Tuesday, June 15, 2010

US critiques self in human trafficking report

The U.S. State Department has released their annual report on human trafficking. In this year's report, the state department turns a critical eye on their own efforts to fight trafficking and says it could do a better job. The U.S. finds only a fraction of human trafficking victims. When some victims are found, law enforcement officials usually do not provide any help to them.

Experts are applauding this critical look in the report. Past editions ranked nations according to their effectiveness in fighting human trafficking. This is the first report that gives a ranking to the U.S.

From the Kansas City Star, writers Mark Morris and Mike McGraw detail the report. The article is part of the Star's outstanding series on human trafficking.

Kevin Bales, an internationally-recognized expert on human trafficking and the president of the anti-trafficking group Free the Slaves, called the report the best yet in the State Department’s 10-year series of reports, which are mandated by Congress.

“It doesn’t pull any punches,” Bales said of the new report.

Clinton and the 373-page report she unveiled acknowledged that the U.S. was “a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children subjected to trafficking in persons, specifically forced labor, debt bondage, and forced prostitution.”

The report noted that the U.S. can do much better at fighting such abuses in a number of areas. Despite significant expenditures of tax money, authorities find only a few of the human-trafficking victims thought to be in the country.

The report also said efforts to identify children who are involved in the sex trade are “not well coordinated.”

The report also identified U.S. guest-worker programs as an avenue for labor traffickers and called on authorities to work harder at prosecuting such cases.

Overall, 22 countries were upgraded from last year’s rankings. Nineteen were downgraded, including Switzerland, which U.S. officials ranked in Tier Two with such countries as Angola, Liberia and Mexico.

Thirty-one countries were rated as Tier One this year along with the United States, indicating that U.S. officials thought those countries made significant efforts to stop human trafficking. There were 28 Tier One countries in 2009.

The report listed 12 countries in Tier Three — the worst category — down from 17 in 2009. Moving out of Tier Three to a higher category were Chad, Fiji, Niger, Swaziland and Syria.

Read more: http://www.kansascity.com/2010/06/14/2017767/us-report-cites-progress-but-more.html#ixzz0qvcvKcCR

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