applies to what all these TIP heroes today are doing. And part of the message of the film is that what people like these 2013 TIP heroes, what the people that we celebrate in the film who were the 2012 TIP heroes, are doing, what everyday people are doing, is the same kind of thing. And it can have the same kind of results if we really commit to it and really bear down with this.

MR. CLANCY: Luke, thanks for that. I’ll get back to you in just a second too. I want to introduce everybody to the remaining panelists that we have here. Laura Germino: she coordinates the antislavery campaign for a Florida-based coalition, and she’s right there. I think you’re just north of the Okefenokee Swamp right now with – it’s called the Coalition of Immokalee Workers. It rhymes with broccoli – Immokalee Workers. I got it right. A community organization that really deals with some 4,000 migrant farm workers. And since the 1990s, they’ve been investigating the violent slavery operations inside the agricultural industry of the Southeastern United States – not in a foreign country, but in the U.S. And they’ve seen federal prosecutions, and they’ve seen what’s described as the liberation of more than 1,000 different workers. And it calls on corporations, the biggest food makers, to be aware of the problem of human slavery.

And Laura, we don’t tend to think when we look at our dinner table we’re going to see products – we don’t expect to see products that are really the result of human slavery. What’s the reality?

MS. GERMINO: Well, until really recently, that’s the whole problem. We just couldn’t know either way. When you’re sitting at the dinner table, and I know that American consumers – well, really any consumer – doesn’t want to take part in modern-day slavery or forced labor in the food they eat and the produce they consume, but there was no way of knowing. And in the work that we did and the trajectory of what we’ve been doing, from investigations in order to, as you said, help people escape from situations – of course, they were in the U.S. in the fields – we joined with consumers.

As Ambassador CdeBaca was saying, anybody can be a hero and work in this field. The average consumer joined with us – students, faith-based churchgoers – to demand, to encourage corporations to look in their supply chains and rid those supply chains of the possibility that forced labor or modern-day slavery could be taking place in their supply chains in the produce industry. And in his case, we had a (inaudible) program now that’s the Coalition of Immokalee Workers has joined with buyers and growers to actually prevent slavery from taking place in the tomato fields in the state of Florida.

And so the promise of this program is just incredible, because while we’re still doing investigations and education and training, or in terms of slavery cases that are already existing, we’ve also reached that level of prevention, and key to it was the participation of consumers who said we’re not going to take it anymore; we want to be able to be guaranteed that our – the tomatoes we’re eating are free of forced labor, or that if it were to occur, that it would be quickly eradicated.

MR. CLANCY: It’s a good point. I mean, involving the average person that may be watching this Google Hangout, getting them involved in the fight against human trafficking.

And I’m going to take it all the way back to the Ambassador, and just ask you how things have changed in 2013, how the challenges are different, the involvement of people is different. And a lot of people are asking, how do we get in it? How do we get in this fight?

AMBASSADOR CDEBACA: Well, I think there have been a number of things that have changed over the last year. There’s an increase in victims that have been identified worldwide. And that’s great, but as you pointed out, Jim, you’re talking about almost 50,000 people. A 10 percent increase in finding that few victims in a world with 27 million slaves means that we’ve got to do something different. And I think that that’s one of the things that we’ve seen in recent months. We’ve seen people coming together and saying, we don’t want to be buying from garment industry suppliers who don’t care whether or not they’re running sweatshops in Bangladesh. We’ve seen people coming together in state legislatures across the United States in the last three months passing laws saying that teenage American citizens and foreign citizens who find themselves under arrest for prostitution offenses shouldn’t be prosecuted as criminals but instead should be treated as victims, victims of modern slavery.

I mean, those types of things are bringing it home. What’s interesting to me is that there is all of this activity in the state legislatures. There’s a growing realization in the churches and in the college campuses and in the high schools around the United States and around the world. The Pope recently – Pope Francis has really taken a strong stand on this, which doesn’t surprise anybody that worked with him when he was in the Cardinal in Buenos Aires, because he was one of the real leaders in saying, what would Jesus have done? Who would he have stood with? He would have been out there with the enslaved, with the marginalized, with the prostitutes, with the farm workers. In fact, I think the Bible actually says that he was out there with them.

And so I think that that’s one of the things that we’re looking at, is how can everybody start coming together and hear that same call that took the Pope to the island of Lampedusa last week? He gave a mass in an altar – at an altar that was built from the wreckage of boats that had capsized coming ashore with folks trying to get to Europe from Africa for a better life. And he challenged everybody. He said, who wept for that woman who drowned with her baby in her arms? Who wept for that man who had left Africa hoping for a better life for his families? And the traffickers took advantage of them. And for the first time, we had somebody of that stature go to where the refugees are, go to where the victims are, and challenge all of us to, as Paul said, see them. Not to say this is invisible, but to recognize that they’re right in front us.

