Request for Information for the 2016 Trafficking in Persons Report, 81875-81878 [2015-32950]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 251 / Thursday, December 31, 2015 / Notices associated with SSCs that have been removed from NRC licensing basis documents by appropriate change mechanisms. Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 22nd day of December 2015. For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. George A. Wilson, Deputy Director, Division of Operating Reactor Licensing, Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation. [FR Doc. 2015–32932 Filed 12–30–15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 7590–01–P DEPARTMENT OF STATE [Public Notice: 9396] Request for Information for the 2016 Trafficking in Persons Report The Department of State (‘‘the Department’’) requests written information to assist in reporting on the degree to which the United States and foreign governments comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking in persons (‘‘minimum standards’’) that are prescribed by the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000, (Div. A, Pub. L. 106–386) as amended (‘‘TVPA’’). This information will assist in the preparation of the Trafficking in Persons Report (‘‘TIP Report’’) that the Department submits annually to the U.S. Congress on governments’ level of compliance with the minimum standards. Foreign governments that do not comply with the minimum standards and are not making significant efforts to do so may be subject to restrictions on nonhumanitarian, nontrade-related foreign assistance from the United States, as defined by the TVPA. Submissions must be made in writing to the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons at the Department of State by January 19, 2016. Please refer to the ADDRESSES, Scope of Interest, and Information Sought sections of this Notice for additional instructions on submission requirements. DATES: Submissions must be received by 5 p.m. on January 19, 2016. ADDRESSES: Written submissions and supporting documentation may be submitted by the following methods: Email (preferred): tipreport@state.gov for submissions related to foreign governments and tipreportUS@state.gov for submissions related to the United States. • Facsimile (fax): 202–312–9637 • Mail, Express Delivery, Hand Delivery and Messenger Service: U.S. Department of State, Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (J/ tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:49 Dec 30, 2015 Jkt 238001 TIP), 1800 G Street NW., Suite 2148, Washington, DC 20520. Please note that materials submitted by mail may be delayed due to security screenings and processing. Scope of Interest: The Department requests information relevant to assessing the United States’ and foreign governments’ compliance with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking in persons in the year 2015. The minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking in persons are listed in the Background section. Submissions must include information relevant and probative of the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking in persons and should include, but need not be limited to, answering the questions in the Information Sought section. Only those questions for which the submitter has direct professional experience should be answered and that experience should be noted. For any critique or deficiency described, please provide a recommendation to remedy it. Note the country or countries that are the focus of the submission. Submissions may include written narratives that answer the questions presented in this Notice, research, studies, statistics, fieldwork, training materials, evaluations, assessments, and other relevant evidence of local, state, and federal government efforts. To the extent possible, precise dates and numbers of officials or citizens affected should be included. Where applicable, written narratives providing factual information should provide citations to sources, and copies of the source material should be provided. If possible, send electronic copies of the entire submission, including source material. If primary sources are utilized, such as research studies, interviews, direct observations, or other sources of quantitative or qualitative data, details on the research or data-gathering methodology should be provided. The Department does not include in the Report, and is therefore not seeking, information on prostitution, human smuggling, visa fraud, or child abuse, unless such conduct occurs in the context of human trafficking. Confidentiality: Please provide the name, phone number, and email address of a single point of contact for any submission. It is Department practice not to identify in the Report information concerning sources to safeguard those sources. Please note, however, that any information submitted to the Department may be releasable pursuant to the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act or other applicable law. When applicable, portions of PO 00000 Frm 00071 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 81875 submissions relevant to efforts by other U.S. government agencies may be shared with those agencies. Response: This is a request for information only; there will be no response to submissions. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Background The TIP Report: The TIP Report is the most comprehensive worldwide report on governments’ efforts to combat trafficking in persons. It represents an updated, global look at the nature and scope of trafficking in persons and the broad range of government actions to confront and eliminate it. The U.S. government uses the Report to engage in diplomacy, to encourage partnership in creating and implementing laws and policies to combat trafficking, and to target resources on prevention, protection, and prosecution programs. Worldwide, the Report is used by international organizations, foreign governments, and nongovernmental organizations as a tool to examine where resources are most needed. Identifying victims, preventing trafficking, and bringing traffickers to justice are the ultimate goals of the Report and of the U.S government’s anti-trafficking policy. The Department prepares the TIP Report using information from across the U.S. government, foreign government officials, nongovernmental and international organizations, published reports, and research trips to every region. The Report focuses on concrete actions that governments take to fight trafficking in persons, including prosecutions, convictions, and prison sentences for traffickers, as well as victim protection measures and prevention efforts. Each Report narrative also includes recommendations for each country. These recommendations are then used to assist in measuring governments’ progress from one year to the next and determining whether governments comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking in persons or are making significant efforts to do so. The TVPA creates a four tier ranking system. Tier placement is based more on the extent of government action to combat trafficking than on the size of the problem, although that is a consideration. The Department first evaluates whether the government fully complies with the TVPA’s minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. Governments that fully comply are placed on Tier 1. For other governments, the Department considers the extent of efforts to reach compliance. Governments that are making significant efforts to meet the