COMMISSION ON SECURITY & COOPERATION IN EUROPE: U.S. HELSINKI COMMISSION
A DECADE OF THE TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS REPORT
AMBASSADOR-AT-LARGE LUIS CDEBACA,
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE OFFICE TO MONITOR AND COMBAT TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS
MARIA GRAZIA GIAMMARINARO,
SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE AND COORDINATOR FOR COMBATING TRAFFICKING IN HUMAN
ORGANIZATION FOR SECURITY AND COOPERATION IN EUROPE
CEO AND CO-FOUNDER,
FREE THE SLAVES
HOLLY J. BURKHALTER,
VICE PRESIDENT FOR GOVERNMENT RELATIONS,
INTERNATIONAL JUSTICE MISSION
THE HEARING WAS HELD FROM 10:00 A.M. to 12:25 P.M. IN SVC 203/202 (CAPITOL
VISITOR CENTER), WASHINGTON, D.C., [REP. DARRELL ISSA (R-CA), AND REP. BENJAMIN
CARDIN (D-MD), CSCE], MODERATING
WEDNESDAY, JULY 14, 2010
REP. DARRELL ISSA (R-CA): Good morning and welcome all to this hearing on
trafficking in persons report. And our testimony today. I’m Congressman
Darrell Issa. Congressman Smith and I did not expect to running the,
initially, the hearing today. So if you’ll bear with me as I kind of limp my
way through introductions and so on, I hope you’ll forgive me.
The Helsinki Commission hearing on “‘A Decade in Trafficking in Persons
Report’, The Link between Revenue Transparency and Human Rights.” In the
chairman’s role – (chuckles) – as chairman of the Helsinki Commission, he has
worked extensively with Cochairman Alcee Hastings and Chris Smith, among other
colleagues, to end modern-day slavery. The Helsinki Commission’s lengthy
history and contribution to U.S. anti-trafficking legislation and compliance,
coupled with its close engagement with actors throughout –
And with that, I will turn this over to the chairman. (Laughter.) (Chuckles.)
It’s your opening statement.
MR.: Oh, good.
REP. ISSA: (Laughter.) I was saved. (Laughter.)
SEN. BENJAMIN L. CARDIN (D-MD): No, no, you –
REP. ISSA: No, please Ben. (Laughter.) It’s perfect. We’re only through
your first paragraph.
SEN. CARDIN: Oh. (Laughter.)
MR.: I think is where you compliment Mr. Issa – (inaudible) – second paragraph
SEN. CARDIN: Congressman Issa, great job. (Laughter.) Let me just compliment
you first. Welcome everybody. It’s nice to see as much interest in this
hearing as it really does deserve. And I want to compliment my colleagues. I
am going to turn the gavel over to Congressman Smith because there has been no
person in the Congress who has worked harder on this issue of trafficking than
Congressman Smith. He brought this issue to the United States Congress and to
the Helsinki Commission.
And as Congressman Issa was saying, this is modern-day slavery. It is, I
think, the best example of carrying out the comments of the 1975 Helsinki Final
Accords dealing with human rights, to deal with workable ways. And as a result
of the leadership of the Helsinki Commission, this issue was brought not only
to the attention of the OSCE but to the entire world.
As a result, we were able to get action within the OSCE, where every country
has an action plan to deal with trafficking, whether it’s an origin country, a
destination country or a transit country. All three are involved in the
problems of trafficking. And you cannot hide behind the fact that there is not
a problem in your country if you are a transit country or you’re an origin
country or a destination country.
And the TIP report, which was action passed by the United States Congress,
implemented by the State Department, is the most effective tool and unique tool
for diplomatic actions against countries that need to improve in dealing with
this issue. So today we really continue the attention of the Helsinki
Commission to make it clear that this is our highest priorities in dealing with
human rights. And we now have a tool that we think has been improved over
As you know, the TIP report this year for the first time evaluates our own
country, the United States, in its progress on dealing with this issue. Every
country can do better, including the United States of America. The challenges
continue to be difficult, but thanks to the work of the Helsinki Commission,
thanks to the work of Congressman Smith, thanks to the attention that the OSCE
has given to this issue, thanks to the work of our ambassador, we are making
progress and are affecting the lives of many, many people who otherwise would
have been undetected and we are very proud of that record.
And with that I’m going to turn the hearing over to Congressman Smith to act as
chairman. I have to leave briefly to go up on the Senate floor to give a
speech at some moment, but I will turn it over to Congressman Smith.
REP. CHRIS SMITH (R-NJ): Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. And thank you for
your leadership. It’s been a very collaborative effort on all human rights
issues, including human trafficking. And thank you for your leadership. And
we just – I think members of the staff certainly know it and maybe some of the
audience – we just returned from Oslo for the OSCE parliamentary assembly.
And frankly, it was a very productive one. There was not just one but several
supplementary items. I offered one myself on human trafficking. Much of the
conversation, especially in committee three dealing with human rights and
humanitarian issues, was focused on trafficking. So there was a – I mean, if
there was a zeitgeist of this conclave, it was trafficking and efforts that
needed to be deployed and employed to mitigate and hopefully end modern-day
By way of background – and I know Ambassador Luis CdeBaca knows this, but Ms.
Giammarinaro, welcome. It’s so great to see you, the special rep for the OSCE.
The TIP report almost didn’t happen. In 1998 I introduced a Trafficking
Victims Protection Act, held a whole series of hearings at the time. As
Chairman Cardin knows, I chaired both the human rights and humanitarian – and
international ops subcommittee of the foreign affairs and the Helsinki
Commission. And we had a number of hearings on it.
We heard from victims and probably the most compelling testimony we heard of
all testimony was from the victims who told us of the degrading, horrific
experiences that they underwent. And these were the brave women who came
forward to tell us. Others were so broken, we went and visited them in places
like St. Petersburg and elsewhere and heard their stories. And that helped
move the legislation, but it was a bipartisan piece of legislation.
Sam Gejdenson was the principal cosponsor. I was the prime sponsor. And we
rewrote it five times. I mean, we kept getting new ideas. Holly will remember
how many idea – Holly Burkhalter – how many times we got another idea, we put
it into the text. We finally got the markup, we passed it in the House and
then it almost died in the Senate. It took a full year for the Senate to even
take up the legislation. Then we got into a House-Senate conference committee
that lasted almost to the sine die of that Congress, the end of that Congress,
without being enacted.
There was opposition and support within the Clinton administration. Some
people thought at the State Department, we should never name names, we should
not have sanctions that are visited upon countries that show egregious behavior
with regards to human rights – that was Madeleine Albright’s opinion. I
respect it, but disagreed respectfully. But through a left-right,
conservative-liberal coalition, we were able to the Trafficking Victims
Protection Act signed into law. And it has been 10 years now that this TIP
report has been issued and it has gotten better every year in my opinion.
In addition to the analysis of other countries, we also put into place up to
life imprisonment for those who traffic. The hardest hurdles we had to deal
with on my side of the aisle – dealing with Mrs. Albright was on, no, don’t
name names, don’t sanction – on my side of the aisle was it was those who did
not want the T visa. They thought that the asylum provisions in the bill would
lead to an exploitation of trafficking claims.
We thought it would never happen. If anything, women were reluctant to come
forward and tell their stories. That was the experience that we thought was
reality and certainly it has turned out to be the case. And it’s still – the T
visa is not being implemented in the way that many of us would like, but
hopefully, hope springs eternal, we’ll do more. We also put money in here for
shelters, but we know we have a gaping hole on shelters domestically.
Last year, Doctor, you’ll find this very troubling, Shared Hope International
did an analysis working with other NGOs and found that about 100,000 American
girls, runaways – and Luis CdeBaca was at that launch when we explained and
heard from Shared Hope International and Linda Smith, former Congresswoman, who
was one of the leaders there, among others – the average age is 13, 100,000 of
our young girls, average age 13, runaways, who are compelled into slavery,
sometimes within 48 to 72 hours after their running away. It’s a terrible
blight and obviously a waste and a terrible impact on those girls’ lives.
So we’re doing more domestically, as we ought to. And in the ’03 act and the
’05 act – and you’ll find this, I think, interesting – we focused on
peacekeepers. I held a series of hearings on what the U.N. peacekeepers were
doing in the DR Congo and elsewhere and it was a terrible, terrible situation,
where young girls were being – again, 13 and 14 years old were being exploited
for a loaf of bread or something far less. So that’s another issue that we
have included in our analysis, as well as in our policy.
Let me just say that we have made real, significant, I think, progress within
the OSCE. Twenty-one OSCE countries are now what we call “tier one.”
Bosnia-Herzegovina is perhaps the best example of progress. Having started at
tier three in 2001 and attaining tier three (sic) just this year. Georgia went
from tier three – in other words, an egregious violator – to tier one this
decade and is completely surrounded by countries that are either tier two or
tier two watch list.
In the OSCE region, we do not have any countries that are yet officially tier
three, but have many who have been on the watch list for more than two years,
which means they must move up to tier two or down to tier three in the next
reporting cycle. These countries include Azerbaijan, Moldova, Russia,
Turkmenistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. This year, 2010, is a pivotal year
for these countries and we must make sure they have all the support that we can
offer to help them move up rather than down this scale. And why do we do that?
For the sake of the victims.
Tier one countries can also get stuck and stop improving. The point of plateau
is often maintained by a consistent demand for victims, making trafficking
lucrative for organized crime and too prevalent for law enforcement to
completely stamp out.
We have many challenges before us in the next decade of anti-trafficking work,
but perhaps one of the most important is ending the demand that drives
trafficking. We must increase public awareness, not only of trafficking that
is occurring around them, but also of buyer responsibility – women and children
are not commodities – and perhaps add a section to the report highlighting how
a country addresses the demand issue.
Let me finally say that at the conference, I included two provisions among many
in my supplementary item, Mr. Chairman, as you know, that deal with two best
practices that we need to replicate everywhere and especially, Doctor, within
the OSCE region.
One deals with the airline partners against human trafficking. We held a
briefing/hearing two weeks ago and heard from American Airlines – which is
taking the lead, among others, but they are the leads – on trying to empower
flight attendants especially, but the entirety of the flight crew, to be aware
of the signs of human trafficking, what trafficking looks like.
And if it doesn’t look right, pass that information on to the captain, who
signals law enforcement so that when these young women – and they’re usually
women or children – are deplaning, proper law enforcement can at least
ascertain whether or not there is a trafficking situation.
One of the flight attendants said that there were a half a dozen Russian women,
didn’t look right. This man just – it just didn’t smell right. Sure enough,
as they deplaned, all six of those women were trafficking victims and were
The other idea is the international Megan’s Law. Megan Kanka was a 7-year-old
little girl – and I’ll finish on this, Mr. Chairman – who was brutally slain in
my hometown of Hamilton Township, New Jersey, in 1994. This young woman –
young girl – didn’t know, as did her parents, that across the street, a
convicted pedophile lived and lurked. He got her into the house, raped her,
brutally murdered her. And that led to the enactment of in all 50 states and
the District of Columbia, of Megan’s Law. We now have a registry of about
700,000 sex offenders.
And in one of my bilaterals with a Thai delegation, I remember asking them –
this was four years ago – if we told you that so-and-so, who has been convicted
of pedophilia, is heading out to your country, what would you do? They said,
no way that person gets a visa.
We began working on Megan’s Law that day. It is out of the Foreign Affairs
Committee, has been waved on by the Judiciary Committee. We understand Justice
has some problem and whatever it is, we’d better work it out or we’ll have this
Congress end again without Megan’s Law being enacted. Notice and information
does empower and it will have the ability of ending the secrecy and the
impunity that these people operate in.
And finally, working with Holly, we do have a very important compact piece of
legislation – well over a hundred cosponsors. We’re trying to get that out of
committee as well to provide significant amounts of money with Congress that
enter into a compact, work out best practices and they will get enhanced
funding to put into place a strategy to end trafficking within their country.
So we’ve got a lot of things on the burner. If they sit on the burner, shame
on us that we have not moved them forward to end this cruel practice. And
thank you again for both of your tremendous leaderships.
SEN. CARDIN: Let me just observe something that Congressman Smith stated and
that is, we, the U.S. delegation has regularly brought the issue of trafficking
up at the parliamentary assembly. But this year was a little bit different.
We found that many other delegations brought up the issue of trafficking, which
means this is clearly a priority in many countries, which is a very healthy
development and one that we think will yield great results in protecting those
victims. Congressman Issa?
