US waives human trafficking sanctions on Malaysia and Thailand
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US waives human trafficking sanctions on Malaysia and Thailand

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama has decided not to impose sanctions against Malaysia and Thailand for failing to meet minimum standards in combating human trafficking.

In June, the two Southeast Asian nations were downgraded in State Department’s annual assessment of how governments around the world have performed in fighting the flesh trade and other forms of exploitative labor.

(MORE: Human trafficking downgrade a blow to Thailand’s military government)

The president can block various types of U.S. aid and withdraw U.S. support for loans from the World Bank and International Monetary Fund for governments that are blacklisted. But the U.S. often chooses not to, based on its national security interests.

It’s waiving sanctions against several countries, including Saudi Arabia, Uzbekistan, and Yemen.

Thursday’s announcement does not end restrictions on U.S. assistance to Thailand imposed after a May military coup.