US Expands Human Trafficking Blacklist

By MATTHEW LEE | June 27, 2011 | 2:45 PM EDT

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration is expanding the number of countries that may face U.S. sanctions for not doing enough to combat human trafficking.

In its annual Trafficking in Persons report released on Monday, the State Department identified 22 nations as failing to meet minimum international standards to curb the scourge, which claims mainly women and children as victims. That's up from 13 in 2010. Another 41 countries were placed on a "watch list" that could lead to sanctions unless their records improve.

Among the countries on the blacklist are perennial rogues Cuba, Iran, Myanmar and North Korea along with frequent U.S. foes Libya, Zimbabwe and Venezuela. Others include Saudi Arabia, Lebanon and Yemen.

The report also cited six nations for using child soldiers and not taking steps to end the practice.