A Look inside the 2019 Trafficking in Persons Report – Part 1

Intro to the 2019 Trafficking in Persons Report

Read Part 2 or Part 3

 The U.S. State Department’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons releases a report known as the Trafficking in Persons Report (TIP) annually. The purpose of this document is to address, educate, and potentially solve human trafficking issues.  Each year when the report is released, we at Just Ask take time to look over it to see the progress that has been made on this important issue, both domestically and internationally.  We will break down the major takeaways of this year’s report in a series of three blog posts.  This entry takes a look at the purpose of the Trafficking in Persons Report and its specific focus this year.

What is in the report?

There are several major sections in this report: an introduction to the issue and commentary about the past year, global successes and areas for improvement, and country rankings.  The rankings are an evaluation of countries’ governments’ success toward eradicating human trafficking based on the U.S.’ evaluation of their efforts. The evaluation is done after gathering essential information from U.S. embassies, government officials, NGOs, international organizations, published reports, news articles, academic studies, global research trips, and information submitted to the TIP report link. The 2019 report covers efforts made by the government from April 2018 to March 2019.  Countries are divided into four tiers that follow the guidelines set forth in the Trafficking Victim Protection Act (TVPA).

  • Tier 1 countries have governments who have actively made efforts to address the human trafficking problem and adequately follow the TVPA standards. Each year, Tier 1 countries must progress in their efforts.
  • Tier 2 countries also have made efforts towards the eradication of human trafficking; however, these countries do not meet the standards set forth by the TVPA. These countries are working towards meeting the standards. Tier 2 watchlist countries are also striving to meet the TVPA standards; however, the evidence behind their efforts is slim and may not be backed by specific actions.
  • Tier 3 countries have governments who are not meeting the standards of the TVPA nor are they making significant efforts to eradicate human trafficking. Tier 3 countries are subject to restrictions on assistance and funding. These ranks are not permanent, and each country can move around from year to year.

Before the report dives into country rankings, several leaders give an update on the state of trafficking and the focus of the year’s particular report.  The US Secretary of State started the 2019 Trafficking in Persons Report by stressing the prevalence of this crime and the importance of dissolving its associated complexities. The Secretary states, “Right now traffickers are robbing a staggering 24.9 million people of their freed and basic human dignity.” He further explains that the TIP Report helps to evaluate how multiple governments respond to and approach this crime. Knowledge and training among all countries help to simplify the complexities of trafficking and aid in combating the heinous crime. To support comments from the Secretary, the 2019 report begins by explaining the recent development of trafficking-specific terms such as “modern slavery” and “human trafficking” that are seen in literature and legislation.

The increase of domestic cases of human trafficking

A major focus of this year’s report is to analyze domestic cases of human trafficking based on a 2018 report from the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, or UNODC.  An introductory statement given by the Ambassador-At-Large states, “The ILO reports that, globally, traffickers exploit 77 percent of victims in their countries of residence.” He points out the discovery that many governments show reluctance to address human trafficking crimes occurring in their home arenas. A 2018 report from the UN Office on Drugs and Crime reveals that although international cases of human trafficking are still prominent and important, most victims had been identified in their countries of citizenship and most traffickers had been convicted in their countries of citizenship.  It also indicated that the implementation of the Palermo Protocol, which laid out a basis for governments to implement policies related to human trafficking, has been effective in increasing the number of victims identified and traffickers convicted on a global scale.  Unfortunately, governments have struggled to implement these policies domestically and tend to ignore the reality that not all traffickers are coming in from other countries.

This reality is one that is at the heart of Just Ask’s message.  We work to educate communities about trafficking that is happening in their own backyards.  While we work internationally, our goal is to strengthen those communities to prevent and intervene in trafficking in their own spheres as well.  If every sector of the community learns more about human trafficking and refuses to let it take root, we will one day be able to achieve our goal of not one more child being a victim.

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