By: MOLLY WICKER
On Wednesday, November 14, John Cotton Richmond, Institute Co-Founding Director, was formally sworn-in by Secretary of State Michael Pompeo as the 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). The ceremony was held in the Benjamin Franklin Room at the U.S. Department of State.
“John a great choice and a clear choice to oversee our office,” said Secretary of State Pompeo. “John gets it. He understands the extraordinary complexities of the problem and is prepared to work toward developing solutions.”
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 Trafficking in Persons (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 have worked in the private sector, government and NGOs, and as I re-enter public service I will bring those perspectives with me,” said Richmond at his swearing-in ceremony. “Together, we will bring a focused, strategic approach that generates measurable impact to end systemic slavery. I am grateful for the opportunity to serve as a U.S. Ambassador for this important topic, and I am grateful that we are all in this work together.”
Richmond was unanimously confirmed by the Senate in October after being nominated by President Trump in July to lead the United States’ global engagement to combat human trafficking and support the coordination of anti-trafficking efforts across the U.S. government. He succeeds Ambassador Susan Coppedge in this position.
The Human Trafficking Institute will continue to be led by Founding Director and CEO Victor 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 two full-time lawyers in Uganda and Belize, and we are excited to move full steam ahead in our efforts to decimate trafficking.”