Everyone deserves to be free, but over 40 million people are trapped in slavery today. On June 20, the U.S. State Department released the 2019 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report. The TIP Report sheds light on this hidden crime and ranks 187 countries, including the U.S., on their efforts to combat it.

As Gary Haugen, CEO of International Justice Mission says, “Nothing happens just because we are aware of modern-day slavery, but nothing will ever happen until we are.”

With the truth out there for all to see, we can no longer look away. We are all responsible for ending modern-day slavery in the form of sex trafficking, and forced labor. As Michael Pompeo, Secretary of State encourages, “Each one of us can be a champion for freedom and use our specific strengths to help eradicate human trafficking. Individuals can learn the common indicators for human trafficking and call in suspicious activities to the local or national hotline. Businesses can take meaningful steps to eliminate forced labor from their supply chains. First responders can enhance training and put in place screening to help identify trafficking victims. Government leaders can prioritize investigating and prosecuting labor and sex trafficking cases wherever they occur.”

What will future generations say about our efforts to stop this atrocity? Our members of Congress have the chance to commit themselves to protecting the integrity of the TIP Report and leading the world to free those enslaved. We’re counting on you, lawmakers, to use your voice and tip the scales towards justice. If we can summon sufficient political courage, we can end slavery in our lifetime.

Janet Greer, an advocate for International Justice Mission, lives in Hickory N.C.

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