Responding to the State Department's 2011 Trafficking in Persons Report

Posted on: Thursday, June 30, 2011

Keywords: Safe Horizon, ATEST, Alliance to End Slavery and Trafficking, 2011 Trafficking in Persons Report, Anti-Trafficking Program, human trafficking, trafficking in persons, anti-trafficking organizations

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ATEST (Alliance to End Slavery and Trafficking) issued a response to the recent release of the 2011 Trafficking in Persons report from the U.S. State Department. Safe Horizon's Anti-Trafficking Program, an ATEST partner, joined with other anti-trafficking organizations such as the Polaris Project and ECPAT-USA to express concerns about the rankings given to a number of countries whose record on human rights and trafficking have been controversial.


Leading U.S. Anti-Slavery Organizations Respond to 2011 Trafficking in Persons Report

Groups express concern for Uzbekistan, China, Russia, and India rankings

Washington, D.C. – The Alliance to End Slavery & Trafficking (ATEST) welcomes the 2011 Trafficking in Persons Report, released yesterday by the U.S. State Department’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (G/TIP). Despite advances in the report, ATEST has serious concerns about the Obama Administration’s commitment to hold Uzbekistan, China, Russia, and India accountable for their policies and actions aimed at addressing human trafficking and modern-day slavery.

Under the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000, countries that have been on the Tier 2 Watch List for two years must be downgraded and subject to sanctions unless they have a credible plan to move toward meeting minimum standards. Uzbekistan, China and Russia were kept on the Tier 2 Watch List despite having been in that category for years, and in spite of any evidence of real efforts to address some of the worst forms of human trafficking. Similarly, India was upgraded to Tier 2, which seems premature.
 
“Honest reporting and firm, robust diplomacy are critical to progress in abolishing these heinous crimes,” said David Abramowitz, Director of Policy & Government relations for Humanity United. “If political tradeoffs and favoritism take the place of candor in the report and tier rankings, the U.S. will have squandered its best tool in the fight against modern-day slavery and human trafficking.”
 
ATEST urges the preservation of the integrity of the TIP report, ensuring that it remains an effective foreign policy tool and meaningful resource for raising awareness. G/TIP must also be given the resources to continue leading the fight against modern-day slavery and human trafficking internationally.

The United States continued to rank itself as a Tier 1 country in its assessment of its own efforts to combat human trafficking. Despite the stated commitment to increased support for victims’ services, Congress reduced the U.S. Department of Justice’s funding to protect survivors by 17 percent. We must work to ensure that the protections and services provided under the Trafficking Victims Protection Act are fully implemented for victims of trafficking in the United States. 

“While the United States has committed resources to grading its own efforts to combat human trafficking, more must be done,” Abramowitz said. “In order for the U.S. to remain a true global leader in the fight against modern-day slavery and human trafficking, it must find the resources to fight these crimes in the U.S. and abroad.”

In addition, notwithstanding the Tier 1 rating and the fact that the report itself notes that trafficking victims should not be “inappropriately incarcerated, fined, or otherwise penalized for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of being trafficked,” trafficking victims continue to face detention, arrest, and criminal convictions. Until every federal, state, and local agency ensures that adults and children, foreign nationals, U.S. citizens, and legal permanent residents suspected of being trafficked for labor, services or commercial sex acts are first treated as victims of crimes rather than criminals, significant progress in advancing freedom and dignity will not be achieved.

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About the Alliance to End Slavery & Trafficking (ATEST)
ATEST is a diverse alliance of U.S.-based human rights organizations acting in unity to end modern-day slavery and human trafficking, both at home and abroad. Founded by Humanity United in 2007, ATEST is currently composed of the Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking (CAST), the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW), ECPAT-USA, Free the Slaves, International Justice Mission, Not for Sale Campaign, Polaris Project, Safe Horizon, Solidarity Center, Verité, Vital Voices Global Partnership, World Vision, and former U.N. Goodwill Ambassador Julia Ormond, president and founder of the Alliance to Stop Slavery and End Trafficking (ASSET). Learn more at EndSlaveryandTrafficking.org.

Signatories:
Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking (CAST)
ECPAT-USA
Free the Slaves
Humanity United
Not For Sale Campaign
Polaris Project
Safe Horizon
Solidarity Center
Vital Voices Global Partnership
Verité

From "Leading U.S. Anti-Slavery Organizations Respond to 2011 Trafficking in Persons Report," ATEST (Alliance to End Slavery and Trafficking). Read the original article here: http://www.endslaveryandtrafficking.org/news/leading-us-anti-slavery-organizations-respond-2011-trafficking-persons-report



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