In a press conference held earlier today, Secretary of State Colin Powell unveiled the Annual Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report, mandated by the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000. This year, the report investigated government anti-trafficking efforts in 89 countries, excluding those with insufficient information or fewer than 100 trafficking cases. As with the 2001 TIP report, countries were categorized into three tiers based on compliance with the Act and level of government commitment in combating the criminal activity, particularly in the areas of prosecution, victim protection, and public education.
The report identified 19 “Tier 3” countries, all failing to comply with the Act and demonstrating little effort to meet the standards: Afghanistan, Armenia, Bahrain, Belarus Bosnia, Cambodia, Greece, Indonesia, Iran, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Myanmar, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Tajikistan, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates. While the number of “Tier 3” countries declined from 23 reported last year, Powell urged continued international cooperation. “The annual Trafficking in Persons Report shines a much-needed light on this global problem. We use the information we collect to bolster the will of the international community to combat this unconscionable crime. We welcome and encourage the vital sharing of information by other countries, nongovernmental organizations, and individuals,” said Powell. “The US seeks to work with all nations to document this egregious form of exploitation and to cooperate with them to end it once and for all.”
Fifty-two countries were classified as “Tier 2″Ñ not meeting full compliance with the Act’s minimum standards, but making significant efforts to do so. Eighteen countries were deemed “Tier 1,” or fully compliant. South Korea, recognized for its “extraordinary strides” in the past year, advanced from “Tier 3” into “Tier 1.”
The Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act 2000 states that by 2003, sanctions could be imposed on “Tier 3” countries.