U.S. State Department releases human trafficking report

June 28, 2011 at 10:59 AM
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WASHINGTON, June 28 (UPI) -- Libya, Myanmar, Sudan and Iran are among countries considered the worst internationally for human trafficking, a U.S. State Department report indicated.

The analysis, released Monday, ranks more than 180 countries in three levels, or "tiers," depending on conditions that subject men, women, and children to sex trafficking and forced labor. The report examines how traffickers operate, who are exploited and what the government is or isn't doing to protect citizens from human traffickers.

The State Department says 27 million people were victimized by human trafficking worldwide.

"We know trafficking in persons affects every region and every country in the world, but looking into the eyes of those girls and hearing their stories firsthand brought home for me once again the very real and personal tragedy of modern slavery," Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in a preface to the report.

When discussing the report Monday, Clinton said the report was a collaborative process involving ambassadors and embassies and non-government organizations, as well as the State Department in Washington.

"And it really does give us a snapshot about what's happening," she said. "It shows us where political will and political leadership are making a difference."

While achievements have been many, more must be done, Clinton said.

"[Governments] have taken important steps, but we have to really mix the commitments with actions in order to get results," she said.

The number of prosecutions worldwide remains static, Clinton said, adding, "[We] have to make sure that laws are implemented and that countries are using the tools that have been created for that."

Also, governments should work more closely with the private sector and use new supply-chain monitoring systems to alert consumers that goods and services are from "slavery-free, responsible sources," the secretary said.

"So while this report is encouraging more countries to come to the table, none of us can afford to be satisfied," Clinton said. "Just because a so-called developed country has well-established rules, laws and a strong criminal justice system, does not mean that any of us are doing everything we can. Even in these tight economic times, we need to look for creative ways to do better."

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