[Congressional Record Volume 150, Number 109 (Tuesday, September 14, 2004)]
[Pages S9213-S9214]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]


  Mr. KENNEDY. Mr. President, I welcome this opportunity to pay tribute 
to our former Senate colleagues, Nancy Kassebaum Baker and Ambassador 
Howard Baker, for their leadership in organizing a regional conference 
in Tokyo on ``strategies for combating human trafficking in Asia.'' 
Together, they led the U.S. Embassy's effort to bring together 
government officials, nongovernmental organizations and multilateral 
organizations in a 2-day

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conference in June on the most effective ways to deal with the global 
scourge of human trafficking. The conference was cosponsored by the 
Vital Voices Global Partnership and the International Labor 
  The conference took place several days after the publication of the 
State Department's annual Trafficking in Persons Report. Japan and 
other countries were placed on the ``watch list'' for not fully 
complying with minimum standards for the elimination of human 
trafficking. Officials from the National Policy Agency of Japan and the 
Justice Ministry participated in the conference, and several high level 
officials were among the keynote speakers. Japan announced that it has 
established an inter-ministerial body to address the challenge through 
a number of actions, including drafting new legislation to strengthen 
existing rules and penalties. Representatives from many other countries 
including India, Cambodia, Thailand, the Philippines, Russia, and 
Colombia, also participated in the conference, as did U.S. Government 
  Each year, at least 1 million human beings, predominantly women and 
children, are shipped across national boundaries and sold into what has 
become modern-day slavery. Traffickers use fraud, coercion and outright 
kidnapping to obtain their victims. No country is immune from this 
problem. Both the United States and Japan are destination countries. 
Such trafficking is a flourishing criminal industry, second only to 
criminal drug and arms trafficking. Human trafficking is an urgent 
global challenge and progress against it is possible only through 
international cooperation.
  As Ambassador Baker said in opening the meeting: ``I hope the ideas 
that come out of this conference help victims all over the world.'' I 
commend our two former Senate colleagues for convening this significant 
conference to raise international awareness of human trafficking and 
for bringing countries together to exchange best practices and develop 
effective strategies to combat it. Their leadership is an excellent 
example of our Nation's commitment to address this global scourge.