E:\FR\FM\31DEN1.SGM 31DEN1 81876 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 251 / Thursday, December 31, 2015 / Notices minimum standards are placed on Tier 2. Governments that do not fully comply with the minimum standards and are not making significant efforts to do so are placed on Tier 3. Finally, the Department considers Special Watch List criteria and, when applicable, moves countries to Tier 2 Watch List. For more information, the 2015 TIP Report can be found at http:// www.state.gov/j/tip/rls/tiprpt/2015/ index.htm. Since the inception of the TIP Report in 2001, the number of countries included and ranked has more than doubled to include 188 countries and territories in the 2015 TIP Report. Around the world, the TIP Report and the best practices reflected therein have inspired legislation, national action plans, policy implementation, program funding, protection mechanisms that complement prosecution efforts, and a stronger global understanding of this crime. Since 2003, the primary reporting on the United States’ anti-trafficking activities has been through the annual Attorney General’s Report to Congress and Assessment of U.S. Government Activities to Combat Human Trafficking (‘‘AG Report’’) mandated by section 105 of the TVPA (22 U.S.C. 7103(d)(7)). Since 2010, the Report, through a collaborative interagency process, includes an analysis of U.S. government anti-trafficking efforts in light of the minimum standards to eliminate trafficking in persons set forth by the TVPA. tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES II. Minimum Standards for the Elimination of Trafficking in Persons The TVPA sets forth the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking in persons as follows: (1) The government of the country should prohibit severe forms of trafficking in persons and punish acts of such trafficking. (2) For the knowing commission of any act of sex trafficking involving force, fraud, coercion, or in which the victim of sex trafficking is a child incapable of giving meaningful consent, or of trafficking which includes rape or kidnapping or which causes a death, the government of the country should prescribe punishment commensurate with that for grave crimes, such as forcible sexual assault. (3) For the knowing commission of any act of a severe form of trafficking in persons, the government of the country should prescribe punishment that is sufficiently stringent to deter and that adequately reflects the heinous nature of the offense. VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:49 Dec 30, 2015 Jkt 238001 (4) The government of the country should make serious and sustained efforts to eliminate severe forms of trafficking in persons. The following factors should be considered as indicia of serious and sustained efforts to eliminate severe forms of trafficking in persons: (1) Whether the government of the country vigorously investigates and prosecutes acts of severe forms of trafficking in persons, and convicts and sentences persons responsible for such acts, that take place wholly or partly within the territory of the country, including, as appropriate, requiring incarceration of individuals convicted of such acts. For purposes of the preceding sentence, suspended or significantly reduced sentences for convictions of principal actors in cases of severe forms of trafficking in persons shall be considered, on a case-by-case basis, whether to be considered as an indicator of serious and sustained efforts to eliminate severe forms of trafficking in persons. After reasonable requests from the Department of State for data regarding investigations, prosecutions, convictions, and sentences, a government which does not provide such data, consistent with the capacity of such government to obtain such data, shall be presumed not to have vigorously investigated, prosecuted, convicted, or sentenced such acts. The Secretary of State may disregard the presumption contained in the preceding sentence if the government has provided some data to the Department of State regarding such acts and the Secretary has determined that the government is making a good faith effort to collect such data. (2) Whether the government of the country protects victims of severe forms of trafficking in persons and encourages their assistance in the investigation and prosecution of such trafficking, including provisions for legal alternatives to their removal to countries in which they would face retribution or hardship, and ensures that victims are not inappropriately incarcerated, fined, or otherwise penalized solely for unlawful acts as a direct result of being trafficked, including by providing training to law enforcement and immigration officials regarding the identification and treatment of trafficking victims using approaches that focus on the needs of the victims. (3) Whether the government of the country has adopted measures to prevent severe forms of trafficking in persons, such as measures to inform and educate the public, including potential victims, about the causes and consequences of severe forms of PO 00000 Frm 00072 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 trafficking in persons; measures to establish the identity of local populations, including birth registration, citizenship, and nationality; measures to ensure that its nationals who are deployed abroad as part of a diplomatic, peacekeeping, or other similar mission do not engage in or facilitate severe forms of trafficking in persons or exploit victims of such trafficking; a transparent system for remediating or punishing such public officials as a deterrent; measures to prevent the use of forced labor or child labor in violation of international standards; effective bilateral, multilateral, or regional informationsharing and cooperation arrangements with other countries; and effective policies or laws regulating foreign labor recruiters and holding them civilly and criminally liable for fraudulent recruiting. (4) Whether the government of the country cooperates with other governments in the investigation and prosecution of severe forms of trafficking in persons and has entered into bilateral, multilateral, or regional law enforcement cooperation and coordination arrangements with other countries. (5) Whether the government of the country extradites persons charged with acts of severe forms of trafficking in persons on substantially the same terms and to substantially the same extent as persons charged with other serious crimes (or, to the extent such extradition would be inconsistent with the laws of such country or with international agreements to which the country is a party, whether the government is taking all appropriate measures to modify or replace such laws and treaties so as to permit such extradition). (6) Whether the government of the country monitors immigration and emigration patterns for evidence of severe forms of trafficking in persons and whether law enforcement agencies of the country respond to any such evidence in a manner that is consistent with the vigorous investigation and prosecution of acts of such trafficking, as well as with the protection of human rights of victims and the internationally recognized human right to leave any country, including one’s own, and to return to one’s own country. (7) Whether the government of the country vigorously investigates, prosecutes, convicts, and sentences public officials, including diplomats and soldiers, who participate in or facilitate severe forms of trafficking in persons, including nationals