CIW anti-slavery work recognized by Secretary Clinton

On Monday IATP Food and Society Fellow Sean Sellers and the CIW Modern Slavery Museum parked outside the U.S. State Department for the release of the most recent Trafficking in Persons
report, a global evaluation of progress in the global fight against
slavery. The museum was the backdrop for a ceremony hosted by
Secretary of State Hilary Clinton in which Laura Germino of the
Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) was named a 2010 “Anti-Trafficking
Hero” by the U.S. State Department.

As part of the annual report's release, the State Department recognizes
people from around the world who have shown extraordinary commitment
and leadership in the fight against slavery. The Fort Meyers News-Press notes that Germino, coordinator of the coalition's Anti-Slavery Campaign, is the first U.S.-based recipient of the recognition.

The fact that the State Department included the U.S. in these ratings is significant: An NPR story
notes that “by admitting it faces this issue, the U.S. has a powerful
diplomatic tool to encourage others to help tackle modern slavery.”

In her address, Secretary Clinton touched themes important to the CIW:

“Traffickers must be brought to justice. And we can’t just
blame international organized crime and rely on law enforcement to
pursue them. It is everyone’s responsibility. Businesses that knowingly
profit or exhibit reckless disregard about their supply chains,
governments that turn a blind eye or do not devote serious resources to
addressing the problem, all of us have to speak out and act forcefully.”

Germino was recognized for doing just that. On Monday, she expressed
hope by saying “thanks to the growing number of transnational global corporations
that have adopted new purchasing policies, thanks to the Campaign for
Fair Food that includes zero-tolerance—enforceable zero-tolerance
policies for slavery in their supply chain.”

On NPR, Lucas Benitez of the CIW expressed gratitute for the
recognition of the Obama Administration but adds that “at the same time
it's really sad that in 2010 we're still giving out awards and
recognition for fighting against slavery in the United States and in
the world. We shouldn't have to do that.”

View the CIW photo report of the State Department 2010 “Trafficking in Persons” (TIP) Report Ceremony.

This blog entry was written by Abigail Rogosheske and originally published on the Food and Society Fellows' Fresh Ideas blog.