US Ranks Burma, N. Korea, PNG, Micronesia Poor on Human Trafficking

Posted June 27th, 2011 at 6:50 pm (UTC-5)
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The United States has ranked Burma, North Korea, Micronesia and Papua New Guinea with the poorest record for fighting human trafficking among Southeast Asian countries, while saying South Korea and Taiwan fully comply with human trafficking standards.

In its annual report issued Monday, the State Department kept North Korea in the so-called Tier Three among states making no significant efforts to tackle the problem because it saw no evidence in the past year that authorities had attempted to prevent human trafficking along the country's tightly watched border.

The report noted that the Burmese government failed to investigate, prosecute, and convict perpetrators of internal trafficking, particularly the military's forced conscription of soldiers, including child soldiers, and use of forced labor.

Papua New Guinea remains in Tier Three because it does not prohibit all forms of trafficking and its government is not making sufficient efforts to comply with the minimum standards to eliminate the practice.

The United States has downgraded the Pacific island nation of Micronesia from the 2010 report, saying that traffickers lured Micronesian women into the United States with promises of well-paying jobs, but forced them into prostitution on arrival.

The United States penalizes countries in Tier Three by withholding non-humanitarian aid and other benefits.

The report ranked South Korea and Taiwan as the only two countries in the Asia-Pacific region that fully comply with standards on human trafficking.

While the Philippines, Singapore and Laos remain in Tier Two, the U.S. has removed them from a watch list for making efforts to meet standards on human trafficking.

The report criticizes many countries in the region for failing to look into exploitation of migrant workers.