1/31/2011

HUMAN TRAFFICKING

United States of America

To report an instance of suspected trafficking, please call the HOTLINE: 1.888.3737.888
2007 U.S. Department of State Trafficking in Persons Report
Attorney General’s Annual Report to Congress on U.S. Government Activities to Combat Trafficking in Persons Fiscal Year 2006 (May 2007)

2006 US Department of State Human Rights Report (Released March 2007) - Includes reporting on human trafficking

Assessment of U.S. Government Efforts to Combat Trafficking in Persons September 2006 (Multi-Department Report)
Report on Activities to Combat Human Trafficking: Fiscal Years 2001 - 2005 (Department of Justice)
The United States of America is principally a transit and destination country for trafficking in persons. It is estimated that 14,500 to 17,500 people, primarily women and children, are trafficked to the U.S. annually. 1 The U.S. Government is strongly committed to combating trafficking in persons at home and abroad. The Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000, enhances pre-existing criminal penalties, affords new protections to trafficking victims and makes available certain benefits and services to victims of severe forms of trafficking. It also establishes a Cabinet-level federal interagency task force and establishes a federal program to provide services to trafficking victims. The U.S. Government recognizes the need to sustain and further enhance efforts in order to achieve the goals and objectives of the Act.
The U.S. Department of State began monitoring trafficking in persons in 1994, when the issue began to be covered in the Department’s Annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices. Originally, coverage focused on trafficking of women and girls for sexual purposes. The report coverage has broadened over the years, and U.S. embassies worldwide now routinely monitor and report on cases of trafficking in men, women, and children for all forms of forced labor, including agriculture, domestic service, construction work, and sweatshops, as well as trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation.
Internationally, the U.S. has initiated many anti-trafficking and development programs to assist countries to combat this ever-growing phenomenon. Mandated by the TVPA in 2000, the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking was created in the State Department (G/TIP Office). The G/TIP Office has provided millions of dollars in grants to organizations all over the world to implement programs in order to combat trafficking. These programs include disseminating information on the dangers of trafficking, strengthening the capacity of non-governmental organizations to protect those groups from abuse and violence, and outreach and economic opportunity programs for those most at risk of being trafficked. The U.S. has assisted countries to enact anti-trafficking legislation, trained law enforcement officials, prosecutors, border guards and judicial officers on detecting, investigating, and prosecuting traffickers, and protecting victims and provided start-up equipment for new anti-trafficking police units. The www.HumanTrafficking.org Web site for East Asia/Pacific countries is a response to a recommendation of participants at the Asian Regional Initiative Against Trafficking (ARIAT) meeting in 2000.
Nationally, the US government is committed to prosecuting traffickers and assisting persons who have been identified as victims of trafficking.
In November 2003, the US Congress reauthorized the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000.
The Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2003 provides resources and initiatives to assist the 18,000 to 20,000 victims of human trafficking who are trafficked into the United States every year.
The Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2005 was signed into law on January 2006.
See Best Practices for the United States.


1 US Department of State Trafficking in Persons Report 2006

Resources related to the issue of human trafficking



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Approaches to Combat Trafficking

Prevention

Awareness Campaigns

The "Be Smart, Be Safe" brochures describe the tactics criminal groups use to coerce and traffic women, the risks of trafficking, what women can do to protect themselves against illegitimate groups, what are victims' rights in the U.S., and how women can get help while in the United States.
Through its Global TV Campaign on Human Trafficking, the United Nations Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention (ODCCP) warns millions of potential victims about the dangers of trafficking.
Poverty and lack of economic opportunity make women and children potential victims of traffickers associated with international criminal organizations. They are vulnerable to false promises of job opportunities in other countries. Many of those who accept these offers from what appear to be legitimate sources find themselves in situations where their documents are destroyed, their selves or their families threatened with harm, or they are bonded by a debt that they have no chance of repaying.
While women and children are particularly vulnerable to trafficking for the sex trade, human trafficking is not limited to sexual exploitation. It also includes persons who are trafficked into 'forced' marriages or into bonded labor markets, such as sweat shops, agricultural plantations, or domestic service. The prevention of human trafficking requires several types of interventions. Some are of low or moderate cost and can have some immediate impact, such as awareness campaigns that allow high risk individuals to make informed decisions. Strong laws that are enforced are an effective deterrent. However, serious law enforcement is expensive.

