- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 29, 2015

Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. called upon the Justice Department Thursday to “redouble our efforts” in fighting human trafficking.

“It is unacceptable that millions of people toil in the shadows even as we speak —people who are viewed by their traffickers as nothing more than commodities,” Mr. Holder said at an event marking National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month.

“In recent years people of conscience around the world have increasingly fought back against slavery, bonded labor and sex trafficking,” he told a crowd assembled at the agency’s main headquarters in downtown Washington. “The Justice Department’s commitment to this work has never been stronger.”

Mr. Holder, who is set to step down soon as attorney general, called upon the crowd to continue combating human trafficking “wherever our individual paths may take us in the months and years to come.”

FBI Director James B. Comey — whose office has recently been responsible for some of the largest human trafficking busts in the nation’s history — called upon citizens to take action.

“It is 2015, and people in this country and around the world are being sold like they are things and not human beings,” Mr. Comey said. “It is far past the time for outrage.”

He lauded the work of the FBI’s specialists who work with victims, calling them “a source of hope.”

“There is no more difficult or emotional work that the FBI does,” Mr. Comey said. “I believe there is no more important work that the FBI does.”

Sex trafficking survivor Elisabeth Corey warned that, despite common beliefs, it isn’t only the poor or minorities who are affected.

“Trafficking doesn’t look like a stereotype,” said Ms. Corey, a blond-haired white woman who was forced into sex labor by her family at a young age in a Washington, D.C., suburb.

Ms. Corey, who founded an advocacy group to help abuse victims, said everyone must work together in order to face what has happened and begin to heal.

“Everyone has a gift to bring to the world that is hidden under our pain, and survivors are no different,” she said.

• Phillip Swarts can be reached at pswarts@washingtontimes.com.

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