Sex Trafficking

Ambassador Coppedge On US Approach To ‘Modern Day Slavery’

Susan Coppedge signs her appointment papers to become the U.S. Ambassador-at-Large to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons during a ceremony at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C., on November 20, 2015.
Susan Coppedge signs her appointment papers to become the U.S. Ambassador-at-Large to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons during a ceremony at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C., on November 20, 2015.
Credit U.S. Department of State / flickr.com/photos/statephotos/

Language, Precision and Power: A Q&A with the U.S. State Department's Susan Coppedge about “Modern Day Slavery”

Ambassador-at-Large Susan Coppedge is a Senior Advisor to the U.S. Secretary of State and heads that department’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (TIP Office). She’s a former Assistant United States Attorney in the Northern District of Georgia, with a 15-year history of prosecuting sex and labor trafficking cases.

Each year, the TIP Office issues the Trafficking in Persons report, a global ranking of countries’ efforts to comply with the United States’ minimum standards for combating trafficking. Three out of four of those standards focus on eliminating trafficking through criminal punishment.

WABE’s Lisa Hagen sat down with Coppedge to unpack U.S. global policy on trafficking, the language of trafficking “abolitionists” and the ambassador’s takeaways from spending time New Zealand, where consensual sex work was decriminalized in 2003.