Israel has been ranked Tier 1 for the third year in a row by the United States in its annual State Department’s 2014 Trafficking in Persons Report, published Friday. The coveted ranking recognizes Israel’s efforts to reduce human trafficking and slavery within its borders and its acceptance and implementation of “minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking.”
Israel earned its current position in 2012, improving over its previous Tier 2 ranking. Just one decade ago, it was embarrassingly listed as a Tier 3 country, a ranking held currently by Iran, North Korea and Russia, among others.
According to the report, “While Tier 1 is the highest ranking, it does not mean that a country has no human trafficking problem. On the contrary, a Tier 1 ranking indicates that a government has acknowledged the existence of human trafficking, made efforts to address the problem, and complies with the TVPA’s [Trafficking Victims Protection Act] minimum standards. Each year, governments need to demonstrate appreciable progress in combating trafficking to maintain a Tier 1 ranking.”
In 2003, ATZUM, an Israeli organization dedicated to resolving injustices in the country, joined forces with Kabiri-Nevo-Keidar and established the Task Force on Human Trafficking (TFHT) to help Israel put an end to human trafficking within its borders. The Knesset Inter-Office Parliamentary Committee against Human Trafficking was formed at its request.
Among this year’s measures recognized by the report were the opening of a third shelter and a day center, as well as free legal aid, for victims of human trafficking. The report also praised efforts to increase public awareness of the issue and work done by an interministerial team that examined underage prostitution in Israel. The team was headed by an anti-human trafficking unit from the Justice Ministry.
“We are happy with the achievements the country has made on this issue,” said Justice Ministry Director-General Emmy Palmor, adding that Israel would “continue to work with determination to prevent modern-day slavery in Israel.”