U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has launched this year’s Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report with a call for a “global coalition, one that cuts across government, business, and civil society”, as the only way to truly tackle human trafficking.
He said: “We will continue to improve and adapt our efforts to combat this crime, and build stronger partnerships with governments, businesses, survivor leaders, and NGOs.”
The TIP Report is released annually, assessing the state of the global fight against human trafficking and the response of each individual country, then assigning them a tier ranking.
The 2023 report shows a rise in reported trafficking prosecutions globally, to 15,159 for 2022, plus a rise in the number of victims identified globally after two years of reductions. There were 115,324 victims of human trafficking identified globally in 2022, though the report acknowledges the quality of the data fluctuates because of the “hidden nature of trafficking crimes, dynamic global events, shifts in government efforts, and a lack of uniformity in national reporting structures”.
The Tier Rankings run from Tier 1 – the best available, though still showing only that a country is meeting the ‘minimum requirements’ of the TVPA rather than doing all it possibly can – down through Tier 2, Tier 2 Watchlist, and Tier 3. Being placed in this bottom tier can jeopardize a country’s access to (nonhumanitarian, nontrade-related) financial assistance and educational/cultural exchange programmes with the U.S. Government.
Slightly more countries saw a rise in their tier ranking this year than a fall, with Denmark and the Seychelles upgraded to Tier 1, while Namibia and Slovenia fell to Tier 2.
Those escaping the Tier 2 Watchlist and now Tier 2 are: Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, Bhutan, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Comoros, Ethiopia, Guinea, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Mali, Mauritania, Palau, Saint Lucia, Senegal, Tonga, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
Another five fell from Tier 2 to the Watchlist: Egypt, Mauritius, Montenegro, Mozambique, and Vanuatu.
Brunei, Malaysia, and Vietnam upgraded from Tier 3 to the Watchlist, and five countries were demoted down to the worst possible ranking, Tier 3: Algeria, Chad, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea and Papua New Guinea.
At the launch of the TIP Report in Washington, D.C., eight individuals were honoured as ‘TIP Heroes’ for their efforts in their own countries. They were celebrated by Secretary Blinken and by Cindy Dyer, the United States Ambassador-at-Large to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, who leads the Department’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons and therefore the TIP Report process.
The eight people recognised this year are Pureza Lopes Loyola from Brazil; Mech Dara from Cambodia; Mrs. Iman Al-Sailawi and Mr. Basim Abdulrazzaq Jebur from Iraq; Evon Benson-Idahosa from Nigeria; Zaheer Ahmed from Pakistan; Paola Hittscher from Peru; and Eumelis Moya Goitte from Venezuela.
Ambassador Dyer, confirmed in post six months ago after it had remained unfilled for many months, also spoke about the TIP Report’s findings, saying: “Behind these pages of statistics and trends and tier rankings are millions of adults and children who are in trafficking situations and depend on our collective efforts. We owe it to them to work together to hold perpetrators accountable, to partner with survivors, to make sure our responses are trauma-informed and victim-centered, and ultimately, to address the underlying factors that make people vulnerable to trafficking.”
The TIER Rankings in full: