I was quite impressed with what President Obama had to say yesterday during the live broadcast of the Clinton Global Initiative. He began quite eloquently by stating that the focus of his speech was the issue of modern slavery, calling it “barbaric,” “evil,” and stating that it “has no place in the civilized world.” He also promised “to be a leader in this global movement by shining a light in dark corners and partnering with groups working to end this form of oppression.”
What impressed me the most about his speech however, was the fact that he actually acknowledged that modern slavery is occurring within the borders of the US. Migrant workers being forced to work long hours with no pay and runaway teenagers being pimped on the street, were just two of the numerous examples he gave, of the types of slavery that occurs within our very own borders.
In order to combat modern slavery within the US, President Obama outlined three new steps that the federal government will be taking “to ensure that supply chains are free of forced labor.”
First, more steps are going to be taken to “spot it & stop it.” (i.e. by training teacher and law enforcement what to look for and “how to treat victims as victims instead of as criminals.”)
Second, technology is going to be harnessed to stop trafficking and help young people stay safe online.
Lastly, survivors are going to receive more help to improve their lives. (i.e. simplified T-visa applications, executive order that makes it clear that US tax dollars should never be used to support human trafficking.)
In conclusion, President Obama expressed a “commitment to equality” and stressed that in this fight, “justice systems must be strengthened, [and] victims must be cared for.”
Like I said, I was surprisingly quite impressed with President Obama’s speech. The passion and outrage he expressed as he talked about the issue of modern slavery, made me feel quite proud to be a part of a nation whose leader is so motivated to put an end to this tragedy. If you missed the speech, I seriously encourage you to watch it. The full speech can be found here.