Palau improved its standing in the Trafficking in Persons Report 2023 by moving from the Tier 2 Watchlist to Tier 2. The US Department of State issued the report yesterday, and a diplomatic note from the United States Embassy informed the Palau government that it had been upgraded in the 2023 TIP report.
The Trafficking in Persons Report assesses the anti-trafficking efforts of 188 countries, including the United States, in meeting the minimum standards of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (TVPA) and ranks them into one of the three tiers, Tier 1, Tier 2 and Tier 2 Watchlist and Tier 3.
Tier 1 is assigned to countries that meet the minimum standards. Tier 2 and Tier 2 Watchlist are assigned to countries making significant efforts but have not fully met the minimum standards. The difference between Tier 2 and Tier 2 Watchlist is that Tier 2 is not meeting the minimum standard but putting in “significant effort” to do so, while Tier 2 Watchlist list refers to countries that have been on Tier 2 but “require special scrutiny” the following year. Palau has been in the Tier 2 ranking since 2017. In 2021 and 2022, Palau dropped to the Tier 2 Watchlist. The 2023 TIP Report upgraded Palau to Tier 2.
Vice President and Minister of Justice Uduch Sengebau-Senior said this was good news, and she is “almost certain” by implementing the RPPL 11-28, Palau could achieve the Tier 1 ranking in 2024.
RPPL 11-28, signed into law this April during the State of Republic Address by President Whipps, improved the Anti-People Smuggling and Trafficking Act. The three significant amendments included 1) that upon conviction of a trafficking offense, the defendant faces both imprisonment AND fine, 2) immunity of smuggled, trafficked, or exploited person in section 2113, and 3) in section 2121, the division of transnational crime will be responsible for compiling the TIP report.
“Ng kmal mesaul a Senate ma House of Delegates for passing the amendments to the Anti-People Smuggling and Trafficking Act and updating the Republic’s laws with respect to Human Smuggling and Trafficking,” said Vice President Senior when contacted by Island Times.
Vice President added, “I am also grateful for the work of the Anti-Human Trafficking Working Group as well as the support of Lori Williams of the International Office of Migration,” in the efforts to improve Palau’s ranking.
Tier 3, the lowest ranking in the Trafficking of Persons Report, is assigned to countries that do not meet the minimum standards and are not trying to do so.