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The U.S. ambassador in Manila is urging the Philippines to increase prosecutions in human-trafficking cases to prevent losing U.S. aid and falling further on a blacklist of nations that condone illegal child labor and sexual slavery.

“Clearly, the most important thing is how many convictions you have. So we’ll see,” Ambassador Harry Thomas Jr. told reporters at a human-trafficking seminar Tuesday.

The State Department this year put the Philippines in a category called Tier 2, essentially a watch list of nations suspected of lax enforcement of human-trafficking laws.

Mr. Thomas said the Philippines risks falling to the Tier 3-level of nations cut off from U.S. aid because they have failed to uphold international standards against human trafficking.

“If Category 3 happens … that will be the end of humanitarian assistance,” he said.

The State Department cited the Philippines as a “source country” for smugglers who sell men, women and children into forced labor or prostitution in other nations.

Call Embassy Row at 202/636-3297 or e-mail jmorrison@washingtontimes.com.