FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 21, 2012
Equality Now concerned that governments are lauded while victims languish
New York, NY – This past Tuesday, Secretary of State Hilary Clinton officially released the 2012 TIP report, stating at the ceremony, “Many governments have rallied around what we call the three P’s of fighting modern slavery: prevention, prosecution, and protection. And this report…gives a clear and honest assessment of where all of us are making progress on our commitments and where we are either standing still or even sliding backwards.” This annual report, self described as the world’s most comprehensive resource of anti-human trafficking efforts and mandated by the 2000 Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA), professes to reflect the “U.S. Government’s commitment to global leadership on this key human rights and law enforcement issue.” However, while Equality Now applauds the report’s comprehensive approach to victim support and protection, several conspicuous omissions and backsliding on the issue of prevention are concerning, including:
- Though increasing numbers of trafficking survivors testify to being sold to traffickers and pimps through online advertisement sites to “buyers” who can "order" sex with the same ease as buying furniture, the report does not adequately address the rising trend of online facilitation of sex trafficking, e.g. Equality Now’s Action re: Village Voice Media’s Backpage.com.
- The failure to mention that the U.S. has not reauthorized the federal anti-trafficking law -- the TVPA --which lapsed at the end of 2011. Instead the U.S. Congress has been wrangling over which agency should monitor financing for victim assistance as part of partisan fighting over health insurance and reproductive health.
- Despite a growing international consensus on the need to focus on the demand that fuels trafficking to effectively prevent it, the report appears to step back from last year’s progressive focus on combating demand. In contrast, the European Union Strategy on this issue, which was also released Tuesday, identified reducing demand as one of its key priorities. Ironically, many of the women and girls featured in the TIP report themselves express harrowing details of abuse driven by the demand for commercial sexual.
“While we welcome the report’s critical focus on putting the needs of victims and survivors at the center of anti-trafficking efforts, we are concerned about the disconnect between certain countries’ high rankings, particularly on efforts to reduce demand, and what we’re hearing from our partners on the ground,” stated Yasmeen Hassan, Global Director of Equality Now.