Human trafficking plagues much of the world, victimizing an estimated 27 million people. For 11 years the United States has tried to stop its proliferation. As part that attempt, the US State Department issues a yearly report on human trafficking. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton announced publication of the 2011 report on June 27.
Clinton noted that the report chronicles both global efforts to curb human trafficking as well as violations. "Unfortunately," she said,"because of the ease of transportation and the global communications that can reach deep into villages with promises and pictures of what a better life might be, we now see that more human beings are exploited than before."
The report examines the status of 184 countries. It looks for both human trafficking violations and efforts to stop human trafficking. Those efforts include passing prohibitive legislation, arrests of perpetrators, and convictions following arrests. They are measured against standards specified in the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (TVPA), signed by US President Bill Clinton, and its reauthorization in 2003.
Next, the report categorizes countries into "tiers." Those tiers are:
- Tier 1: Countries that fully comply with TVPA standards.
- Tier 2: Countries that are not fully compliant with TVPA standards but are attempting to become so.
- Tier 2, Watch List: Countries that fit in Tier 2, but human trafficking incidents are climbing at alarming rates or outpacing efforts to combat them.
- Tier 3: Countries that are not compliant with TVPA standards nor are attempting to become so.
- Special Cases: Countries that, whether through disaster or political upheaval, have experienced a disruption in government so that human trafficking protocols cannot be enforced.
Tier 1 Countries
Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia/Herzegovina, Canada, Colombia, Croatia, Denmark, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Ireland, Italy, South Korea, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Mauritius, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, United Kingdom, United States.
Tier 2 Countries
Albania, Antigua/Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Aruba, Bahrain, Belize, Benin, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Chile, Czech Republic, Djibouti, Egypt, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Fiji, Gabon, Ghana, Greece, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Israel, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazahkstan, Kenya, Kosovo, Kyrgyz Republic, Laos, Latvia, Lesotho, Macau, Malawi, Marshall Islands, Mexico, Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Nepal, Nicaragua, Oman, Pakistan, Palau, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Romania, Rwanda, St. Lucia, Senegal, Serbia, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Swaziland, Switzerland, Tajikistan, Timor-Leste, Togo, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, Uruguay, Zambia.
Tier 2, Watch List CountriesAfghanistan, Angola, Azerbaijan, the Bahamas, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Brunei, Burundi, Cameroon, Chad, China, Comoros, (Republic of) Congo, Costa Rica, Curacao, Cyprus, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Estonia, The Gambia, Guinea, Iraq, Kiribati, Liberia, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Niger, Panama, Qatar, Russia, St. Vincent and The Grenadines, Solomon Islands, Syria, Tanzania, Thailand, Tunisia, Uzbekistan, Vietnam.
Tier 3 Countries
Algeria, Burma, Central African Republic, Congo (DRC), Cuba, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Guinea-Bissau, Iran, North Korea, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Madagascar, Mauritania, Micronesia, Papua New Guinea, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Turkmenistan, Venezuela, Yemen, Zimbabwe.
Special Case Countries
Cote d'Ivoire, Haiti, Somalia.
Just because a nation is on Tier 1 does not mean there is no human trafficking within its borders; it means that nation is in compliance with TVAP standards to stop trafficking. And, Clinton stressed, many countries may have enacted legislation to halt trafficking, but subsequent arrests and convictions may not herald real progress.
In 2010, the United States allocated nearly $110 million in foreign aid to help stop human trafficking worldwide. Nations that are on the Tier 2 Watch List for more than two years without providing an action plan for improvement automatically drop to Tier 3. Nations that do nothing to improve their human trafficking status could face economic sanctions.