One of the things people don’t always understand about the trafficking field (and other international criminal enterprises) is how they got so out of control. A huge part of that reason is that the ability to move people from place to place exploded in the 1990s as international travel and communication exploded. The internet alone has proven to be a huge game changer in trafficking as websites operating in the “dark net” routinely sell trafficking victims. With elements of these criminal enterprises being so new, it takes time for law enforcement and governments to establish the effective protocols for dealing with the situations. In many ways, the United States has led the fight World Wide in establishing laws to fight trafficking. I’m going to use this time to talk about some of the important laws that have come about in the US as a result of trafficking. The program with the longest reach is the Trafficking in Persons Report, commonly referred to as the tips report. Though you could spend countless hours examining the tips report and its effectiveness…we’ll just go with a brief intro.
The Tips report first began in 2001 (check out the 2014 report intro here and country rankings on page 58). The report was a requirement of a congressional passed law the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of the year 2000. Tips examines key elements of trafficking in individual Countries and ranks them into three tiers (read as categories, and really there is 4 but two of them are considered as the same tier). So what are the three tiers?
Tier I: Countries are fully compliant with TVPA (Trafficking Victims Protection Act) standards.
Tier 2: Countries that are making progress to become compliant with the TVPA
Tier 2.5(tier 2 watch list): Countries that are not meeting tier 1 requirements and are failing to supply compelling evidence for increased efforts usually while also having an increase in the amount of trafficking going on in the country. This is also common if the country is making pledges for improvement. –Countries that remain on this list for two years and would be placed on it a third time are automatically dropped to tier 3.
Tier 3: Countries are not TVPA compliant and are making no significant efforts to become compliant.
The motivation for countries to become compliant is monetary. Countries in the tier 3 category are ineligible for non-humanitarian and trade related funds. This also means the United States will vote against loans from the World Bank for these countries.
So what are the TVPA minimum standards? Well essentially this:
Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000, Div. A of Pub. L. No. 106-386, § 108, as amended.
(A) Minimum standards for purposes of this chapter, the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking applicable to the government of a country of origin, transit, or destination for victims of severe forms of trafficking are the following:
(1) The government of the country should prohibit severe forms of trafficking in persons and punish acts of such trafficking.
(2) For the knowing commission of any act of sex trafficking involving force, fraud, coercion, or in which the victim of sex trafficking is a child incapable of giving meaningful consent, or of trafficking which includes rape or kidnapping or which causes a death, the government of the country should prescribe punishment commensurate with that for grave crimes, such as forcible sexual assault.
(3) For the knowing commission of any act of a severe form of trafficking in persons, the government of the country should prescribe punishment that is sufficiently stringent to deter and that adequately reflects the heinous nature of the offense.
(4) The government of the country should make serious and sustained efforts to eliminate severe forms of trafficking in persons.
But check out the State Dept. Page for more info on the TVPA.
Read the full TIPS report and country profiles here.
Now there is all sorts of controversy surrounding the TIPS reports. That said, can we not be satisfied that the attempt is being made and that it does promote an active fight against trafficking?
That concludes my brief info of the TIPS report, stay tuned for the T-Visa, a fantastic improvement(also part of the TVPA though)