REP. ISSA: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And I’ll be brief. I’d like to hear the
testimony as soon as possible. When I came to Congress 10 years ago,
trafficking tended to be looking at the Thailand and the sex vacations and so
on. And as time went on and we began looking around the world – and I’m
getting to the TIP report – it became obvious that perhaps the least excusable
offender of human trafficking is the United States. And until this year, we
were not on the report.
Inexcusable because of the 12 million people from outside our country who are
here outside our laws, almost all of them came at least based on a promise of a
better life, came on the promise of good things to the richest country in the
world. And yet a great many of them were deceived. And in my own district,
many of them never made it here because coyotes abandoned them in the desert,
sometimes out of fear of apprehension, sometimes as part of a plan.
So concentrating around the world should never be to the exclusion of taking a
country that is probably the most unconscionable country not to deal with all
forms of trafficking, including the importation either for sex or for general
labor. And the United States is certainly a magnet of people who come with
promises and often those promises are incredibly false.
So as I look forward to the testimony and I look forward to working on areas
around the world in which the countries have not paid attention yet, I hope we
always remind ourselves that we have been the source of the dollars often for
bringing people and encouraging trafficking from all kinds of countries around
And Congressman Smith was talking about a flight attendant who said it didn’t
look right with one Russian man and six Russian women, no surprise that often
we are the magnet for that kind of activity. And so although they are the
victims, we have to take some of the blame if we’re not more comprehensive in
our thwarting those attempts.
So with that, Mr. Chairman, I yield back and look forward to the testimony.
SEN. CARDIN: Well, our first panel consists of two individuals whose positions
were part of the effort of the Helsinki Commission not only to make sure these
positions exist but to have the resources and support necessary to accomplish
their important work. The bios of our two witnesses are included in the
information that has been made available, so I’m just going to introduce them
with their titles so we can proceed. And after that, I will turn the gavel
over to Congressman Smith and I regret I do need to leave to be on the Senate
The first witness is Luis CdeBaca, the director of the State Department Office
to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons. And our other witness is Dr.
Maria Giammarinaro, who is the OSCE special representative and coordinator for
combating trafficking in human beings. Ambassador deBaca, glad to hear from
AMBASSADOR LUIS CDEBACA: Thank you, Sen. Cardin. And also to Rep. Smith and
Rep. Issa on behalf of all the members of the commission. We’d like to thank
you for your leadership and your commitment to ending modern slavery. The last
10 years has, as you’ve set forth, has seen many successes in this fight.
With more cases and more victim care has come a deepening of our collective
understanding of this crime, both as far its scope, as far its type, as far as
whose doorstep it should be attributed to. No longer simply being seen as the
business of the trafficker and their victim but instead how, as Mr. Issa
suggested, we ourselves often find, through the demand and the policies that we
have in place, things that puts government and civil society on the hook as
I’d like to highlight some of these understandings that 10 years’ worth of
report have given us. And in first doing it, I think that taking us back to
those early days may be illustrative. I think that when many of us started
working on this in the 1990s, trafficking in person was a little-understood
crime that was perpetrated in the shadows.
And if people thought of it at all, they thought of migrant women trapped by
false promises only to find themselves in brothels and strip clubs, whether in
Thailand, whether in Western Europe. The notion of the victim as a kidnapping
victim as opposed to the victim as someone who had found themselves in a
situation that they could not get out of. Victims who were enslaved in their
own countries were largely left protected, such as it was, simply by
exhortative international norms that had little if any reach inside of their
As Ann Gallagher writes, “In the 1990s, the discourse began to look at human
trafficking per se, not just as an incidental consideration when dealing with
other issues.” Typically it was seen as an adjunct to migration policy, the
legal or illegal regulation of prostitution or the work of human rights
mechanisms around the world.
Instead the understanding of the crime in the mid-1990s and since then has
developed such that, again, quoting Ann Gallagher, “The concept of trafficking
international law does not just refer to the process by which an individual is
moved into exploitation; it extends to include the maintenance of that person
in the situation of exploitation.” This shift to the conception of modern
slavery, I would say, is the defining of the last decade of this fight and is
reflected in the last 10 trafficking in victims’ reports.
I appreciate the nod, Mr. Smith, as far as the constant improvement. I thought
that I would actually bring, for old time’s sake, a copy of the first TIP
report. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen Courier 12-point font.
(Laughter.) But that kind of takes me back.
MR.: Can you tell if it was done on a selector?
AMB. CDEBACA: It looks like it might have been originally. I think one of the
things that we’ve seen and it’s not just that the report is perhaps more
authored and more comprehensive, but we also have a more comprehensive
understanding of what trafficking is. Not just this notion of focusing on the
enslavement as opposed to migration or movement, but also what the solution is
– the three-P paradigm that you were so instrumental in helping us develop:
prevention, protection and prosecution.
I certainly knew as a young prosecutor that unless we had protection measures
for the victims and unless we had prevention efforts in place, that I would
never be able to prosecute our way out of this. I think speaking for my
colleague at that point, as a judge in Italy in the late 1990s, I know that
this was something that Dr. Giammarinaro and I and others talked about, that we
could not simply use law enforcement tools, that we had to have prevention and
But so too, we can’t simply have an underground railroad manned by NGOs who
help victims and never bring them forward for the traffickers to be punished.
An interlocking paradigm. And that’s the Palermo protocol and that’s what the
United Nations brought us as we were able to successfully get that in place at
the same time as the TBPA.
But too often we see a convention ratified, laws passed to conform and then –
what else? To make it real takes coordination across agency lines, cooperation
across governments and the engagement and leadership of regional fora like the
OSCE. And frankly, it takes oversight and attention by parliamentarians,
whether it’s, for instance, Mr. Issa, the resolution on DHS and DOJ’s efforts
that I was able to help your staff with when I was still on the Judiciary
Committee staff – or there’s so many things that you’ve done, Mr. Smith, over
the last few years.
What that does is it propels the work of the international fora. It propels
the work of the international fora. It propels the work of the agencies
because they know that it’s not simply going and occasionally dusting off the
agency copy of the Palermo protocol. We’ve seen too many countries where that
is the norm and I think that as we get more and more parliamentarians involved,
it’s less likely for that to be the only bureaucratic response.
And we’ve seen results. Trafficking Victims Protection Act has three
reauthorizations, the ongoing attention, the Palermo protocol, offices such as
mine and that at the OSCE. But more importantly, the action plans and the laws
that have come online in countries around the world. The victims who have been
rescued and the offenders who have been prosecuted.
Without the trafficking in victims report over the last 10 years, I would
suggest that we would have no real way to assess the progress that’s been made,
no baseline standards, no information about the number of laws that are out
there, whether they’re sufficient, whether there are victim care in place and
no way to have meaningful diplomatic engagement.
I certainly do not subscribe to what some unfortunately were saying in ’98 and
’99 to you, Mr. Smith, as far as the effect of the rankings and the effect of
the naming. We have seen that as one of the most effective tools. It brings
countries to the table in a way that a report that simply drifts off into the
wind like a dandelion seed perhaps to take root or not does not do.
And so we think that this is something that the secretary is committed to. As
she said in June, the easiest way to get off tier three or tier two watch list
is not to complain or to try to work the system; it’s for countries to act.
Now, we’ve talked a little bit about – I think you raised Bosnia and
Herzegovina and that is a government that acted. It acted, but it didn’t act
alone. It acted because, in many ways, not just the United States but more
importantly the OSCE, the Helsinki Commission. The partnership with the
nongovernmental organizations in Bosnia, the convictions of the traffickers – I
would lay that not only at the good work of the Bosnian government, but also
for the OSCE’s trafficking office, specifically at the time, the stability pact
taskforce, which was funded and staffed in large part by the United States
through the Helsinki Commission.
It didn’t just provide technical assistance, but rather through the convening
authority, the OSCE kept the heat on Bosnia and other countries in the Balkans
to actually do something. The OSCE made sure that terms such as “national
action plan” or “national referral mechanism” wasn’t just an international
buzzword but instead something that triggered international and lasting change.
I mentioned some trends and I will try to very briefly touch on two of them
because the heightened understanding of the problem that we’ve seen that’s
reflected in this report is something that I think we’ve seen in the U.S. but
we’re starting to hear this from our international partners as well.
And one of those trends is the feminization of labor trafficking. Labor
trafficking for many years, either because we weren’t really looking at it or
we weren’t seeing what was in front of us or because of various political
winds, was once thought of as the male counterpart to sex trafficking of women.
Labor was for men; sex trafficking was for women. You dealt with them
separately and that was how things got done in a lot of places. But like their
brothers, husbands and sons, women are trapped in fields, farms, factories,
mines, homes and often suffer the dual demons of both forced labor and rape.
False promises. This is something that we’ve seen for men in labor
trafficking. The stereotype is the man who is lured through a false promise of
a good job only to have a huge recruiting fee or to have to pay off a smuggling
fee. Well, we’ve seen that as well as we looked at this status in the field –
as we look at what’s going on out in the enforcement community – we’ve seen
that as well with women.
And so we’re hoping that that new fraud in foreign labor recruiting crime that
was part of the 2008 reauthorization will not only be used successfully in the
case that’s going to trial in Kansas City this fall, but also will become a
model that we can take to the outside world – because that issue of fraud in
foreign recruiting, what those coyotes are telling people, what those folks in
the other countries, should be a crime no matter where the person ends up
enslaved. And if we have to reach out to South Asia or if we have to reach out
to Latin America to apprehend the people who give those lies and commit that
fraud, then we will do so.
I also want to point out – and I think that this is something that hopefully
will be addressed in some of the other testimony – the idea that some of the
worst abuses occurs behind closed doors in involuntary domestic servitude. In
some ways, these are the most vulnerable victims because unlike people in other
sectors, they often do not come in contact with anyone who might take pity on
them, who might help them out, who may get them to law enforcement.
We’ve seen cases of victims in domestic servitude here in the United States,
within 10 miles of where we said, who have been held captive for 20 or more
years wasting away, resigned to the idea that they will die in that home, that
no one will come to find them.
I was pleased to be able to participate in the recent gathering in Vienna
hosted by Judge Giammarinaro that brought experts together to confront this
heinous practice. And I’m glad that last month, the United States delegation
to the ILO was able to get strong language included in the negotiations over
the domestic servant convention that will hopefully come into force next year.
Going forward, the Obama administration is wholly committed to combating every
type of trafficking, whether sex trafficking, forced labor, at home or abroad,
no matter the citizenship or immigration status of the victims. And we do that
in continuation of the spirit of partnership and the work of our predecessors.
I personally, I think, have a reputation for being fairly impatient. And I
think that we should be impatient because we owe it to the survivors, the brave
survivors who testify against their traffickers, to the NGOs who often put
themselves in harm’s way to serve these victims, to the agents that go out and
dismantle these cases.
But we also have to be impatient because of the specter of those countless
people who are currently still in bondage, waiting and wondering, not even
knowing whether or not we’re looking for them. I think we can all be
impatient. As Sen. Cardin said, we can all do better. I thank you for your
support. I apologize for the length of this opening statement, but it’s an
important thing that I share your passion on. Thank you so much.
REP. SMITH: Ambassador CdeBaca, thank you very much for your testimony, for
your leadership. And you could have taken more time if you’d liked. Dr.
MARIA GRAZIA GIAMMARINARO: Thank you very much. I am honored to testify today
before the Helsinki Commission. And I would like to thank you for your kind
invitation, but also for holding this important hearing and for your dedication
to this challenging issue. This session is mostly dedicated to the Trafficking
in Persons Report and, first of all, I would like to say that in the daily work
of my office, the TIP Report constitutes an extremely valuable source of
We welcome the inclusion of the U.S. as a country of assessment. And for the
first time, we have an overview of what is going on in one of the largest
destination countries and one of the most active in the fight against
I also appreciate the attention the 2010 report pays to important issues such
as labor trafficking, protection of victims’ rights and implications of
migration policies, as well as to preventive actions, such as those addressing
loopholes in labor recruitment, transparency and worker protection throughout
the supply chain. And I’m pleased to see that our policy approaches are in
line with one another.
Since 2000, the OSCE has adopted, as you know, important political commitments
to continually strengthen our efforts to combat trafficking in human beings.
