WASHINGTON, D.C. – Following the release of the State Department’s 2015 Trafficking In Persons (TIP) report in which Malaysia was upgraded from Tier 3 to Tier 2, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) issued the following statement.

“The State Department’s assertion that Malaysia has made strides in addressing its human trafficking problems, which include prevalent use of forced labor, is grounded in politics – not in fact. We should not be signing trade agreements with countries which do not provide the most basic human rights for their citizens or which continue to use forced labor,” said Brown. “Giving countries with clear evidence of human rights violations, like Malaysia, a front row seat to join to Trans-Pacific Partnership is unconscionable. We must make sure all TPP countries have strong worker protections in place before the ink on this deal is dry or we will lose our opportunity to make meaningful change to workers’ rights around the world.”

Earlier this month, Brown joined U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and 17 of his Senate colleagues in sending a letter to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry expressing deep concerns over the expected ranking upgrade for Malaysia in the 2015 Trafficking In Persons (TIP) report. Last month, Brown supported Menendez’s amendment in the Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) legislation signed by President Obama that prohibited fast track procedures from applying to any trade agreement with a country ranked as Tier 3, such as Malaysia.

Brown has also led efforts in the Senate to include strong, enforceable labor standards in the TPP and ensure that these standards are completely implemented before the agreement enters into force.