Human Trafficking in Castro's Cuba

Tuesday, June 28, 2011
The State Department has just released its 2011 Trafficking in Persons Report.

Once again, Cuba received the lowest ranking (Tier 3), as a country that does not comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking.

Here's the Report's Cuba summary:

CUBA (Tier 3)

Cuba is a source country for adults and some children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking. Some Cuban medical professionals assigned to work abroad have claimed that their passports were retained as a means of keeping them in a state of exploitation, thus preventing them from traveling freely. Prostitution of children reportedly occurs in Cuba as prostitution is not criminalized for anyone above 16 years old. The scope of trafficking within Cuba is particularly difficult to gauge due to the closed nature of the government and sparse nongovernmental or independent reporting.

The Government of Cuba does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so. The government did not publicize information about government measures to address human trafficking through prosecution, protection, or prevention efforts during the reporting period.

Now here's a question for the Obama Administration:

According to the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000, which mandates this Report, countries on Tier 3 may not receive funding for participation by officials or employees of such governments in educational and cultural exchange programs.

In light of the Administration's focus on educational and cultural exchanges with Castro's Cuba -- is this provision being adhered to?