Humanity United Response to 2018 TIP Report

Following the release of the 2018 U.S. Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report, Melysa Sperber, Director, Policy and Government Relations at Humanity United said,

“We have serious concerns about the unjustified upgrade to Thailand’s ranking in this year’s TIP report. This move is out of step with other international leaders and does not reflect the country’s repeated failure to adequately protect vulnerable individuals – including those in the country’s seafood industry – from exploitation.

“We are equally concerned that the deterioration of the United States’ standing as a leader on human rights is eroding the influence of the TIP Report, a critical tool in the global fight to end human trafficking. The credibility of the report’s analysis of governments’ commitments to end human trafficking must first and foremost be grounded in the integrity of the government issuing the report. Today, U.S. policies are deliberately marginalizing and demonizing the most vulnerable among us, making them even more vulnerable to a spectrum of exploitation and ensuring they have no path to refuge, no protections.

“World leaders – including our country’s closest allies, top business leaders, and religious leaders from Pope Francis to Franklin Graham – are decrying President Trump’s family separation and zero tolerance border policies. As these and other harmful policies and rhetoric dilute the United States’ moral standing, our government’s credibility to evaluate and rank other countries on their commitment to ending modern slavery suffers.

“In addition, the administration has failed to do the most basic job to maintain U.S. global leadership on human trafficking, namely to appoint an ambassador-at-large to the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons. With this position vacant, our government lacks a credible voice that can speak to all forms of human trafficking.

“U.S. anti-trafficking leadership is also weakened by Congress’ inability to reauthorize the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, the nation’s cornerstone anti-trafficking law. In the past 20 years, the TVPA has been reauthorized with broad bipartisan support four times and now is near the finish line. Congress must get the job done.

“The United States is undermining its own stated commitment to end modern slavery. We fear America will lose its ability to persuade other countries to increase their efforts. For the millions of people worldwide living in modern slavery, the loss of U.S. leadership is truly devastating.”