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Media 042114 Trafficking

Monday, April 21, 2014

 

U.S. Senators Discuss Trafficking in Persons with Mexican Leaders

 

U.S. Embassy - Mexico

 

U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota led a delegation to Mexico City with U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and Cindy McCain, of the McCain Institute for International Leadership, to discuss trafficking in persons with senior Mexican officials and leaders of non-governmental organizations (NGOs).  The delegation, along with Ambassador Anthony Wayne, met with Mexican Attorney General Jesus Murillo Karam to explore how the United States and Mexico can work together more effectively to fight trafficking in persons. 

 

The Senators also emphasized the need to strengthen our partnership in fighting drug trafficking.  They discussed law enforcement cooperation with Federal Police Commissioner General Enrique Galindo as well as with prosecutors focused on crimes related to trafficking in persons.   They highlighted the role of the Merida Initiative and other U.S.-Mexico efforts in a meeting with Foreign Ministry Undersecretary for North America Sergio Alcocer Martinez de Castro.

 

In a roundtable meeting with leaders of NGOs committed to fighting trafficking in persons, the Senators learned about the successes these organizations have achieved and the challenges they face.  The Senators emphasized that fighting trafficking in persons is a high priority for the United States and shared their perspectives on the importance of civil society in this critical effort.  They also learned about legislative efforts to eliminate this scourge in a meeting at the Mexican Senate.

 

“This is an opportunity to focus on how we can work with Mexico to combat trafficking in both of our countries and make sure these men, women and children are being treated as the victims that they really are,” said Senator Klobuchar.  “Human trafficking – including sex and labor trafficking – is a grave problem that our countries must work together to address,” said Senator Heitkamp.  Ambassador Wayne added that "the United States Government is committed to working with Mexico to stop this horrible crime."

 

Senator Klobuchar recently introduced bipartisan legislation cosponsored by Senator Heitkamp that would give prosecutors tools to crack down on domestic minor sex trafficking and ensure victims of these horrific crimes receive the support they need. The Stop Exploitation through Trafficking Act is modeled after Minnesota’s “Safe Harbor” laws that help ensure minors sold for sex aren’t prosecuted as criminals but are instead treated as victims. The bill also allows victims of sex trafficking to participate in the United States Job Corps program to help them get back on their feet, and would create a National Strategy to Combat Human Trafficking to encourage cooperation among all the federal, state, and local agencies that work on this problem.

 

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Press release, Apr. 15, 2014, Embassy of the United States, Mexico City

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