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 You are in: Under Secretary for Democracy and Global Affairs > Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons > Releases and Remarks > Trafficking in Persons Report > 2005 Report
Trafficking in Persons Report   -Report Home Page
Released by the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons
June 3, 2005

I. Introduction

South Asian boy peers through the loom that is the instrument of his exploitation [Kay Chernush photos] Little girl stands in front of fence. [Kay Chernush photos]

[VICTIM PROFILES: The victims’ testimonies included in the report are meant to be representative only and do not include all forms of trafficking that occur. Any of these stories could unfortunately take place almost anywhere in the world. They are provided to illustrate the many forms of trafficking and the wide variety of places in which they take place. No country is immune. All names of victims that appear in this report are fictional. The photographs on this Report’s cover and most uncaptioned photographs in the Report are not images of confirmed trafficking victims, but are provided to show the myriad forms of exploitation that help define trafficking and the variety of cultures in which trafficking victims can be found.]


CENTRAL AFRICA: Mary, a 16-year-old demobilized child soldier forced to join an armed rebel group in central Africa, remembers: "I feel so bad about the things that I did. It disturbs me so much that I inflicted death on other people. When I go home I must do some traditional rites because I have killed. I must perform these rites and cleanse myself. I still dream about the boy from my village whom I killed. I see him in my dreams, and he is talking to me, saying I killed him for nothing, and I am crying."

The 2005 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report: Its Purpose

The Department of State is required by law to submit a report each year to the U.S. Congress on foreign governments’ efforts to eliminate severe forms of trafficking in persons. This Report is the fifth annual TIP Report.

This Report is intended to raise global awareness and spur foreign governments to take effective actions to counter all forms of trafficking in persons — a form of modern day slavery. The Report has increasingly focused the efforts of a growing community of nations to share information and to partner in new and important ways to fight human trafficking. A country that fails to take significant actions to bring itself into compliance with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking in persons receives a negative "Tier 3" assessment in this Report. Such an assessment could trigger the withholding of non-humanitarian, non-trade-related assistance from the United States to that country.

In assessing foreign governments’ efforts, the TIP Report highlights the "three P’s" — prosecution, protection, and prevention. But a victim-centered approach to trafficking requires us equally to address the "three R’s" — rescue, rehabilitation, and reintegration. The law that guides these efforts, the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (TVPA), makes clear from its first sentence that the purpose of combating human trafficking is to ensure just and effective punishment of traffickers, to protect their victims, and to prevent trafficking.

Left, World Wide A Go Go club; right, young Indian boy forced to weave saris. [Kay Chernush photos]

More than 140 years ago, the United States fought a devastating war to rid our country of slavery, and to prevent those who supported it from dividing the nation. Although the vast majority of nations succeeded in eliminating the state-sanctioned practice, a modern form of human slavery has emerged as a growing global threat to the lives and freedom of millions of men, women, and children. Today, slavery is rarely state-sponsored. Instead, human trafficking often involves organized crime groups who make huge sums of money at the expense of trafficking victims.

Members of Northern Thailand's hill tribes, many of whom do not have formal citizenship or residency, are vulnerable to trafficking. [Kay Chernush photos]

CAMBODIA: Neary grew up in rural Cambodia. Her parents died when she was a child, and, in an effort to give her a better life, her sister married her off when she was 17. Three months later they went to visit a fishing village. Her husband rented a room in what Neary thought was a guest house. But when she woke the next morning, her husband was gone. The owner of the house told her she had been sold by her husband for $300 and that she was actually in a brothel.

For five years, Neary was raped by five to seven men every day. In addition to brutal physical abuse, Neary was infected with HIV and contracted AIDS. The brothel threw her out when she became sick, and she eventually found her way to a local shelter. She died of HIV/AIDS at the age of 23.

Every year we add to our knowledge of the trafficking phenomenon. In last year’s Report, we used U.S. Government data that disaggregated transnational trafficking in persons by age and gender for the first time. These data showed that, of the estimated 600,000 to 800,000 men, women, and children trafficked across international borders each year, approximately 80 percent are women and girls and up to 50 percent are minors. The data also illustrate that the majority of transnational victims are trafficked into commercial sexual exploitation. With a focus on transnational trafficking in persons, however, these data fail to include millions of victims around the world who are trafficked within their own national borders.

The alarming enslavement of people for purposes of labor exploitation, often in their own countries, is a form of human trafficking that can be hard to track from afar. It may not involve the same criminal organizations profiting from transnational trafficking for sexual exploitation; more often individuals are guilty of, for example, enslaving one domestic servant or hundreds of unpaid, forced workers at a factory.

UNITED ARAB EMIRATES: Lusa is a 17 year-old orphan kidnapped in 2004 from her native Uzbekistan. Lusa’s aunt engineered her abduction to Dubai using a cousin's passport, because the aunt wanted to take Lusa’s apartment. In Dubai, Lusa was sold to a slavery and prostitution ring. When she was no longer useable in prostitution, the traffickers sent her to a psychiatric center. An Uzbek NGO located her in Dubai. The NGO arranged to move her to a shelter, and they began working on her repatriation. Because she entered the U.A.E. illegally, on a false passport, the U.A.E. immigration service said she should serve a two-year prison sentence. Government officials and the enterprising NGO are negotiating Lusa’s case.

A wide range of estimates exists on the scope and magnitude of modern-day slavery. The International Labor Organization (ILO) — the United Nations (UN) agency charged with addressing labor standards, employment, and social protection issues — estimates that there are 12.3 million people enslaved in forced labor, bonded labor, forced child labor, sexual servitude, and involuntary servitude at any given time. The nationalities of these people are as diverse as the world’s cultures. Some leave developing countries, seeking to improve their lives through low-skilled jobs in more prosperous countries. Others fall victim to forced or bonded labor in their own countries. Some families give children to related or unrelated adults who promise education and opportunity — but deliver the children into slavery — for money.


The media plays an indispensable role in educating us about the many manifestations of global human trafficking, presenting the problem in human terms and in all its painful detail. Yet media coverage is weak in many parts of the world. Some news media outlets are not yet aware of the trafficking phenomenon, or confuse it with other issues such as illegal migration and alien smuggling. The media's role is most effective when it:

  • Illuminates the problem. By writing an article or airing a segment focusing on trafficking in persons, media not only educates the public but also shines a light on an issue typically shrouded in darkness. We know of many cases, particularly in corrupt systems, in which scrutiny by international media has made the difference between a trafficker's release or imprisonment.
  • Provides a help line. When the media prints or airs an item on trafficking, it is beneficial to include a local anti-trafficking help line number and other assistance sources, for potential victims and community members who may want to get involved.
  • Shames the perpetrators. Identify traffickers and protect victims. Press accounts tend to focus on victims. It is ethical and respectful for the media to protect victims by altering details of identity and personal story. Identify and photograph traffickers — they deserve the limelight.

The Department of State's Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons has a Public Affairs and Outreach Section that is eager to hear from you. Please join us in the fight against trafficking: tipoutreach@state.gov, or (202) 312-9639.

