State Department 2012
Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report: Syria Not Doing Enough to Fight
June 21, 2012
The United States is adding Syria to a list of countries that could face
sanctions for not doing enough to fight human trafficking. The annual
U.S. report on worldwide slavery says Burma and Venezuela are among
those countries making progress.
The State Department report says thousands of women from Somalia,
Indonesia, Iraq and the Philippines are victims of prostitution and
forced labor in Syria after being duped by fraudulent employment
agencies. The report puts President Bashar al-Assad's government on a
list of countries that could face sanctions over these abuses because it
says Damascus is failing to investigate or punish those responsible.
Clinton and Secretary of Defense Panetta meet with NATO Secretary
Releasing the study of conditions in more than 180 nations, Secretary of
State Hillary Clinton said Tuesday that some people are lured abroad by
false promises of new opportunities and that others are abused in their
"These victims of modern slavery are women and men, girls and boys," she
said. "And their stories remind of us what kind of inhumane treatment we
are still capable of as human beings."
Along with Syria, the 2012 report says human trafficking is worst in
Algeria, the Central African Republic, Saudi Arabia, Congo, Cuba, Sudan,
Equatorial Guinea, Yemen, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Zimbabwe, Kuwait,
Libya, Madagascar and Papua New Guinea.
"Traffickers prey on the hopes and dreams of those seeking a better
life," Clinton said. "And our goal should be to put those hopes and
dreams within reach, whether it is getting a good job to send money home
to support a family, trying to get an education for oneself or one's
children, or simply pursuing new opportunities that might lead to a
better life. We need to ensure that all survivors have that opportunity
to move past what they endured and to make the most of their potential."
The report focuses on the need for prevention, protection, and
prosecution. Secretary Clinton highlighted the accomplishments of
individuals who are fighting human trafficking in Mauritania, Aruba, the
Sinai Peninsula, Argentina, Cambodia and Congo.
"They do remind us that one person's commitment and passion, one
person's experience and the courage to share that experience with the
world, can have a huge impact," she said.
Congolese physician Raimi Vincent Paraiso spoke on behalf of those
recognized for their work against human trafficking.
Dr. Paraiso said human trafficking has reached alarming proportions
around the world. He noted that the Republic of Congo and many other
countries represented here unfortunately are not spared from this crime,
and that the international community can not remain silent and must
continue to respond relentlessly.
The International Labor Organization says at least 21 million people are
enslaved around the world.
State Department report says the number of trafficking victims
identified by governments worldwide is up 28 percent - from more than
33,000 last year to more than 42,000 this year, but with notable
improvements in Venezuela and Burma.
The report commends Venezuela for strengthening anti-trafficking laws,
improving training for border patrols and law enforcement, and launching
public information campaigns against slavery. But it says President Hugo
Chavez's government falls short of minimum standards to eliminate human
trafficking because of weak prosecution efforts and insufficient victim
The report says Burma is taking "unprecedented steps" to fight human
trafficking by repealing laws used to justify forced labor, while better
identifying and helping victims of slavery. It says trafficking by
private individuals and government officials continues to be a
"significant problem" along with the conscription of child soldiers in
areas of ethnic conflict.