June 20th, 2014
09:05 AM ET

Human Trafficking: U.S. downgrades four countries in TIP Report

By Leif Coorlim

Washington, DC (CNN) –- After several years of what it says are broken promises, the U.S. government has singled out Thailand, Malaysia, Venezuela and The Gambia for taking insufficient action against human trafficking.

In its annual Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report, released Friday, the U.S. State Department downgraded the four countries to Tier 3, the lowest possible ranking it gives for national responses to fighting modern day slavery.

The report says there is evidence of forced labor and sex trafficking in Malaysia and Thailand. It highlights Malaysia’s problem with migrants from other Asian nations who seek work on farms, factories and construction sites only to be trapped and have their passports taken and wages withheld.

In Thailand, the report says tens of thousands of migrants from neighboring countries are being exploited in the commercial sex industry, on fishing boats or as domestic servants.

Read: Can Thailand tackle its slavery problem?

And in Venezuela, women and girls are often lured from poor interior regions to tourist centers with the promise of false job offers. When they arrive, they are often forced into prostitution.

The report ranks governments based on their perceived efforts to acknowledge and combat human trafficking, advance reforms and target resources for prevention, protection and prosecution programs.

It divides nations into four tiers based on their compliance with 11 “minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking.”

• Tier 1 countries include governments fully compliant with the minimum standards.
• Tier 2 Countries don’t fully comply, but are making significant efforts to do so.
• There is then a Tier 2 Watch List which includes countries with a high number of victims, or where the numbers are significantly increasing. It also includes countries where there’s insufficient evidence of acceptable efforts to improve anti-trafficking programs.
• Tier 3 countries do not fully comply with the minimum standards and have not shown the U.S. they are making significant efforts to do so.

The TIP report is an important instrument to assess the current state of anti-trafficking responses in each country.

In addition to loss of face, a Tier 3 status can also mean less money as the U.S. government may use the designation to withhold or withdraw non-humanitarian and non-trade related assistance.

Those countries could also face U.S. opposition in obtaining development aid from international financial institutions like the World Bank or International Monetary Fund.

Globally, more than 20 million people are believed to be ensnared in some form of human trafficking, according to the International Labour Organization.

Luis CdeBaca, Ambassador-at-Large of the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, cited Thailand and Malaysia’s repeated non-compliance in meeting minimum anti-trafficking standards.

“Malaysia continues to have a victim care regime that basically locks up the victims,” added Cdebaca.

“In Thailand, we have a lot of beginnings that will hopefully come to fruition, but the report doesn’t look at promises. It looks at results.”

Four other countries had faced possible downgrades to Tier 3 included Afghanistan, Barbados, Chad and the Maldives.

Cdebaca said each of those demonstrated their governments were serious about stopping human trafficking over the course of the past year.

“In Afghanistan, for the first time now, we're seeing 14 traffickers were convicted. We’re even seeing the conviction of soldiers,” says Cdebaca.

While the United States puts itself in the Tier 1 category, the State Department acknowledges its own problems fighting trafficking, something that hadn’t been done in the report until 2010.

Opinion: U.S. must practice what it preaches

This year’s report highlights several new groups within the U.S. that may be vulnerable to traffickers, including teens living on Native American reservations and members of the LGBT community.

Other countries listed on Tier 3 are:
• Algeria
• Central African Republic
• Cuba
• Democratic Republic of Congo
• Equatorial Guinea
• Eritrea
• Guinea-Bissau
• Iran
• Kuwait
• Libya
• Mauritania
• North Korea
• Papua New Guinea
• Russia
• Saudi Arabia
• Syria
• Uzbekistan
• Yemen
• Zimbabwe

The following countries were upgraded in this year's report:
• Afghanistan
• Albania
• Barbados
• Chad
• Chile
• China
• Honduras
• Liberia
• Maldives
• Micronesia
• St. Lucia
• Seychelles
• Sudan
• Switzerland
• Trinidad and Tobago

Topics: Government • In The News • The Facts • TIP Report

soundoff (95 Responses)
  1. Zon

    Protest with your wallet and make a commitment to not visit these countries and avoid purchasing goods from these countries. Hitting them in their pocketbooks gets their attention.

