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Pool report 4 - 2/23
Courtney Weaver • Financial Times
February 23, 2017: 03:03 PM

Pool was ushered into the Roosevelt Room shortly after 3:30 for POTUS's listening session on domestic and international human trafficking.

Among the participants were members of anti-trafficking NGOs and White House offiicials: Michelle DeLaune, Victor Boutros, Autumn VandeHei, Julie Cordua, Brian Gallagher, John Richmond, Marc Short, Gary Haugen, Timothy Head. Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump, Dina Powell and Hope Hicks also had seats at the table. Sean Spicer has said that the White House will distribute a full list of participants.

Trump introduced himself to some of the people in the room and then he began his remarks.

"I want to thank Dina and Ivanka for working so hard to set this up. I want to make clear here today that my administration will focus on ending the absolutely horrific practice of human trafficking. And I am prepared to bring the full force and weight of our government to the federal level and at the federal level and to the other highest levels and everything we can do in order to solve this horrific problem. It's getting worse and it's happening in the United States. In addition to the rest of world, it's happening in the United States, which is terrible. Human trafficking is both a problem domestically and internationally and it's one that's made really a challenge."

"Solving the human trafficking epidemic - which is what it is - is a priority for my administration and we'll help out a lot. 'Solve' is a wonderful word, a beautiful word. But I'll tell you we can help a lot."

He said the administration would work with everyone from the Department of Justice to the Department of Homeland Security to other federal agencies "who have a role in preventing human trafficking to take a hard look at the resources and personnel that they're currently devoting to this fight. And they are devoting a lot but they will be devoting more."

"I cannot thank each of you enough and the dedicated men and women - my staffs and your staffs."

He said they were tackling the problem with "a tremendous amount of energy, blood sweat and tears. Government can be helpful but without you nothing would happen. So again, I want to thank everybody in this room. It's a very, very terrible problem. It's not talked about enough...We're going to talk about it and we're going to bring it out into the open."

The president's introductory remarks lasted for about three and a half minutes. Pool was ushered out shortly thereafter.

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