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Homeland Security

Washington File

13 June 2003

Official Urges Expanded Alliances with NGOs Against Human Trafficking

(State's John Miller speaks with NGO leaders) (540)
By Anthony Kujawa
Washington File Staff Writer
Washington -- The United States needs to expand alliances and
information sharing with non-governmental organizations (NGO) in the
fight to end trafficking in persons, according to John Miller,
Director of the State Department's Office to Monitor and Combat
Trafficking in Persons.
Speaking June 12 to a group of NGO leaders at the department the day
after his office released the third annual Trafficking in Persons
(TIP) Report, Miller called human trafficking the most important human
rights issue of the century and urged greater cooperation between NGOs
and governments to end the practice. Miller praised NGOs as "the
pillars" in the fight against human trafficking.
Compilation of the trafficking in persons (TIP) report is required by
the Trafficking Victims Protection Act passed by Congress in 2000. It
outlines a three-tier system for classifying nations depending on how
aggressively they are acting to prevent trafficking in persons, to
prosecute those associated with this form of organized criminal
activity, and to protect victims.
Those nations found to be unresponsive to international calls for
specific actions to control human trafficking are placed in Tier 3.
Now reaching its third year of implementation, the law calls for the
possible imposition of certain sanctions against nations found to be
in that category.
"It is not just about the courts, the documents, laws and sanctions,
this is about individuals who have lost their freedom," said Miller.
Recently passed anti-trafficking laws in Haiti and the Philippines,
arrests of human traffickers in Cambodia and Serbia, and U.S. embassy
reports of an increase in anti-trafficking activities by many
governments in the months leading up to the report's release, Miller
said, demonstrate "how powerful a tool this report can be."
"This shows that the U.S. legislation with its combination of carrots
and sticks is having some effect," said Miller.
"It shows how much more effort there can be in the next four months
[by October 1, 2003]," he said, before President Bush, as required by
the law, decides whether sanctions will be applied or waived for
nations in the "Tier-3" category.
The nations placed in "Tier-3" that could be subject to sanctions,
according to the 2003 TIP report, are Belize, Bosnia & Herzegovina,
Burma, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Georgia, Greece, Haiti, Kazakhstan,
Liberia, North Korea, Sudan, Suriname, Turkey, and Uzbekistan.
But Miller emphasized that the goal of the report is "not to punish,
but to bring about progress" and to gain "more significant efforts by
countries to abolish modern-day slavery."
One of our priorities in the coming year, added Miller, is to examine
the demand side of trafficking. The Office to Monitor and Combat
Trafficking in Persons, he said, plans to create a program that
developed nations can implement to reduce demand for sex tourism, such
as working with airlines to enforce criminal laws.
"Don't think that this is just the end of the dialogue," said Miller,
who urged NGOs to continue to make suggestions on how to make the
report more effective, better pool resources and reach the common goal
of ending human trafficking.
(The Washington File is a product of the Bureau of International
Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site:
http://usinfo.state.gov)



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