US praises efforts to combat human trafficking

KATHMANDU: The US government said today that Nepal was making significant efforts to eliminate trafficking in persons but had not fully met the minimum standards for the elimination of such crime.

Releasing an assessment paper as a part of the eighth annual Trafficking in Persons Report, the US Department of State reiterated that the Obama Administration had viewed the fight against human trafficking, both at home and abroad, as a critical part of their foreign policy agenda.

“The United States currently funds 140 anti-trafficking programmes in nearly 70 countries, as well as 42 domestic task forces to address the challenge here. We are proud of the work we do, but we know that we have much more ahead of us,” a press release issued here today by Embassy of United States stated.

“Economic pressure, especially in this global economic crisis, makes more people susceptible to the false promises of traffickers”, the release quoted US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as saying in the report launching ceremony. She also remarked that the annual report on trafficking in person underscored the need to address the root causes of trafficking, including poverty, lax law enforcement, and the exploitation of women.

United States law requires the US Department of State to issue the Trafficking in Persons report annually with the goal of stimulating action and creating partnerships around the world in the fight against modern-day slavery.

Countries determined to have a significant number of trafficking victims are assigned to one of three tiers, the release added.

Nepal maintained its status as a Tier 2 county this year. The report notes that Nepal still does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking.

The government continued modest efforts to prosecute traffickers and raise public awareness on trafficking during the reporting period, though its efforts to adequately punish labour trafficking could be improved.

Additionally, trafficking-related complicity by government officials remained a serious problem in Nepal, the release stated.