Rep Smith, author of landmark law, recognised for years of fighting Human Trafficking
China scores lowest possible rating, Ireland does poorly
WASHINGTON, DC—Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) joined Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Presidential Advisor Ivanka Trump, and U.S. anti-trafficking ambassador John Richmond today at the State Department for the release of the 20th annual “Trafficking in Persons” or TIP Report mandated by Smith’s groundbreaking human trafficking law enacted in 2000.
“The TIP Report is a key component of our nation’s robust efforts to combat human trafficking which ruins childhoods, leaves victims scarred for a lifetime and enriches human traffickers,” said Smith, author of five human trafficking laws. “The annual report catalogues and reviews what countries are doing to track down and prosecute the perpetrators and how they are working to rescue and help the victims. The TIP report is the gold standard; exposing problems and motivating countries to reform.”
Secretary Pompeo and Ivanka Trump both singled out Smith for his role in fighting human trafficking.
“It’s great today to have Rep. Chris Smith join us, one of the earliest advocates in Congress to really combat this horrendous evil. Thank you for being here,” Ms. Trump said, calling his trafficking legislation a “landmark law,” and today’s 20th report “a milestone.”
Pompeo and Ambassador Richmond released the report, which empowers the State Department to press nations around the world to fight trafficking in their countries, or face world scrutiny through the TIP report, and possible U.S sanctions Click here to view the new 2020 report.
“The 2020 analysis is a tough but fair report,” Smith said. “Friends are taken to task. It appears to call balls and strikes accurately, unlike during the previous administration, where punches were pulled for political reasons. The TIP report takes modern day slavery head-on, providing a measuring stick for progress—or for regression, and sanction.”
“China continues to own the worst human trafficking rating of major nations in the world, scoring a Tier 3. Hong Kong, increasingly under the thumb of the Chinese government, is almost as bad, landing on the Tier 2 watchlist.”
Smith noted that the 2020 report listed Ireland, for the first time, on the Tier 2 watchlist.
“It’s a very disappointing rating but telling,” said Smith a Member of Congress with proud Irish heritage. “Since 2013, Ireland has failed to secure a single trafficking conviction, and has decreased victim protection efforts. Ireland deserves to be called out. Friends don’t let friends ignore trafficking abuses. With the eyes of the world now upon it, Ireland must do better.”
On brighter note, Smith said Namibia’s efforts to fight human trafficking led to a top rating for the country: “Namibia has earned a Tier 1 ranking, the best rating and one of the highest ratings ever in sub-Saharan Africa region, a proud accomplishment for the Namibian people and their government,” Smith said.
Each year, pursuant to Smith’s landmark law, the State Department assesses every country’s record on sex and labor trafficking, and focuses on prevention of trafficking, protection of victims, and prosecution of traffickers. Beyond establishing the TIP Office and the annual TIP Report, Smith’s law (Public Law 106-386) created other mutually reinforcing policies to prevent trafficking, prosecute traffickers and protect victims.
Thousands of human traffickers have been prosecuted and jailed pursuant to Smith’s law, including the charges brought against Jeffrey Epstein and the infamous convictions involving “Smallville” actress Allison Mack.
In 2019, President Trump signed Smith’s latest trafficking legislation, Frederick Douglass Trafficking Victims Prevention and Protection Reauthorization Act, the congressman’s fifth comprehensive anti-human trafficking bill to become law. Smith had previously authored three additional major U.S. laws to fight trafficking: the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2003 (P.L. 108-193), the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2005 (P.L. 109-164) and the International Megan’s Law (P.L. 114-119).
Under the TIP report, Tier 1 countries fully meet minimum standards for the elimination of human trafficking. Tier 2 countries do not meet the minimum standards but are making significant effort to do so. Tier 2 Watch List countries do not fully comply with the minimum standards and the absolute number of victims is severe or increasing, or there is a failure to provide evidence of increasing efforts as compared to the previous year, or the determination that a country is making significant efforts was based on commitments by the country to take additional future steps over the next year. Tier 3 countries do not meet the standards and are not making significant efforts to do so. Along with the embarrassment of being listed on Tier 3, such countries are potentially subject to sanctions by the U.S. government, including being barred from non-humanitarian, non-trade related foreign assistance, as well as certain educational and cultural exchange programs.