Spotlight: The Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons
The State Department Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (often referred to as the TIP Office), led by Ambassador Luis CdeBaca, was established in 2001 by the Trafficking Victims Protection Act. The TIP Office functions as the nerve center of the U.S. Government's anti-trafficking and anti-slavery activities around the world and is one of the smallest but most effective of all U.S. foreign assistance programs. The TIP Office funds programs internationally to combat trafficking in persons with a focus on perpetrator accountability and victim relief. In 2009, Congress allocated $22 million for the TIP Office's grant-making programs and $4.5 million for operational costs.
Today, 150 years later to the day, we deliver just a little bit more on the promise of freedom that motivated [escaped slaves] to walk North, the promise articulated by the Emancipation Proclamation and the 13th Amendment, written in blood and tears, enshrined in our values and in such symbols as the Lincoln Memorial and the Statue of Liberty." – Luis CdeBaca, Ambassador, Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, June 27, 2011
The Trafficking in Persons Report
Through the release of its annual Trafficking in Persons Report, the TIP Office sheds light on the scope of modern-day slavery and the response to it in 184 countries. (Check out the 2011 TIP Report) The TIP Report ranks countries into three tiers based on the extent of the problem of slavery in the country and progress toward combating it.
Because the ranking system has real effects in the form of U.S. government sanctions, the report is a critical diplomatic tool to pressure countries to step up efforts to combat trafficking and modern-day slavery. In 2010, for the first time, the TIP Report ranked the United States' response to the crime as well. To learn more about the TIP Report, check out IJM Vice President of Government Relations Holly Burkhalter's Op-Ed in the Washington Post and the Washington Post Editorial on the release of the 2011 TIP Report.
Read Secretary Clinton's and Ambassador Luis CdeBaca's remarks at the release of the 2011 TIP Report.
TIP Report in Action
Learn more about how the TIP Report has served as a catalyst for change around the world.
The Cambodian Government was largely unresponsive to IJM's reports of the sexual exploitation of very young children in Svay Pak until the country was placed on Tier 3 – a failure to meet minimum standards for combating trafficking – in the 2002 TIP Report. U.S. Ambassador Charles Ray leveraged the Tier Ranking and threat of diminished foreign assistance to persuade the Cambodian Government to begin taking child trafficking seriously. The Anti-Human Trafficking and Juvenile Protection police (AHTJP), led by General Bith Kim Hong, have since been effective in combating child trafficking, leading to hundreds of victim rescues, perpetrator arrests and convictions.
The 2001 TIP Report placed Israel on Tier 3 in large part for its failure to address the trafficking of women from Eastern and Central Europe into Israel for sexual exploitation. Following Israel's placement on Tier 3, the Israeli government became significantly more engaged in combating human trafficking, passing anti-trafficking legislation in 2006, opening shelters, convicting traffickers, and taking more aggressive steps to monitor and confront labor trafficking.
The release of the 2004 TIP Report with a Tier 2 Watch List ranking for Japan put strong international pressure on the nation as well as gave significant traction to domestic anti-trafficking advocates, which helped lead to the eventual passage of an anti-human trafficking law in the country. The TIP Report's inclusion of a section on issues related to foreign "trainees" brought to Japan to work as apprentices generated significant media attention on the practice, and the Japanese government included reform of the system in its official 2009 National Action Plan.
The TIP Report was an important catalyst for combating trafficking in Nigeria – particularly the trafficking of women to Italy for sexual exploitation. After Nigeria's 2004 designation as a Tier 2 Watch List country, the wife of the President of Nigeria helped develop a comprehensive anti-trafficking framework, leading the country to secure a Tier 1 ranking in 2009.
The Philippines was designated as a Tier 2 Watch List country for the second year in 2010, requiring significant improvement to avoid a Tier 3 ranking in the 2011 TIP Report. The TIP Office, strongly supported by the U.S. Embassy in Manila, worked closely with the Aquino Government to address weaknesses in the country's capacity to combat sex- and labor trafficking. The government of the Philippines made profound reforms, including putting trafficking cases on a fast track to unclog a massive backlog. In the first three months of 2011 alone, there have been 12 convictions in IJM-supported anti-trafficking cases – compared with eight convictions in all of 2010.
Will you ask Congress to support the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act? Send a letter now!
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