Memorandum of Justification Consistent With Section 110(B)(2)(D) of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (TVPA)

Office To Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons
July 7, 2015


Section 110(b)(2)(D) of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (22 U.S.C. 7107(b)(2)(D)) requires a country that has been included on the Tier 2 Watch List for two consecutive years and has not been upgraded to “Tier 2” to be included in the following year’s report as “Tier 3.” This “automatic downgrade” provision resulted from a 2008 amendment to the TVPA that went into effect beginning with the 2009 Trafficking in Persons Report. The governments of Tier 3 countries are those governments that do not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and are not making significant efforts to do so. Section 110(b)(2)(D) authorizes the President to waive application of this automatic downgrade for up to two years if the country merits a Tier 2 Watch List ranking and he determines and reports credible evidence to the Committees on Foreign Relations of the Senate and the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the House of Representatives that such a waiver is justified because – “(i) the country has a written plan to begin making significant efforts to bring itself into compliance with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; (ii) the plan, if implemented, would constitute making such significant efforts; and (iii) the country is devoting sufficient resources to implement that plan.” On September 20, 2010, the President delegated his waiver authority under this provision to the Secretary of State.

This Memorandum provides the justification for a waiver from the automatic downgrade to Tier 3 for Burma, Cambodia, Djibouti, Guinea, Guyana, Haiti, Lebanon, Lesotho, Mali, Namibia, Solomon Islands, Suriname, Sri Lanka, Tunisia, Tanzania, Turkmenistan, and Ukraine for the 2015 Trafficking in Persons Report.

Explanations of the determinations regarding each of the 18 countries follow:

Burma

In 2012, the Government of Burma (known locally as the Republic of the Union of Myanmar) approved a written plan of action, Myanmar Second Five‑Year National Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking, to eliminate human trafficking in Burma by building capacities within various government agencies. The plan addresses anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts by requiring the Working Group on Legal Framework and Prosecuting Measures to fully implement the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Law, establish sentencing guidelines to deter trafficking, and train law enforcement and judicial officials in identifying trafficking victims and responding to trafficking crimes. On protection, the plan calls for the implementation of the National Guideline, which requires relevant agencies to identify the assistance and protection needs of trafficking victims and standardize the availability of these services through a coordinating body. The plan proposes constructing five shelters for trafficking victims to expand protection and rehabilitation services and provide employment opportunities for trafficking victims. On prevention, the plan establishes targeted educational campaigns in 42 townships that have had the highest prevalence of trafficking reported in the last five years and calls for the government to work closely with community leaders, migrant workers, children, celebrities, and news media for effective awareness‑raising efforts in those townships. The Government of Burma has begun implementing these measures by forming a dedicated anti-trafficking police division, establishing shelters, and conducting educational and awareness-raising campaigns. The government has allocated approximately $430,000 for anti‑trafficking activities in its 2015-2016 budget. Because implementation of the plan would constitute making significant efforts to bring Burma into compliance with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking, and because the Government of Burma is devoting sufficient resources to implement the plan, a waiver is justified under section 110(b)(2)(D) for Burma in the 2015 Trafficking in Persons Report.

Cambodia

In February 2015, the Government of the Kingdom of Cambodia launched a written plan of action, National Plan of Action of the National Committee for Counter Trafficking (2014-2018), to guide the Cambodian government’s efforts to combat human trafficking across government agencies. The plan calls for the finalization and implementation of victim identification and referral guidelines, as well as the development of guidelines for the repatriation of victims identified abroad and improved interview techniques to protect victims and witnesses. On anti-trafficking law enforcement, the plan includes the development of undercover investigation guidelines and training on anti-trafficking laws and policies for law enforcement, prosecutors, and judicial officials. The plan seeks to enhance the implementation of pre-departure training to prevent trafficking by educating departing migrant workers on their rights. It includes several avenues for preventing human trafficking through awareness campaigns targeted to the general public, youth, and private sector actors – including those in the tourism sector. In its plan, the government has designated lead agencies to conduct activities through funding from the national budget. Because implementation of the plan would constitute making significant efforts to bring Cambodia into compliance with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking, and because the Government of Cambodia is devoting sufficient resources to implement the plan, a waiver is justified under section 110(b)(2)(D) for Cambodia in the 2015 Trafficking in Persons Report.

