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Homeland Security

Washington File

13 June 2003

Davidson: U.S. "Strongly Committed" to Combating Human Trafficking

(Envoy's remarks to OSCE Permanent Council) (990)
U.S. diplomat Douglas Davidson told the OSCE Permanent Council June 12
that the United States is working with international organizations,
foreign governments and non-governmental organizations to combat
trafficking in persons both in the U.S. and abroad.
Davidson made his remarks the day after the U.S. State Department
published its annual human trafficking report. "Trafficking in
persons, whether in the form of forced labor or sexual exploitation,
is a serious human rights abuse and transnational crime," he said,
adding that "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."
He also said the Justice Department will be issuing a progress report
on the U.S. government's domestic anti-trafficking efforts later this
year.
The United States "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," Davidson said. "We believe that the OSCE Anti-Trafficking
Action Plan currently being negotiated will help forward this agenda."
Following are Davidson's remarks:
(begin transcript)
United States Mission to the OSCE
Vienna 
June 12, 2003
RELEASE OF THE REPORT ON TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS
Delivered by Deputy Chief of Mission Douglas A. Davidson to the
Permanent Council
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.
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 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.
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.
(end transcript)
(Distributed by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S.
Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)



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