“We have a serious effort at home that’s victim-centered to help those who have been caught in human trafficking,” he told USINFO June 5.
Lagon has worked on human rights issues before. So when the U.S. Congress confirmed him as the new director of the State Department’s Office to Monitor and Combat of Trafficking in Persons in May, he already had priorities in mind.
Emphasizing U.S. leadership responsibility, Lagon said, “We need to look at how products that are important in the United States might in fact be the result of slave labor,” he said. Forced labor is an important issue “whether it’s child labor, bonded labor, [or] labor explained away by caste.”
“Because democratization is so much about women’s empowerment worldwide, we have to grapple with the situation of trafficking in persons, which is perhaps the most acute form of the disempowerment of women,” he said. The rule of law must be strengthened wherever human trafficking is a problem, and where “complicit officials in governments … are, through their corruption, advancing degradation of people,” he said...
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