Trafficking in Persons Interim Assessment
Pursuant to section 110(b)(2)(B) of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (Div. A. of Public Law 106-386), as amended, the Secretary of State is required to submit to the Congress an Interim Assessment of the progress made in combating trafficking in persons (TIP) by those countries placed on the Special Watch List in September 2013. The evaluation period covers the six months since the drafting of the June 2013 annual report. Readers may wish to refer to the annual TIP Report for an analysis of large-scale efforts and a description of the trafficking problem in each particular country or territory.
In the 2013 TIP Report, 45 countries were placed on the Special Watch List. These countries either (1) had moved up a tier from the 2012 TIP Report, or (2) were ranked on the Tier 2 Watch List because they were making significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance with minimum standards and also (a) had a very significant or significantly increasing number of trafficking victims, (b) had failed to provide evidence of increasing efforts to combat TIP from the previous year, or (c) made commitments to carry out future actions over the coming year.
The Department placed each of the countries or territories included in the 2013 Trafficking in Persons Report into one of the three lists, described here as tiers, mandated by the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, as amended (TVPA). This placement reflects an evaluation 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. Countries whose governments do so are placed in Tier 1. For other countries, the Department considers whether their governments made significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance. Countries whose governments are making significant efforts to meet the minimum standards are placed in Tier 2. The Special Watch List criteria are considered and, if applicable, Tier 2 countries are placed on the Tier 2 Watch List. 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.
Tier 1: Countries and territories whose governments fully comply with the Act’s minimum standards.
Tier 2: Countries and territories 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 and territories 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:
a) The absolute number of victims of severe forms of trafficking is very significant or is increasing significantly; or
b) There is a failure to provide evidence of increasing efforts to combat severe forms of trafficking in persons from the previous year; or
c) The determination that a country or territory is making significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance with minimum standards was based on commitments by the country or territory to take additional future steps over the next year.
Tier 3: Countries and territories whose governments do not fully comply with the minimum standards and are not making significant efforts to do so.
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 reasonable measures the government would have to take to come into compliance with the minimum standards within the government’s resources and capabilities.
Angola: Since the release of the June 2013 Report, the Angolan government has raised awareness of human trafficking through public outreach campaigns throughout Angola and, in partnership with IOM and UNHCR, and trained law enforcement and immigration officials on addressing this crime. However, the lack of an updated penal code that specifically prohibits and punishes trafficking in persons continued to hamper law enforcement efforts.
Burundi: Since the release of the June 2013 Report, the government intensified its efforts to finalize draft anti-trafficking legislation; however, it failed to send the bill to Parliament for debate and passage, as it still awaits initial review by the Council of Ministers. Nonetheless, the government continued to demonstrate its interest in combating trafficking through the establishment of a permanent inter-ministerial committee, the drafting of a National Action Plan, and the issuance of new rules prohibiting the release of children’s travel documents without the presence of their parents.
Chad: Since the release of the June 2013 Report, the government has investigated and prosecuted suspected trafficking offenders, leading to the successful conviction of two traffickers for forced labor offenses and four ongoing prosecutions of suspected sex trafficking crimes. In October 2013, the government established an inter-ministerial committee to combat trafficking; however, it has yet to convene.
Comoros: Since the release of the June 2013 Report, the government demonstrated high-level interest in combating trafficking in persons by establishing a coordinating body in July and convening a two-day conference on child trafficking opened by the President in November. Nonetheless, tangible results of these efforts were few, and the draft penal code – which would increase penalties for child trafficking – remained pending in the National Assembly. The capacity of the Morals and Minors Brigade and government efforts to prosecute trafficking offenses – including those involving officials – remained inadequate.
Djibouti: Since the release of the June 2013 Report, the government’s anti-trafficking focal point held a series of seminars with law enforcement officials to increase awareness of the differences between trafficking and smuggling – a key concern given their conflation in existing law – and worked in partnership with IOM to develop awareness materials for migrants who are vulnerable to trafficking. However, the government made limited progress in its overall anti-trafficking efforts, failing to develop a national action plan, amend its anti-trafficking legislation, or develop procedures for proactive victim identification.
Kenya: Since the release of the June 2013 Report, the government neither established its legally mandated Counter-Trafficking in Persons Advisory Committee nor used its Counter-Trafficking in Persons Act to investigate or prosecute suspected trafficking crimes, due reportedly to lack of implementing regulations and awareness of the law among police. The government, in partnership with a local NGO, hosted an anti-trafficking seminar for prosecutors, investigators, and immigration officials in November and began working with UNODC to put in place the regulations and mechanisms necessary to implement the Counter-Trafficking in Persons Act.
