Pursuant to section 110(b)(3)(B) of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (Div. A. of Public Law 106-386), as amended, the Secretary of State is required to submit to the Congress an Interim Assessment of the progress made in combating trafficking in persons (TIP) by those countries placed on the Special Watch List in September 2012. The evaluation period covers the six months since the drafting of the June 2012 annual report.Readers may wish to refer to the annual TIP Report for an analysis of large-scale efforts and a description of the trafficking problem in each particular country or territory.
In the 2012 TIP Report, 46 countries were placed on the Special Watch List. These countries either (1) had moved up a tier from the 2011 TIP Report; or (2) were ranked on the Tier 2 Watch List because they were making significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance with minimum standards and also (a) had a very significant or significantly increasing number of trafficking victims, (b) had failed to provide evidence of increasing efforts to combat TIP from the previous year, or (c) made commitments to carry out future actions over the coming year.
The Department placed each of the countries or territories included in the 2012 Trafficking in Persons Report into one of the three lists, described here as tiers, mandated by the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, as amended (TVPA). This placement reflects an evaluation of a government’s actions to combat trafficking. The Department first evaluates whether the government fully complies with the TVPA’s minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. Countries whose governments do so are placed in Tier 1. For other countries, the Department considers whether their governments made significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance. Countries whose governments are making significant efforts to meet the minimum standards are placed in Tier 2. The Special Watch List criteria are considered and, if applicable, Tier 2 countries are placed on the Tier 2 Watch List.Those countries whose governments do not fully comply with the minimum standards and are not making significant efforts to do so are placed in Tier 3.
Tier 1: Countries and territories whose governments fully comply with the Act’s minimum standards.
Tier 2: Countries and territories whose governments do not fully comply with the Act’s minimum standards but are making significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance with those standards.
Tier 2 Special Watch List: Countries and territories whose governments do not fully comply with the Act’s minimum standards but are making significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance with those standards, and:
a) The absolute number of victims of severe forms of trafficking is very significant or is increasing significantly; or
b) There is a failure to provide evidence of increasing efforts to combat severe forms of trafficking in persons from the previous year; or
c) The determination that a country or territory is making significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance with minimum standards was based on commitments by the country or territory to take additional future steps over the next year.
Tier 3: Countries and territories whose governments do not fully comply with the minimum standards and are not making significant efforts to do so.
As required by the TVPA, in making tier determinations between Tiers 2 and 3, the Department considers the overall extent of human trafficking in the country; the extent of government noncompliance with the minimum standards, particularly the extent to which government officials have participated in, facilitated, condoned, or are otherwise complicit in trafficking; and what reasonable measures the government would have to take to come into compliance with the minimum standards within the government’s resources and capabilities.
Since the release of the June 2012 Report, the government has continued efforts to rescue Chinese trafficking victims identified within the country, including cooperating with Chinese authorities to extradite 37 alleged trafficking offenders and repatriate 14 sex trafficking victims in August 2012. However, the GRA has not made efforts toprovide services to rescued victims.
Since the release of the June 2012 Report, the government has continued to demonstrate increased political will to address trafficking, in particular through the establishment of a technical commission headed by the Office of the First Vice President. Efforts by the government to prosecute alleged trafficking offenders and protect victims remained limited.
Since the release of the June 2012 Report, local law enforcement officials in Tandjile and Mandoul regions detected and investigated seven cases involving the alleged sale of boys for forced labor in cattle herding; two individuals were convicted and imprisoned under charges of child theft, a third received a two-year suspended sentence and a fine, and the remaining four defendants were acquitted. Draft revisions to the Penal Code that, in part, criminalize human trafficking remained under review by the Ministry of Justice. A Child Protection Code was drafted and adopted by the Ministers’ Council and submitted to the National Assembly.
Since the release of the June 2012 Report, the government took some steps forward, though it failed to take law enforcement action against offenders and made minimal efforts to protect victims. The government adopted a comprehensive labor law – which includes child labor and trafficking provisions –and awareness campaigns by international organizations continued. As part of these efforts, authorities, with ILO and other partners, drew up a list of the worst forms of child labor, which was adopted by the Council of Ministers in 2012.
