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Human trafficking: US report shows Israel improving
State Department's annual Trafficking in Persons report places Israel once again on list of countries battling phenomenon

WASHINGTON - The annual Trafficking in Persons report (TIP) issued by the US State Department places focus China and Russia, comparing them to North Korea and Syria. For a second consecutive year, Israel remains on the list of countries struggling to fight the phenomenon.

 

According to the report, governments around the world managed to locate about 40,000 victims in 2012. It is estimated that 27 million men, women and children are victims of human trafficking.

 

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“The significance is that we reveal only a fraction of those who are suffering in modern slavery," said US ambassador for human trafficking Luis Sdabaka about the gap in numbers.

 

Until two years ago, Israel starred alongside third world countries in dealing with the phenomenon, but reports over the past two years point to significant progress.

 

This year again, Israel is ranked alongside Western European nations struggling to curb human trafficking, but the report lists a number of recommendations to further eradicate the problem: impose stricter sentences on convicted trafficking offenders, increase the number of labor inspectors and interpreters in the agriculture, construction and homecare sectors and ensure they are adequately trained in identifying cases of human trafficking.

 

The report calls on Israel to improve enforcement of foreign worker labor rights, and further evaluate employers and recruitment agencies for histories or indicators of abusive practices before referring migrant workers to them for new employment. There is a need to strengthen the detection of trafficking victims among migrants, refugees and asylum seekers who come from Sinai, and to provide victims with shelter and medical and psychological care, while ensuring that the victims themselves are not punished or arrested.

 

The report criticized China and Russia for not making enough effort to combat the problem within their countries. US President Barack Obama has 90 days to decide whether to issue sanctions against the two, but it is unlikely he will, due to strategic importance of the countries’ relations.

 

 

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