Thursday, November 5, 2015

Freedom House President Questions Upgrading Cuba in 2015 Trafficking Report

Further evidence that 2015 Trafficking in Persons Report was politicized with respect to Cuba.

“The U.S. Anti - Trafficking Report and Diplomacy: Sustaining Candor and Credibility” 

Written Testimony by Mark P. Lagon 
President, Freedom House 

House Committee on Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations 

Hearing: “ Demanding Accountability : Evaluating the 2015 Trafficking in Persons Report ” 

November 4 , 2015

Excerpt from full statement:

Cuba was upgraded to Tier 2 Watch List. With a diplomatic opening unmatched by any political opening, Freedom House ranks Cuba as Not Free. Some might claim a past downward political bias against Cuba in U.S. trafficking assessments was removed with the diplomatic opening. I do not look at the past that way.

The grounds for an upgrade are deeply questionable. The Report says:
  • “The penal code does not criminalize all forms of human trafficking” on paper, not to speak of enforcement. 
  • The Cuba regime did not even dissemble and claim any “efforts to prevent forced labor” nor “any trafficking - specific shelters. ” 
It is far - fetched to suppose that there is no forced lab or in state enterprises or for political prisoners in one of the world’s few remaining Marxist - Leninist states. Also, a burgeoning sex industry – welcoming sex tourism – fuels exploitation , despite steps the Report notes taken by Cuba to address sex trafficking .


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