ATEST Applauds Introduction of the TIP Report Integrity Restoration Act
For Release: February 14, 2017
Washington, DC – The Alliance to End Slavery and Trafficking (ATEST) applauds the introduction of the TIP Report Integrity Restoration Act of 2017. Introduced by Senators Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Marco Rubio (R-FL), this bill would strengthen the annual US Department of State Trafficking in Persons Report by modifying the criteria to determine whether countries are meeting the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking in persons (TIP) and by highlighting the importance of documenting concrete actions by countries to show impact in eradicating TIP.
For almost a decade, ATEST has been a strong supporter of the annual TIP Report as it has been proven to be an effective diplomatic tool in the fight against human trafficking. The report, however, is only effective if the State Department ranks countries according to the facts, without regard to whether a nation is friend or foe.
Melysa Sperber, Director of ATEST issued this statement:
“ATEST has been dismayed by the State Department’s unwarranted tier ranking upgrades for certain countries in recent years, including Malaysia in the 2015 report and Thailand in 2016. By our assessment, neither country’s government had demonstrated significant or effective effort to combat human trafficking, particularly forced labor and sexual exploitation. The unjustifiable tier ranking upgrades for Malaysia and Thailand greatly tarnished the integrity of the TIP report, and we applaud Senators Menendez and Rubio for their efforts to ensure the report’s credibility moving forward.
“The TIP Report should prioritize a country’s enforcement of laws that prohibit all forms of trafficking in persons, rather than enactment of legislation or stated commitments that fail to substantively change the situation of trafficking victims on the ground. While legislation and public commitments are important procedural steps, it is the implementation of those laws that protects vulnerable populations and holds perpetrators accountable for their crimes, and makes the greatest difference in ending modern slavery globally.
“Passing this bill would strengthen the usefulness of the TIP report as a diplomatic tool to combat modern slavery globally, and provide the Department of State with support to base report rankings on evidence on the ground – linked to concrete actions and impact – not political considerations.”
The Alliance to End Slavery and Trafficking (ATEST) is a U.S.-based coalition that advocates for solutions to prevent and end all forms of human trafficking and modern slavery around the world. ATEST member organizations include: Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking (CAST), Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW), ECPAT-USA, Free the Slaves, Futures Without Violence (FUTURES), International Justice Mission, National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA), National Network for Youth (NN4Y), Polaris, Safe Horizon, Solidarity Center, Verité, and Vital Voices Global Partnership. ATEST is a project of Humanity United Action.