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Human Trafficking: Saudi Arabia, Cuba Blacklisted By US

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP 

SOURCE: AFP/The PUNCH

The United States on Thursday added Saudi Arabia and Cuba to its blacklist of countries that it says are not doing enough to fight human trafficking, a designation that could bring sanctions.

In an annual report, the State Department faulted ally Saudi Arabia for rampant violations against its vast foreign labour force and accused adversary Cuba of trafficking through its program of sending doctors overseas.

Other countries that remained on Tier 3, the worst ranking in the report, included China, Myanmar, North Korea, Russia and Venezuela.

A Tier 3 designation means that the United States can restrict assistance or withdraw support for the country at the International Monetary Fund or other global development bodies.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the United States last year took measures against 22 countries due to the human trafficking designation.

“That action and the message that goes with it is very clear — if you don’t stand up to trafficking, America will stand up to you,” Pompeo said as he presented the report alongside Ivanka Trump, President Donald Trump’s daughter and adviser.

The president, however, can also waive sanctions over human trafficking, and US officials often hope that the shame of the Tier 3 designation will encourage action, especially when issued against US allies.

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