News / Asia

US Downgrades Thailand, Malaysia Human Trafficking Status

US: Thailand, Malaysia, Venezuela Fail on Human Traffickingi
X
Aru Pande
June 20, 2014 10:32 PM
Thailand, Malaysia and Venezuela, ranked among the world's worst for combating modern slavery, were downgraded in the State Department's 14th annual report on human trafficking released Friday. VOA's Aru Pande has more from Washington.
VIDEO: Thailand, Malaysia and Venezuela, ranked among the world's worst for combating modern slavery, were downgraded in the State Department's 14th annual report on human trafficking released Friday. VOA's Aru Pande has more from Washington.
VOA News
The United States has downgraded Thailand, Malaysia, Venezuela, and Gambia to lowest-level status in its annual report on human trafficking, exposing them to the possibility of sanctions and putting them in the same category as Iran, Syria, and North Korea.

The U.S. State Department released its 2014 Trafficking in Persons Report Friday at an event led by Secretary of State John Kerry, who said human trafficking should not go unreported or unpunished.

Thailand said Saturday it was disappointed with Washington's decision, but vowed to keep fighting the human trafficking scourge.  A Thai official said the country has stepped up its efforts against the trade, and urged the U.S. to reconsider its action.

Thailand's status was downgraded following reports that tens of thousands of migrants from neighboring countries were coerced into human trafficking markets inside Thai borders. Possible U.S. sanctions on Thailand could damage its lucrative seafood trade with the U.S.

Thailand's status was downgraded following reports that tens of thousands of migrants from neighboring countries were coerced into human trafficking markets inside Thai borders. Possible U.S. sanctions on Thailand could damage its lucrative seafood trade with the U.S.

The State Department assessed 188 countries, including the United States, in hopes of propelling governments to act on behalf of the 20 million victims of modern slavery — whether by increasing law enforcement efforts or by raising public awareness.

"This is a call to action," Kerry said. "It is a call to conscience. It is a reminder of what happens in many dark places that need light. And we have a responsibility to try to bring that light to these individuals and these places."

The report placed Thailand in Tier 3 — the lowest category — among 23 countries that the United States says are not meeting minimum standards to address modern slavery. The Southeast Asian country's status was downgraded despite a concerted effort by Bangkok to counteract reports that tens of thousands of migrants from neighboring countries were coerced into human trafficking markets inside Thai borders.

Possible U.S. sanctions on Thailand could damage to its lucrative seafood trade with the U.S.

Officials noted some positive trends in this year's report.

This year's report upgraded China's status, citing Beijing's attempts to wipe out labor-driven "re-education" camps. China had been among the lowest-level nations, but was moved up to a "watch" list.

The State Department also named 10 heroes of global anti-trafficking movement, including Beatrice Jedy-Agba, head of Nigeria’s National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking, for her efforts to return and reintegrate Nigerian victims and collaborate with other African nations to address trafficking in the region.

Nations in the bottom level can be subjected to U.S. restrictions on forms of assistance and funding for cultural and educational exchange programs. The U.S. may also oppose International Monetary Fund or World Bank financial assistance for those nations.

U.S. President Barack Obama now has 90 days to decide whether to apply sanctions to the downgraded nations.

Aru Pande contributed to this report from Washington.

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Joey from: USA
June 21, 2014 6:59 AM
Unfortunately this list is used as a means to punish countries for reasons other than what is covered in this program too. It is not unbiased.

by: marcos from: san francisco
June 20, 2014 3:06 PM
physician, heal thyself.

by: Sahib from: Toronto
June 20, 2014 12:26 PM
According to UN ,India i s #1 in Human Trafficing for Prositution.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs