This week, I researched Asia Pacific in the U.S. State Department’s Trafficking in Persons Report. The report evaluates countries’ efforts to fight modern-day slavery. It grades every country on a three-tier system. The countries of tier one are fighting human trafficking according to the standards of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act. The countries of tier two are not within the act’s parameters but are making a significant effort to achieve compliance. The countries of tier three are not even trying. There is also a sub-tier between two and three for countries that have rampant human trafficking but are trying (or promising) to curb it.
I discovered that Asia accounts for the most trafficking on the planet. In 2007, the UN estimated that 56% of all human trafficking took place in Asia. Now, that statistic is not surprising when we consider how many people live in Asia. But even when we look at an enormous population, our horror at human trafficking should not lessen. The victims may comprise a small percentage of the continent’s populace, but their numbers do not enhance or reduce their value or dignity.
I went to San Francisco on Monday for a meeting of law enforcement and human rights groups. There was a policeman there who described his raids on beauty salons to free slaves. I felt inspired listening to him. Even if most Americans don’t know about the prevalence of human trafficking in the US, the police have woken up to it. I felt proud to live in a country with a (mostly) reliable law enforcement. Other nations are certainly not as lucky. Police officers do not get enough credit for all they do.
Well, that’s all I have to say this week. Tune in next week for more information about modern-day slavery and stories from Not For Sale.