In its latest annual report on human trafficking, the U.S. State Department said on Thursday that Iran will remain on tier 3 of the U.S. list of human trafficking because it does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so.
In his message in conjunction with the annual report, the Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has called for tougher legal action against human traffickers by all governments, as well as increased support for victims, including the establishment of therapy and rehabilitation centers for them.
The State Department classifies countries into three tiers based on their actions, transparency, respecting standards, and manners to combat human trafficking.
The countries present at Tier 1 are the ones that fully comply with the standards. The "second-Tier" refers to a set of countries that do not meet all the requirements, but their governments are trying to improve the situation.
The third tier on the list includes countries such as Iran that do not comply with minimum standards and do not take action to improve the situation. The third group includes countries such as Afghanistan, Iran, China, Russia, Syria, Algeria, Venezuela, and Cuba.
The State Department's report has cited the recruitment of children and adolescents in Iran for deploying them in Syria as well as support for militant groups in the region that use children as soldiers and emphasized that human and sexual trafficking networks enjoy legal immunity in Iran and continue their operation with impunity.
Meanwhile, the State Department says that it has added Afghanistan and Nicaragua to its list of worst offenders.
The Secretary of State has also stressed that profit-seeking traffickers are enslaving nearly 25 million people by ignoring their fundamental rights.