On July 27th, the United States Department of State issued the 2015 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report. This year’s TIP Report has received pushback for upgrading certain countries with poor human trafficking records, under the suspicion that the upgrades were based on political considerations instead of evaluating the countries on anti-trafficking prevention criteria. The upgrades of Malaysia and Cuba within the TIP Report have garnered particular criticism.
Recently, the United States Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report regarding the care of unaccompanied migrant children by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The GAO report entitled Unaccompanied Alien Children: Actions Needed to Ensure Children Receive Required Care in DHS Custody, found that the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents have not consistently screened unaccompanied Mexican children in their custody for trafficking.
Today, the number of forcibly displaced people worldwide has reached nearly 60 million, the highest number since World War II. Almost 20 million of these are refugees: people who have fled their country of origin because of persecution based on their race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group. Close to 40 million are people displaced within their own country, known as internally displaced persons (IDPs). The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) – also known as the UN Refugee Agency – protects and assists both refugees and IDPs in over 125 countries. UNHCR also works on behalf of stateless individuals, who are not recognized as citizens of any State.
A private company in the United States is facing a lawsuit claiming it engaged in forced labor with immigrant detainees. Earlier this month a federal judge ruled that a private detention center in Colorado must face a potential class action suit alleging it violated the Trafficking Victims Protection Act by forcing immigrant detainees to work for little or no pay. The company that runs the detention center, The GEO Group Inc, had asked the judge to dismiss the claims, but the judge denied their motion.
In the mass media coverage about Europe’s migrant crisis, in which an estimated 1,850 people have lost their lives so far this year crossing the Mediterranean, fingers have been pointed at “traffickers”, accused both of amplifying both the scale of the migration flow and being responsible for the most devastating of the humanitarian consequences of the trade. This is a conceptual error.