New Report: U.S. Releases 2014 Trafficking in Persons Report
Sunday, June 29, 2014 2:40 PM

On June 20, 2014, the US state department released its annual Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report, outlining the status of human trafficking worldwide. The report cited corruption, government apathy and weak anti-trafficking law enforcement as primary reasons for the continued prevalence of human trafficking around the globe. US Secretary of State John Kerry called for an end to the impunity surrounding trafficking in human beings, characterizing countries with weak institutions and little respect for the rule of law as “zones of vulnerability.”
The report singled out Thailand, Qatar, Malaysia, Venezuela and Gambia for their lack of progress in combatting human trafficking. The TIP report documented the situation of women and girls in Venezuela who migrate from poor regions to wealthier tourist areas looking for work, and who then become vulnerable to sex traffickers. The report also found Qatar complicit in violating the rights of migrant workers, such as women who are often trafficked for sex. Thailand was cited for the use of slave labor in its shrimp industry.
The annual TIP report documents individual country efforts to combat modern slavery. The report assigns 188 countries to one of four “Tiers” according to each country's efforts to eliminate trafficking in persons: Tier 1 (best), Tier 2, Tier 2 Watch List, and Tier 3 (worst).  A downgrade in this report can place countries at a disadvantage diplomatically with the US and could result in economic sanctions and a halt in US foreign aid. These countries may also find themselves “blacklisted by companies no longer wishing to do business with a ‘pariah’ government.” The TIP report coincides with two investigations carried out by the Guardian, exposing trafficking in Qatar and Thailand 
Compiled from: Hodal, Kate; Kelly, Annie and Roberts, Dan, US demotes Thailand and Qatar for abysmal human trafficking records, The Guardian (June 20, 2014); Coorlim, Leif, Human Trafficking: U.S. downgrades four countries in TIP Report, CNN (June 20, 2014); CdeBaca, Luis, Briefing on the Trafficking in Persons Report 2014, US State Department (June 20, 2014).