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International Programs To Combat Trafficking in Persons


Fact Sheet
Office To Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons
June 20, 2014

   
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The International Programs section of the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons provides foreign assistance to international and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) around the world. The specific recommendations to governments in the annual Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report guide the development of the Office’s foreign assistance strategy each year.

The Office supports a variety of anti-trafficking approaches, varying from targeted short-term technical assistance to comprehensive projects that last for several years. While the Office continues to provide funding to NGOs that offer direct services to trafficking victims, most of the Office’s funding supports programs that aim to build the capacity of foreign governments to fight human trafficking by identifying and protecting victims, strengthening law enforcement efforts, and raising awareness.

During the past year, the work of the Office’s grantees has contributed to the drafting, passage, and/or implementation of several anti-trafficking laws in countries that did not have existing trafficking-specific legislative frameworks. Due in part to these efforts, the first anti-trafficking laws passed in Haiti, Maldives, Papua New Guinea, and Seychelles; the first anti-trafficking laws were drafted in Botswana, Morocco, Namibia, and Tunisia; and the first successful convictions of traffickers were secured in The Bahamas, Liberia, and Maldives. Additionally, the Office’s grantees continue to advocate for the passage of the first anti-trafficking legislation in Burundi and the Republic of Congo; these bills were previously drafted with the assistance of grantees and remain pending in the legislative process.

Newly Enacted Anti-trafficking Laws

In Haiti, the Office has provided funding since January 2011 to strengthen government and civil society capacity to combat trafficking in persons, including extensive technical assistance for the development of comprehensive anti-trafficking legislation, which was promulgated in June 2014. Funding from the Office also has resulted in the provision of comprehensive victim care, including by facilitating family reintegration wherever possible, for more than 1,000 child victims of trafficking.

In Papua New Guinea, collaboration between government officials and one of the Office’s grantees led to passage of Papua New Guinea’s first human trafficking law in July 2013. Funding also resulted in training that increased capacity of law enforcement officers and prosecutors to implement the new law, and is supporting the establishment of a national referral system for victims of trafficking.

In Seychelles, a grantee worked in partnership with the government to develop and enact comprehensive anti-trafficking legislation in April 2014. With this law, criminal justice and security sector officials have the tools to adequately investigate, prosecute, and punish this crime.

Legislation Developed

Regionally, in the Southern African Development Community, a grantee continues to work in member countries, including Botswana, Malawi, Namibia, and Zimbabwe, where governments are working to strengthen their legal frameworks to combat human trafficking by drafting or beginning the process of drafting laws that criminalize human trafficking and increase protection for victims.

In Tunisia, a grantee partnership with the Ministry of Justice and other local and international partners resulted in the drafting of anti-trafficking legislation. The bill is currently pending with approval from the Minister of Justice before being passed to the national assembly for consideration.

Traffickers Prosecuted for the First Time

The Bahamas secured its first conviction for human trafficking in March 2014, following receipt of short-term training and technical assistance, and participation in a regional project funded by the Office. A grantee also provided vital victim protection services in association with the case.

In Liberia, with assistance from a grantee, the government secured its first trafficking conviction in 2013, followed by two additional convictions in 2014. The grantee continues to train and equip law enforcement personnel, judges, magistrates, prosecutors, and attorneys with tools and techniques to identify, investigate, and prosecute traffickers effectively.

Leading up to the December 2013 passage of a comprehensive anti-trafficking law in Maldives, a grantee worked with government officials to raise awareness of law enforcement and the judiciary via targeted training on trafficking. This engagement resulted in the government’s first conviction of a trafficking offender. Since the subsequent passage of the new law, the grantee continues to train law enforcement personnel, prosecutors, judges, and victim advocates to build on this momentum and implement the new legislation.

Enhanced Capacity of Investigators, Prosecutors, and Judges

In Costa Rica, participant evaluations demonstrated that a series of trainings in July 2013 for police, prosecutors, and judges were extremely valuable and expected to result in practical application in their day-to-day work. Trainings focused on reviewing relevant laws, key principles in victim protection and interviewing, and improving prosecutorial efforts.

St. Lucia recently investigated its first official case of human trafficking following related trainings for government officials and judges provided by a grantee.

In Peru, advanced human trafficking skills training brought police and prosecutors together to facilitate improved interagency cooperation. The training included interactive exercises and sessions on victim identification, risk assessment and management, victim-witness interviewing, and preparing victims for trial.

Increased Awareness and Government Will To Combat Trafficking

Coinciding with an intensive, thirty-day, nine-island training on trafficking throughout the region, the Presidents of the Republic of Palau, the Federated States of Micronesia, and the Republic of the Marshall Islands expressed a commitment to a regional response to combat trafficking, including government support for advocacy and educational awareness campaigns, during the 13th Annual Micronesian Presidents’ Summit in July 2013.

In Barbados, the Assistant Commissioner of Police stressed in a public statement the importance of partnerships and the need for a comprehensive international approach in fighting trafficking in persons, coinciding with trainings for government officials, health specialists, and members of the media provided by a grantee. The Attorney General and Minister of Home Affairs further committed to continued training for police and immigration officers and a coordinated public awareness campaign.

Improved Implementation of Anti-trafficking Frameworks

In Albania, a grantee has established three mobile units comprised of social workers to identify and refer victims of trafficking to services; 40 percent of all the victims/potential victims identified in Albania during 2013 were identified and referred by these three mobile units. Additionally, the mobile units have contributed to strengthened collaboration and information sharing between NGOs and police. These efforts complement the Albanian government’s recent focus on improved implementation of the country’s national referral mechanism to screen potential victims.

Victim Services Provided

In Mexico, a grantee is assisting young victims of trafficking to transition to independent adulthood through a comprehensive service program that includes shelter and economic support, legal services, life skills training, and labor rights education, all focused on building longer term economic and social self-sufficiency. The grantee has partnered with several local businesses to provide viable training and employment for youth to assist in recovery and reduce the risks of re-trafficking.

Additionally, the Office maintains a global victim assistance fund to provide emergency assistance to the urgent and unexpected needs of victims on a case-by-case basis. Throughout the past year, more than 50 victims of trafficking have received services, including medical care, food, and return and reintegration assistance.

Strengthened Victim Protection in Unstable and Conflict-affected Environments

In Afghanistan, grantees are working to strategically address protection challenges faced by vulnerable populations. In partnership with the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, one grantee has developed an advocacy council comprised of local NGO leadership and government representatives, and is working to improve the standards of care for trafficking survivors. That same grantee conducted a review of the nature of trafficking of boys in Afghanistan, as well as identified specific needs for assisting this underserved population.

Appendix: TIP Office Foreign Assistance Data from Fiscal Years (FY) 2009 – 2013

With more than $97.3 million in foreign assistance funding between FY 2009 and FY 2013, the International Programs section has supported more than 340 projects to combat human trafficking around the world.

 

Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking In Persons
Budget by Year

by Account

$ in thousands for all items

FY 2009

FY 2010

FY 2011

FY 2012

FY 2013

TOTAL FOREIGN ASSISTANCE RESOURCES BY FISCAL YEAR

20,400

21,262

16,233

18,720

20,723

Economic Support Fund

12,000

12,000

-

-

-

International Narcotics Control and Law Enforcement

8,400

9,262

16,233

18,720

20,723



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