The State Department has released its annual Trafficking in Persons Report: June 2019 (TIP Report). The annual report examines each country through the world and reviews conditions around human trafficking, including sex trafficking and forced human labor.

The annual report is inspired by worldwide protocols written in Palermo, Italy. In 2000, the United Nations adopted the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress, and Punish Traffickers of Persons, Especially Women and Children. More commonly referred to as “the Palermo Protocols” identified trafficking as a crime for the first time in a treaty. It also established the “three P paradigm” Prevention, Protection and Prosecution.” The treaty set in motion actions by countries to combat trafficking and expanded the population in need of protection. The annual State Department report ranks countries at Tier I, II, and III with tier three being the lowest. Countries are judged according to what they have done in the three “p” areas.

Contrary to some newspaper and internet reporting, in regard to the United States, the report does not label foster care as the “pipeline to trafficking,” although children and youth in care are a vulnerable population. In judging itself, the report says of the United States:

“Populations in the United States vulnerable to human trafficking include: children in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems, including foster care; runaway and homeless youth; unaccompanied foreign national children without lawful immigration status; American Indians and Alaska Natives, particularly women and girls; individuals with drug addictions; migrant laborers, including undocumented workers and participants in visa programs for temporary workers; foreign national domestic workers in diplomatic households; persons with limited English proficiency; persons with disabilities; LGBTI individuals; and participants in court-ordered substance use diversion programs. Advocates reported a growing trend of traffickers targeting victims with disabilities and an increase in the use of online social media platforms to recruit and advertise victims of human trafficking.”
Secretary of State Pompeo did highlight the report findings that there are more than 25 million people across the globe who are victims of trafficking in sex and forced labor, including people in this country. He pointed out that 77 percent of victims are victims in their own country and that they remain entrapped for much of their lives.

The section of the TIP report on the United States noted that:

“NGOs continued to call for a more comprehensive approach to address the factors and conditions that increase vulnerabilities, including by promoting fair wages and access to social services. Advocates also called for additional research into the prevalence and characteristics of human trafficking in the United States, especially for labor trafficking and other trafficking cases involving men, boys, and LGBTI individuals, to improve targeted prevention efforts.”