China Thursday slammed a US report criticizing it for not making enough efforts to eliminate human trafficking.
The US Department of State Wednesday released an annual Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report, downgrading China, Russia and Uzbekistan to the bottom of a table in combating human trafficking, joining North Korea, Syria, Zimbabwe and Iran.
"The efforts made by China [in combating human trafficking] are tangible, and the achievements are obvious and undeniable. No country is entitled to regard itself as the authority and give others so-called ratings," said China's foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying Thursday.
Hua told a press briefing the government has attached great importance to fighting human trafficking in various forms and protecting the victims' rights and interests. "We keep improving domestic legislation, reinforce law enforcement and judicial measures as well as cooperate with other countries," she said.
The Ministry of Public Security (MPS) Thursday did not reply to the Global Times over the US report.
Chris Smith, a US congressman who has authored key legislation on trafficking, Wednesday said in a statement on his website that all Tier 3 countries are subject to potential sanctions, which include the US using its voice and vote to deny loans from the IMF and other multilateral banks, and barring non-humanitarian, non-trade related foreign assistance, as well as certain education and cultural exchange programs.
The TIP report said trafficking is pronounced among China's internal migrant population and Chinese women and girls are subjected to sex trafficking.
It also said well-organized international criminal syndicates and local gangs play key roles in both the outbound trafficking of Chinese women and girls and the inbound trafficking of foreign women and girls into China.
The report blamed China's family planning policy and a cultural preference for sons, which create a skewed sex ratio of 118 boys to 100 girls, for the demand for the trafficking of foreign women as brides for Chinese men and for forced prostitution.
"China has become the sex and labor trafficking capital of the world," Smith said in the statement.
Liu Tao, a law professor with the Chinese People's Public Security University, said Smith's remarks were "nonsense."
"China's criminal law stipulates harsh punishment for perpetrators of human trafficking. And it set up special task forces to combat the crime at various levels," Liu told the Global Times.
In March, the country launched an eight-year action plan for fighting human trafficking, vowing to boost inter-agency collaboration and encouraging public participation.
Last year, social media sites were used to receive information from the public to report suspected trafficking cases.
Baby Back Home, a voluntary group based in Jilin Province, helps search for missing children and offers support to parents across China.
Zhang Haiyan, founder of the group, told the Global Times that she sees the accusation toward China as biased. "Since an MPS campaign cracking down on trafficking was launched in 2009, police across the country have carried out cross-regional missions to pursue missing children and cooperated with volunteers, which helped curb the crime," she said.
The free DNA tests offered by the government and a national database that logs the DNA information of parents who report their children missing also helped the retrieved children return home, Zhang said.