Human trafficking is a multi-billion dollar business and one of the fastest-growing illegal industries on the planet. On July 30 of every year, the world marks the World Day against Trafficking in Persons to help raise awareness of this issue. The US Department, which investigates countries for its annual Trafficking in Person report, has classified 46 countries as Tier 3 from 2011 to 2018. Tier 3 is the lowest rankings for countries that are not fully meeting the minimum standards set out in the Trafficking Victims Protection Act and are not making any significant step to do so. Four countries have appeared on the annual Trafficking in Person report as Tier 3 countries consistently from 2011 to 2018; these are Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Iran, and North Korea. Central African Republic, Mauritania, and Syria have appeared as Tier 3 seven out of the eight years while Algeria, DR Congo, Guinea-Bissau, Papua New Guinea, Russia, and Venezuela have been listed as Tier 3 six out of eight years. A further five nations appeared five out of eight years, nine nations appeared four times, two nations appeared three times, four nations appeared two times, and thirteen nations appeared once in the past eight years. Some of the worst countries for human trafficking are discussed in detail below.
Worst Countries for Human Trafficking
Equatorial Guinea has been on the Tier 3 list from 2011 to 2018. Most women and young girls in Equatorial Guinea are vulnerable to sex trafficking. The country is also a destination for victims who may be vulnerable to forced labor. Most victims of trafficking are exploited in cities such as Bata, Malabo, and Mongomo, which are a bit advanced and attractive for migrants. Foreign and local women are exploited sexually while men are forced to work in oil mines.
Eritrea is a major source of trafficked men, women, and children. The trafficking victims are subjected to forced labor. Thousands of Eritreans who have fled their country in search of better living conditions and economic opportunities has provided opportunities for human traffickers. The government of Eritrea also requires persons between 18 and 40 years to take part in forced labor as part of national service for at least 18 months. Most people are forced to serve indefinitely under unfavorable conditions such as torture and detention.
Iranian citizens are vulnerable to trafficking within the country and other countries such as Afghanistan, Turkey, Iraq, Pakistan, and the United Arabs Emirates. There has been a reported increase in the number young Iranians in prostitution in the UAE, some of which are victims of trafficking whose passports have been confiscated. Most Iranian women are vulnerable to sex trafficking in Turkish cities close to the Iranian border.
North Korea is a source country for victims who are subjected to sex trafficking and forced labor. Within the country, forced labor is part of political repression and one of the pillars of the economic system. The citizens are subjected to forced labor through assigned work. Approximately 120,000 people are held in camps, with most of the prisoners charged with no crime. The government oppression has forced thousands to flee the country, making them vulnerable to trafficking.
Central African Republic
CAR is both a source and transit for persons, especially children subjected to sex trafficking and forced labor. Most victims of human trafficking in the Central African Republic are citizen exploited within the country. Other victims are transported to neighboring countries such as Nigeria, DRC, Chad, and Cameroon. The political instability and displacement of over one million people have increased the vulnerability of children, men, and women to trafficking.
The majority of the people subjected to slavery practices in Mauritania are children and adults from the Afro-Mauritanian and Black Moor communities. The victims are forced to work without pay. Mauritanian girls and women who are recruited by foreign agencies as domestic workers are often subjected to sex trafficking in the Gulf and Saudi Arabia. Some are forced into marriages by travel agencies and brokers both in the country and in the Middle East.
Human trafficking in Syria continues to deteriorate due to the ongoing civil war in the country. More than half of the Syrian population has been displaced and thousands killed since the beginning of the protest. Syrians who are in refugee camps are extremely vulnerable to trafficking, especially children who have been forced to early marriage and forced labor.
Algeria act as a transit route for people subjected to trafficking. It is also, to a lesser extent, a destination for the trafficked persons. Most often, men and women enter Algeria voluntarily and with the help of smugglers with the hope of traveling to Europe. However, some of these people become victims of trafficking and are forced into prostitution and unskilled labor. At least 10,000 people in Algeria are at risk of trafficking.