And in 2003, the special representative was established as a high-level
mechanism to promote the implementation of OSCE commitments in the
participating states. And I’m honored to carry out this task now and I’m
personally committed to make trafficking in human beings even more strategic in
the OSCE commitments in the future.
I would like to touch upon two issues: my assessment of the state of play of
the antitrafficking struggle in the OSCE area and, secondly, the challenges we
What is the state of play? It is undeniable that many efforts have been made
by governments during the last 10 years. There is stronger political will to
prevent and combat trafficking and this is reflected in the works – more and
more, the works of the U.S., of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly and the works
of the permanent council. Not only this; necessary institutional machinery has
been set up almost everywhere. And this means coordination mechanisms. This
means monitoring mechanisms and national action plan, in addition to
However, not always these actions, the concrete actions are consistent with
declarations, especially in terms of resources allocated, capacities developed
and actual implementation of the action defined in the action plans. Despite
the progress, we cannot be satisfied. I tend to belong to the same category of
important people as Luis CdeBaca. And as special representative, I think it is
my duty to promote further improvement.
And of course, the starting point is to be clear and open about what is not
still going on very well, what we have to improve. Concerning the protection
of victims’ rights – and I start from this important issue because we know very
well that victims bear incredible human suffering as a consequence of
trafficking in human beings. Trafficking for sexual exploitation, of course,
severely undermines and devastates the freedom, dignity and health of victims,
mostly women and girls.
But also, trafficking for labor exploitation – and this is less obvious – very
often causes equal levels of human suffering as a result of inhuman working
conditions and living conditions, humiliation and starvation. Children are
subject to these and other forms of exploitation and bear scars as a result of
being deprived of education, health care and basic human nurture and protection.
And I think that, concerning the health consequences – very often what we see
in courtrooms and in shelters, victims of trafficking, both adults and
children, often share a similar profile to victims of torture. And this is the
reason why the protection of victims’ rights remains paramount in the
antitrafficking struggle, as Luis CdeBaca said.
And Joe has advocated for a human-rights-based approach, which has been
reaffirmed by the OSCE political antitrafficking commitments since 2000. This
approach has subsequently been endorsed by the Council of Europe and, more
recently, by the European Commission and the CIS Model Law. However, the rate
of victim identification is extremely low compared to the estimated scale of
trafficking. It’s still very low.
Too often, trafficked persons are either not identified as victims of crime or
are misidentified as regular migrants and deported. Despite the increasing
trend of reported cases, the criminal-justice response is still largely
inadequate. And not only in terms of the number of convictions: Often,
prosecution only reaches individual, final exploiters.
And in the meantime, trafficking proves mostly a business of organized crime
and mostly run by flexible criminal groups which are connected at the
international level. Corruption, reinvestment and money laundering remain
largely undetected. It is, therefore, imperative to handle every single case
with the aim of dismantling the entire transnational criminal network and hit
the proceeds of crime.
We have to admit that, although commitment and action have been taken,
trafficking in human beings is not still considered – and this is my assessment
– not very optimistic, I must say. It is not still considered a strategic
issue and does not raise the same level of concern as other human rights issues
such as torture or other transnational treats, such as drug trafficking.
I’m convinced that in my capacity I have to promote, first of all, a different
perception of trafficking in human beings. Trafficking should not be
considered as a marginal phenomenon concerning only sexual exploitation or
involving the profile of certain victims only. This is still the current
perception, the common perception of trafficking.
On the contrary, trafficking for any illicit purpose is a massive phenomenon of
modern-day slavery, an organized crime business and therefore a threat for
national and international security. It is imperative that antitrafficking
legislation and policy established over the past years now work on a much
larger scale, especially in the field of labor exploitation. I think this is
the real challenge we have to face. We have, now, the tooth, but we have to
use that in a more effective way.
My office concerning labor exploitation is dedicated to facilitate deeper
knowledge of this side of trafficking in human beings. We have conducted work
on trafficking in the agricultural sector and, more recently, trafficking for
the purpose of domestic servitude. And I’m really delighted that domestic
servitude was addressed by the TIP report of 2010 as a crucial issue.
Before concluding, I would now like to touch upon three crucial areas where, in
my view, substantial improvement is needed. And these areas concern, of
course, the three P’s: protection of victims’ rights, prosecution and
Protection of victims’ rights: Over the last decade, the OSCE approach to
promoting human-rights-based responses to trafficking through the
national-level mechanisms has received increased recognition. Such mechanisms,
however, have not been universally established or have not proven really
I therefore strongly advocate for early identification of and unconditional
assistance to trafficked persons. In other words, a victim must receive
immediate assistance and support as soon as there is the slightest indication
that she or he might have been subject to trafficking. This approach has
recently been confirmed by the European Court of Human Rights.
In the recent case of Rantsev vs. Cyprus and Russia, the court established an
obligation to protect not only victims, but also persons that might have been
trafficked or are at risk of being trafficked. And this means, for example,
that we have to lower the threshold of identification and granting of resident
status. Without that, assistance is not even possible.
Another challenging area is the protection of victims’ rights in criminal
proceedings. Victims should receive free legal counseling and representation
in criminal, civil and labor proceedings to be able to claim their rights. In
particular, the right to compensation is a crucial element of an empowerment
strategy enabling trafficked persons to gain ownership of their lives and their
The second challenge is prosecution. A priority is to deal effectively with
trafficking as organized crime by enhancing national capacity and international
cooperation in transnational cases. And my office is really committed in
capacity – in working with governments, especially concerning capacity-building
and training for law enforcement, prosecutors and judges.
Furthermore, trafficking cases, especially for labor exploitation, are rarely
qualified as such. Prosecutors and courts often apply related minor offenses,
such as the withholding of wages or harboring of aliens. A real challenge for
law enforcement, prosecutors and judges is to understand that a person,
although she or he has not been locked up in an apartment or in a workplace,
could nevertheless be coerced to stay in an exploitative situation because she
or he has no real and acceptable alternative.
Finally, the third challenge is preventing. And I would like to touch here
only on one aspect, namely, awareness-raising. Trafficking is modern-day
slavery and it is a widespread phenomenon. Awareness-raising should therefore
aim to build something similar to an antislavery, abolitionist movement in
which intellectuals, parliamentarians, artists, educators and students, private
sector, the media and members of the general public should feel committed. And
I thank you for your attention.
REP. SMITH: Thank you, Dr. Giammarinaro. Thank you very much for your
testimony, for your leadership within the OSCE. And I’d like to – (inaudible,
off mike). Let me just ask, first: Kazakhstan, obviously, is the
chair-in-office this year. I was one of those in the minority view, as it
turned out, who felt they should not get the chair-in-office until they had
attained at least a minimal respect for human rights, including trafficking.
They have been downgraded, as Luis CdeBaca will tell you, this year, to a
watch-list status because there has been deterioration. And I’m wondering, you
know, what your contacts have been with Kazakhstan.
I mean, if you’re chair-in-office, you should be setting the standard. You’re
up there, you know, in neon lights, saying we’re the leader. When it comes to
human rights, they have been clear laggards, but sadly, actually getting worse
in the trafficking area. So what’s your sense on Kazakhstan?
MS. GIAMMARINARO: The chairmanship-in-office, the Kazakh chairmanship, has
identified child trafficking as a priority, so we feel committed to work with
them because of course, it is important to keep trafficking high in the agenda.
And this means that Kazakhstan is ready to work with us to improve the
situation, the internal situation.
Actually, we are now carrying out a country assessment in Kazakhstan and a
visit – I will pay a visit in the fall to have direct contact with the
authorities because of course, our country assessment is part of the work we
carry out, together with governments, to promote the implementation of the
commitments. So it is important that Kazakhstan, you know, accepted to submit
the data, the figures and all the information available to carry out this
country assessment. So we look forward to work with them to promote further
REP. SMITH: Ambassador CdeBaca, your sense on Kazakhstan, why they were
AMB. CDEBACA: Well, I think it’s important to applaud and encourage the kind
of work that Kazakhstan has been doing at the OSCE, while at the same time
making sure that we work with the Kazakhs as to what they’re doing back home.
This is not unusual, to have a country that may have leadership, say, for
instance, in the U.N. system or the OSCE system, through their ministry of
But then you have to look at what the home ministry, the interior, the police,
et cetera are doing. You know, one of our big concerns on Kazakhstan is the
need for victim protection and identification. And we do think that the visit
of the special representative is going to have a salutary effect on that.
I think at the end of the day, Kazakhstan is a destination country, as well as
a source country. And yet you only have three foreign victims identified last
year, only 12 Kazakh victims of forced labor. And one of the big things that’s
a problem in Kazakhstan is not simply the cotton harvest – which, I think, a
lot of people have paid attention to in all of the Central Asian republics –
but even, you know, forest work and other things like that.
So I think that’s, at the end of the day, sharpening their victim
identification – there are a lot more sex-trafficking victims out there than
the three foreign victims that they were able to identify. And we hope that
with the work in the OSCE, that they’ll – much like we saw with the Balkans –
that the Central Asian republics will start that upward trend.
REP. SMITH: Let me just ask Dr. Giammarinaro again a couple of questions to
you. In our TIP Report, Holland is a tier-one country. And I, for the last
14-or-so years, have had an ongoing disagreement with the Dutch especially as
to the number of women who are, I believe, trafficked into Amsterdam.
Two-part question: One, your sense of the number of women who are sold like
commodities in Amsterdam, although there’ve been some changes, I know, in their
policies. Many of them are foreign women. And their own rapporteur some years
back suggested that there were elements of coercion – with regards to force,
fraud and coercion – with their presence there.
I go to many countries around the world and go to shelters and meet with their
parliamentarians and their executive branch on trafficking. I was in Brasilia,
I guess it was four years ago. I spent a week there talking about these kinds
of issues. I made a trip one day into Rio de Janeiro and, of all things, it
turned out that there was a woman who was rescued – a Brazilian woman – who was
there, who was on her way to Amsterdam.
And in a like manner, I was in Lagos a couple of years ago, and Abuja, but in
Lagos, I went to a trafficking shelter and met with a number of trafficking
victims who had been rescued, both from African countries, but also from Italy.
And in Rome, I went to a series of shelters there and met a number of Nigerian
And I guess the question would be, with regards to your mandate, you know,
obviously the OSCE region is not hermetically sealed. There are people coming
in and out from all over the world. How much do you expend effort, or do you
think your vision should be, to talk to countries like Nigeria, or talk to the
Brazilians or others, which are supplying – again, I hate the sense of the
commodity called a woman – to their sex exploitation? Do you have those kinds
MS. GIAMMARINARO: At the moment, my first commitment is to deal with OSCE
area, which is an area in which the floods of trafficking are enormous. And of
course, we have to deal also with relatively new phenomena such as internal
trafficking, which has been underestimated everywhere.
And now we have reports from, for example, in Germany, in the U.K., in the
Netherlands, in Belgium, cases of internal trafficking for sexual exploitation
are more and more reported. Internal trafficking for labor exploitation exists
in many countries of the OSCE area and, in particular, in Central Asia.
Of course, a further, you know, development of our activity could be to have an
improved and enhanced dialogue with countries of origin of floods of
trafficking coming to the OSCE area. And of course, some countries are
particularly important because Nigeria is a source country for sexual
exploitation of victims that are trafficked everywhere in the OSCE area. So I
look forward to this further development.
REP. SMITH: I appreciate that. And let me ask you, with regards to the police
– Holly Burkhalter will be speaking in the second panel and she works with the
International Justice Mission. And we were writing the first law and
established the minimum standards by which a country is judged – including our
own – tier one, tier two, tier three and now watch-list as well.
He was emphatic in testimony, as well as when we were in drafting sessions,
that you’ve got to include the police. You’ve got to keep that focus on the
police. If there’s an Achilles heel, it’s not necessarily a lawmaker or
somebody in the foreign ministry, although they can be weak links and enablers.
It is usually in the police.
And I’m wondering if you find in your work, as well as with the work with the
Strategic Police Matters Unit. Do you focus on the fact that the police – you
know, they’re the ones who can be bought off? They’re the ones on the scene.
I remember Gary brought – Gary Haugen from International Justice Mission – a
tape and he showed these little girls – it was India – but he showed how the
police had just enabled the whole thing. You know, they’re on the watch for
the pimps and the traffickers.
