Washington, D.C. – House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA) released the below statement in response to today’s release of the State Department’s 2016 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report.  The report catalogues modern-day slavery throughout the world, ranking 188 countries from Tier 1 to Tier 3, the lowest category, in which countries may face U.S. sanctions.  Amid alarming human rights conditions in some parts of Asia, the Middle East and Africa, more governments were downgraded than upgraded in this year’s rankings.

Chairman Royce said: “Fifteen years after the first TIP report, we are still in the thick of the fight against modern slavery.  Millions of people, including in our own nation, are vulnerable to trafficking.  Winning this fight for human rights, and basic dignity, will require relentless focus.

“The House Foreign Affairs Committee will scrutinize the specifics of this year’s report, particularly the upgraded rankings for Cambodia and Thailand, where government corruption plays a role in furthering human trafficking.  I certainly hope that this year’s rankings don’t reflect the types of political compromises that hurt last year’s report. The TIP report must continue to be an honest account of anti-trafficking efforts, period.”

Note: Chairman Royce is a long-time leader on human trafficking issues.  Earlier this year, the House passed Chairman Royce’s Trafficking Prevention in Foreign Affairs Contracting Act (H.R. 400), which works to ensure U.S. tax dollars do not go to contractors employing trafficked persons at U.S. embassies and other posts.