ATEST Watching TIP Report Release Carefully

WASHINGTON – The U.S. State Department is scheduled to release its annual Trafficking in Persons Report (TIP) this afternoon, a much-anticipated review of efforts by nations around the world to eradicate human trafficking and modern slavery. Information in previous TIP reports raised serious concerns about the credibility of the report overall. Some of these issues are currently being addressed by Congress, and ATEST urges passage of important measures to improve America’s anti-trafficking programs and to strengthen the authority of the TIP Report as a respected global desk reference to guide policymakers.

Tier Rankings: Countries are placed into several tiers in the report based on whether they fully comply with minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and slavery. Previous reports have upgraded several countries without merit. ATEST strongly advocates that merit alone, evaluated based on impact – and not geopolitical considerations – determine tier placements. The Trafficking in Persons Report Integrity Act, currently pending in Congress as part of a package of legislation to reauthorize America’s anti-trafficking programs, would help prevent unwarranted tier upgrades, and ATEST urges Congress to approve these enhancements.

U.S. Ranking: The United States is expected to again receive a top-tier ranking, despite several shortcomings. America’s key anti-trafficking law, the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, which provides the architecture for America’s federal trafficking response, has lapsed and its renewal is pending as part of a package of anti-trafficking measures before Congress. On this day of the annual TIP Report release, we urge Congress to approve this comprehensive legislation without delay. The 2017 TIP Report’s narrative highlighted significant failures in combatting human trafficking in our own backyard, and recent actions in 2018 to separate immigrant families and stress law enforcement rather than addressing vulnerabilities and humanitarian concerns, have increased vulnerabilities to human trafficking along the southern border.

U.S. Funding: The 2017 TIP Report indicated that 23 countries do not meet minimum standards to eliminate human trafficking, and 45 countries only partially meet the report’s minimum standards. Most of these countries are in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. This federal assessment underscores the need for robust U.S. funding for anti-trafficking programs both at home and abroad. ATEST has urged Congress to hold the line in FY 2019 deliberations, with no decreases in U.S. funded programs that address human trafficking and its root causes.

Representatives from several ATEST organizations will attend today’s TIP Report release at the State Department, and the alliance will distribute further analysis after the release as warranted.

Media contact: Terry FitzPatrick | Phone 571-282-9913 | email: [email protected]