    June 20, 2014 at 10:14 am | Reply
    • Mike

      Kind of hard me to avoid buying products in Thailand when I own a vacation flat there.

      But let's not obsess about the tier levels. By all objective accounts the USA belongs on Tier 3 itself, but for political reasons can't put itself there.

      June 22, 2014 at 1:28 am | Reply
      • Howard

        Yes right on mate. Hierocracy. Dont' they support Saudi Arabia who are probably the worse country for human trafficking in the world.

        June 26, 2014 at 5:58 am |
    • Sam

      Who give the USA to be a police of the world. No one cares what America says anymore thanks to china economically input to the develop country. But Americans have a right to keep shouting tho lool

      June 22, 2014 at 8:35 am | Reply
      • Howard

        I feel sorry for the great American people who work so hard to make the USA the powerful country it is. And their politicians lie, abuse and just spend their hard earned tax money. Some of the worst crimes against humanity are committed by US policies overseas.

        June 26, 2014 at 6:01 am |
    • Jenny

      Yes and maybe the majority of the population of the world stop buying American goods and services in protest against their inhumane foreign policy, violation of human rights and destruction of democracy around the world. People are sick of their lies and arrogance.

      June 24, 2014 at 7:18 am | Reply
    • Howard

      Yeah lets do that to the USA for all the carnage they cause round the world. Problem is the majority of the worlds population are not in the USA. They do not agree with the USA and know the truth about it. Love the US people but their politicians are horrible.

      June 26, 2014 at 6:03 am | Reply
  2. JA

    Sure that will do a lot. . . lots of people are vacationing in Syria these days. Maybe if the United States stopped funding crazed Islamic militants in about half these countries they could spend some time stopping human trafficking.

    June 20, 2014 at 10:28 am | Reply
  3. TallinOK

    Oklahoma could be bigger than a few of those countries.

    June 20, 2014 at 11:07 am | Reply
  4. dave

    Funny how Israel isn't on the list.

    June 20, 2014 at 11:29 am | Reply
    • danicalifornia

      Right now the United States is on the top of the list – just another port of entry where they are shipped all over the country to God knows where instead of returning them home where they belong.

      June 20, 2014 at 2:09 pm | Reply
    • octopus

      funny there's no human trafficking there... i know it's annoying.

      June 20, 2014 at 6:56 pm | Reply
      • Will

        You’re right — the eastern European women who are being kept as s3x slaves in Israeli brothels aren’t really humans according to Jews, so… No “human” trafficking. Jewish logic!

        June 21, 2014 at 5:47 pm |
    • Jenny

      ha ha ha ha yes good point !

      June 24, 2014 at 7:19 am | Reply
  5. Bob Dole

    This looks like places to visit map. Good job.

    June 20, 2014 at 11:51 am | Reply
  6. José Augusto Sansão Assad

    Once again the U.S. Government should be congratulated, by the blessed and honored work, no matter whether they are Democrats or Republicans. The most important is the work, in order to help the children, who are victims of these human trafficking.

    But I must go further:

    The world society need to understand that the human traffickers, also negotiate for extracting human organs for surgical transplants, for people who practice cannibalism and people who practice ritual of human sacrifices.

    June 20, 2014 at 12:10 pm | Reply
  7. Michael

    >Tier 3 countries do not fully comply with the minimum standards and have not shown the U.S. ...

    The U.S. !!!
    So the US is the absolute judge and the U.S. builds this ranking.
    And if a country simply does not convincingly prove to the US what is doing (perhaps not willing to work with the US on anything), then the US can easily place this country in Tier 3...

    Oh, well...

