Enslaved People are Victims, Not ‘Merely Illegal Immigrants or Criminals’
Ambassador Luis CdeBaca, who heads the State Department’s Office to Monitor and Combat Human Trafficking has been called America’s “Human Trafficking Czar.” As a federal prosecutor, CdeBaca was lead council in what was the biggest human trafficking case on U.S. soil. His work has contributed to the liberation of hundreds of people.
In past weeks, CdeBaca has indicated an area of particular concern to the anti-slavery movement: the re-victimization slavery survivors by the criminal justice system.
Ambassador CdeBaca recently testified at a hearing on modern day slavery at the House Foreign Affairs Committee, where he said the future challenges of his office will be to get law enforcement to recognize human trafficking victims as victims—rather than “merely illegal immigrants or criminals.”
CdeBaca’s statements on this issue were picked up yesterday by the Associated Press, who ran a brief story titled “US: Trafficking victims subject to detention”
In our work, Free the Slaves has seen this happen. One of our 2010 Freedom Award winners, Tina Frundt, was trafficked into sex slavery when she was just 14 years old. When the police came knocking, they didn’t treat her as a victim. They arrested her for prostitution.
Read Tina Frundt’s testimony to Congress, urging the passage of the Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking Deterrence and Victims Support Act (H.R. 5575)