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According to this article (Romanian) Romania was "downgraded" in the US State Department's Trafficking in Persons Report. Indeed this report shows Romania belonging to Tier 2 and it being downgraded to Tier2 watch (2w).

The same article argues that Mike Pompeo kind of threatened Romania if nothing is done:

"If you do not oppose (people) trafficking, America will oppose you," threatened Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who presented the report with Ivanka Trump, the counselor and daughter of the President of the United States.

This is quite vague as it does not says anything about the potential consequences.

Question: What are the consequences of being in Tier 2 of the US State Department's Trafficking in Persons Report?

  • According to the report you linked to, Romania wasn't downgraded, but simply remained on Tier 2. – Denis de Bernardy Jun 25 at 10:24
  • @DenisdeBernardy - ok, then the Romanian article is not accurate. I will adjust my post. – Alexei Jun 25 at 10:34
  • It might have been downgraded a few years earlier though. I couldn't locate the older reports; or rather, I found one but the download links led to the most recent report. – Denis de Bernardy Jun 25 at 10:36
  • Interestingly, this page says Romania was downgraded as in went from Tier2 to Tier2 watchlist. – Denis de Bernardy Jun 25 at 10:41
  • @DenisdeBernardy - yes, so it was downgraded in 2019 and I have referenced the 2018 report. – Alexei Jun 25 at 10:47
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The Wikipedia article about the report itself has a lot of information (which Denis has since posted).

There are 4 levels, Tier 1, Tier 2, Tier 2 Watchlist, and Tier 3. Romania which has been Tier 2 as long as the report has existed, has fallen from Tier 2 to Tier 2 Watchlist.

"Countries whose governments do not fully comply with the TVPA’s minimum standards, but are making significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance with those standards"

As far as the actual question, there's very little that will actually happen from this because Romania hasn't been downgraded a full tier. However, US policy states that countries that do not sufficiently meet the US standards to combat human trafficking won't receive "nonhumanitarian, nontrade-related foreign assistance." Source: https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/22/7107

Further, Romania is only projected to receive 1.5 million from the US in 2019 (total), at least some of which seems to be humanitarian aid. While any that isn't might have some impact, in the scheme of things, the US isn't significantly investing in Romania anyway, so even if they lost all of the 1.5 million (they wouldn't), it would be a small drop in the bucket for Romania's total GDP. Source: https://foreignassistance.gov/explore/country/Romania

As far as non-official forms of recourse, they are much more subjective, so I don't really want to go into them in this answer as it would be entirely opinion, but it is worth noting that they might exist, but would be relatively minor.

Ok, lastly, promise...it's also worth noting that Romania spends 1.8% of its GDP on defense, falling just short of the 2% mandate by NATO. Only 5 countries reach the 2% threshold, and Donald Trump takes that number pretty seriously and has frequently criticized countries for not doing their part. At least under the current administration, I would say that taking this as anything other than a stern warning that this is an important priority to the US is reading more into it than merits.

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