Feb 27 2015

Corker Praises Committee Passage of Bipartisan End Modern Slavery Initiative Act of 2015

Highlights END IT Movement’s “Shine a Light on Slavery Day”

WASHINGTON – In an interview today on CNN’s “This Hour,” U.S. Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, praised the committee’s unanimous passage of The End Modern Slavery Initiative Act of 2015 and highlighted END IT’s “Shine a Light on Slavery Day” by joining the movement with a red X on his hand. Corker’s bold, bipartisan legislation would create a powerful effort in concert with the private sector and foreign governments to help eliminate modern slavery around the globe.

“There are 27 million people all over this world today that are in bondage,” said Corker in the interview. “They are in day labor, and rug manufacturing, or brick kilns, or they are young boys in Ghana that are in the fishing world, or they are in sexual servitude. It's hard for people to imagine that's the case, but I've seen it firsthand. We have outstanding organizations that are using best practices and yet we haven't had a central effort to deal with this appropriately. Yesterday, unanimously, we passed out of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee a bill that I believe is going to have a transformative effect on us dealing with modern slavery.”

Corker, wearing a red X on his hand and lapel in honor of END IT’s “Shine a Light on Slavery Day” added, “I think you all know that today is END IT day. END IT has done an outstanding job in raising awareness, and now it's time for us to take action. I'm proud to be the lead sponsor of this bill. Senator Menendez and our entire committee passed it out unanimously, and I think we’re going to do something that will affect millions of people in ensuing years…Anyone who has seen it firsthand would be just inflamed over the fact that it's a crime of opportunity. People are taking advantage of young people, old people, mothers, daughters, sons, and fathers. And we can do something about it, and we're getting ready to, and I'm glad that today we're celebrating the beginning of that effort.”

The End Modern Slavery Initiative Act of 2015 is cosponsored by Senators Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), John McCain (R-Ariz.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), and Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.). 

In addition, a number of advocacy groups and faith-based institutions have issued support for the effort including, the Alliance to End Slavery & Trafficking (ATEST), International Justice Mission (IJM), United Way Worldwide, Freedom House, Rotary International, and Circle of Friends, Inc., among others. 

Click here for a summary of the legislation and here for the full bill text. 

Those interested in Corker’s efforts to end modern slavery can join the conversation online using the hashtags #EndSlaveryAct and #EndItMovement. They also can show support by posting a photo of themselves holding up their hand marked with a red “X”. Example here.