Congress Urged to Support Trafficking in Persons Report Integrity Act
Washington, D.C.—Human Rights First today welcomed the introduction of the Trafficking in Persons Report Integrity Act (S.3520). Introduced by Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), this bill aims to strengthen the State Department’s annual Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report by increasing transparency in the process for ranking individual countries on their efforts to combat human trafficking.
“The TIP Report is an important diplomatic tool, encouraging countries to improve their efforts to combat trafficking through public accountability and ranking. When politics interferes and allows even one or two countries’ rankings to be inflated, the credibility of the entire report suffers,” said Human Rights First’s Annick Febrey. “This bill will improve the objectivity of the ranking decisions, ensuring that countries must substantially improve their efforts to end modern slavery and provide adequate services to survivors if they expect to receive a higher ranking.”
The annually-released TIP Report monitors and reports on the progress of governments around the world to combat human trafficking, issuing a ranking of Tier 1, Tier 2, Tier 2 Watch List, or Tier 3 for each country. The Trafficking in Persons Report Integrity Act will add more clarity around what constitutes credible evidence to be used to determine a country’s ranking and by specifying that the determination must be made based on concrete progress during the reporting period, rather than the promise of future action. Also, the bill would require any country whose government sponsors forced labor to be ranked Tier 3, the lowest ranking, which could involve possible sanctions.
Human Rights First notes that passing this bill will ensure that political considerations—such as those that led to Malaysia receiving a higher ranking during the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations in 2015—have no place in determining a country’s efforts to combat trafficking in persons.