الإثنين , يونيو 8 2020

US removes Cuba from trafficking list

The first members of a team of 165 Cuban doctors and health workers upon their arrival at Freetown's airport to help the fight against Ebola in Sierra Leone, on 2 October, 2014.

The US says concerns remain about Cuban doctors and nurses allegedly being coerced into working on medical missions abroad

The United States has removed Cuba from its list of countries that fail to combat human trafficking.

The annual State Department report comes a week after Cuba and the US formally restored diplomatic relations.

The United States previously accused Cuba’s communist authorities of forcing people to travel abroad to work on government-backed projects.

The US also removed Malaysia from the list of countries failing to address human trafficking.

Cuba was first included on the State Department’s annual Trafficking in Persons list in 2003.

‘Significant efforts’

US Under Secretary of State for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights Sarah Sewall said Cuba had made progress in combating sex trafficking.

But concerns remained over the country’s failures to address forced labour, she said.

“The Government of Cuba does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so,” reads the report.


The Cuban flag was raised last week at the island’s embassy in Washington

On 20 July, Cuba reopened its embassy in Washington after more than five decades of strained relations.

The American embassy in Havana will be reopened next week.

Presidents Barack Obama and Raul Castro surprised the world in December with the announcement that the two countries had decided to cease hostilities.

Several measures have been taken over the past seven months to mend relations, including removing Cuba from the list of countries that the US consider to sponsor terrorism.

Malaysia controversy

The US also decided to remove Malaysia from the list of countries failing to address human trafficking, a decision criticised by human rights groups.

They say the move on Malaysia discredited the report.

“Malaysia’s record on stopping trafficking in persons is far from sufficient to justify this upgrade,” said Human Rights Watch in a statement.

Malaysia had been downgraded last year on the US human trafficking report for alleged abuses in its fishing industry.

Ms Sewall denied the decision was political and said Malaysia had increased the number of investigations and prosecutions on human trafficking.

Among the countries on the lowest rank on the US State Department’s annual Trafficking in Persons are Iran, North Korea, Zimbabwe, South Sudan and Belize.

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