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Released by the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons
June 4, 2008
Romania/UK Lila, a 19-year-old Romanian girl who had already endured physical and sexual abuse from her alcoholic father, was introduced by an “acquaintance” to a man who offered her a job as a housekeeper/salesperson in the U.K. When she arrived in the U.K., the man sold her to a pimp and Lila was forced into prostitution. She was threatened that she would be sent home in pieces if she did not follow every order. After an attempted escape, her papers were confiscated and the beatings became more frequent and brutal. Months later, after being retrafficked several times, Lila was freed in a police raid. She was eventually repatriated back to Romania where, after two months, she fled from a shelter where she had been staying. Her whereabouts are unknown.
Lila, a 19-year-old Romanian girl who had already endured physical and sexual abuse from her alcoholic father, was introduced by an “acquaintance” to a man who offered her a job as a housekeeper/salesperson in the U.K. When she arrived in the U.K., the man sold her to a pimp and Lila was forced into prostitution. She was threatened that she would be sent home in pieces if she did not follow every order. After an attempted escape, her papers were confiscated and the beatings became more frequent and brutal. Months later, after being retrafficked several times, Lila was freed in a police raid. She was eventually repatriated back to Romania where, after two months, she fled from a shelter where she had been staying. Her whereabouts are unknown.
The U.S. law that guides anti-human trafficking efforts, the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000, as amended (TVPA), states that the purpose of combating human trafficking is to punish traffickers, to protect victims, and to prevent trafficking from occurring. Freeing those trapped in slave-like conditions is the ultimate goal of this Report—and of the U.S. Government’s antihuman trafficking policy.
Human trafficking is a multi-dimensional threat. It deprives people of their human rights and freedoms, it increases global health risks, and it fuels the growth of organized crime.
Human trafficking has a devastating impact on individual victims, who often suffer physical and emotional abuse, rape, threats against self and family, and even death. But the impact of human trafficking goes beyond individual victims; it undermines the health, safety, and security of all nations it touches.
There is an ever-growing community of nations making significant efforts to eliminate this atrocious crime. A country that fails to make significant efforts to bring itself into compliance with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking in persons, as outlined in the TVPA, receives a “Tier 3” assessment in this Report. Such an assessment could trigger the withholding by the United States of nonhumanitarian, non-trade-related foreign assistance. 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 also to address the “three R’s”—rescue, rehabilitation, and reintegration— and to encourage learning and sharing of best practices in these areas. We must go beyond an initial rescue of victims and restore to them dignity and the hope of productive lives.
Human Trafficking Defined
The TVPA defines “severe forms of trafficking” as:
A victim need not be physically transported from one location to another in order for the crime to fall within these definitions.
The Scope and Nature of Modern-Day Slavery
A wide range of estimates exists on the scope and magnitude of modern-day slavery. The International Labor Organization (ILO)—the United Nations agency charged with addressing labor standards, employment, and social protection issues—estimates that there are 12.3 million people in forced labor, bonded labor, forced child labor, and sexual servitude at any given time; other estimates range from 4 million to 27 million.
Annually, according to U.S. Government-sponsored research completed in 2006, approximately 800,000 people are trafficked across national borders, which does not include millions trafficked within their own countries. Approximately 80 percent of transnational victims are women and girls and up to 50 percent are minors. The majority of transnational victims are females trafficked into commercial sexual exploitation. These numbers do not include millions of female and male victims around the world who are trafficked within their own national borders—the majority for forced or bonded labor.
Human traffickers 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 a better life through employment, educational opportunities, or marriage.
The nationalities of trafficked 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. Women, eager for a better future, are susceptible to promises of jobs abroad as babysitters, housekeepers, waitresses, or models—jobs that traffickers turn into the nightmare of forced prostitution without exit. Some families give children to adults, often relatives, who promise education and opportunity—but sell the children into exploitative situations for money. But poverty alone does not explain this tragedy, which is driven by fraudulent recruiters, employers, and corrupt officials who seek to reap unlawful profits from others’ desperation.
Focus of the 2008 TIP Report
The TIP Report is the most comprehensive worldwide report on the efforts of governments to combat severe forms of trafficking in persons. This Report covers the period of April 2007 through March 2008. It includes those countries that have been determined to be countries of origin, transit, or destination for a significant number of victims of severe forms of trafficking. The 2008 TIP Report rep resents 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 to confront and eliminate it.
Because 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, and the government’s efforts to combat trafficking. each narrative also contains an assessment of the government’s compliance with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking as laid out in the TVPA, and includes suggestions for additional actions to combat trafficking on the part of a country’s government. The remainder of the country narrative describes each 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. All rankings are accompanied by an explanation, but in particular, if a country has been placed on Tier 2 Watch List, the narrative will contain a statement of explanation, using the special criteria found in the TVPA.
The TVPA lists three factors to be considered in determining whether a country should be in Tier 2 (or Tier 2 Watch List) or in Tier 3: (1) The extent to which the country is a country of origin, transit, or destination for severe forms of trafficking; (2) The extent to which the government of the country does not comply with the TVPA’s minimum standards including, in particular, the extent of the government’s trafficking-related corruption; and (3) The resources and capabilities of the government to address and eliminate severe forms of trafficking in persons.
Some countries have held conferences and established task forces or national action plans to create goals for anti-trafficking efforts. While such activities are useful and can help to catalyze concrete law enforcement, protection, and prevention activities in the future, these conferences, plans, and task forces alone are not weighed heavily in assessing country efforts. Rather, the Report focuses on concrete actions governments have taken to fight trafficking, especially prosecutions, convictions, and prison sentences for traffickers, victim protection measures, 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 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 Department of State prepared this Report using information from U.S. embassies, foreign government officials, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and international organizations, published reports, research trips to every region, and information submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org. This email address was established for NGOs and individuals to share information on government progress in addressing trafficking. U.S. 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, officials of international organizations, journalists, academics, and survivors. To compile this year’s Report, the Department took a fresh look at information sources on every country to make its assessments. Assessing each government’s anti-trafficking efforts involves a two-step process:
Step one: Finding Significant Numbers of victims
Step Two: Tier Placement
The Special Watch List— Tier 2 Watch List
This third category (including a, b, and c) has been termed by the Department of State “Tier 2 Watch List.” There were 32 countries placed on Tier 2 Watch List in the June 2007 Report. Along with two countries that were reassessed as Tier 2 Watch List countries in October 2007, and seven countries that met the first two categories above (moving up a tier from the 2007 to the 2008 TIP Report), these 41 countries were included in an “Interim Assessment” released by the Department of State on February 28, 2008.
Of the 34 countries on Tier 2 Watch List at the time of the Interim Assessment, 11 moved up to Tier 2 on this Report, while four fell to Tier 3 and 19 remain on Tier 2 Watch List. 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, 2009.
Potential Penalties for Tier 3 Countries
Governments of countries in Tier 3 may be subject to certain sanctions. The U.S. Government may withhold non-humanitarian, non-trade-related foreign assistance. Countries that receive no such assistance would be subject to withholding of funding for participation by officials and employees of such governments in educational and cultural exchange programs. Consistent with the TVPA, governments subject to sanctions 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 the World Bank. Sanctions, if imposed, will take effect October 1, 2008.
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 can be waived if necessary to avoid significant adverse effects on vulnerable populations, including women and children. Sanctions would not apply if the President finds that, after this Report is issued but before sanctions determinations are made, 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.
How the Report Is Used