Djibouti

In March 2015, the Government of Djibouti submitted an update to the written plan titled National Plan to Combat Human Trafficking and Protect Trafficking Victims – Djibouti (2014-2020), which outlines Djibouti’s strategies to combat trafficking. The plan, which was extended five years through 2020, establishes an executive secretariat to be the lead in coordinating across government agencies and implementing Djiboutian policies to address human trafficking. The plan charges the executive secretariat with establishing several working groups, including those that specifically monitor prosecution and protection efforts. The plan envisions the development of a national system for the identification and referral of victims to care, on which all frontline responders would be trained. In improving the provision of services, the ministry of health will work to establish care standards. The plan also commits the government to hold targeted awareness events and develop standard operating procedures for the investigation of trafficking crimes. The plan designates the executive secretariat, along with the Council of Ministers, foreign donors, and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, to fund and support these proposed efforts. Because implementation of the plan would constitute making significant efforts to bring Djibouti into compliance with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking, and because the Government of Djibouti is devoting sufficient resources to implement the plan, a waiver is justified under section 110(b)(2)(D) for Djibouti in the 2015 Trafficking in Persons Report.

Guinea

In March 2015, the Government of Guinea submitted a letter to the Department of State pledging to continue to implement its draft action plan to combat human trafficking through 2017. The letter states the government will improve law enforcement efforts by amending the current penal code to prohibit and punish all forms of human trafficking, provide training on victim identification, and investigate and prosecute trafficking cases. The letter commits the government to increase protection efforts by increasing the availability of shelter and services for victims within government-run multipurpose facilities. Finally, the letter notes the government will increase public awareness campaigns to educate the public about human trafficking, as well as inform victims of their rights and provide protective services to them. The letter states the government is committed to dedicating “all available resources to achieve the targets” included in the letter. Because implementation of the written plan as set forth in the letter would constitute making significant efforts to bring Guinea into compliance with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking, and because the Government of Guinea has devoted sufficient resources to implement the plan, a waiver is justified under section 110(b)(2)(D) for Guinea in the 2015 Trafficking in Persons Report.

Guyana

In June 2014, the Government of Guyana released the National Plan of Action for the Prevention and Response to Trafficking in Persons 2014-2015. The plan was developed by the government’s Ministerial Task Force on Trafficking in Persons and includes a variety of anti-trafficking measures to prevent human trafficking, protect victims, and prosecute traffickers. The plan contains a matrix with specific actions, performance indicators, government points of contact, and dates for implementation. The plan establishes means of verification that these activities are accomplished. On prevention, the government commits to conduct awareness-raising activities in all administrative regions in Guyana, distribute 5,000 human trafficking awareness booklets, train civil society on identifying and reporting human trafficking cases, update a protocol to guide interagency cooperation, and establish task forces in all 10 administrative regions to foster anti-trafficking cooperation. On protection, the government plans to establish proactive measures to identify victims – including through government surveillance operations, provide voluntary psychological support to all trafficking victims, and develop a database to keep track of trafficking victims. On prosecution, the government plans to increase surveillance operations of suspicious businesses, increase training for law enforcement officials, and increase trafficking convictions. Because implementation of the plan would constitute making significant efforts to bring Guyana into compliance with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking, and because the Government of Guyana is devoting sufficient resources to implement the plan, a waiver is justified under section 110(b)(2)(D) for Guyana in the 2015 Trafficking in Persons Report.

Haiti

In March 2015, the Government of Haiti provided a written plan outlining steps it intends to take to enhance its activities to combat trafficking in the years 2015 through 2017. An interagency working group led by the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs developed and agreed upon a new multi-agency National Action Plan to Combat Trafficking in Persons, effective 2015 to 2017. The national plan details activities to institutionalize a national anti-trafficking committee; prevent trafficking; protect and provide services to trafficking victims; prosecute traffickers; enhance partnerships to combat the crime; and designate a responsible government body, timeframe, and indicator of success for each item. Specific objectives include conducting a study on the scope and nature of human trafficking in Haiti; establishing a permanent anti-trafficking investigative unit; training all judges on the Haitian anti-trafficking law; increasing funding for the assistance fund for trafficking victims; providing effective assistance to identified trafficking victims; establishing witness protection mechanisms; developing and implementing a national anti-trafficking awareness plan; and creating a network of NGOs and others to work closely with the national anti‑trafficking committee, among other objectives. The government allocated time and personnel as resources to implement the plan and aims to allocate funding specific to the objectives outlined over the coming year. Because implementation of the plan would constitute making significant efforts to bring Haiti into compliance with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking, and because the Government of Haiti is devoting sufficient resources to implement the plan, a waiver is justified under section 110(b)(2)(D) for Haiti in the 2015 Trafficking in Persons Report.