Children watch television at the Border Police precinct after being held at the border town of Hachedura, El Salvador. Ten minors were rescued by border police after traffickers intended to smuggle them into Guatemala. [AP/WWP photo]

Conventional approaches to dealing with forced or bonded labor usually focus on compliance, in line with international conventions (i.e., ILO Conventions 29, 39, and 182). These approaches seek to have exploitative industries comply with the law by simply releasing the victims or requiring compensation Approaches to combating forced labor slavery that rely on labor standards can be weak in punishing the employers of forced or bonded laborers – the slave masters. Forced labor must be punished as a crime, through vigorous prosecutions. While most countries in the world have criminalized forced labor, they do little to prosecute offenders, in part due to lack of awareness of forced labor issues among law enforcement officials.

Over the next year, the Department of State intends to focus more attention on involuntary servitude and its related manifestations. This year, for the first time, several countries are placed on Tier 3 primarily as a result of their failure to address trafficking for forced labor.


Analyzed as a market, human trafficking includes both supply and demand forces. On the supply side, poverty, corruption, lack of education, and the eternal human yearning for improving one’s life make people vulnerable to the lures of trafficking. We are, and must continue, making significant efforts to address these "push" factors.

At the same time, we cannot ignore the demand side of the equation. Market demand — especially from male sex buyers — creates a strong profit incentive for traffickers to entrap more victims, fueling the growth of trafficking in persons. It is critical that governments take action to fight commercial sexual exploitation. For example, where prostitution flourishes, so does an environment that fuels trafficking in persons.

Furthermore, field research from nine countries shows the great harm suffered by people used in prostitution: 89 percent of people being used in prostitution want to escape. Sixty to 75 percent of women in prostitution have been raped, 70 to 95 percent have been physically assaulted, and 68 percent met the clinical criteria for post-traumatic stress disorder. This year, the UN Commission on the Status of Women highlighted the need for more action in demand education by adopting a U.S. resolution on eliminating demand for trafficked women and girls. This was the first UN resolution focused on eliminating demand, and, importantly, it acknowledged the link between commercial sexual exploitation and trafficking.

International organizations and governments have an important role to play in drying up the demand for trafficking in persons, and this role cannot be ignored if we are to be serious about ending modern-day slavery.

Sex tourism draws men from wealthy countries to less developed countries where they can take advantage of economically vulnerable women and children and weak criminal justice systems. [Kay Chernush photos]

Through the TVPA, this annual Report, strong leadership, enhanced government efforts, and increased attention from international organizations, NGOs, and the media, we are seeing a global effort building momentum to eliminate trafficking. Nations are increasingly working together to close trafficking routes, prosecute and convict traffickers, and protect and reintegrate trafficking victims. We hope this year’s Report inspires people to make even greater progress.

Thailands fishing industry relies heavily on Burmese laborers - men and women - most of whom are undocumented and highly vulnerable to conditions of forced labor. [Kay Chernush photos]

The Common Thread of Servitude

With the passage of the TVPA and the drafting of the 2000 UN Protocol on trafficking, anti-trafficking efforts shifted from the paradigm of earlier international conventions, which focused largely on the international movement of women for prostitution, to one based on the denial of freedom and resulting victimization. The definition of trafficking in persons in these instruments covers a wide array of exploitation that amounts to involuntary servitude. These instruments recognize that the women used in prostitution in another country or within their own country share a common bond with the child or man held in a state of bonded labor in his or her own community, and that countries throughout the world have responsibilities to combat this evil and care for its victims.

ITALY: Viola, a young Albanian, was 13 when she started dating 21-year-old Dilin, who proposed to marry her, then move to Italy where he had cousins who could get him a job. Arriving in Italy, Viola’s life changed forever. Dilin locked her in a hotel room and left her, never to be seen again. A group of men entered, and began to beat Viola. Then, each raped her. The leader informed Viola that Dilin had sold her and that she had to obey him or else she would be killed. For seven days Viola was beaten and repeatedly raped. Viola was sold a second time to someone who beat her head so badly she was unable to see for two days She was told if she didn’t work as a prostitute, her mother and sister in Albania would be raped and killed. Viola was forced to submit to prostitution until police raided the brothel she was in. She was deported to Albania.

The United States has criminalized "involuntary servitude" for more than 100 years. In the wake of the American Civil War, the United States passed and enacted the 13th Amendment, making it illegal to hold another person in a condition of involuntary servitude through force, threats of force, or threats of legal coercion equivalent to imprisonment. Since 1865, federal criminal cases have been brought under this statute in situations involving prostitution, migrant labor, domestic service, garment factory sweatshops, and begging rings.

As a recent court opinion interpreting the Trafficking Victims Protection Act noted, the TVPA was intended to define and expand the anti-slavery laws that would apply in trafficking situations, in order to reflect modern understanding of victimization. By more broadly encompassing the subtle means of coercion that traffickers use to bind their victims, these new criminal statutes make good on the promise made in the 13th Amendment to the Constitution: that no person shall suffer slavery or involuntary servitude on American soil.

The means by which people are subjected to servitude—their recruitment and the deception and coercion that may cause movement—are important factors but factors that are secondary to their compelled service. It is the state of servitude that is key to defining trafficking. As such, "trafficking" denotes the act of placing someone in servitude and everything done knowingly that surrounds or contributes to it. In the popular lexicon, and because of the century-old history of the term in international law, this has been interpreted widely as movement.

Lebanon: Silvia was a young, single, Sri Lankan mother seeking a better life for herself and her three-year-old son when she answered an advertisement for a housekeeping job in Lebanon. In the Beirut job agency, her passport was taken and she was hired by a Lebanese woman who subsequently confined her and restricted her access to food and communications. Treated like a prisoner and beaten daily, Silvia was determined to escape. She jumped from a window to the street below, landing with such force that she is permanently paralyzed. She is now back in Sri Lanka. Today, she travels around the country telling her story so that others do not suffer a similar fate.

A person may travel of his or her own volition to another location within his or her own country or abroad and still fall into a state of involuntary servitude later. The movement of that person to the new location is not what constitutes trafficking; the force, fraud or coercion exercised on that person by another to perform or remain in service to the master is the defining element of trafficking in the modern usage. The person who is trapped in compelled service after initially voluntarily migrating or taking a job willingly is still considered a trafficking victim.

The child sold by his parents to the owner of a brick kiln on the outskirts of his rural Indian village is a trafficking victim. And, so is the Mexican man who legally or illegally migrates to the United States, only to be threatened and beaten by his agricultural crew leader to keep him from leaving the job.

The U.S. Government continues to learn about the scope and nature of human trafficking. We have tried in this Report to point out areas where information is sparse and to raise issues that merit further investigation. Given these qualifications, the 2005 TIP Report represents an updated, global look at the nature and scope of modern-day slavery, and the broad range of actions being taken by governments around the world in the campaign for its elimination.