Congo, Republic of the
Since the release of the June 2012 Report, the government appointed special prosecutors to coordinate anti-trafficking efforts in Pointe Noire and Brazzaville. Although the government has recently arrested ten alleged traffickers, charged under the 2010 Child Protection Code, the government has not yet convicted any alleged traffickers in this or other pending criminal cases.
Since the release of the June 2012 Report, the government has not made substantial progress in combating human trafficking through the prosecution of trafficking offenders and identification of victims. Though law enforcement officials continued to make arrests of alleged offenders, authorities hold that the existing anti-trafficking legislation – which includes both trafficking and smuggling provisions – impeded prosecution of offenders.
Since the release of the June 2012 Report, the government convened one meeting of the National Agency Against Trafficking in Persons to coordinate the implementation of the National Action Plan (2012-2016). While it investigated one case of suspected transnational trafficking for domestic servitude, the government did not initiate any prosecutions of alleged trafficking offenses or identify or provide services to trafficking victims.
Since the release of the June 2012 Report, there has been no internationally recognized government in Guinea-Bissau. Efforts to enforce the new anti-trafficking in persons legislation through prosecution of trafficking offenders and training of officials have been minimal.
Since the release of the 2012 Report, the Government of Kenya gazetted its Counter-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2010. It has not, however, put the act into operation, established a formal mechanism to refer victims for protective services, or adopted its national anti-trafficking action plan – which was launched in 2011 – as an official policy document binding all relevant ministries and institutions.
Since the release of the June 2012 Report, the government charged two suspected trafficking offenders and increased anti-TIP training for law enforcement. The TIP Task Force, though severely underfunded, continued its efforts tofinalizestandard operating procedures for assisting trafficking victims.
Since the release of the June 2012 Report, the government sentenced four convicted child trafficking offenders to 18 months’ imprisonment under the Child Care, Protection, and Justice Act of January 2012; this is the first known case successfully tried under a trafficking-specific statute in Malawi. The government did not develop a formal system to identify trafficking victims and the availability of accommodation and protective services for victims remained limited.
Since the release of the June 2012 Report, the Government of Mauritania provided the equivalent of approximately $15,000 in funding for anti-slavery programs to two NGOs through its Program to Eradicate the Effects of Slavery. The government has not investigated or prosecuted any suspected trafficking cases.
Since the release of the June 2012 Report, the government initiated training for law enforcement and social services staff, issued a national action plan on gender-based violence that includes plans for addressing TIP, and began prosecuting two suspected trafficking offenders for the prostitution of two children. Inter-ministerial cooperation on trafficking in persons remained limited.
Since the release of the June 2012 Report, the government initiated four trafficking investigations, identified 22 foreign trafficking victims, and installed the 18 members of the National Commission for the Coordination of the Fight against Trafficking in Persons. It has not, however, implemented systematic procedures to refer identified victims to protective services.
Since the release of the June 2012 Report, the government provided the equivalent of $20,000 in funding for the National Anti-trafficking Task Force, and developed a three-year Action Plan that clarifies the roles of various government ministries in combating human trafficking. The government did not prosecute or convict any trafficking offenders and did not increase efforts to protect victims through the expansion of rescue and familial reunification services.
Since the release of the June 2012 Report, the government drafted anti-trafficking legislation and appointed a National Trafficking in Persons Committee, which developed a proposal for training and capacity building. Safe shelter, counseling, and other protective services for trafficking victims remain lacking.
Since the release of the June 2012 Report, the government demonstrated increased interest to address trafficking through regular meetings of the trafficking in persons task force and its sub-committee, which completed a national action plan and, in December 2012, launched a national awareness campaign. Though the parliament passed the Sexual Offenses Act in August 2012, which increased penalties for child prostitution and sex tourism, efforts to convict trafficking offenders under this and other existing legislation remained limited.
Since the release of the June 2012 Report, the Sudan People’s Liberation Army published and implemented a command order granting full access to barracks and other military installations for international monitoring missions to identify and remove child soldiers. South Sudan did not pass its draft Labor Act.