of the country who are deployed abroad as part of a diplomatic, peacekeeping, or E:\FR\FM\31DEN1.SGM 31DEN1 tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 251 / Thursday, December 31, 2015 / Notices other similar mission who engage in or facilitate severe forms of trafficking in persons or exploit victims of such trafficking, and takes all appropriate measures against officials who condone such trafficking. A government’s failure to appropriately address public allegations against such public officials, especially once such officials have returned to their home countries, shall be considered inaction under these criteria. After reasonable requests from the Department of State for data regarding such investigations, prosecutions, convictions, and sentences, a government which does not provide such data consistent with its resources shall be presumed not to have vigorously investigated, prosecuted, convicted, or sentenced such acts. The Secretary of State may disregard the presumption contained in the preceding sentence if the government has provided some data to the Department of State regarding such acts and the Secretary has determined that the government is making a good faith effort to collect such data. (8) Whether the percentage of victims of severe forms of trafficking in the country that are non-citizens of such countries is insignificant. (9) Whether the government has entered into effective, transparent partnerships, cooperative agreements, or agreements that have resulted in concrete and measureable outcomes with— (A) Domestic civil society organizations, private sector entities, or international non-governmental organizations, or into multilateral or regional arrangements or agreements, to assist the government’s efforts to prevent trafficking, protect victims, and punish traffickers; or (B) The United States toward agreed goals and objectives in the collective fight against trafficking. (10) Whether the government of the country, consistent with the capacity of such government, systematically monitors its efforts to satisfy the criteria described in paragraphs (1) through (8) and makes available publicly a periodic assessment of such efforts. (11) Whether the government of the country achieves appreciable progress in eliminating severe forms of trafficking when compared to the assessment in the previous year. (12) Whether the government of the country has made serious and sustained efforts to reduce the demand for: (A) Commercial sex acts; and (B) Participation in international sex tourism by nationals of the country. VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:49 Dec 30, 2015 Jkt 238001 III. Information Sought Relevant to the Minimum Standards Submissions should include, but need not be limited to, answers to relevant questions below for which the submitter has direct professional experience; that experience should be noted. Citations to source material should also be provided. Note the country or countries that are the focus of the submission. Please see the Scope of Interest section for detailed information regarding submission requirements. 1. How have trafficking methods changed in the past 12 months? For example, are there victims from new countries of origin? Is internal trafficking or child trafficking increasing? Has sex trafficking changed from brothels to private apartments? Is labor trafficking now occurring in additional types of industries or agricultural operations? Is forced begging a problem? Does child sex tourism occur in the country or involve its nationals abroad, and if so, what are their destination countries? 2. In what ways has the government’s efforts to combat trafficking in persons changed in the past year? What new laws, regulations, policies, and implementation strategies exist (e.g., substantive criminal laws and procedures, mechanisms for civil remedies, and victim-witness security, generally, and in relation to court proceedings)? 3. Please provide observations regarding the implementation of existing laws and procedures. Are there laws criminalizing those who knowingly solicit or patronize a trafficking victim to perform a commercial sex act and what are the prescribed penalties? 4. Are the anti-trafficking laws and sentences strict enough to reflect the nature of the crime? 5. Please provide observations on overall anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts and the efforts of police and prosecutors to pursue trafficking cases. Is the government equally vigorous in pursuing labor trafficking and sex trafficking? If aware, please note any efforts to investigate and prosecute suspects for knowingly soliciting or patronizing a sex trafficking victim to perform a commercial sex act. 6. Do government officials understand the nature of trafficking? If not, please provide examples of misconceptions or misunderstandings. 7. Do judges appear appropriately knowledgeable and sensitized to trafficking cases? What sentences have courts imposed upon traffickers? How common are suspended sentences and PO 00000 Frm 00073 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 81877 prison time of less than one year for convicted traffickers? 8. What was the extent of official complicity in trafficking crimes? Were officials operating as traffickers (whether subjecting persons to forced labor and/or sex trafficking offenses) or taking actions that may facilitate trafficking (including accepting bribes to allow undocumented border crossings or suspending active investigations of suspected traffickers, etc.)? Were there examples of trafficking occurring in state institutions (prisons, child foster homes, institutions for mentally or physically handicapped persons)? What proactive measures did the government take to prevent official complicity in trafficking in persons crimes? How did the government respond to reports of complicity that arose during the reporting period? 9. Has the government vigorously investigated, prosecuted, convicted, and sentenced nationals of the country deployed abroad as part of a diplomatic, peacekeeping, or other similar mission who engage in or facilitate trafficking? 10. Has the government investigated, prosecuted, convicted, and sentenced organized crime groups that are involved in trafficking? 11. Please provide observations regarding government efforts to address the issue of unlawful child soldiering. 12. Does the government make a coordinated, proactive effort to identify victims? Do officials effectively coordinate among one another and with relevant nongovernmental organizations to refer victims to care? Is there any screening conducted before deportation to determine whether individuals were trafficked? 13. What victim services are provided (legal, medical, food, shelter, interpretation, mental health care, health care, employment, training, etc.)? Who provides these services? If nongovernment organizations provide the services, does the government support their work either financially or otherwise? 14. How could victim services be improved? 15. Are services provided equally and adequately to victims of labor and sex trafficking? Men, women, and children? Citizen and noncitizen? Members of the LGBT community? 