Ambassador Gilmour’s remarks at Comic book launch event 

Remarks for Ambassador
Comic book launch event
August 30, 2018

Monsieur the Prefect
Madame the coordinator of RELUTET
Monsieur the Director of CREUSET
Traditional chiefs
Members of the community
Distinguished guests
Ladies and gentlemen

Good afternoon,

I am deeply honored to join with you today as we launch a new educational awareness campaign against human trafficking in the central region of Togo.

I am gladdened to see so many guests from the local government and the civil society. Thank you all for your presence today and thank you for your efforts to fight against human trafficking, especially child trafficking.

The protection of human rights has long been a priority of the U.S. government, in Togo and around the world. This is why we stand in solidarity with the victims of human trafficking, and why we work tirelessly to end this abhorrent practice wherever it may occur. The government of Togo has been a strong partner in this fight, and I want to thank the representatives of the local and national government for their efforts in this regard.

The criminals who traffic in human beings threaten not only the rights of their victims, but the safety and well-being of all Togolese. This is because human trafficking networks are often also implicated in the traffic of drugs, weapons, and terrorism.

It is clear, therefore, that we must do everything in our power to fight against this scourge. We have pursued this battle across many fronts. In partnership with the government’s anti-trafficking cell, we have provided training to prosecutors, resources to police and investigators, and support to NGOs working to re-integrate victims of trafficking.

Today, we open a new front in the fight against trafficking.

As with all criminal behaviors, trafficking thrives where there is a lack of education. Consequently, the U.S. embassy has produced a new educational tool that will people in vulnerable communities understand better the dangers of human trafficking.

This educational tool is in the form of a comic book called Scarf. This comic book – created by young Togolese artists – tells the story of a Togolese super hero who fights against human traffickers. This comic book, with its young protagonist, exciting plot, and beautiful artwork, will certainly be very appealing to young people, who are in fact the most common victims of this practice.

When we distributed this comic book to students and teachers in Western Togo earlier this year, more than 90% of those who received it reported that the comic made them more aware of the dangers of human trafficking and more likely to change their behavior to avoid falling prey to traffickers.

This afternoon, you will have the opportunity to attend a training on how to use the comic book Scarf as an educational tool. You, as educators and community leaders, are on the front lines of the fight against human trafficking. I am proud to offer you the comic book Scarf as a new weapon that you can use to end, once and for all, this terrible scourge.

With this, I declare the outreach campaign officially launched

(Inviting the Préfet to receive the book),

Mister the Prefect, as the US Ambassador in Togo I am very honored to offer you a copy of this book Scarf for educative purposes and I hope you accept it.

Thank you all.