Order Code RL30545
Trafficking in Persons:
U.S. Policy and Issues for Congress
Updated June 20, 2007
Clare M. Ribando
Analyst in Latin American Affairs
Foreign Affairs, Defense, and Trade Division
Trafficking in Persons:
U.S. Policy and Issues for Congress
Trafficking in people for prostitution and forced labor is one of the most prolific
areas of international criminal activity and is of significant concern to the United
States and the international community. The overwhelming majority of those
trafficked are women and children. According to the most recent Department of State
estimates, roughly 800,000 people are trafficked across borders each year. If
trafficking within countries is included in the total world figures, official U.S.
estimates are that some 2 to 4 million people are trafficked annually. However, there
are even higher estimates, ranging from 4 to 27 million for total numbers of forced
or bonded laborers. As many as 17,500 people are believed to be trafficked to the
United States each year. Human trafficking is now a leading source of profits for
organized crime, together with drugs and weapons, generating billions of dollars.
Trafficking in persons affects virtually every country in the world.
Since enactment of the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of
2000 (P.L. 106-386), the Administration and Congress have aimed to address the
human trafficking problem. The Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act
of 2005 (TVPRA), which President Bush signed into law on January 10, 2006 (P.L.
109-164), authorizes appropriations for FY2006 and FY2007. The TVPRA
increases support to foreign trafficking victims in the United States, addresses some
of the needs of child victims, and directs U.S. agencies to develop anti-trafficking
programs for post-conflict situations and humanitarian emergencies abroad.
The State Department issued its seventh congressionally mandated Trafficking
in Persons (TIP) Report on June 12, 2007. Each report categorized countries into four
groups according to the efforts they were making to combat trafficking. Those
countries (Tier Three) that do not cooperate in the fight against trafficking have been
made subject to U.S. sanctions since 2003. The group named in 2007 includes a
total of sixteen countries. They are: Algeria, Bahrain, Burma, Cuba, Equatorial
Guinea, Iran, Kuwait, Malaysia, North Korea, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan,
Syria, Uzbekistan and Venezuela. The President must make a determination by midSeptember on whether to impose sanctions on any or all of these countries.
In the 110th Congress, The Implementing the 9/11 Commission
Recommendations Act of 2007, H.R. 1 (Thompson), approved by the House and
referred to the Senate on January 9, 2007, would direct the Secretary of Homeland
Security to provide specified funding and administrative support to strengthen the
Human Smuggling and Trafficking Center. A related bill, the Improving America’s
Security Act of 2007, S. 4 (Reid), has been introduced in the Senate. The Trafficking
Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2007, H.R. 270 (Smith), introduced on
January 5, 2007, would authorize funds for anti-trafficking programs for FY2008
through FY2010. Another bill, the Congressional Commission on the Abolition of
Modern-Day Slavery Act, H.R. 2522 (Lewis), introduced on May 24, 2007,would
establish a Commission to evaluate the effectiveness of current U.S. anti-slavery
efforts, including anti-TIP programs, and make recommendations. This report will
be updated periodically to reflect major developments.
Background . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
Definition . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
Trafficking and Alien Smuggling . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2
Scope of the Problem . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2
Causes of Rise in Trafficking . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
Traffickers and Their Victims . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
Regional Trends . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
Asia and the Pacific . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
Europe . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
Middle East . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
Latin America and the Caribbean . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9
Africa . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9
Trafficking to the United States . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
U.S. Policy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
Anti-Trafficking Legislation and the Role of Congress . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000 . . . . . . . 12
The Foreign Relations Authorization Act of 2003 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15
Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2003 . . . . . . . 15
Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Protection Act of 2004 . . . . . . . . 16
Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2005 . . . . . . . 16
Legislation in the 110th Congress . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16
U.S. Funding for Global Anti-Trafficking Programs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17
Trafficking in Persons Reports . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19
The Trafficking in Persons Report, 2007 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19
2007 Country Rankings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21
Results from the 2006 TIP Ranking and Sanctions Process . . . . . . . . 23
The International Response . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23
U.N. Protocol to Prevent, Suppress, and Punish TIP . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24
Other Relevant International Agreements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24
U.N. and Related Agencies’ Anti-Trafficking Programs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24
Other Regional Organizations and International Forums . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26
European Union . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26
Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) . . . . . . 27
Group of Eight (G-8) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27
Policy Issues for the 110th Congress . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28
How to Collect Data and Measure Success . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28
Credibility of TIP Rankings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28
Sanctions: A Useful Tool? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28
Equal Focus on all Types of Trafficking? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29
Debates Regarding Prostitution and Trafficking . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29
Trafficking and Global Health . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30
Eligibility of Victims . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31
List of Tables
Table 1. Authorizations to Implement Victims of Trafficking Act,
FY2001-FY2007 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32
Trafficking in Persons:
U.S. Policy and Issues for Congress1
Trafficking in persons is a criminal activity and a severe human rights violation
that is of great concern to the United States and the international community. Severe
forms of trafficking in persons have been defined in U.S. law as “sex trafficking in
which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the
person induced to perform such act has not attained 18 years of age; or ... the
recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for labor
or services, through the use of force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of subjection
to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery.”2 The United Nations
defines human trafficking as the “recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring, or
receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion,
of abduction, of fraud or deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of
vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the
consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of
exploitation. Exploitation includes, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution
of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labor or services, slavery,
servitude, or the removal of organs.”3 Others have put forward slightly different
definitions.4 In the case of minors, there is general agreement in the United States
and much of the international community that the trafficking term applies whether
a child was taken forcibly or voluntarily.
This report was originally authored by Francis T. Miko, who retired from the
Congressional Research Service on April 27, 2007.
Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000 (P.L.106-386).
United Nations. Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Trafficking in Persons: Global
Patterns. April 2006, p. 50.
Some U.S. officials, politicians, religious groups, non-governmental organizations, as well
as feminist organizations, have campaigned to broaden the definition of trafficking to
include all forms of prostitution, whether forced or voluntary, on grounds that prostitution
is never truly voluntary and that traffickers will simply force their victims to claim to be
acting voluntarily. However, others have rejected this broadened definition, arguing that it
would impede the capacity of the international community to achieve consensus and act
decisively against major traffickers.
Trafficking and Alien Smuggling
In 2000, the United Nations drafted two protocols, collectively known as the
Palermo Protocols, to deal with trafficking in persons and human smuggling.5
Trafficking in persons is often confused with alien or human smuggling. Alien
smuggling involves the provision of a service, generally procurement or transport,
to people who knowingly buy that service in order to gain illegal entry into a foreign
country. The Trafficking Protocol considers people who have been trafficked, who
are assumed to be primarily women and children, as “victims” or “survivors” who
are entitled to protection and a broad range of social services from governments. In
contrast, the Smuggling Protocol considers people who have been smuggled as
willing participants in a criminal activity. Smuggled migrants are to be treated
“humanely,” but states are not required to provide them with any specific level of
Some observers contend that smuggling is a “crime against the state” and that
smuggled migrants should be immediately deported, while trafficking is a “crime
against a person” whose victims deserve to be given government assistance and
protection.7 Others maintain that there are few clear-cut distinctions between
trafficking and smuggling cases and that many people who are considered
“smuggled” should actually be viewed as trafficking victims. They argue that as
immigration and border restrictions have tightened, smuggling costs have increased
and migration routes have become more dangerous. Some smugglers have sold
undocumented migrants into situations of forced labor or prostitution in order to
recover their costs.8
Scope of the Problem
Trafficking in persons is considered to be one of the leading criminal enterprises
of the early 21st Century, affecting every country around the globe. It is estimated that
between 600,000 and 800,000 people are trafficked across borders each year. If
trafficking within countries is included in the total world figures, official U.S.
estimates are that 2 to 4 million people are trafficked annually. However, there are
even higher estimates ranging from 4 to 27 million for total numbers of forced or
bonded laborers. The International Labor Organization (ILO) estimates that there are
some 12.3 million victims of forced labor at any given time. Of these, women and
girls account for 56% of victims in forced economic exploitation (e.g. domestic
service, agricultural work, manufacturing, etc.) and 98% of victims in forced
The United Nations Convention Against Organized Crime and Its Protocols, Available at
Jacqueline Bhabha, “Trafficking, Smuggling, and Human Rights,” Migration Policy
Institute, March 1, 2005.
Statement by Claire Antonelli of Global Rights, Center for Strategic and International
Studies Event on Human Trafficking in Latin America, July 9, 2004.
Ann Jordan, “Human Trafficking and Globalization,” Center for American Progress,
October 2004; “Mexico-U.S.-Caribbean: Tighter Borders Spur People Traffickers,” Latin
America Weekly Report, April 11, 2006.
commercial sexual exploitation.9 It should be noted that the accuracy of these and
other estimates have been questioned. The U.S. Government Accountability Office
(GAO) released a report in 2006 casting doubt on the methodology and reliability of
official U.S. government figures. It concluded that the “U.S. government has not yet
established an effective mechanism for estimating the number of victims or for
conducting ongoing analysis of trafficking related data that resides within various
government agencies.”10 Figures provided by other governments and international
organizations are unlikely to be any more accurate. Trafficking is believed to
generate billions of dollars annually for organized crime, generating some $9.5
billion in one year, according to the FBI.11
Generally, the flow of trafficking is from less developed countries to
industrialized nations, including the United States, or toward neighboring countries
with marginally higher standards of living. The largest number of victims trafficked
internationally are still believed to come from South and Southeast Asia. The former
Soviet Union may be the largest new source of trafficking for prostitution and the sex
industry. Other main source regions include Latin America and the Caribbean, and
Africa. Most of the victims are sent to Asia, the Middle East, Western Europe and
North America. The ILO estimates that trafficking is the main route into forced labor
for victims in Western Europe and North America, the former Soviet countries, and
in the Middle East and North Africa.12 Victims, particularly those forced to work in
the commercial sex industry, usually end up in large cities, vacation and tourist
areas, or near military bases, where the demand is highest.
