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Malaysia: U.S. Upgrades Human Trafficking Rating Ahead of TPP Talks

HeadlineJul 28, 2015

The U.S. State Department has upgraded Malaysia’s human trafficking rating, despite protests from human rights groups and lawmakers who say the step was taken to ease passage of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact. Monday’s announcement came one day before the start of a fresh round of TPP talks in Hawaii. Malaysia, one of 12 countries in the secretive trade pact, was previously given the worst trafficking rating, but a new measure bars the United States from negotiating trade deals with the worst-ranked countries. In response to a reporter’s question, Under Secretary of State Sarah Sewall denied the TPP influenced Malaysia’s rating.

David Brunnstrom, reporter: “This is something that’s been questioned by rights groups and quite large numbers of members of Congress. Did that come into play at all?”

Under Secretary of State Sarah Sewall: “No, no, no. The annual TIP Report reflects the State Department’s assessment of foreign government efforts during the reporting period to comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking in persons, established under U.S. law, under the TVPA. And those standards, as I articulated, are quite well spelled out in the legislation, and those are the standards that are applied based on the factual reporting that is gathered during the course of the year.”

The United States also upgraded the human trafficking rating of Cuba.

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