State Dept. report again gives Israel top mark in trafficking fight

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Israel maintained its top-level status in the latest U.S. State Department report on human trafficking.

“The Government of Israel fully complies with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking,” said the State Department report released Wednesday.

“The Israeli government sustained strong law enforcement actions against sex and labor trafficking and strong overall prevention efforts during the year,” the report said, qualifying Israel to keep its Tier 1 status for countries that “fully comply” with the minimum requirements of U.S. law.

Israel was among the 30 of 188 countries reported on that achieved Tier 1 status, according to Luis CdeBaca, ambassador at large to monitor and combat trafficking in person, told reporters on Wednesday.

The top ranking, first achieved by Israel in last year’s Trafficking in Persons Report, represents a dramatic advance for Israel since 2006, when it was on the Tier 2 watch list — a step before being named a Tier 3 nation, which would incur sanctions.

This year’s report recommended that Israel make improvements. They included: “impose stricter sentences on convicted trafficking offenders; continue to increase the number of labor inspectors and interpreters; continue to strengthen trafficking victim identification among migrants, refugees, and asylum seekers arriving from Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula; continue to accord all trafficking victims protections, shelter, and medical and psychological treatment; increase training for regional district police units in victim identification, victim sensitivity, and enforcement of labor and sex trafficking laws; and increase investigations of forced prostitution of Israeli nationals.”

Congress created the 11 minimum standards assessed in the report with the passage of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000. They include the passage and enforcement of anti-trafficking laws and proactive efforts to identify and protect victims.

NEXT STORY