Menendez on Reports of Undue Political Pressure in Human Trafficking Report

Menendez on Reports of Undue Political Pressure in Human Trafficking Report

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) today issued the following statement after a Reuters report described political pressure was used to water-down the State Department’s 2015 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee is scheduled to hold a full committee hearing on Thursday to evaluate the results of this year’s TIP report.

“If true, the Reuters report further confirms what I, along with the human-rights community, have feared all along: The State Department’s trafficking report has been blatantly and intentionally politicized.

“In addition to being a clear statement of American values, this report has represented the international gold standard for human trafficking.  It had the moral authority to hold countries accountable, to motivate action, and to protect trafficking victims.  As I’ve said many times, our nation’s commitment to fighting the scourge of human trafficking should remain above politics. I know many of my Senate colleagues share my outrage and we will demand a full accounting of this process.” 

Senator Menendez has led the fight in Congress to avoid trade with human traffickers and the politicization of the Trafficking in Persons report, authoring an amendment to the Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) legislation that for the first time prohibits expedited “fast track” congressional consideration for any trade deal including a country ranked Tier 3.  Malaysia is among 12 countries entering the final round of negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement. The Menendez amendment passed both the House and Senate and was signed into law by President Obama on June 29th.

Earlier last month, Menendez was also joined by 18 of his Senate colleagues in sending a bipartisan letter to Secretary of State John Kerry expressing deep concerns following press reports of a possible unwarranted ranking upgrade for Malaysia.