    June 20, 2014 at 12:21 pm | Reply
    • Triston

      Its the United States' list......so....they decide who goes on their list and the standards for what tier a country is on. Its not the "world finalist" list....its the list made by and according to the standards set forth by the U.S.

      June 20, 2014 at 2:45 pm | Reply
  8. B.C.Gee

    Why isn't the United Nations imposing severe sanctions upon these offending countries?

    And why are these countries not being prosecuted at the Hague?

    June 20, 2014 at 12:49 pm | Reply
    • octopus

      because the "modern slavery" issue was brought up by Bush to divert the world's attention from his own crimes in Iraq.

      June 20, 2014 at 6:57 pm | Reply
  9. rick

    And some are SUPPRISED by these results? Should have been extreemly obvious to anyone who has wondered what happened to that missing flight MH370. Malasia is after money.. Any way they can get it.. They have already been paid millions of dollars by the airplanes insurance company.. But has REFUSED to pay the families of the victims on the flight.. Yes.. Totaly STOP any tourisim there for few years.. Change the dance tune real quick when pockets empty.. Refuse any immagration to other countries.. Blanket sanctions on ALL of the countries where major buesness is human trafficing..

    June 20, 2014 at 12:53 pm | Reply
    • Josh

      Your grammar is atrocious.

      June 20, 2014 at 5:53 pm | Reply
  10. Exposing the Big Game

    Reblogged this on Exposing the Big Game.

    June 20, 2014 at 12:55 pm | Reply
  11. Judson McCulloch

    Why are we getting in the middle of this? The world as whole hates us and what we stand for. Why help them with their slavery issues? Let China and Russia police this type of activity.

    June 20, 2014 at 1:44 pm | Reply
    • shellz

      Yes, because China and Russia are all about human rights. Really, it needs to be a collective effort by all countries with the matter classified as a top priority to address.

      June 20, 2014 at 5:19 pm | Reply
      • Judson McCulloch

        We get accused non-stop of being worse than China and Russia. Even when Russia invades one of its neighbors somehow that's out fault? If the vast majority wants a world run like China and Russia. I say they are welcome to it.

        June 20, 2014 at 6:56 pm |
  12. TMoney

    Aren't millions of people trafficked to the US every year from Latin America, Asia, Eastern Europe and Africa? How do they think illegal immigrants get here? I think our government is not doing enough to stop this problem and should be ranked as the worst offender on this list.

    June 20, 2014 at 1:46 pm | Reply
  13. 1776usa2016

    US has no business telling any country anything about human rights of any kind until we get our own house in order.

    Most incarcerated nation in the history of mankind. Inhumane prison conditions.

    Cops that go around shooting citizens with impunity.

    Mentally ill just thrown onto the streets and left to fend for themselves.

    Same with vets. Just thrown onto the streets.

    Abject poverty taking hold in many areas of the country over the past 30 years.

    Thousands of innocent people railroaded into prison and forgotten about.

    And a hundred other examples of our so-called American exceptionslism that is nothing more than a facade.

    .

    June 20, 2014 at 2:18 pm | Reply
    • shellz

      Good points - Couldn't agree more! To think the # of mentally ill not getting treatment - and a good majority of those w/ major conditions end up incarcerated. It's a significant failing on the part of our nation.

      June 20, 2014 at 5:22 pm | Reply
    • Richard R.

      So many criminals in prison. Better than on the streets doing their crimes.
      Mentally ill thrown out on the streets. That's the result of a lawsuit in the 70s by ACLU prohibiting keeping mentally ill off streets unless they are proved to be a danger to selves or others.
      Abject poverty. For some that is a choice, depending on welfare, for millions its unemployment do to illegal aliens taking jobs.

      June 21, 2014 at 2:24 pm | Reply
    • Jenny

      I agree 100%.

