Human Trafficking: U.S. downgrades four countries in TIP Report

In its annual Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report, the U.S. State Department downgraded the four countries to Tier 3, the lowest possible ranking it gives for national responses to fighting modern day slavery - Thailand, Malaysia, Venezuela and The Gambia.

Of particular significance in this year’s report is the downgrading of Thailand (Tier 3), where activists have consistently documentedappalling human rights abuses within the fishing industry, and Qatar (downgrade to the Tier 2 watchlist) where forced and trafficked labour is a significant part of construction work for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Malaysia, where forced labour is reportedly common in eg. palm oil industry, has also been downgraded (Tier 3).

Countries listed on Tier 3 are:
Algeria, Central African Republic, DRC, Cuba, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, The Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Iran, Korea, North, Kuwait, Libya, Malaysia,Mauritania, Papua New Guinea, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Thailand, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Yemen, Zimbabwe.

Trafficking for labour exploitation continues to be a problem also in Europe and it needs to be better addressed. While actors in the field have only discovered a tip of an iceberg, any solution to the problem will require understanding of new trends, developing new responses and partnerships.

For that reason trade unions, NGOs and faith based organizations launched a partnership to contribute to anti-trafficking response in Europe. Through the new project ITUC, together with Anti-Slavery International and Churches’ Commission for Migrants in Europe as international partners, will improve responses to labour trafficking. The three organzations, as well as national partners in Austria, Czech Republic, Finland, Ireland, Lithuania, Romania and Spain will in particular focus on exploring new trends in trafficking – such as gender dimension of labour trafficking, more and more severe exploitation of increasingly large groups of exploited migrant workers in mainstream economic activities and new labour trafficking recruitment methods including the use of Internet and ICTs.

The FINE TUNE project is supported by the ISEC/EU DG Home grant and it forms a part of the ITUC global action for protection of rights of trafficked workers and strenghtening labour standards for decent work.