In a move that could lead to US sanctions against Beijing, the Trump administration has added China to the list of countries falling short in the fight against human trafficking.
Interestingly, Haiti has been dropped from this year’s human trafficking blacklist released by the US State Department.
According to Efe news, the list includes Venezuela, Belize, Russia, North Korea, Iran and Syria.
"Human trafficking is one of the most tragic human rights issues of our time. It splinters families, distorts global markets, undermines the rule of law, and spurs other transnational criminal activity. It threatens public safety and national security," said US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson at the presentation of the report.
The report said that China "does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so".
The document cited indications that "government complicity in forced labour continued," notably in the Xinjiang region, where local authorities supposedly coerce "Uighur men and women to participate in forced labour in and outside the province".
Chinese authorities "continued to forcibly repatriate North Koreans, where they faced severe punishment including forced labour and execution", without checking to see if they were sent to China as forced labour, the document said.
Also appearing on the report's blacklist, besides the countries previously cited, are Belarus, Burundi, the Central African Republic, the Comoros, Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Mauritania, Sudan, South Sudan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.
Attending the presentation of the report was the daughter and adviser of the US President, Ivanka Trump, who has stated that one of her priorities is the fight against human trafficking, which affects some 20 million people worldwide.
(With IANS inputs)