U.S. adds Saudi Arabia and Cuba to worst human traffickers list


The U.S. State Department on Thursday added Saudi Arabia and Cuba to its 2019 list of the world's worst countries for human trafficking. Saudi Arabia and Cuba may be "subject to certain restrictions on assistance" at U.S. President Donald Trump's discretion, according to the State Department report.

The designation of Saudi Arabia in the Tier 3 of human traffickers was a rare rebuke to the gulf nation from its U.S. ally, although Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declined to single out the Saudis in a speech on Thursday.

The report cited abuses against Saudi Arabia's massive migrant labour force of people primarily from South and South-East Asia and Africa.

"The Kingdom's migrant labourer population continued to be the largest group at risk to human traffickers, particularly female domestic workers due to their isolation inside private residences and subjection to employer abuse," the report stated.

"Human trafficking is a stain as well on all of humanity," Pompeo said on Thursday. "We detest it because it flagrantly violates the unalienable rights that belong to every human being." He added that Trump restricted certain types of assistance to 22 countries on the Tier 3 list last year.

There are 22 countries on the 2019 list, released in the State Department's annual report on trafficking, including China, Iran, North Korea, Russia, South Sudan and Syria.    (dpa)

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