16. Do service providers and law enforcement work together cooperatively, for instance, to share information about trafficking trends or to plan for services after a raid? What is the level of cooperation, communication, and trust between service providers and law enforcement? E:\FR\FM\31DEN1.SGM 31DEN1 tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES 81878 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 251 / Thursday, December 31, 2015 / Notices 17. May victims file civil suits or seek legal action against their trafficker? Do victims avail themselves of those remedies? Is there a formal policy that encourages victims’ voluntary participation in investigations and prosecutions? How did the government protect victims during the trial process? If a victim was a material witness in a court case against a former employer, was the victim permitted to obtain employment, move freely about the country, or leave the country pending trial proceedings? How did the government work to ensure victims were not re-traumatized during participation in trial proceedings? Can victims provide testimony via video or written statements? Were victims’ identities kept confidential as part of such proceedings? 18. Does the government repatriate victims who wish to return home? Does the government assist with third country resettlement? Does the government engage in any analysis of whether victims may face retribution or hardship upon repatriation to their country of origin? Are victims awaiting repatriation or third country resettlement offered services? Are victims indeed repatriated or are they deported? 19. Does the government effectively assist its nationals exploited abroad? Does the government work to ensure victims receive adequate assistance and support for their repatriation while in destination countries? Does the government provide adequate assistance to repatriated victims after their return to their countries of origin, and if so, what forms of assistance? 20. Does the government inappropriately detain or imprison identified trafficking victims? 21. Does the government punish trafficking victims for forgery of documents, illegal immigration, unauthorized employment, or participation in illegal activities directed by the trafficker? 22. What efforts has the government made to prevent human trafficking? 23. Has the government entered into effective bilateral, multilateral, or regional information-sharing and cooperation arrangements that have resulted in concrete and measureable outcomes? 24. Does the country have effective policies or laws regulating foreign labor recruiters? What steps did the government take to minimize the trafficking risks faced by migrant workers departing from or arriving in the country? 25. Does the government undertake activities that could prevent or reduce VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:49 Dec 30, 2015 Jkt 238001 vulnerability to trafficking, such as registering births of indigenous populations? 26. Does the government provide financial support to NGOs working to promote public awareness or does the government implement such campaigns itself? Have public awareness campaigns proven to be effective? 27. Please provide additional recommendations to improve the government’s anti-trafficking efforts. 28. Please highlight effective strategies and practices that other governments could consider adopting. Dated: December 21, 2015. Kari Johnstone, Principal Deputy, Office to Monitor and Combat, Trafficking in Persons, U.S. Department of State. [FR Doc. 2015–32950 Filed 12–30–15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4710–17–P DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Surface Transportation Board [Docket No. FD 35984] Ohio River Partners LLC—Acquisition and Operation Exemption—Hannibal Development, LLC Ohio River Partners LLC (ORP), a noncarrier, has filed a verified notice of exemption under 49 CFR 1150.31 to acquire from Hannibal Development, LLC (Hannibal), and to operate 12.2 miles of rail line known as the Omal Secondary Track (the Line).1 The Line extends between milepost 60.5 at or near Powhatan Point and milepost 72.7 at or near Hannibal, in Monroe County, Ohio. Hannibal acquired the Line from the bankruptcy estate of ORMET Railroad Corporation (ORMET) in 2014. Prior to entering bankruptcy, ORMET granted Hannibal Real Estate, LLC (HRE) 2 an easement to use the Line for the purpose of providing rail service to an industrial park owned by HRE on property located adjacent to ORMET’s property. Ohio Terminal Railway Company currently serves customers in the HRE industrial park pursuant to the easement.3 The 1 ORP, a Delaware limited liability company, is controlled by Ohio River Partners Shareholder LLC, a Delaware limited liability company (ORPS). ORPS is indirectly owned and controlled by Fortress Transportation and Infrastructure Investors LLC, which is managed by an affiliate of Fortress Investment Group LLC (Fortress). Upon consummation of the proposed transaction, ORPS will own a 75% interest in ORP. The remaining 25% interest in ORP will be held by Hannibal. 2 Hannibal and HRE are not affiliated companies. 3 See Ohio Terminal Ry.—Operation Exemption— Hannibal Real Estate, FD 35703 (STB served Jan. 11, 2013). PO 00000 Frm 00074 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 customers in the HRE industrial park are currently the only rail shippers on the Line. ORP will acquire certain assets including the Line (collectively, the Hannibal Property) from Hannibal, and plans to redevelop the Hannibal Property for industrial use. ORP anticipates that industries located on the Hannibal Property may require rail service. Accordingly, ORP has filed the instant verified notice of exemption to acquire and operate the Line.4 This transaction is related to a concurrently filed verified notice of exemption in Fortress Investment Group LLC—Continuance in Control Exemption—Ohio River Partners, LLC, Docket No. FD 35985, wherein Fortress seeks Board approval to continue in control of ORP and two other rail carriers (Central Maine & Quebec Railway US Inc. and Florida East Coast Railway, L.L.C.) currently controlled by other companies managed by affiliates of Fortress following consummation of the proposed transaction. The transaction may not be consummated until January 17, 2016 (30 days after the notice of exemption was filed). ORP certifies that its projected annual revenues as a result of this transaction will not result in its becoming a Class II or Class I rail carrier and will not exceed $5 million. ORP states that the transaction does not impose any interchange commitment on it. If the verified notice contains false or misleading information, the exemption is void ab initio. Petitions to revoke the exemption under 49 U.S.C. 10502(d) may be filed at any time. The filing of a petition to revoke will not automatically stay the effectiveness of the exemption. Petitions to stay must be filed no later than January 8, 2016 (at least seven days before the exemption becomes effective). An original and 10 copies of all pleadings, referring to Docket No. FD 35984, must be filed with the Surface Transportation Board, 395 E Street SW., Washington, DC 20423–0001. In addition, a copy of each pleading must be served on Terence M. Hynes, Sidley Austin LLP, 1501 K St. NW., Washington, DC 20005. Board decisions and notices are available on our Web site at ‘‘WWW.STB.DOT.GOV.’’ Decided: December 23, 2015. 4 The easement granted by ORMET gives HRE the right to use the Line only for the purpose of providing rail service to HRE’s property. Accordingly, any new industries that locate on the Hannibal Property would be served by ORP. E:\FR\FM\31DEN1.SGM 31DEN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 80, Number 251 (Thursday, December 31, 2015)]
[Notices]
[Pages 81875-81878]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2015-32950]


