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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 18 September 2018

US accuses Iran, Venezuela of human trafficking failings

The White House said it also was increasing restrictions on North Korea, Eritrea, Russia and Syria by constraining them from engaging in educational or cultural exchange programmes with the US

US president Donald Trump's administration instructed the US executive director of the IMF and US executive directors at other multilateral development banks to vote against extending loans or other funds to North Korea, Russia and Iran for fiscal year 2018. Olivier Douliery / EPA
US president Donald Trump's administration instructed the US executive director of the IMF and US executive directors at other multilateral development banks to vote against extending loans or other funds to North Korea, Russia and Iran for fiscal year 2018. Olivier Douliery / EPA

The White House said it had ordered that Iran, Venezuela and four African nations be added to a US list of countries accused of failing to crack down on human trafficking, a step that further isolates them from the United States.

The White House said on Saturday it also was increasing restrictions on North Korea, Eritrea, Russia and Syria, which already were on the list, by constraining them from engaging in educational or cultural exchange programmes with the United States.

In addition, president Donald Trump's administration instructed the US executive director of the International Monetary Fund and US executive directors at other multilateral development banks to vote against extending loans or other funds to North Korea, Russia and Iran for fiscal year 2018, which begins on Sunday.

Under a 2000 US law called the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, the United States does not provide non-humanitarian, non-trade-related foreign assistance to any country that fails to comply with minimum standards for eliminating trafficking and is not making efforts to do so.

The White House said in a notice that Iran, Venezuela, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Equatorial Guinea, South Sudan and Sudan had been added to the list of countries subject to these restrictions for the new fiscal year.

The move came six days after Mr Trump included Venezuela and Iran on a list of eight countries targeted for travel restrictions to the United States. The restrictions on Venezuela focused on government officials who the Trump administration blamed for the country's slide into economic disarray. The travel ban on Iranians was broader.

That travel ban list lifted previous restrictions on citizens from Sudan.

Ivanka Trump, White House senior adviser, has called forced labour, modern slavery and human trafficking the “greatest human rights issue of our time”.

The daughter of the president said during the UN General Assembly last month that the issue is a top priority for the Trump administration. She called on world leaders to take away the economic opportunity in these crimes, uphold the rule of law and protect citizens.

She says human trafficking "splinters families, distorts global markets, undermines the rule of law", strengthens criminal networks and threatens national security.

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