And one anecdotal that our commission dealt with a few years ago: We got
actionable information from Montenegro that, at a brothel, there were six
Ukrainian women. And the NGO that called us said, please, don’t send in the
local police. They’re part of the problem. So we called the president of
Montenegro. He sent in his special police. They rescued all but one, who was
unfortunately trafficked to another place.
But it underscored for me, forever, that if you don’t get the police right, you
don’t get any of it right. And I’m wondering what your sense on the police is.
MS. GIAMMARINARO: Yeah, absolutely. I can forward the data, if you like, but
I can say that we pay a lot of attention to the training for the police. And
there is – there are activities going on in many countries of the OSCE area.
Together with the specialized unit for the police and the secretariat, we are
carrying out different training, various training in different countries. And
also, the field operations have projects, which focus, again, on
capacity-building and, in particular, the training for law enforcement.
And this is because of course, identification of victims very much depends on
the skill of local police, of the normal police officer, which in every unit
should be able to identify indicators of trafficking. And this is, you know,
the main goal. Of course, this takes time because we have started with the
high-level officials and now, the next challenge is to reach more – in a more,
you know, in a more general way – the front-line law enforcement.
But absolutely, this is a priority. And we are trying now to involve more
prosecutors’ offices because law enforcement is largely on board. Prosecutors
have not been so active in the field of trafficking human beings and it is true
that there is still a big problem of interpretation and implementation of
Because as I said, one of the problems is that prosecutors and the courts try
to find evidence of coercion. And they should simply understand that coercion
could be exercised by means of – by subtle means; for example, by means of
abuse of a position of vulnerability. And this concept needs to be more, you
know, understood. And therefore, the criminal law should be implemented in a
more wide and correct way.
REP. SMITH: Let me just conclude with – and I know we’ll be meeting later and
I’d like to take this up with you further – but if you could consider at least
looking at this Megan’s Law concept, which I know the U.K. has. We have it.
It’s not perfect, but it does – it goes to the demand side. It goes to the
secrecy of individuals who have already shown themselves. They’ve been
convinced of this terrible crime and they recommit these crimes again. So for
the sake of children and vulnerable persons, the Megan’s Law, at least, is a
good crime-watch tool. And most European countries don’t have it and it seems
to me they should.
The second would be on the issue of the military: In 2002, President Bush
issued a zero-tolerance policy. We worked very closely with them on that. But
as we saw with the U.N., when they did likewise, I actually had a hearing in
which several of our witnesses said zero compliance. It is an open question
whether or not militaries are training, making their recruits and everybody up
the line of command knowledgeable about what is happening here.
And we just had another problem, as Luis CdeBaca knows, where we thought we had
the issue in South Korea under more control, that these so-called juicy bars,
as they call them, seem to be a conduit for selling women, especially Filipino
women. So the military is always a problem.
The real laggard, in my opinion, in the OSCE – because as you know, I’m the
special rep on the PA side – is Russia. They’ve always been a problem with
regards to their military. They have been reluctant at OSCE conferences to
talk about, you know, buy-in with best practices for that kind of exploitation.
Maybe you might want to speak with the Russian – whether or not their
military’s doing anything to try to combat human trafficking.
And I’ll never forget, I visited a trafficking shelter in Sarajevo. A nice
shelter, good shelter, but when I mentioned any kind of faith-based component –
either a visiting clergy, a Muslim imam or a priest or anyone – it was like a
foreign concept. I mean, they weren’t really against it. They had never even
thought about it.
Your predecessor and I had many arguments about the importance of faith-based
shelters. And I’ve been in shelters all over the world. I do think those that
aren’t faith-based do a wonderful job, but those that are faith-based also meet
a deep wound, especially in a woman, that might be helped with a spiritual
At least it ought to be included and not excluded, which, again – your
predecessor was adamant. We had arguments many times with regards to that.
And I’m wondering what your feeling is on faith-based shelter.
MS. GIAMMARINARO: Concerning the demand, the demand side should be absolutely
addressed, both for the demand of sexual services and the demand of cheap labor
because these are drivers of trafficking. How?
I’m very much convinced that one thing is education and culture. I think that
if we want to really address prevention in the long term – prevention of
trafficking – we have to promote a culture of equality and respect for
relationship between the sexes because this is the real problem behind.
Concerning further action, I think that the suggestion – it is not a binding
provision, but it is included in the Council of Europe convention on
trafficking in human beings, concerning the criminalization of users that
knowingly use services accepted from a trafficking person, can be a useful tool
to address the demand. Of course, one aspect that should be addressed, more
and more address, is the demand of cheap labor because this is also one thing
that we should look better into.
Concerning the military, the code of conduct of the military, we have just
started to develop, to think about that. We have commissioned a study because
we want to understand what actually happens on a daily basis and if the zero
tolerance and the code of conduct are really effective. It is, of course,
something that is absolutely crucial and it is on our agenda, so we’ll develop
– we will take action in this field.
Concerning the shelter, frankly speaking, I’m a bit hesitant concerning the
idea of a faith-based shelter. Personally speaking, I have a high appreciation
of some faith-based organization, including the Italian Catholic nuns with whom
I have worked a lot. And they do a fantastic job, for example, in Nigeria
because as you know, Italy is one of the countries of destination of Nigerian
But it is to take – in my view, it is clear that every shelter, whatever it is,
be it a government shelter or a shelter run by an NGO – in every shelter the
rights of victims should be respected. Their freedom of religion should be
respected. And they should be offered all the services concerning the
possibility, the actual possibility, of practice of their faith or their
So I think that we should be – you know, should pay attention to this problem
because it is one aspect of victims’ rights. So I think that from this point
of view, I would certainly, you know, pay more attention than in the past to
REP. ISSA: Doctor, I’d like to follow up on that by rephrasing the question.
Do you support that if there are multiple NGOs offering shelter, that
faith-based, or NGOs who are faith-based is maybe a better way to put it,
should be included in the opportunity – or another way of putting it, not
excluded from consideration. This is something we deal with even in the United
States, which is, in many cases we have faith-based organizations who are not
fighting to proselytize.
They’re simply fighting not to be excluded from being equally eligible to, if
you will, totally secular organizations. In our case, Catholic Charities
simply wants to have the same opportunity to offer homeless people shelters
regardless of – they’re not trying to convert, but they do want to be included.
So in that way – because you did seem to give Mr. Smith a little bit of the
same answer that your predecessor did, perhaps more diplomatically. I just
wanted to know, do you support that they not be excluded simply because they
come from a faith-based background?
MS. GIAMMARINARO: Definitely, yes. I think that no organization should be
excluded or discriminated on the basis of their, you know, identity, cultural
identity. So definitely, I think that faith-based organizations should not be
excluded or discriminated. But I think that they have to ensure the same level
of respect of victims’ rights.
In other words, what is the reason why I don’t like the expression faith-based
shelter? Because this suggests the idea that all the people that are in the
shelter should be selected or, you know, subjected to a certain cultural or
religious approach. If every organization ensures to victims the same level of
respect of their rights, I think that this is, you know, the basic requirement
for admission to funding. And of course, we couldn’t tolerate any
discrimination from this point of view.
REP. ISSA: Thank you. The problem of, for example, Mr. Smith mentioned
Kazakhstan. And I noted that when you look at Kazakhstan and you look at
Russia, they look very similar. And as you go through each of the former
Soviet satellites and assets, they all look very similar.
Would you say that we’re dealing with a culture in which you’re really not
dealing – even through you’re dealing with individual countries and trying to
get them to break away – you’re dealing with, to a great extent, post-Soviet
Russian influence in the region?
MS. GIAMMARINARO: Of course, the CIS area –
REP. ISSA: Particularly the ’stans.
MS. GIAMMARINARO: The legacy, of course, is there. It is undeniable that
there are commonalities. But there are also big differences. And actually,
according to my mandate, I have to work with every government and try to
achieve the best results I can in a cooperative –
REP. ISSA: And the reason I was asking is, if we don’t succeed with Russia –
and we have not succeeded with Russia – isn’t it, in a sense, a ripple effect,
that by not getting Russia to improve – and I’ve been to most of the ’stans.
Most of them, along with most of the other countries, have deliberately
implanted huge amounts of Russians during the Soviet period who are, in many
cases – in some cases, ostracized, but in some cases, very much still in
Isn’t the linchpin to this whole thing getting Russia to make a material change
so that the culture that they created, particularly as to prostitution, can be,
over time, justified for a change? And conversely, if you don’t change Russia,
don’t you, in a sense, have to peel off each of these with a much greater
MS. GIAMMARINARO: If we don’t succeed, we will think about that. (Chuckles.)
REP. ISSA: Ambassador? I saw your head shaking, so I’m guessing that the
Russia-centric is part of your radar.
AMB. CDEBACA: On several levels. I think that, first of all, on – just as we
have to deal with the Commonwealth countries in a particular way because of a
shared understanding of how much a judge can do, as opposed to the prosecutor
or the legislator, in the British legal system, the post-Soviet legal system
and updating that, I think, has had some very particular impacts in the
A few countries have tried to take steps to consider what we’d consider a more
European or a more American-style antitrafficking law. But it’s the context
of, kind of, a Russian legal tradition.
REP. ISSA: Russia’s gift included this curse.
AMB. CDEBACA: Well, the gift of the legal tradition, one of the things that it
did is it kind of stamps out entrepreneurial behavior on the part of what we
would look to as the leaders in the fight. Typically, it’s your up-and-coming
police colonels or your up-and-coming folks in a ministry somewhere.
And yet, especially in the policing and the prosecutor’s office, if they don’t
have the authorizing legislation first to allow them to, then, also enact the –
to go out and act upon the penal code, then it’s illegal for them to do so.
And they also don’t have discretion. They have to charge the crimes that are
in front of them. And so you don’t have a situation like here in the United
States, where a prosecutor can use their discretion to not charge the victims
with a prostitution offense, knowing that they were enslaved by their pimp. In
a lot of the former Soviet states, that’s one of our first hurdles, is to try
to teach prosecutorial discretion.
So I think that there’s a lot of remnants. Certainly, we also see in all of
the ’stans, the cotton harvest – which is, again, one of the big problems there
as far as labor trafficking – is because of how the Russians, when they were in
control, would staff the cotton harvest, taking all the kids out and sending
them into the fields.
REP. ISSA: Let me follow up on that. In many cases, in my understanding, in
all of those regions the people who are doing that – the children who are doing
that – it’s actually not illegal for them to do it. Isn’t that true? We face
the problem that unlike forced prostitution, denial of human rights, kidnapping
– all the things that are either implied or literally occurring in most human
trafficking – child labor is a concept that we have here at one level. And in
India, it’s a very different level, isn’t it?
AMB. CDEBACA: To some degree. I think that there’s a gradation. Child labor,
you know, has many different facets. I think that even those who work almost
wholly within that paradigm, the child labor paradigm, under the ILO
conventions, will admit that at the end of the spectrum is the prohibition
against enslavement. In the trafficking office, we tend to put all of our time
and effort into that portion.
REP. ISSA: Right, but in this report, it appears as though you don’t
differentiate as to whether the use of child labor up to 17 – and trust me, I
was in slave labor far below 17 in a family of six kids and one bathroom –
(chuckles) – some things you never forget.
So is one of the shortcomings in the TIP Report, perhaps, which we can’t say in
every case, you know, that 900 people were taken out of school between seven
and 17 in violation of their law? I didn’t find that as I scanned through a
number of those. And it concerned me only that if it’s in their violation of
their law, then they have made the effort to say, our standard is X. And then
they certainly should be judged harshly. But it didn’t appear to be there. Is
it there, but just not written?
AMB. CDEBACA: It’s there but not written. And I think that’s something that
we can look at. There have been – some of the teachers and some of the school
administrators have been punished in various of the ’stans for doing this. So
it is punishable. It is just not usually punished. So it does violate their
law. They’re not supposed to be doing it. And we take great pains to try to
differentiate the kids that are sent to the fields without threats versus the
ones who are –
REP. ISSA: Yeah, and I realize you have a limited amount of words that you can
put into each of these, but that would be helpful. Let me ask you just two
more questions that are more about initiatives. What efforts, particularly for
the State Department, can we bring to bear for harmonization?
It appears as though, as I look through the TIP Report – but just in general,
as I’ve traveled throughout the years on foreign affairs and so on – the first
thing we have to do is define things in a way in which a violation of our law
and a violation of their law become both the same violation.
