CIW’s Germino (right) recognized in standing-room only ceremony at State Department!

Sec. Clinton: “All of us have a responsibility to bring this practice to an end,” including “businesses that knowingly profit or exhibit reckless disregard about their supply chains…”

Germino: CIW, overseas TIP Heroes pledge to continue “collective fight to wipe slavery off the face of this earth.”

In an unforgettable ceremony held in a storied room on the top floor of the U.S. State Department, leaders of the the global anti-slavery movement, political dignitaries, and members of the international press gathered for the release of the U.S. State Department’s annual “Trafficking in Persons” report.

They also gathered to celebrate the contributions of nine individuals who have “devoted their lives to the fight against human trafficking,” recognizing them, in the words of Trafficking in Persons Ambassador Luis CdeBaca, “for their tireless efforts, despite resistance, opposition, and threats to their lives as they protect victims, punish offenders, and raise awareness of the ongoing criminal practices in their countries.” The coordinator of the CIW’s Anti-Slavery Campaign, Laura Germino, was among them. She was also chosen to speak on behalf of the entire group of TIP “Heroes”.

Here below is a quick collection of links to stories on today’s ceremony, and an excerpt from the Business Week report. Check back soon for more, including the CIW’s excusive photo report (all photos here and in the coming report by Fritz Myer)!

From the Business Week story:

“… Trafficking can’t be blamed solely on international organized crime, Clinton said.

“It is everyone’s responsibility,” she said, citing “businesses that knowingly profit or exhibit reckless disregard about their supply chains” and “governments that turn a blind eye or do not devote serious resources to addressing the problem.”

“All of us have to speak out and act forcefully,” Clinton said…

Activists Honored Clinton handed awards to activists working against trafficking in Hungary, Jordan, Mauritania, Uzbekistan, Mongolia, Brazil and the U.S. to celebrate their achievements. She praised their “ resolute and genuine stance on fighting this issue.”

The American recipient, Laura Germino, coordinates the Anti-Slavery Campaign for the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, a Florida community organization of more than 4,000 migrant workers.

In remarks to the crowd, Germino said that “we are fighting for tier zero.” Seated behind Germino on the stage, Clinton broke in with one word that prompted cheers and applause.

“Yes,” the secretary said.

NB – By way of explanation of the term “tier zero,” from the Gannett wire story: “The State Department ranks countries in tiers for their actions to protect people from slavery and prosecuting traffickers. Germino called for wiping out the crime entirely, in what she called ‘tier zero.’”

Check back soon for more!