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 You are in: Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs: Press Relations Office > Press Releases (Other) > 2003 > June
Fact Sheet
Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
June 9, 2003


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.”

- Secretary of State Colin L. 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.

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 United States 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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