Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Decade of Delivery

This decade has just been dubbed the "Decade of Delivery" by the U.S State Department, which just released the 2011 Trafficking in Persons Report. Among its contents, it ranks each country based on its efforts (or lack of efforts) to combat human trafficking all over the world.

Not surprisingly, Thailand is listed as a Tier 2 Country, meaning that the U.S recognizes that it attempting to work against trafficking, but that there is still a significant problem. More importantly, Thailand is listed on the Tier 2 Watch List, meaning that they are in danger of being moved down to the lowest category, or to Tier 3 status.

Straight from the U.S. State Department's website, Tier 2 (Watch List) is defined as:

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 AND:

the absolute number of victims of severe forms of trafficking is very significant or is significantly increasing;
there is a failure to provide evidence of increasing efforts to combat severe forms of trafficking in persons from the previous year, including increased investigations, prosecution, and convictions of trafficking crimes, increased assistance to victims, and decreasing evidence of complicity in severe forms of trafficking by government officials; or
the determination that a country is making significant efforts to bring itself into compliance with minimum standards was based on commitments by the country to take additional steps over the next year.

 If Thailand is moved down to Tier 3 status, certain sanctions will be imposed on it, including "withholding or withdrawing nonhumanitarian, non-trade-related foreign assistance."

Thailand better get its act together soon. I personally have seen the enormous trafficking problem in Thailand. Just today, we traveled to a shelter that houses girls who have been rescued from brothels in Northern Thailand.

I am so proud of the U.S. and other governments for working against trafficking, for publicizing a report that seeks to analyse the problem and provide potential solutions, and for government officials, NGO workers, and human rights activists who work tirelessly to help lessen the number of victims in this terrible crime.

Let this be, indeed, the Decade of Deliverance.

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