In September, we will celebrate the 150th Anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation. With this in mind, the State Department recently released their 2012 Trafficking In Persons (TIP) Report, which analyzes countries on their efforts to fight trafficking and slavery. The report rates countries on a tier system, and based on their rating, the country can lose funding or other aid until it addresses human trafficking.
Of the185 countries assessed, only 33 complied fully with laws in place to end human trafficking, such as the Universal Declaration on Human Rights which prohibits slavery and involuntary servitude. However, the TIP reports a total of 29 countries have been upgraded from a lower ranking. Ambassador Luis CdeBaca noted, “There is a little bit of movement, which means the countries are passing laws and are starting to address the situation.”
Although authorities discovered and rescued 42,000 modern-day slaves in 2011, approximately 27 million people continue to be victims of modern slavery. The focus of this year’s report is on how to better protect the victims. Throughout the report are victims’ stories, as well as a section on 2012 Trafficking Heroes. In a letter beginning the report, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton shared her own experience visiting a trafficking shelter in India. “Traffickers prey on the hopes and dreams of those seeking a better life,” Clinton stressed. “Our goal should be to put these hopes and dreams back within reach.”