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Obama Restricts Foreign Aid Over Human Trafficking

WASHINGTON (CN) - President Obama will suspend foreign aid not related to trade and humanitarian efforts to Burma, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, and Zimbabwe because their efforts to combat trafficking in human beings do no meet the minimum standards of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000.

For countries who receive only humanitarian aid such as Cuba, the Democratic People's Republic of North Korea, Eritrea, Iran, Madagascar, and Venezuela, the president ordered the Secretary State to suspend funding for officials and government employees of those nations to participate in cultural and educational exchange programs maintained by the United States.

Some waivers will be granted to each of the above nations for specific programs the president believes support the interests of the United States.

The president also determined that even though Algeria, the Central African Republic, Guinea-Bissau, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Micronesia, Papua New Guinea, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Turkmenistan, and Yemen also fail to meet the minimum standards under the act, financial aide to those countries is essential to the interests of the United States.

Under the act, the president must report to Congress every year on the status of international trafficking in humans and determine which countries are making earnest efforts to combat it.

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