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2006 Trafficking Report Shows Countries Responding with New Laws. Convictions Up.

Location: Washington, DC

2006 Trafficking Report Shows Countries Responding with New Laws. Convictions Up.

Congressman Chris Smith (R-Hamilton), the author of the historic Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 and two subsequent anti-trafficking expansion laws (2003, 2005), released the following statement regarding the State Department's 2006 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report. The annual TIP report, a comprehensive assessment of global status of anti-trafficking measures, was mandated by Smith's first trafficking bill, signed in October 2000 (Public Law 106-386).

"The State Department's 2006 Trafficking in Persons Report shows that the global community is responding to US pressure as other countries do more to combat trafficking and protect women.

With 4,700 convictions worldwide this year alone, the heinous crime of trafficking in women and children is finally at long last being punished. In the last two years alone, convictions have topped 7,700.

Because a significant portion of US foreign assistance is now contingent on whether a nation is meeting basic minimum standards to prevent trafficking, protect women and prosecute traffickers, 41 countries in the last year have passed tough new laws to end this modern day slavery.

Victim support is another critical component of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act and the report outlines numerous activities in which victims—mostly women and children—are being better identified and receiving shelter, counseling, medical care and training.

The Trafficking Victims Protection Act is working as intended—but more needs to be done.

Regrettably, the State Department again failed to include India on its list of Tier 3 countries. India's placement on the Tier 2 Watch List for the third consecutive year, despite its failure to create a national law enforcement response to the crime of trafficking, and its blatant unwillingness to address the massive problems of bonded labor and trafficking-related corruption, reeks of political considerations within the State Department overriding the facts about human trafficking. The watch list was created by my legislation to send a clear warning and enable egregious offenders to make specific reforms. It's not a place to hide our friends who fail to make real improvements.

Likewise, I am not pleased that Germany received a Tier 1 rating this year. This report is being released on the eve of the World Cup soccer matches, when potentially thousands of women and children will be trafficked and exploited in Germany's legal sex industry for the benefit of fans attending the games. Because Germany has legalized prostitution, cities hosting World Cup games and ‘business people' are free to accommodate this trade in women by constructing brothels and ‘sex huts,' or issue permits for street prostitution, thereby creating a virtual partnership with brothel owners, pimps and traffickers.

Legalized prostitution is not a policy that the German Government has to embrace. I believe Germany can do much more to prevent the sexual exploitation of women and children by attacking the demand that fuels this problem.

Over the next several days we will pour though this report and I have already scheduled a hearing in my subcommittee for June 14th. The report has proven to be an effective means for spotlighting the problems and pressuring offending countries to make reforms."

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