I. Introduction (revised)
|A rebel group in the Democratic Republic of the Congo recruited Natalia when she was 12: "One day, rebels attacked the village where I lived. I hid and watched as they killed my relatives and raped my mother and sisters. I thought if I joined their army, I would be safe. In the army I was trained to use a gun and I performed guard duty. I was often beaten and raped by the other soldiers. One day, a commander wanted me to become his wife, so I tried to escape. They caught me, whipped me and raped me every night for many days. When I was just 14, I had a baby. I don't even know who his father is. I ran away again but I have nowhere to go and no food for the baby. I am afraid to go home."|
What is the Purpose of the 2004 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report?
The State Department is required by law to submit a report each year to the Congress on foreign government efforts to eliminate severe forms of trafficking in persons. This June 2004 report is the fourth annual TIP Report. Although country actions to end human trafficking are its focus, the report also tells the painful stories of the victims of human trafficking--21st century slaves. This report uses the term "trafficking in persons" which is used in U.S. law and around the world, and that term encompasses slave-trading and modern-day slavery in all its forms.
We cannot truly comprehend the tragedy of trafficking in persons, nor can we succeed in defeating it, unless we learn about its victims: who they are, why they are vulnerable, how they were entrapped, and what it will take to free them and heal them. In assessing foreign government efforts, the TIP Report highlights the "three P's" of prosecution, protection, and prevention. But a victim-centered approach to trafficking requires us equally to address the "three R's" - rescue, removal, and reintegration. We must heed the cries of the captured. Until all countries unite to confront this evil, our work will not be finished.
More than 140 years ago, the United States fought a devastating war to rid our country of slavery, and to prevent those who supported it from dividing the nation. Although we succeeded then in eliminating the state-sanctioned practice, human slavery has returned as a growing global threat to the lives and freedom of millions of men, women, and children.
No country is immune from human trafficking. Each year, an estimated 600,000-800,000 men, women, and children are trafficked across international borders (some international and non-governmental organizations place the number far higher), and the trade is growing. This figure is in addition to a far larger yet indeterminate number of people trafficked within countries. Victims are forced into prostitution, or to work in quarries and sweatshops, on farms, as domestics, as child soldiers, and in many forms of involuntary servitude. The U.S. Government estimates that over half of all victims trafficked internationally are trafficked for sexual exploitation.
Millions of victims are trafficked within their home countries. Driven by criminal elements, economic hardship, corrupt governments, social disruption, political instability, natural disasters, and armed conflict, the 21st century slave trade feeds a global demand for cheap and vulnerable labor. Moreover, the profits from trafficking fund the expansion of international crime syndicates, foster government corruption, and undermine the rule of law. The United Nations estimates that the profits from human trafficking rank it among the top three revenue sources for organized crime, after trafficking in narcotics and arms.
|Katya, with a two-year-old daughter and a failing marriage in the Czech Republic, followed the advice of a "friend" that she could make good money as a waitress in the Netherlands. A Czech trafficker drove her along with four other young women to Amsterdam where, joined by a Dutch trafficker, Katya was taken to a brothel. After saying "I will not do this," she was told, "Yes you will if you want your daughter back in the Czech Republic to live." After years of threats and forced prostitution Katya was rescued by a friendly cab driver. Katya is now working at a hospital and studying for a degree in social work.|
The modern-day slave trade is a multidimensional threat to all nations. In addition to the individual misery wrought by this human rights abuse, its connection to organized crime and grave security threats such as drug and weapons trafficking is becoming clearer. So is the connection to serious public health concerns, as victims contract illnesses and diseases, whether from poor living conditions or from forced sex, and are trafficked into new communities. A country that elects to downplay its human trafficking problem in favor of other pressing concerns does so at its peril. Immediate action is desperately needed.
In 2000, the Congress passed and the President enacted the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (22 U.S.C. 7101 et seq.) (TVPA), recently amended by the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2003 (Public Law 108-193). The TVPA seeks to combat human trafficking by punishing traffickers, protecting victims, and mobilizing U.S. government agencies to wage a global anti-trafficking campaign. The TVPA, as amended, contains significant mandates for the Departments of State, Justice, Labor, Homeland Security, Health and Human Services, and the U.S. Agency for International Development.
This report is mandated by the TVPA and is intended to raise global awareness and spur foreign governments to take effective actions to counter trafficking in persons. The report has increasingly focused the efforts of a growing community of nations to share information and to partner in new and important ways to fight human trafficking. A country that fails to take significant actions to bring itself into compliance with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking in persons receives a negative 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.
Buying a Victim's Freedom
Perhaps one of the more repugnant aspects of modern-day slavery is the commodification of human lives: the assignment of a monetary value to the life of a woman, man or child. Whether in an Indian brothel or a Sudanese slave camp, a price is placed on a victim's freedom.
Organizations and individuals seeking to rescue victims have sometimes opted to buy their freedom. Paying this ransom brings instant results. A victim is freed from the bonds of slavery. Yet the implications of this practice are more complicated.
If victims are freed from a brothel by an organization or individual, the trafficker can, using the proceeds from the sale, find new victims to perform the same service. It is difficult to determine whether there has been a net reduction in the number of victims. In any event, the enslavement may continue without any cost or punishment to the trafficker or exploiter.
A more lasting and effective way to secure a victim's freedom is through the application of law: holding traffickers and the exploiters of trafficking victims accountable under criminal justice systems. Through raids that rescue victims without monetary compensation, and arrests of those who enslave, judicial tools extract a high price from the merchants of this heinous trade. Applying criminal laws also provides society with a measure of justice, which is why U.S. law places a priority on governments criminalizing and punishing forms of trafficking in persons.
