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Chinese-ruled Macau opposes US move to check human trafficking

The US has imposed sanctions on several territories, including Macao, over alleged human trafficking lapses, according to Lusa
A road sign for Macau is seen near the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge.

A road sign for Macau is seen near the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge. (Photo: AFP / UCAN files)

Published: October 27, 2023 11:40 AM GMT
Updated: October 27, 2023 12:33 PM GMT

The Beijing-controlled administration in Macau has opposed recent decision by the US government concerning the prevention and control of human trafficking on the island.

Office of Secretary for Security Wong Sio Chak in a statement on Oct. 26 expressed the government’s strong dissatisfaction with and strong opposition to the US decision.

The US decision was based on the “false” claims contained in the “2023 Trafficking in Persons Report” released by the US State Department earlier this year, media reports said.

The statement called the U.S. decision a “blatant and serious interference in the international affairs of the MSAR.”

The US decision continues “to ignore the efforts and achievements that the Macao Special Administrative Region (SAR) has made over the years in preventing and combating human trafficking,” the statement said according to Portuguese agency Lusa.

The US has imposed sanctions on several territories, including Macao, over alleged human trafficking lapses, according to Lusa.

The sanctions, expected to take effect next year, apply to “non-humanitarian and non-commercial aid” and do not allow funding for participation in educational and cultural exchange programs unless such programs combat trafficking or advance US national interests, Lusa said.

Washington has reportedly asked American officials at development banks and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to “vote against and to make all efforts to refuse any loan or other use of their institution’s funds” to Macao.

The US State Department in its Trafficking Person Report said the Macao government “does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so.”

“The government did not adequately report proactively screening at-risk populations, such as individuals in commercial sex, for trafficking indicators; and for the fourth consecutive year, the government did not identify or provide services to any victims,” it added.

Macao government “has not convicted a trafficker since 2019 and has never identified a victim of forced labor exploited in Macao,” said the US trafficking report.

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