Cuba, Venezuela on US Blacklist of Human Trafficking Violators

Posted June 27th, 2011 at 8:35 pm (UTC-5)
Leave a comment

The United States has listed Cuba and Venezuela as countries that have failed to meet minimum international standards in the fight against human trafficking.

The State Department said in a new report released Monday that Cuba's government is not making significant efforts to eliminate trafficking and has not implemented any known public awareness campaigns to prevent forced labor or forced prostitution.

The report said that while Cuba appears to ban most forms of trafficking activity through provisions in its penal code, the use of such provisions cannot be verified. It notes that prostitution of children over age 16 is legal, leaving them particularly vulnerable to commercial sexual exploitation.

The report urges Cuba to investigate reports of involuntary labor of Cuban citizens, and in partnership with trafficking victim specialists, ensure that adults and children are granted access to specialized trafficking victim protection and assistance. Cuba is not a party to the 2000 United Nations Trafficking in Persons Protocol.

Meanwhile, the State Department added Venezuela to the list of worst offenders. The report said Venezuela is a source, transit and destination country for men, women and children subjected to sex trafficking and forced labor. The document said Venezuelan women and girls tend to be lured from poor interior areas to urban and tourist centers such as Caracas, Maracaibo and Margarita after being recruited through false job offers. The report said organized crime is widely believed to be involved in sex trafficking in Venezuela.

The report also said Venezuela did not provide information on its efforts to combat human trafficking and that there were no official statistics or comprehensive data on the extent of the problem in the South American country.

The report urges Venezuela to amend existing laws to punish all forms of human trafficking and investigate and prosecute cases involving forced labor and forced prostitution.

Separately, the State Department noted improvements in the Dominican Republic, taking the country off the list of worst offenders because of anti-trafficking progress.