US says Myanmar no longer among worst on human trafficking


WASHINGTON (AP) – The United States asserted Tuesday that Myanmar is no longer one of the world’s worst offenders on human trafficking, while removing both Myanmar and Iraq from a list of countries that use child soldiers.

In its annual report on human trafficking, the State Department also demoted China to the lowest ranking over its trafficking record, putting it in the same category as North Korea, Zimbabwe and Syria. Afghanistan was recognized for taking steps to curb trafficking, while Iraq was seen as making insufficient progress on that issue.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson planned to unveil the report in a ceremony Tuesday at the State Department attended by Ivanka Trump, the senior White House adviser and daughter of President Donald Trump.

Tillerson, in a letter accompanying the report, called human trafficking “one of the most tragic human rights issues of our time.”

“It splinters families, distorts global markets, undermines the rule of law, and spurs other transnational criminal activity. It threatens public safety and national security,” Tillerson said. “But worst of all, the crime robs human beings of their freedom and their dignity.”