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DEPARTMENT OF STATE

[Public Notice: 9396]


Request for Information for the 2016 Trafficking in Persons 
Report

SUMMARY: The Department of State (``the Department'') requests written 
information to assist in reporting on the degree to which the United 
States and foreign governments comply with the minimum standards for 
the elimination of trafficking in persons (``minimum standards'') that 
are prescribed by the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000, (Div. 
A, Pub. L. 106-386) as amended (``TVPA''). This information will assist 
in the preparation of the Trafficking in Persons Report (``TIP 
Report'') that the Department submits annually to the U.S. Congress on 
governments' level of compliance with the minimum standards. Foreign 
governments that do not comply with the minimum standards and are not 
making significant efforts to do so may be subject to restrictions on 
nonhumanitarian, nontrade-related foreign assistance from the United 
States, as defined by the TVPA. Submissions must be made in writing to 
the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons at the 
Department of State by January 19, 2016. Please refer to the ADDRESSES, 
Scope of Interest, and Information Sought sections of this Notice for 
additional instructions on submission requirements.

DATES: Submissions must be received by 5 p.m. on January 19, 2016.

ADDRESSES: Written submissions and supporting documentation may be 
submitted by the following methods:
    Email (preferred): tipreport@state.gov for submissions related to 
foreign governments and tipreportUS@state.gov for submissions related 
to the United States.
     Facsimile (fax): 202-312-9637
     Mail, Express Delivery, Hand Delivery and Messenger 
Service: U.S. Department of State, Office to Monitor and Combat 
Trafficking in Persons (J/TIP), 1800 G Street NW., Suite 2148, 
Washington, DC 20520. Please note that materials submitted by mail may 
be delayed due to security screenings and processing.
    Scope of Interest: The Department requests information relevant to 
assessing the United States' and foreign governments' compliance with 
the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking in persons in 
the year 2015. The minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking 
in persons are listed in the Background section. Submissions must 
include information relevant and probative of the minimum standards for 
the elimination of trafficking in persons and should include, but need 
not be limited to, answering the questions in the Information Sought 
section. Only those questions for which the submitter has direct 
professional experience should be answered and that experience should 
be noted. For any critique or deficiency described, please provide a 
recommendation to remedy it. Note the country or countries that are the 
focus of the submission.
    Submissions may include written narratives that answer the 
questions presented in this Notice, research, studies, statistics, 
fieldwork, training materials, evaluations, assessments, and other 
relevant evidence of local, state, and federal government efforts. To 
the extent possible, precise dates and numbers of officials or citizens 
affected should be included.
    Where applicable, written narratives providing factual information 
should provide citations to sources, and copies of the source material 
should be provided. If possible, send electronic copies of the entire 
submission, including source material. If primary sources are utilized, 
such as research studies, interviews, direct observations, or other 
sources of quantitative or qualitative data, details on the research or 
data-gathering methodology should be provided. The Department does not 
include in the Report, and is therefore not seeking, information on 
prostitution, human smuggling, visa fraud, or child abuse, unless such 
conduct occurs in the context of human trafficking.
    Confidentiality: Please provide the name, phone number, and email 
address of a single point of contact for any submission. It is 
Department practice not to identify in the Report information 
concerning sources to safeguard those sources. Please note, however, 
that any information submitted to the Department may be releasable 
pursuant to the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act or other 
applicable law. When applicable, portions of submissions relevant to 
efforts by other U.S. government agencies may be shared with those 
agencies.
    Response: This is a request for information only; there will be no 
response to submissions.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Background