Lebanon

In 2013, the Government of Lebanon adopted a three-year national anti-trafficking action plan, The General Strategy to Combat Trafficking in Human Beings in Lebanon, that describes the government’s activities to fight trafficking along four “axes:” (1) prevention; (2) pursuit, investigation procedures, and punishment; (3) assistance and protection of victims; and (4) continuous monitoring, follow-up and evaluation. Although the cabinet did not approve the action plan this year due to the presidential vacancy that has prevented the cabinet from approving nearly all new policies, the relevant ministries implemented parts of the plan in 2014. The written plan allocates funding and identifies relevant ministries to implement the activities in the plan, which is effective from 2013 to 2016. Because implementation of the written plan would constitute making significant efforts to bring Lebanon into compliance with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking, and because the Government of Lebanon has devoted sufficient resources to implement the plan, a waiver is justified under section 110(b)(2)(D) for Lebanon in the 2015 Trafficking in Persons Report.

Lesotho

In 2014, the Lesotho government finalized The National Anti‑Trafficking Persons Strategic Framework and Action Plan 2014-2016, which serves as a strategic framework to address human trafficking in Lesotho. The Multi-Sectoral Committee, comprised of government and non-government organizations engaged in anti-trafficking efforts, will ensure national coordination in implementation of the plan. Specific objectives and goals, outlined in section 7, include enhancing existing prevention measures, increasing institutional capacity to respond effectively to trafficking in persons, and providing enhanced coordination and capacity for protection of trafficking victims. Section 10 of the plan notes a budgetary allocation will be provided by the Government of Lesotho through relevant ministries to support the national strategy and action plan. Because implementation of the plan would constitute making significant efforts to bring Lesotho into compliance with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking, and because the Government of Lesotho is devoting sufficient resources to implement the plan, a waiver is justified under section 110(b)(2)(D) for Lesotho in the 2015 Trafficking in Persons Report.

Mali

In March 2015, the government approved a three-year national strategy to combat trafficking, Operational Plan to Combat Trafficking in Persons and Similar Practices, effective 2015-2017. The plan directs the government to (1) codify and disseminate the legal framework of the existing anti-trafficking legislation; (2) protect and assist trafficking victims, to include creating and reinforcing trafficking victim assistance structures and drafting a manual on victim assistance; (3) increase prevention and awareness, to include disseminating a manual on vulnerable groups (women and children), public awareness campaigns, etc.; (4) gather, analyze, and share trafficking-related information – with a focus on statistics; (5) build capacity for those involved in anti-trafficking activities; and, (6) monitor and evaluate anti-trafficking activities – the overarching government strategy in particular. The government has committed to allocating resources to all elements of the plan, in partnership with international and local partners. Because implementation of the written plan would constitute making significant efforts to bring Mali into compliance with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking, and because the Government of Mali has devoted sufficient resources to implement the plan, a waiver is justified under section 110(b)(2)(D) for Mali in the 2015 Trafficking in Persons Report.

