N. Korea on US list of worst-human trafficking nations for 10th year
WASHINGTON (Yonhap) -- North Korea remains on an annual U.S. list of the nations that could face sanctions for making little effort to combat human trafficking for a 10th consecutive year, according to the State Department's report Wednesday.
In its annual Trafficking in Persons report, the State Department ranked North Korea once again in "Tier 3" for countries with the poorest record of fighting human trafficking. A total of 17 nations were included in the 2012 list with Syria newly added.
North Korea is a "source country for men, women and children who are subject to forced labor, forced marriage and sex trafficking," the report said.
Since 2003, North Korea has been on the list of the Tier 3 countries that may "be subject to certain sanctions, whereby the U.S. government may withhold or withdraw non-humanitarian, no-trade-related foreign assistance," according to the department.
Ambassador Luis CdeBaca, the director of the department's office to combat human trafficking, said, "One of the things that we've seen with North Korea repeatedly over the years is, again, this notion of state-supported forced labor.
"And we are, of course, concerned not just about forced labor within the country, but also in recent years more and more labor exporting of North Korean, often, men, whether it's into the Middle East, whether it's into especially Russia and other places," CdeBaca told reporters.
North Korea sends workers overseas along with its police officers, who keep the workers under surveillance and retaliate against them if they try to fight for their rights or if they try to leave, the ambassador said.
"So, we continue to see the situation of forced labor and human trafficking in North Korea as very grave," CdeBaca said.