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US human trafficking report cites Islamic states for inaction

[JURIST] The US State Department [official website] Tuesday cited the governments of 16 countries, including 11 predominantly Islamic states, for not making a "significant effort to combat human trafficking" in its annual report [PDF text] on modern-day slavery around the world Tuesday. Although Algeria, Bahrain, Burma, Cuba, Equatorial Guinea, Iran, Kuwait, Malaysia, North Korea, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Uzbekistan, and Venezuela were classified as the worst "Tier 3" countries, State Department spokesman Mark P. Lagon nonetheless insisted [statement] human trafficking "plagues every country in one way or another." The report, mandated by the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000 (VTPA) [PDF text], analyzed 164 countries and territories, and ranked 151 of the entities where there have been 100 cases of human trafficking into four categories.

The report classified 32 countries or territories on the "Tier 2 Watch List," a classification for countries that were found to "not fully comply with the VTPA's minimum standards but are making significant efforts to bring themselves in compliance" but continue to face a very significant or growing human trafficking problem, including Argentina, China, Egypt, India, Libya, Mexico, Russia, South Africa, Ukraine, the United Arab Emirates, and others.

Releasing the report, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice [official profile] praised [statement] the efforts of governments in Israel, Taiwan, Indonesia, Brazil, Peru, and Jamaica, which improved from the "Tier 2 Watch List" to "Tier 2," a designation for countries, which includes 75 governments like Greece, Japan, Pakistan, Portugal, Singapore, and Zimbabwe, "whose governments do not fully comply with minimum standards but are making significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance." Logan in particular contrasted China's worse ranking with Taiwan, attributing China's resistance in joining the international community "in upholding universal anti-trafficking standards" to a lack of rule of law. Logan says "Taiwan's vibrant civil society and democratic character" has aided its reforms. A total of 28 countries were designated Tier 1, whose governments have been found to fully comply with TVPA standards, including Georgia, Hungary, and Slovenia, which have entered into compliance since the publication of the 2006 report on human trafficking . VOA has more.

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