Myanmar among worst in US human trafficking report
Myanmar is among the world’s worst human trafficking offenders, according to a State Department report released Thursday.

The annual Trafficking in Persons Report that examined 188 countries' efforts to fight the $150 billion "modern slavery" industry was released by Secretary of State John Kerry.

Kerry said it was "stunning" and "outrageous" that even in the present day the magnitude of the human trafficking challenge cannot be overstated and claims "more than 20 million victims on any given time."

Kerry praised the report saying that it was a detailed analysis of the challenges over the issue and moreover a "roadmap" of how to overcome these challenges.

One focus of the report was the demotion of Myanmar to tier 3 'watch list'-- the worst of three levels on the report's world map. Since 2011, the country has been listed as tier 2 in the annual report.

Military and civilian officials in Myanmar force civilians, including children, to work, according to the report that said army recruiters and civilian brokers recruit children into the state armed forces.

Forced labor was not the only issue that caused Myanmar to land on the list.

The country's denial of legal status to Rohingya increased the group’s vulnerability to trafficking as well, according to the report.

Rohingya are described by the UN as the world's most persecuted ethnic minority group.

The Muslim group has been the target of communal violence in Myanmar and tens of thousands have fled the country.

Since 2012, communal violence between ethnic Buddhists and Muslims in Rakhine state has killed approximately 57 Muslims and 31 Buddhists while approximately 100,000 people have been displaced in camps and more than 2,500 houses burned -- most of which belonged to Rohingya.

Last May, Kerry pressed Myanmar's Foreign Minister Aung San Suu Kyi regarding the treatment of Rohingya.

Along with Myanmar, Uzbekistan, Djibouti, Haiti, Papua New Guinea, Sudan, Suriname and Turkmenistan were also demoted on the list. Currently, 27 countries are listed on tier 3.

President Barack Obama has 90 days to determine whether to impose sanctions on those countries – a measure not usually taken as part of national interests.
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Last Modified: 2016-06-30 20:05:26
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