In the words of Secretary of State John Kerry, “We find perhaps no greater threat to human dignity, no greater assault on basic freedom, than the evil of human trafficking.”
Traffickers victimized more than 20 million people worldwide netting approximately $150 billion dollars in the private sector alone. With numbers like these, the struggle against modern slavery can seem daunting. In the 2014 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report, the Department of State analyzed 188 countries and territories, including the United States, and ranked governments based on their efforts to fight modern slavery.
All countries are placed into one of four tiers. Those countries with governments that fully comply with the minimum standards to eliminate trafficking fall into Tier 1. Countries that do not comply, but are making significant efforts to do so are on Tier 2.
The Tier 2 Watch List includes countries that do not comply with the minimum standards and are making significant efforts, but failed to increase such efforts compared to the previous year.
Finally, countries on Tier 3 do not comply with the minimum standards and are not making significant efforts to do so.
The TIP Report is an assessment tool that provides guidance and recommendations to governments on how to actively improve their response to human trafficking, particularly to protect victims. The State Department uses information from U.S. embassies, foreign government officials, non-governmental and international organizations, media reports, academic studies, and research trips to write the report. Governments should make comprehensive support services and structures available to survivors of human trafficking during the recovery process and as they rebuild their lives.
The United States has recently taken action to further assist victims. In January, the U.S. Government released a five year strategic action plan on services for victims of human trafficking in the United States. Yet, there is more work to be done, which is why we welcome partnerships with civil society both in the public and private sector.
As Secretary Kerry said, “The Trafficking in Persons Report is not just a book, it’s not just a report filled with stories that will touch you. This is a call to action....It is a reminder of what happens in many dark places that need light. And we have a responsibility to try to bring that light to these individuals and to these places.”