The United States, which has accused Russia of insufficient effort in combating human trafficking, is itself the world’s biggest importer of trafficked humans, a Russian diplomat said on Monday.
Russia was marked a Tier 2 Watch List country in the Trafficking in Persons Report 2012 by the U.S. State Department.
Up to 1 million people in Russia could qualify for victims of human trafficking, according to the report, which was released last week.
But the report was heavily biased for political reasons, Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said in a statement on the ministry’s website.
The report paints the United States and its allies as “straight-A students” on fighting human trafficking while criticizing their geopolitical opponents such as Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, Zimbabwe and Syria, a new addition to the Tier 3 list of worst offenders, Lukashevich said.
Meanwhile, between 100,000 and 500,000 illegal migrants arriving in the United States each year are victims of human trafficking, Lukashevich said, citing unspecified rights activists.
Up to 100,000 minors a year become involved with the illegal child sex industry in the U.S., and there are reports of sex slaves supplied to U.S. military forces outside the country, the diplomat said.
At the same time, Russia does not deny the serious situation with human trafficking within the country and is putting every effort into combating this illegal transnational business, Lukashevich said.
The State Department has not commented on Lukashevich’s statement as of Monday evening.
The United States has been increasingly criticizing Russia for various human rights violations since President Vladimir Putin first came to power in 2000.
The criticism has been eliciting an increasingly vehement reaction from Russian officials, culminating in the creation in 2011 of the office of a special ombudsman with the Russian Foreign Ministry.
The ombudsman’s office presented in December a global report on human rights which featured extensive criticism of the United States and other Western countries.