The United States yesterday added six African countries to a blacklist of countries trafficking in people, and put Malaysia back on the list.

Chad, Eritrea, Niger, Mauritania, Swaziland, and Zimbabwe were added to the list in the annual report, which analysed efforts in 173 countries to fight trafficking in humans for forced labour, prostitution, military service and other reasons.

Staying on the blacklist list are US allies Saudi Arabia and Kuwait but also Cuba, Fiji, Iran, Myanmar, North Korea, Papua New Guinea, Sudan, and Syria, according to the State Department report for 2009.

All the countries on the list risk sanctions, including the suspension of US non-humanitarian aid.

The “Trafficking in Persons Report” said that Malaysia “does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so”.

Last year, the report bumped Malaysia up to a “watch list” from the 2007 blacklist after finding that it was “making significant efforts” to comply with such standards. — AFP