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President Obama speaks out against human trafficking at Clinton Global Initiative

Obama says trafficking 'must be called by its true name: modern slavery.'

Jonathan Lemire

President Obama greets former President Bill Clinton on Tuesday at the Clinton Global Initiative in New York. Obama spoke out against human trafficking, labeling it "modern slavery."

President Obama delivered a passionate plea to stop the scourge of human trafficking - and vowed to crack down on the heinous practice both at home and abroad.

Obama gave his powerful speech Tuesday from the same Clinton Global Initiative stage where his Republican rival Mitt Romney spoke just hours before.

But Obama, who also gave a major policy address to the United Nations Tuesday, ignored politics and instead touted the United States’ commitment to stop human trafficking. He said that trafficking “must be called by its true name: modern slavery.”

“It is barbaric and it is evil and it has no place in civilized world,” Obama told the rapt audience at the Sheraton New York Hotel and Towers in Midtown.

“Nations must speak with one voice: our people and our children are not for sale,” he said.

Obama said that more than 20 million people worldwide are victims of human trafficking, including children forced to work at sweatshops and women pushed into the sex trade.

He acknowledged that the US was not immune from the epidemic and pledged to help stop the abuse of migrant workers and young women who are forced “to walk the streets.”

“Our message today is: we see you,” said the President, who has attended the conference every year since 2008. “We hear you. We insist on your dignity.”

He praised Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s work on the matter and announced a new executive order prohibiting federal agencies from doing business with countries and companies that support forced labor.

“We're making clear that American tax dollars must never, ever be used to support the trafficking of human beings,” he said. “We will have zero tolerance.”

Human trafficking, he said, “is not a business model. It’s a crime, and we’re going to stop it. We are our brothers’ keepers and our sisters’ keepers.”

The tough stance was immediately applauded by several human rights groups.

“His message is validation of the extraordinary efforts of so many people who have been fighting for these kids, and sends a message that there is hope,” said Ernie Allen of the International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children. “Help is on the way.”

Obama made no mention of Romney or his re-election campaign. He did, however thank thank Bill Clinton – who introduced him Tuesday — for his already-iconic speech at the Democratic National Convention.

He said he was considering following a twitter user’s advice to name Clinton “the Secretary of Explaining Things” but noted that the tweeter “didn’t use the word ‘things.’”

Fonte: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/election-2012/president-obama-speaks-human-trafficking-clinton-global-initiative-article-1.1168184 - 25.09.12

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