We have much to learn about the scope and nature of human trafficking. We have tried in this report to point out areas where information is sparse and to raise issues that merit further investigation. Within these constraints, the 2004 TIP Report represents an up-to-date and comprehensive look at the nature and scope of modern-day slavery, and the broad range of actions being taken in the global campaign for its elimination.
As a consequence of the TVPA and this annual report, strong leadership, enhanced government efforts, and increased attention from international organizations and NGOs, we are entering a new era of cooperation. Nations are increasingly working together to close down trafficking routes, prosecute and convict traffickers, and protect and reintegrate trafficking victims. We hope this report inspires even greater progress.
Corruption Inhibits Progress on Trafficking
Government corruption is a major impediment in the fight against trafficking for many countries. The scale of government corruption relating to trafficking in persons can range from localized to endemic. Countries facing such official corruption need to develop effective tools with which to tackle the problem. Some anti-corruption practices that have been effectively used by Central and Eastern European countries to bolster the fight against human trafficking include: performing psychological testing of law enforcement officers, including tests for stability, intelligence, character, ethics, and loyalty; requiring mandatory ethics briefings; issuing standard identification badges; conducting random integrity tests; distributing and using best practices manuals; randomly checking officials' personal belongings and cash; publicizing anonymous anti-corruption hotlines; rotating personnel, particularly at high volume border checkpoints; increasing wages; giving performance incentive awards; providing training to help personnel to better understand the importance of their work; requiring an oath of service; and, instituting routine administrative checks, for example of immigration records.
|Deng, in her late 20's, was recruited in her native Thailand to travel voluntarily to Australia where she was told she could make lots of money as a prostitute. Upon arrival in Australia, however, she was met by traffickers who took away her passport and locked her in a house. She was told that she would have to pay off a debt of over $30,000 by servicing 900 men. She was given little food to eat and was forcibly escorted to a brothel seven days a week, even when she was sick. She was told that if she tried to escape, criminal allies of the trafficking ring would catch her. Deng's exploitation ended when Australian Immigration officials raided the brothel in which she was enslaved.|
What is Trafficking?
The United Nations Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children (one of three "Palermo Protocols"), defines trafficking in persons as:
the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or receipt of persons, by means of threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation. Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labor or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs.
Many nations misunderstand this definition, overlooking internal trafficking or characterizing any irregular migration as trafficking. The TVPA addresses "severe forms of trafficking," defined as:
- 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
- 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.
What is the Human and Social Toll of Trafficking?
|Tina, a teenager from a rural Indonesian village, incurred hundreds of dollars in debt for four months of domestic service training and board over four months at an Indonesian migrant labor center. From there Tina, like many other Indonesian girls, was transported to Malaysia, believing she would work as a maid for a Malaysian couple. Forced to work up to 15 hours a day in a family business where she slept on the floor, Tina was told her salary would be withheld until she finished her two-year contract. After many instances of physical abuse, she sought refuge at a victims' shelter of a Malaysian NGO. Tina has filed a complaint with the police against her employer and has been given an extension of her immigration visa in order to pursue her case in Malaysia.|
Victims of human trafficking pay a horrible price. Physical and psychological harm, including disease and stunted growth, often has permanent effects, ostracizing trafficking victims from their families and communities. Trafficking victims often miss critical opportunities for social, moral, and spiritual development. In many cases the exploitation of trafficking victims is progressive: a child trafficked into one form of labor may be further abused in another. In Nepal, girls recruited to work in carpet factories, hotels, and restaurants have been forced later into the sex industry in India. In the Philippines, and in many other countries, children who initially migrate or are recruited for the hotel and tourism industry, often end up trapped in brothels. A brutal reality of the modern-day slave trade is that its victims are all too often bought and sold many times over.
Victims forced into sex slavery are often subdued with drugs and suffer extreme violence. Victims trafficked for sexual exploitation suffer physical and emotional damage from premature sexual activity, forced substance abuse, and exposure to sexually transmitted diseases including HIV/AIDS. Some victims suffer permanent damage to their reproductive organs. Moreover, the victim is typically trafficked to a location where he or she cannot speak or understand the language, compounding the psychological damage from isolation and domination. Ironically, the human capacity to endure unspeakable hardship and deprivation leads many trapped victims to continue to work, hoping for eventual freedom.
Trafficking in Persons Is a Human Rights Violation. Fundamentally, trafficking in persons violates the universal human right to life, liberty, and freedom from slavery in all its forms. Trafficking of children undermines the basic need of a child to grow up in a protective environment and the right to be free from sexual abuse and exploitation.
The Facts About Child Sex Tourism
The commercial sexual exploitation of children affects millions of children each year, in countries on every continent. One form of this exploitation is the growing phenomenon of Child Sex Tourism (CST). Persons who travel from their own country to a foreign country to engage in a commercial sex act with a child commit CST. The crime is fueled by weak law enforcement, the Internet, ease of travel, and poverty.
Tourists engaging in CST typically travel from their home countries to developing countries. Sex tourists from Japan, for example, travel to Thailand, and Americans tend to travel to Mexico or Central America. "Situational abusers" do not intentionally travel to seek sex with a child but take advantage of children sexually once they are in country. "Preferential child sex abusers" or pedophiles travel for the purpose of exploiting children.
