News / USA

Russia, China Downgraded in US Trafficking Report

Russia, China Downgraded on US Trafficking Reporti
June 20, 2013 1:22 PM
The U.S. State Department released its annual Trafficking in Persons report Wednesday, and both Russia and China were downgraded to the lowest Tier 3 ranking. VOA's Suzanne Presto in Washington has more.
Suzanne Presto
The U.S. State Department released its annual Trafficking in Persons report Wednesday, and Russia, Uzbekistan and China were automatically downgraded to the lowest Tier 3 ranking.  

In total, the State Department says 21 of the 188 countries in its report do not fully comply with minimum standards to address trafficking and are not making significant efforts to do so.  

Modern-Day Slavery

Human trafficking is a worldwide problem, with an estimated 27 million people trapped in modern-day slavery. Only a small fraction of them, about 46,000, were identified last year, said Secretary of State John Kerry.

"It's no understatement to say that we are working to tackle an issue that millions of people assumed had been dealt with a long time ago," he told assembled officials and human rights' advocates at the State Department on Wednesday. "But the problem unfortunately persists, and I hate to say in some places can grow, and the challenge continues."  

Kerry said a recent study shows that countries are twice as likely to take some kind of action once they receive the Tier 3 designation.

"And we're going to keep engaging with governments on this issue because modern day slavery affects every country in the world, including the United States. And every government is responsible for dealing with it, and no government is yet doing enough," he said.


While calling attention to the issues of trafficking and exploitation, the State Department also recognized nine individuals for their efforts to combat trafficking and help victims.  

Among them was Mohammed Bassam al-Nasseri of Iraq, who pressed for the passage of his nation's anti-trafficking law. He personally helped 34 Eastern European construction workers who were trafficked into and then abandoned in Baghdad, without their promised pay or proper housing.

"Imagine for a minute if you got a good job offer, received a good job offer that ended up as a degrading job with no decent or dignified salary. Without wages, you ended up eating dried bread. You have no access to clean water to drink or to bathe," said al-Nasseri.  

He said this is the harsh reality for trafficking victims who can find themselves cut off from all they know, trapped in forced labor, involuntary domestic servitude and prostitution.


The State Department says the countries that rank lowest in dealing with human trafficking are Algeria, the Central African Republic, China, Cuba, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Guinea-Bissau, Iran, Kuwait, Libya, Mauritania, North Korea, Papua New Guinea, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Uzbekistan, Yemen and Zimbabwe.

Countries were downgraded when officials determined they had not taken ample steps to fight trafficking. Both Russia and China had been on the Tier 2 Watch List for the past nine years.

The 2013 report says Russia has established a committee to address human trafficking, but the committee has not yet met. It also says prosecution in Russia is low compared to the severity of the nation's trafficking problem.  
This year's Trafficking in Persons report notes the Chinese government recently unveiled a national plan to increase protections for trafficking victims and improve cooperation with international organizations. But the report also says the government did not show significant efforts to prosecute traffickers.

Uzbekistan had been on the Tier 2 Watch List for the past six years and was downgraded this year. According to the report, there is government-organized forced labor during the annual cotton harvest, and internal labor trafficking is prevalent during that season. It says the government took steps to reduce forced labor among children, but subjected older teenagers and adults to forced labor during last year's harvest.

You May Like

Video In US, Columbus Day Still Generates Controversy

Holiday marks date Columbus discovered Americas, but some are offended by legacy because he enslaved many natives he encountered More

Video Through Sports, Austria Tries to Give Migrants Traction

With 85,000 people expected to claim asylum in Austria this year, its government has made integration through joint physical activities a key objective More

Video Kickboxing Champion Shares Sport With Young Migrants

Pouring into Europe by hundreds of thousands, some migrants, especially youngsters, are finding sports a way to integrate into new host countries More

This forum has been closed.
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Amnesty Accuses Saudi Coalition of ‘War Crimes’ in Yemeni
Henry Ridgwell
October 12, 2015 4:03 PM
The human rights group Amnesty International has accused the Saudi-led coalition of war crimes in airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen. Henry Ridgwell reports the group says hundreds of civilians have been killed in strikes on residential areas.

Video Amnesty Accuses Saudi Coalition of ‘War Crimes’ in Yemen

The human rights group Amnesty International has accused the Saudi-led coalition of war crimes in airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen. Henry Ridgwell reports the group says hundreds of civilians have been killed in strikes on residential areas.

Video No Resolution in Sight to US House Speaker Drama

Uncertainty grips the U.S. Congress, where no consensus replacement has emerged to succeed Republican House Speaker John Boehner after his surprise resignation announcement. Half of Congress is effectively leaderless weeks before America risks defaulting on its national debt and enduring another partial government shutdown.

Video New Art Exhibit Focuses on Hope

Out of struggle and despair often comes hope. That idea is behind a new art exhibit at the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland. "The Big Hope Show" features 25 artists, some of whom overcame trauma and loss. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Columbus Day Still Generates Controversy as US Holiday

The second Monday of October is Columbus Day in the United States, honoring explorer Christopher Columbus and his discovery of the Americas. The achievement is a source of pride for many, but for some the holiday is marked by controversy. Adrianna Zhang has more.

Video Anger Simmers as Turks Begin to Bury Blast Victims

The Turkish army carried out new air strikes on Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) targets on Sunday, a day after the banned group announced a unilateral cease fire. The air raids apparently are in retaliation for the Saturday bombing in Turkey's capital Ankara that killed at least 95 people and wounded more than 200 others. But as Zlatica Hoke reports, there are suspicions that Islamic State is involved.

Video Bombings a Sign of Turkey’s Deep Troubles

Turkey has begun a three-day period of mourning following Saturday’s bomb attacks in the capital, Ankara, that killed nearly 100 people. With contentious parliamentary elections three weeks away, the attacks highlight the challenges Turkey is facing as it struggles with ethnic friction, an ongoing migrant crisis, and growing tensions with Russia. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Afghanistan’s Progress Aided by US Academic Center

Recent combat in Afghanistan has shifted world attention back to the central Asian nation’s continuing civil war and economic challenges. But, while there are many vexing problems facing Afghanistan’s government and people, a group of academics in Omaha, Nebraska has kept a strong faith in the nation’s future through programs to improve education. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Omaha, Nebraska.

Video House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdraws

The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video German, US Officials Investigate Volkswagen

German officials have taken steps to restore some of the reputation their car industry has lost after a recent Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal. Authorities have searched Volkswagen headquarters and other locations in an effort to identify the culprits in the creation of software that helps cheat on emission tests. Meanwhile, a group of lawmakers in Washington held a hearing to get to the bottom of the cheating strategy that was first discovered in the United States. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Why Are Gun Laws So Hard for Congress to Tackle?

Since taking office, President Barack Obama has spoken out or issued statements about 15 mass shootings. The most recent shooting, in which 10 people were killed at a community college, sparked outrage over the nation's gun laws. But changing those laws isn't as easy as many think. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.

Video In 'He Named Me Malala,' Guggenheim Finds Normal in Extraordinary

Davis Guggenheim’s documentary "He Named Me Malala" offers a probing look into the life of 18-year-old Malala Yousafsai, the Pakistani teenager who, in 2012, was shot in the head by the Taliban for standing up for her right to education in her hometown in Pakistan's Swat Valley. Guggenheim shows how, since then, Malala has become a symbol not as a victim of brutal violence, but as an advocate for girls’ education throughout the world. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.

Video Paintable Solar Cells May Someday Replace Silicon-Based Panels

Solar panels today are still factory-manufactured, with the use of some highly toxic substances such as cadmium chloride. But a researcher at St. Mary’s College, Maryland, says we are close to being able to create solar panels by painting them on a suitable surface, using nontoxic solutions. VOA’s George Putic reports.

VOA Blogs