Articles - March 2016

Nicholas Kristof, Cindy McCain Honored with Anne Frank Awards

A Holland on the Hill Initiative
By Annelinde Hoogendam

Washington, D.C. — Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Nicholas Kristof and human rights advocate Cindy McCain were presented with the 2015 Anne Frank Award and the Anne Frank Special Recognition Award, respectively, for their work fighting human trafficking and human rights violations.

The awards were presented February 25 in the member's room of the Library of Congress by Ambassador Henne Schuwer of the Royal Netherlands Embassy.

Kristof, a journalist with The New York Times since 1984, has written extensively on human rights issues. He uses the power of the written word to raise awareness for human trafficking victims by linking human trafficking to modern slavery. Kristof's reporting exposes this horrifying exploitation and calls us to help its victims and punish those responsible.

During his acceptance speech, he was adamant about the role of the United States to combat human trafficking.

"Everywhere you go, the story is so similar. There's no doubt that the scale of the problem is sometimes worse in other countries and that the brutalities of the atrocities are sometimes worse in other countries. But we have an enormous problem here at home," Mr. Kristof said. "And we don't have the moral authority to tell other countries to clean up their act until we make some greater effort here at home. It can be invisible, but when you look, it's right there.''

Cindy McCain, co-chair of The McCain Institute's Human Trafficking Advisory Council, received the Anne Frank Special Recognition Award for her commitment to educate the public on human trafficking and advocate to end this pervasive issue.

Mrs. McCain, working with Senators Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), has lobbied Congress to give the states incentives to adopt laws that emphasize prosecuting leaders of sex-trafficking rings, rather than
the victims.

"We're in a perfect storm right now. We're now talking about this issue. It's become part of our language, our everyday language," Mrs. McCain said. "Awareness and education, those are our tools. That's how we're going to win this."
The numbers don't lie. The International Labor Organization states there are more than 4.5 million people trapped in forced sexual exploitation around the world. In the United States alone, 20 percent of the 11,800 runaways reported last year were likely sex trafficking victims, according to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

But as Mrs. McCain said, "One child who had the trafficking experience is too many. One is too many."

Introducing the award to Mr. Kristof were Andrea Powell, executive director and co-founder of FAIR Girls, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit that prevents the exploitation of girls worldwide with empowerment and education, and Nicole, a survivor of human trafficking and advocate with FAIR Girls.

They spoke of the bad days that human trafficking survivors face, and the great help of allies like Mr. Kristof.

"I have seen in the past few years since joining FAIR Girls that the tide of public knowledge about sex trafficking is shifting," Nicole said. "Mr. Kristof is a part of this positive change in a big way. This is why as a survivor, I cannot think of anyone more deserving the Anne Frank Award presented by the Embassy of the Netherlands."

Congressman Bill Huizenga (R-MI), co-chair of the Dutch Caucus, opened the ceremony by explaining the importance of the relationship between the Netherlands and the United States.

Ambassador Schuwer also spoke of the importance of the awards and the continued bond between the Netherlands and the United States. Peter Rapaport spoke on behalf of the Anne Frank Center USA, and Congressman Derek Kilmer (D-WA), co-chair of the Dutch Caucus, closed the ceremony.

Dr. Katrina Lantos Swett of the Lantos Foundation for Human Rights and Justice was the master of ceremonies.

The Congressional Dutch Caucus, the Anne Frank Center USA, the Anne Frank House Amsterdam, and the Royal Netherlands Embassy created the Anne Frank Award in 2014 to honor the legacy of Anne Frank and keep alive the lessons her life teaches us about tolerance and the importance of defending human rights. The award, part of the Holland on the Hill initiative, recognizes an American or an organization working to confront intolerance, anti-Semitism, racism, or discrimination while upholding the principles of freedom and equal rights to promote the effective functioning of an open, pluralistic and democratic society

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