Each year, the State Department releases a Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report that ranks nations on how effectively they combat human trafficking.
This year’s report lists China as a “tier-3” nation, which is the lowest rating possible. Other tier-3 nations (of which there are 23) include Iran, Russia, Syria, Venezuela, and North Korea. Tier-3 countries are subject to non-trade related sanctions.
This is the second time China has received a tier-3 rating since the creation of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) in 2001. According to the TVPA, countries that maintain a tier-2 status for two years are demoted to tier-3 unless they obtain a waiver from the US Secretary of State. Countries that obtain two consecutive waivers are also demoted to tier-3, which in this case is what happened to China.
“China was downgraded to tier-3 action in this year’s report in part because it has not taken serious steps to end its own complicity in trafficking,” said Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
“We analyzed the minimum standards and made a determination that China was not making significant efforts and therefore belonged on tier-3,” explains Susan Coppedge, ambassador-at-large to monitor and combat trafficking in persons.
The 454-page report estimates that between 50,000 and 80,000 North Koreans are forced laborers in other countries, in most cases China and Russia. North Koreans who are found illegally in China are often deported to the peninsula, “where they face severe punishment or death, including in North Korean forced labor camps.”
Another longstanding trafficking issue in China is linked with the communist nation’s strict population controls.
“The Chinese government’s birth limitation policy and a cultural preference for sons created a skewed sex ration of 117 boys to 100 girls in China, which observers assert increases the demand for prostitution and for foreign women as brides for Chinese men – both of which may be procured by force or coercion.”
Prosecutions of human trafficking dropped by nearly 25% between 2015 and 2016, but there are still an estimated 20 million people living in bondage. Forms of human trafficking include forced labor, sex trafficking, domestic servitude, and recruitment of child soldiers.
“Human trafficking is believed to be the third-largest criminal enterprise on Earth,” reports CNN. In the US, human trafficking is almost always in the form of sex slavery.
Human trafficking has been found in every single state in the US, and ending it is “among the top priorities of the Trump Administration,” said Ivanka Trump.
Meanwhile, the TIP report threatens to “accelerate a rapid worsening of relations with the Asian nation that had briefly benefited from good feelings generated by an April summit meeting between President Trump and President Xi Jinping at Mr. Trump’s Florida resort,” reports the New York Times.
China has bristled at the public criticism.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang insists that China is “firmly opposed to the irresponsible remarks made by the US based on its domestic law about others’ efforts against human trafficking” and argues that the nation’s efforts to stop human trafficking are “obvious.”
Author’s note: China’s economic success is great for the top 20%. The rest of the country still behaves as the Communist dictatorship has always behaved, with little respect for human rights.
Editor’s note: We wanted to remind you that China is not America. Human rights there are not as we know them, and civil rights are at the whim of an un-elected government.