I remember when we were dealing, early on in my life here, with Thailand and
creating a situation in which we could charge somebody who got an airplane
ticket to go have sex with a child in Thailand and we could charge them here in
the United States. And that wasn’t that hard, except that it was alien to our
And so we created it. But my understanding is a great many countries have not
signed on to that. So how can we make that protocol to where anyone who gets
on an airplane for sex tourism is equally in violation and the like?
AMB. CDEBACA: I think there’s a couple of things, both as far as the
substantive law – the Palermo Protocol gives us a good hook for that. The
minimum standards pushed countries toward it. One of the things that we often
get from tier-three and tier-two watch-list countries is, you know, that they
passed a law that they thought would comply with Palermo in, maybe, ’03, but
they just took the Palermo language and just slapped a penalty on it.
I was a prosecutor for a long time and that’s not really how you do it. Our
criminal laws, in the federal system, are actually thought out as to what the
prosecutor needs to prove in front of the jury and in front of the judge. The
Palermo Protocol –
REP. ISSA: And sometimes what the judge’s jury instructions must be.
AMB. CDEBACA: Exactly. And the jury instructions are certainly a challenge,
but we have the common law that fleshes that out. So it’s knowable; it’s
provable in court. The Palermo Protocol was not negotiated for that purpose.
So a lot of countries are not coming back to us because they’ve seen the number
of cases that the U.S. has done.
We’ve done more cases than any other country in the last 10 years, under these
involuntary-servitude statutes, as updated by the TVPA. And so countries that
are doing countries under other laws that don’t really match, they look at that
and they say, well, how can we get a law for that? So we’re working with those
countries to get the substance.
As far as some of the procedural issues, especially extraterritorial
jurisdiction, this is something that we’re certainly raising. We’re getting
more traction, frankly, with, again, the common-law countries, but we also get
some traction with a number of the other source countries. So it’s a
discussion that we have with Germany, with Switzerland, et cetera. We’re
starting to see more and more countries step up and punish their folks when
they commit crimes in other countries.
I think it really is the wave of the future when it comes to slavery and
involuntary servitude because the trafficking – especially after this European
Court of Human Rights decision in the case against Russia and Cyprus – it
really shows that this is a responsibility of the state, to protect trafficking
victims. And I think that that responsibility goes with your nations, no
matter where they are.
REP. ISSA: Doctor, in the United States we often talk, do we have a nexus? Do
we have a hook that gives us jurisdiction? The federal government talks about
it. The states talk about it. When there’s an interstate activity, often the
challenge is that part of the crime is in one state, but it’s not a crime fully
and another part’s in another state. So we have a federal umbrella.
However, when it comes to things like the Holocaust, we made a global decision
that crimes against humanity would be triable virtually in any country on
earth, that no country would lack the ability to try, nor would there be, in
most cases, an absence of extradition capability. We don’t seem to have it in
human trafficking. Is there a path you can see, particularly with the European
Union and the new entrants and the wannabe new entrants, like Turkey and so on?
Do you see the opportunity to create a global or a near-global alliance, where
any person who is in any way involved in human trafficking – even if it’s not
fully a crime, but over multiple countries would be a crime – would create
enough nexus for any signatory to be able to attempt to prosecute or to
extradite, as we would with crimes against humanity?
Do you see that as something that we should be looking at in the long run, so
that no one could run; no one could hide? The norms of a country, if you
ignore a crime, wouldn’t change the fact that evidence gathered could then be
ultimately used, if that person or anybody involved left that country and went
to a third country more sympathetic or more willing to prosecute?
MS. GIAMMARINARO: Definitely, I am in favor of the –
REP. ISSA: That’s why we all have good staff, is so you get your answer plus
another answer. She was very quick on that. (Laughter.) It’s the same answer
you were going to give.
MS. GIAMMARINARO: I’m absolutely in favor of the enlargement of the
extraterritorial jurisdiction. I don’t know if it’s feasible, the idea of a
universal jurisdiction, but I can say that I will continue to advocate at least
for an enlargement of the extraterritorial jurisdiction in cases in which the
crime is committed abroad, by a national or an habitual resident, or the victim
is a national.
Because my idea – and I have been – and until three months ago, I was seconded
to the European Commission and I drafted the new proposal of the European
Commission, where this principle is reflected and I issued an opinion. The
European parliament is even more onboard on this idea of enlarging the
But just to say that something is moving on, on this field, it is true that
there is a reaction from governments, of course. For good and bad reasons –
(chuckles) – they resist to the idea of an enlargement of extraterritorial
But in the case of trafficking, I think it is absolutely necessary because we
have to face, for example, the phenomenon of criminal groups that are extremely
– that, you know, move from a country to another country and commit horrible
crimes. And these groups, for example, have established the center of their
criminal interests in a country which is not the country of nationality. And
this country where the most important part of the criminal activities takes
part because the organization is there should take responsibility for
prosecuting these people even when they commit the crime of trafficking abroad.
So for trafficking, there is even specific reason why extraterritorial
jurisdiction should be enlarged. Of course, if we managed to present and to be
convincing in the idea of – I try all the time to support that trafficking is
one of the most serious crimes in the international arena. It’s a crime
against humanity in the International Criminal Court statutes. This deserves
universal jurisdiction. We could start to advocate this. Of course, we know
that this will be a long, long wait.
REP. ISSA: Well, I’m going to close by just saying because of my primary
ongoing conversations with the European Union and its members, I, for one,
would think that if we cannot have, if you will, a Geneva
Convention-equivalent, as it is on war crimes, if we can’t have that between
members of the European Union and the North American alliance – at least Canada
and the U.S. – then you’re right, we won’t achieve it.
But it would seem almost impossible that we wouldn’t be able to get a
trans-Atlantic agreement that would at least allow for the concept of
you-try-or-you-deport, and that the extradition improvement, or greater ability
to extradite, would be a great impetus for prosecutors including here to say,
oh no, it’s too much trouble to do that, and there are all these questions.
So before the State Department endlessly gets into it, the answer is, well, you
have the ability to prosecute. If you prosecute, the State Department is out
of it; if you fail to prosecute, then extradition could be inevitability.
And my goal would be at least to have a dialogue and hopefully that can be
taken back to the secretary that it seems like we could start it between the
U.S. and the European Union and then take it and expand it to countries who are
not as likely to be tier one.
AMB. CDEBACA: Mr. Issa, if I may.
REP. ISSA: Yes, Ambassador.
AMB. CDEBACA: And I don’t want Harold Koh to jump through the ceiling and tell
me not to say this, but –
REP. ISSA: Are you saying the administration listens?
AMB. CDEBACA: Well, we’ll see. I think – not having looked at this in that
depth, but I will when I get back and we will raise this as far as the dialogue
– it’s very interesting because the two primary founding principles of
international law were slavery and piracy. And the United States and Britain
with the 1808 Slave Trade Act actually declared that we had – and Britain
declared that they had – extraterritorial jurisdiction to prosecute those who
they caught moving slaves across the Atlantic. So I think that there’s
REP. ISSA: Or to go to Tripoli and just wipe out the pirates.
AMB. CDEBACA: Well, that was on the piracy side. (Laughter.) So it’s, you
know – but I think those two – and we see that in Somalia with the pirates
right now. We see that, potentially that’s something that we could look at as
far as the trafficking situation. It’s something that I’ll take back and –
REP. ISSA: I appreciate that. Maybe old principles allow us to have a new
AMB. CDEBACA: Indeed.
REP. ISSA: Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
REP. SMITH: Let me just conclude with a couple of very quick questions.
First, we’re trying here in the United States to energize the corporate world
with both carrots and sticks. In 2003 with our first reauthorization of the
Trafficking Victims Protection Act, we put in provisions that would hold to
account those companies that get U.S. contracts, whether it be a DOD, State
Department or any other, that they have to certify that they are not enabling
or complicit with trafficking.
And nothing sharpens the mind of a CEO or a CFO knowing that they could lose,
not only will their employees be held to account, but they could lose the money
itself, the contract. That has worked to some extent.
And Mark Lagon, Ambassador Luis CdeBaca’s predecessor in his job as ambassador,
is working with LexisNexis and some other corporate entities to try to put
together an effort on human trafficking to get the corporate world fully
engaged in combating this modern-day scourge. And I’m wondering if you have
seen any like-minded effort in Europe.
MS. GIAMMARINARO: Actually, what we are trying to do is to bring together
employers’ organizations, trade unions, migrant workers’ organizations and
enlarge the partnership. As special representative, I chair the Alliance
Against Trafficking in Persons, which includes international organizations and
the most active NGOs.
And now we are trying to enlarge this partnership and include trade unions,
employers’ organizations and migrant workers’ organizations because the idea is
that the labor dimension of trafficking should be addressed also involving the
private sector and the organizations that are active in the field of protection
of workers’ rights.
In addition, we have commissioned a study to build a sort of code of conduct
for employers because the idea is that in terms of prevention, we should have
as main actors the employers in the sense that they should put in place good
practice and that preventing all the situation in which trafficking flourishes.
So this is something which is on our agenda.
REP. SMITH: I appreciate that. And one final question with regards to
involuntary domestic servitude. If you might elaborate on the tenth Alliance
Against Trafficking conference, some of the findings especially as it relates
And to Ambassador CdeBaca, one of the more obscure parts of our original
Trafficking Victims Protection Act, title V was called, “The Battered Immigrant
Women Act” and that legislation, which doesn’t get, I don’t think, the kind of
enforcement that it deserves, is designed to help battered women, many of whom
would be undocumented or illegal aliens, who are fearful to come forward out of
the thought of being deported. And that’s held over their heads, so they
endure the battering and the exploitation so they won’t be deported.
And this legislation – and I did it – was designed to provide the Violence
Against Women Act protections over them as well, in addition to staying any
kind of deportation proceeding. And I’m wondering how that’s being enforced.
MS. GIAMMARINARO: Concerning the outcome of the conference, I could say that
one first outcome is the general concept that trafficking for domestic
servitude flourishes in a situation in which a domestic worker is not protected
enough in terms of regulation or labor law, et cetera. And so we welcome the
initiative of the ILO for this convention to better protect domestic worker in
general. And this in terms of prevention.
Another issue addressed by the conference is intersection between trafficking
for domestic servitude and migration policies in particular concerning the
possibility for the workers to change their employer because if the worker is
linked and his visa or her visa is linked to a particular employer, this means
that this person becomes immediately vulnerable to the worst forms of
exploitation because she or he has no alternative, has to stay with the same
player. So this is something to be looked better in terms of the regulation of
Another challenge is identification. Of course, these victims of trafficking
are completely isolated. So we have to think about regulation that enables
these people to have direct contact with the authorities which are in charge,
for example, of the renewal of their visa. The situation now is that all the
relationship with the authorities are normally mediated by the employers
themselves that take care of the renewal of the documentation, keep the
passports, et cetera. So we should try to find the way to reduce as much as
possible the social isolation of these people.
Finally, the conference addressed the very difficult problem of the domestic
servitude taking place in diplomats’ households. And this is, of course, as
you know very well, a big problem. And in these cases, it is difficult to – it
is impossible, of course, to prosecute at people that have diplomatic immunity
unless there is an initiative of the state of the nationality of the diplomat.
In general terms, I think that the most important thing is that every
government take responsibility for their own diplomats but also for what
happens in their territory because this is a focus, a sort of attention that
itself is a form of prevention. In addition, we have good practices in some –
in a few, actually – a few European countries, including Austria and Belgium.
And these practices consist of specific procedures that enable domestic workers
to be more autonomous, more independent, to have a direct relationship with the
authority, the immigration authority.
Of course, it is also to be explored the possibility of declaring a persona non
grata people that are suspected of carrying out domestic servitude in their
households. But the most important is that governments take responsibility for
this phenomenon that so far has been completely forgotten.
AMB. CDEBACA: Before I address your question about the battered immigrant
women, I would like to slipstream for a moment on the references that the
special representative has put together on the diplomats because one of the
things that we’ve done just in the last few months is we have issued formal
guidelines for the United States diplomats and employees working overseas and
their chief of mission authority as to how they can treat any domestic workers
that they have, including the fact that they can face removal from employment
and federal prosecution were they to abuse workers overseas.
So again, that’s one of the places where we’re making sure that our
jurisdiction to prosecute here in the United States something that one of our
diplomats does in another country is clear to everyone. And there was a case
several years ago that had been done with a returned diplomat in the Northern
Virginia, in the eastern district of Virginia as well. So it’s something that
we take very seriously not just through our diplomacy but in the secretary’s
role as the head of this particular organization.
