In his latest article with Atlantic Counsel released on June 16th, 2023, Ambassador John Richmond, Chief Impact Officer at Atlas Free, sheds light on the pressing issue of the government's inadequate rate of human trafficking victim identification, urging decisive steps to be taken in order to rectify this situation.
"Traffickers thrive in an ecosystem where mere intentions and underfunded public justice systems are their only challenges. It is time for leaders to arise and become champions for freedom. Millions of victims count on governments, civil society, and faith communities to do more than merely care about their plight, designate awareness days, and think good thoughts. Survivors need the world to accelerate its strategic investment and meaningful action to increase victim identification." —John Richmond.
The article highlights the alarming state of human trafficking worldwide and criticizes governments for their inadequate efforts in addressing the issue. The recently published Trafficking in Persons Report by the US Department of State reveals shocking facts: traffickers operate with impunity, forced labor supports global supply chains, and children are exploited for commercial sex. Governments are failing to implement effective action plans, laws, and treaties to combat trafficking.
A major problem lies in the low number of victims identified by governments. Despite the widely subscribed UN Protocol to Combat Trafficking in Persons, which commits governments to identify exploited individuals, the reported figure of 115,324 victims falls drastically short. Comparing this number to the UN estimate of 27.6 million people trapped in forced labor or sex trafficking, governments are only identifying less than 0.4 percent of victims, leaving 99.6 percent without help or freedom.
Complicating victim identification further is state-sanctioned human trafficking. The report exposes eleven countries including Cuba, North Korea, Eritrea, and China, where the governments themselves are involved in trafficking. This egregious situation undermines efforts to combat trafficking when those responsible for identifying victims are, in fact, the perpetrators.
Without effective victim identification, holding traffickers accountable and providing appropriate services to survivors become nearly impossible. Governments must match their rhetoric with resources and increase funding for prevention, investigations, prosecutions, services, and trauma-informed care. Specialized units, survivor leadership, and holding companies accountable should no longer be optional.Educators and healthcare providers must become mandatory reporters, pathways for survivors to clear criminal records need to be established, and forced labor in various industries must be eradicated.
Richmond emphasizes the urgency of increasing victim identification as a crucial step towards successful prosecution and prevention of human trafficking. He calls on concerned citizens to demand practical actions from their governments, including mandating reporting, investing in specialized units, supporting survivors, and ensuring responsible business practices. Ultimately, the world must accelerate its efforts and take meaningful action to combat human trafficking, providing hope and freedom to millions of victims.
Read the original article here.
Original Article written by Ambassador John Richmond, Chief Impact Officer at Atlas Free