      June 24, 2014 at 7:20 am | Reply
  14. d. lewis

    The US has to rank lower than tier 1, the US openly admits to 11 million illegal workers, it's likely much higher than that maybe double or triple that. The US openly engages in propaganda that encourages illegals to come to the US, professing that 70% of Americans want more illegal workers to come to the US. The US openly refuses to enforce immigration laws and labor laws, causing millions of illegal workers to come to the US illegally. This causes million of them to be abused on that trip, as well as some of them dying. I heard today that some think that bringing in more workers will solve our SS problem and our baby boomer's retiring problem. SS is not solved by bringing in more workers, its solved by having more good paying jobs, it worsens the situation by driving down wages/salaries, as it's a percentage of income thing, not a number of unemployed workers thing. There's nothing that the propagandist won't stoop to, lying, distroting things, all in the interests of cheap labor, and driving down wages and salaries for hard working legal American workers. It anything, the US should be listed as the number 1 violator in this category of human trafficing. They don't keep a tally of the number that die in trying to get here, but I would bet it's in the 1000nds.

    June 20, 2014 at 3:02 pm | Reply
  15. DJonson

    "Tier 3 countries do not fully comply with the minimum standards and have not shown the U.S. they are making significant efforts to do so."
    _______________
    And why exactly anyone in the world must report to USA about their internal business?

    June 20, 2014 at 3:25 pm | Reply
    • Judson McCulloch

      I agree the days of us having sympathy for the plight of others needs to come to a quick end. It gets us no where. Humans traffic other humans. Been that way forever. Its sad. I am certainly glad I had the advantage in not being born into that. But, showing compassion has gotten this country deeper in debt, and hated by most other countries in the world. Time to let them free themselves, feed themselves, and find their own water.

      June 20, 2014 at 3:39 pm | Reply
  16. Mike

    We here in the US should be taking note of our own problems with human trafficking and quit pointing out other nations' inability to control their problem...

    June 20, 2014 at 3:44 pm | Reply
  17. Bobby TBD

    Reblogged this on bobbytbd and commented:
    Human trafficking is a reality that needs to be noticed. I am glad to see the US stepping up to the plate and calling out those who are not doing enough to put an end to this horrific practice.

    June 20, 2014 at 3:50 pm | Reply
  18. Bobby TBD

    Reblogged this on and commented:
    Human trafficking is a reality that needs to be noticed. I am glad to see the US stepping up to the plate and calling out those who are not doing enough to put an end to this horrific practice.

    June 20, 2014 at 3:51 pm | Reply
  19. Julian Assange

    WHO is the U.S. to "DOWNGRADE" somebody else?

    A nation that MURDERS as America, who drops nuclear weapons ON INNOCENT CIVILIANS does not have the MORAL to downgrade ANYONE on ANY field!

    Americans believe because they have plenty of nukes they can do this sort of stupidities!

    June 20, 2014 at 4:44 pm | Reply
    • Judson McCulloch

      I agree Julian we should stand down. If you don't like being a slave, fight back. Now if its a child that is a slave, they were just born to the wrong parents. Not our problem they had bad luck.

      June 20, 2014 at 6:14 pm | Reply
      • Daniel

        I can't tell if you are being sarcastic or not. I suppose that's the downside to reading text though, no emotional framing using vocals. Regardless, I certainly hope you are being sarcastic. Also, to the comment above the ambiguous comment, they are the ones judging countries because it is their list. I would be surprised not to see bias in a list created in the US for purposes by the US...

        June 20, 2014 at 8:41 pm |
  20. Peggy

    Seems like CNN really has a vendetta against Thailand this past month. Hyping up and exaggerating the bloodless coup in Thailand and now putting them on the same level as Iran and North Korea. CNN is seeming a bit biased lalely against Thailand.

    June 20, 2014 at 4:50 pm | Reply
    • Will

      Thailand's king is a son of a BlTCH

      June 21, 2014 at 5:50 pm | Reply
    • Steven

      You are so correct peggy. Its all about them loosing out and they don't like the fact Thailand wants to do its own thing and not be ruled or dictated to by USA politicians. Who the heck do they think they are ? They are ruining all goodwill round the world. Thailand never speaks bad about USA and always been its friend. This is how they treat their friends ?

