China Finally Gets Human Trafficking Grade It Deserves, Tier 3 – a Failing Grade
Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), prime author of America’s landmark human trafficking law—the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (P.L. 106-386)—said “the Trump Administration deserves high praise for the designation of China as Tier 3—the worst tier possible—for its shameful complicity in sex and labor trafficking.”
“Secretary of State Rex Tillerson deserves the gratitude of victims and human rights defenders, calling out the Chinese government’s deplorable record and complicity in the cruelty of the sex and labor trafficking problem. China was given a pass 11 of the past 12 years, with both the Bush and Obama Administrations ignoring clear evidence of the Chinese government’s record.
“Hopefully, the new tier ranking coupled with robust diplomacy—including the imposition of sanctions authorized under Tier 3—will lead to systemic reforms that will save women and children’s lives and ensure that Chinese exports are not made with slave labor.”
According to Smith, China’s sex trafficking problem is driven in large part by a severe demographic imbalance—significantly more boys than girls. This imbalance was created by China’s 38-year effort to brutally enforce forced abortions, forced sterilizations and a cultural bias for sons. Economists estimate that 62 million girls are “missing” from the Chinese population, creating demand and opportunity for nefarious sex trafficking criminal enterprises.
“They turn women into commodities for sale,” said Smith.
The Congressional Executive Commission on China (CECC), Chaired by Smith, closely examines trafficking conditions each year in its Annual Report. In the past several years the Obama Administration whitewashed evidence of the labor trafficking of North Koreans, the persistence of forced labor in drug detoxification centers and other forms of administrative detention, as well as increases in the trafficking of women as brides or for commercial sexual exploitation from neighboring countries like Burma, Vietnam and Cambodia, including women with intellectual disabilities.
Chinese slave labor also harms the U.S. economy. The U.S. Labor Department expanded its list of goods made with forced or child labor in China—including in the sectors of artificial flowers, bricks, Christmas decorations, coal, cotton, electronics, footwear, garments, nails, textiles and toys.
Smith is the author of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act which created the Office of Trafficking in Persons and instituted the annual TIP Report, as well as other mutually reinforcing policies to prevent trafficking, prosecute traffickers and protect victims. He has held hundreds of hearings on human rights issues.
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 effort to do so. Along with the embarrassment of being listed on Tier 3, such countries are open to sanction by the U.S. government.
Tier 3 countries are subject to potential sanctions that include the United States using its voice and vote to deny such countries 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 educational and cultural exchange programs.