The United States of America through its TIP report monitors how other countries are combating human trafficking. The report looks at what countries are doing in terms of prosecuting traffickers, protecting victims and preventing the crime. Belize is seemingly on a downward spiral as it relates to the Trafficking in Person report. In 2014, Belize was listed at tier 2 watch list; thereafter in 2015 it fell to tier 3 and it presently remains in that category. Laura Svat Rundlet, Acting Deputy Director at the Office to Monitor & Combat Trafficking in Persons (TIP Office) explains how their data is compiled for the TIP report.
Laura Svat Rundlet – Acting Deputy Director
“You know I’ve been in the TIP Office for seven years and we use the same strategies each year to solicit information from governments. Each year we go to each Embassy we have around the world and we meet. Our staff travels every year to each country and we compile the evidence based on all the sources that I was talking about earlier and our office provides… It’s not just our office but we work hand in hand with embassies and other offices at headquarters here in Washington DC and we apply the law. The law really is our guidepost as what we are to look at; the four minimum standards and the indicia that I referred to earlier and provide an assessment of those efforts. There is no other analysis that goes into those assessments that are considered each year for purposes of the final determinations that are made in the book. There are always occasion where there are disagreements whether from the public or members of Congress that ask us the same questions form one year to the next on a particular outcome that they disagree with, this happens routinely, it’s a minority of cases where this happens where there are disagreements.”
Each TIP Report contains recommendations on a specific line of action a government can take in order to improve its status on the report in the following year. Where Belize is concerned, seven actions were recommended that includes properly investigating and prosecuting child sex tourists, sensitizing clients of Belize’s legal sex trade about the links between prostitution and trafficking through a targeted campaign, and to construct anti-trafficking laws by actively investigating and prosecuting suspected sex and labor traffickers and implement appropriate penalties to fit the crime.