Saying it "must be called by its true name, 'modern slavery,' " President Obama this afternoon used his address before the Clinton Global Initiative to focus on "the outrage of human trafficking."
When a man is "working, toiling for little or no pay and [is] beaten if he tries to escape, that is slavery," Obama said.
"When a woman is locked in a sweat shop or trapped in a home as a domestic servant ... that is slavery."
And when children are forced into militias or when "a little girl is sold by her impoverished family — girls my daughters' age — ... and then imprisoned in a brothel or tortured if she resists, that is slavery," he added.
As the president spoke, the White House sent reporters a recap of the administration's "efforts to eliminate human trafficking" and some details on new initiatives, including:
-- "Providing human trafficking training and guidance to federal prosecutors, law enforcement officials, and immigration judges; to commercial transportation officials; to state and local law enforcement partners; and to state workforce agencies and educators."
-- Expanding "services and legal assistance to victims of trafficking" and a partnership with Humanity United "with support from the Goldman Sachs Foundation, to launch $6 million in Partnership for Freedom Innovation Awards to challenge local communities to develop collaborative and comprehensive solutions to help trafficking victims."
-- "An executive order that outlines prohibitions on trafficking-related activities that will apply to all federal contractors and subcontractors, requires compliance measures for large overseas contracts and subcontracts, and provides federal agencies with additional tools to foster compliance."
"American tax dollars should never be used to support the trafficking of human beings," Obama said to audience at former President Clinton's forum in New York City.
He's also pointed to a website, SlaveryFootprint.org, where there's information about human trafficking.
Earlier today, Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney spoke to the forum. Our post on his address is here: Romney Touts 'Prosperity Pacts' To Help Middle East, Developing Nations.
The president also spoke to the U.N. General Assembly today: Obama: Those Like Slain U.S. Ambassador Must Determine World's Future.
Copyright NPR. View this article on npr.org.