China fails to protect victims of international slavery, US claims
The US State Department report highlighted the issue of people-trafficking within China's borders as the mainland's most significant smuggling problem.
However, it said Beijing was failing to adequately protect victims of international smuggling.
China remained on the report's 'Tier 2 watch list' for the second consecutive year for failing to demonstrate to Washington's satisfaction that it was stepping up efforts to tackle the international slave trade. 'Tier 2 countries' refer to governments that do not fully comply with the US Trafficking Victims Protection Act, but are making strides towards meeting minimum standards.
'Protections for Chinese and foreign victims of transnational trafficking remain inadequate,' the report said.
It urged China to put in place anti-trafficking legislation that reconciles differences between its definition of trafficking in persons with that adopted by the UN. Debt bondage and the commercial sexual exploitation of people aged 18 and below should be recognised by Beijing as forms of trafficking, the report said.
Hong Kong was given Tier 1 status - countries that fully complied with US anti-trafficking standards.