Aid agency says Obama administration “playing politics with the lives of children”
WASHINGTON, June 27, 2011—The U.S. State Department issued its annual Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report today, and the Christian humanitarian organization World Vision is disappointed the Obama administration continues to ignore critical provisions of the report.
In a joint letter to Secretary Clinton earlier this year, World Vision and other organizations expressed concern about the risks of improperly implementing an automatic downgrade provision that would demote countries which have not made progress in combating human trafficking, but those concerns were ignored.
"In 2008, when Congress reauthorized the Trafficking Victims Protection Act and introduced this automatic downgrade provision, there was cautious optimism that the administration would actually follow through on their promises to Congress and, more importantly, to children around the world trapped in slavery,” said Robert Zachritz, World Vision’s director for advocacy and government relations.
Today’s report also includes a list of countries that are known to have child soldiers in their militaries. This list includes four countries that received presidential waivers in 2010. The fact that the same countries are listed that also received waivers last year shows the administration has failed to engage these countries in a meaningful way to end their use of child soldiers.
"The Obama administration is playing politics with the lives of children around the world,” Zachritz said. ”It's easier for them to issue useless waivers that they'll never enforce than to actually confront global leaders on this critical issue. U.S. tax dollars should not fund militaries that use children as a weapon of war."
The report includes an evaluation of the United States’ own efforts to fight trafficking, which World Vision commends.
"We welcome the fact that this report evaluates our own progress on fighting trafficking here in the United States,” Zachritz said. “We should be held to the same standards we hold others to."
He cautioned, however, that promises need to be kept and much more needs to be done to end human trafficking and slavery.
"There's been a lot of talk but very little action from this administration to help fight slavery in our country and around the world."
About World Vision World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families, and their communities worldwide reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. We serve the world's poor -- regardless of religion, race, ethnicity or gender.For more information on their efforts, visit WorldVision.org/press or follow them on Twitter at @WorldVisionNews