African Nations Top the List of Countries with Human Trafficking Problems

By Carlton Purvis

African countries top the list of nations with human trafficking problems, according to the 2011 Trafficking in Persons report released Monday by the State Department. The Central African Republic, The Republic of Congo, Sudan, and Zimbabwe share the top of the list with North Korea, Iran, and Burma. The State Department says these countries do not comply with the minimum standards to combat human trafficking and are not making efforts to do so. Most victims are trafficked between Cameroon, Chad, Nigeria, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Sudan. Motives include the need for child soldiers, commercial sexual exploitation, and forced labor in diamond mines and agriculture, the report states.

Additionally, Burma, Chad, DRC, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen were placed on the Child Soldier Prevention Act of 2008 (CSPA) list of countries whose governmental armed forces or government-supported armed groups recruit and use child soldiers.

"Now it’s only fair that countries know why they have a certain ranking, and that we, then, take on the responsibility of working with countries to respond. So we are issuing concrete recommendations and providing technical assistance. This week, U.S. diplomats around the world will be meeting with their host country governments to review action plans and provide recommendations when needed,” Secretary of State Hilary Clinton said in her remarks on the report.

The annual report explores in detail and provides narratives of nation’s efforts to combat human trafficking. It places countries into three tiers based on their efforts and offers recommendations. Tier 1 countries have governments that fully comply with the minimum standards of the Victim’s of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000 (TVPA).  Tier two countries have governments that do not fully comply with the TVPS’s minimum standards but are making significant progress. There’s also a Tier 2 Watch List comprised of countries who show decreasing evidence of complicity, an increase in the number of victims, but have pledged to take additional steps over the next year. Tier 3 countries aren’t compliant and aren’t making plans to try and comply.

The TVPA allows sanctions of countries in Tier 3 in the form of withholding nonhumanitarian–related aid as well as U.S. opposition to assistance from the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. Sanctions will go into effect on October 1, the report stated. However, sanctions can be waived if the president determines that providing financial assistance is in the United States’ national interest.

Since last year, efforts to combat human trafficking have resulted in 3,619 convictions and identified 33,113 victims the report noted.

photo by Brett Jordan from flickr


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