Cuban-American lawmakers reacted incredulously to the upgrade that Cuba received from the U.S. State Department in its annual “Trafficking in Persons Report.”
The report, released Monday, is a compilation of nations that have made inadequate progress preventing activities such as sex trafficking or forced labor.
This year, 23 countries were on the on the report’s Tier 3 –- nations such as Iran, North Korea, Libya, Russia and others “whose governments do not fully comply with the minimum standards and are not making significant efforts to do so.”
Gone from the list? Cuba.
In a briefing, Under Secretary of State Sarah Sewall detailed serious problems that remain in Cuba, and noted that the designation for nations such as Cuba “does not mean that a country is free from problems or free from human trafficking.”
Cuba was upgraded, she said, because of progress by its government in addressing and prosecuting sex trafficking -– as well as the commitments it has made to become compliant with the minimum standards.
The U.S. remains concerned about Cuba in part because of its “failure to recognize forced labor as a problem or to act to combat it,” she said.