US adds Saudi Arabia, Cuba to human trafficking blacklist

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the United States last year took actions against 22 countries due to the human trafficking designation. (AFP pic)

WASHINGTON: The United States on Thursday added Saudi Arabia and Cuba to its blacklist of countries that are not doing enough to fight human trafficking, a designation that could bring sanctions.

In an annual report, the State Department faulted ally Saudi Arabia for rampant violations among foreign labourers and accused adversary Cuba of trafficking through its program of sending doctors overseas.

Countries that remained on Tier 3, the lowest ranking in the report, included China, North Korea, Russia and Venezuela.

“If you don’t stand up to trafficking, America will stand up to you,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said as he presented the report alongside Ivanka Trump, President Donald Trump’s daughter and adviser.

A Tier 3 designation means that the United States can restrict assistance or withdraw support for the country at the International Monetary Fund or other global development bodies.

Pompeo said that the United States last year took actions against 22 countries due to the human trafficking designation.