Amnesty International volunteers tie cloth gags across their mouths during a protest in central Sydney July 30, 2008.
Will Burgess / Reuters

When the State Department’s first Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report was delivered to the House Foreign Affairs Committee in July 2001, it had the single-spaced and typewritten appearance of another drab bureaucratic report destined to gather dust. Modest looks aside, the report is designed to spark global and national action against human trafficking and modern slavery, crimes that the International Labor Organization estimates earns human traffickers $150 billion a year in profits and exploits 21 million people at any one time. And it has: Over a hundred countries have improved laws and policies on human trafficking, and change can be seen on

This article is part of our premium archives.

To continue reading and get full access to our entire archive, you must subscribe.