New Report: 2017 U.S. Trafficking in Persons Report Released, China Downgraded
Friday, June 30, 2017 12:30 PM

The U.S. State Department has released its 2017 Trafficking in Persons Report (TIP Report). The annual report is an evaluation of the efforts of countries around the world to combat and prevent human trafficking in all its forms, including sex trafficking, labor trafficking, and child soldier recruitment. The evaluation classifies countries by “tiers” based on compliance with the U.S. Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA). The rankings address the country’s response to human trafficking and not the magnitude of the human trafficking problem in a given country.

Number of Countries
Tier 1
Countries whose government comply with the minimum standards of the TVPA.
Tier 2
Countries whose government is making significant efforts to comply with minimum standards
Tier 2
Watch List
Countries which deserve special scrutiny despite compliance efforts
Tier 3
Countries whose government does not comply with minimum standards.
(May result in sanctions limiting international aid from the US.)
Special Cases
Countries that do not fit into any of the tiers

In 2017, 21 countries were downgraded and 27 countries were upgraded. Most notably, China was downgraded to Tier 3 after spending the past three years on the Tier 2 Watch List. The report found that China convicted fewer traffickers than during the previous year, repatriated North Koreans without checking for trafficking indicators, and prosecuted the majority of forced labor cases administratively instead of criminally, all of which contributed to China’s change in status.

This year’s TIP Report focused on the barriers to governmental and criminal accountability for human trafficking, including prosecution challenges resulting from weak anti-trafficking laws. To improve accountability, the TIP report recommends that countries enact comprehensive anti-trafficking laws; strengthen law enforcement and prosecutorial capacity; and, provide adequate funding and resources for anti-trafficking initiatives as well as human trafficking education, particularly for members of the judiciary.

Compiled from: Trafficking in Person’s Report 2017, U.S. Department of State (June 2017); Torbati, Yeganeh, U.S. brands China as among worst human trafficking offenders, Reuters (June 27, 2017).