IWF holds human trafficking as one of its most important concerns, particularly towards the value of promoting human rights.  Human trafficking, often described as “modern day slavery”, not only effects individuals in other countries, but within the United States as well.  In 2006 alone, there was an estimated 15-17 thousand victims trafficked to the US from Central and South America, Asia, and Eastern Europe.   A majority of human trafficking victims are women.

Seven new countries have been added to the State Department’s 2007 Trafficking in Persons Report released today.  According to the State Department:

“The Report covers 164 countries and territories, together comprising 85 percent of the world. It ranks 151 countries and territories where some 100 cases of human trafficking or more have been identified. It spells out what countries are doing on prosecution, protection, and prevention, and what more we can do together on all three fronts.”

In this article, India, the world’s largest democracy is also the country that has the world’s leading record in human trafficking.

“Countries on the list are subject to possible sanctions for not doing enough to stop the yearly flow of some 800,000 people, 80 percent of them female and more than half of them children, across international borders for the sex trade and other forms of forced and indentured labor.

Among U.S. friends getting a failing grade were Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman and Qatar, which along with Algeria, Equatorial Guinea and Malaysia joined for the first time perennial offenders like Myanmar (Burma), Cuba, Iran, North Korea and Syria …

Countries with ‘Tier 3′ ranking ‘do not fully comply with the minimum standards (to fight trafficking) and are not making significant efforts to do so,’ which makes them eligible for U.S. economic sanctions.

Three countries that had been placed on ‘Tier 3′ in 2006 – Belize, Laos and Zimbabwe – were promoted to ‘Tier 2′ this year for improving their records, according to the report. ‘Tier 2′ countries are those that do not fully comply with minimum standards but are making significant efforts to do so.

The seven newcomers to ‘Tier 3′ were all demoted from ‘Tier 2 watchlist’ status, which now covers 32 countries, including India, Mexico and Russia, that have been cited for poor anti-trafficking records for numerous consecutive years.

Most of this year’s additions to ‘Tier 3′ are Muslim or predominantly Muslim nations, many of which have the means to enforce foreign workers’ rights and anti-trafficking laws.”

Read the complete 2007 TIP Report