      June 22, 2014 at 5:31 am | Reply
  21. hohoho

    Without the human trafficking Obama would't be in the US at the first place.

    June 20, 2014 at 8:00 pm | Reply
  22. hohoho

    12 million illegals In USA who is the top human trafficking country in the world?????

    June 20, 2014 at 8:03 pm | Reply
    • Chuck

      Its closer to 15 million now

      DId you know they are flying Plane Loads of these kids to Massachusetts of all places?

      June 20, 2014 at 9:14 pm | Reply
      • Will

        The north isn't being "latinized" at a fast enough pace so the KlKE World Order is speeding up the process.

        June 21, 2014 at 5:53 pm |
    • Steven

      Absolutely spot on !

      June 22, 2014 at 5:32 am | Reply
  23. Chuck

    The US is trafficking Cartel Children in MASS to America
    ad Obama to the list

    June 20, 2014 at 9:13 pm | Reply
  24. eric

    Hilary just wasted 60M usd on these efforts in the Philippines but the bars remain open.... send more monies pls

    June 20, 2014 at 10:11 pm | Reply
  25. Bob

    Not sure if I trust this report, I visited Oslo, Norway back in 2011. The entire city was being operated by slaves. They worked the entire service industry, on all levels. At no point could I walk into a bar, club, or restaurant and not see girls from Eastern Europe and a scary dude with tattoos, sunglasses, and a Rolex.

    June 21, 2014 at 3:07 am | Reply
  26. Tawanda

    The USA has no business telling the world how to run their affairs.What about racism in America, what about human trafficking here in the states.

    June 21, 2014 at 10:06 am | Reply
  27. Kali

    I think that many of you are forgetting the true meaning of human trafficking. I read many of the comments on here, and it seems that many people think that it is just immigration. Those who choose to come to the U.S., or any country, illegally are not a part of human trafficking. Those who die trying to get into a country illegally are not victims of human trafficking. The U.S. is an offender of human trafficking but not because of all the illegal immigrant workers unless they are being forced to work with very little to no pay. The TIP report is dealing with “modern day slavery.” Slavery is not choosing to flee to another country in hopes of having a better life. It is being forced to do something against your will. Please let me know if I misunderstood your comment.

    June 21, 2014 at 12:51 pm | Reply
  28. Jay

    The USA better look in the mirror before pointing fingers, it is the #1 destination for human trafficking.

    June 21, 2014 at 6:48 pm | Reply
    • Steven

      Yes they should

      June 22, 2014 at 5:33 am | Reply
    • Howard

      Spot on. You are correct. Stop pointing fingers and look at your own backyard. USA should be helping their own people with the problems at home not talking rubbish about other nations.

      June 26, 2014 at 5:57 am | Reply
  29. Natt

    Before doing this thing, I hope that some governments need to learn the real situation about human trafficking in Thailand and Malaysia. Something is different from the news said.

    June 22, 2014 at 12:46 am | Reply
  30. bngambill

    Reblogged this on A Drop in the Ocean and commented:
    Ending Modern Day Slavery: See a need, be the solution

    June 22, 2014 at 1:19 am | Reply
  31. Steven

    How the USA can say these things I am flabbergasted. They are complicit with human slavery with Mexican workers on a daily basis. They constantly fight a battle with border crossers and have a tiny fraction of the borders that Thailand does. USA you used to be a country to respect and Thailand loved you. You are making a real mess of your foreign policies and backed a corrupt, murdering regime who this military kicked out. You are so wrong and very disturbingly misinformed and misguided. What about if the rest of the world looked at your country with its terrible history of human abuse and slavery. Thailand is not a slave nation at all. They are lovely people and you are only saying this because you lost out when your corrupt backed politicians lost out and you lost out on lending via world banks vast sums of money for infrastructure projects. You are like spiteful children. So sad who runs USA now. They are sick people indeed. How can you be so stupid and so arrogant.

