The 2017 Trafficking in Persons Report: Insights for Your Supply Chain

The 2017 Trafficking in Persons Report: Insights for Your Supply Chain

This week, the U.S. Department of State released the 2017 Trafficking in Persons (TiP) Report. The report ranks states on their perceived efforts to acknowledge and eliminate human trafficking within their jurisdictions. In doing so, the TiP offers important insights for companies assessing their supply chains for risks of human trafficking and slavery. These assessments can then inform the development of strong due diligence programming in response to legislative and corporate social responsibility (CSR) requirements.

Understanding the Trafficking in Persons Report

The TiP is released annually by the U.S. Department of State, and offers a summary of the laws and enforcement efforts of various countries with respect to human trafficking. Specifically, it ranks countries based on a ‘3P paradigm’ of prosecuting traffickers, protecting victims and preventing crime. Scoring on these elements is then collated to give each country a ranking:

  • Tier 1: The government meets the Trafficking Victims Protection Act’s (TVPA) minimum standards
  • Tier 2: The government does not meet the TVPA minimum standards, but is making significant effort to do so
  • Tier 2 Watch List: The government does not meet the TVPA minimum standards, but is making efforts to do so (nonetheless, due to a range of considerations, the country is more likely to be pushed back to Tier 3 than upgraded to Tier 2 or 1)
  • Tier 3: The government is not meeting the TVPA minimum standards and is making no significant effort to rectify this

Countries on the Tier 2 Watch List for two consecutive years may be downgraded to Tier 3 automatically if no improvements are demonstrated. This could result in restrictions on non-humanitarian and non-trade-related foreign assistance from the U.S., at the discretion of the President.

Learn more about human trafficking and slavery regulations in our comprehensive eBook: Anti-Human Trafficking and Your Supply Chain. Download it here.

China Among Five Companies Downgraded to Tier 3

In this year’s TiP country rankings, China, the Republic of the Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Guinea and Mali have all been downgraded to Tier 3. Meanwhile, Guyana and Luxembourg have joined Tier 1, and Burma has moved from Tier 3 to Tier 2 Watch List.

Entities doing business with companies or suppliers in countries ranked as Tier 3, Tier 2 or Tier 2 Watch List in the TiP should proceed with particular caution. Accordingly, due diligence for supply chains involving these countries will need to include strong surveying, along with risk assessment, mitigation and training activities for direct staff and other supply chain actors.

Does your due diligence program include staff and supplier training on risks of human trafficking? Download the training and education guide to learn more.

New act seeks to improve TiP

While the TiP rankings can help inform corporate risk assessments, the report has been publicly criticized in the past for questionable rankings and politically motivated judgement. This year, the TiP has again faced allegations that the promotion of Burma and demotion of China were politically motivated. In December 2016, the Trafficking in Persons Report Integrity Act (TiPRIA) was introduced to reform the TiP in an effort to make the report more credible and comprehensive.

This insight is particularly relevant to companies using the TiP to assess risk of trafficking and slavery in their supply chains. In short, it serves as further impetus for them to consult other risk ranking sources, such as the Human Rights Watch Country Reports and Global Slavery Index, when creating their due diligence program.

The Assent Human Rights Module

As part of the wider Assent Compliance Platform, the Human Rights Module helps companies identify and mitigate risk of human trafficking and slavery associated with the entities and countries they do business with. In turn, this contributes to compliance efforts associated with key trafficking and slavery regulations like the U.S. Federal Acquisition Regulation, the California Transparency in Supply Chains Act, the UK Modern Slavery Act, the French Corporate Duty of Vigilance law, and more.

The Module has the added benefit of integrating seamlessly with the Human Trafficking Risk Template (HTRT), which is updated regularly to take TiP country rankings and report findings into account. The HTRT is the industry-standard template used by companies to identify, assess and mitigate risk of human trafficking and slavery throughout their business operations, from the supplier to the point of sale.

For more information on identifying, assessing and mitigating risk of trafficking and slavery in your supply chain, get in touch with our human rights subject matter and regulatory experts at