EAST ASIA AND PACIFIC
Since the release of the June 2012 Report, the Government of Burma signed an action plan for the release and reintegration of child soldiers with the United Nations and subsequently demobilized 42 children from the Burmese armed forces. The government has not significantly increased its efforts to provide protective services to trafficking victims.
Since the 2012 TIP Report, the government has prepared, but not yet released, a new five-year National Plan of Action to combat human trafficking and showed signs of improved cooperation with international organizations. China’s definition of human trafficking is not yet in line with the 2000 UN TIP Protocol.
Since the release of the June 2012 Report, Macau authorities have increased efforts to identify trafficking victims. However, efforts to prosecute cases involving human trafficking remain hampered by the judiciary’s limited capacity.
As of November, the Malaysian government has initiated 42 trafficking prosecutions, including 19 for labor trafficking, a significant increase over the number of prosecutions initiated in 2011. Foreign trafficking victims continue to be held involuntarily in government facilities which do not meet international standards for victim care and protection.
Since the release of June 2012 Report, the government made plans to establish a Migrant Resource Center that will provide cross-cultural orientation (includingmodules on trafficking issues) to Federated States of Micronesia nationals considering migrating to the United States. However, the government has not investigated or prosecuted any suspected trafficking offenders or identified any trafficking victims.
Since the release of the June 2012 Report, 48 trafficking victims from fishing vessels were identified by government and non-governmental actors in Thailand; one offender was convicted and sentenced to 14 years and six months’ imprisonment for forced labor on a fishing vessel committed in a previous year. The government has not, however, made significant efforts to improve victim identification – particularly in the area of labor trafficking— across civilian and law enforcement agencies.
EUROPE AND EURASIA
Since the release of the June 2012 Report, the government continued to prosecute two labor trafficking cases, and convicted a number of trafficking offenders, sentencing at least one sex trafficker to 10 years’ imprisonment. The government did not take concrete measures to enhance victim protection during court proceedings.
Since the release of the June 2012 report, the government amended several laws, contemplated in their anti-trafficking action plan, that would permit the state to fund NGOs, so-called “social subcontracting,” for services rendered, including to aid trafficking victims. The amendments entered into force January 1, 2013; they have, however, not been implemented, and the government has not yet provided funding to NGOs providing care to trafficking victims.
Since the release of the June 2012 Report, the governmentincreased staff in the police’s anti-trafficking unit; significantly increased the number of trafficking investigations, prosecutions, and victim identifications; and spearheaded awareness activities during Cyprus’ Presidency of the EU Council. Problems with protection of foreign domestic workers persist.
Since the release of the June 2012 Report, the government obtained final convictions in two labor trafficking cases, and issued sentences of three to eight years’ imprisonment for the two. Although support for trafficking victims’ social services remains available, the Ministry of Interior’s new funding structure for NGOs has left uncertainty about how anti-trafficking prevention efforts will be financed.
Since the release of the June 2012 Report, Iceland’s parliament added the equivalent of $400,000 in a supplementary budget bill to increase the 2012 budget of the investigative task force on organized crime, which has a mandate to combat human trafficking and prostitution. The government has yet to commence any new prosecutions of alleged human trafficking crimes.
Since the release of the June 2012 Report, the government reached an agreement with IOM and the St. Petersburg city government to open a shelter for TIP victims, for which the Ministry of Internal Affairs will provide the space. Victim protection remains a serious concern; the government has not taken steps to formalize national procedures to guide law enforcement, labor inspectors, or other officials in the identification of trafficking victims and their referral to appropriate services.
Since the release of the June 2012 Report, the government passed a new labor law, which will provide some additional legal protections for domestic workers. Though the police continue to refer victims to NGO-run and government-sponsored shelter services, it has prosecuted only five trafficking cases in 2012; one case resulted in imprisonment, while the information about the status of the remaining cases is limited.
Since the release of the June 2012 Report, the government enacted and began implementing comprehensive anti-trafficking legislation that criminalizes all forms of human trafficking and explicitly defines trafficked persons as victims and not criminals. However, efforts to identify and adequately provide protection services for trafficking victims continue to be inadequate.