Namibia

In November 2012, the Government of Namibia’s Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare (MGECW) provided an action plan titled National Plan of Action on Gender-Based Violence: 2012-2016. The plan tasks the Ministries of Justice and Labor, along with the MGECW, to review the existing legal framework on human trafficking and identify gaps hindering effective law enforcement efforts. The plan requires the ministries to prohibit child sex trafficking and includes the development and maintenance of a database of trafficking cases. To improve victim protection, the relevant ministries will work with civil society to develop and institute mechanisms to protect victims and provide options for voluntary repatriation and rehabilitation. The plan calls for increasing the capacity of service providers by developing training materials and curricula that will yield high-quality services. MGECW will establish a comprehensive directory of service providers that can be called upon to assist and protect trafficking victims. The plan also tasks MGECW with conducting awareness campaigns to educate the general public and leading targeted campaigns to reach Namibia’s most vulnerable groups. The acting permanent secretary of the MGECW sent a letter to Ambassador Thomas Daughton at Embassy Windhoek on April 10, 2015, regarding this plan. The letter specifies funding sources to implement these action items, ranging from individual ministries to donors. Because implementation of the plan would constitute making significant efforts to bring Namibia into compliance with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking, and because the Government of Namibia is devoting sufficient resources to implement the plan, a waiver is justified under section 110(b)(2)(D) for Namibia in the 2015 Trafficking in Persons Report.

Solomon Islands

On March 30, 2015, the Government of the Solomon Islands approved the Solomon Islands National Action Plan: 2015-2020. The plan defines trafficking under Solomon Islands’ Immigration Act and prioritizes programs and activities to coordinate the government’s efforts to combat trafficking. The written plan outlines the amount of funding to be allocated each year toward the implementation of these activities. Because implementation of the plan would constitute making significant efforts to bring Solomon Islands into compliance with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking, and because the Government of Solomon Islands is devoting sufficient resources to implement the plan, a waiver is justified under section 110(b)(2)(D) for Solomon Islands in the 2015 Trafficking in Persons Report.

Sri Lanka

The Government of Sri Lanka submitted a letter to the Department of State accompanying its draft Strategic Plan to Monitor and Combat Human Trafficking for 2015-2019. The National Human Trafficking Task Force continues to implement its previous action plan and is in the process of finalizing and submitting the updated written plan to the Cabinet for approval. The government has pledged resources to the continued implementation of anti-trafficking efforts. With regard to prosecution, the strategic plan commits the Ministry of Justice and the Sri Lanka Police Department to provide training targeted to law enforcement officers on investigation and evidence collection specific to human trafficking. The Ministry of Justice, the Attorney General’s Office, and the Sri Lanka Police Department will also develop training that clarifies the difference between human trafficking and other crimes, such as smuggling and prostitution. To enhance victim protection, the plan tasks the Ministry of Justice with conducting trainings for all Task Force members and other national-level stakeholders on the implementation of the standard operating procedures on the identification, protection, and referral of trafficking victims. The plan also calls on the Ministry of Justice to establish a “Victims of Crime and Witnesses Assistance Fund” to provide compensation to victims of crime, including trafficking victims. On prevention, the plan calls for the ratification of the UN Palermo Protocol and island-wide awareness campaigns on the prevention of human trafficking and safe and legal migration. Because implementation of the written plan would constitute making significant efforts to bring Sri Lanka into compliance with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking, and because the Government of Sri Lanka has devoted sufficient resources to implement the plan, a waiver is justified under section 110(b)(2)(D) for Sri Lanka in the 2015 Trafficking in Persons Report.

Suriname

In April 2014, the Government of Suriname approved and provided a written plan to enhance the government’s activities in the fight against human trafficking: Roadmap Suriname Combatting Human Trafficking 2014-2018. The plan outlines the anti-trafficking strategy developed through discussions between the ministry of justice and police and representatives of the public sector, private sector, and civil society. In the plan, the government commits to enhance its understanding of human trafficking by collecting data on the crime, establishing a centralized database, and developing an anti-trafficking website and newsletter. The plan tasks each ministry with assigning a primary point person to combat human trafficking; these individuals will participate in interagency coordination activities, including the government’s anti-trafficking working group. The plan calls for a review of Suriname’s laws related to trafficking to identify shortcomings and necessary amendments to improve Suriname’s legal anti-trafficking framework. The plan also encourages maximum use of Suriname’s current legal and regulatory framework to combat human trafficking. The government pledges resources to implement the plan through its ministry of justice and police. The government has a specialized 13-person anti-trafficking unit in its police force that may contribute to implementation of the plan. Because implementation of the plan would constitute making significant efforts to bring Suriname into compliance with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking, and because the Government of Suriname is devoting sufficient resources to implement the plan, a waiver is justified under section 110(b)(2)(D) for Suriname in the 2015 Trafficking in Persons Report.

