US Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act

The US “Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act” (TVPA) of 2000, the “Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act” of 2003, the “Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act” of 2005, the “Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act” of 2008, and the “Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act” of 2013 provide tools to combat trafficking in persons both worldwide and domestically in the United States. Section 103(8) of the Act defines severe forms of trafficking in persons as 1) sex trafficking in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such act has not attained 18 years of age; or 2) the recruitment, harbouring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for labour or services, through the use of force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery. The TVPA provides the basis for an annual report on trafficking in persons and establishes an inter-agency taskforce to co-ordinate federal anti-trafficking action. The TVPA allows trafficking victims to benefit from residence and work authorisation under certain circumstances.

US Agency for International Development (USAID) Counter-Trafficking in Persons Policy and Agency-Wide Counter Trafficking in Persons Code of Conduct

Being among the largest donors engaged in counter-trafficking in persons, USAID has implemented a “Counter-Trafficking in Persons Policy” and an “Agency-Wide Counter Trafficking in Persons Code of Conduct” that both incorporate the principles set out in the TVPA.

The Policy is built on 4Ps: Prevention; Protection for victims; Prosecution of traffickers; and Partnership and co-ordination of stakeholders. The Policy sets out five programming objectives for the Agency relating to counter-trafficking in persons (USAID, 2012):

  • 1. efforts to combat TIP integrated into relevant Agency initiatives and programmes
  • 2. improved codification and application of learning in efforts to combat TIP
  • 3. enhanced institutional accountability to combat TIP as a result of training and co-ordination
  • 4. augmented C-TIP investments in critical TIP challenge countries
  • 5. increased investments in TIP prevention and protection in conflict and crisis- affected areas.

Through the Code of Conduct, USAID pledges to: 1) prohibit USAID contractors, subcontractors, grantees and sub grantees during the period of performance of their contracts or awards from engaging in trafficking in persons, procuring commercial sex acts, or using forced labour; 2) sensitise USAID personnel to human trafficking and the ethical conduct requirements that prohibit the procurement of commercial sex and the use of trafficked labour; 3) equip USAID personnel with the necessary knowledge and tools to recognise, report, and address human-trafficking offenses; 4) require USAID personnel to report suspected cases of USAID employee misconduct as well as waste, fraud, and abuse in USAID programmes as related to human trafficking; and 5) designate a Counter Trafficking in Persons Co-ordinator at all Missions to serve as the primary point of contact for this issue. The Co-ordinator will disseminate information, respond to inquiries, and liaise with appropriate staff in developing anti-human trafficking strategies.

Mexican General Act for Prevention, Punishment and Eradication of Crimes in Trafficking in Persons and for the Protection and Assistance of Victims of this Crime

In Mexico, the “General Act for Prevention, Punishment and Eradication of Crimes in Trafficking in Persons and for the Protection and Assistance of Victims of this Crime” (Ley General para Prevenir, Sancionar y Erradicar los Delitos en Materia de Trata de Personas y para la Proteccion y Asistencia a las Victimas de Estos Delitos) came into force on 14 June 2012 (Camara de Diputados, 2012). It determines the co-ordination of federal, state and municipal actors involved in the prevention and prosecution of trafficking in persons, as well as the protection of victims. It sets out the criminal actions and corresponding penalties for crimes of trafficking in persons, and establishes a number of mechanisms to effectively protect the life, dignity, freedom, integrity and safety of persons from offences set out in the Act. The Act does not only make the trafficking of persons a criminal offence but also criminalises slavery, debt bondage, the imposition of forced labour or services, and the exploitation of labour.

The “National Programme for the Prevention and Punishment of Trafficking in Persons 2010-12” (Programa Nacional para Prevenir y Sancionar la Trata de Personas 2010-12) (Secretaria de Relaciones Exteriores, 2011) was drawn up by an InterMinisterial Committee set up to prevent and penalise the trafficking of persons and was adopted on 6 January 2011. The Programme has four objectives: increasing knowledge of trafficking in persons; preventing and raising awareness of trafficking in persons;

contributing to the effective functioning of the justice system; and providing comprehensive protection for victims.

A Special Prosecutor for Crimes of Violence against Women and Trafficking (La Fiscalia Especial para los Delitos de Violencia contra las Mujeres y Trata de Personas, FEVIMTRA) attached to the Office for Human Rights, Victim and Community Services of the Attorney General’s Office (PGR), is responsible for investigating and prosecuting federal crimes related to violence against women and trafficking in persons, and to contribute to citizens’ right to obtain justice.

New Zealand Plan of Action to Prevent People Trafficking

In New Zealand, the “Plan of Action to Prevent People Trafficking” (NZ Department of Labour, 2009) was co-ordinated by the Department of Labour on behalf of an Interagency Working Group on People Trafficking comprised of the Departments of Labour and Prime Minister and Cabinet; the Ministries of Justice, Foreign Affairs and Trade, Health, Social Development, and Women’s Affairs; and the New Zealand Police and Customs Service. The Plan of Action sets out ten principles that focus on the prevention, and prosecution of trafficking, and protection of victims of trafficking. This includes training for officials to identify trafficking, assistance, health services, housing and protection for trafficking victims, and compensation for victims. The Plan of Action mainstreams human trafficking prevention and assistance into existing government initiatives and programmes.

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