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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
February 23, 2004

Message to the Senate of the United States

To the Senate of the United States:

With a view to receiving the advice and consent of the Senate to ratification, I transmit herewith the United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime (the "Convention"), as well as two supplementary protocols: (1) the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress, and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, and (2) the Protocol Against Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air, which were adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on November 15, 2000. The Convention and Protocols were signed by the United States on December 13, 2000, at Palermo, Italy.

Accompanying the Convention and Protocols are interpretative notes for the official records (or "travaux preparatoires") that were prepared by the Secretariat of the Ad Hoc Committee that conducted the negotiations, based on discussions that took place throughout the process of negotiations. These notes are being submitted to the Senate for information purposes. I also transmit the report of the Department of State with respect to the Convention and Protocols.

The Convention and Protocols are the first multilateral treaties to address the phenomenon of transnational organized crime. Their provisions are explained in the accompanying report of the Department of State. The report also sets forth proposed reservations and understandings that would be deposited by the United States with its instruments of ratification. With these reservations and understandings, the Convention and Protocols will not require implementing legislation for the United States.

The Convention and Protocols will be effective tools to assist in the global effort to combat transnational organized crime in its many forms, such as trafficking and smuggling of persons. They provide for a broad range of cooperation, including extradition, mutual legal assistance, and measures regarding property, in relation to serious crimes committed by an organized group that has a transnational element.

The Convention also imposes on the States Parties an obligation to criminalize, if they have not already done so, certain types of conduct characteristic of transnational organized crime. For the Convention, these are: participation in an organized criminal group (i.e., conspiracy), money laundering, bribery of domestic public officials, and obstruction of justice. The Protocols require parties to criminalize trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants. These provisions will serve to create a global criminal law standard for these offenses, several of which (e.g., trafficking in persons) currently are not criminal in many countries. The Trafficking Protocol also includes important provisions regarding assistance to and protection of victims of trafficking.

I recommend that the Senate give early and favorable consideration to the Convention and Protocols, and that it give its advice and consent to ratification, subject to the reservations and understandings described in the accompanying report of the Department of State.



February 23, 2004.

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