The U.S. Department of State recently published the 2021 Trafficking in Persons Report and urged governments worldwide to join the United States in improving our collective efforts to comprehensively address human trafficking. The Global Liberty Alliance (GLA) applauds this message and has joined in these efforts in its recent work in Latin America.
Cuba must end forced labor practices in medical workers, but so should democracies in the region who contract for these services. The TIPS report echoes what GLA has been saying for several years: ‘Ensure state-run labor export programs, such as foreign medical missions, comply with international labor standards or end the programs.' Nations signing contracts with Cuba should start by ensuring domestic labor laws apply to these arrangements or end them." - Jason Poblete, President, Global Liberty Alliance.
Using public information and human rights laws, for the past two years GLA lawyers in Brazil, Uruguay, Guatemala, and Honduras have pressed for more transparency in contracting Cuban medical professionals. Attorneys have met with local Congressmen and Cuban medical professionals, and have also filed records requests and complaints with the governments of each nation. You can read more on the Working Groups pages of the GLA website.
The Cuba section of the 2021 TIPS Report states there “strong indications of forced labor” by the Cuban government in “its foreign medical missions program.” The report also says: “The Government of Cuba does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so … During the reporting period, there was a government policy or government pattern to profit from labor export programs with strong indications of forced labor, particularly its foreign medical missions program.” In many other countries’ sections, the Report issues the recommendation that the country “screen Cuban medical professionals and refer them to appropriate services,” given “significant concerns about forced labor indicators in Cuban medical missions.”
# # #