News / USA

US Expands List of Human Trafficking Violators

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, during the release of the 2011 Trafficking in Persons Report,  June 27, 2011
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, during the release of the 2011 Trafficking in Persons Report, June 27, 2011
TEXT SIZE - +

The United States on Monday sharply increased the number of countries said to be failing to meet minimum international standards in the fight against human trafficking.  Lebanon, Venezuela and several African states are among the new countries given failing grades in the State Department’s annual report on trafficking.  

Officials here say that despite greater awareness of the problem, human trafficking around the world continues to grow - propelled, in part, by Internet communications being exploited to lure people into sexual slavery and indentured labor.

As a consequence, the State Department expanded from 13 to 23 its list of so-called Tier 3 countries - states that are not seen as making significant efforts to tackle the problem and could be subject to U.S. sanctions.

At a roll-out event for the global report, covering 184 countries and territories, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that as many as 27 million people might be living in slavery.  She said that although many countries have anti-trafficking laws, enforcement is lagging.

“The number of prosecutions worldwide has remained relatively static," said Secretary Clinton. "And so the measure of success can no longer be whether a country has passed laws.  So many have in the last decade.  Now we have to make sure that laws are implemented and that countries are using the tools that have been created for that.”

The report, the 11th issued by the State Department under an anti-trafficking law approved by Congress in 2000, lists several chronic human rights violators as Tier 3 countries - including, Burma, Cuba, Iran, North Korea and Zimbabwe.

U.S. Persian Gulf allies Kuwait and Saudi Arabia remain as Tier 3 states, joined for the first time by, among others, six African states, Lebanon, Turkmenistan, Venezuela and Micronesia.

Of 13 countries listed last year, only one - the Dominican Republic - was removed from Tier 3 for 2011 because of anti-trafficking progress.

The only penalty authorized under U.S. law is the withholding of non-humanitarian aid, and that has been used sparingly.

Clinton said the point of the rating exercise is to encourage countries to respond.

“The report itself is a tool and what we’re most interested in is working with countries around the world and working across our own government to get results," she said. "The decade of delivery is upon us.”

At Clinton’s insistence, the report for the second year in a row assessed human trafficking in the United States, which, like most advanced economies, is placed in Tier 1 with effective laws and enforcement efforts.

But it says the United States remains a source, transit and destination county for men, women and children subjected to forced labor, debt bondage and sex trafficking.  It says human traffickers have exploited U.S. visa programs that allow in temporary workers, ostensibly for working in landscaping, farming and tourism industries.

The State Department event honored 10 activists from around the world as heroes, among them Antigua and Barbuda women’s rights advocate Sheila Roseau.

Roseau helped push an anti-trafficking law through the Caribbean country’s legislature last year, which she said is only the starting point in tackling the problem.

“As we recognize the tremendous efforts taken, let us ensure that we continue to advocate for effective support for survivors," said Roseau. "We must continue to be vigilant in all efforts to combat human trafficking by securing the support of our governments to action, the legislative frameworks developed or enact the appropriate legislation if it’s not already in place.”

The report listed six countries as violators of a 2008 U.S. law against the use of child soldiers - Burma, Chad, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen.  

All but Burma receive some U.S. military aid or training.  The monitoring group Human Rights Watch called on the Obama administration to end that aid as provided for under the law.

You May Like

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
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.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid