Thailand, Venezuela Worst Human Traders

Malaysia, Thailand, and Venezuela have joined North Korea, Yemen, Mauritania, Central African Republic, Zimbabwe, and Syria on the U.S. State Department’s list of the world’s worst centers of human trafficking. The downgrade, to “Tier 3” status, could open up the countries to sanctions as it means they do not comply with the minimum standards for getting rid of human trafficking. It could also affect decisions by large corporations, which would be accused of using trafficked labor in these countries. Fisheries in Thailand (the world’s largest exporter of shrimp) have recently faced such accusations. The countries could also have U.S. aid taken away. In Thailand, according to the report, tens of thousands from surrounding countries are “forced, coerced, or defrauded into labor or exploited in the sex trade.” Earlier this year, Reuters reported that the Thai navy was coordinating with smugglers to traffic in Rohingya Muslims fleeing Myanmar. Malaysia’s downgrade was expected as its efforts to pursue trafficking cases have decreased.