Human trafficking is a world wide problem. It is a multi-billion dollar business and is the second largest crime in the world today. There are many parts to human trafficking which include, forced labor, commercial sex and organ harvesting. 50% of the victims are children and 80% of the victims are women and young girls. So how do we decide which countries are the most prone for human trafficking?
There are different levels, or tiers, that have been formed for the different countries in how they participate in working towards ending human trafficking. There are five different tiers: Tier 1, Tier 2, Tier 2 Watch list, Tier 3, and Special case. For the most part, each country has been grouped into one of these five tiers. There are some, such as Greenland and Antarctica, which have not had enough studies to determine where they place.
How is Tier Placement Calculated?
The U.S. Department of State has described each tier as the following:
Tier 1:Countries whose governments fully comply with the Trafficking Victims Protections Act’s (TVPA) minimum standards. [Currently 32 countries]
Tier 2: Countries whose governments do not fully comply with the TVPA’s minimum standards, but are making significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance with those standards. [Currently 87 countries]
Tier 2 Watch List: Countries whose governments do not fully comply with the TVPA’s minimum standards, but are making significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance with those standards AND:
a) The absolute number of victims of severe forms of trafficking is very significant or 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; or
c) The determination that a country is making significant efforts to bring itself into compliance with the minimum standards was based on commitments by the country to take additional future steps over the next year. [Currently 43 countries]
Tier 3: Countries whose governments do not fully comply with the minimum standards and are not making significant efforts to do so. [Currently 22 countries]
Special Case: Countries that have particular current problems re human trafficking and are deemed to require special attention. [Somalia is the only current one.]
What is the Trafficking Victims Protections Act?
Created in the year 2000, it is the cornerstone of Federal human trafficking legislation. It established several methods of prosecuting traffickers, preventing human trafficking, and protecting victims and survivors of trafficking. It also requires restitution be paid to victims of human trafficking. It further works to prevent trafficking by establishing the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, which is required to publish a Trafficking In Person’s (TIP) report each year; where countries are ranked into tiers. Since 2000, it has had multiple revisions. To read more about it, please visit the Polaris Project.
Can countries be moved to different tiers?
Countries can be moved to different tiers multiple times, depending on where they stand. Malaysia and Cuba have been moved from Tier 3 to Tier 2. This has caused a ripple affect and is having negative thoughts such as U.S. politics is “swaying the often-contentions rankings in its annual human trafficking report.” For example, Cuba was moved off of Tier 3 a week after the U.S. and Cuba formally restored diplomatic relations after a half-century of discord (Pennington 2015). Pakistan was facing a major threat that it may be included and bumped down from tier 2 to Tier 3. If this happens, Pakistan might face travel restrictions or cut in US aid (FIA DG Nation).
What can you do?
I was shocked at how many countries do not comply with the TVPA laws. In order for human trafficking to stop, every single country needs to be on board. There are many organizations that you can donate to or even take part in. One organization that is local to the United States is Operation Underground Railroad. They are a wonderful organization that rescues kidnapped children. However, they don’t only rescue them, they also work with local law enforcement in order to arrest the perpetrators as well. Some children are able to return to their families and for those that are not, they arrange places for the children to go. Not only to have shelter and food, but a place that will help rehabilitate them as well. However, Operation Underground Railroad is a non-profit organization and relies on donations to continue doing what they do.
"Current Federal Laws." PolarisProject. Web. 2015.
"Pakistan May Join Tier-3 List." Nation (Pakistan), 11 June 2015. Web. 2015.
Pennington, Matthew. "Malaysia, Cuba Taken off US Human Trafficking Blacklist." 27 July 2015. Web. 2015.
"Trafficking in Persons Report 2014." U.S. Department of State, 2014. Web. 2015.