• A Strong Voice for the Voiceless

    By: Judith G. Kelley and Mark P. Lagon

    Tuesday 18 November 2014

    Since its creation by Congress in 2000, the U.S. State Department’s Office to Combat Trafficking in Persons (TIP) has called out governments for allowing the prostitution of minors, the confinement of domestic workers by employers and the recruitment of child soldiers.  It has highlighted governments’ failure to liberate bonded laborers from disadvantaged castes or protect migrant women from being coerced into sex trafficking.  It has helped eliminate the captivity of tiny children starved to remain light enough to be jockeys in the popular sport of camel racing in the Middle East.

  • Prostitution: Why The Economist has it Wrong on Legalization

    By: MARK P. LAGON, Global Politics and Security Chair at Georgetown University's Master of Science in Foreign Service Program and Adjunct Senior Fellow for Human Rights at the Council on Foreign Relations. He is the former US Ambassador-at-Large to Combat Trafficking in Persons at the US Department of State.

    Tuesday 30 September 2014

    On August 9th, the cover article for The Economist argued that prostitution's shift from the streets to the Internet illustrates the migration of sex industry to the formal economy, and touted this trend as a basis for legalization.   As the State Department's former Ambassador-at-Large for Combatting Trafficking in Persons, I am discouraged that such a reputable publication would endorse the legalization of an industry that not only disproportionally robs the dignity of underprivileged populations, but is also proven to exacerbate the horrors of sex trafficking the world is fighting to eradicate today.  Prostitution is not the oldest profession, but the oldest form of oppression.

  • Modern slavery will continue if corporations keep passing the buck

    By: MARK P. LAGON, Global Politics and Security Chair at Georgetown University's Master of Science in Foreign Service Program and Adjunct Senior Fellow for Human Rights at the Council on Foreign Relations. He is the former US Ambassador-at-Large to Combat Trafficking in Persons at the US Department of State.

    theguardian.com, Friday 27 June 2014

    The Guardian's painstaking investigation into the Thai seafood sector and the US state department's annual Trafficking in Persons Report have offered arresting revelations in recent days. Not only have shrimp supply chains worldwide proved to be tainted by forced labour on Thai vessels and on soil. These reports show how businesses of all kinds are sullied by slavery – yielding $150bn in profit each year, according to the International Labour Organisation.

  • Zero Tolerance:  What Can Business Do to Stamp out Child Labor in China?

    By: MARK P. LAGON, Global Politics and Security Chair at Georgetown University's Master of Science in Foreign Service Program and Adjunct Senior Fellow for Human Rights at the Council on Foreign Relations. He is the former US Ambassador-at-Large to Combat Trafficking in Persons at the US Department of State.

    August 2014

    Last month, The New York Times published a piece exposing onerous child labor at a Chinese manufacturing facility producing for South Korean electronics giant, Samsung.  China Labor Watch identified the five child laborers at the Dongguan Shinyang Electronics factory.  Despite auditing the Chinese supplier three times since 2013, Samsung had reported zero cases of child labor at the site or within its greater supply chain.  Following an internal investigation, Samsung terminated business with Dongguan Shinyang on July 14th.  This case marks the first time Samsung has halted business with a supplier over child labor allegations.