The United States has released its 2017 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report, which ranks the world’s nations in terms of their efforts in combatting human trafficking, in an effort to hold governments accountable for gaps in protecting the human rights of their citizens and prosecuting violations.
Countries are assigned tiered rankings from Tier 1 – meaning full compliance with minimum standards of the U.S. Trafficking Victims Protection Act’s (TVPA) – to Tier 3, which identifies countries not in compliance and making no effort to do so.
No African nations are listed in the Tier 1 group, while 12 of them, including Burundi and South Sudan, are listed in the Tier 3 group. In between is Tier 2, which acknowledges national efforts to improve despite failing to achieve Tier 1 minimums, and the Tier 2 Watch List, which lists countries in that group but with additional red flags on human trafficking.
Tier 3 status means a country may be subject to sanctions that affect trade status, development aid and other consequences.
African countries saw mixed results when it came to changes in the rankings, with the status of at least seven countries downgraded among the four tiers. They include Burkina Faso, Madagascar, Nigeria and Zambia, all of which were placed on the Tier 2 Watch List; and Congo-Brazzaville and Democratic Republic of Congo, moved to the Tier 3 group. Liberia was moved to the Tier 2 group.
Another eight nations were upgraded as the result of policy improvements, enforcement and humanitarian care. They included Algeria and Zimbabwe, which were moved to the Tier 2 Watch list, and Cote d’Ivoire, Djibouti, The Gambia, Seychelles, Tanzania and Tunisia, all upgraded to Tier 2.
Two African nations – Libya and Somalia – are listed as special cases, as is the country of Yemen. The catastrophic human trafficking conditions in Libya are mentioned frequently throughout the 450-page report in discussions of the treatments of migrants and refugees coming from other nations, primarily sub-Saharan Africa or neighboring North African states.
“As reported by international organizations in 2016, trafficking victims—including men, women, and children—are highly vulnerable to extreme violence and other human rights violations in Libya by government officials and non-state armed groups, including physical, sexual, and verbal assault; abduction for ransom; arbitrary killings; and inhumane detention,” the report said.
Also measured in the report is failure to comply with the Child Soldiers Protection Act. Six of the eight nations on that list – all except for Syria and Yemen – are in conflict zones on the African continent.
To access the report and read individual country profiles, see this link.