In response to the growing phenomenon of CST, intergovernmental organizations, the tourism industry, and governments have begun to address the issue. World Congresses Against Commercial Sexual Exploitation convened in Stockholm and Yokohama in 1996 and 2001, drawing significant international attention to the issue. The World Tourism Organization established a task force to combat CST and promulgated a Global Code of Conduct for Tourism in 1999. Over the last five years, there has been a worldwide increase in the prosecution of child sex tourism offenses. Today, 32 countries have extraterritorial laws that allow the prosecution of their nationals for crimes committed abroad, regardless of whether the offense is punishable in the country where it occurred.
Several countries have taken commendable steps to combat child sex tourism. For example, France's Ministry of Education along with travel industry representatives developed guidelines on CST for tourism school curricula, and state-owned Air France allocates a portion of in-flight toy sales to fund CST awareness programs. Brazil implemented a national and international awareness campaign on sex tourism. Italy requires tour operators to provide information regarding its extraterritorial law on child sex offenses, and nearly every Swedish tour operator has signed a code of conduct agreeing to educate its staff about CST. Cambodia established police units focused on combating child sex tourism and has arrested and extradited foreign pedophiles. Japan prosecutes its citizens caught having sex with children in other countries.
The United States strengthened its ability to fight child sex tourism last year through passage of the Trafficking Victim Protection Reauthorization Act and the PROTECT Act. Together these laws enhance awareness through the development and distribution of CST information and increase penalties to up to 30 years for engaging in child sex tourism. In the first eight months of "Operation Predator" (a 2003 initiative to fight child exploitation, child pornography, and child sex tourism), U.S. law enforcement authorities arrested 25 Americans for child sex tourism offenses. Overall, the global community is awakening to the horrific issue of child sex tourism and is starting to take important initial steps.
Statement of President George W. Bush
Excerpt of Address to the United Nations General Assembly
There's another humanitarian crisis spreading, yet hidden from view. Each year, ...human beings are bought, sold or forced across the world's borders. Among them are hundreds of thousands of teenage girls, and others as young as five, who fall victim to the sex trade. This commerce in human life generates billions of dollars each year -- much of which is used to finance organized crime.
There's a special evil in the abuse and exploitation of the most innocent and vulnerable. The victims of the sex trade see little of life before they see the very worst of life -- an underground of brutality and lonely fear. Those who create these victims and profit from their suffering must be severely punished. Those who patronize this industry debase themselves and deepen the misery of others. And governments that tolerate this trade are tolerating a form of slavery.
This problem has appeared in my own country, and we are working to stop it. The PROTECT Act, which I signed into law this year, makes it a crime for any person to enter the United States, or for any citizen to travel abroad, for the purpose of sex tourism involving children. The Department of Justice is actively investigating sex tour operators and patrons, who can face up to 30 years in prison. Under the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, the United States is using sanctions against governments to discourage human trafficking.
The victims of this industry also need help from members of the United Nations. And this begins with clear standards and the certainty of punishment under laws of every country. Today, some nations make it a crime to sexually abuse children abroad. Such conduct should be a crime in all nations. Governments should inform travelers of the harm this industry does, and the severe punishments that will fall on its patrons. The American government is committing $50 million to support the good work of organizations that are rescuing women and children from exploitation, and giving them shelter and medical treatment and the hope of a new life. I urge other governments to do their part.
We must show new energy in fighting back an old evil. Nearly two centuries after the abolition of the transatlantic slave trade, and more than a century after slavery was officially ended in its last strongholds, the trade in human beings for any purpose must not be allowed to thrive in our time.
This trafficking victim's story was revised on June 20, 2004 (text as released to Congress).
Noi came from a poor community in rural Thailand. At 15, seeking to escape rape and sexual abuse in her foster family, she found a foreign labor agent in Bangkok who advertised well-paid waitress jobs in Japan. She flew to Japan and later learned that she had entered Japan on a tourist visa under a false identity. On her arrival in Japan, she was taken to a karaoke bar where the owner raped her, subjected her to a blood test and then bought her. "I felt like a piece of flesh being inspected," she recounted. The brothel madam told Noi that she had to pay off a debt of over 10,000 US Dollars to repay her travel expenses. She was warned that girls who tried to escape were brought back by the Japanese mafia, severely beaten, and their debts doubled. The only way to pay off the debt was to see as many clients as quickly as possible. Some clients beat the girls with sticks, belts and chains until they bled. If the victims returned crying, they were beaten by the madam and told that they must have provoked the client. The prostitutes routinely used drugs before sex "so that we didn't feel so much pain." Most clients refused to use condoms. The victims were given pills to avoid pregnancy and pregnancies were terminated with home abortions. Victims who managed to pay off their debt and work independently were often arrested by the police, fined, imprisoned, and raped before being deported. Noi finally managed to escape with the help of a Japanese NGO.
Trafficking Promotes Social Breakdown. The loss of family and community support networks renders the trafficking victim vulnerable to the traffickers' demands and threats, and contributes in several ways to the breakdown of social structures. Trafficking tears children from their parents and extended family, preventing their nurturing and moral development. Trafficking interrupts the passage of knowledge and cultural values from parent to child and from generation to generation, weakening a core pillar of society. 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 trafficked in the future. Victims who are able to return to their communities often find themselves stigmatized and ostracized, and require continuing social services. They are more likely to become involved in substance abuse and criminal activity.
Trafficking Fuels Organized Crime. The profits from human trafficking fuel other criminal activities. According to the UN, human trafficking is the third largest criminal enterprise worldwide, generating an estimated 9.5 billion USD in annual revenue according to the U.S. intelligence community. It is also one of the most lucrative criminal enterprises, and is closely connected with money laundering, drug trafficking, document forgery, and human smuggling. There have also been documented ties to terrorism. Where organized crime flourishes, governments and the rule of law are weakened.