Causes of Rise in Trafficking
The reasons for the increase in trafficking in the last decade or so are believed
to be many. In general, the criminal business feeds on poverty, despair, war, crisis,
and ignorance. The globalization of the world economy has increased the movement
of people across borders, legally and illegally, especially from poorer to wealthier
countries. International organized crime has taken advantage of the freer flow of
people, money, goods and services to extend its own international reach.
Other contributing factors include:
The continuing subordination of women in many societies, as
reflected in economic, educational, and work opportunity disparities
International Labor Organization (ILO), “A Global Alliance Against Forced Labor,” 2005.
U.S. Government Accountability Office, “Human Trafficking: Better Data, Strategy, and
Reporting Needed to Enhance U.S. Antitrafficking Efforts Abroad,” July 2006, p. 3. (GAO06-825).
This figure was cited in the U.S. Department of State, Trafficking in Persons Report,
2006, June 5, 2006. [http://www.state.gov/g/tip/rls/tiprpt/2006].
between men and women.13 Many societies still favor sons and view
girls as an economic burden. Desperate families in some of the most
impoverished countries reportedly have even sold their daughters to
brothels or traffickers for the immediate payoff and to avoid having
to pay the dowery to marry off daughters.
The hardship and economic dislocations caused by the transition
following the collapse of Communism in the former Soviet Union
and Eastern Europe, as well as the wars in the former Yugoslavia.
The lack of opportunity and the eagerness for a better life abroad
have made many women and girls especially vulnerable to
entrapment by traffickers. With the weakening of law enforcement
in post-Communist societies, criminal organizations have grown and
established themselves in the lucrative business of trafficking.
The high demand, worldwide, for women and children to work as
sex workers, sweatshop labor, and domestic servants. Traffickers are
encouraged by large tax-free profits and continuing income from the
same victims, until recently, at least, at very low risk.
The increasing restrictions on legal immigration to many destination
countries – including the United States and Western Europe – has
caused many migrants to turn to alien smugglers and even human
traffickers, despite the associated. risks involved.14
The priority placed on stemming illegal immigration in many
countries has often resulted in treatment of trafficking cases as a
problem of illegal immigration, thus treating victims as criminals.
When police raid brothels, women are often detained and punished,
subjected to human rights abuses in jail, and swiftly deported. Few
steps have been taken to provide support, health care, and access to
justice. Few victims dare testify against the traffickers or those who
hold them, fearing retribution for themselves and their families since
most governments do not offer adequate protection for witnesses.
The inadequacy of laws and law enforcement in most origin, transit,
and destination countries hampers efforts to fight trafficking. Even
in the United States, more effective legal remedies are only now
being implemented. Prostitution is legal or tolerated in many
countries, and widespread in most. When authorities do crack down,
it is usually against prostitutes themselves. Penalties for trafficking
humans for sexual exploitation are often relatively minor compared
with those for other criminal activities like drug and gun trafficking.
United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), “ Trafficking in Persons, A
Gender & Rights Perspective Briefing Kit,” 2002.
Terry Coonan and Robin Thompson, “Ancient Evil, Modern Face: The Fight Against
Human Trafficking,” Georgetown Journal of International Affairs, Winter 2005.
The disinterest and in some cases even complicity of governments
is another big problem. Many law-enforcement agencies and
governments ignore the plight of trafficking victims and downplay
the scope of the trafficking problem. In some cases, police and other
governmental authorities accept bribes and collude with traffickers
by selling fake documentation, etc. In addition, local police often
fear reprisals from criminal gangs so they find it easier to deny
knowledge of trafficking. Many countries still have no specific laws
aimed at trafficking in humans.
Traffickers and Their Victims
Chinese, Asian, Mexican, Central American, Russian and other former Soviet
Union gangs are among the major traffickers of people. Chinese and Vietnamese
Triads, the Japanese Yakuza, South American drug cartels, the Italian mafia, and
Russian gangs increasingly interact with local networks to provide transportation,
safe houses, local contacts, and documentation.
Traffickers acquire their victims in a number of ways. Sometimes women are
kidnaped outright in one country and taken forcibly to another. In other cases,
victims are lured with phony job offers. Traffickers entice victims to migrate
voluntarily with false promises of well-paying jobs in foreign countries as au pairs,
models, dancers, domestic workers, etc. Traffickers advertise these “jobs” as well
as marriage opportunities abroad in local newspapers and on the internet. Russian
crime gangs reportedly use marriage agency databases and match-making parties to
find victims. In some cases, traffickers approach women or their families directly
with offers of lucrative jobs elsewhere. After providing transportation and false
documents to get victims to their destination, they subsequently charge exorbitant
fees for those services, often creating life-time debt bondage.
While there is no single victim stereotype, a majority of trafficked women are
under the age of 25, with many in their mid to late teens. In Latin America, for
example, research indicates that children tend to be trafficked within their own
countries, while women between the ages of 18 and 30 are often trafficked
internationally, sometimes with the consent of their husbands or other family
members.15 The fear of infection with HIV and AIDS among customers has driven
traffickers to recruit younger women and girls, some as young as seven, erroneously
perceived by customers to be too young to have been infected.
Trafficking victims are often subjected to cruel mental and physical abuse in
order to keep them in servitude, including beating, rape, starvation, forced drug use,
confinement, and seclusion. Once victims are brought into destination countries, their
passports are often confiscated. Victims are forced to have sex, often unprotected,
with large numbers of partners, and to work unsustainably long hours. Many victims
suffer mental break-downs and are exposed to sexually-transmitted diseases,
Laura Langberg, “A Review of Recent OAS Research on Human Trafficking in the Latin
American and Caribbean Region,” in Data and Research on Human Trafficking: A Global
Survey, IOM, 2005.
including HIV/AIDS. They are often denied medical care and those who become ill
are sometimes even killed.
The largest number of victims trafficked internationally are believed to come
from Asia. Many women and children trafficked to work in the commercial sex
industry also originate from the former Soviet Union and southeastern Europe. In
recent years, Latin America and the Caribbean and Africa have also become major
source regions. Most victims are sent to Asia, the Middle East, Western Europe and
North America. Victims have traditionally ended up in large cities, vacation and
tourist areas, or near military bases, where the demand for sex workers is highest,
but, more recently, are also ending up in smaller cities and even rural areas. In
addition to the sex industry, victims are trafficked to work in seasonal agriculture,
manufacturing, particularly the garment industry, and domestic service.
Asia and the Pacific
Asia remains a major source and destination region for victims of trafficking.
Among the major countries of origin are China, Thailand, Bangladesh, Cambodia,
India, Laos, Burma, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines, and Vietnam. Thailand is both
a major source and destination country. Japan, Israel, and Turkey are significant
destination countries for victims trafficked from Southeast Asia and the
Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).17
The largest source region of trafficking victims is Southeast Asia, according to
the U.S. Department of State. The growth of sex tourism in this region is one of the
main contributing factors. Large-scale child prostitution occurs in many countries.
Thailand, Cambodia, and the Philippines are popular travel destinations for “sex
tourists” from Europe, North America, Japan, and Australia. Cross-border trafficking
is prevalent in the Mekong region of Thailand, Burma, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam,
and the Southern Yunan province of China. Vietnamese women are trafficked to
China and Cambodia. According to various NGO sources, hundreds of thousands of
foreign women and children have been sold into the Thai sex industry since 1990,
with most coming from Burma, Southern China, Laos, and Vietnam. East Asia,
especially Japan, is also a destination for trafficked women from Russia and Eastern
Europe. Victims from Southeast Asia are also sent to Western Europe, the United
States, Australia, and the Middle East.
Information in this section is summarized from a wide range of official and NGO sources.
Specific estimates of numbers trafficked to and from individual countries and regions are
not included in this update because their accuracy is so uncertain and the numbers presented
by different sources are dated and cannot be reconciled with new global estimates by the
UNODC, Trafficking in Persons: Global Patterns, April 2006, p.88, 89, and 103.
South Asia is also a primary source region for trafficking victims according to
the State Department. The low status of women in some societies as well as the
growth of sex tourism contribute significantly to trafficking in this region. Sri Lanka
and India are among the favored destinations of sex tourists from other parts of the
world. Bangladesh and Nepal, the poorest countries in the region, are the main
source countries. India and Pakistan are also key destination countries. Thousands of
Nepali girls and young women are lured or abducted to India for sexual exploitation
each year. The total number of Nepali working as prostitutes in India is believed to
be in the tens of thousands. Thousands of women and children from Bangladesh are
trafficked to Pakistan each year. Also, according to Amnesty International, Afghan
women have been sold into prostitution in Pakistan. Thousands of Nepali women and
children are believed to be trafficked for prostitution to the Asia Pacific region,
especially Hong Kong. Bangladeshi women and children have also been trafficked
to the Middle East in large numbers, over the last 20 years. India is a source, transit,
and destination country, receiving women and children from Bangladesh, Nepal,
Bhutan, Sri Lanka, and Pakistan and sending victims to Europe and the Middle East.
