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Hearing Examines Links Between Human Trafficking & Organized Crime

Press Release

Location: Wellesley, MA

The nexus between transnational organized crime and human trafficking was examined by the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (The Helsinki Commission) at a hearing chaired by Congressman Chris Smith today.

"We know that human trafficking--modern day slavery--is the third most lucrative criminal activity in the world," said Smith. "According to the International Labor Organization (ILO) human traffickers make profits in excess of $31 billion a year. So it is not surprising that more and more organized criminal groups are engaging in human trafficking. And of course while drug and arms traffickers have a commodity that can only be sold once, a human trafficker can purchase a slave and continually exploit them until he's made his money back. After that it's all profit." Click here to read Chairman Smith's opening statement.

Organized Crime has evolved to meet the challenges of globalization and modern technology. In this evolution major international criminal organizations and smaller highly specialized groups of criminal entrepreneurs have found new ways to expand their operations and exploit human beings into slavery. To meet these challenges new national and international strategies have been placed into action, but their results remain to be seen. This hearing, entitled "Human Trafficking and Transnational Organized Crime: Assessing Trends and Combat Strategies," continues the Helsinki Commission's hearing series on new fronts in human trafficking.

U.S. Senator Marco Rubio, a member of the Helsinki Commission and a leader in the Senate on human trafficking issues, said members of Congress must join together to work against the exploitation of trafficked victims.

"We must never lose sight of our duty to defend human rights, particularly for people exploited by the human trafficking trade," said Rubio. "Too many people are being abused in this modern day slavery. This is an issue that both parties can work together on to raise awareness and reauthorize a law that will help stop this horrendous crime."

The U.S. Helsinki Commission is an independent agency of the federal government charged with monitoring compliance with the Helsinki Accords and advancing comprehensive security through promotion of human rights, democracy, and economic, environmental and military cooperation in 56 countries. The Commission consists of nine members from the U.S. Senate, nine from the House of Representatives, and one member each from the Departments of State, Defense, and Commerce.

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