Also known as human trafficking, and often referred to as “modern slavery”, Trafficking in Persons (TIP) is defined as the act of recruiting, harboring, transporting, providing, or obtaining a person for compelled labor or commercial sex acts through the use of force, fraud, or coercion.
During remarks at Clinton Global Initiative in September 2012, President Obama discussed the widespread international concern that is human trafficking: "It ought to concern every person, because it is a debasement of our common humanity. It ought to concern every community, because it tears at our social fabric. It ought to concern every business, because it distorts markets. It ought to concern every nation, because it endangers public health and fuels violence and organized crime. I’m talking about the injustice, the outrage, of human trafficking, which must be called by its true name - modern slavery."
As a prevalent global issue, it’s of no surprise that the US Department of State’s often focuses on this topic though their IVLP exchanges, and SACIV has been pleased to highlight San Antonio’s local resources countless times since our founding over a quarter of a century ago.
Most recently, SACIV hosted two delegations of visitors this year from Armenia and South Korea, respectively, to examine local efforts to combat TIP. They focused on the “three P’s” of combatting Trafficking in Persons: prosecution, protection, and prevention.
The first group, consisting of six law enforcement officers from Armenia, visited San Antonio for a program on “Combatting Human Trafficking & Developing Major Criminal Cases” in February. The second delegation included six prosecutors from South Korea, whose program in April focused on “Prosecution Matters in Combatting Trafficking in Persons”.
Armenia is a source and, to a lesser extent, destination country for men, women, and children subjected to sex and labor trafficking. Accordingly, the Armenian visitors spent almost a week in our city to learn about transnational trafficking, border protection, the role of local law enforcement in combatting TIP, information sharing between agencies, and securing justice for & reintegrating victims. They met with representatives of the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the San Antonio Police Department, the Alamo Area Coalition Against Trafficking (AACAT), and the Bexar County Criminal District Attorney’s Office while in San Antonio. They also spent a day in Laredo observing the US-Mexico border, visiting the Rio Grande Detention Center, and meeting with the staff of Texas Riogrande Legal Aid. They were also hosted for dinner by members of the local Armenian community as well as by SACIV members for home hospitality.
South Korea is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children subjected to sex trafficking and forced labor. Therefore, the South Korean prosecutors spent almost a week in San Antonio to examine legal assistance for immigrants at risk, services for victims of TIP which included personnel training, and prosecution of TIP offenders. They meet with the Alamo Area Coalition Against Trafficking (AACAT), Texas Riogrande Legal Aid, the Bexar County Criminal District Attorney’s Office, the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES), and the San Antonio Police Department. They also enjoyed home hospitality and had time to explore downtown San Antonio as well as the Texas Hill Country.