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

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said To Be Improving

Experimental drugs have been tried on six people: three Westerners and now, three African pyhysicians More

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities residents rebuild their lives, but many say everyone is being treated with suspicion More

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

Girls learn to object; FGM practitioners face penalties from jail sentences to stiff fines More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improvingi
X
Carol Pearson
August 19, 2014 11:43 PM
The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.
Video

Video For Obama, Racial Violence is Personal Issue

The racial violence in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson is presenting U.S. President Barack Obama with an issue to which he has a deep personal connection. To many Americans, Obama's election as America's first black president marked a turning point in race relations in the United States, and Obama has made ending the violence a policy priority. On Monday he issued a new call for calm and understanding. Luis Ramirez reports from the White House.
Video

Video Clinton-Obama Relationship Could Impact 2016 Election

President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have a long and complicated relationship. That relationship took another turn recently when Clinton criticized the president’s foreign policy. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports there is renewed attention on the Clinton-Obama relationship as Hillary Clinton considers running for
Video

Video Iran Looks to Maintain Influence in Baghdad With New Shia PM

Washington and Tehran share the goal of stopping Syrian-based militants in Iraq. But experts say it's Iran, not the United States, that will most influence how the new government in Baghdad approaches internal reforms and the war in Syria. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns has the story.

AppleAndroid