Lesotho: Since the release of the June 2013 Report, the government appointed the Commissioner of Refugees as the new lead of its national coordinating committee on trafficking, which has resumed previously stalled efforts to finalize a national action plan and implementing regulations for the 2011 anti-trafficking act. The government continued to rely on NGOs to provide all victims services and had not developed a formal mechanism for referring victims to care.
Liberia: Since the release of the June 2013 Report, the government initiated the prosecution of two alleged traffickers, provided shelter and assistance to seven trafficking victims with the support of an international organization, and formally adopted a National Action Plan and Standard Operating Procedures on trafficking in persons. The Trafficking in Persons Taskforce, which is charged with implementing the national action plan, has yet to finalize a budget and receive funding.
Madagascar: Since the release of the June 2013 Report, the government has reported seven child sex trafficking convictions prosecuted under the 2007 anti-trafficking legislation and has imposed a temporary ban on sending Malagasy workers to “high risk countries” until sufficient protection measures can be put in place. However, comprehensive data collection on prosecutions and convictions is unavailable due to serious law enforcement challenges and the inter-ministerial committee on trafficking has yet to be formalized and given a budget.
Mali: Since the release of the June 2013 Report, the Government of Mali has made notable progress in rehabilitating child combatants and in coordinating protective services to children, particularly in northern Mali, and through the adoption and implementation of a Protocol Agreement on Child Combatants with the United Nations. It did not make progress in widely implementing the 2012 national anti-trafficking law by prosecuting alleged traffickers or training judges, in part because of the multidimensional crisis facing the country and a lack of funding.
Namibia: Since the release of the June 2013 Report, the government, in partnership with UNODC, completed its initial draft of anti-trafficking legislation, which is now under review by officials and NGO stakeholders. However, although one trafficking prosecution remains ongoing, the government has not yet successfully prosecuted a trafficking offender under existing law and efforts to identify and protect victims remain limited, especially as government-renovated shelters are not fully operational.
The Gambia: During the month of December 2013, the Government of The Gambia repeatedly declined to provide information on its recent anti-trafficking efforts. Civil society contacts report that while the government made some efforts since the release of the June 2013 Report to raise awareness of human trafficking within the country, it failed to prosecute or convict any suspected trafficking offenders. The Department was unable to confirm the veracity of these statements.
Guinea: Since the release of the June 2013 Report, the government appointed a new president to lead the National Committee for the Fight Against Trafficking in Persons, which had remained inactive for almost a year; however, the committee lacks an independent budget and does not meet regularly. The government failed to convict any traffickers and did not provide specialized anti-trafficking training for law enforcement or judiciary personnel.
Rwanda: Since the release of the June 2013 Report, there were continued reports of Rwandan government material and logistical support to the M23 armed group, and since the end of the M23 rebellion in November, there have been unconfirmed reports that recruitment of child soldiers into M23 persisted in Rwandan territory; however, the government did not take steps to prosecute those suspected of forcibly and fraudulently recruiting men and children in support of the M23. The government reported its initiation of 17 trafficking prosecutions and worked in coordination with NGOs and civil society organizations to prevent human trafficking, train officials, and provide care to victims; however, transit centers used to hold trafficking victims remained inadequate and unable to screen for trafficking victimization among the populations they assisted.
Seychelles: Since the release of the June 2013 report, the government drafted a national action plan and anti-trafficking legislation, with the assistance of UNODC; both documents await final approval by the Cabinet of Ministers and the National Assembly. The government, including members of the inter-ministerial anti-trafficking committee, continued to lack the technical capacity and understanding to address trafficking in persons and relied on foreign donors for the provision of training.
South Sudan: Due to the security situation in South Sudan in December 2013, it is difficult to assess the government’s progress in combating trafficking in persons since the release of the June 2013 Report.
Tanzania: Since the release of the June 2013 Report, Tanzania's Anti-Trafficking Secretariat, with support from an international organization, met four times to develop the regulations and standard operating procedures necessary to implement the 2008 Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act. The government has not initiated any prosecutions or obtained any convictions for human trafficking crimes.
EAST ASIA AND PACIFIC
Burma: Since the release of the June 2013 Report, the government demobilized 68 children from the Burmese armed forces. The government has not initiated any forced labor prosecutions under the 2012 Wards and Village Tracts Administration Act.
