This month the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report suggesting the State Department make improvements to their annual Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report, as GAO found several key shortcomings in State’s 2015 and 2016 reports. State conducted a similar review of the TIP report in 2006.
GAO’s report addresses (1) the process to develop the TIP report, (2) the extent to which country narratives discuss minimum standards, and (3) the extent to which State assesses the report’s effectiveness as a tool to address trafficking. To do this, GAO conducted interviews with State and other relevant officials, and compared country narratives in the 2015 and 2016 reports with the minimum standards and analyzed 82 narratives for countries that changed tier.
During their research, GAO found that State had failed to post some information within the mandated timeframes. GAO also sighted a lack of clear explanations for some countries’ rankings, including changes in tier rankings from year to year, among their concerns. However, GAO indicated that State had made improvements to the TIP report since it’s previous review in 2006.
GAO recommends State continue to improve the TIP report by posting evidence to support downgrade waivers on State’s website, improving explanations for tier rankings and changes, and assessing the effectiveness of the report as a tool to address trafficking. State agreed with GAO’s recommendations.
For more information on GAO-17-56, please follow the link below.
GAO-17-56, Human Trafficking: State Has Made Improvements in Its Annual Report but Does Not Explicitly Explain Certain Tier Rankings or Changes