Tanzania

The Government of Tanzania has a written plan, The National Anti‑Trafficking in Persons Action Plan for 2015-2017, which provides specific measures for strengthening the government’s response to trafficking. With regard to prosecution, the plan tasks the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Anti‑Trafficking Committee and Secretariat with disseminating the implementing regulations of the 2008 Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act to all relevant stakeholders, as well as providing specialized anti-trafficking training for law enforcement officers. To enhance victim protection, the plan tasks the Ministry of Home Affairs with convening various consultative meetings to provide technical support to victim-service providers, as well as consulting with the Director of Public Prosecutions Office and the Attorney General Chambers to develop a mechanism for witness protection in trafficking cases. With regards to prevention, the plan outlines efforts to raise awareness through media campaigns and dissemination of public awareness-raising materials, as well as efforts to improve coordination by updating a national directory of stakeholders and convening inter‑ministerial and inter-sectoral meetings on human trafficking. The plan addresses resource allocation by tasking the Anti-Trafficking Committee and Secretariat with soliciting specific funding through project proposals, round table sessions, fund-raising events, forfeited proceeds from trafficking crimes, and government budget allocation. Because implementation of the written plan would constitute making significant efforts to bring Tanzania into compliance with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking, and because the Government of Tanzania has devoted sufficient resources to implement the plan, a waiver is justified under section 110(b)(2)(D) for Tanzania in the 2015 Trafficking in Persons Report.

Tunisia

In March 2015, the Government of Tunisia drafted a multi-year national anti-trafficking action plan, which directs the government to: raise awareness about trafficking; train and educate officials; develop victim referral mechanisms and victim assistance services; and increase prosecution efforts including the enactment and implementation of the draft anti-trafficking law. The written plan allocates funding from the responsible ministries to implement the activities in the plan, which is effective from 2015 to 2017. Because implementation of the written plan would constitute making significant efforts to bring Tunisia into compliance with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking, and because the Government of Tunisia has devoted sufficient resources to implement the plan, a waiver is justified under section 110(b)(2)(D) for Tunisia in the 2015 Trafficking in Persons Report.

Turkmenistan

The Government of Turkmenistan presented a written plan outlining the activities it will undertake in 2015 to enhance its efforts against trafficking, including measures in collaboration with the International Organization for Migration (IOM). Regarding prevention, the plan outlines government efforts to support the work of the hotlines in Ashgabat and Turkmenabad. Under the plan, the government will also conduct events to increase public awareness of human trafficking, including by the dissemination of informational materials. Regarding prosecution, the government intends to collaborate with IOM to train law enforcement personnel in a five-day training on combating organized crime and human trafficking at border crossings. On protection, the plan includes the government’s intention to support the work of the rehabilitation shelter and assist in the reintegration, including those repatriated. Finally, the government plans to increase capacity to fight the crime by conducting, in coordination with IOM, trainings and workshops for both civil society and members of the working group. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs Americas Directorate Head Chary Atayev orally advised the U.S. Deputy Chief of Mission to Turkmenistan that the Government of Turkmenistan is fully committed to providing resources for the action plan with IOM to combat trafficking. Because implementation of the plan would constitute making significant efforts to bring Turkmenistan into compliance with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking, and because the Government of Turkmenistan is devoting sufficient resources to implement the plan, a waiver is justified under section 110(b)(2)(D) for Turkmenistan in the 2015 Trafficking in Persons Report.

Ukraine

On March 21, 2012, the Government of Ukraine approved the National Programme Against Trafficking in Human Beings, effective 2012 through 2015. The plan directs the government to: (1) increase the effectiveness of cooperation between state authorities and international organizations and non‑governmental organizations, (2) increase the number of identified crimes and cases of prosecution, (3) ensure the annual provision of comprehensive services to victims, (4) raise general awareness, and (5) increase training to public officials. The written plan outlines the amount of funding allocated toward the implementation of these activities, broken down by the amount allocated by year. Because implementation of the plan would constitute making significant efforts to bring Ukraine into compliance with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking, and because the Government of Ukraine is devoting sufficient resources to implement the plan, a waiver is justified under section 110(b)(2)(D) for Ukraine in the 2015 Trafficking in Persons Report.