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U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

I. Introduction

Trafficking in Persons Report
Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons
June 5, 2006

Nepal/India: Reena was brought to India from Nepal by her maternal aunt, who forced the 12-year-old girl into a New Delhi brothel shortly after arrival. The brothel owner made her have sex with many clients each day. Reena could not  leave because she did not speak Hindi and had no one to whom she could turn.  She frequently saw police officers collect money from the brothel owners for every new girl brought in. The brothel owner coached Reena and all the girls to tell anyone who asked that they were 25 years old and had voluntarily joined the brothel. Reena escaped after two years and now devotes her life to helping other trafficking victims escape.

The 2006 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report: Its Purpose

The Department of State is required by law to submit a Report each year to the U.S. Congress on foreign governments’ efforts to eliminate severe forms of trafficking in persons. This Report is the sixth annual TIP Report. It is intended to raise global awareness, to highlight the growing efforts of the international community to combat human trafficking, and to encourage foreign governments to take effective actions to counter all forms of trafficking in persons. The Report has increasingly focused the efforts of a growing community of nations on sharing information and partnering in new and important ways. A country that fails to make significant efforts to bring itself into compliance with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking in persons, per U.S. law, receives a "Tier 3" assessment in this Report. Such an assessment could trigger the withholding of non-humanitarian, non-trade-related assistance from the United States to that country.

In assessing foreign governments’ efforts, the TIP Report highlights the "three P’s"— prosecution, protection, and prevention. But a victim-centered approach to trafficking requires us equally to address the "three R’s"— rescue, rehabilitation, and reintegration. The U.S. law that guides these efforts, the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) of 2000, as amended, makes clear from the outset that the purpose of combating human trafficking is to ensure just and effective punishment of traffickers, to protect their victims, and to prevent trafficking from occurring.

More than 150 years ago, the United States fought a devastating war that culminated in the elimination of slavery in this country. Although most nations have eliminated servitude as a state-sanctioned practice, a modern form of human slavery has emerged. It is a growing global threat to the lives and freedom of millions of men, women, and children. Today, only in the most brutal and repressive regimes, such as Burma and North Korea, is slavery still state sponsored. Instead, human trafficking often involves organized crime groups who make huge sums of money at the expense of trafficking victims and our societies.

Saudi Arabia: Serena arrived from the Philippines to work as a housemaid in Saudi Arabia. Upon her arrival, her employer confiscated her passport and, with his wife, began to beat and verbally abuse her. On one occasion, her female employer pushed her down the stairs; another time, her male employer choked her until she passed out. She was not allowed to leave the house. As her passport had been confiscated, she could not flee. Serena was so unhappy, she was driven to attempt suicide. Once at the hospital, she was able to escape from her captors. She has sought redress through the Saudi court system and is waiting for justice in a shelter.

Focusing on Slave Labor and Sexual Slavery

Every year we add to our knowledge of the trafficking phenomenon. In the 2004 Report, we used U.S. Government data that disaggregated transnational trafficking in persons by age and gender for the first time. This data shows that, of the estimated 600,000 to 800,000 men, women, and children trafficked across international borders each year, approximately 80 percent are women and girls, and up to 50 percent are minors. The data also demonstrated that the majority of transnational victims were trafficked into commercial sexual exploitation. With a focus on transnational trafficking in persons, however, these numbers do not include millions of victims around the world who are trafficked within their own national borders. The 2006 Report sheds new light on the alarming trafficking of people for purposes of slave labor, often in their own countries. This is a form of human trafficking that can be harder to identify and estimate than sex trafficking, yet it may be much greater in size when we count domestic trafficking. It does not necessarily involve the same criminal networks profiting from transnational trafficking for sexual exploitation. More often, individuals are guilty of, for example, enslaving one domestic servant or hundreds of unpaid, forced workers at a factory.

A wide range of estimates exists on the scope and magnitude of modern-day slavery, both internal and transnational. The International Labor Organization (ILO)—the United Nations (UN) agency charged with addressing labor standards, employment, and social protection issues—estimates there are 12.3 million people in forced labor, bonded labor, forced child labor, and sexual servitude at any given time; other estimates range from 4 million to 27 million.

Race To The Bottom: In Search Of Exploitable Migrant Workers

Economic globalization has encouraged an unprecedented mobilization of unskilled and low-skilled labor in response to demand in labor-deficit markets for construction, manufacturing, agriculture, and domestic work. Migrant workers from less developed South and East Asian countries fill relatively short-term labor contracts in more developed Asian, European, and Near Eastern countries at an ever increasing rate. The ILO estimates the population of migrant laborers to be 120 million. Saudi Arabia (7.5 million), the United Arab Emirates (2.3 million), Malaysia (2.3 million) and Kuwait (1.3 million) lead the markets in demand for foreign migrant workers. The Philippines (7 million), Indonesia (3 million), Bangladesh (3 million), and Sri Lanka (1.5 million) are the leading suppliers of these workers. There is nothing wrong per se with migrant labor in this era of globalization but as shown below, abuses can lead to modern-day slavery. Structuring this mass movement of labor from supply to demand countries are contracts offered by recruiters representing labor agencies and employers; contracts between labor agencies and employers sanctioned by the state as "sponsors"; and overarching memoranda of understanding between source and demand governments. Contracts offered to workers by recruiters cover basic conditions of employment—including wages, hours, and duration—and cite the location and identity of the employer. The level of regulation and oversight of these contracts varies widely. Workers are prone to abuse and the risk of involuntary servitude when contracts are not honored or are replaced with new contracts containing less favorable terms after arrival in a destination country. Governments of source countries seek to prevent such exploitation by negotiating agreements with demand country governments. The Philippines government, with its strong Overseas Employment Agency, stands out as a leader in managed labor migration by protecting its overseas workers. Other labor source governments are less vigorous in protecting their workers abroad.

Demand country employers and their labor agents seek maximum efficiency from foreign contract laborers. When protections and regulations are insufficient to deter abuses, unscrupulous employers look for the most vulnerable groups of foreign workers to prey on and exploit. Some governments tacitly condone this predatory behavior. Clearly, a "race to the bottom" is underway in some key labor demand countries, as the least protected populations of workers are sought, including the Vietnamese, Bangladeshis, and Nepalese, while "troublesome" workers who demand rights and have their governments backing them up are increasingly shunned. Such selection is possible as long as universal standards against involuntary servitude are not enforced. In bilateral agreements, source governments should require cases of involuntary servitude to be criminally prosecuted in demand country courts. These agreements should also: require the registration of contracts with all parties; hold labor agencies responsible for the welfare of the workers; and require insurance, funded by labor agencies, to protect workers in the event of unforeseen problems such as an employer's bankruptcy.

A contract labor agency in Bangladesh recently advertised work at a garment factory in Jordan. The ad promises a three-year contract, $125 per month, eight hour workdays, six days of work a week, paid overtime, free accommodation, free medical care, free food, and no advance fees. Instead, upon arrival, workers (who were obliged to pay exorbitant advance fees) had passports confiscated, were confined in miserable conditions, and prevented from leaving the factory. Months passed without pay, food was inadequate, and sick workers were tortured. Because most workers had borrowed money, at inflated interest rates, to get the contracts, they were obliged, through debt, to stay.

