US unveils 2019 Trafficking in Persons Report, Kuwait upgraded

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo unveiled Thursday the 2019 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report which upgraded Kuwait from Tier 2 Watch List to Tier 2 for its increasing efforts to offer protective services to potential trafficking victims. In remarks, Pompeo stressed that human trafficking “is a stain on humanity. We detest it because it flagrantly violates the unalienable rights that belong to all human beings. Every person, everywhere, is inherently vested with profound, inherent, and equal dignity.”

He noted that the focus of the 2019 TIP Report “is to encourage governments to address forms of human trafficking occurring within their country’s own borders…Traffickers exploit an estimated 77 percent of victims in their home country.” “Our message is clear — If you don’t stand up to trafficking, America will stand up to you. President Donald Trump has proven this. And he has mobilized our federal government to make human trafficking a top human rights priority,” he remarked. He indicated that the report identifies a few success stories and commends those countries that have taken action “but we also call out those nations that are not doing enough.”

The US top diplomat stressed that Tier 3 designations “the lowest possible designation were given once again to “China, Iran, North Korea, Russia, Syria and Venezuela,” and that “few countries were added to the Tier 3 list including Cuba.” He indicated that last year Trump “restricted certain types of assistance to 22 countries that were ranked for Tier 3 in the 2018 TIP Report.”

“That action and the message that goes with it is very clear, if you don’t stand up to trafficking, America will stand up to you,” he stressed. On Kuwait, the report showed that “the government demonstrated overall increasing efforts compared to the previous reporting period; therefore Kuwait was upgraded to Tier 2.” It noted that the Kuwaiti government “demonstrated overall increasing efforts by deploying its specialized trafficking unit to initiate more criminal investigations of potential trafficking crimes and more prosecutions under the anti-trafficking law.”

“It referred significantly more potential trafficking victims for protective services, operationalized its central recruitment agency in an attempt to hire and better safeguard the rights of hundreds of domestic workers, and increased enforcement of its domestic worker law,” it added. Meanwhile, Pompeo tweeted that the 2019 Report, “demonstrates that when governments enforce strong, comprehensive anti-trafficking laws, they ensure protections for all victims, including of internal trafficking in persons. Together let’s tell criminals: We will not tolerate this, and you will be punished.”