The international scope of trafficking and commoditization of women in the sex trade is seen through this sign,outside a Hong Kong club, which reads: Young, fresh Hong Kong girls; White, clean Malaysian girls; Beijing women; Luxurious Ghost Girls from Russia. [Kay Chernush photo]


Woman talks on phone while standing on street. [Kay Chernush photo] Where military forces gather, there has been an historical risk of sexual exploitation, especially of local women. Over the last year, the U.S Department of Defense (DoD) made new strides in addressing this phenomenon. UN peacekeeping operations were rocked by a sex abuse scandal in the Congo that caused the organization to reexamine current training policy. And NATO grappled with a wide range of attitudes—and laws covering prostitution—among member countries.

U.S. Department of Defense (DoD)
The Department of Defense is implementing a multi-pronged anti-trafficking approach initiated in January 2004. DoD’s "zero-tolerance" policy opposes prostitution, recognizing it as a contributing factor to sex trafficking. Anti-trafficking training is mandatory for all U.S. service members and DoD civilians deploying overseas, and was made available at the command level in November 2004. U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) has developed an anti-trafficking program focusing on awareness, identification of victims, demand reduction, and cooperation with local authorities. USFK’s program is considered a model approach and served as the basis for NATO’s anti-trafficking training curriculum. DoD has proposed an addition to its Manual for Courts Martial that would make patronizing a prostitute a specific, chargeable offense under the Uniformed Code of Military Justice. The proposal is expected to take effect in late 2005.

North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)
At NATO's Istanbul Summit in June 2004, heads of state and the Euro-Atlantic Partnership (EAP) council endorsed the "zero-tolerance" NATO Policy on Combating Trafficking in Human Beings that reinforces efforts to prevent and combat trafficking. This policy was initially led and sponsored by the United States and Norway. NATO is implementing reporting mechanisms to ensure compliance with the human trafficking policy. However, the NATO policy cannot create a uniform prohibition on prostitution since the laws of individual member states govern the conduct of their personnel. NATO is currently implementing an antihuman trafficking education and awareness program that is mandatory for all personnel prior to deployment on NATO missions.

United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations (UNDPKO)
In June 2004, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan approved the UNDPKO Position Paper on Human Trafficking and United Nations Peacekeeping. The policy, coupled with the UN’s Code of Conduct on Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse promotes a "zero-tolerance" approach to sex abuse and human trafficking by UN peacekeepers. UN enforcement of this policy has been challenged by ongoing allegations of sexual exploitation committed by UN peacekeepers. In late 2004, an internal investigation revealed that dozens of peacekeepers serving on a mission to the Congo had committed sex abuse crimes against refugees, including many minors. The UN’s Code of Conduct now includes a prohibition on patronizing prostitutes and establishes curfews for UNDPKO personnel.

Trafficking in Persons Defined

The United Nations Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children (one of three "Palermo Protocols"), defines trafficking in persons as:

The recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or receipt of persons, by means of threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation. Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labor or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs.

Many nations misunderstand this definition, overlooking internal trafficking or forms of labor trafficking in their national legislation, and often failing to distinguish trafficking from illegal migration. Most often left out of interpretations of this definition is involuntary servitude, a form of trafficking that does not require movement. The TVPA defines "severe forms of trafficking," as:

  1. sex trafficking in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such an act has not attained 18 years of age; or
  2. the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for labor or services, through the use of force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery.

These definitions do not require that a trafficking victim be physically transported from one location to another.

Children trafficked to the Gulf states in the Middle East are forced to race camels for the entertainment of the elite. These children were training under the shadow of Dubai's skyline in early 2005. [Dept. of State photo]


The trafficking and exploitation of South Asian and African children as camel jockeys has burgeoned in the Gulf states, which, with the discovery of oil and the associated surge in wealth, transformed camel racing from a traditional Bedouin sports pastime to a multi-million dollar activity. Today, thousands of children, some as young as two years of age, are trafficked from Bangladesh, Pakistan, and countries in East Africa, and sold into slavery to serve as camel jockeys.

These children live in an oppressive environment and endure harsh living conditions. They work long hours in temperatures exceeding 100 degrees Fahrenheit, live in unsanitary conditions, receive little food, and are deprived of sleep so that they do not gain weight and increase the load on the camels they race. They are trained and kept under the watchful eyes of handlers, who employ abusive control tactics, including threats and beatings. Some are reportedly abused sexually. Many have been seriously injured and some have been trampled to death by the camels. Those who survive the harsh conditions are disposed of once they reach their teenage years. Having gained no productive skills or education, scarred with physical and psychological trauma that can last a lifetime, these children face dim prospects. They often end up leading destitute lives. Trafficked child camel jockeys are robbed of their childhoods—and of their future.

The Human and Social Costs of Trafficking

Victims of human trafficking pay a horrible price. Psychological and physical harm, including disease and stunted growth, often have permanent effects. In many cases the exploitation of trafficking victims is progressive: a child trafficked into one form of labor may be further abused in another. Another brutal reality of the modern-day slave trade is that its victims are frequently bought and sold many times over—often sold initially by family members.

Victims forced into sex slavery can be subdued with drugs and subjected to extreme violence. Victims trafficked for sexual exploitation face physical and emotional damage from forced sexual activity, forced substance abuse, and exposure to sexually transmitted diseases including HIV/AIDS. Some victims suffer permanent damage to their reproductive organs. When the victim is trafficked to a location where he or she cannot speak or understand the language, this compounds the psychological damage caused from isolation and domination by traffickers.

INDIA: Shadir, a boy of 15 years, was offered a job that included good clothes and an education; he accepted. Instead of being given a job, Shadir was sold to a slave trader who took him to a remote village in India to produce hand-woven carpets. He was frequently beaten. He worked 12 to 14 hours a day and he was poorly fed. One day, Shadir was rescued by a NGO working to combat slavery. It took several days for him to realize he was no longer enslaved. He returned to his village, was reunited with his mother, and resumed his schooling. Now Shadir warns fellow village children about the risks of becoming a child slave.

Esther Granadoss on Abel, whose photo appears behind her, was killed by a ring of child traffickers that operated for 15 years in Mexico. [AP/WWP photo]

The Human Rights Dimension. Fundamentally, trafficking in persons violates the universal human right to life, liberty, and freedom from slavery in all its forms. Trafficking of children violates the inherent right of a child to grow up in a protective environment and the right to be free from all forms of abuse and exploitation.

Promoting Social Breakdown. The loss of family and community support networks makes trafficking victims vulnerable to traffickers’ demands and threats, and contributes in several ways to the breakdown of social structures. Trafficking tears children from their parents and extended family. The profits from trafficking allow the practice to take root in a particular community, which is then repeatedly exploited as a ready source of victims. The danger of becoming a trafficking victim can lead vulnerable groups such as children and young women to go into hiding, with adverse effects on their schooling or family structure. The loss of education reduces victims’ future economic opportunities and increases their vulnerability to being re-trafficked in the future. Victims who are able to return to their communities often find themselves stigmatized or ostracized. Recovery from the trauma, if it ever occurs, can take a lifetime.

Fueling Organized Crime. The profits from human trafficking fuel other criminal activities. According to the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation, human trafficking generates an estimated $9.5 billion in annual revenue. It is closely connected with money laundering, drug trafficking, document forgery, and human smuggling. Where organized crime flourishes, governments and the rule of law are undermined and weakened.

