The US State Department upgraded Malaysia and Cuba Monday in its formal ranking of world nations’ efforts to combat modern-day slavery, but the decision has led to criticisms of political favoritism that cast doubt on the integrity of the rankings.
The US has been steadily improving political ties with communist Cuba after 50 years of frigid relations. Critics also argue that Malaysia’s upgrade is related to its involvement in a US-backed trade agreement among Pacific Rim countries.
John Kerry, the US secretary of State, formally launched the annual US assessment – the Trafficking in Persons report – which analyzes and ranks how 188 governments around the world have invested in fighting human trafficking and other forms of exploitative labor.
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