    The TIP Report: The TIP Report is the most comprehensive worldwide 
report on governments' efforts to combat trafficking in persons. It 
represents an updated, global look at the nature and scope of 
trafficking in persons and the broad range of government actions to 
confront and eliminate it. The U.S. government uses the Report to 
engage in diplomacy, to encourage partnership in creating and 
implementing laws and policies to combat trafficking, and to target 
resources on prevention, protection, and prosecution programs. 
Worldwide, the Report is used by international organizations, foreign 
governments, and nongovernmental organizations as a tool to examine 
where resources are most needed. Identifying victims, preventing 
trafficking, and bringing traffickers to justice are the ultimate goals 
of the Report and of the U.S government's anti-trafficking policy.
    The Department prepares the TIP Report using information from 
across the U.S. government, foreign government officials, 
nongovernmental and international organizations, published reports, and 
research trips to every region. The Report focuses on concrete actions 
that governments take to fight trafficking in persons, including 
prosecutions, convictions, and prison sentences for traffickers, as 
well as victim protection measures and prevention efforts. Each Report 
narrative also includes recommendations for each country. These 
recommendations are then used to assist in measuring governments' 
progress from one year to the next and determining whether governments 
comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking in 
persons or are making significant efforts to do so.
    The TVPA creates a four tier ranking system. Tier placement is 
based more on the extent of government action to combat trafficking 
than on the size of the problem, although that is a consideration. The 
Department first evaluates whether the government fully complies with 
the TVPA's minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. 
Governments that fully comply are placed on Tier 1. For other 
governments, the Department considers the extent of efforts to reach 
compliance. Governments that are making significant efforts to meet the

[[Page 81876]]

minimum standards are placed on Tier 2. Governments that do not fully 
comply with the minimum standards and are not making significant 
efforts to do so are placed on Tier 3. Finally, the Department 
considers Special Watch List criteria and, when applicable, moves 
countries to Tier 2 Watch List. For more information, the 2015 TIP 
Report can be found at http://www.state.gov/j/tip/rls/tiprpt/2015/index.htm.
    Since the inception of the TIP Report in 2001, the number of 
countries included and ranked has more than doubled to include 188 
countries and territories in the 2015 TIP Report. Around the world, the 
TIP Report and the best practices reflected therein have inspired 
legislation, national action plans, policy implementation, program 
funding, protection mechanisms that complement prosecution efforts, and 
a stronger global understanding of this crime.
    Since 2003, the primary reporting on the United States' anti-
trafficking activities has been through the annual Attorney General's 
Report to Congress and Assessment of U.S. Government Activities to 
Combat Human Trafficking (``AG Report'') mandated by section 105 of the 
TVPA (22 U.S.C. 7103(d)(7)). Since 2010, the Report, through a 
collaborative interagency process, includes an analysis of U.S. 
government anti-trafficking efforts in light of the minimum standards 
to eliminate trafficking in persons set forth by the TVPA.

II. Minimum Standards for the Elimination of Trafficking in Persons

    The TVPA sets forth the minimum standards for the elimination of 
trafficking in persons as follows:
    (1) The government of the country should prohibit severe forms of 
trafficking in persons and punish acts of such trafficking.
    (2) For the knowing commission of any act of sex trafficking 
involving force, fraud, coercion, or in which the victim of sex 
trafficking is a child incapable of giving meaningful consent, or of 
trafficking which includes rape or kidnapping or which causes a death, 
the government of the country should prescribe punishment commensurate 
with that for grave crimes, such as forcible sexual assault.
    (3) For the knowing commission of any act of a severe form of 
trafficking in persons, the government of the country should prescribe 
punishment that is sufficiently stringent to deter and that adequately 
reflects the heinous nature of the offense.
    (4) The government of the country should make serious and sustained 
efforts to eliminate severe forms of trafficking in persons.
    The following factors should be considered as indicia of serious 
and sustained efforts to eliminate severe forms of trafficking in 
persons:
    (1) Whether the government of the country vigorously investigates 
and prosecutes acts of severe forms of trafficking in persons, and 
convicts and sentences persons responsible for such acts, that take 
place wholly or partly within the territory of the country, including, 
as appropriate, requiring incarceration of individuals convicted of 
such acts. For purposes of the preceding sentence, suspended or 
significantly reduced sentences for convictions of principal actors in 
cases of severe forms of trafficking in persons shall be considered, on 
a case-by-case basis, whether to be considered as an indicator of 
serious and sustained efforts to eliminate severe forms of trafficking 
in persons. After reasonable requests from the Department of State for 
data regarding investigations, prosecutions, convictions, and 
sentences, a government which does not provide such data, consistent 
with the capacity of such government to obtain such data, shall be 
presumed not to have vigorously investigated, prosecuted, convicted, or 
sentenced such acts. The Secretary of State may disregard the 
presumption contained in the preceding sentence if the government has 
provided some data to the Department of State regarding such acts and 
the Secretary has determined that the government is making a good faith 
effort to collect such data.
    (2) Whether the government of the country protects victims of 
severe forms of trafficking in persons and encourages their assistance 
in the investigation and prosecution of such trafficking, including 
provisions for legal alternatives to their removal to countries in 
which they would face retribution or hardship, and ensures that victims 
are not inappropriately incarcerated, fined, or otherwise penalized 
solely for unlawful acts as a direct result of being trafficked, 
including by providing training to law enforcement and immigration 
officials regarding the identification and treatment of trafficking 
victims using approaches that focus on the needs of the victims.
    (3) Whether the government of the country has adopted measures to 
prevent severe forms of trafficking in persons, such as measures to 
inform and educate the public, including potential victims, about the 
causes and consequences of severe forms of trafficking in persons; 
measures to establish the identity of local populations, including 
birth registration, citizenship, and nationality; measures to ensure 
that its nationals who are deployed abroad as part of a diplomatic, 
peacekeeping, or other similar mission do not engage in or facilitate 
severe forms of trafficking in persons or exploit victims of such 
trafficking; a transparent system for remediating or punishing such 
public officials as a deterrent; measures to prevent the use of forced 
labor or child labor in violation of international standards; effective 
bilateral, multilateral, or regional information-sharing and 
cooperation arrangements with other countries; and effective policies 
or laws regulating foreign labor recruiters and holding them civilly 
and criminally liable for fraudulent recruiting.
    (4) Whether the government of the country cooperates with other 
governments in the investigation and prosecution of severe forms of 
trafficking in persons and has entered into bilateral, multilateral, or 
regional law enforcement cooperation and coordination arrangements with 
other countries.
    (5) Whether the government of the country extradites persons 
charged with acts of severe forms of trafficking in persons on 
substantially the same terms and to substantially the same extent as 
persons charged with other serious crimes (or, to the extent such 
extradition would be inconsistent with the laws of such country or with 
international agreements to which the country is a party, whether the 
government is taking all appropriate measures to modify or replace such 
laws and treaties so as to permit such extradition).
    (6) Whether the government of the country monitors immigration and 
emigration patterns for evidence of severe forms of trafficking in 
persons and whether law enforcement agencies of the country respond to 
any such evidence in a manner that is consistent with the vigorous 
investigation and prosecution of acts of such trafficking, as well as 
with the protection of human rights of victims and the internationally 
recognized human right to leave any country, including one's own, and 
to return to one's own country.
    (7) Whether the government of the country vigorously investigates, 
prosecutes, convicts, and sentences public officials, including 
diplomats and soldiers, who participate in or facilitate severe forms 
of trafficking in persons, including nationals of the country who are 
deployed abroad as part of a diplomatic, peacekeeping, or

