China is among the worst countries for human trafficking, according to the latest US report, due to its increasing repression of Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities in Xinjiang and Tibet, as well as forced labour. Taiwan News reported on Thursday (July 1) that the US Department of State released its 2021 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report, revealing an alarming picture of global human trafficking.
The TIP report classifies countries into three tiers. Apart from China, Russia and Malaysia are classified as Tier 3 countries due to state-sponsored trafficking or a failure to prosecute traffickers.
China was placed in Tier 3 for the fifth consecutive year due to its actions in Xinjiang and Tibet, as well as forced labour in countries hosting Belt and Road Initiatives (BRI).
Additionally, the TIP report stated that China has abducted and detained over one million Muslims, including Uyghurs, ethnic Hui, and ethnic Kazakhs, in up to 1,200 state-run internment camps, using surveillance technologies and fabricated criminal charges.
Additionally, it is reported that over 500,000 rural Tibetans were placed in military-style vocational training. These Tibetans frequently lack the ability to opt out and are subjected to forced labour in factories.
Numerous Chinese workers are employed outside the country’s borders in large-scale BRI projects involving mining, transportation, and manufacturing in African and Latin American countries. They are subjected to substandard working conditions, debt slavery, and denial of access to emergency medical care.
The TIP report sheds light on additional human trafficking crises, including a 2018 survey that found that one-third of Indonesian workers in Hong Kong were required to sign debt agreements as a condition of employment. Additionally, traffickers in Malaysia use dubious recruitment practises to entice Rohingya women and girls from Bangladesh refugee camps to Malaysia, where they are coerced into prostitution.
Taiwan was assigned Tier 1 status in the TIP report. According to the report, insufficient staffing and inspection continue to obstruct efforts to eradicate forced labour on fishing vessels.
China has been chastised internationally for repressing Uyghur Muslims by incarcerating them in mass detention camps, interfering with their religious activities, and subjecting community members to forcible re-education or indoctrination.
On the other hand, Beijing has vehemently denied any human rights violations against the Uyghurs in Xinjiang, despite reports from journalists, non-governmental organisations, and former detainees highlighting the Chinese Communist Party’s brutal crackdown on the ethnic community.
The United States became the first country in the world earlier this year to declare China’s actions in Xinjiang to be “genocide.” Both the Canadian and Dutch legislatures adopted motions in February recognising the Uyghur crisis as genocide. The latter became the first European parliament to do so.
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