U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, commented today on Venezuela's "Tier 3" classification by the State Department's 2011 Trafficking in Persons Report. A Tier 3 grade is the lowest grade possible, and denotes that a country does not meet minimum standards for combating human trafficking. Statement by Ros-Lehtinen:
"The Venezuelan regime's ongoing lack of compliance with the most basic trafficking standards has resulted in a drop back to Tier 3 on the State Department's trafficking report.
"According to the report, "Venezuela is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children subjected to sex trafficking and forced labor.' The report illustrates how the human rights and well-being of the Venezuelan people are not a concern for Chavez.
"Naturally, the regime in Caracas is alleging wrong-doing on the part of the United States in the compilation of this report. Instead of skirting responsibility and cynically pointing fingers, it is time for the regime to make a real effort to stop heinous crimes like sex trafficking being perpetrated against the Venezuelan people."