So I think that the short version of what – all I just said, Jim, is what people can do? It’s open your eyes. And then pick up the phone, write letters, email, let Congress and let everybody in power know that we want to live in a world without slavery.

MR. CLANCY: Paul Holmes, I want to follow up on that, because, I mean, the Pope, very moving homily there about the victims of human trafficking and who cares. Do the countries care? I mean, Ambassador CdeBaca puts together a list every year that more or less names, shames some countries, lifts up others. But in the countries, a lot of these people are going through the motions. Are they really serious about getting the nongovernmental organizations like the people that are represented here a fair shot at ending human trafficking?

Paul, you may have your mute button on. Do you want to check that?

MR. HOLMES: Can you hear me now, Jim?

MR. CLANCY: Yes, I can. Loud and clear. Go ahead.

MR. HOLMES: Okay. Thanks, Jim. I was trying to say that if you look at the tier scores in the report, you see the variation as identified by the Ambassador’s office. And I think it really is a recognition of how variable it is in terms of the true intent of various countries to try and engage against this phenomenon. The point I’d like to highlight is the enormous (inaudible) variations between countries who are genuine in their attempts to confront (inaudible) and to some extent pay lip service to it because they’re under pressure from the United States. It’s actually strategically folly for countries to ignore this problem. Even if they don’t want (inaudible) humanitarian abuse to ignore the impact of traffickers and the organized crime challenges they bring together with their human rights abuses is actually very, very stupid. Because once trafficking gangs establish themselves wherever they’re operating, if they’re not already involved in organized crime structures, they will develop roots into those structures.

So I think you’re right. I think there is a diversity in terms of the authenticity of the (inaudible) that want to confront the problem. And I think one of the strengths of the TIP report is that it highlights that diversity. Again, I just want to stress the point that even if countries don’t want to see this as human rights abuse of the most egregious nature, of modern-day slavery, and they don’t see it in those terms, strategically they should see the larger risks that they run by ignoring the development of these organized crime structures.

MR. CLANCY: Thanks for that. Susan Ople, people watching this, and they ask themselves, how can I get involved? How did you get involved in helping out all of the people in your country, the millions of them who work abroad and need a lot of help?

MS. OPLE: Yes. It all started because my father was also in government, and he was (inaudible) secretary, and it was really this time that the Philippine Overseas Program began. And when he died in 2003, we decided to – something (inaudible) legacy of work in helping migrant workers. And I just want to ask that – with technology, there is so many apps. We have apps to check whether we’re losing weight, whether traffic is good or bad, for running, weather apps, all kinds of apps. But sometimes the fight against trafficking is really very personal and it’s really very basic. My father, before he passed away, he always told me, always be kind. And really, the fight against human trafficking starts with being kind; respecting the rights of others; not thinking that someone else is more important, the life of a migrant worker is less important than your life; it’s being conscious that human dignity is diminished every time someone is enslaved. So I think we all have to work for a kinder world really.

MR. CLANCY: Susan’s got it. And that’s a great message, Susan, from your dad. And I just want to ask Luke Blocher how you look at it. There’s a lot of people that want to help. They just don’t know how to even get started here.

MR. BLOCHER: Well, I think Ambassador CdeBaca has said it well a couple of different times. This is – and I have actually a great example from here in Cincinnati. So much of – and what Paul has said as well – so much of what has to happen is that people simply open their eyes and then do something when they see something, and they tell people about what they’ve learned.

And I can say as one small example, in one American city, that in two years in Cincinnati we have established a hotline – a local hotline and a local way to respond, a person who’s going to respond to concerns about people being trafficked. Two years ago, that person was getting really no phone calls, no activity. They were really just setting up the infrastructure. Fast forward to today, and she’s literally overwhelmed with phone calls, overwhelmed with referrals from law enforcement, from schools, from other community people.

It’s not as if the trafficking just started happening in those two years, it’s that all of the sudden over those two years, from the efforts of a lot of different people talking about this, forcing people to confront it, helping people understand it, all of a sudden there’s a way for this to become visible. And when it becomes visible things start to change, and when it becomes visible at a local level a law enforcement agency decides to make it a priority in a way that they didn’t two years before.

