Schumer calls sex trafficking in Saudi Arabia and other countries 'slavery'
by Sen.Charles Schumer (D-NY)
Today the State Department released a list of countries that are not doing enough to prevent international trafficking of people, especially women and children. U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer, who has previously led the efforts to track and punish international human traffickers, urged immediate action by the State Department to insure that countries, including some U.S. allies, take responsibility for putting an end to this horrific practice of buying and selling women and children. The Trafficking in Persons Office (TIP) at the State Department originally created in 2000 by a bill written by Senators Paul Wellstone and Sam Brownback has prepared annual reports on human trafficking. In 2003 Senators Schumer and Sam Brownback (R-KS) authored the bill that kept funds flowing to the TIP office, which is empowered to create this report and fight human trafficking around the world (known as the Paul and Sheila Wellstone Trafficking Victims Reauthorization Act).
Sen. Schumer said, "The Trafficking in Persons Office deserves a lot of credit for calling out the most egregious offenders of sex and human trafficking around the world. Those who engage in this modern form of slavery should be punished and the countries that harbor and turn a blind eye to this horrendous problem must be held accountable. The TIP office should be congratulated for their integrity in not letting any country, no matter their historical relationship with our country, permit the international trafficking of defenseless humans."
Fourteen countries could be subject to sanctions because they are not cracking down on trafficking. While four countries have been removed from the bottom of the list, eight new countries, including Bolivia, Cambodia, Jamaica, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Togo and the United Arab Emirates are now named at the top of the list (Tier 3 countries).
Sen. Schumer continued, "I am particularly disturbed that Saudi Arabia, according to today's report, 'does not comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so, particularly its failure to protect victims and prosecute those guilty of involuntary servitude.'"
"This only serves to strengthen the arguments many have made that this Administration is too close to the Saudi government and has not held them accountable to the most basic standards of humanity," Schumer concluded.
Between 600,000 to 800,000 people are bought and sold across international borders annually, the report said. Eighty per cent are female and 50 per cent are children.