Australia has been a prime source of sex tourists in Asia but is also one of the
countries that has done most to end the practice. The Australian government has
developed stringent laws that give authorities extraterritorial jurisdiction over crimes
committed abroad by Australian citizens.18 The Philippines, Thailand, South Korea,
Sri Lanka, and Hong Kong are some of the primary Asian destinations for organized
sex tours. Indonesia and Taiwan are secondary destinations.
Unconfirmed reports have indicated that child trafficking increased in countries
devastated by natural disasters such as the December 26, 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.
Presumably, traffickers exploited the separation of many children from their families,
amid the general confusion in the aftermath of such disasters.19 In the case of the
2004 tsunami, the immediate attention given to the danger by governments and
NGOs probably prevented a greater trafficking crisis.
The former Soviet Union and Central and Eastern Europe have replaced Asia
as the main source of women trafficked to Western Europe. Victims come from
Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, and several central and southeastern European
countries, especially Albania, Bulgaria, Romania, and Lithuania. The main
destination countries are Belgium, Germany, Greece, Italy, and the Netherlands.20
Western European countries are also destination points for victims from other parts
of the world, including Africa (Ghana, Nigeria, Morocco), Latin America (Brazil,
Colombia, the Dominican Republic), and Southeast Asia (the Philippines, Thailand).
In addition, several Central and East European countries are reported to be source,
receiving, and transit countries.
Marianna Brungs, “Abolishing Child Sex Tourism: Australia’s Contribution,” Australian
Journal of Human Rights, n.17, 2002.
UNODC, Trafficking in Persons: Global Patterns, April 2006, p.90-95 and 103-104.
Since the economic and political turmoil after the collapse of the Soviet Union,
trafficking from the region has escalated from a minor problem before 1991 into a
major international concern. Most Russian and East European victims are believed
to be sent to West European countries. A substantial number are also sent to the
Middle East and the Far East. Others wind up in the United States or Canada.21
During the conflicts in Bosnia and Kosovo traffickers found new opportunities in the
former Yugoslavia and the Balkans.22 Traffickers targeted refugee women who fled
Kosovo. According to the Women’s Commission for Refugee Women and Children,
Albanian traffickers smuggled thousands of Kosovo women into Italy by boat for the
The sexual exploitation of women and children in the Middle East usually
involves the importation of women from other regions. Women and children, mostly
from Asia (Thailand, the Philippines, Indonesia), are trafficked as domestics,
prostitutes, or brides to the Middle East (Saudi Arabia, The United Arab Emirates).
Domestic workers are not protected under labor laws in many countries of the Middle
East and North Africa, making them especially vulnerable to abuse.23 Some countries
do little to punish traffickers. At the same time trafficked women in the region risk
being punished for illegal prostitution. Women from the former Soviet Republics
have been sent to Israel by organized criminal groups where they are then forced to
work in the sex industry.
Israel, Jordan, Qatar and other countries in the region are destination points for
low-skilled workers, both male and female, from South and Southeast Asia who
migrate willingly to work in construction, agriculture, or healthcare, but are then
trafficked into forced labor.
In recent years, there has been increasing concern about the plight of children
trafficked from countries like Bangladesh, Pakistan, and the Sudan to work in the
Persian Gulf States’ camel jockeying industry. The State Department has reported
that thousands of children as young as two years of age have been recruited to work
as jockeys. Many have experienced physical and mental abuse and have been
purposefully starved in order to stunt their growth.24
Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, OSCE Mission in Kosovo.
“Background Report: Combatting Trafficking in Kosovo,” June 5, 2001.
U.S. Department of State, Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (G-TIP),
“The Facts About Children Forced to Work as Camel Jockeys,” Fact Sheet, August 8, 2005.
Latin America and the Caribbean25
Countries of Latin America and the Carribean are reported primarily to be
source countries for trafficking victims, although many also serve as transit and
destination countries. The largest number of victims are trafficked from Brazil,
Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, and Mexico. The principal
destinations are North America and Europe.26 Tens of thousands of Latin American
and Caribbean women and children are believed to be trafficked for sexual
exploitation each year. Impoverished children are particularly vulnerable to
trafficking for prostitution. Brazil in particular has a major child prostitution
problem.27 The Central American countries and Mexico are transit countries for
trafficking to the United States, including victims brought from China and other
countries. The presence of sex tourists from Europe, North America, and Australia
has significantly contributed to the trafficking of women and children. A growing
number of sex tourists are going to Latin America, partly as a result of recent
restrictions placed on sex tourism in Thailand, Sri Lanka, and other Asian countries.
Favored sex tourism destinations are Brazil, Argentina, the Dominican Republic,
Mexico, Honduras, Costa Rica, Trinidad and Tobago.
Although it tends to be under-reported, trafficking for forced labor is also a
major problem in Latin America. Trafficking for forced labor has occurred in the pig
iron industry in Brazil, the mahogany and gold-mining industries in Peru, the mines
of Bolivia, and the sugarcane fields of the Dominican Republic. Children are also
trafficked both internally and across international borders for use as domestic
servants. Moreover, increasing numbers of Latin Americans are ending up in
situations of forced labor after migrating to Europe or the United States.
Africa is a source region for individuals trafficked into prostitution and forced
economic exploitation, especially for individuals trafficked to Western Europe and
the Middle East. Wars and civil strife in some countries, as well as the indifference
of some governments, increase the likelihood that populations that are
disproportionately affected by these phenomena, notably women and children, may
become victims of trafficking. Other “push” factors contributing to trafficking in
Africa include societal subordination of women and a lack of economic and
educational opportunities for women and girls. Traffickers tend to target women who
have been left vulnerable by widowhood, divorce, separation, or abandonment. Most
African women trafficked overseas are believed to come from Nigeria, Benin, Ghana,
and Morocco. Traffickers also prey on the large number of children in Africa who
lack identity documents and/or who have been orphaned by HIV/AIDS, armed
See CRS Report RL33200, Trafficking in Persons in Latin America and the Caribbean,
by Clare M. Ribando.
UNODC, Trafficking in Persons: Global Patterns, April 2006, p.96-98 and 104.
conflicts, or disasters.28 East African children, particularly from the Sudan, are
trafficked to the Persian Gulf states to serve as jockeys in the camel racing industry.
Within the region, victims from other African countries are trafficked to Egypt,
Gabon, the Ivory Coast, Nigeria, and South Africa, among others.29 Trafficking into
the commercial sex industry has been fueled by a demand from foreign tourists
visiting resorts in Malawi, Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda, as well as from
peacekeepers serving in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.30 Young girls are
also trafficked to other parts of the continent to serve as brides for migrant workers,
with an ever-increasing demand for younger, virgin brides due to concerns about
HIV/AIDS infection.31 Trafficking into forced labor is more common in Africa than
in other regions. Trafficking in children for labor is a specific concern in a number
of African countries, as is the forcible recruitment of child soldiers in several
countries affected by armed conflict.32
Trafficking to the United States
The United States is primarily a destination country. As many as 17,500 people
are trafficked to the United States each year, according to State Department
estimates.33 Most are believed to come from Southeast Asia, the former Soviet
Union, and, more recently, Latin America. About half of those are forced into
sweatshop labor and domestic servitude. The rest are forced into prostitution and the
sex industry, or in the case of young children, kidnaped and sold for adoption. While
many victims come willingly, they are not aware of the terms and conditions they
will face. Women trafficked to the United States most often wind up in the larger
cities in New York, Florida, North Carolina, California, and Hawaii. But the
problem is also migrating to smaller cities and suburbs.
The United States is also the major destination country for young children
kidnaped and trafficked for adoption by childless couples unwilling to wait for a
child through legitimate adoption procedures and agencies. Guatemala has been
among the largest source countries for illegal adoptions.34
Before 2000, U.S. laws were widely believed to be inadequate to deal with
trafficking in women and children or to protect and assist victims. Sweeping anti-
USAID, “USAID Anti-Trafficking in Persons Programs in Africa: A Review,” April 2007.
Ibid; UNODC, Trafficking in Persons: Global Patterns, April 2006, p.85-87, and 102.
UNICEF Innocenti Research Center, Trafficking in Human Beings, Especially Women and
Children in Africa, Florence, Italy, 2003.
See Amnesty International [http://web.amnesty.org/pages/childsoldiers-africanchild-eng]
The 2007 TIP report does not contain figures on people trafficked to the United States.
This estimate is taken from the U.S. Department of State. Trafficking in Persons Report,
2006, June 5, 2006.
Kapstein, Ethan. “The Baby Trade,”Foreign Affairs, November/December 2003.
trafficking legislation and programs have been implemented with the hope of
significantly improving the situation.
Anti-Trafficking Legislation and the Role of Congress
The human trafficking problem gained attention in the United States and
worldwide in the late 1990s. It has been addressed as a priority by Congress, as well
as the Clinton and Bush Administrations. As part of former President Clinton’s
announced International Crime Control Strategy, an interagency working group was
set up to address international crime implications of trafficking. On March 11, 1998,
President Clinton issued a directive establishing a U.S. government-wide antitrafficking strategy of (1) prevention, (2) protection and support for victims, and (3)
prosecution of traffickers. The strategy, as announced, had strong domestic and
international policy components:
In the area of prevention, the Administration outlined the need for
programs to increase economic opportunities for potential victims
and dissemination of information in other countries to increase
public awareness of trafficking dangers and funding for more
research on trafficking.
In terms of victim protection and assistance, the Administration
argued for legislation to provide shelter and the support services to
victims who are in the country unlawfully and therefore presently
ineligible for assistance. It pressed for creation of a humanitarian,
non-immigrant visa classification to allow victims to receive
temporary resident status so that they could receive assistance and
help to prosecute traffickers. Also, support was sought for
developing countries to protect and reintegrate trafficking victims
once they were returned.
