The United States has said the Koran pandemic has created an “ideal environment” for human trafficking as governments divert resources to the health crisis and traffickers exploit vulnerable people.
The State Department’s “2021 Trafficking in Persons Report” report released Thursday also downgraded many countries and upgraded others in their efforts to combat the scourge of human trafficking.
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Announcing the annual report, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that approximately 25 million people worldwide are estimated to be victims of human trafficking.
“Many are forced into commercial sex work,” Blinken said. “Many are forced to work in factories or fields or join armed groups. It is a global crisis,” he said. “It is a huge source of human suffering.”
The report ranks countries around the world based on their compliance with the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) of 2000.
Six countries were relegated from Category 1 – the highest ranking – to Category 2: Cyprus, Israel, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal and Switzerland.
“Category 2 countries do not” fully meet the minimum standards of TVPA “, but make significant efforts to comply.”
Two nations – Guinea-Bissau and Malaysia – were added to the list of worst offenders in category 3, a list that already included Afghanistan, Algeria, China, the Comoros, Cuba, Eritrea, Iran and Myanmar. Nicaragua, North Korea, Russia, South Sudan, Syria, Turkmenistan and Venezuela.
Four countries – Belarus, Burundi, Lesotho and Papua New Guinea – have been relegated from Category 3.
The United States may limit foreign aid to Category 3 nations, subject to the Presidency.