Ten Years of Fighting Trafficking: Critiquing the Trafficking in Persons Report through the Case of South Korea by Ayla Weiss
The United States (“U.S.”) took the lead at the beginning of the twenty-first century in the fight against human trafficking with a comprehensive and novel piece of legislation, the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (“TVPA”). The TVPA aims to protect trafficking victims, prevent trafficking, and prosecute traffickers domestically and internationally. The portion of the TVPA pertaining to foreign countries, the annual Trafficking in Persons Report (“TIP Report”), relies on the political and economic forces of the U.S. Although the TIP Report system has produced positive changes internationally, an examination of the system over the last decade suggests that an overhaul of the system is necessary. South Korea’s TIP report provides an excellent example of how the TIP system has fallen prey to political influence; employs weak analysis; utilizes confusing minimum standards; ignores a country’s socio-cultural background and continuing trafficking problems; discourages cooperation with other countries and international organizations; and offers no incentives for further improvement beyond the bare minimum standards. The TIP system’s treatment of South Korea highlights the flaws of the TIP Report and mirrors the experiences of numerous countries.