U.S. Allies Cited For Trafficking

GENERIC Human Rights State Department
Four U.S. allies in the Middle East are among countries added to a State Department list of nations that are not doing enough to stop international human trafficking, a practice the department described as modern-day slavery.

The State Department on Friday said 14 countries could be subject to sanctions because they are not cracking down on trafficking. The list includes eight new countries: Bolivia, Cambodia, Jamaica, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Togo and the United Arab Emirates.

Saudi Arabia is a key U.S. ally whose de facto leader, Crown Prince Abdullah, visited President Bush at his Texas ranch in April. Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates also are allies, and the United States maintains an important military base in Qatar.

An estimated 600,000 to 800,000 people are trafficked across international borders annually, the report said. Eighty percent are female and 50 percent are children.

Human trafficking is driven by poverty, corruption, poor education and other factors on the supply side, the report said. Trafficking serves demands for cheap or forced labor, soldiers, prostitutes and the child sex trade, the report said.

"The child sold by his parents to the owner of a brick kiln on the outskirts of his rural Indian village is a trafficking victim," the report said. "So is the Mexican man who legally or illegally migrates to the United States only to be beaten by his agricultural crew leader to keep him from leaving the job."