Press Releases

Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) released the following statement regarding the release of the U.S. State Department’s 2020 Trafficking in Persons Report:

“I welcome the release of the State Department’s 2020 Trafficking in Persons Report. This annual report provides the United States with a critical tool to assess foreign government’s efforts to eliminate human trafficking and shines a bright light on this modern day form of slavery.  

“The report highlights the egregious human rights violations being committed by the Chinese government and Communist Party. Not only has Beijing failed to improve its lackluster enforcement of its own anti-trafficking laws, the Chinese Communist Party has moved from mass interment of Uyghurs and other minorities to trafficking their forced labor inside and outside the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR). The report’s description of Uyghur forced labor reinforces the need for the U.S. Senate to pass my Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act which would apply needed pressure on Beijing to stop its exploitation of Uyghurs and other Turkic or Muslim minorities.”

“In Cuba, the regime uses so-called ‘foreign medical missions’ to illegally profit from trafficking Cuban healthcare professionals. I’ve repeatedly denounced this diplomatic scam, which exploits Cuban medical professionals through deplorable working conditions, forced labor, confiscation of legal identification, and even reduced payment. Any sovereign nation contracting these so-called medical missions should seriously reevaluate their decision to partake in international human trafficking schemes. 

“I was pleased to see some countries receive upgrades for their improved efforts to combat trafficking, particularly Namibia, which is a great achievement. Sadly, too many countries did not improve, including Cuba and Venezuela, who continue to be run by brutal regimes. Countries like Nicaragua and Afghanistan were rightfully downgraded to Tier 3 for failing to meet the minimum standards to eliminate human trafficking.

“Human trafficking remains one of the most urgent challenges both abroad and in the U.S., including in my home state of Florida. It is not only morally the right thing to do, but it is a national security imperative for the United States to work with other governments to combat and end human trafficking in all of its forms while also holding those nations who fail to take the necessary steps to eliminate trafficking accountable.”

Rubio is a member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations and the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on the State Department, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs.