The U.S. State Department on Tuesday placed China on its global list of the worst offenders in human trafficking and forced labor, a step that could aggravate tensions with Beijing that had eased under President Donald Trump.
Myanmar was upgraded to the Tier 2 Watch List of nations making significant efforts to meet minimum U.S. standards, from Tier 3, those countries not complying and making no significant effort to do so. Afghanistan, Malaysia and Qatar were each upgraded to Tier 2, a list of nations making significant efforts to comply, from the Tier 2 Watch List.
Tier 1 designates nations that meet minimum U.S. standards.
The report said China convicted even less labor traffickers in the 12 months ended on March 31 than in the previous year, forcibly repatriated North Koreans without screening them for indicators of trafficking, and handled most forced labor cases as administrative issues rather than criminal prosecutions.
For the previous three years, China was on the Tier 2 Watch List. China was last in the lowest ranking, or Tier 3, in 2013.
A Tier 3 rating can trigger sanctions limiting access to U.S. and international aid, but U.S. presidents frequently waive such action. Read more at REUTERS.