As far as prosecution and enforcement, the Administration pressed
for laws to more effectively go after traffickers and increase the
penalties they can face. In addition, restitution for trafficked victims
was sought in part by creating the possibility of bringing private civil
lawsuits against traffickers. The Department of Justice (DOJ) called
for laws that would expand the definition of involuntary servitude,
criminalize a broader range of actions constituting involuntary
servitude, and increase the penalties for placing people in
involuntary servitude. Justice Department spokesmen also urged
that prosecutors be give the capability to go after those who profit
from trafficking, not just those directly involved in trafficking.35
They also called for amending immigration statutes to punish
Testimony of William R. Yeomans, Chief of Staff of the Civil Rights Division,
Department of Justice, before the Subcommittee on Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs,
Senate Foreign Relations Committee, April 4, 2000.
traffickers who entrap victims by taking their passports and
identification from them.
On the domestic side, a Workers’ Exploitation Task Force, chaired by the
Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division and the Solicitor’s Office in the
Department of Labor, was charged with investigating and prosecuting cases of
exploitation and trafficking. In addition, the Department of Justice reviewed existing
U.S. criminal laws and their enforcement to see if they adequately dealt with the
crime of trafficking.
On the international front, the State Department sponsored the creation of a
database on U.S. and international legislation on trafficking. An Interagency
Council on Women formed by the Clinton Administration established a senior
governmental working group on trafficking. The Administration urged the enactment
of legislation to encourage and support strong action by foreign governments and
help the work of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in this area.
Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000. Several
bills were introduced in the 106th Congress on human trafficking. In conference, the
bills were combined with the Violence against Women Act of 2000 and repackaged
as the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000, along with
miscellaneous anti-crime and anti-terrorism provisions. President Clinton signed the
bill into law on October 28, 2000 (P.L. 106-386). Its key provisions:
Directed the Secretary of State to provide an annual report by June
1, listing countries that do and do not comply with minimum
standards for the elimination of trafficking and to provide in his
annual report on human rights information on a country-by-country
basis describing the nature and extent of severe forms of trafficking
in persons in each country and an assessment of the efforts by
governments to combat trafficking;
Called for establishing an Interagency Task Force to Monitor and
Combat Trafficking, chaired by the Secretary of State, and
authorized the Secretary to establish within the Department of State
an Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking to assist the Task
Called for measures to enhance economic opportunity for potential
victims of trafficking as a method to deter trafficking, to increase
public awareness, particularly among potential victims, of the
dangers of trafficking and the protections that are available for
victims, and for the government to work with NGOs to combat
Established programs and initiatives in foreign countries to assist in
the safe integration, reintegration, or resettlement of victims of
trafficking and their children, as well as programs to provide
assistance to victims of severe forms of trafficking in persons within
the United States, without regard to such victims’ immigration status
and to make such victims eligible for any benefits that are otherwise
available under the Crime Victims Fund;
Provided protection and assistance for victims of severe forms of
trafficking while in the United States;
Amended the code to make funds derived from the sale of assets
seized from and forfeited by traffickers available for victims
assistance programs under this act;
Amended the Immigration and Nationality Act to allow the Attorney
General to grant up to 5000 non-immigrant visas per year to certain
victims of severe forms of trafficking who are in the United States
and who would face a significant possibility of retribution or other
harm if they were removed from the United States. In addition,
amended the act to adjust to lawful permanent resident the status of
up to 5000 victims per year who have been in the United States
continuously for three years since admission, who have remained of
good moral character, who have not unreasonably refused to assist
in trafficking investigations or prosecutions, and who would face a
significant possibility of retribution or other harm if removed from
the United States;
Established minimum standards applicable to countries that have a
significant trafficking problem. Urged such countries to prohibit
severe forms of trafficking in persons, to punish such acts, and to
make serious and sustained efforts to eliminate such trafficking;
Provided for assistance to foreign countries for programs and
activities designed to meet the minimum international standards for
the elimination of trafficking;
Withheld U.S. non-humanitarian assistance and instructed the U.S.
executive director of each multilateral development bank and the
International Monetary Fund to vote against non-humanitarian
assistance to such countries that do not meet minimum standards
against trafficking and are not making efforts to meet minimum
standards, unless continued assistance is deemed to be in the U.S.
Encouraged the President to compile and publish a list of foreign
persons who play a significant role in a severe form of trafficking in
persons. Also encouraged the President to impose sanctions under
the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, including the
freezing of assets located in the United States, and to exclude
significant traffickers, and those who knowingly assist them, from
entry into the United States; and
Amended the U.S. Code to double the current maximum penalties
for peonage, enticement into slavery, and sale into involuntary
servitude from 10 years to 20 years imprisonment and to add the
possibility of life imprisonment for such violations resulting in death
or involving kidnaping, aggravated sexual abuse, or an attempt to
The Bush Administration, as well as Congress, continued the anti-trafficking
effort with strong bipartisan support. Then-Attorney General John Ashcroft
announced in March 2001 that the fight against trafficking would be a top priority for
the Administration and that U.S. law enforcement agencies, including the FBI, the
Immigration and Naturalization Service, and the Justice Department’s Civil Rights
Division would cooperate closely to upgrade their efforts to combat trafficking. The
Justice Department also announced new guidelines for federal prosecutors to pursue
trafficking cases.36 The State Department issued its first congressionally mandated
report on worldwide trafficking in July 2001.
On January 24, 2002, Ashcroft announced the implementation of a special “T”
visa, as called for in P.L.106-386, for victims of trafficking in the United States who
cooperate with law enforcement officials. Under the statute, victims who cooperate
with law enforcement against their traffickers and would be likely to suffer severe
harm if returned to their home countries may be granted permission to stay in the
United States. After three years in T status, the victims are eligible to apply for
permanent residency and for non-immigrant status for their spouses and children.37
On February 13, 2002, President Bush signed an Executive Order establishing
an Interagency Task Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons. The Task
Force, mandated by the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (P.L. 106-386),
includes the Secretary of State, the Attorney General, the Secretary of Labor, the
Secretary of Health and Human Services, the Director of the Central Intelligence
Agency, the Administrator of the Agency for International Development, the Director
of the Office of Management and Budget, and Office of the National Security
Advisor. The Task Force is charged with strengthening coordination among key
agencies. It is to identify what more needs to be done to protect potential victims, to
punish traffickers, and to prevent future trafficking. According to Secretary of State
Powell, the United States would work closely with other governments, nongovernmental organizations and concerned people throughout the world to put an end
to trafficking. The State Department Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in
Persons (G-TIP) was tasked with assisting the Interagency Task Force in
implementing P.L. 106-386 and Task Force initiatives.
In addition to announcing the establishment of the Interagency Task Force, the
State Department issued a fact sheet on February 14, 2002, detailing planned U.S.
activities to stop trafficking in persons.38 The Departments of State and Justice were
Attorney General John Ashcroft’s news conference on March 27, 2001.
U.S. Department of State, Washington File, January 24, 2002. [http://usinfo.state.gov]
U.S. Department of State, Office of the Spokesman, February 14, 2002.
to establish a Migrant Smuggling and Trafficking in Persons Center to gather and
disseminate information from intelligence and law enforcement. USAID was
charged with developing partnerships between source and destination countries to
combat trafficking. The Department of Justice was to institute training programs for
federal prosecutors, Immigration and Naturalization Service personnel, and FBI
agents in 2002. The Department of Justice announced that it would seek sponsors in
Congress for legislation to punish Americans engaging in “sex tourism” abroad with
minors. The Department of Labor was to establish six training and support centers
for women victims or at risk of trafficking in major cities of Central and Eastern
Europe and the Newly Independent States. The Department of Health and Human
Services was to launch a public awareness campaign to encourage trafficking victims
to come forward.
The Foreign Relations Authorization Act of 2003. In 2002, Congress
amended the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000 in Sec. 682
of the Foreign Relations Authorization Act, FY2003 (P.L. 107-228) to provide “....(a)
support for local in-country nongovernmental organization-operated hotlines,
culturally and linguistically appropriate protective shelters, and regional and
international nongovernmental organization networks and databases on trafficking,
including support to assist nongovernmental organizations in establishing service
centers and systems that are mobile and extend beyond large cities; (b) support for
nongovernmental organizations and advocates to provide legal, social, and other
services and assistance to trafficked individuals, particularly those individuals in
detention; (c) education and training for trafficked women and girls; (d) the safe
integration or reintegration of trafficked individuals into an appropriate community
or family, with full respect for the wishes, dignity, and safety of the trafficked
individual; and (e) support for developing or increasing programs to assist families
of victims in locating, repatriating, and treating their trafficked family members, in
assisting the voluntary repatriation of these family members or their integration or
resettlement into appropriate communities, and in providing them with treatment.”
The amendment also authorized an increase in appropriations for FY2003 to fund
Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2003. In 2003,
Congress approved the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2003.
The President signed the act into law on December 19, 2003 (P.L. 108-193). The act
authorized substantial increases in funding for anti-trafficking programs in FY2004
and FY2005 (over $100 million for each fiscal year). P.L. 108-193 refined and
expanded the Minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking that governments
must meet and placed on such governments the responsibility to provide the
information and data by which their compliance with the standards could be judged.
