International Programs To Combat Trafficking In Persons
The Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (TIP Office) manages a portfolio of grant projects to combat human trafficking outside of the United States by helping individuals in those countries prosecute traffickers, protect victims, and prevent trafficking. The TIP Office awards grants to strengthen legal frameworks, build government capacity, enhance victim protection, and conduct other anti-trafficking activities. The global trends and country-specific recommendations in the annual Trafficking in Persons Report guide the TIP Office’s regional programming strategies and awards of foreign assistance funding.
TIP Office programming is organized as follows:
Bilateral and Regional: Multi-year bilateral and regional projects that promote anti-trafficking protection, prosecution, and prevention objectives.
Training and Technical Assistance: Short-term training projects to increase government and civil society capacities to combat trafficking, and deployable technical assistance to help government agencies address immediate needs.
Emergency Victim Assistance: Direct assistance for trafficking victims on an emergency case-by-case basis.
Research and Innovation: Short-term and multi-year projects that address unmet research needs and explore innovative approaches to combating human trafficking.
The following examples highlight grantee efforts in the past year to combat human trafficking.
Enacting Anti-trafficking Laws and Frameworks
In Ethiopia, collaboration between the government and a TIP Office grantee led to the adoption of comprehensive anti-trafficking legislation in August 2015.
In the Democratic Republic of Congo, a grantee provided legal counsel to victims of trafficking that led to three trafficking cases being prosecuted in late 2015—resulting in reparations being ordered for victims and perpetrators receiving two-year prison sentences.
In Sri Lanka, a grantee supported the government in its preparations to become a state party to the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (Palermo Protocol); approve a National Trafficking in Persons Action Plan; and pass the Victims and Witnesses Protection Act.
A grantee’s 10-year partnership with the Government of the Philippines to combat sex trafficking has assisted law enforcement with investigations, facilitated prosecution of cases in Philippine courts, and enabled social workers to prepare victims to testify in court. Building on a decade of training and mentoring, the project has led to an increase in the number of prosecutions and successful convictions and the creation of a dedicated anti-trafficking unit in the capital.
Enhancing the Capacity of Investigators, Prosecutors, and Judges
In seven countries of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), a grantee conducted advanced human trafficking training with prosecutors, investigators, and judges on dealing with evidentiary challenges in prosecuting human trafficking cases and countering common defense strategies. In Namibia, the grantee sponsored an expert witness to testify in the country’s first human trafficking case before the High Court, which resulted in a conviction.
Also in SADC, a grantee supported the development of the region’s first data collection system to guide victim assistance and investigations among SADC member states.
The TIP Office supports a Global project for the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime to develop an online Human Trafficking Case Law Database to promote awareness and enhance prosecution efforts by identifying patterns and increasing the visibility of successful prosecutions. The database currently includes more than 1,000 cases from 83 countries.
Increasing Public Awareness and Government Coordination
In Vietnam, a grantee helped more than 1,000 ethnic minority residents legally register with the state in areas at high risk for human trafficking. Legal registration reduces vulnerabilities to trafficking by enabling residents and their family members to seek state-funded education, obtain work in the formal economy, receive health coverage, and access social welfare services.
In border regions of India, a grantee helped build the capacity of journalists working in vernacular languages, such as Nepali, Sikkim, and Assamese, to increase awareness of human trafficking within at-risk minority communities.
In Bangladesh, a grantee supported a network of safe migration centers across the country to help inform and educate potential migrants about how to protect themselves from trafficking before going overseas for employment.
Providing and Expanding Victim Services
The Global emergency victim assistance fund provides short- to medium-term, direct assistance for trafficking victims around the world on an emergency, case-by-case basis. More than 400 victims of human trafficking have received services, including shelter, medical care, repatriation, and reintegration assistance.
In Honduras, a grantee protects children and adolescents who are vulnerable to trafficking, including minors who might otherwise migrate to the United States unaccompanied. Since the start of the project in 2013, the grantee has assisted approximately 600 beneficiaries, including LGBTI youth, through its residential program by providing comprehensive shelter and specialized services.
In Uzbekistan, a grantee provided previously unavailable recovery and reintegration services for male survivors of human trafficking returning from neighboring countries and Eastern Europe.
In Sierra Leone, a grantee provided comprehensive, holistic care to trafficking victims at a recovery center—the first residential aftercare shelter for trafficking survivors in the country. The grantee offered long-term reintegration support, including building survivor skills for enhanced economic empowerment.