RMI’s Human Trafficking Standing May Result In U.S. Sanctions

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The Republic of Marshall Islands may face financial sanctions from the United States after being placed under Tier 2 Watch List for the 2nd consecutive year in a row.
According to the newly released U.S. State Department Trafficking In Persons report, unhealthy the Marshall Islands is “a source and destination country for Marshallese women and girls, price and women from East Asia subjected to sex trafficking.”
The report further claims that foreign business owners in Majuro are recruiting Marshallese girls to “engage in prostitution” with crews of foreign fishing and transshipping vessels. It also indicated possible involvement of government officials in trafficking, illness but did not provide details.
The 2014 report further states that President Christopher Loeak and then Foreign Minister Phillip Muller acknowledged the existence of human trafficking through public addresses. The government also reportedly initiated an investigation involving women subjected to forced prostitution.
However the report asserts that despite these efforts the government did not show evidence of increasing efforts to address human trafficking.
According to recent reports, Foreign Minister Tony deBrum dismissed the report saying, “that report is BS”.
RMI may fall to the Tier 3 level, which would likely result in U.S. sanctions unless the nation increases efforts to combat trafficking.
A provision under the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act states any country that has been ranked Tier 2 Watch List for two consecutive years, and would otherwise be ranked Tier 2 Watch List for the next year will instead be ranked Tier 3.