Moscow attacks US human trafficking report as politicized and arrogant

Moscow attacks US human trafficking report as politicized and arrogant
Russia’s Foreign Ministry says the latest US State Department report on human trafficking used “unacceptable” methods as its rating depended too much on political sympathies towards the US administration.

In its Annual Trafficking in Persons Report released on Wednesday, the State Department downgraded Russia to category three, the worst countries dealing with human trafficking. The authors of the paper admitted in press comments that the downgrade did not mean a deterioration in the situation, but rather the slow reaction of the authorities to the problems they must be aware of.

Other nations that received a downgrade for similar reasons were China and Uzbekistan.

The countries in the third group can be subject to US sanctions, both in bilateral programs and in the projects of international organizations with US participation, such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

Russian reaction on Thursday was harsh and uncompromising.

Unfortunately, instead of a deep and objective study into the growing scale of human trafficking, including in the United States itself, the authors of the report again used the unacceptable ideological approach that divides nations into rating groups depending on the US State Department’s political sympathies or antipathies,” Konstantin Dolgov, the Foreign Ministry’s plenipotentiary for Human Rights said in an official statement.

He said that under such conditions the downgrade was not surprising as it was matching the logic of the recently passed Magnitsky Act and other “democratizing tools” that the US attempt to use against Russia in connection with the alleged deterioration of the human rights situation. 

Dolgov said that the politicizing of human trafficking and especially the ranking based on political preferences were actually hampering international cooperation in the fight against this evil. The diplomat added that the particular examples of such successful cooperation can be found in the report itself, albeit they were only mentioned very briefly.

The Foreign Ministry representative explained that the US had repeatedly warned Russia about the forthcoming downgrade, but the moves that had been suggested to prevent it were impossible to execute and this was done deliberately.

“To get a good mark from the United States we had to work under a specially developed list of recommendations that ordered us to change our laws concerning human trafficking and the practice of their application so that they match US templates,” the diplomat said.

“It is obvious that these demands were impossible to meet from the very beginning. In their fight against organized crime the Russian authorities would never follow the instructions developed by another country and Russia would never fulfill the demands that look almost like an ultimatum,” he added.

At the same time, the official said Moscow had repeatedly offered to continue cooperation with the United States in the fight against human trafficking and to maintain contacts both in bilateral mode and in various international organizations.

Dolgov also noted that even the discussion of possible unilateral sanctions against Russia could only cause indignation as such steps would contradict the goals of positive development of the Russian-US relations.

Of course, the unfriendly moves will be followed by an adequate reaction from our side,” the Russian diplomat promised.