2013 Trafficking in Persons Report

2013 Trafficking in Persons Report
Article written by David Lohan, co-author of the Cois Tine Publication: “OPEN SECRETS, an Irish perspective on Trafficking and Witchcraft.

The annual launch of the Trafficking in Persons Report was held at the Franklin Room in the U.S. Department of State building in Washington D.C. on June 19th, evening just prior to 9pm GMT. The report was launched by Secretary for State, John Kerry. The launch was broadcast live via the U.S. Department of State website http://www.state.gov. The report evaluates the adherence of some 188 countries and territories to the minimum standards of protection, prosecution and prevention (3Ps). The report also provides insight into the contemporary situation in, through the narratives it provides on, each jurisdiction.

Human trafficking can be described as the use of force, deception or coercion to make a person available for exploitation. It is also, often, referred to as ‘modern day slavery’. Contemporary estimates, provided by the U.S. Department of State in last year’s report put the total number of victims at 27 million globally.

Secretary Kerry committed himself to making the fight against human trafficking (modern-day slavery) a priority for the Department of State and for the United States. He further committed the United States to working with partners across the world in their efforts to combat modern-day slavery. He emphasised that “modern day slavery affects every country in the world, including the United States”.

In 2013 Ireland has retained its Tier 1 status, meaning that it fully complies with the minimum standards (3Ps) of protection, prosecution and prevention. Despite this achievement the 2013 Trafficking in Persons Report acknowledges that the practice is a problem in Ireland, describing the country as “a destination, source, and transit country for women, men, and children subjected to sex trafficking and forced labor.” It lists victims as emanating from “Nigeria, Cameroon, the Philippines, Poland, Albania, Bulgaria, Brazil, Romania, Pakistan, and other countries in Africa, Asia, and Eastern Europe.” The report adds that victims of “forced labor in domestic service and restaurant work are subjected to excessively long hours from employers who withhold personal documents.” It also states that “domestic workers employed by foreign diplomats on assignment in Ireland work under poor conditions and are at risk of labor trafficking.”

Children often feature in the report. This year’s report states that 23 children were located in 2012 living in conditions of slavery. For 19 of these children their exploitation entailed “commercial sex”. The report provides nothing further in the way of clarification.

Human trafficking for forced commercial sexual exploitation, or sex trafficking, is a recurrent theme in the report for many countries and for Ireland. The narrative on Latvia, for example, describes how “Latvian women are forced into prostitution in … Ireland”. Indeed the report notes how “Latvian women in brokered marriages in Western Europe, particularly Ireland, were vulnerable to domestic servitude and sex trafficking.” Narratives relating to Lithuania, Hungary, Albania, and Nigeria give a similar account of citizens from these countries being exploited for commercial sex in Ireland.

In responding to the publication of the report, author and campaigner, David Lohan says “While I welcome the retention of Ireland’s Tier 1 status this is a stepping stone in the fight against modern day slavery.  The report illustrates, once again, that human trafficking and prostitution are inextricably linked. The latest edition of the Trafficking in Persons Report discloses that violations of fundamental human rights are still evident in particular sectors, especially in the sex trade.” Lohan added “I call upon Government to expedite the review by the Committee on Justice, Defence and Equality on legislation governing prostitution, for the committee to publish its report and for government to legislate accordingly”.   David Lohan