June 15 (Bloomberg) — Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam all regressed last year in their efforts to battle trafficking of men, women and children for labor or commercial sex, according to the U.S. State Department.
The three Southeast Asian countries were placed on a watch list of middle-tier countries, placing them one level above the worst offenders such as North Korea, Myanmar and Saudi Arabia, the report said. Malaysia was upgraded from the worst ranking, while Cambodia and Pakistan were removed from the watch list.
The department’s 10th annual report grades 175 nations on their efforts to fight this modern form of slavery. The U.S. is listed for the first time, placed among those countries that are doing their best to comply with the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, the American law against human trade.
Singapore’s government showed an “inadequate response” to sex trafficking in the city-state with only two convictions last year, the report said. Thailand and Vietnam similarly made little progress in prosecuting trafficking offenders, it said.