Every year, the United States Department of State issues its annual Trafficking in Persons Report, or TIP Report, which evaluates the anti-trafficking efforts of 187 countries and territories, including the United States. The report measures government efforts in prosecuting traffickers, protecting victims, and preventing the crime.
Human trafficking, also known as modern slavery, is a heinous crime that happens almost everywhere and affects virtually everyone. Today, more than 20 million people around the world are victims of human trafficking. Yet globally, governments report fewer than 15,000 prosecutions and 10,000 convictions.
“Human trafficking is as old as humankind. Regrettably, it’s been with us for centuries and centuries. But in the expression of this act, as I read that one line to you, it is our hope that the 21st century will be the last century of human trafficking, and that’s what we are all committed to,” said Secretary of State Rex Tillerson at the report’s launching ceremony on June 27.
”The consequences of our failure to act in this area has so many other negative impacts around the world: it breeds corruption; it undermines rule of law; it erodes the core values that underpin a civil society. Transnational criminal networks also – whether they be drug dealers, money launderers, or document forgers – are partly enabled by participating in human trafficking activities as well.”
In a letter opening this year’s report, Secretary Tillerson said that this year’s report focuses on the responsibility of all governments to criminalize human trafficking in all its forms and to prosecute offenders, as outlined by the Palermo Protocol, an international treaty on transnational crime.
Because trafficking in persons is a global scourge, the United States will partner with governments, civil society, law enforcement groups, and survivors to provide help for those who need our support.
Secretary Tillerson also introduced the Program to End Modern Slavery, a new initiative that will increase funding for prosecution, protection, and prevention efforts to reduce the occurrence of modern slavery wherever it is most prevalent.
“The United States is a leader in the fight against human trafficking. We seek justice for victims and accountability for offenders,” wrote Secretary Tillerson.
“[We] remain committed to the elimination of human trafficking here and abroad.”