[[Page 81877]]

other similar mission who engage in or facilitate severe forms of 
trafficking in persons or exploit victims of such trafficking, and 
takes all appropriate measures against officials who condone such 
trafficking. A government's failure to appropriately address public 
allegations against such public officials, especially once such 
officials have returned to their home countries, shall be considered 
inaction under these criteria. After reasonable requests from the 
Department of State for data regarding such investigations, 
prosecutions, convictions, and sentences, a government which does not 
provide such data consistent with its resources shall be presumed not 
to have vigorously investigated, prosecuted, convicted, or sentenced 
such acts. The Secretary of State may disregard the presumption 
contained in the preceding sentence if the government has provided some 
data to the Department of State regarding such acts and the Secretary 
has determined that the government is making a good faith effort to 
collect such data.
    (8) Whether the percentage of victims of severe forms of 
trafficking in the country that are non-citizens of such countries is 
insignificant.
    (9) Whether the government has entered into effective, transparent 
partnerships, cooperative agreements, or agreements that have resulted 
in concrete and measureable outcomes with--
    (A) Domestic civil society organizations, private sector entities, 
or international non-governmental organizations, or into multilateral 
or regional arrangements or agreements, to assist the government's 
efforts to prevent trafficking, protect victims, and punish 
traffickers; or
    (B) The United States toward agreed goals and objectives in the 
collective fight against trafficking.
    (10) Whether the government of the country, consistent with the 
capacity of such government, systematically monitors its efforts to 
satisfy the criteria described in paragraphs (1) through (8) and makes 
available publicly a periodic assessment of such efforts.
    (11) Whether the government of the country achieves appreciable 
progress in eliminating severe forms of trafficking when compared to 
the assessment in the previous year.
    (12) Whether the government of the country has made serious and 
sustained efforts to reduce the demand for:
    (A) Commercial sex acts; and
    (B) Participation in international sex tourism by nationals of the 
country.

