State Department ‘Lacks Knowledge’ Needed To Most Effectively Fight Child Trafficking, Gov’t Report Finds

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Dylan Housman Deputy News Editor
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The State Department is not doing enough to maximize its efforts to combat child trafficking around the globe, according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO).

The State Department’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (TIP) creates Child Protection Compacts (CPC) with foreign countries aimed at increasing the ability of countries to catch and convict child traffickers. However, the program, created under the Obama administration, doesn’t monitor key performance indicators or track the contributions of partner governments, according to the GAO.

Approximately one-third of trafficked people worldwide are children, according to the UN. The U.S. meets with partner countries annually to discuss the processes they are using to combat child trafficking, but specific guidelines and targeted goals are not set during these meetings, the GAO found.

“State hasn’t set key discussion guidelines for the meetings or measurable goals to assess countries’ progress,” the report read. “Nor has it tracked countries’ contributions or plans to sustain ongoing efforts. Doing so would help State better assess whether these partnerships are effective.” (RELATED: State Department Allegedly Funded ‘Disinformation’ Blacklists, Flagged Accounts For Executives, Twitter Files Show)

“Without information on partner government contributions and sustainability measures, the TIP Office lacks knowledge on partner country contributions and plans to sustain progress under the CPCs,” the report continued.

The GAO made six recommendations to the department to improve the effectiveness of the program going forward. They include developing specific CPC performance indicators for partner countries, creating annual targets for CPC countries to report progress on and tracking personnel and funding contributions to the CPCs by partner countries.

The State Department responded by agreeing to implement the recommendations. As of now, it is unclear how effective the program is, according to the GAO report.