June 30, 2011–The Alliance to End Slavery & Trafficking (ATEST), of which the Solidarity Center is a member, welcomes the 2011 Trafficking in Persons Report, released Monday 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 U.S. government's commitment to hold Uzbekistan, China, Russia, and India accountable for their policies and actions aimed at addressing human trafficking and modern-day slavery.
||Click on image to read and download the 2011 TIP report.
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 composed of the Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking, the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, ECPAT-USA, Free the Slaves, the International Justice Mission, Not for Sale Campaign, Polaris Project, Safe Horizon, the 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).
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, an action that seems premature.
“Honest reporting and firm, robust diplomacy are critical to progress in abolishing these heinous crimes,” said David Abramowitz, Director of Policy and Government Relations for Humanity United. “If political tradeoffs and favoritism take the place of candor in the report and tier rankings, the United States 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.
“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, ATEST says, notwithstanding 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.
about the Solidarity Center's Migration and Human Trafficking programs
Letter to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton
from a broad spectrum on stakeholders (including the Solidarity Center, the AFL-CIO, and the American Federation of Teachers) regarding the use of child and forced labor in the Uzbek cotton industry, June 28, 2011