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China takes nose dive in human trafficking report

HONG KONG (UCAN): In its Trafficking in Persons Report 2017 released on June 27, the United States of America (US) downgraded China’s ranking to Tier 3, rating it with the world’s worst human trafficking offenders alongside North Korea, Zimbabwe and Syria as.
The report is the first public rebuke of China’s human rights record by the US since Donald Trump assumed the presidency in January.
“China was downgraded to Tier 3 status in this year’s report in part because it has not taken serious steps to end its own complicity in trafficking, including forced labourers from North Korea that are located in China,” Rex Tillerson, the US secretary of state, said in presenting the report.
Unverified media reports and non-government organisations say that among the findings about China is an ongoing government complicity in the use of forced labour.
There were also reports that “local officials in Xinjiang coerced Uyghur men and women to participate in forced labour in and outside the province, despite the local government issuing a notice in early 2017 saying that the practice had been completely abolished,” the report says.
Lu Kang, a spokesperson for the Chinese foreign ministry, said China opposed the report’s findings.
In a press conference on the same day the report was released, Lu said China is resolute in combating human trafficking. 
“The progress that we have made is also obvious. We are firmly opposed to the irresponsible remarks made by the US based on its domestic law about others’ efforts against human trafficking,” he said 
“The Chinese side always believes that no country can stay aloof from the fight against human trafficking as it is a crime plaguing the whole world,” he continued, adding, “The Chinese side will step up cooperation with other countries to crack down on human trafficking based on mutual respect.”
Tillerson said there are 50,000 to 80,000 North Korean citizens working overseas as forced labourers, principally in Russia and China.
Domestic and cross-border human trafficking in China is partly driven by gender imbalance caused by the now-defunct one-child policy which was only nuanced to become a two-child policy in 2015.
A commentator using the  pen name Hui Taiyang, explained, “Gender discrimination is common in Chinese patriarchal society, which favours boy over girl, but the imbalance caused becomes a social crisis for men looking to marry.” 
Hui said, “This is especially the case for those with disabilities and who are less economically sufficient, who then rely on human traffickers to find a wife.” 
An anonymous information source noted that some of the women and even young girls have been trafficked from the northern area of the Union of Myanmar and that the broker takes some 30,000 yuan ($34,600) or more for each case.
“Some Church members in border areas with little education and knowledge on law are also involved in this business,” the anonymous person said, adding that one trafficker had been arrested and sentenced to 15 years in prison.
Hui added that human vices also come into play. “Some physically disadvantaged people or young children are sold to or lured by human traffickers to do hard labour, or turned into beggars to panhandle money for (the traffickers) from charitable people,” he explained.
“The traffickers also lure some young people into undertaking dangerous jobs and intentionally cause fatal accidents to avoid paying the worker compensation,” Hui said.

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