Press Release

AFT on State Department’s Human Trafficking Report

For Release: 

Friday, June 20, 2014


Janet Bass

WASHINGTON—Statement by American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten on U.S. Department of State's annual report on human trafficking:

"It is disgraceful that we are 14 years into the 21st century and still need to put out a report chronicling modern slavery and human trafficking around the world, including in the United States. Education is the gateway to a better future, and all children—no matter where they live—should be in school and not enslaved in factories and fields. Adult workers, no matter where they live, must be treated fairly and not exploited by unscrupulous companies or bosses.

"Today's report shows that public shaming and tenacious campaigns against these crimes highlight the crises in countries like Uzbekistan, where the AFT and allied human rights organizations have targeted state-sponsored child labor and other forced labor in its cotton harvesting industry. Sadly, the United States isn't exempt from human trafficking, with at-risk youth trapped in criminal exploitation. The AFT is piloting programs in Baltimore, Houston and Toledo, Ohio, in which educators, school nurses, community organizations and law enforcement are collaborating to raise awareness and identify signs of at-risk children who might be involved in child sex trafficking. "

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The AFT represents 1.7 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.