U.S. State Department Honours IJM President Gary Haugen
On 19th June 2012, IJM President Gary Haugen was honoured by the U.S. State Department for his leadership in the fight against human trafficking. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton presented Haugen and 9 other anti-trafficking leaders the State Department Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Office's 2012 TIP Report Hero Award - the highest honour given by the State Department for achievements in combating slavery.
Haugen, only the second American to receive the award, dedicated the commendation to his colleagues: "It is a great honour to accept this distinction on behalf of my brave colleagues who are working in their own communities around the world to rescue and protect victims of violent oppression," he said after the ceremony, referring to IJM's staff of over 400, approximately 95 percent of whom are nationals of the developing countries where they work. "Through the dedication of leaders in governments around the world, and the tireless support of Ambassador CdeBaca and the TIP Office, the global anti-trafficking movement is seeing real gains in the fight as governments succeed in ensuring that the law works for everyone - particularly the poor, who are most vulnerable to trafficking."
Haugen received this distinction for IJM's long-standing efforts to combat human trafficking. IJM has brought relief to more than 11,000 children, women and men since 2005 and protected tens of thousands more, many of whom were victims of forced labour slavery or sex trafficking, the fastest growing criminal industry globally.
In addition to naming this year's Trafficking in Persons Report Heroes, Secretary of State Hilary Clinton also unveiled the 2012 Trafficking in Persons Report. Through the release of this annual report, the State Department's Trafficking in Persons Office sheds light on the scope of modern-day slavery and the response to it in 184 countries, by ranking countries into three tiers based on the extent of the problem of slavery in the country and progress toward combating it. Because the ranking system has real effects in the form of U.S. government sanctions, the report is a critical diplomatic tool to pressure countries to step up efforts to combat trafficking and modern-day slavery. For the past two years, the TIP Report has ranked the United States' response to the crime as well.
This report also highlights each of the 2012 TIP Report Heroes,and included praise for Haugen's transformational leadership: "Mr. Haugen's vision has transformed the landscape of human rights advocacy and is empowering a new generation of activists to help local governments transform justice systems to protect the poor from violence. This powerful model is working: independent evaluation has demonstrated that after four years of IJM partnership with local law enforcement in Cebu, Philippines, the availability of minors for sex decreased by a stunning 79 percent."