WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--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 award ceremony took place February 25 in the Members Room of the Library of Congress as part of the Royal Netherlands Embassy’s Holland on the Hill initiative.
Human trafficking knows no boundaries, be it geographical, age or gender. 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.
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 trafficking and calls us to help human trafficking victims and punish those responsible. His PBS documentary, “A Path Appears,” makes the viewer confront the devastating effects of human trafficking, as well as explores the role poverty and gender inequality play in facilitating trafficking.
Nicholas Kristof stated, "I'm thrilled by the award, and delighted that it shines a powerful light on issues like sex trafficking. Human trafficking is one of those problems that thrives when it's ignored, and the first step to addressing it is simply to rally attention--which the Anne Frank Award does."
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.
Mrs. McCain noted the need for more discussion, education and action on human trafficking and stated, “I am deeply honored to be receiving this award and to share the stage with Nick Kristof. It is so important that we continue to raise awareness for the fight against human trafficking. Even one child that is having a human trafficking experience is too many.”
“We are pleased to recognize Mr. Nicholas Kristof and Mrs. Cindy McCain for their lifetime dedication to defend human rights and fight the scourge of human trafficking, which is a plague on humanity,” said Henne Schuwer, the Dutch Ambassador to the United States. “Mr. Kristof and Mrs. McCain embody the resilient spirit that characterizes the life of Anne Frank.”
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 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. The Anne Frank Award is part of the Dutch Embassy’s Holland on the Hill initiative. Holland on the Hill illustrates the longstanding relationship between the Netherlands and the United States and builds on the shared ties between the two nations in the economic, cultural and political arenas.
Speaking on behalf of the Anne Frank Center USA, Peter Rapaport, Chair of the Board said, "We are honored to join with colleagues and friends in recognizing Nicholas Kristof and Cindy McCain for their tireless efforts to call attention to human trafficking and human rights violations around the world. Both Mr. Kristof and Mrs. McCain’s work underscores the importance of preserving Anne’s spirit of strength, hope, and idealism that we at the Anne Frank Center aim to nurture."
The Anne Frank Award ceremony also featured a discussion, “Individual Responsibility in Confronting Human Trafficking,” with Mr. Kristof and Mrs. McCain. In this Q&A, moderated by Katrina Lantos Swett, a member of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom, the awardees urged everyone to become more involved in the fight against human trafficking. Two human trafficking survivors from FAIR Girls, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit serving victims of human trafficking locally and abroad, spoke about their experiences as human trafficking survivors at the award ceremony.
Nicole, a FAIR Girls Advocate and Survivor of human trafficking, discussed the importance of journalism in educating the public about human trafficking. Nicole stated, “I have seen in the past few years since joining FAIR Girls that the tide of public knowledge about sex trafficking is shifting. 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 of the Anne Frank Award presented by the Embassy of the Netherlands.”
Representatives Bill Huizenga (MI-02) and Derek Kilmer (WA-6), co-chairs of the Dutch Congressional Caucus; Representative Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (FL-23); Senators Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN); and Peter Rapaport of the Anne Frank Center also participated in the program. The entire ceremony can be viewed online at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hifHqETv3bE
The inaugural Anne Frank Award was presented in 2014 to Rabbi David Nathan Saperstein, director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism. The Rev. Canon Andrew White was the recipient of the Special Recognition Award.
The Netherlands is a trading nation that continues to blossom from a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship, and that is rooted in the strong beliefs of security, freedom and justice. For more than 400 years, the Netherlands and the United States have shared a deep bond founded on shared values and history. Our economic ties have created jobs, sound investments, and promising opportunities on both sides of the Atlantic. Simply said, the Netherlands and the US have a partnership that works.
The Netherlands diplomatic network in the US promotes strong bilateral relations between the United States and the Netherlands, especially in the areas of agrifood and horticulture, water management, sustainable urban planning, peace and justice, and creative industries. Read more on www.nlintheusa.com and follow us @NLintheUSA.