III. Information Sought Relevant to the Minimum Standards

    Submissions should include, but need not be limited to, answers to 
relevant questions below for which the submitter has direct 
professional experience; that experience should be noted. Citations to 
source material should also be provided. Note the country or countries 
that are the focus of the submission. Please see the Scope of Interest 
section for detailed information regarding submission requirements.
    1. How have trafficking methods changed in the past 12 months? For 
example, are there victims from new countries of origin? Is internal 
trafficking or child trafficking increasing? Has sex trafficking 
changed from brothels to private apartments? Is labor trafficking now 
occurring in additional types of industries or agricultural operations? 
Is forced begging a problem? Does child sex tourism occur in the 
country or involve its nationals abroad, and if so, what are their 
destination countries?
    2. In what ways has the government's efforts to combat trafficking 
in persons changed in the past year? What new laws, regulations, 
policies, and implementation strategies exist (e.g., substantive 
criminal laws and procedures, mechanisms for civil remedies, and 
victim-witness security, generally, and in relation to court 
proceedings)?
    3. Please provide observations regarding the implementation of 
existing laws and procedures. Are there laws criminalizing those who 
knowingly solicit or patronize a trafficking victim to perform a 
commercial sex act and what are the prescribed penalties?
    4. Are the anti-trafficking laws and sentences strict enough to 
reflect the nature of the crime?
    5. Please provide observations on overall anti-trafficking law 
enforcement efforts and the efforts of police and prosecutors to pursue 
trafficking cases. Is the government equally vigorous in pursuing labor 
trafficking and sex trafficking? If aware, please note any efforts to 
investigate and prosecute suspects for knowingly soliciting or 
patronizing a sex trafficking victim to perform a commercial sex act.
    6. Do government officials understand the nature of trafficking? If 
not, please provide examples of misconceptions or misunderstandings.
    7. Do judges appear appropriately knowledgeable and sensitized to 
trafficking cases? What sentences have courts imposed upon traffickers? 
How common are suspended sentences and prison time of less than one 
year for convicted traffickers?
    8. What was the extent of official complicity in trafficking 
crimes? Were officials operating as traffickers (whether subjecting 
persons to forced labor and/or sex trafficking offenses) or taking 
actions that may facilitate trafficking (including accepting bribes to 
allow undocumented border crossings or suspending active investigations 
of suspected traffickers, etc.)? Were there examples of trafficking 
occurring in state institutions (prisons, child foster homes, 
institutions for mentally or physically handicapped persons)? What 
proactive measures did the government take to prevent official 
complicity in trafficking in persons crimes? How did the government 
respond to reports of complicity that arose during the reporting 
period?
    9. Has the government vigorously investigated, prosecuted, 
convicted, and sentenced nationals of the country deployed abroad as 
part of a diplomatic, peacekeeping, or other similar mission who engage 
in or facilitate trafficking?
    10. Has the government investigated, prosecuted, convicted, and 
sentenced organized crime groups that are involved in trafficking?
    11. Please provide observations regarding government efforts to 
address the issue of unlawful child soldiering.
    12. Does the government make a coordinated, proactive effort to 
identify victims? Do officials effectively coordinate among one another 
and with relevant nongovernmental organizations to refer victims to 
care? Is there any screening conducted before deportation to determine 
whether individuals were trafficked?
    13. What victim services are provided (legal, medical, food, 
shelter, interpretation, mental health care, health care, employment, 
training, etc.)? Who provides these services? If nongovernment 
organizations provide the services, does the government support their 
work either financially or otherwise?
    14. How could victim services be improved?
    15. Are services provided equally and adequately to victims of 
labor and sex trafficking? Men, women, and children? Citizen and 
noncitizen? Members of the LGBT community?
    16. Do service providers and law enforcement work together 
cooperatively, for instance, to share information about trafficking 
trends or to plan for services after a raid? What is the level of 
cooperation, communication, and trust between service providers and law 
enforcement?

[[Page 81878]]

    17. May victims file civil suits or seek legal action against their 
trafficker? Do victims avail themselves of those remedies? Is there a 
formal policy that encourages victims' voluntary participation in 
investigations and prosecutions? How did the government protect victims 
during the trial process? If a victim was a material witness in a court 
case against a former employer, was the victim permitted to obtain 
employment, move freely about the country, or leave the country pending 
trial proceedings? How did the government work to ensure victims were 
not re-traumatized during participation in trial proceedings? Can 
victims provide testimony via video or written statements? Were 
victims' identities kept confidential as part of such proceedings?
    18. Does the government repatriate victims who wish to return home? 
Does the government assist with third country resettlement? Does the 
government engage in any analysis of whether victims may face 
retribution or hardship upon repatriation to their country of origin? 
Are victims awaiting repatriation or third country resettlement offered 
services? Are victims indeed repatriated or are they deported?
    19. Does the government effectively assist its nationals exploited 
abroad? Does the government work to ensure victims receive adequate 
assistance and support for their repatriation while in destination 
countries? Does the government provide adequate assistance to 
repatriated victims after their return to their countries of origin, 
and if so, what forms of assistance?
    20. Does the government inappropriately detain or imprison 
identified trafficking victims?
    21. Does the government punish trafficking victims for forgery of 
documents, illegal immigration, unauthorized employment, or 
participation in illegal activities directed by the trafficker?
    22. What efforts has the government made to prevent human 
trafficking?
    23. Has the government entered into effective bilateral, 
multilateral, or regional information-sharing and cooperation 
arrangements that have resulted in concrete and measureable outcomes?
    24. Does the country have effective policies or laws regulating 
foreign labor recruiters? What steps did the government take to 
minimize the trafficking risks faced by migrant workers departing from 
or arriving in the country?
    25. Does the government undertake activities that could prevent or 
reduce vulnerability to trafficking, such as registering births of 
indigenous populations?
    26. Does the government provide financial support to NGOs working 
to promote public awareness or does the government implement such 
campaigns itself? Have public awareness campaigns proven to be 
effective?
    27. Please provide additional recommendations to improve the 
government's anti-trafficking efforts.
    28. Please highlight effective strategies and practices that other 
governments could consider adopting.

    Dated: December 21, 2015.
Kari Johnstone,
Principal Deputy, Office to Monitor and Combat, Trafficking in Persons, 
U.S. Department of State.
[FR Doc. 2015-32950 Filed 12-30-15; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4710-17-P