The legislation created a “special watch list” of countries that the Secretary of State
determined were to get special scrutiny in the coming year. The list was to include
countries where (1) the absolute number of victims of severe forms of trafficking is
very significant or is significantly increasing; (2) there is a failure to provide evidence
of increasing efforts to combat severe forms of trafficking in persons from the
previous year; or (3) the determination that a country is making significant efforts to
bring itself into compliance with minimum standards is based on its commitments
to take additional steps over the next year. In the case of such countries, not later
than February 1st of each year, the Secretary of State is to provide to the appropriate
congressional committees an assessment of the progress that the country had made
since the last annual report.
Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Protection Act of 2004. In
December 2004, Congress approved the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism
Protection Act of 2004, signed into law on December 17, 2004 (P.L. 108-458). The
law establishes a Human Smuggling and Trafficking Center to be jointly operated by
the Department of Homeland Security, the State Department, and the Department of
Justice. It requires that the Center serve as a clearinghouse for Federal agency
information in support of U.S. efforts to combat terrorist travel, migrant smuggling,
and human trafficking.
Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2005. On
February 17, 2005, Representative Christopher Smith and nine co-sponsors
introduced the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2005 to
authorize appropriations for FY2006 and FY2007 and close loopholes in previous
anti-trafficking legislation. The bill was signed into law by the President on January
10, 2006 (P.L. 109-162). Among other things, the legislation has provisions to
increase U.S. assistance to foreign trafficking victims in the United States, including
access to legal counsel and better information on programs to aid victims. It attempts
to address the special needs of child victims, as well as the plight of Americans
trafficked within the United States. It directs relevant U.S. government agencies to
develop anti-trafficking strategies for post-conflict situations and humanitarian
emergencies abroad. It seeks to extend U.S. criminal jurisdiction over government
personnel and contractors who are involved in acts of trafficking abroad while doing
work for the government. It addresses the problem of peacekeepers and aid workers
who are complicit in trafficking.
On October 7, 2005, the U.S. Senate gave its advice and consent to ratify the
United Nations Protocol to Prevent, Suppress, and Punish Trafficking in Persons.
The President signed the Protocol on December 3, 2005.
Legislation in the 110th Congress. In the 110th Congress, both chambers
are continuing to address human trafficking as part of their authorization,
appropriations, and oversight activities. The Implementing the 9/11 Commission
Recommendations Act of 2007, H.R. 1 (Thompson), approved by the House and
referred to the Senate on January 9, 2007, would direct the Secretary of Homeland
Security to provide specified funding and administrative support to strengthen the
Human Smuggling and Trafficking Center. It would also direct the Secretary to
execute a memorandum of understanding with the Attorney General to clarify
coordination between Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the FBI on
issues related to human smuggling, human trafficking, and terrorist travel. A related
Senate bill, the Improving America’s Security Act of 2007, S. 4 (Reid), would direct
the Secretary of Homeland Security to nominate a U.S. government employee to
direct the Human Smuggling and Trafficking Center to be staffed by at least 40 fulltime staff, detailed from other agencies.
The Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2007, H.R. 270
(Smith), introduced on January 5, 2007 and referred to the Committee on Foreign
Affairs, in addition to the Committees on the Judiciary and Energy and Commerce,
would authorize funds for anti-trafficking programs for FY2008 through FY2010.
The bill would make juvenile victims eligible for trafficking assistance. It would also
require the Attorney General to prepare model anti-trafficking legislation for use by
states. The model legislation would define and prohibit all acts related to prostitution
of children and trafficking of children for forced labor or sexual exploitation.
Another bill, the Congressional Commission on the Abolition of Modern-Day
Slavery Act, H.R. 2522 (Lewis), introduced on May 24, 2007,would establish a
Commission to study modern-day slavery in all its forms (including trafficking in
persons) and why it still exists, review and evaluate U.S. and international efforts to
prevent or combat modern-day slavery, and make legislative and administrative
recommendations necessary for the most effective ways to combat modern-day
slavery to be put in place.
U.S. Funding for Global Anti-Trafficking Programs
The U.S. government supports many types of anti-trafficking (anti-TIP) initiatives
overseas. In FY2006, the U.S. government obligated an estimated $74 million in
anti-trafficking assistance to foreign governments, down from $94.7 million in
FY2005.39 The funding supports roughly 154 global and regional anti-trafficking
programs in 70 countries. Roughly 9% of those projects focused on sex trafficking,
5% on labor trafficking, and 86% on a combination of the two.
U.S. anti-TIP programs in foreign countries are administered by a variety of U.S.
agencies, including the State Department, USAID, Department of Labor (DOL),
DOJ, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in the Department of Homeland
Security (DHS), the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and U.S.
contributions to the United Nations. The majority of the programs are either
regional, or directed at countries that were placed on either the Tier 3 or the Tier 2
Watch-List in recent State Department Trafficking in Persons (TIP) reports. Whereas
regional programs supported initiatives necessary to address the cross-cutting nature
of human trafficking, country programs focused on the specific challenges and/or
government weaknesses in combating trafficking that have been identified in the TIP
“U.S. Government Anti-Trafficking in Persons Obligated Project Funding (FY2006),” GTIP Fact Sheet, April 23, 2007, [http://www.state.gov/g/tip/rls/fs/07/83371.htm].
Figure 1. Global Anti-TIP Programs by Agency,
FY2005 and FY2006
Source: G-TIP Fact Sheets, available at [http://www.state.gov/g/tip/c12606.htm]. FY2007 figures
are not yet available.
U.S. anti-trafficking policy has long emphasized prevention, protection, and
prosecution (“the 3 Ps”). Prevention programs have combined public awareness and
education campaigns with education and employment opportunities for those at-risk
of trafficking, particularly women and girls with limited opportunities for educational
advancement and/or economic independence. Protection programs have involved
direct support for shelters, as well as training of local service providers, public
officials, and religious groups. Programs to improve the prosecution rates of
traffickers have helped countries draft or amend existing anti-TIP laws, as well as
provided training for law enforcement and judiciaries to enforce those laws. U.S.
policy has recently placed a new, more “victim-centered” focus on rescue,
rehabilitation, and reintegration (what it calls the “3 Rs”). It has also increasingly
emphasized the importance of combating forced labor among foreign migrant
workers in destination countries, as well as paying particular attention to the public
health consequences of human trafficking.
Figure 2. FY2006 Global Anti-TIP Funding, Regional Distribution
Near East Global
Source: G-TIP, available at [http://www.state.gov/g/tip/c12606.htm].
The countries with the largest numbers of programs obligated in recent years
include several of the countries selected in 2004 by President George W. Bush as
eligible to receive a combined total of $50 million in strategic anti-trafficking in
persons assistance.40 The President chose countries based on the severity of their
trafficking programs, as well as their willingness to cooperate with U.S. agencies to
combat the problem. They include Brazil, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Mexico,
Moldova, Sierra Leone, and Tanzania. As a result of this initiative, U.S. anti-TIP
assistance to foreign governments spiked in FY2004 and FY2005, but is now on a
FY2007 estimated allocations for anti-TIP programs and the FY2008 request for
all relevant agencies are not yet available, but the Administration has requested some
$30.7 million for trafficking and migrant smuggling programs to be carried out by the
State Department and USAID in FY2008.41
Trafficking in Persons Reports
The Trafficking in Persons Report, 2007. On June 12, 2007, the State
Department issued its seventh annual report on human trafficking, Trafficking in
The $50 million consists of projects, the bulk of which were obligated in FY2004 and
FY205, that were approved by an inter-agency Senior Policy Operating Group (SPOG) on
human trafficking and the Deputy Secretary of State for each region. For more information
on the SPOG, see [http://www.state.gov/g/tip/rls/fs/2006/70128.htm].
U.S. Department of State, FY2008 Congressional Budget Justification for Foreign
Persons (TIP) Report,42 as mandated by P.L.106-386, P.L. 108-193, and P.L. 109164. The report reviews recent trends in the fight against trafficking and rates
countries according to whether they meet “minimum standards” with regard to their
anti-trafficking commitment and policies.43 In addition to Tiers 1-3, there is a fourth
category of countries, the “Tier 2 Watch List.” The Department of State is required
to issue an interim report on how Watch List countries are performing by February
2008 in advance of the 2008 TIP report. The report is more comprehensive than in
previous years, focusing on 164 countries, up from 158 in 2006. In addition to the
151 countries that are ranked, the report discusses trafficking in 13 “special case”
countries where sufficient information was not available to provide a ranking.
The 2007 report highlights how the U.S. and international campaign against
human trafficking has begun to show results. What had been a largely invisible
problem, characterized by disinterest and even complicity of governments, is now
being confronted by governments around the world. Many countries have enacted
new anti-trafficking laws, including 21 in the 2006 reporting period. Some 3,160
traffickers were convicted in 2006.
The report again includes examples of “best practices”or successful actions that
have been taken by countries, individuals, and groups who are fighting slavery in
different parts of the world. For example, the report praises the collaborative work
of the German government, international organizations, and NGOs that enabled the
development of a comprehensive anti-TIP plan for the World Cup tournament.
As in the past two TIP reports, the 2007 report draws special attention to the issue
of trafficking for forced labor, with sections on trafficking for involuntary domestic
servitude (including abuse by some members of the diplomatic community in the
United States) and trafficking of migrant laborers. In his remarks at the release of the
2007 TIP report, Ambassador Mark P. Lagon, Director of G-TIP, said that it was
“especially disappointing that so many wealthy countries of the Near East, that are
not lacking adequate resources to make significant progress to end these crimes, are
on Tier 3.”44 The report contends that many destination countries have “sponsorship
laws” giving employers a large degree of personal control over their workers, which
has led to serious rights abuses. Whereas previous TIP reports have put most of the
onus for combating forced labor on destination countries, the 2007 report also
Governments meeting “minimum standards” are defined in the Trafficking and Violence
Protection Act of 2000 and the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2003
as those that (1) prohibit and punish acts of trafficking; (2) prescribe punishment
commensurate with that for grave crimes, such as forcible sexual assault, for the knowing
commission of trafficking in some of its most reprehensible forms (trafficking for sexual
purposes, trafficking involving rape or kidnaping, or trafficking that causes a death); (3)
prescribe punishment that is sufficiently stringent to deter, and that adequately reflects the
offense’s heinous nature; and (4) make serious and sustained efforts to eliminate trafficking.
