US adds Moldova, Fiji, New Guinea, to human trafficking list

Other News Materials 4 June 2008 23:42 (UTC +04:00)

The United States on Wednesday added three new countries - Moldava, Fiji and Papua New Guinea - to its list of countries that could face sanctions for failing to curb human trafficking and the sex slave trade.

The US State Department's annual report on human trafficking again listed US allies Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Oman as countries that have not taken adequate steps to halt the flow of forced prostitution and other forms of slave labour.

The remaining eight countries kept on the worst-offenders list from last year were Algeria, Myanmar, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Qatar, Sudan and Syria.

The report removed six countries from the worst-offenders list from last year and moved them to a "watch list": Bahrain, Equatorial Guinea, Malaysia, Uzbekistan and Venezuela.

The report identified two categories of human trafficking - sex trafficking and forced labour - and highlighted the special plight of "highly vulnerable" North Korean refugees, especially woman and girls on the dangerous crossing points of the Tumen and Yalu River borders, who are then exploited in China.

The US State Department, which produced the report, also said that boys are increasingly becoming victims of commercial sexual exploitation, citing Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Costa Rica, Sri Lanka, Mexico, Dominican Republic and Thailand.

"Costa Rican men prefer to pick up boys from the street and take them somewhere discreet to use them rather than to enter into open homosexual relationships with their social and/or age equals," the report said.

The Trafficking in Persons Report faulted close ally Saudi Arabia for failing to stem the exploitation of legally imported cheap labour from Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam, Kenya, Nigeria and Ethiopia.

Workers from those countries often "voluntarily" travel to Saudi Arabia, only to "face conditions of involuntary servitude, including restrictions on movement, withholding of passports, threats, physical or sexual abuse, and non-payment of wages."

The report said that women from Yemen, Morocco, Pakistan, Nigeria, Ethiopia and Thailand are "also trafficked into Saudi Arabia for commercial sexual exploitation.", dpa reported.