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US cuts aid to Belize over Human Trafficking Tier 3 ranking

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Posted: Friday, November 30, 2018. 10:30 am CST.

By BBN Staff: United States President Donald Trump issued a Presidential Memorandum yesterday to the Secretary of State listing Belize as one of numerous countries to be sanctioned by the US government for failing to comply with minimum standards of international human trafficking regulations. The sanction includes the US cutting aid for non-humanitarian, non-trade assistance.

Belarus, Bolivia, Burma, Burundi, China, Comoros, the Republic of the Congo (ROC), the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Iran, Laos, Mauritania, Papua New Guinea (PNG), South Sudan, Turkmenistan, and Venezuela are also listed as countries having aid cut for the 2019 fiscal year. According to Trump’s memorandum, aid will be cut for those countries ” until such governments comply with the minimum standards or make significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance with the Act.”

For many countries on the list, Trump also directed multilateral developmental banks such as the IMF to refuse granting loans to those countries. Belize, however, received a waiver from President Trump, “Consistent with section 110(d)(4) of the Act, I determine that a partial waiver to allow International Military Education and Training (IMET), Foreign Military Financing (FMF), and Foreign Military Sales (FMS) related to FMF with respect to Belize would promote the purposes of the Act or is otherwise in the national interest of the United States”.

According to Channel 7 News, Attorney General Mike Peyrefitte told them via text that he was not surprised by the US decision. Channel 7 also reported that Peyrefitte said he believed Belize had done everything it could to address the issue but said the government cannot manufacture cases to please the US. Belize was ranked as a Tier 3 country on the last human trafficking report from the US State Department, the worst possible rank on the list.

 

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