And that is – really is at a very local and immediate level, the way that – just to simply open your eyes to the problem, educating yourself about it, opening your eyes to it, and then really acting on things when you learn about them and educating your friends and colleagues and families actually has a very material effect. That’s where we are with the level of this crime, is the visibility of it, to use Paul’s term, is at a level right now – it’s growing, but it’s at a level where every – literally every marginal person who says I’m going to be a voice about this has an effect on people getting help who weren’t getting help before and traffickers being held to account who weren’t being held to account before. And then all of a sudden the dynamic because this isn’t a crime that’s easy to get away with; it’s a crime that you have a real risk of getting prosecuted for, and that really changed the dynamic for the traffickers as well.

So I think that there are a lot of things that people can do to contribute to organizations who are fighting this around the world, but there’s very personal, direct, in-your-own-community things that you can do that have to do about learning and then educating others about this.

MR. CLANCY: Let me bring in – I want to bring in --

MS. GERMINO: I’m hoping you all can hear me, because I have to apologize for some kind of technical difficulty that made me impossible – it made it impossible for me to hear your question. But I’m assuming it has to do with how people can help, and I – because I – it was literally the whole thing was muted. But it could have to do with this July thunderstorm down here.

But what I wanted to add to what the other participants were saying was we have very concrete, specific ways that people can help on a national level. In other words, it’s local, but it’s national too. And when I – when we have our – we’re a membership organization, the Coalition of Immokalee Workers. Our website is

And while we have farm worker members that are peers investigating already existing slavery operations, we also have consumers from all walks of life who have helped us get these very responsible now corporations on board that buy the tomatoes, like McDonald’s or Burger King or Subway or Whole Foods, to sign agreements with us and with growers to agree to third-party monitoring and a code of conduct that actually is enforceable to have a zero tolerance policy for forced labor in the fields, like market consequences if that occurs.

And the thing is there are other supermarkets that are not as forward thinking yet, that are not on board, particularly in the supermarket sector buyers, that consumers are encouraging to take that step and join with the workers and join with the consumers, your average consumer, to actually eliminate slavery in the supply chain. And I hope that goes to what your question was. But it’s a very concrete way that the average everyday person can help and has made a huge difference in the lives of migrant farmworkers in the United States.

MR. CLANCY: It wasn’t exactly the answer, but I think it’s the answer that fits in there with what everybody else was saying. And I want to go back to Luis CdeBaca. Actually, when you look at the number of arrests for human trafficking violations globally, it’s minuscule. I mean, I could be an arms trafficker, I could be a drug trafficker, and I’d face all kinds of risks. If I’m a human trafficker, if I’m actually stealing human beings’ lives, I’m not only making more money, I’m pretty near immune from prosecution, aren’t I?

AMBASSADOR CDEBACA: Well, I think one of the things, Jim, is that it’s really hard to tell whether these numbers that we put out every year, as far as this notion of about 4,700 prosecutions last year – that number of convictions, that’s – I know from having been a prosecutor that is a tremendous amount of work to get that many. I would spend a year and a half of my professional life just to put one or two traffickers in prison for what they had done. And so I think that we recognize that it’s going to take a while before those numbers come up.

But one of the things that’s interesting is that there have been a lot of traffickers that have gone to prison in the past, they’re just not going to prison for trafficking. They might get arrested for alien smuggling, they might get arrested for pandering, for being a pimp. And the problem is if you don’t see them as traffickers, if you don’t punish them as someone who has taken away someone’s freedom and violated this most precious of human rights, then you’re basically saying the going rate for this crime is a slap on the wrist or maybe 18 months in prison. And sure enough, they get out and they just do it again.

And I think that that’s one of the things that the modern anti-trafficking statutes are – brings to the table is, as you say, real teeth, real consequences. The U.S. trafficking law and the UN trafficking protocol basically say that this crime needs to be looked at as of the same level as a kidnapping, an extortion, murder, rape – the serious crimes. And I think the countries that have actually made that change, they’re making a difference in trafficking because the bad guys can’t simply say, “Oh, well, if Paul Holmes and his guys successfully investigate me, well, I made $1 million over the last two years. I can do 13 months in prison standing on my head and my $1 million will be waiting for me when I get out.” If I was a criminal, I’d make that calculation and I’d say, “Bring it on, Paul Holmes. I’ll do my 12 months, maybe even I’ll get a suspended sentence if I’m in some countries, and I’ll be right back to my old tricks.”

So I think that’s where the – it comes in, to put pressure. People need to be putting pressure on us in government. They need to put pressure on the governments around the world and policymakers to say if – and judges to say if somebody does this, they need to pay the price.

