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Myanmar, Uzbekistan among countries downgraded in annual US human trafficking report

The US has released its annual list of worst human trafficking offenders around the world. Myanmar, Uzbekistan and Sudan were among the countries found on the list.

US Secretary of State John Kerry on Thursday introduced the report, which listed countries around the world not doing enough to halt modern-day slavery.

"It's outrageous that even today, the magnitude of the human trafficking challenge cannot be overstated," Kerry said. He went on to hail the report and stress the need for the world to do more to combat the crime.

The report examined 188 governments and ranked the worst offenders according to a three-tier system. Djibouti, Haiti, Papua New Guinea and Turkmenistan were among those ranked in "tier 3," the lowest tier, which is reserved for countries that are seen as not doing anything to combat human trafficking.

New additions to the list

Uzbekistan and Myanmar were newly added to the list. In the past, Washington had faced criticism for supposedly turning a blind eye to the latter country's human trafficking problem in order to encourage its fledgling democratic government. The report called Myanmar - which the US government refers to by its historical name of Burma - as "a source country for men, women, and children subjected to forced labor and for women and children subjected to sex trafficking, both in Burma and abroad."

Human rights groups welcomed the inclusion of those two countries on this year's list.

Two countries, Kuwait and Thailand, were promoted from the lowest tier to "tier 2," which groups together countries that are making an effort to combat the crime.

blc/kl (AFP, AP)

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