TIP Report Highlights Global Progress and American Shortcomings

WASHINGTON – The U.S. State Department’s 2018 Trafficking in Persons Report (TIP Report), released last week, chronicled many successes around the world in the effort to eradicate human trafficking and modern slavery. The report also highlighted shortcomings in America’s anti-trafficking efforts here at home.

ATEST commends the State Department’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (J/TIP) for the theme of the report: effective ways that local communities can address human trafficking proactively and how national governments can support and empower them. ATEST appreciates this focus on grassroots organizations and projects led by human trafficking survivors, as effective anti-trafficking initiatives must include a victim-centered approach. The report also details root causes and systemic conditions that leave individuals vulnerable to traffickers – such as poverty, forced migration, racism and discrimination. The report stresses the need to provide support for populations that fall outside traditional national jurisdictions – such as tribal members, migrants and refugees, and itinerant populations.

ATEST applauds the report’s assertion that traffickers are diverse and not only members of organized criminal gangs. The report notably stresses the critical need for comprehensive support services and trauma informed care for survivors, and the importance of taskforces and rigorous assessment of anti-trafficking programs.

ATEST has consistently urged the U.S. government and other anti-trafficking actors to do more to address labor trafficking in the U.S. and abroad. The report recognizes the shortcomings of the of the United States government’s response to human trafficking, while giving the U.S. a top-tier ranking, by noting that advocates report a “lack of sustained efforts to address labor trafficking compared to sex trafficking” in the U.S., and that resources are not provided equitably and comprehensively across the country. And as ATEST has noted in a previous statement, the report concurs that housing children in institutional settings increases the risk that they will be trafficked, though thousands of undocumented migrant children are currently being kept by the U.S. government in detention. The report did not acknowledge that America’s cornerstone anti-trafficking law, the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, which provides the architecture for America’s federal trafficking response, has lapsed.

American leadership in the global fight to end human trafficking and modern slavery begins by setting an example the world can follow. ATEST calls on the U.S. government to reauthorize America’s trafficking legislation without delay, and to speedily resolve the current child and immigrant detention crisis in a way that eliminates the risk of trafficking and strengthens family bonds and social security networks.

Media contact: Terry FitzPatrick | Phone 571-282-9913 | email: [email protected]