CNN Executive Vice President and managing director of CNN International Tony Maddox was honored by the State Department on Monday as a Trafficking in Persons Report Hero. Each year, eight individuals are honored by the State Department as the Department releases its annual report on human trafficking.
The award was personally presented by Secretary of State John Kerry as part of a larger ceremony. Of Maddox, Secretary Kerry said, “We congratulate you for your sustained campaign to raise public awareness and understanding of human trafficking on a global scale, your advocacy on behalf of victims, and your dedication to ensuring that survivors and their stories are heard.” Near the beginning of the ceremony, Secretary Kerry singled out CNN Worldwide President Jeff Zucker for praise, saying, “And also, I want to just recognize quickly Jeff Zucker, the head of CNN. CNN has made a special cause of this. I see their accountability reports as I travel around the world, and Jeff, we’re very, very appreciative to CNN for their commitment to this cause.”
Maddox was honored for his efforts to highlight the problem of trafficking around the world. In 2011, CNN Worldwide launched the CNN Freedom Project, a drive to focus on human slavery around the world. The Project has led to numerous programs on CNN US and CNN International, the recent of which was hosted by Jada Pinkett Smith.
“I am humbled by this recognition,” said Maddox. “ And I am proud of CNN using the full range of our international resources to track and highlight this important story.”
TKNN obtained a memo that Zucker sent to staff regarding Maddox’s honor:
July 27, 2015
I am proud to share with you all that today in Washington, D.C., Tony Maddox and the CNN Freedom Project were honored by the U.S. State Department as a 2015 Trafficking in Persons Report Hero. Secretary of State Kerry personally presented Tony with the award.
Tony and the CNN Freedom Project made a commitment five years ago to take a stand, and to shine CNN’s worldwide spotlight on modern-day slavery. In just five years under Tony’s leadership, the CNN Freedom Project has enlisted dozens of correspondents and crews around the world, and has published more than 400 investigative stories. They follow the routes, they hold the powerful accountable, and importantly, they give voice to the survivors.
Various NGOs report that CNN Freedom Project stories have contributed to changing laws and corporate policies, led to more than 1,000 survivors receiving assistance and sparked over $24 million in donations to anti-trafficking organization. Additionally, the CNN Freedom Project has inspired new NGOs and grassroots campaigns around the world.
Please join me in congratulating Tony and the CNN Freedom Project on this tremendous honor.