About the Author: Ambassador-at-Large Luis Cdebaca serves as Senior Advisor to the Secretary of State and directs the State Department’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons.
Ten years ago, in the federal courthouse in Honolulu, I was among a small group of civil rights prosecutors who had just started trial in the largest slavery prosecution in U.S. history, in which over 300 Chinese and Vietnamese workers had been enslaved in a garment factory in American Samoa. But on the third day of trial, a hammer blow fell on our prosecution team: Paul and Sheila Wellstone’s airplane had gone down in northeastern Minnesota, taking their lives as well as that of their daughter and several aides. Senator Wellstone was not just the conscience of the Senate, a voice for the dispossessed and an inspiration to so many, he was the sponsor of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000. He was not only a fellow Midwestern wrestler, but had been… more »