The fourth minimum standard was amended and supplemented by the Trafficking Victims
Reauthorization Act and now calls for consideration of ten criteria.
Ambassador Mark. P Lagon, Director, G-TIP, Remarks at the Release of the 2007
Trafficking in Persons Report, June 12, 2007.
discusses the obligations of source countries to protect the well-being of their citizens
who work abroad. For example, the report urges source countries to ensure that
recruitment fees charged by employment agencies advertising jobs abroad are kept
at reasonable levels in order to prevent debt bondage. It also says that source
countries should negotiate agreements with destination countries to guarantee the
safety and well-being of their citizen’s rights while working abroad.
The 2007 report discusses some specific forms of trafficking, including forced
labor on the high seas, trafficking of East Asian women through brokered marriages,
debt bondage among prostitutes in Europe, and child soldiering. One of those
sections, while acknowledging the rise of child sex tourism (CST) and child
pornography, also provides some positive examples of how governments, NGOs, and
the private sector are successfully working together to combat it. For example, the
report highlights how internet service providers have worked with law enforcement
officials to shut down CST chat rooms, and travel and tourism providers have signed
a code of conduct for protecting children from sexual exploitation. In contrast, the
report shows how the cocoa industry has postponed the date by which it will respond
to congressional pressure and consumer demands that it develop a certification
system to ensure that cocoa products made in West Africa do not abuse child labor
until July 2008.
The report also discusses what U.S. government agencies are doing domestically
to combat trafficking.45 The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, as of
March 2007, had certified 1,175 trafficking victims from 77 countries for special
status. In FY2006, the primary source countries for TIP victims in the United States
were El Salvador (62), Mexico (47), South Korea (20), and Honduras (17). In
FY2006, the Department of Homeland Security issued 192 “T” visas to foreign
survivors of trafficking. As of the end of FY2006, DHS had issued 729 visas to TIP
victims and 645 visas to members of victims’ families. In FY2006, the Department
of Justice initiated 168 TIP-related investigations, charged 111 individuals in 32
cases, and convicted a record 98 traffickers. As of the end of 2006, 27 states had
passed anti-TIP legislation and 42 communities had created anti-TIP task forces with
the support of federal funding.
2007 Country Rankings. In the report, countries are ranked in four groups.
Countries not included are either not seen as having a significant trafficking problem
as source, transit, or destination countries (meaning more than 100 cases per year) or
there is insufficient information about their role.
Tier 1 is made up of countries deemed by the State Department to have a serious
trafficking problem but fully complying with the act’s minimum standards for the
elimination of trafficking. Twenty-eight countries are included. Four countries were
moved up from Tier 2 to Tier 1, including the Czech Republic, Georgia, Hungary,
For more information on domestic anti-TIP efforts, see DOJ, “Attorney General’s Annual
Report to Congress on U.S. Government Activities to Combat TIP, FY2006,”May 2007,
and Slovenia. Ireland and Singapore were moved down to Tier 2 from Tier 1 in
Tier 2, as in past years, includes the largest number of countries, 75 in 2007, (down
from 79 in 2006), whose governments the State Department views as not fully
complying with those standards but which are seen as making “significant efforts to
bring themselves into compliance.” Of these, two moved down from Tier 1, one was
previously unranked, eight moved up to Tier 2, and the rest remained the same as last
Tier 2 Watch List was first added as a category in the 2004 report. In 2007, it is
made up of 32 countries that are on the border between Tier 2 and Tier 3 (the same
number as in 2006). P.L. 108-193 requires that the Department of State issue an
interim report on how these countries are performing by February 2008 in advance
of the 2007 TIP report. Thirteen countries were moved down to the Watch List and
two were previously unranked.48
In Tier 3 are those countries whose governments the State Department deems as not
fully complying with those standards and not making significant efforts to do so. This
group includes a total of 16 countries (up from 12 in 2006). Countries new to Tier
3 in 2007 include Algeria, Bahrain, Equatorial Guinea, Kuwait, Malaysia, Oman, and
Qatar. These countries are subject to possible U.S. sanctions after October 1, 2007,
if they have not improved their performance by then. A number of these countries are
on the list for their failure to address the problem of trafficking for forced labor
among foreign migrant workers.49
Tier 1 includes Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Colombia, Czech Republic,
Denmark, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania,
Luxembourg, Malawi, Morocco, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Slovenia,
Spain, South Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.
Tier 2 includes Afghanistan, Albania, Angola, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Belize, Benin,
Bolivia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chile, Congo
(DRC), Costa Rica, Cote D’Ivoire, Croatia, East Timor, Ecuador, El Salvador, Estonia,
Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Greece, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Indonesia, Israel, Jamaica, Japan,
Jordan, Kyrgyz Republic, Laos, Latvia, Lebanon, Liberia, Macedonia, Madagascar, Mali,
Malta, Mauritius, Mongolia, Montenegro, Nepal, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan,
Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Portugal, Romania, Senegal, Serbia, Sierra Leone,
Singapore, Slovak Republic, Suriname, Taiwan, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Thailand, Togo,
Turkey, Uganda, Uruguay, Vietnam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Rwanda.
The Tier 2 Watch List of countries include Argentina, Armenia, Belarus, Burundi,
Cambodia, Central African Republic Chad, China (PRC), Cyprus, Djibouti, Dominican
Republic, Egypt, Fiji, Gambia, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, India, Kazakhstan, Kenya,
Libya, Macau, Mauritania, Mexico, Moldova, Mozambique, Papua New Guinea, Russia,
South Africa, Sri Lanka, Ukraine, and the United Arab Emirates.
Tier 3 countries include Algeria, Bahrain, Burma, Cuba, Equatorial Guinea, Iran, Kuwait,
Malaysia, North Korea, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Uzbekistan, and
Special Cases. Some countries were not ranked due to limited information on their
trafficking problems, either as a result of internal upheaval or for other reasons.
Nevertheless, available information was included on these 13 countries.50
Results from the 2006 TIP Ranking and Sanctions Process. P.L. 106386 subjects to sanctions those countries listed in Tier 3, including termination of
non-humanitarian, non-trade-related assistance and loss of U.S. support for loans
from international financial institutions, specifically the International Monetary Fund
and multilateral development banks such as the World Bank. Sanctions are to be
imposed if such countries have not improved their performance within 90 days from
the release of the report.
The 2006 TIP report placed 12 countries on Tier 3. On September 27, 2006,
President Bush issued his determination on sanctions for TIP Report Tier 3
countries.51 He decided to impose full sanctions on Burma, Cuba, and North Korea.
With regard to Iran, Syria, Venezuela, and Zimbabwe, consistent with his waiver
authority, the President determined that provision of certain assistance would
promote the purposes of P.L.106-386 or otherwise serve U.S. national interests. He
waived all trafficking-related sanctions with regard to Saudi Arabia, Sudan, and
Uzbekistan on national interest grounds. He indicated that Belize and Laos would
not be made subject to sanctions because of positive actions taken by their
governments since release of the 2006 TIP Report.
The Department of State submitted an Interim Assessment of the progress made
by countries on the Watch List from 2006 on January 19, 2007. The report tracked
the progress made in combating human trafficking in 39 countries were placed on the
Tier 2 Watch List in the June 2006 TIP report. While some countries are pointed out
for making “significant” or “noticeable” progress since the 2006 report was released
(such as Belize, Bolivia, Cambodia, and Israel), most countries are deemed to have
made more moderate progress.52
The International Response
Although trafficking in persons is not a new phenomenon, it did not become a
major human rights issue of concern in the United States or in the international
community until the 1990s. In 1995, 189 countries participating in the Fourth World
Conference on Women in Beijing adopted a Plan for Action that included eliminating
trafficking in women as a shared goal. The Plan also set out actions for governments
to take in order to combat TIP and other forms of violence against women. As the
Special case countries include Bahamas, Barbados, Brunei, Haiti, Iraq, Ireland, Kiribati,
Lesotho, Solomon Islands, Somalia, Swaziland, Tunisia, and Turkmenistan.
“Presidential Determination with Respect to Foreign Governments’ Efforts Regarding
Trafficking in Persons,” September 27, 2006. [http://www.state.gov/g/tip/rls
U.S. Department of State, G-TIP, “Trafficking in Persons Interim Assessment,” January
18, 2007. [http://www.state.gov/g/tip/rls/rpt/78948.htm].
decade progressed, the trafficking of women for sexual exploitation began to be seen
as both a form of discrimination against women and as a major human rights
U.N. Protocol to Prevent, Suppress, and Punish TIP
Members of the international community began meeting in 1999 to draft a
Protocol to Prevent, Suppress, and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women
and Children in conjunction with the U.N. Convention Against Transnational
Organized Crime. The United States, along with Argentina, introduced the draft
protocol in January 1999. Negotiations were concluded in 2000 on a revised draft.
