ATEST Urges Biden to Quickly Appoint TIP Ambassador

January 31, 2022

President Joseph R. Biden
The White House
Washington, D.C.

RE: Appointment of a New Ambassador-at-Large to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons

Dear President Biden,

Thank you for your ongoing efforts to confront human trafficking, one of the world’s most significant human rights challenges. We appreciate that your administration has adopted suggestions that the Alliance to End Slavery and Trafficking (ATEST) recommended to your transition team last year, including updating the U.S. National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking.

We are writing today to urge an expedited nomination of a new Ambassador-at-Large to the U.S. Department of State Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (J/TIP). Many of the Action Plan’s key initiatives will require the expertise and influence of a presidentially appointed ambassador to implement them effectively.

Last week, Vice President Kamala Harris and numerous cabinet secretaries briefed the nation on their departmental accomplishments in 2021 and their plans for 2022 during the convening of the President’s Interagency Task Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons. But one key official was missing from the meeting: the J/TIP ambassador.

The ambassador’s responsibilities involve far more than being a diplomatic emissary. The ambassador oversees the J/TIP office. This office produces the annual Trafficking in Persons Report, a global benchmark publication that evaluates governmental efforts to address human trafficking. The report is an essential tool in urging governments around the world to take more action to address forced labor, sexual exploitation and other forms of human trafficking. The office also awards tens of millions of dollars annually to anti-trafficking projects worldwide. Although housed inside the State Department, this office also coordinates the domestic activities of the President’s Interagency Task Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, the Senior Policy Operating Group, and the U.S. Advisory Council on Human Trafficking.

Because the ambassador coordinates so many aspects of America’s whole-of-government approach to combat human trafficking, this position is the most important presidential appointment you will make to confront this human rights scourge. As such, it is essential that you nominate a leader who can influence inter-governmental agencies as well as governments around the world.

As National Human Trafficking Prevention Month draws to a close, we’re reminded of how your Presidential Proclamation indicated that the battle against human trafficking is essential in the global effort to advance human rights. It’s a battle “to pursue dignity and freedom for all people,” you wrote.

To win that battle, America needs its lead anti-trafficking official in place. We urge you to nominate the new Ambassador-at-Large to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons without delay.

Thank you,

Member Organizations of the Alliance to End Slavery and Trafficking

ATEST is a U.S.-based coalition that advocates for solutions to prevent and end all forms of human trafficking and modern slavery around the world. We advocate for lasting solutions to prevent forced labor and sex trafficking, hold perpetrators accountable, ensure justice for victims and empower survivors with tools for recovery. Our collective experience implementing programs at home and abroad provides our coalition an unparalleled breadth and depth of expertise.

ATEST member organizations include: Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking (CAST), Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW), Free the Slaves, HEAL Trafficking, Human Trafficking Institute, Humanity United Action (HUA), McCain Institute for International Leadership, National Network for Youth (NN4Y), Polaris, Safe Horizon, Solidarity Center, T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights, United Way Worldwide, Verité, and Vital Voices Global Partnership.

Contact: Terry FitzPatrick | ATEST Co-chair

[email protected] | 571-282-9913

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