MR. CLANCY: We got about eight minutes, ten minutes left. I want to kind of wrap it up by asking the reality question here: All of you are activists. All of you believe in the fight against human trafficking. A lot of people look at this and say, “I’m not sure you can win it. Prostitution’s been around since the dawn of time.” People oftentimes put themselves in these situation where they’re in forced labor, because of poverty – if you’re going to end human trafficking, you’re going to have to end poverty.

Susan, what’s the reality? I mean, can we really end this or is there something about our human condition that means that today, we have more slaveries – slaves around the world than at any point in human history?

MS. OPLE: The reality is that modern slavery exists and will continue. It has very economic roots. As long as the world economy’s down, economies around the world are struggling, Filipinos and other nationalities will start looking for jobs elsewhere. And there are always people, human trafficking syndicates, out to profit from the mobile dreams of ordinary people who (inaudible) and people like family. And the sad reality is that unless governments and civil society groups, the media, and all other citizens of the world come together, then this – there’s a nominal increase in the number of invisible traffic victims. I call them the invisible room that victims – they have scars too deep to describe at times. Unless we all come together, they – because I – there will always be an uphill battle.

MR. CLANCY: Luke Blocher, do you agree with that?

MR. BLOCHER: I agree that this is a very deeply engrained challenge. However, I think I look at people like Susan, and people like the other TIP heroes, and then I look at the heroes that we celebrate in our museum, and I say, “We’ve done things like this before.”

I’ll go back to something I mentioned earlier. There is no one in their right mind in 1820 who had a really optimistic view that legal slavery could be ended in the United States. It was deeply, deeply engrained in our national economy, it was deeply engrained in our legal system, and there was no real reason to believe it was ever going to go away. And we paid a huge cost and a lot of people paid with their lives, but we did end it. We did end legal slavery. And I think if nothing else, that shows us that this is possible. And again, that was a deeply, deeply, deeply engrained problem.

And so I look at this as something that is a huge challenge, but is one that I believe we can meet, because I think history shows us that.

MR. CLANCY: Laura Germino, I mean, what do you think? If you are going to win it, what’s going to make the difference? What do you think is going to be that threshold moment when you can say that – you break through that and you’re breaking through, or can you?

MS. GERMINO: There is no question that we can end this because we’re – we are right now seeing it happen in this program we’re working on, the Fair Food Program I was mentioning, that has – is starting in Florida and will spread. And there – like the previous speaker was saying, we’ve seen 300 years uninterrupted of different forms of slavery, forced labor in our state and in the – along the East Coast. And now, we’re actually at the point with this program where we have seen no cases take root with those grower – in the fields of those growers participating in this program. And it takes the participation of consumers and corporate buyers and the support of the Department of State.

I want to say that when I received the 2010 TIP Award, for me and my whole organization, our whole – everyone who works in my organization, it was hugely important because they are – there are stressful times and long nights, and that struggle can be very, very difficult. And to get that kind of affirmation and support from – I’m just remembering back to that day when Secretary Clinton and Under Secretary Otero and Ambassador CdeBaca and how, in that storied hall, how important that was to be able to get that encouragement to keep going on. When you have government and the corporate sector and workers and consumers all working towards eliminating once and for all forced labor in the U.S., because we all know even one person in slavery is too many, we will win this fight, and we’re winning it right now.

MR. CLANCY: Winning the fight there. I want to remind everybody that’s watching this Google Hangout to get a pencil together there and a pad. I’m going to go down here and try to get everybody’s website in just a moment so that you can reach out to them, the specific organizations, and learn more. But I want to go to, well, the cop that’s in the hangout right now, Paul Holmes, and get a view from him about the realities of all that. It’s said that the police are the hardened ones, but they’re also the ones that see the reality. Paul.

MR. HOLMES: Jim, I think the issue as to whether – if you’re looking at the global context, whether you can eradicate this problem is probably – realistically is an open question. I would rather look at it in a different way. You may be able to eradicate it in the United States of America and in other more developed countries. Globally I think it’s a much more difficult question. To me, the issue isn’t whether we can eradicate it; that clearly is the ultimate goal for everybody engaged. To me, the issue is: Why is it that after the identification of this – the emergence – or the reemergence of this crime from the mid-‘80s onwards, why is it that now 20 years on, we are still not globally at least reducing it significantly year on year. What we actually need to do – you’ve talked about reaching out to people and the role that people can play, and that’s the key issue. It’s about proactivity. It’s about mobilization of all of the different actors so that we can actually come together, because these are not invisible victims. So we can certainly, without a doubt, anywhere in the world, if we wish to do so, we could radically begin to reduce this crime. Whether we could ever completely eradicate it globally, well, that’s a huge question that remains open, but certainly what doesn’t remain open is that – and this is particularly in relation to the criminal justice and the police response – it is insufficient. It is inadequate, and it needs to do an awful lot better than it currently does.

