June 22, 2023

VIDEO: Ricketts Highlights Work to Combat Human Trafficking in Nebraska: “Four-Part Plan”

June 22, 2023

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Pete Ricketts (R-NE), a member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, highlighted the work he did as governor to combat the scourge of human trafficking in Nebraska.

“Human trafficking is a despicable crime. Not only does it inflict severe trauma on its victims but it demonstrates a sickening disregard for human dignity,” said Ricketts during the hearing. “As Governor of Nebraska, I worked with my Attorney General, Doug Peterson, and my wife, our First Lady Susanne Shore, to be able to combat human trafficking in our state. With Interstate 80 going through it’s a corridor for this. We had a four-part plan to do this. One was raising awareness with regard to the public by using rest areas, educating emergency room doctors, letting the public know… So our Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services really focused on raising awareness from that standpoint. We also, secondly, passed laws to strengthen the penalties for human trafficking and be able to prosecute those cases more effectively. Third, we empowered law enforcement to more effectively apprehend criminals through our Operation United Front, a human trafficking investigation that spanned twelve states. And finally we increased the support for survivors who need care and support.”

Ricketts also discussed the need to expand enforcement of the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA) which bans imported goods from Xinjiang Province unless companies can prove the products have no ties to forced labor. Over 1,000,000 Uyghurs have been imprisoned in “re-education camps” in the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and estimates suggest around 100,000 Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities are engaged in forced labor.

“This is just despicable what the PRC is doing and I certainly understand the challenges that we have in trying to raise awareness with the countries that are supporting this…” Ricketts continued. “Goods are still making it into the European marketplace. What are some of the challenges and what can we do about it to prevent this? This is just terrible that goods made by forced labor in the People’s Republic of China are making their way into Europe. It’s just horrible. It’s despicable.”

Ricketts’ comments came during questioning of Cynthia Dyer, Ambassador-at-Large for the Office to Monitor and Combat Human Trafficking, in a hearing of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. The hearing was entitled “Examining U.S. and Global Commitments to Combatting Human Trafficking.”

Watch the video HERE


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