The nationalities of trafficking victims are as diverse as the world’s cultures. Some leave developing countries, seeking to improve their lives through low-skilled jobs in more prosperous countries. Others fall victim to forced or bonded labor in their own countries. Some families give children to related or unrelated adults who promise education and opportunity—but deliver the children into slavery for money. Conventional approaches to dealing with forced or bonded labor usually focus on compliance, in line with international conventions (i.e., ILO Conventions 29, 39, 105 and 182). These approaches seek to have exploitative industries comply with the law simply by releasing victims or offering financial compensation.

Approaches to combating forced labor that rely on labor standards can be weak in punishing the employers responsible for this form of trafficking. Forced labor must be punished as a crime, through vigorous prosecutions. While most countries in the world have criminalized forced labor, they do little to prosecute offenders, in part due to the lack of awareness of forced labor issues among law enforcement officials. As well, female victims of forced or bonded labor, especially women and girls in domestic servitude, are often sexually abused.

Over the next year, the Department of State, as directed by Congress, intends to continue focusing more attention on forced labor and bonded labor, while maintaining our campaign against sex trafficking.

Recruitment Fees And Debts For Migrant Workers: Precursors To Servitude

Many of the foreign contract workers found in conditions of involuntary servitude in labor "demand" countries are required to pay substantial fees before they are accepted for work. These fees are paid to either the labor recruiter in the source country or the labor company in the demand country or it is shared by both. The payments demanded of foreign workers are often in the range of $4,000-$11,000 and are described as a "job placement fee" or "employment fee." These fees are usually illegal under source country laws and are banned by international covenant. There is no rational basis for requiring low-skilled workers to pay fees; recruitment agencies in source countries and labor agencies in demand countries are paid commissions by employers who have demanded the services of low-skilled foreign workers. By seeking to extract payments from workers themselves, labor companies are "double-dipping"—and imposing a heavy debt burden that contributes to bonded labor or involuntary servitude. Research on involuntary servitude among migrant contract workers finds a strong link between forced labor conditions and the heavy fees or debt imposed on workers by labor recruitment agencies in the source country.

Private employment agencies should not charge, directly or indirectly, any fees or costs to workers. This is a principle that is gaining increased acceptance and attention around the world, as some labor source countries criminalize the imposition of unreasonable costs on workers. It is the responsibility of labor source country governments to adequately regulate labor recruitment agencies to ensure that laborers going abroad for contract work are not saddled with inappropriate costs that too often induce debt bondage later. Labor recruitment firms that engage in this highly exploitative practice should be punished criminally. Administrative sanctions such as fines and business closures are not sufficient to deter this crime. It is the responsibility of the receiving or "demand" country governments to proactively screen workers to ensure they are not victimized by debt bondage or forced labor; when identified, criminal investigations leading to potential prosecutions should be the response.

As with the 2005 Report, this Report places several countries on Tier 3 primarily as a result of their failure to address trafficking for forced labor among foreign migrant workers. A global effort to eliminate human trafficking is building momentum, as a result of the victim-centered TVPA, this annual Report, strong bipartisan U.S. leadership, increased attention from international organizations, devoted NGOs, and creative media focus. Nations are increasingly working together to close trafficking routes, prosecute and convict traffickers, and protect and reintegrate trafficking victims. We hope this year’s Report inspires people to make even greater progress.

Niger/Mali: The parents of 12-yearold Malik were convinced by a Koranic teacher—one of a revered group in Niger—that he would take the young boy to Mali, for further education. But once Malik and other Nigerien boys arrived in Mali from Niger, they were denied schooling and were forced by the teacher to beg in the streets for long hours to earn money for him. Malik eventually escaped. Strangers helped him return to his village in Niger where his family received him joyously after hearing of his ordeal.

Labor Trafficking Through Legal Recruitment

This Report sheds greater light on a trafficking phenomenon seen increasingly in Asia and the Near East—servitude imposed on a large number of migrant laborers who accept contracts in other countries for low-skilled work in construction, manufacturing, agriculture and as domestic workers. Unlike undocumented migrants who tend to be smuggled into a country illegally, these migrant workers are recruited legitimately in their home countries, usually in less developed countries, and travel to wealthier countries where low-cost foreign labor is in demand. After arrival, a portion of these migrant workers face unscrupulous labor agencies or employers who place them into a state of involuntary servitude. This can become forced labor or bonded labor, depending on the tools of coercion used to compel workers to enter into or continue in a state of servitude. A number of tactics are used by abusive labor agents or employers, including: changing the conditions of employment from those stipulated in contracts signed before the workers left their home country; confiscating and holding travel documents (passports, airline tickets, and alien resident identification cards); confinement; threatening physical force; and withholding wages.

The causes of this form of labor trafficking fall into two general categories: abuse of contracts and local laws that govern the recruitment and employment of migrant laborers; and the orchestrated placement of heavy costs and debts on these laborers in the source country or state, often with the complicity or even support of labor agencies and employers in the destination country or state. Some abuses of contracts and difficult conditions of employment do not in themselves constitute involuntary servitude, although use or threat of physical force or restraint to compel a worker to enter into or continue labor or service is indicative of forced labor. Costs imposed on laborers for the "privilege" of working abroad are against international standards and place laborers in a situation highly vulnerable to debt bondage. However, these costs alone do not constitute debt bondage or involuntary servitude. When combined with exploitative practices employed by unscrupulous labor agents or employers in the destination country, these costs or debts, when excessive, become a form of debt bondage.

The Myth of Movement

A person may decide to travel to another location for a job, within his or her own country or abroad, and still subsequently fall into involuntary servitude. Some governments and law enforcement agencies mistakenly focus on the voluntary nature of a person's transnational movement, and fail to identify the more important element of compelled service or forced labor that can occur after someone moves for employment. Movement to the new location is incidental. The force, fraud or coercion exercised on that person to perform or remain in service to a "master" is the defining element of trafficking in modern usage. The person who is trapped in compelled service after initially voluntarily migrating, or taking a job willingly, is considered a trafficking victim. The boy forced into a commercial fishing business on Lake Volta in Ghana is as much a victim of trafficking in persons as the Thai worker brought to the U.S. on a legal seasonal farm work visa and forced to work in conditions not described in the original contract, with the threat of being deported without pay if he fails to comply with the "new rules."

The Ukrainian woman who is lured to London through the fraudulent offer of a modeling job and then prostituted is as much a victim of trafficking in persons as the teenage Brazilian girl who is pushed into prostitution in a seaside resort town by her family. The forms of servitude and faces of those it victimizes are myriad.

The U.S. Government continues to learn about the scope and nature of human trafficking. In this Report, we have tried to point out areas where information is sparse and raise issues that merit further investigation. In some cases, lack of information or false information from undemocratic governments may have limited this Report. Given these qualifications, the 2006 TIP Report represents an updated, global look at the nature and scope of modern-day slavery, and the broad range of actions being taken by governments around the world to confront and eliminate it.

