On June 19, the State Department released the 2012 Trafficking in Persons Report. This report highlights the stories and the progress made by countries to improve enforcement of trafficking crimes. This includes sex trafficking, child sex trafficking, forced labor, bonded labor or debt bondage, involuntary domestic servitude, forced child labor, and the unlawful use and recruitment of child soldiers. Each country is diagnosed in detail on how it is handling trafficking crimes, and then each country is given a tier rating. Tier 1 consists of countries whose governments fully comply with the Trafficking Victims Protection Act’s (TVPA) minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. Tier 2 consists of Countries whose governments do not fully comply with the TVPA’s minimum standards but are making significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance with those standards. The Tier 2 Watch List has the same as Tier 2, except the absolute number of victims is very severe or increasing or there is a lack of evidence of an increased effort to fight trafficking. Lastly, Tier 3 are countries whose governments do not fully comply with the TVPA’s minimum standards and are not making significant efforts to do so.
In countries where Columbans are present, the tier ratings generally stayed the same. In fact, the only change was in Burma, where it was on Tier 3 and progressed to the Tier 2 watch list. Here is a chart with the past five years of TIP Report Tier Ratings:
|Trafficking In Persons Year By Year Comparison|
The Columbans have played an important role in the determination of tier placement, especially in Taiwan. Columban missionaries throughout the country helped figure out a more accurate rating than what the report originally stated due to their extensive field work with victims. One of these missionaries in Taiwan was Fr. Nguyen Van Hung, Executive Director of the Vietnamese Migrant Workers and Brides Office (VMWBO). Between 2004 and 2006, Fr. Hung and his organization helped over 2,000 Vietnamese workers escape the horrors of labor and sexual exploitation. He has also pushed to prosecute employers who did not pay fair wages and negotiated compensation for wages lost for the Vietnamese migrant workers.