BY MARY STROKA
Image by Ira Gelb; Creative Commons licensing.
The Annual Trafficking in Persons Report, which the U.S. State Department released June 19, focuses on victim identification in an effort to quantify the problem, according to a Vatican Radio article.
Mario Mesquita, Charge'd'Affaires at the U.S. Embassy to the Holy See, said the U.S. is one of 30 countries rated as "Tier 1," "not because we say we are perfect and there is no problem, but because we have implemented certain international standards to combat human trafficking. And that's how we look at other countries: have countries implemented these international standards?"
A Bloomberg article noted that China and Russia were two of the 27 countries the Department downgraded in the four-tier system. The tiers are Tier 1, Tier 2, Tier 2 Watch List, and Tier 3. China and Russia are now Tier 3 after having been on the Tier 2 Watch List for nine years. As of this year, the Department is required to downgrade countries that have been on the Tier 2 Watch List for four years, according to the article.
I wonder how legitimate the Department's ranking of the U.S. is, since there is probably some bias. The Bloomberg article mentioned how the Foreign Ministries of both Russia and China had, of course, issued comments defending their respective countries and criticizing the results, claiming that the rankings are politically decided. However, there are other parts of the report that should be legitimate, having very little to do with nation politics. The effort to identify victims, for example, is important. The report is lengthy, but I recommend reading portions of it!