Office of Government Relations

Take Action to Combat Human Trafficking

August 1, 2018
Office of Government Relations

Background: This June, the State Department released its annual Trafficking in Persons Report (TIP), which ranks countries on their efforts to combat human trafficking. This year’s report highlights examples of local communities working with their governments to address human trafficking.

The report identifies challenges governments and communities face in fighting human trafficking, while highlighting effective responses to hold perpetrators accountable, protect victims, and prevent others from falling victim to human trafficking. Human trafficking, or trafficking in persons, impacts millions of people each year globally, and is the action or practice of forced labor or sexual exploitation.

The TIP report evaluates and ranks countries based on a four-tiered system. A country’s placement in a tier reflects their government’s efforts to meet Trafficking Victims Protection Act’s (TVPA) minimum standard for the elimination of human trafficking. Some of these standards include:

  • Strictly prohibiting and punishing perpetrators
  • Actively investigating and prosecuting traffickers
  • Working with other countries to eliminate global trafficking

The highest ranking is Tier 1, consisting of countries that meet the minimum TVPA’s standard. Tier 2 reflects countries that do not meet TVPA’s minimum standard, but are making significant progress to comply. Tier 2 Watch List reflects countries that do not meet the standard and continue to have high numbers of victims. Tier 3, the worst rank, indicates that a country does not meet the minimum standard and is not making efforts to improve. It’s important to note that trafficking occurs in every country and even tier 1 countries have room for improvement.

The process of evaluating and ranking countries based on their efforts is valuable. Not only does it highlight countries who have implemented successful programs, but it also identifies specific areas of weakness, making it easier to make improvements. This report also brings attention to the issue of trafficking at large, which can generate dialogue that can foster creative and innovative solutions to better combat human trafficking.

Action: Trafficking Victims Protection Act, which was first passed in 2001, set out the standards for the TIP Report. It also provides the comprehensive legal framework to combat human trafficking. The Senate was supposed to reauthorize the Trafficking Victims Protection Act last fall, but has yet to do so. In order to better combat human trafficking, it is essential that the Senate reauthorize this foundational anti-trafficking legislation.

Tell your senator to pass TVPA today!

If you are interested in joining efforts to combat human trafficking, there are a number of ways you can get involved.

The Office of Government Relations