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Consistent with the UN Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime, governments should prescribe maximum criminal penalties of no fewer than four years. Penalties prescribed for sex trafficking offenses should be equivalent to the penalties for rape and other serious crimes.

USA Alissa, 16, met an older man at a convenience store in Dallas and after a few dates accepted his invitation to move in with him. But soon Alissa’s new boyfriend convinced her to be an escort for him, accompanying men on dates and having sex with them for money. He took her to an area known for street prostitution and forced her to hand over all of her earnings. He made Alissa get a tattoo of his nicknames, branding her as his property, and he posted prostitution advertisements with her picture on an Internet site. He rented hotel rooms around Dallas and forced Alissa to have sex with men who responded to the ads. The man, who kept an assault rifle in the closet of his apartment, threatened Alissa and physically assaulted her on multiple occasions. The man later pled guilty to trafficking Alissa.

 oes the government use its laws to D vigorously investigate and prosecute all forms of human trafficking that exist in the country?

Many countries fail to pursue prosecutions diligently or ignore certain types of human trafficking, such as the forced labor of men and boys. Some countries limit their enforcement efforts to either foreign trafficking victims or their own citizens. These shortcomings are noted in the narratives and reflected in the tier rankings. And finally, •

I s the government doing what it can to protect victims and prevent trafficking?

Around the globe, governments have pledged to undertake victim protection, though victims continue to go unfound, or worse, they are found, unidentified, and further victimized. Robust victim identification and rehabilitation is what is most needed but is most lacking.


The answers to these questions highlight failures, successes, and emerging global lessons which are profiled throughout this introduction.

Prevention As long ago as 1904, governments agreed to work together to prevent the “white slave traffic.” More than 100 years later, traffickers continue to find new victims and, in many jurisdictions, operate with impunity. Public awareness of human trafficking – including awareness of warning signs and required responses – is critical and must be ongoing. But public awareness is just one component of prevention. There are systemic contributors within the control of governments that can and must be changed. For example, many governments in the developing world encourage labor migration as a means of fueling foreign exchange remittances, yet they do not adequately control private recruiters who exploit migrants and make them vulnerable to trafficking. Greater efforts to regulate and monitor such recruitment and other contributing practices can shut down traffickers’ access to vulnerable populations as well as drive them out of their illegitimate businesses. By acknowledging and addressing its own “slavery footprint,” – government procurement of goods made and services provided on the backs of forced laborers – each government can drastically shift the economic policies that perpetuate modern slavery.

“I wish that every time a government official picked up that TIP report, all crisp and clean from the printer, that he would have to first look into the face of a mother whose husband disappeared and whose wages never came back and whose daughter was taken to be schooled but has never written home. Only then would he know what human trafficking … really means.” Nikki Junker, Executive Director of With More Than Purpose

2011 Trafficking in Persons Report - Intro  
2011 Trafficking in Persons Report - Intro  

The US Department of State issues its annual report on the trafficking of persons worldwide