Uganda: Michael was 15 when he was kidnapped by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) to serve as a combatant in the Ugandan insurgent force. During his forced service in the LRA, he was made to kill a boy who had tried to escape. He also watched another boy being hacked to death because he did not alert the guards when his friend successfully escaped.

The Public Health Impacts of Sex Trafficking

Although victims of sex trafficking experience a grotesque range of health problems, the global public health impact of sex trafficking has not been quantified. Reviewing regional studies offers a sense of how physically and psychologically traumatizing sex trafficking is. For example, a study of women and girls trafficked for prostitution in East Africa reported widespread rape, physical abuse, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and HIV/AIDs.[1] An assessment in Nepal of trafficking in girls found that 38% of rescued victims suffered from HIV/AIDs, as well as STIs and tuberculosis (TB).[2] In a study of women trafficked to the European Union, health impacts included extreme violence that resulted in broken bones, loss of consciousness, and gang rape. Complications related to abortions, gastrointestinal problems, unhealthy weight loss, lice, suicidal depression, alcoholism, and drug addiction were also reported.[3] Another study of women trafficked to the European Union found that 95% of victims had been violently assaulted or coerced into a sexual act, and over 60% of victims reported fatigue, neurological symptoms, gastrointestinal problems, back pain, vaginal discharges, and gynecological infections.[4] Less obvious health consequences of sex trafficking can include cervical cancer, caused by the human papillomavirus, which is more common among women who have sexual encounters with many men.

While there are few large health studies on trafficking victims, many well-designed studies on the health consequences of prostitution are useful in understanding the health impact of sex trafficking. For example, two studies from India found HIV rates were higher among prostituted girls than among prostituted women (12.5% vs. 5.4% and 27.7% vs. 8.4%).[5]


To better understand the range and interrelationship of health problems associated with sex trafficking, health problems can be grouped into six categories including:

  1. Infectious diseases: HIV, STIs, and TB 
  2. Non-infectious diseases: malnutrition, dental health problems, and skin diseases 
  3. Reproductive health problems: forced abortions, high-risk pregnancies and deliveries 
  4. Substance abuse: alcohol, inhalants, intravenous drugs 
  5. Mental health problems: depression; Post Traumatic Stress Disorder; suicide 
  6. Violence: physical and sexual assaults; murder

Collecting data based on these categories of health will permit NGOs and government agencies to develop evidence-based interventions for prevention and care of victims as well as to focus resources according to the identified needs of the victims. On a larger scale, data will facilitate the development of treatment guidelines as well as public health recommendations to address sex trafficking. This approach requires leadership from public health professionals and the application of traditional public health methodologies and strategies.

1 Pearson, E. "Study on Trafficking in Women in East Africa." GTZ. December 2003
2 Bal Kumar KC, Subedi G, Gurung YB, Adhikari KP. "Nepal Trafficking in Girls With Special Reference to Prostitution: A Rapid Assessment." International Labor Organization. November 2001
3 Zimmerman, Cathy. The Health Risks and Consequences of Trafficking in Women and Adolescents: Findings from a European study. London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. 2003. final.pdf
4 Zimmerman, Cathy. Stolen Smiles: A Summery Report on the Physical and Psychological Consequences of Women and Adolescents Trafficked in Europe. London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. 2006
5 Sarkar K, Bal B, Mukherjee R, Saha MK, Chakraborty S, Niyogi SK, Bhattachary SK. "Young age is a risk factor for HIV among female sex workers-An experience from India." Journal of Infection, 2005, (vol):1-5. and Sarkar K, Bal B, Mukherjee R, Niyogi SK, Saha MK, Bhattacharya SK. "Epidemiology of HIV Infection among Brothel-based Sex Workers in Kolkata, India." Journal of Health, Population, and Nutrition. 2005;23(3):231-235.

Azerbaijan/UAE: After her father died when she was 9, Nayla was given to an orphanage. But her mother took her from the orphanage and sold her to traffickers who brought her to Dubai. She was prostituted in clubs in Dubai until she was 13 years old. After the Dubai police discovered her illegal status, Nayla was deported back to Azerbaijan. Once she returned to Azerbaijan, she was prostituted for three more years before becoming pregnant. She contracted AIDS either in Dubai or in Baku and gave birth to an HIV-positive baby last year.


The Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) and the United Nations Protocol to Prevent, Suppress, and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children call on governments to take adequate steps to protect victims of trafficking. Such protection is only possible if there is adequate identification of the victims of trafficking. The 2005 Report emphasized the need to screen vulnerable groups of people in order to identify victims of trafficking. The assessments contained in this year’s Report reveal that much work remains to be done. Self-Identification: A Myth. Some governments continue to rely on a "complaint-based" system of identifying trafficking crimes and trafficking victims. Assuming that an individual victim of trafficking will report the crime to appropriate authorities or will identify his or her status as a trafficking victim at the first opportunity, these governments respond only to reported cases. This reactive approach to trafficking is not adequate and does not fulfill the TVPA’s standard for victim protection.

The Reality. Few victims are willing to identify themselves upon initial contact with law enforcement authorities. They are fearful of real or imagined reprisals and are still undergoing trauma from the servitude experience. They cannot and should not be expected to immediately report objectively on the dimensions of their exploitation.

Proactive Screening: The Standard. Adequate victim protection requires proactive measures by governments to identify trafficking victims through careful and thorough interviews and counseling. Law enforcement authorities should be given training on how to identify indications of trafficking. Granting victims temporary shelter in a comfortable environment allows suspected victims of trafficking to receive counseling and to assess options, including their assistance with the prosecution of traffickers.

The Human and Social Costs of Trafficking

Victims of human trafficking pay a horrible price. Psychological and physical harm, including disease and stunted growth, often have permanent effects. In many cases the exploitation of trafficking victims is progressive: a child trafficked into one form of labor may be further abused in an other. It is a brutal reality of the modern-day slave trade that its victims are frequently bought and sold many times over—often sold initially by family members. Victims forced into sex slavery are often subdued with drugs and subjected to extreme violence. Victims trafficked for sexual exploitation face physical and emotional damage from violent sexual activity, forced substance abuse, exposure to sexually transmitted diseases including HIV/AIDS, food deprivation, and psychological torture. Some victims suffer permanent damage to their reproductive organs. Many victims die as a result of being trafficked. When the victim is trafficked to a location where he or she cannot speak or understand the language, this compounds the psychological damage caused by isolation and domination by traffickers.

The Human Rights Dimension. Fundamentally, trafficking in persons violates universal human rights to life, liberty, and freedom. Trafficking of children violates the inherent right of a child to grow up in a protective environment and the right to be free from all forms of abuse and exploitation.

Promoting Social Breakdown. The loss of family and community support networks makes trafficking victims vulnerable to traffickers’ demands and threats, and contributes in several ways to the breakdown of social structures. Trafficking tears children from their parents and extended family. The profits from trafficking often allow the practice to take root in a particular community, which is then repeatedly exploited as a ready source of victims. The danger of becoming a trafficking victim can lead vulnerable groups such as children and young women to go into hiding, with adverse effects on their schooling or family structure. The loss of education reduces victims’ future economic opportunities and increases their vulnerability to being re-trafficked in the future. Victims who are able to return to their communities often find themselves stigmatized or ostracized. Recovery from the trauma, if it ever occurs, can take a lifetime.

