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100 Nations Act To Combat Human Trafficking

More Than 100 Nations Take Actions to Combat Human Trafficking

(State Dept. releases Trafficking in Persons report)

The U.S. Department of State released the annual Trafficking in Persons report June 11, concluding that more than 100 nations surveyed are taking significant actions to combat human trafficking. The report also finds that 13 nations are not responding aggressively to organized criminal activity involving trafficking in persons. Under a 2000 U.S. counter-trafficking law, those nations not targeting this form of modern day slavery may be subject to sanctions.

Following is the text of a State Department fact sheet:

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE Office of the Spokesman June 11, 2003

FACT SHEET

Trafficking in Persons Report Another Step Toward International Cooperation Against Modern Day Slavery

"It is incomprehensible that trafficking in human beings is taking place in the 21st Century - incomprehensible but true."

"Trafficking leaves no land untouched, including our own."

Colin Powell

The third annual Trafficking in Persons Report (TIP Report), issued by the State Department, is the most comprehensive report on the efforts of governments worldwide to combat severe forms of trafficking in persons or "modern-day slavery". The report is mandated by Congress under the Trafficking Victims Protection Act [(Division A of Public Law 106-386, or "the Act"), enacted in October 2000].

The report reflects whether a country is determined to be "a country of origin, transit, or destination for a significant number of victims of severe forms of trafficking." Countries determined to have a significant number of victims are placed on the Report in one of three tiers, based on a government's efforts to combat trafficking. Governments that fully comply with the Act's minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking are placed on Tier 1. Those making significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance are placed on Tier 2. Finally, countries whose governments are not making significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance are placed on Tier 3.

--Over 100 countries on the Report fully comply with the Act's minimum standards, or are making significant efforts to do so.

--This year, for the first time, governments of countries listed on Tier 3 face potential sanctions including termination of non-humanitarian non-trade- related assistance. These sanctions become effective on October 1, 2003 and are subject to possible waiver.

--The 2003 TIP Report is also notable for including thirty countries not on last year's report. This reflects more and better information on the scope and magnitude of trafficking, and greater engagement with other countries.

--The country narratives have also been expanded in many cases to include additional data on anti-TIP measures, including law enforcement statistics.

--This Report conveys the human dimension of the trafficking tragedy through victims' stories, photographs, and information on governmental "best practices".

A number of innovative anti-trafficking efforts came to light during the preparation of the TIP Report and through the Trafficking Office's engagement with foreign governments and international and non-governmental organizations throughout the year. Many of these efforts are particularly noteworthy because they demonstrate low- or no-cost anti-trafficking measures that are sustainable.

These efforts are laudable and the U.S.G. continues to expand programmatic assistance to NGOs, international organizations, and committed governments working to aggressively combat trafficking in persons. In the last two years, the U.S. government has invested over $100 million in programs to address prevention, protection and assistance to victims, and prosecution of traffickers for 92 countries around the world.

Background

Women, children and men are trafficked into the international sex trade and into forced labor situations throughout the world. Many are lured by promises of good jobs, unaware that their travel documents will be seized, they will be held in debt bondage, or that they will be subject to brutal beatings. Traffickers also kidnap and abduct victims.

Traffickers, who may be freelancers or members of organized criminal networks, use threats, intimidation and violence to force victims to engage in sex acts or to labor under conditions comparable to slavery for the traffickers' financial gain.

No country is immune from trafficking. A recent U.S. Government estimate indicates that approximately 800,000-900,000 people are trafficked across international borders worldwide annually, and between 18,000 and 20,000 of those victims are trafficked into the United States. The Department of Justice recently compiled an assessment of USG anti-trafficking efforts, which will be released this summer.

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