Skip to Content
June 25, 2024

Humanity United Response to 2024 TIP Report

The Trafficking in Persons Report remains a critical tool for the U.S. government to reinforce its priorities on prevention, protection and prosecution, and to hold other governments accountable for taking measures to address human trafficking.

On June 24, the U.S. Department of State released its 2024 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report, providing an assessment of global and country-level trends in forced labor and human trafficking and demonstrating the need for collective effort and collaboration by the international community to end human rights abuses.

The report is informed by reporting and data from survivors, civil society organizations, journalists and governments. This resource remains a critical tool for the U.S. government to reinforce its priorities on prevention, protection and prosecution, and to hold other governments accountable for taking measures to address human trafficking.

We were pleased to see this year’s report highlight the importance of worker empowerment to prevent forced labor. If workers can organize and act collectively, existing power dynamics will shift toward greater leadership by workers, counteracting the marginalization that can lead to exploitation. We agree that the Dindigul Agreement and Fruit of the Loom freedom of association agreement are promising practices in improving labor conditions, and applaud the tireless efforts of workers and advocates — including our partners Global Labor Justice, Asia Floor Wage Alliance, and Worker Rights Consortium — who over many years helped develop binding agreements that require respect for worker’s rights.

The credibility and integrity of the report relies on the country rankings. Below, we explain our reactions to the rankings for countries relevant to our work.

Qatar: Humanity United agrees with Qatar’s Tier 2 designation. As the TIP Report and ongoing accounts from workers and civil society organizations highlight, migrant workers across sectors continue to experience some combination of the International Labour Organization’s (ILO) 11 indicators of forced labor in Qatar. Despite reforms, workers still face recruitment fees, non-payment of wages, wage theft, and debt bondage. Those seeking protection at the government’s anti-trafficking shelter report restrictions on their movement and lack of access to long-term care. Meanwhile, workers across industries continue to wait for the government of Qatar and FIFA to fulfill commitments to remedy, specifically concerning compensation for abuses in the lead up to and during the 2022 World Cup. While freedom of association remains banned by law, migrant workers, worker representatives and the Ministry of Labour formally reconvened in April 2024 for the first time since 2021 through the Community Leaders Forum. This venue provided an opportunity for meaningful dialogue and the identification of necessary reforms to protect and provide remedy to all workers in the country. Although this type of dialogue is a step in a positive direction, it does not replace the right to freedom of association.

As the effects of climate change and extreme heat drive global migration and displacement, we were surprised that the report did not call attention to the effects of heat stress on workers in countries across the Gulf. Facing a “double impact” of climate change in countries of origin and destination, migrant workers in particular face ongoing climate-driven risks to their health and safety. The government of Qatar’s 2023 commitments to strengthen its 2021 heat stress law and collect data on the effects of heat on workers will be vital to understand necessary worker protections and to ensure that employers create the conditions for climate-conscious work environments as the developments in the Gulf are a preview of what to expect globally in the coming years.

Thailand: In recent years, the Thai government has introduced key reforms to address forced labor and human trafficking. But the government has failed to fully implement some of these important reforms for the fishing industry, such as inspections, grievance mechanisms, and migration management. As noted in the report, government-led inspections were insufficient and the government has never reported trafficking victims as a result of these inspections, despite widespread reporting on the poor labor conditions on vessels. While Thai fish and shrimp remain on the U.S. Department of Labor’s List of Goods Produced by Child Labor or Forced Labor, the U.S. government recently issued an initial determination to remove shrimp from the list, in part due to progress under Thai regulatory reform. However, the newly elected Thai government has now threatened to weaken these reforms, which despite the lack of comprehensive implementation have led to improvements in recent years. Further, gaps in prevention still exist, such as the restriction on all migrant workers from forming or leading unions and weak regulation and oversight of recruitment agencies and brokers. Due to this, we disagree with Thailand’s Tier 2 ranking.

Indonesia: Indonesia has taken insufficient action to prevent trafficking domestically and protect Indonesian migrant workers. The government of Indonesia has failed to fully implement several existing laws related to trafficking victim protection and restitution, such as Presidential Regulation 49 (2023) and Government Regulations 9 (2008), 49 (2021), and 22 (2022). In the seafood industry, a lack of effective coordination under Law 18 (2017) between the Ministry of Transportation and the Ministry of Manpower continues to result in a lack of integrated data on and protection for migrant fishers. Civil society organizations have thoroughly documented labor abuses in Indonesia’s seafood sector including the lack of formal contracts, excessive overtime without pay, inadequate time off, lack of social security benefits, pay below minimum wage, failure to provide adequate equipment for workers, and child labor. Therefore, Indonesia should be on the Tier 2 Watchlist. To demonstrate comprehensive commitment to addressing trafficking, the Indonesian government, in consultation with all key stakeholders such as trade unions, must strengthen and implement the regulatory regime that protects all workers within the seafood industry, adequately respond to reports of harmful working conditions, and effectively regulate manning agencies.

Taiwan: Given the significant gaps in its efforts toward the elimination of trafficking, Taiwan should have been downgraded to Tier 2. The report highlights the highly vulnerable “Distant Water Fleet” which primarily employs migrant workers who report facing recruitment fees, dangerous working conditions, wage theft and debt bondage. Taiwanese fish remains on the List of Goods and the only U.S. government finding of forced labor on a fishing vessel is linked to Taiwanese ownership. The ongoing negotiations under the U.S.-Taiwan Initiative on 21st Century Trade provides an opportunity for both governments to solidify commitments to adhering to international labor standards in the trade context, and for the Taiwanese government to further commit to protections for migrant workers and address forced labor in its supply chains.

United States: The United States once again ranks at Tier 1. Throughout the past year, child labor continued to be exposed in the supply chains of major U.S. brands with factories and warehouses around the country. Reporting on the failures and inefficacies of social compliance audits in multiple states highlighted the scale of the problem and the specific vulnerabilities to exploitation faced by children who have migrated to the United States. With regard to preventing goods made with forced labor from entering U.S. supply chains, the U.S. government issued only one Withhold and Release Order during the reporting period. Sixteen entities were added to the UFLPA Entity list, however, concerted action to prevent goods made with forced labor in supply chains outside of China also remains critically important.

As the TIP Report highlights, the increased prevalence of individuals experiencing forced labor and human trafficking should concern all focused on ending exploitation. By calling attention to the scale of the issue within each country, the report provides a critical dataset for understanding and should spur action.

Humanity United remains committed to working with survivors and those with lived experience to identify sustainable solutions and hold institutions accountable in preventing and responding to human trafficking.

We use cookies for anonymous analytics collection in order to improve this site for you. By clicking on ‘Allow’ or on any content on this site, you agree that cookies can be placed. For details, view our privacy policy.