APA Task Force on Human Trafficking of Women and Girls

The empirically-based conclusions and recommendations of this task force will be disseminated to inform the development of a broad range of policy

On December 2-4, 2011, the Task Force on Trafficking of Women and Girls met in Washington, DC. The Task Force is charged with reviewing the state of the literature of theory, research, and practice relevant to the trafficking of women and girls, and producing a report summarizing its findings.  This review included definitions, prevalence, nature, psychological, physical, and social effects, prevention, identification, intervention, and recommendations for future research, training, practice, and policy. The empirically-based conclusions and recommendations of this task force will be disseminated to inform the development of a broad range of policy at various levels. In addition to support from APA, Quality Carpentry, Painting, the Larson Charitable Foundation, and the Women’s Caucus of the APA Council of Representatives have contributed to help defer task force expenses.

Members of the task force include: Mary C. Burke, PhD; Rita Chi-Ying Chung, PhD; Michelle Contreras, MA; Melissa Farley, PhD; James O. Finckenauer, PhD; Deborah Hume, PhD; Marsha B. Liss, PhD, JD; Terri D. Patterson, PhD; Alexandra Pierce, PhD; and Nancy M. Sidun, PsyD, ABPP, ATR (chair). Dr. Shari Miles-Cohen and Ms. Tanya Burrwell will serve as staff liaisons to the Task Force.

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2011 Trafficking Report subject of Congressional hearing
by Gloria Mejia

On October 27, the US House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, and Human Rights held a Congressional hearing, “The Trafficking in Persons Report 2011: Truth, Trends, and Tier Rankings.” Speakers included Chairman Christopher Smith (R-NJ), Ranking Member Donald Payne (D-NJ), Luis CdeBaca, ambassador-at-large for the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons at the State Department, Joseph Yun, Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs at the State Department, and Robert Blake, Jr., Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of South Central Asian Affairs at the State Department. The panel discussed anti-trafficking efforts around the globe. As countries continue to develop anti-trafficking strategies, members of the state department hailed progressed in the international anti-human trafficking movement.

The Watch List, a 3-tiered list of international governments’ compliance with the Trafficking Victims Protection Act’s (TVPA) minimum standards, was acknowledged as an effective method of mobilization. Tier 3 includes countries whose governments do not fully comply with the minimum standards and are not making significant efforts to do so; tier 2 includes countries whose governments do not fully comply with the minimum standards, but are making significant efforts to become compliant; and tier 1 includes countries whose governments fully comply with minimum standards. Additionally, there are countries on a Tier 2 Watch List which means in addition to making significant efforts to comply the minimum standards, these countries: a) have very significant numbers or significantly increasing numbers of victims of severe forms of trafficking; b) a failure to provide evidence of increasing efforts to combat severe forms of trafficking in persons from the previous year; or c) significant efforts to bring itself into compliance with minimum standards was based on commitments by the country to take additional future steps over the next year. These lists are updated annually.

The Tier 2 Watch List is significant as it serves to help determine where funding for anti-trafficking education and training programs for international organizations is needed most. Member Luis Cde Baca stressed that not all organizations who apply for foreign assistance from the US would be funded as the commitment to being responsible custodians of taxpayer dollars is his top priority. But, he continued, there is a great need in response towards helping end the trafficking of persons and help victims who have been trafficked.

To read a transcript from the hearing, please visit the Women's Policy website.