Cambodia: Since the release of the June 2013 Report, the government finalized and began disseminating guidelines for minimum standards of care for victims of trafficking in residential facilities. The government did not report efforts to investigate and prosecute government officials complicit in human trafficking.
Federated States of Micronesia: Since the release of the June 2013 Report, the Government of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) announced Yap state ratification of implementing regulations for the national anti-trafficking law, bringing all four states under the scope of anti-trafficking legislation, and began the first-ever TIP prosecution. The government, however, has not finalized a national plan to fight human trafficking.
Malaysia: Since the release of the June 2013 Report, the government convicted nine traffickers on trafficking charges and continues to prosecute 29 individuals for alleged human trafficking offenses. Foreign trafficking victims continue to be held involuntarily in government facilities with limitedaccess to legal or psychological assistance.
Marshall Islands: Since the release of the June 2013 Report, the Government of the Marshall Islands law enforcement officers and attorneys from the Attorney General’s office participated in an anti-trafficking training by the National District Attorney’s Association. The government, however, has not demonstrated efforts to prosecute traffickers or proactively identify victims, despite reports of alleged police complicity and the presence of a vulnerable population.
Solomon Islands: Since the release of the June 2013 Report, the Government of Solomon Islands has finalized implementing regulations for the Immigration Bill. The government, however, has yet to demonstrate proper victim assistance and care for victims in logging camps and in forced prostitution.
Thailand: Since the release of the June 2013 Report, Thailand convicted 62 trafficking offenders. The government has not, however, convicted any public officials for complicity in human trafficking crimes.
EUROPE AND EURASIA
Albania: Since the release of the June 2013 Report, the government has demonstrated a renewed commitment to fighting trafficking in persons and the Parliament amended the criminal code to enhance penalties for certain trafficking in persons offenses and to provide greater protections for victims of trafficking. The efficacy of anti-trafficking police training at the local level has been hampered by high rates of turnover within rank-and-file members of the force.
Armenia: Since the release of the June 2013 Report, the Government of Armenia has launched several roundtables and training sessions designed to improve victim identification and referral to protective services. The government has not yet empowered labor inspectors to identify victims through unannounced visits or cooperate more closely with law enforcement.
Belarus: Since the release of the June 2013 Report, the Government of Belarus acceded to the Council of Europe’s Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings and is taking steps to bring national anti-trafficking laws in compliance with the Convention. The government did not, however, identify any victims of forced labor trafficked abroad or within Belarus, and a 2012 presidential decree forbidding workers to leave their jobs without prior permission has not been rescinded.
Ukraine: Since the release of the June 2013 Report, Ukraine's Ministry of Interior has reestablished the Department to Combat Trafficking in Human Beings, and the Ministry of Social Policy, working with international partners, has trained over 2,500 government officials in regions across the country on the provision of assistance to victims of trafficking. The government has not yet introduced harmonizing legislation to ensure that foreign and stateless victims of trafficking are able to obtain temporary residency status and seek employment as already permitted under Ukraine's anti-trafficking law.
Bahrain: Since the release of the June 2013 Report, Bahrain’s Ministry of Social Development (MOSD) published a document outlining the legal framework and resources available to protect victims of trafficking, provided anti-trafficking training for government officials, and continued to assist trafficking victims in the government-run shelter. While the MOSD reported 17 alleged trafficking offenders would stand trial this year – a marked increase from last year’s prosecution figures – the government did not provide information about the breakdown between suspected sex and forced labor offenses, nor about the number of new trafficking investigations it has commenced.
Lebanon: Since the release of the June 2013 Report, the Internal Security Forces and Directorate of General Security continue to identify and refer some victims of trafficking to NGOs using formalized internal procedures; however, these victim identification procedures are not widely institutionalized throughout the government. Moreover, judges and prosecutors are not trained to identify and assist victims of trafficking, nor do they use Lebanon’s anti-trafficking Law 164 to prosecute trafficking offenders.
Morocco: Since the release of the June 2013 Report, the Government of Morocco has initiated significant migration policy and institutional reforms which are aimed in part at addressing the problem of trafficking in persons and which include drafting a comprehensive anti-trafficking law; however, it is unclear when this legislation will be enacted. Although the government claimed to dismantle 63 human smuggling and human trafficking networks since January 2013, it is not clear how many of these were actually involved in human trafficking due to the government conflating these two crimes.
Tunisia: Since the release of the June 2013 Report, the Government of Tunisia coordinated and actively participated with IOM in conducting a baseline assessment of human trafficking in Tunisia, instituted anti-trafficking training programs for government officials, and initiated a media campaign – in partnership with IOM – to raise awareness of crimes associated with human trafficking. The National Constituent Assembly has a limited mandate to pass new legislation, making it unlikely that Tunisia’s draft comprehensive anti-trafficking legislation will be enacted in the near future.
SOUTH AND CENTRAL ASIA
Afghanistan: Since the release of the June 2013 Report, the government has continued working to implement its 2008 trafficking law. Progress has been slowed by a weak anti-trafficking commission, a lack of clarity between trafficking and smuggling, and the government’s inadequate trafficking victim protection.
Maldives: Since the release of the June 2013 Report, the Government of the Maldives has secured its first human trafficking conviction and adopted its first human trafficking law. The government does not appear to have provided adequate training for working-level enforcement personnel such as police, customs agents, and immigration personnel who work in the field.
Sri Lanka: Since the release of the June 2013 Report, the Government of Sri Lanka has undertaken steps to train officials to identify and prosecute trafficking cases, but these efforts do not yet appear to have resulted in an increase in the number of cases successfully identified or prosecuted. The government has also trained officials on how to refer trafficking victims to services, but the standard operating procedures that would make these steps official government policy have not yet been adopted.
Turkmenistan: Since the release of the June 2013 Report, the government partially funded an IOM workshop on human trafficking and advertised an NGO-operated anti-trafficking hotline on monitors in the Ashgabat International Airport. The government continues to lack standard operating procedures for identifying trafficking victims and referring them to protective services.
Barbados: Since the release of the June 2013 Report, the Government of Barbados initiated three sex trafficking prosecutions and identified and assisted new trafficking victims. While Barbados has not taken steps to amend its 2011 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) legislation in conformity with international law, recent engagement suggests that it might reconsider its stance.
Guyana: Since the release of the June 2013 Report, the Government of Guyana has taken steps to hold trafficking offenders accountable, convicting two offenders of sex trafficking. Guyana has not yet publicized and made available written standard operating procedures to guide and encourage front line officials in the identification and appropriate protection of victims of forced labor and forced prostitution.
Haiti: Since the release of the June 2013 Report, the Government of Haiti took some important steps toward passage of legislation to ensure that all forms of trafficking are prohibited and that provides for victim protection.. The government has yet to prosecute and convict a trafficking offender.
Honduras: Since the release of the June 2013 Report, the Government of Honduras continued to investigate and prosecute cases of human trafficking and to raise awareness about trafficking in persons. The government did not directly provide services to trafficking victims nor did it allocate a budget for the inter-institutional commission on trafficking, as mandated by law.
St. Lucia: Since the release of the June 2013 Report, the Government of St. Lucia created an inter-agency task force that is drafting a national action plan to combat forced labor and forced prostitution. The government has not made demonstrable progress in proactively identifying and assisting trafficking victims or prosecuting trafficking offenders.
Suriname: Since the release of the June 2013 Report, the Government of Suriname increased prosecution efforts against trafficking offenders, resulting in eight convictions, although six of the convicted offenders were sentenced in absentia and did not serve jail time. While authorities conducted anti-trafficking training for government officials, they did not approve a draft national action plan on human trafficking.
Trinidad and Tobago: Since the release of the June 2013 Report, the Government of Trinidad and Tobago used its trafficking law for the first time to charge trafficking offenders and developed draft standard operating procedures on victim identification. The government, however, neither convicted any offenders for trafficking-related complicity nor convened a meeting of its ministerial-level anti-trafficking National Task Force.
Uruguay: Since the release of the June 2013 Report, the Uruguayan government – especially the Ministry of Interior – has significantly increased training for law enforcement officials, labor inspectors, prosecutors, judges, and social workers by holding multiple training sessions in several provinces. Due to the lack of comprehensive data on prosecutions and convictions, however, it was unclear if authorities convicted any trafficking offenders in 2013.
Venezuela: Since the release of the June 2013 Report, Venezuelan authorities reported training government officials, as well as members of the tourism industry and the general public, on how to recognize and report possible trafficking cases. Due to the lack of publicly available statistics on the number of victims identified and trafficking offenders prosecuted and convicted, it was difficult to assess the government’s efforts to protect victims or hold traffickers criminally accountable.