As far as the Battered Immigrant Women Act, portions of the TBPA, as you
mentioned, Mr. Smith, the U visa is a very important part of the TBPA. It’s
not limited to trafficking, although there is – the word “trafficking” was
included in there, kind of belts and suspenders. There have been many more –
unfortunately, there is much more domestic abuse and other generalized crime
against women than just trafficking, human trafficking, kind of the equivalent,
as I think Congress declared in the ’96 immigration act, human trafficking
being the equivalent of kidnapping and extortion. So luckily there is not as
much of it as there is of some of these other crimes.
The battered immigrant women, much larger numbers and many more visas have been
issued – over 10,000 in the last 10 years. Unfortunately the DHS doesn’t
disaggregate the U visa as to what crime it was issued for and so I can’t tell
you how many of those was domestic violence versus a different type of crime
that the victim may have suffered.
One of the things that I think is exciting about this year is that the
Department of Labor has now issue guidelines to their wage and hour
investigators as coming into line with the EEOC. Our civil partners, those who
are not the FBI or INS or ICE – our civil partners actually looking to see
whether or not they should be getting those letters out saying, you know,
you’re entitled to a U visa, et cetera. So we think that having DOL at EEOC
brought online is going to be a very positive step.
But the other trend is something that is pointed out in this year’s report and
I think that it needs, frankly, needs some work. And that is, as more and more
state and local law enforcement are participating in the 287(g) enforcements
under the immigration act that allows them to do local enforcement of
immigration laws, they have very limited training on T and U visas.
The training that they get, it’s unclear as to whether there has been an impact
as far as the state and local cops bringing women forward in order to get the U
visas. So that’s something that, again, it’s in our recommendations this year.
DHS was very forthright when we went to them and said, we think that we need
to put this in the report. And I think that that puts us in good stead; we may
be coming to talk to you about it. Thank you.
SEN. CARDIN: Well, let me thank both of you for your testimony. I do have
just one question for the special representative. And that is, you have
indicated in your testimony the importance of having the position at a high
level within the OSCE as the special representative.
My question is, basically, do you have the adequate resources and access within
the OSCE to accomplish your mission as effectively as you would like to? Are
there concerns that we should be aware of in the U.S. Helsinki Commission to
assist you within the OSCE network so that you do get the type of access and
the type of resources necessary to carry out your mission?
MS. GIAMMARINARO: Of course, we have an office. We have 10 people, very
committed and skilled people. So we have a good basis to work. And we have a
budget which allows us to carry out a number of good initiatives. But we are
now thinking about the fact that we should raise fund to be more active in
terms of projects because it is true that so far projects have been carried out
by ODIHR and by the field operations.
But in order to make the action of the special representative office more
effective, we need more funds. So of course, we have the possibility to ask
for extra budgetary funds, but this procedure is particularly difficult because
for every project, we have to call for donors, we have to try to interest a
number of donors, et cetera.
We are now thinking about the fact that probably it would be much easier and
better for us to have a sort of program, a sort of fund financing a program,
for example, for prevention. And according to this mandate concerning the
program, we could carry out projects without every time – (chuckles) – raising
fund for this particular project. A system not different from the ODIHR, ODIHR
financing of projects concerning trafficking.
Of course, we don’t want to allow any – we don’t want to promote any
competition with ODIHR. Of course, we have different features and these
resources should be additional resources. But I suggest the same structure,
the same functioning of this program funding because it has proven particularly
effective in the case of ODIHR. So this is something I would like to advocate
with participating states to make our action easier and more effective.
SEN. CARDIN: The reason I raise the question is that a special representative
is the special representative of the chair, which under the OSCE structure, of
course, the chair changes every year, which is a healthy thing for OSCE.
However, the predictability and permanency of our commitment in this area goes
beyond any one chairmanship or the interest of any one chair. And that’s why
there is the office of ODIHR to make it clear that the human rights commitment
of OSCE is one that has a permanent presence.
And I think we need to take a look within the structure as to whether moving
forward there is a need for a more permanent type of operation dealing with
trafficking. And the budgeting, of course, is the key factor. So we will
solicit your input as we take a look at ways in which we can make it clear that
our interest here is not just with one chairmanship but is one that’s
institutionalized within the OSCE.
MS. GIAMMARINARO: Yeah, this could be an interesting development, especially
because the special representative is a sui generis structure because it is
true that I belong both to the secretariat and to the chairmanship. So as
coordinator, I belong to the secretariat because, of course, I’m the head of
the office. As a representative, I belong to the chairmanship. But in fact,
this is not a bad situation because this ensures continuity and ensures also a
direct contact with delegations, which is the added value of being a
representative of the chairmanship.
Of course, there is also this bad side, which is linked to the fact the
chairmanship in office changes every year. But the good side is that the
special representative work together with the governments and I have direct
access not only to the chairmanship but to all the delegations. And so this
makes this mandate particularly effective, especially concerning advocacy and
technical assistance because this implies a close relationship.
Of course, another scenario could be that the special representative becomes an
institution. But of course, this is a different perspective, and I wonder
whether it is a good idea to have, you know, all the tasks concerning
trafficking in one single – under one single umbrella.
Because, after all, the idea that an institution – ODIHR – with autonomy
dealing with human rights can take action maybe more freely in the field of
human rights is, you know, a good way of complementing different angles of the
anti-trafficking struggle, because we need to work with governments and because
ultimately, the real results and improvements in anti-trafficking policy
depends on the political will of governments. So we need to work with them.
But we need, also, to speak openly about a certain number of issues. This is
something to be discussed, to be – think about. But for the moment, I think
that the feature of the special representative is effective. And if we have
more resources and the possibility to act more, you know, in an easier way on
our daily basis, I think that our action could – can be effective. At least,
we hope so.
SEN. CARDIN: Our commission has had the opportunity to meet with the chairs in
office, and the subject of trafficking is always on the agenda. And quite
frankly, as almost always brought up by the chair in office, so I think that it
has had the attention of the chair of office, which is important.
So I didn’t meant to imply, by the question, that there’s a concern of the
current effectiveness of the structure, but as you raised budgetary issues,
this is something that we want to take a look at to make sure that it does
continue to have a high priority in the OSCE, particularly during tough budget
years. These are not easy years.
I know in the parliamentary assembly, we just froze our budget, which is going
to cause some very difficult judgments to be made. Let me, again, thank our
two witnesses and appreciate the work that you’re doing and invite you to work
very closely with our commission. If there are ways that we can help either
your efforts, Mr. Ambassador, or your efforts, Madame Special Representative,
please let us know.
MS. GIAMMARINARO: Thank you.
SEN. CARDIN: We’ll move on to the second panel, and I know we do have a time
restraint in that, I believe, this facility is only available to a certain
hour. So we will try to move as efficiently as we can, understanding the time
Jolene Smith is the cofounder and CEO of Free the Slaves, a Washington,
D.C.-based, nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to eradicating modern
slavery around the world. And Holly Burkhalter is the vice president for
government relations of the International Justice Mission, a U.S.-based human
rights organization that provides legal services in 14 overseas offices to
victims of human rights violations and works to make public justice systems
accessible to the poor.
It’s a pleasure to have both of you here. Thank you for your patience with the
first panel. And we welcome your testimony. Your entire statements will be
made part of our record. And you may proceed as you wish. Ms. Smith?
JOLENE SMITH: Thank you, Chairman. Thank you, Congressman Smith. It’s an
honor to be here today in the presence of so many who made this report and the
reporting process possible for the last decade. In our experience as a
non-governmental organization, we have found that it has truly helped
strengthen and shape efforts of antislavery work around the world, including
the efforts of the United States.
Free the Slaves, as you may know, is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization
dedicated to ending slavery worldwide. We are engaged in constant,
on-the-ground liberation and rehabilitation/reintegration of people through
partnerships that we have with grassroots organizations in seven countries.
And this is in addition to our efforts in the United States.
Informed by these local partners and by our overseas staff, I would like to
highlight one of the major benefits that this report, and the reporting
process, has brought about, and also one example of how we think there might be
an enhancement to this process. So first, what is working? And that is law
enforcement emphasis with civil society collaboration and partnership.
For Free the Slaves, we knew things were changing when the death threats
started. And I know that, that’s a common occurrence among many people in this
room. Fortunately, it doesn’t happen all that regularly for Free the Slaves –
we’re fortunate in that manner – but with the mission of ending slavery, we
all, together, need to accept that, that’s going to happen, not least of which
because any time any of us succeeds in our work, criminals lose power and
money. It’s going to keep happening.
This particular threat was an indication that Ghana’s trafficking law, and
actually, the threat of using that law, was having an impact. So while it was
a horrible occurrence and we raced to make sure that everyone was going to be
safe while they continued their work, we also knew that this was a success
factor. And this is the case in every case where the rule of law is used to
benefit antislavery work. It is felt as much by the slaveholder as it is felt
by the two boys, in this case, who became free.
So in, roughly, 2007, two brothers – ages 6 and 8 – were trafficked by a woman
named Comfort Sam (sp) in Ghana. They were brought to the Lake Volta region.
And as you’ve probably guessed, they were forced into the fishing industry.
These boys were forced to spend more than 12 hours a day out in the boats,
usually with no food during that time. When the nets got tangled, the
slaveholder threw them overboard so that they could go down and untangle the
nets. The boys lived in fear, as one might imagine, of getting tangled in the
nets themselves and not being able to come up for air and drowning.
Our local partner, Challenging Heights, uncovered the situation and went
immediately to the slaveholder, Comfort Sam, actually, and her husband, Sammy
(sp), and demanded that the boys be released. But they would not budge.
Actually, moral suasion, in many cases around Lake Volta works when community
organizations will put enough pressure on the slaveholders and their neighbors
to make them relent. But in this case, they would not. The field workers then
did what they always do in these situations: go to the local police. Now,
this didn’t always work, but in recent years, it has been working better. And
in this case, it did.
The local police said to Comfort Sam and Sammy, you must bring these boys to
the police station tomorrow. And this is when Comfort Sam started taking even
more missteps. That night, she had her husband bring the boys to a faraway
village and just dump them alone. The next morning, because of the community
outreach that this group had been doing, a community worker – good Samaritan –
noticed the boys, figured out what was going on and called our partner, who got
the medical car and brought them to police so that they could give their
statement, and then brought them to a child slave rehabilitation center. So
after three years of this, the boys were free.
It was really a turning point when there was the real threat of law
enforcement. And that is the big lesson here, for us. This is really where
the value of the United States State Department emphasis on national
anti-trafficking laws and on prosecution is really visible, and especially
where there’s a successful partnership between civil society and law
enforcement. Because this trafficker would not be behind bars today, for nine
years – the first trafficking conviction in Ghana under this 2005 law for the
fishing industry – if it hadn’t been for the civil society. And likewise, the
boys wouldn’t be free if there wasn’t that real threat of use of police.
So in looking to the future, understanding that we have this solid base to
build upon, what is next? There are two common criticisms of the TIP reporting
process and the related diplomacy that perhaps point to how to help maximize
the use of the process itself. The critical truth is that there’s not enough
funding and there’s not enough influence for our common fight against slavery.
There’s just not.
There’s a reasonable argument that’s made sometimes that the countries that
need the most drastic improvements are also the countries that need the most
technical assistance and funding in order to get there. Without this
assistance will there really be significant improvements? Even if the funding
was not an obstacle, there remains the serious challenge of not enough
influence in some areas of the world with the highest incidences of trafficking.
How can the United States government and other governments have an impact in
these countries where diplomacy is simply not effective, or is not working
quickly enough? For example, what about the countries that remain on tier
three and consistently do not improve? Are we simply damning those people
inside that country to slavery for those who are enslaved? Also, what about
the countries that simply are not responsive to U.S. pressure?
We know that there are no easy answers, but the U.S. government has already
pointed the way and taken the lead in a possible way forward that actually
addresses both challenges, to a certain extent. The 2008 TVPRA includes a
mandate to incorporate what is called a slavery lens throughout U.S.
international assistance. And this is to ensure that assistance programs in
the United States do not run counter to U.S. anti-trafficking policy.
If you’re unfamiliar with the slavery lens, recall the profound and positive
impact that the gender lens had, implemented with international development in
the 1980s. It’s simply adding the perspective of human trafficking and
modern-day slavery into the common work of human rights, democracy-building,
education, et cetera. And these are all inextricably linked, and of course, we
have to deal with them all together, and really harnessing the power of
international aid organizations is one way to do that.
