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Tillerson Releases Human Trafficking Report

The U.S. Department of State has released its 2017 Trafficking in Persons Report which highlights horrific crimes and the people working to end them.

“Human trafficking is one of the most tragic human rights issues of our time,” said Rex Tillerson, Secretary of State. “It splinters families, distorts global markets, undermines the rule of law and spurs other transnational criminal activity. It threatens public safety and national security.

“But worst of all, the crime robs human beings of their freedom and their dignity. That’s why we must pursue an end to the scourge of human trafficking.”

The focus of this year’s report is governments’ responsibilities under the Palermo Protocol to criminalize human trafficking in all its forms and to prosecute offenders. Tillerson urged the 17 countries that are not a party to the international Protocol to Prevent, Suppress, and Punish Trafficking in Persons to reconsider their position and to join the other countries who have made that commitment.

Last year, governments reported more than 9,000 convictions of human-trafficking crimes worldwide, up from past years. Tillerson mentioned a few highlights when releasing the report:

Last July, the president of Afghanistan ordered an investigation into institutionalized sexual abuse of children by police officers, including punishment for perpetrators. In January, a new law was enacted criminalizing bacha baazi, a practice that exploits boys for social and sexual entertainment. The government continues to investigate, prosecute and convict traffickers – including complicit government officials.

In the Ukraine – a country that has been on the Watch List for years – the office of the prosecutor general issued directives to improve investigations of trafficking and increased efforts to root out complicity, including convictions of police officers. A teacher at a government-run school, a government-run boarding school for orphans, has been arrested for trying to sell a child. And officials are now on notice that complicity in trafficking will be met with strict punishment.

In the Philippines, increased efforts to combat trafficking have led to the investigation of more than 500 trafficking cases and the arrest of 272 suspects – an 80 percent increase from 2015.

Source: Maritime Executive