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Jun 28, 2019

U.S. State Department Speaks on Belize’s TIP Ranking

Thomas Lersten

Last week we reported that the U.S. Department of State upgraded Belize in its Trafficking in Persons Report. According to the report, Belize has shown significant progress in victim services and strengthening of its anti-trafficking police unit. While Belize does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking in persons, the report highlighted government efforts over the last year. On Wednesday, the U.S. Department of State’s Deputy Director of Central American Affairs Thomas Lersten applauded the efforts but noted that more integrated approach is needed to tackle the issue in Belize.


Thomas Lersten, Deputy Director, Central American Affairs, U.S. Department of State

“Belize, on the annual TIP report was upgraded from Tier three to Tier two. We have three tier rankings per the US Department State report. We are happy that the report concluded that indeed Belize has made some important progress over the last year and so for those reasons we were able to lower Belize from the tier three ranking to the tier two ranking which is a positive step in the right direction. Again, we hope that that progress continues in Belize. So, we are encouraged by the steps that we have seen here in Belize taken by the government and others.”


Andrea Polanco

“Are there specific things you think that we need to look at as a country, such laws, and so on?”


Thomas Lersten

“I guess I would say that it is a whole of government sort of problem that involves a variety of government agencies probably within Belize and then also the involvement of civil society and religious organizations and NGOs to try to tackle what is a particularly tough problem that is human trafficking. I guess my answer would be that it would take sort of a multi-pronged approach to try and make even more progress.”

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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