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U.S. Says 12 Nations Not Doing Enough to Stop Human Trafficking

I’m Faith Lapidus with the VOA Special English Development Report.

The State Department says twelve nations are failing to do enough to fight the modern-day slave trade. The department last week released its "Trafficking in Persons Report" for two thousand six.

Countries are rated on the efforts by their governments to control the international trade in forced labor. Four of the twelve countries given the lowest rating this year are in east and central Asia. The four are Burma, Laos, North Korea and Uzbekistan.

Three of the countries are in the Middle East: Iran, Saudi Arabia and Syria. Another three are in Latin America: Belize, Cuba and Venezuela. And two of the lowest rated nations are in Africa: Sudan and Zimbabwe.

More than one hundred fifty nations are listed in the report. They are grouped based on information from American diplomats as well as non-governmental organizations and other groups.

Congress requires the report every year under a law called the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of Two Thousand.

Governments that meet the requirements of the law are listed in Tier One. Those that do not fully meet the requirements but are trying to improve are listed in Tier Two. Countries that may fall back in their progress are placed on a Tier Two “Watch List.”

Tier Three is for governments that fail to make serious efforts to enforce laws against trafficking and to protect victims. These countries face possible measures such as restrictions in non-humanitarian aid.

Countries that moved up from Tier Three last year to the Tier Two "Watch List" include Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.

Venezuela rejected its repeated placement in Tier Three. The Venezuelan Embassy in Washington says the country has been working to fight human trafficking. It says the report was a political move against the government of President Hugo Chavez.

The report also notes concerns about possible increases in human trafficking for the sex trade in Germany during the World Cup. Prostitution is legal in Germany, but the German government says it has taken steps to prevent trafficking.

World Cup games are being played in twelve cities. More than three million people are expected to attend the month-long championship which ends July ninth.

This VOA Special English Development Report was written by Jill Moss. Read and listen to our reports at I’m Faith Lapidus.