US President Donald Trump has said addressing the “epidemic” of human trafficking is a priority for his administration.
“Human trafficking is a dire problem, both domestically and internationally, and is one that has made really a challenge and it is really made possible to a large extent, more of a modern phenomenon, by what is taking place on the Internet, as you probably know,” he said.
“Solving the human trafficking epidemic, which is what it is, is a priority for my administration. We are going to help out a lot. ‘Solve’ is a wonderful word, a beautiful word, but I can tell you, we are going to help a lot,” Trump said at a White House listening session on domestic and international human trafficking on Thursday.
Among the participants were members of anti-trafficking NGOs and White House officials.
“I am prepared to bring the full force and weight of our government at the federal level, and the other highest levels, whatever we can do, in order to solve this horrific problem. It is getting worse and happening in the US in addition to the rest of the world, but it is happening in the US which is terrible,” the US President said.
Trump said he has directed the Department of Justice, the Department of Homeland Security and other federal agencies that have a role in preventing human trafficking to take a hard look at the resources and personnel that they are currently devoting to this fight.
“Now, they are devoting a lot, but we are going to be devoting more,” he said.
Media reports said Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump is behind the White House push on human trafficking.
“We are told that the sudden West Wing attention to the issue was driven by Ivanka Trump, the President’s daughter and a huge West Wing force despite her decision not to take an official title at first,” Axios website reported.
“Ivanka recommended the meeting to the president and he immediately agreed, given what a horrible issue it is in the US and internationally,” a source was quoted as saying by the website.