These Heroes are our modern abolitionists. They fight for the rights of the oppressed. They fight against injustice. They fight for freedom.
Who are the TIP Report Heroes?
In the United States, the landmark federal legislation which defined and outlawed the crime of human trafficking, the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA), was first passed in 2000 and has been reauthorized several times. Every year since its passage, the U.S. Department of State has released the Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report. The TIP Report is the primary diplomatic and diagnostic tool used by the United States to guide relations with foreign governments on human trafficking. Through the TIP Report, the Department of State assesses countries based on their government's efforts to comply with the "minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking" found in Section 108 of the TVPA. A country is placed in Tier 1 if the government fully complies with the minimum standards. A Tier 2 or Tier 2 Watch List ranking indicates that the government does not fully comply with the minimum standards, but is making significant efforts to do so. Tier 3, the lowest ranking, is reserved for those countries whose government's do not fully comply with the minimum standards and are not making significant efforts to do so. The TIP Report has become a powerful tool to advance anti-trafficking efforts around the world and is considered by some to be the international gold standard in promoting anti-trafficking accountability by governments.
Since 2004, the Department of State has honored individuals around the world who have devoted their lives to the fight against human trafficking. These individuals, “TIP Report Heroes Acting to End Modern-day Slavery,” are pioneering NGO workers, lawmakers, police officers, and advocates who are committed to ending modern slavery no matter the cost. Since 2009, the TIP Report Heroes have been invited to participate in a State Department-sponsored, two-week visit to the United States, where the Secretary of State personally honors them at the annual release of the TIP Report in Washington, DC. Following the event, the TIP Report Heroes travel to additional U.S. cities to meet with their counterparts around the country to share their stories and engage on anti-trafficking efforts. The recipients come from diverse backgrounds, and share an incredible dedication to assist trafficking victims and better address this global crime.
What is the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center?
This website and project are housed at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center (“Freedom Center”). The Freedom Center is a 150,000 square foot museum that sits on the banks of the Ohio River in Cincinnati, Ohio. The museum is dedicated to the abolitionist heroes of American history, specifically those who were part of the Underground Railroad. In the United States, chattel slavery was legal until the second half of the 19th century. During this time, there was an underground network of abolitionists who would help individuals seeking freedom to find a path to the North or into Canada, where slavery was illegal. By providing shoes, hiding people in their houses, and escorting them to the next ‘stop’ on the Underground Railroad, these conductors helped people gain their freedom, often at great personal risk to them and their families.
Today, the Freedom Center proudly stands in that abolitionist tradition. Joining other voices around the world, the Freedom Center calls for the complete eradication of slavery. The TIP Report Heroes, or Heroes Acting to End Modern Slavery, have stopped at the Freedom Center on their tour for years, and the Freedom Center’s mission and mandate made it uniquely placed to be the institutional home of a website that honors and celebrates the work of these modern-day abolitionists. Some of the Freedom Center’s other projects include End Slavery Now (found at endslaverynow.org), and Journey to Freedom, a documentary that was created several years ago that used footage of several of the TIP Report Heroes.
The 2015 TIP Heroes
The TIP Report Global Heroes Network was launched in January of 2015. Prior to that, the staff had the privilege of visiting and interviewing Philip Hyldgaard of Greece, Monica Boseff of Romania, and Kristina Misiniene of Lithuania. See the videos we put together on the blog!
Over the course of the last year, the network has expanded to include the 2015 TIP Report Heroes. See more about them and read short bios on this blog post, or visit the Heroes section and sort by year!