On November 15, 2000, the U.N. General Assembly adopted the Convention on
Transnational Crime, including the Protocol on Trafficking. The Convention and
Protocols formally signed in Palermo, Italy, in December 2000, were designed to
enable countries to work together more closely against criminals engaged in crossborder crimes. The Protocol on Trafficking commits countries to take law
enforcement actions against traffickers, to provide some assistance and protection for
TIP victims, and to share intelligence and increase border security cooperation with
other countries. The United States signed the U.N. Protocol on Trafficking in
December 2000 and ratified and became party to the Protocol on December 3, 2005,
following Senate advice and consent on October 7, 2005. At present, 112 countries
are party to the Protocol. The United States signed the U.N. Smuggling Protocol in
December 2000 and became party to the Protocol on November 3, 2005. At present,
106 countries are party to the Smuggling Protocol.
Other Relevant International Agreements
The United States is party to two other international agreements that have been
adopted to address aspects of trafficking in children. The International Labor
Organization (ILO) Convention 182 concerning the Prohibition and Immediate
Action for the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labor was ratified by the
United States in December 1999. As of June 2007, 163 countries have ratified ILO
Convention 182. ILO Convention 105 concerning the Abolition of Forced Labor was
ratified by the United States in 1991. Some 167 countries have ratified ILO
Convention 105. The Protocol to the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child on
Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography was signed by the United
States July 2000 and ratified in December 2002. In January, 2002, the Protocol went
into force, having been signed by 88 countries and ratified by 16. As of June 2007,
119 countries are party to the Protocol.
U.N. and Related Agencies’ Anti-Trafficking Programs
A number of U.N. agencies have anti-trafficking programs. One of the largest
U.N. anti-trafficking programs is the U.N. Interagency Project on Human Trafficking
in the Greater Mekong Sub-Region (UNIAP). UNIAP was created in 2000 to
facilitate a stronger and more coordinated response to trafficking in the Greater
United Nations General Assembly, “In-Depth Study on All Forms of Violence Against
Women,” July 6, 2006.
Mekong Sub-region (Cambodia, China, Laos, Burma, Thailand, and Vietnam). The
program focuses on: building a knowledge base on TIP in the region, identifying and
supporting action on priority issues related to human trafficking; and filling in gaps
in the regional response to trafficking by engaging in advocacy efforts. UNIAP
involves six governments, 13 U.N. agencies, and eight international NGOs. The
United States is one of its major supporters.
The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) is the guardian and
custodian of the U.N. Trafficking Protocol. Launched in 1999, UNODC’s Global
Program Against Trafficking in Human Beings assists member states in
implementing the Protocol and preventing human trafficking. There are currently
more than 30 UNODC technical cooperation projects underway around the world.
UNODC has developed numerous research projects, including an annual report on
patterns in TIP. In February 2006, UNODC, the United States, and India launched
the largest U.S. government-funded UNODC trafficking initiative in the world. The
United States contributes $2 million to the program. The project provides training
and awareness for law enforcement officers and strengthens their capacity to
investigate and prosecute traffickers.
Several other U.N. agencies are involved in anti-TIP activities, many of which
receive significant U.S. funding. The U.N. Children’s Fund (UNICEF) provides
support to child victims of trafficking, including return and reintegration assistance.
In FY2006, the United States provided $127 million in UNICEF funding, including
$500,000 to support identification and reintegration assistance for women and
children TIP victims in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In 2004, the Office
of the U.N. High Commissioner of Human Rights created a Special Rapporteur on
trafficking in persons to ensure the protection of trafficked victims’ rights.54 The
United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) has anti-TIP programs
that support women’s political and social empowerment. In 2002, UNIFEM
published a briefing kit to help practitioners rethink their efforts to combat trafficking
from a gender and rights perspective. In FY2006, G-TIP provided some $1.7 million
to support UNIFEM’s anti-TIP programs in India.55 The United Nations
Development Program (UNDP) seeks to identify (and reduce) the vulnerabilities of
women and girls to trafficking in source, transit, and destination countries. In
FY2006, USAID provided UNDP with $300,000 to support an anti-trafficking
awareness program and victims assistance initiatives in Cyprus and $900,000 to
support shelters for TIP victims in Moldova.
The ILO works to promote internationally recognized human and labor rights.
A number of ILO programs combat trafficking of women and girls, and forced and
bonded labor. The ILO also has a number of programs to combat child labor that
include gender-specific components. Through the International Program to Eliminate
Child Labor (IPEC), ILO works with participating governments to prevent children
from becoming child laborers; to remove children from hazardous work (including
For more information on UNIFEM trafficking
exploitative work like forced prostitution); and to offer children and their families
education, income and employment opportunities.56 The United States is the single
largest contributor to the IPEC Program, providing $33.5 million for IPEC in
FY2006. In 2001, the ILO created a Special Action Program to Combat Forced
Labor (SAP-FL). In December 2006, it published a report entitled, Globalization and
the Illicit Market for Human Trafficking. It regularly convenes conferences and
training workshops to help governments improve their anti-forced labor efforts,
including how to develop better data. It also attempts to monitor the effectiveness
of country and international policies against forced labor.
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) addresses trafficking as part
of its broader efforts to protect the rights of migrant laborers. IOM conducts
information campaigns in countries of origin to warn potential migrants about the
dangers of trafficking and irregular migration. IOM helps governments draft anti-TIP
legislation, and trains government officials and NGO representatives on how to
identify traffickers and to provide proper assistance to victims. IOM maintains a
global database on trafficking cases, and sponsors TIP-related research and
conferences worldwide. In FY2006, the State Department’s Bureau of Population,
Refugees, and Migration provided $6.1 million to IOM efforts in countries such as
Indonesia, Moldova, Nicaragua and Vietnam. G-TIP also provided $250,000 to
support the IOM global database on TIP victims.
Other Regional Organizations and International Forums
In addition to supporting the work of the United Nations, the United States has
worked with the European Union, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in
Europe (OSCE), and the Group of Eight to eliminate human trafficking.
European Union. The United States and the European Union agreed to launch
their first joint initiative to combat trafficking in November 1997. U.S. and EU
officials met in Luxembourg to launch a jointly funded initiative against trafficking
in women from Russia and Eastern Europe. It was primarily an information
campaign, warning potential victims and an education program for law enforcement,
customs and consular officials to heighten their awareness of the problem. Pilot
projects were launched in Poland by the EU and in Ukraine by the United States.
In 2002, the Council of the European Union took a major further step in the fight
against human trafficking, reaching agreement on a broad new framework decision.
The decision sought to strengthen police and judicial cooperation and to harmonize
the laws and policies of member states in areas such as criminalization, penalties,
sanctions, aggravating circumstances, jurisdiction, and extradition. The deadline for
implementation of the decision by Member States was set for August 1, 2002.57
More information on IPEC and child labor is available at [http://www
In March 2003, the European Commission created an “Experts Group on
Trafficking in Human Beings” to develop a comprehensive report on ways to
strengthen EU anti-trafficking efforts. The Group began its consultative work in
September 2003 and published its final report in December 2004. The report
provides concrete recommendations for strengthening existing EU prevention
programs related to trafficking in persons, and, where appropriate, recommends new
initiatives. It emphasizes the need for a human rights-based approach that is
integrated and multi-disciplinary, as well as to address the specific needs of child
victims. The report recommends that the EU establish a legally binding instrument
covering the status of trafficked persons, National Rapporteurs on trafficking in
persons, and comprehensive migration polices that protect migrants’ rights.58 The
Commission’s Experts Group on TIP informed an EU conference on best practices
in combating trafficking in Europe that was held in 2005, and supported German
efforts to combat human trafficking during the World Cup in 2006.
Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). At the
OSCE Summit Meeting in Istanbul in November 1999, leaders of the 55 OSCE
member states from Europe, Central Asia, and North America, agreed to make
combating trafficking in the OSCE area (where some 200,000 people are trafficked
annually) a priority issue. Follow-up meetings were held in Vienna in June 2000, and
in Bangkok in June 2002. In 2003, the OSCE adopted an Action Plan to Combat
Trafficking in Human Beings and created a Special Representative within its
Secretariat to coordinate participating countries’ anti-trafficking efforts. The first
Special Representative, Helga Konrad, created an international forum of
governmental and NGO officials called the “Alliance Against Trafficking in
Persons”aimed at bringing together all relevant actors in the fight against trafficking.
In May 2006, the OSCE and IOM held a major conference in Vienna on improving
the investigation of child trafficking cases and another in November 2006 on
trafficking for forced labor. The Secretariat has also helped develop handbooks for
law enforcement and migration officials on TIP-related topics and launched a series
of papers on trafficking in OSCE countries.
Group of Eight (G-8). Trafficking in persons has been on the agenda of the
Group of Eight (G-8)59 annual meetings, as well as the regular meetings of G8 Justice
and Interior Ministers since the late 1990s. G8 countries have agreed that human
trafficking is a high priority, both in terms of fighting organized crime and in
protecting victims. G8 countries support the UN Trafficking Protocol and Interpol’s
People Smuggling and Trafficking Database. They are seeking ways to exchange
information on traffickers and share best practices both within the group and with
European Commission, “Report of the Experts Group on Trafficking in Human Beings,”
The Group of Eight (G8) is a heads of state forum of the major industrialized democracies
to informally discuss and create policies on major foreign policy issues. It meets annually
and includes the leaders of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United
Kingdom, and the United States.
Policy Issues for the 110th Congress
A broad consensus appears to be shared in Congress and the policy community
on the need for decisive action to curb human trafficking. Questions have been
raised, however, about the effective implementation of anti-trafficking programs.
