Rice University has made a point of focusing on the problem of human trafficking this year. As a result, academics from all over the country are invited to speak, including the current administration’s anti-human trafficking Ambassador Luis CdeBaca and he’s got some encouraging news.
“Well Houston stands out among the cities in the United States as having been on the cutting edge in the fight against human trafficking. And so I’d say less that it’s an issue of responding to the problem here in Houston and almost more an issue of taking the Houston model and translating it out into other cities.”
Cities like Miami, Atlanta and Los Angeles. Ambassador CdeBaca says that if non-government organizations come together as they have in Houston they can take on the traffickers, not only in the U.S. but worldwide. And it’s a serious problem worldwide.
“That there are as many as 27 million people that are enslaved at this time. Which is more than double the number of people worldwide who were enslaved back when slavery was legal, and I think that should be shocking to everyone.”
The problem of trafficking isn’t likely to disappear overnight. CdeBaca’s other priority is to help the victims.
The Ambassador says safe houses like Houston’s Freedom Place and other after-care organizations go a long way to counteract the damage done by the traffickers.
“You know the traffickers tend to get their victims by giving them false hope. We need to be in the hope business. They need people to walk with them and that’s I think what we see with the task force model here in Houston, with the safe house with the people who are willing to volunteer their time pro-bono attorneys and others.”
Ambassador CdeBaca’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Person has existed for 12 years. It was instituted by President Clinton, has continued through President Bush’s terms and into the current administration.