Washington DC: The United States on Thursday retained China in Tier-3 category (lowest ranking) of the Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report and said that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and its state-owned enterprises often force citizens to work in “horrendous conditions” on Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) projects.
Unveiling the annual report here, Secretary of State Michael Pompeo said, “Our Trafficking in Persons Report calls out a group of nations with a state-sponsored pattern of forced labour. Among them is China, where the CCP and its state-owned enterprises often forcing citizens to work in horrendous conditions on Belt and Road project.”
Since 2017, the US has placed China in Tier-3 category, as the Asian country “does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so”.
“Despite the lack of significant efforts, the government took some steps to address trafficking, including by prosecuting and convicting some traffickers and by continuing to cooperate with international authorities to address forced and fraudulent marriages in the PRC, a key trafficking vulnerability for foreign women and girls,” the report said.
However, during the reporting period, there was a government policy or pattern of widespread forced labour, including through the continued mass arbitrary detention of more than one million Uyghurs, ethnic Kazakhs, ethnic Kyrgyz and other Muslims in Xinjiang.
The report recommends that China should end forced labour in government facilities, in non-governmental facilities converted to government detention centres and by government officials outside of the penal process.
“Cease the use of harassment, threats and illegal discriminatory immigration policies as measures to coerce the return to Xinjiang and subsequent forced labor of ethnic and religious minorities living abroad,” it stated.
The TIP report is divided into Tier-1, Tier-2, Tier-2 watchlist, and Tier-3. Countries whose governments fully meet the TVPA’s (Trafficking Victims Protection Act) minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking are categorised as Tier-1.
Countries whose governments do not fully meet the TVPA’s minimum standards but are making significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance with those standards are put under Tier-2.
Pompeo said that the US denied “certain kinds of assistance” to countries that were ranked in the Tier-3 category.