Trafficking Deprives Countries of Human Capital. Trafficking has a negative impact on labor markets, contributing to an irretrievable loss of human resources. Some effects of trafficking include depressed wages, fewer individuals left to care for an increasing number of elderly persons, and an undereducated generation. These effects further lead to the loss of future productivity and earning power. Forcing children to work 10 to 18 hours per day at an early age denies them access to education and reinforces the cycle of poverty and illiteracy that stunts national development.
Abuse of "Artistic" or "Entertainer" Visas
In many countries, artistic or entertainer visas are obtained to facilitate the movement and exploitation of trafficking victims. Thousands of women are granted these temporary visas in the expectation of legitimate employment in the entertainment or hospitality industries. Such visas are typically granted upon presentation of a work contract or offer of engagement by a club owner, proof of financial resources, and/or medical test results. Employment agencies, often licensed under the laws of the origin and destination countries, play a key role in the deception and recruitment of these women. On arrival at their destination, victims are stripped of their passports and travel documents and forced into situations of sexual exploitation or bonded servitude. Having overstayed or otherwise violated the terms of the visa, victims are coerced by their exploiters with threats to turn them over to immigration authorities.
Governments of countries that issue these types of visas in large numbers, such as (but by no means limited to) Switzerland, Slovenia, Cyprus, and Japan, should recognize that traffickers heavily exploit this mechanism. For example, it is reported that Japan issued 55,000 entertainer visas to women from the Philippines in 2003, many of whom are suspected of having become trafficking victims. Authorities should scrutinize the requirements for issuing these types of visas and implement screening procedures particularly for repeat applicants and sponsors. Awareness campaigns should be conducted in source countries to alert artistic visa applicants to the ploys that traffickers use to lure women into labor exploitation and forced prostitution situations.
How Prostitution Fuels Trafficking
Considerable academic, NGO, and scientific research confirms a direct link between prostitution and trafficking. In fact, prostitution and its related activities, including pimping, pandering, and patronizing or maintaining brothels, contributes to trafficking in persons by serving as a front behind which traffickers for sexual exploitation operate. A Swedish government study revealed that much of the vast profits generated by the global prostitution industry go directly into the pockets of human traffickers. The International Organization for Migration estimates that each year 500,000 women are sold (trafficked) to local prostitution markets in Europe.
Of the 600,000 - 800,000 people trafficked across international borders every year, 70 percent are female and 50 percent are children. The majority of those women and girls fall prey to the commercial sex trade.
Tanya's story: "My friend organized for me to get a job in Egypt. We traveled together from Chisinau to Moscow where I got a plane to Egypt. When I got to the airport in Egypt, I was paired with a man in order to walk through customs and immigration. People were waiting for me and they took me to a five-star hotel. I gave up my passport at the reception of the hotel and never saw it again. They put me in a car and we drove for a really long time. We went to a place where Bedouins are [Egypt's Sinai Peninsula] and those Bedouins took us through the desert. At one point, I heard gunshots and I think a girl was killed. They kill you or beat you if they don't like your attitude. We had to walk for hours and hours through the desert where there were landmines. They pointed out the mines to us in the sand. We hardly ate and I lost 10 kilos by the time I got to Israel. When we got out of the desert, we were taken to a town in Israel, where the Bedouins arranged for us to be sold. Many girls were traveling with me, and all the girls going to Israel go through the same route and the same situation." ***************************** Nasreen was a Tajik girl who worked in Moscow. Her boss asked her to become his mistress, promising money, housing, a car, and a better life. Nasreen agreed to this arrangement. One day, a houseguest offered Nasreen the opportunity to work in Turkey. Nasreen's boss pressured her to accept the offer. Nasreen was tricked, and trafficked to Israel for forced prostitution. With the help of a sympathetic journalist, Nasreen was able to escape and return home.
Tanya's story: "My friend organized for me to get a job in Egypt. We traveled together from Chisinau to Moscow where I got a plane to Egypt. When I got to the airport in Egypt, I was paired with a man in order to walk through customs and immigration. People were waiting for me and they took me to a five-star hotel. I gave up my passport at the reception of the hotel and never saw it again. They put me in a car and we drove for a really long time. We went to a place where Bedouins are [Egypt's Sinai Peninsula] and those Bedouins took us through the desert. At one point, I heard gunshots and I think a girl was killed. They kill you or beat you if they don't like your attitude. We had to walk for hours and hours through the desert where there were landmines. They pointed out the mines to us in the sand. We hardly ate and I lost 10 kilos by the time I got to Israel. When we got out of the desert, we were taken to a town in Israel, where the Bedouins arranged for us to be sold. Many girls were traveling with me, and all the girls going to Israel go through the same route and the same situation."
Nasreen was a Tajik girl who worked in Moscow. Her boss asked her to become his mistress, promising money, housing, a car, and a better life. Nasreen agreed to this arrangement. One day, a houseguest offered Nasreen the opportunity to work in Turkey. Nasreen's boss pressured her to accept the offer. Nasreen was tricked, and trafficked to Israel for forced prostitution. With the help of a sympathetic journalist, Nasreen was able to escape and return home.
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. Children may be subjected to progressive exploitation, i.e., resold several times and subjected to an array of physical, sexual and mental abuse. This abuse complicates their psychological and physical rehabilitation and jeopardizes their reintegration.
