Tuesday, July 28, 2015

State Department 2015 Trafficking in Persons Report





The U.S. Department of State has released the 2015 Trafficking in Persons Report.

"This year’s Report places a special emphasis on human trafficking in the global marketplace. It highlights the hidden risks that workers may encounter when seeking employment and the steps that governments and businesses can take to prevent trafficking, including a demand for transparency in global supply chains.

"The bottom line is that this is no time for complacency. Right now, across the globe, victims of human trafficking are daring to imagine the possibility of escape, the chance for a life without fear, and the opportunity to earn a living wage."      –  John F. Kerry, Secretary of State

The Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report is the U.S. Government’s principal diplomatic tool to engage foreign governments on human trafficking. It is also the world’s most comprehensive resource of governmental anti-human trafficking efforts and reflects the U.S. Government’s commitment to global leadership on this key human rights and law enforcement issue. It represents an updated, global look at the nature and scope of trafficking in persons and the broad range of government actions to confront and eliminate it. The U.S. Government uses the TIP Report to engage foreign governments in dialogues to advance anti-trafficking reforms and to combat trafficking and to target resources on prevention, protection and prosecution programs. Worldwide, the report is used by international organizations, foreign governments, and nongovernmental organizations alike as a tool to examine where resources are most needed. Freeing victims, preventing trafficking, and bringing traffickers to justice are the ultimate goals of the report and of the U.S Government's anti-human trafficking policy.

In the TIP Report, the Department of State places each country onto one of three tiers based on the extent of their governments’ efforts to comply with the “minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking” found in Section 108 of the TVPA. While Tier 1 is the highest ranking, it does not mean that a country has no human trafficking problem. On the contrary, a Tier 1 ranking indicates that a government has acknowledged the existence of human trafficking, made efforts to address the problem, and complies with the TVPA’s minimum standards. Each year, governments need to demonstrate appreciable progress in combating trafficking to maintain a Tier 1 ranking.

Here are a few of the victims' stories recounted in the Report:


Tanya was only 11 years old when her mother traded her to a drug dealer for sex, in exchange for heroin. Both Tanya’s mother and the drug dealer have been indicted on multiple charges, including sex trafficking. In addition, the drug dealer was accused of rape as well as videotaping his sex crimes. At the end of the school year, after four months of such abuse and being forced to take heroin, Tanya went to live with her father and stepmother and confided in them about what had happened. Both her mother and the drug dealer face the possibility of life in prison if convicted on all counts.


At 13 years old, Effia moved to the United States with family friends, excited to learn English and go to school—something her parents in Ghana could not afford. When she arrived, these so-called friends forbade her from attending school and forced her to clean, cook, and watch their children for up to 18 hours a day. The father physically and sexually abused her. Effia received no payment and could not use the telephone or go outside. Six years later, after a particularly severe beating, she escaped the house and a neighbor called the police. With help from an NGO, Effia is finally in school and plans to become a nurse.


Over a period of several years, five Ukrainian brothers fraudulently promised 70 Ukrainians well-paying janitorial jobs at retail stores in the United States. They further lured the workers with promises to pay for their room and board and all their travel expenses. Once the workers arrived in the United States, however, the traffickers exacted reimbursement for $10,000-$50,000 in travel debts, making them work 10 to 12 hours per day, seven days a week to repay the debt, almost never providing compensation. The brothers abused the workers physically, psychologically, and sexually, and threatened to hurt the workers’ families if they disobeyed. The brothers brought many of the workers into the United States illegally through Mexico. Over time, several new recruits were detained at the border and other victims bravely came forward, exposing the trafficking ring. Four of the brothers were convicted on charges of human trafficking; one remains a fugitive and is thought to be in Ukraine.


The report offers reports on trafficking in various countries.  Here is the discussion of Thailand

Thailand is a source, destination, and transit country for men, women, and children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking. There are an estimated three to four million migrant workers in Thailand, most from Thailand’s neighboring countries—Burma, Laos, and Cambodia. In addition to Thai victims of trafficking, some of these migrant workers are also believed to be forced, coerced, or defrauded into labor or sex trafficking. There are reports that some of those labor trafficking victims are exploited in commercial fishing, fishing-related industries, factories, and domestic work. Some migrant workers who are trafficking victims are deported without proper screening due to inconsistencies in the victim identification process. Some victims are forced into street begging. Sex trafficking remains a significant problem in Thailand’s extensive sex trade—often in business establishments that cater to demand for commercial sex.

CNN reports on the trafficking report.



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