U.S. Downgrades China to List of Worst Human Trafficking Offenders

The 2017 Trafficking In Persons (TIPS) report by the United States State Department lists China as one of the worst countries in acknowledging and combating human rights violations. It was grouped into the worst-offending Tier III, where it shares a spot with countries like North Korea and Iran.

Last year, the State Department then led by John Kerry decided to hand China a waiver to stay in Tier II for showing some improvement. But this year, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson decided China won’t get another “get-out-of-jail free card.”

Among a list of reasons he bumped China out, Tillerson said the government “has not taken serious steps to end its own complicity in trafficking, including forced laborers from North Korea that are located in China.”

The report accused China of being the source of several forms of trafficking including forced labor, forced begging, sex trafficking and trafficking of people from outside countries into China.

The U.S.’s move comes amid a shaking of Sino-American relations. In recent weeks, President Donald Trump seemed to lose patience with China after he announced that efforts to encourage China to take a tougher stance on nuclear-armed North Korea have “not worked out.” And his recent meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi probably didn’t raise many smiles among the Communist Party leadership.