Fueling Organized Crime. The profits from human trafficking fuel other criminal activities. According to the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation, human trafficking generates an estimated $9.5 billion in annual revenue. It is closely connected with money laundering, drug trafficking, document forgery, and human smuggling. Where organized crime flourishes, governments and the rule of law are undermined and weakened.

Depriving Countries of Human Capital and Inhibiting Development. Trafficking has a disastrous impact on labor markets, contributing to an irretrievable loss of human potential. Some effects of trafficking include depressed wages, diminished workforce productivity, loss of remittances, and an undereducated generation. These effects lead to the loss of future productivity and earning power. Forcing children to work, and denying them access to education, reinforces the cycle of poverty and illiteracy that represses national development. When forced or bonded labor involves a significant part of a country’s population, this form of trafficking retards the country's advancement, because generation after generation of victims remain mired in poverty.

Public Health Costs. Victims of trafficking often endure brutal conditions that result in physical, sexual, and psychological trauma. Sexually transmitted viruses and infections, pelvic inflammatory disease, and HIV/AIDS are often the result of being used in prostitution. Anxiety, insomnia, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder are common psychological manifestations among trafficked victims. Unsanitary and crowded living conditions, coupled with poor nutrition, foster a host of adverse health conditions such as scabies, tuberculosis, and other communicable diseases. The most egregious abuses are often borne by children, who are more easily controlled and forced into domestic service, armed conflict, and other hazardous forms of work.

Erosion of Government Authority. Many governments struggle to exercise full law enforcement authority over their national territory, particularly where corruption is prevalent. Armed conflicts, natural disasters, and political or ethnic struggles can create large populations of internally displaced persons, who are vulnerable to trafficking. Human trafficking operations further undermine government efforts to exert authority, threatening the security of vulnerable populations. Many governments are unable to protect women and children kidnapped from their homes and schools or from refugee camps. Moreover, bribes paid to law enforcement, immigration officials, and members of the judiciary impede a government’s ability to battle corruption.

Romania: Maria, age 16, was tricked into traveling to Bucharest to find a job by a childhood friend. Unbeknownst to Maria, the friend had advertised in a Romanian port city that there was a "girl for sale." Maria was sold to a man who used her as a prostitute, along with an 11-year-old girl. For four months, she was forced to work as a street prostitute under the threat of beatings. She was fined, arrested, and interrogated numerous times by the police; however, her "protector" bribed the police to release her, thus forcing her to prostitute again.

The Methods of Traffickers

Slave traders prey on the vulnerable. Their targets are often children and young women, and their ploys are creative and ruthless, designed to trick, coerce, and win the confidence of potential victims. Very often these ruses involve promises of marriage, employment, educational opportunities, or a better life. The following fictitious scenarios are based on true trafficking cases and represent common circumstances in which trafficking occurs:

In one of Madagascar’s tourist destinations, a 15 year-old girl’s parents push her to engage in prostitution with older male tourists as a source of income for her family, while also hoping that she will find marriage, education, or a job abroad. Local people observe her frequenting tourist "hot spots," wearing tight clothes and eating and drinking with foreign men late into the night. Based on a tip from a hotelier, local officials apprehended one particular tourist on suspicion of victimizing this girl for purposes of child sex tourism. The man, however, pays her family a small sum of money to remain silent and not pursue charges.

In Burma's northern Shan State, a young woman travels to China's Yunnan province in search of work and to escape miserable economic conditions caused by decades of military misrule. Upon arriving in a Chinese border town, she is offered work at a local bar and restaurant. The owner recognizes that she is an undocumented alien in China, however, and confines her to a small hotel where she is prostituted for commercial sex with male Chinese tourists and traders.

In Afghanistan, a girl is promised to a man in a neighboring village to settle an age-old dispute between their families. Although young, she is taken out of school to marry a man she has never met. When she arrives, she is forced to cook, clean, and serve her husband’s entire family for 18-20 hours per day. If she does something wrong, she is beaten and her new "family" threatens to kill her if she ever tries to leave. One day, her husband decides to marry someone new, so he sells his first wife to another man who also forces her to serve him and his family’s needs.

In the Netherlands, an 18-year-old Nigerian girl arrives from her home in Edo State to earn money so that she can send home money to help her family. She is introduced to her "auntie" who assumes tight control over the girl and forces her into street prostitution. Police arrest her since she has no legal residency documents. They hold her in a detention center. She is offered the opportunity to "denounce" her auntie as a trafficker but she declines, fearing possible retribution from the auntie's friends in Nigeria. She is deported back to Edo State where she faces shame for returning penniless.

Caste And Slavery In South Asia

Raman was born at the same brick kiln site where his father and grandfather had worked their entire lives to pay off a debt incurred by his grandfather. For 15 years, Raman and his family earned three rupees (2 cents) per 80 kilogram bag of bricks to pay off the $450 advanced by the brick kiln manager. They were beaten with sticks and hit by the owner if they were not working hard enough or producing enough bricks. They could not leave, because the brick kiln owner threatened to hunt them down and beat them or bribe the police into arresting them. Sadly, Raman’s story is not unusual for millions of low-caste laborers believed to be trapped in debt bondage in South Asia. Bonded labor is a form of trafficking in which victims take loans from unscrupulous individuals—often as little as $16—and are coerced into repaying these debts by working in the factories, brick kilns, and rice mills owned by their lenders. Many of these men, women, and children never finish paying their loans, however, since bogus interest fees and living costs imposed by the owners keep increasing the debt. Often, entire families work for 14-16 hours per day, and the debt passes to the next generation until paid. Physical abuse is common, and some female bonded laborers are sexually assaulted by their owners. Children are generally not permitted to attend school, and some endure injuries as a result of the work. The caste system is a social hierarchy that has endured in South Asian culture for centuries. Greatly limiting its members’ economic options and opportunities for advancement, the caste system rigidly keeps most of its members confined in menial jobs; it also predisposes millions to slavery through bonded labor.

According to a 2005 ILO report, the overwhelming majority of bonded laborers in India are from the lower castes. They are found in large numbers in labor-intensive industries throughout India— rice mills, brick kilns, stone quarries, and the textile loom industry. Social discrimination contributes to their low wages, and members of these castes must often borrow money to meet their daily needs—feeding a vicious cycle of generational exploitation. Generations of families are consumed in this caste-based slavery, crippling the development of South Asian communities.

Nigeria/Italy: Gloria was promised work in Rome in a fabric factory. Before leaving her native Nigeria, she underwent a voodoo ritual purportedly to oversee her safety in Italy and ensure her loyalty to her sponsor or "Madam." Upon arrival in Rome, Gloria was beaten by her Madam, who told her she would have to repay a huge trafficking debt through an estimated 4,000 acts of prostitution. Gloria received more beatings when she refused Madam's demands. She eventually acquiesced though she was then beaten for not earning enough money. When she became pregnant, Gloria was forced to have an abortion. She eventually found the courage to overcome the threats of voodoo reprisal and to escape to reclaim her life. She is now recovering in a shelter in Rome.

