Tue, Jun 10, 2008 - Page 7 News List

Cuba rejects claims of laxness toward human trafficking

‘A LOT TO LEARN’The country’s foreign relations ministry said communism made professions such as human trafficking and prostitution unnecessary

AP , HAVANA

Cuba on Sunday rejected US claims that it does not do enough to combat human trafficking, saying that Washington “has a lot to learn” about life in the nation.

US authorities “are unfamiliar with and distort” Cuban reality, the Foreign Relations Ministry said in a written response to the US State Department’s annual Trafficking in Persons Report, released last Wednesday.

The report tracks human trafficking for the sex trade, coerced labor and the recruitment of child soldiers, outlining efforts to fight it, including prosecution, sentencing and programs to help victims.

Listing Cuba among the world’s worst offenders, it said poor women and children in the nation are often forced into prostitution by family members. But it also noted that human trafficking cannot be properly measured because of the government’s refusal to cooperate with observers.

Cuba said it maintains a “firm” policy against human trafficking and prostitution and noted that its communist system provides for the basic needs of all citizens, making such work unnecessary.

“Cuba does not see any value in the State Department’s report,” the Foreign Ministry said. “The government of the United States has a lot to do in its own country to combat the rampant phenomenon there of prostitution, sexual exploitation, forced labor and the trafficking of people.”

“The government of the United States has a lot to learn about Cuba and is not in a position to judge anyone,” it said.

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