2020 Trafficking in Persons Report Released

The United States Department of State has released the 20th edition of the Trafficking in Persons Report, which provides an overview of the impacts these reports have had over the past 20 years through-out the world. Over time, these reports have developed a ranking system that divides countries into 3 tiers based on their “governments’ efforts to combat human trafficking.” Countries falling into the Tier 3 category, those not fully meeting or making significant efforts to meet the TVPA’s (Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000) minimum standards, risked restrictions and the loss of U.S. assistance. By 2009, 173 countries were being analyzed and ranked. As of the release of the 20th edition report, 12 full aid restrictions are in place for tier 3 countries. This number, while still exceeding most past restrictions, is down from last years 17 full aid restrictions.

Countries in this report are given detailed narratives which provide an overview of that countries current anti-trafficking laws, law enforcement efforts, human trafficking prevention methods, victim protection procedures, current tier ranking, and recommendations going forward. It is important to note, that according to the report, there are three special case countries which have not received rankings. These countries, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen, were seen as being unable to develop government policies and practices to combat human trafficking due to the severity of civil unrest, humanitarian disasters, and instability which effected their ability to govern altogether.

2019 saw a rise in the identification of human trafficking victims as well as a rise in offender prosecutions and convictions. According to the 20th edition report, countries should focus on the following issues in their fight against human trafficking: ending state-sponsored forced labor; increasing “labor trafficking prosecutions”; repealing “laws that require force, fraud, or coercion for child sex trafficking”; and ending victim penalties “for unlawful acts their traffickers compel them to commit.”

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Author: Victoria Vanderzielfultz

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