US continues to see Malta as ‘source’ country for sex trafficking

Malta has retained its ‘Tier 2’ country classification in the annual trafficking of persons report published by the US Department of State

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Miriam Dalli
6 July 2017, 7:30am
The ‘Tier 2’ ranking, which Malta has had for the past 10 years, means the United States considers Malta to be “a source and destination country for women and children subjected to sex trafficking”
The ‘Tier 2’ ranking, which Malta has had for the past 10 years, means the United States considers Malta to be “a source and destination country for women and children subjected to sex trafficking”
Malta has retained its ‘Tier 2’ country classification in the annual trafficking of persons report published by the US Department of State.

The ‘Tier 2’ ranking, which Malta has had for the past 10 years, means the United States considers Malta to be “a source and destination country for women and children subjected to sex trafficking”. The ranking is given based on the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) and countries whose government do not fully meet the TVPA’s minimum standards.

The Tier 2 also notes countries as making significant efforts to meet those standards. 

But the watch list also includes countries where the absolute number of victims of severe forms of trafficking is significant or where there is a failure to provide evidence of increasing efforts to combat trafficking. Also, a third criterion is where the country is making significant efforts to meet the minimum standards, based on commitments by the country to take additional future steps over the next year.

Since at least the report published in 2010, Malta has constantly been listed as a Tier 2 country, which means that the government does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however it is making significant efforts to do so.

The reason being that no person has been convicted for trafficking for the past five years. 

“The government demonstrated increasing efforts compared to the previous reporting period; therefore Malta remained on Tier 2. The government demonstrated increasing efforts by identifying significantly more victims and providing all of them with shelter and services and funding training for police recruits and officers, border agents, and diplomats.

“However, the government did not meet the minimum standards, as it has not secured any trafficking convictions since 2012.” 

The report recommends that Malta “vigorously investigate and prosecute trafficking offences and pursue adequate sentencing for convicted trafficking offenders and increase efforts and training of relevant staff and officials to proactively identify trafficking victims among vulnerable immigrant populations, particularly migrant workers, child trafficking victims and women in prostitution.

Malta is also being urged to use anti-trafficking training for police officers, prosecutors and judges to increase focus on working with victims and procedures for appropriate referral for care and to increase funding to the inter-ministerial committee for implementing the national action plan.

The government, the report recommends, should also increase funding for both short- and long-term shelter and assistance adapted to the needs of trafficking victims, including male victims and minors.

Adequate availability of translators for victims and more awareness campaigns should be provided.

The report found the government maintained law enforcement efforts while demonstrating “modest efforts” to protect trafficking victims. It however praised the government for maintaining prevention efforts.

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Miriam Dalli joined MaltaToday.com.mt in 2010 and was assistant editor fr...