The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

The Nation's Premier Civil and Human Rights Coalition

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The Nation's Premier Civil and Human Rights Coalition

Wade Henderson Participates in Conversation on Modern Day Slavery

February 10, 2011 - Posted by The Leadership Conference

Wade Henderson, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, spoke Tuesday at the State Department with Luis CdeBaca, ambassador-at-large to monitor and combat trafficking in persons, on ways of combating human trafficking and modern day slavery. The discussion was part of an ongoing video program by the Bureau of Public Affairs entitled "Conversations with America,” which aims to provide insight into how the leaders of national nongovernmental organizations engage with senior State Department officials around foreign policy and global issues.

Henderson applauded the State Department for working to combat slavery. “Too often, the public sees this as simply an historic problem, one that does not exist in the 21st century, and obviously, we’d be wrong,” he said. “About 800,000 individuals are trafficked worldwide each year.  At any given time, the United States perhaps has as many as 57,000 to 87,000, individuals being trafficked in the United States, and in many instances, forced into contemporary slavery.”

Henderson said the upcoming 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation – on January 1, 2013 – could be “an opportunity to both create an aspirational goal for the problems of contemporary slavery and to give some hope to the victims of trafficking and slavery today that there can be a successful movement to achieve a freedom which has been so elusive.”

He also said the United States could show its leadership by ratifying the Convention to Eliminate All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). CEDAW is a landmark international agreement that affirms principles of fundamental human rights and equality for women around the world. The United States is one of seven nations – including Iran, Somalia, and Sudan – that have not ratified CEDAW.

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