The White House, President George W. Bush Click to print this document

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
June 28, 2004

Fact Sheet: Trafficking in Persons

At today's NATO Summit meeting, Allied leaders endorsed a "zero tolerance" policy for forces in NATO operations to help combat trafficking in persons. The United States and Norway proposed this initiative, which was approved by the North Atlantic Council on June 9, 2004, and by all 46 members of the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council on June 16, 2004.

This decision is of crucial importance in light of the nearly 200,000 victims of trafficking each year who are transported through the Balkans, an area where NATO forces have a significant presence and security responsibilities.

Through this new policy, NATO will develop specific provisions for NATO-led forces to support the efforts of local authorities to combat trafficking. NATO will develop methods to monitor progress on combating trafficking. In implementing this policy, the Alliance will work closely with local and international organizations that protect and house adult and child victims of trafficking. NATO will also work closely with the United Nations, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the International Organization on Migration, and other multilateral organizations in this effort.

In addition, as part of this policy, NATO has declared that forces under its command and control are prohibited from engaging in, aiding, or facilitating either the trafficking of human beings or modern-day slavery. NATO will design and implement new anti-trafficking training courses for troops deploying to NATO-led operations. NATO is also establishing a confidential internal mechanism to report on violations of this new policy.

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