Trafficking in Persons Report Shows Concern

Following a four week delay, the State Department has released its 2015 Trafficking in Persons Report. This report is seen by many as a way to hold countries accountable for their policies and practices, or lack thereof, in combating human trafficking. The report ranks 188 countries around the world on a four-tier scale according to their adherence to the TVPA’s “minimum standards for the elimination of human trafficking.”

Tier 1 applies to “governments of countries that fully comply with the TVPA’s minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking.”

Tier 2 applies to “governments of countries that do not fully comply with the TVPA’s minimum standards but are making significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance with those standards.”

Tier 2 Watch List applies to “government of countries that do not fully comply with the TVPA’s minimum standards, but are making significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance with those standards, and for which:

a) the absolute number of victims of severe forms of trafficking is very significant or is significantly increasing;

b) there is a failure to provide evidence of increasing efforts to combat severe forms of trafficking in persons from the previous year, including increased investigations, prosecution, and convictions of trafficking crimes, increased assistance to victims, and decreasing evidence of complicity in severe forms of trafficking by government officials; or

c) the determination that a country is making significant efforts to bring itself into compliance with minimum standards was based on commitments by the country to take additional steps over the next year.”

Tier 3 applies to “The governments of countries that do not fully comply with the TVPA’s minimum standards and are not making significant efforts to do so.”

Causing some controversy this year was the sudden upgrade of Cuba and Malaysia from Tier 3 to Tier 2. This move has been seen by some as transparently political move and a threat to the integrity of the report, leading to an increased risk of trafficking in those countries. However, the State Department has stated that increased cooperation and dialogue between the US and Cuba led to the upgrade, not political concessions.

The full report is available here on the HSDL.

 

Article formerly posted at https://www.hsdl.org/blog/newpost/view/n-a-16