Turan: U.S. may impose sanctions against Azerbaijan, if Baku does not fight against trafficking
Azerbaijan may face sanctions from the U.S., if it doesn’t take effective steps to combat trafficking, reads the draft report of the U.S. State Department on the situation of human trafficking in several countries, the Azerbaijani news agency "Turan" notes.
Thus, Azerbaijan is included in the list of a few countries, the status of which will be lowered from Tier 2 to Tier 3.
“Azerbaijan is included in the number of few possible candidates for downgrade to Tier 3 at the State Department's Trafficking in Persons report this year; it is the lowest classification that opens the countries to sanctions from the US government,” Washington DC told Turan’s correspondent.
According to the source, countries cannot stay on the Tier 2 Watch List forever, and now the State Department must either promote them to the Tier 2 status or demote those countries to Tier 3, which is shared by the countries like of Iran, North Korea, Cuba and Zimbabwe.
The article notes that According to the 2012 Trafficking in Persons report, Azerbaijan is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children subjected to forced labor and women and children subjected to sex trafficking. The government prosecuted fewer alleged trafficking cases and convicted fewer trafficking offenders.
“The State Department has made crystal clear that the Government of Azerbaijan should: Transparently punish complicit government officials; Train labor inspectors to boost victim identification and improve a national victim referral mechanism; Amend its law to require work permits for migrant construction workers, and improve inspections of those workers' conditions; Improve access to justice for victims including by protecting them during court proceedings; Enforce its own ban against withholding of migrant workers passports; and Train working-level law enforcement on treating victims as victims", Mark Lagon, the State Department's former ambassador-at-large for trafficking in persons, mentioned during Congressional panel on "Grading States For Not Degrading People: Human Trafficking Assessments.”
As Turan notes, Lagon stated that the absence of tangible progress on these issues, "automatically downgrades merits of Azerbaijan provided by Congress".
As "Turan" news agency found out, all these issues have been brought to the attention of official Baku during the visit of Thomas Melia the representative of U.S. State Department's Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor.
"Judging by the reaction of the authorities, the official Baku does not take these warnings seriously. Apparently, authorities could not think of anything better as a means to improve the situation of trafficking than legalizing the prostitution by the help of Siyavush Novruzov", the material states.
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