"An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure"

According to Family Health International, 1999, a number of programs in Asia have already begun to address the causes of trafficking in women. One of Thailand's responses was to focus on the source of demand for trafficked services, such as the clients of underage sex workers. Through the impetus and lobbying of the National Commission on Women's Affairs (NCWA), Thailand is the first country in the region to pass laws that impose greater penalties on customers than on sellers for involvement in commercial sex with underage partners. Application of the law has been light, but it is the basis for future enforcement. The NCWA is also trying to change male sexual norms through a national poster campaign with messages showing a child saying "my father does not visit prostitutes."
In China, the State Council, local party commissions and government agencies attach importance to combating human trafficking. In provinces infested by the crime, leading functionaries from the police, the office of the procurator, the courts, the civil departments, the media, schools, women's federations, trade unions, and the Communist Youth League each play their own role in combating trafficking. Women's organizations help governmental agencies by creating awareness among illiterate women who are most vulnerable to being trafficked. Seminars and training courses are sponsored by these organizations to raise awareness about laws and policies against trafficking. Printed materials, such as the anti-trafficking manual prepared by the All China Women's Federation and the Ministry of Justice, are also distributed to women.
In Chiang Rai Thailand, a Thai NGO called Development and Education Program for Daughters & Communities (DEPDC) aims to prevent women and children from being forced into the illegal sex trade or child labor due to outside pressures, lack of education, and limited employment alternatives. The NGO utilizes a mix of strategies to convince parents about the dangers of the illegal sex trade. Information about HIV and AIDS, brothel conditions, legal penalties, and potential dangers is used to support their arguments. In many successful cases the decision of the child to continue her education overrides the parent's desire for money.1
In the Philippines, GABRIELA, which is the National Alliance of Women's Organizations, is actively involved in massive awareness campaigns to prevent the trafficking of women and girls from the Philippines. Its strategies consist of seminars and information dissemination to NGOs and Government Agencies and awareness campaigns at the community level.2
In Cambodia, the Human Rights Commission has taken the lead to raise awareness on the subject of trafficking at the community level. The Commission has conducted extensive and valuable research throughout the country, organized a national workshop, and proactively contributed to interpretations and implementation of the trafficking law. The Government also provides shelters and schooling for orphans and street children to keep them away from traffickers.

Protection

In the Philippines, the Department of Justice has created the Task Force on Protection of Women Against Exploitation and Abuse as well as the Task Force on Child Protection. These Task Forces are composed of prosecutors designated by the Secretary of Justice to address the cases of abuse, exploitation, and discrimination committed against women and children.
In the United States of America The Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000, enhances pre-existing criminal penalties in other related laws, affords new protections to trafficking victims and makes available certain benefits and services to victims of severe forms of trafficking. Under this law, one option that has become available to for some victims who assist in the prosecution of their traffickers is the "T-Visa" that allows the victim to remain in the United States of America.
The vulnerable become victims of traffickers. Once trafficked, the victims are even more vulnerable as they have often been stripped of their documentation, faced with threats to their person, and too often humiliated by law enforcement agencies when they are classified ''criminals'' or ''violators'' of migration laws. As "illegal immigrants", trafficking victims are detained or deported. In some cases, officials collaborate with international or national criminal organizations.
The UN Protocol to Prevent, Suppress, and Punish Trafficking in Persons (2000) specifically calls upon nations to address protection of the human rights of victims and to provide measures for the physical, psychological, and social recovery of victims of trafficking. It is important to protect the privacy and identity of individuals freed from traffickers especially during and following prosecution of their traffickers. Victims also require appropriate housing, counseling, medical and material assistance, and employment training and opportunities to facilitate transition and reintegration.
Governments that are determined to crack down on trafficking organizations have to win the confidence of the victims, who are often the best informants as to the details of trafficking operations. Protecting the identity of victims and providing for their safety are crucial to effective prosecution of traffickers. Laws and procedures that protect victims will encourage them to come forward and testify against traffickers and their organizations.
Protection is also an important part of the process of rehabilitation and reintegration of the victim. There is a need to support the work of both national and international non-governmental organizations that are working to provide shelters and rehabilitation services for victims of trafficking. Governmental agencies alone cannot fill the protection needs of all trafficked persons. The NGOs are especially important to support the rescued victim who is transported back to her home country for rehabilitation and reintegration.
The South Korean Ministry of Justice has put in place various measures to protect trafficking victims, including shelters and self-support centers. The government has also enacted the NGO Assistance Law and has provided various kinds of assistance, including financial support for NGOs. It is also offering legal aid to trafficking victims. In 2001, the Government spent a total of 4.9 billion won (US$4.0 million) on direct assistance to victims, shelters, counseling centers, and hot lines.

