As I reflect on Independence Day, I think about those who do not have freedom. Experts estimate that there are 27 million slaves in our world today. Although this is overwhelming, I am encouraged by the movement toward freedom.
Recently, I attended a two-day training in Tri-Cities along with 70 first responders regarding Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (CSEC). The focus of the training was to educate first responders on the identification and response to CSEC and develop a protocol for our area to ensure that these youth are identified as victims rather than criminals.
In addition, the U.S. State Department just released its annual Trafficking in Persons Report. The report ranks 188 countries, including the U.S. This year, three poorly performing countries were downgraded and now face possible sanctions due to the State Department standing firm. This is a huge victory in the fight against slavery.
Telling the truth about slavery preserves the integrity of our community and our own government's moral and diplomatic leadership on the issue. When we as a community and nation fight back against human trafficking, we are able to help those who are vulnerable know that freedom and justice are possible.
JAMIE BRAULT, Pasco