At best, incorporating the slavery lens within international development
assistance can have that same money do double duty. We have antislavery
outcomes at the same time as those funds are achieving their other aims. At
the very least, the development dollars with the slavery lens incorporated can
prevent funds from inadvertently being used in ways that cause people to fall
into slavery. And sadly, tragically, this is happening today.
For example, last week alone, I received a communication from our Nepal
director who reported this tragic situation. There’s a lovely, well-meaning
lone community program in a village in Nepal. And this was designed so that
villagers could come take out a low-interest loan and then use it for
income-generating activities. However, a couple of the members of this group
used that money to follow specious job opportunities overseas, which were
actually trafficking ruses.
So this donor, unfortunately, had to learn that their hard-earned dollars
actually had not gone into community incomes, but had gone into the pockets of
traffickers. And it had an insidious twist, of course, in that human beings
were enslaved. And this situation takes additional law enforcement, takes
additional social services, economic empowerment to make right.
In contrast, Free the Slaves tested the implementation of the slavery lens in
Nepal – actually, in other communities. And this is through working with the
World Bank in their Nepal program and the U.K.’s forestry program there. And
these are large anti-poverty and environmental programs that were already
existing. What we’ve done is simply make sure that all the workers are trained
in antislavery and trafficking and they conduct anti-trafficking, antislavery
training along with whatever else they’re doing. They also keep an eye out to
be able to detect trafficking and slavery cases.
These efforts alone, even though this is just a pilot for us, are reaching
600,000 households in Nepal over the next year. And these are already the
families that are most vulnerable to slavery and trafficking, because they had
already been detected as being the poorest of the poor in these communities.
And this is all with minimal additional cost to the core programs.
Free the slaves is beginning to work with USAID in a similar way to implement
this slavery lens mandate. Other donor governments, many of the OSCE states,
could join the United States and the U.K. in implementing the slavery lens.
And this really does help harness additional aid. If only the world’s top four
donor countries, all of them OSCE states, were to implement the slavery lens
throughout all of their programs, it would affect more than $50 billion in aid
Some of these benefits are directly quantifiable. For example, when a family
is detected to be in slavery and they are enslaved, they become something that
is quite different in their community. They become a consumer. That sounds
odd to us. Many of us are fighting against consumerism. However, when a
person comes out of slavery, what they mean by being a consumer is suddenly
being able to buy two meals a day, instead of eating the one that the
slaveholder gives them, or three meals a day; buying schoolbooks for their
children. And where are they buying these things? From the local shops. They
don’t have transportation to go out to the larger communities. They’re buying
them right there in those communities that are the poorest of the poor.
Ironically, some of those shops are owned, of course, by the wealthiest people
in the community: the slaveholder. So we’ve actually found cases where
slaveholders are making more money after their slaves are freed. In addition,
there are other sought-after development outcomes – decreased domestic violence
when people are freed sustainably, because it also involves training about
gender equality and such; anticorruption measures because people are no longer
willing to see their police be corrupt.
We call these added benefits the freedom dividend. And in some, we’re really
finding that doing antislavery work can actually bring about some mainstream
development aims that we all want anyway. However, what may be even more
critical than the funding is access and influence. And this is precisely in
the regions with very high incidences of slavery. Often, slavery is taking
place in locations at great distance from power, from government, even from
multinational corporations. It thrives in places where law enforcement and
basic government services are almost insignificant and where they are
In such places, countries’ tier ratings make very little difference. They may
make a difference in the capital city, and that is a very good step that we
fully support. Are they making a difference in the communities where most
slavery is happening? And I think we all have to answer that, that is no. So
in the farm field, the mine, the brothel, the home where slavery is occurring,
we need to find a different way, an additional way.
Often, the only outside presence with the resources and the potential to bring
about positive change in these communities are small organizations that are
funded by international development agencies. For all of these agencies’
limitations, their reach is virtually unparalleled. No other institutions are
reaching them. The mandate of the State Department is to rank countries based
on the extent of government action to combat trafficking according to minimum
standards defined by Congress.
In future years, Free the Slaves urges Congress to consider whether a minimum
standard for donor governments should include incorporating the slavery lens
throughout their assistance programs so as to prevent unintended consequences,
as well as to leverage additional resources for antislavery aims without
adverse affects to development programs. And what we found is actually to the
contrary; it’s to the benefit of development programs.
The U.S. government has taken that step. Free the Slaves believes that other
donor governments should be similarly responsible. To this end, Free the
Slaves encourages the State Department and its continued forward progress in
the TIP reporting process in the countries where it wields action-inducing
influence. Where it does not, Free the Slaves urges Congress to enact
additional minimum standards or other incentives that help achieve more
influence, resources and impact for the most needy. Thank you.
SEN. CARDIN: Well, thank you for your testimony. We’ve been joined by
Congresswoman Richardson. It’s nice to have you with us today. Ms. Burkhalter?
HOLLY BURKHALTER: Thank you for inviting International Justice Mission to join
you, Chairman Cardin. It’s a pleasure to see my old friend, Chris Smith. I’m
delighted to be here on behalf of our organization. I had hoped to bring you
as a witness the head of our investigations department, who is responsible for
all of our undercover work abroad in our 14 overseas offices, investigating not
just the crime of trafficking and slavery, but also, we work on sexual violence
and property-grabbing – property expropriation from widows and orphans.
But he’s just back from about a month in the field working on police training
programs with some of our partners and I could not drag him up here, as
jetlagged as he was. So now you have to put up with me. But it gives me a
chance to thank you, all three of you, for your interest and your leadership on
this important issue.
And just waxing slightly nostalgic, it being the 10th anniversary of the
Trafficking Victims Protection Act, it allows me to say that after 30-plus
years in the human rights field, there is something unique about this human
right violation. And I want to dwell on it just for a moment. I’ve worked, in
my many, many, many years with NGOs, including Human Rights Watch, Physicians
for Human Rights, and my current with work International Justice Mission, as
well as my seven years on Capitol Hill.
I’ve worked on many, many, many different kinds of terrible, terrible crimes –
genocide and war crimes, some torture and rape and blood diamonds, and we’ve
done a lot of that work together, Chris. But there’s something interesting
about the crime of trafficking and slavery, whether it is labor trafficking or
sex trafficking – and my organization does casework on both kinds.
What’s interesting to me about this crime, and gives me a sense of particular
urgency, is that it is truly and, sort of, uniquely stoppable by law
enforcement. And the reason why is because it’s an economic crime,
fundamentally. Certainly, for the victims, it’s a crime of gross violence and
degradation. And I was very touched by the previous witness describing the
sequela of trafficking and slavery to be very much akin to that experienced by
torture victims. I think that is correct. That is what we see among our
thousands of clients of both kinds of slavery – sexual exploitation, as well as
But in terms of the perpetrators, it’s an economic crime. And it is thus
uniquely, I think, stoppable by effective law enforcement in ways that, say,
child rape or other crimes that are very common, but how do you create a
deterrent against that? Of course, you need law enforcement, but what will
deter sick individuals from certain kinds of crimes, or how do you deter a
genocide when a whole government is involved are baffling. This is not
baffling. We actually know what stops economic crimes. What stops them and
what deters criminals is when they see a very real possibility that they’re
going to go to jail for what they’re doing.
And then that makes the profits to be had from selling human flesh to be just
slightly less impressive. And the higher the likelihood that, that supposed
customer is actually an undercover agent from a government or from an NGO
working with a government, the less likely or the less secure they’re going to
be offering that victim out to the public, if she or he is a victim of
commercial sexual exploitation, for example. If the customers can find them,
the police can find them.
So really, the Rosetta Stone, amongst all the things that need to be done,
first and foremost, countries’ laws against both labor slavery and commercial
sexual exploitation of minors and those forced have to be enforced. And what
IJM does in our 14 overseas offices is literally try to make countries’ laws
work for the poorest. And we work with governments, not against them. We
collaborate – we have to collaborate. You cannot create a deterrence against
the crime of trafficking by going in and buying slaves out of a brothel, as
tempting or as much as you might want to do that.
That does not create deterrence. The trafficker simply goes out and gets
another one. But if you work with local police, you help them with undercover
work, you bring these cases to their attention and then train them and work
with them and identify the good actors – and there always are some, no matter
how corrupt a police force is. There’s always people you can work with. And
then you go out and the police do their job with your assistance to rescue that
victim and, simultaneously, arrest the perpetrators. Victim relief without
perpetrator arrest and accountability is important – you get the victims – but
another victim will take her place.
So we strongly feel that programs that provide police assistance that’s not
just a one-off training at a nice hotel somewhere, but that engages with police
so that you know who the good guys are and who the bad guys are and you work
with a specially trained anti-trafficking unit, which has been very helpful to
us, so that you just literally do an end run around police that have been
accommodating the trade for all these years. So we’ve learned a lot in the
field. And if I had about, you know, six days – or 20 hours – I’d tell you all
But what I’m going to do, right now, instead, is turn from IJM’s work and talk
a little bit about this interesting creation of Congress, and that is the
trafficking in persons office at the State Department. Because I think this
unique crime that is so vast, but that is also uniquely vulnerable to pressure
from effective law enforcement and from public justice systems that work, and
from local NGOs like those that Free the Slaves work with, has been a – this
effort has been aided immensely by this extraordinary creation of Congress.
I have worked on lots of human rights law. I’ve written a lot of it. But
there’s never been anything like the TVPA of 2000 and its improvements over the
years, because you created unique capacities within the government that we
don’t have for other kinds of human rights violations. We don’t have this for
genocide. We don’t have this for rape – and I wish we did. But what we have
here in one agency, staffed by a very small number of people, I might add:
diplomatic expertise and monitoring expertise. Look what they did. Look at
that. That’s about six peoples’ work.
And they work around the clock, and they are the unsung – Mark Taylor and his
team are the unsung abolitionist heroes of our day. And they use that to make
it a living document. It saves lives because they are in dialogue with
counterparts abroad about the individual victims, about the perpetrators, about
the gaps and infirmities in local justice systems. And they know it cold
because they’re providing this kind of ever-more-excellent reporting and
monitoring so that we have this diplomatic and monitoring function that you
created in the 2000 act.
We also have a grant-making function, which I think is very, very important.
It’s often overlooked because it’s very small. The TIP office has about $22
million to spend this year, and Congress always boosts up the numbers. The
executive branch – Republic and Democrat alike – lowball it and Congress, which
likes the TIP office – and for good reason – brings those numbers up. But we
really – $22 million in the world we live in over the dozens and dozens of
countries where they’re making grants to NGOs, including IJM, is not going to –
is not a realistic way to face the coming decade.
They have proven to be good stewards of their grant money, and they need more
of it. And it’s for two reasons. One, I think even though the United States
provides other anti-trafficking systems through USAID and other spigots, I have
to say that the trafficking in persons office gets the resources closest to the
victims and the perpetrators. And they know it best, because they link it with
our diplomacy that you see reflected in that report. And to have a grant
program that will help governments deal with the very problems the TIP
diplomats are identifying is just strategic, and it’s smart.
And I think it’s important that we have more carrots for them to use. A, the
developing country governments need it. But B, I think TIP is seen as the kind
of in-house nag at the State Department. And with resources to help fix the
problems they identify, I think we’ll get more buy-in from our regional
representatives and the powerhouses at the State Department, which, all too
often, I’m afraid, are on the opposite side of a disagreement and are more
likely to defend the record of a country with whom we have an important
relation than join our friends at TIP.
We can have TIP doing the diplomacy alone. They need to have the fulsome
support of the rest of the State Department bureaucracy. We have a secretary
of state who is deeply committed to these issues. But the TIP issues need to
be shared. The trafficking office is on point, but we need to have resources
so that they aren’t seeing – the TIP diplomats – aren’t seen as some kind of a
skunk at the garden party when we deal with our overall relationships,
particularly with important countries.
As we look towards equipping the TIP office for the next decade and reflect on
the excellent job that they have done, it’s worthy of note that, unlike any
other human rights issue I’ve worked on, there has never been congressional
oversight of the work of any administration. It’s a bipartisan and nonpartisan
issue – as there has been on slavery and trafficking. And that’s a credit to
Mr. Smith and to many others in Congress. But the more interest you have, the
more interest that the executive branch has. And I think one of the reasons
that the TVPRA implementation has been so successful is because of these
oversight hearings. And there hasn’t been one for a couple of years and I’m
very happy that there’s one today. And I thank you for it.
