• Threads of Hope Hellas

20th Annual Trafficking in Persons report

The annual Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report has been published this week. If you would like to read it click here.

Each year the United States issues a report on the situation of human trafficking this year in 188 countries worldwide.

The yearly Trafficking in Persons report (TIP) is used by the U.S. primarily as a diplomatic instrument in order to create and encourage global partnerships and awareness, as well as to promote and combating of all kinds of exploitation and modern day slavery whether it is sex trafficking, forced labour, or domestic servitude.

The TIP report organises countries into tiers based on trafficking records.

Tier 1 – for countries that meet minimum U.S standards.

Tier 2 – for countries making significant efforts to meet U.S standards.

Tier 2 “Watch list” – for countries that deserve special scrutiny.

Tier 3 – for countries that fail to comply with the minimum U.S standards and are not making significant effort to do so.

Greece is located on tier 2 because it doesn’t fully comply with minimum standards. Greece continues to experience massive migration from all over the world and although the situation is not new the government continues to be unprepared and therefore many vulnerable people fall prey to traffickers mainly women and children who get hidden within the general migrant population.

*Words written in Italic come directly from the TIP report.

“Authorities temporarily suspended asylum applications for the month of March as part of efforts to secure its land border with Turkey, which prevented victims from self-identifying and cooperating with authorities. The government lacked proactive identification efforts for forced labour, and so

me first responders rejected sex trafficking victims who self-identified and, at times, sent them back to the trafficker”

“Unaccompanied children, primarily from Afghanistan, engage in survival sex and are vulnerable to trafficking. Refugee and migrant women, especially those living in the island RICs, were highly vulnerable to trafficking.”

Data collection has been severely lacking in recent years and this was highlighted in the 2020 report again. This means governments do not fully understand or don’t want to fully understand the extend of human trafficking in Greece. It means funds can not be allocated appropriately and training does not need to be compulsory for law enforcement, judges and prosecutors. When data collection is not required or standardised many vulnerable people do not get the support needed.

“Labour recruitment agencies could be subjected to inspection, but the lack of competent staff to conduct such inspections resulted in limited oversight.”

“The government did not improve overall monitoring and oversight over its shelters providing for child trafficking victims, referred only 32 percent of victims to care, and specialised victim services remained inadequate given the scope of the problem and lack of services for adult victims. Corruption and complicity remained significant concerns.”

“Observers reported a lack of specialised shelters for victims with only one NGO-run shelter providing specialised assistance for female trafficking victims. Only an NGO-run shelter for sexually exploited men and short-term government shelters for asylum-seekers or homeless persons could accommodate male victims. Government-run shelters, NGO-run shelters, and facilities for unaccompanied minors accommodated child victims but did not provide specialised support.”

The problems with the TIP report

The TIP report is an important resource in the fight against human trafficking. We support all efforts of cooperation and education from governments. Unfortunately these reports are often highly criticised as many people have claimed the TIP report is politically motivated. Some critics believe that certain countries placed on the tier 2 watch list should, in fact, be placed as tier 3 countries, and vice versa. For instance, an examination of countries placed in the tier 3 category from 2001 demonstrates political apprehension sneaking into the procedure as countries like “Cuba, North Korea, Sudan, and Burma are regularly sanctioned,”  while more “’friendly’ countries with significant amounts of slavery and trafficking,” namely India, Pakistan, and Nigeria, are not. Another example of this is Mexico located on tier 2 with extreme drug and human trafficking offences and the Philippines located on tier 1 with some of the worst human trafficking records available.

At Threads of Hope Hellas

We believe that human trafficking has been getting worse over the last few years with women and children some of the worst affected. Sexual violence during their journey, at land borders and in overcrowded camps run by gangs and traffickers at its most severe. Sex work in the country is at an all time high for the customer with more women the cost goes down and the services provided increase therefore becoming more dangerous for uncared for and unprotected women. The government in Greece seems to be heading in a good direction with new initiative and funding for NGOs being put in place. Even if on a small scale it is a start and we welcome it.

At Threads of Hope Hellas we welcome the women who are often at the end of their journey through the underworld and therefore the services we provide are more important than ever. Mentally health issues seem to have become more common in recent years because of trauma received in childhood and during the journey to Europe and physical illnesses that have been left untreated for often many years. We welcome these women without prejudice and support them on their journey for wellness.

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