Once confirmed by the Senate, Richmond will run the State Department’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons. The office publishes the annual Trafficking in Persons Report, which evaluates and grades the efforts of governments around the globe to eradicate trafficking and modern slavery. The office also provides grants to organizations, like Free the Slaves, that work on the front lines of modern slavery worldwide.
“I have had the pleasure of knowing and working with John for several years,” says FTS Executive Director Maurice Middleberg. “He is an outstanding professional, very thoughtful and unfailingly civil, respectful and approachable in his interactions. We are very pleased at this nomination.”
Richmond is the founder of the Human Trafficking Institute, a nonprofit that works inside criminal justice systems to empower police and prosecutors to stop traffickers. Previously, he served as the special litigation counsel with the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department and as a founding member of the Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit. Additionally, he served as field office director at the International Justice Mission in Chennai, India and is a two-time recipient of the Department of Homeland Security’s Outstanding Investigative Accomplishments in Human Trafficking Award. Mr. Richmond earned his bachelor’s from the University of Mary Washington and law degree from Wake Forest University.
“We are confident that John will support a balanced approach to fighting human trafficking,” Middleberg says. “A holistic and comprehensive approach that gives proper attention to empowering vulnerable communities against slavery, challenging businesses to clean supply chains and increasing the risks to perpetrators is needed.”
The TIP ambassador is the highest-ranking position in the U.S. government related to trafficking in persons.
“The fight against modern slavery has rightly been blessed with support across party lines and has transcended ideological divisions,” Middleberg says. “We trust that, under John’s able leadership, this tradition of placing the needs of the enslaved above all other considerations will continue.”
The ambassador’s position has been vacant for more than a year, with TIP office staff filling in. They have done excellent work, but Richmond’s confirmation by the Senate will restore the office’s full influence to promote the protection of human rights inside the State Department and the administration.