WASHINGTON, D.C. – Polaris, a leader in the global fight to eradicate modern slavery and restore freedom to survivors, issued the following statement today after the release of the 2015 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report from the U.S. Department of State. The report lists each country in one of three tiers based on how well the governments meet the “minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking in persons” set by the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000.
Bradley Myles, CEO of Polaris, said:
“The State Department’s Trafficking in Persons Report is only an effective diplomatic tool in the fight against modern slavery if countries are ranked honestly. We are disappointed to see countries like Malaysia upgraded in the report’s rankings in order to expand trade relations. In particular, Malaysia was downgraded just last year to the lowest Tier 3 ranking for its failure to protect millions of migrant workers from forced labor, debt bondage, and sexual exploitation, and the country has not taken concrete steps to merit a higher ranking. Upgrades like this seriously weaken the the U.S. government’s credibility as it works to combat human trafficking around the world.
“Overall, the TIP report illustrates the long road ahead in our efforts to eradicate modern slavery in the United States and around the world. Every day, Polaris sees firsthand how this crime and abuse destroys people’s lives. By operating the National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC) hotline, we respond to nearly 100 new cases of human trafficking in just the United States each week.
“We encourage President Obama and Secretary Kerry to demonstrate greater leadership to fight this insidious abuse. Every government, including the United States, needs to increase support for local service providers so that long-term services and protections are available to victims. In addition, governments and civil society must facilitate stronger cross-border collaboration to eliminate the trafficking networks that are profiting off of the exploitation and abuse of millions of people. Human trafficking is a fluid and nimble crime that does not respect borders. Our efforts must reach across borders as well.”
People can receive help or report a tip of suspected human trafficking by calling the National Human Trafficking Resource Center at 1-888-373-7888 or by sending a text to Polaris at “BeFree” (233733).