The U.S. government has released its annual report surveying human trafficking around the world, and Afghanistan, China and Russia are among the countries noted as trouble spots.
Burma, Cambodia, Eritrea, North Korea, South Sudan and Venezuela are also among the 24 nations included in the lowest and most troubling Tier 3 category in the State Department’s annual Trafficking in Persons report.
Tier 3 countries fall below minimum standards and haven’t demonstrated significant efforts to come into compliance. They are subject to potential sanctions.
The report also lists Libya, Somalia and Yemen as “special cases,” where civil conflicts create difficulties in gaining information.
This year’s report, according to Secretary of State Antony Blinken, highlights several concerning trends – an increase in the trafficking of boys and young men, the continued expansion of forced labor and a rise in labor trafficking using online scams.
“The [coronavirus] pandemic supercharged this trend," Blinken said. "Traffickers capitalized on widespread unemployment to recruit victims with fake job listings and then force them to run international scams.”
Blinken also highlighted steady progress in the 2023 report, with dozens of countries around the world making significant strides in preventing trafficking, protecting survivors and prosecuting those who carry out such crimes.