The Many Causes of Trafficking

The causes of human trafficking are complex and often reinforce each other. Viewing trafficking in persons as a global market, victims constitute the supply, and abusive employers or sexual exploiters (also known as sex buyers) represent demand. Although customers for the products of forced labor can also be considered a component of demand, these consumers are often completely ignorant of their involvement with slavery. Sex buyers are far more complicit in the victimization of sex trafficking victims, and thus, are logical targets for education on the link between prostitution and human trafficking.

The supply of victims is encouraged by many factors, including poverty, the attraction of perceived higher standards of living elsewhere, lack of employment opportunities, organized crime, violence against women and children, discrimination against women, government corruption, political instability, and armed conflict. In some societies a tradition of fostering allows the third or fourth child to be sent to live and work in an urban center with a member of the extended family (often, an "uncle"), in exchange for a promise of education and instruction in a trade. Taking advantage of this tradition, traffickers often position themselves as employment agents, inducing parents to part with a child, but then traffic the child into prostitution, domestic servitude, or a commercial enterprise. In the end, the family receives few if any wage remittances, the child remains unschooled, untrained, and separated from his or her family, and the hoped-for educational and economic opportunities never materialize.

On the demand side, factors driving trafficking in persons include the sex industry and the growing demand for exploitable labor. Sex tourism and child pornography have become worldwide industries, facilitated by technologies such as the Internet, which vastly expand the choices available to "consumers" and permit instant and nearly undetectable transactions. Trafficking is also driven by the global demand for cheap, vulnerable, and illegal labor. For example, there is great demand in some prosperous countries of Asia and the Gulf for domestic servants who sometimes fall victim to exploitation or involuntary servitude.


In some parts of the world, traffickers are distorting traditional Islamic customs to facilitate human trafficking. In several West African countries, for example, men posing as Muslim scholars recruit young boys from parents, promising to teach the children the Koran. Once they have custody of the boys, however, these men subject them to forced begging and abuse. In parts of West Africa and South Asia, traffickers recruit boys, girls, and women for journeys to Saudi Arabia, where they are forced into commercial sexual exploitation, begging, or work as camel jockeys.

Muslim leaders have responded to this problem by working with governments, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and international organizations to raise awareness about trafficking in their communities. Some have also used arguments based in Islamic scholarship to defend the rights of women and children against trafficking. In Senegal and Niger, Muslim leaders have collaborated with government ministries and UNICEF to combat trafficking. In Indonesia, an NGO called the Fahmina Institute founded by Kyai Husein Muhammad [see the TIP Heroes section of this Report for more information] distributes 22,000 leaflets against human trafficking every week in mosques after Friday prayers. Kyai Husein has also written extensively on employing Islamic law and teachings to combat trafficking.

In Bangladesh, a local NGO sensitized 2,100 imams in 2005 to the risks, threats, and modalities of trafficking and conducted a training of trainers for 100 imams. As a result, over 2,500 imams delivered specific anti-trafficking messages during Friday prayer services, reaching millions of Bangladeshis. The involvement of the Muslim community in the fight against trafficking raises hope that anti-trafficking messages will be heard worldwide.


Since 2004, 120 Chinese children have reportedly disappeared from Swedish immigration centers. In all cases, the children arrived in Sweden on a plane from Beijing or Moscow and immediately asked for political asylum. Within days, they disappeared while cases were pending. Investigative leads indicate onward destinations included Denmark, Germany, Italy, France, and the Netherlands. Swedish law enforcement authorities believe a network of traffickers is behind the disappearance.

Unaccompanied minors (UAMs) can be lured from their countries of origin under false pretenses or might fall victim to exploitation after they arrive in a foreign country; their victimization is an important piece in the global trafficking picture. Although they are a relatively small percentage of the total population of foreign migrants in Europe, UAMs are inherently vulnerable to trafficking for both the purposes of sexual exploitation and forced labor.

They are typically from countries in Central and Eastern Europe, Africa, and Asia. They are exploited in many different ways including for prostitution, as drug mules, as domestic servants, in sweatshop or restaurant work, through organized begging and pick-pocketing gangs, and as a result of forced marriage.

Several reliable non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have noticed a mysterious trend of unaccompanied Chinese minors arriving in Europe with cell phones, cash, and no apparent travel plans, who then suddenly disappear from authorities and reception centers. It is possible that these UAMs disappeared when they came into contact with criminal networks. Unaccompanied minors who are exploited by criminals are often not recognized as victims of, or investigated as cases of, trafficking. Trafficked children require fundamental protection and rehabilitation. A child’s first contact with authorities in destination countries could be the best opportunity to stop the trafficking chain.

Afghanistan: Naseema was forced by her mother into marriage at the age of four to a 30-year-old neighbor in an Afghan village. At her husband’s home, her father-in-law and 12 others in the family began torturing her. Her treatment included beatings and starvation, and she was forced to sleep outside in the cold with only a rug to protect her. Her abusers often used her as a human table, forcing her to lie on her stomach so they could cut their food on her bare back. At one point, her father-in-law locked her in a shed for two months and she was only allowed to leave once a day. The night before she escaped at the age of 12 in 2005, her father-in-law tied her hands together and poured scalding water over her head. She escaped the next day, fearing death at the hands of her husband’s family, and was found by a rickshaw driver who took her to the hospital for treatment; it took over one month for her to heal from the various injuries inflicted upon her. She is now in a shelter and attending school.


A recent DOD investigation, prompted by late 2005 media allegations of labor trafficking in Iraq, identified a number of abuses, some of them considered widespread, committed by DOD contractors or subcontractors of third country national (TCN) workers in Iraq. Some of these abuses are indicative of trafficking in persons, and include: illegal confiscation of TCNs' passports; deceptive hiring practices and excessive recruitment fees; substandard living conditions; and circumvention of Iraqi immigration procedures. The TCNs are largely low-skilled workers from Nepal, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and the Philippines.

The Department of Defense has responded swiftly with a number of measures to closely monitor the hiring and employment of foreign laborers. In April 2006, General George W. Casey, Commanding General, Multi-National Force-Iraq, issued specific labor guidelines to all Defense contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan. Chief among those measures was a mandate that all contractors cease the practice of holding or withholding employees' passports. Furthermore, DOD contracts will include the following guidelines to prevent trafficking in persons:

  • All employees of Defense Department contractors or subcontractors will be provided a signed copy of their employment contract that defines the terms of their employment and compensation.
  • Contractors and subcontractors must be licensed recruiting firms.
  • Recruiting firms must not charge employees illegal recruitment fees.

Under the policy, contractors and subcontractors are required to comply with personal living space standards, international and host country laws for work visas, and transit and entry procedures. This response works to ensure the U.S. employs a "zero tolerance" policy against human trafficking domestically and abroad.

