U.S. included in human trafficking report

June 14, 2010 at 5:15 PM
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WASHINGTON, June 14 (UPI) -- Iran, North Korea and Myanmar were among countries named for not meeting minimum international human trafficking standards in a U.S. State Department report.

Besides those three repressive regimes, the 10th annual Trafficking in Persons report released Monday listed Papua New Guinea, Kuwait, Sudan, Cuba, Mauritania, the Dominican Republic, Congo, Saudi Arabia, Eritrea and Zimbabwe as "Tier 3" countries that haven't shown effort to comply with minimum international standards.

The United States is included the first time because "we believe it is important to keep the spotlight on ourselves," Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said when introducing the report.

The United States is listed as a "Tier 1" country -- along with 20-plus other countries -- meaning it complies with minimum standards. "Tier 2" countries aren't fully compliant but are working to improve.

Behind statistics of the report, Clinton said, "are the struggles of real human beings, the tears of families who may never see their children again, the despair and indignity of those suffering under the worst forms of exploitation."

The report provides assessments and recommendations for 177 countries, she said.

"All of us have a responsibility to bring this practice to an end," Clinton said. "Survivors must be supported and their families aided and comforted, but we cannot turn our responsibility for doing that over to non-governmental organizations or the faith community."

Key numbers from the 2010 report for the year 2009 include:

-- 12.3 million adults and children are in forced labor, bonded labor and forced prostitution worldwide, and 56 percent are women and girls.

-- Human traffickers collect $32 billion annually.

-- The 49,105 victims of trafficking worldwide is a 59 percent increase over 2008, the last reporting year.

The report said 23 countries' rankings were upgraded in the 2010 report while 19 countries were downgraded in their rankings.

The report also said 4,166 prosecutions in 2009 were successful, but 62 countries still haven't convicted a human trafficker and 104 countries don't have laws, policies or regulations to prevent victims from being deported.

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