Jul 1, 2021 - World

State Dept. says discriminatory U.S. policies have contributed to human trafficking

Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaking in Washington, D.C., on July 1.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaking in Washington, D.C., on July 1. Photo: Ken Cedeno/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

The State Department said in a report Thursday that historical discriminatory policies in the United States and other countries contribute to current human trafficking.

Why it matters: It's the first time the federal government has linked systemic racism in the U.S. and abroad to global human trafficking, according to Reuters.

What they're saying: "In many ways, the United States and other governments face human trafficking challenges and trends today that reflect the living legacy of the systemic racism and colonization globalized during the transatlantic slave trade through chattel slavery and regional practices of indigenous dispossession," the State Department said in its “Trafficking in Persons” report.

  • "U.S. and global data show human traffickers disproportionately target those in positions of socioeconomic or political vulnerability due to discriminatory policies, who are often people of color or part of a racial minority," the department added.
  • "We must break this inhumane cycle of discrimination and injustices if we hope to one day eliminate human trafficking," Secretary of State Antony Blinken said.

The big picture: The department said the coronavirus pandemic has also had "unprecedented repercussions" on human trafficking since it created conditions that increased the number of people vulnerable to being trafficked.

  • Governments were forced to divert resources away from anti-trafficking efforts to respond to the pandemic.

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