Bride Selling

A growing gender imbalance in areas of South and East Asia is increasingly driving the demand for trafficking victims. In China, although son-preference is a major factor behind skewed sex ratios, the country's one-child policy and poverty also exacerbate the supply and demand for bride trafficking. Girls are often aborted and there have been reports that in some cases female infants have been killed at birth, causing men to outnumber women in some parts of the country by 117 boys to 100 girls.

Yet, men still feel social pressure to marry, causing some who cannot find marriageable women to try buying brides from other regions of the country, or from border areas with neighboring countries, such as North Korea. These women, often sold by their parents or kidnapped from their villages, are forced into marriage, prostitution or concubinage. Popular areas from which to traffic brides domestically are poor areas of China's inland provinces, where poverty renders women more vulnerable to trafficking. Traffickers generally sell these girls and women in provinces with large female deficits. In fact, some experts believe that the kidnapping and sale of women has increased as China's economic development has accelerated, and that such trafficking accounts for 30-90 percent of marriages in some villages.

India faces a similar problem of gender imbalance in some regions, although it is sparked primarily by cultural attitudes that see girls as economic liabilities due to dowry demands by potential grooms. State statistics show a notable gender imbalance in some key regions: in Jammu and Kashmir, 111 boys for every 100 girls; Uttar Pradesh, 111; Sikkim, 114; Punjab, 114 (capital city Chandighar, 129); and Harayana, 116 as of the 2001 census. This gender gap has resulted in several million more men than women in the marriage market, creating a "marriage squeeze" and pressure for men to find women to marry. As a consequence, there are some cases in which women from Nepal, Bangladesh, and other areas of India have been bought or kidnapped as brides for "bachelor villages." The lack of women also contributes to greater demand for prostituted women and girls, fueling the demand for victims of trafficking. Trafficked brides are often discouraged from reporting their situations or running away because of social and economic pressure to remain in a marriage, lack of familiarity with the area to which they were trafficked, police or official complicity that compels the return of runaway brides, laws which re-victimize trafficked women by classifying and prosecuting them as illegal aliens, and the social discrimination they would likely face if they return home.

Liberia: A 13-year-old former child soldier from Liberia recounts: "They gave me pills that made me crazy. When the craziness got in my head, I beat people on their heads and hurt them until they bled. When the craziness got out of my head I felt guilty. If I remembered the person I went to them and apologized. If they did not accept my apology, I felt bad."


The U.S. Government opposes prostitution and related activities, including pimping, pandering, and maintaining brothels, as contributing to the phenomenon of human trafficking. These activities are inherently harmful and dehumanizing. This position is codified in a National Security Presidential Directive (NSPD-22) and was reaffirmed in the Administration’s support for the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA) of 2005, which "brings important attention to reducing the demand for the commercial sex acts that fuel sex trafficking."

In January 2006, President George W. Bush signed the TVPRA into law, stating, "We cannot put the criminals out of business until we also confront the problem of demand. Those who pay for the chance to sexually abuse children and teenage girls must be held to account. So we’ll investigate and prosecute the customers, the unscrupulous adults who prey on the young and innocent." The new law contains domestic provisions aimed at decreasing demand for sex trafficking victims. It authorizes block grants of $25 million by the Attorney General to states and local law enforcement to: investigate and prosecute buyers of commercial sex; educate individuals charged with or attempting to purchase commercial sex; and collaborate with local NGOs who are skilled at providing services to victims. The new law also provides $10 million to local governments and NGOs through the Department of Health and Human Services to help survivors of human trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation.

Effective Strategies in Combating Trafficking

To be effective, anti-trafficking strategies must target both the supply side (the traffickers) and the demand side (owners, consumers or, in the case of trafficking for sexual exploitation, the sex buyers). On the supply side, the conditions that drive trafficking must be dealt with through efforts to: alert communities to the dangers of trafficking, improve and expand educational and economic opportunities for vulnerable groups, promote equal access to education, educate people regarding their legal rights, and create better and broader life opportunities. Regarding traffickers, law enforcement must: vigorously prosecute traffickers and those who aid and abet them, fight public corruption which facilitates and profits from the trade, identify and interdict trafficking routes through better intelligence gathering and coordination, clarify legal definitions of trafficking and coordinate law enforcement responsibilities, and train personnel to identify and direct trafficking victims to appropriate care. On the demand side, persons who exploit trafficked persons must be identified and prosecuted. Employers of forced labor and exploiters of victims trafficked for sexual exploitation must be named and appropriately punished. With regard to sex slavery, public awareness campaigns must be conducted in destination countries to make it harder for trafficking to be concealed or ignored. Victims must be rescued, rehabilitated, reintegrated into their families, or offered alternatives if unable to return to their home communities. Local, state, national, and regional efforts to fight trafficking must be coordinated. By drawing public attention to the problem, governments can enlist the support of the public. Anti-trafficking strategies and programs developed with input from stakeholders (civil society and NGOs) are the most effective and more likely to succeed as they bring a comprehensive view to the problem.

Nations should cooperate more closely to deny traffickers legal sanctuary and to facilitate their extradition for prosecution. Such cooperation should also aim to facilitate the voluntary and humane repatriation of victims. Programs that protect witnesses should be encouraged. Knowledge about trafficking must be continually deepened, and the network of anti-trafficking organizations and efforts strengthened. Religious institutions, NGOs, schools, community associations, and traditional leaders need to be mobilized and drawn into the struggle. Victims and their families are important stakeholders in the fight against trafficking. Governments need to periodically reassess their anti-trafficking strategies and programs to ensure they remain effective in order to counter new methods and approaches by traffickers.

Finally, government officials must be trained in anti-trafficking techniques and methods, and trafficking flows and trends must be closely monitored to better understand the nature and magnitude of the problem so that appropriate policy responses can be crafted and launched.

Singapore: A 20-year-old Indonesian, formerly a maid in Singapore, remembers being abused: "The employer would get angry…. If she was very angry, she would slap me many times. I hadn’t finished my contract yet. She said I couldn’t go home. I couldn’t tolerate it. When I told the agent the employer had slapped me, she just said, 'You must suffer. You should control your feelings.' If a maid hasn’t finished her salary deduction [paying off up-front fees imposed by the agent/employer], and she calls the agent, the agent is angry. The agent also slapped me; they didn’t want me to leave without finishing the contract and the salary deduction."

Victim Protection

The TVPA gives us a victim-centered approach to address trafficking, combining anti-crime and human rights objectives. Without adequate protections for victims, efforts to address trafficking crimes are unlikely to be effective. The TVPA’s criteria for evaluating a government’s efforts to protect victims of trafficking includes an explicit criterion on victim protection: "Whether the government of the country protects victims of severe forms of trafficking in persons and encourages their assistance in the investigation and prosecution of such trafficking, including provisions for legal alternatives to their removal to countries in which they would face retribution or hardship, and ensures that victims are not inappropriately incarcerated, fined, or otherwise penalized solely for unlawful acts as a direct result of being trafficked."

Best practices in implementing this TVPA criterion include:

FIRST, a government should proactively identify victims of trafficking. Without victim identification, adequate protection is impossible. Government agencies should establish formal screening and victim identification procedures to screen at-risk populations such as persons apprehended for violations of immigration laws, prostitution laws, and begging or labor laws. Victims of trafficking should not be expected to identify themselves; proactive investigative techniques—through interviews in safe and non-threatening environments with trained counselors and appropriate language services—should be used to identify trafficking indicators.

