Singapore and the Philippines have been removed from the human trafficking watch list released by the US State department on Monday.
The two nations were elevated from Tier 3, the level for countries with the most egregious human trafficking issues, but remained on Tier 2. This placement means that the countries are not in full compliance with international standards on human trafficking, but are making efforts towards greater compliance.
Indonesia and Cambodia are also listed as Tier 2 countries, but Brunei, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam are still ranked as Tier 3 violators. Currently the only Asian nations on Tier 1 are South Korea and Taiwan.
Report & Analysis: Singapore, Philippines off US trafficking watchlist [Straits Times, 28 Jun 2011]
The US acknowledged that the Philippine Department of Justice and Supreme court have worked to move along human trafficking cases this past year, which had previously been backed up in the court system. The Philippines also enhanced training of judicial, law enforcement and diplomatic officials on trafficking issues, and issued its first conviction of a labour trafficking offender in February of this year. Still, the report noted that trafficking remains a serious problem in the Philippines, and it offered a number of recommendations for the country, including stricter enforcement of anti-corruption laws and expedited dealings of cases filed by a special anti-trafficking task force.
Report & Analysis: US trafficking report elevates PHL to Tier 2 category [GMA News, 28 Jun 2011]
The US State Department also criticized Myanmar for continued recruitment of child soldiers and the use of forced labour by military and local authorities. In North Korea, the US alleges that border guards allow the trafficking of women to China.
Report & Analysis: Laos, Singapore improve anti-trafficking efforts [Malaysia Star, 28 Jun 2011]
The US State Department publishes an annual Trafficking in Persons Report, which evaluates efforts by 184 governments worldwide to combat human trafficking, consisting of sexual exploitation, forced labour, and other forms of modern-day slavery.
The report ranks countries in three tiers based on their government’s efforts to stop trafficking, help the victims, and work with other agencies. Tier 1 countries meet the minium guidelines but are still expected to do more, while tier 2 countries do not meet the minimum guidelines, although they are working to reach them. Tier 3 countries do not meet even the minimum standards, and do not make significant efforts to meet them.
Report & Analysis: State department report ranks countries on human trafficking [CNN, 27 Jun 2011]