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US Department of State Trafficking in Persons Report 2016

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6 July 2016

Human rights groups concerned over US State Dept. upgrading Thailand in trafficking report; others point to improvements by govt.

Author: Alisa Tang & Beh Lih Yi, Reuters

"Thailand's upgrade in human trafficking report slammed as 'premature'", 1 Jul 2016

Human rights and migrant groups on Friday slammed the United States' decision to remove Thailand from its list of the worst human trafficking offenders, saying it was premature and sent the wrong signal to the Thai authorities.Thailand was upgraded from Tier 3, the lowest rating which could trigger sanctions, to Tier 2 in the closely-watched Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report released by the State Department this week.Activists said the upgrade could slow progress to combat people smuggling and slavery in the Southeast Asian nation.The report noted that "widespread forced labor" in the Thai seafood industry continues and trafficking in the fishing industry "remains a significant concern", although it said there was also increased prosecutions and investigations..."We are very disappointed at this decision, which does not, in our view, accurately assess the situation on the ground," said Judy Gearhart, executive director of the International Labor Rights Forum..."Thailand has made important strides in recent months but an upgrade for its performance in 2015 is premature and sends the wrong message to the government," added [Bangkok-based Fortify Rights] Chief Executive Matthew Smith...However Andy Hall, a British lawyer and migrant activist, said Thailand had made "some significant improvements" last year and putting the nation on Tier 2 ranking could give authorities the chance to show a commitment to combating trafficking."If there is no further significant progress during this one year or if developments backtrack or slow, it could and should be back to Tier 3," Hall said...

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6 July 2016

Myanmar, Uzbekistan among 2 dozen countries downgraded in US State Dept.'s trafficking in persons report

Author: Matt Spetalnick & Lesley Wroughton, Reuters

"U.S. downgrades Myanmar, raises Thailand in human trafficking report", 1 Jul 2016

The United States has placed Myanmar, Uzbekistan, Sudan and Haiti on its list of worst human trafficking offenders, drawing guarded praise from some human rights groups following criticism that last year's State Department report was politicized.While more than two dozen countries were downgraded in the closely watched Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report announced on Thursday, Thailand was removed from the bottom rung despite what the State Department described as "widespread forced labor" in the country's vital seafood industry.Other nations demoted to the lowest ranking were Turkmenistan, Djibouti, Papua New Guinea and Suriname. But the Philippines, a key U.S. ally widely known for its thriving sex industry, was moved up to the top tier - the same level as countries like the United States and Germany - even though the report said sex trafficking there was still a "significant problem."...Despite that, some human rights groups especially welcomed downgrades for Myanmar and Uzbekistan, strategically important U.S. partners, and said those decisions may reflect an effort to restore credibility to the annual report...

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30 June 2016

U.S. Trafficking in Persons Report: How does your country fare?

Author: Juliet Perry, CNN

…According to the U.S. State Department the report is “the world’s most comprehensive resource of governmental anti-human trafficking efforts.” It rates 190 nations—up from last year’s 188… on how effectively governments are tackling the human trafficking industry on a scale from the worst on Tier 3 to best on Tier 1. If a nation sits on the Tier 2 Watch List for two years, it’s automatically downgraded to Tier 3, unless the U.S. Secretary of State decides to waive it for a maximum of two years. We take a closer look at which governments are taking the fight to the human traffickers and which, according to this year’s report could do better…


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30 June 2016

[Full report] US Department of State Trafficking in Persons Report 2016

Author: US Department of State

…[This report] … focuses on the positive developments and continued challenges of preventing trafficking, and it considers how governments and the broader anti-trafficking community can effectively ensure that those who are vulnerable to human trafficking have the tools and opportunities to avert the risks of exploitation…Although there is no exhaustive list of groups vulnerable to human trafficking, the experiences discussed above exemplify common challenges experienced by populations at risk of modern slavery… Governments can take affirmative steps to consider those who may be uniquely vulnerable given their country’s culture, social structure, and history, and ensure those groups have access to the protections necessary to keep them from being targeted for human trafficking…

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