A rescued Nepalese trafficking victim is reunited with her father who came searching for her in India (left). The victim's friend was not as fortunate; the girl's mother is still searching for her daughter. [Kay Chernush photos]

TURKEY: Svetlana was a young Belarusian living in Minsk and looking for a job when she came upon some Turkish men who promised her a well-paying job in Istanbul. Once Svetlana crossed the border, her passport and money were taken and she was locked up. Svetlana and another foreign woman were sent to the apartment of two businessmen and forced into prostitution. Svetlana had other plans: In an attempt to escape, she jumped out of a window and fell six stories to the street below. According to Turkish court documents, customers did not take Svetlana to the hospital, they called the traffickers instead. These events led to her death. Svetlana's body lay unclaimed in the morgue for two weeks until Turkish authorities learned her identity and sent her body to Belarus. But Svetlana did not die in vain. Belarusian and Turkish authorities cooperated effectively to arrest and charge those responsible for contributing to a death and for human trafficking.

Depriving Countries of Human Capital and Inhibiting Development. Trafficking has a negative impact on labor markets, contributing to an irretrievable loss of human resources. Some effects of trafficking include depressed wages, fewer individuals left to care for an increasing number of elderly persons, and an undereducated generation. These effects lead to the loss of future productivity and earning power. Forcing children to work that denies them access to education can reinforce the cycle of poverty and illiteracy that stunts national development. When forced or bonded labor involves a significant part of a country’s population, this form of trafficking retards the country's development, as generation after generation of these victims remain mired in poverty.

Public Health Costs. Victims of trafficking often endure brutal conditions that result in physical, sexual, and psychological trauma. Sexually transmitted infections, pelvic inflammatory disease, and HIV/AIDS are often the result of being used in prostitution. Anxiety, insomnia, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder are common psychological manifestations among trafficked victims. Unsanitary and crowded living conditions, coupled with poor nutrition, foster a host of adverse health conditions such as scabies, tuberculosis, and other communicable diseases. The most egregious abuses are often borne by children, who are more easily controlled and forced into domestic service, armed conflict, and other hazardous forms of work.

Erosion of Government Authority. Many governments struggle to exercise full law enforcement authority over their national territory, particularly where corruption is prevalent. Armed conflicts, natural disasters, and political or ethnic struggles can create large populations of internally displaced persons, who could be vulnerable to trafficking. Human trafficking operations further undermine government efforts to exert authority, threatening the security of vulnerable populations. Many governments are unable to protect women and children kidnapped from their homes and schools or from refugee camps. Moreover, the bribes paid to law enforcement, immigration, and judicial officials impede a government’s ability to battle corruption from within government ranks.

The Methods of Traffickers

Slave traders prey on the vulnerable. Their targets are often children and young women, and their ploys are creative and ruthless, designed to trick, coerce, and win the confidence of potential victims. Very often these ruses involve promises of marriage, employment, educational opportunities, or a better life.

In West Africa, for example, a trafficker may appear to be a successful trader in the region, persuading a child’s parents that he will train the boy or girl in a valuable vocation in the country’s big city. Once away from the child’s village, the trafficker sells the boys to a gang sending children to a neighboring country for grueling work in a rock quarry. Girls are sent to a brothel in the capital. The trafficker may even return to the same village, assuring all parents that their children are being well looked after in the big city, before moving on to exploit another village.


Man forming bricks. [Kay Chernush photo]The common denominator of trafficking scenarios is the use of force or coercion to exploit a person in order to induce commercial sex or for the purpose of subjecting a victim to involuntary servitude, debt bondage, or slavery. The use of force or coercion can be direct and violent, or more psychological in nature. Threatening to turn a foreign migrant worker over to authorities for immigration violations can be a fear-inducing form of coercive control.

Another form of force or coercion is the use of a bond, or debt, to keep a person in subjugation. This is referred to in law and policy as "bonded labor" or "debt bondage." It is criminalized under U.S. law and identified in the UN protocol on trafficking in persons as a form of human trafficking.

Many workers around the world fall victim to debt bondage as they assume an initial debt as part of the terms of employment or inherent debt in more traditional systems of bonded labor. Then they are kept in that labor or service while the debt grows, the terms of service mutate, and the employer-employee relationship becomes exploitative. Such workers are forced to work long beyond a reasonable amount of time for their debt to be repaid.

In South Asia, this phenomenon is seen in huge numbers as traditional bonded labor, in which millions of people are enslaved from generation to generation. They seldom know the amount or terms of their debt, for this is the form of force and coercion used by employers – slave-masters – to ensure their continued servitude. Cultural practices, illiteracy, and unequal power relationships make this traditional form of slavery for low-skilled work particularly difficult to eliminate.

Legislation against bonded labor is often detailed in a nation’s labor code, with violations investigated by administrative authorities of labor ministries or local municipalities. In many cases, these officials are only authorized to levy fines, and not to investigate, prosecute, and apply criminal penalties to violators. As a result, employers who violate laws prohibiting bonded labor often face inadequate penalties and enjoy relative impunity before the law.

SINGAPORE: Karin, a young mother of two, was looking for a job in Sri Lanka when a man befriended her and convinced her that she could land a better job in Singapore as a waitress. He arranged and paid for her travel. A Sri Lankan woman met Karin upon arrival in Singapore, confiscated her passport, and took her to a hotel. The woman made it clear that Karin had to submit to prostitution to pay back the money it cost for her to be flown into Singapore. Karin was taken to an open space for sale in the sex market where she joined women from Indonesia, Thailand, India, and China to be inspected and purchased by men from Pakistan, India, China, Indonesia and Africa. The men would take the women to nearby hotels and rape them. Karin was forced to have sex with an average of 15 men a day or night. She developed a serious illness, and three months after her arrival was arrested by the Singaporean police during a raid on the brothel. She was deported to Sri Lanka.

A rescued Southeast Asian child victim of sex trafficking draws herself a brighter future. [Kay Chernush photo]

In Bangladesh, an Arab man from the Gulf may offer to sponsor and train one of ten children in an impoverished family. The parents are promised some of the boy’s earnings once he starts work in a Gulf country. The boy’s "work," however, is the harrowing life of a camel jockey; he is starved to keep his weight low and abused to keep him under the camel farm manager’s control.

In northern Uganda, rebels from a terrorist-insurgent force, the Lord’s Resistance Army, become traffickers when they abduct young children from villages to serve as soldiers and sex slaves. In rural areas of Latin America, traffickers prey on vulnerable teenage girls who want to move to large cities, making them job offers that mutate into a hellish life in prostitution once they are separated from families and in the unfamiliar city where the trafficker can manipulate them.

In Amsterdam, the 15 year-old daughter of a Ukrainian couple meets a so-called Moroccan "lover boy" who pays lots of attention to her and buys her nice things. She soon comes to trust him and considers him her partner. He convinces her to move with him to The Hague, where all is well for a short while. Then he starts coercing her to engage in commercial sexual activities with clients he identifies — he has become her pimp and trafficker. In Cambodia, a young girl is encouraged by an elder "auntie" to travel to Malaysia for work as a domestic servant. The auntie arranges for a legitimate Malaysian visa by making a bogus claim of sponsorship for work, but the girl's passport and other travel documents are taken away upon her arrival in Malaysia and she is forced to dance semi-nude at a club, servicing any client who demands sex with her. By this time, the auntie has disappeared.

