USDOS – US Department of State (Autor)
Pursuant to section 110(b)(3)(B) of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (Div. A. of Public Law 106-386), as amended, the Department of State is required to submit to the Congress an interim assessment of the progress made in combating trafficking in persons (TIP) by those countries placed on the Special Watch List in September 2009. The evaluation period covers the six months since the drafting of the June 2009 annual report.
This year, 55 countries are on the Special Watch List. These countries either (1) had moved up a tier in the 2009 TIP Report over the last year’s report; or (2) were ranked on Tier 2 in the 2009 TIP Report, but (a) had a very significant or significantly increasing number of trafficking victims, (b) had failed to provide evidence of increasing efforts to combat TIP from the previous year, or (c) were placed on Tier 2 because of commitments to carry out additional future actions over the coming year, placing them on the “Tier 2 Watch List.” Fifty-two of the 55 countries on the Special Watch List are in the second category – ranked as Tier 2 Watch List, including one country initially ranked as Tier 3 in the June 2009 TIP Report but reassessed as Tier 2 Watch List by the State Department in September 2009 (Swaziland). Attached to this Interim Assessment is an overview of the tier process.
In most cases, the interim assessment is intended to serve as a tool by which to gauge the anti‑trafficking progress of countries that may be in danger of slipping a tier in the upcoming June 2010 TIP Report and to give them guidance on how to avoid a Tier 3 ranking. It is a tightly focused progress report, assessing the concrete actions a government has taken to address the key deficiencies highlighted in the June 2009 TIP Report. The Interim Assessment covers actions undertaken between the beginning of May – the cutoff for data covered in the June TIP Report – and November. Readers are requested to refer to the annual TIP Report for an analysis of large-scale efforts and a description of the trafficking problem in each particular country or territory.
The Department placed each of the countries or territories included in the 2009 Trafficking in Persons Report into one of the three lists, described here as tiers, mandated by the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, as amended (TVPA). This placement reflects an evaluation of a government’s actions to combat trafficking. The Department first evaluates whether the government fully complies with the TVPA’s minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. Countries whose governments do so are placed in Tier 1. For other countries, the Department considers whether their governments made significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance. Countries whose governments are making significant efforts to meet the minimum standards are placed in Tier 2. Those countries whose governments do not fully comply with the minimum standards and are not making significant efforts to do so are placed in Tier 3. Finally, the Special Watch List criteria are considered and, if applicable, Tier 2 countries are placed on the Tier 2 Watch List.
Tier 1: Countries whose governments fully comply with the Act’s minimum standards.
Tier 2: Countries whose governments do not fully comply with the Act’s minimum standards but are making significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance with those standards.
a) The absolute number of victims of severe forms of trafficking is very significant or is increasing significantly; or
Tier 3: Countries whose governments do not fully comply with the minimum standards and are not making significant efforts to do so.
As required by the TVPA, in making tier determinations between Tiers 2 and 3, the Department considers the overall extent of human trafficking in the country; the extent of government noncompliance with the minimum standards, particularly the extent to which government officials have participated in, facilitated, condoned, or are otherwise complicit in trafficking; and what reasonable measures the government would have to take to come into compliance with the minimum standards within the government’s resources and capabilities.
The Government of Iraq has made minimal progress in combating trafficking in persons since the release of the 2009 TIP Report. The government has not yet enacted a law drafted in January 2009 that criminalizes all forms of trafficking. The draft law reportedly is stalled in a special committee within the Shura Council. An inter-ministerial committee (comprised of members from the ministries of Human Rights, Foreign Affairs, and Labor and Social Affairs) will continue to serve as a coordinating body on human trafficking issues with no special authority to implement its recommendations. During the last six months, however, the Iraqi government initiated both a criminal and a human rights investigation into an alleged labor trafficking crime that resulted in the issuance of two arrest warrants.
The Iraqi government has yet to provide protection services to victims or to encourage their assistance in prosecuting offenders. The government has been unable to provide even temporary shelter to trafficking victims, though government authorities reportedly detained some foreign trafficking victims while their country of origin assists them to obtain new passports to return home. In August 2009, however, the Iraqi government’s efforts led to the successful repatriation of 14 women to Uganda after they were apparently trafficked into Iraq for the purposes of labor exploitation.
Iraq has not yet trained officials in methods to identify victims or considered measures to reduce abuse of migrant workers. Abuses of foreign workers who are trafficked into Iraq under false pretenses are often not investigated by the police. Some of these victims may be working on activities associated with the U.S. presence in Iraq.
The Ministry of Human Rights, working in tandem with the Ministry of Youth and Sports, initiated a public awareness campaign aimed at educating children at schools and youth centers across the country about trafficking, though the government has not yet created an effective mechanism to disseminate awareness information to front-line law enforcement officers.
Iraq has not taken steps to end the practice of forced marriages and curb the use of temporary marriages that can result in situations of sexual and domestic servitude; nor has it regulated recruitment practices of foreign labor brokers to prevent practices that facilitate forced labor.