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UN expert probes human trafficking in Cuba

UN expert probes human trafficking in Cuba
Associated Press 3:59 p.m. ET April 10, 2017

Havana — An independent expert from the United Nations was in Cuba on
Monday for a four-day visit to evaluate the human trafficking situation
on the island for the first time in a decade.

Special Rapporteur Maria Grazia Giammarinaro is expected to visit a
and meet parliament leader Esteban Lazo and also has scheduled
trips to the provinces of Matanzas and Artemisa near the capital, Havana.

Such U.N. visits are routine in other countries, but Cuba has generally
rejected inspections by international organizations. The government has
relaxed that stance somewhat in recent years, and officials welcomed
Giammarinaro upon her arrival and stressed that Cuba has a
zero-tolerance policy on trafficking.

They presented her with a government action plan on trafficking and
exploitation. According to government statistics, in 2015 a little over
2,000 cases of underage sexual abuse were reported among a population of
2.6 million children.

Giammarinaro expects to analyze what progress Cuba has made and
challenges it still faces regarding trafficking, including sexual and
labor exploitation. The findings will be presented to the U.N. Human
Rights Council in June 2018.

Other trips to Cuba by U.N. experts are still pending, including one
related to torture.

Giammarinaro’s visit comes three months after the United States ended
its so-called wet foot, dry foot policy, which for over two decades
allowed nearly all Cubans who reached U.S. soil to remain. Island
officials had long complained about it, arguing that it contributed to
human trafficking.

The policy was scrapped in January days before then- Barack
Obama left office, as part of a process of normalizing relations between
Washington and Havana.

The United States previously removed Cuba from its blacklist of
countries it says have failed to fight modern-day slavery after
diplomatic relations were formally restored in July 2015.

Source: UN expert probes human trafficking in Cuba –

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