Four American allies in the Persian Gulf are among the countries added to a State Department list of nations that are criticized for not doing enough to combat human trafficking, a practice that has been described as modern-day slavery in a U.S. State Department report released Friday.
A reported figure of close to 800,000 people are transported across international borders each year, the U.S. State Department reported on Friday.
About 80 percent of them are female and about half are children, according to the department’s annual “Trafficking in Persons” report.
In the annual report, the State Department listed Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar as “Tier 3″ countries, which are identified as nations “whose governments do not fully comply with the minimum standards” and “are not making significant efforts to do so.”
The report defines the named countries as destinations for trafficking victims exposed to sex exploitation and slave labor.
New countries added to the list this year, such as Bolivia, Jamaica, Cambodia, and Togo, joined the growing list of the repeat offenders. Cuba, Myanmar, North Korea, Sudan, Ecuador and Venezuela were added over the last five years since the department began the annual reports.
“Trafficking in human beings is nothing less than a modern form of slavery,” Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said as she released the report, according to wire reports.
Bangladesh, Guyana, Sierra Leone and Equatorial Guinea were removed from this year’s list because they had reportedly improved measures to deal with human trafficking, the report said.
Congress began requiring the annual reports in 2000. This years report is the fifth of its kind.
The United States spends $96 million to help other countries combat trafficking, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice wrote in a forward to the report