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Homeland Security

01 December 2005

United States Joins U.N. Anti-Trafficking Protocol

Action coincides with International Day for the Abolition of Slavery

The United States on December 3 will become an official party to the U.N. Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, the State Department says.

The agreement, also known as the Palermo Protocol, seeks to prevent trafficking, protect victims and promote anti-trafficking cooperation among nations, the department said in a December 1 media note.

The Trafficking in Persons Protocol has been in effect since 2003 and now has 95 party nations.  The document is an adjunct to the U.N. Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime, which also took effect in 2003 and has won ratification from 114 governments.

The United States compiles the world’s most comprehensive survey of trafficking in persons each year and calculates that between 600,000 and 800,000 persons are trafficked across international borders annually and forced into prostitution or some other form of involuntary servitude. The full text of the report is available on the State Department Web site.

The text of the U.N. Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime is available on the United Nations Web site, as is additional information on The International Day for the Abolition of Slavery, which is recognized on December 2 each year to commemorate the 1949 signing of an earlier protocol against trafficking and prostitution.

The text of the State Department media note follows:

(begin text)

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Office of the Spokesman
December 1, 2005

MEDIA NOTE

United States Becomes Party to Anti-Trafficking Protocol: Marks Slavery Abolition Day

On Saturday, December 3, 2005, the United States will become an official party to the U.N. Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, also known as the Palermo Protocol.  This noteworthy event comes in conjunction with the International Day for the Abolition of Slavery on December 2, 2005.

The Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Protocol, which supplements the U.N. Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime, is an important multilateral component of the worldwide effort to combat modern-day slavery.  It seeks to prevent trafficking, protect victims, and promote anti-trafficking cooperation among nations.

Deputy Director of the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons Paula Goode called the occasion a mile marker and one that further underscores the U.S. commitment to ending modern-day slavery.   "The TIP Protocol provides another important tool to help in our effort to free more victims and jail more traffickers."

Human trafficking is a serious problem in the United States and throughout the world.  Each year, an estimated 600,000 - 800,000 men, women and children are trafficked across international borders (including some 14,500 - 17,500 into the United States).  Many trafficking victims are forced into prostitution, while others work in sweatshops or are subjected to other forms of involuntary servitude and exploitation.

The United States is committed to ending human trafficking to advance freedom for the world's most vulnerable citizens.

For an interview with Deputy Director Paula Goode, please contact Public Affairs Specialist Caroline Tetschner at (202) 312-9648 or Gannon Sims at (202) 312-9893.

(end text)

(Distributed by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)



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