Human Trafficking in North Carolina

Feb 5, 2013

President Obama announced an executive order this week that would address human trafficking in US government contracting.  We have an update on modern day slavery in our state which is now ranked seventh in the nation.

According to the 2012 Trafficking in Persons Report released in June, there are an estimated 27 million slaves around the world. On Tuesday, President Barrack Obama spoke in New York City at the Clinton Global Initiative on the topic of human trafficking. 

“I do not use that word slavery lightly, it evokes one of the most painful chapters in our nation’s history.”

The speech comes on the heels of the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation. 

“Our fight against human trafficking is one of the great human rights causes of our time, and the United States will continue to lead it -- in partnership with you.  The change we seek will not come easy, but we can draw strength from the movements of the past.”

Modern day slavery is defined by the United Nations as "the recruitment, transport, transfer, harboring or receipt of a person by such means as threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, or fraud or deception for the purpose of exploitation."  Human trafficking takes on many different forms: from men forced to work on fishing boats and in fields, to women being locked in sweatshops, to young boys being forced to become soldiers, and little girls repeatedly being used for sex acts.

“  It is barbaric, and it is evil, and it has no place in a civilized world”

The President announced an Executive Order that would strengthen protections against trafficking in persons in federal contracts.

“ It’s specific about the prohibitions.  It does more to protect workers.  It ensures stronger compliance.   In short, we’re making clear that American tax dollars must never, ever be used to support the trafficking of human beings.  We will have zero tolerance.  We mean what we say.  We will enforce it.”  (Applause.)

President Obama said in the speech that modern anti-trafficking laws must be passed and enforced, justice systems must be strengthened, and victims must be cared for.  He is also calling on Congress to renew the Trafficking Victims Protection Act.

A common misconception is that modern day slavery takes place exclusively in large cities or overseas. It also happens here.  Numbers released early in 2012 rank North Carolina seventh in the nation in human trafficking.  LC Morris takes us into a world where the trading of human life for sex or labor could be happening closer to home than you may think.