In an op-ed penned in the Washington Post, Ivanka Trump says President Trump’s administration is taking bold action against human trafficking, hitting countries that fail to tackle the crime with financial penalties.
Specifically, she points to countries ranked in Tier 3 of the US Trafficking in Persons Report, a global ranking of countries based on their anti-trafficking efforts. Tier 3 countries are those that have neither met the minimum standards nor made a significant effort to adequately identify and protect trafficking victims, punish traffickers, or prevent human trafficking.
Now the Trump administration says it will limit national-interest waivers and restrict certain types of foreign assistance for the nearly two dozen Tier 3 countries.
Writing in the Washington Post, Ivanka Trump explains:
The United States is an extraordinarily generous nation, but this administration will no longer use taxpayer dollars to support governments that consistently fail to address trafficking.
The United States will encourage Tier 3 countries to step up efforts to eliminate human trafficking, including the establishment of new laws and national action plans.
In his first month in office, the president said he was “prepared to bring the full force and weight of our government” to end human trafficking, and he signed an executive order directing federal law enforcement to prioritize dismantling the criminal organizations behind forced labor, sex trafficking, involuntary servitude and child exploitation.
Following the president’s directive, the Justice Department secured a record 499 human trafficking convictions in fiscal 2017, a 14 percent increase over the previous year. The director of national intelligence elevated human trafficking to a top priority for the U.S. intelligence community.
Ivanka Trump also points to trade deals made by the administration, such as the United States-Mexico-Canada agreement, which she says will uphold higher labor standards and ensure “U.S. workers won’t have to compete with foreign competitors who profit from forced labor.”
Finally, Ivanka points to the administration’s engagement with human trafficking survivors who serve on the U.S. Advisory Council on Human Trafficking. Together, she says they work to ensure “law enforcement, immigration authorities and customs officials have the training and resources to identify victims of trafficking at U.S. ports of entry and in local communities.”
However, not everyone in the anti-trafficking community agrees with Ivanka Trump’s assessment.
In response to her op-ed, Melysa Sperber, director of policy and government relations at Humanity United, pointed to hypocrisy in President Trump’s actions:
“The contradiction between the administration’s words and actions is on stark display in its disregard for the basic human rights of migrating families, many fleeing exploitation. While the administration was implementing a family-separation policy that resulted in the detention of toddlers, the State Department issued its annual Trafficking in Persons Report with a strong condemnation of countries that institutionalize children away from family settings. Stunningly, the administration had called its own policies inhumane,” she wrote in a Letter to the Editor.
“By painfully separating families and prosecuting asylum seekers as criminals, the administration empowers traffickers who target desperate men, women and children searching for refuge. These acts also signal an inexcusable lack of concern for those vulnerable to human trafficking and, in doing so, erode the United States’ long-standing leadership on combating trafficking worldwide.”