US President Barack Obama declares January 2013 National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month
US President Barack Obama kicked off the New Year by declaring January 2013 as National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month.
The move is aimed at increasing awareness about human trafficking and modern-day slavery within US borders and abroad.
"Around the world, millions of men, women, and children are bought, sold, beaten, and abused, locked in compelled service and hidden in darkness," read the President's Proclamation. "They toil in factories and fields; in brothels and sweatshops; at sea, abroad, and at home. They are the victims of human trafficking -- a crime that amounts to modern-day slavery."
Obama's declaration comes just three months after he announced an executive order clamping down on federal contractors involved in human trafficking. According to the executive order, federal contractors are prohibited from using misleading recruitment practices, charging employee recruitment fees, and destroying or confiscating workers' passports.
The order also requires that contractors and subcontractors performing services out of the United States that exceed $500,000 to provide an employee awareness program, a process for employees to report trafficking violations without fear of retaliation, and recruitment and housing plans.
The President called on businesses, organizations, faith-based groups, families and "all Americans" to get involved in the movement to end all forms of slavery, and "to observe this month [National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month] with appropriate programs and activities."
This is the fourth consecutive year in a row that President Obama has named January National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month.
Watch Obama's speech about human trafficking at the Clinton Global Initiative here: