Guam – The U.S. State Department has placed the Federated States of Micronesia on its watch-list for international human trafficking.
That could lead to cuts in federal assistance to the micronesian island nation if the FSM government fails to take steps to curb human trafficking.
The State Department reports:
* The Government of the Federated States of Micronesia made no progress in its anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts.
* The Federated States of Micronesia made no efforts to identify or protect trafficking victims
* The Federated States of Micronesia did not make efforts to prevent trafficking or increase the general public’s awareness of trafficking
The FSM is ranked in Tier 3 on the list which is the lowest ranking.
According to the U.S. State Department website, Governments ranked in Tier 3 “do not fully comply with the minimum standards and are not making significant efforts to do so.”
Tier 3 countries may be subject to certain sanctions and loss of U.S. federal funding. Sanctions, if imposed, will take effect October 1 of this year.
READ State Department’s assessment of Human Trafficking in FSM below or click on link to see full State Department report:
MICRONESIA, FEDERATED STATES OF (Tier 3)
The Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) is a source country for women subjected to sex trafficking. FSM women have been recruited to the United States and its territories with promises of well-paying jobs, and forced into prostitution upon arrival. Pohnpei State Police received reports that FSM women and children were prostituted to crew members on Asian fishing vessels in Micronesia or in its territorial waters. Local Micronesians reportedly facilitate trafficking by transporting girls to the boats for the purpose of prostitution. Foreign and Micronesian women and girls in prostitution and foreign men on fishing vessels in Micronesian waters are particularly vulnerable to trafficking. Little data on the scope of human trafficking in FSM is available, as the government has not conducted any inquiries, investigations, studies, or surveys on human trafficking.
The Government of the Federated States of Micronesia does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so. During the year, the government did not investigate or prosecute any trafficking cases, made no efforts to identify or assist victims of trafficking, and failed to make efforts to prevent trafficking or increase the general public’s awareness of trafficking during the year.
Recommendations for the Federated States of Micronesia: Publicly recognize and condemn incidences of trafficking; draft and enact a comprehensive anti-trafficking law applicable in all four states; make efforts to criminally investigate, prosecute, and punish trafficking offenders; adopt procedures for the proactive identification of trafficking victims among vulnerable populations, such as foreign workers in the FSM, including those on fishing boats and women in prostitution, as well as among FSM women migrating to the United States for work; train officials on human trafficking and how to identify and assist trafficking victims; conduct anti-trafficking public awareness campaigns; make efforts to notify foreign workers of their rights, protections, and ways they can report abuse; and, as required under the Compact of Free Association (Amended), establish a registration system for and monitor the practices of overseas employment recruiters; and investigate and prosecute recruiters who may be engaged in fraudulent recruitment that leads to trafficking.
The Government of the Federated States of Micronesia made no progress in its anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts. The government did not investigate, prosecute, or punish any trafficking offenders during the reporting period. The Federated States of Micronesia does not have a comprehensive federal anti-trafficking law. Section 701 of the federal criminal code (“Deprivation of Rights”), which prescribes penalties of up to 10 years’ imprisonment, could be used to prosecute trafficking cases; however, the government has never used the law to prosecute a trafficking case. Additionally, each of the four states could prosecute some trafficking offenses under related laws, such as sexual assault, kidnapping, or criminal coercion, which provide penalties of five to 10 years’ imprisonment, though no such efforts were reported during the year. While local law enforcement and the Transnational Crime Unit made limited investigations of night clubs in Pohnpei State suspected of engaging in prostitution, authorities did not report any investigations, prosecutions, or convictions for trafficking crimes. Law enforcement agencies operated under significant resource, personnel, and capacity constraints. The government made no official acknowledgement of sex or labor trafficking in the FSM. The government did not conduct or cooperate with any international organizations or NGOs to offer anti-trafficking training to government officials during the reporting period. There was no evidence of official complicity in trafficking crimes or government involvement in or tolerance of trafficking during the year.
The Government of the Federated States of Micronesia made no efforts to identify or protect trafficking victims during the reporting period. The government did not identify any trafficking victims during the reporting period, and the government has never identified a trafficking victim in the country. The government has not taken steps to develop or implement formal or informal procedures to guide officials in proactive identification of victims of trafficking among high-risk persons with whom they come in contact or to refer identified or suspected trafficking victims for appropriate services. The government reports that identified victims would have access to the very limited social services and legal assistance provided to any victims of crime. No NGOs provided services to any trafficking victims. The FSM has no laws specifically protecting trafficking victims or witnesses. Victims have the legal right to bring personal injury civil suits against traffickers; however, as no victims have ever been identified, no suits have ever been filed. The law does not provide legal alternatives to the removal of foreign victims to countries where they may face hardship or retribution. The government had no formal system to guide officials in proactive identification of victims of trafficking among high-risk persons with whom they come in contact.
The Government of the Federated States of Micronesia did not make efforts to prevent trafficking or increase the general public’s awareness of trafficking during the year. The government did not conduct or support any anti-trafficking education campaigns. In October 2010, the government established a working group to assess the trafficking situation and make policy recommendations. However, the group only convened for one meeting during the year. The government did not conduct any campaigns aimed at reducing the demand for commercial sex acts. Micronesia is not a party to the 2000 UN TIP Protocol.