Shining the spotlight on human trafficking

Illustration courtesy of the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons
A portion of the cover from the 2022 Trafficking in Persons Report, which was released in July. Illustration courtesy of the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons

By Sarah Evans and Sylvia Amegashie

On July 19, Secretary of State Antony Blinken released the 2022 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report, which includes narratives and tier rankings for 188 countries and territories, including the United States. The published report provides an important opportunity to increase public awareness of human trafficking crimes, to congratulate foreign governments on progress made in the past year, and to push for action in areas that require improvement.

As the weather heats up in Washington, so does the pace of work in the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, culminating in the release of the annual TIP Report. Each year, the TIP Report highlights what countries around the world are doing to prosecute perpetrators of human trafficking, protect victims , and assess the strength of each country’s efforts to prevent this heinous crime.  

An estimated 24.9 million individuals are subject to human trafficking. As the global impacts of COVID-19, climate change, economic downturns, and war continue, this number is likely to continue to grow. Human trafficking robs millions of people of their dignity and freedom, erodes the rule of law, and simultaneously threatens public safety and national security. Human traffickers prey on adults and children of all ages, genders, religions, sexual orientations, gender identities, gender expressions, sex characteristics, backgrounds, and nationalities, exploiting them for profit in forced labor or commercial sex.

This year’s report highlights and emphasizes the importance of engaging survivors through a trauma-informed approach and shares context, lessons learned, and guidance to governments, international organizations, civil society, private sector entities, and other stakeholders. Survivors of human trafficking play a vital role in combating this crime, and their perspectives and experiences should be taken into consideration when crafting responses. Survivor-run organizations advocate before legislatures, train law enforcement officers, conduct public outreach, and collaborate with government officials on local and national levels to better inform the American government’s anti-trafficking efforts. 

For more information on how the TIP Office is raising awareness to end human trafficking, follow their posts on Twitter, and Facebook

Sarah Evans is a Foreign Service officer and Sylvia Amegashie is a National Security Education Program-Boren Fellow in the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons’ Public Engagement Team. 

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