Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, reacted to the State Department’s 2014 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.  Eighteen countries’ tier rankings were downgraded since the 2013 Report, while 15 were upgraded. 

Chairman Royce said:  “The State Department’s Office to Monitor and Combat Human Trafficking does good, needed, and too-often overlooked work, much of which is reflected throughout this Report.   The office also has to wrestle with U.S. diplomats who would rather not tell uncomfortable truths about foreign governments whom they are trying to not offend.

“This year’s Rankings include deserved downgrades for countries like Laos and Pakistan.  We should ask why China's placement on the TIP Report was upgraded from Tier 3 to the Watch List when China continues to fail on the three core areas of protection, prevention, and prosecution. We know that the system of state-sponsored forced labor continues unchanged and that victims of trafficking from North Korea are routinely sent back to face further abuses.

“This year’s Report underscores how trafficking survivors are driving attention to this modern scourge.  Their voices hit home, literally — confronting us with the reality that these crimes are not just committed against faceless victims in faraway countries.  The Report quotes the powerful testimony before the Foreign Affairs Committee of Carissa Phelps, a former child prostitute trafficked within the United States who has become a lawyer and advocate for young women at risk.  It also features the case of Shyima Hall, who was held for years as a domestic child slave in my home community of Orange County, California.

“While public awareness is growing, the fight against traffickers will be a long one.  With more countries downgraded than upgraded in this year’s report, the trendlines are in the wrong direction, demanding more work from all.  Human trafficking is a growing problem.”