January 11th is National Human Trafficking Awareness Day
In 2007, the U.S. Congress designated January 11th as National Human Trafficking Awareness Day. People who are trafficked are considered victims of a crime under international law. The U.S. government is steadfast in its commitment to prevent human trafficking around the world and to protect survivors of all forms of human trafficking. Human trafficking occurs worldwide, including in Papua New Guinea.
In Papua New Guinea, human traffickers exploit women and children in sex trafficking and in forced labor in domestic service, the tourism sector, manual labor, forced begging, and street vending. According to international NGO research, approximately 30 percent of Papua New Guinean sex trafficking victims are children younger than the age of 18, with some as young as 10 years old. Immediate family or tribe members reportedly exploit children in sex trafficking or forced labor. Some parents force children to beg or sell goods on the street, and some sell or force their daughters into marriages or child sex trafficking to settle debts, resolve disputes between communities, or support their families. (For more information on human trafficking in Papua New Guinea, please visit https://www.state.gov/reports/2022-trafficking-in-persons-report/papua-new-guinea/)
Everyone needs to learn about human trafficking, as it robs millions of their freedom and dignity, inflicts untold harm on society, undermines the rule of law and public health and spurs crime. Human trafficking involves exploitation through the use of force, fraud or coercion, and can affect anyone, including you or your loved ones. Human trafficking can take many forms including sex trafficking, child sex trafficking, forced labor, debt bondage, forced child labor, domestic servitude, and the unlawful recruitment and use of child soldiers. It affects men, women, transgender individuals, and children both across borders and internally within a country. The international community responded in 2000 with the UN Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children.
That same year, the United States passed the ground-breaking anti-trafficking law called the Trafficking Victims Protection Act which established the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons to lead U.S. global engagement on human trafficking and support the coordination of anti-trafficking efforts across the U.S. government. Since the passage of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act in 2000, the United States’ commitment to combat human trafficking has only grown. Since 2010, every U.S. President has dedicated the month of January to National Human Trafficking Prevention by Presidential Proclamation to raise awareness about the different forms of human trafficking and how to identify and address this crime.
The Trafficking Victims Protection Act requires the State Department to submit a report to Congress by June 30 of each year on the degree to which governments of countries with trafficking victims meet the law’s minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. This TIP Report comes out each year and ranks government actions to combat trafficking in persons by a tier ranking system. The 2023 TIP Report will cover efforts by governments during the reporting period from April 1, 2022 to March 31, 2023 and will be release in July 2023.