SECOND, once identified, a suspected victim of trafficking should be afforded temporary care as a victim of a serious crime. This could include shelter and counseling that allow a potential victim to recount his or her experience to trained social counselors and law enforcement personnel at a pace with minimal pressure.

THIRD, confirmed trafficking victims should not be punished for crimes that are a direct result of being trafficked—such as not holding proper immigration documents or violation of prostitution, labor, or begging statutes. Trafficking victims should not be detained criminally, after they are identified as victims, in detention facilities, except in extreme circumstances. They should be treated as victims.

FOURTH, confirmed trafficking victims should be encouraged to cooperate with law enforcement authorities in the investigation of the crime committed against them. Furthermore, they should be encouraged to assist in prosecuting, if possible, the persons that trafficked or exploited them.

FINALLY, a trafficking victim who is unwilling or unable to cooperate in a trafficking prosecution can be returned to her community of origin provided that this return is accomplished in a responsible manner, with preparations made in advance for the victim’s safe return and reintegration. However, a victim should be offered legal alternatives to being removed to countries in which she would face hardship or retribution. Trafficking victims should not be subjected to deportations or forced returns without safeguards or other measures to reduce the risk of hardship, retribution, or re-trafficking.

What Is Child Sex Tourism?

Each year, more than one million children are exploited in the global commercial sex trade. Child sex tourism (CST) involves people who travel from their own country to another and engage in commercial sex acts with children. CST is a shameful assault on the dignity of children and a form of violent child abuse. The sexual exploitation of children has devastating consequences. Tourists engaging in CST often travel to developing countries looking for anonymity and the availability of children in prostitution. The crime is typically fueled by weak law enforcement, corruption, the Internet, ease of travel, and poverty. These sexual offenders come from all socio-economic backgrounds and may hold positions of trust.

A Global Response

Over the last five years, there has been an increase in the prosecution of child sex tourism offenses. At least 32 countries have extraterritorial laws that allow the prosecution of their citizens for CST crimes committed abroad. In response to the grotesque phenomenon, NGOs, the tourism industry, and governments have begun to address the issue. The World Tourism Organization (WTO) established a task force to combat CST. The WTO, the NGO End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes (ECPAT), and Nordic tour operators created a global Code of Conduct for the Protection of Children from Sexual Exploitation in Travel and Tourism in 1999. As of March 2005, 100 travel companies from 18 countries had signed the code. [See]

What the United States Is Doing

In 2003, the United States strengthened its ability to fight child sex tourism by passing the Prosecutorial Remedies and other Tools to end the Exploitation of Children Today (PROTECT) Act and The Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act. Together these laws increase penalties to a maximum of 30 years in prison for engaging in CST. Since the passage of the PROTECT Act, there have been over 20 indictments and over a dozen convictions of child sex tourists. The Department of Homeland Security developed the Operation Predator initiative to combat child exploitation, child pornography, and child sex tourism. The United States is also funding the NGO World Vision to conduct a major public awareness, deterrence, and crime prevention project overseas.

Governments should prioritize the issue, draft a plan of action based on comprehensive research, and designate a coordinator to engage NGOs, intergovernmental organizations, and the travel industry. Extraterritorial laws must prohibit all forms of child sex tourism and be enforced with sentences reflecting the heinous nature of the crime. Governments should also train law enforcement officers, fund public awareness campaigns, and arrange for shelter and assistance to victims.

The travel and tourism sector is recognizing they have a critical role to play in training their staff to report suspicious behavior and in alerting travelers to relevant laws. The private sector should also establish and enforce sound corporate policies repudiating the sexual exploitation of children, and insist that their contractors and suppliers do the same. Individuals must ensure they are not part of the problem, the demand, but rather part of the
solution by reporting incidents to the local police, U.S. embassy, or the U.S. Immigration and Customs hotline at 1-866-DHS-2ICE.


The Trafficking Victims Protection Act defines "severe form of trafficking in persons" as:

(a) sex trafficking in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such an act has not attained 18 years of age; or
(b) the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for labor or services, through the use of force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery.

Definition of Terms

"Sex trafficking" means the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for the purpose of a commercial sex act.

"Commercial sex act" means any sex act on account of which anything of value is given to or received by any person.

"Coercion" means (a) threats of serious harm to or physical restraint against any person; (b) any scheme, plan or pattern intended to cause a person to believe that failure to perform an act would result in serious harm to or physical restraint against any person; or, (c) the abuse or threatened abuse of the legal process.

"Involuntary servitude" includes a condition of servitude induced by means of (a) any scheme, plan, or pattern intended to cause a person to believe that, if the person did not enter into or continue in such condition, that person or another person would suffer serious harm or physical restraint; or (b) the abuse or threatened abuse of the legal process.

"Debt bondage" means the status or condition of a debtor arising from a pledge by the debtor of his or her personal services or of those of a person under his or her control as a security for debt, if the value of those services as reasonably assessed is not applied toward the liquidation of the debt, or the length and nature of those services are not respectively limited and defined.


The TIP Report is the most comprehensive worldwide report on the efforts of governments to combat severe forms of trafficking in persons. The TIP Report covers the period April 2005 through March 2006.

What the Report Is and Is Not

The annual Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report includes those countries determined to be countries of origin, transit, or destination for a significant number of victims of severe forms of trafficking. Since trafficking likely extends to every country in the world, the omission of a country from the Report may only indicate a lack of adequate information. The country narratives describe the scope and nature of the trafficking problem, the reasons for including the country, and the government’s efforts to combat trafficking.

The narrative also contains an assessment of the government’s compliance with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking as laid out in the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) of 2000, as amended, and includes suggestions for actions to combat trafficking. The remainder of the country narrative describes each government’s efforts to enforce laws against trafficking, protect victims, and prevent trafficking. Each narrative explains the basis for rating a country as Tier 1, Tier 2, Tier 2 Watch List, or Tier 3. If a country has been placed on Tier 2 Watch List, the narrative will contain a statement explaining why, using terms found in the TVPA as amended.

Per the TVPA's guidance, there are factors to be considered in determining whether a country should be in Tier 2 (or Tier 2 Watch List) or in Tier 3: 1) The extent to which the country is a country of origin, transit, or destination for severe forms of trafficking; 2) The extent to which the government of the country does not comply with the TVPA's minimum standards and, in particular, the extent of the government's trafficking-related corruption; and 3) The resources and capabilities of the government to address and eliminate severe forms of trafficking in persons.

Some governments have issued statements, held conferences, and established task forces or national action plans to create goals for anti-trafficking efforts. However, statements, conferences, plans, and task forces alone are not weighed heavily in assessing country efforts. Rather, the Report focuses on concrete actions governments have taken to fight trafficking, especially prosecutions, convictions, and prison sentences for traffickers, victim protection, and prevention efforts. The Report does not give great weight to laws in draft form or laws that have not yet been enacted. Finally, the Report does not focus on government efforts that contribute indirectly to reducing trafficking, such as education programs, support for economic development, or programs aimed at enhancing gender equality, although these are worthwhile endeavors.