Trafficking Subverts Government Authority. Many governments struggle to exercise full control over their national territory, particularly where corruption is prevalent. Armed conflicts, natural disasters, and political or ethnic struggles often create large populations of internally displaced persons. Human trafficking operations further undermine government efforts to exert its authority, threatening the security of vulnerable populations. Many governments are unable to protect women and children who are kidnapped from their homes and schools or from refugee camps. Moreover, the bribes paid by traffickers impede a government's ability to battle corruption among law enforcement, immigration, and judicial officials.
Trafficking Imposes Enormous Economic Costs. There are tremendous economic benefits to be gained from eliminating trafficking. The International Labor Organization (ILO) recently completed a study on the costs and benefits of eliminating the worst forms of child labor—which by definition include child trafficking. The ILO concluded the economic gains from eliminating the worst forms of child labor are substantial (tens of billions of dollars annually) because of the added productive capacity a future generation of workers would gain from increased education and improved public health. The human and social consequences of trafficking often mirror those of the worst forms of child labor.
The Facts About Child Soldiers
Child soldiering is a unique and severe manifestation of trafficking in persons. Tens of thousands of children under age 18 have been conscripted into armed conflicts, serving in government armies, armed militias, and rebel groups. Some children are kidnapped and forced to serve; others join in the face of threats, bribes, and false promises of compensation.
Hoping in many cases for food, clothing, and shelter, a child's decision to join an armed group cannot be considered a free choice. Children caught up in armed conflict are desperately searching for a means of survival. Because of their emotional and physical immaturity, children are easily manipulated and coerced into violence. Many child soldiers are forced to use alcohol or narcotics as a way to desensitize them to violence or to enhance their performance.
Children who are forcibly conscripted are typically inadequately trained, treated harshly, and rapidly pushed into combat. Boys and girls may be sent into combat or minefields ahead of older troops. Some children have been used for suicide missions or are forced to commit atrocities against their families and communities. Others, including some of the 15,000 involved in recent Liberian conflicts, are made to serve as porters, cooks, guards, servants, messengers, or spies. Many child soldiers, mostly girls, are sexually abused, and are at high risk of sexually transmitted infections and unwanted pregnancies.
Child soldiers are killed and wounded at far higher rates than their adult comrades. Some armed groups are known to "brand" child conscripts across the face or chest with a knife or broken glass. Survivors often suffer multiple traumas and psychological scarring from the violence and brutality they experienced. Their development as a person is often irreparably damaged. Their families and home communities often reject many former child soldiers seeking to return because of the violence they or their group inflicted on the community.
The use of children to fight adults' wars is a global phenomenon. The problem is most critical in Africa and Asia, but armed groups in the Americas, Eurasia, and the Middle East also use children. There has been a failure of political will among many countries to enforce laws and international obligations prohibiting or restricting the use of child soldiers. All nations must work together with international organizations and NGOs to take urgent action to disarm, demobilize, and reintegrate child soldiers.
What is the Difference Between Trafficking in Persons and Human Smuggling?
The differences between migrant smuggling and trafficking in persons can be confusing. This confusion can make it difficult to obtain accurate information, especially from transit countries. Trafficking often but not always involves smuggling; the victim may initially agree to be transported within a country or across borders. Distinguishing between the two activities often requires detailed information on the victim's final circumstances.
Smuggling is generally understood to be the procurement or transport for profit of a person for illegal entry into a country. But the facilitation of illegal entry into or through a country is not, standing alone, trafficking in persons, even though it is often undertaken in dangerous or degrading conditions. Smuggling sometimes involves migrants who have consented to the activity. Trafficking victims, on the other hand, have either never consented or, if they initially consented, their consent has been negated by the coercive, deceptive or abusive actions of the traffickers. Trafficking victims often are unaware that they will be forced into prostitution or exploitative labor situations. Smuggling may therefore become trafficking. The key component that distinguishes trafficking from smuggling is the element of fraud, force, or coercion.
Unlike smuggling, trafficking can occur regardless of whether the victim is moved internally or across a border. Under the TVPA it is not necessary for a victim to have been transported to an exploitative situation for a severe form of trafficking to occur. It is sufficient if the victim is recruited, harbored, provided, or obtained "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."
How Do Traffickers Operate?
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.
In India, for example, a trafficker may pose as a successful trader, persuading a girl's parents that he is a suitable spouse. After the marriage, the girl is sexually abused and sold into prostitution. Some men are known to have "married" over a dozen women from different villages using this tactic.
In Uganda, rebels from the Lord's Resistance Army roam the countryside at night, abducting young children from villages to serve as soldiers and sex slaves. In East Asia, traffickers may visit cities such as Bangkok or Phnom Penh, befriend a young woman at a hotel, restaurant, or store, and offer to take her to another country for a "vacation." Upon arrival, the woman's passport is taken, she is turned over to a brothel operator, and the brutal indoctrination into a life of sex slavery begins.
A Ukrainian girl, only 16, meets a young man at a dance and is offered a job in Germany as a nurse. Smuggled across borders at night, she is turned over to a brothel and forced to work as a prostitute. A rural Indonesian girl may be drawn to a domestic service job in a neighboring country with the promise of a salary that is not paid as promised. A rural girl from southern China may be drawn to Malaysia seeking the benefits of a vibrant economy, but she is forced into sexual servitude. Or a young Vietnamese villager, seeking economic opportunity, may agree to travel to an island in the Pacific to work in a factory, not realizing that his travel documents will be confiscated and that his wages will be so minimal that he will be unable to repay the travel costs. The young and the helpless are often the most brutally exploited.
