Friday, June 13, 2008

Cuba Rejects Its Inclusion on US List of Countries Not Fighting Human Trafficking

From International Herald Tribune:

Cuba on Sunday rejected U.S. claims that it does not do enough to combat human trafficking, saying that Washington "has a lot to learn" about life on the island.

U.S. authorities "are unfamiliar with and distort" Cuban reality, the Foreign Relations Ministry said in a written response to the U.S. State Department's annual "Trafficking in Persons Report," released Wednesday. The report tracks human trafficking for the sex trade, coerced labor and the recruitment of child soldiers, outlining efforts to fight it, including prosecution, sentencing and programs to help victims.

Listing Cuba among the world's worst offenders, the report said poor women and children on the island are often forced into prostitution by family members. But it also noted that human trafficking cannot be properly measured in Cuba, given the government's refusal to cooperate with independent observers. Cuba said it maintains a "firm" policy against human trafficking and prostitution and noted that its communist system provides for the basic needs of all citizens, making such

"Cuba does not see any value in the State Department's report," the Foreign Ministry's statement said. "The government of the United States has a lot to do in its own country to combat the rampant phenomenon there of prostitution, sexual exploitation, forced labor and the trafficking of people."

"The government of the United States has a lot to learn about Cuba and is not in a position to judge anyone," it said.

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