Wednesday, June 13, 2007

TIP 2007

The U.S. State Department released the 2007 Trafficking in Persons Report yesterday. Sixteen states were placed in Tier 3, which is reserved for the worst of the worst--those states that "do not fully comply with the minimum standards [to fight trafficking] and are not making significant efforts to do so."

Among the states making their first appearance in Tier 3 are Qatar, which has been the subject of recent scrutiny in the United States as a result of an ATS suit on behalf of camel jockeys and their parents, and Equatorial Guinea. Of the latter, the Report states,

Equatorial Guinea is primarily a destination country for children trafficked for the purposes of forced labor and possibly for commercial sexual exploitation, though some children may also be trafficked within the country from rural areas to Malabo and Bata for these same purposes. Children are trafficked from Nigeria, Benin, Cameroon, and Gabon for domestic, farm and commercial labor to Malabo and Bata, where demand is high due to a thriving oil industry and a growing expatriate business community. Reports indicate that there are girls in prostitution in Equatorial Guinea from Cameroon, Benin, Togo, other neighboring countries, and the People's Republic of China, who may be victims of trafficking.

The "thriving oil industry" noted by the report has been a catalyst for many forms of corruption in Equatorial Guinea and elsewhere.

For a brief report on the TIP Report, see this Washington Post story.