Bahrain has become the first Arab State to reach Tier 1 in the US Department of State Trafficking in Persons (TiP) Report, receiving this distinguished honour in the 2018 edition. The TiP report ranks governments by their efforts to acknowledge and combat human trafficking, and the Tier 1 designation concerns countries that comply with the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) of 2000. Bahrain moved up from Tier 2 Watch List to Tier 2 in 2015, and was a steady performer at Tier 2 for three consecutive years.
IOM, the UN Migration Agency, congratulates the Government of Bahrain for this remarkable achievement.
“Getting elevated to Tier 1 in the US State Department TiP Report is a recognition of the progress that the Kingdom of Bahrain has achieved in this field,” said Mohamed El Zarkani, IOM Bahrain Officer in Charge, who went on to explain that the Kingdom of Bahrain’s efforts to combat TiP is a perfect example of the positive progressive attitude adopted by the Government.
El Zarkani added: “It was always clear to IOM that it was only a matter of time before Bahrain reached this level. IOM is certain that this new challenge will only further motivate the Government of Bahrain to not only reach the top, but to also maintain its position there. The organization will remain to be a dedicated partner to the Kingdom of Bahrain in this exciting new journey.”
Ausamah Al Absi, Chief Executive Officer of Bahrain’s Labour Market Regulatory Authority (LMRA) and Chairman of the National Committee to Combat Trafficking in Persons, highlighted the challenges of leading Bahrain’s counter-trafficking efforts.
“Upon assuming the chairmanship of the National Committee for Combatting Trafficking in Persons in 2015, I set for myself two goals: to adopt the best practices in migrant labour protection, and to build a solid knowledge base of anti-trafficking at a national level,” he said. “I sought the assistance of international houses of expertise to help me with both, and IOM was a first choice. Together we transferred knowledge, spread awareness, and institutionalized processes to transform the anti-trafficking efforts in Bahrain. Our numerous joint capacity building programmes have transformed hundreds of people into competent first responders, and our joint collaboration led to the launch of the first National Referral Mechanism in the region. This achievement is as much our partners’ doing, as it is ours; and IOM is definitely a major partner in it.”
IOM and the Government of Bahrain have been working closely over the past three years in the area of protection of Victims of Trafficking. Such collaborations include the development of Standard Operating Procedures for the Expat Protection Shelter; the development of a National Referral Mechanism for vulnerable migrants; establishing an assistance fund for Victims of Trafficking; and across-the-board capacity building for government staff.