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The Netherlands: Dutch Embassy in the US honors Kristof and McCain for human rights work

Nicholas Kristof, Cindy McCain and Dutch Ambassador
to the US,  Henne Schuwer with Anne Frank Poster

The Royal Netherlands Embassy in Washington, DC, USA and its friends in the US Congress recently honored Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Nicholas Kristof and human rights advocate Cindy McCain for their work fighting human trafficking and violations of human rights.

The ceremony took place at the US Library of Congress— and was part of the embassy’s Holland on the Hill initiative — Kristof received the Anne Frank Award, and McCain the Anne Frank Special Recognition Award.

“I’m thrilled by the award, and delighted that it shines a powerful light on issues like sex trafficking,” said Kristof, who’s written for the New York Times since 1984. “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.”

Kristof has written extensively on human rights issues, using the power of the written word to raise awareness by linking human trafficking to modern slavery. Kristof’s reporting exposes trafficking and urges punishment for those responsible. His PBS documentary, “A Path Appears,” makes the viewer confront the devastating effects of human trafficking; it also explores the role poverty and gender equality play in making such trafficking possible.

More than 4.5 million people are trapped in forced sexual exploitation worldwide, says the International Labor Organization. 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.

Dutch Ambassador Henne Schuwer praised the “lifetime dedication” of Kristof and McCain in the defense of human rights, telling his audience that the two “embody the resilient spirit that characterizes the life of Anne Frank.”

McCain, co-chair of the McCain Institute’s Human Trafficking Advisory Council, was honored for her commitment to educate the public on human trafficking. Working with two Senate Democrats — North Dakota’s Heidi Heitkamp and Minnesota’s Amy Klobuchar — she has lobbied Congress to give the states incentives to adopt laws that emphasize prosecuting leaders of sex-trafficking rings, rather than the victims.

“I am deeply honored to be receiving this award and to share the stage with Nick Kristof,” said McCain, the wife of Sen. John McCain (R-AZ). “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.”


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