Kim Trobee | June 23, 2014
More than 20 million people worldwide are victims of human trafficking. A report from the U.S. State Department shows the latest country-by-country ratings about anti-human trafficking policies around the globe.
The “Trafficking in Persons Report” is annual report mandated by the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000, written by U.S. Rep. Chris Smith from New Jersey.
“Experts estimate that there is more slavery in the world today that at any previous time in human history,” the Republican lawmaker said. “This year’s report shows progress, but marks the way forward to rid the world of this gross violation of human dignity.”
The report underscores the need for victims to have continued support:
The journey to becoming a survivor will become a reality for more victims only if many others walk on that path alongside them, whether law enforcement officials, advocates, ministers, or lawmakers. When the burden is shared and when the course points toward a common goal, more lives will be restored, and slowly, exploitation and enslavement will give way to justice, opportunity, and freedom.
Groups such as Shared Hope International, based in the U.S., are helping victims through programs that develop long-term skills.
“That is something that other groups are doing also,” said Share Hope President Linda Smith. “They’re starting to realize you need to be in this for the long haul. It isn’t 30 days. The break in the emotions, the hurt and separation from people — from family and society — is so big that you often have to have these women and children with you for many years.”
The report also grades countries on their efforts to curb human trafficking. This year Malaysia and Thailand were downgraded to Tier 3, which is designated for those countries that have done little to fight the problem. These countries joined Uzbekistan and Russia. China was upgraded to the Tier 2 Watch List.
The United States was placed in Tier 1, meaning it meets the minimum standards to help fight trafficking. That said, experts say it’s still a major problem: At least 100,000 American children are trafficked each year.
“Many countries denied they had an issue of trafficking until they were evaluated and the report would shine light on the conditions in their country,” said Smith. “Well, now there is light on this issue and that is in large part because of the United States.”
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Read the report.