Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America, Inc., is committed to the protection of human rights and is outraged by the global scourge of human trafficking, especially of women and children. In recent years, the United Nations, as well as the United States and Israel have made significant progress towards the elimination of trafficking. However, the recent kidnapping of over 250 Nigerian school-girls and the countless examples of domestic trafficking occurring in all types of American communities unfortunately illustrate how much work is still left to be done.
Every day, women, men, and children are forced, defrauded, or coerced into labor or sexual exploitation within and across national borders. Victims of trafficking are subject to gross human rights violations including kidnapping, rape, torture, starvation, and threats of murder or torture of family members. Slavery is a modern-day reality for 27 million people world-wide—a shadow market estimated at $32 billion annually. Between 600,000 and 800,000 people are victims of human trafficking every year.
Trafficking and its related crimes not only harm the victims involved; they also undermine the social, political and economic fabric of the nations where they occur by devaluing individuals, demeaning women, and increasing violence and crime.
Hadassah applauds the U.S. government’s recent efforts to address this issue and urges local, state, and federal officials to continue the momentum with the passage of legislation that supports victims of both sex and labor trafficking, domestically and abroad.
Hadassah urges all nations to make the elimination of trafficking a priority by strengthening anti-trafficking legislation, sharing information, promoting demand reduction strategies, aggressively prosecuting traffickers, penalizing all those profiting from the trafficking enterprise, and mounting public information campaigns.
Hadassah further urges countries to provide safe havens for victims of trafficking, change laws so that trafficked minors are treated as victims not criminals, and institute a comprehensive range of social services for victim rehabilitation.
Hadassah urges our regions and chapters to educate their respective members and communities, and encourages them to advocate and join in coalitions with other advocacy groups to combat human trafficking.