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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 > September
Press Statement
Richard Boucher, Spokesman
Washington, DC
September 10, 2003


Progress in the Fight Against Trafficking in Persons

We announce today some excellent progress. The President announced that ten countries have made important progress over the last three months in the fight to abolish modern day slavery. This announcement reflects several months of intensive effort on the part of diplomats in the field and of foreign governments that have made the commitment to fighting trafficking in persons. These efforts merited effectively raising our ratings of those countries’ anti-trafficking performance. These ten countries are Belize, Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Dominican Republic, Georgia, Greece, Haiti, Kazakhstan, Suriname, Turkey and Uzbekistan.

These countries all made important progress: some passed comprehensive anti-trafficking legislation; some funded victims support programs; some formed national task forces to combat trafficking and to arrest and prosecute traffickers; some ran public announcements warning the public of the dangers of trafficking. In every one of these countries, public officials – including in some cases heads of state, foreign ministers, and other cabinet officials spoke out on this emerging human rights issue. These positive actions deserve our recognition and support.

This is the first year that the President was required by the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 to make determinations regarding countries placed on Tier 3 of the Department’s annual Trafficking in Persons report.

One hundred sixteen countries were ranked in the June report, and 15 of them were placed on Tier 3, the lowest tier, for their governments’ failure to comply with the Act’s minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking, and failure to make significant efforts to do so. In the months following the issuance of the report, the Secretary reviewed the anti-trafficking efforts of these 15 countries’ governments. The Secretary determined that the governments of the 10 governments cited earlier are now making significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance, the standard for placement on Tier 2.

Burma, Cuba, Liberia, North Korea and Sudan still meet the Tier 3 standard, because their governments still fail to comply with the minimum standards, and fail to make significant efforts to do so. The President, acting on the recommendations of the Secretary determined that sanctions will be imposed on Burma, Cuba and North Korea. While Liberia and Sudan are also subject to sanctions, the President determined that certain multilateral assistance for these two countries would promote the purposes of the act or is otherwise in the national interest of the United States. For Sudan, that assistance will be limited to that which may be necessary to implement a peace accord.

These determinations by the President clearly demonstrate his personal commitment to this issue and the significant cooperation and effort that the United States and other nations are starting to make to fight this transnational crime and modern day form of slavery. These successes are attributable not only to the efforts of the countries themselves but to our Ambassadors and the Department, particularly its Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons.

Released on September 10, 2003

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