U.S. Presidential Determination with Respect to Foreign Government Efforts to Combat Trafficking in Persons

Photo by: U.S. Department of State (IIP Bureau)

Belmopan — President Trump on November 29 granted a partial waiver to Belize from U.S. foreign assistance restrictions for those countries rated as Tier 3 in the U.S. 2018 Trafficking in Persons Report.

Per the U.S. Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) of 2000, as amended, the Department of State reports on and ranks the efforts of foreign governments to combat human trafficking in an annual Trafficking in Persons Report.  Those nations rated as Tier 3 are subject to specific foreign assistance restrictions unless the President waives those restrictions.  Of the 22 countries ranked Tier 3 in the 2018 Trafficking in Persons Report, five countries, including Belize, received either full or partial waivers.

The restrictions under the TVPA are intended to encourage the affected governments to make more significant efforts to meet the minimum standards for combating human trafficking.

The restrictions apply to non-humanitarian and non-trade-related foreign assistance, and to funds provided through international financial institutions, to Tier 3 governments.  In certain circumstances, restrictions also apply to educational and cultural exchange programs for Tier 3 government officials.  The partial restrictions on Belize do not apply to funding by international financial institutions or to exchange programs for government officials.

United States assistance to support the people of these countries through NGOs and other civil society organizations is not restricted under the TVPA.

The partial waiver for Belize will facilitate continuation of programming to enhance the ability of the Government of Belize to combat trafficking in persons, interdict illicit narcotics moving through its national waters and crossing its borders, and address other forms of drug trafficking and other transnational crimes, thereby reducing threats to the national security interests of the United States.

Belize received a partial waiver because it is in the national interest of the United States to support efforts in Belize to build capacity to stem human trafficking, narcotics trafficking, illegal migration, and other illicit trafficking to the United States southern border.

The U.S. Department of State is reviewing programming in Belize to determine what will be affected by this determination.

The full Presidential Determination is available at the following URL: https://www.whitehouse.gov/presidential-actions/presidential-memorandum-secretary-state-15.