updated 2/17/2004 9:39:34 AM ET 2004-02-17T14:39:34

The U.S. government said Tuesday that it will spend $100 million to eradicate human trafficking, which it described as a modern day form of slavery.

John Miller, director of the State Department’s anti-people trafficking office, said in a statement that countries that qualify will get money for law enforcement training, education and assistance to victims, most of whom are women and children forced to work as prostitutes, laborers and maids.

“The U.S. government is increasing its commitments in the growing movement of governments, activists and law-abiding citizens worldwide to put an end to this modern-day form of slavery,” Miller said. “The horrible practice of human trafficking exists in many forms, particularly sex and forced labor, and it reaches into almost every country.”

Miller, on a regional tour of Asia that includes Indonesia, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam, said Monday he believed the world’s largest Muslim country was making progress in the fight against trafficking but needed to do more.

On a visit to a Jakarta hospital which treats trafficking victims, Miller praised Indonesia for taking part in a recent U.S.-sponsored law enforcement training session on trafficking and setting up special anti-trafficking unit within the national police department.

But he said the country should move to pass anti-trafficking legislation that has been pending since last year.

“I hope the legislation is passed in the next few months. It will give additional tools to the police and provide tougher punishment for the traffickers,” he said.

© 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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