John Cotton Richmond Nominated to be U.S. Ambassador for Trafficking in Persons

By: KELLI L. ROSS

MCLEAN, VA – Today, John Cotton Richmond was announced as the nominee to be the next Ambassador for Trafficking in Persons and the Director of the U.S. Department of State’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (J/TIP). This office leads the United States’ global engagement against human trafficking and is responsible for bilateral and multilateral diplomacy, targeted foreign assistance, and public engagement on trafficking in persons (TIP). It also develops the annual TIP Report, the U.S. government’s principal diplomatic and diagnostic tool to guide relations with foreign governments on human trafficking. The TIP Ambassador is the highest-ranking position in the U.S. government related to trafficking in persons and is a Senate-confirmed position.

“I can’t think of a better person to lead the J/TIP office than John Richmond,” said Victor Boutros, who founded the Human Trafficking Institute with Richmond. “He is one of the most experienced trafficking prosecutors in the country, has incredible knowledge of the issues our country and world face in relation to trafficking, and has been active in the fight against trafficking both in the United States and abroad.”

“The nomination to serve as TIP Ambassador is a high honor,” Richmond said. “The J/TIP office leads the U.S. government’s efforts to combat trafficking in persons around the globe, and if confirmed for this position I will work tirelessly toward that mission. This is the only position that could draw me away from the vital work of the Human Trafficking Institute.”

The Human Trafficking Institute will continue to be led by Boutros, a former federal prosecutor in the U.S. Department of Justice’s Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit and co-author with Gary Haugen of The Locust Effect: Why the End of Poverty Requires the End of Violence.

“The Institute has a very ambitious agenda ahead, and we are privileged to have a world-class team to carry it out,” said Boutros. “In the last year and a half, we have established two country partnerships, made key staff hires, including full-time lawyers in Uganda and Belize, and we are excited to move full steam ahead in our efforts to decimate trafficking.”

Experienced lawyer Tanima Kishore is working as Special Counsel in Uganda in the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, and experienced human trafficking attorney Dave Fillingame is working as Special Counsel on trafficking cases in Belize. Both Kishore and Fillingame provide continuity and depth to the Institute’s work in Belize and Uganda.

“The Human Trafficking Institute’s work in Uganda has been extremely effective in strengthening and transforming the Ugandan government’s commitment and response to human trafficking,” said Kelsey Galaway, Founder & Executive Director of Willow International, which provides aftercare to sex trafficking victims in Uganda. “In less than two years, they have trained hundreds of judges, prosecutors, and key government officials on trafficking, successfully placed an experienced attorney in the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, and built strong relationships with the country’s leadership who are now committed to making anti-trafficking efforts a priority. Their expertise, model for system reform, and dedication make them best-in-class.”

The Institute’s team features some of the leading trafficking experts in the field, including team members with extensive government experience at the U.S. Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Department of Labor, U.S. Department of State, and the White House.

Special Agent Dave Rogers, who previously served as the FBI’s National Program Manager for Human Trafficking, now serves as the Institute’s Director of Law Enforcement Operations. Over the last year-and-a-half, Rogers has helped lead the Institute’s work in Belize and Uganda. Rogers will continue to build and strengthen relationships with law enforcement and government officials in both countries as well as help lead the Institute’s first Global Human Trafficking Academy this October.

Annick Febrey, a leading trafficking legislation and policy expert, joined the Institute in April as its Director of Government and Corporate Relations. In that role, she will work with members of Congress and other government leaders to help shape anti-trafficking policy and priorities and with corporations to explore opportunities for collaboration and partnership.

Associate Counsel Kyleigh Feehs will continue to direct the Institute’s Frederick Douglass Fellowship, for law students who show exceptional promise as future anti-trafficking leaders, and its annual Federal Human Trafficking Report, which provides year-over-year trends based on a comprehensive review of federal human trafficking cases in the U.S.

“The Institute has a pivotal role to play in combatting trafficking around the globe,” said Christine Buchholz, Institute Board Chair. “With such an impressive team of anti-trafficking leaders, the Institute is well-positioned to build on the accomplishments of its first two years.”

The Human Trafficking Institute exists to decimate modern slavery at its source by empowering police and prosecutors to stop traffickers. Working inside criminal justice systems, the Institute provides the embedded experts, world-class training, investigative resources, and evidence-based research necessary to free victims. For more information, visit www.TraffickingInstitute.org.

Click here to download load a PDF version of the news release.

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Kelli Ross

Kelli Ross

Kelli’s background is in journalism, public relations and peacebuilding. Prior to joining the Institute, she was the Communications Officer / Special Assistant to the Executive Director at Lwala Community Alliance in Nashville, Tennessee. She has worked for the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations in Washington, D.C., directly supporting the Bureau’s Assistant Secretary; as director of communications for microfinance organization Five Talents in Vienna, Virginia; and as business reporter at The Jackson (TN) Sun. She has worked and studied in Kenya, South Sudan, Liberia, India, Peru, and Israel. Kelli holds a BA in communication arts from Union University and an MS in conflict analysis and resolution from George Mason University. She lives in Nashville, Tennessee.