Date: March 11, 2004 For Release: Immediately Contact: ACF Press Office (202) 401-9215 Headline: HHS ANNOUNCES ANTI-TRAFFICKING HOTLINE, AWARENESS EFFORT HHS Secretary Tommy G. Thompson today announced a major public awareness effort to combat human trafficking and help its victims, including a toll-free hotline. "Today we are announcing four tools to help crack down on the evil practice of human trafficking, as well as assist those who have been victimized," Secretary Thompson said. The federal government estimates that between 18,000 and 20,000 men, women and children are trafficked to the U.S. each year, part of a worldwide problem affecting between 800,000 and 900,000 people. Often, victims' passports, money and identification are confiscated by their traffickers as they are forced into prostitution, pornography and sweatshop labor. This modern-day form of slavery has become a $13 billion per year global industry. President Bush will address the issue of human trafficking as part of a speech at the White House tomorrow on violence against women. The actions announced today follow a law the President signed on December 19, 2003, the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act, designed to step up U.S. efforts against human trafficking. The new tools include: * A toll-free number (888-373-7888) run by the Covenant House, sponsored by HHS in collaboration with the Department of Justice, to allow victims of trafficking to be instantly referred to a pre-screened aid organization in the victim's area. The number will become active by next week. * A Web site (www.acf.hhs.gov/trafficking) that serves as a clearinghouse on helping victims of human trafficking. * Initially, a three-city public awareness effort (Philadelphia, Atlanta and Phoenix) to educate Americans on the problem of human trafficking and how they can help victims in their community. * A public service television announcement, shared by HHS and the United Nations, to educate the public, on a national level, on the issue of human trafficking. "Victims of trafficking require fast, safe and reliable help," said Wade F. Horn, Ph.D., assistant secretary for children and families. "The effort we are unveiling today will educate the public on how they can assist, while giving those marred by human trafficking the immediate aid they need." The initiative is administered by HHS' Administration for Children and Families and its Office of Refugee Resettlement. ======== North American Human Rights Education listserv ======== Send mail intended for the list to <email@example.com>. Archives of the list can be found at: http://www.hrea.org/lists/hr-education-na/markup/maillist.php If you have problems (un)subscribing, contact <firstname.lastname@example.org>. **You are welcome to reprint, copy, archive, quote or re-post this item, but please retain the original and listserv source.
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