Katherine Setton

Stories from Katherine Setton

Wednesday, May 1st, 2013

            Contrary to the connotation of the word “trafficking,” human trafficking does not necessarily denote the movement of humans.  The United Nations defines the term as “the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation” (United Nations).  The U.N. further states that trafficking in persons has three fundamental elements: the act (what is done), the means (how it is done), and the purpose (why it is done).  In order to fall under the U.N. terminology, all three elements must be present at some point in the case.

            The world’s most comprehensive resource of anti-trafficking effort by governments is the United States’ Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report. Published annually since 2001, its purposes are to “free victims, prevent trafficking, and bring traffickers to justice.”  According to the U.S. Department of State, it is the country’s “principal diplomatic tool to engage foreign governments on human trafficking.”  In addition to being used as a foreign engagement tool for the U.S., the report is also used by international organizations, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and foreign governments to determine where the problem is most concentrated and where resources are most needed.   

            In the TIP Report, the Department of State categorizes each country into one of three tiers based on their government’s efforts to comply with the “minimum standards for trafficking in persons” found in the U.S. Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000.