    June 22, 2014 at 5:29 am | Reply
    • Howard

      you are so right mate.

      June 26, 2014 at 5:55 am | Reply
  32. James

    3 listed are political hits. And have little to do with human traficing listed but politics. As for the Gambi. They are surounded by war. And are a safe haven Country for refugies with no other way to survive and to poor for hand outs. So have America set up wellfare camps and that problem ends for them

    June 22, 2014 at 6:23 am | Reply
  33. john roach

    The united state needs a new president that well make america great again . god save america from obama... save america get rid of all unions they destory america jobs and cause jobs to go overseas.. god save america get the democrate out of power..

    June 22, 2014 at 3:01 pm | Reply
  34. moiraesfate

    And the news has this brilliant idea... Let's broadcast the names of all of these countries to let the whole world know that these countries are being watched a bit less than others thereby increasing the amount of trafficking in them because the criminals will think they can get away with it. What a truly brilliant idea.

    June 22, 2014 at 5:22 pm | Reply
  35. Pierre

    Like the US would ever stop giving aid to Saudi Arabia, trafficking or no trafficking. In another world, the theory behind this list could actually work. It needs not just to be created, it needs to be a priority that is actually acted.

    June 23, 2014 at 12:01 am | Reply
    • Jenny

      Yeah so true Pierre.

      June 24, 2014 at 7:17 am | Reply
  36. Jenny

    Only an idiot would believe anything the USA governments says anymore. They lie, cheat, manipulate and are in fact dictators. They are not for democracy or freedom at all and the world is waking up to their lies. The USA has millions of illegal immigrants and many are paid low wages and treated not so well. And what about the hundreds of thousands they have murdered in Iraq and the millions of refugees s caused by their foreign policy. They are sadly becoming so disliked in the world and not only have ruined their own country but are ruining others. What has happened to the wonderful country the USA once was.

    The military stepped in to put a stop to a corrupt government who were doing lots to destroy freedom and democracy. The military are doing a good job and are tackling many problems. So why do the USA get so spiteful...is it because you lost out and the world banks lost out on billions of dollars of infrastructure loans to try and control Thailand. People are not so easily lied to and naive as we used to be.

    I hope the people of the USA kick the government out and they get a decent government in that they so deserve. Shame on you USA politicians. You are not good people and are not democratic at all. Your lie is slowly being seen by hundreds of millions around the world.

    June 24, 2014 at 7:16 am | Reply
  37. sun

    This is right?

    June 25, 2014 at 2:50 am | Reply
  38. Nochina

    A name certainly remains in unusual China being bad

    June 25, 2014 at 3:57 am | Reply
  39. Howard

    The army are doing a top level job. Cleaning up corruption, tackling the environment. Taking back forest land and giving it back to th people, which was encroached by corrupt business people. Sorting out human trafficking. They have done more in a month then politicians ever did. Top marks and respect to them for the good work they are doing.

    June 26, 2014 at 5:54 am | Reply
  40. kindigjerri

    I tell you I have read a great book recently on this subject and orphans who are being trafficked. They Call Me Dad by Philip Cameron, he's done a lot of work trying to help these kids. We should be a little more like him and do what we can. His site is http://www.stellasvoice.org/they-call-me-dad/, it's worth a look just to gain a little perspective on where the real problems lie...

    June 26, 2014 at 7:22 pm | Reply
  41. sirojs

    It is interesting to try to figure how to understand ranking system. Last year or the year before US lost a case of human trafficking involving 600 thai men. But US remained in tier 1. From what I recall one of the main reasons for downgrading thailand has to do with insufficient prosecution. TIP appears to be a very fluid system, like giving exam with unclear criteria to follow. The other difficulty is the lack of references or methodologu on how the state department goes about weiting up the report. It will be most helpful if these were much clearer.

    June 27, 2014 at 12:34 am | Reply
  42. Chinaman

    For an illegal line reason, you should stop China.

    August 21, 2014 at 6:35 pm | Reply

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