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State Department

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Tuesday that the State Department has downgraded China to the lowest possible ranking in this year's human trafficking report in part because "it has not taken serious steps to end its complicity in trafficking," and also because it has allowed forced labor to continue in North Korea.

Tillerson also stressed that human trafficking can present a national security threat, and explained how North Korea (another of world's worst offenders) uses profits from human trafficking to fund its nuclear and missile weapons program.

Other changes in the 2017 report, per AP:

  • Myanmar: The State Dept. has taken Myanmar off the list of the world's worst human trafficking offenders.
  • Myanmar and Iraq: Both countries were removed from the list of nations that use child soldiers.
  • Afghanistan was recognized for its efforts to curb human trafficking, while Iraq was seen as making "insufficient progress."

Go deeper

46 mins ago - Health

Standardized testing becomes another pandemic victim

Photo: Edmund D. Fountain for The Washington Post via Getty

National standardized reading and math tests have been pushed from next year to 2022, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) announced Wednesday.

Why it matters: There’s mounting national evidence that students are suffering major setbacks this year, with a surge in the number of failing grades.

1 hour ago - World

European countries extend lockdowns

A medical worker takes a COVID-19 throat swab sample at the Berlin-Brandenburg Airport. Photo by Maja Hitij via Getty

Recent spikes in COVID-19 infections across Europe have led authorities to extend restrictions ahead of the holiday season.

Why it matters: "Relaxing too fast and too much is a risk for a third wave after Christmas," said European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

2 hours ago - Health

Africa CDC: Vaccines likely won't be available until Q2 of 2021

Africa CDC director Dr. John Nkengasong. Photo: Mohammed Abdu Abdulbaqi/Anadolu Agency via Getty

Africa may have to wait until the second quarter of 2021 to roll out vaccines, Africa CDC director John Nkengasong said Thursday, according to the Associated Press.

Why it matters: “I have seen how Africa is neglected when drugs are available,” Nkengasong said.

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