IN her 15 years as Assistant United States Attorney in Georgia, Susan Coppedge prosecuted more than 45 human traffickers in federal cases involving transnational and domestic sex trafficking of adults and children, and labour trafficking. The prosecutions assisted more than 90 victims of trafficking.
It seemed only fitting that she was appointed Ambassador-at-Large to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons to lead the US’ global engagement against human trafficking in 2015. Freeing victims, preventing trafficking, and bringing traffickers to justice are the ultimate goals of the US government’s anti-human trafficking policy and its annual Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report.
“Coming on board the Department of State’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (TIP office), the non-criminalisation of victims was very important to me. I’ve talked about that with every government I have travelled to meet with,” says Ambassador Coppedge who was in Malaysia recently to speak to our government officials about increasing efforts to combat human trafficking in the region.
She adds, labour trafficking is another issue she has been working hard to highlight around the world as “it is sometimes harder to find than sex trafficking cases and harder for law enforcement and judges to understand.”
In the recent 2016 TIP Report – which looks at the governmental efforts of 188 countries to confront and eliminate human trafficking – Malaysia remained in the Tier Two Watchlist. In her interview with Sunday Star, Ambassador Coppedge talks about how Malaysia can increase its efforts to curb human trafficking in the country while taking the victims’ experience into consideration. Read more