WASHINGTON (JTA) — The United States elevated its human trafficking assessment of Israel to full compliance with minimum international standards.
"The Government of Israel fully complies with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking," said the Israel chapter in the State Department report released Tuesday evening. "The Israeli government sustained strong law enforcement actions against sex trafficking and strong overall prevention efforts during the year."
That qualified Israel for a Tier 1 classification, the highest accorded by the State Department’s assessors.
Israel since 2007 had been classified as Tier 2, which means "not yet compliant, but taking great strides." Prior to 2007 it was on the Tier 2 watch list, which put Israel at risk of being classified as Tier 3 — a country that shows no signs of compliance with any of the minimum standards.
The Israeli government in a statement Wednesday said it was "pleased" to have its strides recognized.
The report recommended areas of improvement for Israel: "Increase the number of labor inspectors and translators in the agriculture, construction, and homecare sectors, ensuring that they are adequately trained in identifying trafficking cases; increase enforcement of foreign worker labor rights; evaluate employers and recruitment agencies for histories or indicators of abusive practices before referring migrant workers to them for new employment; continue to strengthen victim identification of migrants and asylum seekers arriving from the Sinai; continue to accord those trafficking victims protections and medical treatment, and ensure trafficking victims are not penalized for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of being trafficked, such as immigration violations; adequately train regional district police units in victim identification and enforcement of labor and sex trafficking laws; and increase investigations of forced prostitution of Israeli nationals."
The report analyzed 186 countries and identified 17 nations as Tier 3, down from 23 in 2011.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton was set Wednesday to honor 10 heroes combating human trafficking, including a nun working in the Sinai and a person from Israel.