China rejects US human trafficking criticism

Foreign ministry spokesperson says Washington’s decision to downgrade China on trafficking table is ‘arbitrary’.

Hua Chunying, the foreign ministry spokeswoman, said the US should stop making 'unilateral judgments' [Reuters]
Hua Chunying, the foreign ministry spokeswoman, said the US should stop making 'unilateral judgments' [Reuters]

China has rejected a US report that criticised the country for failing to make greater efforts to combat human trafficking.

Beijing’s comments on Thursday come a day after the US state department downgraded China, Russia and Uzbekistan to the bottom of a table on human trafficking.

“We believe that the US side should take an objective and impartial view of China’s efforts [in fighting human trafficking] and stop making unilateral or arbitrary judgments of China,” Hua Chunying, a foreign ministry spokeswoman , said at a regular briefing.

The US report found that “trafficking is pronounced among China’s internal migrant population” and “forced labour remains a problem, including in brick kilns, coal mines and factories”.

China’s one-child policy has resulted in “a skewed sex ratio of 118 boys to 100 girls in China, which served as a key source of demand for the trafficking of foreign women as brides for Chinese men and for forced prostitution”, the report added.

‘Lack of significant efforts’

Beijing had failed to “demonstrate significant efforts to comprehensively prohibit and punish all forms of trafficking”, the report said.

US Congressman Chris Smith, who authored key legislation on trafficking, said China had become the “sex and labour trafficking capital of the world”.

“Women and young girls have been – and are today being – reduced to commodities and coerced into prostitution,” he added in a statement.

President Barack Obama is set to determine in September whether to enact any sanctions against the three nations downgraded.

The countries had languished for years on a US watch list, having been granted past waivers amid promises to do better.

The US estimates that about 27 million remain enslaved around the world.

Source: AFP

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