The 2013 Trafficking in Persons Report Released

On June 19, 2013 U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry, announced the release of the thirteenth annual report on human trafficking (Trafficking in Persons or TIP). This report is compiled in order to stimulate action and create partnerships to combat human trafficking around the world. “Trafficking in persons” and “human trafficking” are used as umbrella terms for the act of recruiting, harboring, transporting, providing, or obtaining a person for labour or commercial sex acts through the use of force, fraud, or coercion.

The topic of this year’s report is "The identification of the victims: the first step towards ending modern-day slavery." Eradicating modern-day slavery remains a difficult task. The report notes that based on inputs from governments only about 40,000 victims were identified in the past year. In contrast, studies claim that around 27 million men, women and children are victims of trafficking at any given moment. These figures indicate that only a fraction of all the men, women and children estimated to suffer in conditions of modern slavery are recognized by governments as victims and are entitled to receive their due protection and support. Another consequence of the limited number of identified victims is that criminals exploiting and enslaving millions of people continue to act with impunity and outside the reach of the law. This means that current laws and structures to combat trafficking in human beings cannot be put into practice and remain merely theoretical tools of justice. It also inhibits the analysis and collection of data, which are essential for understanding the root causes of trafficking. The weakness of the performance on the identification of victims likewise undermines the Palermo Protocol on Human Trafficking and hampers the realization of the "3P" model: prosecution of criminals, protection for victims, and prevention of future crimes.

The Trafficking in Persons Report 2013 also evaluates the efforts of the Government of Tajikistan in terms of prosecution, protection and prevention of the human trafficking in the country. Over the past three years Tajikistan has been placed in the Tier 2 ranking (Countries whose governments do not fully comply with the Trafficking Victims Protection Act’s minimum standards but are making significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance with those standards).

The report states that the Government of Tajikistan still does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. The government still lacks procedures to proactively identify trafficking victims among vulnerable populations and refer them to existing protective services. The lack of adequate victim protection remains a serious problem in the country. The report also highlights the efforts of the International Organization for Migration Mission in Tajikistan and local NGOs to prevent the use of forced child labour during the annual cotton harvest. During last year’s harvest, labour inspectors from Tajikistan’s Ministry of Labour and Social Protection joined IOM and its NGO partners to issue fines and reprimands for individuals in violation of regulations against the use of child labour in agricultural work. In 2012, the government has continued anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts.  It referred eight victims of trafficking to IOM, two more than the victims identified and referred in 2011.

The Trafficking in Persons Report provides an extensive list of recommendations to Tajikistan to improve the situation in this area, involving both local and international institutions. The full text of the Trafficking in Persons Report 2013 can be downloaded from the following link: http://www.state.gov/j/tip/rls/tiprpt/2013/index.htm