Every year, the United States Department of State issues its annual Trafficking in Persons Report – also known as the TIP Report -- which evaluates the efforts of 188 countries and territories, including the United States, to fight modern slavery.
“The purpose of this Report is to enlighten, energize, and empower,” writes Secretary of State John Kerry in his introduction of the 2016 Report. “By issuing it, we want to bring to the public’s attention the full nature and scope of the $150 billion illicit human trafficking industry.”
Those countries with governments that fully comply with the standards 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 but are making significant efforts, but no more so than during the previous year, and have a significant number of trafficked persons.
Finally, countries on Tier 3 do not comply with the minimum standards and are not making significant efforts to do so.
Last year, 19 countries moved up in the tier rankings while 27 were downgraded.
This year’s Report focuses on successes in fighting modern-day slavery, and what needs to be done to counter traffickers’ tactics. Because even though governments have enacted new laws against all forms of human trafficking, are prosecuting traffickers, are protecting victims and empowering them to rebuild their lives, and have elevated public consciousness about this crime, there is still so much more that needs to be done.
Still, “If there is a single theme to this year’s Trafficking in Persons Report, it is the conviction that there is nothing inevitable about trafficking in human beings,” writes Secretary of State John Kerry.
“Just because a certain abuse has taken place in the past doesn’t mean that we have to tolerate that abuse in the future or that we can afford to avert our eyes. Instead, we should be asking ourselves—what if that victim of trafficking was my daughter, son, sister, or brother?”
Secretary Kerry concludes: “This year’s TIP Report asks such questions, because ending modern slavery isn’t just a fight we should attempt—it is a fight we can and must win.”