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Human trafficking still major problem: US report

[JURIST] Progress in eliminating human trafficking which victimizes some 800,000 worldwide is slow, and countries such as Belize, Burma, Iran, Laos, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Uzbekistan, Venezuela and Zimbabwe have failed to effectively combat it, the US Department of State [official website] said Monday in its annual report on human trafficking [text, PDF; additional materials]. Describing the report, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice[official profile] stated [press release] reaffirmed "America's unwavering commitment to eradicating this modern day form of slavery." John Miller, head of the State Department's Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons [official website], noted that although there is no way to truly count the number of victims of human trafficking, the increasing number of arrests related to human trafficking indicates progress [interview transcript]. There were hundreds of arrests for trafficking several years ago, but the number of arrests reached 3,000 last year, and jumped to 4,700 this year.

The report emphasized particular concern with human labor trafficking in Iraq, noting that the Pentagon has adopted new regulations after investigating [JURIST report] abuse of several workers from Nepal [Chicago Tribune report]. Miller also expressed concern that North Korea [Refugees International report] seems to send workers to other countries, including China, stating that "[t]hey lack freedom. It's not clear they get any money, whether the money goes to them or the North Korean government." Lastly, the State Department warned of evidence that thousands of women have been transported to Germany on the eve of the World Cup soccer tournament, allegedly to work as prostitutes [US House International Relations Committee subcommittee recorded video]. VOA has more.

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