The Myriad Causes of Trafficking

The causes of human trafficking are complex and often reinforce each other. Viewing trafficking in persons as a global market, victims constitute the supply, and abusive employers or sexual exploiters (also known as sex buyers) represent the demand.

The supply of victims is encouraged by many factors including poverty, the attraction of perceived higher standards of living elsewhere, lack of employment opportunities, organized crime, violence against women and children, discrimination against women, government corruption, political instability, and armed conflict. In some societies a tradition of fostering allows the third or fourth child to be sent to live and work in an urban center with a member of the extended family (often, an "uncle"), in exchange for a promise of education and instruction in a trade. Taking advantage of this tradition, traffickers often position themselves as employment agents, inducing parents to part with a child, but then traffic the child to work in prostitution, domestic servitude, or a commercial enterprise. In the end, the family receives few if any wage remittances, the child remains unschooled and untrained and separated from his or her family, and the hoped-for educational and economic opportunities never materialize.


In the aftermath of the December 26, 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, there were sporadic reports of rape, sexual abuse, kidnapping, and trafficking in persons in the countries devastated by the tsunami. Thousands of orphaned children were vulnerable to exploitation by criminal elements seeking profit from their misery. In response, governments, international organizations, and NGOs made the prevention of human trafficking, particularly child trafficking, an integral component of disaster-relief planning.

The tsunami-affected countries immediately alerted the public about the danger of human trafficking and worked with police and community officials to detect and deter trafficking cases. In particular, the Indonesian Government moved swiftly to halt international adoptions in the face of potential abuse. The Sri Lankan and Indonesian Governments also posted additional police at camps for internally displaced persons to prevent abuses of women and children.

Complementing these steps, the U.S. Government engaged organizations with expertise in family reunification and sent out an alert to NGO partners in affected countries, warning of the potential for human trafficking and asking them to spread the word among relief workers in Asia. The U.S. Government offered officials and volunteers in the region guidelines designed to minimize the risk of human trafficking in and around camps where displaced and homeless people gathered. The guidelines included: registering people in camps and ensuring security during their stays; ensuring proper security for the residents of the camps, especially women and children; and increasing the general awareness of relief workers.

After the 2004 tsunami,some feared that criminal gangs would take advantage of the chaos in Sumatra's Aceh province by whisking orphaned children into trafficking networks, possibly selling them into forced labor or even sexual slavery. The government has since banned Acehnese children under the age of 16 from leaving Indonesia.  [AP/WWP photo]

On the demand side, factors driving trafficking in persons include the sex industry and the growing demand for exploitable labor. Sex tourism and child pornography have become worldwide industries, facilitated by technologies such as the Internet, which vastly expand the choices available to "consumers" and permit instant and nearly undetectable transactions. Trafficking is also driven by the global demand for cheap, vulnerable, and illegal labor. For example, there is great demand in some prosperous countries of Asia and the Gulf for domestic servants who sometimes fall victim to exploitation or involuntary servitude.

A new source of demand for young women as brides and concubines has become apparent in Taiwan, where local men are importing Vietnamese women as wives at a record-high rate. Many Vietnamese women believe they will find a real husband and a better life in Taiwan, but are sold into prostitution not long after they are "married" and become legal Taiwan residents.


Boy working with tires. [AP/WWP photo]As governments, law enforcement, relief or health workers, and NGOs work to combat human trafficking, it is essential to properly screen for victims of human trafficking.

The screening process begins with an assessment of indicators that can be evaluated before interviewing an individual. The Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) "Look Beneath the Surface" anti-trafficking public awareness campaign recommends that the following indicators can flag potential victims:

  • Evidence of being controlled, evidence of inability to move or leave job;
  • Bruises or other signs of physical abuse;
  • Fear or depression;
  • Not speaking on own behalf and/or not speaking local language; or
  • No passport or other forms of identification or documentation

If one or more of these indicators is present, the interviewer should pursue questions that will help identify the key elements of a trafficking scenario. HHS recommends the following questions:

  • Why type of work do you do?
  • Are you being paid?
  • Can you leave your job if you want to?
  • Can you come and go as you please?
  • Have you or your family been threatened?
  • What are your working and living conditions like?
  • Where do you sleep and eat?
  • Do you have to ask permission to eat/sleep/go to the bathroom?
  • Are there locks on your doors/windows so you cannot get out?
  • Has your identification or documentation been taken from you?

By looking beneath the surface, a life might be saved.

 Left, former Austrian figureskating champion Wolfgang Schwartz was sentenced for trafficking women from Eastern Europe to Austria for forced prostitution; right, girls hold signs that read: Sexy Lady Shows. [AP/WWP photo; Kay Chernush photo]


The U.S. Government adopted a strong position against legalized prostitution in a December 2002 National Security Presidential Directive based on evidence that prostitution is inherently harmful and dehumanizing, and fuels trafficking in persons.

Prostitution and related activities, including pimping and patronizing or maintaining brothels, fuel the growth of modern-day slavery by providing a façade behind which traffickers for sexual exploitation operate. Where prostitution is legalized or tolerated, there is a greater demand for human trafficking victims and nearly always an increase in the number of women and children trafficked into commercial sex slavery.

Of the estimated 600,000 to 800,000 people trafficked across international borders annually, 80 percent of victims are female, and up to 50 percent are children. Hundreds of thousands of these women and children are used in prostitution each year.

Women and Children Want to Escape Prostitution
 Man talks to woman on street. [Kay Chernush photo] The vast majority of women in prostitution do not want to be there. Few seek it out or choose it, and most are desperate to leave it. A 2003 study in the scientific Journal of Trauma Practice found that 89 percent of women in prostitution want to escape prostitution. Children are also trapped in prostitution—despite the fact that a number of international covenants and protocols impose upon state parties an obligation to criminalize the commercial sexual exploitation of children.

Prostitution Is Inherently Demeaning and Harmful
Few activities are as brutal and damaging to people as prostitution. Field research in nine countries concluded that 60 to 75 percent of women in prostitution were raped, 70 to 95 percent were physically assaulted, and 68 percent met the criteria for posttraumatic stress disorder in the same range as treatment-seeking combat veterans and victims of state-organized torture.

State attempts to regulate prostitution by introducing medical check-ups or licenses do not address the core problem: the routine abuse and violence that form the prostitution experience and brutally victimize those caught in its netherworld. Prostitution leaves women and children physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually devastated. Recovery takes years, even decades—often, the damages can never be undone.

A similar source of demand for the trafficking of young women is a consequence of widening gender gaps in densely populated India and China. In China, this gap is due in part to the one-child policy, while in India, it is due to the perception that a girl child is an economic liability. Foreign girls and women from Burma, North Korea, Russia, and Vietnam reportedly are trafficked into China as forced brides, concubines, and prostitutes. Sources in India report a similar pattern: the trafficking of girls from West Bengal and Assam to the more prosperous states of Punjab and Haryana, which have the most acute gender gaps.

