Committee on International Relations
U.S. House of Representatives
Henry J. Hyde, Chairman

CONTACT: (202) 225-5021, September 14, 2006

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Recording Artist and Goodwill Ambassador Ricky Martin to Participant in U.S. House International Relations Committee Hearing on Human Trafficking            

BACKGROUND: Vice-Chairman Chris Smith (R-NJ), will preside over a hearing of the House International Relations Committee on Tuesday, September 26, 2006 at 10:00 a.m. to examine private, governmental and intergovernmental efforts to eradicate human trafficking.   

Mr. Ricky Martin, Grammy Award-winning recording artist and President of the Ricky Martin Foundation, will be among those briefing the Committee as particular attention will be given to the anti-trafficking advocacy, education and assistance programs of his foundation. (Editor's note: Vice-Chairman Smith and Mr. Martin will participate in an event for members of the media in 2172 Rayburn House Office Building prior to the hearing starting at 9:45 a.m.) 

“Horrific as it is to imagine, slavery still exists today.  An estimated 17,000 foreign citizens are trafficked into the US each year with more than 600,000 bought, sold or smuggled across other international borders-all to be exploited through forced labor or commercial sex exploitation.  Our anti-trafficking efforts are having a positive impact, but more needs to be done.  This hearing will examine how the government and private sector can work to bring an end to these appalling crimes,” said Vice-Chairman Smith (R-NJ) who is the author of America's landmark anti-trafficking laws that have created new penalties for traffickers and new protections for the victims, mostly women and children. 

The hearing will also focus on the administration's action plans for the worst offenders as identified under the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 which includes Venezuela, Saudi Arabia and Sudan.  Members will also examine assistance for trafficking victims from abroad being provided by the United States Department of Health and Human Services, and other U.S. Government initiatives to end trafficking and assist trafficking victims. 

WHAT:                              Enhancing the Global Fight to End Human Trafficking                    
House of Representatives International Relations Committee 
                                           Chaired by U.S. Rep. Christopher H. Smith (R-NJ)

WHEN:                              Tuesday, September 26, 2006
                                            Press event with Smith and Ricky Martin starting at 9:45 a.m.   
                                            Hearing to begin at 10:00 a.m.

WHERE:                            2172 Rayburn House Office Building

BRIEFER:                         Mr. Ricky Martin,
                                            Grammy Award-winning recording artist,
                                            Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF and President of the Ricky Martin Foundation,
                                            which has done extensive work on the issue of trafficking in persons.

WITNESSES:                    The Honorable John Miller,
Director, Office to Combat Trafficking in Persons,
                                            United States Department of State; and
                                            The Honorable Wade F. Horn, Ph.D.
                                             Assistant Secretary for Children and Families,
                                             United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)

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