Ambassador Baker Speaks at Tokyo Human Trafficking Conference

Ambassador Howard H. Baker, Jr.
Human Trafficking Conference
United Nations University, Tokyo
June 23, 2004

Good morning everyone.

I'm very pleased to be here to welcome you, along with our co-sponsors the International Labour Organization and Vital Voices Global Partnership, to this conference to develop strategies to combat human trafficking in Asia.

In January 2004, Secretary of State Colin Powell told an audience attending a Russian government sponsored trafficking conference that the United States would extend a pledge of partnership in support of Russia's anti-trafficking efforts. This conference in Tokyo is another example of the pledge by the United States to lend its support to countries in the fight against the crime of human trafficking.

As many of you may know, the crime of trafficking men, women and children for the purposes of prostitution and forced labor is of concern to both President Bush and First Lady Laura Bush. Last October, President Bush condemned human trafficking in his United Nations General Assembly Speech, the first time that the issue had been raised so visibly by a world leader in that forum. Today I present a video made by First Lady Laura Bush to open this conference.

I want to thank all of you for coming to Tokyo to participate in this conference and I am confident that these two days of exchanges will produce ideas that will change the lives of victims around the world.

Thank you.