Effective Strategies in Combating Trafficking

To be effective, anti-trafficking strategies must target both the supply side, the traffickers — and the demand side — the owners or, in the case of trafficking for sexual exploitation, the sex buyers — of this ugly phenomenon.

On the supply side, the conditions that drive trafficking must be dealt with through programs that alert communities to the dangers of trafficking, improve and expand educational and economic opportunities to vulnerable groups, promote equal access to education, educate people regarding their legal rights, and create better and broader life opportunities.

Vocational training such as basket weaving empowers trafficking survivors as well as women and children at risk of being trafficked. [Kay Chernush photos]

Regarding traffickers, law enforcement must vigorously prosecute traffickers and those who aid and abet them; fight public corruption which facilitates and profits from the trade; identify and interdict trafficking routes through better intelligence gathering and coordination; clarify legal definitions of trafficking and coordinate law enforcement responsibilities; and train personnel to identify and direct trafficking victims to appropriate care.

On the demand side, persons who exploit trafficked persons must be identified and prosecuted. Employers of forced labor and exploiters of victims trafficked for sexual exploitation must be named and shamed. With regard to sex slavery, awareness-raising campaigns must be conducted in destination countries to make it harder for trafficking to be concealed or ignored. Victims must be rescued from slave-like living and working situations, rehabilitated, and reintegrated into their families and communities.

Local, state, national, and regional programs to fight trafficking must be coordinated. By drawing public attention to the problem, governments can enlist the support of the public in the fight against trafficking. Anti-trafficking strategies and programs developed with input from stakeholders (civil society and NGOs) are the most effective and likely to succeed as they bring a comprehensive view to the problem. Coordination and cooperation—whether national, bilateral, or regional—will leverage country efforts and help rationalize the allocation of resources. Nations should cooperate more closely to deny traffickers legal sanctuary and facilitate their extradition for prosecution. Such cooperation should also aim to facilitate the voluntary and humane repatriation of victims.

Left, little girl walking; right, little boy. [Kay Chernush photo; AP/WWP photo]


Legitimate intercountry adoption provides a permanent family placement for a child unable to find one in his or her country of origin, absent any irregularities by the adoptive parents, the birth parents, or any parties involved in facilitating the relationship. Appropriate and legitimate intercountry adoption does not imply baby selling or human trafficking. Unless adoption occurs for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation or forced labor, adoption does not fall under the scope of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act. Baby selling, which is sometimes used as a means to circumvent legal adoption requirements, involves coerced or induced removal of a child, or situations where deception or undue compensation is used to induce relinquishment of a child.

Baby selling is not an acceptable route to adoption and can include many attributes in common with human trafficking. Though baby selling is illegal, it would not necessarily constitute human trafficking where it occurs for adoption, based on the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, the UN Protocols on Trafficking in Persons and the Sale of Children, the 1993 Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in respect of Intercountry Adoption, and definitions of adoption established by U.S. jurisdictions.

The purposes of baby selling and human trafficking are not necessarily the same. Some individuals assume that baby selling for adoption is a form of human trafficking because trafficking and baby selling both involve making a profit by selling another person. However, illegally selling a child for adoption would not constitute trafficking where the child itself is not to be exploited. Baby selling generally results in a situation that is nonexploitative with respect to the child. Trafficking, on the other hand, implies exploitation of the victims. If an adopted child is subjected to coerced labor or sexual exploitation, then it constitutes a case of human trafficking.

Knowledge about trafficking must be continually improved, and the network of anti-trafficking organizations and efforts strengthened. Religious institutions, NGOs, schools, community associations, and traditional leaders need to be mobilized and drawn into the struggle. Victims and their families are important stakeholders in the fight against trafficking. Governments need to periodically reassess their anti-trafficking strategies and programs to ensure they remain effective to counter new methods and approaches by traffickers.

Finally, government officials must be trained in anti-trafficking techniques and methods, and trafficking flows and trends must be closely monitored to better understand the nature and magnitude of the problem so that appropriate policy responses can be crafted to tackle trafficking.

Left, Carlson Companies CEO Marilyn Carlson Nelson signs the Code of Conduct in April 2004 while U.S.Ambassador-at-Large for Trafficking In Persons John Miller looks on; right, group of girls. [Dept. of State photo; Kay Chernush photo]

What Is Child Sex Tourism?
Each year more than a million children are exploited in the global commercial sex trade. Child sex tourism (CST) involves people who travel from their own country to another and engage in commercial sex acts with children. CST is a shameful assault on the dignity of children and a form of violent child abuse. The sexual exploitation of children has devastating consequences.

Tourists engaging in CST often travel to developing countries looking for anonymity and the availability of children in prostitution. The crime is typically fueled by weak law enforcement, corruption, the Internet, ease of travel, and poverty. These sexual offenders come from all socio-economic backgrounds and may hold positions of trust.

A Global Response
Over the last five years, there has been an increase in the prosecution of child sex tourism offenses. At least 32 countries have extraterritorial laws that allow the prosecution of their citizens for CST crimes committed abroad.

In response to the phenomenon of CST, NGOs, the tourism industry, and governments have begun to address the issue. The World Tourism Organization (WTO) established a task force to combat CST. The WTO, the NGO End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes (ECPAT), and Nordic tour operators created a global Code of Conduct for the Protection of Children from Sexual Exploitation in Travel and Tourism in 1999. As of March 2005, 100 travel companies from 18 countries have signed the code. (See www.thecode.org.)

What the United States Is Doing
In 2003, the United States strengthened its ability to fight child sex tourism by passing the Prosecutorial Remedies and other Tools to end the Exploitation of Children Today (PROTECT) Act and The Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act. Together these laws increase penalties to a maximum of 30 years in prison for engaging in CST. Since the passage of the PROTECT Act, there have been over 20 indictments and over a dozen convictions of child sex tourists. The Department of Homeland Security has also developed the Operation Predator initiative to combat child exploitation, child pornography, and child sex tourism. The United States is also funding the NGO World Vision to conduct a major public awareness, deterrence, and crime prevention project overseas.

What Governments Can Do

Enhance Research and Coordination:

  • Research the extent and nature of the problem;
  • Draft an action plan for addressing CST; and
  • Designate a government point of contact to coordinate efforts with nongovernmental, intergovernmental, and travel/tourism organizations.

Augment Prevention and Training:

  • Encourage the travel industry to sign and implement the Code of Conduct;
  • Fund and/or launch public awareness campaigns, highlighting relevant extraterritorial laws;
  • Train and sensitize law enforcement on the issue; and
  • Ensure that border and airport officials report any suspected cases of child trafficking.

Strengthen Legal Measures and Prosecutions:

  • Draft, pass, and/or enforce extraterritorial laws criminalizing CST;
  • Prescribe punishment that is commensurate with that for other grave crimes; and
  • Prosecute the crime to the fullest extent possible.

Assist Victims:

  • Provide shelter, counseling, medical, and legal assistance to victims;
  • Provide reintegration assistance as appropriate; and
  • Support the efforts of NGOs working with child victims.

