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Obama blacklists North Korea again for human trafficking

US President Barack Obama has again blacklisted North Korea for human trafficking, extending a symbolic ban on provisions of US funding to the communist nation for another year.

Obama designated the North, Equatorial Guinea, Iran, Russia, Syria and others as countries failing to meet the minimum standards under the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000, according to a "presidential determination" posted at the Federal Register on Monday.
US President Barack Obama (Yonhap)
US President Barack Obama (Yonhap)
The designation bans the US government from providing "certain non-humanitarian, non-trade-related assistance for those countries' governments for Fiscal Year 2017 until such governments comply with the minimum standards or make significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance."

Under the designation, the North is also banned from taking out loans from multilateral development banks and the International Monetary Fund.

The restriction, however, is expected to be symbolic only as the US provides no funding for the North.

In late June, the US State Department designated North Korea as one of the world's worst countries for human trafficking for the 14th straight year, saying the communist nation subjects its people to forced labor at home and abroad.

The State Department's annual "Trafficking in Persons Report 2016" put North Korea in the lowest Tier 3 of its four-step classification of countries, with two parts to Tier 2. The North has been classified in the lowest category since the annual report began including it in 2003. (Yonhap)

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