The Obama administration has removed Cuba and Malaysia from the list of worst offenders when it comes to human trafficking and forced labor.
The State Department upgraded both countries to the so-called Tier 2 Watch List in the State Department's annual Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report, which was released Monday. Both had been listed as Tier 3 countries, a designation indicating more significant problems.
The move, which leaked to the press last week, is giving critics new ammunition to accuse the Obama administration of allowing politics to influence the rankings.
The downgrade for Cuba further outraged opponents of President Obama's efforts to normalize relations with the island nation, who argue that child prostitution and child sex tourism runs rampant in Cuba.