What United States Citizens Can Do

  • Stay informed and support the efforts of authorities and the tourism industry to prevent commercial sexual exploitation of children;
  • Take notice and report to the authorities abroad and/or to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (toll-free TIP line: 1-866-DHS-2ICE if you suspect children are being commercially sexually exploited in tourism destinations;
  • Be aware that any U.S. citizen or permanent legal resident arrested in a foreign country for sexually abusing minors may be subject to return to the U.S., and, if convicted, can face up to 30 year’s imprisonment; and
  • Support the efforts of NGOs working to protect children from commercial sexual exploitation.

What Companies Can Do

Travel, tourism, and hospitality companies can sign the Code of Conduct for the Protection of Children from Sexual Exploitation in Travel and Tourism, which requires them to implement the following measures:

  • Establish a corporate ethical policy against commercial sexual exploitation of children;
  • Train tourism personnel in the country of origin and travel destinations;
  • Introduce clauses in contracts with suppliers stating a common repudiation of sexual exploitation of children;
  • Provide information to travelers through catalogues, brochures, in-flight videos, ticket slips, and websites;
  • Provide information to local "key persons" at travel destinations; and
  • Report annually on progress to the Code of Conduct’s General Secretariat.

Left, sign reads: Save the Child From Sexual Abuse; right, group of girls. [AP/WWP photo; Kay Chernush photo]


The Trafficking Victims Protection Act defines "severe form of trafficking in persons" as

(a) sex trafficking in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such an act has not attained 18 years of age; or

(b) the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for labor or services, through the use of force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery.

Definition of Terms Used in the Term "Severe Forms of Trafficking in Persons"

"Sex trafficking" means the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for the purpose of a commercial sex act.

"Commercial sex act" means any sex act on account of which anything of value is given to or received by any person.

"Involuntary servitude" includes a condition of servitude induced by means of (a) any scheme, plan, or pattern intended to cause a person to believe that, if the person did not enter into or continue in such condition, that person or another person would suffer serious harm or physical restraint; or (b) the abuse or threatened abuse of the legal process.

"Debt bondage" means the status or condition of a debtor arising from a pledge by the debtor of his or her personal services or of those of a person under his or her control as a security for debt, if the value of those services as reasonably assessed is not applied toward the liquidation of the debt or the length and nature of those services are not respectively limited and defined.

"Coercion" means (a) threats of serious harm to or physical restraint against any person; (b) any scheme, plan or pattern intended to cause a person to believe that failure to perform an act would result in serious harm to or physical restraint against any person; or, (c) the abuse or threatened abuse of the legal process.


A small girl, bonded into slavery just as her parents and their parents were before her, labors under the hot sun forming bricks from clay in rural South Asia. [Kay Chernush photo]The TIP Report is the most comprehensive worldwide report on the efforts of governments to combat severe forms of trafficking in persons. The TIP Report covers the period April 2004 through March 2005.

What the Report Is and Is Not

The annual Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report includes those countries determined to be countries of origin, transit, or destination for a significant number of victims of severe forms of trafficking. Since trafficking likely extends to every country in the world, the omission of a country from the Report may only indicate a lack of adequate information. The country narratives describe the scope and nature of the trafficking problem, the reasons for including the country in the Report, and the government’s efforts to combat trafficking. The narrative also contains an assessment of the government’s compliance with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking as laid out in the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (TVPA), and includes suggestions for actions to combat trafficking. The remainder of the country narrative describes the government’s efforts to enforce laws against trafficking, protect victims, and prevent trafficking. Each narrative explains the basis for rating a country as Tier 1, Tier 2, Tier 2 Watch List, or Tier 3. If a country has been placed on Tier 2 Watch List, the narrative will contain a statement explaining why, using terms found in the TVPA as amended in 2003.

Rescued child camel jockeys rediscover their childhood in a new United Arab Emirates shelter. [Dept. of State photo] Some countries have held conferences and established task forces or national action plans to create goals for anti-trafficking efforts. However, conferences, plans, and task forces alone are not weighted heavily in assessing country efforts. Rather, the Report focuses on concrete actions governments have taken to fight trafficking: highlighting prosecutions, convictions, and prison sentences for traffickers, victim protection, and prevention efforts. The Report does not give great weight to laws in draft form or laws that have not yet been enacted. Finally, the Report does not focus on other government efforts that contribute indirectly to reducing trafficking, such as education programs, support for economic development, or programs aimed at enhancing gender equality, although these are worthwhile endeavors.

The Special Watch List — Tier 2 Watch List

The 2003 reauthorization of the TVPA created a "Special Watch List" of countries on the TIP Report that should receive special scrutiny. The list is composed of: 1) countries listed as Tier 1 in the current Report that were listed as Tier 2 in the 2004 Report; 2) countries listed as Tier 2 in the current Report that were listed as Tier 3 in the 2004 Report; and, 3) countries listed as Tier 2 in the current Report, where

  1. The absolute number of victims of severe forms of trafficking is very significant or is significantly increasing;
  2. There is a failure to provide evidence of increasing efforts to combat severe forms of trafficking in persons from the previous year, including increased investigations, prosecutions and convictions of trafficking crimes, increased assistance to victims, and decreasing evidence of complicity in severe forms of trafficking by government officials; or
  3. The determination that a country is making significant efforts to bring itself into compliance with minimum standards was based on commitments by the country to take additional future steps over the next year.

This category (including a, b, and c) has been termed by the Department of State "Tier 2 Watch List." There were 42 countries placed on Tier 2 Watch List in the June 2004 Report. Along with four countries that were reassessed as Tier 2 Watch List countries in September 2004 and three countries that met the first two categories above (moving up a tier from the 2003 TIP Report), these 42 countries were included in an "Interim Assessment" released by the Department of State on January 3, 2005.

Of the 46 countries on Tier 2 Watch List at the time of the Interim Assessment, 31 moved up to Tier 2 on this Report, while five fell to Tier 3 and ten remain on Tier 2 Watch List for a second consecutive year.

Countries placed on the Special Watch List in this Report will be reexamined in an interim assessment to be submitted to the U.S. Congress by February 1, 2006.


In a September 2003 address to the United Nations General Assembly, President Bush announced a $50 million special initiative, "to support the good work of organizations that are rescuing women and children from exploitation, and giving them shelter and medical treatment and the hope of a new life." In 2004, the Bush Administration gave funding priority to Brazil, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Moldova, Sierra Leone, and Tanzania. The first phase of the anti-trafficking Presidential Initiative consists of economic alternative/ vocational programs; emergency and long-term shelters and care; voluntary repatriation and reintegration programs; and public information campaigns.

Groups such as the Bilateral Safety Corridor Coalition and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are launching training programs targeting healthcare workers and others who provide services to vulnerable populations. Catholic Relief Services, Hagar International, American Center for International Labor Solidarity, the International Catholic Migration Commission, and others are implementing creative programs in conjunction with local partners to provide vocational counseling, job preparation, employment assistance, and income generation activities for trafficking survivors as well as for persons at risk of being trafficked. World Vision, The Asia Foundation and the United Nations Development Program, for example, are partnering with local community and faith-based organizations in the delivery of emergency and long-term care for trafficking victims. Care ranges from emergency shelters and long-term housing facilities to medical, psychological, and legal counseling. The International Organization for Migration, Winrock International, and UNIFEM’s programs are focused on cross border activities such as border shelters, repatriation, and reintegration.

