- The Washington Times - Friday, January 31, 2020

President Trump said Friday he is creating a White House position that will focus solely on human trafficking, saying millions have been victimized around the world and that the internet has fueled the problem.

Speaking at the White House, Mr. Trump said he needed to expand his Domestic Policy Council to tackle the breadth of the issue.

“The level of evil is incredible,” Mr. Trump said from the East Room.

A senior administration official said the president doesn’t have a specific person in mind yet but that there has been “a lot of interest” in the position.

The official will coordinate closely with the National Security Council, the State Department and Mr. Trump’s elder daughter, Ivanka Trump, who serves as a White House adviser and made anti-trafficking efforts a part of her portfolio.

“The United States is committed to ending human trafficking in all of its grotesque and evil forms,” Ms. Trump said.

The president recounted his administration’s efforts to combat the problem through Immigration and Customs Enforcement and protect women trafficked by the Islamic State’s territorial caliphate in Syria and Iraq.

Mr. Trump also put other countries on notice, saying they risk losing assistance if they don’t crack down on the problem.

In prepared remarks, Mr. Trump said the internet is responsible for some good things, but it’s also been deployed for ill.

Sex trafficking, he said, “is probably the worst of the bad things.”

Mr. Trump spoke as part of a two-hour summit on human trafficking that coincided with the 20th anniversary of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act.

Mr. Trump signed an executive order that calls on the attorney general and other Cabinet officials to coordinate their efforts and recommend legislative and executive actions to detect and prosecute child exploitation and trafficking.

Protection is the second plank, with officials working to safeguard children in foster homes who are vulnerable to trafficking. Also, the departments of Housing and Urban Development and Health and Human Services will set up new housing for trafficking victims.

Officials said education will be the third prong of the effort, with law enforcement offering awareness programs in schools.

Also, the State Department will set up a website that serves as a “one-stop shop” for victims of human trafficking to get federal assistance.

“They’ll have one place that they can go to, to see what help that they can receive, but also for law enforcement and non-profits and everyone who works really hard on combatting this problem,” a senior administration official said.

• Tom Howell Jr. can be reached at thowell@washingtontimes.com.

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