Why the 2006 TIP Report Contains More Country Assessments

The 2006 Report includes an analysis of trafficking and government efforts to combat it in 149 countries, a net increase of seven ranked countries over last year. In previous years, some countries have not been included because it was difficult to gather reliable and sufficient information due to: the illegal and underground nature of trafficking; the absence or nascence of government anti-TIP efforts; the difficulty in distinguishing between trafficking and smuggling; the fear and silence of trafficking victims, who often cross borders illegally or are physically abused or coerced; the general lack of freedom of information in a country; or the lack of independent NGOs who can supply information. For some countries, there was information available, but the data did not support a finding that a significant number of persons were trafficked to, from, or within a country—the general threshold for inclusion in the TIP Report. Over the past year, we have witnessed a stronger response from many governments, more public awareness campaigns alerting victims to protection services and greater transparency in anti-trafficking efforts. As a result of these positive actions, and the dedication of more Department of State resources, information was gathered on additional countries this year. The Department intends to include all countries with a significant number of trafficking victims in future reports, as more and better information becomes available.


Gruesome information about trafficked children forced to serve as child soldiers has most often centered on African countries such as Uganda and Sierra Leone. However, Burma’s prolonged conflict with ethnic forces and worsening political and economic conditions have left its population vulnerable to exploitation, creating an environment where children as young as 11 are forced into the military. Both the military and armed ethnic groups recruit child soldiers.

Both the U.S. Government and the United Nations have called on the Government of Burma to cease all recruitment and exploitation of children in the military. Despite these pressures, the Burmese Government refuses to address the practice of kidnapping children for the purpose of military exploitation.

How the Report Is Used

This Report is a diplomatic tool for the U.S. Government to use as an instrument for continued dialogue and encouragement, and as a guide to help focus resources on prosecution, protection, and prevention programs and policies. The State Department will continue to engage governments about the content of the Report in order to strengthen cooperative efforts to eradicate trafficking. In the coming year, and particularly in the months before a determination is made regarding sanctions for Tier 3 countries, the Department will use the information gathered here to more effectively target assistance programs and to work with countries that need help in combatingtrafficking. The Department hopes the Report will be a catalyst for government and non-government efforts to combat trafficking in persons around the world.


TIER 1: Countries whose governments fully comply with the Act’s minimum standards. [detailed on p. 288]

TIER 2 : Countries 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 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 significantly increasing; 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 is making significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance with minimum standards was based on commitments by the country to take additional future steps over the next year.

TIER 3: Countries whose governments do not fully comply with the minimum standards and are not making significant efforts to do so.


The Department of State prepared this Report using information from U.S. embassies, foreign government officials, NGOs and international organizations, published reports, research trips to every region, and information submitted to, which was established for NGOs and individuals to share information on government progress in addressing trafficking. U.S. diplomatic posts reported on the trafficking situation and governmental action based on thorough research, including meetings with a wide variety of government officials, local and international NGO representatives, international organizations, officials, journalists, academics, and survivors. To compile this year’s Report, the Department took a fresh look at information sources for every country to make its assessments. Assessing each government’s anti-trafficking efforts involves a two-step process:

Step One: Significant Numbers of Victims

First, the Department determines whether a country is "a country of origin, transit, or destination for a significant number of victims of severe forms of trafficking," generally on the order of 100 or more victims, the same threshold applied in previous reports. Some countries, for which such information was not available, are not given tier ratings, but are included in the Special Case section, as they exhibited indications of trafficking.

Step Two: Tier Placement

The Department places each country included on the 2006 TIP Report into one of the four lists, described here as tiers, mandated by the TVPA. This placement is based more on the extent of government action to combat trafficking, rather than the size of the problem, important though that is. The Department first evaluates whether the government fully complies with the TVPA’s minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking [detailed on p. 288]. Governments that do, are placed in Tier 1. For other governments, the Department considers whether they made significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance. Governments that are making significant efforts to meet the minimum standards are placed in Tier 2. Governments that do not fully comply with the minimum standards, and are not making significant efforts to do so, are placed in Tier 3. Finally, the Special Watch List criteria are considered and, if applicable, Tier 2 countries are placed on the Tier 2 Watch List.

The Special Watch List-Tier 2 Watch List

The 2003 reauthorization of the TVPA created a "Special Watch List" of countries on the TIP Report that should receive special scrutiny. The list is composed of: 1) Countries listed as Tier 1 in the current Report that were listed as Tier 2 in the 2005 Report; 2) Countries listed as Tier 2 in the current Report that were listed as Tier 3 in the 2005 Report; and 3) countries listed as Tier 2 in the current Report, where:

a) The absolute number of victims of severe forms of trafficking is very significant or is significantly increasing;
b) There is a failure to provide evidence of increasing efforts to combat severe forms of trafficking in persons from the previous year, including increased investigations, prosecutions, and convictions of trafficking crimes, increased assistance to victims, and decreasing evidence of complicity in severe forms of trafficking by government officials; or
c) The determination that a country is making significant efforts to bring itself into compliance with minimum standards was based on commitments by the country to take additional future steps over the next year.

This category (including a, b, and c) has been termed by the Department of State "Tier 2 Watch List." There were 27 countries placed on Tier 2 Watch List in the June 2005 Report. Along with six countries that were reassessed as Tier 2 Watch List countries in September 2005 and three countries that met the first two categories above (moving up a tier from the 2005 TIP Report), these 27 countries were included in an "Interim Assessment" released by the Department of State on February 1, 2006.

Of the 33 countries on Tier 2 Watch List at the time of the Interim Assessment, 16 moved up to Tier 2 on this Report, while 4 fell to Tier 3 and 12 remain on Tier 2 Watch List for a third consecutive year. Haiti has been placed in the "Special Cases" category this year. Countries placed on the Special Watch List in this Report will be reexamined in an interim assessment to be submitted to the U.S. Congress by February 1, 2007.

Potential Penalties for Tier 3 Countries

Governments of countries in Tier 3 may be subject to certain sanctions. The U.S. Government may withhold non-humanitarian, non-trade-related assistance. Countries that receive no such assistance would be subject to withholding of funding for participation in educational and cultural exchange programs.

Consistent with the TVPA, such governments would also face U.S. opposition to assistance (except for humanitarian, trade-related, and certain development-related assistance) from international financial institutions such as the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. These potential consequences will take effect at the beginning of the next fiscal year, October 1, 2006. All or part of the TVPA’s sanctions can be waived upon a determination by the President that the provision of such assistance to the government would promote the purposes of the statute or is otherwise in the national interest of the United States. The TVPA also provides that sanctions can be waived if necessary to avoid significant adverse effects on vulnerable populations, including women and children. Sanctions would not apply if the President finds that, after this Report is issued but before the imposition of sanctions, a government has come into compliance with the minimum standards or is making significant efforts to bring itself into compliance.

Regardless of tier placement, every country can do more, including the United States. No country placement is permanent. All countries must maintain and increase efforts to combat trafficking.

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