Burma Unhappy over Human Trafficking Ranking

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MONDAY, 21 JUNE 2010

The Irrawaddy – Burmese police chief Brig-Gen Khin Yi is angry over a US State Department report that says Burma is one of more than a dozen countries doing the least to stop human trafficking, and he will hold a press conference in response, say sources in Naypyidaw.

“The police chief said that the accusation came despite police efforts to tackle the human trafficking issue, including workshops on prevention,” said a police officer in Naypidaw, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The “Trafficking in Persons Report 2010,” released on Monday, ranked Burma along with Iran, North Korea and Cuba as “Tier 3” countries that have made no significant efforts to comply with the minimum standards to eliminate human trafficking.

On Burma, the report said, “The regime’s widespread use of and lack of accountability in forced labor and recruitment of child soldiers is particularly worrying and represents the top causal factor for Burma’s significant trafficking problem.”

There has been no official response to the US report in the state-controlled media. The report also placed Singapore and Thailand on the human trafficking watch list.

Last week, the Thai foreign ministry expressed disappointment over the report, saying that it did not consider the efforts of the government to tackle the problem. The Singapore Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement last week that it is committed to tackling the human trafficking issue, and its efforts have not weakened since last year.

The US report said that Malaysia and Taiwan have made progress on the issue.

“Malaysia’s upgraded status is a recognition of what we have been doing so far to tackle the issue of human trafficking,” Malaysia Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein was quoted as saying in The Star online website last week.

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