Washington -- The White House has determined
Burma, Cambodia, Cuba, the Democratic People's Republic
of Korea (DPRK) and Venezuela should be sanctioned under
the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) of 2000.
In a memorandum to the secretary of state,
President Bush directed that the United States deny assistance
-- ranging from participation in educational and cultural
exchange programs to certain nonhumanitarian, nontrade-related
funding -- to these five countries until their governments
comply with the act's minimum standards to combat trafficking
or make significant efforts to do so.
The TVPA, enacted on October 28, 2000, is
the most comprehensive U.S. law to address the various aspects
of trafficking in persons both internationally and domestically.
It establishes measures to prevent trafficking, protect
its victims and prosecute those accountable for trafficking.
The United States has condemned human trafficking
as a form of slavery and an affront to the principles of
human dignity and liberty. In remarks to the National Training
Conference on Human Trafficking in July 2004, Bush said:
"Human life is the gift of our Creator -- and it should
never be for sale."
Experts estimate up to 800,000 people are
trafficked across international borders every year. The
United States government is at the forefront in battling
this scourge. In 2004 alone, the United States provided
more than $96 million in foreign aid to help other countries
strengthen their anti-trafficking efforts via tougher legislation,
special law enforcement units and emergency shelter and
Each year, the U.S. Department of State
evaluates foreign governments on their efforts to fight
human trafficking and produces a report based on information
from American diplomats as well as nongovernmental organizations
and other groups. The report covering the year 2004, released
in June 2005, examined 150 nations. (See related
Countries are divided into three groups,
or tiers. Tier One means that a country fully meets the
requirements of the TVPA. Tier Two countries do not meet
the standards fully, but are working to improve. Tier Three
countries face possible restrictions in American aid or
For 2005, the United States identified 14
Tier Three countries: Bolivia, Burma, Cambodia, Cuba, Ecuador,
Jamaica, Kuwait, North Korea, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan,
Togo, the United Arab Emirates and Venezuela.
According to the White House memorandum
to the secretary of state, six of the 14 Tier Three countries
since have taken actions that averted the need for the president
to make a determination regarding sanctions and waivers:
Bolivia, Jamaica, Qatar, Sudan, Togo and the United Arab
Emirates. These countries have been placed on the "Special
Watch List" and will be re-evaluated in six months.
Ecuador, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia are also
on the Tier Three list for not complying with the TVPA's
minimum standards, but they have received presidential waivers
for sanctions "in the national interest of the United
States." Those countries will be reassessed within
For additional information, see Human
Victims Protection Act of 2000 (PDF format, 86 pages),
in Persons Report released in June 2005, and the Presidential
Determination with Respect to Foreign Governments' Efforts
Regarding Trafficking in Persons are available on the
State Department's Web site.
Washington File Staff Writer