What are the Causes of Trafficking?
|Bopha lived in a rural village and married at 17. Her husband immediately took her to a hotel in another village and left her. Bopha discovered the hotel was a brothel and tried to escape, but she was forcibly detained and told she must pay off the price the hotel owner had paid for her. Bopha's debt kept increasing due to charges for her food, clothing, and other necessities. Bopha could not leave. Ravaged by HIV/AIDS, she was thrown out on the street and finally found her way to an NGO shelter in Phnom Penh. She has been there for two years receiving treatment; it is not known how much longer Bopha will live.|
There are many different causes of human trafficking. These causes 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 represent the demand.
The supply of victims is encouraged by many factors including poverty, the attraction of a perceived higher standard of living elsewhere, weak social and economic structures, a lack of employment opportunities, organized crime, violence against women and children, discrimination against women, government corruption, political instability, armed conflict, and cultural traditions such as traditional slavery. 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 trafficking the child to work in prostitution, domestic servitude, or a commercial enterprise. In the end, the family receives few if any wage remittances, the child remains unschooled and untrained, and separated from his family, and the hoped-for economic opportunity never materializes.
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 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, one of the biggest demands in prosperous countries of East Asia is for domestic servants who sometimes fall victim to exploitation or involuntary servitude.
A new source of demand for young women as brides and concubines is a consequence of widening gender gaps in densely populated India and China. In India, there are now only 933 girls born for every 1,000 boys, due largely to the perception that a girl child is an economic liability in that country's strongly patriarchal society. Many couples use inexpensive and widely available sonograms to determine the gender of the fetus, and if a female is detected the child is aborted. Data from India's 2001 census, analyzed in 2003, show that the gap is most serious in the prosperous northwestern states of Haryana and the Punjab, where in some localities the gender gap has dropped below 825 girl births for every 1,000 boy births.
A similar gap has emerged in parts of China due to the government's "one-child" policy, which has prompted many parents to abort pregnancies once the gender of the fetus is determined to be female. North Korean and Vietnamese girls and women reportedly are trafficked into Southern China as forced brides and prostitutes. These gaps between boy and girl births have existed for decades and now yield pronounced deficits of brides in certain areas of both India and China.
As this report shows, the number of trafficking victims the world over is enormous. Many victims are identified through the good work of NGOs and government agencies that investigate trafficking sites, such as brothels, sweatshops, and child soldier camps.
The need to rescue victims promptly is paramount but rescues do not always end the suffering. Some countries lack adequate protection facilities; victims, including children, are placed in jails and further traumatized. In others, foreign victims who lack adequate documentation may be deported summarily without regard to their health or safety. In such cases, many are re-trafficked with additional "debts" and abuses added to their misery.
The psychological and physical suffering by victims of sexual exploitation, involuntary servitude, bonded labor, or forced child soldiering present authorities with long-term challenges. Counseling, shelter, medical attention, and vocational training are required to fully rehabilitate the victims and successfully reintegrate them into their original communities.
Just as challenging as the rescue of victims is the long-term after-rescue care and rehabilitation, which requires planning and considerable resources. There is the need to deliver comprehensive services to ensure that victims are treated with dignity, and given viable opportunities to build a new life. The lack of well-developed protective facilities, however, should not serve as an excuse for not freeing the enslaved.
One of the severe forms of trafficking in persons most difficult to identify is involuntary servitude (see box for legal definition). Many economic migrants who leave their homes in less developed communities and travel - short or far distances - to urban centers and other more developed communities for work are vulnerable to situations of involuntary servitude. The vast majority of economic migrants, often low-skilled laborers such as construction workers and domestic servants, find non-exploitative work situations that benefit them and their families.
However, some economic migrants suffer abuses by an employer. This could include verbal and physical abuse by the employer or the breach of the contract governing the employees' work - often seen in the form of withholding wages or denying time off from work. A yet smaller group find themselves exploited to the point that they perceive themselves to be captive.
So when does an exploitative, abusive work situation constitute involuntary servitude? The answer is guided by our law, the TVPA. When an employer uses verbal or physical abuse, or the threat of such abuse, in order to keep that worker in his or her service, this is involuntary servitude. If the employer intentionally causes the employee to believe that he or she cannot leave that work situation without facing abuse or physical restraint, this is involuntary servitude. Physically restraining the employee from leaving the workplace is not necessary if the employer's actions or threats induce a condition of servitude. An employer's withholding of an employee's travel documents - such as a passport, work permit, or identity card - is a form of physical restraint that may support a finding of involuntary servitude. For this reason, many governments have criminalized the holding of a foreign employee's travel documents - the key instruments that preserve the fundamental freedom of movement.
It is the employer's responsibility, and the responsibility of the government authority, to ensure that workers feel they are free to remove themselves from an abusive work environment and are afforded a fair hearing of any real or perceived abuses arising out of that labor.
What Strategies are Effective in the War Against Trafficking?
Effective anti-trafficking strategies should target all three aspects of the trade: the supply side, the traffickers, and the demand side.
On the supply side, the conditions that drive trafficking must be addressed with programs that alert communities to the dangers of trafficking, improve educational opportunities and school systems, create economic opportunities, promote equality of rights, educate targeted communities on their legal rights, and create better and broader life opportunities.
At the trafficker level, law enforcement programs must identify and interdict trafficking routes; clarify legal definitions and coordinate law enforcement responsibilities; vigorously prosecute traffickers and those who aid and abet them; and, fight public corruption that facilitates and profits from the trade, eroding the rule of law.
