The State Department’s annual Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report has promoted China from a ‘Tier 3’ to a ‘Tier 2 Watch List’ nation. The report appears to attribute this promotion to a technical modification of the One Child Policy:
The PRC government maintained efforts to prevent trafficking in persons. In November 2013, the government modified its birth limitation policy to allow families with one single-child parent to have a second child, a change that may affect future demand for prostitution and for foreign women as brides for Chinese men – both of which may be procured by force or coercion. TIP Report, p. 134.
Reggie Littlejohn, President of Women’s Rights Without Frontiers, stated, “The fact that the PRC government tweaked the One Child Policy does not signify that it ‘maintained efforts to prevent trafficking in persons.’ Allowing a relatively small number of families to have a second child will not end gendercide or sexual slavery in China. The selective abortion and abandonment of baby girls is most prevalent in the countryside, where couples already can have a second child if the first child is a girl. Even if the most recent modification were to improve gender ratios at birth, the impact on sexual slavery would not be felt for decades to come. What about all the women and girls who are being trafficked now? The TIP Report does not cite any effective new initiatives by the CCP to help current victims of sexual slavery.”
Littlejohn has been a vocal critic of those who have argued that China is “easing” the One Child Policy by lifting the ban on a second child, if either parent is an only child. Littlejohn stated, “This minor modification does nothing to end the coercion that is the core of the Policy. The problem is not whether the Chinese government allows a woman to have one child or two children. The problem is that the government is telling women how many children they can have and is enforcing that limitation with forced abortion.”
Littlejohn continued: “We know that forced abortion continues in China. WRWF is currently strategizing on how best to help a woman in China escape the forced abortion of her second child.” In addition, there is a current uptick in Chinese refugees entering the United States at the Mexican border, stating that they are fleeing the One Child Policy.
In the 2013 TIP report, China was demoted to a Tier 3 nation – a status it shared with Iran, Sudan and North Korea. Tier 3 nations are considered to be the worst in prosecuting traffickers and helping victims and consequently may be subject to sanctions if approved by the U.S. President. The reason given: “The government of the People’s Republic of China does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking . . . “ 2013 Tip Report, p. 129.
The 2013 Report goes on to discuss 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 listed 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 2013 Report also highlights the fact that Chinese government officials complicit in trafficking are not prosecuted. Moreover, sex slaves who are victims of trafficking, instead of being rescued, are convicted as prostitutes and serve lengthy jail sentences. Further, the Chinese government forcibly repatriates North Korean refugees, many of who have been trafficked into China. Upon return to North Korea, these refugees “may face severe punishment, even death . . . ” 2013 TIP Report, p.131.
In the 2014 TIP Report, none of this has changed. The 2013 and 2014 TIP Reports concerning China are substantially similar. The Chinese government has done nothing effectively to remedy the reasons it was demoted to a “Tier 3” status. To the contrary, the 2014 TIP Report states that “The People’s Republic of China did not provide detailed data on law enforcement efforts to combat trafficking in persons.”
Equally unjustified is the 2014 TIP Report’s claim that the Chinese government is abolishing the infamous RTL – Re-Education Through Labor, or Laojiao system — in which an estimated hundreds of thousands of people are arbitrarily detained without judicial review, and subjected to forced labor and torture. The fact that the National People’s Congress ratified a decision to abolish the RTL is the possible beginning, not the end, of reform. According to Amnesty International, this announcement by the NPC is a “cosmetic change,” in which prisoners may suffer similar injustices after having been moved to different facilities such as “black jails” and “brainwashing centers.”
Littlejohn concludes, “The Chinese government’s efforts to remedy the problems that brought it to a ‘Tier 3’ status range from ineffective to non-existent. The promotion of China from a ‘Tier 3’ to a ‘Tier 2 Watch List’ status is baseless and unwarranted. WRWF urges the State Department to reconsider this promotion and return China to its rightful ‘Tier 3’ status.”
Sign a petition against forced abortion in China:
Watch a four-minute video about forced abortion in China: http://www.womensrightswithoutfrontiers.org/blog/?p=34
Read “China Hasn’t ‘Eased’ Its One Child Policy
Read the 2014 United States Department of State Trafficking in Persons “TIP” Report
Read “Amnesty International Warns China’s Labor Camps Are Revived as “Black Jails’ and ‘Brainwashing Centers’”
Read the full Amnesty International Report on the RTL: