U.S. To Be Ranked in Future Slave Trade Reports

Stephanie Berrong

The State Department will rank the United States in the same way as it currently rates foreign countries in its future annual reports on human trafficking, according to

The online news source reported that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told State Department employees at a "town hall meeting" on Friday that the 2010 Global Trafficking in Persons annual report will judge the performance of the U.S. government in combating human trafficking and give it a rank in one of three tiers, just as it does with other countries.

"I want us to start looking at the United States for every report we do, because I happen to think we'll end up being a Tier 1 country...I think we will have more credibility if we start looking at the United States while we criticize other countries as well," said Secretary Clinton, according to

Tier 1 countries fully comply with the Trafficking Victims Protection Act's minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. Tier 2 countries do not comply but are making significant efforts to comply. Tier 2 Watch List countries are those in the second tier which may fall to Tier 3. The third tier includes countries that do not comply with minimum standards to combat trafficking and are not trying to do so.

The report is used as "a diplomatic tool for the U.S. government to use to encourage continued dialogue and to help focus resources on prosecution, protection, and prevention programs and policies," according to the 2009 report (pdf) released last month.

This year's report ranks 28 countries in the top tier, 76 in Tier 2, 52 in Tier 2 Watch List, and 17 in the bottom tier.

The United Kingdom, a Tier 1 country,  recently released a year-long study by a House of Commons committee, which found that the problem in the U.K. is serious but difficult to quantify. (Read more about this report in the International department of the August 2009 issue of Security Management.)

"We have no good information on the scale of the problem, enforcement is patchy, prosecution rates are low, and there is little protection for victims," said Keith Vaz, chairman of the House of Commons committee.

The U.K. study concluded that a conservative estimate for the number of trafficking victims in the U.K. is 5,000, but estimates that the number of women trafficked in the country's sex industry alone is 4,000.

In conjunction with the State Department's global trafficking report, the U.S. Department of Justice also released a report (pdf) that offers recommendations for improving efforts to combat the problem in the United States.


UK sex trafficking statistics

Stephen P
Only in the last few days has therationale behind the UK government's five-year-old  estimate of 4,000 women trafficked for sex into the UK emerged. It is based on an extraordinary series of assumptions of which Mr Vaz and his committee would be unaware in reaching their estimate. It is not regarded as having credibility in academic circles.

More on this can be read on my blog at

There have undoubtedly been some appalling cases of trafficking into the UK but the extent of the problem has clearly been overstated in the UK just as much as in the USA, where official estimates put it at 50,000 a year around the millennium and barely 1,300 cases had been discovered seven years later, according to the Washington Post (link on my blog). Here in the UK, two unprecedented major co-ordinated police campaigns, between them taking years,  found 255 trafficking for sex victims - less than a third of one percent of our estimated 80,000-strong sex worker population.

Fears are that new supposedly anti-trafficking measures here will put more women's lives in danger, including trafficking victims. If you'd like an article on this, do mail me.


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