State Department Takes Strongest Steps Yet to Combat Human Trafficking Abroad

Human trafficking, a form of modern slavery, has existed for thousands of years and is still a serious problem in many countries throughout the world, particularly with the resurgence of extremist groups like the Islamic State (ISIS). This year’s Trafficking in Persons’ Report, released by the State Department, is arguably stronger than it has been in previous years and is providing renewed hope for non-profits that are seeking to end these heinous crimes against humanity. Kari A. Johnstone, Acting Director of the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (TIP) at the State Department told Breitbart News, in an email, that since the report was first published in 2001, it has been the organization’s “principal diagnostic tool to assess government efforts across what we call the three Ps of prosecuting traffickers, protecting and empowering victims, and preventing future trafficking crimes.” She noted that many countries are taking steps to address the trafficking conditions in their nations and the “TIP Report offers concrete recommendations for improvements for every country in the book. The recommendations serve as a country-specific roadmap to better combat trafficking, to make real institutional change that can put more traffickers behind bars, better find and assist victims, and prevent exploitation of the vulnerable.” Approximately 40 million people in the world today are in modern slavery. And an additional 152 million children are in child slavery. One of the most troubled countries with the human trafficking issue is Iraq, which has been on TIP’s Tier 2 watchlist for the second year in a row. While trafficking had existed in Iraq before the conflict there, the presence of ISIS has only exacerbated it. The State Department noted in its report, “The Government of Iraq does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so.” TIP also reported that Iran, which is listed as a Tier 3 country for trafficking, “is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children subjected to sex trafficking and forced labor” and noted that “Iranian women, boys, and girls are vulnerable to trafficking in Iran, Afghanistan, the Iraqi Kurdistan Region (IKR), Pakistan, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Europe.” The Iraq government passed an anti-trafficking law in 2012. According to the State Department, “The government also established an anti-trafficking department in the interior ministry, which collected human trafficking law enforcement data and operated the newly established anti-trafficking hotline.” Currently, the KRG (Kurdistan Regional Government) is looking at passing its own anti-trafficking law, and the United States has been very supportive in the fight against human trafficking. One NGO (Non-Governmental Organization), based out of Iraqi-Kurdistan has been on the front lines of this effort and helping to rehabilitate victims of human and sex trafficking, particularly victims of the Islamic State. The SEED Foundation, which was started in 2015, began with a focus on Yazidi and other survivors of Daesh, or the Islamic State, including rehabilitating victims of the jihadist group’s sexual violence and exploitation and survivors of war, and child soldiers. SEED’s President and Executive Director Sherri Kraham Talabany praised this year’s TIP report…

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