Since the release of the June 2012 Report, the government expanded efforts to train police on victim identification and increased the use of translators and the number of labor inspectors tasked with identifying trafficking victims in the agriculture and construction sectors. While the government has taken some steps to improve identification of trafficking victims who have suffered abuses in the Sinai,it continues to grapple with capacity challenges in providing a thorough and transparent identification process and timely protective services to identified victims.
Since the release of the June 2012 Report, the government approved the implementing decree for its anti-trafficking law, which enables the Ministry of Justice to sign contracts with local NGOs to provide protective services to trafficking victims; however, lack of designated funding could limit the impact of this effort. While the Internal Security Forces have investigated and referred trafficking cases to the judiciary for prosecution, there have been no confirmed prosecutions under the anti-trafficking law.
SOUTH AND CENTRAL ASIA
Afghanistan: Since the release of the June 2012 Report, authorities obtained four convictions under the 2008 Law Countering Abduction and Human Trafficking/Smuggling; these are the first known convictions under the law. Protection services for boys over the age of 11 victimized by sex and labor trafficking continued to be inadequate.
Maldives: Since the release of the June 2012 Report, the government introduced draft anti-trafficking legislation to its legislative body for consideration. The government did not take steps to develop victim identification procedures or to identify trafficking victims among vulnerable populations.
Turkmenistan: Since the release of the June 2012 Report, the government reported convictions in five trafficking cases under Article 129 of the criminal code and certified 50 lawenforcement officers as anti-trafficking trainers. The government continues to lack standard operating procedures for victim identification and referral and did not enact a national action plan.
Uzbekistan: Since the release of the June 2012 TIP Report, the government tookactions in support of its March 2012 Cabinet of Ministers decree to implement the ILO conventions on forced and child labor that virtually eliminated government-organized forced labor by children under the age of 15 in the 2012 cotton harvest. The Government of Uzbekistan continued to provide services for transnational labor trafficking victims in the Ministry of Labor shelter. Government-organized forced labor of adults and children from 15 to 17 years of age continued during the 2012 cotton harvest.
Since the release of the June 2012Report, the government initiated six investigations of suspected traffickingoffenses. The government has not yet identified a trafficking victim or referred any potential trafficking victims to an NGO for care and assistance.
Since the release of the June 2012Report, the Government of Barbados took steps to identify and assist a trafficking victim as well as initiate a trafficking investigation. The government has not amended its legislation to clearly prohibit all forms of trafficking and prescribe penalties commensurate with rape.
Since the release of the June 2012 Report, the government reported convicting two trafficking offenders using its anti-trafficking law, enhanced training for law enforcement officials,and strengthened trafficking data collection. Specialized victim services remained inadequate, particularly those for adult victims.
Since the release of the June 2012 Report, authorities continued to work with NGOs to rescue children in domestic servitude and other child trafficking situations. The government did not pass its draft anti-trafficking law.
Since the release of the June 2012 Report, the government coordinated a series of trafficking-related awareness events with several NGOs and initiated plans for a larger public awareness campaign. The government identified 21 minors as possible victims of forced labor on an illegal fishing vessel and repatriated the victims to Honduras. The government has not convicted a human trafficking offender.
Since the release of the June 2012 Report, the government continued to increase law enforcement efforts and reported convicting at least 37 trafficking offenders in 2012. While the government opened a small shelter for domestic violence victims in Jinotega that could provide services to trafficking victims, specialized services for victims remained weak in most parts of the country.
Since the release of the June 2012 Report, the government initiated prosecutions against five suspected trafficking offenders, but did not report any convictions in cases involving human trafficking crimes. While the government assisted five victims since April 2012, it provided only basic services to victims and had no programs in place to provide for necessary psychological care.
Since the release of the June 2012 Report, the government convicted and sentenced a sex trafficker to 11 years’ imprisonment and continued both its public awareness efforts and provision of training for security officials to identify and investigate trafficking cases. The government did not publically report any comprehensive statistics on trafficking crimes or victims assisted, and specialized services for trafficking victims remained weak.