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    Tuesday, June 27, 2017

    US lists China among worst human trafficking offenders

    President Donald Trump´s administration hit China Tuesday over its rights record, placing the country alongside Sudan and North Korea on a list of the world´s worst human trafficking offenders.
    The State Department downgraded China in its annual "Trafficking in Persons Report," saying Beijing is doing little to combat the phenomenon or protect its victims.
    It pointed to ethnic Uighurs, a Muslim minority in China´s west, being coerced into forced labor, and to Beijing´s wholesale repatriation of North Koreans without checking to see if they were trafficking victims.
    Beijing "does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so," said the report unveiled in Washington by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
    It marked the first significant rebuke of China´s rights record by the Trump administration, which has avoided harsh criticism of Beijing as the president seeks to establish a working relationship over deep trade differences and North Korea´s nuclear program.
    The release of the annual report also appeared to signal the Trump administration´s closer embrace of human rights issues as an integral part of its foreign policy. The five-month-old government has been reticent to highlight rights issues, keeping its focus on more narrowly defined security and economic interests.
    Speaking at the report´s launch, Ivanka Trump, the president´s daughter and White House assistant, said all governments have the responsibility to prosecute human traffickers.
    "Human trafficking is a pervasive human rights issue," she said. "Ending human trafficking is a major foreign policy priority for the Trump administration."
    Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang had hit back even before the report was released, saying "China is firmly against the US making irresponsible remarks about another nation´s anti-human trafficking work according to its domestic law."
    Lu told a regular news briefing hours earlier that China was firmly combatting human trafficking and that it was willing to work with all countries to crack down on such crimes.
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    Item Reviewed: US lists China among worst human trafficking offenders Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Abdul Sattar Qamar