UN expert probes human trafficking in Cuba in milestone trip

An independent expert from the United Nations has arrived in Cuba to evaluate the human trafficking situation on the island for the first time in a decade.

Special Rapporteur Maria Grazia Giammarinaro is expected to visit a school and meet parliament leader Esteban Lazo during the four-day visit beginning Monday. She also has scheduled trips to the provinces of Matanzas and Artemisa.

Such U.N. visits are routine in other countries, but Cuba has generally rejected inspections by international organizations. The government has relaxed that stance somewhat in recent years, and state officials welcomed Giammarinaro upon her arrival and stressed that Cuba has a zero-tolerance policy on trafficking.

Giammarinaro expects to analyze what progress Cuba has made and challenges it still faces regarding trafficking, including sexual and labor exploitation.