You’ll get a chance to look deeply into these issues because the TVPRA will
again have to be reauthorized in 2011. And I think it would be great if we
could really look to the future and be more visionary about abolishing slavery
and trafficking and equipping this office to do it well. That means giving
them more money and more staff. That goes without saying. I’d like to ask you
to keep an eagle eye on the foreign aid reform process.
Foreign aid reform needs to happen. There’s good work being done. But I’ve
been hearing some rumblings about consolidating TIP’s function at USAID,
consolidating the Trafficking in Persons Report with the regular human rights
report. There’s a – that’s a reasonable and rational recommendation, but
please don’t do it. Do not do it. It is precisely the standalone and expert
nature of both the reporting and the grant-making that has made this office
such a success.
And it has been such a success that women working on violence against women
want to have one just like it. You know, they want to pull the issue out – and
with good reason – pull that issue out of USAID and get that focused
grant-making in the area of gender violence. It is something that people want
to emulate. Please don’t change one of the things that has been such a
So watch that space, both of you, in your respective perches at Senate Foreign
Relations Committee and House Foreign Affairs Committee. And in closing – and
forgive me for going over time on a busy day – I want to just direct your
attention to these countries that are on, for the second year, on the tier two
watch list. As you know, that watch list area was created by Congress to bring
special scrutiny to countries, including some very good friends of the United
States, that aren’t quite bad enough to be beyond the pale on tier three, or we
don’t feel, diplomatically, like we’re ready to put them there.
But they are supposed to get special attention, and it has kind of turned into
a parking lot for certain countries that have been on there six, seven years.
And Congress put an end to that in the last reauthorization of the TVPA in
December, 2008, and said, okay, two years and then it’s up or down or out. And
there are some important countries on that tier two list for the second year.
And that means this year is a banner year for effective diplomacy. Because
those countries don’t know whether they’re going to tier three or they’re going
up to tier two.
And this will be the time to lay very important issues before them. Let’s take
the case of the Philippines, where IJM has two offices. It’s a government that
has a terrible trafficking problem, have terrible sexual exploitation of
children. We have good working relationship with the government, but they have
a terrible problem in their courts. It takes, on average, five years to get a
conviction for a trafficking case. That is not a deterrent. They had exactly
eight convictions on sex trafficking last year in a country where there are
thousands and thousands of victims.
This is the year for the Philippines, with the new Aquino government, which has
expressed an interest in really getting on top of this problem – this is the
year for lots of diplomacy, lots of help, but also, lots of seriousness.
Because there’s many things that need to be done, and the Filipinos know what
they are. They need to eliminate corruption throughout the court process,
within the police, get specialized police units up and working well, and start
arresting perpetrators on a regular basis and closing down establishments
permanently that offer children. That problem’s not even going to begin to go
And I’m only using the Philippines as an example because I know it well, but it
is the second year on tier two watch, so it knows and we know that something
needs to happen. So I really would urge you to urge your colleagues to keep an
eye on India, the Philippines, Russia – other countries with problems that are
friends of the United States, but that need a boost and maybe also need a nudge
in this area. Well, I’ve got lots more to say, but I welcome the chance to be
here with you.
SEN. CARDIN: Well, let me tell you, both of your testimonies were extremely
important. And I did not want to interrupt your presentations because I think
they were extremely valuable to our oversight function. I’m going to ask our
colleagues to try to limit this round to five minutes so that we can be out at
the planned time for the use of the room. And let me make one observation
first, and that is, it’s important to put a face on this issue, so I really
appreciate, Ms. Smith, your testimony about the two boys.
We hear numbers, but unless you see the people – I’ve been to victim centers
and we had a chance to talk to the people who’ve been victimized – and
understand how this is affecting families and people – you’ve got to
personalize it a little bit more. And as important as the TIP report is,
you’ve got to personalize this. So I encourage you to continue to do that.
Both of you raised the issue of the importance of foreign assistance in the
soft power and the reauthorization of our foreign assistance programs.
Clearly, the United States is putting a higher priority on foreign aid today,
as a major tool for diplomacy. The lens that you talk about – the slavery lens
– of looking at foreign assistance is an interesting barometer. It would be
interesting to see how that could be incorporated into the TIP report for the
My guess is, we’ll get some resistance on that. And I say that in conjunction
with the fact that there are a lot of requirements on government agencies for
reporting. None are as visible or as well-documented as trafficking or the
human rights reports, generally. And I agree, Ms. Burkhalter, with your point
about preserving what is right, and that is the TIP report. We will be under
challenge, though, as other well-intended groups want to get this type of
visibility by government efficiency experts saying let’s combine everything
into one. So I think it’s something we really do need to be very careful about.
So I guess my question or comment to you is that I think you really need to
concentrate on the current efforts on soft power and foreign assistance, as it
will give new opportunities for us to enforce antislavery efforts through our
aid programs. We certainly don’t want to see our economic assistance to help
small businesses being used to promote slavery operations. And that’s
something that we have to demand accountability.
So I welcome your suggestions as to how this can be done effectively, working
with the human rights advocates, but not allowing us to diminish the importance
of the separate report on TIP. So that’s an open-ended invitation, not
necessarily to respond to a question, but an open-ended invitation to work with
us as we move forward. Congressman Smith?
REP. CHRIS SMITH (R-NJ): Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. I want to thank
our two very distinguished witnesses for their passionate commitment to ending
modern-day slavery. You really are an example, and I know Holly has helped, as
she put it, write some of our laws and has provided totally timely and very
valuable guidance, not just on this, but also on torture victims relief and
other issues from the past – 14 years with Human Rights Watch, nine years with
Physicians for Human Rights and all of the advocacy with IJM now is just – it’s
been tremendous what you’ve done, so I do want to thank you.
MS. BURKHALTER: Just getting old, Chris, the long and the short of it.
REP. SMITH: You did bring up the in-house powerhouses within the State
Department. And I want to – I’m glad you so lifted up the TIP office and its
employees, beginning with its ambassador, Luis CdeBaca, for the valiant effort
they wage against very powerful in-house interests, who do not want their
diplomacy in any way complicated with this issue of human trafficking.
And I find it. I know Chairman Cardin finds it as he travels. I’m sure we all
do. You know, human rights is an irritant to many. You know, they like to
have the low-level foreign service officer who handles the portfolio of human
rights – he can handle it, or she. Now that has changed with some of our
ambassadors who have done extraordinary work, so you can’t broad-brush it. But
in the beginning, you could. There was such pushback on the TIP effort. It
was very slow, even after the law was enacted, in getting put into place.
I actually chaired a hearing – an oversight hearing – and the Bush
administration was – you know, it said “shall” – you shall do this, you shall
do that. And they didn’t want to do it, or whatever the reason was. So we had
an oversight hearing and said, you will do it. It’s not a matter of – it
doesn’t say, “may.” But they were very upset because, you know, we were
getting in their face. That has to be done. It’s benign in your face. And
you do it so extraordinarily well.
You know, you try to work with the offending governments, find the good police,
as you said. There are good apples in every police force. There’s also a
whole lot of bad ones. But you know, nine countries – eight countries were
sanctioned, nine were waived. There are six in the OSCE region – Azerbaijan,
Moldova, Russia, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan – who are in that
parking lot – or used to be parking lot. They’re watch list countries that
will move up or down.
And I think your point is very well-taken that, that’s where we provide maximum
pressure right now to say, you know, there are sanctions – sword of Damocles –
hanging over your head and we will look to impose it. So more just a comment,
and then a question. But do you find – and you might want to answer this –
pushback? I know Luis CdeBaca wages a tough fight, as did all of his
predecessors, against DCMs, ambassadors, people in the hierarchy of the State
Department, who say, don’t put that country on the list. Leave China off.
Leave Vietnam off. Leave country X, Y or Z off. Put them on the watch list.
Is that your sense, too, that they’re getting better, or is it as bad as it has
been in the past?
MS. BURKHALTER: I’d have to let him answer that one because we are in-country
and a service organization and we are not a public critic or – of the countries
where we work. Yeah, I’ll let Lou answer that one. Excuse me, Chris.
REP. SMITH: Okay. Again, I just want to thank you so much for your work. Ms.
Smith, did you want to answer, or no?
MS. SMITH: We certainly have been in conversations with diplomatic officials
who are really struggling with these questions and about their own
recommendations over this, especially with trading partners. And that’s one of
the reasons why we feel that collaboration among trading partners is going to
be more and more important, and especially ensuring that trade agreements are
actually antislavery instruments, as well.
I think we’ve all got a lot more work to do on ensuring that, but especially
where there is a trading relationship, we all know, of course, that there are
going to be extra sensitivities. We need to turn those sensitivities in the
favor of people in antislavery work and of people in slavery today.
REP. SMITH: Thank you.
SEN. CARDIN: Congresswoman Richardson?
REP. LAURA RICHARDSON (D-CA): Thank you, Chairman and Senator. Let me, first
of all, say that I want to thank you for allowing me to participate in today’s
hearing, and also to allow me to go to the OSCE parliamentary meeting that we
had back in February. And unfortunately, I was not able to participate with
you this last week.
I also wanted to acknowledge – and I know she just stepped out, but I do want
to note her for the record – Dr. Jama Rinaharal (ph). And I’m sorry if I
butchered her name there, but I first met her when I attended the OSCE meeting,
and I think her work in this issue and her passion to work with us in a
collaborative way, speaking about partnerships and what we can do for diplomacy
– I think she’s leading in that effort. And so I was inspired by meeting her
and look forward to working with her.
A couple things regarding the TIP program, which you mentioned in your
testimony. When we had appropriations, I did, in fact, support increasing it
by three times, and unfortunately, the administration did not have the level
that many of us would liked to have seen. But I think various of us have
weighed in on that issue and hope to see the improvement, and appreciate your
comments, in terms of recommendations of what to do, of consolidating.
To Congressman Smith, of course many of us have watched your very heroic
efforts that you had just in this last year, and it has been commendable and I
think brought to the point that we’ve heard much about the sexual trafficking
and the slavery that’s being done, but the custodial battles are equally
offensive and have not had the legal push that’s needed to change that. And so
I commend your efforts and look forward to working with you.
Finally, what I want to say: I think much focus – television, you know,
articles, movies and so on have talked a lot about the sexual exploitation that
we see of women and children. For me, I represent an area in Long Beach where
we have the largest ports in the United States, and the third largest in the
world. And not to minimize those issues, but what I hope to spend my time in
the partnership with Sen. Cardin, and also, Congressman Smith, is really
looking at some of the labor-trafficking issues.
And it is encompassed in the report, but I think we’re going to have to get at
more of it. Because when money is behind it, it allows the others to fall in
the shadows. And so we have to go beyond the agriculture, which we’ve spent
some time on. We’re doing some of the manufacturing, in terms of textiles.
But really, when you look at building of the televisions, assembling video
games, you know, making tennis shoes and so on, that is really the money, I
believe, that drives some of the other issues that we’re seeing. So I’m kind
of the new kid on the block, but I look forward to joining this team and
helping in any way that I can. Thank you very much.
SEN. CARDIN: Well, we welcome you to the team. We need all the help we can
get, so it’s nice to see your interest in this area. Let me again thank our
two witnesses. I’m encouraged by your testimonies, particularly the
cooperation you’re receiving in countries. I must tell you, I’ve traveled to a
lot of countries where we’ve had serious issues with law enforcement even to
acknowledge that trafficking exists.
And as Congressman Smith points out, frequently, in many countries, we have a
hard time with the local police authorities to recognize those who have been
trafficked are victims, rather than criminals. So that’s been a continuous
problem, so I’m very encouraged by your testimony about their being receptive
in countries to work with you – maybe not collectively, but you can find, at
least, elements to work with you to help rescue those who have been victimized.
And we certainly want to promote those best practices, so I encourage you to
give us the information so we can showcase those countries or those communities
where they have taken this issue with the type of attitude that it requires to
identify those who have been victimized. This will continue to be a major
issue of interest to the Helsinki Commission and, as you have acknowledged,
this is an oversight hearing that was long overdue, and we’re glad that we
could have the quality of the witnesses here today to help us in our
responsibility on this very important subject. And with that, the Helsinki
Commission will stand adjourned.