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Ambassador John Miller Makes Recommendations to Protect Child Tsunami Victims

January 2005

The following is a message sent from the Director of the U.S. State Department Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons.

Dear friends in the movement to end modern-day slavery:

I'm sure you have heard by now the recent media reports about suspected human trafficking in the areas devastated by the tsunamis in Asia. These reports highlight yet again this real danger for people in post-disaster situations. When people are displaced, when children are separated from their families, when livelihoods are ruined, and when infrastructure is destroyed--people become more vulnerable to labor and sex trafficking crimes.

Just as the world is coming together in heroic ways to provide relief to people impacted by the tsunamis and to assist in the rebuilding of communities, we urge everyone involved in the region to come together to prevent human trafficking. We should work to ensure criminals who prey on others for financial gain do not compound the damage and suffering caused by the natural disaster.

Some actions to reduce human trafficking:

  • We encourage those working in the region to warn potential victims of human trafficking schemes.
  • We encourage those providing shelter and care to register and protect those people in their facilities, particularly children. Women and children should not be placed in isolated areas of shelters or camps.
  • We encourage those hiring new or temporary employees for relief work to educate new hires about human trafficking and outline a zero-tolerance policy for employees involved in human trafficking.

Please forward this message to others in the NGO and IO community, particularly those in the field in Asia. We must be sure the challenge of human trafficking is one of the many challenges fully addressed in this crucial relief effort.

Sincerely yours,
Ambassador John R. Miller
Director, Office to Monitor and Combat
Trafficking in Persons
U.S. Department of State
(202) 312-9639


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