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By Bob Corker

For those who work in the movement to end modern slavery, we each have our moment. The moment we learned about the scope of this problem and the more than 27 million people still enslaved in every corner of the world. The moment we heard the stories of young boys forced to work in the brick kilns in India or on fishing boats in Ghana; the young women trafficked for sex on the streets of Thailand or on websites here in the United States. The moment we decided to be part of the movement to end it.

The Moment I Joined the Fight

My moment came through an association with Louie and Shelley Giglio of Passion and the END IT Movement, a movement consisting of tens of thousands of young people devoted to ending this brutal practice throughout the world. I learned from them that slavery still exists and that it actually thrives on a horrific scale. Then in 2014, as a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, I was traveling through Southeast Asia, and made a stop in the Philippines. While there, I had the opportunity to meet 20 female survivors, who bravely shared their stories. A man offered to take one young girl and her sister to visit Manila for the day, but the women were instead forced to work in a brothel. Another woman, after accepting an agency’s help breaking into the entertainment industry, was forced to spend a decade in the sex trade. The horrors these resilient young women endured stayed with me, and when I was elected chairman of the committee in 2015, I made ending human trafficking and modern slavery a top legislative priority.

In 2016, Congress passed bold, bipartisan legislation to enable the creation of the End Modern Slavery Initiative (EMSI), which is now operating as the Global Fund to End Modern Slavery (GFEMS). I authored this initiative in 2015 in an effort to establish a powerful partnership between the private sector and foreign governments to eliminate modern slavery and human trafficking around the globe. Last year, the State Department awarded $25 million to GFEMS, establishing the U.S. as a global leader in this fight. Soon after, the United Kingdom responded with its own matching contribution, and Marriott International recently answered the call, announcing a partnership to prepare survivors for employment. Momentum is building.

The 2017 Moment



For many of you, watching our friend Ashton Kutcher’s testimony at our 2017 “END IT” hearing was your moment. You learned of Thorn’s innovative work to bring the best technology to bear against domestic minor sex trafficking right here in the United States. Their work is an example of what we are trying to do: bring critical partners together across all industries to tackle this problem collectively. Since the hearing, I’ve been grateful to work with Thorn’s team to get their sex trafficking investigations tool, Spotlight, into the hands of law enforcement officials so they can more quickly identify victims and connect them to resources.

What Next?

Join Ashton and me as a force for good in the fight to end modern slavery once and for all. Learn about the progress in this extraordinary movement that is generating tremendous support from around the world to eradicate this scourge on humanity. And encourage your members of Congress to support reauthorization of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, which will strengthen U.S. global leadership in this effort. Let’s not stop until we end it, once and for all.

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