US adds China to the list of Worst Human Trafficking Offenders

The United States State Department in the last week of June 2017 issued highly public criticism of China in its latest annual report on the global state of human trafficking.

As per the Trafficking in Persons report, China is among the worst offenders of human trafficking.

China is now grouped with Tier 3 offenders such as Syria, Iran, Russia and North Korea.

Why China is ranked in Tier 3?

China was downgraded to Tier 3 status in 2017 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) in part because it has not taken serious steps to end its own complicity in trafficking, including forced labours from North Korea that are located in China.

Several other countries like the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Guinea and Mali were downgraded to Tier 3 status.

What does this mean for China?

Tier 3 is used to describe countries that are making no significant effort to comply with international standards.

China was last ranked in this group in 2013. Since then, it had moved up a half-notch.

North Korea receives hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue from forced labour sent primarily from China and Russia.

The Tier 3 designation could mean restrictions on certain kinds of foreign aid funding not tied to humanitarian or trade issues.

China’s reaction

China responded angrily to the report. China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang stated “China firmly opposes the US' irresponsible remarks on other countries' fight against human trafficking, based on its domestic laws". He went on to state, “no country is immune from this problem and China does not appreciate being judged according to U.S. domestic laws and standards."

Other countries in Tier 3

Haiti: Haiti had been on the Tier 2 Watch List for four years. However, this year Haiti dropped to become a Tier 3 nation. As per the 2017 report, most of Haiti's trafficking cases involve children who work as domestic helpers and are usually physically abused, unpaid and kept from school.

Myanmar: Myanmar has been on the Tier 2 Watch List since 2011. However, it slipped to the bottom with a Tier 3 grading. The country has long been struggling with migration and human trafficking problems, specifically from within its oppressed Rohingya community.

India in the report

India has been put in Tier 2 grading.

As per the report, the Government of India does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so.

India demonstrated increasing efforts by increasing the number of victims identified, investigations completed, and traffickers convicted, as well as its budget for shelter programs for female and child trafficking victims.

The Indian government adopted an action plan for children, which included plans to prevent child trafficking and protect child victims. However, the government did not meet the minimum standards in several key areas. Overall victim identification and protection remained inadequate and inconsistent and the government sometimes penalized victims through arrests for crimes committed as a result of being subjected to human trafficking.

As per the report, India is a source, destination, and transit country for men, women, and children subjected to forced labour and sex trafficking. Forced labour constitutes India’s largest trafficking problem; men, women, and children in debt bondage—sometimes inherited from previous generations—are forced to work in brick kilns, rice mills, agriculture, and embroidery factories.

Most of India’s trafficking problem is internal, and those from the most disadvantaged social strata are most vulnerable.

Countries in Tier 1 grading

Armenia, Australia, Austria, The Bahamas, Belgium, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Denmark, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Guyana, Ireland, Israel, Italy, South Korea, Lithuania and others have been kept in the Tier 1 grading.

About Trafficking in Persons report

The Trafficking in Persons report is the world's most comprehensive resource of governmental anti-human trafficking efforts.

It rates nations on how effectively governments are tackling the human trafficking industry on a scale from the worst on Tier 3 to best on Tier 1.

If a nation sits on the Tier 2 Watch List for two years, then it is automatically downgraded to Tier 3. However, the US Secretary of State holds to power to waive it for a maximum of two years.

What does Tier 1 mean?

Governments completely comply with the Trafficking Victims Protection Act's minimum standards.

What does Tier 2 mean?

Governments do not comply with the standards. However, they are making significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance.

What does Tier 2 Watch List mean?

Governments do not fully comply. However, they are making significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance, as well as other negative indicators.

What does Tier 3 mean?

Governments do not comply at all and are not making significant efforts to do so.

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