Myanmar and Laos have dropped in rank in the US State Department’s annual Human Trafficking Report, which was released in June 28.
According to the report, the Myanmar government does not meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so. Despite some efforts to address the issue, the report continues, military operations in Rakhine State have dislocated hundreds of thousands of people, many of whom are subjected to exploitation in the country as well as in neighboring Bangladesh.
Laos remains a source, destination, and transit country for women, children, and men “subjected to sex trafficking and forced labor,” the reports says
The report acknowledges efforts by the Myanmar army to identify and demobilize child soldiers among its ranks, but verified incidents of unlawful child soldier recruitment show that the practice has not ceased completely.
Laos has also been downgraded to “tier 3” in the report. Laos remains a source, destination, and transit country for women, children, and men “subjected to sex trafficking and forced labor,” the reports says. A large number of victims, particularly women and girls, are exploited in Thailand’s commercial sex industry while Lao men and boys are forced to work in Thai fishing fleets or on construction sites. Also, according to the report, the Lao government lacks awareness of the problem and has insufficient border security measures.
Thailand, on the other hand, has been upgraded by the US State Department to “tier 2”m the second-highest ranking for its efforts to curb human trafficking. The report cites Thailand’s conviction of traffickers and complicit officials, including 11 involved in the trafficking of Rohingya migrants from Myanmar.