How to Collect Data and Measure Success
It is often difficult to measure success in the fight against human trafficking. So
far, few reliable indicators have been identified. For example, the new estimates of
numbers of trafficking victims in the United States seem considerably lower than
some of the previous high-end estimates. Whether these figures reflect the success
of U.S. policies and programs or more accurate data gathering is unclear. Hard
evidence with regard to the results of the more vigorous international campaign
against trafficking is also lacking. Information is often anecdotal. Worldwide
estimates of the numbers of victims seemingly have not changed much, when crossborder trafficking and trafficking within countries are taken together. A recent GAO
study, seriously questions the adequacy of any of the estimates.60
Credibility of TIP Rankings
Many analysts have asserted that the overall impact of the Trafficking report and
sanctions process depends upon the credibility of the State Department’s annual
country TIP rankings. Some would argue that, although the TIP reports have
improved with each year, “inconsistent application of the minimum standards
[mandated by TVPA] and superficial country assessments have compromised their
credibility.”61 Some argue that it is difficult to determine what standards make a
country eligible for Tier 1. They assert that the Tier 2 and Tier 2 “Watch List” have
become “catch-all” categories that include countries which should really be placed
on Tier 3. According to the GAO, in addition to a lack of clarity in the tier ranking
process, the TIP report’s “incomplete narratives reduce the report’s utility...” The
State Department, while acknowledging the need to continue to increase the
comprehensiveness of the report, believes that “keeping the report concise is
Sanctions: A Useful Tool?
Most agree that extensive international cooperation is required in order to stop
international trafficking and that both “carrots” and “sticks” may be needed to
influence the policies of other governments, including financial and technical
assistance, as well as the threat of sanctions. Some assert that unilateral sanctions,
when designed in accordance with international norms, can incite countries to
GAO, July 2006, p. 3. (GAO-06-825)
GAO, July 2006, p. 3. (GAO-06-825).
internalize those norms.63 Sanctions seem to be most effective when they are clearly
defined and evenly applied, criteria which some say U.S. trafficking sanctions have
not yet met.64 For example, since 2003, no governments in Latin America except
Cuba and Venezuela have been subject to partial or full sanctions for failing to meet
the minimum standards of TVPA. Some argue that sanctions will probably only be
applied to countries already subject to other sanctions — such as Burma, Cuba, or
North Korea — and that threatening other countries with sanctions may actually
encourage them to become less open to working with the United States. Others argue
that while that may be true in a few cases, most countries depend on good political
and economic relations with the United States and fear the public humiliation that
comes with a Tier 3 designation as much as actual sanctions.
Equal Focus on all Types of Trafficking?
The TVPA defines trafficking broadly to include problems such as forced labor,
sex slavery, and domestic servitude. Although the U.S. government funds programs
to combat all types of trafficking in persons, some observers believe that the
government focuses too much on sex slavery as opposed to non-sexual labor
exploitation. They argue that too large a percentage of the U.S. anti-trafficking
budget has been directed to NGOs focused on rescuing women and children from the
commercial sex industry. However, inventories of U.S. anti-trafficking programs
since 2004 appear to counter these claims as they show U.S. support for a wide
variety of NGOs that strive to protect victims and prosecute traffickers engaged in
all types of human trafficking.65 TIP reports since 2005 have placed an added
emphasis on evaluating country efforts to combat trafficking for forced labor.
Debates Regarding Prostitution and Trafficking
Several groups in the United States have sought to broaden the definition of
trafficking in persons to include all forms of prostitution, but many countries have
thus far rejected those attempts. Proponents of this broader definition of trafficking
in persons argue that prostitution is “not ‘sex work;’ it is violence against women
[that] exists because ... men are given social, moral and legal permission to buy
women on demand.”66 Opponents, including many European and Latin American
countries, have legal and regulated prostitution and argue that this broadened
definition would impede the capacity of the international community to achieve
consensus and work together to combat trafficking.
Sarah H. Cleveland, “Norm Internationalization and U.S. Economic Sanctions,” Yale
Journal of International Law, 2001, 1, 31.
Jennifer Block, “Sex Trafficking: Why the Faith Trade is Interested in the Sex Trade,”
Conscience, Summer/Autumn 2004; Debbie Nathan, “Oversexed,” The Nation, August 29 September 5, 2005, vol. 281; Janie Chuang, “Beyond a Snapshot: Preventing Human
Trafficking in the Global Economy,” Indiana Jourbal of Global Legal Studies, Winter 2006,
13, 1, G-TIP Fact Sheets, Available at:: [http://www.state.gov/g/tip/rls/fs/index.htm].
Janice G. Raymond, “Sex Trafficking is Not ‘Sex Work,’” Conscience, Spring 2005.
The U.S. State Department has repeatedly asserted that prostitution and
trafficking in persons are inextricably linked. U.S. officials argue that “where
prostitution is legalized or tolerated, there is greater demand for human trafficking
victims and nearly always an increase in the number of women and children
trafficked into commercial sex slavery.” The Trafficking Victims Protection
Reauthorization Act of 2003 (P.L. 108-193) restricts anti-trafficking funds to groups
that oppose prostitution. Critics have argued that this policy excludes the people who
are most able to report and combat abuses within the sex industry, prostitutes
themselves and may hinder the success of well-established anti-TIP programs. They
believe that giving prostitutes some measure of legitimacy short of legalization
reduces the risk that they will be exposed to the dangers of trafficking.67
Trafficking and Global Health
Trafficking victims in the sex industry are exposed to sexually-transmitted
diseases, including HIV/AIDS, at much higher rates than the general population.
Very often they have no access to medical care. In addition, the fear of infection with
HIV/AIDS among customers has driven traffickers to recruit younger girls,
erroneously perceived by customers to be too young to have been infected. Some
question whether existing legislation, policies, and programs sufficiently address
U.S. State Department
Eligibility of Victims
Are the standards of eligibility for benefits as a victim of trafficking the right
ones? At present, protection is limited to victims of “severe forms of trafficking”68
and victims must prove that they are in the United States as a direct result of
trafficking and that they have a well-founded fear of retribution if they are returned
to their country of origin. They must be willing and needed to help identify and
prosecute their traffickers. Some critics argue that the standards are too high to help
many deserving victims. Critics also argue that the line between pure victims and
those who have a degree of complicity in being brought to the United States may be
difficult to draw. Such distinctions, they argue, will leave some victims unprotected.
P.L. 106-386 gives the executive branch some discretion in determining who
Severe forms of trafficking is defined in Section 3 of the bill as “sex trafficking in which
either a commercial sex act or any act or event contributing to such act is effected or
induced by force, coercion, fraud or deception or in which the person induced to perform
such acts has not attained the age of 18,” as well as “the purchase, sale, recruitment or
harboring, transportation, transfer or receipt for the purpose of subjection to involuntary
servitude....effected by force, coercion, fraud, or deception.”
Table 1. Authorizations to Implement Victims of Trafficking Act, FY2001-FY2007
Title I, P.L. 109-164
Title II, P.L. 109-164
Department of Justiceb
Department of Justicec
Department of Justiced
Dept. of Health and
Department of Justicef
Title III, P.L. 109-164
Department of Stateg
Department of Stateh
Dept. of Justicel
P.L. 106-386, Part A
President for Researchn
President To Help Meet
Dept. of Laborp
P.L. 106-386, Part A
*Note: As amended by Sec. 682 of the Foreign Relations Authorization Act for FY2003 (P.L.107-228).
For pilot program for residential rehabilitation facilities for victims of trafficking.
To carry out activities under Sec.201(a)(1)(B)(i), a study on severe forms of trafficking in persons in the United States.
To carry out activities under Sec.201(a)(1)(B)(ii), a study on sex trafficking and unlawful sex acts in the United States.
To carry out activities under Sec.201(a)(2), annual trafficking conference.
To carry out activities under Sec.203, protection of juvenile victims of trafficking in persons.
To carry out activities under Sec.204, enhancing state and local efforts to combat trafficking in persons.
(a) To Support Interagency Task Force in carrying out:
-Sec. 104. Addition of Trafficking to State Dept. Human Rights Report.
-Sec. 105. Establishment of an Interagency Task force and State Dept. Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking.
-Sec. 110. Preparation of annual report and country list regarding severe forms of trafficking.
h. To the State Department Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking, for official reception and representational expenses.
i. (b) To HHS for purposes of Sec.107 (b). Assistance to victims of trafficking in the U.S.
j. (c) To Secretary of State for State Dept. and USAID to carry out Sec.107(a) Assistance for Trafficking victims in other countries. For FY2004-2007, the total includes $250,000
each year for the International Law Enforcement Academies.
k. For voluntary contribution to international organizations for projects related to trafficking.
l. (d) To Department of Justice to carry out Sec.107 (b) Grants to states, localities for protection of victims.
m. (e)(1) To President to carry out Sec.106, foreign victim aid, including
-Enhancing economic opportunities for potential victims
-Increasing public awareness and information
-Consultation and working with NGOs
n. For research on domestic and international trafficking.
o. (e) (2) To President to carry out Sec. 109(2) Assistance to governments, NGOs, multilateral organizations to help countries to meet minimum standards:
-law drafting assistance
-investigation and prosecution
-for facilities, programs, projects, exchanges
p. (f) To Department of Labor to carry out Sec.107 (b), assistance to trafficking victims in U.S.
-Employment assistance and benefits
-Contribution to HHS Annual Report
q. (h) To the Director of the FBI, to be able until expended, to investigate severe forms of trafficking in persons
r. (i) For investigations by the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement of severe forms of trafficking.