Related Resources



The United States Department of Health and Human Services has created Tool Kits for Health Care Providers, Social Service Providers, and Law Enforcement Officers who are currently providing services to victims of trafficking, or who could potentially come into contact with victims of trafficking. Click to access the Tool Kits.
The U.S. Department of State has created a shelter best practices fact sheet. Click here to access the fact sheet.


Prosecution

The Center for International Crime Prevention and the United Nations Inter-regional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI) is cooperating with the Philippine Government to extend technical assistance for capacity building and training among law enforcers, prosecutors, and service providers.
In the United States of America The Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000, enhances pre-existing criminal penalties in other related laws, affords new protections to trafficking victims and makes available certain benefits and services to victims of severe forms of trafficking. Under this law, one option that has become available to for some victims who assist in the prosecution of their traffickers is the "T-Visa" that allows the victim to remain in the United States of America.
Due to the highly clandestine nature of the crime of human trafficking, the great majority of human trafficking cases go unreported and culprits remain at large. There are reports that many human traffickers are associated with international criminal organizations and are, therefore, highly mobile and difficult to prosecute. Sometimes members of the local law enforcement agencies are involved in the lucrative business of illegal exportation or importation of human beings. Prosecution is further complicated by victims of trafficking being afraid to testify against traffickers out of fear for their and their family members' lives.
In order to combat the globalization of this criminal behavior, international policies and practices that encourage civil participation and cooperation with trafficking victims in the prosecution of traffickers have to be developed. Human trafficking laws must provide serious penalties against traffickers, including provisions for the confiscation of property and compensation for victims. At the same time, training is needed to ensure that an insensitive investigation and prosecution process does not further traumatize trafficking victims.
Technical cooperation among countries and international law enforcement agencies is essential for investigating the extent and forms of trafficking and documenting activities of international criminal organizations. Special training is needed to develop the skills of local law enforcement agencies in the area of investigation and prosecution.
Source, transit, and destination countries should provide support mechanisms for trafficking victims involved in judicial activities. These would include extended witness protection services and opportunities to institute criminal and civil proceedings against traffickers. Destination countries should have a system of social support for victims and consider residency permission on humanitarian grounds for trafficking victims who cannot return home and/or cooperate with prosecutors.
It is also important that the police, prosecutors, and courts ensure that their efforts to punish traffickers are implemented within a system that is quick and respects and safeguards the rights of the victims to privacy, dignity, and safety.

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Reintegration

The Government of Thailand, in collaboration with NGO partners, provides counseling and support services such as shelters, educational and vocational training, job placement, and financial assistance for women and children who have been victims of trafficking, especially those involved in prostitution.
Victims of human trafficking face major problems being reintegrated into their home communities when they are freed from the situation into which they were trafficked. Social stigma and personal emotional scars must be overcome during the process of reintegration. Victimized women may have been treated by law authorities as criminals, either for prostitution or illegal migration, and, therefore face additional problems of employment or other forms of reintegration. Assisting victims to resettle and start a new life is a daunting challenge for concerned governmental agencies and NGOs. In addition to psychological and social considerations, the victim faces the practical financial consideration of providing for life's essentials. In many source countries, reintegration resources are not available in communities to assist the victim with work-related training or to provide financial support during the transition period. Poor economic conditions that contributed to the vulnerability of the victims to traffickers also prevent the provision of effective assistance for reintegration. However, there are some positive examples of government agencies, international donors, and NGOs working together to establish programs that provide practical assistance and help returning victims reintegrate and become productive members of their communities.
The South Korean Ministry of Justice has established programs for victims during reintegration that include shelters and self-support centers. The Government enacted the NGO Assistance Law that provides financial and other assistance to NGOs that assist trafficking victims. The Government also offers legal aid to trafficking victims. In 2001, the Government spent a total of 4.9 billion won (US$4 million) on direct assistance to victims.
The reintegration programs of the Government of the Philippines focus on facilitating the recovery of women and children from traumatic experiences and on their return to normal life. This assistance includes individual and group therapy sessions focusing on overcoming fear, shame, denial, guilt, and self-blame. These programs also provide information on options available to victims for work, continuing education, and vocational training in order to help address the economic aspects of reintegration. Several NGOs provide grants of financial and technical assistance for those interested in starting their own small businesses.

Related Resources



The United States Department of Health and Human Services has created Tool Kits for Health Care Providers, Social Service Providers, and Law Enforcement Officers who are currently providing services to victims of trafficking, or who could potentially come into contact with victims of trafficking.
The U.S. Department of State has created a shelter best practices fact sheet.

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