The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

Letters to the Editor

June 29, 2014

Help fight human trafficking

Editor:

On June 20, Secretary of State John Kerry released the 2014 Trafficking in Persons Report, which ranks 188 countries on their efforts to combat human trafficking, including the United States.

Human trafficking is modern day slavery and it occurs on every continent of the world. This incredibly important diplomatic tool is compiled each year by the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (TIP Office). Countries that fail to deal adequately with their human trafficking problem can be placed on “Tier 3” and face U.S. sanctions.

To protect the integrity of this report from other political or diplomatic concerns, I believe the TIP Office should be upgraded to a State Department Bureau, which can be done without any added cost or bureaucracy.

The enduring crime of slavery is so monstrous — and sadly, so prevalent, with nearly 30 million slaves in the world today — that this office needs to be at the same stature as other State Department bureaus that address issues like arms control, the environment and narcotics.

I strongly support legislation being considered in the House and Senate that would make the TIP Office a bureau, and I hope our entire Illinois delegation will co-sponsor this bill and push for its passage.

For those who are unfamiliar with the horrors of human trafficking, please explore: http://www.polarisproject.org/

Kelbi Ervin

Danville

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