The Libertas Council Testifies Before Congress

20231114 HouseHomelandSecurityHearing 23 Copy

On November 14, 2023, the Libertas Council’s president, John Cotton Richmond, testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittees on Border Security and Enforcement and Emergency Management and Technology in a hearing entitled, “The Broken Path: How Transnational Criminal Organizations Profit from Human Trafficking at the Southwest Border.”

During his opening statement, Ambassador Richmond clarified the differences between human smuggling and human trafficking, noting that the former is a crime of transportation violating border integrity, whereas the latter is a coercive crime of exploitation against the person. While speaking about the recent significant decreases in both federal prosecutions and convictions of traffickers within the United States, Ambassador Richmond emphasized the critical need to address the root cause of trafficking globally by holding traffickers accountable for their exploitation of others. He also advocated for trauma-informed protection services.

“There is only one cause of human trafficking—one true root cause of trafficking—and that is the trafficker’s decision to exploit another person.”
—Ambassador John Cotton Richmond, Libertas Council

Throughout his remarks, Ambassador Richmond urged Congress to provide funding and resources to the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and to reauthorize the international provisions of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act. He also addressed the need for a consistent approach to human rights through enforcing both the Tariff Act and the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act to stop slave-made goods from entering United States markets.

Other witnesses included Mr. Pablo Villeda, the International Justice Mission’s Regional President for Latin America; Mr. Terry Fitzpatrick, Director of the Alliance to End Slavery and Trafficking (ATEST); and Dr. Jarrod Sadulski, Associate Professor at American Military University.

Read Ambassador Richmond’s opening statement.

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