Trafficked persons from Guinea-Bissau are subjected to prostitution and forced labor. The country is both a source and destination for West African boys who are subjected to forced labor. Most of the boys in Guinea-Bissau attend Quranic schools. Some of the marabouts who teach these boys force them to beg around the school and in the neighborhood. Most traffickers are men from the regions of Gabu and Bafata.
Over 5 million migrants in Russia are working in conditions of slavery in factories and as public drivers. These workers are vulnerable to sex trafficking and forced labor. The entry of migrants into the country is facilitated by the Russian officials. Other officials are even bribed not to investigate or give a false report on human trafficking crimes. As a destination, source, and transit country for victims of trafficking, Russia has not done much to protect human trafficking.
More than half the people trafficked out of Venezuela are adults, 26% are young girls, and boys are 19%. The victims are lured by the promise of well-paying jobs and better working conditions but end up in countries where traffickers force them into prostitution and forced labor. Venezuela has done very little to punish or prevent trafficking despite having strict laws against it. Since 2013, only three people have been convicted under the human trafficking law.
Kuwait is a destination country for trafficked persons who are mainly subjected to forced labor. Men and women who migrate to Kuwait voluntarily from other parts of the world such as Africa, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia to look for employment are often vulnerable to sexual abuse and forced labor. Because of the perilous conditions in Kuwait, several countries have restricted their women from moving to Kuwait.
Libya is a destination and transit country for trafficked persons, mainly from sub-Saharan Africa. It is also a source country for Libyan children subjected to an armed militia within the country. These armed militias recruit and use children as young as below 18 years old. The children are also exposed to sexual violence. The human trafficking crimes in the country are promoted by the political instability and lack of government oversight.
Yemen is a source country for children and adults subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking. Human trafficking has been promoted by the violent conflicts and lack of rule of law. Yemeni boys have been subjected to forced labor after migrating to Saudi Arabia and Oman. Some of the trafficked children are also forced into sex trafficking and drug smuggling to Saudi Arabia.
Women and young girls in Zimbabwean towns close to the borders are subjected to sex trafficking for the long-distance truck drivers. The men are also subjected to forced labor in domestic service and agriculture, especially in rural areas. Children and relatives from rural areas are recruited by their family members who subject them to domestic servitude. Many Zimbabweans cross into South Africa with the help of taxi driver. They are later subjected to forced labor and prostitution.
Trafficking in Person Report (TIP)
Trafficking in Person Report (TIP) focuses on the ways in which the communities and countries can collectively and proactively address the problem of human trafficking. TIP is a diplomatic tool used by the government of the US to engage foreign governments on issues surrounding human trafficking. In the report, each country is placed onto one of the three tiers based on the effort by the government to comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking.
Worst Countries For Human Trafficking Today
|Rank||Country||Years on the Tier 3 List of the Trafficking in Persons Report|
|1||Equatorial Guinea||2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018|
|2||Eritrea||2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018|
|3||Iran||2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018|
|4||North Korea||2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018|
|5||Central African Republic||2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017|
|6||Mauritania||2011, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018|
|7||Syria||2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018|
|8||Algeria||2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016|
|9||DR Congo||2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2017, 2018|
|10||Guinea-Bissau||2011, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017|
|11||Papua New Guinea||2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2016, 2018|
|12||Russia||2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018|
|13||Venezuela||2011, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018|
|14||Kuwait||2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015|
|15||Libya||2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015|
|16||Sudan||2011, 2012, 2013, 2016, 2017|
|17||Yemen||2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015|
|18||Zimbabwe||2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016|
|19||Belarus||2015, 2016, 2017, 2018|
|20||Belize||2015, 2016, 2017, 2018|
|21||Burundi||2015, 2016, 2017, 2018|
|22||Comoros||2015, 2016, 2017, 2018|
|23||Cuba||2011, 2012, 2013, 2014|
|24||Saudia Arabia||2011, 2012, 2013, 2014|
|25||South Sudan||2015, 2016, 2017, 2018|
|26||Turkmenistan||2011, 2016, 2017, 2018|
|27||Uzbekistan||2013, 2014, 2016, 2017|
|28||China||2013, 2017, 2018|
|29||Gambia||2014, 2015, 2016|
|32||Marshall Islands||2015, 2016|