Ohio - It is conservatively estimated that one in every 555 people in the world
is a victim of human trafficking, LexisNexis' senior advisor on Corporate
Responsibility said June 30 at a webinar for employees at the LexisNexis campus
Mark P. Lagon is the former head of the State Department office and federal
government interagency team devoted to fighting human trafficking, which
exploits people for coerced labor and commercial sex in the world. He
spoke on "Why Human Trafficking Matters
to Rule of Law and LexisNexis."
introducing Dr. Lagon, Dawn Conway, senior vice president, Corporate
Responsibility for LexisNexis, said human trafficking is all about Rule of Law.
of Rule of Law . . . provides a breeding ground for many types of human rights
atrocities, including human trafficking," Conway said.
trafficking is forcing or manipulating a person, against their will, into
either sexual exploitation or forced labor," Dr. Lagon said. "It's a kind
Lagon said types of human trafficking include forced labor, sexual trafficking,
child labor, bonded labor, debt bondage among migrant laborers, involuntary
domestic servitude and child soldiers. The drivers of human trafficking, he
said, are supply and demand, poverty and migration.
Lagon provided an overview of the U.S. State Department's 10th edition of the Trafficking in Persons (TIP)
report, which outlines the continuing challenges across the globe, country
by country, including highlighting trafficking in the United States for the
first time since the report's publication in 1999.
trafficking is an immense problem," Dr. Lagon said, citing estimates that there
are anywhere from 12.3 million to 27 million people in the world enslaved in
human trafficking. Using the more conservative 12.3 million figure from the TIP
report, Dr. Lagon said that means that one in every 555 people in the world is
Lagon said the United States enacted the Victims of Trafficking and Violence
Protection Act in 2000 to protect victims and prosecute their traffickers. He
said that many other countries have passed laws to combat human trafficking at
the United States' urging since then, but enforcement is often poor. He cited a
report that said that internationally, the risk of being prosecuted for human
trafficking is less than the risk of drug trafficking. According to an Ogilvy
survey LexisNexis recently commissioned, more than $30 billion in profits are
made on human trafficking, second only to drug trafficking as a form of
Lagon said there is a "direct correlation" between how countries are doing
regarding human trafficking and the Rule of Law.
trafficking "does not require crossing borders," he emphasized, noting that
many people are enslaved in their own country. He said it is estimated that
100,000 minors, some of them runaways, are prostituted every year in the United
children are found who are sexually prostituted, too often they're treated as
criminals," he said. "So, although we need to be concerned about Rule of
Law internationally, the American experiment is not quite perfect."
Lagon said the "demand is skyrocketing" on Internet sites that offer
prostitution services. In one study in Georgia, 47 percent of the 2,500
men who responded to ads selling females for sex still wanted to go through the
transaction after being warned three times that the female was a minor, he
human trafficking is found, Dr. Lagon said the offender needs to be prosecuted
and the victim needs to be protected.
not enough to rescue a victim; you have to help them on the road to rehabilitation,"
Dr. Lagon said. "They have been traumatized."
Lagon said government and civil society organizations are fighting human
trafficking and that LexisNexis is working to get a missing component,
business, involved by bringing companies together in the fight against human
can help make [human trafficking] less profitable," Dr. Lagon said, by ensuring
that its contractors and suppliers aren't engaged in child labor or forced
The Risk Solutions team at LexisNexis has
helped a leading non-profit organization fighting human trafficking, the Polaris
Project, by building a searchable database that allows the Polaris
Project's national hotline for tips on potential cases to be much more
effective, Dr. Lagon said. Until February, Dr. Lagon was executive director and
CEO of the Polaris Project.
LexisNexis has also trained law
enforcement and supported the Somaly Mam Foundation, an
organization founded by a former victim of human trafficking that is helping
trafficking victims in Southeast Asia through its shelters, and priorityfilms, which has released movies
such as "Holly" and "REDLIGHT" that shine
light on the problem. LexisNexis also sponsors Agir Pour les Femmes en
Situation Précaire (AFESIP) and special events for raising public awareness
of global human trafficking.
In August 2010, Dr. Lagon will
become Visiting Professor and Concentration Chair in International Relations
and Security in the Master of Science in Foreign Service Program at Georgetown
University, and Adjunct Senior Fellow in Human Rights at the Council on Foreign
Dr. Lagon was Ambassador-at-Large and
Director of the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (TIP) until
From 2004 to 2007, Dr. Lagon served as
Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs. In
this capacity, he had lead responsibility for United Nations-related human
rights and humanitarian issues, UN reform and outreach.
previously served as a member of Secretary of State Colin Powell's Policy
Planning Staff, where he focused on UN, democracy and human rights (2002-2004).
From 1999 to
2002, he was a senior staff member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Previous positions include: Council on Foreign Relations International Affairs
Fellow, specializing in China (1998-1999); and Deputy Staff Director of the
House Republican Policy Committee (1997-1998). Earlier, Dr. Lagon was the
principal aide to the Director of Foreign Policy Studies at the American
He is the author
of The Reagan Doctrine: Sources of American Conduct in the Cold War's Last
Chapter (Praeger, 1994).
Dr. Lagon has a
Ph.D. from Georgetown University and a B.A. magna
cum laude from Harvard University.