China hits back at US on human trafficking downgrade

Being placed in the Tier 2 Watch List, the second lowest ranking out of four, suggests an acknowledgement that the country has made significant efforts to tackle human trafficking but still does not comply with USA standards.

China responded angrily to the report, even ahead of its official release.

The US State Department on Tuesday placed China on its global list of the worst offenders in human trafficking, a step that could aggravate tensions with Beijing that had eased under President Donald Trump.

Myanmar was upgraded to the Tier 2 Watch List of nations that deserve special scrutiny, from Tier 3, those countries not complying with minimum USA standards and making no significant effort to do so. Ivanka Trump also plans to attend. The five-month-old government has been reticent to highlight rights issues, keeping its focus on more narrowly defined security and economic interests.

The annual report, covering more than 180 countries and territories, calls itself the world's most comprehensive resource of governmental anti-human trafficking efforts.

The authorities had seized more than Bt784 million from traffickers, reported more investigations, prosecutions, and convictions, convicted a business owner complicit in forced labour in the fishing sector, and extended the amount of time foreign trafficking victims and witnesses were permitted to stay and work in Thailand, it said.

Publicly criticizing China in this manner never sits well with Beijing, but criticism on human rights, and specifically human trafficking, is something they've experienced before from decades worth of American administrations.

The US government warned that if Ghana didn't act to curb the incidence and stayed at Tier 3 for three consecutive years, the country faced the risk of being downgraded to Tier 3.

"The People's Republic of China (China or PRC) is a source, destination, and transit country for men, women, and children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking", the 2016 Trafficking in Persons Report asserted, adding that forced begging is common across the country.

Such a waiver was issued in China's case last year, but Secretary of State Rex Tillerson decided not to issue another this year.

In July a year ago, Ghana launched the Human Trafficking Prohibition (Protection and Reintegration of Trafficked persons) Regulations, 2015, L.I.

Tillerson singled out North Korea as one of the most egregious offenders, noting the country has forced 50,000 to 80,000 people to work overseas, mainly in China and Russian Federation, while their pay goes directly to the government.

"Responsible nations can not allow this to go on".

China becoming a part of the group will place it alongside countries such as Iran, North Korea and Syria that are infamous for human trafficking.

Myanmar and Iraq were also taken off the blacklist of foreign governments identified of having child soldiers, a move that Human Rights Watch said was premature in the case of Myanmar and undermines US credibility in ending the use of children in warfare.

Afghanistan too was upgraded for its crackdown on the abuse of boys for social and sexual entertainment, and providing shelters for rescued children.