MR. CLANCY: Hey, Paul, have you got a website that you think – if people are interested in this looking at this Hangout, if people are interested in it, what’s a website that you would recommend they go visit?

MR. HOLMES: It depends on the aspects they want to come from. To many extents it depends where different individuals think they can make a contribution. So if, for example, I work in the criminal justice field, if you’re looking to make a contribution there, you’ve got the ambassador’s office, you’ve got the United Nations office of drugs and crime, various police agencies, Interpol, Europol, et cetera. So if you’re coming from that dimension then that may be the way that you can most add the pressure. It’s a general comment, and I realize this is hugely simplistic, but I have the benefit of working in many, many countries. Ultimately – and this is hackneyed and trite, but it’s nonetheless authentic for being hackneyed and trite – so much of this is about political rule to ensure the hierarchies of the police agencies really focus on this crime. So for example, one thing that ordinary citizens can do to the extent that they’re able to do so would be to exert influence upon their representatives to enable them or to force them, if necessary, to exert political influence within the government structure to make the enforcement agencies more open and more proactive to actually go out and address this crime, because it’s visible.

MR. CLANCY: Okay. I’m going to go over to Luke, and Luke, ask you for a link to your organization so people can find out more about it.

MR. BLOCHER: Sure. If you go to – it’s very straightforward –, and at our website you can also view the film that we’ve been talking about, Journey to Freedom. There’s a link to viewing the entire film, which is about 40 minutes, there, which I think really delivers the message that we’re trying to deliver about the historic link to this and ultimately the optimistic view that people can – individuals can really make a difference in this matter.

MR. CLANCY:, watch a free movie at the same time, good deal.


MS. GERMINO: I would love for viewers to go to our website, That stands for Coalition of Immokalee Workers online, and Immokalee is a huge labor reserve of migrant farm workers in Florida on top of the Everglades, on top of the swamp there, but actually working at a national level now. And you can also check out the Fair Food Standards Council, which actually is the model for worker-informed corporate social responsibility in that it’s the one that’s actually going out and auditing and monitoring and taking some – and resolving complaints that come out of the fields.

MR. CLANCY: Susan, did I get your – I don’t think I got your website address.

MS. OPLE: Yes, our nonprofit organization (inaudible) website: I also blog, so you can read my articles about human trafficking via

MR. CLANCY: Okay. That’s Susan – common spelling – Ople, O-p-l-e.

MS. OPLE: Yeah.

MR. CLANCY: And everyone knows – everybody knows I think that you can go to, and you can find our Freedom Project that deals specifically with human trafficking and there’s a lot of links there that you will find to all of these organizations.

Mr. Ambassador, I want to thank you very much for hosting this, and give us your final thoughts here, because one thing that strikes me, and the people here talked about it: They become TIP heroes, you lift them up, and they, in turn, inspire the rest of us.

AMBASSADOR CDEBACA: Jim, thank you, and thanks for all your hard work on this and everybody on the panel. If there’s one thing I’d love for people to take away from this is that notion that the inspiration that we get from the TIP heroes, the annual best of the best or whatever you’d call them, is just as inspiring to them, that notion of what you heard from – I saw Susan and her cohort when they were here. They went through the Underground Railroad Center, and they were able to experience through Luke and his team the hopes and dreams and fears of their predecessors from 150 years ago, and I think they went back to their own countries and back to their organizations reinvigorated and hopefully feeling that they weren’t alone anymore. It’s like Laura said, there’s many dark nights in this business where you just wonder are you the only person that’s working on this.

When Paul started working on this in Scotland Yard, one of those cases, that was the only case in England that year that got investigated. And you think about what – those late nights and wondering is anybody else out there. I think with the Google Hangout today, but also with the work of the heroes, and most importantly, Jim, with the work that you’re doing with the Freedom Project, we’re telling a very different story in the last two years, a story that doesn’t just tell victims that we see them and we’ll stand with them, but tells all of the modern abolitionists out there not only are you not alone, but you’re part of a global movement, a global family, and we’re going to come together, and we are going to beat this thing.

MR. CLANCY: Okay. And there’s our message: Keep the faith. Join the fight. Our thanks to you, Luis CdeBaca, the U.S. Ambassador who heads up American combating human trafficking issues as well as Paul Holmes, Laura Germino, Susan Ople, Luke Blocher. I want to thank all of you for being with us on this Google Hangout, and thank all of you for joining us and watching.

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