US faults 13 countries for human trafficking
The United States named more than a dozen countries on Monday that are failing to act against human trafficking, placing them on a list that could subject them to sanctions.
Among those named in the State Department's annual report released Monday are typical US foes Cuba, Iran and North Korea, but also allies like Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. There were 13 countries placed in the tier 3 category, where they are identified as governments not complying with minimum standards to combat human trafficking or failing to take significant steps to do so.
The other countries on the list are Congo, Dominican Republic, Eritrea, Mauritania, Myanmar, Papua New Guinea, Sudan and Zimbabwe.
The report in mandated by Congress and seeks to highlight human trafficking that results in forced labour or prostitution including through exploitation of children.
"Behind these statistics on the pages are the struggles of real human beings, the tears of families who may never see their children, the despair and indignity of those suffering under the worst forms of exploitation," Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said.
For the first time, the United States included itself in the review that in the past focused on the rest of the world. The report placed the US government in the top group of countries who take adequate measures against human trafficking. That group includes most European countries.
But the report also said the problem exists in the United States, usually carried by those who take advantage of illegal immigrants.
"We believe it is important to keep the spotlight on ourselves," Clinton said.