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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
September 10, 2004

Statement by the Press Secretary

Today, the President announced that four countries have avoided possible sanctions under the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 because of significant steps their governments have taken to fight trafficking in persons. These governments -- Bangladesh, Ecuador, Guyana, and Sierra Leone -- deserve recognition for their quick action to address problems noted in the Department of State's June 2004 Trafficking in Persons Report. The President is committed to leading the fight to eradicate trafficking in persons, including trafficking for sexual exploitation and other forms of modern day slavery. Steps taken by these four governments demonstrate that the Administration's intervention on this issue is spurring the international community to action and, most importantly, is yielding results.

These four countries made notable progress in many key areas including prosecution of trafficking related cases; creating police anti-trafficking units; increasing efforts to identify and rescue trafficking victims; drafting new anti-trafficking legislation and procedures; and conducting high-profile public awareness campaigns. These tremendous accomplishments will punish perpetrators and help innocent victims of this heinous crime around the world.

The steps taken by these countries stand in contrast to the continuing failure of Burma, Cuba, and North Korea to make significant efforts to comply with the Act's minimum standards. As a result, the President decided to impose sanctions on these countries in accordance with the Act. While Sudan, Venezuela and Equatorial Guinea also failed to make significant efforts, and are thus subject to sanctions, the President has determined that certain assistance for these three countries would promote the purposes of the Act or is otherwise in the national interest of the United States.

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