U.S. Ambassador Thomas H. Armbruster’s closing remarks
I want to begin by thanking everyone who is present and everyone who participated in this incredibly important Training of Trainers for Service Providers on Human Trafficking Workshop.
- I would especially like to thank the State Department’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) for funding this worthy endeavor;
- the Trainer Romina St Clara from IOM Philippines whose experience globally and regionally has been ideal for understanding the unique concerns in island nations;
- and finally the participants who include: Ministry of Health, Ministry of Internal Affairs, Kumit Bobrae, Marshall Islands Red Cross Society, WUTMI, Youth to Youth in Health, Salvation Army, WAM, Office of the Chief Secretary, IOM, KIO Club, and Micronesian Legal Services Corporation.
• This program is part of the IOM’s 2 year project “Combating Trafficking in Persons in Micronesia through Establishment of Protection Frameworks for Victims of Trafficking” funded by the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons – it was implemented by IOM but organized and coordinated under the direction and with strong support from the National Taskforce on Human Trafficking.
• Human trafficking is among the most lucrative criminal enterprises in existence today. While it is difficult to assess the true extent of human trafficking due to the covert nature of the activity, the State Department estimates that over 20 million individuals around the globe are victims of human trafficking. Human trafficking is the 2nd largest criminal industry worldwide, generating an estimate $150 billion worldwide.
• Human Trafficking undermines the rule of law, creates instability in families and communities, threatens our countries’ national security, and corrupts global supply chains and labor markets that keep the world’s economies thriving. Combating modern slavery is a U.S. foreign policy priority, and programs like this are essential in the fight to eradicate this scourge.
• With the Marshall Islands serving as both a source and destination country for victims of human trafficking, it is crucial that this issue remain a top priority for the RMI government and with the support of the U.S. Embassy; we must expand upon some of the progress that has been made over the past year. One example of this was the nomination of Assistant Attorney General Johnathen Kawakami as an International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) recipient focused on combatting trafficking in persons. Mr. Kawakami is now serving as co-chair of the newly established national task force against human trafficking. This kind of cooperation going forward is paramount in the fight to achieve the mutual goal of continuing our fight to end human trafficking.