Several U.S. politicians sharply criticized the Obama administration over a global report on human trafficking in response to an article chronicling how senior U.S. diplomats had 'watered down’ rankings of more than a dozen strategically important countries. The Reuters examination, based on interviews with more than a dozen people in Washington and foreign capitals, showed that the State Department office set up to independently grade global efforts to fight human trafficking was repeatedly overruled by senior diplomats and pressured into inflating assessments of 14 countries in this year’s report. Among the countries that received higher rankings than recommended by the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons were Malaysia, Cuba, China, India, Uzbekistan and Mexico, the sources said.
It’s shameful that President Obama allowed a bunch of political hacks to alter the administration’s human trafficking report to the benefit of perennial violators like Cuba and Malaysia.
U.S. Senator Marco Rubio, who is also a Republican presidential candidate.
Analysts in the anti-trafficking office, or J/TIP, as it is known within the U.S. government, disagreed with U.S. diplomatic bureaus on ratings for 17 countries, the sources said. The analysts, who are specialists in assessing efforts to combat modern slavery - such as the illegal trade in humans for forced labor or prostitution - won only three of those disputes, the worst ratio in the 15-year history of the unit, in the report published on July 27, according to the sources. Cuba, Malaysia and Uzbekistan were upgraded, despite J/TIP’s objections, from the lowest ranking in the report that publicly shames the world’s worst offenders in human trafficking.