On October 28, 2000, President Clinton signed the Trafficking Victims Protection Act into law. It charges the State Department to direct and sponsor programs that combat slavery. It also is responsible for evaluating the abolition efforts of any nation with more than 100 slaves.
One of the primary tools the State Department uses is an annual Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report. It assigns each country one of three designations:
Non-trade sanctions will be enacted against Tier 3 countries if there has
been no change in their efforts (although the President can waive Tier 3 status
if he chooses to do so).
The TIP Report has had mixed results. The trade sanctions have been ineffective, but often countries listed as Tier 3 will be embarrassed into making changes. Passing a law against slavery is enough to bring a nation up to Tier 2 status. This has unfortunately led to laws that have no teeth, are not enforced, or punish the victim. In addition, President Bush chose to waive Tier 3 status in a number of cases based on political and/or economic factors.
What You Can Do (from the
A Crime So Monstrous website):
Worldwide, there are more slaves today than at any point in human history. But as a percentage of world population, there are fewer now than ever before. Within a generation, we can wipe the crime from the face of the earth.
Act. I. Understand the problem. Slaves are forced to work, under threat of violence, for no pay beyond subsistence.
Act II. Spread the word. Rally community organizations, write elected officials, and press every candidate for office in 2008 to commit to abolition.
Act III. Give to the Crime So Monstrous Fund which supports Free The Slaves and its British sister, Anti-Slavery International, the worlds oldest human rights organization.
This article was originally published in April 2008, and has been updated for the
March 2009 paperback release.
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