The Chinese Government was downgraded by the U.S. Department of State today and designated as one of the worst offenders in the world in combating human trafficking—joining North Korea, Syria, Zimbabwe and Iran.
“China has become the sex and labor trafficking capital of the world,” said U.S. Rep. Chris Smith (NJ-04), the prime author of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA—Public Law 106-386) that, among its numerous provisions, authorized the State Department’s annual Trafficking in Persons Report (TIP report) that was released today.
“As a direct consequence of the barbaric one child per couple policy in effect since 1979, China has become the global magnate for sex traffickers,” Smith said. “Women and young girls have been—and are today being—reduced to commodities and coerced into prostitution. Without serious and sustained action by Beijing, it is only going to get worse.”
Smith said that “because tens of millions of girls have been systematically killed by sex selection abortion over the past three decades—resulting in an unprecedented number ‘missing’ women and girls—demand for prostituted women and “brides” is exploding in China.
Specifically the State Department’s TIP report said:
‘The Chinese government’s birth limitation policy and a cultural preference
for sons, create a skewed sex ratio of 118 boys to 100 girls in China, which
served as a key source of demand for the trafficking of foreign women as
brides for Chinese men and forced prostitution. Women from Burma,
Malaysia, Vietnam, and Mongolia are transported to China after being
recruited through marriage brokers or fraudulent employment offers, where
they are subsequently subjected to forced prostitution or forced labor…
Traffickers recruited girls and young women, often rural areas of China,
using a combination of fraudulent job offers, imposition of large travel fees,
and threats of physical or financial harm to obtain and maintain their service
State Department 2013 TIP Report pages 157-158 (emphasis added)
Smith pointed to the fact that the TIP report said “Chinese law remains inadequate to combat all forms of trafficking…and the Government of China’s efforts to protect trafficking victims remained inadequate…” (page 161)
He also underscored that the report says China’s “government continued to perpetuate human trafficking in at least 320 state-run institutions.” (page 159)
Smith said the Chinese government’s complicity in labor trafficking is a huge problem.
“I along with Congressman Frank Wolf visited one of those state-run institutions in the early 1990’s—Beijing Prison #1. We were shocked to observe the horrific conditions imposed on inmates including more than 40 Tiananmen Square human rights activists.”
Among other findings by the TIP report:
- Girls from the Tibet Autonomous Region are reportedly trafficked to other parts of China for domestic servitude and forced marriage.
- State-sponsored forced labor is part of a systemic form of repression known as “re-education through labor. The government reportedly profits from this forced labor, and many prisoners and detainees…”
- Well-organized international criminal syndicates and local gangs play key roles in both the outbound trafficking of Chinese women and girls and the inbound trafficking of foreign women and girls into China.
Smith, who wrote the law, said Tier 3 are countries whose governments do not fully comply with the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) and are not making significant efforts to do so.
The congressman said all Tier 3 countries are subject to potential sanctions that include: the United States using its voice and vote to deny such country loans from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and other multi-lateral banks, and barring non-humanitarian, non-trade related foreign assistance, as well as certain education and cultural exchange programs.
Since the TIP Report’s inception, more than 120 countries have enacted anti-trafficking laws and many countries have taken other steps required to significantly raise their tier rankings—citing the TIP Report as a key factor in their increased anti-trafficking response.
Smith has held more than 40 hearings on human rights abuses in China, including a hearing in April of this year that looked at China's trafficking record and included the testimony of a trafficked woman who was repatriated to North Korea, where she faced death for the "crime" of being trafficked. At the April 18 hearing on human trafficking, Smith called on China, Russia and Uzbekistan to be downgraded. China had remained on the ‘Watch List’ for nine years.
In addition to the original 2000 law which provided for the annual reports, Smith wrote two subsequent anti-trafficking laws (PL 108-193 and PL 109-164) increasing resources for crime prevention and expanding treatment assistance for victims.