Senators in both parties accused the State Department on Thursday of protecting trade goals over victims of human trafficking, and they threatened a subpoena over the agency's analysis.
Instead of taking Malaysia and other countries to task over abhorrent practices allowing sex slavery and human trafficking, the Obama administration backed off in order to smooth through a looming trade deal and accomplish other diplomatic goals, according to members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
“The administration’s policies toward those countries trumped any real regard for humans being trafficked,” Chairman Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) alleged.
“You sort of threw the trafficking phase under the bus to ensure that you were successful with [the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)].”
State Department officials were under “exceptional pressure to meet political commands — not the facts on the ground,” added Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.).
This year’s annual Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report upgraded Malaysia from a “Tier 3” country — the lowest level— to “Tier 2 watchlist,” meaning that it does not comply with the minimum standards set by the U.S. but is planning to take efforts over the next year.