The US State Department’s annual Trafficking in Persons (or TIP Report) has downgraded China to a Tier 3 nation – a status it now shares with Iran, Sudan and North Korea. Tier 3 nations may be subject to sanctions, if approved by the U.S. President. A Chinese official responded with indignation, calling the downgrade an “arbitrary judgment.” Report by Women's Rights Without Frontiers
Reggie Littlejohn, President of Women’s Rights Without Frontiers, stated, “The anger of the Chinese government against the TIP Report is misplaced. They should channel their anger toward taking effective action against traffickers, rather than against the exposure to the world of their abysmal record on human trafficking.”
The TIP Report discusses how China’s One Child Policy, combined with son preference, has caused a gender imbalance that is driving human trafficking and sexual slavery, not only within China but from the surrounding countries as well. The Report lists the many nations from which women and girls are trafficked into China: “Women and children from neighboring Asian countries, including Burma, Vietnam, Laos, Singapore, Mongolia, and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), as well as from Russia, Europe, Africa, and the Americas, are reportedly trafficked to China for commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor.”
The TIP Report found that, despite the prevalence of human trafficking and sexual slavery, the Chinese government’s efforts at prevention falls below minimum standards. In fact, the Report found that many state-run institutions were complicit in the trafficking: “ . . . The Chinese government did not demonstrate significant efforts to comprehensively prohibit and punish all forms of trafficking and to prosecute traffickers. The government continued to perpetuate human trafficking in at least 320 state-run institutions, while helping victims of human trafficking in only seven.”
The TIP Report further criticized the Chinese government for failing to “address the effects its birth limitation policy had in creating a gender imbalance and fueling trafficking, particularly through bride trafficking and forced marriage.”
Women’s Rights Without Frontiers commends the decision by the State Department to drop China from a Tier 2 to a Tier 3 nation. We particularly affirm the connection the TIP report draws between the One Child Policy and human trafficking. The sex-selective abortion of baby girls in China – exacerbated by the coercive low birth limit under the One Child Policy -- has created a dangerous gender imbalance in which there are an estimated 37 million more men than women living in China today.
The TIP report mentions the forcible repatriation of North Korean refugees as economic migrants. Such forcible repatriation contravenes international refugee law. Moreover, young women and girls who are refugees or who are trafficked from North Korea into China may face the death penalty upon their forcible repatriation. These young North Korean sex slaves in China are among the most desperate people on earth. They can be beaten and raped with impunity. If they somehow manage to escape and report this abuse to Chinese authorities, instead of receiving help, they can be repatriated to North Korea, where they may be executed.
Littlejohn continued, “WRWF urges the Obama administration to apply appropriate sanctions against China, consistent with those allowed in the TIP Report.”