Sen. Menendez Reacts to the 2017 TIP Report

Sen. Menendez Reacts to the 2017 TIP Report

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, issued the following statement in reaction to the publication of the 2017 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report by the U.S. State Department. Senator Menendez has led the fight in Congress to avoid trade with human traffickers and the politicization of the TIP report, authoring bipartisan legislation designed to comprehensively reform the State Department’s annual TIP process, a proposal which is currently pending before the Senate. 

“This year’s Trafficking in Persons report was an opportunity for the new Administration to make an unequivocal statement that the United States will hold countries accountable for their efforts – or lack of efforts – to end the scourge of human trafficking. The tier-ranking system was specifically developed to hold countries responsible for protecting fundamental human rights, upholding international commitments, and highlighting ongoing failures and successes, not to be used as a political bargaining chip. Alas, this year’s report only further erodes the credibility of that ranking system. The report’s upgrades for several countries, including Malaysia and Burma, as well as the downgrade waiver granted to Cuba, are unjustified given the facts on the ground. It is now more important than ever for Congress to act and swiftly pass my Trafficking In Persons Report Integrity Act to reform the ranking process and ensure that it is no longer subject to political manipulation or inconsistent analysis. Each year that goes by without reform is a disservice to the millions of trafficking victims this process strives to protect.”

Menendez helped bring the TIP process under large international scrutiny after the 2015 report rankings were proven to have been blatantly and intentionally watered-down due to political pressures that gave favorable status to certain countries despite failures to meet minimum legal standards prescribed by Congress. The Senator called for hearings on the undue political pressure and authored an amendment to the Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) legislation that for the first time prohibited expedited “fast track” congressional consideration for any trade deal including a country ranked Tier 3 in a TIP report. The Menendez amendment was signed into law by President Obama on June 29th, 2015.

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