News / Middle East

    US Adds Syria to List of Countries Not Doing Enough to Fight Slavery

    Secretary of State Hilary Rodham Clinton holds up a copy of the "2012 Trafficking in Persons Report" at the State Department, June 19, 2012.
    Secretary of State Hilary Rodham Clinton holds up a copy of the "2012 Trafficking in Persons Report" at the State Department, June 19, 2012.
    STATE DEPARTMENT -- The United States is adding Syria to a list of countries that could face sanctions for not doing enough to fight human trafficking.  The annual U.S. report on worldwide slavery says Burma and Venezuela are among those countries making progress.

    The State Department report says thousands of women from Somalia, Indonesia, Iraq and the Philippines are victims of prostitution and forced labor in Syria after being duped by fraudulent employment agencies.  The report puts President Bashar al-Assad's government on a list of countries that could face sanctions over these abuses because it says Damascus is failing to investigate or punish those responsible.

    Releasing the study of conditions in more than 180 nations, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Tuesday that some people are lured abroad by false promises of new opportunities and that others are abused in their own countries.

    "These victims of modern slavery are women and men, girls and boys," she said. "And their stories remind of us what kind of inhumane treatment we are still capable of as human beings."

    Along with Syria, the 2012 report says human trafficking is worst in Algeria, the Central African Republic, Saudi Arabia, Congo, Cuba, Sudan, Equatorial Guinea, Yemen, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Zimbabwe, Kuwait, Libya, Madagascar and Papua New Guinea.

    "Traffickers prey on the hopes and dreams of those seeking a better life," Clinton said. "And our goal should be to put those hopes and dreams within reach, whether it is getting a good job to send money home to support a family, trying to get an education for oneself or one's children, or simply pursuing new opportunities that might lead to a better life.  We need to ensure that all survivors have that opportunity to move past what they endured and to make the most of their potential."

    The report focuses on the need for prevention, protection, and prosecution.  Secretary Clinton highlighted the accomplishments of individuals who are fighting human trafficking in Mauritania, Aruba, the Sinai Peninsula, Argentina, Cambodia and Congo.

    "They do remind us that one person's commitment and passion, one person's experience and the courage to share that experience with the world, can have a huge impact," she said.

    Congolese physician Raimi Vincent Paraiso spoke on behalf of those recognized for their work against human trafficking.

    Dr. Paraiso said human trafficking has reached alarming proportions around the world.  He noted that the Republic of Congo and many other countries represented here unfortunately are not spared from this crime, and that the international community can not remain silent and must continue to respond relentlessly.

    The International Labor Organization says at least 21 million people are enslaved around the world.

    The State Department report says the number of trafficking victims identified by governments worldwide is up 28 percent - from more than 33,000 last year to more than 42,000 this year, but with notable improvements in Venezuela and Burma.

    The report commends Venezuela for strengthening anti-trafficking laws, improving training for border patrols and law enforcement, and launching public information campaigns against slavery.  But it says President Hugo Chavez's government falls short of minimum standards to eliminate human trafficking because of weak prosecution efforts and insufficient victim services.

    The report says Burma is taking "unprecedented steps" to fight human trafficking by repealing laws used to justify forced labor, while better identifying and helping victims of slavery.  It says trafficking by private individuals and government officials continues to be a "significant problem" along with the conscription of child soldiers in areas of ethnic conflict.

    You May Like

    Syrian Rebel Realignment Likely as al-Qaida Leader Blesses Split

    Jihadist group Jabhat al-Nusra splits from al-Qaida in what observers dub a ‘deception and denial’ exercise

    New India Child Labor Law Could Make Children More Vulnerable

    Concerns that allowing children to work in family enterprises will push more to work

    What Take-out Food Reveals About American History

    Carry-out food explains a lot about the changes taking place in society, so here's the deal with pizza, Chinese food and what racism has to do with taking food to go

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Busi
    X
    July 28, 2016 4:16 AM
    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Philadelphia Uses DNC Spotlight to Profile Historic Role in Founding of United States

    The slogan of the Democratic National Convention now underway in Philadelphia is “Let’s Make History Again” which recognizes the role the city played in the foundation of the United States in the 18th century. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, local institutions are opening their doors in an effort to capitalize on the convention spotlight to draw visitors, and to offer more than just a history lesson.
    Video

    Video A Life of Fighting Back: Hillary Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling

    Hillary Clinton made history Thursday, overcoming personal and political setbacks to become the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. If she wins in November, she will go from “first lady” to U.S. Senator from New York, to Secretary of State, to “Madam President.” Polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. White House Correspondent Cindy Saine takes a look at the life of the woman both supporters and detractors agree is a fighter for the ages.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video First Time Delegate’s First Day Frustrations

    With thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh narrowed in on one delegate as she made her first trip to a national party convention. It was a day that was anything but routine for this United States military veteran.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora