Section 110(b)(2)(D) of the TVPA (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 1 or 2” to be included in the following year’s report as “Tier 3.” The governments of Tier 3 countries are those 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 the following year if the country merits a Tier 2 Watch List ranking and he determines and reports credible evidence to the SFRC and HFAC 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 Bosnia and Herzegovina, Fiji, Guinea-Bissau, Kyrgyz Republic, Malaysia, Maldives, Sudan, and Uzbekistan for the 2020 TIP Report. Because each of the countries listed below has a written plan to begin making significant efforts to meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is devoting sufficient resources to implement the plan, a waiver for each of the eight listed countries is justified under Section 110(b)(2)(D) of the TVPA.

Explanations of the determinations for each of these eight countries

Bosnia and Herzegovina

The government of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) adopted the “National Strategy to Combat Trafficking in Persons in BiH for 2020-2023.” The strategy established a framework to strengthen coordination and harmonize legislation across BiH’s cantons and entities, provide comprehensive victim protection, and increase prosecution efforts. Additionally, the strategy foresees the establishment of 18 regional coordination teams, training on proactive identification, guidance for judges on restitution, and the implementation of procedures to reduce victim penalization. The government has devoted staff and funding to the national anti-trafficking coordinator’s office, which is responsible for implementation of the strategy. Because implementation of the written plan would constitute making significant efforts to bring BiH into compliance with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and because the government has devoted sufficient resources to implement the plan, a waiver is justified under section 110(b)(2)(D) for BiH in the 2020 Trafficking in Persons Report.

Fiji

The Government of Fiji approved the National Plan of Action to Eradicate Trafficking in Persons and Child Trafficking on March 31, 2020. The plan outlines a framework for the government’s prosecution, protection, and prevention efforts. The plan tasks government agencies to conduct training for government officials to identify trafficking, create and issue permits to allow residency status for victims during investigations against their traffickers, and improve coordination among law enforcement. The plan also tasks officials to increase awareness campaigns, establish a case manager position to coordinate victim services, improve victims’ access to services and compensation, and increase coordination with NGOs and other civil society stakeholders. The government has devoted staff and resources, including through the establishment of an interagency coordination committee, responsible for implementation of the plan. Because implementation of the plan would constitute making significant efforts to bring Fiji into compliance with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and because the government has devoted sufficient resources to implement the plan, a waiver is justified under section 110(b)(2)(D) for Fiji in the 2020 Trafficking in Persons Report.

Guinea-Bissau

The Government of Guinea-Bissau finalized and approved an anti-trafficking national action plan for 2020-2021 in February. The plan directs agencies to reduce the prevalence of human trafficking in Guinea-Bissau, reinforce the anti-trafficking legal framework, strengthen law enforcement responses to trafficking, improve interagency coordination in anti-trafficking activities, improve protection and assistance for victims, and prevent trafficking through awareness raising efforts. The action plan tasks relevant ministries with prosecution, protection, and prevention efforts. The government has devoted staff to the implementation of the plan. Because implementation of the written plan would constitute making significant efforts to bring Guinea-Bissau into compliance with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and because the government has devoted sufficient resources to implement the plan, a waiver is justified under section 110(b)(2)(D) for Guinea-Bissau in the 2020 Trafficking in Persons Report.

Kyrgyz Republic

The Government of the Kyrgyz Republic maintained a national anti-trafficking action plan for 2017-2020. The plan establishes a framework for the government’s anti-trafficking efforts through improving the legal framework, preventing and combating human trafficking, enhancing inter-departmental and international cooperation, and protecting and providing assistance to victims. To improve the legal framework, the plan calls for determining the legal status of shelters and rehabilitation centers, regulating the activities of private employment and marriage agencies, and amending the law to allow for greater victim protections. To protect victims, the plan commits the government to strengthen protection services for all trafficking victims and enhance coordination within the overall protection system. To prevent trafficking, the plan tasks the government with awareness raising, training for officials, establishing a hotline, and creating an anti-trafficking database. The government devoted staff and funding to various agencies and departments responsible for implementation of the plan. Because implementation of the plan would constitute making significant efforts to bring the Kyrgyz Republic into compliance with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and because the government has devoted sufficient resources to the anti-trafficking committee to implement the plan, a waiver is justified under section 110(b)(2)(D) for the Kyrgyz Republic in the 2020 Trafficking in Persons Report.

Malaysia

The Government of Malaysia continued to implement the existing National Action Plan for Anti-Trafficking in Persons, 2016-2020. The plan instructs the council for anti-trafficking in persons to oversee implementation of the plan, which addresses efforts to increase prosecution, protection, and prevention efforts. It calls for efforts to improve training for law enforcement, increase public awareness campaigns, provide adequate protective services to victims, increase law enforcement action against labor trafficking, and increase coordination with NGOs and civil society. The government has dedicated the staff and resources of various ministries and agencies towards the implementation of the plan. Because implementation of the plan would constitute making significant efforts to bring Malaysia into compliance with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and because the government has devoted sufficient resources to implement the plan, a waiver is justified under section 110(b)(2)(D) for Malaysia in the 2020 Trafficking in Persons Report.

Maldives

The Government of Maldives finalized and implemented a national anti-trafficking action plan for 2020-2022. Through relevant ministries, including the inter-ministerial National Anti-Human Trafficking Steering Committee led by the ministry of defense, the plan establishes a framework for the elimination of human trafficking in Maldives by enhancing anti-trafficking legislation, awareness, monitoring, training, and enforcement. The plan tasks the government with awareness raising, conducting a baseline study of trafficking in the country, establishing an anti-trafficking hotline, developing standard operating procedures for victim identification, providing specialized victim assistance and care, and partnering with international organizations. The government has devoted staff to an inter-ministerial committee, which is responsible for implementation of the plan. Because implementation of the written plan would constitute making significant efforts to bring Maldives into compliance with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and because the government has devoted sufficient resources to implement the plan, a waiver is justified under section 110(b)(2)(D) for Maldives in the 2020 Trafficking in Persons Report.

Sudan

The Government of Sudan adopted the 2020-2022 National Plan to Combat Human Trafficking during the Transitional Period in March. The plan guides the government’s anti-trafficking efforts under the leadership of the National Committee to Combat Human Trafficking (NCCHT), focusing on preventing the crime through awareness raising programs, proactively identifying and protecting victims, prosecuting traffickers, and increasing cooperation with the United States as well as international organizations to enhance the country’s ability to address human trafficking effectively. The plan identifies the ministries and governmental entities responsible for achieving progress and includes time-bound completion indicators. The plan also addresses a key human trafficking concern in Sudan, the recruitment and use of child soldiers. The government devoted staff and funding ($515,156) to execute the plan. Because implementation of the plan would constitute making significant efforts to bring Sudan into compliance with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and because the government devoted sufficient resources to the NCCHT to implement the plan, a waiver is justified under section 110(b)(2)(D) for Sudan in the 2020 Trafficking in Persons Report.

Uzbekistan

The Government of Uzbekistan maintained a national anti-trafficking action plan for 2019-2025. The action plan tasks relevant ministries with prosecution, protection, and prevention efforts. The action plan calls for practical measure to enhance anti-trafficking efforts by improving national legislation, increasing international law enforcement cooperation on trafficking cases, engaging with and funding civil society organizations to increase protective care for victims, strengthening national capacity, and raising awareness. Additionally, the action plan specifically addresses plans to eliminate forced labor in the cotton harvest by enhancing the qualifications of state inspectors, providing independent observers with full access to monitoring of cotton cultivation, and creating independent, fair, and transparent mechanisms of hiring, so cotton pickers are not recruited against their will, nor employed or appointed by those who carries out authority over them. The government has devoted staff and funding to various agencies and departments responsible for implementation of the plan. Because implementation of the action plan would constitute making significant efforts to bring Uzbekistan into compliance with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and because the government has devoted sufficient resources to implement the plan and decree, a waiver is justified under section 110(b)(2)(D) for Uzbekistan in the 2020 Trafficking in Persons Report.

U.S. Department of State

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