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 You are in: Under Secretary for Political Affairs > Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs > Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs Releases > Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs Remarks > 2003 > June

Release of the Report on Trafficking in Persons

Douglas Davidson, Deputy Chief of U.S. Mission to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe
Statement to the OSCE Permanent Council
Vienna, Austria
June 12, 2003

Released by the U.S. Mission to the OSCE

(As delivered)

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I would like to announce the release yesterday of the United States Trafficking in Persons Report for year 2003. A U.S. federal law, the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000, requires the Secretary of State to submit to United States Congress an annual report on Trafficking in Persons. The Department has prepared the third such report.

This year's report records the efforts of more than 100 countries, most of which share our concern over this issue and, which like us, are working to combat trafficking in persons. Trafficking in persons, whether in the form of forced labor or sexual exploitation, is a serious human rights abuse and transnational crime. Various United States Government agencies are working to combat this growing phenomenon in cooperation with international organizations -- including the OSCE -- as well as with foreign governments and NGOs [non-governmental organizations].

We are also doing a bit more at home. The U.S. Government is strongly committed to combating trafficking in persons both in the U.S. and abroad. Our domestic efforts include an anti-trafficking law that enhances pre-existing criminal penalties and affords protections to trafficking victims, the President's Interagency Task Force to coordinate implementation of the Act, training for our law enforcement and prosecutorial officers, and funding for programs to help victims. We are also anticipating the release of our own Department of Justice report, which will explain the United States' efforts to combat trafficking in persons within our own borders.

The transnational character of trafficking in persons means that countries of origin, transit, and destination must recognize that trafficking is a crime that threatens both societies and individuals, and therefore must collaborate to prevent trafficking, protect victims, and prosecute traffickers. This requires government coordination on national strategies, and coordination on the local level.

We are pleased that we have strengthened cooperation with many states since the first two reports. The USG [U.S. Government] will continue working with other countries to develop programs, policies, law enforcement capabilities, and protection efforts to step up our fight against trafficking in persons. We believe that the OSCE Anti-Trafficking Action Plan currently being negotiated will help forward this agenda.

In addition, we continue to expand our programmatic assistance to NGOs and committed governments working aggressively to combat trafficking in persons. In the last two years the U.S. Government has invested over $100 million in programs to address prevention of trafficking, protection and assistance to victims, and prosecuting of traffickers for over 60 countries around the world.

In listing countries in this report it is our intention to recognize the efforts of countries making concrete efforts to fight trafficking as well as those countries that are not. I want to note here that we do not exclude ourselves from scrutiny when it comes to combating trafficking in persons. The Department of Justice will be issuing a progress report on the U.S. Government's domestic anti-trafficking efforts later this year. Our goal in issuing this report is not to finger-point, but rather inspire all of us to strengthen our efforts to fight this scourge.

In compiling this report, the State Department drew from information from our embassies as well as reports by international organizations, media, and NGOs. Additional information came from host governments, the Department of Justice, Department of Labor, and USAID [U.S. Agency for International Development].

Each country was evaluated separately and was not compared to other countries. The State Department considered each country's efforts in light of the magnitude of the problem, and its resources and technical capabilities.

The 2003 Trafficking in Persons Report can potentially have serious policy and programmatic implications for those countries listed on tier 3 of the report. Under the trafficking victims protection act (TVPA), sanctions, effective October 1, may be imposed on tier 3 countries. The TVPA's possible alternatives to these sanctions include a determination of subsequent compliance, for example, that since the end of the reporting period the government has taken steps that effectively move it out of tier 3. If the facts support it, the Secretary of State can make a determination of subsequent compliance, and the government would no longer warrant being sanctioned.

So, the sanctions may not actually be applied to countries currently in Tier 3 if significant progress can be made prior to the October 1 deadline. The USG is committed to working with these and other countries to increase their success in combating trafficking, in the hope that all designated countries will make significant improvements by 2004. Our goal is to not see any country listed on tier 3. Thank you.


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