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 shamed. Awareness-raising campaigns must be conducted in destination countries to make it harder for trafficking to be concealed or ignored. People must be withdrawn from slave-like working situations, and reintegrated into their families and communities.
Local, state, national, and regional programs to fight trafficking must be coordinated. By drawing public attention to the problem, governments can increase anti-trafficking resource allocations, improve understanding of the problem, and enhance their ability to develop effective strategies. Coordination and cooperation, whether national, bilateral, or regional, will leverage country efforts and recruit volunteers to the fight. International standards should be harmonized, and nations should cooperate more closely to deny traffickers legal sanctuary.
Knowledge about trafficking must be improved, and the network of anti-trafficking organizations and efforts strengthened. Religious institutions, NGOs, schools, community associations, and traditional leaders need to be mobilized in the struggle. Victims and their families require skills training and alternative economic opportunities. Anti-trafficking strategies must be periodically examined to ensure they remain innovative and effective. Finally, government officials must be trained in anti-trafficking techniques, and trafficking flows must be tracked statistically to illuminate the nature and magnitude of the problem so that it may be better understood.
Would Legalizing Prostitution Help Curb Human Trafficking?
The United States Government takes a firm stand against proposals to legalize prostitution because prostitution directly contributes to the modern-day slave trade and is inherently demeaning. When law enforcement tolerates or communities legalize prostitution, organized crime groups are freer to traffic in human beings. Where prostitution is legalized, the cost of sexual services includes brothel rent, medical examinations, and registration fees. Due in part to these costs, illegal prostitution has flourished in legalized areas as clients seek cheaper sex. In some countries where prostitution is legal there are from three to ten times as many non-registered women involved in prostitution as registered women. Many of these non-registered women are foreigners who have been trafficked. There is no evidence that legalization in any country has reduced the number of trafficking victims, and NGOs working in this field note that the number of trafficking victims often increases. In short, where prostitution is legalized, a "black market" in trafficking emerges, as exploiters seek to maximize profit by avoiding the scrutiny and regulatory costs of the legal prostitution market. Legalized prostitution is therefore a trafficker's best shield, allowing him to legitimize his trade in sex slaves, and making it more difficult to identify trafficking victims.
Estimates of Trafficking Victims
During the last year, the U.S. Government estimated that 600,000 - 800,000 people were trafficked across transnational borders worldwide. Analyses of data reveal that 80 percent of the victims trafficked across international borders are female and 70 percent of those females are trafficked for sexual exploitation. Estimates of people trafficked into the United States ranged from 14,500 to 17,500. These recently revised estimates reflect the use of an improved methodology for estimating trafficking flows.Estimates that include global intra-country trafficking in persons range from two to four million.
Estimates of the number of trafficking victims found throughout the world are inherently difficult to produce. Trafficking in persons, like drug trafficking and arms smuggling, is a clandestine activity made even harder to quantify by its numerous forms. It often is hidden as a subset of alien smuggling or extreme abuse of foreign migrant labor. Moreover, the availability of data on trafficking varies considerably from region to region: there is a noted paucity of data, for example, of persons trafficked to, from, or through the Middle East. The U.S. Government estimates cited in this report focus on persons trafficked across international borders, as those victims are not as difficult to identify as the populations trafficked within all countries.
Definition of "Severe Forms of Trafficking in Persons"
The Trafficking Victims Protection Act defines "severe forms of trafficking in persons" as
"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.
"Involuntary servitude" includes a condition of servitude induced by means of
"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.
ABOUT THE REPORT
What the Report Is and Is Not. The annual human trafficking report includes those countries1 determined to be countries of origin, transit, or destination for a significant number of victims of severe forms of trafficking. Since slavery probably 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 are organized by region and describe the scope and nature of the trafficking problem in the country, the reasons for including the country in the report, and the government's efforts to combat trafficking. The narrative also contains an assessment of the government's compliance with minimum standards, and includes suggestions for actions to combat trafficking. The remainder of the country narrative describes the government's efforts to enforce laws against trafficking, protect victims, and prevent trafficking, and explains the basis for rating the country as Tier 1, Tier 2, the Tier 2 Special Watch List, or Tier 3.
1Under Section 4 (b) of the Taiwan Relations Act, "[whenever] the laws of the United States refer to foreign countries, nations, states, governments, or similar entities, such terms shall include and such laws shall apply with respect to Taiwan."
Some countries have established task forces and action plans to create goals and benchmarks for anti-trafficking efforts. However, plans and task forces, on their own, are not weighted heavily in assessing country efforts. Rather, the report focuses on concrete actions governments have taken to fight trafficking, highlighting prosecutions, convictions, prison sentences for traffickers, victim protection, and prevention efforts. The report does not give great weight to laws in draft form or that have not yet been enacted, though task forces, action plans, or draft laws are sometimes noted in a country narrative as examples of preliminary actions governments have undertaken to combat trafficking. Finally, the report does not focus on other 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.
What Is Different in This Year's Report? The Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2003 (TVPRA) made several important changes to the TVPA. Three of the four minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking remain unchanged. The minimum standards are:
- The government of the country should prohibit severe forms of trafficking in persons and punish acts of such trafficking.
- For the knowing commission of any act of sex trafficking involving force, fraud, coercion, or in which the victim of sex trafficking is a child incapable of giving meaningful consent, or of trafficking which includes rape or kidnapping or which causes a death, the government of the country should prescribe punishment commensurate with that for grave crimes, such as forcible sexual assault.
- For the knowing commission of any act of a severe form of trafficking in persons, the government of the country should prescribe punishment that is sufficiently stringent to deter and that adequately reflects the heinous nature of the offense.
