US Human Trafficking Report Downgrades Russia to Lowest

WASHINGTON, June 20 (RIA Novosti) – In a move that opens the door to sanctions, the US Department of State named Russia and China among the world’s worst countries in terms of forced labor and sex trafficking in its 2013 Trafficking in Persons Report.

This year’s report states that the Russian government “does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking.”

According to the report, Russian authorities “had not established any concrete system for the identification or care of trafficking victims, lacking any formal victim identification and referral mechanism,” though they made some “ad hoc efforts,”

“Labor trafficking remains the predominant human trafficking problem within Russia; the Migration Research Center estimates that one million people in Russia are exposed to “exploitative” labor conditions characteristic of trafficking cases, such as withholding of documents, nonpayment for services, physical abuse, or extremely poor living conditions,” the report reads.

Russia, along with China, was downgraded to the lowest level, Tier 3, and may face sanctions that do not affect trade or humanitarian assistance. The sanctions may come into force on October 1, 2013, if the US president does not decide otherwise.

Russia has been placed on Tier 2 Watch List for the last nine consecutive years. In the two previous reports, the country was granted consecutive waivers from an otherwise required downgrade to Tier 3 because of a written plan to bring itself into compliance with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. A maximum of two consecutive waivers is allowed, so this option is no longer available to Russia.

Russian officials were not immediately available for a comment, due to late time in Moscow.


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