Trafficking in Persons Report
Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons
June 4, 2008
Report

As the staff of the office that produces this report, we are regularly exposed to the myriad forms of trafficking that capture the aspirations and extinguish the dignity of so many, and we see the plight of the victims who experience the worst of human greed. Amidst this collage of misery a particularly heinous crime stands out: the sexual slavery of society’s most precious members, its children. Earlier this year, we learned of a particularly compelling personal story.

In an African city, Ama, a young girl in her early adolescent years was found running from a brothel were she and other children had been subjected to repeated rapes—as many as five per hour—for the profit of the brothel manager. A line of “customers” waited nightly, paying the equivalent of $3 to rob her of her childhood, one rape at a time. When given the chance to escape, thanks to a police raid, she emerged crying and afraid of her future. An NGO worker looked into her childish eyes and tried to comfort her by saying: “You don’t ever have to do this again; you will be taken to a safe place and be cared for.” Ama remained mute out of uncertainty and fear. When told she could go to school, Ama’s eyes brightened with hope: “Do you mean it? Can I really go to school?” She clutched the NGO worker, who assured Ama that she would. Yet later, as the result of inadequate care and security, she likely disappeared from a shelter and back into the clutches of traffickers. Her whereabouts and welfare today are unknown.

Ama’s brief flicker of hope haunts us, for it defies all that we strive to accomplish. It humbles us, as it should humble all governments committed to human trafficking’s abolition. Ama’s plight highlights the deeply entrenched greed of some, while underscoring the enormity of the challenge ahead. In her brief respite from hell, Ama sought a childhood she had been denied, and then her new hope was taken from her.

This Report is dedicated to Ama, a beautiful child who fell victim to slavery despite the attempts of many to prevent it. Only with the tireless efforts of those committed to seeing an end to child trafficking—in civil society, in media, in governments—will Ama be freed and others spared similar horrors. The lack of resources and political will brought to bear on this problem must be addressed; activists seeking the emancipation of child slaves must be empowered and assisted. Without Ama free, we cannot rest.

Thank you for your support. Thank you for joining us.

Adoma Adae
Elyse Bauer Anderson
Jennifer Schrock Donnelly
Christine Chan-Downer
Dana Dyson
Shereen Faraj
Barbara Fleck
Mark Forstrom
Katrina Fotovat
Elizabeth Fuller
Eleanor Kennelly Gaetan
Paula R.Goode
Megan L. Hall
Mark P. Lagon
Jill K. Larsen
Laura J. Lederer
Abraham Lee
Carla Menares Bury
Sally Neumann
Gayatri Patel
Rachel Yousey Raba
Amy O’Neill Richard
Amy J. Rofman
Jane Nady Sigmon
Shara Simms
Steven E. Steiner
Felecia A. Stevens
Mark B. Taylor
Jennifer Topping
Veronica Zeitlin