- The government of the country should make serious and sustained efforts to eliminate severe forms of trafficking in persons.
The fourth minimum standard was amended and supplemented, and now calls for consideration of ten criteria rather than seven: Criterion (1) now requires consideration not only of investigations and prosecutions, but also of convictions and sentences, and whether the government of the country is responsive to the State Department's requests for law enforcement data. Criterion (7), relating to anti-corruption measures, now also requires consideration of prosecutions, convictions, and sentences of government officials complicit in trafficking in persons, and the host government's provision or failure to provide such data. Three new criteria require consideration of:
- Whether the percentage of victims of severe forms of trafficking in the country that are non-citizens of such countries is insignificant;
- Whether the government of the country, consistent with the capacity of such government, systematically monitors its efforts to satisfy the criteria described in paragraphs (1) through (8) and makes available publicly a periodic assessment of such efforts; and,
- Whether the government of the country achieves appreciable progress in eliminating severe forms of trafficking when compared to the assessment in the previous year.
The criteria used to assess whether a country is making serious and sustained efforts to come into compliance with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking are reproduced in an appendix to this report.
The TVPRA also created a "Special Watch List" of countries to receive special scrutiny during the following year. The list is composed of: 1) countries listed as Tier 1 in the current report that were listed as Tier 2 in the 2003 report; 2) countries listed as Tier 2 in the current report that were listed as Tier 3 in the 2003 report; and, 3) countries listed as Tier 2 in the current report, where
- the absolute number of victims of severe forms of trafficking is very significant or is significantly increasing;
- 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
- 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.
Countries on the Special Watch List will be reexamined in an interim assessment to be submitted to Congress by February 1, 2005.
Why Does the 2004 TIP Report Contain More Country Assessments Than Last Year's Report? The 2004 report includes an analysis of trafficking and government efforts to combat it in 140 countries, a net increase of 16 countries over last year. In previous years, some countries have not been included because it was difficult to gather reliable and complete information due to: the illegal and underground nature of trafficking; the absence or nascence of government programs; the difficulty in distinguishing between trafficking and smuggling; and, the fear and silence of trafficking victims, who often cross borders illegally or are physically abused or coerced. For some countries, there was information available, but the data did not support a finding that on the order of 100 or more persons were trafficked to, from, or within a country, the 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, the Department gathered information on more 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.
Tier 1: Countries whose governments fully comply with the Act's minimum standards.
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 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:
Tier 3: Countries whose governments do not fully comply with the minimum standards and are not making significant efforts to do so.
How the Report Is Used. This report is a diplomatic tool for the U.S. Government to use as an instrument for continued dialogue, encouragement for the actions of some governments, and as a guide to help focus resources on prosecution, protection, and prevention programs and policies. After the release of this year's TIP Report, as in past years, the Department will continue to engage governments about the content of the report 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 and an interim assessment is made of Special Watch List countries, the Department will use the information gathered in the compilation of this report to more effectively target assistance programs and to work with countries that need help in combating trafficking. The Department hopes the report will be a catalyst for government and non-government efforts to combat trafficking in persons around the world.
Methodology. The State Department obtained information for this report from U.S. embassies and consulates around the world, foreign embassies in Washington, and non-governmental and international organizations working on human rights and trafficking issues. Our diplomatic posts reported on the trafficking situations and governmental actions based on thorough research, including meetings with a wide variety of government officials, local and international NGO representatives, international organizations, officials, journalists, academics, and victims.
The Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons compiled an initial draft of the report using information from U.S. Embassy posts, meetings with foreign government officials, NGOs and international organizations, published reports, research trips to every region, and the information submitted to the e-mail address, firstname.lastname@example.org, which was established for NGOs and individuals to report information on government progress in addressing trafficking. To compile this year's report, the Department took a fresh look at these sources of information on every country to make the following assessments. Assessing each government involved a two-step process:
Step One: Significant Numbers of Victims. First, the Department determined whether a country is "a country of origin, transit, or destination for a significant number of victims of severe forms of trafficking," on the order of 100 or more victims, the same threshold applied in previous reports. Only those countries that reach this threshold are included in the report. Countries for which such information was not available were not included.
Step Two: Tier Placement. The Department placed each of the countries included on the 2003 TIP Report into one of the three lists, described here as tiers, mandated by the TVPA. This placement is based on the extent of a government's actions to combat trafficking. The Department first evaluates whether the government fully complies with the TVPA's minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. Governments that do are placed in Tier 1. For other countries, the Department considers whether their governments made significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance. Countries that make significant efforts are placed in Tier 2. Those countries whose governments do not fully comply with the minimum standards and are not making significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance are placed in Tier 3. Finally, the Special Watch List criteria are considered and, if applicable, countries are placed on the list.
As required by the TVPA, in making tier determinations between Tiers 2 and 3, the Department considers the overall extent of human trafficking in the country; the extent of governmental noncompliance with the minimum standards, particularly the extent to which government officials have participated in, facilitated, condoned, or are otherwise complicit in trafficking; and, what measures are reasonable to bring the government into compliance with the minimum standards in light of the government's resources and capabilities.
Penalties. 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 multilateral development banks such as the World Bank. These potential consequences would take effect at the beginning of the next fiscal year, October 1, 2004.
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 shall be waived if necessary to avoid significant adverse effects on vulnerable populations, including women and children. Sanctions also 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. The United States will continue to monitor progress throughout the world and work with its partners to strengthen international efforts to eliminate all forms of modern-day slavery.