New AtlanticistJul 20, 2022
Reading between the lines of the world’s top human-trafficking report
By John Cotton Richmond
A former US ambassador dedicated to combating human trafficking breaks down seven key takeaways from the report and what they mean for the fight against this crime.
Ambassador John Cotton Richmond is a nonresident senior fellow with the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security’s Scowcroft Strategy Initiative.
His career has taken him to the front lines in the global battle for human rights and against human trafficking. As a partner at Dentons, the world’s largest law firm, he focuses on the intersection between business and human rights. John advises companies on how to keep their supply chains free of forced labor and their workforces free of sex trafficking.
Previously, the US Senate unanimously confirmed Ambassador Richmond and he served as the US Ambassador to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons from 2018 to 2021. Serving in the nation’s highest-ranking position dedicated to human trafficking, he led US foreign policy related to modern slavery and coordinated the US government’s response to the crime.
Ambassador Richmond also served for over a decade as a federal prosecutor with the US Department of Justice’s Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit, where he prosecuted numerous victim-centered labor and sex trafficking cases. He also lived in India for three years pioneering International Justice Mission’s slavery work.
Ambassador Richmond has received numerous honors and commendations, including having been named a “Prosecutor of the Year” and receiving the “Wilberforce Award for Exceptional Leadership in the Fight Against Human Trafficking” and the “David Alred Award for exceptional contributions to civil rights.” His work caused the former head of the FBI’s human trafficking program to call him “every trafficker’s worst nightmare.”
Ambassador Richmond received his undergraduate degree from the University of Mary Washington and his law degree from Wake Forest University. Ambassador Richmond is a writer and frequent speaker on topics of faith, justice, vocation, and parenting and is a fellow at the C.S. Lewis Institute. He lives outside Washington, DC with his wife and they have three wonderful children.