On June 30, the U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry released the 2016 (TIP) Trafficking in Persons Report. The TIP report is prepared by the US State Department and published annually. It is a comprehensive report providing information on anti-trafficking efforts throughout the world. The report is divided in two parts – pages 1 -66 an overview, topics of special interest, some definitions and methodology. Part two present the country narratives. The report provides country-specific narratives for 188 countries and territories including the United States. These narratives illustrate the scope of human trafficking and each government’s efforts to combat what is commonly referred to as modern slavery. Each countries receives a ranking called Tier. There are 4 Tiers: Tier 1, Tier 2; Tier 2 Watch List and Tier 3. See pages 55 and 56 for a definition of the various tiers and see to see where your country is ranked. (Pages 66 – 410) Out of the 188 countries analyzed in the 2016 report, 36 countries were placed on Tier 1; 78 countries on Tier 2; 44 were placed on the Tier 2 Watch List; and 27 countries were placed on Tier 3. In all, there were 27 downgrades and 20 upgrades of countries as compared to last year. The TIP Report in full
Part one of the report can be accessed here It is a combination of text, pictures and other graphics. This year the report is more balanced with regard to human trafficking for sexual exploitation and trafficking for labour. The report takes account of gender inequality and references prostitution in a number of places where women and girls are trafficked into prostitution. See the box inserts on page 5, 8, 10, 12,14 etc. Child Labour features throughout the report e.g. page 16 references Burkina Faso, and girls are mentioned many times in the report. See page 11 “Young girls are exploited in forced labour around the world. Peruvian girls are forced to make bricks in the hot sun; in Pakistan debt bondage traps girls in carpet-making factories; in Ethiopia, girls from rural areas are exploited in domestic servitude; and traffickers in Malawi force girls to labour in the agricultural sector.” Read what a convicted sex trafficker said on page 16.
Good news the Republic of Korea, Singapore and Sri Lanka became parties to The Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Person, Especially Women and Children, supplement the United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime between April 2015 and March 2016. See page 19 where the countries that are not State Parties to the Protocol are listed.
Among the examples of partnerships is the Santa Marta Group, ‘a partnership between international police chiefs and Catholic bishops from around the world, working together with civil society to end modern slavery through a process endorsed by Pope Francis.’ The other examples are from Uruguay and Guatemala.
Secretary of State John Kerry noted that ‘modern slavery is connected to a host of 21st century challenges – from environmental sustainability to advancing the lives of women and girls to combating transactional organized crime. Wherever we find poverty and lack of opportunity – wherever the rule of law is weak and where corruption is most ingrained, where minorities are abused, and where populations can’t count on the protection of governments – we find not just vulnerability to trafficking but zones of impunity where traffickers can prey on their victims.”
This leads me to the United Nations and reference to the adoption of the ‘2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development “to guide the global community’s effort to eradicate poverty, promote peace and equality, and protect the environment. Anti-trafficking elements are integrated into three of the goals … 5.2; 8.7 and 16.2 While paragraph 27 of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is not cited “We will eradicate forced la and human trafficking and end child labour in all its forms” the TIP report this year is largely focusing on this. Do check out Alliance 8.7 an Initiative of ILO Working together to end child and modern slavery
On page 43 mention is made of the fact that The United Nations Security Council addressed for the first time the issue of human trafficking on December 16, 2015 when Nadia Murid Basee Taha, a Yezidi survivor of human trafficking gave her testimony to the Security Council. Nadia had been trafficked by ISIS.
A very positive strategy by President Obama has been the setting up a U.S. Advisory Council on Human Trafficking in December 2015. There are 11 members and each is a survivor of human trafficking. It is a formal platform to advise and make recommendations on federal anti-trafficking policies. It is a two-year term – see page 41.
The content of part 1 has subdivisions – Page 7 – 19 Meeting the Global Challenge: Effective Strategies to Prevent Human Trafficking Do read about raising awareness on page 12 and Policies and Programs to Reduce Risk and Empower Vulnerable Individuals page 15. A second subdivision entitled Topics of Special Interests begins on pages 20 highlighting the challenges in protecting vulnerable populations who experience multiple and cumulative hardships, discriminations and social marginalization. Refugees and migrants are extremely vulnerable given that ‘one in every 113 people globally is now either an asylum-seeker, internally displaced or a refugee – putting them at a level of risk for which UNHCR knows no precedent.’ UNHCR, Global trends. The situation in Syria and Lebanon is outline on page 21 highlighting trafficking of women and girls for sex trafficking and migrants fleeing crisis are often trapped in sex and labour trafficking by their smugglers. “Women, unaccompanied minors, and those denied asylum are particularly vulnerable to human trafficking, including while in transit and upon arrival in destination countries.” page 21
Sometimes there is a price to be paid for advocacy and this is noted in this years report on page 29 and the 2016 TIP Report Heroes are found on pages 48 -52 coming from The Bahamas, Botswana, Cyprus, Nepal, Mauritania, Pakistan, Russia, Senegal and Hungary. Pages 57 -62 are a series of regional maps showing Tier Placements.
A Human Right-Life Course Five Point Framework Addressing Human Trafficking proposed by Sisters of Mercy and Congregation of Our lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd based on the work of Dr Angela Reed RSM, Ph.D. and Marietta Latonio in a book titled ‘I Have a Voice – Trafficked women in their own words’.
- Privileges the insights gained from narratives shared by those who have been trafficked. – The U.S. Advisory Council on Human Trafficking is an example of this.
- Recognizes that the interplay between the personal life story and systemic oppression renders one vulnerable to human trafficking. – See challenges in protecting vulnerable populations page 20. Demand for commercial sex ‘purchasers of commercial sex’ – (page 12) and ‘reduce the demand for commercial sex ‘(page 15) is a systemic issue together with patriarchy, power, the subjugation of girls and women, gender based violence and the stubborn persistence of a system of prostitution and poverty all fuel human trafficking.
- Acknowledges cumulative disadvantage and addresses vulnerabilities across the life cycle. This begins with birth registration, legal registration, citizenship and nationality page, 14,15 and 46 education, health care, decent work and a living wage, and universal social protection floors.
- Prioritizes and uses qualitative data on actual experiences and circumstances of trafficking for policy formulation – the U.S. Advisory Council on Human Trafficking exemplifies this. Could this be extended to all countries?
- Addresses the systemic causes of economic, social, gender disparity and discriminations. ‘Poverty does not justify human trafficking’ Page 7 ‘When inequality exists and where certain people lack access to social protection and justice, human traffickers are able to thrive. Page 8 Eradicating poverty, promoting peace and equality and gender equality are some of the systemic issues that The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development committed to address.