The second phase of the program will focus on joint collaboration with law enforcement to set up multi-disciplinary and mobile police rescue teams. Rescuing victims and prosecuting their perpetrators requires a coordinated response.


TIER 1: Countries whose governments fully comply with the Act’s minimum standards.

TIER 2: Countries whose governments do not fully comply with the Act’s minimum standards but are making significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance with those standards.

TIER 2 SPECIAL WATCH LIST: Countries whose governments do not fully comply with the Act’s minimum standards but are making significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance with those standards, and:

  1. The absolute number of victims of severe forms of trafficking is very significant or is significantly increasing; or
  2. There is a failure to provide evidence of increasing efforts to combat severe forms of trafficking in persons from the previous year; or
  3. The determination that a country is making significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance with minimum standards was based on commitments by the country to take additional future steps over the next year.

TIER 3: Countries whose governments do not fully comply with the minimum standards and are not making significant efforts to do so.

Why the 2005 TIP Report Contains More Country Assessments

Under the guise of offering boys an apprenticeship in a trade, child trafficking victims are confined and forced to work in small factories or workshops under harsh conditions such as these Indian boys in a Zari - beadwork sewing - shop. [Kay Chernush photo]The 2005 Report includes an analysis of trafficking and government efforts to combat it in 150 countries, a net increase of ten countries over last year. In previous years, some countries have not been included because it was difficult to gather reliable and sufficient information due to: the illegal and underground nature of trafficking; the absence or nascence of government programs; the difficulty in distinguishing between trafficking and smuggling; the fear and silence of trafficking victims, who often cross borders illegally or are physically abused or coerced; or the general lack of freedom of information in a country. For some countries, there was information available, but the data did not support a finding that a significant number of persons were trafficked to, from, or within a country—the general threshold for inclusion in the TIP Report.

Over the past year, we have witnessed a stronger response from many governments, more public awareness campaigns alerting victims to protection services, and greater transparency in anti-trafficking efforts. As a result of these positive actions, and the attention of more Department of State resources, the Department gathered information on more countries this year. The Department intends to include all countries with a significant number of trafficking victims in future reports, as more and better information becomes available.

How the Report Is Used

This Report is a diplomatic tool for the U.S. Government to use as an instrument for continued dialogue, encouragement, and a guide to help focus resources on prosecution, protection, and prevention programs and policies. The Department will continue to engage governments about the content of the Report in order to strengthen cooperative efforts to eradicate trafficking. In the coming year, and particularly in the months before a determination is made regarding sanctions for Tier 3 countries, the Department will use the information gathered in the compilation of this Report to more effectively target assistance programs and to work with countries that need help in combating trafficking. The Department hopes the Report will be a catalyst for government and non-government efforts to combat trafficking in persons around the world.

Rescued trafficking victims in a Mumbai shelter take art therapy; a young victims self-portrait. [Kay Chernush photo]


Engagement through the Trafficking in Persons, TIP, Report yields tangible results. After the 2004 TIP Report placed Bangladesh on Tier 3, Bangladeshi police rescued from a brothel these teenage girls who would have been trafficked to the Gulf states. [Kay Chernush photo]The Department of State prepared this Report using information from U.S. embassies, meetings with foreign government officials, NGOs and international organizations, published reports, research trips to every region, and the information submitted to the e-mail address (tipreport@state.gov) which was established for NGOs and individuals to report information on government progress in addressing trafficking. Our diplomatic posts reported on the trafficking situation and governmental action based on thorough research, including meetings with a wide variety of government officials, local and international NGO representatives, international organizations, officials, journalists, academics, and victims.

To compile this year’s Report, the Department took a fresh look at sources of information on every country to make the assessments in this report. Assessing each government’s anti-trafficking efforts involved a two-step process:

Step One: Significant Numbers of Victims

First, the Department determined whether a country is "a country of origin, transit, or destination for a significant number of victims of severe forms of trafficking," generally on the order of 100 or more victims, the same threshold applied in previous reports. Some countries for which such information was not available were not given tier ratings, but are included in the Special Case section, as they exhibited indications of trafficking.

Step Two: Tier Placement

A trafficked Ghanaian child, one of thousands forced to work seven days a week, fishes in Lake Volta, Ghana. Rural children are often sold by their parents in exchange for money, an agreement that is generally brokered by the fishing recruiters. [Daniel Pepper photo]The Department placed each of the countries included on the 2005 TIP Report into one of the three lists, described here as tiers, mandated by the TVPA. This placement is based on the extent of a government’s actions to combat trafficking. The Department first evaluates whether the government fully complies with the TVPA’s minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking (detailed on p. 252). Governments that do are placed in Tier 1. For other governments, the Department considers whether they made significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance. Governments that are making significant efforts to meet the minimum standards are placed in Tier 2. Those countries whose governments do not fully comply with the minimum standards and are not making significant efforts to do so are placed in Tier 3. Finally, the Special Watch List criteria are considered and, if applicable, Tier 2 countries are placed on the Tier 2 Watch List.

As required by the TVPA, in making tier determinations between Tiers 2 and 3, the Department considers the overall extent of human trafficking in the country; the extent of government noncompliance with the minimum standards, particularly the extent to which government officials have participated in, facilitated, condoned, or are otherwise complicit in trafficking; and, what measures are reasonable to bring the government into compliance the minimum standards in light of the government’s resources and capabilities.

Potential Penalties for Tier 3 Countries

Bangladeshi children heat and mix rubber in a barrel at a balloon factory. [AP/WWP photo] Governments of countries in Tier 3 may be subject to certain sanctions. The U.S. Government may withhold non-humanitarian, non-trade related assistance. Countries that receive no such assistance would be subject to withholding of funding for participation in educational and cultural exchange programs. Consistent with the TVPA, such governments would also face U.S. opposition to assistance (except for humanitarian, trade-related, and certain development- related assistance) from international financial institutions such as the International Monetary Fund and multilateral development banks such as the World Bank. These potential consequences would take effect at the beginning of the next fiscal year, October 1, 2005.

All or part of the TVPA’s sanctions can be waived upon a determination by the President that the provision of such assistance to the government would promote the purposes of the statute or is otherwise in the national interest of the United States. The TVPA also provides that sanctions shall be waived if necessary to avoid significant adverse effects on vulnerable populations, including women and children. Sanctions also would not apply if the President finds that, after this Report is issued but before the imposition of sanctions, a government has come into compliance with the minimum standards or is making significant efforts to bring itself into compliance.

Regardless of tier placement, every country can do more, including the United States. No country placement is permanent. All countries must maintain and increase efforts to combat trafficking. The United States will continue to monitor progress throughout the world and work with its partners to strengthen international efforts to eliminate all forms of modern-day slavery.

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